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veen's profile
veen




Infrastructure & Planning student in the Netherlands.

Sometimes make things like this:

And I write here:

http://veenspace.com




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comments 22
veen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 13, 2019

Well at least now I know what Hyundai named its car after! Hawaii seems like a magical place.

veen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 6, 2019

We had few shenanigans this time around! We’re a very RP-heavy party, and most of this session was about one of us revealing their Tragic Backstory(TM).

Someone did carve the head of a statue off, and tried to distract a gigantic spider with a mirage though.

veen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 6, 2019

Hey Pubs. Wednesday eve, Thursday is only four minutes away. Just came back from a fun DnD sesh. Ski lessons are going pretty well, although it's been occupying the 'swim' place in my list of priorities, so I haven't gone swimming in a while. Gonna fix that tomorrow.

Work's at a good pace right now. I've been automating and programming a bunch, and there's new interesting things on the horizon. I'm not too busy and am pretty good at keeping it that way.

Tomorrow we're going with fifteen colleagues to a pétanque bar, which like the name suggests is a hip new bar where you can also play pétanque like you're on a French campsite or something. The invitation had tactically placed Comic Sans and there's bound to be some wine so I think it's gonna be fun. I'm hoping it's every bit as cheesy and hip as I imagine it'll be.

veen  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 6, 2019

Dang, what do you get out of the book? Model names, prizes, complications?

I would totally be interested in the average price and standard deviations per complication, maybe regressed to how expensive the brand is in general. Hmu if you need some data science help!

I think it very often looks that way because lookalike audiences have gotten really good. The real issue is that many, many websites have some analytics connection to Facebook, so ads have a lot of data to target you with.

I feel a bit torn on the subject of automation. There seems to be a very long list of boring, dangerous and demanding tasks that I can see becominig automated in the coming decade or two. Matter of fact, I have been busy the last weeks with automating a bunch of repetitive webapp tasks that can be fully automated with a REST API. It'll almost save my company (so, me and the four colleagues now doing this work manually) months of dull manual work in the coming years and I'm all the happier for it, since we can then use our hours to do more interesting, value-adding work.

So I tend to extrapolate that experience to the bigger scale - automation will free us from the tasks we don't have to do so we have more room to tackle the bigger, more difficult issues. But I am also very aware of the problem that it's very often not the same person that gets to do the new, more interesting thing. My experience may be good for me, but the average automation case is that a dozen low-skilled workers are replaced by one higher-skilled worker, and that nobody gives a crap about those that are left behind. Retraining only gets you so far - who's gonna hire the 50-year old retrained-but-unexperienced worker over the cheaper younger person, for example?

I don't know if this already happened on your side of the Atlantic, but I see more and more fast food chains doing away with people behind the counter for orders, and having instead large touch-screen based ordering. Still don't know if I should cheer that on or not.

Replace "Messenger" with "Whatsapp", and you have about half the globe with the same problem. Literally all my communication since like 2015 has gone through WhatsApp for me and everyone I know, replacing texts swiftly. And since Facebook bought WhatsApp, it's effectively also Messenger. Potato potato - effectively, there's no escape from Facebooks grasp. Even if you don't have an account, Facebook profiles you.

I might very well have my terms mixed up - I'm by no means well-versed in this type of engineering. (Yet?) My understanding of parametric is that it is a relational method of design; thing A's size depends on thing B. It can be made much more complex than that, and it can be types of "inputs A should lead to shapes B constrained by strenght model C and solution space D", but fundamentally it's about the relationships between design elements. Could've made that clearer, I suppose, or I'm missing something.

Generative design as I have dabbled with is "given input parameters A that each can vary this amount, and given model B that takes these parameters and generates a design, measure set of result-based KPIs C and iterate over A to optimize C."

Generative design rests firmly on parametrically designed products - e.g. if a watch is 42mm, the hour hand length should be less than half that, so

    hourHandLength  = watchDiam * 0.4

The demo example that I've been playing with is that of three towers. Each tower has an x and y coordinate for its centerpoint and a height parameter. The three towers together have a width and length parameter. Based on those simple inputs, you can have the program design three towers, adding for example the constraint that the middle tower must be 20% higher than the other two or that they have to comply to the NYC setback.

The goal in this example is to maximize inner volume while also minimizing the outer surface area. I think the idea was to limit the amount of glass needed on the outside. So a good strategy is to have the towers overlap, but how much and in what formation? Basically, with the variable inputs (x,y,height,...), the parametrically defined shapes and constraints, and the desired outputs to optimize for(MaxVolume, MinSurfaceArea), the software will try many variations on the input variables and score them on the output variables.

Of course, many different goals / KPIs can be considered, as long as they can be calculated based on the resulting design shape. So with this bracket example I am pretty sure that they also ran the computer-generated designs through some strucural simulation models in Fusion to see how strong it would be against certain loads.

I think the interesting thing is that it is a very flexible framework for creating wayyyy more alternative solutions to a problem. It also makes the consequences of your design choices much more visible - you can actually see what it means to choose sustainability over profitability, or volume over surface area, or any set of evaluation KPIs over another set of KPIs. Currently, those design choices and consequences are hidden from view, or neglected, or made on gut feeling / expertise. If I can sit down with relevant stakeholders and say "here's 200 designs that are all up to code but each score differently on these factors you value, now what do you guys really want?", that's gonna be incredibly valuable I think.

I've become very interested in generative design lately. We had Autodesk over at our company the other day to talk about it, and after playing with the tools for a bit I've become convinced that it could revolutionize urban developments and urban design. Urban design is about figuring out what to do with a place, designing for stakeholders' desires while taking (policy) limitations into account. That has always sounded like an optimization problem to me, with constraints (policy) and goals to maximize or minimize (in the GM case lightness/cost/etc, in our case project cost/sustainability/...). I found the Alkmaar example here absolutely mesmerizing, and I'm arranging meetings with the company that did the pilot. If it still looks interesting after hearing what happened when the rubber met the road, I'm gonna be the one to helm our expedition into generative design.

    Is it bad I'm reading this article on gasp a smartphone?

No, see also what I said to binder below. The comparison to cigarettes is not about whether it literally causes cancer, it's about cultural norms and what is looked down upon.

Have you read this article? Sadly, it seems to have gone, but Wayback archive still has it. The gist of it is that games like Farmville were intentionally maliciously designed to fuck with your brain's dopamine response, that their creators are more than aware of it, and that they did it anyway.

That article was written in good ol' 2011, but the practice has metastasized all over our smartphone apps. You can say a lot about books or television, but it does not deliver the completely personalized addiction-inducing behaviour that Instagram does. Instagram, for example, will track your usage patterns to make sure that every time you check the app, you see new likes and interactions. It'll hold back likes and comment notifications just to get you to check the app faster. Ain't no book pulling that shit on me.

I think I'm coming down to thinking of tech more and more like a utility. I mean - my homescreen is full of apps that give me instant access to a lot of knowledge. That's not a bad thing.

What is bad is that so many people resort to their smartphones at the slightest hint of boredom, that we are now assumed to be always connected and available, and that apps try to mimick social cues to get people to spend more time liking, hearting and swiping. Remember the original iPhone presentation? It was pitched like a phone, an iPod and a web browser. A decade of feature creep later and it can now do pretty much whatever you want. You can be fully connected to the world, to your colleagues, to your friends, at any moment. Which makes them distracting sonsabitches and leads to the aforementioned problems.

I don't believe in abstaining or shunning the tech, because it still has too much utility for that. It kinda feels like throwing your Swiss army knife in the garbage because you keep cutting yourself with one of its blades, even though the other tools are still useful.

The question that is now still out in the open for me is this: what role do I want this tech to have in my life? "Everything"(i.e. unconstrained techno-maximalism) clearly hasn't worked out. "Nothing" is dumb too. So I'm looking for a healthy, productive middle ground.

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