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essays masquerading as newsletters, my two cents, using functions to change system calls, meditate on being a student for eternity

This is a daily standup post of the work put into maintaining Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Newsletter (Sundays)

  • i felt like issue 41 was again a bit too lengthy, i'll be looking to concoct shorter pieces for the near future, more true to form with what i am reading, and choosing themes from wander in commonplace bot
    • truth be told, i like writing a essay per week and it seemed fitting to merge the work with the newsletter. but i must keep in mind that a newsletter needs to be enjoyable in the landscape it is consumed, an email inbox. substack has normalized the "essay in the inbox" problem i suppose. as long as the topics are interesting
  • future large topics i want to cover:
    • website as an art piece and art galley at the same time
    • a creative technologist manifesto
    • the cultural value of programmers and their programs
    • a mathematical guess as to how much zero to one code will be written in the next century

Software (Saturdays)

Google must really value my opinions because they keep asking for my two cents...

AI Tip

Use system messages to change the functionality of the chat completion based on a function response

The idea is when a function call is fired and the data is returned, use system role to simulate instructions to change how the function info is given to the user:

if (messages[0].role !== "system") {
    content: "If you have knowledge loaded in from get_knowledge, you can ask me questions about it. If the match has steps, go through each step with the user in QA format, one by one.",
    role: "system",
  name: "get_knowledge",
  description: "Get knowledge from user query from a knowledge base",
  parameters: {
    type: "object",
    properties: {
      query: {
        type: "string",
          "The query -- cleaned up to match knowledge base criteria",
    required: ["query"],
// ...
if (name === "get_knowledge") {
  // ...
  const knowledge = {...};
  insert_specific_system_message(...) // insert a system message for this particular fn
  const newMessages = createFunctionCallMessages(knowledge);
  // ...

Books (5/month)

links are affiliate! if you pick up a copy, i get a little kickback!