Some creative projects:
- I dabble in drawing and painting.
- I played so much Rock Band for Xbox that eventually I just became the drummer for my parent's church back in Virginia and then the drummer for my dad's rock band. We played a bunch of charity concerts around DC for a few years and finally recorded an album called The Basement Sessions.
- I made a fun app that teaches people to sightread piano - you connect your electronic keyboard to your computer, it displays scrolling sheet music and tells you if you're playing the right notes, and it can drill you on the tricky bits. Here's a list of features and the source code.
- I've taken 1-3 months between every job to travel or study (I alternate between the two).
- I spent two weeks getting a novice paragliding license in France. Equipment rental and 10 full days of lessons from the 1989 World Champion cost $1,500. Here's a video from day 3. Could not recommend the sport more highly. When I was flying I was 50% pinching myself and 50% concentrating really hard on meteorology.
- I did a surprise interview at YCombinator, which was kinda felt like an unplanned pregnancy.
- I did the Jimmy Jr. butt dance for a Bob's Burger's-themed burlesque show, because obviously you never turn down an opportunity like that.
Selected technical projects:
- I'm not single anymore, but Tinder in San Francisco is full of fascinating people that would make great recruits, so I made the Tinder Keyword Swiper. It's a Chrome extension that auto-swipes when a profile contains a keyword match. Great for swiping on e.g. PhDs, industrial designers, or (fingers crossed) paleontologists!
- I keep a repo of machine learning paper notes for 100ish papers.
- Similarly, I have a repo of machine learning paper implementations.
- At the Minerva Project, I designed, built, and open-sourced a deployment automation pipeline in my free time so that non-technical folks could deploy temporary builds of any in-progress engineering work. It included our entire stack, including a sanitized version of our production database, and generated a custom URL that they could log in to. As a bonus, it turned out to be faster than our regular deployment process due to better parallelization of work.
- Tom Brown, Ben Mann and I built a horrifying music video generator based on Nvidia's ProgressiveGAN called FaceMelt. It takes a song, turns the song into a spectogram, maps each time slice into a ProgressiveGAN latent vector, and interpolates between them to generate a video of faces that morph to the music. Imagine a video of a face sprouting a mustache with every bass beat, or changing from male to female during choruses, etc.
- Attempt #1 didn't really work. The spectrogram vectors only varied by a tiny amount relative to the total span of the generative net's latent space. Solution was to use a variational autoencoder to transform spectrogram vectors into ones that inhabited more of the latent space.
- Attempt #2 is truly horrifying. I wish I still had the video, but we ran out of messages in our Slack 😭. I'll regenerate it someday.
- Here's a relational DBMS in C that laid records out in a columnar and row-based fashion so that a query planner could read from whichever format was faster. I did this to accompany a months-long deep dive on databases.
- With a small team of friends I made GitPrint, which prints Github repos as if they were books, arranged in happy path order. We won the "Most Creative" award at an invite-only a16z hackathon, which kinda sounds like a pity award.
- I built a distracting website blocker called Pause that redirects a list of blocked websites to a page that displays contents of arbitrary Evernote notes (which is backed by a SQLite database that lives on your computer, as it turns out). I have it set to show me my reading list, my current side projects, and my favorite quotes. It has lots of private content so it's closed source, sorry. Related: a post on my frustration with procrastination, and an update on my experiments to fix it.
- Also related: a RescueTime plugin for the Mac Menu Bar.
Thanks for reading 🙂