Multimodal data models, Zimaboard reviewed, tips for configuring VSCode, the AI Engineer summary report, HTTPie for Desktop & more

You are viewing issue #66 of the Changelog News(letter). Pop in your in your inbox every Monday.

Changelog News

Developer news from All Things Open

Hello again! 👋

We have a shorter-than-usual newsletter for you this week since we’re AFK in ATO’s hallway track as I send this out. BUT! I just have tease a Cool New Thing™️ we’re releasing soon: It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this

Ok, let’s get into the news. (Audio Edition)


🤹 Multimodality and Large Multimodal Models

Chip Huyen documents (in spectacular depth) the shifting sand of large data models: from LLMs to LMMs…

For a long time, each ML model operated in one data mode – text (translation, language modeling), image (object detection, image classification), or audio (speech recognition).

However, natural intelligence is not limited to just a single modality. Humans can read and write text. We can see images and watch videos. We listen to music to relax and watch out for strange noises to detect danger. Being able to work with multimodal data is essential for us or any AI to operate in the real world.

Incorporating additional modalities to LLMs produces Large Multimodal Models… and everyone’s doing it: DeepMind, Salesforce, Microsoft, Tencent, and, of course, OpenAI. (ChatGPT is already an LMM)

Not all multimodal systems are LMMs, though. Chip says Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and Dall-E don’t qualify because they don’t have a language model component. Her (very long) post consists of 3 parts and worth reading studying to keep up with the latest.

🎯 Zimaboard: the closest thing to my dream home server setup

Herman Õunapuu reviews the Zimaboard (a small single-board computer that is relatively affordable and comes with an interesting selection of ports, which includes an exposed PCI Express port) quite highly:

What sets the Zimaboard apart from other single board computers is how polished the product feels. Unlike a board like the Raspberry Pi, this one comes with a case and a cooling setup already attached to it. I suspect that a similarily configured Raspberry Pi 4/5 with all the accessories added on top would result in a price that’s quite similar to the cost of a top-of-the-line Zimaboard.

He goes into its storage, power consumption, performance & caveats, which is always nice to see in an otherwise glowing review.

⚙️ Things I wish someone would have told me about configuring VSCode

Bryan Braun has been using VSCode for 5 years now, but he still learns new things about it all the time. In this post, he shares 4 of his most recent discoveries that he wishes he’d known from the get-go.

  1. Use .gitignore_global to ignore the .vscode folder
  2. Formatters and linter extensions should always be enabled at the workspace level
  3. The built-in terminal is really great
  4. You might not need GitLens

There’s some dissension in the comments, but it’s always interesting to hear how other hackers hack, whether or not you agree with them.

🗓️ Don’t miss Neo4j’s NODES 2023 online conf

Thanks to Neo4j for sponsoring Changelog News 💰

There’s so much going on in the data and ML space – it’s hard to keep up! Example: did you know that graph technology lets you connect the dots across your data and ground your LLM in actual knowledge?

To learn about this new approach, don’t miss NODES on October 26th.

At this free online conference, developers and data scientists from around the world share how they use graph technology for everything from building intelligent apps and APIs to enhancing machine learning and improving data visualizations.

There are 90 talks over 24 hours, so no matter where you are, you can attend live sessions.

Register for free right here!

🤖 AI Engineer Summit report

The inaugural AI Engineer Summit took place last week. Swizec Teller attended and wrote up a great summary of the event. His takeaway: everyone’s dealing with the same 3 problems.

  1. Good old fashioned data engineering
  2. Evals and non-determinism
  3. Product development

Swizec says AI is the “easy part”. Turning your demo into an actual product… That’s the challenge! The Summit itself sounds like it was a hit. Up next for the organizers: a World’s Fair!


🥧 HTTPie for Web & Desktop

Fresh on the heals of our Bruno coverage last week. Cue Buzz Lightyear: “HTTP clients, HTTP clients everywhere!”

HTTPie for Desktop screenshot

💫 Postgres: the next generation

RedMonk’s James Governor takes a long, hard look at Postgres’ core development community and asks some hard questions:

The Postgres community is amazing. Open Postgres governance is something we can and do rely on, which is refreshing in the current era of commercial open source licensing rugpulls. But as an axis to consider in terms of open source sustainability let’s assume that Postgres is still going strong in say, 20 years. Who is going to be doing the work in 2043?

Postgres has been around since 1986, so its community is particularly agedexperienced. But this is not a problem that’s unique to Postgres:

There are plenty of projects with literally millions of users that are run by one or two people and don’t have the level of corporate sponsorship with see with projects such as Postgres or even Kubernetes. Postgres isn’t in any sense struggling to attract new users – there are plenty of 22 year olds defaulting to it today. It’s a hugely popular platform. But yes, ensuring the ongoing maintenance of the project will require some intentionality, funding, and enlightened self interest.

📥 email + git = <3

Did you know git ships with built-in tools for collaborating over email? In fact, that’s how the O.G. projects like Postgres and the Linux kernel do it. With this guide, you’ll be contributing to email-driven projects in no time.


🤡 Meme break!

I think this one is pretty funny, but you’ll have to flip your phone (or worse: desktop monitor) upside down to see if you agree with me… 🥷

Breaking the build


💼 In brief

  • Brutal: A collection of React+Tailwind components for people who want to learn more about neobrutalism
  • Wolfrapple: Taylor Troesh makes a brief, compelling case for why Apple should acquire Wolfram Research
  • Evolved: Fabien Sanglard writes about the setup that helps him continue to program after 40 years
  • Replaced: Dann Berg on how Kagi finally let him lay Google Search to rest
  • Nostalgic: A library used for running emulators of retro consoles inside browsers
  • Ergodicity: Daniel Vassallo says Y Combinator is good for the economy but bad for your economy
  • Federated: WordPress.com made the ActivityPub plug-in available for all plans

🎧 ICYMI: Recent good pods from us

Coming to asciinema near you – Marcin Kulik joins The Changelog to talk about his project asciinema. You’ve likely seen this out there in the wild — it lets you record and share your terminal sessions in full fidelity. Forget screen recording apps that offer blurry video. asciinema provides a lightweight, text-based approach to terminal recording with lots of possibilities.

Kaizen! Slightly more instant – Gerhard joins us for the 12th Kaizen and this time talk about what we DIDN’T do. We were holding S3 wrong, we put some cash back in our pockets, we enabled HTTP/3, Brotli compression, and Fastly websockets, we improved our SLOs, we improved Changelog Nightly, and we’re going to KubeCon 2023 in Chicago.

Party on PartyKit – With a name like PartyKit, you know we just had to get its founder and CEO Sunil Pai on JS Party! PartyKit is an open source tool that simplifies creating collaborative, multiplayer applications. Join us to learn all about it and the journey of Sunil and his team!

Experiences from GopherCon 2023 – The 10th GopherCon took place the last week of September and it was a blast. In this episode, we’re talking about our experiences at the conference from several different viewpoints. Angelica as a conference organizer, Johnny as an emcee and workshop instructor, Kaylyn as a speaker, and Kris as a regular attendee.


🎞️ Clip of the week

Haroon Meer dropped so much wisdom during our Changelog Interview with him. I loved his thoughts on not extracting every dollar from every customer and the many business benefits of their approach…

YouTube thumbnail of Haroon Meer clip


That’s the news for now, but it’s time once again for some Changelog++ shout outs!

SHOUT OUT to our newest members: Nathan P, Aaron Y, Christopher W, Johann H, Maurice H, Brian M, Adam G, Anthony B, Jan K, Michael P & Bob P! We appreciate you for supporting our work with your hard-earned cash.

(If Changelog++ is new to you, it is our membership program you can join to ditch the ads, get closer to the metal with bonus content, directly support our work & get shout outs like the ones above. ☝)

Have a great week, send Changelog News to your friends if you dig it, and I’ll talk to you again real soon. 💚

–Jerod