A hanging potted plant with small green leaves and a green glass ornament is in focus with sunlight on it. Large green leaves from a different plant are in the foreground, and a cast iron skillet in the background on a kitchen rack.

Hold on, I gotta go rearrange my entire schedule for the day for that 1pm sunshine…

A screenshot showing weather conditions for the day. Every hour has a “cloud” icon, except for a “sun” icon at 1pm.

Important Update:

I’ll take it!

A backyard with a well-maintained lawn, leafless trees, a trellis, shrubs, and a solitary pink chair under a blue sky with scattered clouds.

Downtown grit

A textured metal sculpture in the foreground with a modern building featuring reflective pink and purple windows in the background, and bare tree branches overlaying the scene.

A downwards tilting street sign reading “SW 5th AV” and a sticker on its surface with a hand drawn penis and the words, “suck dick”.

Two potted plants placed on a makeshift windshield ledge of a truck with faded blue paint on the glass, and yellow lower section, with a sign above that reads, “Mexican food”.

A person taking a selfie in a window reflecting an urban street scene with parked cars. The window has a grid of white dots.

A low-angle view of a tall modern skyscraper with a glass facade against a cloudy sky.

A vertical stack of weathered spherical stones of varying sizes, seemingly carved or sculpted, mounted outdoors on a pedestal with an urban background comprising trees and buildings. The stones have hand written numbers from 1 to 19, top to bottom.

It’s fascinating that currently the most popular show on a top streaming service in the US, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, has the protagonists in an arranged marriage.

P.S. It’s a fun show.

A tabby cat resting on a patterned blanket with patches of light filtering through an object with circular cut-outs, casting a pattern of shadows over the scene.

Portland, Oregon. 3rd February, 2024.

A walkway with a mesh fence on either side leading towards a cityscape, with a cable car system overhead and people walking along the path.

About 75% of the time I write a reply to anything on any social media platform, after I’m done writing and editing, I (intentionally) hit “Cancel” instead of “Submit”. Works really well!

70 Flights on Mars

When Perseverance rover landed on Mars, it brought along a little helicopter in its belly. The helicopter, named Ingenuity, was a 30-day technology demonstration sent to see if we could fly an aircraft in the very thin Martian atmosphere.

As is often with NASA’s robotic missions to Mars in recent times, it did that, and exceeded all expectations. It became a companion to the rover and performed about 70 flights over the nearly three years that it flew on Mars. Then last month it encountered an accident that left one of its propeller damaged. That ended the mission.

I’ve been fascinated by this little flying helicopter and have often looked at the photos it was sending back. So much so that I have now compiled a video of all the photos taken by the navigation camera on Ingenuity. This downward pointing camera photographs the ground below it, and so the helicopter is always seen by its shadow, scuttling about the Martian landscape for a cumulative 17 km (10.5 miles) over its mission timeline.

No doubt, Ingenuity has shown that a flying robot is a very useful tool in exploring Mars, like wheeled rovers showed over the last few decades. Perhaps enough that future missions will bring more along.

For more information and a lot more interesting media, like the locations of all these flights, check out its official website.

Direct link to video file

Went out to take some photos this afternoon…

Urban park scene with a walkway, dried vegetation, two children playing on a grassy hill, and modern buildings in the background.

Ran into my friend Tim

A man with a beard holding a camera, standing on a wooden walkway in a park with bare trees and a modern building in the background.

Black and white photograph of a modern building with vertical lines on the façade, trees, and a unique-looking tower in the background. There are people walking and a person with two dogs on a grassy area.

A panoramic view of a clear blue sky between two modern high-rise buildings with a visible helicopter appearing to fly in between.

Silhouette of a “monkey puzzle” tree and residential houses at sunset with clouds illuminated by the golden light against a darkening sky. Power lines intersect the view.

Downloaded a small dataset of cat and dog images for training a simple classifier. Super surprised that one image in the test data is a photo I took some years ago.

Update: Ok, so I double checked and it seems like I was wrong. But I was convinced that I was right. Ugh. Sorry about that folks.

Did you notice that there is a quick access way to Generate Alt Text from the context menu on an image? (Link to the video embedded below).

Hope you like it!

Get Mimi from the App Store!

Three Bunnies and a Sunset

A desert landscape at sunset with a pink and orange sky, mountains in the background, and various types of cacti and desert vegetation in the foreground. Several rabbits are visible among the plants.

A vibrant sunset with orange and pink hues in the sky, featuring cloud patterns above a silhouette of tree tops and a distant mountain range.

A vibrant sunset with blue and purple hues blending into orange and yellow, silhouetting sparse desert vegetation.

Sunset sky with vibrant orange and red colors, silhouetted tree branches in the foreground, and desert vegetation on the horizon.

The image shows two contrasting scenes of a desert landscape with text indicating the transition from the year 2023 to 2024. The top half under “Goodbye 2023” displays a vibrant sunset with red and orange hues in the sky. The bottom half under “Hello 2024” displays a bright sunrise with yellow and blue hues in the sky.

New version of Mimi Uploader is out 🎉

The latest version of Mimi Uploader is out, and with it brings a new alt text generation feature. You can now generate alt text for photos using machine learning (AI)! This is a powerful new feature that should reduce the friction in drafting alt text for your uploads. It’s been in beta for a few weeks and I wrote a detailed description of how it works in case you’re curious.

This feature is being offered exclusively to Supporters. I’m grateful to those of you that have signed up to Become a Supporter via the Settings screen in the last release. Thank you!

Also new in this release:

  • View your uploads for the last few years with some nice charts and groupings! Find the icon at the top of the Recent Uploads screen.
  • Export text adds an extra new line between images.
  • A new screen to check and manage your Supporter status.
  • Bug fixes and other small improvements.

Get it from the App Store!

Happy New Year!

Another beta update is out, now with a grid of the entire year’s uploads!

A smartphone displaying a photo uploads analytics screen rests on a wooden surface next to a crystal rock and under a decorative piece.

Caveat: This might take a while to generate, and may be too tiny if you have a lot of images!

A new beta for Mimi Uploader is now out with:

  • UI updates for alt text generation feature.
  • View your uploads for the year with some nice charts! Find the icon at the top of the Recent Uploads screen.

If you’re not in the beta, you can opt-in.

I look forward to your feedback. Thank you!

Looks like I really picked up the slack this month!

P.S. Coming soon to a beta near you!

Screenshot of a mobile phone displaying a user’s file uploads for the year 2023, with a total count of 167 uploads. Below the count, a bar chart breaks down the number of uploads by month, with varying heights representing different quantities per month.

You can now become a Mimi Uploader Supporter via an ongoing in-app subscription 🙏

The latest version of Mimi Uploader is now out in the App Store. It has an option to subscribe on an ongoing basis to become a Supporter.

By becoming a Supporter, you are providing for the development and maintenance of the app on an ongoing basis.

In the future, this will also provide access to features that have ongoing costs. You may have heard that the newest beta of the app has a feature for generating image description for alt text. This is powered by a third-party API and will be the first of such features.

You can sign up to support on the Settings screen by selecting the option labeled, “Become a Supporter”. There are three levels of payment. Pick the level that works for you. Whatever level you pick, you get the same access. And for all levels, you have my gratitude.

Get Mimi Uploader from the App Store!

Guess who thought, “I’ve heard all the stories about the complications of submitting subscriptions for review for the first time in an iOS app, so I’m sure I will have no issues.”

This guy.

Guess who was wrong.

This guy.

It’s me. I’m the problem it’s me.

(But it’s also App Store Connect)

📷 Hike at Brown Mountain

Last weekend we went on a hike at Brown Mountain in Tucson Mountains. It was recommended as a sunset hike so we went later than usual.

The hike is a loop and has a quick ascent going clockwise, then some ups and downs with the last mile or so pretty much flat. It was a very enjoyable hike that had wonderful views, and provided a nice workout with the variations.

A desert landscape with a range of mountains in the background and a vast expanse covered with saguaro cacti under a clear blue sky.

Two hikers ascending a rocky trail with sparse desert vegetation under a bright sun with visible lens flare.

A desert landscape with numerous saguaro cacti and a clear blue sky. In the background, there are rugged mountains.

A hiker waving in the distance among tall cacti on a desert trail with mountains in the background under a clear blue sky.

Rocky terrain with vibrant lichen, a single tall saguaro cactus, and a crescent moon in the blue sky.

A desert landscape covered with numerous saguaro cacti and other desert vegetation with a blue sky above and mountains in the background. The shadow of a waving person is cast on the saguaro cactus in the foreground.

A desert landscape with clear skies, featuring a variety of cacti including tall saguaros and scattered vegetation, with rolling hills in the background.

Desert hillside covered in numerous saguaro cacti lit by the light of the setting Sun, with clear blue sky above.

Two hikers trekking through a desert landscape with saguaro cacti, brush, and a mountain range in the background bathed in the warm sunlight of the setting Sun.

A dry desert wash landscape with rocky terrain and various desert plants including cacti and shrubs. The rocks display a range of colors, including red, purple, and white.

Activity Stats and Map

Distance: 4.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 753 ft
Time (including breaks): 2h 24m

I’ve been working on getting a subscription option set up in Mimi so folks can provide support for ongoing development with a sliding scale. Until that is live in the app store, I can’t launch the alt text generation feature, but it will remain available in the beta.

Gradually, then suddenly coming to the conclusion that the only way forward for Mimi Uploader is via a subscription model to support development and ongoing costs. And to offer that via various tiers to emulate a sliding scale for supporters.

It is tricky to make a subscription service or otherwise charge specifically for the AI image description feature even though it has ongoing cost. That’s because in many scenarios you don’t get the service you pay for, and it is out of my control. For example:

  • This API is in preview. It may be turned off and never become a regular API.
  • OpenAI currently rate limits the API use. Once several people are using this regularly, it is entirely possible to reach that limit.
  • OpenAI’s service may be down.

So a subscription, if offered, is about supporting the app, which in turn supports this feature, and more in the future, in a best-effort way. It cannot be a guarantee of service.

How do you feel about that?

📷 Sunrise and Sunset

Sunrise over a desert landscape with silhouettes of various cacti and trees against a backdrop of mountains and a clear sky.

Sunset over mountain range with trees and cacti in the foreground.