Simon Willison’s Weblog


Weeknotes: DevDay, GitHub Universe, OpenAI chaos

22nd November 2023

Three weeks of conferences and Datasette Cloud work, four days of chaos for OpenAI.

The second week of November was chaotically busy for me. On the Monday I attended the OpenAI DevDay conference, which saw a bewildering array of announcements. I shipped LLM 0.12 that day with support for the brand new GPT-4 Turbo model (2-3x cheaper than GPT-4, faster and with a new increased 128,000 token limit), and built ospeak that evening as a CLI tool for working with their excellent new text-to-speech API.

On Tuesday I recorded a podcast episode with the Latent Space crew talking about what was released at DevDay, and attended a GitHub Universe pre-summit for open source maintainers.

Then on Wednesday I spoke at GitHub Universe itself. I published a full annotated version of my talk here: Financial sustainability for open source projects at GitHub Universe. It was only ten minutes long but it took a lot of work to put together—ten minutes requires a lot of editing and planning to get right.

(I later used the audio from that talk to create a cloned version of my voice, with shockingly effective results!)

With all of my conferences for the year out of the way, I spent the next week working with Alex Garcia on Datasette Cloud. Alex has been building out datasette-comments, an excellent new plugin which will allow Datasette users to collaborate on data by leaving comments on individual rows—ideal for collaborative investigative reporting.

Meanwhile I’ve been putting together the first working version of enrichments—a feature I’ve been threatening to build for a couple of years now. The key idea here is to make it easy to apply enrichment operations—geocoding, language model prompt evaluation, OCR etc—to rows stored in Datasette. I’ll have a lot more to share about this soon.

The biggest announcement at OpenAI DevDay was GPTs—the ability to create and share customized GPT configurations. It took me another week to fully understand those, and I wrote about my explorations in Exploring GPTs: ChatGPT in a trench coat?.

And then last Friday everything went completely wild, when the board of directors of the non-profit that controls OpenAI fired Sam Altman over a vague accusation that he was “not consistently candid in his communications with the board”.

It’s four days later now and the situation is still shaking itself out. It inspired me to write about a topic I’ve wanted to publish for a while though: Deciphering clues in a news article to understand how it was reported.

sqlite-utils 3.35.2 and shot-scraper 1.3

I’ll duplicate the full release notes for two of my projects here, because I want to highlight the contributions from external developers.

sqlite-utils 3.35.2

  • The --load-extension=spatialite option and find_spatialite() utility function now both work correctly on arm64 Linux. Thanks, Mike Coats. (#599)
  • Fix for bug where sqlite-utils insert could cause your terminal cursor to disappear. Thanks, Luke Plant. (#433)
  • datetime.timedelta values are now stored as TEXT columns. Thanks, Harald Nezbeda. (#522)
  • Test suite is now also run against Python 3.12.

shot-scraper 1.3

  • New --bypass-csp option for bypassing any Content Security Policy on the page that prevents executing further JavaScript. Thanks, Brenton Cleeland. #116
  • Screenshots taken using shot-scraper --interactive $URL—which allows you to interact with the page in a browser window and then hit <enter> to take the screenshot—it no longer reloads the page before taking the shot (which ignored your activity). #125
  • Improved accessibility of documentation. Thanks, Paolo Melchiorre. #120

Releases these weeks

TIL these weeks