Simon Willison’s Weblog


Monday, 25th September 2023

Upsert in SQL (via) Anton Zhiyanov is currently on a one-man quest to write detailed documentation for all of the fundamental SQL operations, comparing and contrasting how they work across multiple engines, generally with interactive examples.

Useful tips in here on why “insert... on conflict” is usually a better option than “insert or replace into” because the latter can perform a delete and then an insert, firing triggers that you may not have wanted to be fired. # 8:34 pm

Geospatial SQL queries in SQLite using TG, sqlite-tg and datasette-sqlite-tg. Alex Garcia built sqlite-tg—a SQLite extension that uses the brand new TG geospatial library to provide a whole suite of custom SQL functions for working with geospatial data.

Here are my notes on trying out his initial alpha releases. The extension already provides tools for converting between GeoJSON, WKT and WKB, plus the all important tg_intersects() function for testing if a polygon or point overlap each other.

It’s pretty useful already. Without any geospatial indexing at all I was still able to get 700ms replies to a brute-force point-in-polygon query against 150MB of GeoJSON timezone boundaries stored as JSON text in a table. # 7:45 pm

We already know one major effect of AI on the skills distribution: AI acts as a skills leveler for a huge range of professional work. If you were in the bottom half of the skill distribution for writing, idea generation, analyses, or any of a number of other professional tasks, you will likely find that, with the help of AI, you have become quite good.

Ethan Mollick # 4:37 pm

A Hackers’ Guide to Language Models. Jeremy Howard’s new 1.5 hour YouTube introduction to language models looks like a really useful place to catch up if you’re an experienced Python programmer looking to start experimenting with LLMs. He covers what they are and how they work, then shows how to build against the OpenAI API, build a Code Interpreter clone using OpenAI functions, run models from Hugging Face on your own machine (with NVIDIA cards or on a Mac) and finishes with a demo of fine-tuning a Llama 2 model to perform text-to-SQL using an open dataset. # 12:24 am

2023 » September