Snow, ice, calendars and a pinecone

Snow, ice, calendars and a pinecone

It's been a week. After snow and ice paralyzed Portland over the long MLK weekend and we lost power for well over a day, more ice and wind wreaked havoc throughout the week. America's infrastructure is brittle, but with more extreme weather by the year, maybe it's at least time to bury power lines underground... With all of those distractions, plus a bit of a lull in my news cycle after the holidays and CES, I didn't write as much as I normally would. Judging by my inbox, that'll change in the coming weeks.

A better calendar

My main story this week -- and the one our readers at TechCrunch seemed most interested in -- was the launch of Notion's stand-alone calendar app, based on their acquisition of Cron. It's a nifty calendar and if it wasn't for our IT department keeping me from using third-party apps without Google Workspace subscription, I'd probably move to it full-time. Ahead of the announcement, I talked to Notion CEO Akshay Kothari, whom I hadn't talked to since his Pulse days almost a decade ago. While Notion is a hit now -- and has a bit of a cult following -- he mentioned how the team didn't get things right in the early days, in part because users couldn't quite figure out what they should use Notion for. It was simply too much of a blank canvas. That worked for some but left too many users scratching their heads. The way they fixed that was also simple: add starter templates. As for Notion Calendar, you can read my review here.

Vectors everywhere

I also covered Pinecone's update this week. Vector databases are everywhere now and virtually every database company I talk to wants to talk about them, which makes sense, given that they are the ideal instrument to provide context and long-term memory to large language models. Pinecone didn't invent this space but the team leaned into the LLM market early and hard, which isn't a surprise since the founding team came from Amazon's AI divisions. The new Pinecone Serverless architecture promises to be up to 50x cheaper to run than the previous generation. That's a large number and those tend to make me skeptical, so I didn't make a big deal out of it in my story.

Also from me this week:

I hope to keep the power on next week (likely, since I finally ordered a largish (2kWh) solar power station), so I'll hopefully get to write a bit more.