• 117 Posts
Joined 4Y ago
Cake day: May 15, 2019


Up until not too long ago, it seemed like if the leading proprietary tool was half baked, the open source tool was a quarter baked. Take office suites. OpenOffice was pretty consistently ten years behind MS Office. Or GIMP was constantly lagging behind Photoshop in usability, but now is a very good photo editor. The exception has always been development tools, where you get a nice confluence of motivation to volunteer and people knowing what they want.

VS Code, with vim when I need to work in the console.

The positive with Reddit (and Lemmy) is that most of the rules are specific to a community. If you just can’t live with the rules of one community, you can always split off and form your own. The area where is this breaks down is site-wide rules, especially when Reddit has poorly defined rules that get enforced haphazardly by “Anti-Evil Operations”.

It doesn’t sound like the API will be pay-to-use for individuals. Instead, it would be pay-to-use for businesses that are currently deriving business value from Reddit’s data set of comments and posts on Reddit’s dime.

I love seeing post/comment language tags!
It's a good reminder to use the language feature.

I’m not too upset about the ones inside Russia. Russia is waging a bombing campaign that is killing civilians across Ukraine. Propagandists are an integral part of Russia’s war effort. They have made themselves a legitimate target. No one is safe in Ukraine, so why should propagandists in Russia expect anything different?

I am more upset about reports of targeting of people who have alleged sympathies toward Russia in areas that have been retaken by Ukraine. Regardless of what happened, it’s more important that Ukraine set itself up for unity and peace. Punishing people for alleged collaboration sets that goal back.

I keep hearing how valuable a simple locking door is. Having nothing but a tent means there’s the constant stress that anything you don’t have literally strapped to your body can be taken at any time. A locking door means being able to leave possessions at home and reasonably expect they will be there when you come back.

Our local newspaper did a great piece on some of the successes of a “safe rest” program that the City of Portland has been working on. The article isn’t shy that the central example in the story has struggled with Xanax addiction, but is improving with help. It also discusses another safe rest area purposefully placed next to a methadone clinic. The local businesses were maybe not so happy, but what of it? Better some well organized tiny home villages than the mess of ugly tents in our parks and on our sidewalks.

Which he are you talking about? This is the leading opposition candidate who is claiming Russian interference.

Cars blow…

…pollutants in my face when I bike.

I hope Erdoğan gets his ass handed to him in these elections. He was a positive force for Türkiye once upon a time, but that time has passed. Now he just fuels inflation, not to mention his lax building code enforcement was a large cause of the poor building construction that led to high casualty rates in the recent earthquake. He’s become increasingly autocratic, including changes that allow him to rule by decree. It’s time for someone new.

I don’t see this as a problem. Governments are going to naturally put the well being of their citizens first. If that means keeping the US at arm’s reach but growing closer to other regional powers, great. As long as China is kept in check in the region to a reasonable degree, it’s all good.

I’m still frustrated over the withdrawal of the US from the TPP, as was mentioned in the article. It was an insanely self-destructive act by the Trump administration, much like the withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran deal). Both have allowed other powers to step in and assert themselves while failing to achieve the goals set out. They cast the US as fickle when presidents have historically made an effort in foreign policy to keep some level of continuity with their predecessor.

Reading. Really. I was a huge book worm. I could have stood to have spent more time with friends, though. And I wish that I had figured out earlier that I was gay (aka not been in denial) and started dating.

Video games are fun, but I’m kind of garbage at them so that makes them less enjoyable. Phones didn’t really change entertainment that much. I use them as a more convenient music, audiobook, and podcast player. Most of my social media is Reddit and Lemmy, and those don’t lend themselves to virtual keyboards.

Why crab apples? They’re small and don’t taste very good unless cooked. It’s food security only in the very loosest sense of the word. Asian pears are easy to grow and very tasty. Wash 'em off and you’re good to go.

But long multiplication and software development are two different breeds. Long multiplication is just one set of very mechanical behaviors. Software has to be highly specialized to the task at hand.

Take a project I maintain, an access request system. I had to:

  • Get a concept of what was needed
  • Review the access request system that I was replacing
  • Model the database
  • Draft email templates
  • Make REST API calls to systems for provisioning access
  • Handle authentication and authorization
  • Fill in a tree of requestable items
  • Work on a deployment process

All this required that I have a very deep understanding of this specific application, how it works with the rest of our systems, and how it works with our business processes. Access request systems are a dime a dozen, but getting it honed to our specific requirements took precise knowledge and some creativity.

That’s not really what it’s doing, though. It’s mimicking what it’s seen before and producing something that looks like it fits with the query. It has no conceptual understanding of what it’s doing. It will likely be an aid, not a replacement.

I’m skeptical about any large impact on software development above the code monkey level. At least with today’s AI, it’s a statistical model based on its training set. It will spit out something that might work, so it can be useful for autocompletion and snippet generation. But when you’re trying to architect a system, gather requirements, or conceive of how data routes through a system then AI won’t help at all.

VanillaOS has a very basic core system (currently Debian) and builds a completely vanilla GNOME desktop using Nix, .deb, Flatpak, or AppImage. Various package managers can be used to build an application inside of a container. I haven’t used it yet, but I’m planning to give it a try.

Edit: I wasn’t completely correct. It relies on Flatpak or AppImage for the desktop, but allows you to install packages from Arch and Fedora in containers that get exposed to the host OS. Nix is not yet supported.

Huh, that’s funny.

Edit: Nitrous oxide aka laughing gas…

There is an intersection in Portland near a rail yard that is crossed by one of the main bike corridors leading to downtown. Trains regularly get stopped for half an hour or more. Not as long as this town, but enough to force someone to make hard decisions if they’re going to be late. Fortunately there is now an elevator-bridge structure, but that still leaves a popular roadway and two popular bus lines at the mercy of the trains.

Straw polls, not polls as a whole. Straw polls only reach the most highly motivated people since they are taken early and at conferences. The type of people who would travel to a conference two years before the actual election are the activist types. They tend to get spurts of activity early in the race, but quickly get drowned out when more mainstream voters tune in. Polls in general that early are rarely worth all that much. That year, several different candidates took their time at the top of the polls before fading out.

This compilation is making a mountain range out of a molehill. How dare a segment sort ascending?! How dare they cover a second place winner in a meaningless poll (never mind the other articles that cover Ron Paul)?! Only Ron Paul and his (actually small) legion of loyal followers matter! He was never cheated out of anything because he was never going to win.

His opening is that it “turns out… these masks are completely useless”. That’s absolutely not what the meta analysis said. This article by The Economist gives a breakdown.

Let’s start with one of the people from Cochrane itself:

“The number of deaths would have been much higher” without “mask mandates [and] social distancing”, Michael Brown, a member of Cochrane’s editorial board, said later. “I’m very confident of that statement.”

The big problem about Cochrane’s approach is that they only consider randomized control trials. That’s fine for something like a drug where only the person taking it is affected. But masking is a public health intervention done on a population level. If masked people are just sent out to live their lives, they are in danger from unmasked people around them.

The best study came from Bangladesh. Some villages were provided masks, instructions, and incentives for wearing them. Others weren’t. At the end, they did antibody tests. Antibody levels and symptom reports were 10% lower in villages without masks. This was despite a less than perfect track record on compliance.

There’s years worth of footage produced every presidential election. This video is a mere 26 minutes out of all that. There is no media conspiracy. They (mostly) ignored him because he espoused policies that are unpopular and often just poorly thought out.

I don’t need to watch a 26 minute video to know why Ron Paul didn’t win the 2012 presidency. Instead of avoiding radioactive policies, he eats them like candy. Abolishing Social Security? Absolutely! Medicare and Medicaid? Unconstitutional! If he had managed to win the primary, he would have gotten absolutely crushed in the general. Blaming this on the media seriously overlooks how unpopular Ron Paul’s policies are.

Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving slimeball. I’m all for press freedom, but not defamation.

I’ve never bought this argument. It really doesn’t take much brain power to figure out that if you are dealing with strings, the left side is going to be on the left and the right side will be on the right. That’s incredibly intuitive logic.

I would offer up a different reason that neither should be used. Format strings do the trick nicely and allow you to start including literals, convert other types to strings, etc. as needed.

It was pointed out to me that good politicians should do this in speeches. It makes them make accessible to a wide variety of audiences. Take Obama’s inauguration. My mother put his inauguration and inaugural speech on the TV in her 4th grade classroom because she knew it was a historic moment. When you’re a politician, you never know who will be watching.

That said, Trump is not a particularly good public speaker. He’s a blowhard who rambles and frequently shoves his foot in his mouth.

The ecosystem is such a problem with Linux phones. Google has 3.5 million apps on the Google Play Store, while Apple has a still impressive 1.5 million apps. You can replace some of the functionality with web applications, but you miss out on important features like push notifications. I can think of a couple of dozen Android apps where I would miss a significant amount of functionality, including making VPN access to my workplace significantly more difficult. Same with a bike GPS device and Fitbit watch. Both require an Android or iPhone to provide full functionality. Ideals are nice. Delivering functionality is nicer.

In my privileged position of never liking twitter, I would call it beautiful.

I’m not feeling any pain from Twitter falling apart either, but there are communities that have been built around Twitter that will suffer. Journalism is one, but that may be for the better given that Twitter warps quality journalism. I’m more concerned with other communities like Black Twitter that could suffer even if they are able to make a migration to Mastodon.

The ironic thing is that the drugs they give livestock doesn’t actually end up as nutrients for us, they’re to keep the animals alive long enough to produce an economical amount of meat because they live in environments they are totally unsuited for and would die immediately if not heavily supplemented.

From what I understand, they’re also given so the animal’s immune system doesn’t take time to fight off infections, allowing the animal to grow faster.

I hope that some enterprising parents file a lawsuit when only some types of sexual orientation (straight) are discussed.

Yet another reason to oppose recognizing land reclamation as a norm. It puts pressure on other countries in the region to build, just like we saw with nuclear proliferation.

I was thinking specifically of bots that are associated with a community, like moderation aids or Wheel of Time’s Lews Therin quote bot. I’m not sure the bots you’re thinking of actually do increase engagement numbers if they can be detected. Advertisers are only interested in human eyeballs.

No. They were coercing, threatening, and harassing dissidents of the Chinese diaspora on US soil. That included threatening to harm their families if they did not return to China. Countries tend to not take kindly to such conduct. This is part of why China is increasingly viewed with suspicion.

Reading through, it makes sense unlike Twitter’s policy change. Why should tech giants have access to Reddit’s API on Reddit’s dime at no benefit to Reddit or Reddit’s users? As long as users are able to keep running bots and alternative apps, I don’t see a problem. I just hope that they would allow free academic licenses.

Why couldn’t we have had nice rodents of unusual size, like capybara? Instead we just get ones that hiss at you. Rude.

From the article:

Hammering on about “GNU/Linux” nomenclature

A Visit to Denver
I just got back from a business trip to Denver. I thought I'd give my prospective on the city from the point of view of a Portlander who usually only uses bike and transit to get around. The transit was pretty solid, at least for downtown and inner suburbs. I took a light rail train straight from the airport to downtown. I had the option to jump on their Mall Bus (will get to that later), but I decided to walk instead. My only complaint was that the ticket felt a bit steep at $10.50 when traveling from the airport. I'm used to a $2.50 flat fare, which both encourages use of transit and is far less confusing for a traveler new to the area. The Mile High City has a mile long downtown mall that is exclusively pedestrian, bicycle, scooter, and the mall bus. The mall bus is frequent and free. Retail of various types lines the mall, both chains and local retail. To show the contrast between your typical North American stores, there was a Taco Bell that took up maybe 800 sq ft (74 sq meters) at most and was rapidly serving customers. That contrasts with a Taco Bell in Portland that gets similar traffic, but is spread over 25,000 sq ft when the building, landscaping, and parking lot are included. Now, my two "fuck cars" moments. They have ridiculously overbuilt their roads. Downtown has four lane roads through it. Seven lane stroads (three lanes each way plus turning) are common. These dwarf Portland's roads, even though Portland's metro population is almost identical. The second was when I was doing a little traveling around the area. Density drops off considerably when you exit the urban core. There doesn't seem to be any effort to keep the city constrained from sprawl. Go out just a few miles and you hit the soulless suburbs with little apparent effort at urban design or infill.