Emerald_Knight's recent activity

  1. Comment on "Escaping" out of the tag autocompletion box after highlighting a tag will disable the autocomplete feature until the page is reloaded in ~tildes

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Possibly line #58 of this file? Note the difference with lines #110 and #164 of this file. Specifically, the former removes the autocomplete menu's parent, while the latter removes the...

    Possibly line #58 of this file? Note the difference with lines #110 and #164 of this file. Specifically, the former removes the autocomplete menu's parent, while the latter removes the autocomplete menu itself.

    I haven't run a development build to test this and I'm not really familiar with Tildes' code base, but the difference between .parent().remove() and .remove() on detecting an Escape keypress seems like the first place I would want to look.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on Visa wants to buy Plaid, and with it, transaction data for millions of people in ~finance

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Can confirm. I once started an implementation for this that the company I work for thankfully decided to abandon. Learning that I had to take this weird, old, messy, nonsensical data format, stuff...

    Can confirm. I once started an implementation for this that the company I work for thankfully decided to abandon. Learning that I had to take this weird, old, messy, nonsensical data format, stuff it into a file, and FTP upload the damn thing? That was my first introduction to just how archaic and flimsy our financial infrastructure really is.

    Never. Again.

    4 votes
  3. Comment on IMO the text used for formatting/markdown shouldn't count towards the character limit in user bios in ~tildes

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Small correction: I never actually suggested a separate limit for formatting characters, so I'm being incorrectly credited. That's 100% your idea, merely inspired by me perhaps not communicating...

    Small correction: I never actually suggested a separate limit for formatting characters, so I'm being incorrectly credited. That's 100% your idea, merely inspired by me perhaps not communicating my thoughts as well as I'd intended. I do appreciate that you made sure to give credit where you believed it was due, though, so thank you for being considerate. But yeah, you own this idea, not me :)

    3 votes
  4. Comment on IMO the text used for formatting/markdown shouldn't count towards the character limit in user bios in ~tildes

    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    From a purely technical standpoint, a limit to formatting characters is still very much a necessity. Even if you use a DBMS that has non-fixed storage like MongoDB, you would still be opening...

    From a purely technical standpoint, a limit to formatting characters is still very much a necessity. Even if you use a DBMS that has non-fixed storage like MongoDB, you would still be opening yourself up to users potentially filling up the entirety of a 16MB document size limit by including an arbitrarily large amount of formatting characters. That can lead to a host of potential (if perhaps unlikely) problems, among them being any of Tildes' typically very tech literate users having a really bad day and inconveniencing other users with (again, under a MongoDB system) a 16MB chunk of data (painful for mobile users with very limited data) or potentially combining the 16MB document size with a DDoS attack to flood memory utilization.

    Limits are a necessity. What those limits should be are a matter for potential debate, and workarounds for larger limits can certainly be put in place such as @Deimos' mention of personal wiki pages, but reasonable limits are essential for ensuring stability and one of Tildes' goals of keeping the site lightweight.

    7 votes
  5. Comment on YouTube Vanced: A privacy-friendly YouTube app for Android with ads and telemetry stripped out in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    First, I want to say that I understand where you're coming from with regards to your frustrations. I want to make it clear that I'm neither arguing against nor ignoring many of the points you've...

    First, I want to say that I understand where you're coming from with regards to your frustrations. I want to make it clear that I'm neither arguing against nor ignoring many of the points you've made. I just want to touch on one particular point of disagreement that I feel is important, using anecdotal experience to help at least bridge the misunderstanding by providing the perspective of another party.

    Ad-blockers are one reason Youtube - and lots of the web - have got much more aggressive about placing ads.

    This is honestly a symptom of a larger problem. Well over a decade ago, back when I was in high school, I was new to the internet and tech in general. I browsed the internet as most ordinary people did and still do now, without an ad blocker. And quite frankly, it was awful. It was unsafe. It was hazardous. I would browse reputable websites only to have a random ad suddenly hijack the webpage and redirect me to a malicious website that tried to force a download of some sketchy file while blocking any attempt to navigate back to the original website or even close the browser tab. I was forced to close the entire browser to escape malicious, executable code that I never consented to having execute on my machine. For me, installing an ad blocker became a necessity for personal internet security.

    And even when ad blocker usage was low, advertising became more and more intrusive over time, making the internet an unusable mess because these businesses are constantly hungry for ever-larger streams of revenue. Their blatant antagonism toward users has forced the need for ad blockers just to avoid one errant misclick resulting in the need to close out of a browser tab just to escape some annoying deluge of anti-user, browser-jacking bullshit.

    Large, multi-million and even billion dollar corporations were running websites that allowed this to happen frequently. They don't vet their advertising sources. They don't ensure that every ad you see sticks to their guidelines. They don't ensure that the size of the ads is acceptable so that the end user, on a <5 Mbps or even <1.5 Mbps connection, can actually load a webpage. They don't ensure that ads are lightweight enough to load without eating up massive amounts of precious, limited mobile data. Ad blockers have always been and continue to be essential for end users to avoid getting royally fucked because these large corporations can't even be bothered to protect their users.

    This was an arms race started by the entire advertising industry itself. Ad blockers became the solution to the problem they created and continue to worsen. Large websites that depend on the advertising industry for revenue aren't being harmed by the ad blockers, they're being harmed by the advertising industry's destruction of user trust that forces ad blockers to be necessary in the first place.

    So while I very much understand your frustrations and agree with you in principle, I do have to disagree with your conclusion of who the blame falls to.

    Also, I want to clarify that if I sound frustrated at all in everything above, that's not directed toward you at all, but at the state of the advertising industry. I'm admittedly very salty about it :)

    20 votes
  6. Comment on Does the US federal government affect your day to day life? How so, or why not? in ~talk

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Regarding COVID-19 specifically: In times of crisis, people look to their elected officials for guidance and leadership. When one of the highest authorities in the land is telling you that...

    Regarding COVID-19 specifically:

    In times of crisis, people look to their elected officials for guidance and leadership. When one of the highest authorities in the land is telling you that COVID-19 isn't a big deal and downplays the need for masks and social distancing, the people will see this and disregard all warnings from experts and those who refer to expert opinions. Their misinformed decisions then impact the people around them as a result, forcing everyone to deal with the consequences of the ever-increasing spread of the virus.

    So to an extent you're correct in that these responses happen at state, local, and individual levels, but the opinions and statements pushed out at the federal level have a significant impact on influencing those responses.

    As for how the federal mishandling of COVID-19 impacts us in less abstract terms, I can't speak for @teaearlgraycold specifically, but personally I'm stuck within my small apartment at all hours with almost zero direct human contact, I work remotely and now lack the spontaneous communication and team bonding experiences I would ordinarily have with my coworkers, I'm less capable of performing certain tasks on my own now like shopping for groceries and have had to resort to ordering my groceries online which incurs a higher financial cost and fewer options, I don't get to visit the restaurants or cafes I once loved to frequent, small businesses that I once loved to support have permanently closed, people I care about have lost their jobs or have suffered declining mental health because they're not accustomed to this level of isolation, the economy itself has been heavily impacted which puts my job at an elevated level of risk and has also forced the company to make a huge shift in focus that has required me to put in a greater amount of effort so we could get to the point where we could resume taking in revenue, and the list goes on and on.

    17 votes
  7. Comment on How the ballpoint pen killed cursive in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Certainly not a consideration for me. I love the tactile nature of writing, but being unable to e.g. cut and paste sections of text and rearrange them, or search for key terms in an instant, or...

    Certainly not a consideration for me. I love the tactile nature of writing, but being unable to e.g. cut and paste sections of text and rearrange them, or search for key terms in an instant, or instantly back up multiple versions of things I write, or share the things I write with others, are all a non-exhaustive set of reasons that make physical handwriting non-ideal for me. I tend to save using physical mediums for whiteboard sessions when I'm brainstorming ideas or diagramming something important, as it's usually much faster than trying to manipulate some complicated piece of software to achieve the same result. Convenience is the primary factor I consider when selecting my medium of choice.

    To each their own, of course :)

    4 votes
  8. Comment on How the ballpoint pen killed cursive in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    Probably because in order to do joined writing quickly, you need extensive amounts of practice? I know how to write in cursive, but it takes a lot of time to think about how to properly connect...

    Comparing unjoined print to joined writing, she points out that “separate letters can seldom be as fast as joined ones.” So if joined handwriting is supposed to be faster, why would I switch away from it at a time when I most needed to write quickly?

    Probably because in order to do joined writing quickly, you need extensive amounts of practice? I know how to write in cursive, but it takes a lot of time to think about how to properly connect two letters together and get each part of the letter flowing in the correct direction. Without having extensive practice, it's an incredible mental burden that you have to contend with while also having the mental burden of keeping your intended message in your head as you write it out. This makes joined writing significantly slower for unpracticed hands than simple, disjointed print.

    It's like looking at hotdog eating contests and wondering why your average person doesn't just eat hotdogs whole. Yeah, sure, the fastest way to eat a hotdog is to swallow it whole, but if you haven't practiced doing that, you're just going to end up choking on it. For most of us amateurs out in the wild, it's just easier to eat them one bite at a time.

    3 votes
  9. Programming Challenge: Over-engineer obfuscation of a mailto link on a hypothetical webpage

    This is a bit of a silly challenge that came to mind when I saw a discussion about obfuscating mailto links on the unofficial Discord server. This challenge is intentionally meant to be ridiculous...

    This is a bit of a silly challenge that came to mind when I saw a discussion about obfuscating mailto links on the unofficial Discord server. This challenge is intentionally meant to be ridiculous and encourages horrendous solutions that should never see the light of day in actual production code.


    Some Background

    On the internet, bots are an incredibly common. They may do anything from crawling through webpages to map out valid links on the web, to spamming forums with links to scam websites. Among some of the less ethical uses of bots is the collection of any email addresses that might be sitting around in a webpage's source code, either made visible to the user or hidden behind some alternative text. These bots collect these email addresses for any number of purposes, including phishing attempts to hijack accounts.

    Commonly, these emails can be found sitting inside of so-called mailto links, which will open your default mail application and pre-populate the recipient's address, preparing you to send a new email in a single click. It's a safe bet that the vast majority of mailto link implementations aren't very sophisticated, simply providing a snippet that looks much like the following:

    <a href="mailto:johnsmith@example.com">Contact Me</a>
    

    Given the above, most bots will likely only ever scrape a webpage for a link containing href="mailto:. A simple form of obfuscation to combat a bot could be to leave the href attribute empty on initial page load, capture the on click event, dump the mailto email address into the href attribute, and finally remove the on click event handler from the link before re-sending the click event.

    We're not here for simple, however.


    Challenge

    As suggested in the title, the challenge is to over-engineer this obfuscation. There is only one hard requirement:

    Clicking the "Contact Me" link should, to the user's perception, function (mostly) identically to a simple mailto link. Specifically, clicking the link should ultimately result in the user's mail application opening (or being prompted to open) with no further input from the user and the "to" field being correctly pre-populated with the intended email address. This means that captchas and the like are not allowed. Delays in triggering the mail application due to processing layers of obfuscation, however, are expected and acceptable (although "until well after the heat death of the universe" is not an acceptable delay, so let's be reasonable).

    Apart from the requirement above, solutions that require increasingly more sophisticated methods of de-obfuscation for a bot to discover your email address are preferred. The more complicated a bot's design would need to be to discover your email address, and the more painful it is for other programmers to see the abomination you've created, the better.

    CSS is not required. A functioning webpage is not required. An entire web server is not required. A full, working web project including a framework with defined routes, security features, a VM provisioning script, and whatever the fuck else you would need is not required. You can build an actual web project around this if you wish, but code snippets and some comments explaining what does what will be more than sufficient.

    11 votes
  10. Comment on Trump & Biden 2020 US Presidential Town Halls Discussion Thread in ~talk

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Advertising is horribly pervasive. Television ads, website ad banners, ads in newspapers, billboards, previews before movies you've purchased, junk mail, marketing emails, recommendations for...

    Advertising is horribly pervasive. Television ads, website ad banners, ads in newspapers, billboards, previews before movies you've purchased, junk mail, marketing emails, recommendations for other products on the packages of the products you buy, airplane banners, ads over the radio, ads played over your grocery store's intercom, stealth marketing in your social media feeds, ads plastered on the sides of cars, ads masquerading as content in YouTube videos, companies plastering their branding all over every single piece of clothing you buy, etc., etc., etc.

    You can't look anywhere without seeing some form of marketing or branding shoving itself right in front of your face. We're all consumers and the free market won't release its iron grip from your throat long enough for you to catch your breath and forget that fact for even a few minutes. It's exhausting, and yet we live our lives so inundated with all of this advertising and marketing and branding that we've become accustomed to it and can no longer imagine a world without it.

    I suppose I don't really have any point in making this comment, except to say that I understand and agree with your sentiment and don't know what else to do except complain about it, stay away from broadcast television as much as humanly possible, and keep an ad blocker installed at all times.

    13 votes
  11. Comment on How can we change the site's structure/mechanics/patterns so that we're not discouraging posting "too much" on particular subjects? in ~tildes.official

    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    I think that no matter what approach you take, there's always going to be the problem of some communities being incredibly active while others are fairly inactive. And yet this large disparity in...

    I think that no matter what approach you take, there's always going to be the problem of some communities being incredibly active while others are fairly inactive. And yet this large disparity in activity doesn't necessarily mean that you'll want to fully unsubscribe or hide activity from the highly active ones, but instead want to see less of that activity to balance everything out.

    With that in mind, I would personally recommend considering some research into some possibilities around a weighted feed of some sort, which would attempt to balance the number of visible entries. Obviously that won't be compatible with simple sorting options like "Activity" or "New", so it would likely be something else entirely, but providing users with a balanced feed will allow them to see content they're interested in without being completely overwhelmed by it.

    A naive example would be to allow users to opt in to including a group in this feed, with or without being subscribed to it, and to randomly select a number of topics from each group the user has chosen, shuffle those topics, and display a subset of them intended to fit on a single page load. Again, it's a ridiculously naive example and wouldn't be a good fit in practice, but something to that general effect in conjunction with further refining the existing system would provide a more well-rounded set of options to help cover cases that are currently not be handled.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Trump/Biden 2020 Presidential Debate #1 Discussion Thread in ~talk

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    That's a pretty bold statement to make and I would argue that this doesn't line up very well with history. Not long after WWII ended, Germany was quite literally divided in two through the...

    Germany became a stronger democracy, because of Hitler.

    That's a pretty bold statement to make and I would argue that this doesn't line up very well with history. Not long after WWII ended, Germany was quite literally divided in two through the construction of the Berlin wall, with those on the eastern side of the wall falling under the close surveillance of the Stasi, all because of the Cold War. That wall divided the population until 1989 and was fully demolished around the end of 1991. That's a decades-long period after the war ended that German democracy still was not truly established. The end of the war simply traded one form of oppressive government for another. A stronger democracy didn't come until much later after both of those governments were removed from power.

    Democracy doesn't strengthen because of oppressive governments. It becomes further and further eroded until enough people get sick of it that they force those governments out of power and hopefully establish non-corrupt governments in their place. Then democracy is restored, either in a better or worse state than it was before, and the people engage in it actively while those memories of oppression are fresh until a collective apathy inevitably takes over and the cycle of democracy's rise and fall repeats itself.

    Germany's democracy seems strong now because their wounds are still fresh. Give it enough time and it's almost a certainty that they will also be facing issues with their government once again. Perhaps not to the extent that they experience yet another Hitler or GDR, as ideally living under such oppressive governments teaches valuable lessons in how they might avoid such a repeat, but they will almost certainly have their own version of Trump or Boris later down the line.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Firefox usage is down 85% despite Mozilla's top exec pay going up 400% in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    People really liked desktop Chrome early on, so there was already initial momentum. Then you have Android phones often coming preinstalled with Chrome and suddenly you have a whole mass of users...

    People really liked desktop Chrome early on, so there was already initial momentum. Then you have Android phones often coming preinstalled with Chrome and suddenly you have a whole mass of users who are immediately introduced to the browser and want to continue using something familiar on both platforms, so they're more likely to use Chrome for desktop as well. Combined with marketing and a higher likelihood of having name recognition (everyone uses Google, so they're likely to hear about Chrome but not as likely to hear about Firefox) and you suddenly have a bunch of factors that weigh heavily in favor of Chrome.

    In other words, it's not that Firefox is bad, it's that there's far less friction in the discovery and exposure to Chrome than there is with Firefox and your average user prefers to take the path of least resistance, and therefore users are more likely to adopt Chrome as a result.

    6 votes
  14. Comment on 8K Gaming - Nvidia RTX 3090 on a LG ZX 88" OLED TV in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    I don't get it, either, but I grew up with ~30" CRT TV sets, so maybe I'm just conditioned to think that existing displays are already incredible enough as it is lol.

    I don't get it, either, but I grew up with ~30" CRT TV sets, so maybe I'm just conditioned to think that existing displays are already incredible enough as it is lol.

  15. Comment on Please don't say just hello in chat in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    I have a great hatred for this canned response. I remember trying to dual boot Windows and Linux once. I don't recall which distro, but I went through their official instructions, following them...

    RTFM

    I have a great hatred for this canned response. I remember trying to dual boot Windows and Linux once. I don't recall which distro, but I went through their official instructions, following them down to the letter, including changing BIOS settings as needed. I followed each point in order, never diverging from what was instructed. My entire Windows install ended up breaking somehow despite my painstaking efforts (luckily I could still gain command line access and run a quick sfc /scannow to fix the damn thing). I really wanted to dual boot, though, so I went to some forum somewhere and asked that particular distro's community for help. I even explicitly stated that I'd followed their directions down to the letter.

    The response I got? "RTFM".

    It took a few years after the complete and utter frustration of dealing with the Linux community before I ever put in the effort to try working with Linux again. Great OS, but terrible community at times.

    Moral of the story: being polite costs nothing but a negligible amount of extra time and pays dividends by not having people completely hate your guts :)

    6 votes
  16. Comment on You're going to be using confidential computing sooner rather than later in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    Perhaps I'm not seeing something here, but isn't the point of homomorphic encryption that it's essentially write-only and prevents reads? Wouldn't an executable require being read, which would...

    Perhaps I'm not seeing something here, but isn't the point of homomorphic encryption that it's essentially write-only and prevents reads? Wouldn't an executable require being read, which would mean that either the encryption is only obfuscating the underlying data or that you have the decryption key available? I can see how a predetermined set of data transformations could be used to operate on encrypted ciphertext, but not how you could feasibly perform any action that requires knowing anything about the underlying unencrypted data.

    The idea of a homomorphically encrypted executable just seems like a fundamentally incompatible concept to me. Again, though, with the acknowledgement that I'm still not well-versed on the subject.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on 8K Gaming - Nvidia RTX 3090 on a LG ZX 88" OLED TV in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    I'm preparing to upgrade because this poor laptop of mine is about to keel over and decided I would wait for the RTX 3080 to be available given the ridiculous price disparity between that card and...

    Oh, and this video is sponsored by Nvidia, because[...] how on Earth else would I get my hands on it. Obviously.

    I'm preparing to upgrade because this poor laptop of mine is about to keel over and decided I would wait for the RTX 3080 to be available given the ridiculous price disparity between that card and some of the older ones. So with the complete and utter lack of supply right now, this statement just hits painfully, hilariously close to home.

    Also, what the hell, that TV could pay off most of my student loans! That's an absurd amount of money.

    5 votes
  18. Comment on You're going to be using confidential computing sooner rather than later in ~tech

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    I'm admittedly not as knowledgeable about crypto and security as I would like to be, so I'm having a bit of a tough time understanding what aspect of this would be terrifying. Would you mind...

    I'm admittedly not as knowledgeable about crypto and security as I would like to be, so I'm having a bit of a tough time understanding what aspect of this would be terrifying. Would you mind enlightening me?

    2 votes
  19. Comment on Can we please have a highlight showing where a topic's title has been edited in the topic log? in ~tildes

    Emerald_Knight
    Link Parent
    I'm too lazy to dig up my account credentials, so I'll comment on it here: Maybe it would make sense to add a conditional case in the template that determines if the log entry is a "diffable" type...

    I'm too lazy to dig up my account credentials, so I'll comment on it here:

    Maybe it would make sense to add a conditional case in the template that determines if the log entry is a "diffable" type (currently titles and topic links). If not, then simply insert the log entry directly as is already done (which will invoke the log entry's string conversion), otherwise compute the differences and generate an array of objects representing the different "fragments" of the diff (e.g. unchanged, removed, and inserted). You can then iterate over that array of "fragments" and apply templating to each type conditionally. Something like that would avoid the need for generating HTML outside of the template.

    Actual implementation may deviate significantly from the above, but this should theoretically be one path to viability. Should be worth exploring in any case.

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Freedom Fighters to be re-released on GOG, Steam and Epic Games Store in ~games

    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    Oh man. I remember playing this game as a preteen. Completely destroying my younger brother and cousins with some good old couch multiplayer, enjoying the ridiculous ragdolling with the nailgun...

    Oh man. I remember playing this game as a preteen. Completely destroying my younger brother and cousins with some good old couch multiplayer, enjoying the ridiculous ragdolling with the nailgun cheat... that childhood nostalgia is hitting hard.

    1 vote