meff's recent activity

  1. Comment on Awesome Games Done Quick 2022 has raised $3,416,729 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation in ~games

    meff
    Link Parent
    One thing I'd like to note is that some of the techniques used in runs in AGDQ can be quite technical and easy to miss, and in the past the hype crowd has helped me pay attention to something...

    One thing I'd like to note is that some of the techniques used in runs in AGDQ can be quite technical and easy to miss, and in the past the hype crowd has helped me pay attention to something fiddly that I might have skipped and let play in the background.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Apologies I think I may be talking past you here. I'll try to do better next time, have a nice day!

    Apologies I think I may be talking past you here. I'll try to do better next time, have a nice day!

    1 vote
  3. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Right, but how many people own their own domain name and run email through them? When I first ran my own email (more than a decade ago at this point), I let the domain lapse. I was just 1 day late...

    I've had the same email address for the last 20 years, without thinking much about it at all.

    Right, but how many people own their own domain name and run email through them? When I first ran my own email (more than a decade ago at this point), I let the domain lapse. I was just 1 day late for the renewal period and after that had a domain squatter acquire the domain and try to extort me for it back (probably because they saw SMTP traffic on the domain). It was a gigantic hassle porting my stuff to a new domain, but it eventually went well. I continued hosting my email for years and years until I switched to having Fastmail host my email for me. This isn't for the faint of heart though.

    I keep writing variations of this same post on every tech forum so apologies if this comes out a little "clipped". The experience of the last 30 years on the Web has shown that people don't want to run their own servers. They don't want to buy their own domains. They don't want to configure their own things. I'm not the only one who says this; Moxie, the founder and ex-CEO of Signal, has long held this position as well. But tech people continue pointing to the "freedom" that the Internet offers them that only other highly technical people like themselves take advantage of. In practice most people trust a larger provider to handle the complexities of the Internet for them. In practice, most people are using GMail to send and receive emails. I struggle to see why this is such a difficult message to get across to technical folks. It would be like forcing everybody to be their own car/bike mechanic to drive/ride; I can guarantee you many fewer folks would drive/ride if they had to.

    Most IP Messengers already tie identity to phone numbers. Carriers are required by law in many countries to allow number porting; the porting and and their ubiquity is why phone numbers are so often used by IP Messengers as forms of Identity. Porting numbers is usually a fairly turnkey process due to the legislation. Moving domain names requires a lot more work, which is why in practice phone numbers are a decent (but not good) form of Identity. There are more robust, decentralized ways to do this such as the W3C's Decentralized Identifiers or DIDs of course.

    In general I want to see messaging be useful to average people not just the technically inclined. Until the email porting experience is as simple as the phone number porting experience, I don't think email will be that messenger.

  4. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Big +1 from me. The problem with this is that it works in urban areas but not in a lot of rural areas, and the lesser developed the country, the larger the problem is. A lot of the same rural...

    I broadly agree, but my point is that we already have SMS covering all of these cases. I'm saying keep SMS as-is for an emergency fallback, and focus efforts on an open, device-agnostic, carrier-free IP based solution for actual daily use.

    Big +1 from me.

    A lot of the examples you gave about PSTN were more relevant when it was the only game in town - nowadays resilience is often best achieved by having a multitude of redundant options. PSTN was bulletproof because it was a single point of failure on essentially all real-time communications. Similarly, if I lose my carrier-linked device, or my carrier goes down in my area, that's the end of my ability to use SMS.

    The problem with this is that it works in urban areas but not in a lot of rural areas, and the lesser developed the country, the larger the problem is. A lot of the same rural areas that have bad tower coverage also probably have very few utilities offering high-speed internet.

    But I think I'm just quibbling over details at this point. I'd love to see SLA-enforced government-mandated IP-messaging networks by the carriers.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    On the contrary, I think communication should always be about the long tail. Let's think about the circuit-switched PSTN networks of developed countries (since copper lines were in terrible shape...

    I'd rather the effort went into a modern IP based system to cover the bulk of usage, with SMS itself remaining for that small window where you've got some signal but not quite enough, rather than focusing on a carrier-centric solution just for the sake of that one circumstance.

    On the contrary, I think communication should always be about the long tail. Let's think about the circuit-switched PSTN networks of developed countries (since copper lines were in terrible shape in most developing or underdeveloped countries.) Telecoms (lol, basically Ma Bell in the US) used to offer 2-4 nines of reliability. Governments also mandated that PSTN lines had separate power on them, so in the event of an emergency, one could use a PSTN line to, if nothing else, at least receive information about what was going on, if not send out emergency communications. Of course circuit-switching's lack of packetization and the much lower bandwidth of PSTN lines meant that in truly terrible local events, the PSTN circuits would be saturated quickly. In the more "standard" tail events, like say a power outage, or a home emergency, you had a communications line to emergency authorities that was guaranteed to be up >= 99% of the time. Then of course due to the nature of circuit-switched networks, you had very low latency on these networks, so you're never going to start breaking up when you're trying to dial emergency authorities or family members. This isn't theoretical, I remember having local infrastructure blow during a heatwave in the late '90s, and having phone calls to our power provider be the only way for us to receive information as to the status of the repairs. If this was over an IP messenger, and the IP messenger ingress points lost power, we'd be SoL.

    IP Messengers have limited governmental oversight or guarantees. While I'm guessing WhatsApp and Messenger may commit themselves to an SLA internally (though I haven't found evidence of it publicized), I doubt some of the smaller IP Messengers have any SLA of any kind. Then latency goes out the window also. If I'm in an area of poor connectivity and get hurt, I'd much rather have a working messaging solution than a not-working one. Why optimize for the "happy path" (high connectivity situations), when those situations are already adequately taken care of by residential or business wired internet solutions? IMO the true value of a communications network is its reliability.

    I don't think sacrificing openness or interoperability is worth sacrificing for the life-saving benefits of a truly tail-capable communications network. There's also lots of people that still live in rural areas that are only served by low-quality links to local towers that don't work all the time. Instead of offering them poor QoS just because we want to embrace the openness of the internet (which IMO is quite selfish), we should offer them quality messaging solutions. I don't think it's responsible for a developed nation's government to say "well the Internet is open but Verizon's network was not, so the reason you can't send an emergency text in a rural town is because we value the Internet more than your communications, hope you weather your situation well."

    IMO I think it's high time for governments to impose regulations upon IP messengers, like the ones they used to do around the old PSTN network. Base the regulation around the # of users located in the regulating country that you have (so you don't burden small providers). Regulations should require SLAs and standards for interoperation so that carrier networks are reachable outside of their closed networks.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on Your two-day shipping is causing potholes in ~enviro

    meff
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    FWIW the US has a world-class freight-train network and is one of the only countries in the world that relies heavily on freight to move goods and natural resources intranationally. Building...

    FWIW the US has a world-class freight-train network and is one of the only countries in the world that relies heavily on freight to move goods and natural resources intranationally. Building distribution centers and retail businesses along train tracks would be a massive undertaking as there's little prior art. Train cars optimized for these routes do not accelerate and decelerate in the safer ways that passenger rail does, though with PTC that might not be as much of an issue anymore. Because loading and unloading these trains is a bespoke process, there's no guarantee that freight cars would be at grade with folks loading and unloading freight, and indeed any modifications needed to load/unload at grade would probably require expensive infrastructure improvements that would both be borne by retail businesses (which means they won't be able to/want to pay for it) and have to be approved by code in what is mostly a commercial area (and given zoning restrictions in the US, I doubt a commercial zone would easily approve of the modifications necessary.) Not to mention the costs/uproar with acquiring the RoW, laying down the trackage, etc.

    Much more impactful, IMO, would be to mandate that freight trains in the US are electrified. Right now mots of them run diesel locomotives and have little intention to electrify because of the costs associated.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    I'm not talking about the regular case where you're just sending messages on the train or something. Think about a conference or a concert or if there's an emergency (say an active shooter) or...

    I'm not talking about the regular case where you're just sending messages on the train or something. Think about a conference or a concert or if there's an emergency (say an active shooter) or something. I also do a lot of outdoorsy stuff in the forests and mountains (when I can) and there have been several times when I don't have a strong enough connection to use an IP messenger but I am able to send SMS.

    I've been to Comiket in Japan several times and haven't been able to use any of my my IP Messengers at all except Telegram and even then Telegram was slow. I've been to concerts where I could SMS friends but couldn't use Messengers.

    4 votes
  8. Comment on Moxie Marlinspike: My first impressions of web3 in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Oh I fully agree. (Let me go back to drinking my Di-Hydrogen Monoxide.)

    Oh I fully agree. (Let me go back to drinking my Di-Hydrogen Monoxide.)

    1 vote
  9. Comment on Moxie Marlinspike: My first impressions of web3 in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    A Non-fungible Token is a term of art. If you have 100 Ether, then each Ether is fungible for another. There's no way for a smart contract (without a lot of work at least) to distinguish one Ether...

    A Non-fungible Token is a term of art. If you have 100 Ether, then each Ether is fungible for another. There's no way for a smart contract (without a lot of work at least) to distinguish one Ether from another. If you create a unique token, say a badge with your name on it, another token is not fungible for this token. The reason the terms "Fungible vs Non-Fungible" exist is due to the ERC standards used to define the spec for the tokens.

  10. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    The thing is, RCS over carrier networks will often offer lower latency, higher throughput, and have higher QoS than regular internet traffic. When you send and receive an SMS, you're going over...

    It's anti-Internet and can't natively work on webpages, PCs, smartwatches, and tablets, because those things don't have SIM cards.

    The thing is, RCS over carrier networks will often offer lower latency, higher throughput, and have higher QoS than regular internet traffic. When you send and receive an SMS, you're going over the carrier's network. Carriers generally put in decent engineering (depending on the carrier) to minimizing the number of hops between your device and the destination device. 5G will be adding more control/signaling information to the tower negotiation process which can potentially optimize the routing even more.

    In my experience, most IP-based messengers other than Telegram don't really care about the chatter they have on the wire and thus the end-user latency experience. Deploying a few cell extenders in a crowded concert or conference can open up quick routes between folks at the venue (modem -> tower -> other modem), but relying on external IP-based messaging services involves transiting packets from the venue to the nearest ingress to the IP-messenger's network. In practice, instead of being able to handoff packets between modems on the same tower, traffic becomes saturated as everyone attempts to send their messages to the external WhatsApp/Line/Messenger ingress endpoint, and then begin receiving messages from either a phone notification service (Google Push/Apple Push) or from the IP-messenger itself.

    Carrier networks also give you authentication and authorization for free. Lots of IP-based messaging solutions, like WhatsApp, centrally manage the identity on their own service and lock you into their private network that way. I think Matrix or XMPP offers a great free (as in FOSS) IP-messenger solution but unless there's a way to optimize messenger routing, I feel that doing away with carrier-based RCS support for something purely Internet based significantly degrades the messaging experience in any venue where the modem has bad signal to the tower or where the tower is congested.

    EDIT: One thing I've always thought would be interesting is for carriers to host their own IP-based messaging infrastructure. They can offer high QoS routes along towers but also allow external Internet-based connectivity. Matrix or XMPP would be a great choice for something like this.

    EDIT2: There is a possibility that certain messengers, like FB Messenger or Line, due to their ubiquity have made peering agreements with mobile carriers. If that's the case some of the QoS impacts of an IP-messaging solution will indeed be mitigated but it's even worse because there's no way for a new entrant to have the same experience of peering with the carrier as an incumbent.

    4 votes
  11. Comment on After ruining Android messaging, Google says iMessage is too powerful in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    A couple years back, Synapse was quite a memory hog due to holding onto old posts in memory for too long and setup was annoying because key settings hadn't been fixed with the SQLite and...

    A couple years back, Synapse was quite a memory hog due to holding onto old posts in memory for too long and setup was annoying because key settings hadn't been fixed with the SQLite and PostgreSQL connectors. Now Synapse is still a bit of a memory hog but with a few settings, runs fine on 1 GB of RAM and some swap. I run it on 2 GB because I use it as my primary messenger and am in a lot of rooms.

    After getting Element setup I've had no issues running it for months. The only maintenance I do is grabbing new versions.

    One of the rooms I frequent sees large volumes of European primary school children who realize that Discord is blocked at school but "this Element thing isn't" so I'm hopeful that the experience is pretty okay these days for non-technical users.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on IKEA has cut sick pay for unvaccinated workers, without mitigating circumstances, required to self isolate – retail giant acknowledged it was an emotive topic in ~life

    meff
    Link Parent
    Short of making it mandatory (which I wish we could), this is all we can do. Have businesses and private individuals impose these restrictions on their employees and friends.

    Short of making it mandatory (which I wish we could), this is all we can do. Have businesses and private individuals impose these restrictions on their employees and friends.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    The example of the Netherlands is a telling one. Anti-car protests broke out in the Netherlands in the 1970s. Infrastructure that urban advocates use as examples were built/finished in the last...

    In the meanwhile I see so much backlash to literally any change that's even remotely positive. People don't want to move out of their homes. Commercial real estate companies don't want to let go of their obscene rent payments. And then there's a completely different can of worms if you want to start talking about historical sites. And even then, there's a huge amount of the population who aren't interested in living in an urban community at all - how do we deal with their environmental waste?

    The example of the Netherlands is a telling one. Anti-car protests broke out in the Netherlands in the 1970s. Infrastructure that urban advocates use as examples were built/finished in the last 2-3 years. That's roughly 50 years to get to where the Netherlands is now. The US isn't even close to having anti-car protests. It's hard enough as is reminding Americans that a healthy public sphere is a proxy for healthy civic life. If protests were to break out today, then we could feasibly have similar culturally acceptable levels of cycling in urban areas by 2070 if we follow the same timeline.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    No you just detailed and articulated exactly the point I was trying to make heh. Thanks.

    Well, that went on a bit of a tangent from your point, meff.

    No you just detailed and articulated exactly the point I was trying to make heh. Thanks.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    A lot of cars over 15 years old get exported to the UAE and African countries.

    Data suggests average age is increasing, but it still less than 15 years old. And I know from personal experience that with decent maintenance, a great many cars last significantly more than 15 years.

    A lot of cars over 15 years old get exported to the UAE and African countries.

    2 votes
  16. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Heh you're not wrong, I added "[rant]" there just to show that I was being unrigorous and mostly emotional lol.

    Heh you're not wrong, I added "[rant]" there just to show that I was being unrigorous and mostly emotional lol.

    1 vote
  17. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    Advocates level the same criticisms against bus transit. Why build bus rapid transit when you can build a streetcar? It's only marginally more expensive (you need to lay track down on the road,...

    That doesn’t negate bus transit, which can still thrive in car-dominated infrastructure.

    Advocates level the same criticisms against bus transit. Why build bus rapid transit when you can build a streetcar? It's only marginally more expensive (you need to lay track down on the road, but otherwise you don't even need to give it a dedicated RoW) and instead of having high lead times due to the expense of bus drivers, you can run larger cars and automated routes, leading to high-capacity low-lead-time transit.

    It always comes back to the same calculation: cost. We can always defer the stopgap solution (EVs, bus routes, etc) for the "best" solution (car-free environments, metro, etc) but we need to weigh whether the emissions in the interim + capital expenditure needed to build this infra (tracks, RoW, signage, necessary grade separations, etc) outweighs the benefits of the infrastructure we're building over the time horizon we expect it to be used.

    1 vote
  18. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    [rant] And noise. Please. Every time I'm biking around town, everyone around me is oblivious to how much damn noise their cars are spewing into the air because they're in a soundproofed cage. [/rant]

    I'd like to stop breathing in toxic fumes.

    [rant]
    And noise. Please. Every time I'm biking around town, everyone around me is oblivious to how much damn noise their cars are spewing into the air because they're in a soundproofed cage.
    [/rant]

    4 votes
  19. Comment on Electric cars are less green to make than petrol but make up for it in less than a year, new analysis reveals in ~tech

    meff
    Link Parent
    FYI There's also an environmental cost to doing this as well, it's not free. Can you articulate a calculation of the time horizon needed to "pay back" the cost of densification to overcome the...

    Correct, so shouldn't we focus on changing city layouts and infrastructure instead?

    FYI There's also an environmental cost to doing this as well, it's not free. Can you articulate a calculation of the time horizon needed to "pay back" the cost of densification to overcome the incremental savings we get from EVs?

    5 votes
  20. Comment on Bitcoins - can't it only go down from here? in ~talk

    meff
    Link Parent
    I'm not particularly sympathetic to this argument. How many people even understand how much power the consume? What sources their energy comes from? The embodied emissions of the goods they buy?...

    I'm not particularly sympathetic to this argument. How many people even understand how much power the consume? What sources their energy comes from? The embodied emissions of the goods they buy? This feels like an attack on character more than anything else.