onyxleopard's recent activity

  1. Comment on Does X cause Y? An in-depth evidence review in ~science

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    There was another nice thread recently about causation here. (I raised the exact same point as you about mechanistic explanations. 🙂)

    There was another nice thread recently about causation here. (I raised the exact same point as you about mechanistic explanations. 🙂)

    2 votes
  2. Comment on Dexter: New Blood sneak peek trailer in ~tv

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    I think the original run had lots of problems, but for me I was hooked on the plot. There were major flaws (including pacing and the ending), but it was still some of the most suspenseful TV I’ve...

    I think the original run had lots of problems, but for me I was hooked on the plot. There were major flaws (including pacing and the ending), but it was still some of the most suspenseful TV I’ve watched (and Michael C. Hall carried the show really well in spite of other issues). I’ll definitely give this a shot.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    Well, my personal experience directly contradicts your assertion. I read PDFs just fine on my phone (assuming they're just reasonably typeset textual content). This is how academic papers are...

    PDF will never work well on mobile because it has no support for reflowing text or other elements.

    Well, my personal experience directly contradicts your assertion. I read PDFs just fine on my phone (assuming they're just reasonably typeset textual content). This is how academic papers are usually still published. ePub can be better than PDF, but so can plain old HTML (for which I don't need a specialized .epub reader software). The whole premise of the radical reaction of the OP is that plain old, self-contained HTML is basically non-existent in this day and age. Hell, just give me UTF-8 encoded plain-text and that would be preferable to most web pages!

    3 votes
  4. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    I'm not sure where you're getting this idea from. PDFs need never be printed if the consumer just wishes to view or edit them electronically.

    I'm not sure where you're getting this idea from. PDFs need never be printed if the consumer just wishes to view or edit them electronically.

  5. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    Pro-tip: Double-tap any paragraph and iOS Safari's PDF viewer will auto-zoom so the text content's width fills the screen. (Double-tap again to zoom back out to 100% zoom level.) From a human...

    Is it? I also opened it on an iPhone. The problem is the lack of dynamic layout - not a con per se, sometimes the precise layout of a page is important, but clearly suboptimal for displaying a page of text to a phone screen. The text is tiny, and the margins take up too much space - you have to manually zoom in.

    Pro-tip: Double-tap any paragraph and iOS Safari's PDF viewer will auto-zoom so the text content's width fills the screen. (Double-tap again to zoom back out to 100% zoom level.)

    is PDF a good format for document websites?

    From a human reader's perspective, most of the time, I actually do think so, yes. If all you have, content-wise, is text, hyperlinks, and images (which, if you get rid of all the boilerplate and cruft is what most websites' content comprises), I do really think PDF would be great! I agree that thinking about documents only from the human reader's perspective is not the only perspective to consider, but I think it's a perspective that often get's forgotten in the context of technologists who have competing concerns with the human audience.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    It's totally fine on my iPhone, but I admit that's due to Apple having a really good PDF viewer built in to Safari. I think it depends on your perspective. If you are receiving a document as a...

    this page is not fun to go on on a phone.

    It's totally fine on my iPhone, but I admit that's due to Apple having a really good PDF viewer built in to Safari.

    An XML based document format is so much easier to work with than PDF.

    I think it depends on your perspective. If you are receiving a document as a human and all you want to do is consume the contents as the author intended, PDF is basically still the only option. Outside of web pages, you don't see people publishing to .htm files and sharing them (except maybe in email land, but that is another special circle of hell). I don't think you're actually advocating that .docx is superior to PDF, but as you worded it, that would be a claim you're making? If so, I wholeheartedly disagree.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    I'd love it if more websites were published as such. But, that's not the world we live in. I think PDFs are a bit radical, too, but I'm still skeptical that carefully published PDFs are any worse...

    You could, y'know, have a HTML website without javascript.

    I'd love it if more websites were published as such. But, that's not the world we live in.

    I think PDFs are a bit radical, too, but I'm still skeptical that carefully published PDFs are any worse than carefully published HTML documents. (You can do some pretty sinful stuff with HTML if you either don't know the semantics of the tags or you intentionally defy their intended uses.)

    Regardless of the document format, for programmatic access, I'd absolutely prefer to work with source content, rather than the published content.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    I've used Selenium a bunch because it is the only sane way to access some content that is loaded dynamically. But you're basically saying we need a full on browser driver just to extract the...

    so you can use selenium or something.

    I've used Selenium a bunch because it is the only sane way to access some content that is loaded dynamically. But you're basically saying we need a full on browser driver just to extract the content from a web page (and we're still dependent on the browser's JS engine etc.). If there were such a PDF viewer driver software then I'm sure it would make scraping content from PDFs similarly easy. (I'd argue even Selenium is not that great—it wouldn't even exist but for the poor souls who need to test their websites on different browsers because implementing a standards-compliant browser is effectively impossible.)

    The good parts is compatibility, and strict layouts, but it's definitely god awful to do anything with than view.

    Right, but that's really all it was ever intended to be—a portable document format.

    1 vote
  9. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    But is it less abominable than the specifications for all the HTML/JS used in an average web page? Like, could you reliably convert a website to ePub? (As someone who has scraped content off a lot...

    PDF in general is an eldritch abomination of a spec.

    But is it less abominable than the specifications for all the HTML/JS used in an average web page?

    Like, could you reliably convert a website to ePub? (As someone who has scraped content off a lot of web pages, I'd argue it's equally abominable.)

    2 votes
  10. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    Link
    I loved this quote from Drew DeVault. It captures my feelings towards the modern web and its near limitless baggage:

    I loved this quote from Drew DeVault. It captures my feelings towards the modern web and its near limitless baggage:

    “The total word count of the W3C specification catalogue is 114 million words at the time of writing. If you added the combined word counts of the C11, C++17, UEFI, USB 3.2, and POSIX specifications, all 8,754 published RFCs, and the combined word counts of everything on Wikipedia’s list of longest novels, you would be 12 million words short of the W3C specifications.
    I conclude that it is impossible to build a new web browser. The complexity of the web is obscene. The creation of a new web browser would be comparable in effort to the Apollo program or the Manhattan project.
    It is impossible to:
    • Implement the web correctly
    • Implement the web securely
    • Implement the web at all

    12 votes
  11. Comment on I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF in ~comp

    onyxleopard
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    It's fine to disagree. Still, I found your comment inscrutably dismissive, and I couldn't surmise what the substance of your disagreements actually are. Let me play devil's advocate: You've hinted...

    It's fine to disagree. Still, I found your comment inscrutably dismissive, and I couldn't surmise what the substance of your disagreements actually are.

    Let me play devil's advocate:

    You've hinted at some particular flaws, but without actually explaining them, I can only surmise what your actual beefs are with the premise of the post.

    For instance, you claim that "indexability" is a flaw, yet, the post itself claims:

    PDFs are discoverable. Search engines index them as easily as any other format.

    I know Google and DuckDuckGo index PDFs—just add filetype:pdf to your query. So, what do you mean when you say "indexability" is a flaw? And for your other parenthetical claims, what do you mean by them?

    The post goes into some depth about how "page-oriented" documents are much more accessible than infinite-scroll HTML pages. So, what exactly do you mean when you claim "accessibility" is a flaw for PDFs?

    Edit: In "New Frontiers in PDF Accessibility" there is more content on accessibility features of PDF.

    I don't really know much about performance of PDFs (I'd imagine it varies a lot by PDF reader implementation, much like browser rendering engines), caching, and so on, so I can't really play devil's advocate well there. Given the post itself refutes some of your claims, would you care to back them up?

    4 votes
  12. Comment on Sophisticated exploits used to breach fully-patched iPhones of journalists, activists, as detailed by Amnesty International's Security Lab in ~tech

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    Isn’t that what Apple’s bounty program is for? (I’m not arguing that a bounty model is perfect, but just pointing out its existence.)

    There's zero incentive for a criminal to tell a company like Apple they found a major vulnerability.

    Isn’t that what Apple’s bounty program is for? (I’m not arguing that a bounty model is perfect, but just pointing out its existence.)

    2 votes
  13. Comment on What do you collect? in ~hobbies

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    It’s definitely not as optimal for car travel. For car trips I usually just go for a non-rolling duffel, such as this one from Peak Design.

    It’s definitely not as optimal for car travel. For car trips I usually just go for a non-rolling duffel, such as this one from Peak Design.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on What do you collect? in ~hobbies

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    The bags I use most often if I'm just going out for a day trip are the Rofmia Boston Bag or the Ghostly x RPMFG dyneema backpack. Yesterday I went for a long hike in the White Mountains, and for...

    The bags I use most often if I'm just going out for a day trip are the Rofmia Boston Bag or the Ghostly x RPMFG dyneema backpack.

    Yesterday I went for a long hike in the White Mountains, and for that I used the Pa'lante V2. (It is intended for lightweight backpacking and the material choices and intentional omission of any zippered pockets mean that it should last longer than the other bags I listed without any maintenance/repair, esp. being used in the woods.)

    The bags I listed could each be taken on a flight as a carry-on, but if I am going on a longer trip involving air travel, I have an Arc'teryx V80 rolling duffel as a checked bag. (I just haven't done any air travel in over a year due to the pandemic.)

    3 votes
  15. Comment on What do you collect? in ~hobbies

    onyxleopard
    Link
    It may sound stupid, but over the last few years, I've started collecting bags. Mostly I've been collecting bags from cottage-industry manufacturers, sometimes second-hand from eBay. What appeals...

    It may sound stupid, but over the last few years, I've started collecting bags. Mostly I've been collecting bags from cottage-industry manufacturers, sometimes second-hand from eBay. What appeals to me about them is the beauty of a utilitarian object for which there are essentially infinite possible forms. Within the space of all potential bags, the choices made about materials, form/design, attention to detail, and build quality have continued to hold my interest. I often lurk on /r/manybaggers on Reddit.

    Some bags I've collected:

    7 votes
  16. Comment on The truth behind the Amazon mystery seeds in ~life

    onyxleopard
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    From the article they reported that at least the USDA, FBI, DHS, CBP, and USPS were involved in some forms of investigation: How much effort they actually expended, how seriously these apparatuses...

    From the article they reported that at least the USDA, FBI, DHS, CBP, and USPS were involved in some forms of investigation:

    As the unexpected seed packets kept arriving at homes across the country, American officials from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies reached out to their Chinese counterparts. According to the USDA’s El-Lissy, the Chinese authorities were very cooperative: “They emphasized to these companies that this is a prohibited activity and they should stop immediately.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection also upped its efforts to detect and intercept such packages. Meanwhile, the USDA led discussions with Amazon and other e-commerce platforms. Amazon announced in September that plants, plant products, and seeds could no longer be imported into the United States. Its competitor Wish did likewise, citing the “ongoing threat to U.S. consumers.”

    A month after El-Lissy told me that the USDA was not able to think of any other reasons behind this event apart from brushing, I presented the agency with just such a reason: my forgotten-orders theory. I wanted to know whether the USDA had any direct evidence of brushing, or had verified that anyone had received seeds they had not ordered. The answer was no, with the proviso that the department is involved in an ongoing investigation into the seeds, in tandem with other government agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Postal Service.

    How much effort they actually expended, how seriously these apparatuses took this issue, and what the final results of such effort are is not clear from the article, though. I would think this is the kind of thing which would be most optimally tackled with a cross-agency task-force, though. But, I don't know much about how the US federal government expends resources on such things.

    In the end it wasn't a serious issue, and maybe that's why the governmental agencies and departments didn't escalate their investigations? There are ostensibly innumerable potential threats that turn out not to be serious, but actually performing that threat assessment on the candidates, especially something like this seemed to be relatively frequent and geographically distributed, seems like a good candidate. But maybe that's just hindsight?

    2 votes
  17. Comment on The truth behind the Amazon mystery seeds in ~life

    onyxleopard
    Link
    Great article and it just goes to show how unreliable human memory is. Machine memory is so much more reliable. That said, this whole thing makes me really nervous about the security of...

    Great article and it just goes to show how unreliable human memory is. Machine memory is so much more reliable.

    That said, this whole thing makes me really nervous about the security of international shipping. I would not have guessed that seeds shipped from China to the US or other countries could go under the radar just by being labeled as jewelry. I’m not sure how to solve that problem, but it seems like a serious one. It’s also rather disturbing that the USDA, USPS, and other parts of the US federal government couldn’t figure out something like this.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on Have you felt or do you still feel the optimism of the Internet / Web 2.0 in the early 2000s and 2010s? in ~tech

    onyxleopard
    Link
    I always felt like "Web 2.0" was something of a marketing bubble hyped by corporations or those drunk on the corporate kool-aid. It was all anticipating a day when the web would be standardized so...

    I always felt like "Web 2.0" was something of a marketing bubble hyped by corporations or those drunk on the corporate kool-aid. It was all anticipating a day when the web would be standardized so people could build what they envisioned with much less friction. We're much closer to that ideal in 2021 than we were 10 or 20 years ago. I think the fundamental issue is that as the web has been commoditized, the promise of democratization, with everyone who wants to having their own individual platform, has been eclipsed by the prospect of individuals clambering on top of corporate platforms instead of building their own. There are pockets of the web/internet that I think have basically fulfilled the promises of the early 2000s and 2010s. Funnily enough, I think those exemplars are decidedly not "Web 2.0"-ish, but much more aligned with "Web 1.0" or even the pre-web era, e.g.:

    Wikipedia, Craigslist, eBay, IMDB, email

    The corporate parts of the web/internet have been wildly successful, and that makes me pessimistic in so far as I hope that the web itself doesn't become corporate only.

    Sites/services/technologies that were not possible during the early internet era that still make me optimistic are:

    GitHub, VPNs, bittorrent

    These make me optimistic because they are fundamentally things that primarily empower individuals, rather than corporations (even if GitHub and VPNs are operated by corporations).

    6 votes
  19. Comment on Not trying to make waves but why are articles posted to news that relate to lgbt moved? in ~tildes

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    Ah, thanks for linking that. I know I'd seen it before, but I couldn't find it quickly (which is either an indication that I am bad at finding things, or the Wiki/Docs are not organized well...

    Ah, thanks for linking that. I know I'd seen it before, but I couldn't find it quickly (which is either an indication that I am bad at finding things, or the Wiki/Docs are not organized well enough, or I'm lazy, or some combination of the aforementioned).

    2 votes
  20. Comment on Not trying to make waves but why are articles posted to news that relate to lgbt moved? in ~tildes

    onyxleopard
    Link Parent
    I think your explanation of your views is super valuable. I think that your thoughts here could be captured and rewritten as guidance in a page in the Tildes Wiki to help new users deciding which...

    I think your explanation of your views is super valuable. I think that your thoughts here could be captured and rewritten as guidance in a page in the Tildes Wiki to help new users deciding which groups to post new topics to. It could also be supplemented with some guidance on what the Tildes consensus is on how to interpret the semantics of the most popular tags. I think such info the in the Wiki could help a lot with anxiety of new users on where to post and how to tag posts.

    2 votes