overtowed's recent activity

  1. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

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    I recently added a new set of features to a website with a flat map of Earth using NASA imagery: Soggy Planet. (not mobile friendly) It now shows up to 10 elevations below sea level, in addition...

    I recently added a new set of features to a website with a flat map of Earth using NASA imagery: Soggy Planet. (not mobile friendly) It now shows up to 10 elevations below sea level, in addition to the 3 elevations above sea level I implemented a while ago. I also added a day/night cycle and overlay Earth's lights at night. The controls need some work.

    It works as intended but I'm not happy with the performance, especially when zoomed out. I'm using PixiJS and a simplistic rendering strategy: there's just a bunch of large images that get faded in and out over each other. I'm wondering what I could do to improve performance -- maybe shaders and combine images? It'd be my first time using them. The images with below sea level elevations are very simple, just a single color on each. (example)

    The previous version of the map doesn't have the same perf problems because it uses fewer images. Here's the code. I'm planning to do some technical and design screencasts, I may do one where I just describe the performance problem and ask for help.

    1 vote
  2. Comment on Why I think "Sponsor Only" repositories introduced by Github is a terrible idea in ~comp

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    This opens the doors for more models than just "pay for the code". For example a dev could still publish code to package registries and docs to a website for free, and paywall the repository....

    This opens the doors for more models than just "pay for the code".

    For example a dev could still publish code to package registries and docs to a website for free, and paywall the repository. GitHub could support this usecase by making readmes optionally public, or paywalling only the issues/PRs and not the code.

    Many users of open source treat maintainers as personal tech support, and for some projects this means a lot of wasted time and attention and burnout. It's common for some projects to have many issues opened due to a lack of knowledge not specific to the repo, or issues caused by different software or technology altogether.

    I'm not saying this is a perfect situation -- paying users may feel more entitled, and there's the important questions of access to people who can't afford it and the effects on the ecosystem -- but it allows alternative models to be explored that I think could work well for some devs, enabling more free software for the commons that we wouldn't otherwise get.

    6 votes
  3. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~talk

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    What mechanisms can reduce LDB? Some thoughts: invite-only paywalls other barriers to creating accounts? account reputation that matters because the identity is valued (e.g. professional networks,...

    What mechanisms can reduce LDB? Some thoughts:

    • invite-only
    • paywalls
    • other barriers to creating accounts?
    • account reputation that matters because the identity is valued (e.g. professional networks, smaller communities)
    • account reputation that matters because it gives you abilities on the platform

    All of those imply there's stakes to LDB, something to lose. Wondering what else there is here, and other ways to look at it. (like the text medium vs others)

    Edit: here's a relevant idea, Freenet's web of trust: https://www.draketo.de/english/freenet/friendly-communication-with-anonymity

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

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    This comment on Lobste.rs goes into a lot of technical detail about XMPP's shortcomings.

    This comment on Lobste.rs goes into a lot of technical detail about XMPP's shortcomings.

    5 votes
  5. Comment on How do you actually meditate? in ~talk

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    I've meditated very infrequently for about 15 years, occasionally intense, maybe a thousand hours total? So as an amateur with bits of many traditions, a few major lessons/insights come to mind,...

    I've meditated very infrequently for about 15 years, occasionally intense, maybe a thousand hours total? So as an amateur with bits of many traditions, a few major lessons/insights come to mind, big shifts in thinking that took a long time and a lot of observation/boredom/repetition to sink in, and they're still sinking in, or maybe floating away, idk.

    • watching the mind generate thoughts constantly whether "you" "want" to "think" them or not -- many practices try to demonstrate this right away, because it's so accessible and obvious when demonstrated -- and, because you're now observing things, you start getting language handles on things, wrapping your head around your mind and body, with some genuinely fascinating (but still extremely limited) insight into how their continuous processes are interrelated
    • watching and practicing the process of mentally detaching from the body's emotional reaction to stimuli (e.g. "pulling yourself out of your self-fixated story") while simultaneously embracing the physical sensations, so you process emotions rather than suppress them, and practice this as a skill to apply in difficult situations -- so it's self-conscious deliberate emotional regulation, and it helped me take responsibility for an important aspect of my mood more often -- also, something I think that gets too much attention is taking emotional transcendence to some idealistic endgoal, IME it's mostly counterproductive and driven by flawed ideas or ego
    • there's many metaphors for the mind and body and the system and "you", like "taming a monkey" or "riding an elephant" or whatever, the idea is that you're just more aware of what's going on in there, and you have practiced tools with well-worn neural pathways for more often pulling yourself out of reactive semiconscious patterns of thinking and behavior, so you start seeing everything as process that's always happening, that can always benefit from a guiding hand, rather than getting bogged down on the past or future or unhelpful emotions or thoughts

    Also in my experience, intellectualizing meditation is unhelpful -- my mind and body only got what feels like actual insight with a lot of experience. (lots of boredom, lots of quitting for long periods of time, never liking any particular resources or teachers for long) Then there's the problem that the more I practice the less motivated I am to practice, I guess because I need it less? So I'm always a beginner, but not in the humble way, in the incompetent dilettante way, and I can accept that.

    I think meditation is great: there are many interesting traditions and it has helped me a lot. I'd say just beware dogma, overconfidence, sluggish states, power fantasies, and charismatic gurus, those sorts of things.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on Roguelike Celebration: Call for presenters in ~games

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    Roguelike Celebration (roguelike.club) is one of my favorite things, and their call for talk proposals is open for the October 2021 online conference: here's their YouTube archive -- it has many...

    Roguelike Celebration (roguelike.club) is one of my favorite things, and their call for talk proposals is open for the October 2021 online conference:

    Technical talks, game design lessons, creative uses of procedural generation, interactive roguelike performances - we want to hear about it all!

    We get more proposals for Roguelike Celebration every year than we can accept - and we decided it would be helpful to provide some guidelines for what is more likely to get your proposal accepted.

    here's their YouTube archive -- it has many many gems for people interested in games, game design, design in general, weird creative technical things, procedural generation/generative systems, with a more-passionate-than-average community

    3 votes
  7. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

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    I made the first usable experience of what's probably going to be a big project: it lets you browse and draw tarot cards. https://www.dealt.dev/tarot You can try out some divination for yourself,...

    I made the first usable experience of what's probably going to be a big project: it lets you browse and draw tarot cards. https://www.dealt.dev/tarot

    You can try out some divination for yourself, like rogue_cricket recently wrote about in a pseudoscience discussion.

    There's a number of enhancements I want to make, like putting state in the url, so you can share links. Here's the source code. I'm excited to use its datasets in various generative experiments and tools. (this open data project was my starting point)

    6 votes
  8. Comment on Linux bans the University of Minnesota for sending intentionally buggy patches in the name of research in ~comp

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    I think that's speculative given Greg's analysis: Reminder we're talking about the Linux kernel here, not some random C project. Thoughtless patches are inexcusable and unlikely IMO, but I'm not...

    Assuming I haven't missed anything and we take everyone at their word, Pakki is just an innocent bystander here: he did not intend to send vulnerable patches to the kernel mailing list, and the wildly disproportionate reaction was due to prior bad faith actions he was immediately adjacent to but not actually directly involved in.

    I think that's speculative given Greg's analysis:

    A few minutes with anyone with the semblance of knowledge of C can see
    that your submissions do NOT do anything at all, so to think that a tool
    created them, and then that you thought they were a valid "fix" is
    totally negligent on your part, not ours. You are the one at fault, it
    is not our job to be the test subjects of a tool you create.

    Reminder we're talking about the Linux kernel here, not some random C project. Thoughtless patches are inexcusable and unlikely IMO, but I'm not on the inside here.

    11 votes
  9. Comment on New groups and site mechanics - 2021 edition in ~tildes

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    Has a feature like "private replies" been discussed as a moderation tool? So lighter-touch feedback can be given privately and in context? I can see it being a can of worms without sufficient...

    Has a feature like "private replies" been discussed as a moderation tool? So lighter-touch feedback can be given privately and in context? I can see it being a can of worms without sufficient trust and training. And it's hard labor. But maybe helpful to reach some new local maximum. Maybe it doesn't have to be an admin-level privilege? Maybe it already exists and a ghost will appear:

    edit: reflecting on this a bit more, I believe it's a can of worms because it allows for very low-friction interactions with random people on the internet in what can be heated and serious exchanges. Sometimes things will spiral, people will get hurt, and nobody else will even know unless it's shared; we'll feel the aftermath though. And sometimes Deimos will wade into a disaster.

    6 votes
  10. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

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    My experience has been similar to yours and I have some of the same questions. The basic principle is that you "don't break on unexpected data", but that says nothing about useful presentation of...

    My experience has been similar to yours and I have some of the same questions. The basic principle is that you "don't break on unexpected data", but that says nothing about useful presentation of data or functioning interactions. I'm still new to the space but as an implementer I see a few options:

    1. prioritize getting something that works that's spec-ish
    2. interpret the spec as best you can and fill in the gaps in its spirit
    3. do what Mastodon does

    It seems a lot of implementers do #3. But Mastodon is a microblogging platform inspired by Twitter, just one of many possible forms it could take, too small a box for where I'm starting, and it makes some choices that don't fit my needs.

    Given my primary goal of shipping something this leaves me doing #1. Interop is more of an eventual goal than something you get for free day 1. (until the ecosystem matures!) Getting a common set of data structures, with a rich base Object, tied together with JSON-LD (webscale), and some common system language semantics, is a huge win, regardless of how much we might veer off-spec or extend it from here. I'd recommend understanding the basic design of the Activity Streams vocabulary to anyone building an app: the federation/protocol/ActivityPub stuff is a different part of the spec, and more domain specific, while the vocabulary is widely applicable.

    I think this all reflects how hard the problem is. Like you said the Activity Streams vocab can be used to construct arbitrarily complex nested objects, whatever "sentences" we want to say, so yeah, I think the spec authors know this and they're just saying "good luck, in the future we'll know more, go implement!". So uh have you tried throwing AI at it?

    2 votes
  11. Comment on What programming/technical projects have you been working on? in ~comp

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    I've been learning Fediverse/ActivityPub protocol stuff and made alternative docs for the Activity Streams 2.0 vocabulary. (here's the official ones) I like the vocabulary's design, my main...

    I've been learning Fediverse/ActivityPub protocol stuff and made alternative docs for the Activity Streams 2.0 vocabulary. (here's the official ones) I like the vocabulary's design, my main criticism being that it's too open ended, which for my exploring is great. Next is generating JSON schemas for the terms - it's partially implemented on a branch. From there you can do a whole lot. I couldn't find existing projects with good data.

    4 votes
  12. Comment on How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use in ~tech

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    For more on the subject of dis/misinfo there's researcher Claire Wardle's work, like the article Information disorder: ‘The techniques we saw in 2016 have evolved’ .

    For more on the subject of dis/misinfo there's researcher Claire Wardle's work, like the article Information disorder: ‘The techniques we saw in 2016 have evolved’ .

    Seven types of mis- and disinformation

    fabricated content: New content that is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm.

    manipulated content: When genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive.

    imposter content: When genuine sources are impersonated.

    false context: When genuine context is shared with false contextual information.

    misleading content: Misleading use of information to frame an issue or individual.

    false connection: When headlines, visuals, or captions don't support the content.

    satire or parody: No intention to cause harm but has potential to fool.

    7 votes
  13. Comment on A twenty-year-old man was fatally shot while filming a YouTube "prank" robbery in ~tech

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    Growing up in the US I heard so many times how litigious people are, how they'll sue you for anything, with huge pain and suffering settlements and judgments in civil court. I don't know how to...

    Growing up in the US I heard so many times how litigious people are, how they'll sue you for anything, with huge pain and suffering settlements and judgments in civil court. I don't know how to reconcile this with the apparent abundance of traumatic "pranks" on social media.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tech

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    I agree. To spin it more negatively, these articles point the finger at practitioners and the field, lamenting its perceived decline, and give a pass to the systems and leadership that give UX its...

    I agree. To spin it more negatively, these articles point the finger at practitioners and the field, lamenting its perceived decline, and give a pass to the systems and leadership that give UX its marching orders. The buck can only stop at UX professionals if they're the ones in power - otherwise, look higher up the food chain and more broadly at the systems.

    So under that lens I think the articles look somewhat toxic, but raising awareness is good.

    8 votes
  15. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~tech

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    Seems UX professionals who want non-exploitative work can either: work for a non-exploitative company hope for lucky assignments on products where the business wants actually good UX spend...

    Seems UX professionals who want non-exploitative work can either:

    • work for a non-exploitative company
    • hope for lucky assignments on products where the business wants actually good UX
    • spend political capital for small-picture wins
    • organize

    Are there other options?

    edit: There's also activism (for public policy, awareness, etc) like humanetech.com of the Social Dilemma Netflix documentary. Their podcast is heavy on the UX perspective from former Facebook employees, going into a lot of detail about existing exploitative practices and possible improvements.

    6 votes
  16. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 15 in ~news

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    "freedom of speech is not freedom of reach"

    "freedom of speech is not freedom of reach"

    10 votes
  17. Comment on Daily thread - United States 2021 transition of power - January 9 in ~news

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    These Black Capitol Police Officers Describe Fighting Off "Racist Ass Terrorists"

    These Black Capitol Police Officers Describe Fighting Off "Racist Ass Terrorists"

    “That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us,” said the officer, who has been with the department for more than a decade. “They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs ... They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military,” the veteran said

    14 votes
  18. Comment on What the web still is - A look at some of the positive characteristics of the current state of the web in ~tech

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    Thanks for the response, gives me a lot to think about and I appreciate finding where we disagree. I agree the situation is depressing and I didn't mean for my response to try to refute that. I...

    Thanks for the response, gives me a lot to think about and I appreciate finding where we disagree.

    I agree the situation is depressing and I didn't mean for my response to try to refute that. I felt the need to add more context. I find it hard to imagine any append-only system as old, as popular, and as featureful as the web not being a steaming pile.

    A stagnant web loses ground to walled gardens. An evolving web is going to be increasingly expensive to implement. I don't see any way out of this basic tension while preserving backwards compatibility, and when it comes to hot-take hating on the web - not from you, I'm speaking in generalities from what I see on Reddit/Twitter/Lobsters/etc - I'm imagining thousands of impressionable novice developers seeping in the culture of hating on "webshit" and uncritically building apps and careers on closed OSes.

    I share your concern about the current Google-dominated standards. The web desperately needs pluralism. And yes I think you identified where we differ. I'm pushing back against the idea that web technologies fundamentally fail users and developers, that they need to be thrown away because history and Google have ruined them. (Tildes here is pretty great!) With WebMIDI I was providing an anecdote about why I think some of those new controversial standards are good for users and developers.

    To explain our differences, I might be seeing walled gardens and web-hate as a bigger threat than you see them, and I might see Google's behavior and increasingly complex web standards as less of a threat than you do.

    If the web had always remained a "document format" I'd bet we'd have been locked into walled gardens long ago. I doubt governments would have saved us.

    Por que no los dos? Truly.

    Am I correct interpreting this as wanting a multiplatform programming environment that's backwards compatible with the modern web, and is also re-thought from the ground up? I'd love to see that funded and pulled off, but I'm also skeptical that deprecating is a better path than extending. I can easily imagine a situation where "now you have two problems" and the successor is even more costly. Am I misunderstanding what you want? I would love to be wrong here on feasability, both as a developer and a user. It increases browser implementation costs substantially right? But it could pave the way for a better future. WASM/WASI have me hopeful here but my understanding is limited. I bet we'll see a lot of userland innovation with WASM-powered WebGL - MS and Google are both working on stuff here. Maybe standards will emerge from that, but in that story it'd be more evolution of the web.

    On WebMIDI -

    I'm only familiar with MIDI as a light user, but the point I was making is that Safari and FF say they won't implement because of fingerprinting, not costs or technology. As far as I can tell, my rhetorical vote is with Google and the standards body here. I'm concerned for the future of a web that stagnates because of fingerprinting issues that can apparently be mitigated. Google is incentivized to enable fingerprinting, so I'm glad there's pushback, but limiting the web's features is one of the best ways to harm the web as a competitor to walled gardens, which I see as one of the most important fights in all of this. It's a difficult set of concerns to balance, and I'm biased because I use this feature.

    I have a similar view on WebUSB but I currently have no stake in it. If users are clicking through consent popups on untrusted websites, I see it as a UX problem the browsers need to fix.

    The situation is depressing, yeah. So is the situation with the planet's democracies. I've heard too many people I know make galaxy brain takes of "I'm not so sure democracy is the better system". Web standards feel like a similar conversation. It's one thing to point out the flaws of the system, and another to influence people towards eschewing those systems altogether. Again I'm speaking in generalities here, not responding to anything you said. So to sum up where I'm trying to go with all of this - I think there's a better future available both in web standards and democratic governance, and I think it's important to both criticize our institutions and celebrate their good parts, like with this article. I think we both would have liked to see the article shine more light on how we're witnessing the decline of some of these values.

    4 votes
  19. Comment on What the web still is - A look at some of the positive characteristics of the current state of the web in ~tech

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    I wonder if the author misunderstands adversarial interoperability or just misworded that. That linked article is a good read. Overall I agree with what you're saying, but there's a lot of nuance...

    I wonder if the author misunderstands adversarial interoperability or just misworded that. That linked article is a good read.

    Overall I agree with what you're saying, but there's a lot of nuance here for me as a web developer. I'll share one example. There's numerous APIs Google has implemented that I interpret as hostile to the web, but I'm personally grateful that Google implemented Web MIDI where FF and Safari haven't, mainly because of fingerprinting security issues. I want to develop for MIDI controllers, and I don't want to tell my users they need a Chromium browser, but I don't want to develop for specific OSes and make my users install and run unsandboxed code. The Web MIDI API makes it more expensive to maintain a standards-compliant browser, one of a thousand cuts that might have contributed to even Microsoft giving up. But I'm glad it's a standard and I'm glad Google implemented it. Can't FF and Safari just put the API behind a consent popup that warns about privacy implications? I'm stumped.

    The fight needs to happen on so many fronts that it's exhausting to think about. (the recent layoffs at Mozilla felt like a gut punch) I think articles like this are important to remind us of alternative histories and futures - not that this is a perfect article - but I'm equally exhausted by the hate that the web gets from all directions (e.g. the widespread belief among technologists that website bloat is mainly a problem of technology), and I hope we start seeing a clearer and more nuanced consensus emerge about what is good and bad for the web.

    When you say:

    Sure, the web solves the applications software distribution problem pretty well, but is it really the best solution? No. It's just the one that happened to stick.

    I agree, and at the same time, humanity is stuck with it. Losing backwards compatibility with nearly three decades of content isn't a price people will pay. I fear that one-sided takes that hate on the web, which we see everywhere today, will influence more developers to lock themselves into walled gardens, and will more generally contribute to the erosion of trust in standardization.

    2 votes