whbboyd's recent activity

  1. Comment on On our abusive relationship with Mozilla’s Firefox in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link
    A user on lobste.rs posted a vigorous counter-rant which I'll link to in lieu of largely reproducing. In short: the author has no evidence (or at least, fails to present any evidence they have)...

    A user on lobste.rs posted a vigorous counter-rant which I'll link to in lieu of largely reproducing.

    In short: the author has no evidence (or at least, fails to present any evidence they have) that their views are widely shared; and if we operate on the substantially more reasonable assumption that Mozilla is not intentionally or incompetently alienating large portions of their userbase, both the argument and conclusion fall flat on their face.

    Plus, anyone shouting down Firefox on the web is automatically a gigantic hypocrite. They're either using Chrome, which is so superlatively worse I struggle to compose suitably intense hyperbole for it; or they're using Opera Edge Chrome; or they're using Safari (they're not using Safari); or they're using one of the myriad small independent browsers, except they're not, because none implement enough of the sprawling Google-driven technological metastasis that is the modern Web to function on social media platforms; or they're using Firefox.

    11 votes
  2. Comment on Reddit announces "Predictions" - Allowing users to bet on the outcomes of polls with Coins (purchased with real money), where moderators are responsible for choosing which option wins in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Reddit Notes clearly wins, except for having been made by an apparently rogue employee, being announced before it was actually developed, and then quietly dumped, the creator sacked, and the whole...

    Reddit Notes clearly wins, except for having been made by an apparently rogue employee, being announced before it was actually developed, and then quietly dumped, the creator sacked, and the whole affair swept under the rug.

    Now, this probably-illegal financial boondoggle actually exists and was apparently approved at all levels and developed by a full team, which definitely makes it worse. For sheer stupidity of concept, though, it's got nothing on Reddit Notes.

    5 votes
  3. Comment on Proving the Earth is round at home in ~science

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    A Foucault pendulum proves the Earth rotates (as long as you don't set it up on the equator). A pendulum on a rotating discworld would precess in the same way. You could move your pendulum a...

    A Foucault pendulum proves the Earth rotates (as long as you don't set it up on the equator). A pendulum on a rotating discworld would precess in the same way.

    You could move your pendulum a significant distance north-to-south and observe the change in rate of precession, I guess. That's probably convincing that the world is curved in some way; going from those observations to concluding that it is (roughly) spherical is definitely getting into some complicated geometrical math.

    6 votes
  4. Comment on QAnon/8Chan sites briefly knocked offline after call to internet provider in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Indeed. Unfortunately, it is necessary to suppress bigotry. Therefore "don't have the tools" is not a suitable approach for preventing them from being used to suppress other speech. What other...

    Indeed.

    Unfortunately, it is necessary to suppress bigotry. Therefore "don't have the tools" is not a suitable approach for preventing them from being used to suppress other speech. What other approaches can you think of?

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Defunct Soviet satellite and Chinese rocket body have 1-20% risk of colliding in Low Earth Polar orbit over Antarctica in ~space

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Space is really big, and satellites are really small, but collisions are a birthday problem, which have a nasty habit of brutally telescoping safe-seeming odds. With mounting numbers of objects,...

    Space is really big, and satellites are really small, but collisions are a birthday problem, which have a nasty habit of brutally telescoping safe-seeming odds.

    With mounting numbers of objects, we need a way to remove defunct objects from orbit, or a Kessler cascade is an eventuality, not a possibility.

    10 votes
  6. Comment on Apple introduces iPhone 12 in smaller size and 5G, and iPhone 12 Pro & Pro Max with LiDAR, larger screens, and more capable cameras in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    That's not true. In what I'm going to hyperbolically call "the only reasonable hardware decision Apple has made since at least 2008", all their Lightning AC adapters are USB AC adapters with a...

    they actually wouldn't be able to charge their phones without buying a USB-C wall adapter

    That's not true. In what I'm going to hyperbolically call "the only reasonable hardware decision Apple has made since at least 2008", all their Lightning AC adapters are USB AC adapters with a USB-A/Lightning cord. Replace the cord with USB-A/USB-C cord, and presto, you've laid out $10 for a USB-C charger.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on The badly thought-out use of Microsoft's Excel software was the reason nearly 16,000 coronavirus cases went unreported in England in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    NO, Excel is not a database, basically or otherwise! If we accept that Excel has moved past Lotus 1-2-3's origins as a glorified tabular calculator (which it has, partly), it is still in no way...

    NO, Excel is not a database, basically or otherwise!

    If we accept that Excel has moved past Lotus 1-2-3's origins as a glorified tabular calculator (which it has, partly), it is still in no way suitable for storing or processing nontrivial amounts of data. There is nothing resembling a schema, essentially zero tools for ensuring data validity, and both the format and application utterly fall on their face when faced with more than a few hundred thousand rows.

    There is no credible way this issue could have arisen in a system backed by an actual database (even one from 1987).

    Now, Excel is certainly useful; it lets business people create horrifying ad-hoc abominations without having to bother any software developers (which, as a developer, I'm always grateful for). It has no business in any designed or automated software system.

    5 votes
  8. Comment on Which is arguably the best phone for ROMs? in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    The US S7 has a locked bootloader, also, so if you want to replace the firmware, you have to get the international version—which is strictly okay for use in the US. Consequently, support is very...

    The US S7 has a locked bootloader, also, so if you want to replace the firmware, you have to get the international version—which is strictly okay for use in the US. Consequently, support is very poor. It's a shame, because the hardware is pretty good (too big, like literally every other Android phone on the market god dammit, but otherwise fast and comfortable to use), but if you really want to put custom firmware on a Samsung, look elsewhere. My understanding is that the S5 is actually still very widely supported.

    (Source: been there, done that, got the T-shirt, wore it out. Builds are strictly unofficial and wireless band support in the US is sufficient to function, but I had weird connectivity glitches. I'm on an Xperia XZ2 Compact now, which is the physically smallest phone with official LineageOS support.)

  9. Comment on The actual 2020 Tildes Unofficial Census in ~tildes.official

    whbboyd
    Link
    I doubt this was intentional, but the captcha is timing out and requiring refill after just a few minutes. If the short timeout is intentional, it should definitely be the last item in the survey....

    I doubt this was intentional, but the captcha is timing out and requiring refill after just a few minutes. If the short timeout is intentional, it should definitely be the last item in the survey.

    Also, I'm going to strongly recommend avoiding recaptcha if for some reason you need a captcha at all; it is inaccessible, arbitrarily blocks some users, and of course relies on and passes data along to Google.

    20 votes
  10. Comment on Notch deletes his Twitter account in deal with Game Maker's Toolkit in ~games

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Also https://twitter.com/internetofshit. These kind of prove the point, though. If the only worthwhile content on Twitter is goofy meme accounts, the site is not delivering any value to society.

    Also https://twitter.com/internetofshit.

    These kind of prove the point, though. If the only worthwhile content on Twitter is goofy meme accounts, the site is not delivering any value to society.

    7 votes
  11. Comment on rc.d belongs in libexec, not etc in ~comp

    whbboyd
    Link
    Seems reasonable enough. So, who's going to implement it? ;) More seriously, this is one aspect of a broader, more interesting discussion: what should go where in the Unix filesystem? The FHS has...

    Seems reasonable enough. So, who's going to implement it? ;)

    More seriously, this is one aspect of a broader, more interesting discussion: what should go where in the Unix filesystem? The FHS has fairly specific opinions on the matter, but they're (obviously) widely disregarded. Bigger recent changes (I'm thinking specifically of merged /usr here) have been contentious, and aren't reflected by the very slowly-moving FHS. So: what should go where? Who should decide that? Who should check or enforce that things are in the right place? Does it matter if Linux and BSD diverge? (Well, I hope not, because they already have, considerably.)

    2 votes
  12. Comment on What are some beautiful/brilliant/inventive games that were panned by critics? in ~games

    whbboyd
    Link
    It wasn't really panned per se—review scores averaged in the "meh" range—but Lego Racers is literally one of my top three games (along with well-received Morrowind and critical darling Witcher 3)....

    It wasn't really panned per se—review scores averaged in the "meh" range—but Lego Racers is literally one of my top three games (along with well-received Morrowind and critical darling Witcher 3). Sure, it's cheesy as hell, and easy, and unsophisticated—but the character/vehicle customization is extremely flexible, the gameplay fun and satisfying, and to this day it is the only arcade racer I've ever played or heard of to have fixed power-ups (i.e. if you get a green power-up, it will speed you up; none of Mario Kart's probabilistic "might get a speedup, or something completely useless" nonsense). This leads to all sorts of interesting tactical gameplay: you might get a power-up you don't need to keep someone else from getting it (e.g. if you're in front, an attack power-up is almost useless, but preventing whoever's behind you from getting an attack power-up is extremely useful) or modify your line through a turn to get a particular power-up you want. I'm actually surprised this isn't more widely copied, as I think it's far more fun and interesting than randomized power-ups, but I guess Mario Kart's dominance sets the theme.

    16 votes
  13. Comment on United States Postal Service (USPS) files patent for a blockchain-based voting system in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Not with a standard paper voting system. I enter, receive an unidentified paper ballot, vote on that ballot, submit it, leave. No evidence of how I voted exists outside the voting room. Nobody can...

    Hardly a valid objection since you could always coerce anyone to give up that information in any system.

    Not with a standard paper voting system. I enter, receive an unidentified paper ballot, vote on that ballot, submit it, leave. No evidence of how I voted exists outside the voting room. Nobody can coerce me to give up my vote, because if I lie about it, that is impossible to prove.

    Most people will burn the receipt and the voter ID after they've confirmed their vote

    Then our hypothetical vote coercer says "you'll take the receipt and id out of the building and show them to me, or I'll murder your spouse and children". You can try to address this by requiring people to submit and destroy their receipts to leave the building, but what when somebody loses theirs, or eats it? I guess you can lock them in until they starve, but I hope we can agree that's not an effective approach. And if someone can lose their receipt, they can (and thus can be coerced to) hide it on their person and smuggle it out of the facility.

    Each person can personally audit their vote, which is a real strike against voter fraud.

    In-person voter fraud is not a problem in the US, so much so that focusing on it has become a dog-whistle for people trying to distract from their voter suppression activities, which is a huge problem in the US.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on United States Postal Service (USPS) files patent for a blockchain-based voting system in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Therefore, you can be coerced to reveal your voter ID, therefore specific votes can be coerced or purchased. I am categorically unwilling to blame someone for caving to threats on their life or...

    The only person who knows your voter ID is you unless you tell someone…

    Therefore, you can be coerced to reveal your voter ID, therefore specific votes can be coerced or purchased.

    …and that's on you, no one else.

    I am categorically unwilling to blame someone for caving to threats on their life or health, or that of their loved ones, or lifechanging monetary payouts. Even if I didn't have a shred of empathy in my body, I'd recognize that people will cave to those things, and thus the integrity of elections will be compromised.

    Pseudonymity is actually insufficient for voting; the votes must be truly anonymous, such that it is impossible for any party (including the voter themselves) to link votes back to voters.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on United States Postal Service (USPS) files patent for a blockchain-based voting system in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    This is not a "serious attempt at modernizing the voting system". (It could well be an incompetent attempt made in earnest, though assuming good faith where the GOP is concerned would be a...

    This is not a "serious attempt at modernizing the voting system". (It could well be an incompetent attempt made in earnest, though assuming good faith where the GOP is concerned would be a grievous error.) If it were, it would be talking about a Merkle tree-based voting system. The term "blockchain" is exclusively used by scammers or the still-oblivious victims of scammers; and the concept which it names predates it by thirty years, has been productively exploited for all that time, and has no meaningful applicability to online voting.

    12 votes
  16. Comment on United States Postal Service (USPS) files patent for a blockchain-based voting system in ~tech

  17. Comment on What's your computer/PC like? in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I'm running Linux, so it certainly won't be a registry fix. ;) I don't know exactly where the problem lies—Bluetooth module firmware, system firmware, some other firmware—but it's nowhere in the...

    I'm running Linux, so it certainly won't be a registry fix. ;)

    I don't know exactly where the problem lies—Bluetooth module firmware, system firmware, some other firmware—but it's nowhere in the software, because the system is asleep and nothing is running when it happens. It's possible there's some EFI variable not exposed through the firmware config utility that would fix the trigger-happiness of wakeups, but I haven't found it. Turning off bluetooth is stupid, but does the trick.

  18. Comment on What's your computer/PC like? in ~tech

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link
    There are roughly three that I use regularly. My personal laptop: a Thinkpad X62, an X61 with custom guts made by the 51nb Chinese Thinkpad forums. This is the latest in a succession of generally...

    There are roughly three that I use regularly.

    • My personal laptop: a Thinkpad X62, an X61 with custom guts made by the 51nb Chinese Thinkpad forums. This is the latest in a succession of generally similar devices: an X201s, an X301, an X40… My personal computers always run Debian stable, because I consider and treat them as tools and tools should work when you go to use them.
    • My work laptop: a Dell XPS 13. Specs aren't super relevant to my work, but it's got an i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD. The keyboard is abominable, the screen is glossy and too rectangular, the touchpad lacks hard buttons and is the only integrated mouse, the wrist rest has sharp edges, the power button sticks, it only has USB-C ports (so welcome to dongle-opolis), the firmware is mind-bogglingly stupid in some ways (I have to disable the bluetooth adapter before I put it to sleep because a bluetooth device attempting to pair will wake it from sleep), and it is by a significant margin the best laptop an employer has ever purchased for me. (Laptops suuuuuuuuck these days.) About 90% of the time it's docked and I use it like a desktop, so the shortcomings are mostly mitigated. It also runs Debian stable.
    • My personal desktop: custom built, Ryzen 5 2600/Radeon R9 390/32GB RAM in an Antec 300 from my very first build right out of college. This monster is almost entirely a gaming console, so it runs Windows (7 for a long time, now up to 10, but it got screwed up somewhere along the way so a reinstall is in the cards shortly); however, I do sometimes use it for heavy-duty number crunching (e.g. video encoding), so it sometimes has a Debian install alongside.
    3 votes