whbboyd's recent activity

  1. Comment on The most divisive trend in water-closet architecture has reached Boston: the open-concept bathroom in ~design

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Ah, perhaps. I don't have much insight into what proportion of Bostonians flush with the lid up or down. I always put the lid down, because I'm not a monster.

    Ah, perhaps.

    I don't have much insight into what proportion of Bostonians flush with the lid up or down. I always put the lid down, because I'm not a monster.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on The most divisive trend in water-closet architecture has reached Boston: the open-concept bathroom in ~design

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Absolutely not. It may actually violate building or health codes. I'm almost certain it was done here because the renovators wanted to add another bathroom but there wasn't a place for it, so they...

    is this custom to do?

    Absolutely not. It may actually violate building or health codes. I'm almost certain it was done here because the renovators wanted to add another bathroom but there wasn't a place for it, so they hijacked the nearest repurposable area (an entryway, apparently) and did the minimum amount of work to add facilities to it, figuring they could sell it anyway if they threw enough trendy interior design buzzwords at the listing.

    I think it almost certainly won't sell without at least some more renovation to wall in and door off the space. The reason a 2000 square foot condo is listed for almost a million dollars is that Boston's real estate market is utterly insane.

    edit: For clarity, since I may have misunderstood the question, "it" in my comment is "making a bathroom without enclosing walls or a door".

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Reddit announces online presence indicators in ~tech

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    Instructions to hide the indicator with uBlock Origin. I don't recall the specific rule, but it's trivial to add interactively: right-click the indicator, and select "<uBlock logo> Block element…"...

    Instructions to hide the indicator with uBlock Origin. I don't recall the specific rule, but it's trivial to add interactively: right-click the indicator, and select "<uBlock logo> Block element…" from the context menu. The default generated rule is appropriate (and any other will catch obviously-wrong elements).

    This works reasonably well on most of the old Reddit interface, e.g. I've element-filtered away any sign of chat.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on Reddit announces online presence indicators in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Threaded conversations are good. You have them anyway, since the first person to respond to a given post is unlikely to be the only person with a response, and they're much harder to follow when...

    Threaded conversations are good. You have them anyway, since the first person to respond to a given post is unlikely to be the only person with a response, and they're much harder to follow when the relationships have to be inferred from cross-reference, quotes, or just context.

    Voting is highly dependent on the community, trending to uniformly bad as it grows. In ironic contradiction to the common wisdom that downvotes are problematic but upvotes are okay, I think that upvotes fail to distinguish high-quality from easy-to-consume content, while downvotes are useful for identifying bad actors; but both weaken as principled voting is swamped by pile-on behavior.

    11 votes
  5. Comment on Do you like your chair? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I have a Herman Miller Aeron (two of them, actually, though one is currently locked in my employer's empty office…), purchased used online for about $300. I will strongly second buying used....

    I have a Herman Miller Aeron (two of them, actually, though one is currently locked in my employer's empty office…), purchased used online for about $300. I will strongly second buying used. High-end office furniture is very durable, and parts are easily available and repairs generally straightforward. (Supply on the used market tends to be pretty good, too, as the primary buyers new are corporations who are not especially price-sensitive and furnish and then liquidate an entire office at once.)

    I bought my first Aeron sight unseen, and liked it, so it worked out, but I definitely do recommend going to a place with a showroom and sitting in the chair you want before you buy it. There is no such thing as a chair that is perfect for everyone, and it would suck to drop hundreds of dollars on a high-end chair that you find uncomfortable and have to replace.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Posing as Amazon seller, consumer group investigates fake-review industry in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    There is another possible explanation: Amazon has decided that retail is not a sufficiently important part of its business to to invest the effort needed to police it. This seems outlandish at...

    There is another possible explanation: Amazon has decided that retail is not a sufficiently important part of its business to to invest the effort needed to police it.

    This seems outlandish at first glance, of course (it's Amazon, they practically are retail), but to the best of my recollection, AWS is more profitable (as a percentage of revenue, obviously it's smaller) and faster-growing than retail, and their new CEO came from the AWS side, not the retail side.

    Time will tell, I suppose. Any damage to Amazon's retail monopoly is of course beneficial, regardless of the cause.

    3 votes
  7. Comment on Tesla recalls cars with eMMC failures, calling chips soldered to a motherboard a "wear item" in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    If you are putting Linux on an embedded-ish system, and your development team does not consist entirely of rank amateurs, you will be aware of this issue and put most of your logs into memory...

    If you are putting Linux on an embedded-ish system, and your development team does not consist entirely of rank amateurs, you will be aware of this issue and put most of your logs into memory rather than burning flash write cycles on them. (Or possibly make the writable medium removable and easily replaceable, or massively overprovision flash so write exhaustion takes decades rather than years, or make sure your logging volume is low enough that write exhaustion takes decades rather than years. There are plenty of options. The fact that this would be a problem is basic knowledge in the field, and so either Tesla knew about it and chose not to do anything, or their entire engineering staff actually are rank amateurs.)

    edit: To explain the technical terms, "tmpfs" is a filesystem which is backed by memory, not any real storage, and so can be used to make "logging to memory" transparent to programs; and /var/log is the directory to which logs are traditionally written.

    15 votes
  8. Comment on CD Projekt Red's internal systems were compromised, attacker left ransomware and a threat to release their data, including the source code of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 in ~games

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Depending on how complete the source is, it may be possible to compile it and distribute what is essentially an internal, unprotected engine binary. Knowing what the protected binary does may be...

    Depending on how complete the source is, it may be possible to compile it and distribute what is essentially an internal, unprotected engine binary.

    Knowing what the protected binary does may be useful to crackers analyzing the protection, though I don't know enough about modern-day cracking to say for sure. Other than that, no, I don't think it's likely to be directly helpful.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on Losing faith in "UX" in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I was really struck by this quote from a supposed "rebuttal": …because it's factually true (the problems with Uber, Lyft, et. al. are certainly not the user experience, at least for passengers,...

    I was really struck by this quote from a supposed "rebuttal":

    You can have a great user experience in one sense and be exploited, or exploit others, at the same time (e.g. Uber, Facebook or even heroin).

    …because it's factually true (the problems with Uber, Lyft, et. al. are certainly not the user experience, at least for passengers, and especially compared to the taxi systems they aim to replace) and an interesting observation in its own right, but is in fact an argument in favor of Mark's original thesis. The "great user experience" for passengers is used to drive exploitation of drivers (and, arguably, societies); UX being used for exploitation, exactly as described.

    10 votes
  10. Comment on Any fans of regular non-smart watches? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link
    I actually currently wear a Pebble Time Round, and I like it, but when it inevitably dies, I think I'm going to move on to a nice dumb watch and be done with smart watches for the foreseeable...

    I actually currently wear a Pebble Time Round, and I like it, but when it inevitably dies, I think I'm going to move on to a nice dumb watch and be done with smart watches for the foreseeable future.

    I love watches (I got my first watch in my preteens, was super excited about it, and have worn one practically every day since), and the vast majority of smart watches are bad watches. The biggest culprit are sometimes-off screens (making the device a bracelet unless you perform a specific gesture to activate the screen), but they also tend to be physically clunky, nonreplaceable batteries and CADT software seriously limit the lifespan, and the smart features interfere with the watch functionality in other ways. I find the smart features of my Pebble useful (reading texts and hanging up on unwanted calls without pulling my phone out of my pocket are both really nice), but not even close to useful enough to give up having a nice-looking, very functional watch.

    8 votes
  11. Comment on Silicon Valley hasn’t innovated since 1978 in ~comp

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Okay, but… Linux wasn't innovative. It was a Unix clone for x86. It wasn't even the first Unix clone for x86. "Not innovative" is definitely not to be read as "not impactful" here.

    Linux was not innovative

    Okay, but… Linux wasn't innovative. It was a Unix clone for x86. It wasn't even the first Unix clone for x86.

    "Not innovative" is definitely not to be read as "not impactful" here.

    10 votes
  12. Comment on The hedge fund Citadel does not buy Robinhood data, Citadel Securities is a different company, and other misconceptions in ~finance

    whbboyd
    Link
    It might be worth mentioning the obvious explanation for why Robinhood did halt buys for meme stocks: their customers stand to get rinsed on those purchases, and that makes Robinhood look bad....

    It might be worth mentioning the obvious explanation for why Robinhood did halt buys for meme stocks: their customers stand to get rinsed on those purchases, and that makes Robinhood look bad. Since this whole fiasco is now international news, it stands to make them look bad on the front pages of major newspapers worldwide. Robinhood is no stranger to bad press, but it's not at all difficult to imagine them seeing that sort of potential media exposure, blinking, and making extremely poor decisions to try to limit the losses their customers sustain.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on Furniture giant IKEA is planning to sell spare parts for its furniture – its aim is to prolong the life of its products and dispel the idea that it makes disposable goods in ~finance

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I think the perception that Ikea's products are disposable trash comes from the fact that their cheapest, bottom-end products are disposable trash. Sure, laminated cardboard honeycomb can get you...

    I think the perception that Ikea's products are disposable trash comes from the fact that their cheapest, bottom-end products are disposable trash.

    Sure, laminated cardboard honeycomb can get you a serviceable table for $25 (which to be honest is a notable technical accomplishment: it's essentially recycled cardboard boxes into an actually usable piece of furniture); but it is in every sense of the word "cheap". It won't hold up to any amount of abuse, moving with it is a dicey proposition, liquid spills rapidly destroy both the finish and "structure", and for god's sake don't sit on it.

    Their better stuff is unquestionably good (though very quickly stops being cheap); in my experience, the particleboard-based furniture is solid but starts to disintegrate around fasteners with repeated dis- and re-assembly, and anything solid wood holds up very well. However, you can get decent or good furniture almost anywhere; Ikea is one of the very, very few places selling new bottom-dollar furniture, and so that furniture is what ends up setting their reputation.

    11 votes
  14. Comment on What's something you wish people outside of your field knew/understood? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I've entertained the glimmers of a blog post on this topic, that I should probably flesh out and publish. Essentially: computers are hilariously user-hostile, and users are very well aware of this...

    I've entertained the glimmers of a blog post on this topic, that I should probably flesh out and publish. Essentially: computers are hilariously user-hostile, and users are very well aware of this and have developed a variety of behaviors to protect themselves. Most of the user behaviors that tech people find annoying are of this form.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on Lobsters 2021 mod applications in ~tildes

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link
    I deleted my lobste.rs account a bit over a year ago because of extreme unaddressed tolerance of Nazis, so I'm glad to see my decision continues to have been correct. Oh, wait, no I'm not, it...

    I deleted my lobste.rs account a bit over a year ago because of extreme unaddressed tolerance of Nazis, so I'm glad to see my decision continues to have been correct.

    Oh, wait, no I'm not, it fucking sucks. The only similarly active reasonably professional tech forums I've found are on Reddit (!) and Hacker News (which has its own crippling, though largely orthogonal, cultural issues). But lobste.rs's nazi apologist problem makes every comment that's not either 100% subjective or trivially mechanically verifiable (e.g. quoting a manpage) impossible to take at face value, because you know the site happily tolerates people with disgusting views who will try to subtly inject those views into any comment they can. (Quick example: a certain right-wing neofeudalist cryptocurrency platform I'm not going to name or link, notable primarily for being made by a certain white supremacist I'm also not going to name or link, gets more traction on lobste.rs than anywhere else I've been on the Internet, and when the author is inevitably called out, an argument about whether or not it's okay to call out white supremacists inevitably ensues, much like the dumpster fire in the linked topic.)

    To lend some credence to @albino's point about the presence of Nazis driving away other insightful users, I had over 5,000 karma, putting me in the top 1% of users and top 5% of active users, so clearly my contributions were considered valuable before I was driven off by their Nazi problem. I was partially inspired to leave by Steve Klabnik, legendary Rust contributor, publicly ceasing his involvement on the site for essentially similar reasons.

    16 votes
  16. Comment on What is the difference between Linux distros? Why do you use the one you use? in ~comp

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    @Akir pretty much has it. DOS is very, very limited. If you're just a business user in the early '90s trying to keep track of accounts or whatever, this doesn't really matter; everything you're...

    @Akir pretty much has it. DOS is very, very limited. If you're just a business user in the early '90s trying to keep track of accounts or whatever, this doesn't really matter; everything you're doing will be in one or maybe two applications, and the limitations of the OS never really affect your life. However, if you're an aspiring young hacker—perhaps one who has access to a powerful mainframe running Unix at university, to know what they're missing—it's extremely constraining. Linux was not, strictly speaking, the first ever Unix-like for PC (Minix was first released in 1987, and I won't pretend to know the history well enough to claim there weren't earlier ones), but it was very early, and for a variety of reasons (also a deep topic to delve into!), caught on.

    8 votes
  17. Comment on Inside Cyberpunk 2077's disastrous rollout in ~games

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I believe Bloomberg's paywall is "soft", i.e. you can read some number of full articles without logging in or paying them. (In any case, I don't have a Bloomberg account, and I can read it.) Two...

    I believe Bloomberg's paywall is "soft", i.e. you can read some number of full articles without logging in or paying them. (In any case, I don't have a Bloomberg account, and I can read it.) Two things to try are:

    • Deleting your cookies for bloomberg.com
    • Opening the page in a private browser window
    4 votes
  18. Comment on What is the difference between Linux distros? Why do you use the one you use? in ~comp

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link
    To understand Linux distros, you have to go waaay back to look at the history of Linux and how it was first used and distributed. (It may be instructive to look further back than that, to the...
    • Exemplary

    To understand Linux distros, you have to go waaay back to look at the history of Linux and how it was first used and distributed.

    (It may be instructive to look further back than that, to the origins of the Free Software movement itself, but I'm not going to go that far.)

    So before there were Linux distros, there was Linux. Linux is just a kernel—the software you need to run other software on your computer, but it does not, itself, directly do anything useful. So, if you want to "use" Linux in any meaningful way, you need other software installed on your computer. (The reasons you'd want to use Linux instead of just plunking DOS or something on your 386 are somewhat involved; the Free Software history linked above goes into it a bit more.) At the very beginning, people compiled the other software they wanted to use with Linux by hand, but this is extraordinarily cumbersome, and so people started packaging that other useful software up with the Linux kernel and "distributing" it all together—hence the phrase "Linux distribution", generally shortened to "distro".

    Now, a single distro is a unified entity—all the software is packaged up together and intended to work together (though at this point it's essentially unheard of for a given install to include all the software packaged in a distribution—Debian, for instance, has more than fifty thousand packages, only a small fraction of which are typically installed). Different distros likely share many software components (in particular, the Linux kernel itself); however, they may distribute different versions of those components; configure them differently; etc. Differentiating features of distros include:

    • The release cycle: for instance, Debian makes stable releases roughly every two years, which are then maintained with packages at the released version until the next stable release; while Arch releases new versions of packages constantly as they become available from the upstream developers (this is called a "rolling" release model, as it never "stops").
    • The package manager used to manage installation of distributed packages. Debian and Ubuntu use apt/dpkg; Red Hat and Fedora use rpm; Arch uses pacman; etc. Package manager is often the most obvious difference in the administration of different distros.
    • Customization made to the distributed software. Distros generally apply patches on top of the upstream releases of the software they distribute, for reasons from adhering to distro policies to better integration with other distro components to backporting bug and security fixes to versions maintained in the distro but no longer upstream. The most visible example of this is usually the visual theme in the default graphical environment, which most distros customize. For example, compare Ubuntu to Debian (both with the GNOME desktop environment).
    • The governance model of the distribution developers. This is generally less apparent to end-users, but has follow-on effects on all the other aspects of the distro. For example, Red Hat and Ubuntu are operated by corporations (Red Hat and Canonical, respectively), which have final say in their distro's operation; Debian is community-led, with all developers taking part in the distro's governance.

    People choose distros on the basis of the differentiating features they care about. I use Debian exclusively; my reasons for this are primarily the release cycle, giving me long windows of stability in which I don't have to worry about my OS breaking under me, followed by aspects of their packaging policy I like and approve of (and their willingness to patch upstreams that do not conform), followed by the very wide selection of packages. In terms of day-to-day use, nothing about my setup is specific to Debian; I could make a near-identical system on Ubuntu, or Arch, or even FreeBSD if I decided I really wanted to.

    36 votes
  19. Comment on Inside Cyberpunk 2077's disastrous rollout in ~games

    whbboyd
    Link
    Schreier's Twitter has a long list of additional (mostly damning) tidbits that didn't make the article: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1350322423170797568.html

    Schreier's Twitter has a long list of additional (mostly damning) tidbits that didn't make the article: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1350322423170797568.html

    8 votes