whbboyd's recent activity

  1. Comment on What shortages have you noticed recently? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Interesting… I had to replace my dishwasher a few weeks ago¹, and had no issues with supply or availability. I was also shopping in the mid-range. I bought from a big-box store in the northeast...

    Interesting… I had to replace my dishwasher a few weeks ago¹, and had no issues with supply or availability. I was also shopping in the mid-range. I bought from a big-box store in the northeast US, if that makes a difference; the local appliance refurbisher I would have preferred to buy from was out, but dishwashers aren't their primary product, and their stock is limited at the best of times.

    To @joplin's point, my new dishwasher is not at all smart; but I'm pretty sure dishwashers have been using microcontrollers instead of analog controls to handle their automation since the '90s at the latest. "Smart" appliances need a lot more computing power to effectively spy on you provide their "smart" functionality; but if it gets bad enough, the chip shortage will eventually affect "dumb" devices, as well.


    ¹ It's off-topic, but I want to rant about it anyway: the failed component in the old dishwasher was a 5¢ flex cable that was insufficiently waterproofed and corroded internally. All the big pieces, the pumps, motor, heating coil, seals, etc., were, to the best of my knowledge, totally fine. Of course, the smallest component Maytag ever sold that included that cable was the entire control panel, which was going for probably more than the dishwasher was actually worth. This wasn't planned obsolescence; it was just bad engineering, coupled with a manufacturer not forced to stand behind and support the repair of their products.

    At least the new one is a significant upgrade along pretty much every axis.

    6 votes
  2. Comment on What shortages have you noticed recently? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I tried to order a floor lamp back in March. At the time, the specific model I wanted was back-ordered until the end of April. It's now September. That lamp is now expected to be available in late...

    I tried to order a floor lamp back in March. At the time, the specific model I wanted was back-ordered until the end of April.

    It's now September. That lamp is now expected to be available in late October, but that's obviously a lie. I really liked that specific lamp, too, but as we come back into northern-hemisphere winter, I think I need to go back to the lighting store and buy something that's actually in stock.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on What’s going on with the ‘Great Resignation’? You’d better work on hanging on to your workers, or you may end up shutting your business doors. in ~finance

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    The overall gestalt at my employer is definitely in favor of remote work, but a sizeable minority wanted back into the office. People with loud homes, no space for a good WFH setup, or...

    The overall gestalt at my employer is definitely in favor of remote work, but a sizeable minority wanted back into the office. People with loud homes, no space for a good WFH setup, or questionable living situations (with parents, for instance) are going to want an external office they can retreat to, even (potentially) at the cost of a commute. This is something that's clearly very subjective.

    Personally, I want access to an office, but not to be required to be there on the majority of days (which is where we seem likely to land, once the state of things with respect to COVID is stable for long enough for a policy to actually go into effect).

    8 votes
  4. Comment on The Reddit COVID blackout has begun in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I considered exemplary-ing it just to push it up to the top of the comments here because it's a highly relevant update. (I'm not the person who actually did label it, though.)

    I considered exemplary-ing it just to push it up to the top of the comments here because it's a highly relevant update.

    (I'm not the person who actually did label it, though.)

    7 votes
  5. Comment on The Reddit COVID blackout has begun in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Well the top moderator of kotakuinaction (the primary gamergate sub) took the sub private because it was a toxic hellhole, and the Reddit admins decided it was very important to have that toxic...

    Well the top moderator of kotakuinaction (the primary gamergate sub) took the sub private because it was a toxic hellhole, and the Reddit admins decided it was very important to have that toxic hellhole, removed him as a moderator, and reopened the sub. It, of course, remains a toxic hellhole to this day.

    So yes, it is 100% believable that Reddit would shut down or hostile-takeover subs which go private in protest of its superlatively awful behaviors.

    18 votes
  6. Comment on A decade and a half of instability: The history of Google messaging apps in ~tech

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    This drum gets banged repeatedly, but Google has designed their employee performance and evaluation structures to literally mandate this. People get promoted for building new things, not for...

    Google had basically decided that they were going to have their engineers and coders rewrite the same basic functionality countless times for what appears to be zero benefit.

    This drum gets banged repeatedly, but Google has designed their employee performance and evaluation structures to literally mandate this. People get promoted for building new things, not for maintaining or improving existing things. Until they fix this, Google can't have stable products (other than a small handful of golden geese with protection at the executive level, mostly consisting of search and email)—everything they make is guaranteed to be abandoned immediately after release and bitrot until it's canned.

    11 votes
  7. Comment on Advice on colorful programmable LED lights in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    It's worth noting—since I'm not sure anyone has stated this explicitly yet—that it is possible to use Hue bulbs as raw Zigbee bulbs, without involving a Hue hub or any Hue integrations. I have...

    It's worth noting—since I'm not sure anyone has stated this explicitly yet—that it is possible to use Hue bulbs as raw Zigbee bulbs, without involving a Hue hub or any Hue integrations. I have more than half a dozen connected directly to my Homeassistant instance.

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Landlords from Florida to California are jacking up rents at record speeds in ~finance

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Eviction bans also decrease supply, since evictions would ordinarily return some portion of rentals to the market. The fundamental problem is that there's not enough housing in the country,...

    Eviction bans also decrease supply, since evictions would ordinarily return some portion of rentals to the market.

    The fundamental problem is that there's not enough housing in the country, though—a problem which is largely driven by restrictive zoning which discourages high-density housing construction, which it itself driven by single-family property ownership.

    12 votes
  9. Comment on If you've ever wore braces or any similar mouth/teeth focused apparel, what has your experience been like? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link
    It varied between uncomfortable and incredibly painful. After a few years, I decided I was done going through all that for unnecessary cosmetic purposes, put my foot down (I was like thirteen or...

    It varied between uncomfortable and incredibly painful. After a few years, I decided I was done going through all that for unnecessary cosmetic purposes, put my foot down (I was like thirteen or fourteen at this point), and got everything taken out. Almost twenty years later, my only regret is that I put up with it for so long. Cosmetic orthodontics on children is a trend I would be happy to see burned to the ground and forgotten.

    The palate spreader did cure me of sucking my thumb, which is about the only positive thing I can say about the experience.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on Open source alternatives to Slack, Google Drive and Google Docs in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Rocket chat is almost precisely a FOSS Slack clone. You could easily mistake it for Slack-with-a-different-color-scheme. If your group is already comfortable with Slack, a transition to Rocket...

    Rocket chat is almost precisely a FOSS Slack clone. You could easily mistake it for Slack-with-a-different-color-scheme. If your group is already comfortable with Slack, a transition to Rocket will be very easy.

    6 votes
  11. Comment on 1Password 8: The story so far in ~tech

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I am not a 1Password customer, and wasn't planning on becoming one, and this change… certainly doesn't change my mind. Electron is an absolute dealbreaker for me unless it's literally the only...

    I am not a 1Password customer, and wasn't planning on becoming one, and this change… certainly doesn't change my mind.

    • Electron is an absolute dealbreaker for me unless it's literally the only possible way to get the functionality I need, which is literally never the case, and certainly not in the rich world of password managers.
    • Is it correct for me to interpret "local vaults are no longer supported" as implying that offline usage is also not supported? If so, that's an absolute dealbreaker. I'm not online all the time, and I'm not wasting time on tools that could function without an internet connection, but don't. If it "sort of" works offline, then it's a dealbreaker in inverse proportion to how sort of it is. My current solution is 100% functional offline except for sync.
    • Cloud storage is a sticking point. Client-side cryptography can mitigate it somewhat, but 1Password's servers are still a single enormously juicy target to any particularly advanced attacker looking to flex its muscle. 1Password's servers may be more secure than mine, but they're also millions of times more likely to attract credible attacks.

    On the other hand:

    • Presumably older versions were written in unsafe languages (C/C++ or Objective C), and moving to Rust is a fantastic step in the right direction there. Trawling 1Password's CVEs, there aren't really enough to get a good feel for how much risk they're mitigating here.
    7 votes
  12. Comment on What useless information do you have memorized? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I never came anywhere near memorizing that, but I recognize it. I wonder where it originally came from, and how many millions of XP installs were registered with that serial.

    I never came anywhere near memorizing that, but I recognize it. I wonder where it originally came from, and how many millions of XP installs were registered with that serial.

    5 votes
  13. Comment on How to get a near perfect shave in less than ₹5 in ~finance

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    My wife and I recently finished our huge stash of blades and had to buy new ones. I decided to splurge on really nice blades and spent a whopping $25 (including shipping) on a 100-pack, which from...

    My wife and I recently finished our huge stash of blades and had to buy new ones. I decided to splurge on really nice blades and spent a whopping $25 (including shipping) on a 100-pack, which from experience is going to last us probably close to half a decade—an amortized cost of 20¢ per person per month.

    Granted, we're not shaving as much as some people (just weekly for both of us, for instance). But no matter your habits, even if you go for the spendiest safety razor blades and supplies imaginable, it'll come in much cheaper than even the cheapest cartridge razors.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on What’s a mistake many people do not know they are making? in ~talk

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    Also "would of"/"could of"/"should of". Produced, I assume, because they are homophonous with the correct contractions ("would've" for "would have", etc.), but I find them distractingly wrong when...

    Also "would of"/"could of"/"should of". Produced, I assume, because they are homophonous with the correct contractions ("would've" for "would have", etc.), but I find them distractingly wrong when they're present, and essentially can't read text in which they're especially prevalent.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on What do you like and dislike about your chosen music service(s)? in ~music

    whbboyd
    Link
    I have a fileserver in my basement. Music files go on it, it gets mounted to devices I want to play that music off of, music gets played just like local music files. Files are sourced from a...

    I have a fileserver in my basement. Music files go on it, it gets mounted to devices I want to play that music off of, music gets played just like local music files.

    Files are sourced from a variety of places: digital downloads, ripped from physical media, some portion ripped from Youtube videos (don't tell the audiophiles). Ripped from CD with the disc placed in storage for backup would probably be ideal, but I'm pretty pragmatic about where I get stuff from.

    Pros:

    • No external actors to decide they don't like what I'm listening to and unilaterally limit or remove my access to my music.
    • No external actors to keep track of the embarrassing shit I listen to, for purposes nefarious or otherwise.
    • No proprietary (or even free/libre but weird) player software. Anything that can play files will work.
    • A home server is useful for all manner of things other than just serving music. (I have a bunch of other media on mine, plus general backups, a medium for large file transfers, scratch space for processes which need a lot of it, running a bunch of other useful network services, etc.)

    Cons:

    • I have to admin the fileserver myself. Having a home server is extremely useful for a variety of reasons, but if you're not already comfortable with light sysadminning, this is an acknowledged (and appropriate) hard no.
    • I have to handle backups myself. If I get backups wrong and my house burns down, in addition to everything else, I lose all my music.
    • Access from outside my LAN requires that I set up a VPN, which is yet more admin load.
    • Phones have garbage support for common network filesystem protocols for no clear reason. I haven't gotten around to making streaming to my phone work. (Selectively copying portions of my library onto it via a real computer is a fine workflow for me.)

    I'm extremely happy with it, but it's definitely not the right approach for everyone.

    6 votes
  16. Comment on US quietly slips out of Afghanistan in dead of night in ~misc

  17. Comment on Fortnightly Programming Q&A Thread in ~comp

    whbboyd
    Link Parent
    I have no Mac-specific suggestions, but Virtualbox is certainly the easiest virtualization tool I've used (n.b. I last touched any of them several years ago), and if it makes you feel better about...

    I have no Mac-specific suggestions, but Virtualbox is certainly the easiest virtualization tool I've used (n.b. I last touched any of them several years ago), and if it makes you feel better about its provenance, it was a Sun product (actually, they bought it, too), not an Oracle original; and it's GPLv2 free software (though of course, Oracle is a bad upstream), so you could e.g. use Homebrew's build rather than Oracle's.

    MacOS guests are infamously janky, though, as Apple really doesn't want you to virtualize it. If you're willing to spend up to a few hundred dollars, you might have the best experience picking up a used Mac Mini (here's an eBay seller with a bunch of late 2014s which support Big Sur for $250) and snapshotting and working on that.

    4 votes
  18. Comment on GitHub Copilot is not infringing your copyright in ~tech

    whbboyd
    (edited )
    Link
    I find this article pretty frustrating. I'm not going to do a point-by-point, because the response to every point is the same: Copilot is copying things. The mechanism by which it does so is...

    I find this article pretty frustrating. I'm not going to do a point-by-point, because the response to every point is the same:

    Copilot is copying things.

    The mechanism by which it does so is completely irrelevant. If somebody copies my GPL code, I don't give a rat's ass how (and nor do the courts)—computer clipboard, file copy, handwritten notebook, or big pile of linear algebra, it doesn't matter at all, it is the fact of the copy that matters. And if they publish whatever project they copied my GPL code into with Copilot, it is my legal right to insist that they follow the terms of the GPL—i.e., they license their project under the same terms.

    What happens if Copilot copies code under mutually incompatible licenses? I don't know the details of the licensing of their training data, but obviously, neither do they, so it's a safe bet there is a wide variety represented.

    Much more broadly speaking, this debacle constitutes yet more proof (as if we needed more) that we don't understand how machine learning algorithms work well enough to actually use them (though of course the fact that they regurgitate large portions of their input data with minimal prompting is well-known and the Copilot developers should have thought of).

    13 votes