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    1. What are secure alternatives to slack, and what are your experiences with them?

      First, some context. The latest from the US justice department saying that they will be focusing on finding "ANTIFA leaders" is incredibly troubling for anyone involved in leftist groups. I...

      First, some context. The latest from the US justice department saying that they will be focusing on finding "ANTIFA leaders" is incredibly troubling for anyone involved in leftist groups. I foresee a lot of good activists, regardless of how far left they actually are, arrested on trumped up charges in order to squash opposition.

      Organizing is essential to resist fascism. This is made more difficult by the pandemic, as in person meetings bring a huge, almost unacceptable risk. As such, many orgs have been turning to platforms like Slack instead. Trouble is, Slack logs are not encrypted and I am certain that as a business based in the US Slack will not put up a fight to keep user data safe if the feds come calling.

      I'd like to collect a decent list of alternatives. Important factors include encryption, ownership, open source status, ease of use, federation, scalability, hosting, cross platform, and anything else you can think of.

      6 votes
    2. Phone automation - Share your workflows!

      I recently switched operating systems on my phone and lost some of the automated workflows I had during the transition. While I've rebuilt some of it, but it sometimes feels like I'm missing...

      I recently switched operating systems on my phone and lost some of the automated workflows I had during the transition. While I've rebuilt some of it, but it sometimes feels like I'm missing something or that I could do more, I just don't know what exactly. I'd like to hear from others here and see if they can inspire me to implement what works for them. I'm using an android phone with automate and here's the workflows that I got:

      • When plugging in the phone, set it to do not disturb and enable Bluetooth. This is for when I go to sleep so that I don't get woken up by notifications and I can listen to podcasts on my headband.
      • If at work (Based on cell towers, not GPS) set phone to vibrate, when leaving it set it to ring. I actually lost this one but haven't rebuilt it since I've not been to the office in a while.
      • Learn location. For a set time, grabs the cell towers around and stores them in a JSON file.

      What kind of automation have you implemented on your phone?

      18 votes
    3. How do you design a Proof of Concept project for a new dev/test tool?

      Input wanted for an article. Let's say that your company is considering the purchase of an expensive new application to help in the company's software development. The demo looks great, and the...

      Input wanted for an article.

      Let's say that your company is considering the purchase of an expensive new application to help in the company's software development. The demo looks great, and the feature list makes it sound perfect for your needs. So your Management arranges for a proof of concept license to find out if the software is worth the hefty investment. The boss comes to you to ask you to be in charge of the PoC project.

      I'm aiming to write an article to help developers, devops, and testers determine if a given vendor's application meets the company's needs. The only assumption I'm making is that the software is expensive; if it's cheap, the easy answer is, "Buy a copy for a small team and see what they think." And I'm thinking in terms of development software rather than enterprise tools (e.g. cloud-based backup) though I suspect many of the practices are similar.

      Aside: Note that this project is beyond "Decide if we need such a thing." In this scenario, everyone agrees that purchasing a tool is a good idea, and they agree on the baseline requirements. The issue is whether this is the right software for the job.

      So, how do you go about it? I'm sure that it's more than "Get a copy and poke at it randomly." How did (or would) you go about designing a PoC project? If you've been involved in such a project in the past (particularly if the purchase wasn't ideal), what advice could someone have given you to help you make a better choice? I want to create a useful guide that applies to any "enterprise-class" purchase.

      For example: Do you recommend that the PoC period be based on time (N months) or workload (N transactions)? How do you decide who should be on the PoC team? What's involved in putting together a comprehensive list of requirements (e.g. integrates with OurFavoredDatabase, meets performance goals of X), creating a test suite that exercises what the software dev product does, and evaluating the results? ...and what am I not thinking of, that I should?

      7 votes
    4. Looking for good quality sleep headphones

      The cheap bluetooth sleep-mask with built-in headphones I ordered off Amazon stopped working (big surprise) and I'm in the market for something similar but of good quality. Requirements: Wireless...

      The cheap bluetooth sleep-mask with built-in headphones I ordered off Amazon stopped working (big surprise) and I'm in the market for something similar but of good quality. Requirements:

      • Wireless
      • Comfortable to wear while I'm lying on my side

      It doesn't have to be part of a sleep mask, and it doesn't even need to have great audio quality. I use it more for audiobooks and white noise than music. I just want something that's going to work with no issues and last for a while.

      20 votes
    5. Questions about graphics card failures

      TL;DR: How long should a graphics card last? What can I do to make them last longer? This is perhaps an odd question to ask, but I've been a console gamer for most of my life and have only been...

      TL;DR: How long should a graphics card last? What can I do to make them last longer?

      This is perhaps an odd question to ask, but I've been a console gamer for most of my life and have only been all-in on PC gaming for maybe 1-2 years and I think I may be missing something.

      So there has been about three times when I have spent money on a half-decent graphics card, and each time they have failed me. The first one was a genuine hardware failure, probably a memory failure judging from the artifacting. The second one failed for reasons I have been unable to figure out. It didn't appear to be overheating, but I was getting driver errors that suggested it were; reinstalling from scratch did nothing to fix it.

      The last, most current one is the one that bugs me the most. I'm getting the same problems; driver crashes just like overheating, except this one has better temperature monitoring and I can see that isn't happening.

      I previously thought that the reason why my graphics cards would always crap out on me was because those were cheaper cards from less reputable manufacturers, but this last one is really bugging me because it's relatively high end and from a reputable manufacturer - it's a Gigabyte Radeon RX 5700, complete with the giant AMD reference cooler. I'm getting it RMAed, but since I didn't keep the receipt I am still going to have to pay to fix it even though it should theoretically be under warranty.

      I've done a ton of searching to find out how I can possibly solve this myself, but I am frankly astounded by how little information the drivers give out on Windows. I'm seeing that the device is being reported as unavailable but nothing whatsoever as to why.

      To make matters worse, it seems like this isn't actually common for other people. Most people seem to be replacing their graphics card because they are obsolete, not because they physically fail.

      So basically what I am asking is, how long is a graphics card actually supposed to last for? Do I just have astonishingly bad luck?

      10 votes