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    1. Prototyping group decision making with automatic delegation

      Hey folks, I want to prototype a tool to help groups of people make decisions using a new decision making mechanism. We have two systems of democratic decision making that have major downsides:...

      Hey folks,

      I want to prototype a tool to help groups of people make decisions using a new decision making mechanism.

      We have two systems of democratic decision making that have major downsides:

      1. Direct democracy - everyone votes on every issue. Downside: not everyone has the time and the necessary expertise to vote on every issue.
      2. Representative democracy - everyone votes who will represent them and the representatives vote on every issue. The downside is the corruption - the representatives may not represent the best interest of those who entrusted them.

      The idea I want to explore is a hybrid of the two systems:

      • Like in a direct democracy you can vote on every issue.
      • If you do not vote on a given issue, then your vote is automatically delegated to people who voted like you in the past.

      To test this out I want to build a website [1] where anyone can create a group and invite others to the group. The group members can create proposals and vote on them to make a decision.

      For the idea to be tested the group needs to make many decisions over time (ie, not one-off polls like strawpoll.*). Only then can it take advantage of the delegation based on “voted like you in the past”.

      The details of the design will depend on the use-case:

      • How should the group roles work? Would it be enough to have owner & member roles?
      • How to invite to the group - by sending email or a link.
      • Should every member be able to propose options or just the creator or the vote?
      • Should the voting be closed automatically after some time or by hand?
      • Do you delegate implicitly or explicitly - ie, have a vote option to delegate.
      • Do you vote for a single option or can you rank options in the order of your preferences?
      • Open ballot vs secret ballot?

      Some ideas for use-cases:

      • Choose the next “team-building” activity at work.
      • Make content moderation decisions.
      • Which book to read next in a book club. Maybe transfer the list of books and the votes from the previous vote to the next.
      • Make and record company decisions by shareholders. In this case you would want to weigh the votes based on share ownership.

      I think starting with a specific use-case in mind is a better strategy than trying to build a generic tool.

      What do you think? What would you use such a tool for?

      [1] - I will likely make it part of my existing project https://linklonk.com/ unless I find an available good-sounding domain name.

      12 votes
    2. Any Thunderbird aficionados here?

      I've been using Tbird since forever, the past 6-7 years on Linux (Debian/Ubuntu downstreams). A couple years ago, I think during the 68-71 release cycle, there were are lot of panicky blogs about...

      I've been using Tbird since forever, the past 6-7 years on Linux (Debian/Ubuntu downstreams). A couple years ago, I think during the 68-71 release cycle, there were are lot of panicky blogs about "don't upgrade; the new Tbird will irrevocably screw up your Contacts/Calendar/Other Plug-ins", I may even have tried it and experienced issues myself (I don't recall) ... and as a result, I've held my copy at the 60.something release since then.

      Now the 91 update has been out and stable for awhile, and a major overhaul upgrade to 102 is in the offing ... and I'm looking for feedback ... is it safe to upgrade? Might I still hit breaking issues? Or was it always safe?

      16 votes
    3. Google logged my mother out of all devices and now she can't login

      [SOLVED] Thank you so much for everyone's support and suggestions, it seems that I may have overreacted a little bit. One of the things that I did was send a form to Google, but the form was not...

      [SOLVED]

      Thank you so much for everyone's support and suggestions, it seems that I may have overreacted a little bit. One of the things that I did was send a form to Google, but the form was not really for this issue, so I wasn't hopeful at all. To my surprise, I received a message just now with instructions to recover the account and change the 2-factor phone number to my mother's current one. The cause of the issue is not clear, but whatever it was, they sorted it out. She is obviously ecstatic, when I went to her house two days ago I couldn't disguise my pessimism.

      I set her recovery email to my own and will generate recovery codes shortly, so we're good for now. I instructed her on how to download all her data from Google (it's easier than I thought), just because this made her quite paranoid, and I'll take the opportunity to gradually move my family out of Google, as well as myself. Thanks for being so supportive, this was very stressful, to say the least! Sometimes it's nice to know we're not alone ;)

      Original post

      So, for some reason Google logged my mother of everything at once: browsers in two laptops and two smartphones (one Android and one iPhone). Trying to recover the account sends a message to a cellphone number she no longer has. I understand Google is basically unreachable, but there must be something I can do, right? We're not famous, but she does pay for YouTube Premium.

      12 votes
    4. Tech recommendations request: looking for a Linux-friendly 13" laptop

      Final update: See here. Update: Thank you ALL for your valuable feedback. I'm definitely looking into refurbished models now and I have a lot better grasp on what what I should be considering. I'm...

      Final update: See here.


      Update: Thank you ALL for your valuable feedback. I'm definitely looking into refurbished models now and I have a lot better grasp on what what I should be considering. I'm going to do some digging and a ridiculous amount of overshopping over the next couple of days, and then I'll let you all know what my final pick is!


      Hey techy Tildes! I'm back with another support request from you knowledgeable and helpful folks.

      I need a laptop that does exactly three things: gets me online, displays PDFs, and runs office software. I have a large number of online courses that I have to take in the coming years, and I need something that I can just grab while on my couch or in bed to work on papers and assignments, hence the 13" size preference. Long battery life would be highly preferable.

      I looked for options that come with Linux preinstalled, but there's really nothing available that hits what I'm looking for -- there isn't much of a market for 13". As such, my plan is to just buy a standard Windows laptop and then put Linux on it, but I have no idea which particular hardware will play nice with a Linux installation. Budget would be sub-$500 (if possible). I don't need the laptop to do anything other than stay on for a long time and let me type, so I have no need for a powerhouse.

      Can anyone point me in the right direction with some recommendations?

      13 votes
    5. If you could rebuild user authentication on the web from the ground up, what would you do?

      lou's post here resonated with me and my attempts to get my family to use better security practices (i.e. 2FA, password managers). They're very difficult to wrap your brain around to the average...

      lou's post here resonated with me and my attempts to get my family to use better security practices (i.e. 2FA, password managers). They're very difficult to wrap your brain around to the average user, and they have the ability to create catastrophic failstates if used incorrectly. Furthermore, even when they work well, they can still be kind of clunky (different sites use different methods; writing down/printing recovery codes feels like a dated solution alongside other tech-forward things).

      Also, outside of this, password requirements are their own bugbear, with nearly every site having different criteria. Even as someone who uses a password generator and manager on the regular, I still have to adjust the password creation criteria to do things like fit character limits or specific requirements (and don't get me started on forced resets!). I totally get why so many people reuse passwords, or have a default one that they sort of modify as needed to fit a given site's needs.

      From my (admittedly super limited) perspective of a lay user: usernames, passwords, 2FA and the whole stack seems like something that's suffering under the technical debt of decades' worth of web development and networking. It seems like things have inched forward and many new layers have been added to address emergent problems, but the whole system gives a sort of barely-held-together-by-tape feel.

      What if we could use what we know now and redesign things from the ground up? If we could start fresh, today, what might username authentication look like beyond the usual username/password combos that we're so used to?

      I'm interested in any ideas -- not necessarily just feasible ones.

      Also, despite me being the one prompting this thread, don't feel the need to simplify technical explanations or anything. I'm mostly interested in lurking and seeing what all you very smart techy people have to say about the topic. :)

      12 votes
    6. My experience switching to Linux and the need for guidance

      Hello everyone, This will be a long post because I want to give my post the proper context. I apologize in advance for taking your time. About five months ago, with the help of relatively high...

      Hello everyone,

      This will be a long post because I want to give my post the proper context. I apologize in advance for taking your time.

      About five months ago, with the help of relatively high ceiling of Windows 11's system requirements, I finally pushed myself to use Linux exclusively on my desktop. It was a decision between using Windows LTSC or Linux and I went with the better long term option.

      I am not a programmer but I'm also not unfamiliar with the Linux world. I believe I've used one distro or another on a spare computer for shorts period of time since at least 2008. But those use cases have always been to satisfy the curious side of my brain as I am always interested in technology. So after installing distros ranging from Ubuntu to Arch, my curiosity waned enough to never look deeper into how these systems work. They were, after all, a hobby project on a spare computer that was often gathering dust.

      When I decided to switch exclusively to Linux, the next decision I had to make was to pick a distro. Naturally, I looked for the established players first. Ubuntu was the obvious choice because it has long been the distro for newbies and there are a lot of guides on the internet if I ever needed help, which was inevitable. But then I read about snaps and thought that was a deal breaker. I was moving to Linux specifically because I don't want things shoved down my throat. I had no intention to relive that1.

      So Ubuntu was a no go, but I was certain I wanted a Debian based distro as their support and software availability was unmatched, maybe save for Arch2. At this point, why not Debian right? It's known for being rock solid and it's Debian itself, not some derivation. Well, because I had various issues with Debian before. These issues were always fundamental and not very specific too, so I didn't want to risk wasting a lot of time fixing things I didn't understand, only for them to break again after a couple of days. Then I came across Pop!_OS, which seemed like a perfect fit. It was Ubuntu without its worst parts, came with Nvidia drivers and it had a company behind it that seemed to be committed to Linux. I installed it and everything just worked. I had zero issues.

      But then I started getting that FOMO itch again. GNOME 42 was out and it looked great, but Pop!_OS was two versions behind. I also found out that they're working on their own DE, which might end up being great (it looked nice) but I didn't want to leave an established player like GNOME behind, including all the benefits you get from its wonderful extensions. I started looking for other distos again and Fedora caught my eye. I was obviously aware of Fedora, I even used it once back when YUM was still a thing, but it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. The fact that it wasn't a Debian based distro was also a disadvantage because that meant something different and at this stage of dipping my toes into Linux, I didn't think different might be the best way to go for me. Still, despite my best judgment, I installed Fedora on a USB and used it live. When my gut feeling was confirmed by my research about how Fedora leaves things as stock as possible and is ahead of the curve in terms of upcoming technology (btrfs, PulseAudio, Wayland et al.3) without sacrificing on stability, I was hooked.

      After renewing my Timeshift backup, I formatted my Pop!_OS system and installed Fedora. The installation process could use a facelift, but it handled everything perfectly. I didn't even have some of the issues I had with Pop!_OS right after installation. It was literally problem free. I'm now on day #3 of using Fedora and the experience remains the same. The only issue I had to deal with was trying to get Timeshift to work (apparently it doesn't play nice with btrfs on Fedora), but instead of wasting my time with that, I just installed Déjà Dup and I'm good to go again. Barring any drastic issues, I don't plan on changing my distro again.

      Now, onto my plea for guidance.

      I'm looking for comprehensive resources that will teach me how Linux works under the hood. Considering my non-programming background, I'd appreciate it if the language is approachable. The reason why I want this, for one thing, is to learn more about the system I'm planning to use probably for the rest of my life (in tandem with macOS) but also, I want to do some cool stuff Linux allows users to do.

      Just to give a quick example. Yesterday, I installed Rofi, which is, besides many other things, an app launcher. I got it to work just fine, I even got a configuration of my own with a theme of my choosing, but when it comes to using some scripts, I just couldn't do it. Every video I watched on YouTube told me how easy it is to use scripts with it as if it's a self-explanatory thing, but I was simply clueless. There was a lot of lingo thrown around like environment variables, setting up $PATH, making the scripts executable with chmod etc. I have very little knowledge of these things. I want to learn what they are, why they exist, and how they all tie together. I want to learn how /etc/ is different than /usr/ and the difference between X11 and some DE (or if they're even in the same category of things). Now, at the risk of sounding impatient and maybe even worse, I also don't want to go way too deep into these things. I am not, after all, trying to become a kernel developer. I just want to be better informed.

      There are a lot of information on the internet but most of this information is scattered and out of context. If I try to learn more about one thing, I'm bombarded about other things that I don't know, so in the end I learn nothing. In short, I'm looking for a comprehensive, entry level video series or a book about Linux written in an easy to understand language that assumes no prior knowledge.

      Additionally, I'd appreciate any website, YouTube channel and what have you to keep up with recent developments in Linux. I already found a couple as there are plenty of them, but I'd like to learn more about how people here keep up with this fast changing environment.

      Thank you for reading and sorry for being so verbose! 😊


      1: I know you can remove snaps, but I didn't want to deal with the hassle of any possible issues deleting a core system functionally might bring about.
      2: Despite finding its approach fascinating, I had no intention to get into Arch because it's a rolling distro and I didn't want an advanced system that can break at any moment in the hands of a novice like myself.
      3: To be clear, I don't know how most of these technologies are better than alternatives, but the Linux community at large seems to think they're drastically better than alternatives and are the future.

      21 votes
    7. Ideas on digitally mapping locations (software or otherwise)

      I've been doing some work for my company's real time operations center lately and I've taken on a couple projects to get this place sorted out in my time here. After a couple of bad years in the...

      I've been doing some work for my company's real time operations center lately and I've taken on a couple projects to get this place sorted out in my time here. After a couple of bad years in the oilfield (and not to mention COVID) this office has seen better days.

      One of those projects is that we have work sites moving all over the country but the guys in the RTOC have no idea where any of them are. There's no map in here. The office they are in is filled to the brim with computer screens, including 50" hanging from the roof that are currently going unused. I got it in my head to get one of these screensnup and running and put a digital map up that the boys can manually update as required and can reference when they need to know where one of our projects is located.

      The problem is I don't know what to use to create/display this map. Hence I come to tildes.

      Now I know this is probably the perfect job for something like GIS, but none of these guys have experience with GIS nor are they going to be particularly technically savvy. I need to figure out a solution that is funny proof and easy enough to use that it doesn't get abandoned a couple months down the road. I myself am not going to be here long either meaning it has to be something I can leave behind to be maintained by others.

      Any previous experience or ideas on how to make this a reality would be appreciated.

      8 votes