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    1. “It can’t be that easy, right?” (a Linux desktop environment appreciation post)

      I daily drive Pop!_OS, which uses the GNOME desktop environment. I know that DEs are a hotly contested space among Linux users, and my use of GNOME wasn’t so much a choice as it was a default:...

      I daily drive Pop!_OS, which uses the GNOME desktop environment. I know that DEs are a hotly contested space among Linux users, and my use of GNOME wasn’t so much a choice as it was a default: it’s what came with my distro.

      I like GNOME. I don’t really understand the hate it often gets, but I also don’t really have the legacy understanding of Linux that a lot of people do, and it seems like a lot of distaste lies there. I’m as casual a user as they come — Linux for me is like a Chromebook: it “just works” in that I pretty much need it to get me online and manage some documents. (I do also play games on it, for which Steam and Proton have been a huge boon.)

      I also have a Steam Deck, and it uses KDE’s Plasma on the desktop side, so I got to see what that was like. I also like KDE. It’s very different from GNOME, but I can see the appeal. It feels more like Windows but also has a lot of little nice touches and additions. Also, no ads.

      This got me thinking: what if I tried using KDE instead of GNOME on my laptop?

      I assumed that this would be a big deal. Like, I would have to completely gut my distribution, or reinstall it fresh. Multiple hours of work. Lots of preparation. Looking up myriad terminal commands I don’t understand and hoping they do what they’re supposed to, because if they don’t I’m really screwed — as soon as something goes wrong “under the hood” I’m dead in the water when it comes to fixing it.

      But I was looking on System76’s support site and they made it seem super simple. A single terminal command to install the whole DE?

      It can’t be that easy, right?

      I am astonished to say that it WAS.

      I ran the command, had to select between gdm3 and sddm (a choice which I didn’t understand at all so I searched around a bit before just going with the default: gdm3), and then rebooted.

      I can now select between GNOME and KDE on the login screen, and both work flawlessly. It was so easy.

      I don’t know who to credit for this. Did System76 do a great job of making this easy on their distro? Did the KDE team work hard to make their DE effortlessly plug-and-play? Is this just a general product of the way Linux handles its different components?

      I don’t know but I’m willing to spread the love around to anyone and everyone who contributes to Linux and all of its facets. It’s wild to me that I can so easily reskin my entire operating system in the same way that I used to do with Winamp back in the day. I keep waiting for something to go wrong, but after a few days of this, I’ve realized that everything still “just works,” automagically.

      A big thanks here to anyone who has a hand in open-source software and making computing better for people like me, who have (mostly) no idea what they’re doing.

      56 votes
    2. Adobe TOS: I'm an artist. I have never used Adobe Cloud software. What happens if someone else uploads my content?

      Second edit: It has been pointed out that my collaborators don't necessarily need to upload my files in order to work on them, and that the bigger the project/organisation, the more likely they...

      Second edit: It has been pointed out that my collaborators don't necessarily need to upload my files in order to work on them, and that the bigger the project/organisation, the more likely they are using their own system for managing content rather than the Adobe Creative Cloud. I didn't realise that not using the CC is an option. In conclusion, I can still collaborate with Adobe's customers as long as I ask them to never upload my work to the Adobe CC.


      Edit: After sleeping on this, here's my biggest gripe with terms like these.

      Regardless of the contents of Adobe's TOS, I cannot be forced to accept them as long as I'm not their customer. Similarly, people who don't use an imaginary social media app called "Twitter" can't be subjected to Twitter's terms of service even if for some reason Twitter had access to these people's data. If Twitter wants to make an agreement with non-customers, they must get these people's explicit consent. Writing stuff in their TOS doesn't cut it because those are directed at customers. Corporations absolutely can't have the right to make me a customer without my informed consent.

      As it stands, given Adobe's market share, I would either have to accept their terms when it comes to my work that gets uploaded by third parties, or I can never get my work published again. This is completely unacceptable. Even if the terms were the most gracious and reasonable terms anyone has ever seen (which they aren't), I would still have the right to refuse them. This right cannot be taken away from me. Adobe has done nothing to show how they intend to separate non-customer content from customer content, which most likely means they have no plans to do so and certainly aren't doing it at the moment.

      Organisations that are Adobe customers and want to publish/edit content produced by non-customers will have an insurmountably tough task trying to draft a solid contract with these people. In order to protect themselves from future disputes, they will have to get explicit consent for everything that I quoted in this post, for all imaginable and unimaginable purposes. The rest of the TOS (the parts that I didn't quote) is legally too fuzzy to be put in a contract, and as far as I know, the term "generative AI" doesn't even have a legal definition yet. Essentially, Adobe is making their own customers do their dirty work for them. Good luck with that.


      Original post:
      Adobe receives an unrestricted license to use all uploaded content however they please, according to their TOS.

      Let's say I am a professional photographer, but I don't use Adobe software to edit my work because I don't want to grant Adobe a license to do whatever they want with it. Now, let's say that High End Art Magazine wants to publish some of my photos in their Hot New Photo Artists section. Most likely they are using Adobe software. To create the magazine layout, they are going to have to upload my photos. I haven't used Adobe since they put everything in the cloud, so I wouldn't know how the process actually works, but I doubt that Adobe asks about the ownership of each uploaded file. Do they? The magazine editor does not have the right to grant Adobe any sort of license to my work. It's not their content, they are merely presenting it. The end result: Adobe has content on their servers that they do not have a license to use however they wish, no matter what they put in their TOS, and they most likely have no way to tell this content apart from the rest.

      The above example is simplified. I am actually not a photographer, but an artist in another field. Publishing my work involves images that are put together by a team of people, each of whom must be able to deny using the resulting photo without their explicit consent. How can cases like these be handled? If I care about how and where my and my team's work is used, will I have to stop collaborating with anyone who uses Adobe products? Even that won't necessarily protect us. Uninformed people can still grab an image form somewhere and use it for a school project or something. This used to be okay as long as you didn't publish the result, let alone try to profit from it financially. But now, if you use Adobe software to edit your project, ethically you can only use unlicensed content as your source material and everything else is off limits.

      From the Adobe TOS:

      ...you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to do the following with your Cloud Content:

      reproduce
      distribute 

      create derivative works 

      publicly display 

      publicly perform and
      sublicense the foregoing rights to third parties acting on our behalf

      And:

      “Content” means any text, information, communication, or material, such as audio files, video files, electronic documents, or images, that you upload, import into, embed for use by, or create using the Services and Software.

      To be clear, I get that the TOS is meant to enable Adobe to run their services in the cloud. At least for now. But there are no guarantees that this will remain the sole purpose of that license. I prefer to simply not grant them any sort of license to use my work. Obviously, I must have a right to deny corporations such a license for whatever reason, at all times.

      For comparison, when I started using Reddit, I read through their TOS and decided that it looked predatory. I have always refrained from posting things that I wouldn't want them to use for extracting financial gain. I was happy about that decision last year.

      Does anyone know if the Adobe TOS are different for organisations that routinely handle large amounts of content that they do not own the rights to?

      42 votes
    3. I would very much like something akin to TikTok that's subscriber based and without infinite scroll

      I'm thinking something I could use for news, with a feed that I curate myself. I'd open the app in the morning and see that I have a feed with five newstoks in it. I swipe to the first one,...

      I'm thinking something I could use for news, with a feed that I curate myself. I'd open the app in the morning and see that I have a feed with five newstoks in it. I swipe to the first one, general updates from my local news, swipe for the weather, swipe for sports, etc. They'd all be short-form, and take the same amount of time it would take me to skim a newspaper. Once I get through each "card," my feed is done and I can put the app down and go about my day.

      I could curate this feed to contain only the sources I want, and ideally content would not be user-generated, and instead more akin to traditional television with regularly scheduled programs. Then I can check at breakfast and see all the early news programs, check at lunch and see mid-day content, and ditto for the evening.

      I'm not going to ruminate about social media, content, and news, but this would be a very refreshing change of pace instead of constantly being protective of my time, since everything is designed to suck away as much of it as possible.

      A guy can dream, right?

      15 votes
    4. Can anyone help me find a camera app that asks me to pick a folder for the photo either when I open the app or immediately after I take a photo?

      I'm trying to get away from the lifestyle of taking a shit ton of photos and then laboriously organizing them at a later date. I could totally take a photo, switch to the gallery app, select that...

      I'm trying to get away from the lifestyle of taking a shit ton of photos and then laboriously organizing them at a later date. I could totally take a photo, switch to the gallery app, select that photo, and then move it to the right folder, but as many tilders can probably relate, that is not conducive to the ADHD lifestyle. I need something at the point of contact.

      Brief privacy anecdote

      I'm trying to migrate from Google Photos and generally become more self-reliant when it comes to data management. So while I value Google's auto organization capabilities, the privacy implications wig me out.

      I once took a picture of a physical photo I had of my late grandfather to send to my dad. It automatically backed up to google. Later, it notified me and asked "who is this?" showing a close-up of my grandpa from that photo. Can't explain why, that was just a little unsettling for me. So that's why I'm currently overhauling my photo organization/back-up methods.

      17 votes
    5. Do you use an RSS reader?

      A year or two ago when the decay of social media became a popular topic of discussion, there was a lot of talk about a resurgence in the use of RSS readers. My impression recently was that the RSS...

      A year or two ago when the decay of social media became a popular topic of discussion, there was a lot of talk about a resurgence in the use of RSS readers. My impression recently was that the RSS renaissance hadn't really materialised in the end, but I realised that if it had it would be pretty hard to tell.

      So, Tildes users: do you use an RSS reader currently? If so, is that a recent decision? Tell me about your experience.

      39 votes
    6. Discussing AI music - examples and some thoughts

      I'm not sure if this would be better for ~music, ~tech, or what, but after messing around with Udio for a bit, I made some stuff I liked and wanted to get folks' thoughts. Imo, it's incredible to...

      I'm not sure if this would be better for ~music, ~tech, or what, but after messing around with Udio for a bit, I made some stuff I liked and wanted to get folks' thoughts. Imo, it's incredible to be able to get music from a text prompt - it means I, as someone who is mostly ignorant to music production, can have my musical idea and actually render that out as music for someone to hear. I can think "damn that would be cool" and then in kind of a fuzzy way, make it happen then and there. Whether it's good, I don't know. That's not up to me, really, but it is the kind of sound I wanted to happen, so I'm left conflicted on how to feel about it. Figured it would be worthwhile to show folks some of it, and see what they think.

      I do enjoy synth and metal, so there's a lot of that in these. Feel free to be as critical as you like. If I can apply your criticism I will try to do it, and if you want to see how that works out, I'll share.

      1. Cosmoterrestrial
      2. A Floyd, Pinkly
      3. Empire's Demise, Foretold
      4. Metal for Ghosts Bedsheet Edition (the very end of this one is hilariously appropriate)
      5. Multi-3DS Drifting

      And here's a link to my profile, if you would like to browse. It will update too when I put more up.

      They're all instrumental. Lyrical music is less appealing to me in general and Udio's voices do sound kinda weird to me more often than not. The way I made the tracks, I would start with a clip combining some genres/moods, and then add to either end of the clip until I had a complete song. Along the way, I could introduce new elements/transitions by using more text/tweaking various settings and flipping "manual mode" on and off. The results were fuzzy; I didn't always get what I wanted, but I could keep trying until I did, or until I got something that sounded "better". I wrote all the titles after the song was finished. The album art is from a text prompt.

      I'm not sure what I think, to be honest. On the one hand, a lot of the creative decision-making wasn't mine. On the other, the song would not be what it is without me making decisions about how it came about and what feelings/moods/genres were focused upon/utilized. I think the best I can say is "use the tool and see whether it's enough to count". To me it feels almost 50/50, like I've "collaborated with my computer" rather than "made music". Does it matter? If the sound is the intended sound, the sound I hoped to make and wanted to share, is that enough to say it is "my music"? Is this perhaps just what it looks like to be a beginner in a different paradigm?

      When I used Suno, I had a much more rigid opinion. What it produced, I called "computer spit". Because, all I could actually control was telling it to continue, changing the prompt, and giving it structure/genre tags that felt like a coin flip in terms of effectiveness. I had a really hard time trying to get it to keep/recall melody, and my attempts to guide it along felt more like gambling than deliberate decisions. It also couldn't keep enough in context to make the overall song consistent with respect to instrumentation. It's different with Udio, both because you have a lot of additional tools, and because it feels like those tools work more consistently at making the model do what you want. I still call the results "computer spit" where I've shown them off, but I'm unsure now whether the production has enough of myself in it to be something more. Perhaps not on the same level as something someone produced by playing an instrument, or choosing samples/arranging things in software, but also not quite the same as the computer just rolling along, with me going "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". Maybe these distinctions don't actually matter, but I'd be curious if anyone has thoughts along these lines.

      I'm intentionally trying to avoid a discussion about the morality of the thing or what political/social ramifications it has, not because I don't care about that but because I'm in the middle of trying to understand the tool and what its results mean. Would you consider what I've posted here work I could claim as my own, or do you think the computer has enough of a role to say it's not? Is my role in the production large enough? Or perhaps you have a stronger position, that nothing the computer can possibly do in this way counts as original music. Does any of this change that position for you? I ask because I've gone through a lot of opinions myself as I've been following things, and one interesting bit is that I have not gotten any copyright notices when I've uploaded the music to Youtube (I did get notices with Suno's music). As far as I can tell, with what is available to me, this is all original.

      And of course, the most important one: Did you like it? Is there something you think would make them better? Do they all suffer from something I'm not seeing/hearing? I'm not an expert technician nor a music producer, so perhaps my ignorant ears are leading me astray. Either way, I've had a ton of fun doing this, and the results to my ear are fun to listen to while I'm doing stuff. I wouldn't call any of it the best music I've ever heard, but I can also think of a lot that is worse. I think what I wonder the most is whether it comes off bland/plain. Most of the folks I show things to are a bit too caught up in being astounded/disturbed to really give me much feedback, so perhaps putting the request in this form will work out a bit better - ya'll have time to think on it.

      As always, your time and attention is greatly appreciated

      Edit: I should clarify. I am not attempting to be a musician. Hence calling it "computer spit" with anything public, and the lack of any effort to pitch it as something I did only on my own. Rather, I recognize the limit of my own understanding, and felt I'd hit a point where my ignorance of production meant I could not judge the results as well as I'd like. That means it's time to engage some folks because folks out there are likely to know what I do not and see things I can't. From that angle, a lot of the discussion is very interesting, and I'll be responding to those in a bit. But there's no need to argue for doing the work - I recognize that. I'm trying to see past my own horizons with a medium I don't put the work into. I'm a consumer of music, not a creator, so getting some perspective from folks more acquainted with creating and with the technology is really what I'm after in sharing the experience.


      Edit again: Thank you all for a very interesting discussion. I had a spare evening/morning and this was a good use of it. For the sake of tying a bow on the whole thing, I'll share my takeaways as succinctly as I can manage.

      It seems, at present, and at best, the role these tools can play is of a sort of personal noise generator. The output is not of sufficient interest, quality, complexity, etc., to really be regarded the same as human-produced music, is the overall impression I have been left with. And for other reasons, it may be that the fuzziness of it all is a permanent feature, and thus a permanent constraint on how far toward "authentic" the results can ever get. I was trying to avoid a discussion about my own creativity, the value of doing work, societal ramifications, etc., so I'll work on how to present things better. For what it's worth, this has all been part of what I do creatively - my area of study was philosophy, and the goal of that to my mind has always been "achieving clarity". So I am attempting to achieve clarity with things as they develop, as a hobby sort of interest while I'm busy doing completely different stuff and to better protect my own mind against dumb marketing and hype. So once again, I appreciate you all taking the time, and I wish you all well in all the things you do.

      24 votes
    7. E-ink tablets for note-taking

      I like to write notes for work and sketch/draw in my spare time. I'm about to finish another paper notebook, and I noticed a few ads for the ReMarkable & decided to check it out. A few YouTube...

      I like to write notes for work and sketch/draw in my spare time. I'm about to finish another paper notebook, and I noticed a few ads for the ReMarkable & decided to check it out. A few YouTube videos later, I'm now quite interested in getting an e-ink tablet to replace the notebooks I've been going through.

      Thing is, with this type of technology I'm always a bit worried that I won't use it enough to justify the price. If anyone has one of those - have they managed to replace the classic paper/pen combo for you? Do you regret your purchase or are you happy with it?

      If anyone is curious, I was specifically looking at the ReMarkable 2 and the Supernote Nomad. The ReMarkable seems to be the most popular choice, but I really like how the Supernote emphasizes repairability (notably, the battery is replaceable). I'm also very much open to other suggestions if you have any!

      29 votes