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  • Showing only topics in ~tech with the tag "internet". Back to normal view / Search all groups
    1. Privacy woes and autonomy, where do I go now?

      I'm very sorry, but this is going to be rant. One that may seem to come up almost daily, but I still feel the need to vent. Every day I feel like I'm jumping through hoops to keep a little bit of...

      I'm very sorry, but this is going to be rant. One that may seem to come up almost daily, but I still feel the need to vent.

      Every day I feel like I'm jumping through hoops to keep a little bit of privacy and autonomy, without ever winning. DuckDuckGo is my search engine, use a paid mail provider, I try to stay away from anything Google and Meta, use only Signal, ad blocking everywhere, hosting most services locally, etc. It seems, however, to make no difference in the long run. The user-profile-building just seems to enter the home faster than I can mitigate it. Kids install some new app or new hardware ends up listening in, privacy infringement is there.

      The reason I'm starting this post now is because I switched ISP and TV provider recently, but it has been on my mind for a long time. Finding one that isn't owned by one of huge 3 parent companies, is almost impossible here. After a year of deciding, I finally figured it was time to throw in the towel and just pick the least bad option. Yesterday was the day of switching and it has been such a frustrating process.

      The provided router doesn't allow me to turn off its WLAN. I live in a city, so the airwaves are already crowded enough as it is. No need to keep that antenna on, but screw me, that's not possible. Opened up the device to just remove the card, but everything is soldered on the board and disconnecting the antennas didn't do shit.
      It's possible to buy a modem/router myself, but it'll need to follow their requirements and will set me back $200. It would be okay if the rest of the service was great, but here comes the TV part!

      The device they use for TV is apparently Android TV. I assumed it would be IPTV with this subscription, but Android TV isn't that. Booting the device makes it immediately clear they are here to harvest data. It makes me so unhappy that a service I'm paying for, is also making money on the side by collecting data. To get a quick idea of what's being done, I routed the box through wireshark to sniff DNS traffic. It's riddled with domains used for data collection and ads. That combined with the features this box wants me to agree to (location, using the mic, access local network, sign into PlayStore, make a profile including real life information) does not make me trust this device. So I've decided to not play and will be sending it back.

      People around me are pretty conscious about what they do online, but compared to them I'm highly paranoid. Wherever I look, there are privacy issues. It seems impossible to escape from. How are other people dealing with this?

      UPDATE: I don't know if anybody is really interested, but I thought I would update anyway. I decided to listen to my gut and I cancelled the subscription. It feels like the best decision I've made in a long time. It's nice to feel like I'm still a little bit in charge, even though I know that's also just a false sense of autonomy. Suck it, Google! You're not the boss of me :-)

      32 votes
    2. "twitter.com" is now officially dead

      For some reason, I had always hoped against hope that at least the old domain name will always be retained by Elon's X team, at least as a reminder of their revolutionary beginnings in the form of...

      For some reason, I had always hoped against hope that at least the old domain name will always be retained by Elon's X team, at least as a reminder of their revolutionary beginnings in the form of "setting the bird free" or "liberating the free speech" as it was often called. But today, even that last vestige called twitter, that domain name on the back of which some of us used to mentally stay in the nostalgia, has also been broken - twitter.com is no more :-(

      As of now, the domain redirects to x.com, the new one.

      However, in our hearts and minds, it will always be "twitter" and we shall call it "twitter"! And there is one more place where the name twitter shall always find a place - the twitter bootstrap open source project which will keep telling the story of where it all began!

      48 votes
    3. Thoughts on the current state of discoverability and search

      I guess I'll post another thoughtful analysis rant on tech trends. It has been mentioned here in a few threads already but I simply wanted to try to start a focused discussion. Personally I first...

      I guess I'll post another thoughtful analysis rant on tech trends. It has been mentioned here in a few threads already but I simply wanted to try to start a focused discussion.

      Personally I first noticed significant degradation of search functionality around 2018 or so, while specifically Google was mentioned at least as far back as 2016. But it is not simply Google or even just general search engines. Any random site specific search functionality or discoverability algorithms on various sites share these trends too.

      It really seems that the focus is simply on delivering as many results as possible with actual quality or even relevance being somewhere on the tail end of priorities. It is not even just lack of(useful, consistent) search operators, lack of transparency, lack of structured search possibilities, lack of sorting options, lack of granularity - it is the simple disregard for the basic intent of the query with some implementations sometimes being actually more accurate with fewer keywords with no option to modify this behavior.

      It is especially damaging for(at least my) ability to research a topic. A decade and half ago I could go in with a topic I had no idea about and emerge two hours later with a very basic but likely mostly accurate and slightly in-depth overview by refining my searches. Now I'm lucky to get one single thoughtful blog post or discussion among dozens or tutorials, 10-bests and ads with the query being almost completely disregarded and keywords being straight up ignored to deliver this deluge of both low quality and mostly completely irrelevant results.

      Are there any projects, search engines or anything other that aim to deliver actually useful, steerable, user directed results?

      34 votes
    4. How can I completely and permanently remove the ability to access the internet from a Debian derivative?

      The machine will be a laptop. So let's say I'm doing this on Antix Linux or MX-Linux, which are both based on Debian. I already set up everything that I want. Now I wish to make that installation...

      The machine will be a laptop.

      So let's say I'm doing this on Antix Linux or MX-Linux, which are both based on Debian. I already set up everything that I want. Now I wish to make that installation incapable of accessing the internet ever again -- even if I want it to. However, I wouldn't want to achieve that in a way that will negatively affect any application I might need. How can I do that?

      You may be curious about my motivation. It is simple: that machine should be only for writing and nothing more. Maybe I'll use YLINAT, @Areldyb's Timasomo project.

      For the purposes of my usage, it is nothing more than an electronic typewriter with a screen. That is a drastic measure but I have ADHD and I need to write. I'm afraid that if I don't do something about it I'll see myself in a difficult situation regarding deadlines. I'll just take the laptop with me to a quiet place and leave the cell phone at home.

      Every day I will take my writing off the laptop via USB and back it up.

      16 votes
    5. Thinking about quitting the Internet

      This is an off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness post, so IDK how much sense it'll make. This idea of quitting the Internet is not new for me, but it's also never been a serious,...

      This is an off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness post, so IDK how much sense it'll make.

      This idea of quitting the Internet is not new for me, but it's also never been a serious, "consider-the-pros-v-cons" plan, either. Just a kind of knee-jerk reaction to seeing things online that remind me (more and more often, these days) that the 'Net is not what I hoped-and-wanted it to be, and it is becoming less like it, daily.

      But in recent months, for me, I find myself thinking about it more, more often, and more seriously.

      For a bit of context, I am a software developer (I guess), 20+ years in the field, more back-end than front-end, but quite a lot of web development, too. And I've been burned out in my field for the last several years, working occasionally, but mostly just living off of savings ... watching them dwindle, while I try to figure out what else to do with my life.

      I also think there is some kind of burgeoning groundswell towards some similar ideas ... many people becoming more and more disgusted with what corporations and governments have done and are doing to it, trying to find some way to walk away from it w/o completely severing themselves from the modern world. The latest generation of AI and the new magic word, "enshittification" are certainly making more people realize that the 'Net is not headed in a good direction.

      I could so easily go into a long-winded rant about "this isn't the Internet we were promised", and yada ... but whatever. It is what it is, and many people are happy with it, and many, many more are just quietly resigned to it being a necessary part of life.

      For many, many years, I have explored online alternatives, the dark web, assorted distributed-network ideals like Hyperborea and IPFS. I keep seeing potentials, but nothing that ever coalesces.

      Again, just stream-of-consciousness here ... anyone else ever find themselves seriously considering this, or something similarly drastic?

      47 votes
    6. How to avoid making other people angry on the internet

      I have, at times, experienced that opinions I share online fails to win people over, to the extent that the essence of the thread transforms from that of an exchange of ideas into that of a...

      I have, at times, experienced that opinions I share online fails to win people over, to the extent that the essence of the thread transforms from that of an exchange of ideas into that of a shitstorm.

      Curiously, this is seldom caused by me having controversial views. I’m not especially hateful, and I don’t hold any conservative core ideas, such as advocating for an even less equal society or attacking or belittling various minority groups. If it were just that, then there would be no mystery; my views horrible, and for that reason, they provoke a strong reaction. But despite this not being the case, my views, which are truly very civilised and boring indeed, are sometimes intepreted in interesting ways.

      I think the issue is me not expressing myself as well as I could. Assuming this to be the case, what follow is my own notes on how to better get your (mine) ideas across without misunderstandings.

      Beware of the shortcoming of contemporary writing

      Most of todays readers do not read. Rather, they impatiently give the text a quick glimpse, their brain already craving the next bit of novelty. I've noticed this in myself when I impatiently select random random test when trying to get my brain to read a text online. What's more, those who write has begin taking into account that their audience does not read. This has spawned a peculiar writing style which, for the first time in history(?), is designed not to actually be read, but merely glimpsed through.

      It mostly consist of short paragraphs.

      Often just a single sentence.

      Sometimes two sentences. Maybe three. Four sentences are considered the max.

      To help readers easier skim through it.

      Read more: How can you write web content that people can skim?

      If actually read, it has a staccato-like feel.

      Almost like free verse poetry.

      There are other characteristica too.

      • Scattering links throughout.
      • Inserting “Read more about“ references to other articles.
      • Inserting list such as this one.
      • Adding heaps of headlines.

      I guess pretty much everyone have seen this particular style, and, to some degree, adapted it themselves. So there is a tendency to naturally try to boil everything down to a single, ultra-short paragraph. However, human language is not computer code; trying to destill a deeper set of ideas down to a Xwitter-length sentence will inevitably cause its fragile essence to be lost in translation. There is a reason why books are the length of, well, books, and not just the SparkNotes summary thereoff.

      To build upon this idea, note that most dog-whistles comes in the form of a single, short sentence, as the shortness, unlike computer code, make it vague, opening it up for multiple interpretations. Indeed, some dog whistles doesn’t contain any words at all, but consists of a single emoji, such as “milk” or “the OK sign”.

      If you write about more elusive fluffy ideas, ideas where your angle runs the risk of being read the wrong way, your writing has to go all the way, fully exposing your point with absolute clarity. You have to show it from every angle to make your vision travel through the written words and into the mind of the reader.

      Sleep on it

      If you aren’t sure you got everything right, no rush. You can always wait a bit, and go over it later.

      Don’t accidently target other users

      Lets say that someone posts the notorious recipe “Chicken and ham extravaganta”, and say that they don’t think society should go vegan because a balanced diet is better than a green one. You just happen to have a bunch of replies to that. For one thing, flesh food is not traditionally balanced, but centered around the meat, with everything else being mere decoration. Also, there are lots of protein sources other than meat. But most importantly, the vegan movement is not about what is the most healthy diet, but about it being morally wrong to kill a sentient creature just to eat its meat.

      But this is a general argument about veganism. If you write it as a reply to someone recomendinging a “Chicken and ham extravaganta”, you’re essentially calling them a bad person.

      So don’t reply. If you want to push your point, at least wait a bit and then create a new post, so you don’t target a specific user.

      Don’t drink and post

      Nope. Just don’t.

      Avoid provocateur headlines

      I might have given this post the headline “How to speak honestly without being banned for misogyny, racism, transphobia, and fascism”, or maybe “I was banned and censored on tilde.net. Here’s my conclusions.” Headlines which are undeniably more juicy, more clickbaity, if you will. You can almost smell the raising adrenaline. Controversy! Read all about it!

      To me, this is hard to resist, because I really love the aethetic of blatant, vulgar marketing. But it also tends to backfire more often than not.

      Also, even if the actual content of my post is okay, people who have experienced racism or transphobia might not be super thrilled about me playing around with racism and transphobia in my headline. Saying something “jokingly” is still saying it.

      As an aside, me being temporary banned and having my posts deleted was what inspired me to write this post. I don’t have anything much to say about this itself, other than I would have liked it if removed post had a line about the reason for removal, and I would also note that, if you get banned, the red text bleed into be backgrund in a way which is aestetically displeasing.

      Diversity reading

      You might try mentally test reading your post from the perspective of groups which play a role in the content of your post. After all, if you talk about someone, you should be able to say it to their face. Also, it is entirely possible that your post will be read by those you talk about.

      Take the rules for being a good listener, then invert them

      Listening is a skill which most people haven’t learned. So when you speak your mind, it is worth taking precautions for the likely scenario that your readers will not follow the rules for the optimal listener. So let’s try inverting the rules:

      When listening to others, always give their view the most generous intepretation —> If your words can be interpreted as ignorant, biggoted, or fashy, they will be, always.

      Truly listen to others and try to understand them before giving your answer —> Assume that people will skim through your post.

      I want to point out that (in bold and uppercase just for the heck of it) I DON’T SAY THIS TO WHINE ABOUT BAD PEOPLE READING MY POSTS UNFAIRLY. Nope, absolute nope. My point is the exact opposite; I have a deeply held belief that any writer or author who is “misunderstood” could have avoided it by writing better. The writer should be expected to know his audience and know how to write in circles around any potential misintepretation.

      Got that? Ok. Let’s look at what we can do to address those two issues.

      If your words can be interpreted as ignorant, biggoted, or fashy, they will be, always.

      When writing a post, I sometimes get the notion that something I write might be taken the wrong way. But then I forget about it, because I’m busy building a clever metaphor finding just the right word. And without fail, my post get misinterpreted in exactly that way I thought it would. So always listen to that little voice. In my experience, it is seldom wrong.

      This is not just to avoid you getting trashed online. Another more important aspect which is typically overlooked, is that if your post can, somehow, be misinterpreted in horrible ways, it may also be read as such by people who truly hold those views, people who then sees you as an ally. You really don’t want that.

      Sometimes it is a simple matter of changing your phrasing. Other times, directly stating what you do or do not believe is in order.

      Assume that people will skim through your post.

      While you can’t predict exactly how our post is going to be skimmed through, It is likely that they will have read your headline. So use that as leverage to push your most important points, or the general vibe of your post. Your first paragraph is likely to be read too. If your post is longer, you can also add subheaders with key info. You can also use the inverted pyramid structure, leading with the information any reader must know, followed by things which will grant them greater understanding, and ending with the interesting nice to know stuff.

      This is what I got so far! If you got any advice of your own, please share!

      34 votes
    7. Reducing the friction of publishing online?

      I'm looking for ways to make it easier to publish on my personal blog. I've had WordPress blogs in the past, and I find that they set up a constant grind of upgrading — upgrading core, upgrading...

      I'm looking for ways to make it easier to publish on my personal blog. I've had WordPress blogs in the past, and I find that they set up a constant grind of upgrading — upgrading core, upgrading plugins, reconfiguring the upgraded components, fixing the things the upgrades break...

      It was stealing too much of the little time I have to devote to my blog. So, when I built my current blog, I built in on a static site generator (11ty). It took longer to set up than just writing HTML and CSS, but it does make it a bit quicker to get something up since it will build pages from markdown, and it doesn't require a ton of upgrading every time I want to sit down and write something. Sure, I could upgrade a library or two each time I sit down with it, but it's just spitting out HTML so I don't really need to.

      That said, it's still more friction than I want. I'm currently obsessed with mmm.page. I love the playful UI. I love the design language it encourages. I love how it makes the tech get out of the way and puts you closer to getting your content out. That said, there are several things I don't love:

      1. It's not accessible. I can't pick which elements to use. I can't write alt text for images.
      2. It's not open source. This means a lot of things. It means when the developer loses interest, it will die. It means we can't evaluate it. It means we can't self-host it. Speaking of these...
      3. Development seems to be slow. There's one item on the roadmap. It was suggested in April. I have a feeling it's not making the money the developer had hoped and they've lost enthusiasm for it.
      4. We can't self-host it. Now, this means I'm stuck paying $10 a month. Tomorrow, that could go up to $20, and there's nothing I can do about it.
      5. There's no easily apparent escape hatch. I guess I could just download the pages it wrote and host them elsewhere, but that's probably not ideal. If the developer does decide to close up shop or double the price, I want an easy way to take my site and go somewhere else.
      6. As far as I can tell, it doesn't support RSS. I am a staunch believer in RSS, and I believe the web sucks without it. I won't want to run a site that doesn't offer it.

      All these problems leave me with a web site that provides too much friction and a solution to that problem that leaves many others in its wake. Does anyone know of an alternative that's similar that could address some or most of these issues? I'm a developer and I still would like to be able to publish online without doing developer-y stuff, so it's easy to see how social media has been able to bottle up so much content on the web. I'd love to think there's something that could bring us out of this dystopia... or at least make it easier for me to share a list of the games I've been playing recently. 😅

      26 votes
    8. Core Internet – what sites and services should we permanently preserve?

      Looking ahead, the commodification and degradation of the Internet is continuing to take away digital resources that we have come to depend upon over the last 20 years. Whether it’s email or...

      Looking ahead, the commodification and degradation of the Internet is continuing to take away digital resources that we have come to depend upon over the last 20 years. Whether it’s email or Amazon or YouTube, the decline of all our favorites has been well documented.

      But we don’t want to live without these sites and services. Tildes itself is an attempt to preserve one such resource but in a better and more stable way. What other parts of the Internet deserve similar treatment?

      Whether it’s open source eBay or community banking or nonprofit versions of Facebook… what would you choose and how would you go about preserving its character and making it workable in the long-term?

      36 votes