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      MightyApp, for instance, virtualizes Chrome: they want you to stop paying for expensive hardware and outsource the computing power needed to run modern web apps to them — accessing economies of scale on both performance and maintenance costs. It does make sense.

      Good lord. Is this satire? It sounds like satire.

      Isn’t the whole point of web apps to let the server handle the beefy computing power requirements and then let the browser client be “thin”? Have we as an industry fucked up so badly that we need to delegate the client off to a server again? What happens when the client for the serverized-client gets too heavyweight to run on your local machine?

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        Mighty was a flash-in-the-pan lo these many months ago (mid 2020? or was it in the Before Times?) I would be very surprised if they’re making any money apart from the VC funding. They were asking (IIRC) $50/mo to run Chrome virtually inside… Chrome? It’s hard to see the business case for this, which is yet another data point to add to the conclusion that there’s a lot of dumb money sloshing around and if you’re a smooth talker with a good elevator pitch you’ve got it made.

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          I wish I could remember where I first heard this because it needs to become an eponymous “So-and-so’s Law” but: the problem with writing satire of silicon valley is that someone always takes your terrible idea and implements it in earnest.

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          Especially since Mighty is incredibly overpriced compared to literally any other VDI solution, be it for gamers (i.e. GeForce Now) or Azure/AWS’ offerings. Mighty is basically asking for an entire Chromebook a year’s worth of money.

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        The web browser is now so big that it’s the most demanding application that most folks use, so it’s not completely unreasonable. Web apps are getting pretty big and resource hungry these days. Consider the G Suite, Slack, or Teams, for example.

        Over Christmas, I have been playing Halo Infinite and Serious Sam 4 via the cloud gaming thing on Xbox Game Pass. I have an Xbox One S (i.e. the cheapest one from the last generation) but I can stream a game from a better Xbox in a cloud datacenter with sufficiently low latency that I don’t notice that it’s not local. I can even do this with games like Serious Sam 4 that require a more powerful GPU than my console has.

        FPS games are among the most latency-sensitive applications that you can run (even when you play them like me - the last time I was actually good at these games was 20 years ago and that wasn’t with an Xbox controller) and so if you can run them remotely and have a good experience then you can run anything remotely.

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          The web browser is now so big that it’s the most demanding application that most folks use, so it’s not completely unreasonable.

          It’s not so much “is it reasonable for one individual company to decide to build this as a product” as “is it reasonable for us as an industry to let things get into a state where this became the kind of thing people actually wanted”

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            If you think of the web browser as a hypertext document viewer, no. If you think of the web browser as a sandboxed application deployment environment then it’s no less sensible than something like a managed Windows cloud desktop.

            I’m not really a fan of the modern web browser - it isn’t a particularly good hypertext document viewer or application deployment environment - but it’s the one we have.

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      Wow! We’re headed right back to the 60s! With the high priests of computing and no one allowed to touch, much less see, the actual computer being used. It’s centralized computing all over again! (only this time, the client has a bit more mobility) Thank god we will no longer have kids able to explore what a computer can do like we did in the 80s! What were we thinking?

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        I think it’s really important to distinguish between a setup where you can run the remote server on your own hardware vs one where you’re just trusting someone else to keep things going and you just connect to their thing.

        It’s definitely smart to default to a position of suspicion when a tech company is offering to run all your stuff and lock you in, but I benefit a ton from a remote development setup where the computing is still happening on hardware located in my own home.

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          I might be hanging out on the orange site too much, but I thought the whole zeitgeist is “Outsource all the things!” (I’ll stop here before I get too cynical)

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        With Confidential Cloud Computing, we’re trying to build a world where you can get the economise of scale of ’60s-style computing, with the control of ‘80s-style computing: we aim to guarantee that the cloud machine is running the software that you told it to and that the cloud provider can’t see what you’re doing. It’s still relatively early but I’m cautiously optimistic that this will end up somewhere I want to be.

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      Can’t overlook Glamorous Toolkit here.


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      “Chromebooks are going in the right direction … I don’t think, though, that they could ever be a great machine to code on: terrible keyboard, terrible screen, terrible shell experience.”

      The irony here is not lost on me - I regularly choose and use a Chromebook for my access to remote compute resources, because of the great hardware and OS features. Subjective, I know, but the Pixelbook is my laptop of choice for keyboard, screen and terminal (as well as browser). YMMV with other Chromebooks of course, but still.

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        Agreed. Even at the less expensive end they’re not a bad solution.

        • I’ve never really been happy with any laptop keyboard, but I take it as a given that keyboard will suffer the portability tradeoffs (and it applies every bit as much to Apple’s overpriced broken keyboards too.) I just assume that any time I’m not mobile I’ll be docked to a real keyboard.
        • The Toshiba CB2 was arguably the best laptop screen I’ve ever used: it was a decent compromise between high-gloss and matte, and had a huge dynamic range of backlighting that made it usable anywhere from a dark room at night to outdoors in full sunlight. I don’t know why other manufacturers can’t get that right.
        • Really don’t know what the article has to complain about wrt terminal… it’s pretty easy to get exactly the same experience you do anywhere else. I have mine setup w/ scripts that provision a dev env exactly the same on a cb as any other linux machine.
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      I am surprised that remote development only caught on again recently. When I was at Facebook a few years back (~2012), everyone had a remote machine doing all development work. From then on, I do the same myself. The portability is unparalleled. My laptop effectively only runs the Windowing system and monitors.

      Of course, that also means for the longest time, your “IDE” options are limited to Vim or Emacs.

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        Like the article points out, though, this alignment of incentives is easy to achieve when you are just supporting employees, not so much otherwise. Every time I’ve seen someone try to provide this to a broader audience it’s become some unpalatable combination of rent-seeking, vendor lock in, and/or data harvesting.

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        Same; it’s really nice to be able to do all my work from my personal machine without having to keep any of the “sensitive” work codebases checked out on “untrusted” hardware. You can always SSH into more RAM or CPUs; you can’t SSH into a better keyboard or display.

        Especially when pairing with other teammates, tmate is so much more pleasant than pairing over zoom. Plus it got me to start using the CLI for Jira, which makes it twenty times faster to look things up. (granted I could have done this before but I just didn’t think of it.)

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          using the CLI for Jir

          Is this the pip installed cli for Jira?

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            It’s been so long I forgot how I installed it, but it’s the one from Netflix.

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          Does the JIRA CLI load results much faster than the web UI or something?

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            Yes, 20x was not an exaggeration. Loading new pages in Jira is intolerably slow on a fast machine, and it’s much worse on my primary box.

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              Ah hmm I may have to try this then. I had blithely assumed without checking that the slow part of using Jira in a browser would probably be the actual backend. Thanks!

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              Have you compared with the (admittedly lacking) Mac app, which seems to use Catalyst?

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                No, I don’t have a Mac.

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        It’s all I’ve been doing since 2013. I recently tried out jetbrains but was not keen on any of the remote workflows so I do local dev with syncthing to the remote end. Need to decide if I’m going to keep doing this past the trial period…

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        This is what I do for personal development and love it. I set up an old gaming rig up with arch, zerotier, and mosh. I use neovim as my editor and it works really well for me. Now with neovim 0.5, syntax highlighting and autocomplete are best in class thanks to LSPs.

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      I’ll have to give projector a go. I tried gateway but it was super buggy, to the point where it just didn’t work at all after about 5 minutes.

      I want to love IDEs but I’m finding it hard to wean myself off just ssh-ing into a VPS and using vim, which has served me well for quite a while.

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        Agreed, ssh+tmux+vim is still pretty hard to beat even in 2021

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        VS Code is both. I do all my development in it (both at work and at home) but it’s seemlessly sshing into a server under the covers. The Remote extension is just magic.

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          The remote extension is too much magic. It SSH’s into the remote machine and then downloads a binary blob of an almost complete VS Code install. This is great for getting your extensions all working but it means that you’re out of luck if you’re targeting a platform that doesn’t have Electron support and official VS Code builds (i.e. almost anything that isn’t x86 Windows/Linux/macOS).

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            So it seamlessly works so well that you don’t even need to know what’s going on under the covers and it works on all the platforms 99.9999% of development occurs on? :p

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      What most people dont seem to get is the future IDEs should be / are targeting the next generations of engineers, not necessarily the current generations.

      Ease of use, easy to access, easy to setup goes a LONG way into helping new generations to learn how to code and share best practice. And remote workspace enabled reproducible, compose-able work environments which is a step towards the right direction.