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    Meta: this is an interesting case when considering story downvotes. There are >3x the votes for a disagreeing comment for than the story, most comments disagree with the conclusion, and it seems to have a few more users hiding it than usual, but it was the top post when I came here. I had a somewhat similar case here (negative comment score > story score, there because of an outright incorrect headline rather than an argument folks didn’t agree with).

    I realize we don’t just want the rankings to be a poll where 51% disagreement makes a story drop off the earth, so maybe there could be some asymmetry where downvotes cost the downvoter rep or it takes two or three to reduce the score a point or whatever. (Or maybe their effects only kick in once there are X downvotes making up Y% of the total.) Downvotes probably shouldn’t affect submitter rep; outside of breaking rules or obvious bad faith you don’t really want anyone to be worse off for having made a submission. It just seems like in situations like this the ranking is off from what users want to read in an avoidable way.

    Beyond “what users want to read,” this is advice about handling real people’s security in production (or, in the other story’s case, an inaccurate headline folks could remember/spread/repeat). Driving traffic to something that a solid supermajority of readers think is false or just a bad idea can have effects in the real world. It also rewards clickbait-y patterns; with the other story’s false headline, “huge if true” got votes that “turns out false” did not cancel out.

    To be clear, I fully expect to see plenty I disagree with even with a change like this, and I’m fine with that! Also pretty sure I have some takes that would be disadvantaged by story downvotes. But the site is trying to rank stories, and maybe broad-enough disagreement ought to factor in.

    1. 3

      If a bad article sparks good discussion, it should cease being downvoted/maybe should be upvoted. By downvoting a story, you downvote the entire discourse.

      Upvoting the negative comment is productive. Downvoting a story should only be used when the story is off-topic/reposted/broken/spam. If good discussion follows, it’s likely not off-topic or spam.

      In my mind, the purpose of downvoting a story is to save other lobsters time by preventing them from engaging with spam or irrelevant content. If you choose to read a story and it’s comments, you shouldn’t exclusively evaluate it on the number of votes. I don’t mind this system not being optimized for people who don’t stop to actually read and form an opinion.

      1. 2

        By downvoting a story, you downvote the entire discourse.

        I honestly don’t find “most replies dunk on the link” discussions to, on average, be the most useful ones; I think moving on from posts likely to spawn them is the kind of thing a link-ranking site’s algos could usefully do.

        (It would also tend to avoid rewarding clickbaity or controversial-for-the-sake-of-it writing with attention, and if you give some consideration to those who just skim the site or click links, it can avoid feeding them the stuff that the community seems to have settled on as bad security advice, false headlines (for the other story), etc.)

        Props to myfreeweb for mentioning OPAQUE. Creative users can certainly push things in a constructive direction in spite of not getting great prompts from the actual links. I just wish the links were more tilted towards the cool things like OPAQUE and a bit less the takes that almost everybody disagrees with! (Edit: actually made a submission about OPAQUE, haha.)

      2. 1

        I realize we don’t just want the rankings to be a poll where 51% disagreement makes a story drop off the earth,

        If not with downvotes then communities will find other ways to enforce norms, perceived or real[1]. Communities of people will find a way to enforce the community identity. Take away the mechanics of voting, and hiding, and people will become vocal in their opposition to a submitted article. I’ve actually seen a few “this post should not be on this community” type of posts in reply to links.

        Driving traffic to something that a solid supermajority of readers think is false or just a bad idea can have effects in the real world.

        I can see how that would be harmful, but only if people following the link don’t read the comments.

        I found it interesting, if not a good strategy, so I wanted to see what other people thought. That’s why I post things to Lobste.rs, to see the conversation around something, to see what people see that I may not.

        [1]: though, after time perceived norms become the real norms.

        1. 1

          FWIW, not at all down on you for submitting whatever you want. I also think any approach to downvotes shouldn’t make anybody afraid to submit anything. I just (for the reasons in other comments) kinda wish there were a built-in alternative to the “everyone dunks on the original post” dynamic that happens every so often.

          1. 1

            Cool, thank you.

            I agree, mob on down voting isn’t great.

      1. 2

        For special projects, I use a Fabriano notebook.

        However, I have recently (re-)discovered that having a super cheap spiral notebook increases my note-taking by a factor of 100x and that note-taking is a fantastic way to organize thoughts. I have since filled many of those. Something like 140-page Hilroy 1-subject notebooks.

        I’ve been using the Pilot G2 exclusively for over 10 years now. I buy them in bulk and always have 3 to 5 of them on me. I enjoy seeing them spread in other peoples hands wherever I go, so when someone asks for a pen I’m always the first to offer them one of mine and never ask for it back.

        1. 2

          The G2 is a fantastic pen. I prefer the 0.38 tip size becethe flows so well and takes just a moment to dry.

          1. 2

            Not an artist nor anything alike, but I simply love products by Fabriano. I always carry with me an A4 Notebook (Glued Long Side) with dots instead of lines. The 85g/m2 paper is perfect for the 0.1mm Uniball Pin. I’ve been using those for a long time now.

            Feel like everything looks better with this combination, specially mathematical stuff.

            1. 1

              Pilot G2

              So you may like this post

              1. 1

                Thanks for the tip! Pilot also makes a G2 Limited which is a fancier exterior but takes the same fills which should also work.

            1. 1

              I use a Word Notebook, because of the heavy paper, with the a nice leather cover.

              I don’t care for the Moleskins, the paper is too thin, most pens bleed through. Field Notes is hit or miss, sometimes they have heavy paper, sometimes not.

              1. 7

                Read Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno.

                1. 4

                  +1

                  The reality was that just reading the recorded deliberations of senior figures at the time would give me a view at the truth, and a way to evaluate all the other opinions I felt bombarded by.

                  What I should have learned, in other words, was: ignore the noise, and go to the signal.

                  @zwischenzugs did you read The Toyota Way or the Toyota Production System? I ask because the former is noise, by your definition.

                  That said, IMHO, the former is a better read.

                1. 1

                  I use Hugo for my website and overall it is pretty nice. Though, it does seem there are a lot of bugs in major releases that are quickly fixed in point releases. I’ve had to change a few things too as the overall aspect of the software changed from just blogs to generic websites, but they were not huge changes.

                  1. 3

                    What I’ve learned about learning piano from six months learning piano or What I’ve learned about life over the six months I’ve been learning piano would’ve been far more suitable

                    1. 2

                      Programming at a high level requires the same focus, discipline, and intrinsic motivation that piano does.

                      1. 3

                        This is such a general template to doing anything new. First you’re bad, you persist over months and years of plateaus and failure, and just repeat that forever until you give up or you start approaching an actual real ceiling.

                        1. 2

                          This article really resonated with me. I saw in it similar experiences to programming. Any deep learning really.

                      1. 1

                        I was told that passwords should only be changed if they are known to be compromised.

                        But that ignores silent unknown hacks.

                        What is a good password rotation strategy?

                        1. 3

                          Every day I make a todo list on paper, in my notebook. I copy over any items from yesterday’s that I failed to do, trying to be realistic about what I’m going to accomplish. I have sets of other longer-term todo lists I pull from while constructing the daily ones.

                          I enjoy the freedom that a physical books allows, being able to scratch my lists down next to drawings & diagrams.

                          1. 2

                            Plus it looks really cool to use a physical book for lists.

                          1. 2

                            TODOs written on yellow legal pads with mechanical pencils.

                            1. 3

                              Why specifically a mechanical pencil?

                              1. 2

                                I always liked the slender “lead” and there’s no need for a sharpener.

                                1. 4

                                  Have you used the Uni rotating lead pencil. It is pretty nice.

                                  1. 2

                                    Nope, but I will check it out. Thanks!

                            1. 6

                              I just use Things. I have no plan to move away from Apple jail ecosystem in the foreseeable future so…

                              1. 3

                                I also use Things, just on my laptop though (I keep my phone off of email, calendar, etc.).

                                Past monday the macOS Catalina update rendered my Macbook unbootable (sent to apple repair yesterday). In the meantime I’m running a live Ubuntu bootable thumb drive.

                                While Things is not available off-Apple, it’s nice they store everything you do in a single SQLite database file. Until I have my Macbook back I’ll be running Things with a SQL editor.

                                1. 1

                                  Past monday the macOS Catalina update rendered my Macbook unbootable (sent to apple repair yesterday).

                                  Same. Booted in safe mode, turned out it was a bad kext. Updated it and chugging along happily-er now.

                                  1. 1

                                    Mine doesn’t even respond to the boot time keystrokes in order to boot in safe mode, or verbose, or boot from a thumb drive…

                                    I tried everything, but there’s nothing I could do without tearing it down.

                                    May I know your model? Because a friend of mine also had his install broken. Also, is the bad kext related to Little Snitch? Thx.

                                    1. 1

                                      MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) – the bad kext was a corporate MDM thing (“Carbon Black”). But yikes, yours sounds muuuuch worse. I could access safe mode. Recovery was working but even once booted into recovery the dialogs were lagging for 5+ minutes.

                                2. 2

                                  Things

                                  This comment made me check it out, and damn. I’ve been using Todoist for a couple years and this blows it out of the water. Thanks!

                                  1. 1

                                    +1 for Things. I have a soft spot for the idea of a bullet journal but Things is just so good.

                                    1. 3

                                      Things is the only software I’ve ever missed after leaving apple.

                                      1. 1

                                        I have a mac laptop, but an android phone, so I would be hesitant to use Things.

                                  1. 11

                                    I swear by my Bullet Journal. It replaced a text file-based system (a sort of pseudo org-mode) that depended too much on having a laptop or other computer.

                                    • The friction of having to rewrite todo items by hand helps me keep my lists short. That significantly reduces the stress of giant, “eternal” digital lists.
                                    • Keeping it physical means that my phone and all its countless distractions can stay in my pocket.
                                    • Marking things as done with a pen feels like more of an accomplishment than tapping a digital checkbox. All the more dopamine.

                                    Their app is a big help, too.

                                    1. 7

                                      I personally found pen and paper to still beat digital note taking software. For some reason I always spend more time tweaking the software than actually using it. Either that or I get distracted by something else. With pen and paper you don’t have much to do but write, so I find it easier to stay focused.

                                      1. 3

                                        Exactly this, too. I had a small suite of scripts supporting my text file system. I fell off the wagon with it, in part, because of the effort that would have been involved in setting everything back up after a system reinstall. With a Bullet Journal, I just buy a new notebook and a new pen.

                                      2. 2

                                        I do something similar, though it’s far more basic than bullet journaling. I use a fairly thick journal, but it fits into a back pocket pretty easily.

                                        I’ve been eyeing the reMarkable since it was first announced, but their only product is still much too big for my uses. And, honestly, I don’t know whether I’d be okay with something I have to keep charged. But I also don’t like the paper waste I generate, so I guess I’m still eyeing it.

                                        1. 1

                                          An ex-coworker of mine had a reMarkable. She really loved it. I think the key feature for her was the ability to import pdf documents and mark them them up. She also liked how easy it was to organize notebooks for different contexts (as a manager, she was constantly referring to 1 over 1 notes by person, or project notes, or policy deployment notes). She didn’t seem to have issues witht he battery very often–It was a recharge it every other day sort of thing, if I recall.

                                          I personally prefer fancy fountain pens, otherwise I would have considered one myself.

                                          1. 2

                                            I’m a fountain pen person, myself, though I lean towards the non-fancy. Platinum Preppies are an amazing value, for example.

                                        2. 1

                                          I’m back on BUJO as well. I’ve had great success at using org-mode on more complicated projects, but my current project has few tasks, so it is easier to record my few todos in there. I don’t really bother with the calendar very much, I like the push notifications from my work calendar.

                                          Bonuses include being able to doodle in boring meetings.

                                          1. 1

                                            I was using a text file based checklist system that I concocted myself, but moved the todos to Todoist. Which is decent, but I find it difficult to use it for larger projects, or for recording daily activities.

                                            1. 1

                                              Do you use it the way they describe it in their intro video? Or have you made any modifications of your own?

                                              1. 1

                                                Essentially the same, though I don’t really use the monthly calendar feature. (That says more about inattention to time than about that particular feature.)

                                                I do use an ! notation to highlight the 1-3 things that most need to get done in a given day.

                                                The most important thing, I’d say, is to give the base system a try for at least six weeks (so that I you see an entire month through and more) so that you can develop an informed instinct for what you personally want to change.

                                            1. 5

                                              My old dual disk NAS with two new mirrored drives in my brother’s basement in his 19” rack a wee bit unter the ceiling. My rack in the ground floor houses his NAS. Gentlemen’s agreement to not push backups before 2 am.

                                              I once had an old thinkpad with two drives in my old company in the server room (I was the admin) but this seemed no good idea after this company was sued and got raided (fortunately the NAS was not of interest).

                                              Family pictures and such are written on older 3.5” server HDs in silicone hard disk protector frames with USB adapters. Storage of the disks in a safe. The key is in the lock I use it as a fire safe locker, but want to avoid a brute force attack.

                                              Before that I used a dedicated Plextor DVD recorder, gloves and virgin DVD medias, ammo canister as storage for the DVDs. Good method, but ALWAYS finish the session and write the TOC.

                                              Before that I used DAT tape.

                                              I had data loss due to

                                              • gravity (slip, bonk, f<beep/>k… DTLA drives had glass platters and are incompatible with free falling in stair cases)
                                              • humidity (flood in the basement. not tap water, but waste water with heating oil)
                                              • magnetism (forgot to occasionaly reread tapes… for 15 years, plus my Mom put them under the roof)
                                              • compression. I will never ever again compress backups.
                                              1. 3

                                                What was the compression format that you used that failed? How did it fail?

                                                1. 1

                                                  (sorry for late answer, I’m sick @home)

                                                  bzip2, compressing a tar archive to preserve owner/permissions I could not extract the data any more after block reading errors.

                                                  It was “optimized” without the need for it: the backup media (DVD blanks were awfully expensive back then) was almost empty.

                                              1. 4

                                                It includes primarily proprietary as well as open - source components.

                                                What is the reason behind the proprietary components? Why not all opensource?

                                                1. 4

                                                  Near as I can tell because the developers see it as a proprietary OS with a few GPL components, notably the desktop, and that’s only GPL because of a bitter disagreement between one of the developers and the company that owned it at the time.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    The Amiga community was always seemingly hostle to having source available. It’s changed a lot over the years but even today there’s a huge amount of Amiga software that is going to perish when the developers give up on it.

                                                    I think part of it is that the Amiga kept a very active cottage industry of small one- and two-person development teams since it never had really strong major software house support*.

                                                    This lack of major software house support meant tat (a) a large proportion of Amiga developers made (or wanted to make) a living of Amiga software and had relatively easy entry to the market and an enthusiastic captive market and (b) software piracy was rampant.

                                                    * The Amiga had some support from major game developers like EA and LucasArts but only for a few golden years. It never had huge support from the really big companies, with only a few releases if any.

                                                    (This is all just speculation from someone who’s watched the Amiga for 30+ years.)

                                                    1. 1

                                                      What is the reason behind the proprietary components? Why not all opensource?

                                                      While you can use and test the OS for up to 30 minutes for free before you need to reboot, there is a license cost.

                                                      Even if you do not put a value on your own time, developing a niche operating system is a costly endeavour since you need to buy stock piles of hardware to be able to test drivers. I am afraid Apple and AMD are not sending out free hardware samples so MorphOS can be made to support them.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        There’s an argument to be made that making it free software makes both the appeal and the ability to support a wide variety of platforms expand far beyond what a small team on a niche hardware platform is able (like Haiku, for example)

                                                        1. 1

                                                          There’s an argument to be made that making it free software makes both the appeal and the ability to support a wide variety of platforms expand far beyond what a small team on a niche hardware platform is able (like Haiku, for example)

                                                          Well, AROS is an example for an open source operating system that was inspired by the Commodore Amiga platform. I do not think I am being unfair in saying that it is not in a better position than MorphOS despite using an open source license.

                                                          Technically, AROS does support more processor architectures but the alternative ports to ARM and PowerPC are generally less complete, less stable, and have access to a smaller pool of third-party software compared to the Intel-compatible versions.

                                                          Being focused on a limited amount of hardware devices and processor architectures is not necessarily a downside but can help to more effectively use your resources in order to provide a more polished end user experience. (Think Apple MacOS vs. Microsoft Windows.)

                                                          In short, just making something open source does not magically make everything better. Even if you are generally an open source proponent, I think it is healthy to be able to acknowledge that.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Being focused on a limited number of devices does make it easier to polish how it runs on that device for sure, but it also ties the software to the intrinsic appeal of the underlying hardware.

                                                            I don’t think that it’s really possible to gauge what making the source of MorphOS freely available would do to it’s development or focus and whether that’s productive for it’s continued development, but interest and historical documentation would almost certainly benefit. But which of those is “success” is very subjective.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              making something open source does not magically make everything better

                                                              “better” on its own does not mean much. Yeah, it does not inherently make it better in terms of quality, but it does in terms of other things. The freedom to modify the software, the long term preservation aspect, these things are extremely valuable.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                The freedom to modify the software, the long term preservation aspect, these things are extremely valuable.

                                                                Being able to enter and use your neighbour’s car is also technically “valuable” if you get my point. Having potential value does not equal indisputable entitlements.

                                                                More to the point, MorphOS already runs in qemu so the “preservation aspect” is pretty much covered.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        My first reaction was that creating a new regex syntax would complicate things. Regex is complex and confusing as it is, and adding another syntax would complicate adoption.

                                                        I read the “why” section, and all the reasons seem valid.

                                                        @andyc Do you see this new regex syntax becoming widespread in other applications?

                                                        Have other regex syntaxes been created before, other than POSIX or Perl, what happened to them?

                                                        1. 4

                                                          That’s a fair question, I would say:

                                                          (1) Oil is very backward compatible, so you’re not forced to learn anything new if you don’t want to.

                                                          If you already know bash syntax, you can use it. The [[ construct works in Oil!

                                                          https://github.com/oilshell/oil/blob/master/doc/regex-manual.md#oil-is-shorter-than-bash

                                                          (but it seems to be so ugly that people resist learning it)

                                                          You can also use string patterns with Oil:

                                                          if (x ~ '[[:digit:]]+')   # string
                                                          

                                                          Eggexes use / /, but strings are still valid.

                                                          (2) The main reason I thought this made sense is because it integrates seamlessly with egrep, awk, and other tools (see the doc) We don’t have to “boil the ocean” and write new versions of those tools that accept a different syntax.

                                                          I did a previous version of Eggex in 2014 which you could only use from Python, and that wasn’t worth it. I showed it to a few people and that was it.

                                                          (3) This syntax is somewhat familiar if you know lex or re2c. It’s not entirely new. I tried to provide a smooth upgrade path as usual:

                                                          https://github.com/oilshell/oil/blob/master/doc/regex-manual.md#backward-compatibility

                                                          (3) Perl 6 already jumped ship too, with an entirely new and exotic regex syntax. It uses quoted literals and unquoted operators like eggex. Larry Wall said something to the effect of “every language borrowed Perl 5 regex syntax but we’ve moved onto something better”. So I’m not the only one who thinks it’s justified :)

                                                          And Eggex is much more conservative than Perl 6.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Thank you for your reply, and thank you for your work on Oil. It looks very interesting.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          Neovim, iTerm, Firefox, git

                                                          1. 3

                                                            English: I know you mean programming languages, but since I’m not a native English speaker I consider English a tool. Something I don’t like about English is how random written English seems, specially vocals, they have so many sound variations, that’s specially difficult when you learn vocabulary by reading, sometimes I know the written word, but if someone pronounces it I can miss it if that’s the first time I hear it.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              This happened to me today. I was saying “init” to a co-worker, and he didn’t understand at first because of my pronunciation.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              The Go runtime is terrible and rules out Go’s applicability to a huge set of problems.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Do you mean the garbage collection itself, or how it implements it?

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  I’m referring more to Goroutines, though garbage collection imposes similar problems. Because goroutines can switch more or less randomly (at least from the programmer’s point of view) between green threads and real threads, all programs have to deal with the problems of the latter. If it were up to me I’d never use real threads and my code would be 100x simpler for it.

                                                                  1. 8

                                                                    I don’t think about threads when I’m writing Go. What are the set of problems where green threads switching to system threads is undesirable?

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      If a program is using just coroutines (green threads, but I’ll use the term coroutine for this) then only one coroutine is running at a time, so I can be pretty sure a sequence of instructions will be “atomic” with respect to other coroutines. With true, preemptive threading, all that goes out the window.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I’m really confused by this exchange. One of the primary purposes of goroutines (coroutines, green threads) is to exploit the parallelism of the processor. This naturally requires synchronization for shared memory access. Are you and Drew saying you don’t care about it and don’t want to think about it?

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          If I want to exploit the parallelism of the processor, I’ll run multiple instances and have them communicate (the actor model). Shared memory, in my opinion, is evil and makes reasoning about code very hard to impossible, depending upon how extensively it’s used.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Isn’t that the whole idea behind using goroutines communicating through channels rather than threads modifying global state with mutexes? You could in theory write Go code with a bunch of goroutines modifying global state, but I don’t see why you’d do that when you dislike it so much and channels are so frictionless.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              That’s certainly an approach, unfortunately made more difficult by all the work you have to do to get those instances to behave nicely if you want to serve (say) 10k QPS on a single port.

                                                                        2. 1

                                                                          I think one key factor helping go here is that it leans so much on copy semantics. When you can avoid reference types in concurrent code (I mean, you usually want to do this in other languages too) you’re almost exclusively dealing with stack allocations and threads are a non-issue.

                                                                          If you’re writing code that mutates something on the heap, you need to remember to put a lock around it in go, because you don’t know what else might be fiddling with it.

                                                                          In python/ruby you don’t have this problem since there’s a GIL, and in rust you don’t have this problem because it won’t compile.

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      Can you list a few of those problems?

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        The only possible response to running out of memory is a fatal panic.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          How much actual software does anything more constructive in that case? Heuristically, it’s so little that the Linux kernel (however controversially) doesn’t even give applications the chance—every allocation succeeds, with the OOM killer as a nuclear pressure relief valve.

                                                                          This is not to say that it’s not a significant failing of the Go runtime, but I doubt it’s one that “rules out Go’s applicability to a huge set of problems”.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            I have found it a considerable obstacle to writing reliable servers on openbsd, where memory limits actually mean something. I don’t like it when my entire web server goes down because one request happened to be a bit large. I would like that request to fail and for other to continue. Or at the very least for some finite number of requests to fail before order is restored. I can certainly write such code in C.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I wrote a tool called DACT ( http://dact.rkeene.org/ ), which was not originally designed for archival compression may be a good option when combined with tar.

                                                                      Some reasons why this is:

                                                                      1. It splits the input file into a bunch of blocks and compresses (and verifies that the compressed data can be decompressed, optionally) each one individually (possibly using a different compression algorithm for each, but you can pick); tar uses a fixed output block size, so if you make the tar block size and the dact block sizes align then you can trivially recover from many kinds of corruption by ignoring broken dact blocks.
                                                                      2. It has a couple of low-grade checksums (on the compressed and uncompressed data) – this could be improved with cryptographic hashes
                                                                      3. Though many of the best compression algorithms are using external libraries like zlib and libbz2, there are some okay-ish ones I wrote that are simple enough to do by hand if needed

                                                                      Good luck !

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        Thanks for sharing.

                                                                        How easy do you think it would be to do recovery on a damaged archive?

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Over all it shouldn’t be too difficult, the DACT format is described here: http://dact.rkeene.org/fossil/artifact/e942be8628bac375

                                                                          So, it’s a stream of blocks, each of which describes how large it is, which is error-checkable (since if it doesn’t decompress to the right length, you know something is wrong with the block, and can start seeking forward in the archive for the next block, which is also error-checkable so there’s no harm in getting it wrong. In the end, you will know how many blocks you missed in total.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        As I’ve become more active with Z80 homebrew computing, I’ve been going back and looking at old CP/M software. A lot of them are in some custom archival or compression format, and then I have to go back and figure out first what software was used, and then I have to find it and hope I don’t run into a dead end. It’s always a delight to run across something that was archived with LZMA or ZIP; I can even work those files on my Linux machine. Kind of anecdotal evidence in support of the article.

                                                                        I assume that gzip will be the same way in the future, though you might not want to use it for reasons outlined in the article.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          How many different old archive formats have you run into? Are they easy to find tools for, or to reverse engineering them?

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I’ve run into a handful of them; most of them I wasn’t sufficiently interested to look too much further into them, but a few hours of Googling didn’t turn up the tools themselves.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          My experience with my own data is that almost all of it already has its own compressed file format optimised for the kind of data it is. E.g. JPEG for photos, MP4 for video, etc. Adding another layer of compression to that is not only a waste if time but often makes the dataset slightly bigger. Text, program binaries, and VM images could be compressed for archival storage but consider the fact that storage has gotten ridiculously cheap while your time has not. But if you really want to archive something just pick a format that’s been around for decades (gz, bzip2, xz) and call it a day.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            “consider the fact that storage has gotten ridiculously cheap while your time has not. “

                                                                            This is true for middle class folks and up. Maybe working class folks without lots of bills. Anyone below them might be unable to afford extra storage or need to spend that money on necessities. The poverty rate in 2017 put that at 39.7 million Americans. Tricks like in the article might benefit them if they’re stretching out their existing storage assets.

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                                                                              Consider that a 1TB hard drive costs $40 - $50. That’s $0.04 per gigabyte. Now say you value your time at $10 an hour. Even one minute spent archiving costs more than than a 1GB of extra space, and the space saved is unlikely to be that much. If you don’t have $40 - $50, then of course, you can’t buy more space. That doesn’t mean space isn’t cheaper than time. It’s just another example of how it’s expensive to be poor.

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                                                                                One other thing to add to the analysis is that one can burn DVD’s while doing other things. Each one only accounts for the time to put one in, click some buttons, take one out, label it, and store it. That’s under a minute. Just noting this in case anyone is guessing about how much work it is.

                                                                                The time vs space cost still supports your point, though. Anyone that can easily drop $40-100 on something is way better off.

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                                                                              Adding another layer of compression, especially if it’s the same algorithm, often won’t shrink the file size that much. However, it does make it very convenient to zip up hundreds of files for old projects, freelance work, and have it as a single file to reason about.

                                                                              I would not be so cavalier with the archive file format. For me, it is far more important to ensure reliability and surviveability of my data. Zipping up the files is just for convenience.

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                                                                                That’s why there is tar, which, by itself, doesn’t do any compression.

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                                                                                  I was thinking that tar suffers from the same file concatenation issue that affects other SOLID container formats. But it looks like cpio can be used to extract a tarball skipping any damaged sections.

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                                                                                  A benefit of zipping together files is that it makes transferring the zipped archive between machines/disks much easier and faster. Your computer will crawl at writing out a hundred small files, and one equally-sized file will be much faster.