1. 9

    Buying a cheap UPS is usually a worse idea than having no UPS.

    A lifetime ago, I worked in an office where everyone had their workstation on its own APC UPS instead of a regular 6-port power strip. I believe this idea came about because most of the floor was for helpdesk personnel and hanging up on your users is not considered good customers service. However, the building also had a huge battery backup system and diesel generators out back meaning the power basically never went out unless there was planned maintenance. However, those little under-the-desk UPSes died and malfunctioned constantly. Mine would just turn everything off for no actual reason that I could tell. No problems with the battery, no alarms, nothing. Just unplug it, plug it back in, and it was hunkey-dorey for another few weeks.

    I eventually swapped mine out for a regular power strip.

    1. 3

      This is crazy. I’m designing almost the exact same thing–right down to the UI choices–for the company I work for. We’re going to have a few more features but I would have gladly based my work on this and saved myself months of back-burner time.

      And because it might come up, SSH key certificates are generally a MUCH better way to handle this problem but we have some non-technical users who can barely generate their own SSH to begin with, let alone figure out how to get it signed and put back in the right place.

      1. 2

        we use hashicorp’s vault tool to handle SSH key signing. It makes it much more palatable for everyone.

      1. 5

        Despite having around 3 decades of computer usage underneath my belt, spreadsheets are one of those things that I never quite got to grips with. I’ve been meaning to take a closer look at LibreOffice for some financial stuff I’m dabbling in and was pleasantly surprised to see they have “books” for each LO product and these seem to be extremely clear and well-written. I’m going to dig into the one for Calc for sure.

        1. 3

          I think for a lot of programmers spreadsheets are kinda superfluous. Certainly in my case, I typically just write a small program where another person would use a spreadsheet.

          1. 3

            I know it’s counterintuitive, but I would advise to just learn Excel from Microsoft. Long story short, there’s much more documentation and a lot more tutorial/courses. Just invest 20-40 euros on some good udemy course and you should be good to go. Once you’re familiar/confident it’s easy to switch back to calc, most things map 1 to 1.

            I still can’t understand free software people haven’t monetized training. Red Hat makes good money off training (and certification).

            Good example would be not only LibreOffice, but also stuff like Kdenlive. Make some courses, selli it off udemy (or similar) and keep it updated.

            1. 3

              I still can’t understand free software people haven’t monetized training.

              Um, they did.

              1. 1

                This mostly seems like corporate training to me; I think the previous poster was talking more about simpler training for interested hobbyists and “power users”, like a 4-hour course you pay $20 for or something.

                1. 1

                  Anytime you have to work with reconciling figures from 2 systems, Excel comes in handy. Plenty of tools within easy reach to isolate differences etc.

          1. 5

            The ‘linux’ tag is misleading..

            1. 5

              WSL 2 brings an actual Linux deep inside Windows and the OP is using Linux for development inside that Surface Book 3.

              1. 3

                Yes, but when there is a review of a device you think the was at least an attempt to install Linux without any virtualization..

                1. 4

                  I understand where you’re coming from but I don’t think that invalidates the tag. I knew when I saw both Windows and Linux tag related to a Surface review and web development, that the OP would be talking about WSL2. That is because I am biased as I use a Surface as well and probably a similar setup.

                  If you want to know more about running Linux on Surface devices the guide from the /r/surfacelinux community should answer most of your questions. There you can also find reviews and post-mortems about it. The rule of thumb is usually that slight older devices work better than brand new devices, but then again that is true for most hardware vendors and Linux. Something from a couple years ago had its bugs ironed out already while the bleeding edge stuff still a bit buggy (that is the makers fault for not supporting Linux, not some shortcoming of Linux itself, just declaring that because some people might read that phrase wrong)

                  1. 2

                    The thrust of the article is the author’s opinions on a specific tablet/laptop device. The fact that it happens to run a Linux virtualization layer is completely tangential since WSL2 can be used on any hardware that Win10 runs on. So I agree that the “Linux” tag was inappropriate here. The article isn’t “about” Linux, full stop.

                    I’m even a little dubious about the Windows tag but I would ordinarily let it slide in this case since the article spends a decent amount of time talking about his development environment on Windows.

                    If anything, I feel like the “hardware” tag (alone) would have been the most appropriate.

                    Oh and I’ve flagged this submission since it’s a 100% complimentary product review with an affiliate link at the end. There was no actual testing or evaluation, just “boy this thing is good and would you believe it’s faster than the old one from three years ago?” Obvious spam.

              2. 1

                And it’s a product review. Flagged.

                1. 2

                  Are product reviews not allowed? I see reviews for open hardware like Purism, Pinebook, Pinephone, fairly regularly here and enjoy reading those. (Even though I don’t have any plans to buy them, usually.)

                  1. 1

                    I usually flag those too, for what it’s worth. Lobsters is a juicy target for advertising/content marketing, and product reviews are like junk food to techies.

              1. 10

                They are completely different use cases from my observation.

                I run NextCloud on my VPS so that I can access my calendar, save contacts, and share files with people. NextCloud is not a NAS even if some people use it as one.

                A Synology (or any NAS) is internal to your main network and is where your bulk data lives. It has special filesystems and other low level code for dealing with physical hard drives and data is shared with other local hosts over SMB or NFS. (Or remote hosts over VPN if you have the bandwidth.)

                1. 3

                  For me NextCloud was always primarily an alternative to Dropbox, Google Drive etc., so I can understand the post. I don’t have a Synology personally but I tried NextCloud often and found the same issues over and over again: The file-syncing wasn’t reliable (macOS), calendar and contact sync never worked correctly.

                  A lot of friends love their Synology NAS systems, not just because of the file sharing features (it’s not just SMB/NFS etc. but also a Dropbox like Desktop client) but also for the reliable Calendar and Contacts sync, there’s also a feature to make it available from outside of your home network.

                1. 3

                  The article would have been a lot more constructive if it gave some examples of better alternatives for the various projects mentioned.

                  1. 18

                    Are you suggesting they should say something like

                    What To Use Instead?

                    To replace GPG, you want age and minisign.

                    To replace GnuTLS or libgcrypt, depending on what you’re using it for, you want one of the following: s2n, OpenSSL/LibreSSL, or Libsodium.

                    which they said at the bottom of the article?

                    1. 2

                      Except Age/Minisign is not a GPG replacement?

                      1. 5

                        Age replaces file encryption. Minisign replaces signatures.

                        Read https://latacora.micro.blog/2019/07/16/the-pgp-problem.html

                        A Swiss Army knife does a bunch of things, all of them poorly. PGP does a mediocre job of signing things, a relatively poor job of encrypting them with passwords, and a pretty bad job of encrypting them with public keys. PGP is not an especially good way to securely transfer a file. It’s a clunky way to sign packages. It’s not great at protecting backups. It’s a downright dangerous way to converse in secure messages.

                        Back in the MC Hammer era from which PGP originates, “encryption” was its own special thing; there was one tool to send a file, or to back up a directory, and another tool to encrypt and sign a file. Modern cryptography doesn’t work like this; it’s purpose built. Secure messaging wants crypto that is different from secure backups or package signing.

                        You may think you want some cryptographic Swiss Army knife that “truly” replaces GPG, but what you really want is secure, single-purpose tools for replacing individual use cases that use modern cryptography and have been extensively reviewed by cryptography and security experts.

                        1. 2

                          What tool handles the identity and trust mechanism that GPG providing?

                          With the multi-tool approach, the user has to re-establish the web of trust every time and learn about each disconnected tools as well.

                          1. 2

                            What tool handles the identity and trust mechanism that GPG providing?

                            I hear webs of trust don’t work. Not sure why, but I believe it has to do with the difficulty of changing your root key if it ever becomes compromised.

                            Otherwise, maybe something like minisign, or even minisign itself, could help?

                            1. 1

                              Trust in what context?

                              For code-signing, I designed https://github.com/paragonie/libgossamer

                      2. 1

                        Totally agreed. But hey, a blog article poo-pooing a thing is much easier to write than one constructively criticizing it and offering solutions. And who has the time these days?

                        On a related note, it was once a guaranteed way to get your latest blog article to the top of the orange site if the title contained something like, “Foobar: You’re Doing it Wrong” or “We Need Talk About Foobar”. Phrases like this are the equivalent of “One Weird Trick” headline clickbait for devs.

                        1. 8

                          Pretty sure the article offers solutions. It’s at the very bottom though.

                      1. 3

                        I liked this.

                        Also, be sure to check out this guy’s home page, he has a bunch of other far more interesting projects.

                        1. 3

                          This “service” just sends you an email with a calendar event on the day your cert expires. I’m not sure how useful that is. For someone with an already-packed inbox and calendar, I don’t need another thing to have to go and manually check up on.

                          If we assume that everyone is using automated certificate generating and signing, then I think it would make more sense if this service checked for certificates past a certain age (or a certain number of days before expiration) and emailed only on erroneous conditions. For example, I rotate my certs every 60 days but the certs are valid for 90 days. I would like to get an email for any cert still active at 65 days old, for example.

                          Actually, I think LE might already do this to some extent.

                          1. 2

                            I’m not sure why you quote the word service. It’s a service with a reasonable fee for a reasonable price. If I dabbled writing this, I’d have a hard time saving money if my time was paid for years.

                            If the model doesn’t fit, you could reasonably quick write probe for your favourite monitoring service if you missed one (I know people that have a nagios probe for all their services and all their third-party services). But this assumes you have a monitoring service at hand.

                            This is a classic service that makes sense in a small- to midrange setting, possibly in areas where you don’t have full control.

                            1. 1

                              Yeah they email you within a window of expiry, and then every few days until expiry.

                              Also, LE’s certbot now sets up a cronjob for you.

                              1. 1

                                With Let’s Encrypt, I get emails from them a few days out for certs that are going to expire. It’s helpful because if you set up automation to renew every 30 days (for example), then you really only get those emails from LE when the automation has broken for some reason.

                              1. 2

                                Blizzard’s been historically very litigious and very prone to sending C&D letters.

                                Remember bnetd. Let’s hope this won’t have a similar fate.

                                1. 3

                                  I came here to say this very thing. I wish the authors all the best but we all know how this is going to end.

                                  1. 4

                                    It’ll probably just end with them having to change the name. IIRC the wargus folks received a C&D from blizzard for originally naming their project ‘FreeCraft’. If ‘free’ sounds too much like ‘war’ to blizzard, then ‘opendiablo’ will definitely ruffle their feathers.

                                    1. 6

                                      If ‘free’ sounds too much like ‘war’

                                      How Orwellian…

                                1. 2

                                  In the early days of SO, I once stumbled upon a user who was, essentially. a troll. But a very creative and imaginative one. He asked questions exactly like these, in a very innocent tone, and effectively got answerers to wander down some deep rabbit holes for quite a while until they realize they’d been had. Whoever this was, he was a master of the game. And eventually banned from SO, I’m pretty sure. I wish I would have bookmarked some of those.

                                  1. 4

                                    There is no ideal developer experience, full stop, end of thread. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignorant of the sheer diversity of individual human perception, experience, and skills.

                                    There’s only what works for each individual. Even if you took a small group of developers who work on the same narrow product and have had remarkably similar career paths, you are going to find that one person uses a graphical IDE while another is just fine with Vim and a terminal. Or one might have put in a lot of effort into memorizing the various stages of a complicated product build while another wrote a bunch of scripts to manage everything.

                                    And this is a good thing. The diversity of different perspectives generally leads to a team that is more flexible and able to come up with better solutions than teams where everyone is forced to work in the same environment and use the same tools in the same way.

                                    My feeling is that as a developer there is still so much that stands in my way getting from some local piece of software to something that runs and scales in “production”

                                    I wish you all the best but if the process of creating complex software going from an idea all the way to deployment was in any way easy, we wouldn’t need developers. The same way that we wouldn’t need carpenters if building a house was easy or mechanics if maintaining equipment was easy. Mastering a craft is almost always more about developing skill with the tools than the ability to do the actual work. Anyone who does woodworking as a hobby, for example, will tell you that a surprising amount of their time is spent solely on building, buying, organizing, or maintaining their tools. I don’t think it’s that much different for proficient developers.

                                    1. 6

                                      The diversity of different perspectives generally leads to a team that is more flexible and able to come up with better solutions than teams where everyone is forced to work in the same environment and use the same tools in the same way.

                                      I have never seen this be the case, whereas in teams with shared tooling and environments I’ve seen massive increases in the ability to help each other solve common problems and improve the shared tooling.

                                      1. 3

                                        There is no ideal developer experience, full stop, end of thread. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignorant of the sheer diversity of individual human perception, experience, and skills.

                                        That assumes that tools have to be designed in such a way that they fit only some peoples’ workflows and not another - which is false.

                                        There are two kinds of features - those which preclude or limit other features, and those which don’t. The former, which are in the minority, can be exposed via configuration and flexibility of the underlying tool. The latter, which are in the majority, can just be bundled in an application with no (inherent) drawbacks.

                                        If I build a tool with a REPL, the presence of that feature is beneficial for the majority of developers, and detrimental for exactly none of them.

                                        What feature are you thinking of that is beneficial for some people and, if included in a tool, would necessarily be detrimental for others?

                                        you are going to find that one person uses a graphical IDE while another is just fine with Vim and a terminal

                                        This has everything to do with preference, and nothing to do with “ideal developer experience” - which is necessarily concerned with efficiency and not perception. Lots of programmers don’t learn to touch-type for the first few years because they think it isn’t necessary or are just procrastinating. This isn’t “diversity” - this is just some people flat-out lacking a particular skill that will objectively make them more efficient.

                                      1. 3

                                        Summary: The issue with atime is that you incur a disk write every time you read a file. This is massively expensive in terms of performance. However, all mainstream Linux filesystems default to relatime for at least a decade or more which is close enough in performance to noatime for most workloads that you really don’t need to worry about it.

                                        1. 5

                                          A correction, the article says, “Pop doesn’t use the Ubuntu repositories. Instead they use their own” which isn’t true. Take a look at /etc/apt/sources.list. It’s all the standard Ubuntu repos plus a “proprietary” repo in which they ship non-open-source like VSCode, Chrome, etc. For their open source stuff, /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ points to a PPA on Launchpad.

                                          They do have an Ubuntu mirror on apt.pop-os.org but there’s probably no real reason to use it.

                                          Once I get a spare moment, I’m probably going to move both my personal and work laptops to Pop OS soon. I used Xubuntu for the longest time (and before that, various distros with MATE) but found with Ubuntu 19.10 that GNOME 3 can be mostly usable for me with a whole bunch of tweaks and extensions. But I’m looking to get away from Ubuntu due to their increasing use of snaps, which are highly incompatible with how I want to manage my machines.

                                          1. 2

                                            But I’m looking to get away from Ubuntu due to their increasing use of snaps, which are highly incompatible with how I want to manage my machines.

                                            Me, too, but isn’t PopOS using Flatpak?

                                            1. 1

                                              I haven’t actually used Pop OS very much yet so take this with a grain of salt but my understanding is that its app store (called Pop Shop) offers things as FlatPaks. However, using them is not compulsory. Snaps are compulsory on Ubuntu. When there are deb and flatpak versions of the same thing, the Pop Shop offers you a choice of whether to install it as a deb or Flatpak. It seems to default to deb. Proprietary apps (e.g. Postman) seem to be the only ones that ship as Flatpak-only. Probably

                                              As far as I can tell, all of the extra stuff that Pop OS ships is built as debs, as is the stuff that Ubuntu now packages only as snaps (e.g. Chromium). Their non-proprietary repo is maintained and packaged on Launchpad: http://ppa.launchpad.net/system76/pop

                                          1. 2

                                            Can somebody share some thoughts on the Pop UI(experience) vs Gnome/KDE? Would be interesting to hear.

                                            For example I like having an instant global CMD and search or some kind of taskbar system.

                                            1. 4

                                              The Pop OS UI is GNOME 3 with lightly modified defaults and a few extensions.

                                              1. 2

                                                Is it possible to use XFCE, or does this lose the polish PopOS devs did?

                                                1. 1

                                                  The Pop OS polish is mostly GNOME 3 customizations and extensions to my understanding, although I imagine their app store and other stuff works just fine in XFCE.

                                            1. 1

                                              I clearly remember when Corel started selling physical boxed versions of WordPerfect Office for Linux. Even though it was commercial software, it felt like such a huge validation for Linux on the desktop at the time, because it was a sign that Linux had finally “made it”. The idea of walking into a random computer or department store and buy physical commercial software for what was a very niche OS at the time was a little surreal at the time. I remember buying Quake 3 for Linux and a copy of Mandrake 9.0 around the same time frame.

                                              Unfortunately for WordPerfect Office, StarOffice (which became OpenOffice, which became LibreOffice) went open source around the same time and effectively buried all other cheaper-yet-good-enough Microsoft Office competitors.

                                              1. 46

                                                It’s a bit of a non-sensical headline. He’s rebelling against the apparently mainstream idea that coding is the new literacy. That programming is really just problem solving and creativity with a specialized set of tools.

                                                I think he is oversimplifying it and building a straw man to knock down. I don’t have a problem teaching young kids how to code, because once you learn how to use the tools, the problem solving and creativity comes along for the ride anyway, at some point or another. Just like in cooking, woodworking, and any other kind engineering. Learn the tools, develop skills, solve problems, gain experience, rinse, repeat.

                                                Finally, I’m not teaching my kids how to code either, but they are learning it anyway because it’s a standard part of every curriculum these days.

                                                1. 13

                                                  Just like in cooking, woodworking, and any other kind engineering. Learn the tools, develop skills, solve problems, gain experience, rinse, repeat.

                                                  That would be something I’d like to see, a movement to get kids to learn to cook, do woodworking, and in general, learn to build or create anything, not just code. But I fear that these might be perceived as dangerous classes as there might be fire or sharp object around :/

                                                  1. 9

                                                    It doesn’t have to be a movement. There don’t have to be classes.

                                                    It could just start in the home, with parents that listen to their children, help tune their interests, and help them develop as they grow older.

                                                    Or, it could just start in the home, with parents doing what mind did: lock their children in their rooms for the whole day with absolutely nothing to do except take apart the bed, the windows, the clock-radio, and the door - so they learn how to put it all back together again before it’s discovered and the child/children are beaten/whipped for ‘destroying’ property.

                                                    In both cases, the ‘right’ kind of child (and yes, you should cringe at the idea of a ‘right kind of child’) will survive/prevail: one that’s curious and not afraid to try new things (for fear of being punished or otherwise).

                                                    Which brings me to my point - if there even is one: a lot of these “movements” and talk of bringing up the next generation seem to be without regard for the child - and really just seem to come from a bunch of adults that feel something needs to be done at large, without a clue or care about children as individuals.

                                                    1. 8

                                                      Well education does shape society. If you teach a generation of kids that the only path to any kind of success is academic subjects, where any vocational subjects are seen as being for the stupid loser kids that are too dumb to do ‘real’ subjects, you end up with a generation of kids that all think they need to go to university and a shortage of plumbers. Ironically, going into trades like plumbing is really lucrative now (at least in New Zealand) because of that shortage, a much better choice than studying law or accounting. So I think it’s important to teach a bit of vocational stuff to every kid in school to allow them to see a variety of things. If I hadn’t had electronics classes in school I’d never have learnt it on my own. I remember having male classmates that thought that having to learn sewing was ‘dumb and for girls’ but then really enjoyed it.

                                                      On an individual level, of course, you can’t just decide your kids will learn X, Y and Z but not A, B or C and be done with it. You can’t fall into the trap of trying to design your kids to be what you want them to be or what you always wish you were or whatever. I totally agree with you there: kids are people, individuals, with preferences and interests. You can influence those interests but you can’t just decide “I am going to teach you how to be a programmer” and be done with it.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        Thanks for calling that bit about education out.

                                                        When the word “movement,” was thrown out, I couldn’t separate it from the negative association I have with other “movements,” of yesteryear here in the United States.

                                                        It honestly didn’t occur to me to associate that word with the public education system.

                                                        That being said, I definitely credit the industrial design elective/course track at my high school for giving me a lot of direction when I started to consider college.

                                                    2. 6

                                                      New Zealand perspective here: at least when I was intermediate school age (age 10-12, approximately 15 years ago, I guess, how time flies) it was compulsory for all intermediate school aged school pupils to attend ‘manual technology’ (they’re probably changed the name now) which was basically a term each of sewing, cooking, electronics and woodwork. Then once you’re in secondary school (high school) it all becomes elective but is still offered. Apparently this now includes stuff like 3D printing, which is pretty cool. As a male I don’t think I’d have ever learnt how to use a sewing machine if I hadn’t been required to do it through school. It was considered so important by our school system (15 years ago at least, but I don’t think it’s changed) that my very small primary school shipped off the 10-12 year olds to a nearby intermediate school to use their manual technology facilities.

                                                      Of course there are risks associated with putting 11-year-olds in front of sewing machines or drill presses or whatever but they’re pretty small risks and part of life is learning how to work with things that are a bit dangerous. Nobody in any of my classes ever had worse than a minor hot glue gun burn or perhaps stuck themselves accidentally with a needle. Looking at the ‘safety in technology’ guidelines for NZ schools, there are various recommended minimum age groups for different technology e.g. microwaves are safe for any age group, ovens for roughly 7+ yo, overlockers for roughly 11+ yo, belt sanders roughly 15+ yo and circular saws aren’t considered appropriate for any age group. I think it’s just about being reasonable about risk. Putting a 7-year-old in front of an overlocker is very different to putting a 14-year-old in front of an overlocker.

                                                      But to me I read ‘a movement to get kids to learn to cook, [etc.]’ and I think: maybe kids are actually learning this already but you just don’t know it, or perhaps NZ is weird and in the USA kids just learn to read, write and do maths and not much else? It’s hard to say. Education works very differently in different countries of course. I’m sure it varies drastically across the USA as well.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        In Sweden, “slöjd” (woodworking, using textiles) is a required part of primary education (7-16 years).

                                                        When I was a student many years ago, the “tough kids” turned baseball bats and used the metal shears to make shuriken (these were confiscated). As far as I know there have been no calls to restrict access to more dangerous tools for kids.

                                                        “Hushållslära” (learning to cook a meal, do laundry, plan a household budget) is also part of the curriculum,

                                                        Programming is part of secondary (high school level) education, but kids in primary school do discuss digital social media as part of social studies.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          I have been meaning to learn how to sew. I have found myself wishing to I knew how to do it so many times

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Just start by looking up how to fix something of yours that needs it. It’s not that hard.

                                                            I’ve had a small tutorial from my mother when I was 8yo and another session when I sewn a medieval shirt for a LARP from scratch. That’s a little bit harder skill, where you need to know about materials, proper technique and some old inventions (e.g. to make back part of the shirt slightly longer so that the shirt does not choke you and so on).

                                                      2. 11

                                                        I kind of love substituting other skills into the title.

                                                        “I won’t teach my kids Spanish and neither should you.”

                                                        “I won’t teach my kids how to drive and neither should you.”

                                                        Comes off a bit silly.

                                                        1. 4

                                                          Finally, I’m not teaching my kids how to code either, but they are learning it anyway because it’s a standard part of every curriculum these days.

                                                          Is it really?

                                                          1. 6

                                                            It is here in the UK. Scratch, then Python seems to be popular.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Okay! I’ll have to check the situation in Sweden, but I don’t think it’s a regular subject here.

                                                        1. 7

                                                          long time K-9 user, I switched to FairEmail early this year. K-9 started having problems not showing notifications for new mail last year, I put up with it for months because the issue was active on their tracker. after long enough I just had to switch so I could know when I receive mail. FairEmail has been pleasant so I don’t see myself going back even if this means they’ve fixed that problem, it has about the same feature set but the notifications work.

                                                          1. 15

                                                            I just tried FairEmail and I put this in the category of begware. It is being advertised as free and open source but as soon as you set it up and view your inbox, there is a notice pinned to the top asking you to support the author by buying the pro version. You can hide this, but only for two weeks.

                                                            I don’t have a problem with someone developing free/open source apps and asking for a donation, or even releasing a free version and a pro version with more features. I don’t begrudge the author wanting to make a living either. But be up-front and honest about your intentions with the user. Having a persistent nag notification that you only find out about after going through the non-trivial work of setting up your email accounts really rubs me the wrong way.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              i had forgotten about the nag since i read most of my mail straight from the notification. that’s a very fair criticism and is something i don’t condone myself. i think i’ll switch back to K-9 now that a new stable is on the horizon.

                                                            2. 4

                                                              I’ve tried FairEmail for a while and uh.. it feels so cluttered and unintuitive. Threading just doesn’t work right. The screen with many mails from a thread together is very frustrating to navigate.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                i rarely have threaded email chains in my personal account so i had kinda glanced over this.. but looking at one, yeah, that’s clunky. i mostly just read mail so i haven’t experienced the UX for things like sorting/tagging, composing, etc.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  To be fair, K-9 doesn’t get threading right either (if you’re a participant, your sent emails aren’t together with your received emails). This is with version 5.600.

                                                                  I still use it though.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Add a feature request! Currently k9-mail always puts a copy of sent mail in the Sent folder, but it could put replies in the same folder as the mail being replied to.

                                                              1. 30

                                                                Not entirely on topic, but related: your website has a banner which says

                                                                By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies.

                                                                The EU data protection body recently stated that scrolling does not equal consent, see for instance https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/06/no-cookie-consent-walls-and-no-scrolling-isnt-consent-says-eu-data-protection-body/

                                                                1. 25

                                                                  Then again, he is the type who “cares about SEO”.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    Wait, what’s wrong with caring about SEO?

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      There was a time were SEO was synonymous with tricking the search engines into featuring your site. The running theme was SEO was a set of dark patterns and practices to boost your ranking without investing in better content.

                                                                      For many people SEO still has similar connotations.

                                                                      1. 16

                                                                        There was a time …

                                                                        Did that change?

                                                                        1. 0

                                                                          Did that change?

                                                                          Based on my recent efforts at looking into these things from a developer point of view, I would say yes it’s changing.

                                                                        2. 6

                                                                          AFAIK, there’s still considered to be “White hat” and “Black hat” SEO. White hat SEO involves stuff like organizing links and URLs well, including keywords appropriate to what you actually do, writing quality content, and per this article, encouraging links to your domain and paying attention to whether they use nofollow. Generally, stuff that doesn’t go against the spirit of what the search engine is trying to do, tries to get more legitimate users who genuinely want your product to find it and learn about it more easily etc.

                                                                          Black hat SEO involves stuff like spinning up link farms, spamming links across social media and paying for upvotes, adding a bazillion keywords for everything under the sun unrelated to what you’re doing, etc. Generally trying to trick search engines and visitors into doing things against their purposes.

                                                                          It may feel a little dirty at times, but it’s probably tough to get a business going in a crowded market without paying attention to white hat SEO.

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                                                                            It may feel a little dirty at times, but it’s probably tough to get a business going in a crowded market without paying attention to white hat SEO.

                                                                            This is common issue for healthcare sites. If you have bona fide information that’s reviewed and maintained by experts it competes with sites selling counterfeits, outdated information, conspiracy theories, etc. These sites try every trick they can to scam people. If you don’t invest in SEO you are wasting people’s time with bad information in most cases, but some people can be harmed. In the US this can boil down to a freedom of speech discussion, but if you work internationally you have clearer legal obligations to act.

                                                                            Search engines do want to help directly in some cases, but there is still an expectation that the good guys are following what would be considered white hat SEO practices. White hat SEO often has other benefits with accessibility, so I think it’s worth listening.

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                                                                              Yep, this is a bit unfortunately true. IIRC, StackOverflow had to implement SEO practices as, without it, other sites that scraped their content and rehosted it were actually getting higher rankings in Google than SO themselves.

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                                                                            Makes sense. I wish more people (developers in particular) would start questioning these connotations. The present-day advice on how to do SEO right is a lot different from what it used to be.

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                                                                              As the parent said, SEO originally meant “hacking” google search rankings but over time, Google eliminated these hacks one by one, saying the whole time that their goal was to deliver search results that were relevant and useful. However, the way they define “relevant and useful” is primarily:

                                                                              1. How closely the page content matches the serarch query
                                                                              2. How many “reputable sources” link to the page
                                                                              3. How long visitors stay on the page (usually directly related to length)
                                                                              4. How many people click on the link

                                                                              So SEO became less about technical trickery and is now more about human trickery. This resulted in the rise of what I call “blogspam”, i.e. blogs that crank out content with affiliate links and ads peppered throughout. This might not be a bad thing per se, except that most of the time I land on blogspam, I am inundated by pop-up dialogs, cookie warnings, ads and miles of empty content designed to make you Just Keep Scrolling or hook you with an auto-play video. Because both of these things keep you on the page longer, which increases their search rankings.

                                                                              This isn’t always quite so bad for tech-related queries, where StackOverflow and its ilk have cornered nearly every result, but try searching for something generic like “hollandaise sauce recipe” or “how to get rid of aphids” or “brakes on a Prius” and you will drown in an unending sea of blogspam.

                                                                              This has been another episode of “What Grinds bityard’s Gears”

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                                                                                1. How closely the page content matches the serarch query

                                                                                Since you put “relevant and useful” in quotes, I’m assuming you feel that a search query matching the page content is not a good signal of whether a search result is good. I’m curious why you think that?

                                                                                Just Keep Scrolling or hook you with an auto-play video. Because both of these things keep you on the page longer, which increases their search rankings.

                                                                                That’s actually not true. Google made a blog post a while ago mentioning that pop-up dialogs (or anything that reduces content accessibility) reduces search rankings.

                                                                                In any case, while I do agree that not all SEO advice is (or has historically been) good, the blanket statement that all SEO advice is bad is also not correct (or fair). Besides, the black-hat SEO advice is slowly becoming more and more pointless as Google gets smarter at figuring things out.

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                                                                                  This isn’t always quite so bad for tech-related queries, where StackOverflow and its ilk have cornered nearly every result, but try searching for something generic like “hollandaise sauce recipe” or “how to get rid of aphids” or “brakes on a Prius” and you will drown in an unending sea of blogspam.

                                                                                  I feel the pain, but is this less about SEO and more about how certain people have developed business opportunities? SO has largely replaced expertsexchange in search results, but in a way this was one of the founder’s aims that has been mentioned in various places.

                                                                                  The StackExchange network of sites has been trying to expand to cover, your example of “how to get rid of aphids”, but it hasn’t yet been successful. There is inertia with getting these sites off the ground and employing people to write quality questions and answers, but this doesn’t align with the community ethos. Arguably, it would be better for the web since you’d get a better experience when you click through search results. I wish there was an easier answer.

                                                                                  I don’t see why there couldn’t be a recipe site with the quality user experience you associate with SO. There are however a lot of entrenched interests and competition. People also have a tendency of sharing copyrighted recipes they’ve copied down from friends or family. Incumbents won’t react like expertsexchange to SO.

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                                                                              SEO is like ads on the internet; in theory it’s a good thing, helps people to find relevant content, helps companies to make more profits. But in reality, it’s just a pissing contest who exploits the user most. If a company made some money by using some shady SEO tricks, then we’ll do it 2x more intensively, so we’ll earn some money too. Who cares that the search engine results will be less accurate?

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                                                                                To be honest, try looking up the modern SEO recommendations (black hat SEO is becoming more and more pointless as Google gets smarter at figuring things out). You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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                                                                            The funny part is that the only cookie used on this site (that I can see) is the cookie that stores the fact that the user accepted the use of cookies :D

                                                                            Also, the law never forced the display of the “cookie wall” for purely-technical cookies (eg: login and such), but only those aimed at tracking.

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                                                                            Being a radio person, when I first read this, I was honestly a little bit surprised that it worked at all.

                                                                            If you know the frequencies involved (almost certainly 2.4 GHz here, since it’s a very old article), you can calculate the loss for a given type of coax. In this case, a 2.4 GHz signal in RG-6 loses 98% of its power over a 100-foot run. Most houses are smaller than that, so a more reasonable run of 25 feet turns out to be a loss of only 4 dB or 63%. Very acceptable given the rather insane sensitivity of wifi radios. Even 5.7 GHz would only present a loss of 7.4 dB over 25 feet. I’m not sure how or whether any of this work work with the fancy beam-forming and MIMO stuff that’s out now, however.

                                                                            There is also the matter of a potential impedance mismatch. I don’t know for sure what impedance wifi radios operate on, but I assume it’s 50 ohms. RG-6 is 75 ohms so there will be some loss at both ends of the cable.

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                                                                              MIMO will fail to find multiple spatial channels, unless of course you do multiple coax runs. But if you wired one antenna port up to the coax and left antennas on the rest, it would probably manage to use both :)

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                                                                              Jesus Christ this article is complete trash.

                                                                              Two thirds of the article is pointless propaganda, only after a good 60% the author actually starts explaining how this zettelkasten system works.

                                                                              What’s the point? Why are you even trying to convince me? Are trying to sell me a piece of furniture later?


                                                                              Regarding the system itself: I am tempted to say that a good wiki software like confluence would do the same, but the real advantage of the furniture is that it’s likely going to keep working in 20 years. I wouldn’t bet the same in confluence (or MediaWiki or whatever).

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                                                                                Mediawiki is 18 years old. Confluence is 16. Considering the Lindy effect, there is a good chance they will still work in 20 years.

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                                                                                  Well, I wouldn’t call Confluence “good wiki software” any more than I would call Visual Basic a robust development environment, but I take your point. My database of personal and professional notes for the past 15 years has been a private instance of Dokuwiki and the more I read about Zettelkasten, it just sounds like a curated personal wiki like I have, once you get past all the gushing.

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                                                                                    Editing in confluence is light years ahead of pretty much everything else.

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                                                                                      Does dokuwiki have backlinks and tags?

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                                                                                        Backlinks yes, tags no. Maybe with a plug-in.

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                                                                                          Thanks.

                                                                                          So perhaps one could have a page called “Tag:Something” that only holds a description of what could have been the tag “#Something”. All pages that are related to “Something” should have a link to “Tag:Something” on their taglist, and the backlinks on page “Tag:Something” will show relevant pages.

                                                                                          It’s a bit like Wikepedia’s “Category:Something”, isn’t it.

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                                                                                      The space around the concept “Zettelkasten” has all the features of an emerging marketing space. There are already multiple software solutions. Just wait for the custom-made physical slip-boxes, the note cards in different colors, the books, the pay-for videos, and the webinars.

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                                                                                        As I wrote here a couple weeks ago:

                                                                                        The Zettelkasten thing sure has been hitting the zeitgeist hard these last few months - right around when I started poking at those ideas myself after kind of edging around them for a decade or two. It’s interesting to feel a burgeoning nerd methodology cult wash over and through the system of my own thinking. I was a lot less self-aware the last few times this really happened to me (the first big wiki wave back in the era of thousand-line Perl CGI wiki software comes to mind), and I never got drawn into GTD or Agile on any deeply felt personal level, so it’s almost like a new experience.

                                                                                        That said, I think it’s also been quietly bubbling along in the background of the note-taking nerd memespace for many years now. I think I first ran across the word “Zettelkasten” on Taking Note, a blog I’ve probably been following since 2008 or so, but index card approaches that are clear relatives to it in one way or another have been popping up now and then for most of my adult life, I think. It just seems to have reached a critical mass lately. Or, as you say, become an emerging marketing space. Establishing itself as a working methodology-cult ecosystem with an in-group vocabulary, defined rituals, canonical texts & standard arguments, and mystique about True Process. You can see it happening in realtime over at the Zettelkasten Forum, which is run by the authors of The Archive.

                                                                                        …and which is an interesting forum to skim now and then. I don’t want to be disparaging, this is just how these sorts of cultural phenomena seem to unfold. I’m trying to stay self-aware about all this while I spend a fair amount of time building up my own system of notes.

                                                                                        (I did some ranting about notes about notes / writing about writing and so forth last night, inspired partly by this thread and others like it.)

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                                                                                          The memory of your comment inspired mine.

                                                                                          There will always be a market for selling tools that magically replace hard work and time with a “process”. I’m not really judging. My work/life doesn’t require anything like Zettelkasten, but I’m sure it would interest my dad, who has been buying old handheld computers just to keep using their database software.

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                                                                                        It’s weird too, that it sells the idea, then starts explaining how it works, then it goes back to selling it again for a few more paragraphs! And only after that second set of propaganda it finishes the explanation.

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                                                                                          It’s not well written, but all the tools linked in the article are free (and most of them not harvesting your data).

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                                                                                            What’s the point? Why are you even trying to convince me?

                                                                                            I think that it is targeted towards a particular audience: “The main component of The Writing Cooperative is our publication, which is one of Medium’s largest. […] Everything we publish falls within our mission statement: Helping each other write better.” But yeah, the tempo was a bit choppy and it reminded me of one of those “weird thing” articles. Then with big promises it dumps a board game on the reader without explaining the rules.

                                                                                            It seems like there is something promising in Luhmann’s system, but I don’t want to risk getting a hand-me-down cargo culted version of it.