Threads for f055

  1. 9

    While I agree with all that the author has said about the walled garden-ness of platforms like slack, I do think emails are highly unsuitable for having a proper discussion and conversation.

    The neomutt image perfectly demonstrates it, as you can only see the subject line and the names of the responders without being able to scan through all the replies at once to see what’s going on. Most email clients that I know of do not handle discussions like this very well.

    A better alternative would be to support the matrix standard that promises federation while giving modern features, rather than wrestling with email to make it work for you.

    1. 18

      For the past 20 years there has been countless posts published on the internet saying X is best for Y and it boggles my mind that so many intelligent engineers didn’t yet conclusively conclude that such binary statements are useless. Because the only true comment here is “it depends”.

      I’ve seen fantastic discussions on a classic forum system. I’ve seen brilliant discussions in an xmpp group chat. I had some of my best discussions through ICQ, Facebook comments, WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter. I had very efficient discussions via email as well.

      I’d say, don’t fight the horse. Ride it.

      1. 6

        Ride it.

        Which one? :P

        1. 6

          The only four APIs that unite all chat systems are :

          And all of them require supporting all of the platforms up front.

          I wish everyone coming up with a new protocol to take a deep thought on whether it could not have been done with the existing ones out there before to deploying it for everyone:

          • Could matrix not pick IRC or Signal protocol for client-server instead of yet-another-one?
          • Can the mumble wire protocol be upgraded to include the double ratchet so that other chat system use it?
          • Is SIP impossible to get running in a simple and secure (SRTP + ZRTP) way instead of “reinventing the wheel” by plugging a voice system to a chat app?
          • Is the Icecast protocol a bad building block for video chat?
          • Is Chat over IMAP such a bad idea?

          For instance, Jitsi uses XMPP (after using SIP in the past), yet I doubt it is possible to use a plain XMPP client to join a conversation (jicofo on the way).

          1. 7

            I was tangentially involved in the efforts to unite instant-messaging systems starting around 1998. (I ended up co-building iChat, which supported two of them.)

            The IETF had a working group that got into pathological bikeshedding and eventually churned out some turgid specs describing what they’d like such a system to do, without actually designing anything.

            Meanwhile Jeremie Miller hacked together Jabber, which basically worked despite the near-fatal flaw of using XML.

            Finally it turned out none of the instant-message providers would let their systems interoperate with the others, because it would hurt the revenue from their precious walled gardens and expose their precious social graphs.

            The only reason federated protocols like SMTP and HTTP succeeded is because they emerged before Big Social got a stranglehold. The fully open communications channels of the future will be P2P, or nothing.

            1. 2

              P2P, or nothing

              But P2P opens a big privacy can of worms. I don’t want everyone I’m chatting with to directly get my home/mobile IP addresses, and “everyone who cares about location privacy must use proxies/tunnels” is kind of a crap solution.

              1. 2

                future will be P2P, or nothing So not only End-to-End encryption, but also Peer-to-Peer at the network level? That requires settling the chat protocol with the network unfortunately, but https://tox.chat did it!

                It uses strong (NaCl/libsodium) crypto, decouples identity verification from encryption (so that you can exchange the raw keys or use a nameserver of any kind), and is peer-to-peer including for video. And have a large range of clients around.

                iChat, the IETF, XMPP, walled-garden, social graphs

                Thank you for sharing that piece of history of what has become modern messaging!

              2. 2

                In case anyone have links toward pages from these new messaging protocol makers, which explain how the previous protocol were limited and why they did not want to upgrade it, I am deeply interested! \o

          2. 15

            A better alternative would be to support the matrix standard that promises federation while giving modern features, rather than wrestling with email to make it work for you.

            Matrix currently still seems to be a bit too instant and online for me. One of the things I value about Email discussions is that you can take your time, writing your messages offline and sending them all at once if you don’t have a connection right now. Matrix, that mainly seems to be implemented via Riot often takes too long to start, longer to load, there’s no threading, and I don’t feel too comfortable when writing (compared to my Email setup using Emacs, where I get the full screen and can easily quote whatever paragraph, sentence or work I’m responding to). It’s ok (but still has to be improved) for regular discussions with friends and the like, but that’s still going to take a while.

            1. 5

              One of the things I value about Email discussions is that you can take your time, writing your messages offline and sending them all at once if you don’t have a connection right now.

              This is the killer feature for me. I do most of my work offline and only go online to download new references, get and send emails, and waste time.

            2. 2

              Most email clients that I know of do not handle discussions like this very well

              Yes, but I would argue this is an implementation problem. The benefit of mail is, you can set this up for all at once. If you have a problem with the github UI you can add a plugin for better view or use the API. If you later have the same problem with the gitlab UI your github config doesn’t work because the interface is different. On mail you can set this up for all projects.

              I know most MUAs are horrible at this, but newer protocols have the same problem.

            1. 2

              Serious question, who would use this?

              1. 6

                Someone who likes Perl? Someone who has Perl code which he wants to run in a browser for <reasons/>? Someone who likes the idea of running any language in those tags and takes this idea a bit further to run her <script type="text/cobol"> code?

                1. 1

                  <script type="text/cobol">

                  Well, I can’t see any appeal for this particular option. However I do see now that this is just one of many languages that could be implemented now. For some reason Lua comes to mind.

                  1. 2

                    Cobol is the new hot technology for the upcoming 50’s, only thirty years (plus an off-by-one century) away now. Be prepared.

                2. 4

                  As a heavy Perl user, the prospect of having a web app with Perl backend talking to a Perl frontend sounds fantastic.

                  1. 1

                    That does sound intriguing. I’m speaking from very little direct experience writing Perl and some decent experience maintaining a few Perl scripts. There’s a joke around the office that Perl is “write once read never”.

                    To be clear: I think Perl is great for what it is, but I don’t think it’s cut out for front-end development. However, thinking about this more clearly in the morning, I can see the appeal a bit better.

                    1. 2

                      Well… in terms of Perl web development the very best thing is https://mojolicious.org

                      When you look at the two examples on the front page: first, you can run a local web server with just 3 lines of code; second, you can spin up a websocket server from a single file with a short snippet. That file includes some javascript. I wonder how it would look with just WebPerl. That’s the appeal for me.

                1. 1

                  https://marekfoss.org - I mostly write server backend how-tos involving Perl, Nginx and Debian, but also thoughts and ideas about various aspects of life, money, technology & the future.

                  1. 1

                    https://marekfoss.org I mostly write server backend how-tos involving Perl, Nginx and Debian, but also thoughts and ideas about various aspects of life, money, technology & the future.

                    1. 1

                      https://marekfoss.org - I mostly write server backend how-tos involving Perl, Nginx and Debian, but also thoughts and ideas about various aspects of life, money, technology & the future.

                      1. 1

                        Many of the security and privacy decisions made by Zoom started in the need to simplify onboarding as much as possible, so really regular, non-technical folk could get on video chat quickly and easily. By the looks of it Zoom was never meant to be used in serious business environment, not to mention any governmental or national security settings. I think people really like to push the blame to the software instead of their poor choices. I think an automotive comparison is sensible. All cars can drive from A to B, but if you pick a sports coupe to take your 2+2 family on a roadtrip, you’ll end up with a lot of complaints from your passengers. Nobody will blame the sports coupe for not having enough boot space or backset legroom…

                        1. 5

                          By the looks of it Zoom was never meant to be used in serious business environment, not to mention any governmental or national security settings.

                          Zoom is absolutely sold as appropriate for businesses. The similarity of the UI makes it an easy drop-in for Cisco WebEx, actually, and it generally works better (apart from the chronic security issues, of course).

                          1. 1

                            What I meant is it looks like the development design didn’t have business requirements in mind. What marketing is selling is a different matter. Zoom is indeed superior in UX over other solutions in many aspects, apart from group meetings on mobile where each screen only fits 4 participants…

                            1. 1

                              A lock nobody can open is only marginally better than a lock anybody can open, but useless if you need authorized people to pass through.

                              WebEx is really hard to get working for regular people outside an office building.

                            2. 3

                              That’s a poor analogy, I think. Automobiles are very widespread, mature, standardized, regulated technology. So, nearly everyone can understand the issues involved in choosing a car for a family road trip, and trust that automakers must comply with certain basic safety standards. But not everyone understands the issues involved in choosing a video chat service. Even more significantly, Alice’s choice of family car has little effect on Bob’s choice. (I mean, leaving aside the ‘arms race’ aspect that pulls safety-conscious consumers into SUVs and other heavy vehicles, thereby making the roads more dangerous for everybody, but I digress…) Video chat on the other hand is dominated by network effects.

                              People need good, clear, unbiased information to make good choices. Bruce is at least attempting to provide that.

                              1. 1

                                Great point, I forgot about the network effect.

                              2. 1

                                By the looks of it Zoom was never meant to be used in serious business environment,

                                And yet it has more advanced sharing and chatting functionality than most order options. It’s a shame but zoom is the best option currently out there.

                              1. 3

                                A few notes:

                                • a properly configured WP blog is no different from a static html/css site because caching plugins generate static pages that can even be served directly through nginx bypassing php
                                • your test blog post has plenty of big picture images that affects overall test a lot, try a different post that has mostly text for comparison
                                • reducing number of requests by inlining css and js makes a big difference, it’s good to minify html as well
                                • cdn everything including html via things like cloudflare
                                1. -6

                                  People doing pixel “art” generally do it in Grafx2 and not in some Photoshop clone.

                                  1. 6

                                    I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve seen a lot of people doing pixel art in both Photoshop clones and Photoshop itself.

                                    1. 3

                                      Indeed, pixel art can be made in any tool, there are plenty of fantastic artists doing it in MS Paint… The pixel art form is really great because each piece requires a lot of talent rather than a cool tool.

                                  1. 3

                                    This looks like one of these books one should read but just can’t get to start, however thanks for sharing!

                                    1. 2

                                      I guess comments are a good place to comment on some points, so:

                                      1. Yes, Google is large. But most of us would have liked to be the founders of a company that grew large. Google was small and loved once. But like the story of David & Goliath which ends with David becoming the king and quite evil, Google became the next Microsoft, aka a geek scapegoat.
                                      2. Google’s infrastructure is really good at delivering any bloated script very very fast.
                                      3. Very much yes.
                                      4. Not really, it’s not that hard to configure it to be GDPR compliant.
                                      5. It doesn’t use cookies nor IPs if you configure it right.

                                      Funny thing, CloudFlare offers free analytics at the HTTP request level and the difference in numbers is staggering. I’ve seen 1000x more unique users detected. Unfortunately it’s hard to say how many of them are bots…

                                      1. 1

                                        FYI this project is now retired, by nevertheless the concept is fascinating.