1. 3

    VSCode is such a great piece of UX. I don’t use it myself, but I always browse the changelogs for ideas of things I may want to improve in my Emacs config.

    The multiple cursors for the file browser is interesting, I guess it’s the closest thing I’ve found to dired

    1. 11

      I use a dumb phone.

      A phone is for urgent contact. Email is at the work desk. Chat is at the work desk. When I’m idling, I take out my e-reader and read a book. When I walk around, my eyes are scanning the environment to keep my situational awareness up. When I have dinner, I just eat.

      The only time my smartphone is online is when I am traveling and I need to check in via a wireless/cellular network.

      It is funny because when I was younger the ‘normals’ used to make fun of me for being on the computer a lot but now the table has turned, and they have now instead decided that not being in front of a computer all the time is a ‘weird’ thing. They were on mindless TV then and are on mindless social media now and they don’t like it when I don’t join them in this brain-melting process.

      1. 4

        Excellent point about being constantly in front of a computer, haha

        I use a dumb phone

        The only time my smartphone is online…

        Do you mean you own two devices or that you mostly use your smartphone as a dumbphone?

        1. 2

          now the table has turned

          Exactly. Same experience I had. Also like your characterization that they kept with the mindless stuff when they got on board. I was trying to sell them on what one could create and do before rather than consume.

        1. 2

          I have been feeling some of this, and am considering going back to my BlackBerry Q10. There’s a couple of reasons I wouldn’t ditch smartphones outright:

          1. I can miss having most apps, but perhaps not having access to the mobile Internet.
          2. WhatsApp is the de facto standard communications and organization platform for my social circles. I probably couldn’t get by without it at this point.
          3. I consider having a camera on hand at all times valuable, even if I don’t use it all the time. I would consider the one on the Q10 borderline serviceable in 2018.
          4. I use a lot of two-factor auth services, and I don’t want to carry a dedicated device for this.

          I would like to be less tempted to pick up my phone to play a game, or check the news, or read a news article. The Android emulator on BlackBerry would run all the apps I need today, but perhaps not for long (emulation level is roughly Android 4.3 without Google services).

          Keeping an Android tablet at home and a limited smart phone to take with me might be a suitable solution.

          1. 1

            I use a Q10, and I’m happy enough with it. The physical keyboard is so much better than any screen keyboards I’ve tried, and I mostly use it for SMS. But it can support my other use cases when I need them: mobile maps, camera, alarm clock and timer, terminal, web browser. Mostly I just appreciate that it’s neither iOS nor Android. And of course I’m fond of QNX.

            Still, I’m thinking of ‘upgrading’ to a Q20 just for the physical cursor keys. Text editing is pretty annoying without them. Long term, I’m not sure where I’ll go. My previous phone was a (dumb) Nokia Asha 210, and when I had accomodated to the S40 OS quirks I really liked it… but then when the mic stopped working I couldn’t replace it: they had vanished from the market altogether. Not even eBay had them.

            1. 1

              I’m considering the same thing, for some of the same reasons. I’m mostly concerned I won’t be able to reach anybody in my circle (especially my family, who’s in a different continent) without WhatsApp. I’m thinking of getting a 4G tablet that stays mostly at home and runs WhatsApp and whatever else I may think I may miss, and upgrading from the iPhone to a feature phone (eg: Nokia, Blackberry) for being reachable for important things. That’ll probably require making sure my family knows how to use Skype for phone calls, etc, but I think it can work!

            1. 4

              I use http://qutebrowser.org on my NixOS machines but it doesn’t run on other platforms. What alternative browsers are there for Mac OS?

              edit: I’m wrong about this! https://lobste.rs/s/biqv7l/update_on_pocket_firefox_integration#c_3c8u5d

              1. 7

                Are you saying you’d stop using Firefox because of default “sponsored content” in New Tab?

                It’s pretty easy to turn that off, just like all the other New Tab content. The article even links detailed instructions.

                Or is it a matter of principle for you? How do you suppose Mozilla should make money?

                1. 5

                  It is not “sponsored content” - that concept does not exist in Firefox. Nobody is paying Mozilla to show specific content on New Tab.

                  1. 3

                    I already didn’t use Firefox, but I also don’t think browsers should have ads or be monetized.

                    1. 2

                      There are no ads in Firefox. Why did you think there are?

                      1. 4

                        There absolutely are—or were until fairly recently—ads in unfilled tiles on the new tab page. Here’s an example support forum thread asking how to get rid of them.

                        1. 4

                          That was two years ago and that feature was completely dropped.

                    2. 2

                      How do you suppose Mozilla should make money?

                      Should Mozilla make money? Should one of the most important applications in modern-day computing be produced by a company that is incentivized to produce a profit?

                      1. 6

                        Mozilla corp is not incentivized to produce a profit, it is quite openly their goal to “just” keep the lights on. But that already needs quite a bit of cash. That’s a huge difference.

                        Mozilla corp is for-profit, as for certain legal reasons, producing software is not 501(c)3 compatible. It’s a very usual setup.

                        Yes, Mozilla should make money. Otherwise, they’d shut down.

                        1. 2

                          Mozilla is a non-profit, so no, they don’t have to make money. But the people who work for Mozilla don’t work for free. You can’t build a product like Firefox purely on volunteers, so Mozilla should at least be able to pay their workforce.

                          They can’t keep up with the rest of the world and provide a quality, free software alternative browser without money.

                          If you think the work Mozilla does is valuable (I do!) and feel like they should stay away from alternative monetization methods (I do!), you should consider donating to Mozilla so that they don’t have to find other ways of funding development.

                      2. 3

                        Does it have to be libre? If not, Vivaldi is an excellent web browser that believes in making easy things easy and customization easy. It’s the spiritual successor to Opera 12, which was the pinnacle of browser experiences.

                        1. 3

                          what do you mean? they even have prebuilt images for all major platforms. On MacOS, you can install it from Homebrew as well (brew cask install qutebrowser).

                          1. 1

                            What do you do about plugins? I miss a few plugins from Chrome when I tried out qutebrowser, primarily my RSS feed monitoring one as well as my usenet one.

                            The other big one I miss is Join, but that’s sort of a separate thing in terms of how “encompassing” it is.

                            1. 1

                              I just installed qutebrowser too. That is just brilliant. Thanks for linking - I remember stories coming about it before but never made the effort to try it out, but now I can see it becoming pretty regular.

                            1. 2

                              If you’re already an Emacs user you probably know this, but note that you can use dired and eshell via tramp, meaning you can do all those things without leaving you local Emacs instance.

                              1. 2

                                I’m not sure that the resume matters in a hiring environment dominated by keyword search and Linkedin aside from having one that is presentable after the conversation has begun. However, I invest a lot in my personal resume and have a fairly traditional structure:

                                1. Contact Info
                                2. Overview phrase/pull quote
                                3. Table of high-level areas of expertise
                                4. Chronology of experience where each entry has
                                  1. Job Title
                                  2. Company, Location, Date
                                  3. Key technologies, single line
                                  4. Active voiced outcomes using the tech above
                                5. Education
                                6. Notable projects, memberships, etc.

                                As a hiring manager I like to see and as an applicant I try to write concrete quantifiable “W outcome using X to do Y for Z”, ex. “Reduced B2B execution time by 15%, reduced error rate by 9%, and increased ROA by 4% by designing and developing keyword-based replacement for business_unit some_function”, that show not just that there was work but also value and the purpose for the work.

                                1. 1

                                  re: LinkedIn being a “hiring environment”, I’m constantly hearing (in the Lobste.rs LI group, for example) people complain about getting harassed by recruiters and the like, but not once has that happened to me. Every once in a while, the thought crosses my mind “that’s probably because you’re fundamentally unhirable – don’t quit your job!” which I quickly dismiss, but this time I’ll ask: is this more common to the more senior folks, or maybe more of a matter of location (not in the US)?

                                  1. 4

                                    the thought crosses my mind “that’s probably because you’re fundamentally unhirable – don’t quit your job!” which I quickly dismiss,

                                    I don’t know you but it’s probably not that. I also don’t know what other people’s threshold is for feeling “harassed”. I get a few inquiries a week across all of the job sites, most of them are dismissible low-quality hits (no, I would not like a three month entry-level contract in the rust-belt of the U.S., go away) or rookies trying to swell their contacts and I block or unsubscribe from those. I do freely connect with in-house or well-connected recruiters even if I’m not currently interested and those bring up something intriguing a couple of times a year. I don’t job hop.

                                    but this time I’ll ask: is this more common to the more senior folks, or maybe more of a matter of location (not in the US)?

                                    I believe it’s several things: connections and the network of their connections, the industries you’ve worked in, keywords/technologies, and location.

                                    1. 2

                                      Location is really important. A lot of recruiters seem to search based on location (SFBA…).

                                      1. 1

                                        I didn’t start getting cold-contacted by recruiters until I was 5-6 years into my career, but since then the frequency has grown pretty continually.

                                        Sometimes I have no idea how they got my phone number, other times they pull my email from git commits… It’s not super frequent but I find it a bit creepy to take my email address from a commit to some OSS project and use it for an unrelated for-profit enterprise.

                                        1. 1

                                          I’ve had, at most, two calls from recruiters. One was someone I used at a previous engagement, the other I have no idea. I use various email addresses and plus addressing (where accepted by whatever vetting is in place) to track where things come from. I generally give out a VoIP number configured with an automated attendant to a mailbox and forwarding group so I can vet calls.

                                    1. 21

                                      After reading some of Alan Kay’s comments on media (in a broad sense), I went with some instantly actionable resolutions: quit Netflix, quit Facebook, stop reading the timeline on Twitter, block some distracting web sites.

                                      It’s partly to facilitate my goal of creating more time for undistracted work and reading, partly because I got tired of being manipulated into being a media consumer, and partly because I need to set an unambiguous example for my daughter - if I don’t want her to get sucked into this stuff, then I shouldn’t be either.

                                      1. 4

                                        Do it. After a month you feel super weird and you realise that despite not being connected to the fire hose the world carries on.

                                        Also, it makes you appreciate the things you do give your time to a lot more when you do, like a new movie, etc… I was starting to just not be excited by anything anymore because I could just watch whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Now when I see a movie coming out I really want to see I actually feel really excited about it. You become more selective. Nowadays I honestly only look at doc web sites, lobste.rs, and occasionally hacker news and the reddit home page. There’s nothing else I consciously open in a browser. You become more invested in the things you do decide to give your time to. You also lose the whole incessant feeling like you’re not keeping up with everything pretty quickly.

                                        I don’t think I’ll ever go back as it’s been over a year now.

                                        1. 1

                                          This is the sort of results I’d like to get. The never-ending torrent of information and content created negative feelings for me, in addition to being a time sink.

                                          This actually carries over into the real world as well in the form of too many consumer choices. Luckily, where I live (New Zealand) the choices are limited, and I’m often grateful for that.

                                        2. 3

                                          A book I recommend along these lines is definitely Deep Work by Cal Newport. Highly recommended.

                                          1. 1

                                            Thanks, I’m going to read it.

                                          2. 2

                                            because I need to set an unambiguous example for my daughter

                                            I don’t think it would work as simple as that. You daughter is going to be exposed and sucked in. Given that it takes conscious effort and discipline to go against the natural tendency to fall for the infinite-scroll, just seeing your dad not doing it won’t be enough. It’s still better than seeing your dad doing it, though.

                                            1. 2

                                              I totally agree, and the point is for me to have a leg to stand on with regards to enforcing boundaries. It’s much easier to point out that mum & dad don’t do it either than to create some sort of justification for why we can do it and she can’t.

                                            2. 2

                                              Good luck! Mind sharing links to some of those comments?

                                              1. 2

                                                It’s a bit hard to point to a specific comment. He touches on it in this interview: https://www.fastcompany.com/40435064/what-alan-kay-thinks-about-the-iphone-and-technology-now

                                                He also made some comments in HN discussions:

                                                https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15269014 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11944999 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11945066

                                                I wouldn’t say that these comments changed my perspective, but rather that they nudged me when I had some time to think about how I want to spend my time, which made me make the little bit of effort to ditch social media and Netflix. The point is, I’m not sure that Kay’s comments are the best source of information if you want to understand the manipulative nature of modern media (although I’m not sure what other sources to recommend).

                                              2. 2

                                                I quit facebook and other centralised social media a few months ago. I use mastodon and have been pretty happy with the level of discourse and interaction. Though it can still be distracting.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Distraction is the primary concern with regards to media for me, so I think I have to stay away from Mastodon too. I enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking discussions which are not biased towards quick responses, but I haven’t really found any online media that facilitate this sort of interaction (other than email).

                                              1. 17

                                                My favourite wm of all time:

                                                #include <X11/Xlib.h>
                                                #include <X11/keysym.h>
                                                #include <unistd.h>
                                                
                                                static const char *term[] = { "x-terminal-emulator", "-maximized", NULL };
                                                
                                                void spawn(Display * disp, const char** com)
                                                {
                                                    if (fork()) return;
                                                    if (disp) close(ConnectionNumber(disp));
                                                    setsid();
                                                    execvp((char*)com[0], (char**)com);
                                                }
                                                
                                                int main(void)
                                                {
                                                    Display * disp;
                                                    XEvent ev;
                                                
                                                    if(!(disp = XOpenDisplay(0x0))) return 1;
                                                    XGrabKey(disp, XKeysymToKeycode(disp, XK_F11), Mod1Mask,
                                                        DefaultRootWindow(disp), True, GrabModeAsync, GrabModeAsync);
                                                    for(;;){
                                                        XNextEvent(disp, &ev);
                                                        if(ev.type == KeyPress &&(XLookupKeysym(&ev.xkey, 0) == XK_F11))
                                                	    spawn(disp, term);
                                                    }
                                                }
                                                
                                                1. 5

                                                  I’ve always meant to use Emacs as my window manager, but this looks just as good!

                                                  1. 2

                                                    I used exwm for a few weeks a year or so ago, and it worked great, but I had some problems with the Swing apps at work. If I didn’t have Java in my life, it would have been amazing and I would have stuck with it. The experience was positive enough that I might try it again soon.

                                                  1. 8

                                                    Next up: a complete flight simulator inside cat

                                                    1. 24

                                                      Or a text editor within emacs!

                                                      1. 16

                                                        Or a text editor within emacs!

                                                        It’s been done: https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/Evil

                                                      2. 8

                                                        You jest, but I only realised in the last year that cat can read from unix sockets as well as files. (I was reimplementing it to learn a new language and read the manpage carefully.) Never realised/knew that before.

                                                        1. 4

                                                          well, bash can read from a tcp socket too:

                                                          exec 3<>/dev/tcp/lobste.rs/80
                                                          echo -e "GET /\r\n" >&3
                                                          cat <&3
                                                          
                                                          1. 4

                                                            A similar feature is also implemented in GNU awk - and someone wrote a web server for it.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              That’s fascinating. That’s so new to me, I don’t even know how to look that up. Could you give me some more info about what’s going on there? Also, it interestingly doesn’t work on the Mac (it just crashes my terminal ¯_(ツ)_/¯). I suppose it could be because of an outdated version of bash, but, again, I can’t even look that up.

                                                            2. 2

                                                              That is cool, I never knew that and kept using socat. Will try cat the next time.

                                                            3. 1

                                                              I read that as “a complete flight simulator inside a cat”, I was worried you were some kind of mad scientist.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                I thought I’d created something great for the world, a flight simulator inside a cat! But little did I know, I’d created a flying man-eating MONSTER!!

                                                            1. 12

                                                              Try http://paperswelove.org.

                                                              | Papers We Love is a repository of academic computer science papers and a community who loves reading them.

                                                              It’s a git repo of classic CS papers and a website for people who want to get together to discuss them. Some of the papers are easy, some hard, but a treasure trove to work your way through.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                Thanks for the PWL shout-out. PWL was started as a reading group within our old company, and we began with Out of the Tarpit and Communicating Sequential Processes. Those were the first papers I read, and I found them widely applicable, interesting, and approachable.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  In the same spirit, I really enjoy Fermat’s Library. I don’t really read the annotated versions most of the times, as the website is set up in a way that makes it annoying for me (which is a shame, the comments are normally pretty great), but use it mostly as a feed of interesting papers to read on different areas.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    It’s a huge repo, any guidelines to find the ones which are easy/beginner friendly?

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      The section on design is a good start, especially “No Silver Bullet” (NSB) and “Out of the Tarpit” mentioned above.

                                                                      Fred Brooks, who wrote NSB, also wrote another classic before that called “The Mythical Man Month” which is sold on Amazon as a collection of papers, including NSB.

                                                                      A Mathematical Theory of Communication” by Claude Shannon is the foundational work in information theory.

                                                                      Reflections on Trusting Trust” is a great read and eye opening as an intro to security.

                                                                      The Unix Time-Sharing System” by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson is the classic intro to Unix.

                                                                      In addition to these and others from PWL, I’d also add Dijkstra’s paper “Go To Statement Considered Harmful”. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s the seminal paper on structured programming.

                                                                      I’d start with those, follow interesting footnotes and references to see where they lead you.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    The talk from Black Hat that got those results is also quite good. In addition to experimenting with the google.com cookie, they also compare the cost-performance of breaking the actual challenge with crowdsourcing it.

                                                                    1. [Comment removed by author]

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Right, I don’t hear that side of the debate nearly enough. Every time people bring up something about the open web, they seem to mean state-run (cf. sibling threads).

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          I sometimes wonder how feasible a crowdfunded satellite network would be. You’d need to raise a few million to launch low earth satellites. Then you’d have a network that would be completely separate from the current internet. This idea has already been floated as a commercial venture. So, why not take it and turn it into a non-profit network instead.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Note that low-earth orbits degrade, so that would mean a couple millions per year. Also, for low orbits you need more satellites for coverage. For higher orbits there is still a question of satellite reliability, and the launch is more expensive too.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              Yeah it’s definitely not a trivial project. Another question would be how you deal with stuff like DDOS. Another approach could be to use a network of high altitude solar powered blimps. Probably a lot cheaper than satellites in the long run. Something similar to Google project loon.

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                Satellites need to meet the orbital regulations at the moment of launch, blimps need to follow the changing aeronavigation regulations continuously.

                                                                                DDoS could be partially mitigated by design, if the system spent some share of time broadcasting everything with some allocation of timeslots between fresh things, ever-popular things and the long tail. The system would stay useful even with effective loss of uplink.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  If blimps were in the stratosphere, they’d probably be ok in terms of aeronavigation. Presumably, the blimp would have an onboard guidance system that keeps it in a particular area. Now that I think of it, the blimp idea seems much more tractable. You could start with a small number to cover a country, then expand to a continent, and so on.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    I think stratosphere is low enough for compliance to matter. Unlike a satellite that is unlikely to deorbit without mostly burning, a blimp failure could drop something heavy in one piece and with high enough velocity to do deadly damage. So you need to prove that you are able to avoid flying directly over densely populated areas.

                                                                                    As for growing coverage region-by-region — I am not sure it is compatible with winds.

                                                                                    Now that I think of it, satellites are predictable which allows antenna tricks with low enough transmission power; a blimp would not be as predictable, so it would probably have to create more radio spectrum pollution, which would increase the amount of regulations to track (and might involve even more licensing).

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Entirely possible, but doesn’t seem like an intractable problem in principle. Certainly would provide a nice alternative to the current infrastructure.

                                                                        1. 7

                                                                          Super random: this release also features a new verse from the Book of Mozilla. I used to love these tiny easter eggs in the early days of Firefox:

                                                                          The Beast adopted new raiment and studied the ways of Time and Space and Light and the Flow of energy through the Universe. From its studies, the Beast fashioned new structures from oxidised metal and proclaimed their glories. And the Beast’s followers rejoiced, finding renewed purpose in these teachings

                                                                          No idea if it’s always been like that, but it’s interesting that they use HTML entities to render the page:

                                                                          <section>
                                                                            <p id="moztext">
                                                                            &mozilla.quote.11.14;
                                                                            </p>
                                                                          
                                                                            <p id="from">
                                                                            &mozilla.from.11.14;
                                                                            </p>
                                                                          </section>
                                                                          

                                                                          These seem to be defined on chrome://global/locale/mozilla.dtd. Sounds like a useful technique for localization, albeit one I’ve never ever heard of. Does anyone have any insights on this?

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Looks interesting. For a more structured approach, try the Open Source Society University program.

                                                                            1. 7

                                                                              He hot linked an image from my blog instead of hosting it himself… what a bandwidth leech (the puffy craptop image). Tempted to change it with a huge ISIS propaganda image just to f-ck with him.

                                                                              EDIT: yay, my complaint got noticed and the image is now hosted by the author.

                                                                              Additionally, someone on twitter claims it serves/served a js coin miner https://twitter.com/TheNgratefulDed/status/910384872098877440 - personally I didn’t see it running so maybe that got removed.

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                Oh, so that’s why my laptop started heating up like crazy.

                                                                                Turns out attributing to stupidity what can also be explained by malice doesn’t always work either.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  “someone on twitter claims it serves/served a js coin miner”

                                                                                  My fan didn’t even increase on this backup with a Celeron. I guess NoScript saved the box again! :)

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    I guess NoScript saved the box again! :)

                                                                                    Don’t leave localhost without it!

                                                                                1. 7

                                                                                  What the hell, you’re better off without any of this shit. All this crazy never ending time sink… It’s not a wonderful world, it’s a nightmare.

                                                                                  Replacing some terminal emulator with another will get you exactly nothing in real world productivity, quite the contrary.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    Reminds me of this.

                                                                                    metaprogramming (verb.) The act of talking about programming, rather than doing any actual programming.

                                                                                    Hits painfully close to home. I gleefully clicked the link, and I’m not even a Mac user.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    That was a great read! Anyone care to share some similar Python internals insights? Where would one go to learn more about that?

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      Some months ago it was posted here in lobsters a book named Understanding Python Internals that maybe you’d like.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Slightly faster compilation speed. Inching towards 1.4 speeds, but will it ever reach or pass it?

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        Of course I appreciate the fact that they’re improving it, but aren’t go builds already extremely fast? I’m still learning it and haven’t built anything of significant size yet, but I don’t remember seeing compile times in any language that are comparable to go’s.

                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                          When go was released the authors made a big deal about compilation speeds. Fast enough that after hitting enter you got a prompt back almost immediately.

                                                                                          Then compilation speed started trending down, and people are really excited to make up some of that ground.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            They are. However people and tools often use Go in a “compile on save” manner, similarly to interpreted languages. When Go suddenly had a significant hit in 1.5 people’s workflows got “destroyed”. Since the Go team said it would get better again (I don’t thin anything more specific has been said) people are eager to get that back.

                                                                                            I agree, compared to other languages it seems like a non-issue. It’s just that workflows started to depend on it to some degree.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Yeah–the autotranslation from C to Go regressed a lot. Some big wins seem to have been replacing chunks of autotranslated C with native Go (first big piece like that was the SSA backend), tricks like this, and general speedups for all Go programs that help the compiler. Was smart of them to put that regression in a release with the background GC everyone wanted, haha!

                                                                                              I don’t know if or how quickly I expect them to get back to 1.4 speeds, since there is probably pressure to add optimizations that take compile time but make the resulting binaries faster. It sounds like improvements to the total CPU use (not pause time) of the GC would be one category that could make an outsize difference to the compiler, since it allocates a big object graph (the AST, types, and other internal data on your code) and keeps a lot of it live.

                                                                                        1. 26

                                                                                          I ought to be more concerned with where the trend in memory is going rather than where it has been.

                                                                                          Having heard (and sometimes used, whenever I wanted to do something really cool or was just feeling lazy) this argument for my entire 30-year career, I feel the need to debunk it: If you apply this argument habitually, the hardware never catches up! You’re always designing for where it’s going and it never works where it is. And now that people have stopped upgrading to 2X performance every 18 months, and are even upgrading to reduced performance machines (think tablets), that applies more than ever.

                                                                                          1. 12

                                                                                            Reminds me of the endless blog posts when the new Mackbook Pro specs came out.

                                                                                            I’m a pro, so I need at least 32GB of RAM!

                                                                                            I can see how that could make sense if every single application you run (text editor, note-taking app, email client and IRC) is a standalone JavaScript VM. Plus, this quote really gets me:

                                                                                            But advanced development machines of today are the entry level computers of tomorrow. Electron’s dream world would be one where every computer user had a luxurious amount of ram. But I think this world is fast approaching.

                                                                                            So you’re using some faith in a future that you sort of made up (the author doesn’t seem to understand the kinds of trade-offs involved in throwing in more RAM at everything) to justify objectively bad programming practices? That’s evil like littering the street with garbage because some day machines will be able to pick that up

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              objectively bad programming practices

                                                                                              Objectively bad in what way in what situation? The whole premise of the article is that it might be objectively bad when your primary target is current hardware, but be just fine targeting future hardware. I’m not saying the article is right. But “objectively” is not the same thing as “universally.”

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                Fair point.

                                                                                                The author is advocating purposely ignoring an entire dimension of constraints by claiming to be relying on future technology, especially when the burden on delivering such technology is not even on you.

                                                                                                We give Electron a lot of crap because of memory, but that’s just the more expensive one if you’re in the first world. Visual Studio Code is >200MB uncompressed and uses a ton of CPU. I don’t know about Atom, but I heard it’s worse.

                                                                                                Every profession’s “dream world” is one where there’s fewer to none constraints, but that’s no good reason to ignore them.

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                                                                                                  I agree with most of your points regarding the original article. However…

                                                                                                  Visual Studio Code is >200MB uncompressed and uses a ton of CPU.

                                                                                                  The disk space use is about half that of JetBrains’ WebStorm, which is probably it’s closest competitor. And it does not use a ton of CPU. During very heavy usage, it consumes about 5% CPU on my machine. WebStorm on the other hand would regularly use 50%.

                                                                                                  The specific issue you mentioned was unfortunate, but very uncharacteristic. VS Code is one of the best performing pieces of software on my machine.

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                                                                                                    VS Code is one of the best performing pieces of software on my machine.

                                                                                                    My understanding is that this is only true because they sunk a lot of time into reimplementing a bunch of the parts of Electron which gave them performance problems. Doesn’t fare so well for the “electron gives you an easy way to produce efficient desktop applications” argument.

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                                                                                                      That may be true. I don’t have any commitment to Electron being terrible for performance or not. I just hate to see a good-performing piece of software misrepresented as a resource hog.

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                                                                                                        they sunk a lot of time into reimplementing a bunch of the parts of Electron which gave them performance problems

                                                                                                        Which ones? Any source supporting this claim?

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                                                                                                I’ll double down on what you’re saying about every 18 months where even people creating chips say Moore’s Law is effectively dead either now or soon. They’re doing heterogenous architectures with more threads, HW offloading of specific functions, and so on. This means the developers can’t be lazy anymore expecting the next hardware to cover up their incompetence or apathy.

                                                                                                The OP is right a bit, though, with memory where maybe they can on that as costs will eventually come down for at least what can be produced now. It happens as the equipment/I.P. gets paid off and suppliers bring in shiny, new things.

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                                                                                                  Memory uses battery too, you know…

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                                                                                                    I was just addressing his point. That should be factored in though.