Threads for hapax

  1. 11

    People get the browsers they deserve.

    We’d see more competition in this space, but developers have voted with their feet every time Google or whoever implements a feature and dangles it out. Developers wanted a more complex web and more complicated services–well guess what that means for browser complexity? Webshits played themselves. Don’t complain about browser monocultures enabling spying at the same time you support endless feature creep and evergreen standards.

    We’d see better privacy, but consumers flocked to hand over their digital everything to anybody willing to dangle a blinking cat picture or whatever in their face. People who don’t take responsibility for behaviors that, by construction, undermine their freedom and privacy shouldn’t act surprised when they lose either.

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      The domination of Chrome came way before “stuff only works in Chrome” things started becoming the norm. Chrome got popular cuz it was super fast and had a smooth UI.

      I do understand that an expensive-to-implement standard plays into the lock-in effect… I do think it’s not super cut and dry, though. Flash existed, plugins existed… maybe the web shouldn’t have any of those either, but lots of people wanted them. And I’m honestly glad I don’t have to download “the netflix application”.

      I don’t know how you square the circle of “people want to use interactive applications in a low friction way” with “we should not make web browsers turing machines” , without the gaps being filled by stuff that could be worse. I don’t have a good solution though

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        Do you really think developer preferences played a large role in Chrome’s dominance of the market? Seems to me that Google created their market share through PR and advertising, especially on their own sites, and from their control of the default apps on Android.

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          This is where the glib “nobody actually cares about privacy” rejoinder comes from. When it comes down to it, consumers don’t actually seem to care about privacy. I don’t know if it’s an education thing (“hey look your personal data is being sold to target ads to you”) or maybe people really don’t care and it’s odd folks like us that do. These days I genuinely believe that data privacy is a niche interest and the average user doesn’t care as long as they can connect with their friends and loved ones.

          At the very least GDPR style disclosures of what data is being collected can help folks who are willing understand what data they are giving up.

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            This comic tried to address it near the end but I think the big problem is that most consumers don’t really understand what it means to lose something as nebulous as ‘privacy’. If you asked if they want a webcam in their bedroom streaming data to Google / Amazon / Facebook, that’s one thing, but having one of these companies track everything that you do on the web? It’s much harder to understand why that’s bad. As the comic explains, the real harm comes from aggregation and correlation signals. Even then, most of the harm isn’t done directly to the individual who is giving up their privacy.

            Bruce Schneier had a nice example attack. If people see ‘I have voted’ badges on their friends social media things, then they are around 5-10% more likely to vote. If you track browsing habits, especially which news sites people visit, then you can get a very good estimate of someone’s voting intention. You can easily correlate that with other signals to get address. In a constituency with a fairly narrow margin (a lot of them in states with effectively two-party systems) then you can identify the people most likely to vote for candidates A and B. If you hide ‘I’ve voted’ badges from the social media UIs for people who lean towards B and show them for people who lean towards A then you have a very good chance of swinging the election.

            That said, the fact that a person using Chrome / Facebook / WhatsApp / whatever is giving that company a hundred-millionth of the power that they need to control the government in their country is probably not a compelling reason for most people to switch. Individually, it doesn’t make much of a difference whether you use these services or not.

            Unless you’re a member of a minority, of course. Then you have to worry about things like the pizza-voucher attack (demonstrated a few years ago, you can place an ad with Google targeting gay 20-somethings in a particular demographic with a voucher that they can claim for discounted pizza delivery. Now you have the names and addresses of a bunch of victims for your next hate crime spree).

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              I think the 2 main reasons people don’t care about privacy are that

              • it simply doesn’t make a huge difference in their lives whether their right to privacy is respected or not. Most people simply have bigger fish to fry and don’t have the cycles to spare on things that may be bad but aren’t actively causing them harm.
              • technology companies like Google, Meta, etc. have done a great job of presenting their software as “free”. I think most people think of signing up for Gmail or Instagram like they would getting a driver’s license or library card; they’re just signing up for some public service. These companies do the most to avoid framing this for what it is: an exchange of value, just like any other. You’re paying with your data, and you’re getting access to their service in exchange for that data. As long as using “free” software isn’t understood by consumers as a value exchange, they will never demand protection of their right to privacy and data dignity.

              As someone who works in the data privacy and governance space, it’s encouraging to see growing awareness of these issues at the consumer and government regulation level. Hopefully with enough movement from the government and private sector, we can keep fighting “Big Tech’s” deceptive narratives around data and their software.

          1. 1

            Company: Ketch

            Company site: https://www.ketch.com

            Position(s): Fullstack Engineer, Backend Engineer, Senior Frontend Engineer, Platform Engineer

            Location: 100% Remote First within US time zones + India, but might be able to accommodate other TZ

            Description: Ketch is building programmatic data privacy and governance solutions that reduce complexity. We have a vision of a world where our two core beliefs – that privacy is a fundamental human right, and that data is fuel for growth – is not just wishful thinking but the default way that technology is built. Our platform allows individuals to truly exercise control over their data and companies to leverage ethically sourced data to the fullest. We’re a well funded series A startup that is led by some amazing technologists with a proven track record of building successful software companies. The problem space we’re is in is huge and mostly undefined, so there’s tons of greenfield development to do in every area of our product! Great blend of product and systems work on the backend side.

            Tech stack: Go, protobuf, ScyllaDB, ArangoDB, gRPC, NATS, React, TypeScript

            Compensation: Salary is COL dependent, don’t have exact numbers. Other benefits include equity, medical, vision, dental, 401K, unlimited PTO (I know this is can be a sore subject and that at many other companies this translates to “no one ever takes time off”, but at Ketch we really strive to make sure that everyone is taking the rest and recharging time they need. We use PTO generously to make sure that we stay fresh and focused!)

            Contact: Our careers page: https://www.ketch.com/careers

            1. 3

              Intel MacBook Pro, late 2020, 16GB RAM. Use it professionally and as a daily driver. I love it and probably won’t use any non Apple machines for work again (barring any radical changes to the hardware/OS). It handles multiple intellij projects, several DBs and microservices running under docker, countless Chrome tabs, and Slack all with no performance hiccups. Only downside is that wifi connectivity after the latest OS update has been wonky and it has crashed randomly before (but never while in active use).

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                I think that was the first one that I considered to be an improvement over the late 2013 model (most of the later ones had awful keyboards), but even then it wasn’t better by enough of a margin to upgrade. I’m still using a late 2013 model. My partner was using my 2011 one and when it died, we replaced it with a second-hand late 2013 one. They’re very cheap now. I’m quite tempted by an M1 model, but I might wait until the M2 comes out (and then either buy one or get an M1 model second hand).

              1. 2

                Kinda biased but my https://deadbeef.app/ is a favorite ;) quickly convert between bases, written out of a desire for a converter that didn’t look like it was from 1995. Could probably add a lot more features, it’s OSS so feel free to send patches :)

                1. 6

                  I hope the addition of generics doesn’t end with Go becoming indistinguishable from every other mainstream language. I like it’s quirks.

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                    Me. Too. I love Go’s perspective and I’d hate to see it become too similar to other languages.

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                    Dang, I actually kinda like that version of Rust! The syntax looks really clean and simple

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                      And to you!

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                        Getting back to work after some time off to recover from surgery!

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                          Going camping to forget about the crazy week I’ve had…

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                            The scientist builds in order to study; the engineer studies in order to build.

                            This is the most succinct way I’ve seen of summarizing this distinction. Will definitely be quoting this!

                            Another random thought: To me, one of the greatest and most fascinating things about computing is that unlike other disciplines that started with concrete, physical events and moved towards abstract systems, computing started with abstract systems and grew into the physical world. There are no binary search trees in nature (or in the circuits of a computer for that matter), but they are entities that have real impact on the world when brought to life through a computer.

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                              Gonna dig back into my terminal RSS reader hemingway after seeing that it’s gotten some traction lately. Should be fun to do some non work programming!

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                                I wonder, what’s the reason for splitting the space bar in two?

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                                  They talk about it somewhere in the docs. The idea is that you can remap one of the half-bars to another key if you’d like, so you can backspace with your thumb, for example, but still also have space on your thumb.

                                  1. 4

                                    Probably because it doesn’t require stabilizers then…

                                    1. 3

                                      Like many design features in conventional keyboards, (especially the staggered rows or the ergonomically awful positioning of modifier keys) the reason most spacebars are comically wide is that they were just copying the design of typewriters without considering the original rationale. In a typewriter, the space bar is different from every other key because it doesn’t have an arm attached to it that needs to come up to strike the paper, so it could be placed lower down where the arms wouldn’t reach and out of the way of the other moving parts.

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                                        Split spacebars are pretty popular in the mechanical keyboard enthusiast community, for aesthetic as well as practical reasons (can map more functionality to more switches, like layer switching for instance).

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                                          The idea is you can optionally remap one of them to a modifier key (eg: Fn/ctrl/alt/shift) or use it activate a custom layer.

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                                            It gives a more positive/reliable response, the spacebar has long been a weak point on IBM and the more modern pckeyboards.com

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                                            I’m a big antiques nut and would absolutely love to get into the retrocomputing scene… too bad my local antique shops don’t ever have electronics/computers. Have found some pretty cool DEC tradeshow buttons though

                                            1. 3

                                              To brush up on my Go skills I started writing a Chip8 implementation! Wound up writing an assembler too. It’s a super simple ISA and would be a great way to teach the basics of how processors work.

                                              https://github.com/jahzielv/hapax8.git

                                              1. 3

                                                This is such an amazing guide; I read it a few months before taking my networking class in college and it helped me stay ahead. I sent it to a bunch of folks in that class and it helped them out a ton as well!

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                                                  I make a note in Notion if it’s something big, or I post on my Mastodon feed with the #TIL tag if it’s something small and toot-able.

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                                                    I’ve had a crazy thought for a while that they’d try to turn Windows into a Linux at some point, given their deeper integration with Linux via WSL. Probably won’t happen since there’s been so much sunk into the Windows way of doing things and there’s such a broad divergence from UNIX at this point, but one can always hope :)

                                                    1. 7

                                                      My understanding is that WSL has backed off from syscall translation to basically just virtualization with some nifty bits. If so, that’s probably a net win for utility but much less interesting from a technical perspective.

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                                                      Mastodon, a tilde server for CS students I’m trying to get off the ground, a very basic Git setup, Gemini (gemini://gemini.jahziel.xyz, not much there tho, runs on my own server called Titan). All running on a Hetzner VPS. Can’t recommend Hetzner enough; I pay ~$10 for 8gb of RAM and ~100gb of disk.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        I just joined a new team (my first full-time engineering job!) and have had to do a lot of what’s mentioned here. One of the game changers for me has honestly been replacing grep with Silver Searcher. I’d often forget the right grep flags for specific things, but ag makes it so much easier to search and has really helpful features by default! Super nice for poking around unfamiliar code.

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                                                          Chrome now offers the ability to share copied text and webpages from desktop to phone and vice versa. For link tracking in general, I use Notion and the chrome extension.