1. 0

    Have you tried nootropic drugs like caffeine or modafinil? I hear conflicting things about whether or not they actually work, and I suspect it’s different for different people, but it might be worth a shot if you feel like there’s a biological limitation of your brain preventing you from achieving your goals. You might try looking at: https://www.gwern.net/Nootropics for instance to learn more about them.

    1. 4

      I guess that would be a solution but I’m not entirely comfortable relying on drugs to get work done. I run into a tolerance issue with caffeine and operate better without it. I have not taken modafinil but I’ll look into gwern. Thanks.

      1. 2

        Just so you know this isn’t the kind of advice a parent would approve of, and depending on your brains could ruin them.

        1. 1

          Came here to say this. I decided long ago that while I might be able to do more with certain chemicals, I was not willing to go any more extreme than caffeine and alcohol, and even those in careful moderation.

          1. 1

            Yes I have personally found that it’s easy to go to far even with caffeine and have mostly eliminated it from my diet. I’m more reliably productive and in my humble opinion reliable productivity provides greater yields in the long term than unreliable spikes of productivity.

        2. 1

          Other nootropics of note include: eating well, exercising, and meditating! Gwern’s site is very interesting though if you’ve got time for some reading.

        3. 2

          This is one of those bits of advice that might solve the stated problem but doesn’t address the underlying problem of a herculean effort invested in a bad strategy. Putting more effort in does nothing to address the bad strategy :P.

          1. 1

            Modafinil is not very useful. It mostly makes you not want to sleep, and I use it while driving very tired as a safety measure. Short-term though, it might not be a bad idea to try out.

            Caffeine is similar in this regard, although in general it doesn’t have any strong effects on me, which seems to be a YMMV thing–others report differently.

            I have no idea what to chalk up my periods of improved mood and/or efficiency to, but they don’t have a clear relation to chemicals like these.

          1. 1

            Yes, I’m experiencing the same, and it’s tiring. I also tend to forget quite a few day-to-day things outside of development, when focusing on a project for a while.

            1. 1

              If you have an Android phone I highly recommend Habits for day-to-day things / developing good habits. You get tight control over the intervals for each habit (do dishes every 2nd day, make dinner 6 out of 7 days, etc) and visibility on how you’re doing over time.

            1. 17

              Remember, tomorrow is the day when the whole internet goes nuts. (Check the date.)

              1. 15

                I’m not sure how much I would trust a distro that ‘pranks’ users by crying wolf about being compromised.

                1. 2

                  I might be inclined to trust such a distro more

                  1. 3

                    They’d be the most honest or among them.

                    1. 1

                      Why?

                  2. 4

                    In many parts of the world it is already that day..

                  1. 3

                    Anyone know of a good android gopher client?

                    1. 1

                      Only in F-Droid, but Pocket Gopher is nice. On the Google market there is dingo diggy or named like that, which works as well

                      1. 1

                        Yeah, DiggieDog is pretty decent

                        1. 1

                          what

                    1. 1

                      This was very cool but then I tried to zoom and Android Firefox puked.

                      1. 9

                        this is truly sad, but it also proves how important projects like the internet archive are for humanity.

                        1. 12

                          The question is, who should pay for those archives?

                          Sweden has a long-standing law that each book published here has to provide copy to KB (Royal Library). In the 1920s, with the rise of radio and movies, this law was expanded to sound and video too.

                          All this stuff is a massive boon to researchers and part of our cultural heritage. But it comes at a not insignificant cost.

                          1. 3

                            I would say that is a question, not the question. =)

                            I would also argue that governments are probably not the right people/entities to be archiving raw content for free and public use as history has shown us time and again why that doesn’t work. In my limited dealings with the internet archive, it seems as though they are funded to a point where the mission is well and alive, although I’m sure they would say more would be better.

                            1. 9

                              I would also argue that governments are probably not the right people/entities to be archiving raw content for free and public use as history has shown us time and again why that doesn’t work.

                              how so?

                              1. 6

                                I’m also confused by that comment. I always generally thought that the Library of Congress was fairly successful. Unless GP was speaking about spans multiple millennia, in which case I doubt a company dedicated to preserving anything would outlive most nation states.

                                1. 2

                                  I can’t speak for dallas, but a historical precedent that supports his position is the decline of the Library of Alexandria. The Nazi book burnings are a more intentional example.

                                  That said, distributed & immutable archival of documents could make it so that it doesn’t matter as much who the archiving entities are.

                                  1. 4

                                    This is an argument for distribution, not necessarily against state management. Most larger countries have rules similar to Sweden, which practically means that all media published in multiple states are automatically archived multiple times.

                                    Considering that archiving is a task that most government organisations have the most experience and practice in, I’m hard pressed to throw that idea out. There’s quite a high bar to reach to even archive better than the most underfunded of government orgs.

                                    1. 1

                                      I can’t speak for dallas, but a historical precedent that supports his position is the decline of the Library of Alexandria. The Nazi book burnings are a more intentional example.

                                      I really don’t know what you mean. This is an argument that governments are not the best entities to archive and preserve works?

                                  2. 1

                                    OK conceded, a question.

                                    Maybe ISPs could just pledge to fund the Internet Archive is a small percentage of revenue, or have a formal agreement to donate hardware and bandwidth. But ultimately, it’s going to be a hard corporate decision to pay to host some punk bands 10 year old songs about vomit.

                                    1. 2

                                      yah, that’s not a bad idea. =)

                                2. 7

                                  When music piracy was thriving, even most obscure albums was distributed to multiple nodes and was readily available in various networks. This included music that was initially released by (usually underground) artists for free. In the age of streaming services most people even deleted their old collections or didn’t migrate them from old PCs.

                                  Moreover, as streaming services grow in popularity, I observe loss of interest to obscure/rare music, now many people only want “new, fresh and trendy”, this includes not only pop music made by large corporations, but indie and even outright underground projects too, but those who by random factors reached popularity on internet, and this popularity lasts for a very short time. Myspace, being a streaming service (if I understand it right, I never figured out how to use it, with its arcane UI), could be large company now, but missed this opportunity, mostly due to horrible UX and lack of focus.

                                1. 4

                                  I would be interested in a DSP tag.

                                  1. 1

                                    release tag would be helpful here.

                                    1. 1

                                      I was on the fence about it because technically this is pre-release…

                                    1. 3

                                      Congrats on the release!

                                      1. 2

                                        Thanks!

                                      1. 1

                                        My main question: is it pronounced “futt hark”, “footh ark”, or “futh ark”?

                                        1. 1

                                          Etymologically, foo-thark, with th pronounced as in the. But fut-ark is also common.

                                        1. 6

                                          Even better would be if he put it in a fake power strip enclosure or in a wall wart.

                                          1. 3

                                            So we tried it in #emacs.

                                            It is barely proof-of-concept. With byte-compiled files, it takes about a minute to render this:

                                            https://mathstodon.xyz/@JordiGH/101416783098500727

                                            It’s using the same sort of game grid as Tetris.

                                            I’m not sure if Emacs can really be made to do this kind of thing.

                                            1. 9

                                              I’m not sure if Emacs can really be made to do this kind of thing.

                                              Wait, what? Are you telling me that a text editor is not the ideal platform to write an emulator in?!

                                              1. 5

                                                Wait, are you telling me that Emacs is a TEXT EDITOR?!?

                                                1. 4

                                                  Of course not; it’s a virtual machine/compiler that happens to ship with a text editor as a demo application.

                                                  Unfortunately its display routines leave a bit to be desired.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    If EMACS had become more popular, people would be bitching about it as much as they currently complain about web browsers. It would probably have become similarly bloated, too.

                                                    That’s the price of success.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I think it’s not a very good comparison; Emacs was designed from the ground up to be an application platform rather than being a document delivery platform that got hijacked. These problems come from overcoming assumptions about everything being text-based, which are painful for this kind of thing, but have nowhere near as wide an impact as “this was designed for publishing physics papers and we’re using it for literally every thing.”

                                                      For instance, browsers have had billions of dollars poured into them, but there’s still no standardized way to override key bindings, something that has existed in Emacs for several decades. It’s trivial for an end user to extend the behavior of built-in functionality in Emacs, something that still somehow requires extensions in browsers despite it being a critically important part of the web. Even changing the colors used by a browser to display a page is difficult and badly-documented.

                                                      1. 0

                                                        For instance, browsers have had billions of dollars poured into them, but there’s still no standardized way to override key bindings, something that has existed in Emacs for several decades.

                                                        That’s not a consequence of the “document/platform” thing. That’s a consequence of Emacs trusting the user and the running application. Web browsers do not, and cannot in good conscience, trust either of them, as well as being designed for people who are more likely to accidentally change their key bindings than they are to intentionally do so (comparing rebinding keyboard commands to moving the taskbar and making half the screen gray, to be specific).

                                                        Literally another cost of succeeding so hard.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          You don’t have to trust the running application to provide an API for declarative key bindings. Browsers have clearly figured out how to hide advanced features from end users who lack the wherewithal to use them.

                                                  2. 2

                                                    to ship with a text editor as a demo application.

                                                    … and much of the language is built around manipulation of text in an abstract data type called a “buffer.”

                                                2. 9

                                                  I’m not sure if Emacs can really be made to do this kind of thing.

                                                  said no one, ever

                                                1. 2

                                                  Instead of dmenu and emacs I use rofi and spacemacs. Great alternatives. I can also recommend i3blocks for status bar. It’s a status bar for i3 with a collection of great scripts.

                                                  1. 5

                                                    Spacemacs is not “not emacs” though, it’s just a config for emacs

                                                    1. 4

                                                      Using Spacemacs is like staying at home with your parent. Eventually, you’ll be 18 and you’ll move out.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        So I tried spacemacs yesterday, I’ve been using emacs almost every day for twenty years.

                                                        Spacemacs is REALLY COOL! I bet you’ll find some cool stuff you didn’t know you could do in emacs! Try it!

                                                        1. 1

                                                          it’s interesting to see somebody moving from vanilla emacs to spacemacs, what is the most interesting point that impressed you? have you used evil mode before? did the loading time bothered you?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            So my SO wanted to learn to build webpages, and insisted on using the same editor I use …

                                                            We ran “emacs &” on their system, spacemacs came up, and wow it was so easy to do the things I’ve spent decades learning how to load and configure.

                                                            My laptop is unreasonably powerful, loading time is not an issue. Their laptop is meh (spinning drive!) but spacemacs still loads quickly. We opened an html file and spacemacs offered to download and turn on the html modes, click yes and instant functionality!

                                                            Most interesting point is how much configuration is done for me, I don’t need to know the name of a mode, just open a file with that extension and the correct mode is setup for you. Lots of “do you want this option turned on? it does this thing for you” clicky things when you start up spacemacs, it’s really friendly!

                                                            1. 2

                                                              yeah that automation part is awesome, it’s also what caught my attention when I first moved to emacs, after a while, it just slow down everything haha.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          Yes, but it’s a very nice tool for converting Vim users to emacs users. Source: was converted

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I know several long time emacs users who switched to spacemacs for the convenience.

                                                            I suspect it’s related to why I use byobu instead of maintaining my own tmux/screen config. I have a limited config (time) budget and I’d rather spend that where I want (emacs!).

                                                      1. 19

                                                        The author isn’t alone. I’ve gone back to Linux after over a decade as an avid Mac user.

                                                        Now if only I could figure out why every major Linux distro is pig piling into the Gnome project when it seems to be having very serious design and stability issues….

                                                        1. 12

                                                          In GNOME’s defense, as far as I know, it has the best accessibility for people with disabilities, especially blind people who need a screen reader. KDE’s page on testing with a screen reader says to just use GNOME for now. As far as I know, the lighter-weight desktop environments, window managers, and other such utilities generally don’t support this kind of accessibility at all. So it makes sense for a distro with a general audience to default to GNOME.

                                                          I don’t mean to start a DE flame war; I’m just stating what I believe to be a fact. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

                                                          1. 8

                                                            This is kind of symptomatic of the slowly improving but still not amazing state of LInux desktop accessibility.

                                                            Gnome itself doesn’t provide any kind of full screen zoom. I’m partially blind and NEED that in order to do anything useful with a computer. Like. At all.

                                                            Ubuntu started providing full screen zoom (as well as screen reader support right from the login dialog) in a recent-ish release - 17.something maybe, so kudos to them for that.

                                                            KDE provides super awesome very smooth key chorded full screen zoom out of box.

                                                            And, to be fair, I WANTED to love Gnome, I literally tried for MONTHS to get it running and filed a ton of exceedingly detailed bugs even practically begging for potential work-arounds to no avail.

                                                            This is where I wish I were retired already because I’d LOVE to strap on my rusty C hip waders and dive in there to fix all these issues, but alas I’m not there yet and can’t :) So it’s KDE for me.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Ah, I wasn’t familiar with the state of screen magnification in the free desktop environments. I’m not a partisan, just an interested observer for now.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Can’t you use X.org’s zoom mode to magnify the screen & scroll around?

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  That’s only part of what a full-featured screen magnifier for visually impaired people does. Another very useful feature is automatically tracking the current keyboard focus, or the caret in an editing context. @feoh Does your current magnification solution do this? Note that this feature is typically implemented by consuming the same accessibility API that a screen reader uses.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    I didn’t know such a thing existed. How does one invoke it? I can’t find any reference to such a thing online.

                                                                    1. 5

                                                                      Back in the days of yore it was common to have several resolutions defined in xf86.conf - and later Xorg.conf - between which you could switch using CTRL ALT Keypad-+ and CTRL ALT Keypad_-. X11 would render to the maximum resolution, if one of the lower display resolutions was chosen the monitor would display a viewport on the X11 root window which would scroll with the pointer, no further configuration necessary. This made it possible to run programs which needed a higher resolution than the video subsystem could display - handy on those laptops with 800x600 screens - but is also offered the possibility to make the screen more readable for those who needed such. It is called ‘Virtual display’ and still exists:

                                                                      https://www.x.org/releases/X11R7.7/doc/man/man5/xorg.conf.5.xhtml#heading13

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        Ooh I actually remember this!

                                                                        But tell me, at least in the Linux world, who messes around with X1186Config these days? :) (Or whatever it’s called now.)

                                                                        involuntary shudder as I flash back to 20 years ago and that moment of SUPREME TRIUMPH when I finally got X to fire up on my monitor/video card combination. It was like some kind of horrid rite of passage. Thank goodness we’ve moved on from that :)

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          The mere fact that you generally don’t have to configure anything is a good thing but I’d say an even better thing is that it is still possible to do so for those who feel the urge. This could be an example of such an urge…

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            “The good old days.”

                                                                            I used to rock fvwm2.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              fvwm2 & rxvt! :)

                                                                        2. 4

                                                                          I use arandr, but no doubt there are other ways to do it — it’s just a wrapper over xrandr.

                                                                          I use it to manage multiple screen layouts, but I just tested, and it can set a higher-than normal resolution which is quite restful on the eyes.

                                                                          I didn’t play with it long enough to figure out how to scroll around, but I know I’ve done that in the past.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        Gnome itself doesn’t provide any kind of full screen zoom

                                                                        Huh, that’s odd. Even Weston does. You know, the reference compositor that’s not intended to be usable by end users at all.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          My Gnome accessibilty settings dialog includes a “Zoom” feature, one of whose options is “Full Screen Zoom”. I take it that this isn’t the same as the “full screen zoom” you need?

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I don’t know. Given that I can’t get Gnome 3 running on Ubuntu on my laptop I haven’t been able to test it very much, but it certainly sounds like the right thing.

                                                                      3. 2

                                                                        XFCE works reasonably well if all you want is a “normal” window manager. LXDE works too if you want even less visual effects and baked-in functionality.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          Neither provide any kind of full screen zoom for the visually impaired :( I’m sure you could figure out how to layer in Compiz but KDE comes with one out of box.

                                                                          That said both XFCE and i3 (not a desktop, I know :) are fantastic and were I not visually impaired I would definitely consider them.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        You can, but should you?

                                                                        1. 13

                                                                          It depends!

                                                                          For something like sum(), average(), max(), or the like, the answer’s an emphatic yes: despite doing “more” on the SQL server, you’ll actually consume less RAM (tracking a single datum of a sum/average/max/min, rather than building up a full response list) and send less over the network. That’s a definite win/win.

                                                                          For some of the other stuff in the article, the answer’s murkier. String operations in general, including the ones they’re mentioning (e.g. GROUP_CONCAT, which is specific to MySQL, but has equivalents in other databases) are fast in MySQL, but not necessarily in other databases. On the reverse side, some complex but amazingly useful queries (such as subselects) that are fast in SQLite and PostgreSQL are slow in MySQL, because MySQL’s design requires the generation of temporary tables (or at least still did as of roughly a year ago). PostgreSQL can likewise do some complex JSON ops server-side highly efficiently, and SQL Server can do similar stuff for XML, but I’m not sure I’d recommend doing that in, say, SQLite, even if you mechanically can (via extension methods), because it can defeat the query optimizer if not very carefully implemented.

                                                                          So: should you? Sometimes! Unfortunately, you need to learn your database to know the answer.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            Also, speed concerns aside, declarative languages are nice to read and write, as the author points out at the beginning of the article.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              String operations in particular seem to vary widely in how easy or hard they are between database engines. I remember being amazed at how few string functions MS SQL Server has - IIRC, substring and indexOf and that’s about it. Super clumsy to do anything but the most basic things. On the other hand, PostgreSQL has a full regexp find and replace engine and enough functions to do just about anything you could want.

                                                                            2. 4

                                                                              Another benefit is that you can put all your SQL code into stored procedures, and then the rest of your code can just call that functionality. Use multiple languages and it’s still all standardized in your stored procedures.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                Aren’t stores procedures a config management night mare? As in you distribute your business logic between code and and the db instance.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  I would argue that no business logic belongs in the stored procedures, but I’d further argue that making statements about your relations isn’t business logic. If you’re using a database as a source of truth, that’s basically all it should be worrying about: what is true about your domain, and what may be true about your domain (constraints).

                                                                                  As for versioning- no, stored procedures aren’t a config management nightmare. It’s just that few organizations bothered to put any config management around them for decades. It’s not hard to implement versioned update scripts which roll the database schema forward or backwards. Honestly, it’s easier than some deployment solutions I’ve seen for application code.

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  Dealing with a code base that uses the pattern of lots of logic in stored procedures being called by non-SQL code, this can go… too far. I am sad when I see stored procedures with multiple case clauses, calling other stored procedures, recursively calling themselves, making literal strings that are eval’d as other stored procedures and SO MANY CURSORS, and there’s no point in a test on the calling code because it doesn’t do anything.

                                                                                  So… there are pros and cons.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    making literal strings that are eval’d as other stored procedures

                                                                                    Other than that, it sounds perfectly sensible to me.

                                                                                    there’s no point in a test on the calling code

                                                                                    You could still test whether the functionality works or not, right?

                                                                                3. 2

                                                                                  If there are going to be multiple consumers of the data, then it’s probably a good idea to make sure that the data as stored in the DBMS is correct under the definition of correctness you’re using. That can be a strong reason to pull much of the logic around the data into the DBMS itself. There are other concerns that pull in the opposite direction, of course, and perhaps you simply are using your database as a simple persistence layer. But if you expect ad-hoc reporting, for instance, or systems that depend on the data in the database being canonical, you are definitely a strong candidate for moving the logic into the DBMS.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    For small data that you are more frequently reading than writing (and you care about performance), you shouldn’t.

                                                                                    Because then, it makes sense to cache it. Read everything once on a blue moon (whenever it changes) instead of doing many small reads in your fast path. Your own internal datastructures will easily outperform SQL: Simple lookups are the low-hanging fruit; then if you need the power of a relational database, I made a simple binary search based framework for left-joining tables of tuples in C++, and so can you.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    Heat causes more problems than just that your phone gets hot in your pocket. It causes degradation in the transistors and in the connections between them. This can affect both performance and reliability.

                                                                                    Hello Nexus 5X?

                                                                                    Actually it’s interesting that heat is supposedly the cause of the Nexus graveyard, while desktop CPUs can be run at 100 °C for ages just fine, and only overvoltage is known to actually degrade them…

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      When I was collecting info on hardware design, I found that the big companies do thermal modeling to identify where the chips might overheat. Then, they adjust the design to reduce that risk. (wild guess) Here’s an example for 3D chips. It’s possible there’s less of that in the smartphone SoC’s for some reason.

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        Perhaps because there are many of them, so less time and attention are lavished upon each?

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          There is generally less attention paid to the quality of consumer electronics chips than automotive or military grade chips. Consumer stuff can be expected to fail more often, but cars and missiles tend to have more serious consequences when they fail…

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Automotive and aviation being reliable makes sense. I was thinking about consumer mobile SoCs vs say PC and laptop chipsets. Both consumer electronic crap, but I hear about one going wrong more often than the other.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              I’d bet it’s the combo of consumer-grade electronics, market pressure to cram more power into a smaller package, and little opportunity for cooling, compared to even a very thin laptop.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                I suspect that the fan in my laptop helps it avoid heat-related breakdown.

                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                              That’s a decent idea.

                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                            Those are two very different sets of chips with very different die sizes, very different layouts on die, very different mating to the board (LGA-style vs BGA-style), very different QA screening in fab and in assembly, and very different manufacturing processes/technologies.

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              I would kill for an AMA with an engineer who worked on the 5X. I have tortured mine for thousands of hours and found it perfectly stable in spite of the countless stories of hardware failure.

                                                                                            2. 1

                                                                                              I see thermal numbers about 40 to 80 C, but I can imagine 100 C

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              And a new release of the book by its creators should be out soon as well: https://pragprog.com/book/phoenix14/programming-phoenix-1-4

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                Neato… it would be interesting to see support for Kaitai structs, either import, export, or perhaps both?

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  Give ’em enough rope…

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    Also check out Akka.NET. I don’t think they’re directly comparable but they both smell like erlang to me…

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      The published technical report on Orleans makes direct comparisons against Akka and Erlang:

                                                                                                      Actor platforms such as Erlang and Akka are a step forward in simplifying distributed system programming. However, they still burden developers with many distributed system complexities because of the relatively low level of provided abstractions and system services.