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    One of my favorite innovations of my thinkpad x220 and other modern laptops is a fixed Touch bar, supported by physical features of the laptop itself. There’s always an escape button accompanied by multiple, freely assignable function keys which all provide physical feedback so you could theoretically use them even in dark surroundings. All of this completely independent of the OS or 3rd-party applications!

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      Right? Why change something that wasn’t broken? I was issued a new Mac at work almost a year ago, and tried all sorts of touch bar configurations over the past few months. In the end I always ended up accidentally tapping the buttons while typing, and actually finding the controls took longer than just using a keyboard shortcut. So I switched the settings to just making them regular function keys again. I really wish the laptop just had simple, non-touch function keys that I could feel with my fingers. The touch bar is so useless for my workflow as a software programmer. When Apple was usability testing I wonder if people actually were found to be more productive with it.

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        I really wish the laptop just had simple, non-touch function keys that I could feel with my fingers.

        It was a specific criteria I started looking for when buying laptops after my first touch-oriented laptop couldn’t handle lowering volume reliably. My last phone was also the one of two models with the physical buttons on the bottom. Makes a difference for me. I don’t feel like I’m fighting with gear that’s supposed to be making my life easier.

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        Courageous design.

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        Blockchain is definitely over hyped, but calling it “crappy tech with a bad vision for the future” is going a bit too far, in my opinion. In a democracy, the trustworthiness of an election isn’t assured simply because we trust any one party to be unbiased and fair. It’s trustworthy because we have established, non-partisan systems that ensure every stakeholder has an equal say in the outcome. Voting is controlled by all parties with an equal stake, and backed by rule of law. Blockchain is just a generalized form of this on the internet.

        In blockchain, by setting up the incentives in a way where no one group can manipulate the history of the ledger, we can ensure the trustworthiness of the transactions. While blockchain is probably overrated right now, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a novel solution that allows us to create trustworthy systems that mirror those we’ve already built through the use of open societies, democracy, and institutional reputations. Blockchain probably isn’t going to replace all monetary systems or governments, but will be a useful tool in providing a basis of trust for the next iteration of our societies.

        That being said, I think there are definitely issues right now with getting the technology to a place where the average person can truly manage to keep their keys private and understand the smart contracts with out a ton of technical knowledge. If that problem can’t be solved, then it will always be difficult for these technologies to be used effectively by individuals, as opposed to just organizations that have the resources necessary. If it’s use is only at the organization level, then there’s less of a use for it since organizations could just as easily use already established systems of trust like the legal system, instead of the blockchain. So in that regard, the author probably has a point.

        I’m not trying to be a blockchain salesperson, but I think it is a very useful algorithm which has a lot of potential. Bitcoin as a way to pay for goods and services doesn’t always work right now. Just the fact that there was no digital item with true scarcity before it, and now there is shows that it must be somewhat useful.

        Anyway, I didn’t mean to rant or dump write a wall of text here in the comments.

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          In blockchain, by setting up the incentives in a way where no one group can manipulate the history of the ledger, we can ensure the trustworthiness of the transactions.

          That distributed, signed logs or hash-chains as they were called before Bitcoin can help as a building block isn’t something I dispute. I mentioned a few here as examples. Blockchains and those building on it took it further into less believable territory. Author calls out some of that.

          “ but will be a useful tool in providing a basis of trust for the next iteration of our societies.”

          This kind of statement ignores the fact that lawmakers, police, and courts can destroy things that challenge or compete with them like they have for many other things. The countries even make international agreements on things like banking or intellectual property when something challenges many of them at once. This doesn’t even include what the schemes’ own dependencies like owning organizations, developers, or miners might do. These blockchain-based systems of trust do not and will not exist in isolation with all the human factors built on top of it. If anything, it’s been happening the other way so far with human factors driving and breaking the idealist models.

          I expect more of the same until we see examples of lawmakers, courts, developers, hackers, malicious investors, etc being powerless to negatively influence blockchain-based solutions. If they keep that power, then we’ll be dealing with them using a lot of the same mechanisms we already do. Might as well keep and fix efficient models in that case.

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          Mastodon / the fediverse seem very interesting. Does anyone here have any recommendations as far was what instance to use?

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            I enjoy https://tiny.tilde.website, an instance loosely associated with https://tilde.town.

            You can use Mastoview to preview any Mastodon instance: http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=tiny.tilde.website&view=local

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              tilde.town

              This is awesome an ssh based social community? I’m there! :) Thanks for the pointer.

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                Mastoview

                Also thanks for this. IMO everyone should poke around at the various instances an see which one fits them best. I ended up at mastodon.codingfield.com - but I probably should have picked i.write.codethat.sucks

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                I’m on https://icosahedron.website/ which leans slightly towards math nerdiness.

                I’d recommend against joining the flagship instance because it’s just so crowded. Not that being busy leads to a bad user experience, but just that piling everyone on the same instance defeats the purpose of federation. https://instances.social has a list which shows you if an instance has a particular topic or purpose.

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                  The standard one is mastodon.social, I keep my main account on it. But there are a bunch of topical instances too, you can search for instances by interest.

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                    Just avoid mastodon.social, it’s one of the worst instances.

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                      Why?

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                        As there is no central registry of users, discovery usually happens by:

                        1. Looking through the local timeline to find new users (that’s why it’s good to be on a themed instance)
                        2. Looking through the federated timeline to find people others users on your server are following (which works best if those other users have similar interests)

                        Because of this, smaller, themed instance are usually the best too start. They usually form a server culture where people know each other, have people welcoming you, helping you, etc.

                        Mastodon.social is both MUCH too big and also completely unthemed. Both public and federated TL are a near useless mix of different languages and topics that’s going by to fast. With every new article, hundreds of new users come to mastosoc, post introduction posts, leave after a day and the cycle repeats.

                        They also block or silence (default-block unless followed) a lot of the more active older servers, so you are cut off from large parts of the fediverse.