1. 3

    Something that might take more battery than a purely e-ink solution but perhaps be easier to drive and find would be to use display like what was on the original OLPC. It was a color screen that could go down to a 4 bit, unlit mode that looks absolutely gorgeous in any light for a grayscale display. I wonder if that would be any easier to come by but still accomplish a lower battery usage than a regular display.

    1. 9

      The generic name of that technology is “sunlight-readable LCD”, and it’s definitely still available. Also much faster, somewhat cheaper, and more colorful than e-ink. Uses more power, but transflective displays work without backlight, though at a relatively narrow viewing angle. Some of the old Blackberries had them.

    1. 4

      This looks like it could be handy… but the list of competitors fails to mention the standard linux inotifywatch command. That’s always been enough for me, so far.

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        This pleases me, since it’s exactly what the Web was made for:

        • Scratching an itch, without having to ask for anyone’s permission
        • A “user agent” being given a task to perform, and going off to perform it on behalf of the user
        • Solving problems using information aggregation/retrieval services (torrent search engines)
        • A “mash up” of different services (torrent searches and subtitle archives)
        • Once the data is obtained, letting the user choose how to process it (save or stream, choice of players, etc.)
        • Sensible defaults, with the ability to override, or even hack on the code to better suit the user’s goals

        Compare this to the prevailing view of the Web today:

        • No “user agents” other than browsers and search crawlers
        • No browsers other than Chrome, usually Firefox and IE/Edge, perhaps Safari
        • No search crawlers other than Google’s
        • Information cannot be accessed without permission (e.g. API keys)
        • Information is hoarded in silos, allowing “mashups” might give ‘competitors’ an advantage
        • Users must retrieve information manually, since that way they’ll see the accompanying advertisments
        • Pages don’t serve data, they provide “apps”
        • Pages are blank unless their Javascript is run (sometimes they show an animated GIF ‘spinner’, misleading users into thinking that something is happening)
        • External/user-provided processing is discouraged, since it reduces “engagement” with the app
        1. 1

          Unfortunately we are living in the real world, where things have to be commercially viable.

          1. 12

            I think “have to” is rather strong. Lots of good stuff has come from personal projects, volunteer efforts, charitable organisations, industry bodies, governmental departments, etc. Is Lobste.rs “commercially viable”, or is it “not too costly”?

            Plus commercial viability doesn’t have to be at odds with the original ideas for the Web.

            1. 3

              Not all things.

              1. 3

                Some things, sure.

                If you push a great many services out to the edge, like streaming and filesharing and searching, all of the sudden the bar for commercial viability drops a lot farther than you’d expect.

            1. 6

              It’s always interesting to see what the Unicode Consortium decides to add in. Obviously scripts for writing human languages should be in there. Same with punctuation and numerals.

              Adding in advanced mathematical symbols and music notation again seems fairly obvious.

              But when you add in emoticons, astrological symbols, poop, a piece of hard candy, kissing lips, two different kinds of rabbits, several kinds of cookies, a stuffed duck, and a lobster…well, those aren’t needed to write any human language nor are they standard notation in any scientific endeavor.

              Once you break the seal with those, then you’d better be prepared to add a lot of stuff because it’s marginalizing (international or not) to include something for one group and not another when you’ve shown that just about anything will be included.

              (To be clear, I’m of course in favor of adding the trans flag to Unicode. This post was to forestall any “the trans flag doesn’t belong in Unicode!” arguments.)

              1. 3

                But when you add in emoticons, astrological symbols, poop […] well, those aren’t needed to write any human language

                Given the way emoji have taken off in the past few years, along with the decline in handwriting, I give it at most 20 years until they’re considered part of normal written language (to the extent that “written language” is a thing when people don’t write anymore…) by many people. I’m not sure, but if you went an asked a bunch of school kids it wouldn’t surprised me if they said emoji are already part of normal language.

                Might take a bit longer until they’re “needed”, but I can imagine a future where not being able to put the laughing emoji in to indicate that the preceeding text was a joke is considered a barbaric and confusing antiquity :)

                1. 6

                  I doubt it. In 20 years, I predict that emoji will have fallen out of fashion and will be just as dated and abnormal as gratuitously abbreviated txtmsg spellings or asciimoji or those unicode textfaces that were all the rage 10 years ago. Even now, the kids have already moved on to reaction gifs and stranger things. I doubt that anyone will be able to recognize a “trans flag” symbol either.

                  1. 3

                    I was going to speculate that that the emotion / face / gesture emojis would probably stick around, after all, we’ve had :) since forever. I was going to end with a shrug emoji, then I realised I have no idea how to use an emoji on macOS. I had to look it up, and then when I got the emoji it seems to come with an old-school gender symbol next to it, and I didn’t want that.

                    So yeah, maybe they will die, and we can go both backward to things people can type on normal keyboards, and forwards to more expressive imagery like reaction gifs :)

                2. 3

                  I can’t find it now (because searching for “emoji” and “unicode” is ridiculously overloaded) but I remember reading that complying with the different emoji wishes could be seen as detracting from Unicode’s core mission.

                  There’s also this article, which reads are rather contentious, but which I found interesting enough to save for later:

                  https://modelviewculture.com/pieces/i-can-text-you-a-pile-of-poo-but-i-cant-write-my-name

                  Regarding the use of the lobsters emoji as a stand-in for trans representation, I’m happy to have helped sponsor it via this site. However it raises interesting overloading questions of its own, as its use might imply one was a fan of decidedly non-transpositive Jordan Peterson…

                  1. 3

                    I can’t find it now (because searching for “emoji” and “unicode” is ridiculously overloaded) but I remember reading that complying with the different emoji wishes could be seen as detracting from Unicode’s core mission.

                    It absolutely is. I’m not sure how this isn’t universally accepted as being true. It’s a ridiculous system where instead of sorting out the CJK unification, the Unicode consortium seems to be focusing nearly all its efforts on adding pictures to a standard that is meant for text. Why they couldn’t have just added a standard ‘emoji start’ and ‘emoji end’ character and then said ‘whatever is between these is interpreted by the client as it wishes’ is quite beyond me.

                    1. 2

                      instead of sorting out the CJK unification, the Unicode consortium seems to be focusing nearly all its efforts on adding pictures to a standard that is meant for text

                      Pretty typical ‘mature’ standards committee behaviour, unfortunately.

                  2. 1

                    (To be clear, I’m of course in favor of adding the trans flag to Unicode. This post was to forestall any “the trans flag doesn’t belong in Unicode!” arguments.)

                    Why?

                    1. 4

                      Why am I in favor of adding the flag? Because the seal has been broken. If they’re gonna have piles of poop and stuffed animals and a crying frog and symbols for a bunch of different political and economic systems and a dozen different crosses, they can have a trans flag…

                      Or, more succintly…why not?

                      1. 1

                        There is no ‘trans flag’. There’s the rainbow flag, a reasonably well-established LGBT symbol. The ‘trans flag’ is just some symbol a bunch of people have said represents them. It’s clearly not a well-established symbol. If you allow the ‘trans flag’ then why not just allow anything anyone ever submits? Are we going to start adding pepes to the emoji standard? Add FeelsGoodMan and FeelsBadMan and FeelsSadMan? I certainly see them being used a lot more than I’ve ever seen the trans flag being used.

                        1. 4

                          The trans pride flag is really well established and has been a thing for years and years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_flags You are probably just not aware because it’s not within your sphere. Like how I know nothing about chess openings.

                          It doesn’t indicate a geographical region so - similar to the LGBT flag - it doesn’t fit the criteria required to be part of unicode. On the other hand the LGBT flag unofficial faux-moji (combining a rainbow with a blank flag) has been included in so many places that it’s almost an ad-hoc standard.

                          1. 3

                            It’s actually in Unicode as of 2016: https://unicode.org/Public/emoji/4.0/emoji-zwj-sequences.txt

                            (Search for “rainbow”.)

                            The Unicode Consortium has stopped adding new emojis as distinct characters and has instead started standardizing various sequences of characters that can be combined to create emoji. The UC maintains a standard list of these sequences, and as of 2016 Emoji 4.0 has the rainbow flag.

                            1. 1

                              The trans pride flag is really well established and has been a thing for years and years https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender_flags You are probably just not aware because it’s not within your sphere. Like how I know nothing about chess openings.

                              There aren’t emoji for chess openings thankfully.

                              It doesn’t indicate a geographical region so - similar to the LGBT flag - it doesn’t fit the criteria required to be part of unicode. On the other hand the LGBT flag unofficial faux-moji (combining a rainbow with a blank flag) has been included in so many places that it’s almost an ad-hoc standard.

                              I was under the impression that the rainbow flag was an official emoji. If it isn’t then surely that only strengthens my point?

                              1. 3

                                There aren’t emoji for chess openings thankfully.

                                yet..!

                                I was under the impression that the rainbow flag was an official emoji

                                I was wrong about this sorry! It seems to have gotten in officially as a ZWJ now.

                            2. 4

                              The ‘trans flag’ is just some symbol a bunch of people have said represents them.

                              That’s the definition of every flag.

                              If you allow the ‘trans flag’ then why not just allow anything anyone ever submits?

                              They apparently are heading that way. I’ve never seen a bunch of the various emojis used, so why them and not a trans flag?

                              More accurately, to my point above: if the Unicode Consortium came out and said “look, from here on out we’re only going to add symbols that are described in law of a sovereign subject of international law, so no trans flag, sorry” then I’d be okay with it. But that’s not what they’re doing: they’re adding a bunch of random crap…and if they’re willing to add a bunch of random crap, why not a trans flag?

                              1. -1

                                The difference is that Unicode is still about communication. The point of emoji is in theory that they’re meant to be universally comprehensible ideograms. Referring to a country by its flag? That’s quite reasonable. Referring to an apple using a picture of an apple? Quite reasonable. Referring to a family using two large people emoji and a small person emoji[0]? Quite reasonable. Referring to the ‘trans community’ using the trans flag? Why would someone ever need to do that? How often do people really need to do that? It’s just way too niche and fraught with political difficulty. It’s the ultimate in bikeshedding.

                                [0]: Apparently using two people of different genders is now considered offensive despite being >99% of families around the world and emoji being a representation and not ever intended to capture the exactly precise meaning but that’s a different discussion altogether, I wonder whether the same people would be offended by ‘male’ being represented with the phallus in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

                                1. 3

                                  It’s just way too niche

                                  I have no idea what 🕃 means, do you? It’s a symbol used by Greek Orthodox clergy to indicate lower-rank feasts.

                                  Do you know what ֍ means? Apparently it’s a symbol common in Armenian Christianity.

                                  How about 👁️‍🗨️? I had no idea what it means. Looking it up, it’s a symbol against bullying.

                                  These are all reasonably niche.

                                  Referring to the ‘trans community’ using the trans flag? Why would someone ever need to do that? How often do people really need to do that?

                                  I’d imagine the people in the trans community probably refer to themselves quite a bit. Just because you can’t imagine that they’d want to doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. The Transgender Pride Flag is flown at health conferences that are relevant to the trans community and as a symbol of pride and solidarity. It’s a flag used internationally and commonly within a community; your disbelief that such a thing is possible doesn’t negate that.

                                  1. 3

                                    These are all reasonably niche.

                                    Okay in that case I completely change my opinion. I had no idea emoji had got that niche. I really see no argument against including it now.

                                    Especially if it includes things like a ‘symbol against bullying’ which is essentially equivalent sort of thing: pretty niche symbol used by a subset of a group to refer to the whole group.

                      1. 2

                        ‘Why did it need to have eight heads?’, you ponder briefly before deciding you’d rather not know…

                        Great writeup, though. Thanks for posting!

                            1. 1

                              If the modchip simply disabled updates to the (factory compromised) BMC firmware, it might not be noticed in a production blade, but would be evident when testing.

                            1. 5

                              And this still won’t make most people stop buying their products.

                              It seems like the story of the pot and the frog, they try each couple of iterations to see what they can get away with. And people still buy, incredible.

                              1. 10

                                I think part of the issue is that most ordinary people consider computers fundamentally unrepairable things anyway.

                                1. 5

                                  Are they really wrong? The more they believe that, the more true it gets.

                                  1. 2

                                    There is so much money and marketing in making people think so. And with phones it’s almost true, the cost of having a phone fixed is usually more than buying a working version of the same phone.

                                    1. 1

                                      Even among those who can repair their computers, a lot of them will trade increased speed, lighter weight, and smaller size in exchange for less repairability.

                                      The more stuff that’s crammed onto a single chip or single board, the less repairable computers become.

                                      1. 1

                                        That and the fact that in terms of fundamentals and despite al this, MacBooks in particular are still the best laptops money can buy in terms of “not breaking randomly”, feel, battery life, etc.

                                        Keyboard mess is pretty huge asterisk on this, but I don’t care if another laptop has more ports when the battery can’t last 2 hours, or if it basically bends when I’m typing on the keyboard. Everyone else is sooooo bad at making nice feeling stuff

                                    1. 4

                                      Looks like GCHQ (!) has made a public statement backing Apple and Amazon’s denials. I find that quite… odd.

                                      1. 1

                                        The Federales say, they could have stopped it any day.

                                      1. 3

                                        This was awarded “best paper” at IEEE SecDev 2018.

                                        1. 6

                                          Why do people post?

                                          1. To ask questions to learn. Good. That’s a big part of this
                                          2. To tell people things about the article/topic. Good. “
                                          3. To be in the mix of people talking, even though they haven’t anything to say. Normal human behavior. Ignore or help
                                          4. To get a reaction from other people. Needs social interaction. You don’t want to engage? Ignore.

                                          None of this is different from a gathering of people. except that anonymity can encourage people to be more obnoxious that they would be face to face. (And in some cases, it goes the other way too, let us not forget)

                                          In a gathering of people there would be social cues that you are not keeping with group think. Here there are not. But I find it easier to ignore people and not hurt them.

                                          I like this. If there is a useless comment, I can gently tell the commenter they should read the article, or not be so rude etc. etc. If I’m in a bad mood, I just ignore it. In some ways this is much better than face to face because I can manage my emotions much better.

                                          So, in summary, no we should not be going out of our way to ding people for fairly harmless, human behavior on this site.

                                          Oh. Also, get rid of votes.

                                          1. 7

                                            Oh. Also, get rid of votes.

                                            Although I can see the usefulness in votes, I’m in favor of removing visible numbers. Incredible distraction.

                                            1. 4

                                              I added the vote numbers on main page links to my adblocker for a while, because I know I have a personal bias to ignore articles with fewer votes. After I removed that block rule, I felt less like I was going to click a link because of a low(er) score. It might work for you, or anyone else who reads this.

                                              1. 3

                                                Your advice might seem pretty obvious but I didn’t think of that, thanks.

                                                It seems to be .comments .voters .score, or just .voters .score if you want to include the story itself.

                                              2. 2

                                                The numbers only appear after a set limit (I believe votes in the range [-4,4] aren’t shown until after some time) and after some time.

                                                1. 2

                                                  What is the rationale for that? It seems like a tacit acknowledgement that that votes are distracting or otherwise problematic. (I agree with kghose, we don’t need popularity contests here.)

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I really don’t know. I looked through the About page but didn’t find a reason.

                                                    I think starting something like lobste.rs without something like “karma” just doesn’t work anymore. It’s like herpes now, you cannot get rid of it.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      A few days ago I actually spent like 10 or 15 minutes looking through the site source code trying to find where the little ~ comes from, just out of curiosity. Didn’t find it, gave up and went back to work.

                                                      What is the value of preventing voting on new stories or comments? Does Reddit or HN have a similar thing? I don’t really use those sites, although I’m aware that the design of Lobsters is very much a reaction to them.

                                                      As to whether all discussion forums must mimic Reddit’s gamification strategy, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think your herpes analogy makes any sense.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        That actually hides the vote count for a certain time and/or threshold. The idea was some people will go back and forth in arguments trying to win upvotes from their side. The numbers become part of the mental feedback loop. Hiding them theoretically could reduce that a bit. I dont know if it works.

                                                        Drawback is I cant see upvotes to know if a specific person found an answer immediately helpful. They often do an upvote instead of comment.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          Drawback is I cant see upvotes to know if a specific person found an answer immediately helpful. They often do an upvote instead of comment.

                                                          And I wonder if that is brevity or a fear of lowering their points/comment score. I myself, prefer a personalized note. Nothing like a personalized typed note, appreciating another human being, sent over the internet under what may or may not have some relationship to my real name and/or personality.

                                                          Hmm: however that does raise the idea of having a “Thank” button (like some sites) and have that be de-anonymized - you can see a list of … thankers? … - for those who do not want to clutter up a conversation with notes.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Oh I agree with that. The thanks and follow-ups I get make the site that much more fun. :) I just noticed a lot of people are low-participation where they rarely comment. Super, casual users of the site. The most signal I might get from them in a particular thread is an upvote or no vote. Some big fans of mine on both HN and Lobsters don’t even use the site: they just email me on occasion.

                                                            So, the unusual patterns here make me look for and like several forms of appreciation for effort I put in.

                                                            “however that does raise the idea of having a “Thank” button (like some sites) and have that be de-anonymized “

                                                            That’s interesting. Facebook does it with likes. I did find that feature useful as feedback on what people were enjoying or not. Also teaches you about their personal beliefs. Helps avoid ticking people off if you see they respond to this but not that. If keeping it simpler, one idea I had for Lobsters was a symbol or color change if the person you replied to upvotes the reply. Not one for downvotes, though, since that probably just be fuel for arguments. However, having one for upvotes allows a quick, lazy way to send a thanks for people that wouldn’t participate further. The idea came from the fact that upvoting a reply is already a thanks in a way.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              a “Thank” button

                                                              I like that idea. I know some find it gauche, but I personally quite appreciate the GitHub/Slack-style “reaction” feature that lets one respond with the entire range of emoji. Much more nuanced feedback than votes, doesn’t litter the forum with “+1” comments, doesn’t accumulate into a user-worthiness score or reorder the comment timeline. Having it be de-anonymized (on hover) both adds to the personal touch and encourages politeness.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            As to whether all discussion forums must mimic Reddit’s gamification strategy, I respectfully disagree. I don’t think your herpes analogy makes any sense.

                                                            I will try to expand.

                                                            I agree with you that the gamification of sites through karma count[1] is harmful to online discourse.

                                                            The perceived pressure to keep score does not encourage frank debate, in my opinion. It encourages groupthink.

                                                            My point is that nowadays, for many people, being able to hit a like/unlike button or similar is simply how interacting on the internet works. So if sites or services don’t offer it, they’re either pressured to do so, or ignored.

                                                            I guess using “meme” in its original sense would have been more correct, except that term is hijacked. And the herpes analogy was used as it’s a disease that seldom is fatal, can cause ugly side effects, and is deeply embedded in the host.

                                                            Note that lobste.rs, like HN, does make alterations to the basic upvote/downvote scheme. New users cannot downvote below a certain karma level.

                                                            [1] I believe it started with Slashdot, continued with REddit and HN, and has been carried over to this site.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Thanks for the expansion. I think I mostly understood your meaning the first time around, but I still contend it’s a lousy analogy. People (and especially the sort who are inclined to use Lobsters) are much less stuck with a decade or so of mild psychological conditioning than they would be with an actual virus in their spinal fluid. Particularly when they can recognize that the conditioning is harmful. Expectations and norms change all the time.

                                                  2. 1

                                                    So, in summary, no we should not be going out of our way to ding people for fairly harmless, human behavior on this site.

                                                    I generally agree with this, but it’s a very fine line–once you have a sufficient number of humans, even the fairly harmless, human behavior of defecating results in sewage everywhere. So, something must be done.

                                                    Also, get rid of votes.

                                                    Nice Carthago delenda est at the end. ;)

                                                    1. 3

                                                      Nice Carthago delenda est at the end

                                                      @friendlysock dude, that made me LOL. In the office.

                                                  1. 5

                                                    If you like this kind of thing, I highly recommend the book The Computational Beauty of Nature. It shows many examples of emergent qualities of seemingly simple definitions, inspired by things you see in nature.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with these kinds of shallow, speculative simulations and want to know how real birds do it in real life, you’ll be glad to see there is some actual scientific research on the subject.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      We should get rid of votes altogether. After watching this site recently I see poor relationship between upvoted comments and how much effort/information a commentator puts in. Down votes have always been to indicate disagreement or displeasure (merely indicating an unpopular opinion) despite guidelines being that these are to be reserved for disruptive content.

                                                      I find myself skimming all the comments because I know many good comments will be down below, past the anodyne, popular ones.

                                                      1. 9

                                                        I’d kind of like to get rid of the bimonthly discussions about voting.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          It’s the only standup we have.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Come on: some of the political commentary should count as standup. Saying nothing more, everyone will imagine something different. Haha.

                                                        2. 4

                                                          I’d upvote this comment to express my complete agreement… but I can’t because of the little ~. Oh well.

                                                          The de-facto cultural meaning of up and down votes has been largely defined by Reddit, and will not be easily redefined by site-specific guidelines off on a wiki somewhere. People don’t work like that.

                                                          Simple chronological ordering of comment would work just fine for Lobste.rs, and discourage groupthink. We don’t need to rank users by popularity, or hand out little micro-rewards to those who post popular things. Or, do we?

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Simple chronological ordering of comment

                                                            That would be interesting. The moderators do want the agitated or lower-quality stuff toward the bottom and collapsed for a reason, though. Even I compromised in the metas on censorship that I’d take “Collapsed, not Deleted/Banned” as a default if we couldn’t compromise on anything better. It lets casual readers get lower-stress, lower-noise experience with little effort while people with more patience to explore riskier threads can still hit plus to see them. I always do that just to see what’s going on in community if nothing else. There’s also often some good comments in there somewhere if it’s a debate.

                                                          2. 4

                                                            We already did this, or at least removed downvotes.

                                                            The results were…not encouraging.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Wait, when did this happen?

                                                              1. 3

                                                                @jcs removed downvotes for a time a while back.

                                                            2. 3

                                                              I mean, Lobsters already have a reason system for downvotes that is mandatory and I believe that does deter some downvotes for mere disagreement. One wonders if a categorization of upvotes and upvote caps like Slashdot has might help deter upvotes for mere agreement.

                                                            1. 39

                                                              I think this is a really important personal step for Linus. I believe this is a genuine self-realization for him; I hope he figures out how to deal with being more empathetic.

                                                              I also think it’s a good thing for open source software. He’s been at the helm of the biggest open source project in the world, as the original creator of it for over 25 years. Linus is one of the most important figures in the history of OSS. His success guarantees him the status of a role model for a new and current generation of hackers, whether he likes it or not. I would argue that his toxic behavior genuinely has encouraged the very same toxic behavior you can see in some OSS projects. His blow-ups and personal attacks are such an easy way for maintainers and devs to rationalize their own bad behavior. I really hope that he follows through with his personal behavioral goals, not just for himself or the people he interacts with - but for the attitude and personality of OSS overall in the long run.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                I would argue that his toxic behavior genuinely has encouraged the very same toxic behavior you can see in some OSS projects. His blow-ups and personal attacks are such an easy way for maintainers and devs to rationalize their own bad behavior.

                                                                His ‘blow ups and personal attacks’ are waaaay overblown. He’s said a few rude things on the internet in the tens of thousands of emails he’s sent over the years. Nobody ever quotes the 99.99% of emails he sends that are perfectly nice. They cherry-pick the absolutely worst things he’s ever said then act like they’re the typical Linus Torvalds email.

                                                                1. 13

                                                                  Nobody ever quotes the 99.99% of emails he sends that are perfectly nice

                                                                  I disagree with this statement.

                                                                  I believe that part of the reason that both Linus and Linux are as successful as they are today is that Linus provides strong technical direction and is an encouraging, helpful person who has built a community around Linux. Part of the reason we’re able to talk about this is that people do want to work with Linus, despite his occasional rants - otherwise Linux would have been forked years ago to kick him off the project. We’ve seen it happen elsewhere.

                                                                  I also believe that Linus in sweary rude mode has hurt feelings and put people off kernel development. And not just Linus’ words personally, but those of other people who see him doing it and believe that this is an acceptable way to express disagreement.

                                                                  These two things aren’t incompatible! We don’t have to paint Linus as some terrible fire-breathing gatekeeper to admit that perhaps his manner has upset people.

                                                                  The fact is - it’s very easy to write without realising how your words affect people (perhaps especially so online). And the fact that people have told Linus that his manner is not helpful and he is now listening, is encouraging.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I don’t understand what you’re disagreeing with. Obviously people literally have quoted his polite emails in the past, but not in the context of these discussions. These discussions always come down to cherry-picked examples of rudeness. It’s like the point people make that you never see a newspaper headline saying ‘no planes crashed today’, not because it’s untrue but because it’s not newsworthy or interesting. ‘Muslim family completely normal, not terrorists’ isn’t news, and seemingly whenever Muslims families are in the news it’s about terrorism, so people start to assume every Muslim is a terrorist, which is absurd. There are people out there that think every email Linux sends is rude.

                                                                    If Linus Torvalds has scared a few people off of Linux kernel development it’s not because he swore in an email, it’s because a big circlejerk convinced them that he only ever swears in emails. It’s not because he’s occasionally rude, it’s because they’ve been led to believe that he’s always rude.

                                                                    1. 12

                                                                      These discussions always come down to cherry-picked examples of rudeness.

                                                                      This is the statement that I’m disagreeing with - I don’t think they do. I think we spend more time discussing examples of rudeness because they’re more newsworthy in this context, sure. But nobody that I’m aware of has ever claimed that Linus is always rude. In a similar vein, I’ve read newspaper articles about plane crashes which referenced statistics on the likelihood of a plane crashing, but even if they don’t, any sensible reader has enough context to know that planes not crashing is the baseline.

                                                                      If Linus Torvalds has scared a few people off of Linux kernel development

                                                                      Consider that it’s not just about Linus personally, but about the example he sets. He is the BDFL, and people will follow his model, consciously or otherwise. There is an amplification effect.

                                                                      1. 0

                                                                        His ‘model’ is being perfectly normal! What is it about that people don’t understand? He speaks exactly the same as anyone else. He just does so in very high volume over a medium that is viewable by people all over the world and archived for eternity.

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                                                                          I do agree that it’s on the broad spectrum of ‘normal’. A person in his position (role model) will be held to a higher standard though, and I think that’s perfectly normal too. I hope you’re equally happy for people to express their disapproval of his comments as you’re happy for him to express himself in whatever way he pleases (and to accept the consequences of doing so). Or perhaps you think they should keep it to themselves? Double standards? I just really can’t see the connection between being personally abusive and the ability to say no (and if it’s such a rare occurrence, then it shouldn’t make a significant difference in that respect anyway). I’m also not a fan of the implication that he speaks ‘the same as everyone else’ (that just comes off as an excuse). I mean I understand what you’re saying; that everyone will lose their cool sometimes, and those are the times we tend to remember (although there are plenty of famous people who aren’t known for this kind of behaviour, so I don’t think his reputation is entirely undeserved). However, I can’t see how you can stretch it to disappointment that he has ‘given in’ to the masses. I get the impression that he has come to this conclusion more from personal interactions (which matter far more) rather than based on what Reddit thinks, or whatever. If that was the case, do you not think that would be perfectly reasonable? Why are you so intent on seeing this as a weakness? Is losing your cool and becoming personally abusive not also a weakness, and is it not valid to see potential for improvement in the way you communicate? Would you be so upset about this if no one had ever been critical of his comments?

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                                                                    Nobody ever talks about the 99.99% of people I didn’t murder.

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                                                                      Well, except you. :-)

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                                                                  You too can have this faux-nostalgic[1] experience: https://github.com/Swordfish90/cool-retro-term

                                                                  (300 bps is pretty annoying, but 1200 isn’t really that bad; about like newish e-ink)

                                                                  [1] Apologies to any ancient wizards here whose nostalgia may be genuine

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                                                                    If doing it on macos, build from source. The 1.0.1 dmg and/or brew cask are quite old.

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                                                                    Has this guy ever head of Donald Norman’s work? Or Jef Raskin’s? Larry Tesler’s? Have you? I mean, there’s literally decades of empirical research on this subject.

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                                                                      I feel like you may have missed the main thrust of the article, which isn’t specific to modality as a concept.

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                                                                        Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I just meant the wiki link as a relevant example of human factors / HCI research. It explains some of the drawbacks to Vim’s design choices. The field has lots of other interesting things to say too. It does not in general support the idea (assumption?) that powerful tools must have difficult-to-use human interfaces.

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                                                                          Ah, I understand you better now! Thank you.

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                                                                      In some smartphone apps, like WhatsApp, long-pressing on a link automatically copies that link. That is an assumption: WhatsApp developers are thinking, if someone is long-pressing a link, they probably want to copy it. Maybe not, you presumptive assholes!

                                                                      This is probably a heuristic that was used to simplify the application design. However, it does not mean you have to sacrifice power. You can have an advanced mode that lets users do more complicated tasks and keep the default mode to the most common use case ( which is probably to copy the link )

                                                                      I do think the author is making a mistake by comparing vim to WhatsApp.

                                                                      Applications that use character user interfaces are different from those using graphical interfaces. If every vim command was represented as a menu item, I would assume it may not have become as popular as it is today. Most vim users learn it gradually, by learning one command at a time and much of the power of vim is hidden from view until you press the right sequence of keys. Having infinite power confuses beginners and can sometimes alienate regular users who do not admire the bloat, unless it can be hidden successfully

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                                                                        The author is making a much bigger conceptual mistake by not questioning the “easy”-vs-“powerful” dichotomy. But they are (probably unconsciously) following a long tradition of worse-is-better UI design.

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                                                                        We need a manifesto website for complex tools that give us more power. The ideology of simple-is-better has so taken over how a common person thinks about technology that it’ll be an uphill fight to re-introduce this idea. I blame Apple for popularizing this idea.

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                                                                          Maybe this ideology of simple-is-better is what has hollowed out technology to be more about content consumption and vanity rather than content creation.

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                                                                            Or maybe it’s the other way around: “simple” and “easy” UI’s have succeeded commercially because they reach a giant pre-existing market segment of vain consumers who simply have no interest in creating anything.

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                                                                              A little more convincing: if you correlate with just “fifa”, the peaks do align. (And there are “fifa” spikes in the last week of June that are 10x bigger, and don’t align with “web” anything). Good reminder as to what’s really popular outside our expanding tech bubble.

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                                                                                Wow, it’s the kind of thing that puts our little web development bubble into perspective. Just searches for a single web app are enough to swamp the numbers for “web app” in general :|

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                                                                                  Why does FIFA popularity increase every September?

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                                                                                    Like most sports franchise games, a new iteration is released annually, and in FIFA’s case it is released around September: typically $59.99 gets you minor gameplay and graphics updates, maybe a new gameplay mode nobody really cares about, and (most importantly) you get new player and team adjustments.

                                                                                    Why is it released in September? Players are free to move from club to club during transfer windows which are only open twice per season — and the leagues most people play and follow (England, Spain, most European leagues) close mid to late August. So this gives the developer time to handle any late transfers and set the rosters before release time.

                                                                                    Whether or not this is why “web app” spikes I’m not sure. But that’s why FIFA spikes in September.

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                                                                                      Ah, thanks for explaining! I didn’t know that.

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                                                                                    Wow, I think that’s it!