1. 59

    10+ years ago, I blocked ads because I didn’t like them. Now I block them for security and privacy purposes. I think “ad blocker” is an outdated term. We should start calling them “browser firewalls.”

    1. 4

      Very powerful messaging. I’m going to start using that, thank you.

      1. 3

        This is actually a hard term to define! You’re right, it’s gone from blocking ads to blocking trackers and other forms of telemetry. “browser firewalls” is good, but even that is slightly out of date - what about all the IoT devices that are sending your usage data over to some third party? That’s become a pretty big concern for a lot of people these days. I honestly don’t have a good answer to this that covers everything.

        1. 3

          For the IoT devices you need a actual firewall =)

          1. 2

            Sure, sorry - I just meant to try and point out the wider scope of the issue, I guess. “Browser firewalls” is good for browsers. :)

      1. 3

        I just use 3 things: PrivacyBadger; deny all cookies by default, manually allow as needed; a hosts file copy-paste (from https://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/ ). I wonder if this is enough.

        1. 3

          Heya. While I’m glad you use my list for your hosts file, it’s not the best source for that - I avoid adding individual hostnames if I can, so there’s tons of subdomains that won’t be blocked when it’s used just in that way. I only add the highest-level parts of a domain that I can, so instead of listing ad.doubleclick.net, ad2.doubleclick.net or whatever, I just include doubleclick.net.

          This is partly because it started life as a config file for a local nameserver to sinkhole domains, but also because I’m lazy and don’t have the energy to maintain a massive hosts file like that.

          Steven Black’s hosts file is probably more effective: https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts - I believe it incorporates my list as well anyway. But more resource-intensive (not that this matters much on modern machines).

          1. 1

            Hey, what a nice surprise to see the maintainer/author here on Lobsters! Thanks for the tips. I’ll check out your recommended alternative.

        1. 11

          I run unbound and a three line bash cron-job to do the same thing. No complex untrusted install scripts, no web interface (why would you need one?) I have a recursive resolver instead of having to send everything to goog or cloudflare etc. I am pretty happy with it.

          1. 11

            why would you need one?

            1. Graphs and other visualizations without having to write the software to process logs yourself. I use the graphs to identify devices that are accessing domains excessively and block that domain if I don’t like the behavior. I’ve done that several times in the last couple of years that I’ve been using Pihole.
            2. Allowing other users without command line confidence in the home to block domains or temporarily or permanently allow domains.
            3. Quicker temporary disabling of Pihole if I hit a strange domain behavior. There’s one site one of my family members uses frequently and I use infrequently that is poorly written and requires JS loads from a bunch of blocked domains in order to work. It’s easier for both of us to load Pihole in the browser and click “disable for 30 seconds” just long enough to get past the broken page. There are no alternatives to this site.
            4. I’ve got seven blocklist sources. I could write something to handle pulling from each of these on their own schedules but Pihole covers that for me. I need only add a URL once in a while.
            5. One less system to manage. I need only keep the Pi-powered and remember to run pihole -up once every couple of weeks. I’ve not touched the base installation in forever.

            The big ones are any time a non-technical user has to use it. I’ve not set up Pihole at the coworking space I run only because having to log-in and temporarily disable it is still a PITA for some people.

            1. 4

              And what is that three line base cron-job? If there is a simple solution out there I’d love to use it.

              1. 15

                cat /etc/cron.weekly/ad-block

                #!/bin/bash
                set -e
                
                curl -s http://sbc.io/hosts/hosts | grep '^0.0.0.0' | awk '{printf "local-zone: \"%s\" refuse \n", $2}' > /etc/unbound/unbound.conf.d/adblock.conf
                
                service unbound reload
                
                  1. 1

                    Oh nice

                  2. 3

                    Is there any particular reason you chose sbc.io instead of others, e.g. pgl.yoyo.org?

                    1. 4

                      It is a port of a previous dnsmaq setup I had for a while. I do not really remember why I chose that back then. Works pretty good given how little time it took to set up..

                    2. 3

                      If the hosting of that file ever throws a bad response you may break unbound. The reload might harmlessly fail but the next boot will fail to start unbound.

                      Add some error handling to wipe the file if the reload throws a non-zero exit code

                  3. 2

                    I have a recursive resolver

                    So this queries the root servers directly? I considered doing this with my unbound setup, but my ISP seems to like to poison/hijack DNS, and I couldn’t figure out a way to have this while also having something like DNS over TLS to keep them out.

                    1. 5

                      yes, I use the root.hints from here: https://www.iana.org/domains/root/files

                  1. 3

                    Thank you so much for this, especially the binaries! Due to the acquisition of my employer, my newly-assigned Win10 system forces the screensaver at five minutes at idle. Your simple, but elegant, solution should work just fine for me (I hope) and I appreciate the efforts. :)

                    1. 2

                      Bit off-topic, but: I understand that you suffer with such miserable OS, but the policies and measures like this one make some sense and you might be made responsible if you circumvent the policy and something happened. If I would be e.g. reading a documentation for a several minutes without moving mouse or pressing a button, I might use such utility, but I would not leave it turned on permanently. If someone misuses your computer, it would be your fault.

                      1. 2

                        Of course. But when I switch between several systems for different tasks in my locked office, it makes sense to use a tool like this, else I have to remember to flick the mouse myself every four minutes and fifty-nine seconds. It takes several minutes to login to these systems, too. :/

                        1. 2

                          Several minutes!?

                    1. 4

                      Brilliant! Thanks for posting about /dev/full, I had no idea it existed.

                      Sadly it’s one of those features that I’ll probably forget about next time it could be super helpful for testing.

                      I think my favourite little-known feature is probably shopt -s extglob from bash:

                             If the extglob shell option is enabled using the shopt builtin, several
                             extended  pattern  matching operators are recognized.  In the following
                             description, a pattern-list is a list of one or more patterns separated
                             by a |.  Composite patterns may be formed using one or more of the fol‐
                             lowing sub-patterns:
                      
                                    ?(pattern-list)
                                           Matches zero or one occurrence of the given patterns
                                    *(pattern-list)
                                           Matches zero or more occurrences of the given patterns
                                    +(pattern-list)
                                           Matches one or more occurrences of the given patterns
                                    @(pattern-list)
                                           Matches one of the given patterns
                                    !(pattern-list)
                                           Matches anything except one of the given patterns
                      

                      It’s handy for doing things like rm !(*.jpg|*.jpeg|*.gif) to remove all non-image files from a directory, for example.

                        1. 1

                          How similar to both I linked is your list?

                          Since both lists I linked come from an automated grouping repository that takes DNs from multiple lists and join them, you should open an issue to propose to join your list to their collected list!

                          1. 2

                            How similar to both I linked is your list?

                            Well, it looks like they use my list as a source, so I don’t think I need to open an issue. :)

                            Probably the biggest difference between mine and most of the other lists is that I don’t list individual hostnames if I can help it. It’s more useful as in wildcard and DNS blocking than as a hosts file.

                            I can’t really join that list into mine unfortunately. I do my best to verify each entry, so it would take me forever to check out each one.

                            1. 1

                              Fair enough, thanks for the heads-up and good work checking every domain!

                        1. 3

                          Madness. I love it!

                          1. 4

                            You can get around it using GMail’s plus/dot notation, but that is only specific to GMail.

                            Worth noting other things support that. I use it on sdf.org which is definitely not rolling its own e-mail code. Postfix example.

                            1. 4

                              Yeah, plus addressing is A Thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_address#Sub-addressing.

                              I’ve never seen Gmail’s dot notation thingy before though. I still find it weird that you can add as many single periods anywhere before the @ sign as you like. I can’t figure out how that would be useful - is it just an effort to avoid typos?

                              1. 5

                                I imagine it’s most useful for limiting impersonation. You’re not going to get phished if you fail to notice the difference between trusted.friend@gmail.com and trustedfriend@gmail.com.

                                1. 3

                                  Dovecot supports it under the name “address extensions”. It works great together with Postfix.

                                  1. 1

                                    It works for me flawlessly in Dovecot. I regret not switching to Dovecot and not starting to use address extensions early (an outrageous and likely still unfixed Cyrus IMAP bug that caused mailbox data corruption forced me to switch and I’m glad I did). Many (most?) hosted services don’t support it though.

                                1. 5

                                  What’s a “fantasy console”?

                                  OK, so a fantasy console apparently is:

                                  1. An all-in-one software development kit for video games, typically distributed as a single binary containing a text editor, sprite editor, map editor & sound editor.

                                  2. A standard set of artificially imposed development constraints, such as restricted graphical resolutions, color palettes, RAM usage, or storage space.

                                  3. The games, apps, toys and demos developed from these constraints, and the aesthetics

                                  (from https://medium.com/@G05P3L/fantasy-console-wars-a-guide-to-the-biggest-players-in-retrogamings-newest-trend-56bbe948474d)

                                  New term to me!

                                  1. 2

                                    I’m a bit confused. I think perhaps I’m missing something? Because this is (and has been) standard practice, to include tracking pixels with all requests for emails.

                                    Also, as an aside, this is hilarious:

                                    tl;dr: Superhuman posted in the “Who’s Hiring?” thread on Hackernews, then included a screenshot of a Gmail inbox that showed a message with the title “Invitation: HackerNews ‘Who is Hiring’ Upvote Surge [details coming]”.

                                    1. 3

                                      Happy Birthday, Lobsters! And to all the venerable crustaceans who share the day.

                                      I don’t have any particular favourites from this year that I can recall, but overall posts and comments are the highest quality of any site I know for topics relevant to Lobsters.

                                      1. 23

                                        I like dunking on Agile as much as the next guy, but this really doesn’t do it for me. It seems more oriented toward PMs and C-suits than programmers. Also it’s completely incoherent.

                                        Here’s a quiz for you. How does the first line of the Agile Manifesto begin? No peeking. Don’t know? That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. It says, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software….” … But the thing is, when people say that Agile pertains to the whole org, it’s revisionist history. It’s dishonest.

                                        Good thing we don’t just projects by just their first line! There’s also 12 principles and everything.

                                        Notice too it begins, “We are uncovering….” It does not say, “We have received from on high….” Don’t you think we’ve learned a thing or two since 2001?

                                        So if things can change, why can’t the scope of Agile change too? Maybe we uncovered that it can go beyond software!

                                        So find a good booklist. Follow some good blogs. Here’s a start: If you haven’t read Sense & Respond, Lean Enterprise, A Seat at the Table, and Everyone Is a Change Agent, I suggest you do so pronto. Your leaders too.

                                        This isn’t an argument, this is just throwing some names out there! Why should I care about these books? Why should I trust you? Why read these and not The New Economy, Out of the Crisis, Making Software, and Data and Reality? I can list books, too.

                                        Start reading posts by John Cutler, Melissa Perri, Bob Marshall, Allen Holub, Laura Klein, Erika Hall, Neil Killick, and branch out from there.

                                        Any posts in particular you’re gonna link? No? Guess I have to look myself. Just some random names I picked out:

                                        • Bob Marshall: Thinks software development is a solved problem.

                                        • Melissa Perri: Agile coach.

                                        • Neil Killick: Agile coach.

                                        • Allen Holub: Agile coach. Also part of the #NoEstimates crowd. (disclaimer I’ve clashed with him a bunch on Twitter)

                                        You give me four people for “beyond agile”, and three of them are heavy Agile fans.

                                        Fast Company says the average CEO reads 60 books a year. How many books do your leaders read? And what are they reading? (HBR articles, Gartner reports, and Maeve Binchy novels don’t count.) Because, let’s face it, if your leaders are still trying to grok Scrum, then you’re firmly stuck in the 80s and 90s.

                                        Seriously, can you link the study? And why should I care that CEOs read a whole lot?

                                        This needs to be said: Agile is and always has been a local optimization providing little gain to the system. All Agile did was put software development teams unfairly under a microscope.

                                        You just listed three people who apply Agile to whole organizations.

                                        Theory vs. practice, remember? We need to be pragmatic. Agile in practice is almost always AINO.

                                        Are you going to actually back this up? With studies, evidence, arguments, anecdotes, anything?

                                        There are more important things to learn about anyway, including (but not limited to) Lean UX, Lean Enterprise, Beyond Budgeting, Theory of Constraints, Throughput Accounting, Design Thinking, DevOps, Marshall’s Organizational Therapy, and so forth.

                                        Another wall of terms that really, really needs to actually link to resources. Like what’s DevOps doing there? It’s completely unrelated to everything else he’s saying.

                                        Why, you might ask, would Lean UX top the list? Outcomes, that’s why, a concept largely popularized by Lean UX.

                                        I’m pretty dang sure “Lean UX” did not, in fact, popularize the idea of “outcomes”.

                                        And while we’re at it, we’ve got to stop treating dev teams like they work in a factory. We’re not making plastic cutlery. We’re creating software. We need to stop acting like we’re running a pizza joint. The same rules do not apply.

                                        Five bucks says the author doesn’t know how to run a pizza joint. Ten says his stereotyped conception is extremely wrong.

                                        (I’m tired of this idea that SE and Agile are magical, wholly unique things. Like we can’t learn from other fields.)

                                        So…what’s the way out? It’s a smart focus on clear outcomes, not output, with roadmapped outcomes replacing planned milestones, with trusted product teams, not project teams, empowered to vet assumptions and discover the minimal path to value.

                                        How is any of this different from Agile? How is anything he said before different from Agile? Isn’t this all Agile all over again?

                                        1. 4

                                          Great summary. These mostly decontextualized “thoughtpieces” that are anecdotal blurbs of one person’s thinking are really tiring. I’m a big fan of “literature review”-type articles disguised as rants, and this article could’ve been a great example of that. However, not putting in the minimum amount of effort to actually give a few links to the literature after this much name-dropping is an insult to the reader. I blame Medium and the modern culture of “personal branding” where producing content is priority #1, and the quality of the content is priority [integer overflow].

                                          I’ve also made a habit of automatically dismissing anything said by any person who trivially belittles or dismisses other people’s hard work. It’s a sign of utter ignorance at best, and outright malice at worst.

                                          1. 4

                                            A rant about something can be useful. You’re doing a rant about something that is a rant about something, and that’s useful too.

                                            To me, the most important message in the article is that Agile was a single team delivering software movement that became a co-opted brand attempting to solve larger problems. I think that is important for people to know.

                                            Agile is both a triumph and a failure of marketing depending on how you look at it. Triumph because it became the dominant brand. Failure because a brand that means everything eventually means nothing of substance.

                                            1. 2

                                              it’s completely incoherent

                                              I’m afraid I have to agree with you here. I found it very hard to read, and gave up after a while. It’s a like the author did a teensy bit too much coke before writing the post.

                                            1. 28
                                              • Get rid of “hello” and “bye”, along with custom footers. Your name is in the “From” field of each e-mail, and your position can be pulled out from Active Directory or something.
                                              • Use double enters to make separate paragraphs. Don’t let your e-mail to be a “wall of text”.
                                              • Check typos in your e-mails. Or use a spell-checker if you’re too lazy.
                                              • Seriously, being too lazy is NOT a good thing. Really. Don’t brag about it.
                                              • DO include a short context about the problem you’re having with some issue, along with a link to the issue. Link itself is not enough.
                                              • DO NOT use bold text, or italic text, or different colors of your font, or use it very rarely. There’s 95% chance it will be abused. And it will happen that some people will send very important e-mails consisting of only bold letters (even with the footer), because of such critical importance of such email. And later, when everyone will start using bold letters, nobody will notice them anymore.
                                              • HTML can be used for good. Like, for example, using links to issues, not for changing the formatting of the text.
                                              • Do not place links to Jira, Redmine or whatever, inline in your e-mail. Use references[1], like this[2], and put the links on the bottom of the message, or use HTML and use normal hyperlinks.
                                              • If the company uses top-posting when replying, DON’T reply using inline replies. Same thing in the reverse direction. A good rule can be: use whatever convention is used by the person you’re exchanging e-mails with.
                                              • When replying, trim footers of the previous person (you can leave the signature, but again, the name will be visible anyway in the From field).
                                              • Don’t use custom characters when using inline replies, use standard one like this: “>”
                                              • If pasting code, format it with a monospaced font, or at least make an effort with formatting it, so that the person who will read it later will have it easier. If using text mode and pasting code, consider using ‘#v+’ and ‘#v-’ markers.
                                              • If writing a longer e-mail, summarize it on the end.
                                              • If writing a longer e-mail, try to put a TL;DR version on the top of the mail. Then, consider if this TL;DR version can be sent instead of the longer message. If yes, remove the longer message and send TL;DR version as the actual message (the longer the message is, the smaller chance is that everyone will read it).
                                              • Again, if you’re writing a longer e-mail, double make sure the recipients will understand what is it you ask/expect from them.
                                              • If you want to say “I don’t know”, include the next best thing that comes to your mind when you think about a solution to some problem.
                                              • Remember that an e-mail is written once, and can be read hundreds of times by hundreds of people. Make an effort to spell-check, format, structure it and minimize it (unless you’re writing a poem).
                                              1. 10

                                                I agree with most of your post.

                                                Get rid of “hello” and “bye”, along with custom footers. Your name is in the “From” field of each e-mail, and your position can be pulled out from Active Directory or something.

                                                Custom footers I can see either way. They’re noisy, but it also can be useful context. But do say “hi” or “thanks”. People appreciate some warmth.

                                                If writing a longer e-mail, try to put a TL;DR version on the top of the mail. Then, consider if this TL;DR version can be sent instead of the longer message. If yes, remove the longer message and send TL;DR version as the actual message (the longer the message is, the smaller chance is that everyone will read it).

                                                Good advice. One slightly different spin: if you can’t substitute the TL;DR version, it’s highly likely that you’ve created a document that deserves to live longer than the email you’re writing. Ask yourself whether you should give it a permanent home (e.g. a wiki) after writing the email.

                                                1. 7

                                                  But do say “hi” or “thanks”. People appreciate some warmth.

                                                  I include these for the first email I send to someone I don’t regularly correspond with, and omit them after that.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    That’s probably right, I was reacting to what I perceived as a blanket rule. And I suppose I’d never write “bye”, but “best”, “thanks” or something similar.

                                                2. 6

                                                  Get rid of “hello” and “bye”, along with custom footers. Your name is in the “From” field of each e-mail, and your position can be pulled out from Active Directory or something.

                                                  E-Mail is not instant messaging. In the latter you can omit the greeting/opening, but personally, I consider e-mails without opening and closing just rude. If the reason for the omission of opening and closing is that you exchange a whole series of e-mails with a specific person in a single day, you’re using the wrong medium. Use an instant messager.

                                                  Not so long ago, I wrote a (German) blogpost about IM vs. e-mail, albeit it was in a totally different context (security).

                                                  As for footers, it is not unusual that they are legally required.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    It really depends on the context. If you’re writing an e-mail to someone for the first time today, a greeting might not be a bad idea, especially when you’ll probably still use a greeting even if using instant messaging. But I don’t think any further followups or replies require greetings, but still many people use them. It’s not an issue that needs to be resolved, but I just don’t think it’s necessary.

                                                    As for footers, it also depends on the context. I don’t think footers are legally required when exchanging e-mails inside the company. They may be required when a person needs to contact people outside of the company. But when such a person sends an e-mail to another person in the company, it can look unnecessary to include a “yes” or “no” answer, following with a footer message that is larger than 2 pages.

                                                    Also I can’t agree with the theory that instant messaging is a fundamentally different method of communication than e-mails. It can be used this way; but I don’t think there should be a pressure to reply instantly if a message will arrive on an IM communicator. If I’m busy, absent, or in a bad mood, I don’t answer IMs. I may answer them 3 hours later. I don’t see it as a problem. If a person is in a hurry, there’s always a high priority phone call that can be made.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      Hello,

                                                      Why is it rude in e-mail, but not in your message on Lobsters?

                                                      Kind regards,

                                                      1. 4

                                                        Good question! While your messages in lobsters may be in response to an earlier comment by a particular individual, the norms are different because it’s a discussion board, in which comments are generally meant to be read by many individuals.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          (Intentionally without a greeting)

                                                          Because lobste.rs is not a replacement for snail mail. lobste.rs is not 1-to-1 communication, but a 1-to-many and many-to-one communication.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            E-mail is also not 1-to-1 communication, I am not the only recipient for the vast majority of e-mails I receive.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              When I made my original statement, I only had 1-to-1 e-mails in mind. Public discussion media like mailing lists work over e-mail, technically, but are not what I experience as the normal use of e-mail. My original statement applies to the personal 1-to-1 communication, where e-mail replaces the written letter. Letters are not written without openings and closings, and so shouldn’t be 1-to-1 e-mails. I don’t write greetings in mailing list e-mails either, except for the opening e-mail of a thread.

                                                              Maybe I’m just conservative.

                                                      2. 5

                                                        Get rid of “hello” and “bye”, along with custom footers. Your name is in the “From” field of each e-mail, and your position can be pulled out from Active Directory or something.

                                                        I’ve come around to this.

                                                        For those of us who have been around the block a few dozen times, signatures are a hold over from the USENET days, when there was no LDAP or AD or whatever and your .signature was a part of your flair :)

                                                        But in today’s corporate world, they’re just extra noise.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          LDAP and AD does assume it is intra-corporate email isn’t it?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Is that really where it comes from? I’d assume it comes from signatures in writing physical letters.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Well, sure, that’s where the word originated, but I’m saying it was popularized by USENET and early E-mail.

                                                              Here’s the USENET “Netiquette” document circa 1993/5 but I’m quite sure it goes back MUCH farther. I know I saw E-mail .sigs in wide use in the late 80s when I was on the internet.

                                                          2. 5

                                                            Do not place links to Jira, Redmine or whatever, inline in your e-mail. Use references[1], like this[2], and put the links on the bottom of the message, or use HTML and use normal hyperlinks.

                                                            I disagree with this one. Especially in an email with lots of links and/or text. I find it annoying to have to scroll to the bottom, find the corresponding link, then scroll back up and find my place again from where I was reading.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Adding to this:

                                                              • Avoid using passive voice. It adds more, useless, words. Also, complicates the structure of your text, tiring your readers and sometimes even confusing them.
                                                              1. 4

                                                                Passive voice is to be avoided. More useless words are added by it, and the complexity of the structure of your text is increased by it, as well as the energy and sometimes even confusion levels of your readers.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  This sentence is clear, but reading passive voice all day will surely tire you.

                                                              2. 3

                                                                HTML can be used for good. Like, for example, using links to issues, not for changing the formatting of the text.

                                                                Agree.

                                                                Do not place links to Jira, Redmine or whatever, inline in your e-mail. Use references[1], like this[2], and put the links on the bottom of the message, or use HTML and use normal hyperlinks.

                                                                Wait what? This seems directly contradictory to the previous statement. Why are links to issue trackers (Jira/Redmine/whatever) exempt from the previous example of good use of HTML links in email?

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  I think what was meant was this:

                                                                  Please see issue 1234 (https://foo.jira.com/browse/ABC-1234)

                                                                  versus this:

                                                                  Please see issue 1234 [1].

                                                                  [1] https://foo.jira.com/browse/ABC-1234

                                                                  If you’re using inline HTML, then it would be an actual link:

                                                                  Please see issue 1234

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    Yes, that’s what I meant, thanks!

                                                              1. 1

                                                                I think there are examples where this has always sort of been the case:

                                                                • I’m a web developer, but I don’t know C - is using Perl any worse than using Vue and not knowing C? (OK, perhaps this is a bit different, but still…)
                                                                • When Frontpage and Dreamweaver were things, a lot of devs didn’t know HTML then, either
                                                                • “Save as HTML” in Word when you don’t understand HTML, seems to be the same thing
                                                                1. 1

                                                                  The difference between the last two and the people the author is talking about is that the people the author is talking about are supposed to be professionals at “Web technology”. The author’s point is that HTML is included in that. By contrast someone using “save as HTML” in Word isn’t expected to be a professional in HTML.

                                                                  As for the first point, did you mean “worse than using Vue and not knowing HTML?” If that’s the case I would argue that that’s different as well, because ultimately no matter what the final product with Vue, React, Backbone, whatever, is some HTML (well, DOM elements, but that’s close enough). But it’s not like Perl code renders out to C. Nobody’s expecting Perl coders to understand (much of) the internals of the Perl runtime just like nobody’s expecting web developers to understand (much of) the internals of web rendering engines.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  tl;dr Technical changes from Google require native code to be added which will never be used; and number of active installs for Android 2.2 has reached insignificant numbers.

                                                                  1. 22

                                                                    suite of productivity apps

                                                                    heh, I’m still used to “Google” meaning “search”, not “productivity apps”. YaCy would be the real “open source Google” if we still remember that Search is the big part :D

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      I don’t think search is the big part when it comes to replacing google. Most people I talked to about migrating from google products say they can’t because they rely too much on Gmail and Drive. Even though some of them also said search alternatives sucked, they were more willing to deal with that then losing the collaborative power that Google Drive gave them. I advocate against google as well by the way, but damn their Chrome + Gmail + Drive combo is becoming the definition of professional computing for a lot of people, specially since they also offer that in an Enterprise edition as well.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        I disagree, search is a biggest part.

                                                                        • Chrome replacable with Firefox 100%
                                                                        • Gmail replacable by something N% (Protonmail?)
                                                                        • Drive replacable by bunch of things - dropbox, one drive, IFS, NextCloud, etc. particularly with some tooling that utilize multiple things. Drive, IMO, has insulting interface and operability for 2019.

                                                                        Search on the other hand, is not easily replaced, especially since ddg, startpage and many others use google in the backend. Bing is retarded with those wallpapers and Yahoo is a mess. No bueno. All should die, perhaps we should return to altavista or do the SETI thing (best option IMO).

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          The pull is the multiple-concurrent-editors spreadsheets and text documents (which I think got rebranded from Docs to fall under Drive) rather than just the ability to share files.

                                                                          There are fewer competing products for the Docs use cases. They are quite hard to implement.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            Document collaboration is possible in Next Cloud with Colabora and it works on premise and with open office docs:

                                                                            https://nextcloud.com/collaboraonline/

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              I did not know that and I am surprised. Interesting, thank you.

                                                                          2. 3

                                                                            DuckDuckGo uses Bing as its backend. Not Google.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              Well, it includes results from Bing. And a variety of other search engines.

                                                                            2. 1

                                                                              We’re discussing different things. I want practical results not theoretical ones.

                                                                            3. 2

                                                                              For me, replacing calendaring is the most difficult, because other than email, calendaring is the system most subject to network effects. I can switch to DDG or OpenStreetMaps on my own and it doesn’t affect those around me, but if I were to switch off Google Calendar, I don’t know how I’d be able to coordinate with others the same way.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                Yeah I have the same issue with Google Calendar. Though Docs is also subject to network effects, specially for professions that do a lot of document editing (journalism, PR, etc).

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Sure; I’ve pretty much made peace with being stuck with a work-related Google account and have only made efforts to remove it from my personal usage.

                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                Whoever down-voted with “incorrect”, can you please explain your reason? I don’t mind the vote count, I’m just genuinely interested in what was “incorrect” in my post?

                                                                                1. -1

                                                                                  Down-voting is lame so any interaction with such dudes is meh. Provide comments when downvoting, don’t hide behind the counter.

                                                                              3. 2

                                                                                That was my first reaction as well actually.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Is YaCy still alive? I tried using their demo portal and my browser kept timing out.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    I’ve tried it at home relatively recently, with crawling enabled. Got my IP address temporarily banned from some places / started seeing more captchas everywhere :D Search did work, yes.

                                                                                  2. 0

                                                                                    Also there’s no Gmail replacement, which is probably the second most popular Google product.

                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                      Gmail was a web-based mail system. It might have embraced and extended the concept of mail in such a way that Gmail is more than just a web-based mail user agent but that does not imply it can not be replaced by another web-based mail user agent, of which there there are many.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Right, but there’s nothing in Bloom that replaces any part of Gmail.

                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                        Think about what would be involved there. Setting up an SMTP server is non trivial for the average user (This is where 90 of you in the audience pop up and say “I set up SMTP servers in my sleep and 5 before breakfast!” :)

                                                                                        Of course a big part of that is all the infra that big mail processors like Google have put in place for spam prevention (and maybe a side order of lock-in :)

                                                                                        You could easily bundle a webmail interface with the assumption that all the guts would be handled elsewhere I guess, but there are already quite a number of those.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          Spam is a huge part, I think. I use Gmail for accounts and such, and self-host for my FOSS contributions / mailing lists / more personal interactions, and the open source spam filtering capabilities imo are nowhere near what Gmail offers. Don’t get me wrong, rspam has made things a lot better, but I still think self-hosting for most people isn’t feasible because of spam/phishing alone.

                                                                                      3. 0

                                                                                        YaCy is would be, if it proved to be practical, and so far it didn’t. Maybe it would be good to utilize some better strategy then theirs. For example, remember SETI screensavers ? All OS’es could have something like that but for search indexing.

                                                                                      1. -1

                                                                                        There is no winning an argument with wild accusations like that. Do you think that all the Google engineers are evil and part of a conspiracy?

                                                                                        Maybe Google is doing this, maybe not. But to convince the opposing party we have to take the charitable view and stick to the facts instead. Would you be open to suggestions while also being accused of doing horrible things?

                                                                                        Looking at the Manifest V3, I am seeing a lot of good things that are dearly needed. The most important one is to allow extensions to only get access to pages when they are invoked instead of being able to run on *://*. Most of the changes seem to be related to tightening access to avoid extensions abusing the user like that.

                                                                                        The charitable view is that they went a bit overboard with the features restrictions. Now the Manifest is up for discussion and ad-blockers should ask Google if they can implement the Firefox async API instead. And if not, talk about the specific points why this is a security threat when the read-only access is still accessible.

                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                          The engineers don’t get to decide these things, and considering Google is an ads company first and foremost, I don’t think you need to invoke any conspiracy here. It’s pretty clear what Google is doing, we already went through the exact same thing with Microsoft when IE had market dominance. Now is absolutely not the time to give the benefit of the doubt because the consequences of Chrome stomping out every alternative are going to be severe.

                                                                                          1. -1

                                                                                            The engineers don’t get to decide these things

                                                                                            Really? I doubt Google execs are in the business of writing APIs.

                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                              Google execs are precisely who decides on the features that their product has.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                It would be really weird for a manager to dictate the API shape. At minimum this makes all the developers on the Chrome team complicit as they would notice such strange behaviour.

                                                                                                The best outcome for this would be for Google to change the API back or to adopt the Firefox promise-based one. I don’t see how making wild accusations is helping with that matter.

                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                Google execs are totally in the business of firing developers who are not willing to write (or remove) the APIs. Or at least having them replaced by other developers who will be more willing.

                                                                                                Don’t underestimate the persuasive power of a salary.

                                                                                            2. 9

                                                                                              Do you think that all the Google engineers are evil and part of a conspiracy?

                                                                                              From the end of the article:

                                                                                              To be clear my conclusions are emphatically not “Chrome engineers are out to get ad blockers”

                                                                                              I don’t think these are wild accusations at all - rather, quite carefully considered opinions.

                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                Do you think that all the Google engineers are evil and part of a conspiracy?

                                                                                                The post directly addressed this question.

                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                As a long-time mutt user, I was a bit dismayed when “something” changed wrt how html email is viewed. I have to read a dump now, instead of it opening a browser.

                                                                                                This is probably configurable (in mutt) if I had time or could be arsed, but it would have been nice to see aerc doing something like that in action instead of just sending mail.

                                                                                                Also kinda sucks, in mutt, that now replying to html email, it uses the dumped html part in the reply, rendering the messages ugly.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  I think you just need to fiddle with your mailcap settings. In my case, I get a best effort from some HTML rendering script, but when this doesn’t work I have a hotkey to load the current HTML part in Chrome.

                                                                                                  You can this stuff in my dotfiles.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    Adding this to your .mailcap file might help:

                                                                                                    text/html; lynx -force_html %s; needsterminal
                                                                                                    
                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      This did nothing, and set mailcap_path tells me I should be ok path-wise.

                                                                                                      I had to add auto_view text/html to get anything out of this, and it uses elinks -dump, so maybe that’s yet another conf option.

                                                                                                      This all ties into an annoyance I have with mutt: it’s kinda old and distros ship packages like neomutt and mutt-patched and all my woes might just be neomutt magic I can’t be arsed to deal with.

                                                                                                      Deleting the mailcap now as useless :(

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Huh, interesting, this is all I have in my mutt config files. I do have this, though:

                                                                                                        set mailcap_path=~/.mutt/mailcap

                                                                                                        That’s the only other thing I can think that might affect it.

                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                      I stopped using mutt because it was very slow after I set up RE filtering.

                                                                                                      1. 11

                                                                                                        Raymond Gorhill is a hero. Is there any way to support them financially?

                                                                                                        1. 16

                                                                                                          He actively doesn’t want donations:

                                                                                                          But, you know, like he said… spare a thought for those poor filter list maintainers. :)

                                                                                                        2. 7

                                                                                                          Smart man. Follow the money.

                                                                                                        1. 9

                                                                                                          I wonder if Chromium-based browsers such as ungoogled-chromium or Brave will try to maintain the “blocking capabilities of the webRequest API” themselves.

                                                                                                          1. 12

                                                                                                            Uninformed guess? Sure. The code will still be there for enterprise users apparently. Hard to redesign the whole browser such that the existing code can’t still be used.

                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                              They could just rip it off from source and deploy (runtime download) adblocking code through signed binary blob. IIRC drm plugins already work like this.

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                This is good news for Brave users, and also for other Chromium-based browsers!