Threads for simondotau

  1. 28

    As far as I can tell the only apps you’re allowed to put in the app store are ones that should have just been a web page.

    1. 16

      I have:

      • Logic Pro (DAW)
      • Affinity Photo (photo editor)
      • Affinity Designer (vector editor)
      • AdGuard for Safari (advert blocking plugin)
      • Duck Duck Go Privacy Essentials (privacy plugin for Safari)
      • SomaFM Radio player
      • All the Microsoft Office apps

      Plus lots more that could have web versions (and some do) … but the native apps are proper native apps.

      1. 2

        Along with some of the above, I have:

        • WiFi Explorer (wifi scanner)
        • DaisyDisk (disk space visualiser)
        • Kaleidoscope (diff tool)
        • BBEdit (text editor)
        1. 2

          I don’t have any of those. But I have Clocker. It’s just a menu-bar widget but I manage a distributed team and it’s really useful!

          BTW, what do you think of DaisyDisk? Was thinking about getting it recently, but then I found that About this Mac -> Storage -> Manage -> Reduce Clutter did what I needed.

          1. 2

            I have bought DaisyDisk a few years ago, frustrated by the average state of Diskinventory X http://www.derlien.com/. I still use from time to time to find where I’m wasting large chunks of disk. The overall UX is pretty cool.

            I never really used Reduce Clutter. My main disk usage is often multiple large Git repositories with their binaries.

        2. 1

          Further complicating this, the leading competitor to Office is just a web app. There are fewer competitors to editing audio and photos that are web apps, but it can be done.

        3. 4

          I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. The App Store requires your apps to be sandboxed but the set of entitlements that you can request is pretty large. As long as you’re using the right APIs, you can have full filesystem access, access to peripherals, and so on.

          The biggest obstacle I see is that Apple takes 30% of the sale price for App Store apps. This buys you two things:

          • Apple handles distribution and taking money.
          • It’s easy to find the app by searching the store.

          I don’t think most Mac users search the store first (I never do, at least), so the the second option is of far less value than on iOS (where the App Store is the only place to install things and so also the first place to look for things to install). If your app is already popular then there’s no marketing advantage to the App Store. If you already have a distribution channel, it probably costs a lot less than 30%.

        1. 1

          More correctly, apple to scan iPhones for a set of images provided by a government and then report any user with any of those images to said government.

          This is clearly not a technology that is going to be abused.

          1. 2

            More correctly, Apple to hash photos prior to being sent to iCloud; compares this has to a set provided by a non-Government non-profit (NCMEC). Any user with multiple hash matches has these matched images human reviewed by an Apple employee; if they are confirmed to be CSAM, their iCloud account is closed and a report is filed with a non-Government non-profit (NCMEC).

            1. 1

              NCMEC was created by the US congress, has special legal exemptions that apply only to it. It is a government agency in all but name.

              But that’s actually moot, because now that apple has created this “feature” all a government has to do is pass a law requiring apple to search for whatever images they want and apple has no choice.

              Hence, this is a technology that allows a government to decide what you can have on your device, and identifies you to that government if you don’t comply.

              1. 1

                The Government could have passed a law requiring Google to search for whatever images they want and Google would have no choice. So why haven’t they? Apple’s the one late to the party, and now everyone’s piling on Apple for the existence of the party. It’s hypocrisy.

                I’m curious, can you link to where you publicly complained when Google (and Facebook, Microsoft, etc etc) implemented the same thing? Or are you only angry because it’s fashionable to criticise Apple?

          1. 3

            How will this impact battery lifetime? Can an estimation be given by what has been put forward by Apple?

            1. 2

              Relative to the ML processing done to classify the photo in other ways (e.g. contains a dog) it would be a minuscule drop in the ocean. Processing of the back catalogue would almost certainly be restricted to when the phone is locked and charging.

            1. 4

              At first I thought this would be using a known database of CSE material, stored in hashed form or such, that could simply be indexed against and thought it was a great idea. To me, that is the ideal non-intrusive method of identifying users storing illegal material of this nature (and, best case scenario, finding a collision within some hashing method). Finding out that it’s an “AI” that scans all your images and sends them to an Apple-approved review board was really disheartening. It feels like this is just a convoluted method for Apple to get governments and grant agencies to fund their AI research in some way.

              1. 8

                Did you read the technical summary from Apple? Sounds like a modern take on PhotoDNA using a neural network to me.

                NeuralHash is a perceptual hashing function that maps images to numbers. Perceptual hashing bases this number on features of the image instead of the precise values of pixels in the image.

                The main purpose of the hash is to ensure that identical and visually similar images result in the same hash, and images that are different from one another result in different hashes. For example, an image that has been slightly cropped or resized should be considered identical to its original and have the same hash.

                1. 3

                  identical and visually similar images result in the same hash, and images that are different from one another result in different hashes

                  Mostly ignorant questions: Do we not know from adversarial classifier research that, given “similar” and “different” are meant to be meaningful in a human sense, this is impossible? Are they going to publish their false positive rate? Has this been tested against adversarial images or just with a normal dataset?

                  1. 4

                    I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking, but NeuralHash isn’t a classifier in the usual sense, i.e. it can’t say “this is a picture of a dog” or whatever. It has specifically been trained to detect if two images are literally the same image.

                    Consider trying to detect known bad images with SHA-256. Someone wanting to circumvent that detection could save as png instead of jpg, or crop 1px off the side, or brighten by 1%. Any small change like that would defeat fingerprinting based on SHA-256 or other conventional hashing algorithms. Clearly this problem calls for another solution.

                    NeuralHash—and its predecessor PhotoDNA, a procedural algorithm—doesn’t make any inferences about the conceptual contents of the image. Instead it generates a hash that can match two images together even if they’ve been edited. The images don’t have to be similar or different in a strictly human sense. For example, NeuralHash would not produce a match for two different images of paint splatter. The edges of the splatters would be at different distances and angles relative to each other. Humans may consider two such images as visually similar, or perhaps even indistinguishable without close inspection, but NeuralHash doesn’t measure that sort of visual similarity.

                    1. 4

                      If it’s not literally a SHA of the file, then it’s some kind of imprecise comparison, and calling it “neural” sure makes it sound like a classifier. Presumably the result of the comparison algorithm is supposed to be “a human would consider B to be an edited version of A”. Otherwise it would again be trivial to fool, just by changing one pixel.

                      So if it’s an imprecise algorithm supposedly mimicking a human decision, the natural question is, what happens if an adversary tries to induce a false positive? Impossible with a file hash, but I’m suspecting significantly less impossible with this algorithm. At any rate, I’m just asking, has anyone tried?

                      1. 2

                        Using the name “Neural” likely just means the hashing algorithm has been optimised to run on the Apple Neural Engine accelerator, for the sake of speed and power efficiency.

                        What happens if an adversary tries to induce a false positive? About the only consequence I can think of is that the person at Apple who performs the human review step has a slightly nicer day because they got to look at an image which isn’t CSAM.

                        1. 2

                          According to the article:

                          Matthew Green, a top cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins University, warned that the system could be used to frame innocent people by sending them seemingly innocuous images designed to trigger matches for child pornography. That could fool Apple’s algorithm and alert law enforcement. “Researchers have been able to do this pretty easily,” he said of the ability to trick such systems.

                          So it would seem so.

                          I’m not entirely sure if this needs to be an issue as such. If a match triggers an immediate automatic shutdown of your account: then yes, it’s a problem. But as I read this, it merely “flags” your account for closer inspection, and you may not even know it happened. And as I understand it, false matches are mostly limited to intentionally crafted images, rather than accidental false match (like e.g. Tumblr’s mess of a “nudity detector”).

                          The bigger issue is sending of actual child pornography: you don’t control the messages you receive over email, iMessage, WhatsApp, etc. and a malicious “here are the pictures you asked for 😉” message could potentially land you in some problems. It essentially opens you up to a new type of “digital swatting” attack and also one that could potentially be hard to defend from in cases of persistent and motivated attackers.

                          1. 2

                            Photos over Messages are not automatically added to iCloud Photos. WhatsApp has an option to do that, I think.

                            1. 1

                              One of the concerns that occured to me is that if adversarial testing hasn’t been a focus, it might turn out to be pretty easy to generate a false positive, and then you’ve not only got a 4chan-ready DoS attack on iCloud but a “mass swatting” opportunity. Imagine an adversarial meme image goes popular, and once you receive ten of them your account gets locked and you’re reported to the authorities.

                              1. 1

                                But some meme is harmless? Who cares if some harmless meme is reported to the authorities.

                    2. 4

                      You might be confusing the Messages feature and the iCloud feature.

                    1. 19

                      I think the greatest concern I have is the potential for governments to pressure Apple into using the tech for other purposes since we know Apple loves them some iPhone sales. That being said though, their technical summary seems to rule out every other concern since it only scans images before uploading them, only flags matches against a known set of images, and those matches are manually reviewed. You couldn’t really fake a match unless you knew the existing dataset so it’s almost impossible that you could “SWAT” someone, and even then it would be trivial to demonstrate that the image was sent to you by someone else. Perhaps if someone had your credentials they could upload images to your account but then that was a risk long before this.

                      I don’t like the idea of this being used for other types of images, but as implemented and for the purpose given it seems like a pretty well thought-out system. I am totally fine with the pushback since it makes Apple be as transparent as possible, but I don’t like that people are making some false claims about how the tech works. I think the focus of criticism deserves to be squarely on the issue of whether Apple bends to pressure from more restrictive governments when their profits are on the line.

                      1. 3

                        and those matches are manually reviewed.

                        I hope they are prepared for the difficulty on the people reviewing. I recall reports of police officers doing this sort of work having mental health issues and not doing it for very long.

                        1. 2

                          Agreed. I have heard that the Facebook team that handles these sorts of things has extremely high turnover.

                          1. 3

                            It looks like the manual review process involves low-resolution versions of the image to protect reviewers.

                            1. 1

                              I’d be far more worried if they didn’t have high turnover.

                          2. 3

                            You couldn’t really fake a match unless you knew the existing dataset so it’s almost impossible that you could “SWAT” someone

                            This was also true of DVD private keys until it wasn’t. (This is not to negate the second part of your sentence, only the first.)

                          1. 4

                            All of these criticisms are nice in the abstract, but until there is an alternative syntax being proposed, I don’t find any of it compelling. For all of SQL’s failings, it has the benefit of being implemented and therefore proven in the real world.

                            Propose a better syntax and I’ll be more interested.

                            Show me how moderately complex SQL queries (with joins, subqueries, “having”, joined inserts with duplicate key update, window functions) can be represented in your syntax and I’ll be very interested.

                            Show me how complex queries in your syntax can be parsed into an optimised execution plan, and I’ll be extremely interested.

                            1. 6

                              I think it makes sense to write articles to set a course and sort out what people think the problem is.

                              1. 4

                                Generally my experience with diatribes on the problems of complex systems is that they rarely consider whether the proposed alternative isn’t replacing a whole bunch of identified problems with a whole bunch of unidentified problems. Who’s to say that someone following this article won’t end up with the SQL equivalent of XHTML?

                                SQL is an interesting beast because there’s no disputing how crufty and scattered it is, but there’s some underappreciated beauty in it too. I believe that there’s more viability in incremental improvements than in wholesale invention of an entirely new syntax. But I’d be thrilled to be proven wrong.

                                1. 1

                                  Oh I completely agree. Which is why I say there should be a smooth upgrade path. I’d mostly worry about fixing names, some syntax for common sub expressions, some import syntax, and the rules about when select is required, and leave it at that.

                              2. 2

                                Have a look at edgedb/EdgeQL linked from the end.

                                1. 2

                                  It looks like a nicer syntax. More pleasant to work in. But I don’t see much that would have any real dent in productivity. The weird and crufty parts of SQL are cheap enough to learn and remember; if I got proficient in EdgeQL I’d probably do a little bit less typing and save minutes per day at most.

                                  This whole thing reminds me of the ORM argument. A whole bunch of people who don’t understand the nuances of SQL advocating for its replacement. Alternatives were designed to make their database pretend to be something they do understand—in the case of ORMs, a series of wonky, half-baked objects.

                                  1. 1

                                    The difference vs ORM is that EdgeQL is still built on the full relational model and can do anything and everything SQL can do, it’s not a fig leaf over a single use case, but rather a new language with at least equal expressive power.

                                    It won’t have a huge productivity change at first for anyone used to SQL of course, but it the composability etc come out in practise to enable more reusable libraries of functions, or if the more comprehensible wire format for common join cases results in more use of the DB by more users, these sorts of things can improve the ecosystem’s productivity over time.

                                    1. 1

                                      It won’t have a huge productivity change at first for anyone used to SQL of course

                                      This is why I’m afraid it won’t gain traction. There’s just too much inertia. Now if Postgres upstream would integrate this language, for example, or have a pluggable syntax layer which could be selected at will when making queries, it would be much easier to switch (and even switch over gradually within an application).

                                      1. 1

                                        You can run edgedb in front of postgres to do the gradual switchover you describe.

                              1. 1

                                For tasks like this, JSON parsing should be done once per revision of the file. Heck, for tasks like this, JSON probably isn’t even the right data structure.

                                Also, if it’s so important to validate the data, why not do that server side and sign validated files with a private key.

                                1. 23

                                  I used to think this was the case until I realized that Google funds Firefox through noblesse oblige, and so all the teeth-gnashing over “Google owns the Internet” is still true whether you use Chrome directly or whether you use Firefox. The only real meaningful competition in browsers is from Apple (God help us.) Yes, Apple takes money from Google too, but they don’t rely on Google for their existence.

                                  I am using Safari now, which is… okay. The extension ecosystem is much less robust but I have survived. I’m also considering Brave, but Chromium browsers just gulp down the battery in Mac OS so I’m not totally convinced there yet.

                                  Mozilla’s recent political advocacy has also made it difficult for me to continue using Firefox.

                                  1. 19

                                    I used to think this was the case until I realized that Google funds Firefox through noblesse oblige, and so all the teeth-gnashing over “Google owns the Internet” is still true whether you use Chrome directly or whether you use Firefox.

                                    I’m not sure the premise is true. Google probably wants to have a practical monopoly that does not count as a legal monopoly. This isn’t an angelic motive, but isn’t noblesse oblige.

                                    More importantly, the conclusion doesn’t follow–at least not 100%. Money has a way of giving you control over people, but it can be imprecise, indirect, or cumbersome. I believe what Google and Firefox have is a contract to share revenue with Firefox for Google searches done through Firefox’s url bar. If Google says “make X, Y and Z decisions about the web or you’ll lose this deal”, that is the kind of statement antitrust regulators find fascinating. Since recent years have seen increased interest in antitrust, Google might not feel that they can do that.

                                    1. 9

                                      Yes, I agree. It’s still bad that most of Mozilla’s funding comes from Google, but it matters that Mozilla is structured with its intellectual property owned by a non-profit. That doesn’t solve all problems, but it creates enough independence that, for example, Firefox is significantly ahead of Chrome on cookie-blocking functionality - which very much hits Google’s most important revenue stream.

                                      1. 4

                                        Google never has to say “make X, Y and Z decisions about the web or you’ll lose this deal,” with or without the threat of antitrust regulation. People have a way of figuring out what they have to do to keep their job.

                                      2. 17

                                        I’m tired of the Pocket suggested stories. They have a certain schtick to them that’s hard to pin down precisely but usually amounts to excessively leftist, pseudo-intellectual clickbait: “meat is the privilege of the west and needs to stop.”

                                        I know you can turn them off.

                                        I’m arguing defaults matter, and defaults that serve to distract with intellectual junk is not great. At least it isn’t misinformation, but that’s not saying much.

                                        Moving back to Chrome this year because of that, along with some perf issues I run into more than I’d like. It’s a shame, I wanted to stop supporting Google, but the W3C has succeeded in creating a standard so complex that millions of dollars are necessary to adequately fund the development of a performant browser.

                                        1. 2

                                          Moving back to Chrome this year because of that, along with some perf issues I run into more than I’d like. It’s a shame, I wanted to stop supporting Google, but the W3C has succeeded in creating a standard so complex that millions of dollars are necessary to adequately fund the development of a performant browser.

                                          In case you haven’t heard of it, this might be worth checking out: https://ungoogled-software.github.io/

                                          1. 1

                                            Except as of a few days ago Google is cutting off access to certain APIs like Sync that Chromium was using.

                                            1. 1

                                              Straight out of the Android playbook

                                        2. 4

                                          Mozilla’s recent political advocacy has also made it difficult for me to continue using Firefox.

                                          Can you elaborate on this? I use FF but have never delved into their politics.

                                          1. 16

                                            My top of mind example: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2021/01/08/we-need-more-than-deplatforming/

                                            Also: https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/07/13/sustainability-needs-culture-change-introducing-environmental-champions/ https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/06/24/immigrants-remain-core-to-the-u-s-strength/ https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/06/24/were-proud-to-join-stophateforprofit/

                                            I’m not trying to turn this into debating specifically what is said in these posts but many are just pure politics, which I’m not interested in supporting by telling people to use Firefox. My web browser doesn’t need to talk about ‘culture change’ or systemic racism. Firefox also pushes some of these posts to the new tab page, by default, so it’s not like you can just ignore their blog.

                                            1. 6

                                              I’m started to be afraid that being against censorship is enough to get you ‘more than de-platformed’.

                                                1. 10

                                                  Really? I feel like every prescription in that post seems reasonable; increase transparency, make the algorithm prioritize factual information over misinformation, research the impact of social media on people and society. How could anyone disagree with those points?

                                                  1. 17

                                                    You’re right, how could anyone disagree with the most holy of holies, ‘fact checkers’?

                                                    Here’s a great fact check: https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2021/jan/06/ted-cruz/ted-cruzs-misleading-statement-people-who-believe-/

                                                    The ‘fact check’ is a bunch of irrelevant information about how bad Ted Cruz and his opinions are, before we get to the meat of the ‘fact check’ which is, unbelievably, “yes, what he said is true, but there was also other stuff he didn’t say that we think is more important than what he did!”

                                                    Regardless of your opinion on whether this was a ‘valid’ fact check or not, I don’t want my web browser trying to pop up clippy bubbles when I visit a site saying “This has been officially declared by the Fact Checkers™ as wrongthink, are you sure you’re allowed to read it?” I also don’t want my web browser marketer advocating for deplatforming (“we need more than deplatforming suggests that deplatforming should still be part of the ‘open’ internet.) That’s all.

                                                    1. 15

                                                      a bunch of irrelevant information about how bad Ted Cruz and his opinions are

                                                      I don’t see that anywhere. It’s entirely topical and just some context about what Cruz was talking about.

                                                      the meat of the ‘fact check’ which is, unbelievably, “yes, what he said is true, but there was also other stuff he didn’t say that we think is more important than what he did!”

                                                      That’s not what it says at all. Anyone can cherry-pick or interpret things in such a way that makes their statement “factual”. This is how homeopaths can “truthfully” point at studies which show an effect in favour of homeopathy. But any fact check worth its salt will also look at the overwhelming majority of studies that very clearly demonstrate that homeopathy is no better than a placebo, and therefore doesn’t work (plus, will point out that the proposed mechanisms of homeopathy are extremely unlikely to work in the first place, given that they violate many established laws of physics).

                                                      The “39% of Americans … 31% of independents … 17% of Democrats believe the election was rigged” is clearly not supported by any evidence, and only by a tenuous interpretation of a very limited set of data. This is a classic case of cherry-picking.

                                                      I hardly ever read politifact, but if this is really the worst fact-check you can find then it seems they’re not so bad.

                                                      1. 7

                                                        This article has a few more examples of bad fact checks:

                                                        https://greenwald.substack.com/p/instagram-is-using-false-fact-checking

                                                      2. 7

                                                        Media fact-checkers are known to be biased.

                                                        [Media Matters lobby] had to make us think that we needed a third party to step in and tell us what to think and sort through the information … The fake news effort, the fact-checking, which is usually fake fact-checking, meaning it’s not a genuine effort, is a propaganda effort … We’ve seen it explode as we come into the 2020 election, for much the same reason, whereby, the social media companies, third parties, academic institutions and NewsGuard … they insert themselves. But of course, they’re all backed by certain money and special interests. They’re no more in a position to fact-check than an ordinary person walking on the street … — Sharyl Attkisson on Media Bias, Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

                                                        Below is a list of known rebuttals of some “fact-checkers”.

                                                        Politifact

                                                        • I wanted to show that these fact-checkers just lie, and they usually go unchecked because most people don’t have the money, don’t have the time, and don’t have the platform to go after them — and I have all three” — Candace Owens Challenges Fact-Checker, And Wins

                                                        Full fact (fullfact.org)

                                                        Snopes

                                                        Associated Press (AP)

                                                        • Fact-checking was devised to be a trusted way to separate fact from fiction. In reality, many journalists use the label “fact-checking” as a cover for promoting their own biases. A case in point is an Associated Press (AP) piece headlined “AP FACT-CHECK: Trump’s inaccurate boasts on China travel ban,” which was published on March 26, 2020 and carried by many news outlets.” — Propaganda masquerading as fact-checking

                                                        Politico

                                                        1. 4

                                                          I’m interested in learning about the content management systems that these fact checker websites use to effectively manage large amounts of content with large groups of staff. Do you have any links about that?

                                                          1. 3

                                                            The real error is to imply that “fact checkers” are functionally different from any other source of news/journalism/opinion. All such sources are a collection of humans. All humans have bias. Many such collections of humans have people that are blind to their own bias, or suffer a delusion of objectivity.

                                                            Therefore the existence of some rebuttals to a minuscule number of these “fact checks” (between 0 and 1% of all “fact checks”) should not come as a surprise to anyone. Especially when the rebuttals are published by other news/journalism/opinion sources that are at least as biased and partisan as the fact checkers they’re rebutting.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              The real error is to imply that “fact checkers” are functionally different from any other source of news/journalism/opinion.

                                                              Indeed they aren’t that different. Fact-checkers inherit whatever bias that is already present in mainstream media, which itself is a well-documented fact, as the investigative journalist Sharyl Atkisson explored in her two books:

                                                              • The Smear exposes and focuses on the multi-billion dollar industry of political and corporate operatives that control the news and our info, and how they do it.
                                                              • Slanted looks at how the operatives moved on to censor info online (and why), and has chapters dissecting the devolution of NYT and CNN, recommendations where to get off narrative news, and a comprehensive list of media mistakes.
                                                      3. 5

                                                        After reading that blog post last week I switched away from Firefox. It will lead to the inevitable politicization of a web browser where the truthfulness of many topics is filtered through a very left-wing, progressive lens.

                                                        1. 23

                                                          I feel like “the election wasn’t stolen” isn’t a left- or right-wing opinion. It’s just the truth.

                                                          1. 15

                                                            To be fair, I feel like the whole idea of the existence of an objective reality is a left-wing opinion right now in the US.

                                                            1. 5

                                                              There are many instances of objective reality which left-wing opinion deems problematic. It would be unwise to point them out on a public forum.

                                                              1. 8

                                                                I feel like you have set up a dilemma for yourself. In another thread, you complain that we are headed towards a situation where Lobsters will no longer be a reasonable venue for exploring inconvenient truths. However, in this thread, you insinuate that Lobsters already has become unreasonable, as an excuse for avoiding giving examples of such truths. Which truths are being silenced by Lobsters?

                                                                Which truths are being silenced by Mozilla? Keep in mind that the main issue under contention in their blog post is whether a privately-owned platform is obligated to repeat the claims of a politician, particularly when those claims would undermine democratic processes which elect people to that politician’s office; here, there were no truths being silenced, which makes the claim of impending censorship sound like a slippery slope.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Yeah but none that are currently fomenting a coup in a major world power.

                                                            2. 16

                                                              But… Mozilla has been inherently political the whole way. The entire Free Software movement is incredibly political. Privacy is political. Why is “social media should be more transparent and try to reduce the spread of blatant misinformation” where you draw the line?

                                                              1. 5

                                                                That’s not where I draw the line. We appear to be heading towards a Motte and Bailey fallacy where recent events in the US will be used as justification to clamp down on other views and opinions that left-wing progressives don’t approve of (see some of the comments on this page about ‘fact checkers’)

                                                                1. 7

                                                                  In this case though, the “views and opinions that left-wing progressives don’t approve of” are the ideas of white supremacy and the belief that the election was rigged. Should those not be “clamped down” on? (I mean, it’s important to be able to discuss whether the election was rigged, but not when it’s just a president who doesn’t want to accept a loss and has literally no credible evidence of any kind.)

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I mentioned the Motte and Bailey fallacy being used and you bring up ‘white supremacy’ in your response! ‘White Supremacy’ is the default Motte used by the progressive left. The Bailey being a clamp down on much more contentious issues. Its this power to clamp down on the more contentious issues that I object to.

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      So protest clamp downs on things you don’t want to see clamp downs on, and don’t protest clamp downs on things you feel should be clamped down on? We must be able to discuss and address real issues, such as the spread of misinformation and discrimination/supremacy.

                                                                      But that’s not even super relevant to the article in question. Mozilla isn’t even calling for censoring anyone. It’s calling for a higher degree of transparency (which none of us should object to) and for the algorithm to prioritize factual information over misinformation (which everyone ought to agree with in principle, though we can criticize specific ways to achieve it).

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        We are talking past each other in a very unproductive way.

                                                                        The issue I have is with what you describe as “…and for the algorithm to prioritize factual information over misinformation”

                                                                        Can you not see the problem when the definition of ‘factual information’ is in the hands of a small group of corporations from the West Coast of America? Do you think that the ‘facts’ related to certain hot-button issues will be politically neutral?

                                                                        It’s this bias that i object to.

                                                                        This American cultural colonialism.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          Can you not see the problem when the definition of ‘factual information’ is in the hands of a small group of corporations from the West Coast of America?

                                                                          ReclaimTheNet recently published a very good article on this topic

                                                                          https://reclaimthenet.org/former-aclu-head-ira-glasser-explains-why-you-cant-ban-hate-speech/

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            That’s an excellent article. Thank you for posting it.

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              You’re welcome. You might be interested in my public notes on the larger topic, published here.

                                                              2. 3

                                                                Out of interest, to which browser did you switch?

                                                          2. 2

                                                            if possible, try vivaldi, being based on chromium, it will be easiest to switch to f.e. you can install chromium’s extensions in vivaldi. not sure about their osx (which seems to be your use-case), support though, so ymmv.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I don’t how to feel about yet another RAW photo format. As a digital archivist, I fear incoming years of conversion nightmare to open and sustainable formats.

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                                                              But most existing camera companies have their own proprietary RAW format. This is just adding “Apple iPhone camera RAW” to the list.

                                                              I shoot RAW just for convenience - I get slightly better chances to adjust stuff like exposure and white balance - but I publish in JPG and will not assume that anything else is viable long-term.

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                                                                I do not challenge the usefulness of the RAW format. The plethora of proprietary RAW formats is not something we should be happy about. There have been efforts to find a common RAW-like format to please everyone (photographers, graphic designers, archivists) but it has not been successful yet. I agree that RAW should not be considered a long-term preservation compatible format, but some content creators are not aware and digital archivists do get RAW files. With Apple firepower, I am afraid of the potential explosion of RAW files that will need to be taken care of.

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                                                                  I’ve been photographing RAW since… 2008? and I honestly can’t remember the format that Adobe promoted and that was used by a few manufacturers. Maybe the new Apple format will be so popular that it will sweep all before it and become the one true standard, or maybe the different manufacturers will continue using with own proprietary formats out of inertia.

                                                                  My point is, one more entry to long list of incompatible formats is neither here nor there. The ship sailed long ago.

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                                                                I don’t agree. This isn’t like supporting documents written in WordPerfect for classic Macintosh. There’s simply no reason to think that compatibility with old RAW formats will ever go away in future versions of major software. Of course it’s possible that in 50 years Adobe will fail into obscurity. But at the very least you’ll always have LibRaw. Or if in 50 years the project is abandoned and the new hotness fails to support older cameras, the source code for LibRaw will still be in your digital archive—and I dare say archivists will be able to keep that final release compiling on future systems forever.

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                                                                  Existing RAW formats are a fact and digital archivists have to deal with it on a daily basis: should we keep it as it is? convert it? My concern is this additional format by Apple that could be a new challenge, with Apple not having a great track of openness and compatibility concerns with its file formats.

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                                                                    Sorry for the slight delay in replying but my answer to archivists is simple: always keep originals. Optionally keep translated files as well, if you like.

                                                                    By keeping the original RAW, you maintain the ability to take advantage of the very latest RAW processing technology. I’ve recently updated to the latest version of DXO PhotoLab with DeepPRIME RAW de-noising and it’s utterly magical. Because I have kept RAW files I can go through decades old photo collections and re-process them. It’s like going back in time and re-shooting with two or three more stops of light.

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                                                                      Thank you for sharing your point of view. I agree that original RAW files should be kept but as you know, some file formats do become increasingly more difficult to interpret and converted files may become, a one point, the only “understable” version of the information.

                                                                      According to various sources, the ProRAW seems to be a 12-bit Linear DNG, which is good news and surprising since Apple is usually known for pushing for new and proprietary formats. At the end, this could prove to be a good move by Apple and long term preservation.

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                                                                the cutesy foul language seems really unprofessional

                                                                maybe i’m getting old, but always feel like if a vulgar word needs to be used so prominently in a site, perhaps there’s a lack of vocabulary on account of the writer

                                                                like if you have a curse free mirror, then what’s the point …or maybe they’re just being edgy

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                                                                  I’m a bit confused - I honestly only skimmed the article, but the only profanity is the domain name? I’m usually against vulgarity (it often hides lack of rigor by adding effect), but as the project name is a standing phrase, I don’t see that much of an issue with it.

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                                                                    While I understand that many hate javascript, to call it a foul language seems a bit over-the-top, don’t you think?

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                                                                      more upvotes for you, sir

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                                                                      In my experience I’ve seen no correlation between use of profanity and access to vocabulary, yet it’s a meme I’ve heard my whole life. As far as I can tell the meme survives because it has truthiness for those who don’t like profanity; also because the converse inference is frequently propagated in fictional media.

                                                                      To me, “whatthefuck.is” reads rather similar to “…for dummies”.

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                                                                        I’m late to reply here, but I do actually have experience with people that were outspoken about that their profanity was used for lack of sharper tools to express strong disapproval. Particularly, I had conversations with two co-maintainers about that. Both were 2nd and 3rd language English speakers. I have to say though: both were happy with a little bit of language coaching in the back, and got more effective at communicating in the process.

                                                                        In general, I find the discussion around language expectations rather poor from the side of first language speakers.

                                                                        If profanity is purely used as a stand-in for the inability to express better or express a good argument, it’s also to be noted that similar patterns exist without the use of profanity. For example, stand-ins can be: language hating (“because everyone knows PHP does it wrong”), memes (“here’s a WAT, instead of explaining what’s wrong with this code to everyone in the room”) or filling a text/talk with a lot of humorous fluff (“I don’t have many points here, but I’d like to fill more space”).

                                                                        This does not look like this, though - such a domain name is consciously chosen and I agree with your reading as “for dummies”.

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                                                                          I’m even later to reply, so all good. :-)

                                                                          It’s likely that both our experiences are valid given the different contexts. My experience is that people with deep vocabularies are just as happy to throw an f-bomb as anyone else so long as they feel it socially acceptable to do so. You may be right that people with deep vocabularies are less likely to be in such a position though.

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                                                                        I agree the title is distracting when put in a list of stories, but I didn’t find it bothersome since it’s part of the concept (demystifying jargon), and it’s more tongue-in-cheek than actual indignation.

                                                                        (FWIW if the curse-free version was there when I read it, I would have probably chosen that instead.)

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                                                                        This is very cool. It’s unfortunate that the very first example is the Lena image, though. :-(

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                                                                          I wish people would stop using that image as an example. Not because of its content—though that part isn’t ideal either—but because the source file is so old and mediocre that it isn’t remotely representative of the images we routinely handle today. Worst of all the extreme colour cast makes it useless for judging skin tones.

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                                                                            The author doesn’t seem to be from the US, and the last commit appears to be from 2016.

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                                                                                I find very unfortunate that there are people who find this unfortunate. You are literally spreading cancer culture.

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                                                                                  I agree, the whole “Losing Lena” movement was a total beat-up of what is really just a small number of people using this image essentially as a in-group meme. The cropped version (the only one I’ve ever seen used in the past 20+ years) is ridiculously tame compared to images that continuously bombard us in contemporary media, especially marketing targeted at women.

                                                                                  That’s not to say we should continue using the image. We shouldn’t. We should stop using it because it’s grossly unrepresentative of photographic depictions of human skin. We should stop using it because the image is horrifically poor in quality. We should also stop using it because there’s no reason to use something with even a jot of sexual content.

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                                                                                    No one is being cancelled, though?

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                                                                                      I mean… I’m pretty skeptical of a lot of this stuff, but afaik Lena has personally asked people to stop doing it. It’s not some “hypothetically she might be upset”, it’s “the subject of this picture has requested that you find an alternative”.

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                                                                                        Do you have a reference on Lena asking people to stop using it? I couldn’t find anything in that Wikipedia article, and it would change the situation considerably.

                                                                                        I mean, regardless of whether she actually said anything or not, I think I would be on the side of “maybe we shouldn’t be using that image everywhere”. A lot of my work involves working with raw pixel data, and I find the tool at https://rawpixels.net super useful. However, it uses the Lena image as a default/placeholder image, and looking at very obviously sensual pictures of women, who show no signs of having clothes on, on a 28” display at work, in an open office space, is pretty awkward.

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                                                                                          I’m Lena. I retired from modeling a long time ago. It’s time I retired from tech too.

                                                                                          https://vimeo.com/372265771

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                                                                                            Do you have a reference on Lena asking people to stop using it? I couldn’t find anything in that Wikipedia article, and it would change the situation considerably.

                                                                                            Hrm. I recalled it was when she went to the “Conference of the Society for Imaging Science in Technology”. I’ve gone and dug up what she actually said, and it would take a real effort to twist it to the interpretation I’d heard. Sounded to me more like she’s bemused by the popularity of the image than upset.

                                                                                            Deliberately not reposting what she said here as I’m disinterested in a long thread of people dissecting it.

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                                                                                              She does ask for folks to stop using her photo for this purpose in the video at https://www.losinglena.com/.

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                                                                                                Ah. I didn’t watch it because I dislike getting info via video and they’ve declined to offer any other format.

                                                                                                Can you suggest a timestamp to make checking easy?

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                                                                                      I don’t write tests to avoid bugs. I write tests to avoid regressions.

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                                                                                        Exactly. I dislike writing tests, but I dislike fixing regressions even more.

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                                                                                          And i’d go even further:

                                                                                          I write tests and use typed languages to avoid regressions, especially when refactoring.

                                                                                          A test that just fails when I refactor the internal workings of some subcomponents, is not a helpful test – it just slows me down. 99% of my tests are on the level of treating a service or part of a service as a black box. For a web service this is:

                                                                                          test input (request) -> [black box] -> mocked database/services
                                                                                          

                                                                                          Where black box is my main code.

                                                                                          For NodeJS the combo express/supertest is awesome for the front bit. I wish more web frameworks in Rust etc also had this. I.e. providing ways to “fake run” requests through without having to faff around with server/sockets (and still be confident it does what it should).

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                                                                                            Now the impish question: what is the correct decision if the test is more annoying to write than the regression is to observe and fix?

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                                                                                              Indeed!

                                                                                              (I research ways[1] to avoid that. But of course they don’t apply when you’ve already chosen a stack and framework for development. In my day job we just make hard decisions about priority and ROI and fall back sometimes to code comments, documents or oral story-telling.)

                                                                                              [1] https://github.com/akkartik/mu1#readme (first section)

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                                                                                                Every project is different, but ideally you can invest time in the testing infrastructure such that writing a new test is no longer annoying. I.e, maybe you can write re-usable helper functions and get to the point where a new test means adding an assertion or copy / pasting an existing test and modifying it a bit. The tools used (test harness, mocking library, etc) also play a huge role in whether tests are annoying or not, spending time ensuring you’re using the right ones (and learning how to properly use them) is another way to invest in testing.

                                                                                                The level of effort you should spend on testing infrastructure depends on the scope, scale and longevity of your project. There are definitely domains that will be a pain to test pretty much no matter what.

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                                                                                                  In my experience such testing frameworks tend to add to the problem, rather than solve it. Most testing frameworks I’ve seen are complex and can be tricky to work with and get things right. Especially when a test is broken it can be a pain to deal with.

                                                                                                  Tests are hard because you essentially need to keep two functions in your head: the actual code, and the testing code. If you come back to a test after 3 years you don’t really know if the test is broken or the code is broken. It can be a real PITA if you’re using some super-clever DSL testing framework.

                                                                                                  People trying to be “too clever” in code can lead to hard to maintain code, people trying to be “too clever” in tests often leads to hard to maintain tests.

                                                                                                  Especially in tests I try to avoid needless abstractions and be as “dumb” as possible. I would rather copy/paste the same code 4 times (possible with some slight modifications) than write a helper function for it. It’s just such a pain to backtrack when things inevitably break.

                                                                                                  It really doesn’t need to be this hard IMHO; you can fix much of it by letting go of the True Unit Tests™ fixation.

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                                                                                                    I don’t disagree, and I wasn’t trying to suggest using a “clever” testing framework will somehow make your tests less painful. Fwiw I even suggested the copy / paste method in my OP and use it all the time myself :p. My main point was using the right tool / methods for the job.

                                                                                                    I will say that the right tool for the job is often the one that is the most well known for the language and domain you’re working in. Inventing a bespoke test harness and trying to force it on the 20 other developers who are already intimately familiar with the “clever” framework isn’t going to help.

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                                                                                                      Fair enough :-)

                                                                                                      I will say that the right tool for the job is often the one that is the most well known for the language and domain you’re working in. Inventing a bespoke test harness and trying to force it on the 20 other developers who are already intimately familiar with the “clever” framework isn’t going to help.

                                                                                                      I kind of agree because there’s good value in standard tooling, but on the other hand I’ve seen rspec (the “standard tool” for Ruby/Rails testing) create more problems than solve IMHO.

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                                                                                                When fixing testable bugs you often need that “simplest possible test case” anyway, so you can identify the bug and satisfy yourself that you fixed it. A testing framework should be so effortless that you’d want to use it as the scaffold for executing that test case as you craft the fix. From there you should only be an assert() or two away from a shippable test case.

                                                                                                (While the sort of code I write rarely lends itself to traditional test cases, when I do, the challenge I find is avoiding my habit of writing code defensively. I have to remind myself that I should write the most brittle test case I can, and decide how robust it needs to be if and when it ever triggers a false positive.)

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                                                                                                  +1

                                                                                                  This here, at the start of the second paragraphs is the greatest misconception about tests:

                                                                                                  In order to be effective, a test needs to exist for some condition not handled by the code.

                                                                                                  A lot of folks from the static typing and formal methods crowd treat tests as a poor man’s way of proving correctness or something… This is totally not what they’re for.

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                                                                                                    umm…..aren’t regressions bugs?

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                                                                                                      Yes, regressions are a class of bug. The unwritten inference akkartik made when saying “I don’t write tests to avoid bugs” is that it is refers specifically to writing tests to pre-empt new bugs before they can be shipped.

                                                                                                      Such defensive use of tests is great if you’re writing code for aircraft engines or financial transactions; whereas if you’re writing a christmas tree light controller as a hobby it might be seen as somewhat obsessive compulsive.

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                                                                                                        I-I don’t understand. Tests are there to catch bugs. Why does it matter particularly at what specific point in time the bugs are caught?

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                                                                                                          Why does it matter particularly at what specific point in time the bugs are caught?

                                                                                                          Because human nature.

                                                                                                          Often times a client experiencing a bug for the first time is quite lenient and forgiving of the situation. When it’s fixed and then the exact same thing later happens again, the political and financial consequences of that are often much, much worse. People are intensely frustrated by regressions.

                                                                                                          Sure, if we exhaustedly tested everything up front, they might never have experienced the bug in the first place, but given the very limited time and budgets on which many business and enterprise projects operate, prioritizing letting the odd new bug slip through in favor of avoiding regressions often makes a hell of a lot of sense.

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                                                                                                            Not sure if you are trolling …

                                                                                                            Out of 1000 bugs a codebase may have, users will never see or experience 950 of them.

                                                                                                            The 50 bugs the user hits though – you really want to make sure to write tests for them, because – based on the fact that the user hit the bug – if it breaks again, the user will immediately know.

                                                                                                            That’s why regression tests give you a really good cost/benefit ratio.

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                                                                                                              A bug caught by a test before the bad code even lands is much easier to deal with than a bug that is caught after it has already been shipped to millions of users. In general the further along in the CI pipeline it gets caught, the more of a hassle it becomes.

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                                                                                                                The specific point in time matters because the risk-reward payoff calculus is wildly different. Avoiding coding errors (“new bugs”) by writing tests takes a lot of effort and generally only ever catches the bugs which you can predict, which can often be a small minority of actual bugs shipped. Whereas avoiding regressions (“old bugs”) by writing tests takes little to no incremental effort.

                                                                                                                People’s opinion of test writing is usually determined by the kind of code they write. Some types of programming are not suited to any kind of automated tests. Some types of programming are all but impossible to do if you’re not writing comprehensive tests for absolutely everything.

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                                                                                                                  The whole class of regression tests was omitted from the original article which is why it’s relevant to bring them up here.

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                                                                                                                    The article says “look back after a bug is found”. That sounds like they mean bugs caught in later stages (like beta testing, or in production).

                                                                                                                    If you define bugs as faults that made it to production, then faults caught by automated tests can’t be bugs, because they wouldn’t have made it to production. It’s just semantics, automated tests catch certain problems early no matter how you call them.

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                                                                                                                      I’m of the same opinion. It means that the reason why we’re writing tests is not to catch bugs in general, but specifically to catch regression bugs. With this mindset, all other catching of bugs is incidental.

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                                                                                                                This is a beautiful story of a history that could have been.

                                                                                                                Nostalgia is the twilight phase of a product’s emotional life. But nostalgia only lasts so long, as all the people with any contemporaneous memory of the product will only last so long. I genuinely fear that Wikipedia might become the only truly long-lived record of existence for relatively obscure things like the Amstrad CPC+. I’m not convinced that Wikipedia’s editorial style is objective enough to become a true record of our moment in civilisation, but unless something else comes along it looks like that’s what will happen.

                                                                                                                Hence why Archive.org could perhaps be one of the most powerful projects on the Internet.