Threads for Rudism

    1. 3

      Good job, and nice write-up.

      I like Arch. It’s my current daily driver. I thought about trying to install it on the Pinebook Pro, but Manjaro is really good on there. And it looked like it’d be a lot of trouble to get Arch working on it, for a payoff that seemed unclear to me.

      After reading your post, I’m sure I did the right thing for myself… it would have been a lot of trouble, and the payoff still isn’t clear.

      What was it about the default Manjaro install that you disliked enough to want to roll your own Arch, and what do you like better about the system now? Or was it just fun to explore and do? (If it’s the second one, I very much appreciate that, but that’s not the vibe I got from your post.)

      1. 2

        I just had a very specific configuration in mind that I didn’t believe the official Manjaro images would support. Namely full-disk encryption (which the manjaro-arm-installer did not support at the time), and I wanted to give a less trendy window manager a try and I had been under the impression that all the pre-made images came with one installed already (didn’t know there was a minimal Manjaro image). I figured getting Arch running would be less painful than having to deal with adding disk encryption after the fact and having to remove a bunch of pre-installed packages to get it pared down to the configuration I wanted.

    2. 4

      I love this. My main concern is that even a 7.5” e-ink screen would feel like trying to write and read on a postage stamp. When I’m writing I set my font size to be much larger than normal so I can easily skim back over the last few sentences without having to lean in or focus too hard.

      I got a Pinebook Pro to ostensibly serve the purpose that this device would serve–a simple no-frills distraction-free writing device. I set it up with Arch Linux and a super minimal windows manager (herbstluftwm) with a few hotkeys defined to open a xterm, open focus-writer, or open a minimal web browser (vimb). I think something like the Pinebook Pro with an e-ink screen would be my dream device.

      (Unfortunately just having the ability to drop to a shell is proving to be too much distraction for me, because I’m always wanting to tweak something on the device. Hopefully I’ll get bored of that with so few actual software packages installed and be compelled to spend more time writing and less time tweaking.)

      1. 1

        You may like this

        I was experimenting with a small display attached to raspberry pi zero and displaying only one word at a time. It’s surprisingly pleasant and does not cause eye fatigue. Now I’m experimenting with a tiny board from lilygo t5 with integrated buttons and a lipo battery, should be perfect for short reading sessions.

      2. 1

        Your last paragraph shows one of the reasons for this, others being battery life and keyboard feel.

        For the size, I have not measured it whatsoever, but I guess it will be similar to the visible area on paper arc rising from the real typewriter.

    3. 1

      Sure, you’re going to take a huge hit without access to those consumers, but if your company or product is structured in such a way that it can’t survive without the ability to suckle at Apple’s teat then you’ve made bad decisions and in my opinion deserve whatever shit Apple decides to shovel at you because of it.

      Any software product which runs on mobile devices where the target market is end-users “is structured in such a way that it can’t survive without the ability to suckle at Apple’s teat”.

      I wonder, is /u/Rudism really claiming that Google is miles better than Apple here? Is just buying a locked-down Google-controlled phone really better than a locked-down Apple-controlled phone? Or is this maybe not a problem that can be blamed on individual customers, but rather a systemic issue?

      1. 2

        I guess my position is that Google is the lesser of two evils because they allow things like 3rd party app stores (F-droid for example) and sideloading and exert slightly less draconian control over their own app store. Android with a de-Googlified ROM is even better. There’s really no entirely satisfactory solution but Apple is the worst offender.

        1. 1

          Even for those of us technically competent to de-Google our own Android phones, I’d advocate for buying a de-Googled phone from any business like that makes it easy for less-technical users, because that at least supports viable alternatives in the market. I’d suggest the Pinephone or the Librem 5, because I think even un-Googled Android isn’t far enough out of Google’s control, but neither of these is really ready for prime-time yet. Still, might be good options for early adopters. Or, you know, try just not having a smartphone.

    4. 13

      Let’s say we tear down Apple through legal means–we send them the message that because they’re so successful they no longer have a right to dictate their own terms around what apps they allow on their devices and how much money they can charge developers to have access to their platform. Just think of all the ways that precedent could be abused against other companies.

      I was with it up to this. Imagine if, say, Ford not only sold cars, but they also sold car insurance, owned and licensed car mechanics, made all the car parts and supplies, and also made subsidized roads designated as “Ford approved” and removed all their insurance and service protections if you drove on any others (all for your own good, of course). And also charged a cut from anyone else driving on those roads. And also owned a bank that everyone had to make payments to for accessing any of these services, and charged a premium to you for using it.

      I think that discouraging other companies from being quite this “successful” is probably a good idea.

      The rest of this post is on point though. It’s this sort of thing that made me stop even trying to support Apple products in the open-source projects I maintain.

      1. 2

        Fair enough. I’m not versed at all in the laws and politics of monopolies and anti-trust, my reaction is mainly from trying to look at it from the other side of the fence–what punishing Apple here might mean to me if I were ever to have a successful product or service that other developers wanted to take advantage of, but they were unhappy with how much I felt it was worth to give them access.

        1. 5

          i have zero sympathy for anyone who wants to control and charge to give developers access to an end-user product. It’s why I have never bought a gaming console, and why I will never buy an iphone. Developers aren’t “taking advantage of” your product, they are building something that works with it, and selling it to the customer (who you do not own, regardless of what apple might want to think!)

          edited to add:

          • no, you shouldn’t get to sell the “right” to interoperate with your product if you are not hosting the product
          • yes, i would be happy for laws that enforced that
          • i would also be happy for laws that prevented using hosting part of the product on your servers as a mechanism to control interoperation (cf the entire internet-of-things garbage heap)
        2. 1

          That’s like being against environmental regulation because one day you might run a company that wants to dump waste into a river.

          That said, I agree with your overall sentiment of just not using Apple. Unless something drastic happens, my current Apple devices will be replaced with ones from other companies when the time comes.

      2. 4

        Arch Linux ARM is a separate port of Arch for ARM devices.

        My understanding is that Manjaro is based on Arch, but makes specific decisions for the user and includes tooling aimed at providing a more user-friendly and hand-holding experience. Arch only gives you a bare minimum system and expects the user to figure out how to set everything else up from scratch.

        I personally prefer Arch because I don’t have any “Powered By Manjaro” stickers.

      3. 3

        There are two “unofficial” ports of Arch Linux, Arch Linux ARM (ALARM), and Arch Linux 32bit, The main Arch Linux distribution only support x86_64.

        And I also thought Majaro was the “multi-arch” distro which was derived from Arch..

        Manjaro utilizes all the above mentioned upstreams to provide their downstream derivativ distributions. Probably 95% of the work is done by the Arch Linux distributions, and Manjaro simply just does their thing on top (whatever that is).

        It should be noted that Manjaro 32bit has been discontinued as the one person working on it didn’t have the required time.

        and if that is so, why would someone run Arch over Manjaro?

        You don’t want whatever Manjaro provides and would be happy with a out-of-the-box no-frills distribution you can build up however you like.

    5. 2

      My pipeline for ebooks is a Kobo reader (Forma), and Calibre with the Obok DeDRM plugin (running on Linux). I buy a book on, it automatically downloads to my reader, and next time I connect the reader to my computer I can import the book to Calibre and strip the DRM with a single click.

      For music I buy CDs and rip them myself or less frequently buy DRM-free MP3s. For movies I buy Blu-rays or DVDs and use MakeMKV and Handbrake to rip and compress them to my Plex server.

      Building a DRM-free media library is not terribly prohibitive if you are somewhat technical and willing to put in the work, but DRM-locked ecosystems and streaming services make it so appealing to the casual masses who are more concerned with ease of availability that I don’t see them ever going away or getting better. On the contrary I think it’s more likely that artists and movie studios will shift more and more to digital-only releases and we’ll slowly lose the option to buy and rip physical media.

      1. 1

        somewhat technical and willing to put in the work

        With drm-free e-books, I just buy them and read them. I have already put in the work to earn the money to buy books. I do not wish to put in any more work to maybe be allowed to read the book I’ve bought. Even if I’d already got the DeDRM thing working, I would never be sufficiently confident that it would definitely work on a new drm-encumbered e-book I was considering buying.

        The worst thing about the whole DRM experience is that the two main groups that it punishes are the people who pay for a legitimate copy and have to jump through hoops to read it, and the authors, who lose sales because even when you are willing to spend the money, ‘piracy’ is a much easier, safer, route to getting something you can actually read.

    6. 2

      I’ve been using Hexo for a few years, primarily because it’s the first static site generator I tried and it does everything I need. My blog theme, which I just recently overhauled, is pretty bare-bones hand-written templates and CSS based on my favorite Vim color scheme, Wombat.

    7. 2

      Facebook Container prevents Facebook from tracking you around the web - Facebook logins, likes, and comments are automatically blocked on non-Facebook sites. But when we need an exception, you can now create one by adding custom sites to the Facebook Container.

      Interesting that they surface this as a top-level new feature of Firefox, when as far as I can tell it’s an add-on that a new user would have to manually install and enable first. I’m also curious what additional protection this offers that couldn’t be implemented in the base container add-on that was already available. Is Facebook specifically doing things to break normal Firefox containers that have to be mitigated here?

      1. 7

        What I don’t understand is why they don’t have a Google Container. It’s more likely that Google will track you through Analytics, AdWords, Tag Manager, etc without you noticing than Facebook doing the same.

        1. 14

          What I don’t understand is why they don’t have a Google Container.

          They get a lot of money from Google.

          1. 6

            Also, a lot of sites break when you block Google scripts :(.

            1. 4

              This is a big pet peeve of mine. It’s ridiculous how many sites are too lazy (or cheap, I guess) to host their own Javascript.

              A nice extension (or uBlock/uMatrix feature) would be redirecting all of the URLs to localhost or some other server.

              1. 1

                This isn’t about hosting their own JavaScript. Pretty often, it’s business-logic trackers (e.g. “user clicked the buy button” that crash the JS program if they fail, because no one expects them to).

                1. 2

                  because no one expects them to).

                  Decent programmers everywhere do. I don’t, though.

              2. 1

                Hosting JS, fonts, etc. from CDNs improves the chance that they’ll be cached since other sites use the same CDN URLs for those resources.

                1. 5

                  Chrome and Firefox will soon partition the cache by the origin of the top-level document to prevent timing leaks. Safari already does.

                2. 2

                  Most sites are so big it’s kind of silly to worry about a few kilobytes of Javascript, isn’t it?

            2. 2

              This isn’t blocking google scripts though - it’s using a separate set of cookies/state for pages that are google-first-party vs the rest of the web.

          2. 1

            I made my own container to hold my Google stuff.

        2. 1

          At a guess, it’s the usual story: They expect too many complaints about breaking behaviour the users consider normal and desirable. Remember that new features can’t break too much existing usage, or else users switch to another browser.

          If Firefox were to break every site with a recaptcha, users would complain a lot. Breaking like buttons isn’t as serious… I think.

      2. 3

        I just started using Firefox again on Linux, and I got prompted to enable Facebook Container by the browser itself, even from a completely new profile, so it seems that they’ve integrated the installation and enabling into the workflow itself.

      3. 3

        Facebook is known to build shadow profiles around users that are not on Facebook.

        1. 5

          Is this materially different than the profile Google builds when visiting sites with ads or analytics?

          1. 7

            Yes. Facebook apparently connects them to their social graph like normal profiles. So they don’t only track your individual travel, but also your personal connections.

          2. 7

            I looked through what Google had on me once. It was enough to send me targeted ads, but it was nothing compared to what it could have been if, for example, Google were to trawl the entire gmail archives for mentions of my name.

            Facebook is different. You may have seen the “upload contacts” feature? Facebook will read all of your email and store the email addresses. If I send you and someone else email, and you “upload your contacts”, Facebook is said to store not just my email address, but also the relationship between me and that someone else. Sleazy.

    8. 1

      Focusing on waking up at a consistent time every morning and sticking to a morning routine including exercise and meditation; holidays always seem to derail me. Less TV, more reading and writing in the evenings. $DAYJOB during the day. Maybe finally tackling Hyrule Castle in Breath of the Wild, if time permits.

    9. 3

      I thought one of the advantages of using hosted fonts is the increased likelihood that the UA already has them cached, thereby eliminating the need to download at all. Self-hosting would not confer this advantage.

      Moreover, assuming an empty cache and depending on how you’re self-hosting, it seems the primary speed-up of self-hosting is connection pipelining. So, if the speed of transferring the font data over an existing connection to your primary server is faster than than the overhead of creating a new connection to the CDN on which these hosted fonts live plus the speed at which they can be downloaded from that CDN, then it makes sense to self-host. Maybe you yourself are using a transparent CDN that’s just as fast as the hosted fonts CDN?

      Thinking writing aloud as I think through the merits of self-hosting versus using someone else’s (likely) more optimized and single-purpose solution.

      It’d be cool if assets (images, CSS, fonts, etc) could be shipped with a content-addressable hash that could uniquely identify that data across all existence and browser caches then used the hash as a cache key instead of the URL.

      1. 6

        Yes, there’s the cost of the connection, and the diversity of libraries/fonts/etc that makes cache sharing far less useful, and now privacy concerns — see Shared Cache is Going Away.

        content-addressable hash that could uniquely identify that data

        That would be SRI, but it’s used for checking only, not for addressing right now. Probably not a good idea to turn it into that, see the article above.

      2. 5

        Due to privacy concerns browsers are stopping sharing caches between origins.

        The cache key has changed from (url) to (url, who requested it). If one site caches google fonts, another site will still see a cache miss and will be forced to redownload the fonts, just so that it can’t observe whether you’ve been to the other site or not.

      3. 4

        The main advantage of self hosting fonts from my perspective is that you’re not potentially sacrificing your viewers’ privacy by having their browsers make calls to 3rd party providers. Keeping everything on your site (js, css, fonts) local to your domain means you can guarantee whatever level of privacy you want across all of the assets.

        1. 1

          That’s exactly why I’m doing this, too.

          People visiting my site should be able to reasonably expect that they visit my site, not my site and Google’s and Facebook’s and Amazon’s and Cloudfare’s and Akamai’s site.

    10. 4

      I’ve got a Pi 3 running Arch Linux with OpenVPN so I can VPN home from out and about. Same machine also runs Pi-Hole and acts as the internal DNS server for my local network.

      Then I’ve got a Pi 4 hooked up to my family room TV running Lakka nightlies with a variety of wired USB game controllers that I use to play retro games.

      I’ve got two older Pi 2s sitting in a closet somewhere. One was my OpenVPN server before it got replaced by the 3b+, the other was from a Kano system that I was hoping would get my kids interested in programming, but they lost interest in it pretty quickly since it was so slow and clunky to use.

    11. 2

      Has anyone tried running Arch Linux ARM on one of these? I’m not sure which platform (if any) would apply.

      1. 4

        Not quite - but I’m using the Manjaro ARM Pinebook Pro image (posting this with it!). Can get it at under Editions→ARM→Pinebook Pro. Installation was completely smooth and it’s working great for me so far! I uninstalled XFCE and LightDM and am using dwm now. The Manjaro ARM image has a 64-bit userspace rather than the 32-bit userspace which was on the Pinebook when it arrived (found this out since I got the Pinebook in part to play with AArch64 assembly).

    12. 1

      The Control key moved to the Caps Lock keys usual position. […] I can’t imagine why anyone thought Caps Lock should have had this prominent of placement.

      That’a one of the first things I do on new system installs. Also, most X11/xkb configs allow mapping left + right Shift to act as a Caps Lock (which is IMO more convenient and intuitive than a dedicated key).

      Section "InputClass"
      	Identifier "Keyboards"
      	MatchIsKeyboard "yes"
      	Option "XkbLayout" "us,ru"
      	Option "XkbVariant" "mac,mac"
      	Option "XkbOptions" "grp:rwin_toggle,ctrl:nocaps,shift:both_capslock"

      Note: grp:rwin_toggle switches layouts using right meta key.

      1. 3

        I always throw this into my .xprofile:

        setxkbmap -option caps:swapescape

        That swaps the esc and caps keys. Very handy for vim.

        1. 3

          I’ve always mapped caps to ctrl, but recently have been forced to use a MacBook (touchbar) at work. As a user of vi bindings everywhere I can, the lack of a tactile escape key was too much to bear so I’m using Karabriner Elements to use caps as ctrl when held and esc when pressed alone.

          I have to say that there’s no going back after this switch—total game changer for me. Of course, I now can no longer use anyone else’s machine.

          The same can be achieved in with setxkbmap as above for your caps/control switch, combined with xcape for the esc tap feature.

      2. 1

        YEEESSSSS! You can also remap caps lock to control on macOS under Preferences -> Keyboards -> Modifier Keys… or on Windows via registry edits.

    13. 38

      Wow. Microsoft engineer complains about “some seemingly anti-competitive practices done by Google’s Chrome team”. Now that is some piquant irony.

      Also, the page’s YouTube video appears to be blocked. Icing on the cake?

      1. 37

        …one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up…

        I can appreciate the shadenfreude of Microsoft’s new position, but this is a pretty legitimate concern. Especially if Google is/was doing that intentionally. What we need is a good incentive for Google to care about web standards and performance in non-Chrome browsers, but this move by Microsoft only drives things in the opposite direction.

        1. 12

          I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I am almost never able to complete reCaptchas in Firefox, it just keeps popping up ridiculous ones, like traffic lights that are on the border of three squares, and it keeps popping the same unsolvable ones for 2-3 minutes until I get tired/locked out of it and just use Chrome to log in, where somehow I always get sane ones and it lets me in first try. Anyone had the same?

          This video sums it up very well, although not Firefox specific:

          (Btw I don’t use Tor, or public VPNs or any of the like.)

            1. 1

              Ha! Thanks for this, I won’t keep trying anymore :)

        2. 17

          Especially if Google is/was doing that intentionally.

          I disagree that intention has anything to do with it. We have to judge these kinds of situations by the effect they have on the web, not on good feelings.

          1. 7

            Spot on. Intent only matters when it is ill. Even if not intended, the outcome is what matters materially.

          2. 6

            One reason intention matters: if the intention is to handicap edge, then it’s probably not serving some other purpose that’s good for all of us. If handicapping edge is a side-effect of some real benefit, that’s just a fact about the complexity of the web (it might still be a bad decision, but there are trade-offs involved).

        3. 7

          OK, let’s put aside the schadenfreude as best we can and examine the consequences. I think it’s fair to assume, for the sake of argument, that Alphabet Inc absolutely will do everything in its power, dirty tricks included, to derive business value from it’s pseudo-monopolist position. If Microsoft were to dig in their heels and ship a default browser for their desktop OS that didn’t play YouTube videos as well as Chrome does, would that harm Alphabet, or just Microsoft at this point?

          I don’t really understand your talk of “a good incentive”. Think of it this way: what incentive did Google, an advertising company, ever have to build and support a web browser in the first place? How did this browser come to its current position of dominance?

          1. 15

            Google built a web browser because Microsoft won the browser wars and did nothing with IE for 10 years.

            Their entire suite of products were web based and their ability to innovate with those products was severely hampered by an inadequate platform.


            Chrome was revolutionary when it was released and many of the web technologies we take for granted today could never have happened without it.

            I’m not entirely thrilled with everything it led too but whatever their motives now, Google had good reasons to build Chrome in the first place.

            1. 23

              I’m sure whichever visionaries were at Google at that point had great reasons to build Chrome. But Google isn’t the same company anymore, and Chrome doesn’t mean what it once meant.

              “You could not step twice into the same river.” —Heraclitus

            2. 11

              That’s certainly ONE factor. The other is that Chrome by default makes “address bar” and “search bar” the same thing, and sends everything you type into the search bar to Google.

              Same as Google Maps, or Android as a whole. I often navigate with Google Maps while driving. The implication is that Google knows where I live, where I work, where I go for vacation, where I eat, where I shop. This information has a monetary value.

              If there is something Google does that is not designed to collect information on it’s users that can be turned into ad revenue, that something will eventually be shut down.

              1. 9

                “This information has a monetary value.”

                Exactly. They are trying to build accurate profiles of every aspect of people and businesses’ existences. Their revenue per user can go up as they collect more information for their profiles. That gives them an incentive to build new products that collect more data, always by default. Facebook does same thing. Revenue per user climbed for them year after year, too. I’m not sure where the numbers are currently at for these companies, though.

            3. 8

              Google built a web browser because Microsoft won the browser wars and did nothing with IE for 10 years.

              No, that was Mozilla. They together with Opera were fighting IE’s stagnation and by 2008 achieved ~30% share which arguably made Microsoft notice. Chrome was entering the world which already was multi-browser at that point.

              Also, business-wise Google needed Chrome as a distribution engine, it has nothing to do with fighting browser wars purely for the sake of users.

              1. 1

                I’m not entirely sure what you mean by a distribution engine. For ads? Or for software?

                I think business motives are extremely hard to discern from actions. I think you could make the argument that Google has been trying for years to diversify their business, mostly unsuccessfully, and around 2008 maybe they envisioned office software (spreadsheets, document processing, etc) as the next big thing. GMail was a surprise hit, and maybe they thought they could overthrow Microsoft’s dominance in the field. But they weren’t about to start building desktop software, so they needed a better browser to do it.

                Or maybe they built it so that Google would be the default search engine for everyone so they could serve more ads?

                Or maybe some engineers at Google really were interested in improving performance and security, built a demo of it, and managed to convince enough people to actually see it through?

                I realize the last suggestion may sound helplessly naive, but having worked as an engineer in a company where I had a lot of say in what got worked on, my motives were often pretty far afield of any pure business motive. I got my paycheck regardless, and sometimes I fixed a bug or made something faster because it annoyed me. I imagine there are thousands of employees at Google doing the same thing every day.

                Regardless, the fact remains that the technology they built for Chrome has significantly improved the user experience. The reason Chrome is now so dominant is because it was better. Much better when compared to something like IE6.

                And even ChromeOS is better than the low-price computing it competes with. Do you remember eMachines? They were riddled with junk software and viruses rendering them almost completely useless. A 100$ Chromebook is such a breath of fresh air compared to that experience.

                I realize there’s a cost to this, and I get why there’s a lot of bad press about Google, but I don’t think we need to rewrite history about it. I think we’re all better off with Google having created Chrome (even if I don’t agree with many of the things they’re doing now).

                1. 5

                  The reason Chrome is now so dominant is because it was better.

                  There are two reasons why Chrome became so dominant:

                  • Google makes deals with OEMs to ship Chrome by default on the new desktops and laptops. Microsoft cannot stop them because of historical antitrust regulations.

                  • Google advertised Chrome on their search page (which happens to be the most popular web page in the world) whenever someone using another browser visited it. It looks like they’ve stopped, though, since I just tried searching with Google from Firefox and didn’t get a pop-up.

          2. 3

            The incentive to play fair would come from Google not wanting to lose the potential ad revenue from users of non-Chrome browsers due to them deliberately sabotaging their own products in those browsers. Not trying to imply that EdgeHTML was the solution to that problem or that it would somehow be in Microsoft’s best interest to stick with it, just that its loss is further cementing Google’s grip on the web and that’s a bad thing.

            1. 3

              All the user knows is “browser A doesn’t seem to play videos as good as browser B”. In general they can’t even distinguish server from client technologies. All they can do about it, individually, is switch browsers.

              Now that Alphabet has cornered the market, their strategy should be obvious. It’s the same as Microsoft’s was during the Browser Wars. The difference is, Alphabet made it to the end-game.

              1. 1

                What makes Chrome’s position more of an end-game than what IE had in the early 2000s?

                1. 4

                  You’re looking at it wrong. The question you really need to consider is:

                  What makes Google’s position more of an end-game than what Microsoft had in the early 2000s?

                  Microsoft was the dominant OS player, but the Internet itself was undergoing incredible growth. What’s more, no one existed solely within what’s Microsoft provided.

                  Today, the Internet is essentially the OS for many (most?). People exist in a fully vertically integrated world built by Google - operating system, data stored in their cloud, documents written on their editor and emails sent through their plumbing… all of it run by the worlds most profitable advertising company, who just built themselves mountains of data to mine for better advertisements.

                  Microsoft in the 00’s could only dream of having that.

                  1. 4

                    Your assessment of Google today strikes me as not completely unreasonable, although it does neglect the fact that only a small fraction of Internet users live so completely in Google’s stack; I suspect far more people just use Android and Chrome and YouTube on a daily basis but don’t really use Gmail or GSuite (Docs, etc.) very frequently, instead relying on WhatsApp and Instagram a lot more.

                    And back in the 2000s there were definitely a large group of people who just used Windows, IE, Outlook, Hotmail, MSN & MS Office to do the vast majority of their computing. SO it’s not as different as you seem to believe. Except now there are viable competitors to Google in the form of Facebook & Apple in a way that nobody competed with MS back then.

                    1. 2

                      SO it’s not as different as you seem to believe.

                      It’s incredibly different.

                      When I used IE5 Microsoft’s tactic was to bundle it with Windows and use Microsoft-specific APIs to boost its performance, killing Netscape. If I used Chrome today, I’d find dark UI patterns are used to ensure my data is captured.

                      Similarly, Office/Outlook/Windows in 2000 didn’t mine the files I was working on to enrich an advertising profile that would follow me across the internet. If memory serves, while Hotmail did serve advertisements, they were based on banner advertisements / newsletters generated by Microsoft, and not contextually targeted.

                      The real risk here, I believe, is in both the scope and ease of understanding what’s happening today versus what Microsoft did. Microsoft’s approach was to make money by being the only software you run, and they’d use any trick they could to achieve that - patently anticompetitive behavior included.

                      Google, on the other hand… at this point I wonder if they’d care if 90% of the world ran Firefox as long as the default search engine was Google. I think their actions are far more dangerous than those of Microsoft because they are much wider reaching and far more difficult for regulators to dig into.

                      I suspect far more people just use Android and Chrome and YouTube on a daily basis but don’t really use Gmail or GSuite (Docs, etc.) very frequently, instead relying on WhatsApp and Instagram a lot more.

                      Even if we take that as a given, this means most people are sending:

                      • their location
                      • the videos and pictures from their phone’s camera
                      • their search history
                      • a list of content they watched

                      up to Google.

                      1. 1

                        Your assessment that Chrome is only a means to an end, the end being to have people continue using Google’s web search, seems dead on. But then you follow that up with a claim that doesn’t seem to logically follow at all.

                        The reach of Google now relative to Microsoft 15 years ago is lower as a fraction of total users; it only seems higher because the absolute number of total users has grown so much.

                        1. 3

                          Doesn’t this depend on how you define a “user”, though? Google has a grip on search that would be the envy of IBM back in the day. Android is by far the most popular operating system for mobile phones, if not for computing devices writ large. They pay for Mozilla because they can harvest your data through Firefox almost as easily as via Chrome, and they prop up a competitor, in case the US DOJ ever gets their head out of their ass and starts to examine the state of the various markets they play in.

                          1. 2

                            Depends on how narrowly you define “search” too; Do you include all the searches people conduct directly on Amazon or Facebook or Siri?

                        2. 1

                          The reach of Google now relative to Microsoft 15 years ago is lower as a fraction of total users; it only seems higher because the absolute number of total users has grown so much.

                          Android’s global smartphone penetration is at 86% in 2017[1]. And while the “relative reach” might be lower, the absolute impact of the data being Hoovered up is significant. In 2000, annual PC sales hit 130 million per the best figures I could find[2] … that’s less than a tenth of smartphone sales in 2017 alone.

                          What does it matter that Google’s relative reach is lower when they control nearly 9/10 smartphones globally and proudly boast over two billion monthly active devices?

                          1. 1

                            The level of control isn’t directly comparable. Microsoft sold Windows licenses for giant piles of money while Google licenses only the Play Store and other apps that run on Android. Android in China is a great example of the difference, although I guess Microsoft probably lost revenue (but not control over the UX) there via piracy.

              2. 1

                The end game being anti-trust action? I’m not following your line of argument. Are you examining that particular consequence?

                1. 2

                  The antitrust case against Microsoft ended up with not much happening, and that was 18 years ago. Do you have much confidence that there is likely to be an effective antitrust action against Google?

                  1. 1

                    I’m not the one making a case here.

                    Your interpretation[1][2] of how a single historical case went doesn’t change the fact that antitrust action is bad for a company’s long-term prospects and short-term stock price. The latter should directly matter to current leadership. Companies spend a reasonable amount of time trying to not appear anti-competitive. @minimax is utterly ignoring that consequence of “dirty tricks”.

                    [1] illustrates the opposite perception. [2] is more balanced, and points out the effect of the lawsuit on Microsoft PR, leadership focus and product quality.

          3. 1

            Think of it this way: what incentive did Google, an advertising company, ever have to build and support a web browser in the first place?

            Is this a real question asked in good faith? Maybe it’s just been a long day but I really can’t tell.

            1. 2

              I was going for Socratic. You’re quite welcome to assume anything you like about the goodness of my faith.

              1. 1

                Got it - always happy to play along with Mr. Socrates ;) I mostly wanted to be sure I wasn’t just biting on an obvious troll.

      2. 11

        That’s just a picture of a blocked YouTube video to emphasis their point.

    14. 2

      I didn’t ditch Android, but I ditched flagship devices, rooting, and custom ROMs on Android for a (relatively close to) stock Android experience. I ended up with an unlocked Moto e4 because it met a few basic criteria (the first couple of which it feels like no flagship phone has bothered with for many years now):

      • decent (multi-day with moderate use) user-replacable battery
      • expandable storage via micro-sd card
      • finger print sensor is also a nice-to-have

      I thought I would miss rooting, but it turns out that pretty much everything I used to do with it (allowing tasker to disable location services when not in my maps app, enabling greenify’s aggressive doze, and a handful of other things) are all doable even without root, just by manually granting a few extra permissions via adb commands. I didn’t have to give up my low-light filter because it’s thankfully one of the two or three features that Motorola added to the ROM for this phone.

      I also thought I would miss always having access to the latest bleeding-edge version of Android and custom ROMs, but I’ve found that after bricking a couple devices and having to re-flash and re-install everything from scratch countless times that I now appreciate a stable, consistent experience over ridiculous amounts of control and customizability. Maybe what I did is like the lite-version of switching to iOS without having to sell my soul to the Apple ecosystem. I recommend it.

    15. 3

      Time for a gopher revival. Let’s take back the web by deprecating it in favor of a protocol that’s still pure and clean of corporate influence.

      1. 2

        This is funny because one of the reasons the Web overtook Gopher is because the University of Minnesota was going to charge fees to license the technology, while CERN made the web free from the get-go.

    16. 2

      I never really thought about it much, but I always have used the em tag in the “correct” way that the author describes. In fact I was probably using the i tag incorrectly for a long time before I learned of em. It never occurred to me that there were legit use cases for italicized text ouside of stressing part of a sentence, other than possibly book titles and blockquotes which I never liked italicizing anyway.

    17. 5

      I don’t completely buy the argument against margin: 0 auto;. Often when I’m centering an element by setting the left and right margins I also do intend to remove the top and bottom margins from the same element. I can’t recall any situation where all I cared about was centering the element while allowing rules elsewhere to govern its top and bottom margins.

      1. 1

        Yep, I usually want to remove the margins at a level (and have that be inherited) so that I can specify the overrides I want later. I agree with the gist of the article, but going against all shorthand is to some extent throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    18. 7

      Dang. And I was looking forward to getting a Time 2 :(

      Any recommendations for alternative smartwatches found by you lobsterites? Most important features I’m looking for (in order):

      • Open (minimalist-ish) API/general hackability
      • E-ink screen
      • Long battery life
      1. 3

        I recently got a Martian Notifier watch (around $40 on Amazon right now). It doesn’t quite meet your requirements, but I went looking with similar requirements and ended up settling on this anyway.

        It’s a traditional analog watch with a little AMOLED strip embedded to display notifications and caller ID and whatnot. The AMOLED display and vibration runs on their own rechargable battery and lasts anywhere from 4-10 days on a charge depending on how many alerts you send to the watch, with the analog clock running on its own replaceable battery that should last around 2 years (so even if you forget to charge it you still get basic time-telling functionality).

        The API isn’t open, but it’s somewhat hackable using Tasker on a rooted phone, which you can read about in this Reddit thread.

    19. 5

      …and so now, once the domain and related remote, internet-based services go dark, so too does your watch, should you ever try to perform a factory reset. (e.g. if you want to wipe data for any reason, your watch becomes a paperweight)

      Maybe they can release a kit, to run a local activation server, such that re-mapping the domain in /etc/hosts allows for watch activation?