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Topic: Attention Grabbers (Read 309 times)

  • Frenzie
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Attention Grabbers
Which apps are the worst offenders?

https://medium.com/swlh/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3

This article basically explains why I disable autosync except when I consciously turn it on once or twice a day. Otherwise my phone just keeps interrupting me in its stupid statusbar.

  • ersi
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #1
Once upon a time in Florida for the first time in my life I saw a guy texting while riding a bicycle. This grabbed my attention and I hit my foot against a stone.

  • Belfrager
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #2
Once upon a time in Florida for the first time in my life I saw a guy texting while riding a bicycle.
You should never have been at Florida. Your fault.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #3
Not only has Skype changed its text-based chatlogs in users' computers to cloud-based nonsense at some remote point in time, now under Microsoft they have crapped up their GUI too, in a major way. Well, their GUI was always crap, but now it's crap on steroids.

The new crap GUI applies to Skype-for-Linux (as opposed to the mere skype app which retains the old interface, but on the downside seems increasingly incompatible with the evolving protocol) on Linux and to Android version 6 (Marchmallow) and up. The GUI is crap because it seems to derive nothing from the desktop environment where its placed. It has its own font faces, font sizes, right-click and text-edit controls etc. Utter crap.

Moreover, the most recent version in my Android 6 phone seems to require no less than 4G speed to sync the conversations. If it's a lesser speed, there's no hope. But even when it's at 4G, it's sluggish to sync. And the new interface seems to clog down the entire opsys when the text is being entered. Major frustration.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #4
I haven't had the, *ahem*, pleasure of trying the new Skype for Android: http://fransdejonge.com/2017/08/skype-on-android-x86/

Skype on Android has never felt particularly speedy, but since I only use it on wifi I wouldn't know about network requirements. I'll keep on using 4.3 on Linux until they force me not to (cf., the end of my blogpost).

  • ersi
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Github Zen Mode
Reply #5
Like this https://github.com/blog/1379-zen-writing-mode

It used to exist and I used to use it, but now I don't see the button anymore. Where did it go?

This is why I prefer browsers that permit to embed your own editor in textareas. I can make my own zen mode, like right now in Elinks.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #6
I don't think that's really necessary in GUIs. I just write my stuff wherever I want (which is often just the browser, at least for a quick reply like this) and then I copy it over. I'm not sure if the Elinks style is that much more elegant except in the specific Elinks terminal context. Still, it sounds potentially simple enough. All you'd need is for the browser to create a temp file and to launch a text editor of your choice to edit it. Although then you get into "when should the browser delete the temp file?" territory which makes me think just keeping it separate might be better after all.

I think stuff like GitHub zen writing mode might be intended for toy computers like Chromebooks.[1]
I never called Chromebooks toy computers. I called them inferior. For the moment I've taken a liking to calling them toy computers due to that article.

  • ersi
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Re: Github Zen Mode
Reply #7
After giving it more thought, I guess there are about three or four separate issues to address.

1. The Noble Zen Mode

As the images show in the Github post about Zen Mode, it's intended to maximise the textarea inside the browser. This is how I remember it and I think it was nothing to complain about. It was definitely not a toy thing, but pretty sensible, in contrast to the following.

2. The Atrocious Zen Mode

Have you posted at Vivaldi forums in Vivaldi browser? They have a zen mode too, but instead of a maximised in-browser textarea, it's a full-screen popout. According to Vivaldi, zen mode means you should lose access to the rest of your desktop when typing your Vivaldi post. Pretty outrageous evil, I should say. 

3. External Editor

External editor is a different thing, because it's another window in addition to the textarea in the webbrowser. However, the way I use external editor is pretty zen - I launch it and maximise it. To see other content on the desktop at the same time, the background of the editor is semi-transparent.

4. Where should the browser save copies, if at all?

Generally browsers are minimally involved in the textarea buffer and this is how it should be, I suppose. The way I see it, this problem solves itself when you have a good external editor. For example the following scenarios:

Browse around the forum. See a post you feel like reacting to. Focus the textarea and start responding. Then it turns out the text gets lengthy or it is taking long time to respond and the next item of the day is requiring attention.

Now, if you began typing in the browser textarea (zen mode or not), then the half-finished text can be saved to Notes in Vivaldi, Opera and Otter. This is a browser thing. Other browsers (should) just erase the buffer upon closing.

But if you began typing in an external editor launched from the website textarea, then you should be able to just close the browser and the editor should not crash, right? The buffer will remain in the editor. Moreover, editors often have their own backup inbuilt (this is yet another reason to use an external editor). So you can save it wherever you generally save your half-finished stuff, without worrying about what the browser did with the textarea buffer. This is essentially non-different from starting a new plain text file on the computer in the first place.



So I guess you have not used Github Zen Mode and you have no idea where it went and why. Pity, because it was a noble zen mode.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #8
I wasn't calling GitHub zen mode bad, just unnecessary. Succinctly, if I lack zen mode on a random website like DnD, I suppose I could open up GitHub... but from a quick look it would seem that https://shrib.com is more suited to that purpose. I'd rather just use a program on my computer though. Regardless, GitHub doesn't really seem like the place to me.

I admit I'm not really into the zen text editor thing. That is, I might close my eyes or look away from the screen to get rid of distractions but I find Geany (my preferred text editor) and Zim (where I jot down random thoughts as well as drafts for replies & posts) sufficiently zen even without the "Distraction Free Editing" plugin.

  • jax
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #9
This is long past talk about text editors, but about a power shift over the last 20 years.

The W3C was sceptical to browsers in their parlance (given the history of Netscape then IE, who could blame them) and though people used a browser to access the Internet, they used the phrase User Agent. Now, of course, there is an app for that. Of course they were right, there were, and still are, many ways to interconnect, but my point here is that I think and thought that this somewhat technobureaucratic term is brilliant.  A User Agent was exactly what I wanted Opera to aspire to become, a piece of software on the side of the human user (UAs could also be software on behalf of software, but that's another world, another story). Of course we got sidelined, as later did Mozilla, like many other have-beens and never-weres. 

The ones that didn't get sidelined, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, WeChat, Facebook... are not user agents, they are agents for their respective business empires. To them we are the product, the produce. Competititon and evolution has meant that the Empire Agents that can maximise the value of the produce is winning.  That means taking advantage of our addictive behaviours and attention make the Empire Agents fitter and more successful. So here we are. Can we shift the power back to the users? Based on the last 20 years, I'm not too optimistic. It can be done, it probably won't happen very often, -where's the money in that?, and when done it would have a hard time to succeed.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #10
I always disable autosync and often wifi on my cellphone unless I specifically want to check my e-mail, sync my calendar, or something like that. It's not to save data or battery (although it certainly helps) but because it's an enormously annoying thing otherwise. I also prefer to mute it, although I should probably figure out how to make calls & possibly texts go through while being quiet about anything else.

The biggest issue with my Zenfone 2 compared to my previous Sony Ericsson phones (both "feature" and "smart") is that the Sony Ericsson phones had beatiful light that got your attention yet wasn't really distracting. The Zenfone 2 just has an annoying green blinking light.

  • ersi
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #11
The ones that didn't get sidelined, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, WeChat, Facebook... are not user agents, they are agents for their respective business empires. To them we are the product, the produce. Competititon and evolution has meant that the Empire Agents that can maximise the value of the produce is winning.  That means taking advantage of our addictive behaviours and attention make the Empire Agents fitter and more successful. So here we are. Can we shift the power back to the users? Based on the last 20 years, I'm not too optimistic.
Looks like a good description of the trends. However, users always had their niche, it's just that it means to relegate oneself to a geeky subculture with Otter, Qutebrowser, W3M, Mutt, and/or the legacy Opera. So we have our options if we have the determination to disregard trendiness.

I always disable autosync and often wifi on my cellphone unless I specifically want to check my e-mail, sync my calendar, or something like that. It's not to save data or battery (although it certainly helps) but because it's an enormously annoying thing otherwise. I also prefer to mute it, although I should probably figure out how to make calls & possibly texts go through while being quiet about anything else.
When setting up any e-mail client prior to the mobile phone era, wasn't the first thing always to turn off autoconnect? I still do the exact same thing on mobile phones.

As to the notifications, on all Androids I have seen, they can still be thankfully turned off per-app basis (in the Android Applications menu). I take the time to adjust permissions there app per app for messengers and facebooks and the like. Generally this means reducing the permissions, rarely expanding. The options to adjust the permissions don't look too nuanced (for example permissions to connect to the internet should obviously be there) and it's probably not too long until this right will be taken away entirely, but this would mean that some apps will simply stop working because they don't have enough permissions to operate, such as my preferred file manager for example, while others notify of themselves at every turn, practically asking to be uninstalled. Hopefully the right to uninstall will remain even with the bundled software.


  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #12
facebooks and the like.
I hope I'll never have to install that on my phone. :lol:

(It might've come with it preinstalled. If it did, disabling it was probably about the first thing I did.)

Hopefully the right to uninstall will remain even with the bundled software.
It's a pity you can only disable unless you root, but it's close enough to uninstall for it not to really matter that much I suppose. I can see why system APKs could be prevented from uninstall (e.g., the phone dialer, even if you decided to install an alternative) but I don't understand why they'd make a system APK out of Googleface bloatware.

  • ersi
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #13
Ha, found it!
We removed the zen mode feature a little over 9 months ago. We found that is was only used by a small percentage of users, and it was also the source of a few problems.

Let us know if you have any other questions.
The number of users should never be an argument, unless the aim is to conquer the world, which is not the case here. A few problems? Since this is unspecified, I suspect the only problem was that the feature required maintenance when developing other stuff on the Github interface.

Anyway, no biggie. Back to Nano.

facebooks and the like.
I hope I'll never have to install that on my phone. :lol:
Facebook is different things to different people. For me it's a convenient calendar of birthdays[1] and notebook of worldwide contacts with whom I occasionally chat instead of making phone calls. Skype and Whatsapp are other alternatives, even though alternative does not mean "replacement" here; it means "another way with some other people". So is IRC. But I don't sync my IRC and phone contacts and similarly I don't also sync Skype, Whatsapp and FB contacts with the phone, even though they are trying to trick me into it.

Then for some people I know, facebook is the source of infotainment that they depend on for life. That be a sad life.

Birthdays... What a trash thing to keep in memory or to be typing in the phone contact data or phone calendar! Unfortunately many people are very touchie about trash like this.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Attention Grabbers
Reply #14
I use Facebook more or less to my advantage somewhat like you. Unfortunately it has become increasingly less reliable about e-mailing me notifications about private messages and such. But in the rare case that I might wish to access it on my phone, I think the website is quite enough. :)

I do use the Skype app on my phone because it's useful for calling and video chat.