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Messages - ersi

1
DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
Merriam-Webster dictionary adds 'they' as nonbinary pronoun
Merriam-Webster wrote a pre-emptive clapback on its blog. "We will note that 'they' has been in consistent use as a singular pronoun since the late 1300s; that the development of singular 'they' mirrors the development of the singular 'you' from the plural 'you', yet we don't complain that singular 'you' is ungrammatical; and that regardless of what detractors say, nearly everyone uses the singular 'they' in casual conversation and often in formal writing."

[...]

Branstetter [a media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality] offers this example for anyone who might be confused: "If you are at a restaurant and you found a stranger's phone at a table, you wouldn't say, I found his or her phone. You would say, 'I found their phone.'"
Actually, when you find a completely strange phone, you are not finding his/her/their phone, but a phone.
2
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
I can see one of those "speed pedelecs" being attractive for larger distances though.
I see more attraction in a quadbike or a motoroller for larger distances. Or why not a motorbike or a car. But to make those things electric-driven? Batteries are still an ineffective technology and a hugely wasteful industry. I don't know why it is not evolving despite the billions put into it.

My distances to work and back are fairly large, so I cover them with train+bicycle. Luckily all I need in life is along the railway. The bicycle saves me from having to buy the city public transportation tickets, but I need to have the train tickets. I am somewhat of a celebrity passenger on the trains, as I have been riding trains almost daily since the 80s, but they have not given me the free VIP pass yet.
3
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
Electric bicycles are the future for city transportation.

I guess they're better if you're out of shape or something
Electric *kick*bikes seems to be the trend, institutionally supported no less, while electric bicycles are indeed a luxury item for the extra lazies. I hate them both. Bone-and-muscle driven bicycle is the right way, properly environmentally friendly and healthy and all that.

Spanish cities grapple with invasion of electric scooters. Waverboards are of course the worst of them all.
4
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
There's a tax free cycling compensation of up to 0.23 cents per kilometer. It's up to the employer...
Oh, so I choose a bicycle and my employer pays for it. Great :idea: Let's try!

A bicycle like the Scott pictured above has to live for 10 years or plus with just minor maintenance. That makes 80 euros per year, less than 8 per month to take you anywhere with no gasoline, no transit.
But for that price (800 e) some people buy cars. At least I could get a brand new quadbike for it.
5
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
But my newish bicycle from last year is lighter, has better gears, better light, better brakes, better everything...
I was looking at some full-beefed bicycles, e.g. this one.

Nicely equipped, but I would certainly replace at least the light. I use my own flashlight that beats all other lights out of water in terms of strength (lumens), width of cone, and weatherproofness.

And I have learned to pay attention to
- Pedals: If they are of metal and sharp, better replace them with something rubbery or plastic in order to spare your footwear (and feet, if you are on bicycle barefooted)
- Handlebars: If you have longer highway rides, it is good to be able to have a lower grip; the best handlebar seems to be of the cross/racing type, which is not available on city/hybrid bicycles and must therefore be obtained separately


And in any case it paid for itself within half a year.
How does a bicycle pay for itself? Are public transport tickets so expensive over there? Over here, new bicycles are expensive. Things I would like start at above 400 e, the one pictured above is over 800 e. My current bicycle, Merida Crossway 8300, was less than 400 e and it has a saddlepost shock absorber which the pictured bicycle does not have.
6
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
My uncle rides a bicycle that is certainly fifty years old. Actually, it is such a ship of Theseus by now that only the frame and the front fork are original, while everything around, such as the ball rings in the pedalling mechanism, chain, wheels, saddle, etc. have been replaced a few times over, by himself. Then again, he is a repairsman and mechanic, and he is willing to scavenge junkyards for free parts, so it is his natural behaviour, while I am a calcified office rat.

And thinking about disk brakes a bit more: They get disfigured easily when you fall on the bicycle, expensive to replace and very difficult to repair. And I certainly plan to fall several times when it's snowy winter. Perhaps I should just take a better care of V-brakes.
7
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
My current bicycle is 15 years old. I don't mind doing repairs and buying accessories to it, but looks like with my neglect of updating the V-brakes the wheel rims (the part on the wheels that V-brakes contact when braking) have become seriously damaged. These wheels possibly won't survive next winter.

I guess I should buy a whole new bicycle with disk brakes. It does not make sense to replace V-brakes on my current bicycle with disk brakes. And when you need to replace the wheels, better replace the whole bicycle.
8
Browsers & Technology / Manjaro goes corp
The two main changes are:
  • To transfer donation funds to a non-profit "fiscal host 166" which will then accept and administer donations on the project's behalf. This secures the donations and makes their use transparent.
  • A new established company, Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG, to enable full-time employment of maintainers and exploration of future commercial opportunities.

This new structure should enable Manjaro to reach the next level, for example:
  • enable developers to commit full time to Manjaro and its related projects;
  • interact with other developers in sprints and events around Linux;
  • protect the independence of Manjaro as a community-driven project, as well as protect its brand;
  • provide faster security updates and a more efficient reaction to the needs of users;
  • provide the means to act as a company on a professional level.
Not sure how to take this. On the one hand I understand that when you do partnerships, such as when providing own-branded hardware, you need a legal entity. On the other hand, when FF went corp, things went irreversibly evil and stupid.
9
Why would you take it from anywhere other than Google Play? Because you have Sailfish instead of Android? Well, it is available in some Galaxy Store also, but I doubt that helps. Maybe here https://androidapksfree.com/samsung-internet-browser/com-sec-android-app-sbrowser/
10
I may try it out for the Reader View.... What? You have to dive deep into settings to enable it? I want to enable and disable it on the fly from the main menu, just like with desktop vs mobile view.
Actually, it turns out that enabling Reader View in the deep settings simply allows enabling it when available by the visited website. When available, Reader View can be switched on by some button on the address bar. It has a few font and colour options.

Samsung Internet browser has a bit more options in its Reader View. More crucially, Samsung Internet can theme the entire web - all webpages black on white, if you want. This is quite a crucial advantage.

And tab management is a disappointment too in Vivaldi, compared to Samsung Internet. In the tab management view in Vivaldi there is:
- No long-press to open a menu on a tile, to e.g. clone it, or to start multi-selection of tiles
- No app menu items to e.g. close all tabs, sync all, bookmark all, etc.
- No list view
- No drag-and-drop reordering (just a visual effect on handhelds, but anyway)

Samsung browser continues to be my #1 mobile browser.
11

So the magglass icon just duplicates the address bar? Any way to get rid of the address bar then?

I may try it out for the Reader View. I am fond of Reader Views. Samsung Internet browser and Edge do it quite well, even though only on websites that "allow" it. However, in Vivaldi,
Reader View can be enabled in Settings under Accessibility options.
What? You have to dive deep into settings to enable it? I want to enable and disable it on the fly from the main menu, just like with desktop vs mobile view. Any way for users to place any setting into the main menu or as a button on the toolbar?

And tab management may be promising as well, if they allow switching to list view like in Samsung Internet browser.
12
My point was not to suggest improvements, but to point out the deficiencies. US people operate under the delusion that they are electing their president, thus making evident their lack of knowledge of their own constitution. The politicians and politologists (such as the one quoted) work to perpetuate the ignorance of the people. This situation is irreparable.
13
The Electoral College is a source of stability and proper representation. It gives those in the smaller states, especially in the heartland, a say in their own destiny, and with it a sense of citizenry. They are active participants, and at times great influencers, in the nation's decisions, and not just the flotsam and jetsam floating wherever the irresistible tides as dictated by California, New York, Florida, or Texas propels them. After all, if the mechanics of the nation in which you live is to simply cater like rural serfs to several urban pockets of that country far removed from your own parochial interests and beliefs, and if you know that you will never have a voice, then why stay in this nation at all? Those pushing for majority rule at the expense of the very foundations of an electoral system that has served us as well as any can when applied to so large and diverse a country as ours are unwittingly sowing the seeds of disunion. If any of them had been taught anything about our history besides slavery, Indian genocide, and Viet Nam, they would understand the fire they are playing with. The last time secession was tried it didn't go so well.
Electoral College versus not has nothing to do with secession. It has to do with principle: Are people voting for the president or not? According to the US Constitution, the answer is no, absolutely not. Instead, the Electoral College votes the president in. Also according to the US Constitution, the electors are *appointed*,[1] not voted by the people.

For the electors to truly vote, their conscience should be free and not bound by the popular vote. (And the electors should not be threatened with fines for not voting as per popular vote.) According to the US Constitution, the people should not be able to vote at all. The people should be de-indoctrinated from their current misconception that the people are voting for the president either directly or indirectly. This is how it should be according to the US Constitution.

Or else amend the constitution to abolish the Electoral College.
US Constitution Article II: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors... The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons [namely President and Vice-President]."
14
Thanks for that suggestion.

By the way, I disagree with the basic premise of the "efficiency" study that more efficient languages are spoken slower. It so happens that Finnish is both more redundant than Estonian (it is basically Estonian with more vowels added, plus vowel harmony) and also slower at the same time. It is to do with syllable structure:

Compared to Finnish, Estonian has dropped vowels wherever feasible, and there is no vowel length distinction in unstressed vowels, which makes for a highly rational syllable structure and easier pronounceability, resulting in a faster-spoken language, perhaps also more "efficient" in information density in quantitative terms. Wouldn't there be something similar when comparing Dutch and German?
15
No, they were live creeps hoping to find victims after first interactions. Botty behaviour, such as ddoxing and flooding, is promptly dealt with, as there are always admins on the watch for that.
16
Oops, sorry. I meant those other creeps who were trying to promote some world-shattering scientifico-philosophical paper of theirs or making file-sharing offers for money. The ops said about them that they spread viruses and it's contageous.
17
By calculating how much information every syllable in a language conveys, it's possible to compare the "efficiency" of different languages. And a study published today in Science Advances found that more efficient languages tend to be spoken more slowly. In other words, no matter how quickly speakers chatter, the rate of information they're transmitting is roughly the same across languages.

[...]

In the new study, the authors calculated the average information density--that is, bits per syllable--of a set of 17 Eurasian languages and compared it with the average speech rate, in syllables per second, of 10 speakers for each language. They found that the rate of information transferred stayed constant--at about 39.15 bits per second, to be exact.
From the abstract of the study,
We show here, using quantitative methods on a large cross-linguistic corpus of 17 languages, that the coupling between language-level (information per syllable) and speaker-level (speech rate) properties results in languages encoding similar information rates (~39 bits/s) despite wide differences in each property individually: Languages are more similar in information rates than in Shannon information or speech rate. These findings highlight the intimate feedback loops between languages' structural properties and their speakers' neurocognition and biology under communicative pressures. Thus, language is the product of a multiscale communicative niche construction process at the intersection of biology, environment, and culture.
Wouldn't it be much easier to study the information rate of texts? Has it been done?
18
I still find IRC the best messaging system ever.
It's missing some things though, like a history from when you're not in the channel and putting in screenshots. Whether that's necessarily a problem I'm not sure, but it does potentially give it a different purpose.
The point of IRC is to be fleeting yet manageable (both for users and ops~admins). Therefore text only and normally no server-side logging. That's quite good for privacy. Other features are for email and multimedia messaging.

I like IRC the way it is. It does some p2p file sharing too, but only creeps use that.
19
Iirc Skype also used to have a pretty decent history search functionality all built in. Or at least much better than what it has now.
It used to be the absolute best again the Notepad way: Open the plain text logs and search there.

My wife and I switched to Discord years ago. I use Skype to talk to my parents, and last week even a business call (because "Skype for Business"/Lync crapped out, and the quality on Skype was actually noticeably better).
Have you heard of Slack? Tried it? What do you think of it? At my earlier job we made a little bit of use of it. It is of course group-focused rather than p2p or 1to1 focused.

I still find IRC the best messaging system ever. Because it is a protocol rather than an app, meaning there are a bunch of apps to connect to it in various ways with various interfaces, providing a good selection of options. The sad development of messaging has been to create an app and restrict it into its own proprietary protocol so as to exclude all alternative means of connecting to it, and to prevent the app from connecting wherever else. The salutary exceptions are Pidgin which tries to connect everywhere, and its clones on KDE and Gnome (Kontact and Empathy, respectively).

At my current job there are several compulsory barely understandable productivity tools by Microsoft that make a joke of productivity. E.g. Sharepoint with its outrageous search dysfunction, Notes and Teams with their unbearable interfaces (lack of titlebar, and when you try to zoom the content, the surrounding toolbars get zoomed instead), Skype for Business with its unorganisable messaging feature, and others that each behave differently from each other in various ways (some windows are resizable, some not, some are zoomable, some not, some can be set to stay on top, most not, etc.), and way too many disregard the overall theme.

Calculator would be okay, but it also disregards the overall theme (particularly the titlebar colour) and it for some incomprehensible reason is unable to swallow its own formatting of longer numbers upon paste. So much for productivity.

The situation with Windows productivity tools resembles the corporation itself, where no department has any clue what other departments do, and upon contact with each other they are vicious enemies. So the perversity of the opsys harmonises with the perversity of the corporation.
20
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…

US official confirms that Trump tweeted out a picture from a classified intelligence briefing


A US official told CNBC on Friday that a photo of an Iranian launchpad that President Donald Trump tweeted out in the afternoon came from an intelligence briefing Trump received earlier in the day.

[...]

"I think I just got flexed on by the president," David Schmerler, a leading expert on open-source imagery analysis, told Business Insider of the image. Schmerler had spent hours the night before analyzing the widely available pictures of the failed launch but was blown away by the quality of Trump's image."

So, Trump is still getting briefed with classified intelligence materials. Dear officials, where is your sense of responsibility?
21
One of the most useful of the new features is support for Message Drafts.

Similar to email, any message you type up in Skype but don't yet send is saved within the conversation with a "draft" tag attached. That way you can return to the message to finish it and send it later.
As I have understood, all our keypresses along with backspacings get recorded on Skype servers anyway, so indeed why not present drafts to users.

However, I may want my notes and drafts organised the way I want, not the way Skype wants. I very much prefer a method that the article acknowledges,
Some people even type up their texts in Notepad, waiting for the right time to send them.
This allows me to save and keep track of my drafts my own way and also presents me with the typing interface that is preferable to whatever Skype has inbuilt.

On the old Opera forums I kept requesting for an option to get some text editor embedded or plugged in to web form fields and the email component. As far as I know, no messaging or multimedia app does it. And now when phablets (devices that tend to not use a hardware keyboard) rule the planet, my request is obsolete. So the Notepad way remains the only sensible solution.

In another email-inspired addition, Skype is also introducing the ability to bookmark important messages. To access this option, you just have to long-press a message (on mobile) or right-click (on desktop), then tap or click "Add Bookmark." This will add the message to your Bookmarks screen for easy retrieval.
Yes, this would be awesomely useful, if I ever send or receive
Skype messages with high value content. But I don't, ever.

A more interesting idea would be to create a calendar or a todo-note from a message, but here again the more appropriate solution is to copy and paste the message in the more appropriate calendar app, which is again the Notepad way, the only sensible solution.

And if you're sharing a bunch of photos or videos all at once, Skype will now organize them neatly. Instead of overwhelming recipients with a large set of photos, the photos are grouped in a way that's more common to what you'd see on social media. That is, only a few are displayed while the rest hide behind a "+" button you have to click in order to see more.
This is about as meaningful as hiding the ending of a long text message behind a plus. It is unfortunate that messaging apps like Skype and Facebook Messenger get used for file sharing, particularly when Facebook Messenger manifestly destroys photo and video quality in the process of transfer, but the files have to be shared somehow and when those apps offer video calls too, it makes sense for them to be able to share photo and video, but exactly share, not to hide them behind a plus as if you were good at organising. You are not.

If Skype wants to really improve, it would be in the area of video calls and screen-sharing rather than the messaging. I'm putting my hopes on improvements of video calls and screen-sharing because the thing that I really hope for - ability to make searches in the message history - is evidently never going to improve.

As one of the older messaging apps still in use, Skype is no longer the largest or most popular, claiming only 300 million monthly active users compared to WhatsApp's 1.5 billion, for example.

However, it's good to see its team getting back to solving real consumer pain points rather than trying to clone Snapchat as it mistakenly tried to do not too long ago. (Thankfully, those changes were rolled back.) What Skype's remaining users appreciate is the app's ease-of-use and its productivity focus, and these changes are focused on that direction.
I may wish to count as one of those who appreciates the "productivity focus" (really: just ease of typing-and-sending and of making a video call) but really I am just left behind. I have no clue what Snapchat is or does - anything different from Instagram? - and my attempts at connecting to Whatsapp have been unsuccessful. And from what I know, it is the exact clone of Skype except that you have to give away your phone number instead of it being optional.
22
China has many industrial policies and other measures that disadvantage if not outright discriminate against foreign companies, poor protection of intellectual property, and cheap financing and subsidies for state-owned firms. These are definitely breaches of WTO regulations. Forbes seems to be downplaying that rather much...
Are you saying Trump weighed all this and decided, after careful consideration, to start the trade war? No, Trump has been cancelling international agreements and escalating trade wars in every direction, including with Europe.

And the China that we have is the China Kissinger chose when he started diplomatic relations with the mainland, blindsiding Taiwan. US always picks their partners at will and at random. The partners' qualifications or features or character does not matter in the least. E.g. Saudi Arabia is good friends...
23
That made me wonder how many Trump had used so far, apparently 120:
I suspect they are not counting his tweets.

Here's the opinion of the business elite:

Did Trump Just Act Like Britain's King Just Before The 1776 Revolution?
Ordering U.S. companies out of a country it a weird thing to do in peacetime unless the move involves sanctions for perceived or actual breaches of international law.

This instance was neither of those and is especially strange given that the U.S. revolution was in large part propelled by the desire of colonial Americans to freely do trade with whomever they desired.
That Trump would be bad for diplomacy was of course obvious throughout the campaign. But now let's hope it is clear for everyone that he is bad for business on every scale.

24
Hereby ordered?
Presidential decree is a thing. Under Trump, presidential decrees are a thing on Twitter.
25
It's understandable with the threat of malware/ransomware but yeah, company equipment is pretty annoying to use.
To me it is not understandable with the threat of malware/ransomware. Because on the one hand the companies expect us to compose and perform some technically pretty demanding tasks at times, but then they don't trust us to click correctly... What's up with that?

This issue was pretty reasonably solved at one place where I worked ages ago. The policy was that the IT guy simply says yes or no when asked and, since he mostly had free time, he was able to sit next to you while you installed things, and even helped you configure the settings if needed. Otherwise you could do what you wanted and, consequently, the onus was on you when shit happened - which makes people feel responsible and act accordingly.

As opposed to the more common situation when things are blocked on the net and in the computer. At my current job there are plenty of websites blocked and all zips and exes are blocked from being downloaded. Even some websites that we actually need for the job are blocked, so the policy has been stupidly overreaching, and the result is that people get conflicting messages (...do you want me to do the job or not? looks like not...) and have no choice but be annoyed.