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Messages - ersi

Browsers & Technology / Why Oh Why Samsung
In addition to ruining Note with the camera notch, removing headphone jack from it, and splitting the phone into multiple versions as if it were a salad, also the Fold is a misstep in my opinion. Not only because its screen simply cracked at first (and will definitely still crack in the middle - this foldable screen technology continues to be crap, cheap-looking in real life while ultra-expensive to acquire) but also because of the camera placement again. Come on guys, you got multiple screens, yet you still manage to disfigure the huge internal screen with the camera notch! I hate the camera notch!

There are many cameras on the Fold because no thinking went into how to place them reasonably, economically. There are cameras on every side, and the worst one is on the smaller-screen side. But the smaller-screen side is exactly where ALL the cameras should be! From the pic above it is easy to tell that the cameras would fit just fine together with the secondary screen.

My logic is as follows: We want good pics, i.e. we want to shoot with the best camera only. For selfies or outside-world pics, only the best camera is good enough. At the same time, we want to see what the pic would look like before shooting, whichever way the phone is facing. The solution to this selfie vs outside-world problem is the secondary screen on the best-camera side. Given a secondary screen on the best-camera side, there is no need for any other cameras on any other side, because other cameras are lesser and we do not want to take lesser pics. Removal of secondary cameras liberates the big-screen side for the screen only, no need for notch, and enables the users to take all pics with the best camera(s).

Fold has two screens, yet it still manages to have the notch on its primary screen. Big fail. Not to mention all other failures, such as lack of dustproofness, possible inability to have a cover, etc.
DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
So how would a Russian say that "they" (the Illuminati/Jewish conspiracy/Soviets/capitalists/etc.) took away the electricity?
How to imply Illuminati etc. without saying Illuminati etc. out loud? The difference is as follows:

Электричество отключили translates formally "They turned off electricity" without any implication on them. The personal pronoun is preferably missing while the verb form is explicitly third pers. pl.

Это они отключили электричество is like "It's them who turned off electricity." The personal pronoun они is there and strengthened with это "it (is)".

But Russians like to blame monkeys rather than the Illuminati.

Edit: I checked the beginning of Švejk by Hašek. In Russian it's "Убили, значит, Фердинанда-то нашего." I guess you could say the missing они makes some difference. In Czech it is also without the pronoun, "Tak nám zabili Ferdinanda."
Hobbies & Entertainment / Re: Bicycling
A motorbike requires a different license. You can't just do it tomorrow.
My sister did all the driver's licence categories at once, from A to E or whatever it is. Doing just B and then maybe some day considering also A is for weaklings.
DnD Central / Re: Grammatical Mutterings
In Portuguese, "they" has always been used as an indeterminate subject. It's OK to say "they stole my car" when I don't know who "they" are, or even how many "they" are. Actually, we use it all the time.
Though, because of verb declination, we don't really have to spell "they" - the verb does it implicitly ("Roubaram meu carro"), giving a better idea of an indeterminate subject.
There is a famous Czech (a Slavic language) novel that begins "And so they've killed our Ferdinand," (Švejk by Hašek) where there is no emphasis felt on "they" or "who-did-it". Rather, the next piece of dialogue is "Which Ferdinand?"

Similarly, when Russians say "They took away electricity" nobody begins inquiring "Who? Did you see them?" Rather, it is merely stating that there is a power outage.

Whereas the same sentence is unworkable in Estonian and Finnish, because it feels hyperpersonal. The same statements would be more appropriately formulated something like "Electricity vanished" and "Oh dear, Ferdinand got killed." In Estonian and Finnish there is a special impersonal verb form in addition to the common six personal verb forms. The personal verb forms have their corresponding personal (non-compulsory/pro-drop) pronouns while there is no impersonal pronoun. And it is not an issue of grammatical gender in any way. The grammatical gender does not exist in these languages. As we say, "Finnish/Estonian is not sexy."

In contrast, Russian, Lithuanian, and Latvian have a very strong presence of grammatical genders, but as far as I know, they ignore the political correctness issues that go along with it.
Browsers & Technology / Re: Minimal Apps
termpub to view epub files in a terminal emulator. Edit: Navigate with PgUp and PgDn /edit
Funny I do not remember having installed it, but it was present in my opsys (Manjaro Linux). Possibly an accidental inclusion by the distro maintainers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.

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.
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.
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]."
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.