Erik I

My public writing. You can reach me at @eitland@mstdn.io

Filed under #howto and #telegram

I use Telegram messenger a lot both to communicate with my family, my friends and my future self.

I am not totally happy with it: between the

  • recurring accusations from certain leading cryptographers
  • and the fact that they insist on staying free and will do a blockchain thing instead

I do sense there is room for a lot of things to go sideways.

That said:

  • for now it works better that most other things
  • the program that leading cryptographers have been recommending has had its own share of problems
  • and I only do things that require post card security level

That said, here are some advanced tips:

  • You could always(?) chat with yourself, but now it is an official feature called “Saved messages”
  • You pin up to 5 (for now at least) chats, groups or channels at top of the screen.
    • Ideas: Saved messages, loved ones, frequently used groups
  • You can create multiple groups containing the same persons (useful in a family setting to separate everyday chatter and photo sharing from planning etc)
  • Related to the last one: A group doesn't have to contain more than two persons. For example I can have a group with just me and my wife were we post car maintenance, mileage, receipts from everyday purchases (in case something breaks) etc etc.
  • You can post silently:
    • on the mobile client, long press the send button to see your options
    • on the desktop client, right click the send button to see your options
  • You can also schedule a message:
    • this can be useful if you know you are afraid of forgetting to send a message
    • or you can schedule a message in Saved messages as a reminder to yourself.

BTW: If anyone wants a nice business idea, here's one:

  • Create something like old WhatsApp with all the features from todays Telegram and the encryption from Signal/Whatsapp
  • Make it impossible to sell out
  • Charge $2 a year (WhatsApp made healthy profits at $1 a year when they started)
  • Charge extra for API access
  • Tell me.

I think I signed up for write.as about a year ago.

I like it a lot, for these reasons and probably more:

Read more...

Filed under #observations, #messaging and #psychology

When attempting to enforce real name policies in online foras discussions tend to get dumber.

I guess because real name policies work better against smart and nice people than against trolls.

When accounts are short lived or ephemeral discussions seem to get less civilized

I also wonder if, just like how people in nice cars on average seem to behave badly more often, people who have little to fear (powerful, has correct opinion) has a tendency to behave badly online more often. But I don't have data (yet at least).

Filed under #messaging

I think I can remember hearing about wt.social mast fall sometime but I never gave it a try back then.

After seing it mentioned again today I created an account and logged in.

It looks

  • kind of promising,
  • some ghost town vibes
  • feels buggy
  • kind of like Wikipedia. This makes we wonder if this project will also get curated to the point where I cannot get myself to contribute anymore. Previously I've given up Wikipedia (sometime after the Russian ex-spy was murdered with polonium) and stackexchange (I haven't enjoyed posting or answering there for years and now I even dread logging in to vote.)

I should probably go back someday to test it again.

Background: I am always looking for an alternative to Google+ (the social network, not the identity feature).

Over the two last years or so I've tested: – writefreely/write.as (kind of works. Really slow sometimes. Lacks a bunch of features, particularly some kind of comments, preferably from the Fediverse I think, but I am still a happy customer.) – mastodon, more specifically mstdn.io (it is more like Twitter, a nicer Twitter but still built on the same paint-yourself-into-a-corner ideas as Twitter.) – pixelfed (Instagram clone with a focus on creating good software instead of focusing on making Mark Zuckerberg happy.) – MeWe (kind of similar, but far from as nice) – Minds (my impression last time: polished, some interesting features, but between neo-nazism, plain old racism, lunatics and lunatic racists it almost set a new standard for both dumbness and unpleasantness. Unfortunately it is hard to beat certain chan sites at their home turf though.) – Hubzilla (seems really promising but despite experimenting with my own hub, trying to join a number of others etc I haven't been able to connect to a single human being that was online and posted in English. FWIW Norwegian, Danish or Swedish would have been OK too. Still it is one of the most promising ones in my opinion.) – Matrix (Also on my list of promising messaging solutions I want to try on a day when I get some uninterrupted time. I really want to like it.)

Filed under #advertising and #marketing

This happens, people get fooled into traveling halfway across the globe to stand in line and finally take a photo of what turns out to be a mirror, or something mirror-like:

It really isn't news anymore that marketing has been abused to drive demand for products that aren't what people need, or even want.

I've seen several people argue that advertising is generally evil but I don't agree. I'd argue that there's even great potential for doing advertising that does good for both humans and the environment.

As an example I would like to mention the shuttle bus that used to pass 100 meters from my house and pass right next to my workplace at that time – and that I wasn't aware of until the local newspaper told it was shutting down. It could have been a good idea if more people was aware of it and could have used it instead of either driving to the train station like I did or even driving all the way as some people do.

Another example would be those who sell spare parts or repair services, or to advertise for reduce, reuse, repair like the (otherwise very commercial) marketplace finn.no does:

The only thing that is better for the environment than buying used is to buy nothing at all.

Above: An ad saying: The only thing that is better for the environment than buying used is to buy nothing at all.

And just last day I saw an ad for walking as a solution to mental health problems. Nothing to buy, nobody to vote for, paid for by our politicians or probably bureaucrats , doing what they are supposed to do: figuring out good solutions to hard problems, in this case mental health and health generally.

If you wonder when I'll get around ro the catch, there isn't one as far as I can see: it is pure win-win:

As peoples health increases, people become more happy which is good for them. They probably become more productive at work and spend less time away from work which means companies wins as well. Society at large wins as well when everyone wins.

Now media, can you please take back a bit of control and prioritize these kinds of ads? Until then I'll mostly keep my ad blockers on and updated for everyone.

Because I'm seriously fed up with seing “personalized” ads that seems to be health scams, clickbait farms and dating site scams, ads that are insults to me personally, my wife and my family, all men generally and to a certain degree: all of mankind.

Filed under #lifeInNorway and #seasons

Caught myself wishing people merry Christmas today and also caught another reasonable person doing the same.

The 10. of December feels way too early for that, but to our defence, in both cases it was people we likely won't see again before next year.

Filed under #rants and #ux

I have an iPad that I like a lot. It is like 4 times quicker than even my flagship Android phones, and it mostly works.

There's one thing I notice however almost every time I use it:

Lack of consistency seems to be considered an UX guideline for iOS apps, and back when I used Mac it was the same there:

In every app that is produced or featured by Apple something is wildly different. Let's take a couple of examples:

Keyboard and tool layout in Notes.

Keyboard and tool layout in Pages.

Can you spot the differences? Here are some starting points: – Undo has moved (next to the keyboard and easy to reach in Notes, top of the page, jammed in next to Table of Contents in Pages.) – Paste doesn't exist in pages, you have to use the “tap the cursor” trick.

iOS/iPad OS is so full of these small annoyances that it seems like there is a UX guideline for it saying that every app should be ever so slightly different.

For the record:

Windows is well on its way in the same direction with the mess that is Control Panel these days.

There are actually a number of things I think were better before, and consistent UX is one of those things that had its peak somewhere around Windows XP and Office 2003. I do not want to go back, but I really wish UX designers would go back and learn to undo the mess that is Metro, Ribbon or in the iOS case the whole mess.

That said: I love my iPad as much as the best PC I had. It is – quick, somewhat predictable: – with the latest patch release I reboot it twice a week every time it jams my keyboard or something – most of the quirks are documented somewhere

I actually like it so much I'm seriously considering getting an iPhone next time I have to get a new phone which is really soon ™ as I'm so extremely fed up with having to wait for Android to switch apps, finding back the state after the other app got killed in the background etc.

Filed under #tumblelog, #warstories and #consulting.

Came across this:

I refactored the code from untested and untestable, to testable with 40% test coverage. The senior architect is refusing to merge because the test coverage is to low.

https://shermanonsoftware.com/2019/11/15/its-not-sabotage-theyre-drowning/

The whole post contains more examples but is still short and might be well worth reading as well if you are or have been frustrated with people or companies that seems unable to receive help, even when the solution is straightforward.

Here's my (not so) favorite a few years ago: a small, struggling company having on average 3 – 4 people stuck with manually copy/pasting into customer Excel reports at any time. I point out that the data is already available in a central location and suggest they ask one of their in own developers to add CSV output or something at that point.

Their answer: I hear you guys are busy, should we hire one more? (A few months later they fired a bunch of people as the market dried up somewhat.)

Filed under #lifeInNorway, #friendlyBanter and #photos

The bus arrives exactly on time. Me: you stick to the schedule? Bus driver from Northern Norway: no reason to do anything else as long as there isn't a bunch of local people clogging the road.

Car approaching in intersection as seen from the bus.

Snowy bridge as seen from the bus.

Train arrives in snowy weather.

Conversations like above is pretty common in parts of Norway, and considered OK. (And BTW, while I'm Norwegian I'm not one of the locals, but it is OK when people poke at us from the west coast as well as long as they stick to the facts ;–)

Filed under #lifeInNorway

First snow of the season falling on the flowers in the garden.

Today the first snow of the season arrived.

A friend of mine had asked me to help him with the drive belt on his snow blower and today we fixed it.

It turned out to be really simple: the fan attachment was held in place by four 13mm bolts. I took out four and loosened the fourth, pulled the attachment slightly away from the motor and then I could pull out the old belt and insert the new.

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