• 4 Posts
Joined 7M ago
Cake day: Dec 25, 2020


gdu is one of my favorites. It is an intuitive disk usage analyzer that is wicked fast; on a SSD gdu can analyze more than a terabyte of files in just a few seconds.

HDDs are not ideal for long-term cold storage either due to data rot, the magnetic charges on the hard drive platter that encode for 1 or 0 lose their magnetism over time. I’ve read that data rot can start to occur in as little as 1year if the data hasn’t been “refreshed” by powering the hard drive on and re-writing all the data.

There are some archival-grade hard drives, but if you have data that you don’t want to store in the cloud and don’t access often an LTO drive is your best bet. You can get LTO tapes certified for 30+ years of cold storage, but the catch is that reading the data is super slow… and the tapes themselves are super flammable.

IoT is made easier when sensors can be built with wireless pre-configured internet connections built in. 5G is not necessary at the present time, but it is being built to accommodate future network growth.

You’re right about ISPs trying to replace wired internet connections with wireless internet connections, though. This is a more expensive and lower quality service for customers, but far cheaper for the companies that don’t want to lay proper fiber connections.

5G is about 10x faster than 4G right now. The innovation is not that downloads will be 10x faster, it is that 10x more devices can be connected at 4G speeds.

You’ve probably heard of Internet of Things (IoT):

“The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors to enable remote monitoring, status, manipulation and evaluation of trends of such devices.” - Peter T. Lewis

IoT is likely to continue bringing more devices online, eventually the pace will exceed what the current infrastructure can support. Making these devices 5G compatible is a much simpler and more elegant solution than requiring Ethernet cables, or requiring manual configuration with local WiFi.

I’ve always appreciated local news much more than national news. My local station actually posted a job opportunity recently and I was considering applying, what’s making you want to leave?

Yikes, what country? That’s even worse than we have it in the US!

The US Telecom Giants have committed fraud against the American government and the American public worth at least $600billion. The Book of Broken Promises (full-text book hosted by the FCC) was published in 2015 citing data up to 2014 when the total fraud was only $400billon.

Our telecommunications companies continue to get billions of dollars from the government to subsidize the laying of fiber optic connections to all of America. The companies also continue to charge hidden fees to all customers to “finance” the laying of fiber connections that never materialize. To make things worse, the companies use creative accounting to dodge taxes, and then they arbitrarily limit our internet plans with data caps and high prices.

It is one of the most egregious fraud schemes I have ever read about, and so far very little has been done about it. Most people I have talked to literally have a passionate hatred for Comcast, AT&T, and Century Link, but that’s just because the service is crappy, the prices are high, they sneak in fees whenever they can, and their customer service is notorious. Most people have no idea that these companies have been committing blatant fraud for nearly 30 years. Our telecom companies screw us so badly over here it’s kind of a joke:





The Irregulators is a small professional group that has been working to fight the fraud since 1999, but their progress has obviously been very slow.

Oh man, is that a permanent rate?! I wish we had comparable rates around here.

How much does your ISP charge for internet?

I recently got an email notifying me that my ISP has implemented data caps on all plans, and since I routinely exceed my new data cap of 1024GB/mo they will be charging me $10/50GB overage starting next month. …



I was around when the project first started. IIRC, when the Snowden leaks were still fresh a thread was started on 4Chan suggesting someone should develop a truly secure p2p voice, video, and IM application. From that thread several devs got to work making it happen.

It took about year before it was starting to become usable, but the clients were still super buggy and it wasn’t ready to replace Skype. A lot of people were interested in Tox because it was supposed to replace Skype (whose usability and security degraded significantly after Microsoft bought them); Google Hangouts was not very good, XMPP, Mumble, and Ventrillo offered free calling, but they were a little more technical than Skype. There were a few other voice services, but there really weren’t any other free video chat services back then, so Skype was the de facto standard to beat.

That’s when Discord entered the scene; they catered to gamers (who were badly neglected by Skype) and they provided free high-quality voice and video calls better than anyone else. So, once there was an easy, free, and high-quality drop in replacement for Skype people forgot all about Tox. This was a couple years after the Snowden leaks, so by this point most people didn’t care about the privacy aspect of Tox, they just wanted something that worked.

As far as I know Tox works, but is pretty buggy. When I was following it the devs seemed to get stuck for years trying to balance security and usability; invariably the more secure it became they had to tradeoff making it less convenient to use with lower quality video & audio. It is a legit project, but it looks like the development has slowed to a trickle and not much exciting has happened with it in several years.

EDIT: I forgot Jitsi is a thing, too. The last time I tried Tox it was too buggy to be usable, but I’ve used Jitsi a few times and it works great.

I don’t think it’s a very convincing argument if you’re talking about the United States government? We have some of the loosest Know Your Customer laws here because freedom and privacy are ingrained as paramount values.

Landlords request identification so they can run credit checks and background checks, there’s plenty of debate on the merit of both, but I don’t think it is unreasonable that a landlord wants to know who they are renting to. Without quick ID verification using a passport or driver’s license the landlord or business will be forced to use even more invasive measures to ensure you are who you say you are, this erodes trust between individuals and drastically increases transactional cost. Simply put, when a landlord cannot quickly verify you are who you say you are they are going to need to spend significantly more time manually investigating you, and will be slower to rent to you.

A state issued ID is only non-optional because it is convenient and trustworthy.

I believe that it is long-past time for the US to implement a proper national ID for all citizens: currently, we use Social Security numbers & cards in place of a proper ID, but Social Security numbers / cards are notoriously insecure. In fact, older Social Security cards used to print “NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION” on the bottom because they are so insecure, but most people used them anyway so they took that off to avoid confusion. According to this US Dept. of Justice report in 2012 and 2014 identity theft affected about 7% of the entire adult population of the United States, the insecurity of Social Security numbers is the leading factor. I expect the annual rate of identity theft in the US is still about 7% per year, it is a major issue. In contrast, I could not find another country that suffers to the same degree as the United States from identity theft, but in Europe (where most countries issue national IDs) identity theft appears to affect far fewer citizens (less than 0.01% per year, but I could not find a study to support that number).

Identity theft affects far more people every year than not having access to ID. Eliminating existing forms of ID, or privatizing the issuance of ID would exacerbate, not alleviate, both issues. I would rather have a public institution accountable to a democratic citizenship in charge of issuing IDs, not a private company only accountable to shareholders. Blockchains are a possible middle path, but they have not proved viable yet: so far, the technology has only proven particularly effective for committing fraud, not eliminating it.


Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of reach. His freedom to speak whatever he wants was not revoked, his freedom to reach an audience of millions through a specific platform was revoked.

Currently, platforms have no obligation to host content they do not want to host. I think this should be expanded to mandate that platforms have a fiduciary responsibility to promote the well-being of their users by restricting content that is widely harmful, and maintaining content that calmly challenges established beliefs. Most platforms currently exploit and addict users with misleading hyper-sensationalized content that serves the bottom line at the expense of the user, I believe this is an abuse of freedom of reach that erodes civility, causes hysteria, and promotes hateful divisiveness. When freedom of reach is less restricted (as it largely has been until recently) then whomever spends the most resources will have the widest audience and the most influence.

Should the public conscious be for-sale to the highest bidder with the most addictive content?

I believe if a person’s content is causing measurable hysteria, hatefulness, and division, then platforms should not host such harmful content.

I kinda went off on tax havens and tax fraud, but I forgot to mention securities-based lending which is 100% legal, and is the main way rich people avoid paying taxes. It’s so easy to do, J.P. Morgan has a simple web form where wealthy clients can request for a bank representative to contact them or their assistants to set up a loan.

Most rich people hold their wealth in the form of securities like stocks, bonds, and real estate. They only have to pay income tax when they sell these securities, so as long as they don’t sell their securities they won’t pay income tax. However, rich people need money to live too, so what they can do instead of selling their securities is take out loans and use their securities as collateral. The info graphic on J.P. Morgan’s site shows how this strategy is more profitable than selling assets, but to make things egregious keep in mind that Client A would also pay $577,707.50 in capital gains taxes while Client B pays $0! Client B does pay $58,500 to service the loan, but that is paltry compared to the additional $148,500 profit, and dodging almost $600,000 in taxes.

Again, this is 100% legal. These tax optimization strategies, and the policies that permit them, are a big contributor to the dramatic wealth inequality in the United States. There’s a lot of focus on income inequality, raising the minimum wage, and Universal Basic Income, but these campaigns primarily distract from the root of the problem: the ownership of securities needs to be more equitably dispersed, and tax policies must be rewritten to disallow flagrant tax dodging.

It looks like FireFox Focus can be installed and used as a stand-alone browser, or its ad & tracker blocking can be enabled as an extension in Safari. Kinda weird, but it allows the user to block ads while browsing in Safari.

You got my hopes up, but it turns out Apple does not allow other browsers to implement extensions. Safari is the only iOS browser that supports extensions, and Safari extensions are not compatible with FireFox on iOS.

I read the book “Quit Like a Millionaire” by Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung, a couple chapters in the book detail the authors’ frustration with how the wealthy can get away with paying so few taxes, and their eventual conclusion that “if you can’t beat them, join them”. I don’t agree with their conclusion, but it was a really interesting chapter to learn about tax optimization which is somewhat different than tax evasion.

Tax optimization is making lifestyle changes and structuring you personal finances in specific ways that incur the lowest taxes/fees possible. Things like maximizing contributions to tax deferred accounts (401k, 403b, etc…) to lower your taxable income for years when you sell investments, and “churning” capital gains on years when you do not. However, the ultra-wealthy are on a whole other level.

Many of the Wealthy Americans’ companies pay no taxes by re-investing profits in order to turn that profit into an expense. It gets complicated in the ways they do that, but one way is to set up another company (a shell company) in a country with lower business taxes than the US. Then, pay the shell company all of the American company’s profits. Those funds do not need to be transferred back to America (and therefore taxed by the US.) to be spent, the shell company can spend those funds for the American company anywhere in the world. Apple is notorious for doing this. To my knowledge using a tax haven is in the gray area between tax optimization (legal) and tax evasion (fraud).

You can, of course, always cross the fine line into tax fraud and save far more money by cheating your fellow citizens.

One example of tax fraud that I have personally witnessed was when a wealthy donor gave to a Boy’s and Girl’s club where I was volunteering. The donor, instead of donating money which was what was really needed, they donated toothpaste and tooth brushes. This was the cheapest, garbage toothpaste I have ever seen, and probably cost the donor ~$0.25 per tube, but they probably wrote if off at a cost of ~$4.00 per tube. I’m estimating my numbers, but they probably turned a ~$1,000 donation into a ~$16,000 tax write off. IF they get audited by the IRS (and that is a big if) they might get caught, or more likely the Boy’s and Girl’s club will confirm they received a donation of 4000 tubes of toothpaste and the auditor will drop the issue.

I am a huge proponent of full-scale income tax reform in the US, it’s about much more than not requiring individuals to do their own taxes each year, it’s about seriously reducing tax fraud and setting the IRS up for success by reducing the impossible workload that is placed on their auditors. I am not an expert on tax policy, but it is pretty clear the tax code needs to be fixed.

I didn’t know about the compact setting, thanks! That was my only complaint with Proton as well. I don’t have a large screen, so that vertical space is extra valuable.

Voice recognition is much more important in China and other nations that use non-alphabetic languages. Typing traditional Chinese characters is a real challenge, and all sorts of creative keyboards have been invented to make it easier, but the simplest way used to be to learn Pinyin and use a keyboard that converts Pinyin into Chinese characters.

Now, Chinese speakers can dictate whatever they want to say to their phone which is by far the easiest way to put their thoughts digitally into words. It does not require users to learn a second written language in order to use it. In fact, someone who is completely illiterate can send and receive messages using a voice assistant, and increasingly they have access to information on the internet exclusively through voice assistants. Part of the reason voice assistants are so common in alphabetic countries now is because many big western companies want to be in a good position to embrace emerging markets with non-alphabetic languages.

I just don’t believe we can bridge divides by refusing to build bridges. It is easy to unfederate if things get out of hand, but I believe to not try at all would be a tragedy.

People [on Reddit, 4Chan, et al] mass brigade and spout racist shit and do not rely on facts to prop up their agendas. None of this happens on Lemmy, because far left is one domain that largely does not consist of uneducated hypocrites, reactionaries, warmongerers or racists and believes in critical thinking just like some of the conservatives do… you will not see corrupt liberals or neocons leaving their bigotry or agendas at the door for a discussion, and will use every opportunity to leverage their agendas.

When I read that, I felt a little put off because it stereotypes many of the people in my life and espouses a certain pretentiousness, or holier-than-thou attitude of the Left. The left can be every bit as violent and bigoted as the right: a few years ago my local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America was ransacked by disgruntled communists advocating for violent revolution who were angry with the DSA’s peaceful message and reformist agenda. In fact, one of the problems I have witnessed of the left is that there is often an “all or nothing” attitude which self-defeats incremental progress, and undermines solidarity efforts.

Personally, I was raised in a deeply conservative evangelical christian community, and I was sent to radical christian camps as a kid, so I have certainly been in the belly of the beast so to speak. My grandmother is an incredibly talented organ player, a wonderful cook, and a civic minded woman with a tremendous heart, but she is also staunchly against unions and socialist government programs. I think of her, and many of my family members & friends who hold beliefs that conflict with my own, and I refuse to discard the opportunity to have relationships with them because they do not believe entirely what I do.

You are absolutely right that civility becomes more difficult to maintain with wider diversity of opinions, but I also believe the community is made more vibrant by diversity: I was once stuck in San Francisco on Christmas day (the whole city pretty much shuts down), but fortunately Chinatown was bustling because most of the residents & shop owners there do not celebrate Christmas, so I was finally able to get some food. I believe we should have more nuanced control over federation policies rather than “all or nothing”. I don’t think that is naive, I think it is a non-defeatist curiosity to solve problems and make things better. I’m hopeful that as Lemmy and the Fediverse grow they can help erode the perception gap by pioneering policies and practices that build bridges across divides.

I was on Voat when it was a pleasant community like Lemmy, and I tried to nudge for civility as over time every post became hateful and angry. I would still browse Voat occasionally until it shut down because I value diversity of thought, and I was curious to encounter rhetoric which contradicted my own beliefs.

Lemmy is not so different, however, instead of having a far-right bias Lemmy has a far-left bias. For now there are no far-right Lemmy instances to balance far-left instances like Lemmygrad.ml. This creates an atmosphere where right-leaning, and centrist users might take one look around and feel unwelcome.

I think it is important that left-leaning, centrist, and right-leaning users feel welcome while leaving bigotry at the door. We need for someone who is bigoted to feel welcome here by all of their other traits, and to erode their bigoted beliefs over time because bigotry is not tolerated. I think Lemmy and the Fediverse have real potential to foster a space where diverse users can share stories and form communities with users who hold very different beliefs.

Voat showed it is not enough to create an open platform with unmoderated free speech, the platform itself must have structures in place to promote civility, and the users of the platform must work hard to maintain a culture of civility. The fact that QAnon believers are not welcome here means that Lemmy has already siloed itself, and I believe that the current policy of non-federation with disagreeable instances is too strict to be a long-term viable solution.

My vision for fostering civility on Lemmy is for sublemmies to federate with one another across instances. e.g. /c/pixelart@lemmy.ml could federate freely with /c/pixelart@far-right.com and /c/pixelart@far-left.com to promote relationships between users with very different beliefs. However, /c/politics@lemmy.ml might want to federate much more selectively with /c/politics@far-right.com or /c/politics@far-left.com. Perhaps /c/politics@far-right.com and /c/politics@far-left.com could have a weekly debate post which is the only post that federates between them.

Favorite Personal Finance Management Software?

My credit union recently shut down their in-house personal finance management site because it was too much work to maintain and they don’t see it as competitive with freely available sites like mint.com. …

Alternative Front-Ends for Facebook?

Many businesses, non-profits, and local government offices where I live use Facebook as their primary, or exclusive, online presence. I don’t want to make a Facebook account, but I would like to be able to see some of the content that is posted there; are there any alternative front-ends that won’t …