• 11 Posts
Joined 2Y ago
Cake day: Dec 25, 2020


Summary of the bill from Congress.gov -

This bill prohibits certain large online platforms from engaging in specified acts, including giving preference to their own products on the platform, unfairly limiting the availability on the platform of competing products from another business, or discriminating in the application or enforcement of the platform’s terms of service among similarly situated users.

Further, a platform may not materially restrict or impede the capacity of a competing business user to access or interoperate with the same platform, operating system, or hardware or software features. The bill also restricts the platform’s use of nonpublic data obtained from or generated on the platform and prohibits the platform from restricting access to platform data generated by the activity of a competing business user. The bill also provides additional restrictions related to installing or uninstalling software, search or ranking functionality, and retaliation for contact with law enforcement regarding actual or potential violations of law.

The bill establishes affirmative defenses for the prohibited conduct.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice must designate whether an entity is a platform covered by the bill, and both must carry out enforcement activities.

The bill also provides for civil penalties, injunctions, and the forfeit of profits for repeat offenders.

Hearing a song I liked and missing the opportunity to listen to it again later is not a serious issue, just another piece of straw on the camels back.

My point is that a lot of little inconveniences add up to a significant life-style change, especially when the end-user is supposed to choose that life-style change.

Just a few weeks ago I used a dumbphone for 2 days in the US.

During that time

  • I was called for work while out and the caller expected me to review their email and respond while on the phone with them. This would have been easy with a smartphone, but instead I had to go home, review their email, then call them back the next day. They were annoyed by the inconvenience and delay.
  • I was called to schedule a doctors appointment while out, I needed to call the office back when I got home because I could not check my calendar without a smartphone.
  • I was working on a project and wanted to take a photos for memories / share when explaining why the project was taking so long. I needed to leave the project site, go home, grab my camera, return to the site, take the photos, upload them to my computer, then email them.
  • I wanted to log in to an account while away home, but I was unable to access my password manager or email without my smart phone.
  • My family went out to eat and I needed to borrow one of their smartphones because I could not scan the QR code for the menu and the restaurant did not have paper menus available.
  • I needed to deposit a check, so I would have driven nearly 20 miles round trip if I had not used remote deposit on my smartphone instead.
  • I wanted to listen to an audiobook from the library, but I need to use the overdrive / libby app in order to do this.
  • I heard a song on the radio and I could not use Shazam to identify it.
  • I needed to display a ticket for an event, so I had a friend save my ticket on their smartphone and they used their phone for both of us.
  • I needed to read a smart home monitor, but the only interface available was a smartphone app.
  • Discord kept crashing on my desktop, so I used my smartphone instead.

I gave up using a dumbphone after only 2 days because smartphones are integrated so deeply into modern society that it felt prohibitively difficult to function without one where I live in the United States. Everywhere a person goes it is assumed they have a smartphone on them, so anyone without a smartphone needs to find workarounds for simple tasks and is forced to navigate dozens of inconveniences every day.

I am spoiled and addicted to the convenience that smartphones provide, but my experience persuaded me that systemic changes, instead of individual choices, are necessary to ultimately solve these problems. Evidently, it can not be expected that a significant portion of the public will choose to abstain from the convenience smartphones offer even when they are educated about the harms caused by smartphones. Therefore, the only solution I can imagine is regulation to mitigate those harms, and humane technology design that solves the problems of profit-maximizing technology design.

Good luck, smartphones are integrated so deeply into modern society that it can feel impossible to get by without one.

A better solution is government regulation of the advertising industry, and free software alternatives that are designed using humane technology principles.

The reason for the opioid epidemic is not because the medical system has clamped down on prescriptions.

Pharmaceutical companies lied to doctors and patients about how addictive opioids are. Then, a series of studies concluded that many people are living with untreated chronic pain; so prescribing opioids more frequently was advised by medical associations and public health authorities.

It was only a matter of time until the truth about opioids’ addictiveness became obvious and undeniable. Only THEN did the “whole” medical system start clamping down on opioids.

The Sackler Family (owners of Perdue Pharma) directly caused the deaths of millions of innocent people by misleading doctors, patients, and health authorities. The Sackler Family is spending millions of dollars to launder their reputation and prevent the public from associating them with the opioid epidemic and the millions of lives they ruined for profit.

Look into Nextcloud calendar, you can use the default calendar application on your phone / desktop while offline and it will automatically sync with your Nextcloud when connected to the internet. Hetzner Storage Share is an inexpensive Nextcloud host with calendar enabled by default.

I believe the greatest factor is community. In my experience wealthier people, and wealthier areas, tend to have less community and weaker interpersonal bonds because they do not depend on one another to the same extent that poorer people do.

When your neighbor needs to borrow a tool, you need to sleep at a friend’s place, or you give a friend a ride to work you’re building relationships. The web of relationships between all the neighbors in a community forms a culture.

When people become wealthier they don’t need to borrow tools because they can buy their own, they don’t need to crash at a friend’s place when they can stay in a hotel, and they don’t need a ride to work if they have their own transportation.

In my experience some of the isolating effects of wealth accumulation can be mitigated with infrastructure that increases the inter-dependence, trust, and fraternity between neighbors. A few examples are walkable cities, cooperative organizations, social clubs, public parks, etc…

SSHFS is by far the easiest and most secure-by-default way I’ve found to mount a remote storage share. I have donated a little bit to this project before; I really hope a stable maintainer can take over because this is a critically useful piece of software!

Companies have brands, people have personalities.

I have read too many books evangelizing hustle culture, and I have listened to too many MBAs preaching “selling yourself” by “promoting your personal brand”. It’s bullshit, I’m a human being - I don’t want to sell myself, or spend countless hours crafting a narcissistic professional persona.

All I want is meaningful work, a modest livelihood, and a stable community. None of which requires fame, and it doesn’t require tracking my every keystroke. Exploitative tech companies are so desperate to chase infinite growth that they will sacrifice and erode everything that makes life worth living in pursuit of profit.

Is it really any wonder that people just want to use the internet without being data-mined, judged, and manipulated?

I’m not sure if this is exactly the sort of solution you need, but check out Loomio. It is open source and self-hostable.

Rclone is the best program I have used for any cloud storage needs, you should be able to mount your google drive using rclone. It is a CLI program, but it is very easy and intuitive to use. As an added bonus you can skip cryptomator and use rclone’s built in encryption.

A great book on the topic is Brotopia by Emily Chang.

Suggestions for digitizing documents?
What hardware and software do you use for digitizing your documents? I'm looking for solutions to digitize hundreds of paper documents, ideally the end result will be searchable with OCR and I won't be locked into any proprietary software / services. Any workflow tips? I'm not opposed to using a scanning app on my phone, but so far the ones I have tried are fairly slow, and require manually identifying the corners on nearly every page. EDIT: I ultimately chose Nextcloud and my phone to scan documents. Nextcloud includes an excellent document-scanning feature in the app.

This is exactly the type of info I was hoping to find, thank you!

I found only one Low-Income Designated CDFI in my area. I think there’s a real void here. I need to find a volunteer opportunity or another way to connect with financial leaders in my area to learn more about my local credit unions and maybe help direct more funds towards serving the community.

It’s kind of disappointing that there aren’t better options in my area, but it is also reassuring to know I’m not just cynical! Thank you!

Which bank or credit union do you use and why did you choose them?
I'm looking to switch credit unions, but I'm finding the process dispiriting. There is no shortage of competing financial institutions in my part of the United States, but no institutions open to the public seem to be doing anything exciting, progressive, or seriously systemically beneficial to their local communities. I'm curious where members of Lemmy choose to park their money, and why you chose that financial institution. There is [a top-down movement to reintroduce public postal banking](https://www.marketplace.org/2021/10/15/usps-pilots-a-public-banking-program/) in the US, and I'm very excited about this, but I'm curious which banks and credit unions you've chosen, and additionally how your chosen institutions benefit your community.

Check out https://frame.work/ it’s a pretty high-end and completely modular laptop.

There’s https://www.mercuryos.com/

Mercury OS is a speculative vision designed to question the paradigms governing human-computer interaction today.

If you’re wanting to self-host a cloud service, then Nextcloud is second to none. You can use NextCloud together with Cryptomator for easy client-side encryption, but If you need automatic syncing look into rclone instead.

If you are planning to use this for backups, check out borg backup and vorta(easy to use GUI for borg).

At least in my circles and where I live it’s pretty normal to shit on mainstream apps. Most people still use them, but if my opinion of those platforms comes up I never feel judged. In fact, since the social dilemma came out and after Facebook’s most recent controversies and name change I’ve heard more and more people speaking poorly of social-media, smart phones, and algorithms in general.

In my experience it’s almost as if using social-media is perceived the same as smoking was in the 80s-90s: everyone knows it’s terrible for you, but it’s normal. Now, in conversation there’s almost a prestige in saying “I don’t use Facebook” that causes people who do use Facebook to immediately justify using it by saying things like “Yeah, I only use it to keep in touch with family”, or “I don’t check it very often”.

Many of my friends and family half-joke about their addiction to their phones and apps, it seems pretty widely recognized now.

I don’t believe alternative apps, services, and platforms are necessarily better, so if I bring up the fediverse it’s usually in the context of me advocating for government forcing interoperability between social media sites to weaken the tech-giant oligopoly. Most people’s response is basically “huh, I didn’t even know that was possible”.

For using Linux I used to catch flak from my friends when trying to play games with them, but we don’t play games nearly as often anymore and anything we do play generally works on Linux now, so I don’t get teased anymore. Amongst every single non-techie friend I have they could not possible care less that I use Linux.

In order to identify systemic / cultural discrimination against certain demographics. If these types of questions were never asked we would only have personal anecdotes to guide decision making.

e.g. We are better prepared to address the gender disparity within the industry when we have surveys and studies reporting the massive imbalance of men and women. By asking the same questions year after year we are able to tell whether diversity programs and policy changes are working.

How did you become class conscious?
I was thinking this morning of when I first became class conscious. For several weeks I volunteered to serve meals to people experiencing homelessness. Afterwards, I volunteered at a charity dinner soliciting donations from wealthy patrons where the level of opulence and disconnect was staggering to me. The dinner was hosted at a private estate where they owned more than a dozen cars and 5 houses for a family of 7. This was fewer than 5 miles outside of a city with overflowing shelters and people freezing to death. Here was all the wealth needed to provide homes to every person presently surviving in a shelter, and it was squandered in the hands of people entirely detached and unaware of the scope of the problem. In their minds, through petty charity they could live with a clean conscious believing they'd done their part. The egregiousness of the disparity, the obliviousness of our guests, and their astonishing reluctance to donate left me furious for days. My own hypocrisy left me feeling crushed and crumpled inside for much longer.

My understanding is that voice interfacing is already the most common way to interact with a smartphone in China. Chinese (and other non-alphabetic languages) are notoriously tedious to type, and all sorts of keyboards have been invented to make it easier, but they all have a learning curve. Instead, it is far simpler to simply use voice recognition. Over the last decade many companies have pivoted their focus towards the Chinese economy, so a lot of the voice assistants, customer service platforms, and other software innovations we enjoy in the west are the direct result of companies trying to break into Chinese markets (and other emerging markets) with voice-driven designs that are accessible to billions of people for whom typing is an insurmountable friction.

Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant’s User Friendly is a really good book for learning about state of the art UI / UX design and the current trends that are likely to determine what our computer interfaces will look like in 2025 - 2030.

https://fuchsia.googlesource.com/ , Fuchsia - Wikipedia - Another really interesting project. This is Google’s new operating system they are building from scratch to replace Android, ChromeOS, Windows, and perhaps even server Linux. Fuchsia is being built from the ground up to replace the traditional desktop metaphor with a conversational or “story driven” metaphor instead. The ultimate goal is to be able to tell your computer in human language what you want it to do and have the computer do it. e.g. “Ok Google, open the survey results Sarah emailed to me. Ok, now plot a histogram with markings at each standard deviation, oh and a pie chart too. Great, save that and email it to Kyle.”

I’m not aware of what Microsoft, Apple, or any other tech giants might be working on, but Fuchsia is at least currently open source under BSD, MIT, and Apache 2.0 licenses.

I was looking into getting an eink display for my rasperberry pi so that I could have a minimalist terminal only computer similar to the light phone. Now, I’m really looking forward to getting a PineNote, loading a compatible distro on it, and avoiding having to build my own case!

Anyone know any good books about cooperatives & other collaborative business models?
There are libraries full of books written about hierarchical business methods, practices, and models. I'm curious to learn more about the practical application of alternative business models. I'm looking for history books that showcase the good, the bad, and the ugly of collaborative business models. When, where, and how did some succeed? When, where, and how did some fail? I'm looking for analysis that compare and contrast hierarchical and non-hierarchical businesses directly via metrics like failure rate, employee turnover, community impact, annualized growth, etc. and indirectly by investigating challenges and trade-offs unique to different organizational structures. Does anyone know any good books about cooperatives?

Resonate – the ethical music streaming co-op
Resonate is a really cool co-op and they could really use some volunteers & users. I've been looking for a more ethical music streaming service since I discovered [Spotify and other streaming platforms are terrible for small artists](https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2021/03/18/spotify-artist-earnings-figures/). Only the top 3% of artists make $1000/yr and only the top 1% make more than $5000/yr. You'd have to be in the top 0.2% to actually earn a living of $50,000/yr on Spotify. Resonate is the only platform I've found that's doing something radically different. They have a stream to own model in which listeners pay artists directly about 1/4 of one cent for their first stream then the price increases exponentially with each stream until the 9th stream at which point the listener has paid ~$1.50usd. At that point the user can download the song for offline listening and never has to pay to stream that song again. Perhaps the coolest part is they are a co-op, 45% of governance weight is reserved for artist shares, 35% for listener shares, and only 20% for staff. Resonate is a small project that could use all the help it can get. If anyone knows of any other cool music platforms, I'd love to know about them, too!

The World Community Grid is a BOINC project that enables anyone with a computer to contribute to cancer research, find treatments for COVID, improve weather forecasts for African agriculture, and many other humanitarian efforts. All research done through WCG is published in the public domain free of charge. On 13Sep2021 World Community Grid announced that ownership of the project is being transfered to Krembil Research Institute. The project is in talks with new sources for funding. IBM was previously the sole source of funding and the [#1 contributor](https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/stat/viewMemberInfo.do?userName=IBM) of computing resources to the World Community Grid. There is a lot of uncertainty within the community regarding this move, because it is likely to limit the scope of research conducted through WCG.

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 think this is outrageous, so I'm shopping around for a new ISP, but there are only 2 or 3 that offer service to my house, and at least one of them is twice the price of my current ISP. I'm curious how everyone here is treated by their ISPs? I'm paying $55/mo for 100Mbps down (actually get ~45mbps max), and I'm capped at 1024GB/mo. The next best ISP without a data cap is a maximum of 20Mbps down, for $60/mo. $ = USD

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. Now, I'm looking for something to switch to and I'm curious what software the community here uses to manage their personal finances.

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 abuse me with trackers? So far I've only been able to find dead-links that are years old. e.g. For Reddit there is teddit and libreddit, For youtube there is invidious, twitter has nitter, etc.