Re: A plea for restraint

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Oct 13 2000 - 19:49:27 MDT

Alex Future Bokov writes:

> The whole point of slashboxes is so you *don't* have to do that. You
> can see the RDF headlines from potentially any RDF enabled site right
> there on the main page, and every Slash site is by default RDF
> enabled.

Even if this means I can have all the headlines from 53 different
sites on one page (last time I looked, this required some heavy
script-fu -- on my side. I did try this but it didn't scale even on
768/768 xDSL not to mention my current crappy dialup), is this still
the page on a local machine? And do I have the message bodies on the
local machine, so I can retrieve them without delay? Reliably (because
MTU protocol is a lot more robust than HTTP)?

Resounding yeah to all above points?
> Furthermore, how is the situation any different for email lists? I
> have to subscribe to all of them and get my limited disk space filled
> up with postings on a daily basis.
You must be joking. I don't have to subscribe to all my mailing lists
each time I fetchmail (roughly hourly, I can't hog the current phone
line). And the average MByte of mail I get/day are easily consumed by
loading just *one* web site. Right now my entire inbox is worth 63
MBytes, equivalent to more than 12 kMessages, assembled in about two

> > * not to mention have to succumb to limited design and presentation
> > skills of the average webmonkey, who is trying hard to earn its keep
> > (Excuse me, I don't really want to play first player shooter games in
> > the browser window (Java) nor check out the fully interactive frog
> > in the blender (Flash). All I want is hypertext with pictures, and
> > an occasional animation, thankyouverymuch).
> Please direct your comments at how ExtroDot specifically can improve. I

It can't. Because it's a web thing. Now if you can get ExtroDot
content (not just headlines) delivered into my mailbox as plain text
in single mail increments, we're in business.

> couldn't care less about the shortcomings of other, lesser, Slash
> clones. We have no frogs in blenders, java shooters, dancing hampsters,

Good to know.

> or for that matter any webmonkeys that are in any sense average.
A webmonkey can't help being a simian. It's an occupational hazard ;P
> > * No, I don't want to see more ads, and volunteer marketers behaviour
> > data, so that get more targeted spam
> Ditto. Have you even bothered to look at the Extrodot site?
Nope, I was talking about /. clones in general. I believe it's slick,
loads fast, and is about as mean and lean as webpages can
get. Unfortunately, it's still a web page.

> > * unless I run a tweaked squid and have essentially infinite drive
> > space I don't have that information stored. Not so with hypermailed
> > and full-text indexed inboxes, these are much easier on drive space
> Huh? Extodot sits on *our* drivespace, not yours. Unless you choose
> to save a particular posting or article locally. It's *more* efficient
> on disk space.
I'm a digital pack rat. I don't trust content to be there tomorrow
when I see it today. Because, like, every third link I click is dead
like, totally. Rather frustrating, this. Other people are solving this
by running squid in total web trail mode, me, I don't have that much
hard drive space. So I grab whatever I deem useful. Because web
doesn't allow me to save the entire document, I have to resort to
naked .html, txt, .ps.gz and .pdf

> > * I usually have about 100 browser windows open, which have lots of
> > state in them. Sooner or later the whole shebang crashes, resulting
> > in me producing weird muffled noises and wanting to strangle Netscape
> > programmers. All of them.
> Your misconfigured browser and your misconfigured computer is no more

Actually, I'm running the leanest browser version I know, have a
browser half life time of a week despite heavy use (abovementioned 100
simultaneously open sessions) and system uptimes well in excess of a
month (usually, due to creeping memory leaks (thanks again, Netscape
programmers) lwhich et ran my swap space (256 MBytes) full, and when I
forget to weekly kill and restart the browser, the system will sooner
or later typically crash). It would sure help if I had a gig of core,
but I'm not that rich.

Opera is not quite there yet when it comes to stability (but it is
making good progress), nor is Galeon (also almost there). However, the
problem is principal. You can't render complex content in a
sustainably stable fashion, using state of the art software
development. On the other hand, I can rely on the average software to
render simple content (ASCII) reliably.

> ExtroDot's problem than your misconfigured email client or sendmail
> server is's problem.
You should know my reactions are typically not knee-jerk. There is
usually a reason for what I do. And thank you for your concern, but I
manage to run a quite stable system without apparent gross
misconfigurations, despite this not being my job.

> > * Browsers not only crash, they eat memory like crazy for each page
> > rendered. And, yeah, memory leaks. Lots of them. Comes with
> > braindead programmers trying to render complex content specified
> > in a braindead language transported by braindead protocols
> Which is why none of this list's readers use web browsers. Oops, I
> should have known this World Wide Web thing would never catch on.
I've never liked the web. When the CERN dudes came out with HTML, my
first thoughts were 1) great, something new which totally ignores
prior art (both TeX and PostScript) and is not a programming language
2) it doesn't do typography? uh-oh. In a few years they'll wind up
reintroducing basic typographic capabilities, in dribs and drabs,
until the thing breaks all over the place.

So we did have 4 major HTML revisions, now there's XML which is
falling into complexity morass even before it is widely deployed, we
have about five different, incompatible widely misused scripting
languages which further increase browser instability and are a system
security nightmare.

While I did not predict the browser wars with their full viciousness,
and the amount of actual balkanization does surprise me, the overall
trend has been predictable. Man, nowadays the web sucks so badly I
don't even have to vacuum the living room anymore.
> Hey, if your VAX or whatever it is doesn't have enough memory to run
> a GUI browser, ExtroDot will work just fine with Lynx. I've tested it.
I'm not rich, so I can only afford 1/4 GByte. I understand this is 2-4
times average user's memory size. And why on Earth should I run lynx?
It's still a browser, and a lousy one at that. If I need to grab stuff
from an uri, I use wget.

> > * slash(hash, dash, mash)dots do everything server-side, which does
> > not allow me with to engage my proven idjit filter (notice that
> > even low grade morons can click, but it takes at least an
> > imbecile to set up a mail configuration, and subcribe to a
> > push medium. Also, the overhead usually prevents said idjits to fire
> > up their insightful one-liners)
> Finally you're getting to a rational criticism. You should have started

That's the general malaise with you web people, you don't even accept
user criticism. This makes web doubly broken, because without problem
awareness there will be no fixing. Uck, ptui. Gag me with a pitchfork.

> with this point in the first place. Tell me more about your filters.
> They may already exist as features, or they may be relatively easy to
> implement.
> > * I can go on, but this really proves web is totally broken
> No it doesn't. Please, do go on.
> Eugene, I apologize for the sarcastic tone of this message. I have the
> utmost respect for you, but I get as irritated by junk logic as you

Ditto here. So I will put away the razor, at least for this time ;)

> do. To the rest of you-- you won't get the Eugene treatment; please
> don't be afraid to speak up. Eugene is a special case because I know he
> knows better.

Naw, impossible.
> I leave everybody with this question to ponder:
> Is there an inherent difference between push and pull media, or is this
> difference arbitrary, artifactual, and potentially transparent to the
> user in the same way as "static location vs. search query" or "local
> volume vs. distributed file system"?

It's not just about push and pull. I won't tolerate HTML pushed at me

I'm not even bitter. An atypical user will always get creamed, but he
should be used to it. 98% of everything is crap, so the web is just a
particular special case of the general rule.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:17 MDT