1. I mapped almost every USA traffic death in the 21st century (roadway.report | Archive)
142 points by Bencarneiro | 2024-07-19 23:16:46 | 43 comments

Dehyped title: Archive.today Search Fails to Locate Roadway Report Website Snapshots

Summary:

  • The webpage you're trying to access, roadway.report, appears to be unavailable based on the archive.today search results.

  • The site seems to have been focused on a "Nationwide Vision-Zero Map," suggesting it aimed to visualize and track progress towards eliminating traffic fatalities across the country.

  • The concept of "Vision Zero" is a transportation safety approach that prioritizes preventing all road deaths and serious injuries. It emphasizes proactive measures like infrastructure improvements, stricter enforcement, and education campaigns.

  • The map likely displayed data on crash statistics, high-risk areas, and implemented safety interventions. This type of visualization tool can be invaluable for identifying trends, targeting resources effectively, and measuring the impact of safety initiatives.

Comments:

  • Technical Functionality: Users report experiencing slow loading times and server errors, indicating potential strain on the website's infrastructure. Some users successfully accessed the site but noted slow performance.

  • Data Source and Analysis: The creator confirmed that the data originates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Users expressed curiosity about the tools used for analysis, suggesting a level of complexity in processing and visualizing such a large dataset.

  • Impact and Significance: Users reacted with a mix of awe and somber reflection to the visualization of fatal accidents. The sheer number of incidents highlighted the gravity of road safety issues. Some users sought specific details about past accidents, indicating a personal connection to the topic.

  • Future Development: The creator mentioned plans to implement search and filter functionality, suggesting ongoing development and improvement of the website's features.


2. Garage: Open-Source Distributed Object Storage (garagehq.deuxfleurs.fr | Archive)
26 points by n3t | 2024-07-20 00:40:31 | 2 comments

Dehyped title: Garage is an open-source, distributed object storage service implementing the Amazon S3 API for self-hosting on heterogeneous hardware.

Summary:

  • Garage is an open-source distributed object storage service designed for self-hosting. It aims to provide a reliable and scalable solution for storing data, similar to Amazon S3 but with the advantage of being self-hosted.

  • Data redundancy is a key feature of Garage. Each piece of data (chunk) is replicated across three separate zones, each consisting of multiple servers. This ensures that even if one zone experiences issues, your data remains accessible.

  • Garage prioritizes ease of deployment and operation. It's designed to be lightweight and efficient, running as a single dependency-free binary on all Linux distributions.

  • Flexibility is another core principle. Garage can be deployed on heterogeneous hardware, meaning you can build a cluster using whatever second-hand machines are available. The minimum requirements are modest: an x86_64 CPU (or ARMv7/ARMv8), 1GB of RAM, at least 16GB of disk space, and a network connection with less than 200ms latency and 50Mbps bandwidth.

  • Garage is compatible with existing applications. It implements the Amazon S3 API, allowing you to seamlessly integrate it into your current workflows.

  • Garage leverages cutting-edge research in distributed systems. Its design draws inspiration from projects like Dynamo (Amazon's highly available key-value store), Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types, and Maglev (a fast and reliable software network load balancer).

  • Funding for Garage comes from various sources. The project has received support from NGI POINTER and NLnet / NGI0 Entrust. The developers encourage further contributions through donations or support contracts.

Comments:

  • Alternative Solutions: Users suggest SeaweedFS as another viable open-source distributed object storage solution.

  • Critique of S3 API: Users express dissatisfaction with the Amazon S3 API, citing its lack of features compared to traditional file systems. They point out the absence of metadata, directory structures, search capabilities, sorting, and filtering options. The high latency associated with network file access and the perceived verbosity of the API are also mentioned as drawbacks.

  • Advocacy for File System Replication: Users argue that replicating a real file system is not overly complex and offers significant advantages over using bucket-based storage solutions like S3. They emphasize the benefits of having familiar file system structures with features like directories, metadata, and search capabilities.


3. Multisatellite data depicts a record-breaking methane leak from a well blowout (pubs.acs.org | Archive)
133 points by belter | 2024-07-19 22:42:25 | 67 comments

Dehyped title: Satellite and aircraft data quantify methane emissions from the 2023 Karaturun East oil well blowout.

Summary:

  • Methane Leaks are a Serious Environmental Problem: The text emphasizes that methane leaks pose a significant threat to our planet due to their potent greenhouse gas effect, contributing heavily to climate change.

  • Advanced Satellite Technology is Revolutionizing Methane Leak Detection: Scientists are now using powerful satellites equipped with specialized instruments like TROPOMI, PRISMA, EMIT, EnMAP, and GHGSat to pinpoint and measure methane emissions with remarkable accuracy. These satellites can even identify the source of leaks, such as those originating from oil and gas infrastructure.

  • Imaging Spectroscopy Plays a Key Role: This technique analyzes the unique way methane absorbs and reflects light, allowing researchers to precisely locate and quantify emissions. Think of it like a fingerprint for methane in the atmosphere.

  • Validation Ensures Accuracy: To make sure these new detection methods are reliable, scientists conduct rigorous validation studies. They compare satellite-derived methane emission estimates with measurements taken on the ground to confirm their accuracy.

  • Modeling Methane Dispersion Helps Understand Impact: Atmospheric models, such as the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, simulate how methane plumes spread in the atmosphere. This helps researchers understand the full extent of a leak and its potential effects on air quality.

  • Real-World Examples Demonstrate Success: The text highlights successful cases where these advanced techniques have been used to detect and quantify methane leaks:

    • A massive methane leak in Kazakhstan was identified using satellite observations.
    • A high-resolution satellite successfully pinpointed and measured methane emissions from an active gas leak in the UK.
  • International Organizations are Leading the Charge: Groups like the IEA (International Energy Agency) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) are actively involved in monitoring and reducing methane emissions globally. The IEA maintains a Methane Tracker database, while UNEP's Methane Alert and Response System (MARS) aims to quickly identify and address significant methane leaks worldwide.

  • The Karaturun East Blowout: A Case Study: This event, which occurred on June 9, 2023, at the Karaturun East oil field in Kazakhstan, serves as a prime example of how these technologies are used in real-world scenarios.

    • Satellites like Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI, PRISMA, EMIT, EnMAP, and GHGSat were crucial in detecting and quantifying the methane plume released from the blowout.
    • By analyzing satellite imagery and incorporating wind data, scientists estimated the emission rate of methane, which varied over time.

    • Data from the VIIRS FIRMS product was used to track active fires at the site, providing insights into the potential for combustion of the released methane.

  • Comparison with Other Blowouts: The Karaturun East event is compared to other major blowouts like Aliso Canyon (2015), Ohio (2018), and Louisiana (2019) to highlight its scale and significance in terms of methane emissions.

Comments:

  • Environmental Impact: Users express concern about the environmental impact of methane leaks from oil and gas operations, highlighting the significant contribution of such leaks to greenhouse gas emissions. Some users suggest solutions like methane detectors with igniters to burn off excess methane before it escapes into the atmosphere.

  • Elon Musk's Role: Users debate Elon Musk's role in addressing climate change, with some arguing that his investments in electric vehicles through Tesla offset the environmental impact of SpaceX rocket launches. Others express skepticism about this claim and point out the substantial carbon footprint associated with space travel.

  • Global Responsibility: Users discuss the need for international cooperation to address climate change, emphasizing the importance of holding major polluters accountable regardless of their nationality. Some propose more aggressive measures, such as disabling polluting infrastructure, to curb emissions.

  • Human Impact: Users acknowledge the potential severity of climate change and its impact on human civilization. Some express pessimism about humanity's ability to adapt and survive, while others remain hopeful that technological advancements and societal changes can mitigate the worst effects.


4. The European Union must keep funding free software (pad.public.cat | Archive)
63 points by tr4656 | 2024-07-19 19:57:03 | 12 comments

Dehyped title: Open Source Community Urges Continued EU Funding for Free Software Development

Summary:

  • This open letter to the European Commission advocates for continued funding of free software projects through programs like Next Generation Internet (NGI).

  • The letter emphasizes the crucial role free software plays in fostering innovation, digital sovereignty, and a more inclusive digital society.

  • It highlights several key benefits of free software:

    • Transparency and Security: Free software allows anyone to inspect its code, leading to increased security and trust.
    • Innovation and Collaboration: The open-source nature of free software encourages collaboration and the sharing of knowledge, accelerating innovation.
    • Cost-Effectiveness: Free software eliminates licensing fees, making it more accessible and affordable for individuals, organizations, and governments.
  • The letter cites examples of successful free software projects funded by the EU, demonstrating the tangible impact of such investments.

  • It urges the European Commission to recognize free software as a strategic asset and to commit to sustained funding in the future.

  • The signatories represent a diverse range of stakeholders in the free software ecosystem, including:

    • FOSS Projects: Molly Instant Messenger, UnifiedPush, GNUnet
    • Non-Profit Organizations: Conscious Digital, Stichting Vrijschrift.org, Domainepublic
    • Companies: Octopuce, Louis Labs
    • Selfhosting Collectives: Kompot
    • Free Software Users and Contributors: Occitania liura, òc, linux, logiciels ouverts, LaoBlog
  • The letter underscores the importance of supporting free software development not only within the EU but also globally.

Comments:

  • Funding Concerns: Users express concerns about the effectiveness and transparency of EU funding for free and open-source software (FOSS). Some question the value proposition of past FOSS initiatives, citing examples of projects that failed to gain traction or deliver tangible results. Others argue that limited resources should be prioritized towards more impactful areas.

  • Alternative Approaches: Users propose alternative models for FOSS development, such as public-private partnerships where companies contribute existing software and receive benefits in return. This approach aims to foster collaboration and accelerate innovation while ensuring sustainability through shared investment.

  • Government Role: Users highlight the need for governments to actively participate in promoting and adopting FOSS. They suggest that collaborative efforts between governments are crucial for developing open-source solutions that address societal needs.

  • EU Policy Inconsistencies: Users point out inconsistencies in EU policies regarding FOSS, noting that while some initiatives support open-source development, others introduce regulations that may inadvertently favor proprietary software and stifle innovation.


5. CrowdStrike Update: Windows Bluescreen and Boot Loops (old.reddit.com | Archive)
3874 points by BLKNSLVR | 2024-07-19 05:26:13 | 3275 comments

Dehyped title: CrowdStrike Falcon Sensor update triggers Blue Screen of Death errors on Windows systems.

Summary:

  • A faulty CrowdStrike Falcon Sensor update is causing widespread blue screen errors (BSODs) on Windows endpoints, effectively rendering them unusable.

  • This issue is further complicated by many organizations utilizing BitLocker encryption for endpoint security. Accessing BitLocker recovery keys often requires booting into Safe Mode or the Windows Recovery Environment, which is impossible due to the BSODs caused by the faulty update.

  • CrowdStrike has acknowledged the problem and rolled back the problematic update. They recommend a manual workaround involving deleting a specific driver file (C-00000291*.sys) from the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\CrowdStrike directory while booting into Safe Mode or Recovery Environment.

  • This workaround presents challenges for organizations with numerous remote sites and limited IT support, as it necessitates manual intervention on each affected device.

  • The incident underscores the potential risks associated with automated security updates and emphasizes the importance of having robust recovery mechanisms in place.

  • The faulty CrowdStrike update has resulted in a global outage affecting Windows systems, causing significant disruption across various sectors.

  • Examples of this disruption include trading halts on major stock exchanges like the London Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), as well as unusual displays on Times Square billboards showing BSODs.

  • CrowdStrike identified a content deployment error as the root cause of the issue and has since reverted the problematic changes.

  • The recommended workaround involves booting into Safe Mode, deleting the specific driver file (C-00000291*.sys) from the C:\Windows\System32\drivers\CrowdStrike directory, and then rebooting the system normally.

  • This incident highlights the vulnerabilities inherent in relying solely on automated software updates and emphasizes the critical need for robust testing and rollback mechanisms to mitigate potential risks.

  • Experts predict substantial financial losses due to the widespread downtime and disruption caused by this outage.

Comments:

  • Firewall Limitations: Users acknowledge that traditional firewalls can be points of failure and are often ineffective against sophisticated attacks like phishing. They suggest network segmentation as a mitigation strategy but recognize its complexity and expense.

  • Decentralization as a Solution: Users explore the concept of decentralized security solutions, questioning their existence and highlighting the need for more robust and adaptable security architectures that move away from reliance on single vendors or centralized systems.

  • Insurance and Liability: Users debate the role of cybersecurity insurance in covering outages caused by ransomware attacks. Some argue that policies typically focus on breaches rather than general downtime, while others suggest coverage depends on specific policy terms.

  • System Design and Testing: Users criticize the current state of IT infrastructure design, emphasizing the need for more resilient and adaptable systems. They advocate for incorporating "massive IT failure test events" into regular schedules to identify vulnerabilities and improve preparedness.

  • Severity Comparison: Users debate whether the CrowdStrike incident is worse than ransomware attacks like WannaCry, considering factors such as scale, randomness of infection, lethality, and impact on critical infrastructure. Some argue that the simultaneous nature of the CrowdStrike issue makes it more damaging due to the elimination of fallback options. Others point out that ransomware's ongoing threat and targeted nature against organizations can be equally devastating.

  • Ransomware Evolution: Users discuss the evolution of ransomware, noting its shift towards targeting network filesystems and crucial core systems for larger payouts. This trend has led to increased demand for Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions like CrowdStrike.

  • Recovery and Prevention: Some users believe recovering from this incident will be simpler than WannaCry due to the nature of the problem. Others highlight the importance of robust security practices, including proper EDR implementation and basic system configurations, in mitigating ransomware risks.

  • Software Engineering Responsibility: Users raise concerns about the lack of stringent quality standards and liability in software engineering compared to other fields where errors can have life-threatening consequences. They advocate for increased accountability and a deeper understanding of the potential impact of software vulnerabilities.

  • Impact Beyond Death: Users highlight that focusing solely on fatalities overlooks the broader consequences of such events, including serious injuries, long-term suffering, missed opportunities, and emotional distress. They argue that economic metrics like dollars are used because they attempt to capture the vast and diverse range of human experiences affected by these incidents.

  • Windows Update Behavior: Users debate the role of Windows updates in this situation. Some contend that Windows updates are notorious for forcing reboots at inopportune times, while others point out that Windows offers configuration options to control update timing and deployment. There's a discussion about the balance between ensuring critical security updates and minimizing disruption to users.

  • Technical Details: Users speculate on the specific nature of the update that caused the issue. Some suggest it might have been a driver update, while others propose it could have involved data reloading that triggered a latent bug in the existing driver. There's also a mention of Windows' capability to update drivers without requiring a reboot since around 2006.

  • Forced Updates vs. Maintenance: Users debate whether forced updates are comparable to routine maintenance. Some argue that ignoring updates is akin to neglecting car maintenance and risking breakdowns. Others contend that the analogy is flawed because software updates don't


6. What happened to BERT and T5? (www.yitay.net | Archive)
127 points by fzliu | 2024-07-19 18:54:26 | 43 comments

Dehyped title: Encoder-Decoder vs Decoder-Only Architectures: A Comparative Analysis for Large Language Models

Summary:

  • Encoder-Decoder vs. Decoder-Only Models:

    • Both are autoregressive models, meaning they predict the next token in a sequence based on previous tokens.
    • Encoder-decoder architectures have separate encoder and decoder components. The encoder processes the input sequence, and the decoder generates the output sequence.
    • Decoder-only models (like GPT) use a single decoder component for both encoding and decoding.
  • Pros and Cons:

    • Encoder-Decoder:

      • Allows for more complex attention mechanisms on the encoder side without being restricted by causality.
      • Can offload less important context to the encoder, potentially leading to smaller encoder sizes.
      • Requires fixed input and target lengths, which can lead to wasted compute if inputs are shorter than the allocated budget.
    • Decoder-Only:

      • Simpler architecture with fewer components.
      • More flexible in terms of input and output lengths.
  • Denoising Objectives:

    • Denoising objectives involve training a model to reconstruct corrupted or noisy text.
    • They are often used as complementary objectives to causal language modeling (CLM).
    • Training with denoising objectives can improve performance on various tasks, especially code generation.
  • Bidirectional Attention:

    • Allows the model to attend to both past and future tokens during training.
    • Can be beneficial at smaller scales but may become less important as model size increases.
  • The Decline of BERT-like Models:

    • BERT models are primarily encoder-based and have largely been superseded by more flexible autoregressive models like T5.
    • The shift towards autoregressive models is driven by the desire for a single, general-purpose model capable of performing various tasks.

Comments:

  • Effectiveness of BERT-like models: Users acknowledge that BERT-based models remain effective for tasks like text classification, clustering, and retrieval. Some users highlight the practicality of these models due to their smaller size compared to LLMs, making them easier to deploy.

  • Reasons for LLM dominance: Users discuss several reasons why LLMs have gained prominence over BERT-like models. These include:

    • The ability of LLMs to be trained on multiobjective loss functions, enabling them to acquire a broader understanding of the world.
    • The scalability of LLMs through increased compute and data resources.
  • Continued relevance of BERT: Users point out that recent research has demonstrated the competitiveness of BERT models against LLMs in certain tasks. They also mention examples like DNABERT-S, which showcases the ongoing utility of xBERT architectures in specific domains like genomics.

  • Potential for hybrid approaches: Users suggest the possibility of combining the strengths of both LLMs and BERT-like models through techniques like few-shot learning with setfit or fastfit.

  • Availability of zero-shot capable models: Users mention the existence of zero-shot capable BERT-based models, such as Tasksource, NuNER, Flan, and T0.


7. FCC votes to limit prison telecom charges (worthrises.org | Archive)
810 points by Avshalom | 2024-07-19 11:33:45 | 373 comments

Dehyped title: FCC Caps Prison Phone Call Rates to End Predatory Pricing Practices.

Summary:

  • The FCC has taken significant action to regulate phone call rates within prisons, jails, and detention centers. This move is being celebrated by various advocacy groups who have long fought against exploitative pricing practices.

  • Previously, incarcerated individuals and their families faced exorbitant fees for phone calls, which created a financial burden and hindered communication crucial for rehabilitation and maintaining family ties.

  • The FCC's new rules aim to establish "just and reasonable" rates for all phone and video calls. This will provide much-needed relief to millions of families struggling with the high costs of staying connected with loved ones behind bars.

  • Beyond capping call rates, the FCC is also addressing other abusive practices, such as outrageous fees and site commissions, which further exploited consumers.

  • Advocates emphasize the importance of communication for incarcerated individuals. Maintaining contact with family, legal counsel, and clergy is seen as a fundamental human right that supports rehabilitation and successful reintegration into society.

  • The FCC's decision is being lauded as a major victory for prison justice. It acknowledges the systemic issues within the prison phone industry and takes concrete steps to address them.

Comments:

  • Ethical Concerns Regarding Rehabilitation: Users debate whether treating prisoners as subjects for rehabilitation experiments is ethical, questioning if informed consent can be truly obtained within a prison setting. Some argue that advancements in medical and psychological sciences demonstrate ethical experimentation on humans is possible.

  • Effectiveness of Current Prison System: Users express skepticism about the effectiveness of the US prison system in reducing reoffending rates, citing evidence from comparative studies. They highlight the prevalence of violence and abuse within prisons and suggest these conditions are counterproductive to rehabilitation.

  • Alternatives to Incarceration: Users propose alternatives to incarceration, such as restorative justice practices and community-based programs, arguing that these approaches may be more effective in addressing the underlying causes of criminal behavior and promoting reintegration into society.

  • Role of Societal Factors: Users acknowledge the influence of societal factors on criminal behavior, pointing out that attitudes and opportunities can contribute to an individual's likelihood of engaging in crime. They emphasize the need for comprehensive solutions that address both individual and systemic issues.

  • Jury Nullification: Users discuss jury nullification as a potential tool for resisting unjust convictions but caution against openly advocating for it due to legal repercussions.

  • Need for Evidence-Based Approaches: Users stress the importance of developing evidence-based approaches to rehabilitation, recognizing that current understanding of criminal behavior is limited and requires further research. They call for a more nuanced and humane approach to justice that prioritizes both public safety and individual well-being.

  • Ethical Concerns Regarding Fines for Overturned Convictions: Users express strong disapproval of imposing fines on individuals whose convictions are overturned, deeming it unjust and exploitative. They argue that such a practice perpetuates an unfair system that disproportionately affects marginalized communities.

  • Justification for Fines in Cases of Proven Guilt: Some users contend that fines can serve as a legitimate form of restitution for the harm caused to society by criminal activity. They emphasize that fines should only be levied on individuals found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that the severity of the fine should correspond to the nature of the crime.

  • Systemic Issues and Disenfranchisement: Users highlight the potential for fines and other legal penalties to create a cycle of poverty and disenfranchisement, particularly for those who are already struggling economically. They point out how these consequences can make it difficult for individuals to reintegrate into society and exercise their civic rights.

  • Availability of Social Safety Nets: Some users question the necessity of resorting to criminal activity when social safety nets like food assistance programs exist. They suggest that individuals facing hardship should explore available resources before considering illegal options.

  • Critique of Prison Phone System: Users criticize the system where prisoners are limited to using a single, private phone operator chosen by the prison. They argue that this creates a monopoly, leading to exorbitant prices for calls and exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

  • Government Responsibility: Users debate the role of government in this situation. Some point out that there is no federal mandate requiring a single provider, while others highlight how state and local prisons often award contracts based on kickbacks rather than competitive bidding.

  • Impact on Families: Users express concern about the negative impact these high phone costs have on families of incarcerated individuals. They argue that it hinders communication and support networks, ultimately making reintegration


8. A search engine by and for the federal government (search.gov | Archive)
92 points by pajtai | 2024-07-19 17:43:44 | 18 comments

Dehyped title: Search.gov Provides Free, Secure Search Solutions for Federal Government Websites

Summary:

  • Search.gov is a free search engine designed specifically for federal government websites. It currently powers searches on over 2,000 government domains, representing roughly one-third of all federal websites.

  • Key Benefits:

    • Security and Compliance: Built with the unique security and compliance needs of government agencies in mind.
    • Highly Configurable: No coding required! Agencies can easily customize their search experience using a user-friendly interface.
    • Dedicated Support: The Search.gov team provides hands-on assistance to agencies, from initial setup to ongoing SEO optimization.
    • Easy Access: Getting started with Search.gov is straightforward and hassle-free.
  • Resources for Success:

    • Indexing Guidance: Detailed training and resources are available to help agencies properly index their websites for optimal search results.
    • Search Result Management: Tips and best practices for improving search result quality and addressing any issues with missing or inaccurate results.
    • Site Redesign Support: A dedicated guide helps agencies maintain effective search functionality after website redesigns or migrations.
  • Additional Features and Support:

    • Login Assistance: Email support is available for users experiencing login difficulties.
    • Re-indexing and Sitemap Submission: Agencies can easily request re-indexing of their sites or submit updated sitemaps to ensure fresh search results.
    • Results API Documentation: Comprehensive documentation on the features and capabilities of Search.gov's Results API, which allows developers to integrate search functionality into their applications.
    • User Management: Administrators can easily add or remove users from their Search.gov account through the Admin Center.
  • Transparency and Collaboration:

    • Search.gov is an initiative of the GSA's Technology Transformation Services (TTS).
    • The platform is committed to transparency, with release notes, a product roadmap, and information on security and compliance readily available.
    • Agencies can submit feature requests to contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of Search.gov.

Comments:

  • Praise for Search.gov: Users express admiration for the new search engine, highlighting its user-friendly interface and effectiveness. Some compare it favorably to other sign-in experiences, such as Google's.

  • Concerns about Third-Party Dependencies: Users raise concerns about the reliance on third-party services like Id.me for identity verification, questioning the security and privacy implications of sharing sensitive information with external entities.

  • Migration to Login.gov: Users note that agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA) are transitioning to Login.gov, suggesting broader adoption of this platform across government websites.

  • Technical Details and Open Source: Users discuss technical aspects of Search.gov, including its open-source nature on GitHub and the availability of its code repository.

  • Functionality and Limitations: Users point out that Search.gov is designed to search within the platform itself and not across all government websites. They suggest using USA.gov for broader searches.


9. Automerge: A library of data structures for building collaborative applications (automerge.org | Archive)
56 points by surprisetalk | 2024-07-16 14:03:44 | 7 comments

Dehyped title: Automerge is a CRDT library for building collaborative applications enabling automatic merging of concurrent changes across devices.

Summary:

  • Automerge is designed for building collaborative applications. It's a library of data structures that makes it easier to create software where multiple users can work together on the same data in real-time.

  • Automatic merging is a key feature. Automerge uses a concept called Conflict-Free Replicated Data Types (CRDTs). This means that changes made by different users on different devices are automatically merged together without any conflicts, eliminating the need for a central server to manage updates.

  • Network flexibility is another advantage. You can use Automerge with any connection-oriented network protocol, such as client-server or peer-to-peer. It even supports unidirectional messaging, allowing you to share Automerge files through email attachments or file servers.

  • Portability across platforms is ensured. Automerge is implemented in both JavaScript and Rust, with Foreign Function Interface (FFI) bindings that allow it to work seamlessly on a wide range of platforms, including iOS, Electron, Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, and more.

Comments:

  • Comparison to Yjs: Users discuss the prevalence of Yjs over Automerge in collaborative projects and inquire about an updated comparison. Some users mention personal experience with Reflect, another collaborative editing library, highlighting its developer-friendliness but noting the lack of built-in undo/redo functionality.

  • Alternative Solutions: Users suggest PartyKit as a potential alternative, though they express concerns about hidden costs. Microsoft's Fluid Framework and Azure Fluid Relay are also mentioned as options powering collaborative features in O365/SharePoint.

  • Practical Experience with Yjs: Users share experiences using Yjs in React projects, noting the benefits of the WebRTC adapter and benchmark performance. They also discuss challenges with ergonomics when integrating Yjs with React and highlight the need for third-party solutions like Synced Store, which can exhibit unpredictable behavior.

  • Local-First Software: Users express enthusiasm for the concept of local-first software and reference resources like the Local First FM YouTube channel and the Ink & Switch website for further information. They also point to previous Hacker News discussions on the topic.


10. Playing guitar tablatures in Rust (agourlay.github.io | Archive)
91 points by lukastyrychtr | 2024-07-19 16:57:11 | 39 comments

Dehyped title: Ruxguitar: An Open-Source Guitar Tablature Viewer and Player Built in Rust Using Iced and Tokio.

Summary:

  • Ruxguitar: A Rust-Based Guitar Tablature Player: The author details their journey creating Ruxguitar, a tablature player inspired by TuxGuitar but written entirely in Rust.

  • Audio Playback Engine: The core of Ruxguitar is its audio playback engine, which uses the cpal crate for low-level audio output and relies on a custom event system to manage note timing and playback.

    • The author emphasizes the importance of precise timing for musical accuracy.
    • They describe how events are loaded from .gp5 files and sorted chronologically.
  • UI Integration with Iced: The UI is built using the iced framework, a popular choice for building cross-platform graphical user interfaces in Rust.

    • The author highlights the use of iced::Subscription to bridge the gap between the audio player and the UI, allowing for real-time updates based on playback position.
  • Synchronization Challenges: Achieving smooth synchronization between the audio playback and the tablature display was a significant challenge.

    • The author explains how they used a tokio::sync::watch channel to communicate the current timestamp from the audio thread to the UI thread, enabling the tablature cursor and note highlighting to follow along accurately.
  • Future Development: The author acknowledges that Ruxguitar is still in its early stages and outlines plans for future improvements:

    • Support for additional file formats beyond .gp5.
    • Enhanced tablature display with information like rhythm, time signature, and key signature.
    • Features like repeating measures and playback speed control.
  • Lessons Learned: The author reflects on the experience of building a complex software project solo, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and discipline in overcoming technical hurdles. They express gratitude to the TuxGuitar team for providing a valuable reference implementation.

Comments:

  • Rocksmith Alternatives: Users suggest Soundslice as a viable alternative to Rocksmith, highlighting its speed training feature, compatibility with various music formats (including tabs and sheet music), and built-in tab editor. Other alternatives mentioned include Tonelib Jam, Yousician, and Neothesia.

  • Rocksmith Compatibility: Users point out that the previous version of Rocksmith still functions and contains a substantial library of user-created songs, including those by Taylor Swift.

  • Technical Implementation: Users inquire about the rationale behind choosing Rust for development, specifically questioning the preference for a language without garbage collection. Responses emphasize the performance benefits and low memory footprint of Rust while acknowledging the learning curve associated with the Iced library.


11. Show HN: Sendune – open-source HTML email designer (news.ycombinator.com | Archive)
287 points by samdung | 2024-07-19 15:22:40 | 71 comments

Summary:

No summary available

Comments:

  • Email Markup Limitations: Users express frustration with the lack of evolution in email markup, citing the need to rely on outdated layout techniques due to limited HTML/CSS support in certain email clients, particularly Outlook.

  • Security Concerns: Some users suggest that restricting HTML/CSS support in email clients is a security measure, although others question the validity of this argument.

  • Desire for Standardization and Alternatives: Users express a desire for standardized markup languages specifically designed for emails, potentially offering a more streamlined and efficient alternative to HTML. MJML is mentioned as a potential solution that abstracts away some complexities.

  • Nostalgia for Email's Stability: Some users appreciate the stability of email formatting over time, noting that emails from decades ago still render consistently today. They view this consistency as a positive aspect compared to other rapidly evolving online platforms.

  • Contextual Evolution Needs: Users acknowledge the need for some evolution in email design to accommodate changes in screen sizes, computing capabilities, and bandwidth.

  • Fashion and Belonging: Some users suggest that UI evolution is driven by human desires for fashion and differentiation, allowing individuals to express their identity and affiliation with specific groups.


12. 10-acre underground home and gardens in Fresno (2023) [video] (www.youtube.com | Archive)
173 points by 8bitsrule | 2024-07-16 18:07:57 | 52 comments

Dehyped title: Baldasar's Subterranean Complex Features Innovative Design for Day Resort and Underground Residence

Summary:

  • Baldasaurus's Underground Home:

    • Driven by a desire to create a unique retreat from the heat, Baldasaurus transformed his unsuitable land into an elaborate underground home.
    • This multi-level dwelling included living spaces, a kitchen, social areas, and even a chapel.
  • Citrus Farming Innovation:

    • Initially facing challenges with hardpan soil, Baldasaurus ingeniously grafted citrus varieties onto hardy sour orange rootstock to enable successful cultivation.
    • Due to limited sunlight penetration, the citrus trees grew vertically, making harvesting convenient.
  • Engineering and Excavation:

    • Baldasaurus utilized two mules pulling a Fresno scraper for efficient excavation, allowing him to create larger tunnels like the car tunnel envisioned for his underground resort.
  • Unique Features:

    • The home included a tri-level aquarium where Baldasaurus kept fish caught from the San Joaquin River, showcasing his curiosity and experimental nature.
    • He incorporated skylights to allow natural light into the underground space, fostering a connection with the outside world.
  • Social Connection and Legacy:

    • Baldasaurus was deeply social and welcomed visitors on Sundays to share his creation and vision.
    • His nephew Rick described him as someone who wasn't limited by conventional wisdom, highlighting his innovative spirit.

Comments:

  • Architectural Feasibility: Users discuss the practicality of underground living, noting both its potential benefits (thermal mass, flood resistance) and drawbacks (lack of windows, ventilation challenges). Some users express skepticism about the long-term viability of such structures.

  • Historical Context: Users highlight the historical significance of the featured underground dwelling, mentioning its age and resilience against natural disasters. They also point out the unfortunate destruction of a portion of the original structure by subsequent owners.

  • Environmental Considerations: Users raise questions about the environmental impact of underground construction, particularly in relation to water table levels and potential flooding.

  • Personal Aspirations: Some users share their childhood dreams of building secret underground spaces, acknowledging the logistical challenges involved in realizing such ambitions.


13. Visual programming should start in the debugger (interjectedfuture.com | Archive)
114 points by iamwil | 2024-07-15 14:32:37 | 42 comments

Dehyped title: Visual Programming Should Start in Debuggers to Leverage Visual-Spatial Reasoning for State Representation and Change Over Time.

Summary:

  • The author argues that while visual programming tools can be helpful for beginners, they don't currently offer much value to experienced programmers who already understand syntax and APIs.

  • They propose a shift in focus from visualizing code to visualizing program state and data structures within the debugger. This approach leverages our natural visual-spatial reasoning abilities.

  • The author envisions debuggers that can visually represent data structures and their changes over time, allowing programmers to better understand program behavior.

  • They suggest that compiler and language designers should prioritize making program state easily accessible for visualization.

  • The author explores the idea of using a "before and after" visual approach to programming, where developers specify the desired initial and final states, and the computer infers the necessary steps in between. This concept draws inspiration from logic programming and keyframe animation.

  • They also propose a bottom-up approach to visual programming, starting with spatial memory representations and building upwards towards more complex structures.

  • The author acknowledges that current visual programming paradigms often lack the necessary affordances to fully leverage our visual-spatial reasoning capabilities.

Comments:

  • Debugging Tools: Users express varying opinions on debugging tools, with some advocating for their importance and others preferring alternative methods. Some users highlight the benefits of debuggers, such as allowing developers to "look around" running code, identify the source of values, and set conditional breakpoints. Others suggest that well-structured code and techniques like single-stepping through functions can often replace the need for a debugger.

  • Methods vs. Functions: A discussion arises regarding the distinction between methods and functions. Some users argue that methods are fundamentally functions with an implicit "self" parameter, while others point out that JavaScript allows calling methods explicitly with different objects, blurring the line further.

  • Alternative Debugging Techniques: Users propose alternative debugging techniques like using console.log statements or creating visual representations of code execution flow (e.g., control flow diagrams, graphviz visualizations). These methods can be helpful for understanding code behavior and identifying potential issues, especially in smaller projects or during reverse engineering tasks.

  • Specialized Debugging Tools: One user mentions developing a visual debugger called "Call Stacking" that captures detailed information about method calls, parameters, return values, and line of execution, presenting it in a nested timeline format for easier analysis.


14. Want to spot a deepfake? Look for the stars in their eyes (ras.ac.uk | Archive)
214 points by jonbaer | 2024-07-18 14:34:42 | 114 comments

Dehyped title: Royal Astronomical Society Announces NAM 2024 Conference Focused on Astronomy and Space Science.

Summary:

  • The NAM 2024 conference is focused on astronomy and related fields. It's being sponsored by three key organizations:

    • The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS): This well-established society (founded in 1820) promotes astronomical research, publishes journals, recognizes achievements through awards, maintains a library, supports education, and represents UK astronomy internationally. They use peer review for both journal submissions and press releases.
    • The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC): Part of UK Research and Innovation, STFC funds research in particle physics, astronomy, gravitational research, and space science. They operate national laboratories and support UK involvement in international facilities like CERN and the ESO telescopes. Their Astronomy and Space Science program provides grants for research and technical support at centers like the UK Astronomy Technology Centre.
    • The University of Hull’s E.A. Milne Centre: This center focuses on understanding the evolution of structures in the universe, from stars to galaxies and larger cosmic formations. They use observations, theory, and computational methods, involving both postgraduate and undergraduate students. The center also engages in outreach activities to share their passion for astronomy.
  • The content also includes:

    • Links to additional information about the RAS and STFC.
    • A list of recent news articles related to space weather and exoplanet research.
    • Information about the RAS, including membership details and ways to follow them on social media.
    • A statement about cookie usage on the website.

Comments:

  • Effectiveness Concerns:

    • Users express skepticism about the reliability of reflection analysis for consistent deepfake identification, noting that real photos can also exhibit subtle reflection inconsistencies.
    • Some acknowledge potential value but highlight limitations like false positives and negatives.
  • Countermeasure Anticipation:

    • Users anticipate deepfake creators adapting their techniques to circumvent reflection-based detection, potentially using AI to generate more realistic reflections in deepfakes.
  • Alternative Applications:

    • Users suggest potential applications beyond deepfake detection, such as analyzing light distribution in astronomical images and aiding decision-making within machine learning algorithms.
  • "Perfect Pixel" Heuristic Critique:

    • Users challenge the notion of "perfect pixels" in AI-generated images, noting that human artists can also create highly detailed works.
    • They point out that AI models are increasingly capable of mimicking imperfections like blur and noise.
  • AI Capabilities Evidence:

    • Users provide examples of AI's ability to generate realistic images with focus, bokeh (background blur), and complex movements like gesticulations.
    • They cite platforms like Civitai and GenAI as evidence of these advancements.
  • Deepfake Evolution Discussion:

    • Users discuss the ongoing development of deepfakes, noting that newer generations are overcoming limitations present in older models, such as struggles with sideways head turns.
  • Alternative Detection Method Suggestions:

    • Users suggest looking for other signs of AI generation besides pixel perfection, such as inconsistencies in color changes or unrealistic anatomical features (e.g., extra fingers).


15. Postgres vs. Pinecone (lantern.dev | Archive)
26 points by diqi | 2024-07-19 15:44:46 | 2 comments

Dehyped title: Postgres Offers a Transparent and Customizable Alternative to Pinecone for Vector Search.

Summary:

  • Postgres vs. Pinecone: A Performance Showdown

The article presents a detailed comparison between using Postgres with pgvector for vector search and Pinecone, a dedicated vector database service. While Pinecone boasts ease of use and optimized defaults, Postgres offers greater transparency, control, and cost-effectiveness, especially for larger datasets.

  • Performance Considerations:

    • HNSW and Metadata Filtering: Both systems utilize HNSW (Hierarchical Navigable Small World) for efficient nearest neighbor search. However, Pinecone's metadata filtering is simpler to implement but may lack the precision and recall achievable with Postgres.
    • Slow Index Builds: Building vector indexes in Postgres can be slower than in Pinecene, especially for large datasets.
  • Cost Optimization:

    • Postgres offers significant cost advantages, particularly when leveraging cloud providers like Lantern, Supabase, or Ubicloud. These providers offer budget-friendly plans and features tailored for GenAI workloads.
    • Memory vs. NVMe Storage: Opting for smaller RAM instances with fast NVMe SSD storage can further reduce costs while maintaining acceptable latency (under 200ms).
  • Postgres Advantages:

    • Transparency: Postgres allows users to understand and fine-tune every aspect of the indexing and search process, unlike Pinecone's black-box approach.
    • Inline Embedding Generation: Storing data and embeddings together in Postgres simplifies embedding management and generation. Cloud providers like Lantern offer automated embedding services for added convenience.
    • Streaming Vector Indexes: Features like pgvectorscale (from Timescale) and Lantern's optimizations enable streaming vectors from indexes, improving recall during metadata filtering.
  • Choosing the Right Tool:

The article emphasizes that while Postgres may require more initial setup and code, it provides unparalleled control and customization. For workloads demanding high precision and recall in metadata filtering, Postgres emerges as a powerful alternative to Pinecone.

Comments:

  • Indexing Performance: Users express concerns about the performance of indexing in Postgres, finding it to be a significant pain point. They suggest that simply increasing RAM is not an adequate solution to this issue.

  • Comparison Requests: Users request comparisons between Postgres and other vector database solutions, specifically mentioning Qdrant as a potential candidate for evaluation.


16. Debugging an evil Go runtime bug: From heat guns to kernel compiler flags (2017) (marcan.st | Archive)
123 points by goranmoomin | 2024-07-19 13:24:40 | 24 comments

Dehyped title: Go's stack allocation for vDSO calls, combined with GCC's -fstack-check, introduces race conditions when inline optimization is disabled in vDSO code (vclock_gettime.o).

Summary:

  • A Go program was crashing intermittently on certain Linux kernels, leading the author to suspect a connection between the kernel's build configuration and the crashes.

  • To efficiently test this hypothesis, they used SHA-1 hashing to generate different kernel builds with CONFIG_OPTIMIZE_INLINING enabled or disabled based on the hash bits. This clever strategy allowed them to quickly narrow down which object files were likely causing the crashes.

  • The culprit was identified as arch/x86/entry/vdso/vclock_gettime.o, a file containing code for the vDSO (Virtual Dynamic Shared Object), a mechanism that allows user-space applications to perform certain system calls without entering kernel mode.

  • The author realized that Go relies on the vDSO for performance optimizations and implements its own custom calls to it instead of using standard Linux libraries. Enabling inlining optimization within the kernel led to subtle changes in how the vDSO handled time-related system calls, causing crashes in their Go program.

  • Specifically, the Go runtime function runtime·walltime was crashing intermittently when called from a multi-threaded environment (GOMAXPROCS > 1). Debugging revealed that the crash occurred within the kernel's vDSO implementation of clock_gettime.

  • The root cause was a stack probe inserted by the Go compiler when using hardening flags (-fstack-check). This probe checks for sufficient stack space, but the vDSO implementation wasn't designed to handle such a large requirement.

  • This mismatch led to a race condition: while the stack probe attempted to write 4 KiB ahead, other threads could overwrite that memory region. The overwritten memory likely belonged to other threads' stacks or contained critical data, ultimately causing crashes within runtime·walltime.

  • The solution involved increasing the stack size allocated for runtime·walltime before calling into the vDSO, ensuring sufficient space for the stack probe and eliminating the race condition.

Comments:

  • Understanding the 10x Developer Concept: Users discuss the meaning of the "10x developer" concept, with some suggesting it primarily refers to speed and productivity while others emphasize overall technical competence and problem-solving abilities.

  • Appreciation for the Technical Explanation: Users express admiration for the clarity and depth of the technical explanation provided in the original post, highlighting its value in understanding complex system bugs.

  • Practical Implications of Stack Management: Users delve into the technical details of thread stack management in Linux, discussing concepts like demand paging, virtual memory, and the role of the RSP register. They also explore how different programming languages and runtimes handle stack allocation for various types of threads.

  • Golang's Threading Model and vDSO Interaction: Users analyze Golang's green threading model and its interaction with vDSOs (virtual Dynamic Shared Objects), explaining how the language's use of carrier threads for syscalls can lead to stack corruption issues when interacting with vDSOs that expect arbitrarily deep userland stacks. They also discuss potential solutions, such as specialized thread allocation strategies for different carrier thread types.


17. Kompute – Vulkan Alternative to CUDA (github.com | Archive)
35 points by coffeeaddict1 | 2024-07-19 17:43:53 | 4 comments

Dehyped title: Kompute is an open-source Vulkan-based GPU compute framework designed for high-performance cross-vendor data processing.

Summary:

  • Kompute: A Vulkan-Based GPU Compute Framework

    • Kompute is an open-source framework designed to simplify and accelerate general-purpose GPU computing using the Vulkan API.

    • It's backed by the Linux Foundation and aims to provide a standardized, efficient way for developers to leverage the power of GPUs across various vendors (AMD, Qualcomm, NVIDIA).

  • Motivation: Addressing Vulkan SDK Complexity

    • Many machine learning and deep learning frameworks (PyTorch, TensorFlow, Alibaba DNN, Tencent NCNN) are integrating Vulkan for mobile GPU support.
    • The Vulkan SDK, while powerful, requires a significant amount of verbose code to handle non-compute aspects. This leads to redundant boilerplate code across different frameworks.
  • Kompute's Solution: Augmenting, Not Hiding Vulkan

    • Kompute doesn't aim to hide the Vulkan API but rather enhances it with a focus on GPU computing capabilities.
    • It provides abstractions and utilities that streamline common tasks, reducing development time and complexity.
  • Key Features:

    • Blazing Fast: Optimized for high-performance GPU data processing.
    • Mobile-Enabled: Supports a wide range of mobile GPUs.
    • Asynchronous: Allows for efficient overlapping of computations and data transfers.
  • Documentation and Testing:

    • Comprehensive documentation is available, covering installation, usage, and API reference.
    • Unit tests are included for both C++ and Python code, ensuring code quality and stability.
    • Tests can be run on CPUs using Swiftshader for development without requiring a dedicated GPU.
  • Community and Support:

    • Kompute is an active open-source project with contributions from various developers.
    • The Linux Foundation backing provides support and resources for the project's growth.

Comments:

  • Vulkan Advantages: Users highlight Vulkan's lower-level control over memory allocation and resource synchronization compared to OpenCL. They note Vulkan's ability to allocate resources at specific memory addresses, making it suitable for embedded devices.

  • Vulkan Limitations: Users acknowledge current limitations in Vulkan compute shaders, including the lack of bfloat16 support in shaders, absence of shader work graphs (GPU-driven shader control flow), and no inline PTX (though inline GCN/RDNA/GEN is available). They mention that Vulkan recently gained the ability to dispatch CUDA kernels for specific needs but lacks similar extensions for HIP.

  • Real-World Experience: Users express interest in Vulkan compute shaders as a potential cross-platform, vendor-agnostic solution for GPU computing. They inquire about real-world experiences comparing Vulkan compute shaders with OpenCL and seek insights into Kompute's ease of use.

  • Kompute and PyTorch Compatibility: Users point out that while PyTorch already supports Vulkan, Kompute currently lacks PyTorch integration, suggesting this as a factor for evaluating Kompute's adoption rate.

  • Vulkan Android Support: Users discuss the historical existence of an experimental Vulkan backend for Android around version 1.7 but note its apparent absence in current versions.


18. Instrumenting Python GIL with eBPF (coroot.com | Archive)
76 points by lukastyrychtr | 2024-07-19 14:31:04 | 18 comments

Dehyped title: eBPF Instrumentation Enables Measurement of Python GIL Lock Times in Containerized Environments

Summary:

  • The Problem: The GIL in CPython (the standard Python implementation) allows only one thread to execute Python bytecode at a time, potentially leading to performance bottlenecks in multi-threaded applications. Understanding the impact of the GIL is crucial for optimizing Python code.

  • Coroot's Solution: eBPF Instrumentation

    • Coroot leverages Extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) programs to safely and efficiently monitor Python applications without requiring any code changes.
    • eBPF allows us to insert custom code into the Linux kernel, enabling low-overhead monitoring of system events.
  • Targeting pthread_cond_timedwait: Coroot focuses on the pthread_cond_timedwait function, which is commonly used for thread synchronization in Python. By instrumenting this function, we can track how long threads spend waiting to acquire the GIL.

  • eBPF Program Details:

    • Map Creation: Coroot defines an eBPF map called python_thread_locks to store timestamps when threads enter the pthread_cond_timedwait function. This map uses the thread's PID and TGID (Process ID and Thread Group ID) as keys and stores the timestamp as the value.

    • Entry Probe (pthread_cond_timedwait_enter): When a thread enters pthread_cond_timedwait, this eBPF program records the current time using bpf_ktime_get_ns() and stores it in the python_thread_locks map associated with the thread's PID/TGID.

    • Exit Probe (pthread_cond_timedwait_exit): When a thread exits pthread_cond_timedwait, this program retrieves the entry timestamp from the map. It then calculates the duration the thread spent waiting and sends this information as a python_thread_event to user space for analysis.

  • User Space Processing:

    • Coroot's user-space component receives the python_thread_events and uses a PID-to-container mapping to associate these events with specific containers. This allows for container-level GIL monitoring.
  • Benefits of eBPF:

    • Low Overhead: eBPF programs run within the kernel, minimizing performance impact on the monitored application.
    • Safety: eBPF programs are sandboxed and cannot modify kernel data structures or access user space memory directly, ensuring system stability.
    • Flexibility: eBPF allows for fine-grained instrumentation of various kernel functions and events, enabling a wide range of monitoring and analysis capabilities.
  • Coroot's GIL Monitoring Feature: This feature is available in Coroot v1.3.1 and provides valuable insights into the GIL's impact on Python application performance. By measuring lock durations, developers can identify potential bottlenecks and make informed decisions about optimization strategies.

Comments:

  • GIL Impact: Users debate the significance of the GIL's impact on Python performance, with some arguing that 3.6% GIL contention time is negligible, especially for I/O-bound applications. Others contend that this percentage underestimates the true cost, as it doesn't account for potential gains from parallelization and the fact that CPU-bound tasks could experience significantly higher GIL contention.

  • GIL Removal Alternatives: Users discuss alternatives to removing the GIL entirely, such as using libraries like NumPy that release the GIL during computationally intensive operations. Some express skepticism about the feasibility of a GIL-free Python due to potential performance trade-offs and the complexity of ensuring compatibility across different C code implementations.

  • Practical Implications: Users share real-world experiences with GIL contention, highlighting instances where it significantly impacted application performance. They emphasize the importance of understanding the GIL's behavior when designing and optimizing Python applications, particularly for CPU-bound tasks.

  • Future Directions: Users express cautious optimism about the upcoming GIL-free option in Python 3.13 but acknowledge that it may take time before it is ready for widespread production use. They emphasize the need for careful testing and evaluation to ensure compatibility and performance stability.


19. The oldest known recording of a human voice [video] (www.bbc.com | Archive)
68 points by YeGoblynQueenne | 2024-07-15 22:49:43 | 16 comments

Dehyped title: Researchers digitally reconstruct oldest known human voice recording from 1860.

Summary:

  • The article discusses Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's invention of the phonautograph in 1857, which predates Thomas Edison's phonograph by 20 years.

  • The phonautograph was capable of recording sound but couldn't play it back.

  • A recent discovery allowed researchers to convert a phonautograph recording from 1860 into an audible format.

  • This recording features a snippet of "Au Clair de la Lune," a French folk song, sung by an unidentified man.

  • The article highlights the historical significance of this discovery, as it represents the oldest known recording of a human voice.

Comments:

  • Appreciation for the Discovery: Users express amazement and appreciation for the discovery of the oldest known recording of a human voice, highlighting its historical significance.

  • Technical Details and Context: Users discuss the technical aspects of the recording process, including the use of a tuning fork to calibrate the speed of the recording medium. They also provide context about other early sound recordings, such as a Quran recitation from 1885 and Alexander Graham Bell's voice recorded in 1885.

  • Comparison and Analysis: Users compare different versions of the recording, including raw and denoised versions, and discuss the availability of other recordings made by the same individual.

  • Cultural Impact and Speculation: Users reflect on the cultural impact of sound recording technology and speculate about the potential for accidental sound recordings in historical artifacts. They also draw parallels to fictional depictions of sound recording in popular culture, such as the X-Files episode mentioned.


20. Bangladesh imposes curfew after dozens killed in anti-government protests (www.washingtonpost.com | Archive)
322 points by perihelions | 2024-07-19 15:22:02 | 123 comments

Dehyped title: Bangladesh Imposes Curfew After Deadly Protests Over Government Job Quotas for Freedom Fighters' Descendants

Summary:

  • Violent Protests Erupt: Bangladesh is experiencing intense nationwide protests sparked by a new government policy reserving 30% of government jobs for descendants of the country's freedom fighters.

  • Clashes and Casualties: Thousands of students clashed with police, leading to dozens of deaths and injuries. Protesters attacked state television headquarters and engaged in street battles.

  • Government Response: The government imposed a curfew and deployed security forces to quell the unrest. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initially defended the quota policy but later expressed willingness to lower it.

  • Underlying Issues: The protests highlight deep-seated frustrations among young Bangladeshis facing high unemployment and limited opportunities. Inflation exceeding 9% and stagnant economic growth have exacerbated these concerns.

  • Historical Context: The quota system for freedom fighters' descendants has been a contentious issue in Bangladesh. It was previously canceled in 2018 but reinstated by a court ruling last month, triggering renewed protests.

  • Political Implications: The protests pose a challenge to Prime Minister Hasina's leadership, which has been criticized for authoritarian tendencies and suppression of dissent. The upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the legality of the quota policy could have significant political ramifications.

Comments:

  • Violence and Destruction: Users express concern over reports of violence and destruction, including burning buildings and critical infrastructure. Some question whether these acts are spontaneous rioting or potentially orchestrated by external forces seeking to destabilize the country.

  • Government Actions and Internet Shutdown: Users acknowledge the government's internet shutdown announcement aimed at controlling movement but also highlight its impact on essential services and the challenges faced by network engineers in restoring connectivity.

  • Political Context and Human Rights: Users discuss the broader political context, noting Bangladesh's democratically elected government while expressing concerns about human rights violations. Some argue that peaceful protest is often ineffective against authoritarian regimes and may lead to increased repression.

  • Economic Impact and Priorities: Users debate the economic consequences of the unrest, with some emphasizing the costs of rebuilding infrastructure and others prioritizing the needs and rights of the population over purely financial considerations.

  • Cause of Internet Outage: Users discuss the widespread internet outage in Bangladesh, noting its severity and speculating on potential causes. Some suggest it may be a deliberate government action to suppress protests against a recent Supreme Court ruling that reserves 30% of government jobs for families of war veterans.

  • Technical Analysis of Outage: Users analyze the outage using data from outage tracking websites, highlighting the near-total unavailability of internet access in Bangladesh compared to smaller, localized outages in Europe. Some question the feasibility of meshnet technology as a workaround solution given Bangladesh's high population density.

  • Political and Social Implications: Users debate the political implications of the outage, with some expressing concern about the government's use of censorship and information control. Others point out the challenges faced by Bangladesh in balancing economic development with social justice.

  • Historical Context: Some users offer historical context for the current situation, discussing the legacy of British colonialism and the partition of India that led to the creation of Bangladesh. They question the viability of ethno-religious states and advocate for greater regional integration.

  • Centralization Concerns: Users raise concerns about the potential dangers of internet centralization, arguing that a handful of companies could exert undue influence over global communication networks. They highlight the need for decentralized infrastructure and robust safeguards against censorship and manipulation.


21. Artificial neural network approach to finding the key length of Vigenère cipher (www.tandfonline.com | Archive)
31 points by histories | 2024-07-15 13:55:43 | 5 comments

Dehyped title: Neural networks demonstrate improved accuracy in key length determination for classical ciphers compared to traditional approaches.

Summary:

  • The Problem: Figuring out the key length in a polyalphabetic cipher like the Vigenère cipher is a major hurdle in cryptanalysis. These ciphers use multiple alphabets, making it harder to spot patterns that reveal the key.

  • Traditional Approaches:

    • Kasiski Examination: This method looks for repeating sequences in the ciphertext. The distance between these repeats can hint at the key length. However, it's prone to false positives because repeated patterns might just be coincidences.
    • Twist Algorithm: This technique calculates a "twist" statistic for different potential key lengths. The twist measures how much shifted versions of the ciphertext line up. Peaks in the twist value often point to the right key length.
  • Improving the Twist: Researchers have tweaked the twist algorithm to make it more accurate and efficient. They've changed how the twist is calculated and suggested testing a wider range of possible key lengths.

  • Neural Networks Enter the Scene: Recent studies have shown that artificial neural networks (ANNs) can be trained to recognize patterns in ciphertext that signal specific key lengths. This approach leverages the ANN's ability to learn complex relationships from data.

  • Information Theory Plays a Role: Shannon's concept of entropy is crucial here. Entropy measures how random something is. A cipher with high entropy is harder to crack because its output looks like gibberish. Key length determination methods often rely on information theory principles to find patterns and redundancies in ciphertext.

  • Context Matters: The best method for finding the key length depends on the specific cipher and the ciphertext itself. Things like the cipher's period (how often the key repeats), the frequency of letters in the plaintext language, and any known parts of the plaintext can all influence which technique works best.

Comments:

  • Personal Experiences: Users shared their own experiences with cryptography, including writing extended essays on Caesar ciphers and implementing Index of Coincidence for key length determination.

  • Alternative Solutions: Some users suggested that developing more efficient algorithms might be a better approach to solving the problem of finding key lengths in ciphers like the Vigenère cipher.

  • Real-World Applications: Users discussed potential applications of the research, such as deciphering historical ciphers like the Beale ciphers.

  • Countermeasures: Users pointed out that cryptographic techniques evolve, and suggested alternative ciphers like Autokey as a way to counter attacks based on key length analysis.


22. The Later Years of Douglas Adams (www.filfre.net | Archive)
42 points by doppp | 2024-07-19 16:29:30 | 5 comments

Dehyped title: Douglas Adams's multimedia game "Starship Titanic" and book "Last Chance to See" faced criticism for design flaws and lukewarm reception respectively.

Summary:

  • The passage explores two distinct aspects of Douglas Adams's life and work: his involvement in the video game "Starship Titanic" and his passion for conservation.

  • "Starship Titanic": This section delves into the troubled development and lukewarm reception of the game, which was based on Adams's ideas but ultimately became a source of contention between him and Terry Jones. The game itself is criticized for its clunky navigation system, drawing comparisons to Myst-style games but amplifying their frustrations with inconsistent rotation angles and hidden objects.

  • Conservation Efforts: This part focuses on Adams's book "Last Chance to See," which documented his travels with zoologist Mark Carwardine to observe endangered species. While critically acclaimed, the book initially struggled commercially. Adams later collaborated with The Voyager Company to release a CD-ROM version, hoping to broaden its reach.

  • Legacy: The passage briefly touches on Adams's death in 2001 and his burial in Highgate Cemetery. It also mentions the mixed reception of Eoin Colfer's continuation of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series following Adams's passing.

Comments:

  • Personal Encounters: Users shared personal anecdotes about meeting Douglas Adams, highlighting his charm, humility, and genuine interest in others.

  • Appreciation for Dirk Gently Series: Users expressed fondness for the Dirk Gently series, lamenting the limited number of books in the series.

  • Adams' Struggles with Hitchhiker's Success: Users acknowledged the challenges Adams faced due to the immense success of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, noting his reluctance to continue the series and his apparent unhappiness.

  • Acceptance of Adams' Death: Users reflected on the circumstances surrounding Adams' death, finding solace in the fact that it was an unexpected accident rather than a result of despair.

  • Complex Emotions: Users grappled with conflicting emotions of compassion for Adams and cynicism towards the world, illustrating the profound impact his work had on their lives.


23. Aviator (YC S21) Is hiring engineers to build the DevEx platform (www.ycombinator.com | Archive)
1 points by ankitdce | 2024-07-19 17:00:06 | 0 comments

Dehyped title: Aviator develops engineering productivity tools for automating developer workflows, saving engineers time on tasks like code submission and testing.

Summary:

  • Aviator is a startup that develops engineering productivity tools designed to automate repetitive tasks for developers.

  • Their target customers are companies like Bosch, Slack, Square, Figma, and Benchling.

  • Aviator's tools aim to save engineers up to 10 hours per week by automating code submission processes, testing procedures, and other time-consuming tasks.

  • The company is well-funded and generates significant revenue from enterprise clients.

  • Notable Silicon Valley investors like Elad Gil and Lenny Rachitsky back Aviator.

  • The founding team consists of two ex-Googlers with experience building engineering teams at fast-growing startups.

  • Aviator was founded in 2021 and currently has a team size of six people, located in San Francisco.

Comments: Unable to generate summary


24. Never Update Anything (blog.kronis.dev | Archive)
133 points by generatorman | 2024-07-19 19:07:48 | 89 comments

Dehyped title: Prioritizing stable, long-lived software versions minimizes update frequency and maintenance burden.

Summary:

  • Minimize Updates: The core argument is that frequent software updates can be a major headache, leading to compatibility issues, wasted time, and potential bugs. The author advocates for strategies to minimize the need for constant updates.

  • Choose "Boring" Technology: Opt for well-established technologies with a proven track record of stability and long-term support. This means favoring mature frameworks and languages over trendy, rapidly evolving ones. Examples given include:

    • Debian over Fedora (operating systems)
    • Docker Swarm over Kubernetes (container orchestration)
    • Java over Go (programming languages)
    • Angular over React (front-end frameworks)
  • The Case for LTS: Leverage Long-Term Support (LTS) versions of software. These releases are designed for stability and receive security updates for extended periods, reducing the pressure to constantly upgrade.

  • A More Detailed Versioning Scheme: The author proposes a potential alternative to semantic versioning that would provide more granular information about what changes are included in each release:

    • Major: Significant new functionality
    • Minor: Backwards-compatible feature additions
    • Patch: Bug fixes (potentially breaking)
    • Security: Fixes specifically addressing security vulnerabilities
  • The Ideal Scenario: The author envisions a framework version that remains stable and supported for 10-20 years, requiring minimal changes over its lifespan.

Comments:

  • Update Timing:

    • Users suggest delaying updates for a week or even a month to allow for bug discovery and fixing by others.
    • Some advocate for using operating systems and package managers that offer stable release channels with extensive testing before making updates available.
    • A suggestion was made to randomize update schedules by a few hours to further minimize risk.
  • Feature Value:

    • Users question the necessity of new features introduced in software updates, considering whether they are truly beneficial or introduce unnecessary complexity.
  • Security Updates:

    • Users acknowledge that security updates should be applied promptly regardless of the update schedule.
  • Frustrations with Updates:

    • Users express frustration with frequent updates that introduce new bugs, break functionality, or require significant time investment.
    • Some advocate for a minimalist approach to software development, favoring languages and frameworks known for stability and backward compatibility (e.g., Go).
  • Balancing Needs:

    • Users recognize the need for balance, understanding that while constant updates can be disruptive, they are often necessary to address security vulnerabilities and improve performance.
  • Real-World Concerns:

    • Users share anecdotes about encountering outdated systems in healthcare and other industries, raising concerns about the potential risks associated with neglecting updates.
    • The example of Docker Desktop's "Skip this Update [pro]" button is cited as evidence of software companies prioritizing profit over user experience.
  • Alternatives to Constant Updates:

    • Some propose creating self-contained software ecosystems with comprehensive standard libraries and minimal external dependencies, reducing the need for frequent updates.
    • The use of older programming languages like Lisp, known for their longevity and stability, is also mentioned as a potential solution.


25. AI paid for by Ads – the GPT-4o mini inflection point (batchmon.com | Archive)
173 points by thunderbong | 2024-07-19 19:28:39 | 148 comments

Dehyped title: GPT-4o Mini's low cost enables ad-supported dynamic AI content generation for potential profit.

Summary:

  • GPT-4o Mini's Low Cost Opens Doors: The recent release of OpenAI's GPT-4o mini model at an incredibly low price point ($0.15 per million input tokens and $0.60 per million output tokens) has sparked discussion about its potential to revolutionize content creation, particularly for online platforms.

  • The Math Behind AI-Generated Content: The article uses a practical example – generating a blog post about customizing MacBook greetings – to illustrate the cost of using GPT-4o mini. It calculates that the generated blog post cost approximately $0.00051525 to produce.

  • Comparing Costs and Revenue: A Reality Check: The author then compares this cost to potential ad revenue, assuming a conservative estimate of 5 page views for the blog post. Even with this low traffic, the estimated revenue ($0.0011) barely exceeds the generation cost, resulting in a meager profit of $0.00058475.

  • The Future of AI-Generated Content: The article raises thought-provoking questions about the future of online content. Will GPT-4o mini and similar models lead to an internet flooded with dynamically generated blog posts tailored to user queries? While the author doesn't offer definitive answers, they highlight the potential for a shift towards AI-driven content creation.

  • Websim: A Glimpse into the Future?: The article mentions Websim as an example of a platform already experimenting with using LLMs (Large Language Models) to dynamically generate web content. While Websim doesn't currently incorporate advertising, it serves as a tangible demonstration of how AI can reshape online experiences.

Comments:

  • Dominance and Prioritization: Users express concern that AI-generated content could overwhelm human-created content, making it harder to find reliable information. They suggest search engine algorithms need adaptation to prioritize human-created content.

  • Accuracy and Reliability: Users highlight the limitations of AI models in generating accurate information, especially on novel topics or current events. They emphasize the importance of human oversight and fact-checking for AI-generated content.

  • Trust and Community Filtering: Users propose relying on trusted communities and sources for information, favoring websites and platforms known for accuracy and human curation. Some suggest a system where users could flag AI-generated content or contribute to a whitelist of reliable sources.

  • Philosophical Implications: Users engage in discussions about the nature of truth and knowledge in the age of AI. They consider the possibility that AI models, through statistical analysis, could generate accurate information without fully understanding underlying concepts.

  • Impact on Content Quality: Users worry that the ease of AI content generation will degrade online information quality. They fear a future where original journalism is replaced by rehashed summaries, leading to homogenized viewpoints and a decline in investigative reporting.

  • Need for High-Quality Content: Users emphasize prioritizing high-quality content over quantity. They lament current search results often prioritizing SEO-optimized but superficial content and advocate for platforms that curate and promote truly insightful information.

  • Bias and Manipulation Concerns: Users highlight the risk of centralized AI systems controlling information access and potentially shaping user perceptions through biased algorithms or manipulated data. They express concern about the lack of transparency and accountability in such systems, which could lead to misinformation spread and suppression of dissenting voices.

  • Opportunities for Innovation: Despite concerns, users acknowledge AI's potential to revolutionize search and information access. They envision competitive solutions leveraging AI capabilities while addressing ethical considerations and prioritizing user needs.


26. Academics shocked after T&F sells access to their research to Microsoft AI (www.thebookseller.com | Archive)
81 points by chbint | 2024-07-19 21:53:55 | 57 comments

Dehyped title: Academic Publisher Taylor & Francis Faces Backlash for Selling Access to Research for Microsoft AI Without Author Consent.

Summary:

  • The Deal: Academic publisher Taylor & Francis (which owns Routledge) made a deal with Microsoft worth almost £8 million in its first year. This gives Microsoft access to Taylor & Francis' research database for use in developing and improving their AI systems.

  • Author Outcry: Many authors published by Taylor & Francis are upset because they weren't informed about the deal, given the option to opt out, or offered any additional payment for the use of their work.

  • Concerns Raised:

    • Lack of Transparency: Authors feel blindsided and argue that publishers should be transparent with creators about deals involving their work.
    • Copyright and Moral Rights: There are questions about whether this deal infringes on authors' copyright and moral rights, especially regarding the potential for their work to be used in ways they don't approve of.
    • Impact on Traditional Sales: Some worry that making research freely available to AI developers could negatively impact traditional sales of academic books and journals.
  • Industry Response:

    • The Society of Authors (SoA) is urging authors whose work has been used without consent to contact them for guidance. They are also conducting a survey about collective licensing options for authors in the face of these new AI challenges.
    • The Copyright Clearance Centre recently announced a new licensing solution specifically designed for the use of copyrighted materials in AI systems, aiming to provide authors with rights and remuneration for these new uses.
  • The Bigger Picture: This situation highlights the complex legal and ethical questions surrounding the use of copyrighted material for training AI models. It underscores the need for clear guidelines and agreements that protect the interests of creators while also allowing for innovation in the field of artificial intelligence.

Comments:

  • Criticisms of Academic Publishing: Users express strong dissatisfaction with the current academic publishing system, citing excessive fees for open access, perceived greediness of publishers, and a focus on exclusivity rather than scientific merit. They argue that publicly funded research should be freely accessible to the public.

  • Concerns about Decentralization: Some users raise concerns about the potential consequences of eliminating traditional publishers, highlighting issues such as discoverability, spam prevention, citation reliability, and the stability of online content. They suggest that alternative solutions, potentially involving field organizations or libraries, could address these challenges while avoiding the drawbacks of commercial publishers.

  • The Value Proposition of Publishers: Users acknowledge that publishers provide certain benefits, such as basic vetting of papers, relatively stable hosting, and mechanisms for confirming authorship. However, they argue that these services are often poorly executed and overshadowed by the system's inherent flaws.


27. Graunt and Statistics (www.delanceyplace.com | Archive)
19 points by Hooke | 2024-07-17 19:09:30 | 3 comments

Dehyped title: John Graunt pioneered statistical inference by drawing broad conclusions about London's population from a sample of birth and death records.

Summary:

  • Early Data Collection: Before John Graunt, information about births and deaths was scattered. Parish churches kept records, London tracked weekly tallies, and Holland used life annuities to gather mortality data.

  • Graunt's Innovation: While not intentionally pioneering sampling theory, Graunt analyzed complete bills of mortality in a systematic way that laid the groundwork for statistics as we know it. He drew broad conclusions from available data, essentially inferring global trends from a sample.

  • The Rise of Population Statistics: As England transitioned from an agricultural to a more complex society with trade and overseas ventures, headcounts became crucial for estimating military manpower and tax revenue potential.

  • A Time of Change: The Restoration of Charles II brought intellectual freedom after Puritan rule. New wealth flowed in from colonies, and Isaac Newton's scientific breakthroughs encouraged fresh thinking. This atmosphere fostered Graunt's groundbreaking work.

  • Statistical Inference: Graunt's analysis, though based on a fraction of all births and deaths, allowed him to make insightful observations about population trends. His approach, known as statistical inference, is the foundation for estimating global values from samples and understanding the potential error between estimates and true values.

  • Transformative Impact: Graunt's work transformed simple data collection into a powerful tool for interpreting the world. His methods paved the way for modern statistics and its applications in diverse fields like sociology, medicine, political science, and history.

Comments:

  • Unfamiliar Usage: Users express surprise at encountering the word "pyx" outside its traditional religious context.

  • Puzzle Reference: Users recall seeing "pyx" as a solution to a mathematical puzzle by H. E. Dudeney, specifically problem 51 in his book "The Canterbury Puzzles." A link to the relevant page in the book is provided.


28. Parametric Matrix Models (arxiv.org | Archive)
6 points by evanb | 2024-07-16 13:48:34 | 0 comments

Dehyped title: Parametric Matrix Models: A Novel Class of Machine Learning Algorithms Based on Quantum Physics Principles for Universal Function Approximation.

Summary:

  • Introduction of Parametric Matrix Models: The paper introduces a novel class of machine learning algorithms called parametric matrix models. Unlike traditional neural network models that mimic biological neurons, these models leverage matrix equations to emulate the physics of quantum systems.

  • Learning Governing Equations: Parametric matrix models aim to learn the underlying mathematical relationships (equations) that govern the desired output. These equations can involve algebraic, differential, or integral relations.

  • Universality and Applicability: The authors prove that parametric matrix models are universal function approximators, meaning they can theoretically approximate any continuous function. This makes them applicable to a wide range of machine learning tasks beyond their initial scientific computing focus.

  • Advantages of Parametric Matrix Models:

    • Efficiency: They can be efficiently trained from empirical data.
    • Interpretability: The learned matrix equations provide insights into the underlying relationships within the data, making the model more interpretable than black-box models.
    • Input Feature Extrapolation: Parametric matrix models demonstrate the ability to extrapolate and make predictions for input features outside the training range.
  • Applications and Performance: The paper showcases the performance of parametric matrix models on a variety of machine learning challenges, highlighting their accuracy and effectiveness across different problem domains.

  • Theoretical Foundation: The authors delve into the theoretical underpinnings of parametric matrix models, establishing their mathematical validity and ability to approximate complex functions.

Comments: Unable to generate summary


29. CLI tools to build, browse, and blend your media library (github.com | Archive)
29 points by xk3 | 2024-07-19 17:31:42 | 1 comments

Dehyped title: This Python project provides over 80 command-line tools for managing and curating multimedia libraries using SQLite databases and FFmpeg.

Summary:

  • Core Functionality: This project provides over 80 command-line tools designed to help you manage and interact with your media library. Think of it as a powerful toolkit for building, browsing, and blending your digital archive.

  • Database Focus: A key aspect is the use of SQLite databases for storing information about your media. This allows for efficient searching, organization, and analysis of your collection.

  • Media Processing: The tools include features for processing media files:

    • ffmpeg Integration: Leverage ffmpeg's capabilities to check video/audio files for corruption, shrink videos/audio to AV1/Opus format (.mkv, .mka), and resize images while converting them to the AV1 image format (.avif).
  • Database Management: Tools are provided for:

    • Merging Databases: Combine multiple SQLITE databases into a single one.
    • Copying Play History: Transfer play history data between different sources.
    • Deduplication: Remove duplicate entries from tables and media files to keep your library clean and organized.
  • Filesystem Interaction: Tools for interacting with your filesystem:

    • Disk Usage Analysis: Get a clear picture of how much space your media is consuming on different disks.
    • Database Searching: Quickly find specific media within your SQLite database.
    • Folder Management: Identify large folders, find similar folders based on name, size, and file count, and clean up file paths for better organization.
  • Data Analysis and Exploration: Tools for working with tabular data:

    • Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA): Gain insights from table-like files using statistical analysis and visualization techniques.
    • Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA): Make informed decisions about your media library based on multiple factors.
    • Markdown Table Generation: Easily create markdown tables from structured data for documentation or sharing purposes.
  • Playback and Control: Tools for interacting with your media:

    • Watch/Listen: Stream your media directly from the command line.
    • Playback Control: Manage playback with commands like "next," "seek," "stop," and "pause."
    • History Management: Track what you've watched or listened to, add entries manually, and view statistics about your media consumption.
  • Advanced Features:

    • LLM Integration: Run Large Language Models (LLMs) across multiple files for tasks like text analysis and summarization.
    • Incremental Diffing: Efficiently compare large table-like files by processing them in chunks.
    • Web Scraping and Data Collection: Tools for scraping websites and collecting data, such as links and media information.
  • Community and Support: The project is open-source and actively maintained, with contributions from multiple developers.

Comments:

  • Functionality: Users express interest in the tool's capabilities beyond simple downloading, suggesting it offers features for organizing, manipulating, and potentially converting media files.


30. Foliate: Read e-books in style, navigate with ease (johnfactotum.github.io | Archive)
520 points by ingve | 2024-07-19 05:48:08 | 117 comments

Dehyped title: Foliate is an open-source eBook reader for Linux supporting various formats and features like annotation, text-to-speech, and advanced rendering options.

Summary:

  • Foliate is an open-source eBook reader designed specifically for Linux. It's praised by OMG! Ubuntu as "The Best eBook Reader for Linux."

  • Extensive Format Support: Foliate can handle a wide range of eBook formats, including EPUB, Mobipocket, Kindle (AZW3), FB2, CBZ (comics), and PDF.

  • Reading Modes & Customization: You can choose between paginated mode (like a physical book) or scrolled mode for continuous reading. Foliate allows you to adjust font type, size, spacing, margins, and color schemes to personalize your reading experience.

  • Distraction-Free Reading: Window controls automatically hide when not in use, minimizing distractions and allowing you to focus on the text.

  • Intuitive Navigation: Turn pages using intuitive 1:1 touchpad or touchscreen gestures. Easily access the table of contents or use the "find in book" feature for quick navigation. A reading progress slider and navigation history help you keep track of your place.

  • Bookmarking & Annotations: Foliate lets you add bookmarks and annotations directly within the eBook. These are stored as plain JSON files, making them easy to export, sync with cloud services, or use with other tools.

  • Helpful Tools:

    • Dictionary Lookup: Look up unfamiliar words in Wiktionary and Wikipedia.
    • Translation: Translate passages using Google Translate.
    • Text-to-Speech: Have the text read aloud using Speech Dispatcher.
  • Advanced Rendering Capabilities: Foliate supports right-to-left text (for languages like Arabic or Hebrew), vertical writing, and fixed layout books (where page elements are precisely positioned). It also includes features like auto-hyphenation, popup footnotes, and media overlays for a richer reading experience.

  • Open Source & Community Driven: Foliate is free software released under the GNU General Public License, meaning you can freely redistribute and modify it. The project encourages community involvement through FAQs, issue reporting, and discussions.

  • Installation: Foliate is available as pre-built packages for popular Linux distributions like Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, and openSUSE. Alternatively, you can clone the source code from GitHub using Git.

Comments:

  • E-reader Software: Users recommend KOReader for epub reading on Android, noting its PDF limitations. Bubble2 is suggested for PDF viewing on Android. There's a desire for Foliate to be available on Windows, with Alexandria proposed as an alternative.

  • Image Viewing Challenges: Users face difficulties viewing webp images in Linux due to disabled support or lack of native viewers. Firefox, Chromium/Chrome, and mpv are suggested alternatives.

  • Aesthetic Preferences: Users appreciate Foliate's interface but express a preference for native-looking applications within KDE Plasma. Inconsistencies in button styling and border radii are noted.

  • Performance Comparisons: Users praise Foliate's speed compared to fbreader and Calibre, highlighting its efficiency and integrated text-to-speech functionality.

  • General Praise for Foliate: Users express admiration for Foliate's aesthetic appeal and functionality as an ebook reader, citing it as their preferred choice for desktop use, especially for EPUB files.

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Users inquire about similar applications for Windows and Android devices.

  • Feature Requests: Users request dark mode and customizable hyphenation rules within ebooks.

  • Android Alternatives: Cool Reader GL, Librera FD, ReadEra, KOreader, Mupdf are suggested as ebook reader alternatives for Android. Moon+ Reader is recommended for non-technical books.

  • Technical Discussion on Hyphenation: One user critiques Kindle's hyphenation algorithm and proposes a solution involving custom hyphenation lists bundled with ebooks.