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Comment Thick client JS frameworks are the new Flash (Score 1) 121

I've been aghast at the broad adoption of thick client JS frameworks on the open web and a growing open hostility towards progressive enhancement, as if it's somehow not possible to build a single page app without totally breaking everything that makes the web a great platform.

There is a reasonable argument to be made that the vast majority of websites should not be using one of these, as the majority of these frameworks are incompatible with progressive enhancement and progressive enhancement is still the best way to build most sites. I firmly believe vanilla JS should be everyone's default. There are exceptions, but those exceptions are very narrowly tailored. I think this article which outlines those exceptions should be required reading for every web developer.

It seems like a lot of people these days don't realize you can build single page apps using progressive enhancement. And when you do, they perform better and are more fault tolerant while avoiding an unnecessary hard JS dependency. This whole stereotype you hear from people about single page apps being the future and progressive enhancement being the past is the most annoying false dichotomy ever. You can do both so long as you consider choices other than big, largely badly designed frameworks. It seems like most people who use Angular just want to make websites that don't reload the page when you click links. Maybe consider using a client-side router library instead of a giant monoframework. Way less code that has to be dumped on the user.

I'm not saying it isn't possible to use the big monoframeworks responsibly. The article above outlines good use cases for them. If you're building a client-only Electron app for instance, then go nuts with React or whatever if you like it. But seeing people design regular websites on the open web that are mostly just text, forms, and images using things like Angular and React is the biggest, most depressingly popular cargo cult antipattern we've seen since the days of Flash sites.

Comment The Expanse series (Score 1, Informative) 175

I didn't think good sci-fi was getting made anymore until I came across The Expanse. The novels are terrific (especially the 5th novel) and Syfy's TV adaptation is surprisingly good as well. Both are worth a look.

The premise is a near-future sci-fi setting with as little magic tech as possible. Almost all sci-fi tech in the story consists of reasonable derivations of current technology. Newtonian physics in space is respected. There's no inertial dampeners. There are no relativity-busting star drives. Gravity in space is through rotation or constant acceleration. And the story is solid.

It's up there with BSG and Firefly in terms of emphasis on depicting space realistically (by comparison to the looser realism of Star Trek/Farscape/Stargate/etc anyway). I still enjoy BSG's and Firefly's stories and characters a bit more, but The Expanse is far superior in terms of scientific accuracy.

Notably, for any Game of Thrones fans out there, George RR Martin is a fan of The Expanse and it is frequently referred to as the Game of Thrones of sci-fi.

Comment Re:Better idea (Score 1) 372

Millennials didn't vote for Reagan and his flat tax scam that "starves the beast" of needed tax revenue to protect the safety net. We voted for expansions of the safety and and higher taxes on the wealthy.

Unless that ideology somehow ends up wrecking the economy the way Reaganomics did, which I doubt because a culture of high taxes on high earners worked great for us in the 50s and 60s, then the next generation after us will be thanking us for undoing the shitty policies of their grandparents.

Comment Re:fast growth (Score 5, Insightful) 274

a new competitor will come and replace them (possibly Sourceforge, if they manage to continue with the same enthusiasm they've started with recently, and manage to turn that enthusiasm in to their product)

SourceForge's death spiral hits me right in the feels as much as any other Slashdotter, but I am pretty convinced that new competitor which will dethrone GitHub will be GitLab. Basically the same product, but open source. Similar monetization model for enterprise use. That's who I'm rooting for these days.

Sorry SourceForge. You had your chance.

Comment Re:Fix the website (Score 1) 1839

If you go under https://slashdot.org/prefs.pl and click on "Discussions" this option is present:

Choose your discussion system:
( ) Interactive Discussion System (D2)
( ) Classic Discussion System (D1)

The "interactive" system is widely derided. I personally think it was a good idea, but it needs work. A lot of old timers around here stick with the classic system, including me.

I would recommend investing heavily in a new discussion system, perhaps something that feels more like reddit's, but keeping Slashdot's moderation system in place. But whatever you do, don't remove the classic one as an off-by-default option.

I have some confidence you guys can come up with something that I'll be happy to switch to, but some people around here hate change. All change. They'll appreciate being able to keep the old system around.

Comment Fix the website (Score 1) 1839

The site itself is in some desperate need of further development.

- The infamous UTF8 issue.
- The new comment system is widely disliked.
- That said the old comment system probably does need to be replaced with something better. (Don't forget to keep the old one around as an off-by-default option. Some people here just hate change. All change.)
- Remove all hard dependencies on JavaScript. Progressive enhancement is a thing.

Comment Re:We should not get excited about private charity (Score 1) 95

A right to the basic needs of food, shelter, and healthcare is not subjective or vague. That's about as specific as you can get. It means at a minimum all people have a right to just enough food to not starve to death. A right to at least dorm room-sized shelter. A right to see doctors for preventative care or go to the hospital without having to worry about medical bankruptcy.

Those things are narrowly tailored and well-defined. It's not reasonable to call those things vague or to imply that it's some crazy slippery slope to endless transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor, especially when people have worked out budget proposals that deliver on those proposed rights that require only modest increases in taxation.

Comment Re:We should not get excited about private charity (Score 1) 95

how much personal property can the government really take to support your ideas about outcome equality, still remains unanswered

I already answered that question: the bare minimum necessary to provide a lifestyle floor that ensures everyone's basic needs are met; food and shelter at least, but personally I'd throw in healthcare as well. Nothing beyond that.

I'm not sure why you don't think that's a specific enough answer. If you want to know what that costs specifically, go look up tax proposals that replace Social Security (and other cash transfer programs like SNAP) with UBI along with tax proposals that extend Medicare to all and drop Medicaid.

Many people have run the numbers and come up with balanced budgets that include these new provisions. Most agree taxes would need to go up to support such programs as well as to address the existing deficits, but it's been done before. We've had higher taxes before (especially on the wealthy) and things were just fine.

This isn't about equalizing outcomes, it's about raising the height of the floor so that nobody can fall into abject poverty ever again. There will still be enormous inequality of outcomes, as there should be, to reward those who work harder with greater wealth.

There will still be rich people, mansions, and suchlike. All that will be different is they will be slightly less rich. The net worth of the average one percenter may decline slightly, but it'll still be more than enough money to live a life of luxury and leisure and to never have to work again.

40 sports cars in the collection for the average aristocrat instead of 50. Or maybe one less vacation home. It's a small price to pay to end homelessness and hunger nationwide.

Comment Re:We should not get excited about private charity (Score 1) 95

Man, what an emotional rant filled with fear. I strongly encourage you to take a step back and calm down. Breathe. It'll be okay!

Look, the facts are this: our country is wealthier than it's ever been in history. It may be hard to notice though, because the richest 1% have harvested the majority of that wealth. If we divided up the nation's wealth equally among all citizens (which you don't seem to realize I'm not advocating for BTW), more people would get a bigger slice than if we had done that in any time in history.

We do have the means to ensure a bare minimum lifestyle floor for every citizen whether you believe we do or not. The apocalyptic scenarios you expect to come to pass will not occur. Poverty in this country is not going to get worse, unless we keep voting for austerity policies you support. We can end poverty if we continue to innovate technologically, economically, and culturally as we have in the past.

The two biggest drivers for the decline in labor participation are increasing automation squeezing people out of jobs (unemployment driven by technological obsolescence) and people voluntarily leaving the workforce because they don't need to work anymore (early retirement among those who can afford it). I feel bad for people who want to work but can't find a job, and that's exactly why we need to share the new wealth we've created with exactly those people who are experience technological obsolescence as a result of our more productive than ever economy.

Proposals like universal basic income are exactly what our obsolete underclass needs to stay out of poverty and devote their time to learning 21st century skills so they can compete in the new economy. Western Europe has just begun to realize this. Finland is currently exploring implementing UBI as a way to tackle unemployment.

If you set aside your fear and take the time to read more about this stuff, you will see that America's best days are still ahead.

Comment Re:We should not get excited about private charity (Score 1) 95

Look into budget/tax proposals people have come up with for universal basic income. It replaces Social Security plus a series of smaller safety net programs.

Basically between the savings we get from removing the inefficient means testing along with some modest tax increases on the wealthy, it is feasible without even bothering to alter our Medicare/Medicaid spending nor altering our insane military industrial complex.

However if we reformed those things too, we could certainly afford UBI with less tax increases.

Comment Re:We should not get excited about private charity (Score 1) 95

There's plenty of data out there showing that the more various governments around the world invest in their safety nets, the more poverty is reduced.

What's delusional is assuming private charity is going to fix poverty, or that capitalism will magically offer everyone great careers.

At the end of the day, the only system we've come up with that has shown itself to actually be effective at reducing poverty are government run safety net programs.

The less means-tested, the better.

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