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Search - "this can't go on forever"
Every single one of them, and every one that will come after them.
Google, it started out as 2 people in their garage, wanting to make a search engine that was better than the others. Nothing else, nothing evil. Just make the world a little bit better. And look what it's become now. A megacorporation with little to no regards for their user base. Because who cares about users anyway?
Microsoft, it started out with Bill Gates - young high school computer nerd - who wanted to make an operating system for the world to use. Something that's better than the competition. And boy did he do so. Well "better than the competition" aside, he did make it for the world to use. And the world adopted it. And look what it's become now. A megacorporation with little to no regards for their user base. Because who cares about users anyway?
See where I'm going here?
Apple, it started out with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in their garage, just like Google did, wanting to make hardware that was better than the others. Nothing else, nothing evil. Just to make the world a little bit better. And look what it's become now. Planned obsolescence has been baked into it, just like it is in every other piece of technology. Quality control and thinking through the design has become a thing of the past. User choice, yeah who cares about that.
Samsung, it started out centuries ago actually, and I don't really remember the details of it.. ColdFusion has a video on it if memory serves me right. Do watch it if you're interested. Anyway, just like all the others they started out as a company which wanted to make the world a little bit better. And damn right did they do so.. initially. Look what they've become now. Forcing their stupid TouchWiz UI upon their customers (or products?), a Bixby button that can't even be reprogrammed.. and the latest thing.. Knox, advertised as a security feature, but as everyone who likes rooting their devices and mucking with it knows, it is an anti-feature that only serves for lockdown. Why shouldn't you be able to turn in a phone for RMA when a hardware error occurs, when all you've personally modified is the software? Why should changing the software blow that eFuse, so that you can be sure that you can't replace it without specialized equipment and a very steady hand?
I could go on and on forever about more of the tech giants out there, but I feel like this suffices for now. Otherwise I won't have anything else left for future rants! But one thing I know for sure. Every tech company started, starts, and will start out with a desire to make the world a better place, and once they gain a significant customer base, they will without exception turn into the same kind of Evil Megacorp., just like the ones before them. Some may say that capitalism itself is to blame for this, the greed for more when you already have a lot. Who knows? I'd rather say that the very human nature itself is to blame for it. We're by design greedy beings, and I hate it. I hate being human for that. I don't want humans to be evil towards one another, and be greedy for ever more. But I guess that that's just the way it is, and some things do actually never change...20
Bug report comes in from a coworker. "Cloudinary uploads aren't working. I can't sign up new customers."
"I'll look into it" I say.
I go to one of our sites, and lo! No Cloudinary image loads. Well that can't be good.
I check out mobile app -- our only customer-facing platform. None of the images load! Multiple "Oops!" snackbars from 500 errors on every screen / after every action.
"None of our Cloudinary images load, even in the mobile app," I report.
Nobody seems to notice, but they're probably busy.
I go to log into the Cloudinary site, and realize I don't have the credentials.
"What are the Cloudinary credentials, @ceo?" I ask.
I'm met with more silence. I use this opportunity to look through the logs, try different URLs/transforms directly. Oddly, everything seems fine except on our site.
I check Slack again, and see nothing's changed, so I set about trying to guess the credentials.
Let's see... the ceo is basically illiterate when it come to tech, so it's probably not his email. It's a startup, and custom emails for things cost money, and haven't been a thing here forever, so it's probably oen of the CTO's email aliases. he likes dots and full names so that narrows it down. Now for the password.... his are always crappy (so they're "easy to remember") and usually have the abbreviated company name in them. He also likes adding numbers, generally two-digit numbers, and has a thing for 7s and 9s. Mix in some caps, spaces, order...
Took me a few minutes, but I managed to figured it out.
"Nevermind, I guessed them." I reported.
After getting into Cloudinary, I couldn't find anything amiss. Everything looked great. No outage warnings, metrics looked fine, images all loaded. Ex-cto didn't revoke payment or cancel the account.
I checked our app; everything started loading -- albeit slowly.
I checked the aforementioned site; after a few minutes, everything loaded there, too.
Not sure what else to do, and with everything appearing to work, I said "Fixed!" and closed the issue.
About 20 minutes later, the original person said "thanks" -- never did hear anything from the ceo. I've heard him chatting away in the other room the entire time.
Regardless, good thing for crappy passwords, eh?21
Microsoft be like :
"Oh, you're moving away from your computer for a while with all this stuff open? It would a shame if some were to.. UPDATE it!"
It asks with a pop up, and if you don't answer it, it thinks "Oh, you're not telling me if I should update now or not, but I think you probably want me to update. UPDATE!"
For me, if I keep ignoring the update, it starts to create problems for me out of nowhere. It starts to lag and then the task manager starts to lag. EVERYTHING IS NOT RESPONDING.
When I finally update it, it acts like there were no issues at all. Everything is fine..
Even with Xbox, if it wants to update, it doesn't let you go online until you do. If it loses connection mid-update for some reason, it begins the update again from the friggin START. All that time updating gone to waste. Recently, I'm having a lot of issues with it. It doesn't let me sign in a lot of times. "We couldn't sign you in" for some reason. It JUST CAN'T. If you have a slow internet connection, you can't play any game at all. I contacted Microsoft Support about that issue and they concluded that it was all because of the slow internet connection and there were no issues on their end and they told me to GIT GOOD (Not exactly those words). If it does sign you in, it kicks you out mid-game for some reason with the evil pop up saying "Bye User_Name". The game says that YOU signed out (Dumb game, doesn't understand Microsoft shenanigans) and returns you to the main menu. If your game didn't save, well, GOOD luck to you!
Everything takes forever to load, if it decides it's not gonna load, it gives me a really helpful error saying "Something went wrong".
Maybe it's just me, it just hates me particularly. It makes me think that Microsoft intentionally acts like a douche just to get attention..
(In the end I think, maybe, this all is not a big deal if you surrender and accept Microsoft as your overlord)
I tried a few ways to stop Windows from updating automatically, but nothing worked (Maybe, I should try again).
Maybe I should dual boot Linux, but that brings a whole new set of things that I'd have to deal with, doesn't it?
I wrote in a rant here that I couldn't access my 1TB external hard-drive anymore because I refused to "Safely remove" it from my computer.
My brother sent me today an image with it, showing me that he managed to open it.
I can't tell you how happy I am!
The solution: if you encounter the same problem (it takes forever for windows to scan it and you can't open it/ on linux it tells you to go to windows and and properly eject it), just go to `Device Manager` and `Scan for new hardware`. This should find it & solve it5
Long rant ahead.. 5k characters pretty much completely used. So feel free to have another cup of coffee and have a seat 🙂
So.. a while back this flash drive was stolen from me, right. Well it turns out that other than me, the other guy in that incident also got to the police 😃
Now, let me explain the smiley face. At the time of the incident I was completely at fault. I had no real reason to throw a punch at this guy and my only "excuse" would be that I was drunk as fuck - I've never drank so much as I did that day. Needless to say, not a very good excuse and I don't treat it as such.
But that guy and whoever else it was that he was with, that was the guy (or at least part of the group that did) that stole that flash drive from me.
Context: https://devrant.com/rants/2049733 and https://devrant.com/rants/2088970
So that's great! I thought that I'd lost this flash drive and most importantly the data on it forever. But just this Friday evening as I was meeting with my friend to buy some illicit electronics (high voltage, low frequency arc generators if you catch my drift), a policeman came along and told me about that other guy filing a report as well, with apparently much of the blame now lying on his side due to him having punched me right into the hospital.
So I told the cop, well most of the blame is on me really, I shouldn't have started that fight to begin with, and for that matter not have drunk that much, yada yada yada.. anyway he walked away (good grief, as I was having that friend on visit to purchase those electronics at that exact time!) and he said that this case could just be classified then. Maybe just come along next week to the police office to file a proper explanation but maybe even that won't be needed.
So yeah, great. But for me there's more in it of course - that other guy knows more about that flash drive and the data on it that I care about. So I figured, let's go to the police office and arrange an appointment with this guy. And I got thinking about the technicalities for if I see that drive back and want to recover its data.
So I've got 2 phones, 1 rooted but reliant on the other one that's unrooted for a data connection to my home (because Android Q, and no bootable TWRP available for it yet). And theoretically a laptop that I can put Arch on it no problem but its display backlight is cooked. So if I want to bring that one I'd have to rely on a display from them. Good luck getting that done. No option. And then there's a flash drive that I can bake up with a portable Arch install that I can sideload from one of their machines but on that.. even more so - good luck getting that done. So my phones are my only option.
Just to be clear, the technical challenge is to read that flash drive and get as much data off of it as possible. The drive is 32GB large and has about 16GB used. So I'll need at least that much on whatever I decide to store a copy on, assuming unchanged contents (unlikely). My Nexus 6P with a VPN profile to connect to my home network has 32GB of storage. So theoretically I could use dd and pipe it to gzip to compress the zeroes. That'd give me a resulting file that's close to the actual usage on the flash drive in size. But just in case.. my OnePlus 6T has 256GB of storage but it's got no root access.. so I don't have block access to an attached flash drive from it. Worst case I'd have to open a WiFi hotspot to it and get an sshd going for the Nexus to connect to.
And there we have it! A large storage device, no root access, that nonetheless can make use of something else that doesn't have the storage but satisfies the other requirements.
And then we have things like parted to read out the partition table (and if unchanged, cryptsetup to read out LUKS). Now, I don't know if Termux has these and frankly I don't care. What I need for that is a chroot. But I can't just install Arch x86_64 on a flash drive and plug it into my phone. Linux Deploy to the rescue! 😁
It can make chrooted installations of common distributions on arm64, and it comes extremely close to actual Linux. With some Linux magic I could make that able to read the block device from Android and do all the required sorcery with it. Just a USB-C to 3x USB-A hub required (which I have), with the target flash drive and one to store my chroot on, connected to my Nexus. And fixed!
Let's see if I can get that flash drive back!
P.S.: if you're into electronics and worried about getting stuff like this stolen, customize it. I happen to know one particular property of that flash drive that I can use for verification, although it wasn't explicitly customized. But for instance in that flash drive there was a decorative LED. Those are current limited by a resistor. Factory default can be say 200 ohm - replace it with one with a higher value. That way you can without any doubt verify it to be yours. Along with other extra security additions, this is one of the things I'll be adding to my "keychain v2".13
Was forced to do some work on Windows this week (CAD tools that runs only on Windows). I spent a few days just setting up the tools. There were quite a few things I realized I forgot about Windows (as compared to Linux).
1) Installation times are down right horrific. What exactly are the installer doing for 10 minutes?
2) .NET is a cluster fuck. Not even Microsofts repair tool can fix it, but rather just hangs. I ended up using another tool to nuke it and reinstall.
3) Windows binary installs are insanely huge, thus, takes forever to download.
4) The registry is a pointless database that must have been written in hell with the single intent of destroying users will to live. The sole existence of the registry is another proof that completely incompetent engineers designed Windows.
5) Rebooting is the only way to solve many problems. This is another sure sign of a fundamentally fucked up OS design.
6) What the heck is wrong with the GUIs designers? The control panel must be the worst design ever. There are so many levels to get to a particular setting I'm getting dizzy. Nothing gets better by the illogical organisation.
7) Windows networking. A perversion of the tcp/ip stack that makes it virtually impossible to understand a damn thing about the current network configuration. There are at least 3 different places that effects the settings.
8) Windows command prompt. Why did they even bother to leave it in? The interpreter is as intelligent as retarded donut. You can't do anything with it, except typing "exit" and Google for another solution.
8) Updates. Why does it takes hundreds of updates per month to keep that thing safe?
9) Despite all updates that is flying out of Redmond like confetti, it is still necessary to install antivirus to keep the damn thing safe. That cost extra money, and further cost you by degrading performance of your hardware.
10) Window performance. Software runs like it was swimming in molasses. The final stab in the back on your hardware investment, and pretty much sends performance on your hardware back a few hundred bucks more.
11) Closed source is evil. If something crash consistently, you might find a forum that address the issues you have. Otherwise you're out of luck. On the other hand, it might be for the better. I imagine reading the code for Windows can lead to severe depression.
I'm lucky to be a Linux dev, and should probably not complain too much... But really, Windows, go get yourself hit by a truck and die. I won't miss you.14
ZNC shenanigans yesterday...
So, yesterday in the midst a massive heat wave I went ahead, booze in hand, to install myself an IRC bouncer called ZNC. All goes well, it gets its own little container, VPN connection, own user, yada yada yada.. a nice configuration system-wise.
But then comes ZNC. Installed it a few times actually, and failed a fair few times too. Apparently Chrome and Firefox block port 6697 for ZNC's web interface outright. Firefox allows you to override it manually, Chrome flat out refuses to do anything with it. Thank you for this amazing level of protection Google. I didn't notice a thing. Thank you so much for treating me like a goddamn user. You know Google, it felt a lot like those plastic nightmares in electronics, ultrasonic welding, gluing shit in (oh that reminds me of the Nexus 6P, but let's not go there).. Google, you are amazing. Best billion dollar company I've ever seen. Anyway.
So I installed ZNC, moved the client to bouncer connection to port 8080 eventually, and it somewhat worked. Though apparently ZNC in its infinite wisdom does both web interface and IRC itself on the same port. How they do it, no idea. But somehow they do.
And now comes the good part.. configuration of this complete and utter piece of shit, ZNC. So I added my Freenode username, password, yada yada yada.. turns out that ZNC in its infinite wisdom puts the password on the stdout. Reminded me a lot about my ISP sending me my password via postal mail. You know, it's one thing that your application knows the plaintext password, but it's something else entirely to openly share that you do. If anything it tells them that something is seriously wrong but fuck! You don't put passwords on the goddamn stdout!
But it doesn't end there. The default configuration it did for Freenode was a server password. Now, you can usually use 3 ways to authenticate, each with their advantages and disadvantages. These are server password, SASL and NickServ. SASL is widely regarded to be the best option and if it's supported by the IRC server, that's what everyone should use. Server password and NickServ are pretty much fallback.
So, plaintext password, default server password instead of SASL, what else.. oh, yeah. ZNC would be a server, right. Something that runs pretty much forever, 24/7. So you'd probably expect there to be a systemd unit for it... Except, nope, there isn't. The ZNC project recommends that you launch it from the crontab. Let that sink in for a moment.. the fucking crontab. For initializing services. My whole life as a sysadmin was a lie. Cron is now an init system.
Fortunately that's about all I recall to be wrong with this thing. But there's a few things that I really want to tell any greenhorn developers out there... Always look at best practices. Never take shortcuts. The right way is going to be the best way 99% of the time. That way you don't have to go back and fix it. Do your app modularly so that a fix can be done quickly and easily. Store passwords securely and if you can't, let the user know and offer alternatives. Don't put it on the stdout. Always assume that your users will go with default options when in doubt. I love tweaking but defaults should always be sane ones.
One more thing that's mostly a jab. The ZNC software is hosted on a .in domain, which would.. quite honestly.. explain a lot. Is India becoming the next Chinese manufacturers for software? Except that in India the internet access is not restricted despite their civilization perhaps not being fully ready for it yet. India, develop and develop properly. It will take a while but you'll get there. But please don't put atrocities like this into the world. Lastly, I know it's hard and I've been there with my own distribution project too. Accept feedback. It's rough, but it is valuable. Listen to the people that criticize your project.9
So I'm making an app with a classmate at school, but there's one huge problem. All the PC's and laptops at school are shit. The ICT departement at my school blocks almost everything on them. I can't install any program, open any file and I can't even open the command prompt! So I can't install Visual studio or any other IDE and basically can't do anything besides browse websites that aren't blocked. And they expect me and my classmate to make an app. Fortunately, my classmate has a spare laptop we can use, but it's really difficult for two guys to code on just one laptop. I asked my school if they could buy new laptops or if they could remove they restrictions on two laptops, but they don't want to do any of those things and now we're stuck with just one laptop. I don't know what to do. I fucking hate this!
(This doesn't have anything to do with the topic of the rant, but I just want to complain.)
There are a couple more things I hate about my school. At my school, everyone is forced to use iPads. I don't know why they don't just give us laptops instead of iPads (maybe just because there lazy). So my iPad's headphonejack and homebutton where broken for no reason and I had to get it repaired. But instead of going to an apple store or a repair shop, you need to go to the school's ICT department and get it fixed there. If you don't do that and go to a apple store or something, they will take your iPad and keep it forever! Even though you pay €200 for it every year! Also, the ICT department at my school is lazy as hell! You expect them to repair the iPad themselves, but they just send it to a repair shop. So it wouldn't even matter if I would go to the store myself! 😠 And they even do a really bad job at checking if the device even works after the repair, because I needed to get it repaired three times in a row! And don't even get me started on the bad WiFi connection.11
SMB/CIFS support on Linux distros is a nightmare! Switching from wired to wireless will cause ALL mounts to freeze, and they all become impossible to dismount normally. You can't even ls the root folder anymore if there are frozen mount folders inside. It's f#&%ing retarded to have to reboot your PC twice a day because you lost WiFi signal for one second, and the underlying processes don't understand SIGTERM. And I could go on about MTP! Standard file transfer protocol for Android but boy it is hellish. Trying to copy a structure with subfolders will take forever because every ls call to the phone is like an API call to some free webhosting company in Australia, takes forever, if it even succeeds. I won't even get started on WebDAV and SSHFS (the latter is even worse than CIFS). Those make me want to do unpleasant things to my computer. So frustrating! I can't be the only one who has experienced this, right?1