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Messages - ergophobe

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1
Economics & Investing / Re: world's biggest four-day workweek trial
« on: August 08, 2022, 04:14:06 AM »
Not what I was expecting. Very interesting read.

2
Web Development / Re: ClassicPress
« on: August 08, 2022, 03:57:25 AM »
That's pretty much right. If you don't like the block editor, you don't like WordPress and should find something else. If you like the block editor, the Wordpress implementation is probably the best there is (Drupal has things that are sort of like the block editor, but not nearly as user friendly for the person who wants to know nothing about the technology and just wants to write stuff, as one example).

As I say, I think it's mostly a good thing. For a while it was like ever CMS was converging, copying each other and competing with each other over the same feature sets. I feel like CMSs have started to differentiate again.

3
Web Development / Re: ClassicPress
« on: August 07, 2022, 03:55:03 PM »
A similar thing happened with Drupal when they pulled the guts out and rebuilt it on Symfony. A group forked it to Backdrop.

It has struggled to get much traction, but in some ways it doesn't need that much traction because they are not focused on adding features. It's for people who were happy with Drupal 7 and that's what they want.

The thing that worries me with projects like that is
 - do they have the energy to keep up with security patches
 - do they have the energy to stay compatible with third-party library changes.

For example, Classic WP still uses TinyMCE (I think) and JQuery. You can strip them both out, but these packages evolve, so you need at least a minimal community to keep things rolling.

More generally, I feel like the strategic decision for Drupal was to make it more friendly to people who were professional PHP developers and less friendly to everyone else. This was not a bad decision since they were watching the "everyone else" crowd switch in droves to WordPress no matter what, so catering to that crowd was just a losing proposition.

WordPress still seems to want to have it all - an easy on-ramp for the masses and more developer features and ever-increasing complexity. But because WP prizes backward-compatibility, as the complexity grows, the develop experience becomes more and more of a nightmare. Because of the fundamental architecture, it is really challenging on a WP site to use modern developer tools like Composer, which is pretty much required to safely run any complex PHP package these days.

I do not see WP ever being willing to break backwards compatibility in a serious way, so they are sort of stuck with an app that gets more and more complex, but is still incompatible with the tools that help you manage complex apps.

4
Water Cooler / Re: Dirty jobs
« on: August 05, 2022, 08:16:55 PM »
Oh, they had a massive pressure washer - you tow it on a trailer. Almost the size of a concrete pump. But sometimes you have to just dig up the pipe, cut a piece out and put a patch in.

>>Get your hepatitis shots

I never got within three feet of said sh##-covered glasses. I suppose the fumes could carry hepatitis. Not sure. Anyway, I kept the glasses at the end of that pole until I could hose them off and spray everything down with disinfectant

5
Water Cooler / Dirty jobs
« on: August 05, 2022, 05:59:24 PM »
>> wastewater samples

I'm glad that's not what I do for a living!


[way-off-topic]
Somebody has to. And some of us do it for free, just for the sheer pleasure or it.

So about 3-4 weeks ago, I get a call from the head of utilities at Public Works. He tells me the guy in the neighborhood working on a sewer overflow is one person short and could I give a hand? Sure. I grab gloves and a mask and go up there. Turns out to be a total cluster. They hit the water main while searching for the sewer line (code is that they should be 10 feet apart; these are 10 inches apart). They have to repair the water main, then find the sewer line, then fix it. They didn't need help on all that so I went home.

Then Darryl emails me to say that after their turmoil, they forgot to put the manhole cover back on (it was back up in the woods about 70 feet from where the blockage was). Could I go replace it? Sure. So I head up there. I lean over to grab the manhole cover and my prescription  glasses drop out of my pocket into the manhole and land in 2" of sh## about 8 feet down the hole, just shy of landing in the stream of sewage (so they are in the spot where a person stands, not in the sewage flow itself, but that spot is covered in sh## because of the backup).

I had to go home, get a device you use for retrieving a bolt you've dropped behind something, attach it to a 2x2 with a hose clamp, get another board to use to actuate the button, and went fishing in the sh## for my glasses.

Success - https://photos.app.goo.gl/3wGyw7W2jjDWf2329

It's a dirty job, but nobody has to do it unless they're an idiot who keeps their glasses in their chest pocket.
[/way-off-topic]

6
Water Cooler / Re: Polio strain in Rockland County NY
« on: August 05, 2022, 05:58:13 PM »
OT - moved elsewhere...

7
Brad, I know you want to make Google out to be a bad guy in all this, but not only did Google roll out WebP which is a huge improvement, but Chrome was also the first browser to adopt AVIF, which is probably the next gen after WebP. They are genuinely the first mover on making image bandwidth smaller on the web.

The second major browser to roll out AVIF support (not counting Opera) was Firefox.

Safari for iOS 16 has support for AVIF. The problem is almost 16% of the world is on an iOS version older than iOS 16. Edge adds up to another 4% of the browsers in use and they still don't have AVIF support.

So in terms of ditching WebP in favor of AVIF, Google is not the problem. They were the first ones to move on with AVIF support.

That said, there is still a place for WebP lossless compression, which neither JPEG or AVIF support.

To me, this is like Google updates to HTTP. They rolled out SPDY because progress on a replacement for HTTP was glacially slow and nobody was doing anything. That finally pushed people to get HTTP/2 out, at which point Google promptly ditched SPDY for the most part, as they should have since HTTP/2 is more comprehensive. But without the push from Google, I think it would have taken longer to move on from HTTP and we have all benefited from that.

Similarly, nobody was really making progress on an image format designed for the web. WebP started a push and now we have things like AVIF and JPEG XL and finally people are starting to replace JPEG. Once AVIF hits penetration levels similar to WebP, I hope CMSs like Wordpress will ditch WebP for AVIF. As web users, we all benefit from that process.

Of course, Google benefits as well. It makes their crawl easier. It makes pages load faster which means more page views which means more revenue. I'm not saying they are knights in shining armor, just that these changes are improving the web for all of us, even if the motivation is to protect Google revenue streams.

JPEG is a standard on a par with GIF. It has only hung on so long because of legacy software and because it is the default standard in low-end cameras. But just as moving from GIF to PNG much improved the web experience, moving from JPEG to modern image formats will improve it too.


8
Water Cooler / Re: Polio strain in Rockland County NY
« on: August 05, 2022, 05:07:30 PM »
Are children in the US still routinely vaccinated for polio?

See my second link. Something like 92%

And BTW, see the first link. It took something like three years after the invention of the Sabin vaccine to get over 50% vaccinated and it was way way more effective (and, to be clear, also more dangerous) than the Covid vaccine.

11
JWST captures aftermath of galactic collision (Cartwheel Galaxy)

https://webbtelescope.org/contents/news-releases/2022/news-2022-039

12
Water Cooler / Re: The Square Root or Death (quadratic voting)
« on: August 04, 2022, 07:31:02 PM »
>>Within DAOs

Of course. That seems like just the crowd to normalize quadratic voting.

13
Just checked. According to caniuse,

WebP - supported by 94% of users, 97% if you count partial support
AVIF is stuck at 71%
JPEG XR - < 1%
JPEG XL - 0%
JPEG 2000 - 18%
HEIF - 0%

So AVIF is conceivably an alternative to WebP, but 71% vs 97% is significant. If in a couple of year it reaches 97%, it could be added to WP or could replace WebP. Meanwhile, JPEG XL would be a good alternative too. It's 60% more efficient than JPEG, beats WebP and might bet AVIF, but with 0% support, there's no point adding support to a CMS.

Also, WebP does both lossy and lossless, so it is a drop-in replacement for both JPGs and PNGs. AVIF and JPEG XL only do lossy compression (I think... I should look that up to verify).

It also has alpha transparency like PNGs. I'm not sure about the other formats. That's fairly significant. I see a lot of sites (and have been involved with a few) that like to create header images with text over photos or transparent knockouts and various things like that which then have to saved as PNGs, making them huge.

The JPEG standard, meanwhile, is 30 years old. It literally predates the web. It is from another century ;-)

The other thing is that most people can get their images in JPG, even if they shoot in RAW. But most people do not have software to save images in modern formats, so it is a significant help to average users to do that conversion for them. They can always opt out.

14
This is a good idea and I'm glad to see WP move forward with this. For most site owners and site visitors, this is an improvement.

The bandwidth savings can be substantial and it can result in a significant speed boost. For a given visual quality, a WebP image will generally be much smaller than a JPG, especially if you are trying for a high quality JPG. The other viable format for photos is AVIF, which is superior to WebP in the way WebP is superior to JPG other than max size (AVIF limited to 7,680 x 4,320 pixels) and browser support.

I've been serving up WebP images whenever possible for quite a while now. You can see significant improvements on GTMetrix and the like just by turning this on. In WordPress, this was formerly done with a plugin like Shortpixel (my prefered) or Smush or many others. All of those plugins are just API bridges to services that can be used for any site, not just one running on WordPress.

>>changed to WebP by default

That's not quite right. To get pedantic about it, I would say more precisely that in addition to all the sized JPG images that WordPress has always created when you upload an image, it will now also create sized WebP images to match.

Your JPG derivatives will still exist. They have to because browser support for WebP is not universal.

Your uploaded images will also be untouched, as always. The only exception to this is that with the default settings, WordPress will resize very large uploaded images, which is a good thing - clueless users love to eat up disk space by uploading 5000px wide images, so for sites with writers and editors who don't know about image sizing, that saves people from running out of disk space on their hosting plan.

Which brings us to the sticking point. The big debate in the WP community about WebP was not about whether or not it was a better format and would save bandwidth. That was clear.

The problem is that since some browsers still do not support WebP, WordPress can not "change" to WebP, but must add, WebP images. This means that effectively, it now creates twice as many image files and takes up almost twice as much storage. WordPress users with sites that have huge numbers of images rebelled. They were afraid that they would run out of disk space on cheap shared servers and such.

I maintain one site that has 9GB of images. We're already serving these as WebP so we already have the thumbnails, but imagine a site already at 9GB who is forced to turn on the WebP feature and finds they now have about 16GB of photos (rough guess, might be less).

The "premium" Wordpress hosts like WPEngine tend to be pretty parsimonious with their disk storage. At WPEngine, that particular scenario pushes you from the $30/mo plan to the $115/mo plan. At Kinsta it pushes you from $35 to $70.

Because of these concerns, the WP community had to create a way to turn off the WebP feature before rolling it into WP.

All in all, though, this is an excellent change and it opens the path for eventually adding other modern image formats like AVIF that could be turned on or off as users want.

So it is now on by default instead of the original proposal which was simply to have it on with no way to turn it off.

15
Meanwhile, when our Midwestern niece came to visit us and we took her to SF, it's common to look down the street and between parked and moving cars, see three Teslas.

We actually started picking brands to see how other brands compared. Hyundai and Toyota were still a lot more common than Tesla, but considering that some of those cars are 10 years old and almost all Teslas were Model 3s, which first hit the market in 2017 and didn't sell in large numbers until 2018, I would not be surprised if Tesla is the most popular brand in SF if you limit it to model years 2018+

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