About this blog
If you would like to comment on a post, you can do so by mailing me: deightonrobbie @ nubo . coop (remove spaces) or contacting me on Mastodon
I've never been good about talking about myself (or making me sound like an interesting person), so I'm leaving this section blank for now.
What is the purpose of an email newsletter?
99 percent of the time I read an email, it will be on my phone. In order to save mobile data bandwidth and to stop privacy invading techniques like tracking pixels I've configured my email client to prevent loading images by default. Recently, whenever I open an email newsletter, more often than not I get greeted by a title followed by a blank screen where an image has been blocked. In order to read the first sentence of the mail I need to scroll down past the blanked out image before any interesting content appears.
What is the main reason email newsletters exist? Is it to convey information or is it to bedazzle the recipient with amazing layout skills? Who do you want to be able to read your newsletter? I would assume as many people as possible. That includes people that may need screenreader software which doesn't work well when half of the info is in the form of images. It also includes people that may only be able to afford a low cost mobile data subscription and who may choose to cancel any bloated newsletter subscriptions which eat up their data limit at a fast pace.
My tip to anyone that is responsible for creating newsletter: Think about what you are trying to achieve! Maybe it is time to go back to basics and create something that works for everyone, not just for people who are in the graphic or communication sector. At least give people the choice to sign up for a plain version instead of only providing a full blow version with all the bells and whistles.
Older: Internet: the blind spot in the eyes of climate action NGO's
Internet: the blind spot in the eyes of climate action NGO's
Here is a good article about the resources that are needed. It is estimated that by 2025 the IT industry could use up to 20% of all electricity and be responsible for up to 5.5% of carbon emitted. While admittedly the internet is only a part of the whole IT industry, it is a very large part. The average size of a webpage has more than quadrupled since 2010 while the average size of an article in some cases comprises only 3% of the total size of the page.
When looking at some of the more well-known websites about climate change we can see that they all seem to use modern webdesign techniques without trying to optimise them for efficiency:
- climateaction.org: heavier than 90% of tested websites
- grootoudersvoorhetklimaat.be: heavier than 87% of tested websites
- pulsenetwerk.be: heavier than 85% of tested websites
- bondbeterleefmilieu.be: heavier than 78% of tested websites
- autodelen.net/nl: heavier than 76% of tested websites
- repairshare.be: heavier than 72% of tested websites
- theguardian.com/environment/climate-crisis: heavier than 66% of tested websites
- detransformisten.be: heavier than 57% of tested websites
- translabk.be: heavier than 57% of tested websites
- 350.org: heavier than 53% of tested websites
On the other side of the spectrum:
- solar.lowtechmagazine.com (site about mitigating the cons of technology): LIGHTER than 75% of tested websites
- simplesite.grootoudersvoorhetklimaat.be: LIGHTER than 99% of tested websites
- This blog: LIGHTER than 99% of tested websites
Update 22 apr 2022
Grootouders voor het klimaat have just announced the screenreader-friendly version of their site, which is not only screenreader-friendly, but also extremely light and environmentally friendly :) :) I have added it to my list.
Older: World backup day --- Newer: What is the purpose of an email newsletter?
World backup day
Today is World Backup day. Most people I know either don't take a backup of their important data, or at most they synchronize (some of) their data to the cloud, not realising that realtime synchronization is fairly useless as a backup. If you accidentally delete something, it is immediately deleted on the other side. If your files are encrypted by a virus, the encrypted files are also replicated to the cloud. real time synchronization to the cloud meant to make it easy to access your files from multiple locations and to share those files with others. Even though it can mitigate some reasons for data loss, real time synchronisation is not a good backup solution unless you can combine it with a versioning system.
types of data loss mitigation:
(not all of these qualify as "backup")
- RAID: (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) Data is redundantly cloned or striped over multiple disks. This is not a type of backup, but systems using RAID can recover from loss of one or more drives.
- Local backup: Backup to a local location. This can be connected (eg immediately accessible via usb or network)or offline (eg usb storage or backup tapes stored in a cupboard)
- Offsite backup: Backup to a remote/offsite location. This can be connected (eg via internet to a sattelite office) or offline (eg tapes sent off to a bank vault or specialised service)
- Cloud backup: Backup to a cloud backup service. This is not the same as a cloud sharing service. A good cloud backup service stores your data encrypted. Usually the restore service of large amounts of data includes the possibility of shipping physical media in order to speed up recovery time. Sharing backed up data with others is usually not possible.
- Cloud sync: Cloud sync is usually done real-time. When a file is changed locally, that file will immediately be synced to a cloud location (eg Google drive or MS Onedrive)
- Local sync: local sync to sync is usually done to a NAS device. Usually this type of sync client can be configured for scheduled or real-time synchronisation
- Recycle bin: Absolutely not a backup solution. I'm including this because it can be used to recover data from some types of user error
Most common reasons for data loss:
(possible best solution in Italic)
- Hardware failures, 43%: Local backup, offsite backup, RAID, cloud backup, local sync, cloud sync
- Human error, 30%: recycle bin, local backup, cloud backup, offsite backup, cloud sync(if caught in time)
- Software corruption, 12%: local backup, cloud backup, offsite backup
- Computer virusses, 7%: local backup, offsite backup, online backup
- Theft, 5%: offsite backup, cloud backup, cloud sync, local backup(in some cases)
- Others, 3%: offsite backup, cloud backup, cloud sync, local backup(in some cases)
- The most common types of data loss
- Comparison of online backup services
- Types of backup rotation scheme
- Standard RAID levels
Older: Earth overshoot day 2022 --- Newer: Internet: the blind spot in the eyes of climate action NGO's
Earth overshoot day 2022
March 26th was Earth overshoot day for Belgium. That makes Belgium the 14th largest user (per capita) of earth's natural resources. That means that if everyone on earth lived the same way as an average Belgian, all the resources produced by nature on earth in a whole year would have been used up by that day.
Learn more: Wikipedia
Nice article in Dutch: De Transformisten
Older: I've quit Facebook --- Newer: World Backup day
I've quit Facebook
Two months ago I got rid of my facebook profile. I've been meaning to do this for a couple of years, but just like a lot of my friends I was too hooked on the features it provides to just take the step and delete it. I've finally decided that Facebook is just too evil to continue using it.
Facebook is so easy to use. Just about every person, company and charity seems to have a presence on it, and all the news you want is available in one location. Unfortunately that also makes it really hard to quit the habit.
This isn't enough for facebook. They want you to scroll through their content as much and as often as possible because that way they are able to serve you more "sponsored" content. In order to achieve that, they use A.I. algorithms. The result is not pretty...
- Reality bubbles. The Facebook algorithms learn what type of articles users are interested in and then show you more of that type of articles. This creates a bubble which reinforces your world views, even if those views would be considered extreme in the real world.This reinforcement of extremism is causing more and more dangerous situations world-wide
- Encouragement of addictive behavior. Algorithms are used to keep users scrolling as often as possible for as long as possible in order to get as many opportunities to show sponsored content as they can get away with. Several tricks are used to accomplish this. Only a fraction of posts are shown at the actual time they are posted. The rest is kept back, to be used as a reward system for scrolling. Every now and then a 'new' post will be shown when scrolling through older content. This encourages users to scroll through old content time and time again. The Facebook algorithms also learn at what times you are most likely to be online and show email- or bell notifications to lure you back when it determines you haven't been viewing posts at times when you 'should' have been viewing.
- Paid-for brainwashing. In the real world this would be called advertising, exept that in the real world you usually get "real" ads from companies. On Facebook you get forcibly served dubious content because someone with money has decided that you belong to their target audience.
This unethical behavior has finally made me decide to take the jump. It took me a while, because I was managing several groups and pages. Some of them had to be handed over to others, but in most of them I just posted a message that they were going to be deleted and the reason why I was deleting them. No use in making it easier for facebook to keep attracting users.
I wish I had taken a couple more steps before actually deleting my account though. I miss some of the contacts I had gathered through the years, and I hadn't noted down any alternate contact details for them. I wish I had also noted down more details about some of the pages I followed. Some of them didn't have a website, but others did. Other than that, I've noticed that I suddenly have more time to do other things than passively scroll through facebook and watching people giving people they don't know verbal abuse....
Older: Up and running --- Newer: Earth overshoot day 2022
Up and running
Discovering Mastodon opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Suddenly a world with people who all seem to think the same way I do sprang to life. People who’ve swapped monopolist social media multinationals for the fediverse. People who have turned their backs to bloated advert-filled websites and blogs, and who are making an art out of crafting small efficient founts of information.
One thing that keeps popping up in posts on Fosstodon, the Mastodon instance that I frequent, is static blogs. I love the idea of these, and had already started using the Jekyll static site generator, but I was thinking... If complete blogs can be made smaller than an average single webpage made by some developer who wants "all the frameworks" and "all the bells and whistles", then it will probably be possible to make that whole blog fit inside a single file and still load quicker than an average webpage.
Newer: I've quit Facebook