Publisher payments and browsers like Brave aren't the answer and may hurt long term

As you may have noticed, I don't really have any ads on this site… or at least I didn't when I wrote this, but if you're reading this in the far future I probably sold out already.

Many blogs have way too many damn ads, talking ads, tons of shit in the way all the time, making your computer go slow with god awful JavaScript and even more terrible Flash video or needlessly super high HD HTML5 video. You complain and nobody listens, they just say "that doesn't happen on my computer!"

So there are ad blockers, but that hurts publishers because there's no ads to make money.

So there are solutions like Flattr and browsers like Brave which seek to fix this problem by having users put in money and then distribute the money to the content they most like and/or consume the most.

Actually, that sounds awesome, innovative, genius even, and that's not sarcasm, it does sound really cool.

But of course there's a problem with it.

The reason ads make more money is because people are more likely to click on ads than they are to pay cash, in fact nearly no users at all will pay cash, even if it's an easy option. What do I base this on? Well, unlike many of you I interact with other human beings and don't simply work from my ultralibertarian Aeron chair thinking about the benefits of mutual exchange.

I often see people, primarily dorks from the development world like me, say things like "I'd pay for content if I liked it enough", well first of all these people aren't clicking ads anyway, but also it's total bullshit too. Most people will still watch commercials on broadcast TV than pay for subscription services (which often still have commercials these days), in fact the vast majority of people will do this… so suddenly you'll have an influx of people paying for your site about Magento hacks? Give me a break dude.

You may make some money from donations or subscriptions, but almost always you'll make far more money with ads. Yes I'm sure some dumb fucks out there will say they make more money with subscriptions and donations than they ever did with ads, but that's probably because they:

  • Have niche content consumed primarily by people like them who don't click ads.
  • Have niche content which ad companies don't want to support, or if they do support they payouts are low (e.g. pornography)
  • Are liars and they're just full of shit anyway, but think it makes them seem noble even though they may have never had ads on their site to begin with.

This whole thing reminds me of another issue, payments of software.

Remember that?

How you can be open source / free and just charge for support and accept donations!

Remember all the start ups that did that model… and then went right out of fucking business? There are only a handful which made it work, and they all have a big brother (or sister, for the ladies out there) sponsoring them.

It's still an issue too, as I wrote about before in my post: The best way to support yourself being a free software developer is apparently getting another job.

And that's where this shit puts publishers in the same boat, because most people simply aren't going to donate, they aren't going to pay for the content they consume, and by blocking ads you are hurting publishers.

Some overload their sites for their clickbait articles, yes, but most sites aren't over the top and people really depend on it, it may only make $1,000 – $2,000 a month, and there's no way in fucking hell anyone is gonna Flattr or Brave that much money for cats that look like Hitler pictures in posts about which restaurants have the best meat ball salad. I'm sorry, it's not going to fucking happen, and in the handful of cases it does is like suggesting playing the lottery, you're not helping.

As with the linked post above, it reeks of elitism and self-importance, but in an indirect way. If you are reading this I can gather that you:

  • Probably are a developer or web designer, or work near them in some way.
  • Probably never click ads.
  • Possibly use an adblocker.
  • Possibly have some sort of philosophy you think is in line with paying for content you like, but in reality you consume things all the time you wouldn't pay for anyway, such as simple fixes on a blog like this. Nobody's sent me money, but you bastards link to my unicode and Geonames articles all the time.

So let's not break our arms trying to jack each other off, you may pay if you think it's cool enough, but even if you're there all the time, if you can get it for free, or you think maybe the publisher has slightly different politics than you, you probably won't ever pay, so don't try to pump sunshine up my skirt, I know you're full of shit. If you asked me in public though, I'd totally lie and also say "yeah, I'd pay for content I like," but it'd be a lie, just like when you say it.

I do think services like Flattr and software like Brave are really cool and I want to somehow build a world where we can have those and good ads. I'm not just complaining, I do have some ideas in mind, but I lack experience in advertising so they could be shit ideas, like have a browser or extension which does the following:

  • White listing only approved ad companies; make the voting democratic in some way or have multiple private companies with different motives reach a consensus.
  • Have a grey list when rules are violated, this can be done by users clicking a button near the ad to report it, and if enough do from enough places, it's automagical.
  • Rules that we can all pretty much agree on like: no fucking talking or auto-play, no intensive CPU usage, no HD video, no attempts to hijack the browser, and probably other shit too. Google's own rules for their advertisers aren't too bad.
  • Set a limit on ad to content ratio for each page load.

This alone will solve 99% of bullshit.

If you don't agree, I don't really care, but feel free to reply to express your opinion, and feel free to be as hostile as you want, because I'm going to return the favour, even if you agree with me.

Disable autocomplete / autofill in Chrome 51 for typeahead

So all the old insane tricks don't seem to work anymore, right? Well, I've seen one where you create a bunch of retarded hidden fields, but that's inelegant and adds too much complexity. So, based on something I found rarely mentioned, I manged to assemble this:

The type "search" makes it to where Chrome will not apply autocoplete or autofill, however some browsers like Firefox still will, so you also add the classic autocomplete="off".

It works with typeahead and Bootstrap 3 just fine, however if you have specific styles for input[type='text'] you'll have to include 'search' as well.

It's also a valid HTML5 element as well, and in HTML4 or (X)HTML 1.x most browsers will fail to text even though it says search, so it may not be valid, but it will work, and that's more important.

So, good luck, until Chrome changes this shit too and wants to punish developers. As they claim, turning off autocomplete isn't really a security feature, that's nonsense because I'm not using it for security.

They say that we should take advantage of autocomplete and autofill, but that logic doesn't seem to include the fact that maybe people other than Google have search suggestions, or even hidden values like numerical IDs which need to be applied when the item is selected — something autofill doesn't do and Google doesn't seem to give a fuck.

Quora, where incompetence is fine so long as you have good grammar

I get Quora summary emails despite not being a Quora user, and sometimes I see very interesting questions, and more often than not very incompetent answers… rather, incompetent answers written very well so they sound like they could be correct. Here's one example:

rewrewrew

Well, as most of you know, YouTube was never written in PHP, and they could've gained this much by just looking up YouTube on Wikipedia. I think the second part of the question is an interesting one, however the answer is dog shit. Primarily because it's a question of scalability with two different types of platforms. Sure, Twitter and Facebook seem similar enough. They're both web sites full of assholes bragging about themselves (myself included) and trying to pick up strange, but their problems are completely different.

So, this is a classic thing of "anything is faster/better than PHP so therefore if it used PHP it would've failed," which is totally stupid and based on nonsense.

Twitter works in ever changing content where historical entries are rarely retrieved, Facebook does pretty much the opposite. I suggest looking up the histories of both how Twitter and Facebook have dealt with scalability on websites like highscalability.com and also YouTube has tons of videos where their engineers have discussed it. Note that you could only listen to information provided by actual Twitter and Facebook insiders, not random morons who think they've got it all figured out, that's why I'm not listing it all here myself.

YouTube could've survived the volume, because it survived with Python, which is slower than PHP in a lot of ways, but I think any actual developers reading this, whether or not they love or hate Python or PHP, know that YouTube's bottlenecks are database and bandwidth, not their code backend. And there's plenty of videos on YouTube of developers from there stating this very fact too.

So, this is a classic thing of "anything is faster/better than PHP so therefore if it used PHP it would've failed," which is totally stupid and based on nonsense. Sure, PHP used to really suck, especially in the days YouTube launched, but that has nothing to do with their success or failure.

But oh it gets worse:

rewrewrex

Facebook's HHVM still couldn't be enough? Well, Raphael Costa claims to have 15 years in enterprise software, and I believe it, because it would explain why most enterprise software systems are garbage, because their engineers are incompetent.

Let's just point out why this is nonsensical garbage:

  • Facebook used PHP and expanded with it beyond the popularity of YouTube, and yet YouTube couldn't have used it?
  • Facebook is more popular than YouTube, so this makes no damn sense at all. I guess I said that already.
  • Facebook also serves video.
  • Most importantly: serving video literally has not a fucking thing to do with the language you run on the backend, because you're serving them as flat files or from CDNs. This is true in the case of both YouTube and Facebook, and also your major online porn video sites.

Yet, his post gets the most upvotes, and he is considered authoritative. This is just one example of Quora really being no better than Yahoo answers, especially nowadays. I've never used Quora or contributed, and this is pretty much why.

Vi vs Emacs, nope they're both terrible and obsolete

Earlier this month Linux Magazine carried an op-ed titled "The End of the Editor Wars," (more discussion) discussing the age old argument of vi vs Emacs, or really vim vs Emacs these days.

I've been using Linux and Unix for at least a couple of decades and it's an argument I've never understood, because both editors are total shit, but especially vi. There are so many alternative, better editors to choose from.

If we only talk about the editor wars in the sense of vi(m) vs Emacs then certainly vi has won, and I think there's some fairly straight forward reasons for that:

  • vi comes on everything remotely POSIX or Unix compliant
  • Some people pride themselves on the overly complex nature of vi(m) over other editors, you can even find people swearing that vim with tons of weird extras is superior to a full IDE such as PhpStorm or Visual Studio. I guess this can be true in the same way that hang-gliding is faster than super sonic air travel. In short, and I say this with the up most level of offence: these people are liars, morons, or delusional. There's no way it can possibly be true.
  • Emacs, in my experience, was always more bigger with people more apt to use Lisp, and nobody but supervirgins and beardos use Lisp. ((((know(((what((((((()()))))I((((((((((((mean?

The entire vi vs Emacs argument is really like two retards jumping off the short bus, then proceeding to beat the hell out of each other in the Waffle House parking lot over the who is the heavy weight champion of the world.

One may win, but they're both still retarded.

There are tons of editors which do way better at everything in comparison, to either, but especially to vi, as vi does everything in the worst way possible.

In other words yes, vi won, but they're both still crap.

Even today distros like Ubuntu override things like visudo to load into nano, *not* into vi. I think this is wonderful and I pray for a day an easy editor replaces it completely, maybe even easy editor from the BSD universe, that works fine too.

Vi comes from a time when there were limited keys on a keyboard, and instead of using escape and control to manage the program (used in a limited way, escape especially in that it brings up command mode), they devised a brutally complex and illogical system for editing which persists to this day, it is truly for the masochistic and pretentious.

Knowing the basics of vi in that knowing how to do basic editing and also how to escape+qw! or wq is important if you're a sysadmin, but unnecessary for everyone else, and as soon as you can install any other text editor, you should, and most people do.

I understand personal preference exists, but it says a lot about someone's personality in that they'd honestly say vim is better than a real IDE on X and they can work "faster" with it. That can only be an absolute lie or a delusion on a David Berkowitz level. The dog is barking at the vi masochists and it's saying "hold on to a turd and call it gold, after all, you'll gain +100 nerd points in the valley."