The issue with people not understanding filesystems isn't that people don't understand filesystems; it's that for decades now the leading technology companies have been executing a campaign to strip basic computer literacy from everyone who isn't college educated, allowing the formation of a cult of tech and the mysticization of the process in order to justify monopolies and oligopologies with outsized influence over daily life for everyone on Earth.
I fundamentally believe that computers should help as many people as possible do as much as possible, and the way to achieve that isn't by hiding what computers are doing; it's by making what computers are doing understandable and manipulable by users.
Computers should do what their users tell them to. No more, and no less.
@juliana I dunno, like if you grew up on Chromebooks and Google Drive I can see you having no idea what a "file" is. And the fact that many don't know why the save icon is a floppy.
I like the *nix ethos of "everything is a file" personally.
@crashglasshouses @greyor @juliana OK, let's say I'm writing an Android app, and I want to press a button that opens a dialog box which I will use to navigate to a LOCAL directory in which I'll save the app's data as a file. Where in the Android SDK do I find the class that implements this? I can't find it, but I'm pretty new to Android SDK, so perhaps I just don't know what to look for...
@juliana I have never met a zoomer who doesn't know about files, like, at all. Some people are close, though - Big Tech is pushing /very/ hard to make the kids stop trying to understand and tinker with their computers. It's scary, honestly.
@juliana I can certainly speak for the validity of "zoomers don't know how to pirate stuff", though. Again - tech corporations want to be worshipped as gods and blindly obeyed. Not gonna happen on my watch.
@n8chz @juliana This weird cross-generational infighting needs to die honestly. "oh zoomers don't pirate because they think the MPAA is good" what does this actually achieve beyond making you feel self-righteous while furthering the interests of the copyright mafia? If y'all cut that shit out and actually interacted with Gen Z in a positive and constructive manner, the world could have been a somewhat better place.
Also, some torrents might be so well-seeded that you're unlikely to find a peer that needs seeders before someone else does.
Finally, you might want to try finding your public IP address through the VPN, and configuring your torrent client to send that custom IP to trackers.
@Byte NordVPN is kind of sketchy in my opinion, but if you bought someone else's account details it's probably fine. I recommend using Mullvad, though - the only piece of ID they have on you is a randomly generated account number, and they use diskless servers that don't keep logs.
@keith oh, if I ever pay for my own account I’ll keep that in mind.
Stolen/shared accounts are a great deal though, to be fair.
@juliana I mean, I know what a file is. But a lot of details are for sure hidden for nefarious reasons these days, even on file based cloud storage like Google Drive.
Flash media is volatile and allegedly *terrible* at longterm storage when battery goes, one or two years after use.
We say #RealComputersHaveDiskDrives.
Thankfully there are people still making real computers but you need to look for them.
The only way to store data for long term reliably - have always-online storage (cloud, NAS, blockchain, etc), where you (or other people) can maintain (replace) underlying media.
Or you can listen to random guys, put your data in DVD's, then cope with your loss.
NAS are not backups and can be remotely erased due to bug or malevolence.
IMHO, long-term storage must be cold (offline) to be reliable.
My general advice for long term storage:
- compute par2 on files
- store files and par2 on any media you want.
- regularly check data consistency with par2, repair if needed.
- ideally, always have two copies of important data, on media of différent brands.
@juliana I think we should bind every key to "sudo rm -rf /" so we know everything the computer can do because there's just one command.
@juliana ... I think this might be at the core of why we are rejecting so hard the "just let people forget about files" narrative seemingly everyone is pushing on this. ("everyone" being like, one or two people, but we hsven't seen many countertakes...)
Yeah, exactly. Show them stuff like the filesystem, no need to hide it. It's not like you need to be able to program to understand it.
There is going too far that way. Like, we heard a take "don't use Git unless you understand its internal data structures", and in our opinion /that/ is ridiculous. But files? Files aren't that.
The only argument we've heard for hiding files is "I like being able to tag stuff", and files and tags can coexist!
@LQ84i @juliana why are files/directories not that? It feels for me that the only difference is that I (and many others) grew up with hierarchical directories structure and therefore perceive it as "natural", as opposed to git which we learned later in life. I still don't understand what is so special about hierarchical directories structure.
Computers should do what their users tell them to do, and users generally do not operate e.g. in terms of NAND gates or memory management or master file tables; why do we expect them to operate in terms of hierarchical directories?
I agree that both tags and files can coexist. I agree that users should be able to manipulate files and directories if they want to. I don't understand why the fact that some (many) of them don't want to is considered regrettable.
Additionally, it feels less like "evolving interaction paradigms" and more like /removing features/, dumbing it down to MAKE people forget about files.
Nothing says you have to use that hierarchy. We have known people who dumped everything in one gigantic folder. Heck, /we/ do that with our downloads folder. But not having your files siloed into one app is important, and it feels like that siloing is what mobile is going toward.
In another thread you mentioned your email messages aren't files. Well, that /prevents you from opening them/ with anything except your mail client. Whereas, say, our Krita documents? We can easily open them with anything else that understands the format (I do not know of any apps that do, but we actually wrote a script to clean up their internal structure, because with files, you can do that).
@juliana Yup i have seen this over the years teaching introduction courses at university, the basic computer skills have dropped so sharply over the past few years. Its quite worrisome.
@juliana I think both things are true fwiw, computer literacy sucks and the benefits an elite. But also filesystems do suck. Their replacements aren’t great so far, but they need replacement.
The file system is an analogy to a physical thing that has always had its own literacy issues. Alphabetizing, Dewey Decimal, Catalog numbers, Libraries, Card Catalogs, etc. All have literacy issues. All are more complex topics than people tend to think about.
@juliana Companies used to hire entire staff departments to manage their paper file systems. Those file systems would sometimes have hundreds of pages of documentation and notes. Binders of stuff to find other binders of stuff.
So I feel that computers picked a terrible foundational metaphor/paradigm that sucked in the real world even more than it sucks digitally (where it still sucks and is mostly just “for nerds”).
I think some of the solutions are bad for computer literacy, yes.
@juliana In a past life, I’ve tried to teach filesystems. I’ve seen a bunch of curriculum that tried.
I feel comfortable believing that both things are true: some replacements for filesystems are intentionally infantilizing and rob computer literacy efforts. But also filesystems have always sucked, have always had literacy problems IRL, and should be replaced with something better that isn’t infantilizing.
@juliana (Aside: I don’t know what “better” is either. I’ve got a bunch of notes on the subject trying to find a startup angle. I feel like I’d be a millionaire if I had solved it.)
Anyway, sorry for the mention spam, just have a lot of thoughts/opinions here.
The biggest problem I have with people with files as an adult librarian, is GenX/Boomers with iPhones. We have a printer you can email files to to print. (Good for people who don't know their email password, [the biggest problem,],) is they have no concept between the Cloud and on phone storage. Printer can't talk to the cloud.
I own and Android, so I don't know how to force it.
So !@#$ing frustrating.
Zoomers/Millennials tend to know their passwords or can follow instructions.
I'm actually going to email my IT department and ask if thy can make instructions on how to save a pdf to an iPhone's internal storage, and make it attach it to an email amd mot give a cloud link.
@email@example.com I think you really see this in newer social media aswell, especially tiktok is designed to be consumed in such a way where you have little agency over the content passing over your screen at any given moment and all you do is train a model on your preferences to make it more usable for you... its disturbing how so many especially younger people have that as their main source of entertainment and how much that solidifies/establishes themselves as consumers to have corp content handed to them rather than people doing what they like
@juliana Another way of saying this, possibly saying the same thing, is that computers have become appliances at the same level as something like a vacuum cleaner. See: https://www.rantroulette.com/2021/06/a-restrospective-on-hal-pcs-end-and-a-look-to-the-future/ where I say this in about as many words.
@juliana FCBs (Filecontrolblocks, what was inherited by DOS1.x from CP/M) was the last FS i understood. After that i became too complex for me. it's the OS job to care about that, i will not implement direct block device access in a vain attempt to be smarter than the provided implementation.
@adorfer @juliana I think @juliana is talking about the fundamental concept of organizing "stuff" in computers... You and I know that a JPEG or an MP3 exist as "files" at an intermediate abstraction level and that they can be treated very similarly on that level.
Yet when I open the so-called "File Manager" on a recent mobile or desktop device I get presented all kinds of "collections", "libraries", etc.
Une instance se voulant accueillante pour les personnes queers, féministes et anarchistes ainsi que pour leurs sympathisant·e·s. Nous sommes principalement francophones, mais vous êtes les bienvenu·e·s quelle que soit votre langue.
A welcoming instance for queer, feminist and anarchist people as well as their sympathizers. We are mainly French-speaking people, but you are welcome whatever your language might be.