Greetings Erflings! As has been mentioned before, Rob is set up to see the ads on Erfworld, the same as any normal reader. After we croaked mobile ads, he's dealt with some desktop takeover ads, including this shady suspect:
(Not that Rob uses MS Edge. It was for a thing.)
This is on top of feedback from readers that this sort of behavior is on the rise. For example, this one from a Mac user:
As Rob has said, it's a major waste of his time (in the best of times) to be trying to track this behavior down and report it to the ad company in a way they can act on and hope the behavior improves. Right now, it's impossible. So he told us to just go ahead and croak all the ads, even if we haven't quite reached the point where Mine4Erf is replacing all of the ad revenue Erfworld has relied on in the past. Mining is still going strong, though, and of course there's been the big bump in Toolshed support.
So we're excited to finally do away with ads and have Erfworld be entirely fan-supported!
Speaking of Mine4Erf
John has an updated version of the Mine4Erf software! Or try the new MacOS version or Linux version if that's how you compute! Besides the wider platform support, the new version should start up faster and be less likely to get flagged by antivirus software. So if you tried it before and were warned off by your antivirus software, please give it another look. Mine4Erf is still beta, especially the new platform versions, so please let us know on the Mine4Erf forum if you run into issues.
[Clarification from Rob: we'll keep that Amazon affiliate link stuff up. Those don't run scripts and they've never done anything malicious to our users. Some people have specifically told us that doing their Amazon shopping through our links is their preferred way to support Erfworld. (We don't get paid to show those banners, but for the next 24 hours after you click one, about 4-5% of whatever you spend on Amazon goes to Erfworld.)]
[Addendum from Rob, before this number changes. It really was the "Rush" of Toolshed support that made this possible. \m/(-_-)\m/]
Yay! The ads were indeed getting more intrusive. Although, this RL Ad thing would be a really good series of puns for an Erf side that gets/has been conquered. Something like the Kingdom of Clickbait with units like Trojan Horses, PopUps, tunnel capable Worms, etc ruled by King Spam Advertz. They have an elite group of pikers known as the Spearphishers. Chief Caster is a Moneymancer, of course - supported a Shockamancer who specializes in Flash spells.
Speaking of Worms, it might be fun to conflate this imaginary side with a Dune theme. The Spice must Flow....
(assuming a fanfic hasn't already done this...)
I have a question though. Isn't crypto currency practically guaranteed to cost more to mine that the RoI? I mean, won't people be paying more in their electricity bills than what ends up helping Erfworld? If I'm correct in this, it means it's always a better idea to sign up for a 50 cent pledge for example, than to run the mining software.
@Adept For browser mining, yes. So we don't do browser mining. GPU mining limits it to people who are generating around $3 in cryptocurrency for each $1 in power, depending on their hashing power. Not serving 6 million realtime-bid images and video ads per month offsets the power usage of the few dozen people at a time who mine. So Erfworld's carbon footprint a year ago was bigger than now.
@Adept I'd also like to chime in that I have solar panels that (especially in non-summer months) output significantly more electricity than I use each day, so it's particularly cost effective for me to contribute in this way. If I had any kind of a rig for this, I'd be mining4erf constantly! Alas, I just have a desktop that I and my family use, so my actual mining contributions are pretty small (and I get a pittance for the surplus electricity I'm producing right now).
Regarding mining: Is it possible to limit the resource usage of the software in this version? Or is that even possible to program in a realistic amount of time?
Unfortunately no- it'd be nice to add but it's quite difficult because of how the miner and GPU processing works, it doesn't have as good priority/scheduling control as regular programs have. There's been some attempts to kind of fake it with outside instructions to make the miner keep stopping and starting to try to give other things more of a chance to run, which kind of works sometimes, but that'd be quite difficult for us to add because the underlying miner doesn't support it, and it's pretty difficult to make large changes.
We do pass some options which seem to improve multitasking, but it's still not very good on machines whose graphics cards aren't from the last couple of generations. If your machine suffers too bad performance-wise unfortunately the best bet is still to either run it while you're not using it or just give the miner a pass. If we can find some nicer optimisation settings we'll definitely add them, though.
I've also just pushed out 0.5.2, which fixes some early reported issues- in particular with usernames containing spaces (input-parsing had issues), on some Windows machines using OpenCL, and with the secondary Ubiq miner. Hopefully this should solve things for the people who found the new one didn't work for them as well as the old one (or that neither worked).