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The default USB voltage hould have been specified to 6 instead of 5 volts.
Six (6) volts would allow for longer cables than five (5) volts do, since the spare voltage compensates for the resistance of cables. This is even more crucial for USB hubs. USB hubs are highly dependable upon these days due to laptop vendors dropping the number of USB ports down to two or even one. I am looking at you, Medion.
If several devices are connected to a USB hub, the voltage can quickly drop below 4.5 volts due to the resistance between the USB hub ports and the computer's USB port, causing some devices to restart themselves even if the computer's USB port is not over capacity. If it were over capacity, it would just regulate down its output voltage to prevent overcurrent.
Lithium-ion batteries need at least 4.3 volts arriving at the battery terminals to fully charge, and mobile devices are typically not equipped with a boost converter. Even if they were, they are rather inefficient, meaning they would produce significant heat and waste a power bank's energy. Other USB devices such as flash drives and peripherals might power off below 4.5 volts. However, 6 volts have solid 1.7 volts of margin to 4.3 volts, more than twice the margin of 0.7 volts that 5 volts have. On the way from the power supply to the end device, the voltage has to pass several barriers which weaken it, including the cable, connector endings, and the end device's internals such as the charging controller.
Sure, there are quick charging standards such as by Qualcomm and MediaTek which support elevating voltages to nine (9), twelve (12), and even twenty (20) volts. However, they require support by both the charger and mobile device. If six (6) volts were the default USB voltage, all devices would have been designed to accept this voltage, and longer cables could have been used anywhere. Obviously, all USB devices should be able to run on five volts as well.
Six volts would have been more stable, flexible, and reliable.11
What is the point of specifying whether one connected headphones or an external speaker to the computer or smartphone?
When attaching an audio device, some operating systems and smartphones ask the user about the type of audio device. For what purpose?2
How did mid-2000s computer users get along with just 1 GB of RAM or less?
As of today, anything less than 8 GB of RAM seems impractical. A handful of tabs in a web browser and file manager can quickly fill that up.
Shortly after booting, 2 GB of RAM are already eaten up on today's operating systems.
When I occasionally used an older laptop computer with 6 GB of RAM (because it has more ports and better repairability than today's laptops; before upgrading the memory), most of the time over 5 GB were in use, and that did not even include disk caching.
It appears that today's web browsers are far more memory-intensive than 2000s web browsers, even if we do similar things people did in the 2000s: browsing text-based pages with some photos here and there, watching videos, messaging and mailing, forum posting, and perhaps gaming. Tabbed browsing already was a thing in the 2000s. Microsoft added tabs to their pre-installed browser in 2006, back when an average personal computer had 1 GB of RAM, and an average laptop 512 MB!
Perhaps a difference is that people today watch in 720p or 1080p whereas in the 2000s, people typically watched at 240p, 360p, or 480p, but that still does not explain this massive difference. (Also, I pick a low resolution anyway when mostly listening to a video in background.)
One could create a swap file to extend system memory, though that is not healthy for an SSD in the long term. On computers, RAM is king.9
Automatically copying screenshots to clipboard has never been a good idea to begin with.
The screenshot feature since Windows 8, the full-page screenshot feature from the Firefox developer tools, and many smartphones automatically copy screenshots to the clipboard, which usurps the existing content of the clipboard If there is a clipboard manager (like on Samsung smartphones since at least the early 2010s), it usurps existing entries since clipboard managers only hold a limited number of entries. On Samsung's keyboard, that's twenty.
Thankfully, some other tools like gnome-screenshot for Linux make it optional. There is a "copy to clipboard" button on the file naming dialogue, but it does not happen unsolicitedly. This is the user-friendly way to do it.
Most websites and mobile applications do not support pasting screenshots from the clipboard anyway, only attaching them as file through a file picker or drag-and-drop gesture, making it pointless to copy screenshots to the clipboard. If I want to send a screenshot, I will attach it as a file.7
It's 2022 and mobile web browsers still lack basic export options.
Without root access, the bookmarks, session, history, and possibly saved pages are locked in. There is no way to create an external backup or search them using external tools such as grep.
Sure, it is possible to manually copy and paste individual bookmarks and tabs into a text file. However, obviously, that takes lots of annoying repetitive effort.
Exporting is a basic feature. One might want to clean up the bookmarks or start a new session, but have a snapshot of the previous state so anything needed in future can be retrieved from there.
Without the ability to export these things, it becomes difficult to find web resources one might need in future. Due to the abundance of new incoming Internet posts and videos, the existing ones tend to drown in the search results and become very difficult to find after some time. Or they might be taken down and one might end up spending time searching for something that does not exist anymore. It's better to find out immediately it is no longer available than a futile search.
Some mobile web browsers such as Chrome (to Google's credit) thankfully store saved pages as MHTML files into the common Download folder, where they can be backed up and moved elsewhere using a file manager or an external computer. However, other browsers like Kiwi browser and Samsung Internet incorrectly store saved pages into their respective locked directories inside "/data/". Without root access, those files are locked in there and can only be accessed through that one web browser for the lifespan of that one device.
For tabs, there are some services like Firefox Sync. However, in order to create a text file of the opened tabs, one needs an external computer and needs to create an account on the service. For something that is technically possible in one second directly on the phone. The service can also have outages or be discontinued. This is the danger of vendor lock-in: if something is no longer supported, it can lead to data loss.
For Chrome, there is a "remote debugging" feature on the developer tools of the desktop edition that is supposedly able to get a list of the tabs ( https://android.stackexchange.com/q... ). However, I tried it and it did not work. No connection could be established. And it should not be necessary in first place.7
I do not like the direction laptop vendors are taking.
New laptops tend to feature fewer ports, making the user more dependent on adapters. Similarly to smartphones, this is a detrimental trend initiated by Apple and replicated by the rest of the pack.
As of 2022, many mid-range laptops feature just one USB-A port and one USB-C port, resembling Apple's toxic minimalism. In 2010, mid-class laptops commonly had three or four USB ports. I have even seen an MSi gaming laptop with six USB ports. Now, much of the edges is wasted "clean" space.
Sure, there are USB hubs, but those only work well with low-power devices. When attaching two external hard drives to transfer data between them, they might not be able to spin up due to insufficient power from the USB port or undervoltage caused by the impedance (resistance) of the USB cable between the laptop's USB port and hub. There are USB hubs which can be externally powered, but that means yet another wall adapter one has to carry.
Non-replaceable [shortest-lived component] mean difficult repairs and no more reserve batteries, as well as no extra-sized battery packs. When the battery expires, one might have to waste four hours on a repair shop for a replacement that would have taken a minute on a 2010 laptop.
The SD card slot is being replaced with inferior MicroSD or removed entirely. This is especially bad for photographers and videographers who would frequently plug memory cards into their laptop. SD cards are far more comfortable than MicroSD cards, and no, bulky external adapters that reserve the device's only USB port and protrude can not replace an integrated SD card slot.
Most mid-range laptops in the early 2010s also had a LAN port for immediate interference-free connection. That is now reserved for gaming-class / desknote laptops.
Obviously, components like RAM and storage are far more difficult to upgrade in more modern laptops, or not possible at all if soldered in.
Touch pads increasingly have the buttons underneath the touch surface rather than separate, meaning one has to be careful not to move the mouse while clicking. Otherwise, it could cause an unwanted drag-and-drop gesture. Some touch pads are smart enough to detect when a user intends to click, and lock the movement, but not all. A right-click drag-and-drop gesture might not be possible due to the finger on the button being registered as touch. Clicking with short tapping could be unreliable and sluggish. While one should have external peripherals anyway, one might not always have brought them with. The fallback input device is now even less comfortable.
Some laptop vendors include a sponge sheet that they want users to put between the keyboard and the screen before folding it, "to avoid damaging the screen", even though making it two millimetres thicker could do the same without relying on a sponge sheet. So they want me to carry that bulky thing everywhere around? How about no?
That's the irony. They wanted to make laptops lighter and slimmer, but that made them adapter- and sponge sheet-dependent, defeating the portability purpose.
Sure, the CPU performance has improved. Vendors proudly show off in their advertisements which generation of Intel Core they have this time. As if that is something users especially care about. Hoo-ray, generation 14 is now yet another 5% faster than the previous generation! But what is the benefit of that if I have to rely on annoying adapters to get the same work done that I could formerly do without those adapters?
Microsoft has also copied Apple in demanding internet connection before Windows 11 will set up. The setup screen says "You will need an Internet connection…" - no, technically I would not. What does technically stand in the way of Windows 11 setting up offline? After all, previous Windows versions like Windows 95 could do so 25 years earlier. But also far more recent versions. Thankfully, Linux distributions do not do that.
If "new" and "modern" mean more locked-in and less practical and difficult to repair, I would rather have "old" than "new".13
It's 2022 and web browsers are still unable to unfollow redirects.
If I open some URL in a new tab and it redirects me to /503.html or similar due to some server errors (which is bad design to begin with), there is no way to see which URL was redirected from. The "back" (←) navigation button is greyed out, so there is nowhere to go back to.
One might open a new tab to look at it later without realizing it redirected to an error page. Then one opens it, sees /503.html, and has forgotten which article one was going to read.
Only on the mobile edition of Chrome/Chromium, switching between desktop and mobile view unfollows the redirect. But on Firefox mobile, Chrome/Chromium-based desktop, and Firefox desktop, there is no way to know which URL redirected me there.
If you can be locked out of it remotely, you don't own it.
On May 3rd, 2019, the Microsoft-resembling extension signature system of Mozilla malfunctioned, which locked out all Firefox users out of their browsing extensions for that day, without an override option. Obviously, it is claimed to be "for our own protection". Pretext-o-meter over 9000!
BMW has locked heated seats, a physical interior feature of their vehicles, behind a subscription wall. This both means one has to routinely spend time and effort renewing it, and it can be terminated remotely. Even if BMW promises never to do it, it is a technical possibility. You are in effect a tenant in a car you paid for. Now imagine your BMW refused to drive unless you install a software update. You are one rage-quitting employee at BMW headquarters away from getting stuck on a side of a road. Then you're stuck in an expensive BMW while watching others in their decade-old VW Golf's driving past you. Or perhaps not, since other stuck BMWs would cause traffic jams.
Perhaps this horror scenario needs to happen once so people finally realize what it means if they can be locked out of their product whenever the vendor feels like it.
Some software becomes inaccessible and forces the user to update, even though they could work perfectly well. An example is the pre-installed Samsung QuickConnect app. It's a system app like the Wi-Fi (WLAN) and Bluetooth settings. There is a pop-up that reads "Update Quick connect", "A new version is available. Update now?"; when declining, the app closes. Updating requires having a Samsung account to access the Galaxy app store, and creating such requires providing personally identifiable details.
Imagine the Bluetooth and WiFi configuration locking out the user because an update is available, then ask for personal details. Ugh.
The WhatsApp messenger also routinely locks out users until they update. Perhaps messaging would cease to work due to API changes made by the service provider (Meta, inc.), however, that still does not excuse locking users out of their existing offline messages. Telegram does it the right way: it still lets the user access the messages.
"A retailer cannot decide that you were licensing your clothes and come knocking at your door to collect them. So, why is it that when a product is digital there is such a double standard? The money you spend on these products is no less real than the money you spend on clothes." – Android Authority ( https://androidauthority.com/digita... ).
A really bad scenario would be if your "smart" home refused to heat up in winter due to "a firmware update is available!" or "unable to verify your subscription". Then all you can do is hope that any "dumb" device like an oven heats up without asking itself whether it should or not. And if that is not available, one might have to fall back on a portable space heater, a hair dryer or a toaster. Sounds fun, huh? Not.
Cloud services (Google, Adobe Creative Cloud, etc.) can, by design, lock out the user, since they run on the computers of the service provider. However, remotely taking away things one paid for or has installed on ones own computer/smartphone violates a sacred consumer right.
This is yet another benefit of open-source software: someone with programming and compiling experience can free the code from locks.
I don't care for which "good purpose" these kill switches exist. The fact that something you paid for or installed locally on your device can be remotely disabled is dystopian and inexcuseable.15
Once the WebExtensions process of Firefox crashes, one must restart each extension individually.
This means one has to open the add-on manager and double-click these small toggles with the cursor. When one does not double-click fast enough, the listed extension moves from the "enabled" down to the "disabled" section, and the add-on manager lacks a search feature, (Ctrl+F just actuates the "Search addons.mozilla.org" search bar), meaning one has to manually scroll and find it.
It almost seems like it is deliberately designed to annoy users.7
Why open-source matters: I can remove annoyances like starting in front-facing mode from a smartphone camera software, and hide the button for the "effects" drawer that I never use since I can add Sepia or black/white in post processing should I ever need it.
Both of these annoyances cause missing moments. If the source code of the camera software is open, and if the operating system is rooted, these utter annoyances can be removed.
There are open-source third party applications like "Open Camera", but they lack quick launch support and might have, presumably due to lack of optimization, a two-second shutter lag. Big no.
Some image viewers on smartphones let the user delete photos and videos by swiping them off the screen vertically. This causes the risk of it happening accidentally. Someone must have thought this is a smart idea.
If a gallery application has this anti-feature, I will immediately stop using it and install a third-party one without swipe-to-delete.4
Iconless menus – another effect of the toxic minimalism trend. Icons in menus such as the mobile web browser and device settings help finding items faster!
In 2014, Samsung removed icons from the upper right menu of their mobile Internet browser. At some point, roughly 2017, they realized it was a bad idea and brought them back. Could've told ya that earlier. 😁5
Smartphone and Android OS users in 2013:
“I wonder which features they will add this time!”
Smartphone and Android OS users in 2022:
“I wonder which features they will remove this time!”8
Web designers should seriously stop using this ultra-slim Monsterrat font.
If you need a modern/futuristic-looking font for your web site, consider using Futura or Noto Sans / Open Sans, or Proxima Nova. If you really, really want Monsterrat, don't make it so slim that it becomes barely readable for the sake of trying to look wannabe-"modern". You are just humiliating yourself.4
I despise it when software developers remove features because "too few people use them".
Is this what those shady telemetry features are for? So they can pick which useful features to get rid of because some computer rookies whined that it is "feature creep" rather than just ignoring it?
Now I have to fear losing useful (or at least occasionally convenient) features each time I upgrade, such as Firefox ditching RSS, FTP, and the ability to view individual cookies. The third can be done with an extension, but compatibility for it might be broken at some point, so we have to wait for someone to come up with a replacement.
Also, the performance analysis tool in the developer tools has been moved to an online service ("Firefox profiler"). I hope I don't need to explain the problems with that.
But perhaps the biggest plunge in functionality in web browser history was Opera version 15. That was when they ditched their native "Presto" browsing engine for Chromium/Blink, and in the process removed many features including the integrated session manager and page element counter.
The same applies to products such as smartphones. In the early 2010s, it was a given that a new smartphone should cover all the capabilities of its predecessors in its series, so users can upgrade without worrying a second that anything will be missing. But that blissful image was completely destroyed with the Galaxy S6. (There have been some minor feature removals before that, such as the radio and the three-level video recording bitrate adjustment on the S4, but that's nothing compared to what was removed with the S6.).
Whenever I update software to a new version or upgrade my smartphone, I would like it to become MORE capable, not LESS (and to hell with that "less is more" nonsense).15
Make sure your software does not lose data when improperly quit, and does not allow deletion without a proper confirmation dialogue.
I have experienced pre-installed voice recorder applications that leave behind an unsalvageable corrupt file if the smartphone shuts down due to running out of battery charge, or powers off due to battery undervoltage (as a result of an aged battery).
As often, third-party software beats pre-installed software, and the voice recorder "ASR" by "NLL apps" leaves behind a playable file when unexpectedly quit. Might be because it uses the OGG vorbis format rather than M4A or 3GP audio.
Also, the camera software of the Samsung Galaxy Pocket smartphone from 2012 (which was crap anyway) would discard a video file if the recording was quit through the "back" navigation key.
Perhaps this was done deliberately, but it is a terrible idea due to the possibility of accidents happening.
Some gallery software for Android lets the user delete photos and videos by swiping vertically. After this, a so-called "toast" notification appears with an undo button. If not responded to within seconds, or when tapping next to it due to stress, the photo or video is gone. This is, needless to say, terrible design.2
A birth defect of Google Chrome is that if one navigates away from a page or presses CTRL+S again while it is being saved, the saving of the page is cancelled. It was like this in Google Chrome since the beginning. This software birth defect was inherited by other Chromium-based browsers like Edge and Opera.1
It's 2022 and people still believe USB sticks and external card readers are a replacement for memory card slots.
They're not. SD cards have a standardized form factor and do not protrude from memory card slots, but external card readers and USB sticks do.
Just like smartphones, laptops are increasingly ditching the SD card slot or replacing it with microSD, which has less capacity, lower life expectancy and data retention span due to smaller memory transistors, worse handling, and no write-protection switch.
Not only should full-sized SD cards be brought back to laptops, but also brought to smartphones. There might soon be 2 TB SD cards, meaning not one second of worrying about running out of space for years. That would be wonderful.23
People want a computer for their pockets, not a locked-down glorified iPhone.
Google does not quite seem to get that.16
Is there any way to view my devRant post and comment history beyond the 25 last items?
The comment page on my profile only shows the 25 last comments, and nothing loads at the bottom. How to view anything older than that?7
Some mobile file managers kick me back to the beginning after selecting items for copying or moving.
When tapping on "copy" or "move" after selecting files/folders, some file managers like ES File Explorer (back when it was popular) conveniently remain in the current directory, whereas the stock Android file manager and many vendors' pre-installed file managers like that of Samsung kick me back to the initial directory. On phones with MicroSD, that's the storage selector, and on phones without, that's /storage/emulated/0/.
If I wanted to move files into a sub folder of the currently viewed directory, I have to navigate all the way back to that current directory, which is, needless to say, annoying.
Who thought it was a smart idea to kick the user back to the initial directory? But vendors' pre-installed file managers tend to be garbage anyway. Samsung's "My Files" file manager does not let me enter file names longer than 50 characters, does not let me change the extensions of files, does not support selecting files from search results or jumping to their parent directory, does obviously lack range selection, hides the status bar while opened (what's the point of that?!), its search feature is slow and sometimes crashes, and it can only search the entire device storage or memory card and not individual directories.
It's almost like Samsung deliberately tried to design a file manager as terrible as they possibly could.5
I just lost a comment and had to rewrite it because I clicked a millimetre under the "post" button.
On new posts, the text remains in the box and can be edited the next time, but not on comments.
Perhaps I should get used to navigating to the "post" button with the tabulator key (↹).
It would be even better if CTRL+Enter did send.4
What is your opinion on eSIM (embedded SIM)?
Now that Apple has built the first smartphone without modular SIM, it is, as history shows, only a matter of time until the same vendors who mock Apple for doing this will hypocritically follow Apple in implementing it themselves. There will be an outrage, but it will fade and the new restriction will be tolerated.
To me, "eSIM" appears like an euphemistic / euphemSIMtic (pun intended) marketing term, like calling non-replaceable batteries "eBatteries" ("embedded batteries") would be. It is less modular and more locked-down.20
It's 2022 and Firefox still doesn't allow deactivating video caching to disk.
When playing videos from some sites like the Internet Archive, it writes several hundreds of megabytes to the disk, which causes wear on flash storage in the long term. This is the same reason cited for the use of jsonlz4 instead of plain JSON. The caching of videos to disk even happens when deactivating the normal browsing cache (about:config property "browser.cache.disk.enable").
I get the benefit of media caching, but I'd prefer Firefox not to write gigabytes to my SSD each time I watch a somewhat long video. There is actually the about:config property "browser.privatebrowsing.forceMediaMemoryCache", but as the name implies, it is only for private browsing. The RAM is much more suitable for this purpose, and modern computers have, unlike computers from a decade ago, RAM in abundance, which is intended precisely for such a purpose.
The caching of video (and audio) to disk is completely unnecessary as of 2022. It was useful over a decade ago, back when an average computer had 4 GB of RAM and a spinning hard disk (HDD). Now, computers commonly have 16 GB RAM and a solid-state drive (SSD), which makes media caching on disk obsolete, and even detrimental due to weardown. HDDs do not wear down much from writing, since it just alters magnetic fields. HDDs just wear down from the spinning and random access, whereas SSDs do wear down from writing. Since media caching mostly invovles sequential access, HDDs don't mind being used for that. But it is detrimental to the life span of flash memory, and especially hurts live USB drives (USB drives with an operating system) due to their smaller size.
If I watch a one-hour HD video, I do not wish 5 GB to be written to my SSD for nothing. The nonstandard LZ4 format "mozLZ4" for storing sessions was also introduced with the argument of reducing disk writes to flash memory, but video caching causes multiple times as much writing as that.
The property "media.cache_size" in about:config does not help much. Setting it to zero or a low value causes stuttering playback. Setting it to any higher value does not reduce writes to disk, since it apparently just rotates caching within that space, and a lower value means that it just rotates writing more often in a smaller space. Setting a lower value should not cause more wear due to wear levelling, but also does not reduce wear compared to a higher value, since still roughly the same amount of data is written to disk.
Media caching also applies to audio, but that is far less in size than video. Still, deactivating it without having to use private browsing should not be denied to the user.
The fact that this can not be deactivated is a shame for Firefox.2
How to make productive use of computer freeze times?
Is there any way to utilize the time where a computer violates the purpose of its existence by not getting work done?9
On Dailymotion, failed uploads count towards the 24-hour rate limit.
Dailymotion has a rate limit of somewhere between 10 to 15 videos (appears to vary). I experienced a glitch where I dragged 10 videos into the uploader (the highest number; years earlier it oddly was 22), and none of the uploads would start. However, it still counted towards the daily rate limit, immediately blocking me from uploading for 24 hours. I have a slight suspicion that this failure was deliberate.
Also, that rate limit is indiscriminate of video size. A gigabyte-sized 4K video counts equally towards the rate limit as a 7 MB 240p video.1
Pull-to-refresh in mobile web browsers is useless and annoying.
In mid-2019, the #disable-pull-to-refresh-effect option was removed from chrome://flags on Chrome for Android (version 76) for no apparent reason. The top answer in the Google product forum was to beg for this option to be reinstated through the browser's feedback form ( http://web.archive.org/web/... ). Needless to say, that has been futile.
Why is that a problem? The pull-to-refresh gesture not only is unnecessary due to the quickly accessible refresh button in the menu right next to the URL bar, but also causes unsolicited refreshes when quickly scrolling to the top of the page. This drains both the battery and the mobile data plan, in addition to adding an annoying delay.
I would like to use my web browser like a web browser, not a social media app. Besides, the Twitter web app has its own pull-to-refresh implementation in the notification feed.
Without pull-to-refresh, the user has the freedom to scroll up quickly without risking inadvertently reloading the page. If media was playing while an unwanted pull-to-refresh occurs, the user needs to seek for the last playing position, which could take upwards of a minute if the last position is unknown.
Imagine a desktop/laptop web browser reloading because you scroll against the top. Imagine you reach the top of the page but you have not stopped turning the scroll wheel yet, and then a white circle with a blue spinning refresh icon appears at the center top of the window and the page, and then you have to wait for the page to finish loading, and you also need to seek the last playing position of a video or audio track. Wouldn't that be ridiculous?
Any web browser vendor that enforces pull-to-refresh on its users basically begs users to seek an alternative.7
Any file manager without range selection is basically crippled.
Desktop PC file managers had the ability to select many files at once since at least the 1990s, yet smartphone file managers typically still lack it as of 2022. This means if I want to select a range of files, I have to tap each file individually. That's OK for - like - 20 files, but not for 1100 files. I'd need more time to select those files than the transfer would take, and if I accidentally hit anything that closes the app, I can start all over again. <sarcasm>That is how I wish to spend my day.</sarcasm>
In the early 2010s, ES File Explorer brought a dragless range selection feature, where only the first and last item had to be highlighted and a button pressed. This means over 5000 items could be selected in 10 seconds: tap item A, drag the scroll bar, tap item B, tap range selection icon, then done! But then Google came and said "sorry, you can't have nice things" (not vocally but through actions), and forcibly disabled write access to the microSD card to third-party applications. The only way to evade this restriction was through rooting.
Then, Google "blessed" us with storage access framework and then iOS-like scoped storage "to protect us". https://xda-developers.com/android-... . Oh, thank you for your protection by taking freedoms away!
The pre-installed file manager of Android still lacks range selection THIRTY YEARS after desktop computers came pre-installed with this feature. Shame on you, Google. This isn't innovative.
If Google will implement range selection, I guess they will make it half-assed by implementing drag-to-select, which is hardly more useful than individual tap selection for thousands of files. Then they tell us "you wanted range selection, here you are! Now don't bug us.". Sorry, but users don't want half-assed drag-to-select, but real tap-A-B-selection and a draggable scroll bar.
Some mobile file managers even lack a draggable scroll bar, meaning if I want to go near the center of the list, I have to swipe up like a dog or cat licks water from a bowl.10