webshit weekly (2019/07/21)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of July, 2019.

To Break Google’s Monopoly on Search, Make Its Index Public
July 15, 2019 (comments)
A psychologist Dunning-Krugers a prescription for Google's market dominance: nationalize their work. Hackernews insists that there is nothing magical about Google's place at the top of the search game; it is the doing of the citizens of the internet, who organically chose Google as their just and rightful God. Later, some Hackernews discover that the psychologist is not a computer programmer or even a venture capitalist. This discovery naturally leads to an argument about Hillary Clinton.

YouTube video has its own URL in it
July 16, 2019 (comments)
A Minecraft operator screws around. Hackernews links to examples of similar hijinks.

The PGP Problem
July 16, 2019 (comments)
The Hackernews Beauty Pageant Gold Medalist is mad about PGP. Hundreds of words are recycled about all the problems. As usual, the only solution offered to replace email (a protocol in use by approximately the entire internet) are a bunch of centralized all-or-nothing silos that interoperate barely or not at all. No new information appears in this particular rehashing of the PGP Temper Tantrum, so Hackernews has a well-practiced collection of canned responses and anecdotes agreeing with and reinforcing the tantrum. A few Hackernews bring up the profound level of shittiness of Signal as a replacement for email, but the subject is quickly changed to avoid angering the resident security hucksters. None of the people recommending Signal protocol products have any Signal protocol contact information in their profiles. All of them have email addresses. One of them has a PGP key.

Amazon Accidentally Sold $13k Camera Gear for $100 on Prime Day
July 17, 2019 (comments)
Amazon accidentally had a better sale than they had planned. Hackernews can't figure out the justice in a world where huge multinational corporations are expected to honor pricing mishaps, but individual consumers are protected from such things. The idea that justice may involve context is hotly debated for several hours, and finally determined to be an idea whose time has gone.

MITM on HTTPS traffic in Kazakhstan
July 18, 2019 (comments)
A web browser is asked to declare cyberwarfare on a sovereign nation. Rather than refusing the task, the developers of the web browser slowly begin to realize the consequences of decades of aggressively insisting on being the keymasters of Internet trust: they are now expected to actively oppose an organization which, instead of a failed phone OS and some bookmark syncing software, possesses things such as a literal army. Hackernews thinks the sovereign nation will lose the conflict, because nobody is more powerful than the Certificate Authority Browser Forum. One Hackernews suggests that maybe x.509 certificates are possibly not going to directly solve every single information security problem on Earth, but is quickly renditioned to an unnamed Eastern European nation for rest and reeducation.

History and Effective Use of Vim
July 19, 2019 (comments)
An Internet likes a computer program, and writes a comprehensive biography of it. Hackernews argues over whose config files are better. One person makes a new account to pretend anyone still uses emacs. Nobody notices.

Photorealistic Path Tracer
July 20, 2019 (comments)
A student describes a class project, then arrives in the comments to complain that people aren't excited instead by a different project. All of the student's personal friends are in the comments to say hello. The work is visually appealing, so Hackernews votes the article up, but is mostly math, so nobody has anything to say about it.

How is it like to be a dev in Iran
July 21, 2019 (comments)
An Internet complains that a totalitarian government is trying to control information access. This is blamed on the United Nations. The solution presented is a handful of technological gadgets; overthrowing the totalitarian government and replacing it with one that can't arbitrarily ratfuck its citizenry is not even considered. Hackernews thinks that a better solution would be for technology companies to actively refuse to comply with legal directives issued by the nations in which they live and work. It is generally agreed that Docker should serve container downloads to Tehran as a direct remediation of CIA activities in the 1950s. That'll fix it.

webshit weekly (2019/07/14)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of July, 2019.

iMessage: Malformed Message Bricks iPhone
July 07, 2019 (comments)
Apple's cell phone experiences a minor bug in some outlying, little-used functionality. Hackernews heaps examples of other messaging failures in an attempt to cheer up Tim Cook. While some Hackernews wrestle with the idea that there may be people alive who do not use Apple's cell phones, the rest of them bikeshed the description of the bug.

Vulnerability in the Mac Zoom client allows malicious websites to enable camera
July 08, 2019 (comments)
A chat program emulates FaceTime's "don't bother asking the receiver" functionality. When approached with questions, the chat company insists that consent is optional. Hackernews can't decide if the company should have been allowed to purchase the bug finder's silence. The bug finder hosts a reception in the chat program while Hackernews struggles to identify the precise layer of abstraction that contains the failure. Later, when normal people find out about this bullshit, the chat company reverses course.

I Can’t Stop Winning
July 09, 2019 (comments)
An Internet still has a website. Hackernews likes the website and its owner. The owner shows up to be liked.

Apple has pushed a silent Mac update to remove hidden Zoom web server
July 10, 2019 (comments)
Despite the chat program's abeyance of shithead behavior, it got sufficient press for Apple to class it as malware and kibosh its dodge. Hackernews crawls on top of each other, the better to gain altitude for shouting praises unto Apple's bravery. Some Hackernews show up to wonder if Apple should be shitcanning software that users installed without asking them. The resulting debate is unfocused, wide-ranging, passionate, and utterly free of conclusions.

QuickJS JavaScript Engine
July 11, 2019 (comments)
An Internet makes a javascript interpreter. Hackernews has heard of the author, so this gets a lot of attention. They break up into three discussion groups, each devoted to a specific topic: "what is this for," "how does this work," and the largest session, "what else did this person write." Most of the outlier comments are science fiction about a world in which this software displaces some other, better-marketed software currently in use.

Details of the Cloudflare outage on July 2, 2019
July 12, 2019 (comments)
Cloudflare is still apologizing for last week's webshit fuckery. In this wave, we learn that test coverage is never perfect, regular expressions are subtly complex, and your administration tools shouldn't route through your product. All of these lessons are, of course, being learned for the first time by anyone, except for the ones Ken Thompson pointed out in the Johnson administration. Hackernews appreciates the clarity and openness of this corporate mea culpa, because armchair quarterbacking someone else's job is way more fun when you can skip to the answers.

Elsevier cuts off UC’s access to its academic journals
July 13, 2019 (comments)
A parasite experiments with cutting off its host. The handful of Hackernews who live in academia take up the task of explaining this industry to the rest of them, which results in confused question-and-answer sessions about why anyone gives a shit what Elsevier wants, who let academia get like this, and whether this situation could be disrupted, maybe with an app or a website. Others wonder if sweeping changes to the laws of various nations might be a simpler fix.

Calculus for Beginners and Artists (2003)
July 14, 2019 (comments)
A webshit decides that what calculus needs is more Excel and wayyy more condescension. Hackernews has about six thousand recommendations for obviously superior introductions to the topic, and with each is provided arguments about which hypothetical person might possibly like or dislike it based on what they do to pay rent. The conversation marches forward to the inevitable question, but as the answer is "you don't, actually," there aren't too many posts on this topic.

webshit weekly (2019/07/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of July, 2019.

Choose Boring Technology
July 01, 2019 (comments)
A webshit spends way too much time drawing pictures that are intended to tangentially support the core thesis, which is that programmers should use software they are familiar with. Hackernews excitedly reports that such practices lead to software that works. Some Hackernews angrily insist that this is a difficult approach for people who do not know anything, and the resulting discussion invents the concept of apprenticeship from first principles. In another thread, Hackernews discusses the idea that "code is a liability," which is dangerously close to the truth: coders are the liability.

Cloudflare Network Performance Issues
July 02, 2019 (comments)
Having settled down from last week's public pillorying of Verizon, after Verizon torpedoed other people's networks by activating faulty software, Cloudflare torpedoes other people's websites by activating faulty software. Hackernews is mad that Cloudflare's status page, like all other webshit status pages, is so inaccurate as to be entirely useless. Other Hackernews realize, reading the fine print, that this half-assed quality of service is exactly what they're paying for.

YouTube's ban on “hacking techniques” threatens to shut down infosec YouTube
July 03, 2019 (comments)
Google decides that they are the right and natural gatekeepers of information relating to breaking shitty software. Hackernews argues about which objects are illegal in England. Some Stallmanite Hackernews insist that this sort of problem can be solved with copyright laws. The rest of the comments are political partisan bickering disguised as philosophy.

Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in MacBook
July 04, 2019 (comments)
Apple decides to put laptop keyboards back into their laptops, instead of whatever the fuck that garbage was they've been selling the past few years. Hackernews looks forward to the only computer manufacturer on the planet return to selling products that have a reasonable chance of working. All of the comments are playing fantasy football with input device rosters. Jony Ive quits in disgust.

How the Dat Protocol Works
July 05, 2019 (comments)
A protocol nobody uses is exhaustively described in a document nobody reads. Hackernews likes the pictures. The rest of the comments are asking how this protocol compares to other protocols also used by approximately nobody. Nobody is sure.

Goodbye Aberration: Physicist Solves 2,000-Year-Old Optical Problem
July 06, 2019 (comments)
Some scientists math the living shit out of an old physics problem. Hackernews can't decide if people want money so they can do art or if people want art so they can make money. Half the comments are bikeshedding the terminology used in the pop-science article about the paper. The rest are Hackernews incorrecting one another about jargon relevant to the topic's field.

How to write idempotent Bash scripts
July 07, 2019 (comments)
A webshit has things to say about writing shell scripts whose components return fewer errors. Hackernews, of course, has even more things to say, and goes into detail about all of the horrific practices they inflict on innocent computers. Most of them immediately turn to installing dozens or hundreds of megabytes of Python or Ruby on every computer they touch, because it's easier to trust some shit you pip installed than it is to understand the ramifications of the garbage you're flailing into the keyboard. There is, in the world of Hackernews, no middle ground between "running a shell script" and "directing system state with a domain-specific language selected entirely on how many stars its repo has on GitHub." Later, some Hackernews try to figure out exactly what "idempotent" actually means.