webshit weekly (2018/04/21)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of April, 2018.

H&R Block and Intuit Lobbying Against Simpler Tax Filing (2017)
April 14, 2018 (comments)
The United States Congress continues the war against its own users. Hackernews can't decide if the politicians involved are liars or just idiots. A handful of Hackernews can't tell the difference between trade associations and individual companies. Most Hackernews seem to believe that bribery is fine when it's in small doses: say, a couple million here or there. Most don't believe that lobbying is bribery, since these miniscule amounts seem too sweet a deal to be true.

ReactOS releases 0.4.8 with experimental Vista/7/10 software compatibility
April 15, 2018 (comments)
Some Internets are still building a scale model of a pile of dogshit. After proclaiming a barely-functional Windows knockoff "one of the most important software projects in history," Hackernews settles in to bicker about which Windows releases were less terrible than others.

Vipassana for Hackers [pdf]
April 15, 2018 (comments)
An Internet satirizes college-student pseudomysticism mixed with terminal Dunning-Kruger exhibitions so well that the result is almost indistinguishable from the ramblings of a pompous nutcase. The document comes complete with meaningless charts and a "References" section half-full of Wikipedia links. Hackernews, renowned experts on pompous douchebaggery, spend several hours congratulating each other on paying money to nap while someone grunts at them over loudspeakers. Readers are cautioned that while paying attention exclusively to yourself comes naturally, shutting the fuck up for a while was a harrowing experience, not for the weak. The satirist arrives in the comment section to continue the jest, but takes it too far with lines like "very painful meditation" and claiming to have spent damn near two months on this shit. Nobody could be that ridiculous.

Teenager facing prison for downloading unsecured files from government website
April 16, 2018 (comments)
Some Canadian bureaucrats accidentally dumped everyone's purse on the table, and are lashing out at a teenage data hoarder. Hackernews debates whether the government fucked up because Canadians elected too many old people or if it's because Canadians elected too many stupid people. Several dozen shitty analogies are invented as the rest of Hackernews attempts to convince each other that manually typing in URLs should be punishable by death, because that's simpler to implement than proper access controls.

Facebook Container for Firefox
April 17, 2018 (comments)
Hackernews revisits Mozilla's efforts to cripple non-Google ad agencies. Comments complaining about the draconian measures taken by webshits to punish anyone who uses surveillance countermeasures are fielded by corporate representatives assuring everyone that such antisocial assholes deserve what they get. Hackernews then spends twelve hours whining about Reddit's user interface: all Hackernews are livid about how terrible it is, but not angry enough to find something else to do. One Hackernews snakes my joke from the last time this thing was discussed. I see you, fucker.

No boundaries for Facebook data: third-party trackers abuse Facebook Login
April 18, 2018 (comments)
Some webshits enumerate all the ways a surveillance company sells its reconnaissance. Hackernews can't decide whether this obvious betrayal is a problem; after all, Facebook documented the API, and they are rich, which are the only two things upon which Hackernews is capable of basing an ethical evaluation.

Apple open-sources FoundationDB
April 19, 2018 (comments)
Apple signs up for free labor. Hackernews is over the moon, since about 70% of them seem to have worked on this particular software for a living. Several are puzzled and disappointed that Apple only released the core component and not any of the parts that make it useful. Others keep showing up to brag about running "petabyte-scale clusters" on other people's computers ("all kinds of aws instances"). Dozens of comments enumerate all the amazing things you can do with this software, all of which involves recreating existing software. The project in question is distributed fault-tolerant key-value store #8,605, which uses SQLite to actually store the data.

Smugmug Acquires Flickr
April 20, 2018 (comments)
Some webshits loot Yahoo!'s corpse. Hackernews is happy that someone had enough money to keep their photo archive from falling off the internet. All of the comments are people asking the CEO for tech support and the CEO promising they'll get it.

A journalism student who found out she won a Pulitzer in class
April 21, 2018 (comments)
A newspaper accidentally put their interns on a byline, leading to the bizarre circumstance of a journalism grad student with a resume someone might notice. Hackernews' takeaway: programmers in the advertising industry should get more prizes. One of you linked this website in a comment on this story mere minutes ago. Please remember that this is a violation of the Prime Directive. Criticism of this policy may be directed to ombudsman at n-gate.com.

webshit weekly (2018/04/14)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of April, 2018.

Credit Card Signatures Are About to Become Extinct in the U.S
April 08, 2018 (comments)
Credit card companies stop pretending to look at receipts. Hackerneuropeans crawl out of the woodwork to bemoan the backwards nature of the largest economy the world has ever known. Hackernews from around the globe chime in with vague memories and pointless recollections of their experiences at various bars. Later, Hackernews tries to reverse engineer the credit card industry, but stops short of reinventing it entirely, because Apple already did that and Hackernews ain't about to step to that.

AV1: A new general-purpose video codec
April 09, 2018 (comments)
Some nerds slap a new name on existing technology, add some irrelevant garbage, and shove it out the door. Hackernews explodes into a frenzy of speculation about whether anyone will ever notice, whether anyone will ever care, under which circumstances anyone might notice or care, and finally whether this is worth noticing or caring about at all. It is not.

April 10, 2018 (comments)
Sam Altman takes a break from deleting Twitter meltdowns to tell people how he gets so much nothing done. The secret? Sleeping a lot, in expensive beds. Hackernews is grateful for the advice, since they're all very important people upon whose shoulders rests the fate of untold millions of 99-cent phone programs and GTD-based web apps. A gigantic web forum thread develops wherein Hackernews trades tips for dealing with the burden of being smarter than everyone else. Then they seek each other's advice about how to eat. Despite the flurry of worshipful admiration, Sam Altman does not deign to participate. Maybe you'll get noticed next time, Hackernews.

Non-profit’s $300 hepatitis C cure as effective as $84k alternative
April 11, 2018 (comments)
Some doctors create some medicine. You can't have any. Hackernews trades thinkpieces on why companies want to make money, then tries to explain to each other how the medical billing industry works. After bitching about Obama (again) for a few dozen pages, Hackernews decides it's cheaper to just die, but there are apparently ethical problems with this approach, none of which are deemed relevant to the discussion. The only important answers everyone agrees are necessary: whose fault is this, and how can we blame the government for it anyway?

How to Decide What to Build
April 12, 2018 (comments)
A wealthy idler posts almost a thousand words of contentless drivel, with random passages highlighted via javascript. Because this particular rando is in charge of handing out Y Combinator money, Hackernews takes the time to convert this meaningless noise into actionable advice. It's a hard task, but taking vague trash and using it to pretend you have your shit together is what Hackernews does best.

Google loses ‘right to be forgotten’ case
April 13, 2018 (comments)
Google loses a court case, but doesn't care enough to keep trying. Hackernews is concerned that government regulations might make their jobs slightly harder, and argues this is justification to get rid of the jury system, government oversight of human rights, government involvement in technology of any sort, and even the faintest possibility of Google being held accountable for anything, by anyone. Each of these positions is articulated, rebutted, and lost in a quagmire of hypothetical corner cases invented by cloistered techbros under assumed names.

Was there a civilization on Earth before humans?
April 14, 2018 (comments)
A magazine is worried about climate change. The shit in the headline is just a jumping-off point to suck in nerds. Hackernews shows up to ask more unanswerable questions... and even more easily-answerable questions, such as "does LIDAR penetrate dust."

webshit weekly (2018/04/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of April, 2018. Fast, privacy-first consumer DNS service
April 01, 2018 (comments)
A massive content-delivery network enhances its surveillance capabilities while promising not to surveil its users. Hackernews spends two days pinging the servers, because they don't know how to run real performance tests. An argument breaks out over whether HTTPS is the correct transport for DNS. The argument is moot, because there are not any programmers left alive who can develop software that uses any other protocol. A handful of Hackernews gather for a rudimentary course on how IP addresses work, then the rest of the comments are pedantic bickering about the precise wording of the vague and unenforceable privacy policies from a faceless internet corporation.

Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs from 2020, Replacing Intel
April 02, 2018 (comments)
Apple negotiates a discount on future Intel products. Hackernews thinks Apple should make everything themselves, because Apple does everything better than everyone else. The ensuing ode to Apple contains shit-talking of any alternatives, whining about keyboard shortcuts, declaring that the dearth of software in the App Store is for your own good, reinventing package management from first principles, and linux tech support. That's one comment thread. Comment thread two is pearl-clutching about whether Adobe and Autodesk will bother to support Apple computers that don't run Intel processors, which launches a catfight about CPU benchmarks. The remaining comment threads are all remixes of the first two, except for the breathtaking quote "There are no good or bad ideas".

Report of Active Shooter at YouTube HQ
April 03, 2018 (comments)
A nutjob sails off the deep end. Hackernews finally notices that crazy people with guns can have a detrimental effect on worker productivity, but cautions one another not to believe anything they see, hear, or read until the event is safely in the distant past. Most of the comment threads are Hackernews linking to tweets, followed by twenty other Hackernews disbelieving the tweet or disparaging the information source. After the action slows down, the typical webshit gun debate unfolds.

Google Workers Urge C.E.O. To Pull Out of Pentagon A.I. Project
April 04, 2018 (comments)
A small band of Googles strongly believes that the corporation should limit itself to psychological warfare. Hackernews takes turns praising themselves for focusing on ponzi schemes and adtech, because nobody gets hurt by those. Another comment thread takes turns chanting that other engineers need enforceable ethical codes, but software engineers should be masters of their fates, because they are special. After a while the whole post degrades into trench warfare over whether and how the defense industry is responsible for Silicon Valley.

Berkeley offers its data science course online for free
April 05, 2018 (comments)
A school offers a remedial statistics class. Hackernews is pissed that schools keep offering classes that people ask for instead of classes that Hackernews asks for. One Hackernews is clearly a Slashdot refugee, as this particular Hackernews dismisses the course based on its choice of package manager and text editor.

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon pose a greater surveillance risk than Facebook
April 06, 2018 (comments)
A newspaper points out that Silicon Valley surveillance corporations are not the only corporations who spy on users. Hackernews upvotes the living shit out of this story, desperate to spread the word that they're not the only ones selling humanity down the river. A few Hackernews aren't so sure that "logging DNS queries" is on the same level as "storing literally every scrap of information that can be acquired or inferred about all of humanity," but the rest of Mountain View arrives to assure them that the ISPs are way worse because the users pay them. Many Hackernews tell stories about all the terrible things that both ISPs and Silicon Valley corporations do to users, usually implemented by Hackernews.

The dots do matter: how to scam a Gmail user
April 07, 2018 (comments)
Google's shitty email service collides with Netflix's shitty account management practices. Hackernews draws battle lines over whose fault this is. The entire comment chain consists of uninteresting bickering over technical minutiae, rendered all the more meaningless because nobody involved gives enough of a shit to change anything at all. What's left is a prime example of a nerd pissing match of no consequence whatsoever.