webshit weekly (2020/02/14)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of February, 2020.

My productivity app for the past 12 years has been a single .txt file
February 08, 2020 (comments)
An academic takes notes in a single text file. And a calendar server. And an email server. Hackernews also uses text files, email servers, and calendars, but they use them better, and they're here to recommend expensive books from several online vendors who offer free shipping. The entire remainder of the comment thread is people suggesting taking notes in a notebook, but are shouted down by the ancient refrain: it's not searchable! Only a computer can organize text.

Linux 5.6 is the most exciting kernel in years
February 09, 2020 (comments)
An Internet is extremely enthusiastic about computer hardware drivers for a living. Hackernews is far more excited that they can now run their computers with a networked filesystem provided by the only company they trust with the task: Microsoft. Another pack of Hackernews are pleased that there is coming support for kernel performance improvements they don't understand and cannot use.

Microsoft begins showing an anti-Firefox ad in the Windows 10 start menu
February 10, 2020 (comments)
Microsoft continues the war against its most entrenched and dangerous threat: a struggling webshit vendor who is hemorrhaging money. Hackernews recalls the isolated incidents when Microsoft engaged in unethical business practices hostile to community developed software. Other Hackernews indicate the infrequent nature of this continual and unending series of miscommunications, overreaches, and/or accidental attacks points to a failure of leadership, as a competent executive team would have reached total monopoly by climbing a staircase made of the corpses of copyright cultists.

How the CIA used Crypto AG encryption devices to spy on countries for decades
February 11, 2020 (comments)
The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, recounts the story of a digital communications company with close ties to the American government that turned out to be a conduit for the world's secrets directly into United States intelligence agencies. Hackernews suspects that the events of this story are not the only instance of the United States government engaging in such fuckery, but can't seem to decide if that's the worst possible problem there could be or else probably for the best. In the end, Hackernews decides the right action to take is to double-check their AmazonSmile charity is not set to the 'Intelligence and National Security Foundation'.

February 12, 2020 (comments)
A webshit makes javascript about math. Hackernews likes the pretty pictures, but thinks they'd be better if Hackernews made them, or if they were made by Hackernews' favorite almost-identical gear-oriented webshit, or if we could print animated books. Other Hackernews just want to point out how important math is to people who need to use math.

I Add 3-25 Seconds of Latency to Every Site I Visit
February 13, 2020 (comments)
An Internet tries to invent digital Methadone. Hackernews recommends the same procedures for disciplining teenagers over the internet. Half of the comments are about which Python script Hackernews uses to pirate Youtube videos. The other half are struggling with the ontology of gratification. On one hand, spake Hackernews, it cannot be wise to gratify oneself instantly and frequently. On the other hand, quoth Hackernews, it's fine to jerk off constantly until you chafe your genitals to stone and die of dehydration, as long as you can quote economics textbooks to people who are only present to wait for their turn to quote their favorite folksy street philosopher.

18-year-old personal website, built with Frontpage and still updated
February 14, 2020 (comments)
A webshit encrypts their website with some kind of vowel-laden kitchen Latin. Hackernews somberly admonishes us to learn the important lesson of the long-lived website: for your message to survive unto future generations, it must be graven upon naked stone, using Microsoft software. After an interminably tedious discussion about which subset of modern webshit will survive into antiquity (defined here as five or more years from now), one Hackernews applauds the site for scoring 100 on Google's PageSpeed analyzer. Literally nobody complains that the site is linked via unencrypted HTTP. Nobody points out the site is not available over HTTPS at all. Nobody even mentions subjecting themselves to Let's Encrypt. Seems like those are all only absolute necessities when the author is peddling webshit.

webshit weekly (2020/02/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of February, 2020.

Palindrome Day 20200202
February 01, 2020 (comments)
An Internet pretends there are date formats not specified in ISO 8601. Hackernews is still mad that America writes numbers down in the order they're spoken, because human behavior should obviously be driven entirely by some nerd's sense of aesthetics. Half of the comments are Hackernews arguing that whatever date format and postal address system they grew up with is a natural law. The other half agree, but grew up somewhere else.

Google Maps Hacks
February 02, 2020 (comments)
An underemployed computer nerd has too many telephones. Hackernews is dimly aware that they've placed half their lives into the hands of a faceless megacorporation with so little engineering acumen that it can be defeated by a bored person with a child's wagon. While some of them consider this to be idly alarming, most are more interested in reporting similar failures in traffic reporting systems run by advertising agencies. Later, another pack of Hackernews drill down into the real problem with traffic management: having to turn left, which is scary and should be outlawed.

The missing semester of CS education
February 03, 2020 (comments)
Some academics isolate the last remaining degrees of freedom in software development and target them for extermination. The academics report their indoctrination efforts to Hackernews and patrol the comment section. Hackernews is not convinced that computer scientists should know how to use computers at all, much less these specific computer programs. While some Hackernews firmly believe that universities should make this information available to interested students, others insist that it is better for learning institution to focus on fundamental invariants in the computer science field, such as AdSense and AWS.

Google tracks individual users per Chrome installation ID
February 04, 2020 (comments)
A GitHub does not like that Google's software sends information to Google, and expresses this opinion with a passive-aggressive rhetorical question on a GitHub issue, which has the effect of preventing the Google who opened the issue from ever interacting with it again. Hackernews trawls through Google public-relations apocrypha to find a suitable body of text which can dismiss the entire class of concerns expressed in the original comment. The common consensus is that it is not possible to prevent your data from being uploaded to Google, and so it's best to lie down on your Chromebook, open your advertising preferences, and think of GMail.

Wacom tablets track every app you open
February 05, 2020 (comments)
An Internet does not like that Wacom's software sends information to Google, and expresses this opinion with an in-depth blog post detailing how to watch it happen. Hackernews opines that switching to Linux would fix this. Other Hackernews think you can just politely ask your hardware vendor to stop spying on you. Still others try to work out what the precise balance should be between the user having a private life and software developers' God-given right to know everything you do with any electronic device. Nobody suggests that a drawing-tablet manufacturer should not even try to collect user data.

Open-plan offices decrease face-to-face collaboration: study
February 06, 2020 (comments)
Some academics claim that free-range programmers do not produce as well as caged programmers. The entire article provides no information beyond this, but contains dozens of links to other useless articles on the same shitty website, none of which contain additional information. Nowhere is the academic study linked, so Hackernews has to go find it themselves. Instead of discussing, Hackernews just whines about their work environments, or reminisces about that one time they got to work somewhere nice. No technology is discussed.

Python dicts are now ordered
February 07, 2020 (comments)
A webshit has something to say about Python internals, but I couldn't focus on the article, because the first comment on the blog post involves the text "it brings Python on par with PHP," which is such a monumentally alien thought that I think I need medical attention. Hackernews argues about who already knew this, why, and how. Another argument breaks out about whether this is the Correct and Natural approach to data structures, or if it's Completely Wrong and Stupid because of some ridiculous edge case nobody cares about. Most of the complaints are from people who are deeply concerned that (entirely hypothetical) existing code might break in the case its author made extremely specific assumptions about one particular data structure in a programming language directly aimed at people who do not give a shit about these topics.

webshit weekly (2020/01/31)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of January, 2020.

Procrastination is about managing emotions, not time
January 22, 2020 (comments)
Some academics, via the BBC, correct a misconception nobody had. Hackernews tries to decide if being a lazy piece of shit is heritable or a product of upbringing. The rest of the comments are personal anecdotes about how Hackernews has always been healthy, but really began to excel once they convinced doctors to give them amphetamines.

What happened to Mint?
January 23, 2020 (comments)
The answer to the headline question is "it got bought by a regulatory-capture-enhanced monopoly and ignored." Hackernews has about sixteen thousand stealth-mode startups just about to swoop in and pick up the slack. Each Hackernews who announces such intent is immediately beset by unsolicited advice from armchair bankers. The rest of the comments are recommendations of financial services that almost, but do not, replace Mint.

List of Twitter mute words for your timeline
January 24, 2020 (comments)
An Internet figures out that Twitter's muting system can sometimes block their own advertisement platform. Hackernews complains about a lack of documentation for a list of twenty words to paste into a text box. A Twitter reports that there is nothing users can do to unfuck their timelines. The idea is nice, so the link is upvoted, but there isn't anything to say except "Twitter sucks at the only thing anyone wants them to do" so there isn't a lot happening in the comment section.

Am I Unique?
January 25, 2020 (comments)
Yes, no matter what you do. Hackernews struggles with the age-old conflict of the browser: "why should this program have so much power over my data" versus "I want to do everything I do with computers inside this program." Later, the second-oldest conflict is discussed: "I don't want to be identifiable on the internet" versus "this surveillance company will make my life hell unless I am identifiable."

Access to Wikipedia restored in Turkey after more than two and a half years
January 26, 2020 (comments)
Wikipedia is excited that they are once again available in the Soviet Union. The Erdogan apologists and the free-speech advocates organize a dance-off in the comment threads.

An Update on Bradfitz: Leaving Google
January 27, 2020 (comments)
A Google resigns to reinvent host-based authentication from first principles. Hackernews recognizes the Google's username, and commences to eulogize. No technology is discussed, but open-office plans are still unpopular.

WireGuard is now in Linus' tree
January 28, 2020 (comments)
The Linux kernel assimilates another hundred and fifty thousand lines of code. Hackernews is excited, because this greatly increases the chances that they'll get to use the software the next time they boot Ubuntu in a virtual machine on their Macbooks. The rest of the comments are people translating their VPN configurations into confused narratives.

Congrats! Web scraping is legal! (US precedent)
January 29, 2020 (comments)
The United States Government declares that website owners must use technology to combat scrapers instead of using the United States Government. Hackernews knows this is getting escalated to a higher court, and so feels entitled to expound poorly-constructed legal opinions based on their understanding of contract law.

Not everyone has an internal monologue
January 30, 2020 (comments)
An Internet discovers a method to determine which people are people and which are artifacts of the simulation. Hackernews quickly determines, based on various experiential reports from around the internet, that there is an hierarchy to how people's minds work, and that Hackernews is definitely at the top of that hierarchy, and that amphetamines are the key to staying there. Another set of Hackernews explain to us that some of these reports are incorrect, the reporters are simply misunderstanding their own thoughts, and Hackernews knows better than you do how your mind works.

My Second Year as a Solo Developer
January 31, 2020 (comments)
A webshit constructs a series of tables explaining in excruciating detail the process of losing money by making webshit. Hackernews is absolutely well-qualified to provide advice regarding the loss of money through making webshit, and proceeds to do so in volume and at scale. The top comment comes from the Hackernews Beauty Pageant Bronze Medalist, who provides hundreds of words amounting to zero practical information, then refuses to respond to the blog author.