webshit weekly (2020/11/21)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of November, 2020.

“Facebook has taken the name of my open source project ”
November 15, 2020 (comments)
A webshit and a larger webshit both suck at naming projects. There are about a million shitty opinions on display from Hackernews, the most prevalent of which is "this is not Facebook's fault, but instead the fault of the person Facebook paid to do it, as well as the fault of those other Facebook employees who contributed to its production," as though Facebook were some remote entity only tangentially involved with the activities of the people it hires. Several pages of misapprehensions about copyright law follow, none of which even approaches the core lesson from this tale: Github is a garbage platform designed and operated by people who still have no idea how to manage their primary product.

YouTube-dl's repository has been restored
November 16, 2020 (comments)
Faced with massive outcry moderate disappointment widespread awareness two or three bloggers whining about the removal of the source code for a popular web utility being removed from one (1) source code hosting platform, Microsoft decides to post nearly two thousand words describing their heroism in not only pressing the 'undelete' button on their admin interface, but also taking on the staggeringly selfless community-building work of "actually reading incoming messages to see if they make sense before acting on them." Hackernews doesn't know what prompted this change, but that doesn't stop them from endlessly speculating on the minutes of whatever disinterested corporate Zoom call contained the decision. Most the rest of the contents are Hackernews offering "helpful" summaries of the events to date, which are gratifyingly unburdened by excessively strenuous adherence to fact or even comprehension.

Servo’s new home
November 17, 2020 (comments)
Having been kicked out of its parents' basement, a detachment of the Rust Evanglism Strike Force wanders into a nearby abbey for shelter, setting up the plot of Season 2, wherein they discover the charity is coming from their actual competitors. One of the foot soldiers arrives in the comments to declare enthusiasm for the current situation; Hackernews wants to know what the plan is from here, but receives only silence. Hackernews, accustomed to a goals vacuum in the world of Rust development, happily spitballs possible outcomes, while the rest of the Rust Evanglism Strike Force circulates in other threads and insists that anyone gives a shit about Servo.

DisneyMustPay Alan Dean Foster
November 18, 2020 (comments)
A business dispute goes public. Hackernews recognizes the names of both sides of the dispute, and so it is time to dust off the law degrees from Wikipedia University and litigate this in the Court of Forum Comments. Predictably, the result is pages of Hackernews incorrecting one another on copyright law, accounting, the specific facts of this dispute, and the nature of intellectual property itself. No technology is discussed.

Beirut Port Explosion
November 19, 2020 (comments)
Some analysts explain that the April explosion of a building in Beirut occurred because safety protocols were not enforced, which is obvious, but also which safety protocols and how they were violated, which is useful. Hackernews appreciates a good set of 3D models, but is more interested in either bitching about the quality of oversight from the government of Lebanon (a country which almost none of the commenters could point to on a map) or the idea that social media has obviated the need for state-level intelligence agencies. Hackernews is approximately equally qualified to defend either position.

Cover Your Tracks
November 20, 2020 (comments)
In accordance with their tradition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a new website to tell us how fucked we are by advertisers, while containing almost no advice for fixing any of it. The website assesses the information your web browser sends to their servers, and then tells you to install their browser extension. Hackernews despairs of ever solving this problem, either because the attackers are too well-funded to ever truly fall behind in a privacy arms race or because Hackernews are the ones implementing the user tracking at their day job. Nonetheless, Hackernews spends a pleasant afternoon fucking with browser settings to try to get the high score.

I Miss Working from the Office
November 21, 2020 (comments)
An Internet would like the COVID-19 pandemic to end. Hackernews blogs about the difference between working from home and working from work; the satisfaction with the former overall seems to depend entirely on housing costs where Hackernews lives. The solution, says Hackernews, is to move some place cheaper, because fixing problems is impossible.

webshit weekly (2020/11/14)

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

EU Draft Council Declaration Against Encryption [pdf]
November 08, 2020 (comments)
The European Union feels sorry for the United Kingdom, and tries to help by doing everything it can to make Brexit seem like a good idea in retrospect. Hackernews is outraged that a massive transnational government body has the temerity to advise computer nerds on how to do anything. After all, there is no way anyone involved with the government can possibly have any idea how computers work. Fortunately, a web forum full of computer nerds know everything there is to know about governing, and we are graced with several lectures on the topic. Midway through the conversation, the "Hacker" "News" moderator decides to replace the thoughtful, nuanced article with a press release. There is no way to know which commenters are talking about what article. Hackernews declares an intent to reward this behavior.

Covid vaccine: First ‘milestone’ vaccine offers 90% protection
November 09, 2020 (comments)
As usual, the best quality products come from the mom & pop shops. Hackernews have all earned online epidemiology degrees from Wikipedia University, and confidently proclaim all kinds of random shit. Because they all learned everything they know at different times, the Wikipedia pages that served as their instructors had different vandalism or lies embedded into them for each Hackernews. Hackernews, therefore, writes over one thousand comments incorrecting each other about all possible aspects of biology, medicine, public policy, the entire pharmaceutical industry, and Donald Trump.

Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years, FTC says
November 10, 2020 (comments)
The United States Government sternly warns a multinational telecommunications company to stop lying about encryption. Hackernews knows a lot of other companies that lie about this, but isn't interested in doing anything to fix it, because it's easier to darkly hint that it's the government's fault. Some Hackernews demand that everyone stop using Zoom and use Google services instead. The rest of the comments are Hackernews speaking in generalizations about what everyone else is (or should be) doing. No actionable information is contained in the article, and none is presented in the comment thread.

Apple Silicon M1 chip in MacBook Air outperforms high-end 16-inch MacBook Pro
November 11, 2020 (comments)
Fans of meaningless strings of numbers rate Apple's new laptop very highly. Hackernews vomits one thousand comments bikeshedding the crowdsourced number stations. Some Hackernews try to make excuses for the computers with bad numbers, and other Hackernews express a feverish desire to acquire the computer with good numbers.

macOS unable to open any non-Apple application
November 12, 2020 (comments)
Apple continues the war against its own users. In this attack, Apple attempts to equalize performance metrics across their product line by enabling their Startup Delay as a Service platform. Another thousand Hackernews comments arrive in due course, all of which are delighted to finally have an explanation for why their computers suddenly stopped working properly. Hackernews trades tips and tricks for simple and quick software methods to subvert the security software they paid for. Later, Hackernews issues a stark warning to Apple, insisting that Hackernews is the tastemaker that will bring down the Mac OS hegemony, holding up as an example that time they drove Google to bankruptcy by completely refusing to use some subset of their free services. The rest of the comments are Hackernews trying to convince each other that anyone would notice if they boycotted something.

So you've made a mistake and it's public
November 13, 2020 (comments)
Wikipedia hosts a web page explaining how to graciously admit when you are wrong. The page has a disclaimer at the talk explaining to the reader that nobody associated with Wikipedia will ever, under any circumstances, acknowledge being wrong, or demonstrate the slightest hint of grace, but will in fact continue bickering in edit history comments until the very last Wikipedia editor is at last arrested for whatever bizarre sex crime they're hiding from on the internet. Hackernews wrestles with the possibility of admitting mistakes, but in the end decide it's not worth it, and it's best to just charge ahead with the next mistake.

Don't use third party auth to sign in
November 14, 2020 (comments)
An Internet warns us not to trust third-party authentication services, and then invites you to use four of them to leave a comment on the article. Hackernews has strong opinions regarding webshit security, and would like to sell you several dozen products and services that do everything just right. All of these services are great, continues Hackernews, but you really also need to follow a separate long-ass list of nerd shit to do, resulting in a total expenditure of several hundred dollars of annual expenditure and in the process smearing your attack profile across eight or twelve vendors. The final step, says Hackernews, is to point all this shit back at Google's servers and keep using GMail anyway. Sure, nothing meaningful has changed, and you're spending a lot more money, but the important thing is that you're still sending all your data to Google.

webshit weekly (2020/11/07)

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

Raspberry Pi 400 Desktop PC
November 01, 2020 (comments)
A Broadcom factory outlet introduces a slightly bulkier model of a bad computer it already sells. Hackernews believes that this, finally, is the computer that poor people will be able to buy. The rest of the comments are nostalgic ruminations on 80s computers.

South Park creators have new political satire series with AI-generated deepfakes
November 02, 2020 (comments)
The creators of a popular cartoon have figured out how to make another cartoon with much more realistic art. Hackernews tries to figure out if deep fake technology is the harbinger of the end of civilization or an amusing party trick that might be useful to Hollywood. Most Hackernews seem to think that the solution is more computers, which will enable people to determine if the videos on their computers have been modified by computers.

GitHub: Widespread Injection Vulnerabilities in Actions
November 03, 2020 (comments)
Security geniuses at Google determine that shell pipelines reimagined as YAML webshit are still fundamentally shell pipelines and are subject to similar unintended consequences. Neither Hackernews nor Github seem particularly surprised or interested.

Disclosure: Unlimited Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
November 04, 2020 (comments)
An Internet notices a bank's webshit is broken. The bank is a huge asshole about it. There is no recourse. Hackernews lists this sort of thing as the foremost reason they, as a matter of policy, do not help anyone with anything for any reason. It's a shame, says Hackernews, pondering the massive wave of improvement they think they could immediately unleash, if only people weren't so mean to them. The rest of the comments are an attempt to assemble a list of banks who are assholes.

Helsinki Relocation Package: City as a Service
November 05, 2020 (comments)
The Finnish government attempts to lure unsuspecting computer nerds into an icy hellscape. Hackernews warns one another that it is more difficult to live in Finland for people who do not speak Finnish. Over two hundred comments are Hackernews helpfully informing the reader that this is true of most countries who have not yet standardized on English. The larger comment thread is Hackernews either outraged that the Finns pay half their income on taxes to provide services that cost more in America, or Hackernews arguing about who really won World War II.

Technical debt as a lack of understanding
November 06, 2020 (comments)
An apostate advocates understanding the software you work on and the reasons for its design. Hackernews spends the afternoon trying to come up with a complicated metaphor to explain this concept to people who are not software engineers, which is a tremendous waste of time, because people who are not software engineers would take it for granted that you need to understand the things you work on for a living.

Biden wins White House, vowing new direction for divided U.S.
November 07, 2020 (comments)
An extremely popular reality show has not been renewed for another season. Hackernews posts three and a half thousand comments in twelve hours, most of which bemoan the radicalization of American politics. The broad consensus among Hackernews is that both the extreme left and the radical right have too much power and too loud a voice, and have conspired to remove all representation of centrists like Donald Trump. This is, depending on which Hackernews is currently frothing, either the fault of the anti-white-male Big Tech companies who want to use diversity hiring goals to establish a Stalinist global regime, or else it's the fault of the white male Big Tech CEOs who want to establish Mad-Max-Style libertarian nation-states hell-bent on defacing the United States Constitution. Either position is fine, say the moderators of "Hacker" "News", so long as there is no name-calling. All comments follow the standard format, which begins with "So you admit" or an incorrect rephrasing of the parent comment, followed by an attack on that rephrasing. At some point, the assholes who think democracy is a bad idea start popping up, and their opinions are given careful consideration. This is easily the worst thread in the history of "Hacker" "News." Absolutely no technology is discussed.