webshit weekly (2018/09/14)

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

A year later, Equifax has faced little fallout from losing data
September 08, 2018 (comments)
A blogger posts a thousand-word article to describe a complete lack of any development in a topic everyone forgot about eleven months ago. Hackernews enumerates all the reasons that government obviously cannot work, because America is doing it wrong, and the answers can be found in whatever economic rounding error issued the commenter's passport. No technology is discussed.

First-party isolation in Firefox: what breaks if you enable it?
September 09, 2018 (comments)
A webshit attempts to use a Firefox feature, with appropriate expectations (random shit will break) and unsurprising results (random shit breaks). Hackernews is enthusiastic about any idea that might counteract the unyielding panopticon they're paid to design, build, and shove into the lives of every breathing mammal on Earth. Nothing anyone does seems to have any effect, but the frequent breakage and alarming error messages produce a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Hackernews is chock full of ideas about exciting new ways to deliberately break all the shit they make for a living.

How Discord Handles Two and Half Million Concurrent Voice Users Using WebRTC
September 10, 2018 (comments)
The article is entirely contained within the title, but that doesn't stop this webshit factory from posting a riveting narrative about how they implemented existing protocols designed to do exactly this task. Hackernews has a shitload of feature requests, except for the "list every competing product" hobbyists. Later in the comments, Hackernews has adventures: discovering load balancing, finding out that virtual machines are not as fast as real computers, and theorizing profit models that don't involve advertising.

Amazon is stuffing its search results pages with ads
September 11, 2018 (comments)
An Internet stops the presses with a world-shaking scoop: a website devoted to selling you shit is in fact out to make money. Hackernews decides that Amazon's failure to altruistically serve as an impartial product adjudicator is unacceptable. Going forward, Hackernews will order toilet paper and batteries from some other online retailer, refraining from doing business with this crass commercial operation except at work, where they will continue sending Amazon millions of dollars a day.

EU approves internet copyright law, including ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’
September 12, 2018 (comments)
Europe continues its five-year plan to chase every last datacenter out of the continent. As usual, Hackernews is greatly distressed by the idea that someone other than Facebook is being permitted to make technology decisions. A large part of the problem seems to be that various governments don't seem to have a very clear understanding of how their respective laws work, and if they'd just take the time to read Hackernews' comment threads, they'd have this sorted out in a jiffy. Some Internet Traditionalists suggest using technological tricks to comply with the letter of the law while explicitly and intentionally violating its intent, but otherwise no technology is discussed.

SETI spots dozens of new mysterious signals emanating from distant galaxy
September 13, 2018 (comments)
The Ham Radio Foreign Relations Bureau heard something. Hackernews upvotes the submission out of habit, because eavesdropping on strangers is the core business model of most of Silicon Valley. Hackernews has lots of opinions about space, the quality of which varies according to the number of mathematics courses taken by the commenter's favorite science fiction author. Technology is discussed, but you wish it hadn't been.

Google activated battery saving mode on multiple phones, then rolled it back
September 13, 2018 (comments)
A Reddit is concerned because a device running Android, an operating system built to send and receive software and data to and from Google, has received some software from Google. For some unfathomable reason, a Google shows up to break their otherwise-flawless "ignoring all customers in every possible medium" streak, but saves it at the last minute by posting a completely meaningless explanation and then disappearing forever. Hackernews argues over whether all this could have been avoided if everyone would just purchase Apple products, but one Hackernews alludes to the truth: any amount of user tracking, security problems, planned obsolescence, regulatory capture of the education sector, Asian fascism enablement, Internet protocol derailment, or warmongering is acceptable compared to the specter of someone sneaking a U2 record into your life. Stay safe out there.

Apple's best product is now privacy
September 14, 2018 (comments)
The sort of asshole who refers to a blog post as a "piece" has opinions about Apple's business model. Still glowing from the sixty-three-hour WWDC product advertisement orgy, the author repeats some Apple press releases about iPhone security, invents new security features, and breathlessly ascribes them to Apple, just because it's not possible to conceive of this company disappointing anyone in any way. Hackernews is very interested in this story, because it's very important that they have a consistent and comprehensive ethical framework to justify buying the phone that integrates with the laptop they already bought.

webshit weekly (2018/09/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of September, 2018.

TypeScript at Google
September 01, 2018 (comments)
A Google suffers from didactic dysentery, shitting out almost fifteen hundred words of entirely useless cheerleading for a javascript library enthusiastically described as "mostly working." On "Hacker" "News," another Google shows up to invent from first principles the idea that javascript sucks ass as a compiler target, but cautiously approves the continued attempt to try it anyway. Hackernews sets aside its ongoing love affair with transpilers to take part in the I Agree With Google pledge, and decides the only answer is to invent a whole new programming language to solve this problem (and also every other problem). Yet another Google shows up to defend the honor of some other trashpiler, and the rest of the comments are various partisans arguing that whatever Rube Goldberg monstrosity they learned at their coding boot camp is the natural and correct solution.

An Intensive Introduction to Cryptography
September 02, 2018 (comments)
An academic posts some course notes. Hackernews knows that they're not competent enough to "roll their own crypto," but they don't understand why, so here is the monthly meeting to focus on misunderstanding cryptology primitives and incorrect each other about implementation details. The theme of this month's Hackernews Is Bad At Math festival is "show and tell," where everyone shows a link to a resource that engendered a false sense of confidence, then bikesheds the other links. One Hackernews asks for advice on pursuing a career in cryptology, and is answered by a Microsoft: an all-too-common instance of leading by counterexample.

A military technique for falling asleep in two minutes
September 03, 2018 (comments)
A reporter divulges highly classified special operations training for going to sleep: lie down and relax. Hackernews enumerates all the reasons this won't work for them: they're too smart, they have crippling emotional disorders, they're too busy 10Xing to function as a human, they took the wrong chemicals, they can't stop looking at Facebook, their spouse can't stop looking at Facebook, they already sleep great because of some expensive training they took in Austin, and so on, for two hundred comments. No technology is discussed.

Terry Davis has died
September 04, 2018 (comments)
The current score is Society: 0, Preventable Deaths: forrtl: severe (70): Integer overflow. Hackernews catalogs all the times the deceased has been discussed over the years, but not all of the deceased's accounts they've banned over the years. There is some question as to whether the news of this death is reliable (it has since been confirmed), so a few Hackernews circle up in the corner and put on their Internet Detective badges for a while, with no results. Later, another Hackernews wonders idly why we failed this person, and it is explained: it is not possible to help other people. For the record, the family of the deceased encourages donations to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Google Dataset Search
September 05, 2018 (comments)
Google branches out into a new direction: search. Hackernews lists all of the similar existing products that are now guaranteed to be acquired or destroyed before "Google Dataset Search" exits beta and is abruptly discontinued. Some Hackernews are employed by these dead services walking, and beg for any scrap of advice that might lead to salvation. The rest of the comments are feature requests and endless arguing about comma-separated values.

Chrome 69: “www.” subdomain missing from URL
September 06, 2018 (comments)
Google continues the war against its own users. In the process of causing their web browser to lie to the user, they fucked it up, so the web browser lies more than Google wanted. One commenter on the bug report indicates a dread of "the SQL certificate issue," and now I dread that too. Hackernews riots in the streets at Google's fascist and oppressive overreach, while other Hackernews don impact armor and prepare to kettle and mace the seditionists. The same argument plays out at least a dozen times across nearly a thousand comments, often with the same people arguing the same position in some kind of many-to-many bad-opinion storm. The primary defense of Google's pointless bikeshedding seems to be "Apple does it," and the primary critique seems to be "I am easily confused." Deep underground in Mountain View, the Alphabet Shadow Council mulls whether to withdraw the change until everyone forgets about it, then reintroduce it in approximately three months, in Chrome version 197.

Firefox about:config privacy settings
September 07, 2018 (comments)
An Internet teaches a self-defense class, posting the information in a manner that maximizes engagement with Github but prevents the use of any useful features thereof. The document goes into some detail about a myriad of settings that would be the defaults if Mozilla gave the slightest shit about Firefox users. It is indicative of Mozilla's hatred of its userbase that even this relatively comprehensive list cannot keep up with the pace of Firefox's misfeature development; Hackernews notices that browser.urlbar.trimURLs, media.autoplay.enabled, and so on are missing, but neither the original author nor Hackernews remembers to set beacon.enabled to false, which is the reason beacons exist. Hackernews is uncomfortable with the idea of being allowed to configure software (that's what plugins are for!) but takes the opportunity to bitch about battery life on their Macbooks.

webshit weekly (2018/08/31)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of August, 2018.

Intel Publishes Microcode Patches, No Benchmarking or Comparison Allowed
August 22, 2018 (comments)
An Internet who whines about software licenses for a living whines about software licenses. Hackernews takes this trivial, meaningless event and spins it into a yarn about the impending death of an organization upon whose products almost every single major human endeavor is based. Hundreds of paragraphs of alternate-history fiction are produced to describe a reality in which there's any chance at all you can avoid giving Intel money. The majority of the escapism centers around buying the products of a competitor who sells an almost-identical product, primarily differentiated by a much smaller production capacity.

Craft: A simple Minecraft clone written in C using OpenGL shaders
August 23, 2018 (comments)
An Internet copied a game. Hackernews tries to figure out how the author produces computer software while also caring about things that are not computer software. The rest of the comments are either suggesting other copies of the game or bickering about how closely one must copy a game for the copy to be a copy.

Former Tesla Firmware Engineer Discusses the System
August 24, 2018 (comments)
A computer toucher discusses working for a child. Hackernews has also worked for the child, but considers the lack of professionalism and sacrifice of dignity to have been worthwhile, because the child is very rich. Other Hackernews are taken aback by the idea that professionalism and dignity are even possible; these Hackernews are accustomed to working for children.

John McCain has died
August 25, 2018 (comments)
A politician dies. No technology is discussed.

Anki: Memorization with Spaced Learning
August 26, 2018 (comments)
Some nerds program computers to resemble a stack of paper. Hackernews is desperate to cram as many context-free factoids into their brains as possible, so they are all in love with this idea. Everyone takes turns lecturing one another on the thousands of ways computers can display brief snippets of text.

August 27, 2018 (comments)
Flushed with exertion from yesterday's "brief snippets of text" orgy, Hackernews sets its sights on longer snippets of text. Every single markup conversion program ever written is namedropped, several new ones are postulated, and impromptu user-group meetings are held in the ensuing comment threads. The software described in the article is capable of converting almost every currently-used text representation format, but Hackernews mostly just uses markdown or latex, depending on whether the user is employed.

Go 2 Draft Designs
August 28, 2018 (comments)
Lifetime Bell Labs intern Russ Cox describes all the new shit Google wants to bolt to its pet programming language. Hackernews wavers between an instinctive drive to unconditionally praise all Google pronouncements and a conflicting reflex to decry anything made by someone else as rancid garbage. To avoid the resulting dissonance, Hackernews cleverly argues about analogous features in other, safer-to-hate programming languages. None of the described additions in any way address any of the actual failings of Google's pet programming language, but several of them introduce exciting new missteps to enjoy for years to come.

Bullshit Jobs
August 29, 2018 (comments)
A webshit is mad that other people's awful lives are slightly inconvenient. Hackernews, every single one of whom is professionally engaged in ruining society, ponders all the myriad ways that society deviates from optimal, none of which are in any way related to Hackernews. Other Hackernews take this as an opportunity to get angry at Stanford University, describe how much they hate free money, and question whether the original article was even written in good faith, even though the author stood to gain nothing from its contents.

Changing Our Approach to Anti-Tracking
August 30, 2018 (comments)
Mozilla assures us that they want to keep all our weird-ass internet habits a secret, so they are offering ways to protect our privacy, such as sending a complete log of all domain lookups to a third-party commercial partner. Fear not, however, as they will still by default send all of your search queries to a different third-party commercial partner, as well as asking Google (a third-party commercial partner) for permission to load every single thing you try to look at, ever. Hackernews reminisces about how bad advertising used to be on the internet, or at least how differently bad it was. Some Hackernews mourn Mozilla's failed cellphone outing, while others notice that rather than just sending your entire browsing history to Google, Mozilla has built Google's tracking software directly into Firefox.

EU to recommend that member states abolish daylight saving time
August 31, 2018 (comments)
The European Union plans to more closely align its schedule with its future headquarters in Moscow. Hackernews argues about cows, time zones, democracy, and the sun.