webshit weekly

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.