webshit weekly

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.