webshit weekly (2019/11/07)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of November, 2019.

Google Buys Fitbit for $2.1B
November 01, 2019 (comments)
Google identifies the next product to discontinue. Hackernews struggles with definitions of extremely product-relevant concepts, like "democracy." Along the way we learn that democracy doesn't work as well in America as it does in Europe, where approximately 20% of countries are still hereditary monarchies. When that gets boring, Hackernews engages in a dick-measuring contest to determine who is the strongest computer programming corporation. Some Hackernews fret about the data they've spent years uploading to some stranger's computer suddenly being on a different stranger's computer, but most of the rest of the comments are bickering about another extremely relevant topic: lexicography.

Extract voice, piano, drums, etc. from any music track
November 02, 2019 (comments)
Deezer (business model: Spotify for music) releases some audio-processing software, which is what they've been spending their time building instead of making their user account system work properly. Hackernews votes for the story in droves, mostly due to the sheer novelty of seeing software that works as intended, but spends most of the comment section either talking about other software with the same purpose or else asking questions that could have been answered with ten minutes of direct experimentation.

Gitlab considers not hiring SREs and Support Engineers in China and Russia
November 03, 2019 (comments)
An internet company declines to give access to sensitive data to people who live in countries run by murderous fuckheads. The resulting discussion is immediately overrun by people in those countries who are okay with murderous fuckheads running things. Hackernews, like most of the commenters in the linked page, can't seem to understand why countries even exist as a concept, and is confused by the idea that massive well-armed highly-organized oligarchies might do bad things despite existing corporate policy to the contrary. All of the comments amount to a debate as to whether the Chinese government is a pack of assholes (it is) and whether USA #1 (also yes). For a fleeting moment, Hackernews wonders if a company shouldn't be allowed to do whatever the hell it wants... but the moment passes, as sufficient excuses are located. No technology is discussed.

We Stood Up to a Patent Troll and Won
November 04, 2019 (comments)
A multi-billion-dollar company fixes a legal issue via generous application of money, and then paints itself as the underdog. Hackernews does not like the idea of lawyers deciding what code they can and cannot write, so the story receives a shitload of votes, but there's nothing much to discuss about the case, so there are only a couple hundred comments. Most of the comments are celebrating the brutal and well-funded nature of the legal counterattack, and the rest are in response to a Cloudflare who shows up in the comments to do a victory lap.

Stripe CLI
November 05, 2019 (comments)
An internet bank, having spent years cranking out all kinds of webshit to help programmers become dependent on it, releases a tool that wraps the webshit in simple commands. Hackernews likes the idea of being able to use regular programs to do simple tasks, but all of the comments are complaints about other companies' similar webshit.

Former Twitter Employees Charged with Spying for Saudi Arabia
November 06, 2019 (comments)
An internet company gives access to sensitive data to people who live in countries run by murderous fuckheads. Hackernews regards the resulting abuses as inevitable, but is mostly just contemptuous of the low-quality spycraft at play. The previous debate is resumed and extended to new players: is Saudi Arabia run by assholes? Is America as wonderful as people claim it is? Are China and Russia real threats to human freedom? Should corporations be held criminally liable for failure to implement rigorous customer data protections? The answer to all of these questions is obviously "of course, you moron, why are you even asking this stupid question," but Hackernews isn't so sure.

Async-await on stable Rust
November 07, 2019 (comments)
The Rust Evangelism Strike Force proclaims from on high that the previous flawless approach to asynchronicity was in fact terrible, and not what anyone meant to make, but this new version is perfect, and will get even better Real Soon Now. Hackernews is concerned because, among many other problems, it seems to be completely moot unless entire programs are re-engineered to utterly embrace this incompatible code, but they're assured that this concern is invalid because other programming languages are actual curses dragged from hell by Met Kalfou himself. Inexplicably, the chorus of praise fails to be unanimous, and a confused Rust Evanglism Strike Force is forced to hunt individual apostates in squads.

webshit weekly (2019/10/31)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of October, 2019.

Firefox 70
October 22, 2019 (comments)
Mozilla makes a bit of noise pretending they care about Firefox user privacy. beacon.enabled still defaults to true. Hackernews is largely uninterested in most of the developer-centric changes in Firefox, but are super excited that it now uses Apple's blessed graphics libraries. Other Hackernews are angry that it is insufficiently similar to either Safari or Chrome. One Hackernews notices that Mozilla built user tracking into the Firefox password manager, and is met with a pile of excuses.

US Constitution – A Git repo with history of edits
October 23, 2019 (comments)
An Internet translates the United States Constitution's changes over time into git. Thanks to this, we're able to relive the experience of Alexander Hamilton's historic "Format paragraphs with new lines" crisis, as well as examine the pivotal .editorconfig file, rumored to have been manually created by Betsy Ross using her husband John Claypoole's personal copy of LINED on their family PDP-6. Hackernews learns a few things about United States history but mostly just bitches; the most common complaints are that not enough legal documents are treated as computer programs or that whoever did this didn't obsess enough about the process.

BBC News launches 'dark web' Tor mirror
October 24, 2019 (comments)
BBC News desperately searches for someone who wants to read BBC News. Hackernews discusses approaches to getting involved with community security theater.

Perfectly Cropped
October 25, 2019 (comments)
An Apple acolyte relates a story about how shitty Apple software is; to avoid excommunication, the experience is described as "fun." Hackernews trades tips about how to work around Apple's abysmal user interface, where the phrase "three-finger unpinch gesture" is used, and even Hackernews can't believe that's how far Apple has sunk. Elsewhere, a Hackernews is advised to open the settings app and scroll up.

An Illustrated Guide to Useful Command Line Tools
October 26, 2019 (comments)
An Internet on an unending zsh bender writes far too many words about mostly-useless Linux toys. All of the "illustrations" are colorful, excessively high-resolution screenshots of text. Hackernews lists all other mostly-useless Linux toys, one at a time, but it immediately turns into code golf using shell utilities none of them understand.

Unix: A History and a Memoir, by Brian Kernighan
October 27, 2019 (comments)
An academic writes a book about the early days of Mac OS. Some Hackernews express regret that nobody seems to care about how we got in this mess, but other Hackernews insist that everyone cares enough and it's fine.

The “Talk”
October 28, 2019 (comments)
An academic publishes the least efficient possible textbook. Hackernews struggles to ascertain if the information is reliable, since they seem to understand it, which is a strange and disconcerting concept. To help one another out, they take turns incorrecting each other about the topic of the textbook.

IRS Tried to Hide Emails That Show Tax Industry Influence over Free File Program
October 29, 2019 (comments)
The United States Government continues the war against its own users. Hackernews thinks this is either working as intended or impossible to fix.

Twitter to ban political advertising
October 30, 2019 (comments)
Twitter decides that political messages should not be promoted via payments to Twitter, but organically, via payments to bot farms in Eastern Europe. There's no math involved, so Hackernews posts a thousand comments debating the nature of truth, the meaning of "political", the role of webshit businesses in policing the national discourse, and who would win in a fight between Jack and Mark. Most of the comments, though, are contentless whining, full of dark allusions to whatever conspiracy theory the commenter thinks is silencing a pet fringe niche.

I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb
October 31, 2019 (comments)
An Internet discovers a scam on Airbnb, which is presumably a different scam than Airbnb itself. It turns out that by entering into a contract in good faith, getting pushed around by a stranger on the internet, and then completely failing to hold anyone accountable, it's possible to lose money without receiving goods or services. The article goes into lengthy, pointless detail about the failed attempts to find out what the hell was going on, and then concludes by embracing some sort of revolting Stockholm syndrome and declaring fealty to a business who takes a cut of the scam. Hackernews recounts all the ways Airbnb has shafted them as well. It's a shame, decides Hackernews, that there is literally no other choice. All you can do is take an Uber to your Airbnb and get counterfeit goods delivered by Amazon.

webshit weekly (2019/10/21)

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of October, 2019.

I just lost my wallet on the way home from work
October 15, 2019 (comments)
An Internet, who works at a financial firm, is careless with financial data. A stranger saves the day, and Hackernews recalls every time someone failed to be an asshole to them, then recounts every time they failed to be an asshole to someone else. One Hackernews recounts finding a bunch of bank cards in the street, and this, of course, turns into an argument about safe driving habits. Another comment thread about a similar story turns into an argument about whether messaging services should alert users that someone has sent them a message.

Open-source apps removed from Google Play Store due to donation links
October 16, 2019 (comments)
Google continues the war against its own users. This time the attack is simple: anyone who suggests giving money to anyone but Google is ejected from the game. Hackernews cannot decide if people should be allowed to give each other money without appropriate oversight from Google. After all, people are not to be trusted, and God gave us massive multinational surveillance corporations to watch over us and keep us safe. If those corporations do something mean, it's because the bad old government won't let them be nice.

TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans from Filing Taxes for Free
October 17, 2019 (comments)
It turns out Intuit's software all looks like five miles of bad road because they spend money on lobbying the government of the United States instead of hiring any competent programmers. Hackernews, all of whom work for companies who gave the maximum donation to every single politician in Congress, are utterly outraged that crass commercialism is allowed to interfere with the nation's holy period of annual bureaucracy. Some unamerican Hackernews arrive to report even more depressing states of affairs, such as being forced to use Java to electronically file.

My Favourite Git Commit
October 18, 2019 (comments)
An extremely dull person wastes everyone's time by explaining in unnecessary and interminable detail exactly why a byte in a computer program was changed from whitespace to other whitespace. At no point is it explained why a British computer program in 2013 was using US-ASCII encoding, why utf-8 was a problem for their garbage tool stack, how the hell U+00A0 got into the document in the first place, or how anyone can avoid this problem going forward, so nobody learns anything except what this moron likes to see in automated GitHub emails. Hackernews just bikesheds commit message formatting, but they were doing that already.

Music Theory for Musicians and Normal People
October 19, 2019 (comments)
A band geek is typesetting notes from high school and selling them on the internet. This is the closest thing to mathematics that Hackernews feels comfortable with, so the notebook is heavily voted for in the forum, but it's also dangerously close to actual mathematics, so the only people willing to comment are the ones who conflate math with music, the ones who think that they need to use different headphone cables based on the key of the song, and the ones who haven't quite shaken the last of the peyote from their boots. Technology is discussed, but not very well.

Don't Call Yourself a Programmer, and Other Career Advice (2011)
October 20, 2019 (comments)
The Hackernews Beauty Pageant Bronze Medalist, who has not meaningfully contributed to human society, has advice for people who would like to have some money but are not yet committed to the idea of contributing to human society. Most of the advice involves assuming that your cohort is competent and able and that you should therefore not assume you are an imminent disaster. This assumption is incorrect but taking the advice is likely to work, since self-sabotage is a pretty safe thing to advise against. Hackernews tries to find something in this wall of text they're allowed to disagree with, and settles on bikeshedding the job specifications themselves. Since the author has never held an actual job in a real company, neither side of the disagreement has any idea what they're talking about, so no conclusions are reached.

NordVPN confirms it was hacked
October 21, 2019 (comments)
Some assholes acknowledge that they let you down, but assure you that it was a long time ago, baby, and that you don't need to worry any more; they'll never do it again because they love you. Hackernews sees through this bullshit and (in between sessions of reinventing the service industry from scratch) takes down some of the more fragile constructs in the assholes' web of lies. This would not have any effect on anything, because nobody who would pay for the assholes' product reads Hackernews, but in a surprise twist, one of the assholes in question shows up to personally lose arguments with people and serve as volunteer intermediary for the two remaining people at the asshole company who remember what the problem was.