webshit weekly

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

Palindrome Day 20200202
February 01, 2020 (comments)
An Internet pretends there are date formats not specified in ISO 8601. Hackernews is still mad that America writes numbers down in the order they're spoken, because human behavior should obviously be driven entirely by some nerd's sense of aesthetics. Half of the comments are Hackernews arguing that whatever date format and postal address system they grew up with is a natural law. The other half agree, but grew up somewhere else.

Google Maps Hacks
February 02, 2020 (comments)
An underemployed computer nerd has too many telephones. Hackernews is dimly aware that they've placed half their lives into the hands of a faceless megacorporation with so little engineering acumen that it can be defeated by a bored person with a child's wagon. While some of them consider this to be idly alarming, most are more interested in reporting similar failures in traffic reporting systems run by advertising agencies. Later, another pack of Hackernews drill down into the real problem with traffic management: having to turn left, which is scary and should be outlawed.

The missing semester of CS education
February 03, 2020 (comments)
Some academics isolate the last remaining degrees of freedom in software development and target them for extermination. The academics report their indoctrination efforts to Hackernews and patrol the comment section. Hackernews is not convinced that computer scientists should know how to use computers at all, much less these specific computer programs. While some Hackernews firmly believe that universities should make this information available to interested students, others insist that it is better for learning institution to focus on fundamental invariants in the computer science field, such as AdSense and AWS.

Google tracks individual users per Chrome installation ID
February 04, 2020 (comments)
A GitHub does not like that Google's software sends information to Google, and expresses this opinion with a passive-aggressive rhetorical question on a GitHub issue, which has the effect of preventing the Google who opened the issue from ever interacting with it again. Hackernews trawls through Google public-relations apocrypha to find a suitable body of text which can dismiss the entire class of concerns expressed in the original comment. The common consensus is that it is not possible to prevent your data from being uploaded to Google, and so it's best to lie down on your Chromebook, open your advertising preferences, and think of GMail.

Wacom tablets track every app you open
February 05, 2020 (comments)
An Internet does not like that Wacom's software sends information to Google, and expresses this opinion with an in-depth blog post detailing how to watch it happen. Hackernews opines that switching to Linux would fix this. Other Hackernews think you can just politely ask your hardware vendor to stop spying on you. Still others try to work out what the precise balance should be between the user having a private life and software developers' God-given right to know everything you do with any electronic device. Nobody suggests that a drawing-tablet manufacturer should not even try to collect user data.

Open-plan offices decrease face-to-face collaboration: study
February 06, 2020 (comments)
Some academics claim that free-range programmers do not produce as well as caged programmers. The entire article provides no information beyond this, but contains dozens of links to other useless articles on the same shitty website, none of which contain additional information. Nowhere is the academic study linked, so Hackernews has to go find it themselves. Instead of discussing, Hackernews just whines about their work environments, or reminisces about that one time they got to work somewhere nice. No technology is discussed.

Python dicts are now ordered
February 07, 2020 (comments)
A webshit has something to say about Python internals, but I couldn't focus on the article, because the first comment on the blog post involves the text "it brings Python on par with PHP," which is such a monumentally alien thought that I think I need medical attention. Hackernews argues about who already knew this, why, and how. Another argument breaks out about whether this is the Correct and Natural approach to data structures, or if it's Completely Wrong and Stupid because of some ridiculous edge case nobody cares about. Most of the complaints are from people who are deeply concerned that (entirely hypothetical) existing code might break in the case its author made extremely specific assumptions about one particular data structure in a programming language directly aimed at people who do not give a shit about these topics.