webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of December, 2020.

Facebook to move UK users to California terms, avoiding EU privacy rules
December 15, 2020 (comments)
Facebook continues the war on its own users. Brexit will enable Facebook to mine even more personal information about the people who got conned into thinking Brexit was a good idea. Hackernews tries to engineer Facebook's terms of service from first principles, then whines about how GDPR has ruined their curated doomscrolling experience. Later, Hackernews incorrects each other about UK law, which is much simpler than Facebook's terms of service.

Firefox Was Always Enough
December 16, 2020 (comments)
One of the Mozilla employees who got thrown overboard in the last round of executive panic ponders exactly what the hell Mozilla is trying to accomplish. Nobody appears to know. Hackernews loves trying to figure out what various companies are doing, but can't decide whether "making new programming languages" ought to be a core business activity for a web browser company. Someone brings up FirefoxOS, which starts a huge argument about whether mobile operating systems are completely impossible to profit from. Later, the Fraternal Order of the Yeeted Mozillains takes turns talking about how it was a great place to work back when anyone had any idea what the goal was. The Order agrees that things pretty clearly started going downhill at some point, but when exactly that happened appears to be somewhere between "immediately" and "last spring."

No Cookie for You
December 17, 2020 (comments)
Github brags that it only stores "essential cookies" such as _device_id and opaque session identification shit. HTML Local Storage is used but not mentioned. While they're at it, they brag about their lack of third-party client-side analytics, which is of course nearly meaningless since the first party is Microsoft. Even Hackernews sees through this bullshit, although the three thousand votes compared to the six hundred comments would indicate they do not see particularly clearly through this bullshit. Hackernews bickers about what constitutes user tracking, then eventually stumbles on the list of organizations Github still sends your data to: Clearbit, DiscoverOrg, Eloqua, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, and Magic Robot.

Jetbrains founders turn billionaires without VC help
December 18, 2020 (comments)
The idea that people can sell computer software without incurring multimillion-dollar debt to venture capitalists is apparently so rare as to make headlines. Since the computer programs in question are basically overgrown text editors, Hackernews melts down arguing over whether the products are absolutely essential to the act of writing software or the worst thing anyone has ever tried to run on a computer. This naturally leads to hours of shouting about which programming languages are the worst. Later on, an apostate Hackernews questions the motives of venture capitalists, and the rest of Hackernews sallies forth to explain that only a complete doomed idiot would ever do such a thing.

All problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone (2014)
December 19, 2020 (comments)
"Hacker" "News" annotates a Blase Pascal quote as being from the year 2014 because it was invoked in a Grauniad article somewhat hypocritically calling for people to shut up and think about things. Hackernews crawls over one another to make sure their web forum hears how thoughtful and mindful they are, like, all the time you guys, it's crazy. The resulting explosion of didactic navel-gazing results in instructions on the nature of Islam, modern civilization's influence on film editing practice, health tips accompanied by programming analogies, and more Prius bumper stickers than you can shake a stick at. As usual with such threads, the racket doesn't die down until Hackernews crawls so far into their own asses that they can't see the leaderboard any more. No technology is discussed, except metaphorically, which is described as "alliteration."

The web is 30 years old today
December 20, 2020 (comments)
CERN would like to remind us that the Manhattan project is not the only massive research effort which led to regions of the planet being rendered entirely inhospitable to human life. The resulting comment thread serves as this week's Hackernews Nostalgia Repository.

Russian opposition leader Navalny dupes spy into revealing how he was poisoned
December 21, 2020 (comments)
A poisoned Russian politician discovers more bad news, as it turns out the poisoners are morons. Hackernews finds out the reporters of the story had access to loads of private information about Russians, and stages a competition to see who is the most worldly and unsurprised, except for the Hackernews who decides to talk about comic books instead. Later, Hackernews tries to figure out whether all good journalists are secret CIA plants (or only most of them), why the Russian government went to the extreme lengths of secretly poisoning someone's pants instead of just using bullets, and why there are so many Russian Hackernews suddenly expressing strident opinions about western journalism.