webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of April, 2021.

Time flies in Google Earth’s biggest update in years
April 15, 2021 (comments)
Google announces a new way to look at ads. The announcement is accompanied by a video showing some old satellite imagery, narrated by someone who is evidently falling asleep with excitement. Hackernews is excited that Google is still writing software, and decides this is the opportune moment to argue about whether humanity should keep going. Given the sorts of people with whom Hackernews associate, it's easy to see whence the uncertainty. The next series of arguments starts with someone who is super psyched to use virtual reality googles to look at low-resolution photographs from the early 1990s, followed by a hundred Hackernews trying to convince one another that virtual reality is either the most important display technology of the century, or already destined for the clearance bins.

SpaceX wins contract to develop spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon
April 16, 2021 (comments)
NASA flies coach. If SpaceX schedules are anything like Tesla feature schedules, we will hear on Twitter that astronauts will be on the moon by the end of the year, and in 2045 we'll have to watch video of a fully self-auguring crew capsule disappearing in a cloud of dust. Hackernews has played Kerbal Space Program, and has several opinions strongly held but lightly understood.

Thanks for the Bonus, I Quit
April 17, 2021 (comments)
An Internet relates some surefire tips for taking popular employee rewards, rubbing some bureaucracy on them, and then converting them into offensive gag gifts which cause your employees to fuck immediately off. Hackernews has received several of these corporate gag gifts over the years, and lists all of them in nauseatingly detailed accounts. Other Hackernews speculate on whether employees should have specific roles within a company or if everyone should just do all the jobs, which is a more balanced approach. Another thread debates whether people should have any say in the salary they work for.

Livebook: A collaborative and interactive code notebook for Elixir
April 18, 2021 (comments)
Some webshits clone Jupyter again. Certain Hackernews are super excited about this round, because it contains certain features that put this product almost, but not quite, on par with Microsoft Access circa 1998. I say certain Hackernews, because fewer than a hundred give enough of a shit to post a comment about it.

The Endless Acid Banger: algorithmic self-composing acid techno music
April 19, 2021 (comments)
A webshit creates a tool to generate mixtapes for use exclusively in Saturn S-series cars. Hackernews is full of ideas for adding Tensorflow.

Apple Introduces AirTag
April 20, 2021 (comments)
Apple sells personal surveillance decals. Hackernews tries to figure out some good reasons to insist this version of the product is innately superior to all of the thousands of nearly-identical products that have been available for many years. Part of this effort consists of a sustained attempt to reverse engineer the device based entirely on the press release. Later Hackernews speculate on the impact this will have on the stolen bicycle market (spoiler alert: none). The rest of Hackernews wants to tell us stories about losing shit.

“They introduce kernel bugs on purpose”
April 21, 2021 (comments)
Some computer scientists are so bad at computer science that they accidentally write a psychology paper. Embarrassingly, everyone involved with this idiocy completely fails to prevent it from happening: a university faculty member decides it's a good idea, the institutional review board decides the idea doesn't need review, the credulous reviewers for the conference approve of the work, and the conference itself appoints the faculty member who started all this shit to the program committee for next year. Hackernews posts seventeen hundred comments, most of them whining about how university research is inherently seasoned to taste with corporate self-interest, completely unlike the corporations Hackernews works for. The Linux Janitor-in-Chief arrives to declare the matter is in hand, so long as you adhere strictly to the absolute latest "stable" kernel version, updated twice a day and four times on Sunday. One Hackernews needs help navigating an email thread because there aren't enough pictures. Later, the university administrators get mad at the bad computer science researchers.