Links - January 2020

Every Google result now looks like an ad (

I've been in this A/B test for a couple of months now, so I've had time to adjust, and I still hate it. I've just become so used to seeing the complete URL in green. The complete URL! If you hover over the results, you'll see that they like to take bits like numeric components or the query string out.

This is part of Google's attempt to de-prioritise the URL. Their destructive AMP service confusingly shows you Google's domain instead of the website's — and as they can't fix that without losing out on tracking, they're trying to change what the URL means.

Thanks for ruining the Web, Google.


google amp is a plague on the internet and should have been shutdown by regulators. it is definitely anti-competitive. i am sick and tired of our government completely slaving to the big tech companies when it comes to regulations and anti-competitive behavior.

google amp on mobile overrides behavior on mobile, even on android, so instead of web links opening up in the respective and selected default app, it opens up the amp link within google search or the browser. there is no way to turn off this feature on any browser, chrome or not.

The main post is from the fall of 2019. I read it back then. I enjoyed the author's thoughts. It's a good read. It's a good conversation starter. The HN thread, however, started this month.

Web of Documents (2019) (

“This is why I use ad blockers and a pi-hole server” (

82nd Airborne unit told to use Signal or Wickr on government cell phones (

What can you use instead of Google and Facebook? ( - good read, even if it's Mastodon-related. i like the design of the page.

More nurturing reading environment may stimulate brain development in children (

How much longer will we trust Google’s search results? (

Building personal search infrastructure for your knowledge and code (

An Update on Bradfitz: Leaving Google (

Scotland to use 100% renewables on time to host 2020 climate summit (

Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers (

HTTP static server one-liners (

Indiana's Oldest State Worker Is Retiring at 102 (

How is search so goddamn bad? A ‘Case Study’ (

Standalone WebAssembly games using I/O devices (

post from 2018


DigitalOcean is laying off staff (

Ask HN: Are compiler engineers still in demand, and what do they work on?

Mir: A lightweight JIT compiler project (

Whatever Happened to the Semantic Web? (

DuckDuckGo Traffic (

Ending Support for macOS and Linux (

23andMe lays off 100 people as DNA test sales decline (

My Emacs Productivity Tricks/Hacks (

Does Your Domain Have a Registry Lock? (

Clayton Christensen has died (

why only email? why not cut back or end connecting to the internet? uploading videos and photos over the web is probably more harmful than using email. email would be less destructive if it never supported html-based messages. email should have stuck with text/plain. this sounds like clickbait trash.

The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence.

Into the Personal-Website-Verse (2019) ( - many commenters posted URLs to their websites

SQLite Is Serverless (

Why the BBS is still awesome in 2020
Hah! Hilarious. is blank with JavaScript disabled. The irony.

Threads Are a Bad Idea for Most Purposes (1995) [pdf] (

Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers (

Thunderbird’s New Home (

The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10 (

Ask HN: What are some interesting projects to reuse your old devices?

Hundreds of workers defy Amazon rules to protest company's climate failures (

Friend of a Friend: The Facebook That Could Have Been

Buffett, who got a job delivering papers as a teenager and invested in the industry to capitalize on its one-time local advertising stronghold, said last year that most newspapers are “toast.”

Stronghold, as in monopoly or near monopoly on local advertising by local newspapers.

Jim Weber / @jimmweber: To put this in perspective, the Washington Post — the 2nd leading newspaper in the country and the one that broke the Watergate story — was sold to Jeff Bezos for $250 million.

Next step: ban ads from businesses that USE fossil fuels.

Thank HN: You helped me get a new job

A global reforestation project is how we fix climate change (

The new Microsoft Edge is out of preview (

Mozilla lays off 70 (

Autocomplete as an Interface (

Open the iDevices Documents folder in Nautilus.

Press CTRL+L to get the real address which will look like afc://YOURSERIAL:3/

Remove trailing colon and number and press ENTER (i.e. it should just read afc://YOURSERIAL)

You should now see your iDevices system folders, including DCIM.

Let it Crash - Elixr

Hipmunk Says Goodbye (

Show HN: Write a private diary using good old email (

GoatCounter – Simple web statistics, with no tracking of personal data (

Stack-Oriented Programming (

Building a more private web: A path towards making third party cookies obsolete (

Mmm. The altruistic idea seems suspicious.

Writing Software to Last 50 Years (

Better technology means higher expectations, which creates more work (

Excerpts from the top comment:

This is part of the reason I feel like I am turning into a luddite, as someone who once considered himself a futurist and built most of his life around computers and technology.

You have to work hard to find time to slack off -- everyone and everything around me is always creating more work to do. How does anyone like this? A perfect life to me would be spent goofing off and working on art, but achieving that and maintaining the expected level of success is in itself a lot of work. Press articles always talk about how some new innovation is going to make my life easier, but all I see is how it's going to create more maintenance headaches for me (because I care about how it is going to work -- if you don't care maybe life actually is easier?) and how it is going to create more data for someone else (who isn't me! wtf?!) to monetize.

I would happily roll back the last 10-to-20 years of technological innovation if it meant I could make software that didn't shackle me with continuous maintenance again, that I could happily disconnect from society at will again, and that social objectives (like dating, or finding friends) reverted back to a model of local scarcity of options rather than this model of app-driven stacked ranking that enhances the top 10% while leaving everyone else fighting over scraps.

Ask HN: Where do you put your blogs?

Please make your products work with URLs (

great post:

DuckDuckGo Is Now a Default Search Engine Option on Android in the EU (

Peer-to-Peer Based Social Networks: A Comprehensive Survey (

Mozilla says a new Firefox security bug is under active attack (
Security vulnerabilities fixed in Firefox 72.0.1 and ESR 68.4.1 (

Things that I think will be important in the next decade ( - by Mark Z

Managing my personal knowledge base (

Work on these things (

Ring fired employees for watching customer videos (

Who Would Defend Harvey Weinstein?

How to Exit Vim ( - nearly 400 comments!

“So, RSS fans, particularly those who wish google hadn't shuttered reader: what would you pay to have it back as an indieweb project?”

Chri's reply:

Autocompletely - Managing your attention is a full-time job

Famed Gees Bend, AL quilters,+AL+36720/@32.1012414,-87.3047407,11.87z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x888f96eaaed0634d:0x7de9d050870b7dda!8m2!3d32.0779234!4d-87.28138,Alabama#Quilterslawsuits

Vegetation is expanding at high altitudes in the Himalayas (

Video Gaming Will Take Over (

Coding Interview Problems with Detailed Solutions, Test Cases, Program Analysis (

Half of the websites using WebAssembly use it for malicious purposes (

Arduino Goes Pro at CES 2020 (

Ask HN: Joining Big Tech in One’s 40s

Disinformation for hire: how a new breed of PR firms is selling lies online (

For tech-weary Midwest farmers, 40-year-old tractors now a hot commodity (

Store the proof of a webpage saved with SingleFile in Bitcoin (

Pegasus Mail, 30 Years On (

Products I Wish Existed (

Notes on Technical Writing (

Promiscuous cookies and their impending death via the SameSite policy (

Hello World (

Let’s say you ask your programming language to do the simplest possible task: print out “hello world”. Generally this takes two syscalls: write and exit. The following assembly program is the ideal Linux x86_64 program for this purpose. A perfect compiler would emit this hello world program for any language.

What is this post supposed to prove? It certainly is not supposed to prove that a hello world is a representative real-world program, from which one could infer that writing and debugging a real-world program in Julia is 835 times as complex as writing a real-world program in assembly, since the former makes 835 times as many syscalls as an assembly program.

A serverless email server on AWS using S3 and SES (

Ask HN: A New Decade. Any Predictions? (2010) ( - jan 1, 2010 - jan 3, 2020

All: this thread is about predictions that HN users made 10 years ago. Note the year in the title above.

If you want to make a new prediction, a new thread has gotten started:

The Light Phone (

i considered buying one a year ago and two years ago.

Vivaldi Webmail (

Vivaldi aslo makes a web browser that uses the Chromium web rendering engine.

HN comment:

Trying to check it out but they insist on me giving my phone number. I got some spam issues in the past, so right now sorry, but my phone number is a private detail that I share only with physical people that I want to engage with and with whom I have a certain degree of trust.

I wish we had in Europe something similar to what is to email addresses...

businesses make money by selling user information.

Maybe the area where Arne and Carlos live.,_Oppland

What a shock.

"Former Google Exec: Company Put Profits Over Human Rights"

Don’t Get Too Nostalgic About Old Media

A retrospective look at a decade in journalism, from a Gawker alum who reported on media and is now unemployed after Splinter's closure

Group M: spending on outdoor ads to overtake newspaper ad sales in 2020 for the first time, with $40.6B spent on outdoor ads, ~$4B more than on newspapers

Robert Ward / @robertalanward: The extraordinary resilience of billboard advertising vs continued decline of print ads. Some striking figs. Outdoor advertising market poised to eclipse newspapers via @FT
Alec MacGillis / @alecmacgillis: Newspaper advertising is falling so far that it's about to be overtaken by spending on billboards and bus-stop ads.

I enjoyed programming with TCL back in the late 1990s and early aughts. I used TCL for web programming and to create command-line utilities.

Who Says Tcl Rules? (

The Effect of Cold Showering on Health and Work (2016) (

During my running and cycling days back in the early and mid 1990s, I would occasionally take cold showers after exercise, but I only did that in the summer. My legs felt great after blasting them with a cold shower. I heard that horse trainers would hose down horses with cold water after the horse had a workout. I might have read about runners doing this in a magazine. Anyway, I tried it and I liked it.

I take cool but not quite cold showers after exercising now, but again, only in the summer. In our current home and in the home that I lived in back in the 1990s, the houses did not have air conditioning. Last summer, I did not install our two small window AC units, and it was hot summer. After exercising in our home in the evenings last summer, I was hot. I barely turned the shower beyond the coldest setting. If the water felt warm, I turned it back. The cool showers felt better, but that's partly because my body temp had to be high.

Back in the 90s, I ran after work, and in the summer, the outdoor temps would sometimes still be 85 to 90 degrees in the early evening. Cold showers cooled me down. Last summer, cool showers did the same.

I'll have to try cool and not cold showers now, during the winter. It will make for a quick shower, which is good. But I need to switch my exercise period from the evening to the morning. I have always exercised in the evening for some reason. Exercising in the morning would eliminate it as a task that weighs on my mind as something I need to do. Get it over with.

Monoliths Are the Future (

Off-Facebook activity (

HN comment:

Clearly I need to step it up. I was (unsurprisingly) surprised at what I've observed they've managed to correlate. I run standard pi-hole, resist fingerprinting, and normally go through a VPN (mainly because I'm on public wifi half the time when travelling). I haven't logged into facebook in about four years, just did it for the first time today to see what's been correlated.

Aside the mountain of irrelevant notifications, here's what I've observed in this report that's concerning.

  1. Albeit some data has been correlated properly (banking applications which is scary on it's own part it's sending data to facebook, imgur, Xbox, my telco provider, and a few misc blogs I've visited a handful of times per year), it's correlated a significant amount of data that may not belong to me (good thing, I suppose?)

  2. Why the heck are banking applications sending data to Facebook as "CUSTOM", with no context? For example, RBC bank in Canada sends "CUSTOM" data (haven't been with them for over two years, but all interacts labelled CUSTOM) and Facebook will not give any more context on the exact data it received. Little scummy, Facebook.

Well, time to sweep this up and resist tracking more. Let's see how it works this time round.

Scrolling through past posts at Low Tech Magazine, turned of articles of interest.

Maryland's 165-year-old Montgomery Sentinel has shut down; circulation of the editions serving the state's two largest counties fell from 200K in the 90s to 5K

As usual, the technological illiterate media falsely blames Craigslist, Google, and Facebook.

The Sentinels starved to death for all the usual reasons, said their publisher, Lynn Kapiloff. Once-bounteous display ads from local merchants — the kind from pizza joints and car dealers — began drifting away to the Google-Facebook duopoly a decade or so ago. Help-wanted ads were vaporized by Craigslist and others offering an unbeatable price (free!). The only thing left was legal ads, and those didn’t cover the cost of the staff and all the stringers.

Technological evolution happens.

Duopoly? I'm guessing that this local paper, like many local newspapers long ago, held a monopoly or near monopoly on local advertising, and did the newspaper complain about its stranglehold on its local ad market?

Advertising follows the people, and the people use Facebook and Google. It's not hard to understand. Clearly, users find more utility from Facebook and Google than its local newspaper.

It's not Craigslist fault that local newspapers earned 50 to 75 percent of its revenue from classifieds. That sounds like a house of cards.

Allegedly, the Toledo Blade newspaper has not made a profit, since the early 1980s, about eight years before the web was invented, and 13 years before Craigslist started.