Archive for March 2015

AT&T’s plan to watch your Web browsing

If you have AT&T’s gigabit Internet service and wonder why it seems so affordable, here’s the reason—AT&T is boosting profits by rerouting all your Web browsing to an in-house traffic scanning platform, analyzing your Internet habits, then using the results to deliver personalized ads to the websites you visit, e-mail to your inbox, and junk mail to your front door.

via AT&T’s plan to watch your Web browsing—and what you can do about it | Ars Technica.

Safari users win right to sue Google over privacy

The case revolves around a so-called Safari workaround, which allegedly allowed Google to avoid the Safari web browser’s default privacy setting to place cookies, that gathered data such as surfing habits, social class, race, ethnicity, without users’ knowledge.

via Safari users win right to sue Google over privacy – BBC News.

Schneier on Security: Cisco Shipping Equipment to Fake Addresses to Foil NSA Interception

I don’t think we have even begun to understand the long-term damage the NSA has done to the US tech industry.

via Schneier on Security: Cisco Shipping Equipment to Fake Addresses to Foil NSA Interception.

A Robot Is Breaking Hearts At SXSW

It turns out the woman in the photo is Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, the movie’s main character, and the link in her bio is to the film’s website. “Ava” was not an attractive 25-year-old girl looking for love; Ava was a pre-programmed Tinder spam-bot intent on getting users to watch her movie.

via A Robot Is Breaking Hearts At SXSW.

Twitter Chokes Off Meerkat’s Access To Its Social Network

“We are limiting their access to Twitter’s social graph, consistent with our internal policy,” the spoeksperson said. “Their users will still be able to distribute videos on Twitter and log in with their Twitter credentials.”

This won’t totally kill Meerkat — people will still be able to use it to announce on Twitter that they are streaming — but it will seriously kneecap it. It means that new users won’t automatically be notified by the app when friends are broadcasting unless they manually build out their friend networks. This hurts the app’s ability to keep people on Meerkat itself.

The move comes just as SXSW is starting, where Meerkat seemed poised to be this year’s breakout app.

Twitter Chokes Off Meerkat’s Access To Its Social Network – BuzzFeed News.

what big companies do when they are scared

Snapchat Ad Rates for Discover Are Really High

Snapchat’s Discover platform is one of the hottest properties in media. That’s why Snapchat and its publishing partners are asking for very high prices for ads that run on Discover — and why marketers are paying them.

Industry sources say Discover ad pricing is running around $100 for every thousand views — a rate that’s something like twice what a premium video publisher can get, and many times what a mere Web publisher can command. Perhaps that’s why Alibaba felt comfortable putting $200 million into Snapchat, at a reported $15 billion valuation.

Snapchat launched Discover in late January. It’s a new section of the app where users can watch videos or read stories from a dozen different publishers like CNN, Vice or ESPN.

Snapchat publishers set their own rates and provide a guaranteed view count to ad buyers based on traffic patterns they’ve established in the last few weeks. Industry sources say that on average, publishers are getting around 10 cents a view for their ads, which are seen anywhere from 500,000 times a day to a million times a day. That means publishers are able to command $50,000 to $100,000 a day for their stuff.

Snapchat Ad Rates for Discover Are Really High | Re/code.

Asking the wrong people about the Apple Watch

”Apple Watch Gets Mixed Reactions From IT Analysts” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

Yes, when considering the Apple Watch, what we must first determine is how will it scale in the enterprise with managed deployment in a Windows NT server-based zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

No one cares. No one.

via An opinion too far: Asking the wrong people about the Apple Watch | Macworld.

Digital is destroying all creativity

The popular opinion… is that the computer, attached to the Internet, has been a creative boon for creative people. That’s horse-hockey. It has created Sameness. Lazy, lame, search and steal, click and grab, copy and paste, Sameness.

In the 1980s, pre-Internet, if an agency stole another agency’s idea, it was big news, covered top-of-page by AdAge and Adweek. Now? It hardly ever gets a mention in the trades — because it happens all the time. And it happens all the time because search engines are now very precise robbery tools. Beats having to work, and the client will probably never find out, shhh…

via Copyranter: Digital is destroying all creativity – Digiday.

The stink of coins

Here’s the thing: Alto’s Adventure does not trade in-app purchases for coins. The only way you can earn coins in Alto’s Adventure is by playing the game. There are no shortcuts where you can pay $4.99 to get the Wingsuit, or $9.99 for 20,000 extra coins.

That’s when I realized just how poisonous the current App Store environment is when it comes to games. I assumed that Alto’s Adventure—even though I had paid $2 for it—was going to try to extract more money out of me in order to have a better in-game experience. It took me quite a while to realize that I was only expected to use the coins I had been collecting in the game, and that this “in-app purchase” mechanic was meant to reward my long-term use of the game, not vacuum cash out of my wallet.

Honestly, I wonder if the developers of Alto’s Adventure wouldn’t be better off finding some other mechanic to use for in-game upgrades. When it comes to iOS games, offering a shopping area where you can pay for goods in coins offers no delight—it has come to represent nothing but a cash grab.

Six Colors: The stink of coins.

I like my Pebble, but I’m not kickstarting Pebble Time

Meanwhile, Pebble keeps announcing new features that work pretty well with Android. The Pebble Time has a microphone you can use on Android–or a single app on iOS. It’s not hard to see which way the wind is blowing. Google, the owner of the Android platform, is working to enable features that support smartwatches from various vendors. Meanwhile, on iOS, what smartwatch strategy do you think the platform owner is focused on?

I’m sure Pebble Time will work, more or less, with iPhones. But it’ll be second-rate functionality compared to Pebble for Android. Meanwhile, here comes the Apple Watch: A product designed to work seamlessly with iOS. Which is going to offer a better experience?

I like my Pebble, but I’m not kickstarting Pebble Time | Macworld.