Mobile App Permissions

By , July 8, 2014

The company I work for recently released a free “Network Tools” mobile app for Android and iOS phones and tablets, and I was surprised at early reviews mentioning that we didn’t ask for unnecessary or intrusive permissions (one even praised us for “not spying”).

This confused me, until I examined many competing apps. (Disclaimer: this is my personal observation, not on behalf of my employer.) Read more »

Game-Changer and Liars & Outliers

By , June 1, 2014
 

I ordered about 20 books from Amazon last month; two are unexpectedly similar:  David McAdams’ Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations (2014), and Bruce Schneier’s Liars & Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive (2012).

Both discuss “Game Theory” at some length, and both do it in a way that I found engaging and understandable.  Alas, Game-Changer ultimately disappointed me, as the author shared some very flawed example suggestions in the latter half of the book.  I haven’t yet finished Liars & Outliers, as I became distracted by some other business books.

The Filter Bubble

By , May 24, 2014

My low expectations for Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You (2011) were met and exceeded.  Although the discussion was somewhat repetitive, it was generally entertaining and engaging.

The author clearly explains the danger posed by the combination of our desire for personalization, plus advertisers’ desire for precision targeting.

 “You live in an equilibrium between your own desires and what the market will bear.” (p.215)

That danger is the risk that we will lose “serendipity,” Read more »

Channel Conflict 101

By , April 10, 2014

Sixteen years ago, I received a call from someone who worked for a large computer manufacturer, which was planning to add an online direct-sales program.  The caller was creating a business plan for this new division of the company, and wanted to hire me to design an affiliate program.

My first question was, “What about channel conflict?”

Read more »

Poetry, and Thanks

By , February 23, 2014

I wanted to attend an event today, where Stephen Dunn will speak and read poetry. It’s in Sacramento, nearly a two-hour drive each way, and I decided not to go.

But all weekend, I’ve been thinking about poetry and how I came to love poetry. And so I’ll write about it. Read more »

AdWords’ Dot-TK Plague & the End of Automatic Placements

By , December 3, 2013

All year, I’ve been doing battle with a never-ending series of aggressive fraudsters who use AdSense ads across many dot-tk (.tk) domains which each generate small numbers of cheap fraudulent clicks, siphoning money from any campaign which has Automatic Placements enabled.

Why does it work? It works because Google AdWords refuses to enable exclusion of placements (web sites) based on Top Level Domain (TLD). Read more »

Rack Unit Calculator (leasing rack space in cabinets)

By , November 22, 2013

The “Rack Unit” is a standard measurement for server height; one rack unit (U) is 1.75 inches. Read more »

Google Gets Creepier – pre-filled subscribe box in search ad

By , November 7, 2013

This just seems creepy and wrong: Google (AdWords) allows advertisers to create Search ads which pre-fill forms with Google Account data. In this example, my email was pre-filled next to a “subscribe” button which doesn’t say what I’d be subscribing to — alongside a completely meaningless “Privacy” link which doesn’t disclose how the email address would be used. Read more »

Google’s AdWords ‘Interest’ Targeting

By , November 1, 2013

I’ve long wondered how Google evaluates a person’s “interests” in order to display advertising that’s not displayed “in context.”

I think Google’s algorithms need tweaking, because Google has an unreasonably long memory regarding my “interests.” Read more »

WordPress 3.7 Adds Automatic Updates: A Great Idea, But …

By , October 25, 2013

WordPress has just released version 3.7 of its blogging platform, and many folks will be pleased and relieved that they’ve added automatic updates to the software.  I certainly was happy about it, but … Read more »

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