Posted Fri 24 May 2013 07:17:52 AM PDT
Online advertising was supposed to be interactive. It
was supposed to rescue us from having to force people
into looking at our ads. Consumers were going to want
to interact with us, they were going to want to have
conversations with marketers, they were going to want
to have relationships with brands.
It was all fantasies and delusions based on naive interpretations of consumer behavior by people who had a whole lot of ideological commitment to the web, and very little experience with real world marketing.
I understand all those
I'm quitting social
site posts, really. The open web is much more
fun, useful, and promising in the long run than
hanging out on whatever current site has taken the
place of AOL, CompuServe, and MySpace.
But, really, just quitting a site? Might be harder than it sounds. Habits are hard to break, so here's a list of things to help add some motivation to social network quitteration.
Awkward friending. Every week or so, connect with a person who isn't really your friend, but would find it difficult to turn you down. Be a creepy ex-coworker. Don't spam, though.
Social marketing FAIL Find the most awful "engaged brands" in the ads on social sites and follow or friend them. Keep yourself from being tempted to return to a social site by knowing that your feed there will be full of FREE WEBINARs.
Social marketing double FAIL Befriend the most heinous companies and astroturf organizations you can find. The "American Sugar Alliance" and other groups looking for corporate welfare usually do it for me.
Klouchebaggery. Do a search for "social media marketing" and do the first tip you find. These change all the time, so be creative.
Open the RSS spigot. Set up an account on a site such as dlvr.it to automate posting your blog's feed to the social site. Good for breaking a social networking habit. (If you're all like,
I just need to get on and post my one blog link,and before you know it you've been on for an hour, this is better. And yes, dlvr.it works for me.)
It's always Hug a Spammer Week. Someone named Melissa wrote to tell me,
I like your picture and you look cute n awesome.Well, Melissa, I think you're cute n awesome too. Friend request accepted, and welcome to my social graph.
Bonus link: Silicon Valley’s Problem by Catherine Bracy.Posted Thu 23 May 2013 11:20:05 PM PDT
The answer is almost certainly yes—unless you're a Java programmer. It can't hurt to remove it if you don't need it, and can probably help.
I've been running without Java on the desktop for years. The only thing that I've needed to put it back for has been with one extremely "legacy" behind-the-firewall application.
There are some old corporate applications that still depend on Java in the browser. If you're in the situation of having to use one of those, don't mess with the software installed on your company system, because the IT Department probably has a required setup that you're supposed to use, and you can just use that. (What are you reading random blogs for? Call your company help desk if you have questions about that machine!)
For your own computers, the instructions for removing Java depend on the OS. On Linux, you can use the regular system package manager to remove Java. On other platforms you can read How do I uninstall Java on my Windows computer? and How to disable Java on your Mac.Posted Thu 23 May 2013 11:02:51 PM PDT
Just realized that I have gotten into the bad habit of writing stuff on a web questions and answers site instead of here. (cue kid from The Simpsons saying HA HA!)
Saving some, deleting the rest.Posted Mon 20 May 2013 08:27:46 PM PDT
Depending on the project and your role in it, you might get lots of different benefits.
Learn new languages and tools to keep your skill set current.
Practice techniques that you might not be able to justify putting time into in a corporate environment. (For example, coding for extreme security or efficiency or minimum power and memory usage.)
Make connections with people outside your company.
Signal your technical competence and ability to work with others. Often, willingness to put time into open source depends on the job market for high-skill non-management programmers. The more that the hiring process depends on formal education and certification, and the less input it has from peers, the less incentive that a programmer has to Signal his or her skill using open source.
Talk with real users about bugs and features without a company filter, to get a better understanding of a software problem space.
The America Invents Act increases the benefits of participating in open source in two ways.
First of all, defensive publication becomes a much more powerful tool. The
AIA also provides for a challenge system, which will be difficult for most companies to use independently. Industry organizations will probably have a new role in challenging patents that attack their members. The EFF is already doing this for 3D printing patents.Posted Mon 20 May 2013 08:12:49 PM PDT
-t option allocates a pseudo-terminal for
ssh. This comes in handy when you want to "double
Let's say you can reach the host bastion and bastion can reach internal but you can't reach internal. No problem, right? You can log into internal like this:
ssh bastion ssh internal
No joy: "Pseudo-terminal will not be allocated because stdin is not a terminal."
Now try that again with -t...
ssh -t bastion ssh internal
And it works.Posted Mon 20 May 2013 08:01:07 PM PDT
Open-source licenses require different degrees of reciprocity from a licensee. In this list, each license category includes the same basic terms as the previous category. I'll leave out the corporate vanity licenses, since they aren't typically adopted by new projects.
No reciprocity: new BSD, MIT. These licenses simply grant permission to copy the software, and disclaim warranty.
Patent reciprocity: Apache. In order to redistribute software under this license, a licensee must offer a license to any of the licensee's patents that apply.
Partial copyright reciprocity: Mozilla Public License, Lesser GPL. A licensee must provide source code for changes to the original work, but can still add code that is somehow kept distinct from the original, and keep it proprietary.
Broad copyright reciprocity: GPL (all versions). If a licensee distributes a modified version that constitutes a "derivative work" for purposes of copyright law, that derivative work must be available in source code form.
Protections from complex legal schemes: GPLv3. Some patent trolling schemes and code signing systems have the effect of working around the reciprocity requirements of the GPL. This later version of the license closes some loopholes.
SaaS reciprocity: Affero GPL. The only commonly used license that requires a licensee to redistribute source even if the code is not actually redistributed. Offering AGPL-licensed software for use over a network also triggers the requirement to redistribute source.Posted Mon 20 May 2013 07:51:50 PM PDT
Unlike the RISC Unix boxes from back in the day, a typical PC-architecture server is a Purchasing Manager's grab bag of cheap parts available on attractive terms. As an OS developer, you don't know what weird mix of hardware you're going to have to support, even if you're part of the OS team at the hardware vendor. ("Hey, it turns out that the new server is going to have RatBag 2000 Ethernet cards after all. That's not a problem, it it?") This situation was even worse when more parts were on PCI cards, not the motherboard.
So in order to make an OS that will run on all the bastard spawn x86 servers out there, you need to have either (1) the market power to make the hardware vendors code and test the drivers for you to support a stable driver ABI, as Microsoft did for Windows NT, or (2) the hacker chutzpah to break incompatible drivers frequently, so that in order to work at all, a driver has to "live in the tree" and be maintained as part of the OS. This is the route that Linux chose.
So the secret to Linux's success on servers is here: Stable API NonsensePosted Mon 20 May 2013 07:45:13 PM PDT
Projects outside the kernel began adopting Git shortly after its release. A key landmark in Git adoption came when Keith Packard, one of the lead developers of the X Window System, published two influential articles in 2007.
He saw Git as more robust from an administration point of view, which matters for open source projects that tend not to have a lot of infrastructure support.
After X moved to Git based on Keith's research, a lot of other projects outside the kernel started considering it more seriously as well.Posted Mon 20 May 2013 07:28:47 PM PDT
The Plumbing Clause of the US Constitution gives
Congress the power
To promote the Installation of
Sanitary Plumbing, by securing for limited Times to
Plumbers the exclusive Right to their Fixtures.
Jaron Lanier has writen a powerful defense of the flushright system. Read the whole thing. The key points:
Flushing without paying flushright royalties ruins economic dignity. It doesn’t necessarily deny the plumber any form of income, but it does mean that the plumber is restricted to a real-time economic life. That means one gets paid to install or repair, perhaps, but not paid for plumbing one has done in the past. It is one thing to plumb for your supper occasionally, but to have to do so for every meal forces you into a peasant’s dilemma.
The peasant’s dilemma is that there’s no buffer. A plumber who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot work and cannot earn. A few plumbers, a very tiny number indeed, will do well, but even the most successful real-time-only careers can fall apart suddenly because of a spate of bad luck. Real life cannot avoid those spates, so eventually almost everyone living a real-time economic life falls on hard times.
Meanwhile, some third-party spy service like a social network or search engine will invariably create persistent wealth from the buildings and activities made possible by the plumbing. A plumber living a real-time career without the cash flow from coin boxes on stalls, is still free to pursue reputation and even income (through repairs, upgrades, etc.), but no longer wealth. The wealth goes to the central server.
The next time that you think about the hassle of being unable to flush the commode because your smartphone has an incompatible plumbing app, remember how the Framers in their wisdom gave exclusive rights to plumbers to protect them from misfortune. Similarly, local authorities have created exclusive rights to operate taxis. But as the global precariat grows, how can we give more workers the kind of automatic retirement and disability plan that flushrights can provide?Posted Mon 29 Apr 2013 06:40:51 AM PDT
Attention people of the Internet. The links to EXAMPLES OF REALLY GOOD STUFF FOUND VIA RSS will continue until you quit it with the "RSS is dead, it's all about [chat site du jour]" posts. That is all.
Mike Masnick: Of Clotheslines, Black Swans And Bad Measurements
Mark Cuban: What Business is Wall Street In ?
Charles Marohn: Not efficient, but orderly.
Nicholas Carr: The prehistory of the MOOC
Sid Stamm: ownership and transparency in social media
Yarden Katz interviews Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
David Gaughran: Self-Publishers Aren’t Killing The Industry, They’re Saving It
George Monbiot: Recipes for Disaster
Timothy B. Lee: Conservatives’ Reality Problem. Plus Nate Silver: In Silicon Valley, Technology Talent Gap Threatens G.O.P. Campaigns.
Sara Robinson: Bring
back the 40-hour work week - Salon.com
years of research proves that long hours at work kill
profits, productivity and employees.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick: Outward
and Visible Signs
Stress has become, I think,
the contemporary sign of our salvation.
Alex Steffen: Move a little closer, please: ‘Carbon Zero,’ chapter 3
Ann Patchett: The Bookstore Strikes Back
Alastair Johnston: Opinion
Column: Why Won’t Helvetica Go Away?
stark sans-serif look that had first symbolized
revolution in the hands of Russian typographers in
1917 became institutionalized as the bland face of
Arnaud Lapierre's Doorknob Condition: Intuitive Privacy
Sheldon Richman: The Libertarian Case Against Right-to-Work Laws
Rand Ghayad and William Dickens: It’s not a skill mismatch: Disaggregate evidence on the US unemployment-vacancy relationship
Jeff Wofford: In Praise of Modern Board Games
Sheldon Richman: Libertarian Left: Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal
Kas Thomas: Stop Stealing from Shakespeare
Philip Greenspun: U.S. Limits Imported Cheese to Third of a Pound per American.
Team Hudson: Lessons from the Bounty — Pride
Erika Christakis: The Preschool Paradox
Tim Maly: The Corporation Who Would be KingPosted Sun 07 Apr 2013 06:00:47 PM PDT
Posted Thu 04 Apr 2013 09:36:49 PM PDT
We already have a situation where
most people don't click on ads, and the
ones that do are suspect people. — Ari
Jacoby, CEO, Solve Media
We have an information gap for discussing the ad targeting problem. There are papers that, if you put them together, help substantiate the argument that adtech is bogus. But they're behind paywalls.
Here's a good one. "I'm not a high-quality firm, but I play one on TV" by Mark N. Hertzendorf. RAND Journal of Economics, vol. 24, number 2, summer 1991. $24 to download. I have a copy because I helped Doc Searls with some research for his book, The Intention Economy, but you probably don't. (I promise I'll get to the Open Access rant some other time. Yes, “closed data means people die” but we'll talk about that later.)
Advertising is a form of signaling.
Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group, said,
To a good decision scientist, a consumer
preference for buying advertised brands is perfectly
rational. The manufacturer knows more about his
product than you do, almost by definition. Therefore
the expensive act of advertising his own product is
a reliable sign of his own confidence in it. It
is like a racehorse owner betting heavily on
his own horse. Why would it be “rational” to
disregard valuable information of that kind?
But advertising can break down as a signaling
method when the medium is noisy enough that the
probability of an individual user seeing an ad is
low enough. Hertzendorf writes,
noise complicates the process of customer inference.
This enables a low-quality firm to take advantage of
consumer ignorance by partially mimicking the strategy
of the high-quality firm. That's in an environment
where the presence of many TV channels makes it harder
for the audience to figure out who's really trying
to signal. Noise helps deceptive sellers.
But what happens when we introduce targeting? Let's give the low-quality seller the ability to split the audience, without the audience members knowing, into marks and bystanders, with marks receiving the ad at higher probability. In that case, marks receive the signal of a high-quality seller, and the bystanders receive the signal of the low-quality seller.
Something that I just figured out from going over this
paper again is that the splitting of the audience
doesn't have to be accurate in order for adtech
to work. Rebecca Lieb, at iMediaConnection, points
out that her BlueKai profile is largely false, and writes,
If ad platforms aren't delivering the targeting
that advertisers are paying for, the emperor has
Au contraire. Ad platforms are doing their work just fine. Targeting works even if it's inaccurate, as long as it can reliably split the audience. Even the most basic cookie scheme will do that. An ad network can randomly call some users left-handed and others right-handed, or divide them by height, or whatever. The only important thing is to split the audience persistently, so that some have a higher probability of receiving an inaccurate "high-quality" signal from a deceptive seller.
Where sellers in Hertzendorf's scenario must rely on increasing noise in the medium in order to deceive, targeting lets them make the first move.
We're still in the early stages of the game, though. If an individual is aware that targeting is possible and doesn't know if he or she is mark or bystander, the signal is lost. So you get the effect that I think is happening in web advertising, with the value of the entire medium going down, even for advertisers who do not target.
However, some buyers are still unaware of the extent of targeting. One politician saw an ad for a dating site on a political party press release and attributed it to the party, not to the Google ad service used on the site where he read it.
From my point of view inside the IT business, a lot of the adtech stuff looks old and obvious, but some of the audience is still figuring it out. People already detest and block the email spam that the Direct Marketing Association worked so hard to protect, because that's obviously "addressed to me." Understanding web ad targeting is taking a lot longer, which is understandable because it's so complex. (see bonus links below for introductions to the current state of the art.)
The signaling power of an ad campaign is the seller's advertising expense as estimated by the buyer. Advertising that is itself costly, such as celebrity endorsements or signs in high-cost areas, has what you might call "creative signaling power." Advertising that is attached to a high-cost medium, such as Vogue magazine or the Super Bowl, has "media buying signaling power". And there's a multiplier effect from the quality of the ad itself, since some ads are more memorable than others and tend to make people think that they've seen them more often. (so quality does not map directly to "informative" or "entertaining".)
When an ad appears in a medium that facilitates targeting, the media buying signaling power tends to go away, depending on the accuracy of the targeting and the audience member's knowledge of the extent of targeting.
Brand advertisers, who Doc
Searls splits out from direct
response advertisers, seem to have
an understanding of the targeting problem. John
Hegarty, founder of the ad agency Bartle Bogle
I'm not sure I want people to
know who I am. I find that slightly Orwellian and I
object to it. I don't want people to know what I drink
in the morning and what I drink at night. I think
there's a great problem here - throughout history
we have fought for our freedom to be an individual,
and you're taking it away from us. I think there'll
be a huge backlash to that and Nike will have to be
The great thing about advertising
is that no-one takes it personally.
On the audience side, we have the feeling of "creepy", which is hard to pin down, but that I think is an important notification from your inner economist about an information imbalance, which you would be mistaken to ignore.
So here, roughly, are the rounds of the adtech game. It would have been an interesting experiment to play them out in order, but this is a real-time strategy game, not a turn-oriented game. Some players have gotten to round 3, and others are still on round 1, or think they're on round 1 and are getting beaten at round 2.
Round 1: Targeting that partitions the audience without the audience's knowledge. Need not be accurate because a persistent split is enough to attract low-quality sellers. I'm using "low-quality" in the economics paper sense, not the "haha your phone sux and mine r00lz" sense. Most adtech people are not in it to deceive, but from a misguided quest for efficiency that follows from a lack of understanding of signaling.
Round 3: Privacy tech, such as stricter treatment of third-party cookies, makes targeting more difficult and less accurate. The value of advertising across the entire medium rises, and the sites that pay for original content are able to get more ad revenue and control, at the expense of adtech middlemen.
Just as targeting didn't have to work with total accuracy to give an advantage to deceptive signalers, privacy tech doesn't have to be 100% to push things back in the other direction.
Adam Lehman: Just Who Do The Data Paranoiacs Think We Are?
Doc Searls: How advertising can regulate itself
Advance look at post-adtech web ads: Village Soup Shows ‘Native’ Ads Can Work on Local News SitesPosted Sun 31 Mar 2013 09:40:06 AM PDT
I turned this in last week and forgot to link here: The America Invents Act: Fighting Patent Trolls With "Prior Art". The America Invents Act changes a bunch of what we took for granted about patent law. Disclose early! (Maybe the next step beyond continuous deployment is continuous defensive publication. What? It could happen.)
More on the patent mess:
Mark Radcliffe: 2012: Top Ten FOSS Legal Developments
Brian Seal and Tom Southard: How to Out-Nuisance a Bank Patent Troll
Joe Mullin again: How Newegg crushed the “shopping cart” patent and saved online retail (via O'Reilly Radar - Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies and Disruptive Competition Project)
Gervase Markham: An Introduction to Modern Open Source Licence Patent ClausesPosted Tue 26 Mar 2013 05:40:03 AM PDT
Older stuff: archive