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The Giant Zero

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Studying all this has also been my focus for a decade as a fellow with the Center for Information Technology and Society at UCSB. Even today.

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Uber’s pending sale of your personal data

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Uber has new terms for you : User Provided Content. Any User Content provided by you remains your property. The emphasis is mine. Interesting legal hack there: you own your data, but you license it to them, on terms that grant you nothing and grant them everything. Talk about a deal breaker. Here’s the prior (and still current) version.

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Apple’s content blocking is chemo for the cancer of adtech

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Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension. The tide of popular sentiment is turning against tracking-based advertising — and Apple knows it. And Apple isn’t alone: New school publishers are avoiding adtech.

Separating advertising’s wheat and chaff

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interest-based ads: Find out when information about your online interests is being gathered or used to customize the Web ads you see. Psychotic.

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TV Viewers to Madison Avenue: Please quit driving drunk on digital

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That list is matched against each provider’s customer database and ads are served to the matching households. Make it opt-in. Time to sober up.

Debugging adtech assumptions

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Many marketers have collected the information, but have done a less-than-stellar job of putting the picture together. Most customers want the companies that serve them to have the information necessary for that service, but not much if anything more. (The  original version of this post appeared in my Liveblog , on Fri, Sep 11, 2015.).

The Data Bubble redux

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It didn’t happen in 2010, but it will in 2016. More about that below the post. __. The tide turned today. Mark it: 31 July 2010. For now.

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Thoughts on privacy

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Some examples: Privacy by Design  is a policy and code development movement led by  Ann Cavoukian , the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. In  Here Is New York , E.B. White opens with this sentence: “On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness and the gift of privacy.”

Take us to The Rivers

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News rivers were a brilliant idea in the first place. Perhaps, now that at least one high-profile publisher has embraced them, the rest might follow.

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Remembering Big Davy

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi. I’m not sure if Gandhi actually said that. Somebody did. My best human chance of finding who said it — or at least of gaining a learned enlargement on the lesson — would have been David Sallis. One evening I saw that demonstrated at a bar in Silicon Valley.

Will Content Blocking push Apple into advertising’s wheat business?

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We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. On 8 July 2010, Engadget published iAds uses iTunes history, location information to target advertising. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better.

PR’s problems, 20 years later

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If PR’s consumers — the press — were also its customers, you can bet the PR business would serve a much different purpose: to reveal rather than conceal, clarify rather than mystify, inform rather than mislead. The magazine Upside has been erased. Some bits of it still persist on the Internet Archive , but nothing before 1996.

Browsers should have been cars. Instead they’re shopping carts.

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Google once aspired to give us access to “all the world’s information”, which suggests a library. browser should have been like one of those, and that was kind of the idea back in the early days when we talked about “surfing” and the “information highway.” All of us are. We need a new vehicle.

Let’s help Airbnb rebuild the bridge it just burned

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Airbnb users can earn a “Verified ID” badge on their profile by providing their online identity (via existing Airbnb reviews, LinkedIn, or Facebook) and matching it to offline ID documentation, such as confirming personal information or scanning a photo ID. We like the prices, the experiences, the whole thing. Why not all users?

Missing Elinor Ostrom

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Through my work over the years I have often been directed to the worlds of Elinor Ostrom , and toward speaking to her in person. Links added.].

Time for digital emancipation

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Civilization is a draft. Provisional. Scaffolded. Under construction. Today we are in another struggle for equality, this time on the Net. Costs too.

The most important Kickstarter ever

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This is why the browser, which started out as a vehicle on the Information Superhighway , turned into a shopping cart that gets re-skinned at every commercial site you visi t, and carries tracking beacons so you can be a better target for advertising. Fuse  is more than a device and a smartphone app to go with it. So help put it over the top.

A sense of bewronging

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This got me into my Google Accounts page, which has a LOT of information in a lot of contexts — all provided by Google. Interesting experiment.

Do we really want the Web to be a strip mall when it grows up?

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On FlightAware I see three spaces filled with the same message. That’s a screenshot of one, on the right. The block is also not an error.

Consumers can’t help health care. Customers can.

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Economically speaking, the American health care system is not built for patients, because patients aren’t the ones paying for it directly.

For personal data, use value beats sale value

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People keep a single account with information about themselves. Without that information, we can’t say what people’s perceived value for their personal data might be. Should you manage your  personal data  just so you can sell it to marketers? And just because somebody’s already buying it anyway, why not?)

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Fred Wilson’s talk at LeWeb

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In the information revolution, the pollution is data. I’m bummed that I missed LeWeb , but I’m glad I got to see and hear  Fred Wilson’s talk there , given on Tuesday. I can’t recommend it more highly. Go listen. Bonus links: What I said at Le Web in 2007 on stage and in an interview.). Here are my notes from the talk.

How PR is as bad is it ever was

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If PR’s consumers — the press — were also its customers, you can bet the PR business would serve a much different purpose: to reveal rather than conceal, clarify rather than mystify, inform rather than mislead. Take, for example, the use of social media for online business networking or lead generation. No Peabody.

Checking in, 16.5 years later

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Information is made by minds, not factories; and it tends to make itself abundant, not scarce. Because information abhors scarcity.

Android as a life management platform

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No personal information is revealed, except to vendors with whom you already have a trusted relationship. Nearly all smartphones today are optimized to do three things for you: Run apps. Speak to other people. Make you dependent on a phone company. The first two are features. The third is a  bug. In time that bug will be exterminated.

The Continuing End of TV

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Most of us are reading magazines, using our phones or tablets, or (in one case — mine) working on a laptop. So digging all that was cool. ”).

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Won and done

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Hey, there’s a little hamster in all of us. Ever tried to “win” in traffic? Same game.). The answer was a lot of work. Tap the app.

What can people do with data that companies alone can’t?

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Even when that data is open and exportable (as it is, say, with Zeo sleep data), you can’t easily pull that data into one place that is yours, where you can analyze them together, and make fully informed decisions based on that data. So, to help with that, here are a few starters: Quantified self data. Retail. Media usage. Count on it.

How Radio Can Defend the Dashboard

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The Future Of Traffic Information Will real-time, customized traffic reports delivered through online connectivity and apps usurp radio’s role? Dash — “the connected car audiotainment™ conference” —  is happening next week in Detroit. This is a big deal for radio, since most listening happens in cars. Or to make one.

World wide puddle

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Here’s Nick: On the Net, we face many information faucets, all going full blast. Nicholas Carr is ahead of his time again.  Maybe.

Curing the commercial Web blues

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It makes money by selling advertising, and placing commercial information in settings like the ones above. It’s like that, only worse.

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Journalism is outlining

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Stories aren’t always the best vehicle for conveying information, for informing the public. In Journalism as service: Lessons from Sandy , Jeff Jarvis says, “After Sandy, what journalists provided was mostly articles when what I wanted was specifics that those articles only summarized. Don’t give me stories. Give me lists.”

Bring on The Live Web

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Back when we still spoke of the Net as an “information highway”, we used “information” to label the goods we stored on our hard drives and Web sites.

Cast locally, stream globally

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Here’s a great idea for local TV news departments: start streaming, 24/7/265, on the Net. Bring in local placeblog and social media volunteers.

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An AR treat

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Show me the standard information sharing label for this. What followed is chronicled in this Flickr set. What breed of dog is this?

Thinking outside the pipes

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This by far is the most serious threat to sharing information on the Net, because it undermines and sidelines the Net’s heterogeneous and distributed system for supporting everybody and everything, and biases the whole thing to favor a few vertically-integrated ‘content’ industries. Content” is the wrong focus here. Operating costs are real.

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A way to see what you get

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According to  The Cost of Reading Privacy Policies , a paper by Aleecia M. billion hours for the U.S. population reading those polcies.

Valley Fire losses

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Watch here for official information about the fire. Here is the current perimeter of the Valley Fire , according to the USGS’ GEOMAC viewer : As you see, no places are identified there. One in particular, however, is of extremely special interest to me: Harbin Hot Springs. And now comes news that Harbin is “pretty much destroyed.”

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Earth to Microsoft: Don’t sell Bing.

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As Don Marti once said , “Information doesn’t want to be free. Bing is a good search engine, but it still seems derivative.

World Wide Catacombs

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Google’s mission of “organizing all the world’s information&# is still satisfied. The problem is that most of that information — at least on the Web — is about selling something. What started as plain old Web search has now been marginalized as “organic&#. Same goes for Bing. SEO only makes the problem worse.