Planet (Former) Advogato

This is a complement to Advogato, it is an aggregation of blogs of those who used to post on Advogato, but for one reason or another moved their blog from Advogato. It is provided as a service to those who would like to read the "greater Advogato" community.

This site works only as a Planet, it aggregates the post only, to comment on a blog entry, click on the title or time to go to the blog entry on the original site, hopefully it will have a comment facility.

August 29, 2015

Don Marti [dmarti]

Watering the data lawn

News from California: Big month for conservation: Californians cut water use by 31% in July.

Governor Brown said to cut back by 25%, and people did 31%.

Why? We were watering and maintaining lawns because we were expected to, because everyone else was doing it. As soon as we had a good excuse to cut back, a lot of us did, even if we overshot the 25% target.

Today, advertising on the web has its own version of lawn care. Ad people have the opportunity to collect excess data. Everyone is stuck watering the data lawn and running the data mower. So the ad-supported web is getting mixed up with surveillance marketing, failing to build any new brands, and getting less and less valuable for everyone.

Clearly, the optimum amount of data to collect is not "as much as possible". If an advertiser is able to collect enough data to target an ad too specifically, that ad loses its power to communicate the advertiser's intentions in the market, and becomes just like spam or a cold call. By enabling users to confidently reduce the amount of information they share, advertisers make their own signal stronger. (Good explanation of signaling and advertising from Eaon Pritchard.)

Where's a good reason to justify a shift to higher-value advertising? Everybody wants to get out of the race to collect more and more, less and less useful, data. So what's a good excuse to start?

Could a good news frenzy do it? No IT company is better at kicking off a news frenzy than Apple, and now Apple is doing Content Blocking. Doc Searls covers Content Blocking's interaction with Apple's own ad business, and adds:

Apple also appears to be taking sides against adtech with its privacy policy, which has lately become more public and positioned clearly against the big tracking-based advertising companies (notably Google and Facebook).

It's a start, but unfortunately, Big Marketing tends to take Apple's guidance remarkably slowly. Steve Jobs wrote Thoughts on Flash in 2010, and today, more than five years later, battery-sucking Flash ads are still a thing.

So even if Apple clobbers adtech companies over the head with a "Thoughts on Tracking" piece, expect a lot of inertia. (People who can move fast are already moving out of adtech to other things.)

Bob Hoffman writes:

The era of creepy tracking, maddening pop-ups and auto-play, and horrible banners may be drawing to its rightful conclusion.

But things don't just happen on the Internet. Someone builds an alternative. It looks obvious later, but somebody had to take the first whack at it. Tracking protection is great, but someone has to build the tools, check that they don't break web sites, and spread the word to regular users.

So why just look at tracking protection and say, wow, won't it be cool if this catches on?

Individuals, sites, and brands can help make tracking protection happen..

And if you really think about it, tracking protection tools are just products that users install. If only there were some way to get the attention of a bunch of people at once to persuade them to try things.

August 29, 2015 02:28 PM

August 27, 2015

Rachel Chalmers [rachel]

the glass castle, by jeannette walls

Everybody said Dad was a genius.

It took me a while to realize that just being on the move wasn’t enough; that I needed to reconsider everything.

August 27, 2015 04:57 AM

the internet of garbage, by sarah jeong

What Gjoni was doing was both complicated and simple, old and new. He had managed to crowdsource domestic abuse.

…the Internet is experienced completely differently by people who are visibly identifiable as a marginalized race or gender. It’s a nastier, more exhausting Internet, one that gets even nastier and even more exhausting as intersections stack up. It’s something to keep in mind, particularly since media narratives of the “worst” kinds of harassment rarely feature people of color.

People will never stop being horrible on the Internet. There will never not be garbage. But in a functioning society, someone comes to collect the trash every week. If private platforms are to become communities, collectives, agoras, tiny new societies, they have to make a real effort to collect the garbage.

August 27, 2015 04:56 AM

August 25, 2015

Mary Gardiner [hypatia]

Wednesday 26 August 2015

I went to San Franciso a month ago this Friday, for the final stages of planning the Ada Initiative’s shutdown. The first morning I woke up there to the news of Nóirín’s death. I wrote “Nóirín was also one of the strongest and bravest people [I] will ever have the privilege of knowing” that same morning and that’s everything I want to say.

So, the only thing about that trip that makes sense to tell is some images.

Staying in the Mission and being in the sun in the streets full of trees and brightly painted houses finally made San Francisco make sense to me. As was probably inevitable, coming from another beautiful city full of gentrifiers.

Long weekday evenings in the dusk at Dolores Park, watching the fog from a distance. Seeing a rainbow.

Mad Max: Fury Road which I had never expected to see, much less like, even though I had heard about it from feminists more than action fans. (Or maybe they were both!)

But instead of rushing into Furiosa’s cab like everyone else I know, I developed an obsession with Pitch Perfect instead and walked up and down Valencia for hours in the middle of the night listening to its soundtrack.

Eating berries. And paté on apple slices.

My family sending me so much Lindt chocolate in San Francisco that I still have about ⅓ of it now. But I ate all the peanut butter balls before I left.

Broken choppy video chat images of V and A smiling at me.

Cutting down my SIM card from my broken phone with scissors rather than waiting another day to call home.

Walking on a hillside in the hot sun near Muir Woods, in a country where pines are supposed to be and eucalypts are pests.

The purple windows of the 787 that brought me home.

August 25, 2015 10:26 PM

Rachel Chalmers [rachel]

hashtag humblebrag

Re-entry has been tough, because apparently all I really want in life is sunshiney France, steak frites, gelato and endless hours with my kids to swim and read frivolous novels.

Now I am back to my mundane life of sunshiney Northern California, high-stakes venture finance and show-jumping.

August 25, 2015 12:29 AM