The Google Tax

from Seth’s Blog Actually, there are two. The first is the tax we each pay so that companies can bid against each other to buy traffic from Google. Because their revenue model is (cleverly) built on both direct marketing and an auction, they are able to keep a significant portion of the margin from many industries. They’ve become the internet’s landlord. The difference between a successful business in New York and an unsuccessful one is just a few percentage points–the successful ones pay 95% of their profit to landlords, while the unsuccessful ones pay 105%. More here.

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This New Tech Makes It Harder For ISPs To Spy On You

from Fast Company With the exception–perhaps–of your therapist or significant other, no one has more power to learn your secrets than your internet service provider. An ISP can see every website that you choose to access. And with the scrapping of Obama-era privacy regulations last year, the U.S. federal government has no rules against ISPs collecting and selling your information to marketers. But new tech fixes are plugging the privacy holes that the government won’t. The effort began in April, when Firefox browser maker Mozilla and content delivery network Cloudflare rolled out measures to block one of the easiest ways […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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Ad Blocking

from Seth Godin By most accounts, more and more people are automatically blocking the ads in their browser. Of course, people have been blocking ads forever. By ignoring them. Fifteen years ago, when I began writing about Permission Marketing, I pointed out that when ads are optional, it’s only anticipated, personal and relevant ones that will pay off. And advertisers have had fifteen years to show self restraint. They’ve had the chance to not secretly track people, set cookies for their own benefit, insert popunders and popovers and poparounds, and mostly, deliver us ads we actually want to see. Alas, it was […]

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The Trouble With Online Defamation

from Medium I frequently receive calls or emails from people asking for help with online defamation, usually on Facebook. The people who contact me are often at their wits’ end and want to sue the people defaming them, thinking that will fix the problem. Unfortunately, that can often make it worse. The challenge with online defamation is that the usual legal approach can aggravate the harm being suffered and the better course of action doesn’t necessarily fix anything. Dealing with online defamation is often a matter of damage control and this is primarily due to the social Web’s nature. Social […]

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Designing Urban Walks

from Medium Personal projects are not easy. They might look easy, but if you are trying to make something real and tangible it is quite hard; considering you have full time job and on top of that absolutely no budget. I am a designer who is obsessed with traveling, maps and photography. What a cliché! I was dreaming of writing my own New York City guide the moment I moved to NYC 7 years ago. Over the years I was making multiple design attempts on this topic: once .NET Magazine asked me to design a concept for city guide that I created for one of […]

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LinkedIn’s CEO Thinks His $1.5B Buy Will Make You Smarter

from Wired ONLINE JOB-TRAINING SITE Lynda has built a library of more than 6,300 courses that teach business and technology skills from better navigating Excel to using design software. And now that library belongs to LinkedIn. The $1.5 billion acquisition, which is the largest in LinkedIn’s history, is part of CEO Jeff Weiner’s master plan to make LinkedIn not just a resume repository, but a place for professionals to manage their careers and, increasingly, learn new skills—especially in the world’s fastest-growing economies.  In the last year, LinkedIn has more than doubled its Chinese user base, but still only 9 million of […]

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The National Broadband Plan

from Susan Crawford In “Why Obama is In the Lead on High-Speed Internet Access Policy,” I implied that things had dramatically changed in national telecommunications policy since the release of the National Broadband Plan in March 2010. I don’t want to leave the impression that the National Broadband Plan was anything other than extraordinary. It represented the culmination of an extraordinary effort in an extraordinarily compressed period of time carried out by an extraordinary team that was ably led by Blair Levin, the well-known telecommunications expert who is now spearheading the important Gig.U initiative in cities across the U.S. Blair’s team always said […]

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Darpa Is Developing a Search Engine for the Dark Web

from Wired A new search engine being developed by Darpa aims to shine a light on the dark web and uncover patterns and relationships in online data to help law enforcement and others track illegal activity. The project, dubbed Memex, has been in the works for a year and is being developed by 17 different contractor teams who are working with the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Google and Bing, with search results influenced by popularity and ranking, are only able to capture approximately five percent of the internet. The goal of Memex is to build a better map […]

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What Blogging Has Become

from The Atlantic This is a post about Medium, which is a fascinating company partly because it has a lot of money, and partly because its leadership team first brought you Blogger (the first really successful blogging tool) and Twitter (Twitter), and which released a whole slate of new features this week in a kind of confusing way. But first it is about this question: What is web writing in 2015? More here.

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Go Digital By All Means, But Don’t Bring The Venture Capitalists In To Do It

from the guardian It’s brutal out there for public service institutions. They are under relentless pressure to conform to a bizarre form of market logic that requires them to turn a profit, even if the only way to do so is at the expense of the public that has supported them for all these years. Whether that’s archives that are being told to make up their budget shortfalls by selling digital access or the BBC being told to expect a much-reduced license fee and to make up the difference by figuring out how to grow Worldwide, its commercial arm. Even when it’s […]

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Net Neutrality Activists Score Landmark Victory In Fight To Govern The Internet

from the guardian Internet activists scored a landmark victory on Thursday as the top US telecommunications regulator approved a plan to govern broadband internet like a public utility. Following one of the most intense – and bizarre – lobbying battles in the history of modern Washington politics, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed strict new rules that give the body its greatest power over the cable industry since the internet went mainstream. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler – a former telecom lobbyist turned surprise hero of net neutrality supporters – thanked the 4 million people who submitted comments on the new rules. “Your participation […]

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The New Net-Neutrality Policy, in Three Simple Phrases

from The Atlantic The U.S. Federal Communications Commission just adopted strict net-neutrality rules that will treat the Internet like a public utility. What’s in the new regulations? There are three major principles that Internet-service providers—like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—have to follow when sending data from their networks to your computer: More here.

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The Future of the Internet Might Hinge on This Bet

from Medium Humans are driven by metaphors. We can’t help it. “Internet access is like electricity,” we say, and that leads to a host of other mental images: standard plugs for a wealth of devices, warm light against a dark frozen landscape, the burdens of life made more bearable. The warring metaphor now is “the Internet is the new TV,” thoroughly managed, channelized, bent on entertainment, ad-driven, interactive only when it suits someone’s business plan. Both of these metaphors are limited and not quite right. That’s the way metaphors work. But we are in fact ants on a wrinkle of […]

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Since 2004, This Small Team Has Been Crushing The Podcasting Competition

from Fast Company One afternoon in 2004, Mikel Ellcessor walked into his boss’s office with a big idea. At the time, he was the head of local content for New York public radio station WNYC. It was making all sorts of interesting shows, but connecting them with the right audience could be difficult. Distributing them outside of New York was complicated and time-consuming, and involved convincing a big group of people working at local public radio stations around the country that a new show was worth their time (and money). It was as if the people behind Parks and Recreation […]

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Is Public Broadband a Threat to Taxpayers? Let Towns Decide.

from Gigaom A casual observer might think towns across the country are contemplating Communism, rather than construction projects. Such is the state of the national debate over how to build more high speed internet, which is becoming as indispensable to modern life as hot water or electricity. The crux of the debate is over how small cities, especially those where fast internet is in short supply, can get better broadband networks. The right answer, however, should not be a matter of partisan politics — but in looking at the competence of individual towns, and ensuring that their populations can have […]

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Artificial Intelligence Is Real Now And Its Just Getting Started

from Gigaom Artificial intelligence is already very real. Not conscious machines, omnipotent machines or even reasoning machines (yet), but statistical machines that automate and increasingly can outperform humans at certain pattern-recognition tasks. Computer vision, language understanding, anomaly detection and other fields have made immense advances in the past few years. All this work will be the stepping stones for future AI systems that, decades from now, might perform feats we’ve only imagined computers could perform. There are brain-inspired neurosynaptic microchips under development, and quantum artificial intelligence might only be a decade away. Some experts predict general artificial intelligence — perhaps even artificial superintelligence — will happen easily within […]

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Cluetrain: We Have Met The Internet’s Enemy, And He Is Us

from Gigaom When the Cluetrain Manifesto first appeared in 1999, the consumer internet was still in its infancy. The vast majority of people still used dial-up phone services to get online, if they got online at all, and GeoCities and Yahoo were the kings of the web — the closest thing to social media was AOL’s Instant Messenger. But the authors of the Manifesto saw what was coming: a world in which users, consumers and people in general would be connected in more ways than anyone imagined. That world is the one we live in now — a world in which […]

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Online Education Run Amok?

from Politico Massive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws. Universities and private companies this fall unveiled a slew of free, open-access online courses to high school students, marketing them as a way for kids to supplement their Advanced Placement coursework or earn a certificate of completion for a college-level class. But when middle and high school students participate in classes with […]

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Hacked vs. Hackers: Game On

from NYTs Paul Kocher, one of the country’s leading cryptographers, says he thinks the explanation for the world’s dismal state of digital security may lie in two charts. One shows the number of airplane deaths per miles flown, which decreased to one-thousandth of what it was in 1945 with the advent of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1958 and stricter security and maintenance protocols. The other, which details the number of new computer security threats, shows the opposite. There has been more than a 10,000-fold increase in the number of new digital threats over the last 12 years. The problem, […]

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