Thursday, 9 July 2015

Ad blocking why?

Curious morning on the tweets as @IanBrownOII responds to a (sponsored (*)) Guardian article claiming that the reason people use ad-blockers is that the ads are poor quality - a call to arms for advertisers everywhere!

Ian flags his excellent work from 2010 on privacy preserving advertising that points the way to support advertising but solve what most of us think is the issue - arbitrary tracking and unknown sharing of user profile information.

Even the Guardian was at it - in visiting the article the website  tried to inject 5 trackers into my browser when I visited the site, but trusty old ghostery was having none of it. Thank goodness I am old and crusty enough to use a personal computer into which I can install this sort of plug-in - god save those on mobile devices who have no ability to control the tracking. We hear ad-blocking is coming soon to an OS near you, but I do sincerely hope it is not done by having Apple track everything you do and then block others.

However, moving to the bottom of the Guardian page we find an article "Internet of things: intelligent household devices raise privacy concerns" (sponsored by the same folks as the aforementioned article), where that irrepressible tweeter @Maurizio_Pilu is explaining the importance of privacy by design.

So we have two articles in the Guardian with completely different views of the world - but being a scientist I need to know - why do you use and ad-blocker? We could set up Qualtrics, but hey, we can mine the social media - to the tweets with you:
#adblockadssuck or #adblockprivacy
You might agree with both, but hey give the most important one.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

On the usefulness of log scales

In preparation for a piece I am writing I tripped over the following graphic in the OECD's recently published report on Measuring the Digital Economy:

Average data storage cost for consumer 1998-2012
Per Gbit

It just had to be replotted onto a log scale so I could actually see what was going on - yup darn close to a straight line (that'll be one of them thar Moore's Law things). §

However, a big open data hoorah! and 1000 Internets to the folks at OECD who have published all the data for the tables and graphs in their reports so that I was able to do this. Long may this trend continue.

From: OECD (2014), Measuring the Digital Economy: A New Perspective, OECD Publishing.
DOI: 10.1787/9789264221796-en