👓 The Google News Initiative: Building a stronger future for news | Google

The Google News Initiative: Building a stronger future for news by Philipp Schindler (www.blog.google)
We are launching the Google News Initiative, an effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age.

This article is even more interesting in light of the other Google blog post I read earlier today entitled Introducing Subscribe with Google. Was today’s roll out pre-planned or is Google taking an earlier advantage of Facebook’s poor position this week after the “non-data breach” stories that have been running this past week?

There’s a lot of puffery rhetoric here to make Google look more like an arriving hero, but I’d recommend taking with more than a few grains of salt.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what’s true (and not true) online.

we’re committing $300 million toward meeting these goals.

I’m curious what their internal projections are for ROI?

People come to Google looking for information they can trust, and that information often comes from the reporting of journalists and news organizations around the world.

Heavy hit in light of the Facebook data scandal this week on top of accusations about fake news spreading.

That’s why it’s so important to us that we help you drive sustainable revenue and businesses.

Compared to Facebook which just uses your content to drive you out of business like it did for Funny or Die.
Reference: How Facebook is Killing Comedy

we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.

Really free? Or was this served against ads in search?

We worked with the industry to launch the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve the mobile web

There was some collaborative outreach, but AMP is really a Google-driven spec without significant outside input.

See also: http://ampletter.org/

We’re now in the early stages of testing a “Propensity to Subscribe” signal based on machine learning models in DoubleClick to make it easier for publishers to recognize potential subscribers, and to present them the right offer at the right time.

Interestingly the technology here isn’t that different than the Facebook Data that Cambridge Analytica was using, the difference is that they’re not using it to directly impact politics, but to drive sales. Does this mean they’re more “ethical”?

With AMP Stories, which is now in beta, publishers can combine the speed of AMP with the rich, immersive storytelling of the open web.

Is this sentence’s structure explicitly saying that AMP is not “open web”?!

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👓 Introducing Subscribe with Google | Google

Introducing Subscribe with Google by Jim Albrecht (www.blog.google)
Making digital subscriptions simple by making it easier to subscribe and enjoy premium content

Interesting to see this roll out as Facebook is having some serious data collection problems. This looks a bit like a means for Google to directly link users with content they’re consuming online and then leveraging it much the same way that Facebook was with apps and companies like Cambridge Analytica.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Paying for a subscription is a clear indication that you value and trust your subscribed publication as a source. So we’ll also highlight those sources across Google surfaces

So Subscribe with Google will also allow you to link subscriptions purchased directly from publishers to your Google account—with the same benefits of easier and more persistent access.

you can then use “Sign In with Google” to access the publisher’s products, but Google does the billing, keeps your payment method secure, and makes it easy for you to manage your subscriptions all in one place.

I immediately wonder who owns my related subscription data? Is the publisher only seeing me as a lumped Google proxy or do they get may name, email address, credit card information, and other details?

How will publishers be able (or not) to contact me? What effect will this have on potential customer retention?

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👓 Suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from Facebook | Facebook Newsroom

Suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from Facebook by Paul Grewal (newsroom.fb.com)
Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do.

This is sure to cause a privacy firestorm. Or make the already growing one worse.

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👓 Former FBI No.2 McCabe fired; claims he is being targeted | Reuters

Former FBI No.2 McCabe fired; says Trump administration targeted him (Reuters)
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired the FBI's former No. 2 official Andrew McCabe on Friday, prompting McCabe to say he was targeted for being a witness into whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
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👓 G. W. Peck | Wikipedia

G. W. Peck (en.wikipedia.org)
G. W. Peck is a pseudonymous attribution used as the author or co-author of a number of published mathematics academic papers. Peck is sometimes humorously identified with George Wilbur Peck, a former governor of the US state of Wisconsin. Peck first appeared as the official author of a 1979 paper entitled "Maximum antichains of rectangular arrays". The name "G. W. Peck" is derived from the initials of the actual writers of this paper: Ronald Graham, Douglas West, George B. Purdy, Paul Erdős, Fan Chung, and Daniel Kleitman. The paper initially listed Peck's affiliation as Xanadu, but the editor of the journal objected, so Ron Graham gave him a job at Bell Labs. Since then, Peck's name has appeared on some sixteen publications, primarily as a pseudonym of Daniel Kleitman.

I’d known about Bourbaki, but this one is a new one on me.

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👓 Waterman’s egg | Lior Pachter

Waterman’s egg by Lior Pachter (Bits of DNA)
The egg of Columbus is an apocryphal tale about ideas that seem trivial after the fact. The story originates from the book “History of the New World” by Girolamo Benzoni, who wrote that Columbus, upon upon being told that his journey to the West Indies was unremarkable and that Spain “would not have been devoid of a man who would have attempted the same” had he not undertaken the journey, replied “Gentlemen, I will lay a wager with any of you, that you will not make this egg stand up as I will, naked and without anything at all.” They all tried, and no one succeeded in making it stand up. When the egg came round to the hands of Columbus, by beating it down on the table he fixed it, having thus crushed a little of one end”

The idea of Amerindian eggs is an interesting one.

Almost every business management book I’ve read has felt like something obvious, but I’m not quite sure how difficult they may have been for others to have written.

A more interesting class of these problems are magician’s tricks, which once explained are almost painfully obvious. Perhaps this is why the class of magicians swear themselves to secrecy? Once the trick is revealed, there’s no more magic, so to keep the illusion, one doesn’t reveal them.

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👓 Terry Speed: a “male feminist” | Lior Pachter

Terry Speed: a “male feminist” by Lior Pachter (Bits of DNA)
My close-up encounter with sexual harassment was devastating. I never expected, when I arrived in Berkeley in 1999, that Terry Speed, a senior professor in my field who I admired and thought of as a mentor would end up as Respondent and myself as Complainant Two. However much more serious and significant than my ordeal were the devastating consequences his sexual harassment had on the life and well being of Complainant One. The sexual harassment that took place was not an isolated event. Despite repeated verbal and written requests by Complainant One that Speed stop, his sexual harassment continued unabated for months. The case was not reported at the time the sexual harassment happened because of the structure of Title IX. Complainant One knew that Speed would be informed if a complaint was made, and Complainant One was terrified of reprisal. Her fear was not hypothetical; after months of asking Speed to stop sexually harassing her, he communicated to her that, unless she was willing to reconcile with him as he wished, she could not count on his recommendation.


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👓 Centroid street addresses considered harmful | Nelson Minar

Centroid street addresses considered harmful by Nelson Minar (Nelson's log)
The underlying problem here is the database has the polygon for the building but not the exact point of the front door. So it guesses a point by filling in the centroid of the polygon. Which is kinda close but not close enough. A better heuristic may be “center of the polyline that faces the matching street”. That’s also going to be wrong sometimes, but less often.

Some interesting issues with online maps.

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👓 Defending your app from copies and clones | Marco.org

Defending your app from copies and clones by Marco Arment (marco.org)
App developers sometimes ask me what they should do when their features, designs, or entire apps are copied by competitors. Legally, there’s not a lot you can do about it: Copyright protects your icon, images, other creative resources, and source code. You automatically have copyright protection, but it’s easy to evade with minor variations.1 App stores don’t enforce it easily unless resources have been copied exactly. Trademarks protect names, logos, and slogans. They cover minor variations as well, and app stores enforce trademarks more easily, but they’re costly to register and only apply in narrow areas.2 Only assholes get patents. They can be a huge PR mistake, and they’re a fool’s errand: even if you get one ($20,000+ later), you can’t afford to use it against any adversary big enough to matter. Don’t be an asshole or a fool. Don’t get software patents.



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👓 One more reason not to sweat the robot takeover | Doc Searls

One more reason not to sweat the robot takeover by Doc Searls (doc.blog)
Long ago a high school friend wanted to connect through Classmates.com. We fell out of touch, but Classmates did not. It kept spamming me with stuff about my long-dead high school until I got it, somehow, to stop. Now I just got a mail from Classmates.com tempting me to know more about a classmate of mine from "Calabasas Academy Calabasas, CA Attended ’95-’99." Classmates' marketing robot calls me Jim and has a mailbox for me (see the image to the right) containing three promotional emails from itself. My high school was at the other end of the country, and I graduated in 1965.
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👓 What is Fulfillment? | Stephanie Hurlburt

What is Fulfillment? by Stephanie Hurlburt (Stephanie Hurlburt)
Another day passed. And another. Go to some meetings, do some work. Another day. It's not that I was trying to do nothing. I just couldn't think of anything that felt fulfilling. This was a couple months ago. In fact, even today I listened to a song and for a gleaming 15 seconds or so, I felt completely lit up from the inside, in a this-is-why-life-is-worth-living kind of overwhelming inspiration feeling.

I can certainly identify with portions of this. She’s going back and asking many of the same types of questions the ancient Greeks did.

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👓 Google Condemns the Archival Web | Doc Searls

Google Condemns the Archival Web by Doc Searls (doc.blog)
The archival Web—the one you see through the protocol HTTP—will soon be condemned, cordoned off behind Google's police tape, labeled "insecure" on every current Chrome browser. For some perspective on this, imagine if suddenly all the national parks in the world became forbidden zones because nature created them before they could only be seen through crypto eyeglasses. Every legacy website, nearly all of which were created with no malice, commit no fraud and distribute no malware, will become haunted houses: still there, but too scary for most people to visit. It's easy to imagine, and Google wants you to imagine it.
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👓 Right enough | Doc Searls

Right enough by Doc Searls (doc.blog)
I've now read Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury twice, and have seen nothing in the news since the book went to bed (last November) that has me doubting what's in it. Even if not a single thing in it is factually accurate, all of it rings true. See, what Michael wrote is a portrait, not a photograph. And it's an artful one, since Michael is a helluva good writer. He's also the best media critic we've got. And Trump is, above all, a media character. So are, or were, all the many characters who surrounded Trump in the book's story of the administration's first eleven months. Now only three of those characters are left: Kellyanne Conway, John Kelly and the dual entity Steve Bannon calls Jarvanka.
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👓 A Qualified Fail | Doc Searls

A Qualified Fail by Doc Searls (Doc Searls Weblog)
Power of the People is a great grabber of a headline, at least for me. But it’s a pitch for a report that requires filling out the form here on the right: You see a lot of these: invitations to put one’s digital ass on mailing list, just to get a report that should have been public in the first place, but isn’t so personal data can be harvested and sold or given away to God knows who. And you do more than just “agree to join” a mailing list. You are now what marketers call a “qualified lead” for countless other parties you’re sure to be hearing from.
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👓 A few notes on Medsec and St. Jude Medical | Matthew Green

A few notes on Medsec and St. Jude Medical by Matthew Green (A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering)
In Fall 2016 I was invited to come to Miami as part of a team that independently x0000_sjm_quadraassuramp20crt20dvalidated some alleged flaws in implantable cardiac devices manufactured by St. Jude Medical (now part of Abbott Labs). These flaws were discovered by a company called MedSec. The story got a lot of traction in the press at the time, primarily due to the fact that a hedge fund called Muddy Waters took a large short position on SJM stock as a result of these findings. SJM subsequently sued both parties for defamation. The FDA later issued a recall for many of the devices.

It’s amazing to read just how insecure some mission critical medical devices can be.

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