AdAge makes an understandable mistake in ANA pulls an ad that mistakenly landed on Breitbart via programmatic buy, by E.J. Schultz. That mistake is assuming that the ad in question was placed by mistake.

In fact the system probably worked in exactly the way it was designed to.

In other words, the ANA's programmatic buy wanted to place ads in front of readers who fit a certain multi-factor profile, and at least one of those readers showed up at Breitbart, where the ad was placed there specifically for them.

See, if the ANA wants to hit, say, a typical Wall Street Journal reader with an ad, and the programmatic system finds that kind of reader on Breitbart, the system shoots an ad at that reader in Breitbart.

In a brilliant post on how all this works, Don Marti sources Walt Mossberg's description of how blatantly fucky to everybody this all is:

[W]e were seated next to the head of this advertising company, who said to me something like, “Well, I really always liked AllThingsD and in your first week I think Recode’s produced some really interesting stuff.” And I said, “Great, so you’re going to advertise there, right? Or place ads there.” And he said, “Well, let me just tell you the truth. We’re going to place ads there for a little bit, we’re going to drop cookies, we’re going to figure out who your readers are, we’re going to find out what other websites they go to that are way cheaper than your website and then we’re gonna pull our ads from your website and move them there.”

Only programmatic adtech makes this possible, and it's essential to know it's not advertising as we used to know it, but only looks that way. As with magic, it's pure misdirection.

What we miss is that adtech isn't advertising. It just magically looks that way.

Let's examine the differences.

In the old advertising world, advertising wasn't personal. It was aimed at populations defined by the media people read, watched or listened to. Advertisers sponsored those media directly, because they wanted to reach the kinds of readers, viewers and listeners who liked particular papers, magazines, radio and TV stations, networks and programs.

Sponsor is what they did, and that's what Walt Mossberg heard that Recode wasn't going to get from programmatic adtech—straight from the magician's  mouth.

With programmatic adtech (tracking-based advertising), ads follow eyeballs. In the online print world, readers are tagged with spyware in their browsers or apps and tracked like animals. Personal data and metadata about those readers are harvested and munched by machines, which place ads against profiles of reader types, no matter where they show up.

The result on the receiving end looks like old-fashioned advertising, but it's really direct response marketing (née direct mail, aka junk mail), which has always wanted to get personal, has always demanded that every ad get direct results, and has always excused massive negative externalities, such as the simple fact that people fucking hate it. 

But nearly everybody covering the industry falls for it. So does the industry itself. As I wrote in Separating Advertising's Wheat and Chaff, "Madison Avenue fell asleep, direct response marketing ate its brain, and it woke up as an alien replica of itself."

And the misdirection works.

Jennifer (@marketeer2u) fell for it when she tweeted ".@ANAmarketers NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Your ads are running on Breitbart. Fix it. @slpng_giants." So does Sleeping Giants in their campaign against "racist and sexist media," because they think the problem lies with advertisers. But the advertiser has little or no control, as long as they distribute ads through eyeball-chasing adtech.

But they do have control if they go back to sponsoring publications directly. As I suggest in Let's get some things straight about publishing and advertising, we need a word, a symbol or a hashtag that says an ad is not tracking-based adtech. There I suggest #SafeAd.

Programmatic at best can only blacklist a site like Breitbart, and program that blacklist into one or more of the thousands of systems that might aim an ad (and many may be in the supply chain between advertiser, agency and publication). But that's not going to fix the problem. Advertisers need to fire adtech. Simple as that. This is what AdAge, the ANA, Sleeping Giants and everybody else who wants to save advertising's ass should be urging.

Adtech is a cancer on advertisers, publishers, and everybody it tracks.

We already have one form of chemo in ad blocking. According to PageFair’s 2017 Adblock Report, at least 11% of the world’s population is now blocking ads on at least 615 million devices. According to GlobalWebIndex, 37% of all mobile users, worldwide, were blocking ads by January of 2016, and another 42% would like to. With more than 4.77 billion mobile phone users in the world by 2017, that means more than 1.7 billion people are blocking ads already: a sum exceeding the population of the Western Hemisphere.

This easily amounts to the biggest boycott in human history. Yet a measure of the industry's cluelessness is that it treats ad blocking as a problem rather than as a clear and legitimate signal of demand by the marketplace for something better. Which they had in plain old-fashioned media-sponsoring brand advertising, before they let their brains get eaten by adtech.

It's no coincidence that ad blocking took off in 2012-13, when the advertising and publishing businesses together gave the middle finger to Do Not Track, which was never more than a polite request for what in the offline world we call good manners. (Think about it: what customer visiting a store would want to leave with a tracking beacon stuck to their butt like a wood tick, reporting their activities back to parties unknown, just so they can get a better "advertising experience" or whatever?) Its also no coincidence that the rise in ad blocking also traced the rise in retargeting by adtech: an obvious reveal that one is being followed. (Woman Stalked Across Eight Websites By Obsessed Shoe Advertisement is a typically right-on Onion story.)

And don't fall for the story that tracking-based ads are "acceptable" as long as they aren't annoying." That's just more misdirection.

From Brands need to fire adtech:

It’s adtech that spies on people and violates their privacy. It’s adtech that’s full of fraud and a vector for malware. It’s adtech that incentivizes publications to prioritize “content generation” over journalism. It’s adtech that gives fake news a business model, because fake news is easier to produce than the real kind, and adtech will pay anybody a bounty for hauling in eyeballs.

Oh, and a $trillion or so has been spent so far on adtech without one single familiar brand being made by it. Yet plenty of brands have been harmed by it. For example, the ANA itself in the case AdAge reports.

The advertising business can't save itself. It needs help from the very people it intends to reach. That's why I co-founded Customer Commons, and why we're working on terms any one of us can assert that are friendly to advertisers and publishers. The first, called #NoStalking, says "Just show me ads not based on tracking me." Nothing could be simpler, more do-able or more far-reaching.

We'll also need this fix before the GDPR, Europe's General Data Protection Regulation, comes into effect next May, with potentially enormous fines for spying on EU citizens, no matter where those citizens' eyeballs may be.

I explain exactly what we need to do here. I'm hoping friends old and new in the publishing and advertising businesses (to both of which I've devoted much of my life) will join us next week at VRM Day and IIW, where we'll be working on solving exactly this problem.

Also on the table will be what Don Marti calls for. "Measure the tracking-protected audience," he says. "You can’t sell advertising without data on who the audience is. Much of that data will have to come from the tracking-protected audience. When quality sites share tracking protection data with advertisers, that helps expose the adfraud that intermediaries have no incentive to track down."

iOS 11 moved my music library to the cloud. This makes the Music app useless—

  • on planes
  • on oceans
  • anywhere with no or limited cloud access, which rounds to most of the world's surface

Since I travel where there's no or little cloud access, I want my music library back on my iPhone, iPad and laptop music apps.

How do I get this?

AppleCare doesn't know.

Geeks at the nearby Apple store don't know.

Somebody must know.

Please tell me. Thanks.

All printers.

All USB hubs.

The fucking cloud.

iTunes (which has now moved all my music to the fucking cloud, so I have to download what I want before I can listen to it on planes, subways, oceans and Wyoming).


USB Micro-B connectors and jacks.

Proprietary apps you can't get rid of.

Purposely slow upstream.

"Plans" with data caps.

iOS, or what's become of it.

The gone headphone hole.

The gone MagSafe power connector.

The gone function keys.

The gone SD card reader.

Power cables in two sections: one that can be easily wound for storage, and the other that can't be wound at all because it's too thick and stiff.

Trackpads that are too small (e.g. on the Apple TV remote) or too big (e.g. on the new Apple laptops).


All cable and satellite TV set top boxes.

Adtech, and every other business and business model that relies on uninvited spying on people.

When some other party uses the first person possessive pronoun "my" for me, when it's really for them.

Absent cheap and easy offsite storage for people like me who have terabytes of data on drives scattered in places where the possibility of obliteration by fire or earthquake is greater than zero.

Absent good HD radios, or good new radios at all.

"Soundbars" for TV, which have eliminated the simple and clear sound stage that old-fashioned stereo provided for decades.

Books too big for shelves.

All "infotainment" systems in cars.

Wipers that keep wiping a few more times after you turn them off.

Little shitty power supplies for big honking external drives.

Un-illuminated (or -illuminating) grey labels on black electronic devices likely to be used in dark rooms or spaces, such as remote controls and entertainment gear.

All light switches with dimmer gimmicks that will be obsolete and non-replaceable within a few years.

Car seats designed only for people in the middle 60% of the bell curve for body heights.

Overly rounded and faux muscle-shape body types in cars, which have together reduced storage space and views outward, especially to the rear.

The persistent belief that "spectrum" is scarce and requires federal controls, along with auctions for rights to use parts of it, which is like selling colors of sunlight.

Burners on home gas stoves that could heat a warehouse but won't simmer.

All microwave oven UIs.

The fact that it's 2017 and we're still using logins and passwords.

The 86 Most Rewatchable Movies Of All Time says more about BuzzFeed and its readers than it does about movies.

FWIW, I've seen 35 out of the 86.  Love a few (e.g. Princess Bride), walked out of one (Home Alone), and punched out of a few (e.g. Labyrinth) when they were on the small screen.

My own list, just off the top of my head: Godfathers I and II, The Matrix (Matrices? ... mostly the first, but still the whole trilogy, since the story does have an arc), Princess Bride, E.T., Jaws, On the Waterfront, La La Land, Something About Mary, Unforgiven, The Green Mile, Searching for Sugar Man, Finding Vivian Meyer, Inception. This isn't "best movies," btw. It's the ones that, for me, bear re-watching.

There are many I'd like to see but never have. Fight Club and Mean Girls, for example. Others I've seen once and liked but don't feel the urge to see again. Interstellar is one.

I could go on, but this needs to be a deep long thread rather than a blog.

iSeismometer. It showed scrolls of vibrations on the X, Y and Z axes, all at once. None of the newer apps do that. You have to chose a view. I hate that. It's from ObjectGraph LLC, now 404'd.

The original Bejeweled. It didn't want to be Candy Crush, had an endless mode that was perfect for slow adults on subways

Iapetus. The world's tectonic history in three dimensions you could rotate.

Shades of Christo, at the Mexico border wall. On the Mexican side, of course.

Phil Windley on Distributed Ledger Technologies in Decentralized Identity.

Tom Petty on SiriusXM. Great for fans. FWIW, I always thought that Petty was as important an artist as Springsteen, but it was kind of like the Stones vs. the Beatles. Time will prove him out, though. He was a Real Deal.

An interview with Tim O'Reilly. This is my bookmark. I've already pre-ordered the book.

Europe's proposed e-privacy regulation.

Enabling Competition & Innovation on a City Fiber Network, from the Berkman Klein Center.

A freaking amazing conversation between Vinay Gupta and Scott Nelson in London recently. I was in a conversation with both a few days before this was recorded. This link unpacks the larger sense of that conversation, and gets it down on the record (to the degree there is one here, wherever this is).

Obama tried to warn Zuckerberg. That our democracy was hacked remains a proper outrage that isn't happening because we're all somatized by Too Much Information, which Duran Duran knew in what, '82 or something?

From a note sent to some friends recently:

As a member of our chronological advance team, I can report that one grace of being young a long time is realizing you have no choice but to give without expectation of return, because the best you give will stay good far longer than you’ll be around to benefit from it.

I just finished restoring and upgrading my iPhone 5s to iOS 11.1. This took many tries during which I was told, in mid-fix, that my phone was disconnected. Now that all the apps are restored, I'll see how it goes, but I'm still not happy with the small size, slowness and poor photo colors that are now a feature of this old phone. 

I want a bigger phone, and one with a much better camera. My wife has a 6s and that's already a lot better. But I've A/B'd that with a 7 and liked the colors in the 7 much better. I haven't A/B'd the 7 with the 8, and all the comparisons I've seen so far have been between videos, and I care much less about that than I do about still photos.

Mostly what I'm interested in is differences in photo quality.

I'm also not taking Androids off the table, though I'm inclined to stay with the iPhone system.

An excerpt from my answers to survey questions from Cox, my cable Internet provider in Santa Barbara...The person on the phone was terrific. Very helpful. But note that I needed to call because I couldn't solve login problems on the website, nor get an answer to five questions: 1) Do all service plans have data caps? 2) Am I better off with my current plan? 3) Do I need a new modem to get the "ultimate" upstream of 30MBps? 4) Is there hope of getting more upstream than 30MBps without fiber? 5) Is fiber coming to Santa Barbara? (The answers were yes, yes, yes, yes and doesn't look like it.)

Which is better for the economy—

1) For every company to control its relationships with all its customers in its own way? or

2) For every customer to control her relationships with all her companies in her own way?

What we get with the first is what @JohnBattelle complains about in Why the F*ck Can't We Fix "CRM"? 

What we get with the second is VRM: Vendor Relationship Management.

What CRM gives the economy is a zillion different companies trying to manage relationships with customers in a zillion different ways, even if they all use one company's (e.g. Salesforce's or Oracle's) software or cloud services. 

That's the first reason why CRM can't fix itself. Not matter how much better CRM makes "the customer journey" or "the customer experience," it's just one comppany's way.

The second reason is that CRM doesn't relate. You need two for that, and it can't happen if every company wants its customers to talk only in that company's own way.

The third reason is that CRM, in practice, is premised on the belief that a captive customer is worth more than a free one. 

VRM is premised on the belief that a free customer is worth more than a captive one: to herself, to the companies she deals with and to the whole economy.

Rather than opposing CRM, however, VRM is meant to engage CRM. To give every CRM system a hand to shake. To give the company a better company experience of customers.

VRM does this by giving customers superpowers, turning the marketplace into a Marvel-like universe in which all of us are enhanced. Read how at that either of those links.

One reason I use shortlinks is to see how many clicks something gets., a shortlink for Accidental Lessons: Reflections on the Challenger Tragedy, has had nine clicks in the 47 minutes that have passed since I posted it, and then tweeted pointage to it.

I'm posting this here only to mark something in time. Not because I'm drawing conclusions from it.

Perspective: yesterday my Flickr site got more than 8500 visits.

Bummed  to hear Don Williams has died. He was one of the truly great country music composers and performers. One of Don's songs, Amanda (written by Waylon Jennings), was a big hit for the country radio station I worked at in the early 70s. There's a female backup vocal on it, gently rising two octaves or more above Don's baritone, sung only during the word "Amanda," that still haunts me. Listen to it at the link above. Doesn't get more country than that, and I mean that in every good way.

He was 78 and had a good long life, at least for a smoker. (See the image at the first link.) Now 70 and still young, I can't help noticing that most of the people my age that I once knew and are now dead were smokers, and the ones still with us either quit long ago or never took it up. In fact I know nobody my age, or even within ten years of it, who still smokes.

When I was driving up to watch the eclipse, I naturally (for me) took an interest in what was happening on radio along the way. I have way too much to report on that (and I probably never will report most of it), but I'll unpack one small discovery for the few (or none) of you who might be interested. It's from notes I took en route but didn't post because there was no connection.

Among the stations we heard heading through northeast Utah and southwest Wyoming was a collection of ten huge signals, all Class C (the biggest allowed, with 100,000 watts at 2000 feet above average terrain), most radiating on channels called Class A (107.1, 102.3, 103.1... ) which are normally reserved for local signals (max of 6000 watts at 300 feet), though the rules got more lax about that in recent years.

The site they transmit from, I discovered, is Humpy Peak in the Uintah mountains (far east of Salt Lake). They share a Shively 6016 panel antenna stacked 20 high (good sale for Shively), to maximize gain toward the horizon. All the stations put out 89,000 watts at 2,123 feet, which is equivalent to 100,000 at 2,000 feet, and they do it with transmitters that are just 7,900 watts eacj. While that's a good way to save watts, it's highly unusual. Almost... insincere. 

What are they really up to with this? I wondered. Is it just so all these signals can reach Evanston, Wyoming, population 12,000, 43 miles away and the only population center to which these giant signals have a clear shot? (FM stations want to be high up because FM is mostly a line-of-sight band.)

Here's the reason, and I'd love to know who thought it up.

See, while the signals of all these stations are terrain-shadowed in the Salt Lake market by the Wasatch Mountains, the site is close enough to put the predicted signals' primary service area over the Salt Lake metro, but far enough from Farnsworth Peak (home of all the big Salt Lake FMs) to allow Class C signals to drop in on second-adjacent channels, which are mostly those Class A's. That way all the Humpy Peak FMs can put up boosters, some with powers up to 20,000 watts, at elevated locations on the east side of Salt Lake, Provo and Ogden, to fill in that shadowed terrain, which is full of people and business.

I just read that one of those stations was just sold for $1.1 million. What the new owner got was those boosters. Not the giant place-holder signal serving mountain goats in the wilderness.

What I like about Medium:

  1. The WYSIWYG UI, and how easy it is to write there and to update what I write.
  2. That it has no ads and no tracking. I cannot praise this highly enough.
  3. That @Ev is principled about #2, and staying the course, even though he gets lots of shit about it. Hats off.
  4. That it pays writers.

What I dislike about Medium:

  1. The clapping thing. I hate ratings and heart-clicks already, but this is even worse. But that's me. Your sentiments may vary.
  2. That every comment is also a standalone post in which, like it or not, the first line is the headline, whether or not the writer troubles to make it one. (Meaning what you see is not what you get, at least in this one case.) Also that comments are not threaded in some obvious way (unless I'm missing it).

Obviously, the former outweighs the latter or I wouldn't keep writing there.

@Ev, if you're reading this, love to talk. Been too long.

Latest postings:

All in a big rush to get stuff done before flying to the UK tomorrow. After that, Santa Barbara, NYC and points unknown.

I just discovered that 120 East 122nd Street in Harlem is still there.  It was the home of my great-great grandfather, Thomas Trainor, who came over from Ireland at 15 in 1820, had a carriage business at 200 West Broadway in Greenwich Village, and is buried with the wife he outlived and perhaps seven other family members, including two kids he outlived as well, in just two graves in one plot in Calvary Cemetery, the country's largest. (It's that giant field of headstones you pass through where the Long Island Expressway crosses the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.)

At a time when the U.S. is (or at least seems to be) growing more polarized than at any time since the Civil War approached, and when the two poles need more than ever to understand each other, and to respect what the other pole knows best (and not just what the other pole believes—a subtle and important distinction), maybe the dumbest thing the left pole can do is start taking down, defacing and (o shit, there it is: hanging) statues. 

Andrew Young explains why

I'll add this: statues are symbols imbued with all kinds of deep and unspoken emotions: good, bad, too mixed to separate—and all to various degree historically inaccurate, regardless of what political point one views them from. They are also distractions away from the real work that needs to be done, starting with listening and caring. All you can do with them, at least politically, is attack or defend them. There are better things to do.

(The dumbest things the right pole did were to elect Trump and keep supporting him after it became vividly clear that he's a monomaniacal narcissist—in other words, everything Judith Donath, David Roth and Matt Taibbi say about him.)

Instead of taking down statues, the left needs to stand for what it knows best, which is good (not just bigger) government, caring about people, and civic life as a whole. None of this is well expressed on the left (least of all by the Democratic party), which would rather fight Trump and his most awful supporters: a sucker's game that Trump is much better at than they are. (He's one big attention sink, for everybody.)

What the left needs most to do begins with understanding what the right forgot when it repurposed itself (with talk radio and Fox News) around throwing shit at the left. Specifically, understanding business—especially the small kind.

Depending on where you draw the line, small business is between 97% and 99% of all business in the U.S. and at the high end of that range in the rest of the world. From Small is the New Big:

Nearly all of what happens in business is too small and ordinary for Wall Street to care much about. Same goes for investors, business reporters and politicians. Even economists don’t pay much attention. What they see are the waves and weather on the surface of the world’s economic ocean, when what matters most is the mass of water below... None of them want to grow their businesses any larger than they need to be. None thought about an exit when they started up. None call themselves “entrepreneurs,” or go to expensive conferences. Instead they socialize at bars, clubs, gyms, restaurants, churches, city parks, beaches, ball games and on the street. They tend to have roles rather than jobs. When you need one, you look for a mechanic, a painter, a lawyer or a driver. All of them also help each other out, side by side, face to face, in the physical world.

Of course this is an opportunity for both the left and the right. But the right abandoned small business when it moved its center of economic interest from Main Street to Wall Street, and decided that all business needed was "draining the swamp" and cutting taxes, especially for rich people.

What makes this an opportunity for the left is that it's a new place it can care about people. And the opportunity is there at all levels of government, from local on up.

I don't know if that's possible, since I've always been amazed (as a political independent who has leaned left since fighting for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in the '60s) at how little the left understands business, or outright dislikes it.

But I'm telling ya, the opportunity is there. Stop using "capitalism" as an epithet and start looking at ordinary people's business opportunities, as well as their problems. Look for paths to small business success. Create openings for both ordinary and exceptional business ambitions. And yes, put cutting taxes and government red tape on the table. Republicans are right about those, even though they care far less about those things than about getting funded by the Koch Brothers.

And please drop the statue thing, at least for now. It's bad strategy.

Bonus link from @GeorgeLakoff.

The problem is Isaiah Thomas' hip.

If Isaiah(+Jae)-for-Kyrie deal falls through it will be an NBA-record clusterfuck. Isaiah and Jae don’t want to come back to the Celtics, and we know Kyrie still wants out of Cleveland. My guess is that the Celtics will throw in another draft pick just to get the deal all the way done.

BTW, Isaiah’s bad hip is just the first shoe to fall. (And with it that he’ll never be full strength again. Hope that's not true, but I think it is. I know hips.) The other shoe is that LeBron hasn’t been full strength since before the playoffs. An 80% LeBron is still super, but from what I saw late in the season something isn’t quite right with that guy and it hasn’t come out yet. But it’ll still help an 80% LeBron a lot to have even a 70% Isaiah on the floor. He may not move as well as he used to, but he still has infinite heart, and shoots the hell out of the ball.

The Cavs, btw, are still very scary. Their whole team, bench included, is pretty deep with name-brand talent. And betcha they’ll sign Dwayne Wade soon too.

Meanwhile, Boston, who are most of these guys?

In the last few days I've driven in California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Utah, New York, New Jersey and New York, in that order. In that sampling, which totaled about 1800 miles, the clichés obtained. From what I saw, eastern urban driving is on the whole aggressive, though not always competitive. Drivers just want to make the light, merge, cut the other driver off, and honk. Western driving can get competitive, meaning there seem to be a lot of drivers who want to win, which they do by getting ahead of other cars and trucks. Speeding is even more standard than elsewhere, perhaps because posted speed limits are 70 and 75. There is also much less honking.

California drivers are, in my ample experience outside this trip, relatively polite, meaning they're more willing to let somebody cut in, or to wave somebody through an intersection. I think that's because 4-way stops are standard throughout California (far more than anywhere else I've been), and the protocols are well understood. Californians also understand that the official protocol for merging traffic is to alternate. This was not understood very well during our time in Wyoming, but all my evidence gathering was in the worst traffic jam in the state's history, when visitors in the dozens of thousands who came to see the eclipse departed en masse from their temporary stations from Lander east past Riverton and Shoshone. It took us six hours to creep west through those three towns, a distance of about 40 miles. License plates on the cars, trucks, campers and RVs we saw were from all over the West (with a few from the east, including our van, registered to Virginia but rented out of Santa Barbara). And it seemed like nobody other than folks with Wyoming plates were willing to let merging traffic in.

Strangest and most dangerous were the drivers eager to pass slower traffic that was already going the 70mph speed limit westbound on 2-lane Wyoming highway 28. We couldn't count how many cars passed on blind hills in oblivity to the possibility of oncoming cars they might hit head on. As my son said, they seemed to be motivated more by anger than impatience. After sitting for hours in stopped traffic, they were damned if they would let any opportunity to get ahead go by.

After so long on the road in that van, it was good to get back into our nice little new '05 Subaru in New York. It amazed me by starting right up and running perfectly. The only bummer was two months of sparrow guano and rotted juniper berries on the hood and the windshield. Next trip: New England next week.

"Great history (and history of linklove) from @DaveWiner on how blogging worked at its best and needs to work again, for so many more of us, if we are to break free, as a free and independent people, from the personal data ranches we call social media.

I like "personal data ranches" better than "silos" or "walled gardens", because it's more metaphorically accurate. Bonus link. Another.

BTW, my original blog was (and still is)  Here's my first actual blog post, in November 1999. The first post on that blog, two days earlier, was by Dave, instructing me on how to blog. His rules still apply.

Added the author and underwater archaeologist and Daniel Lenihan to the list of notable alumni of Guilford College. It is wrong in the extreme that Dan was not only missing there, but remains missing in Wikipedia as well, with a single small exception where he gets mentioned with a dead-end link. I also want to add Stephen Lewis, a two-Fulbright scholar, authority on many subjects and one of the smartest (and funniest) people I have ever known. Dan, Steve and I were all in Guilford's Class of 1969. We also grew up only a few miles apart.

"Digital Disruption" is a hot topic at @OnPointRadio. So let's talk about that for a post or few. 

The problem with "disruption" is that it suggests impact from one direction, and calls to mind Newton's laws of motion when we look for effects. Those tend to be two-dimensional: balls dispersed on a pool table when struck by a cue ball, a ship exploding toward the sky on the horizon when hit by a torpedo. The effects of new technologies are more complicated and subtle than that.

Lauding disruption as a virtue (which Silicon Valley has been doing for decades) also tends to excuse collateral effects, including destructive ones. It tends to ignore collateral opportunities as well.

What Marshall and Eric McLuhan do with their Laws of Media is provide a way of discovering effects of disruption (caused by a new medium or technology) refracted in four different directions, each best visited as questions for which many answers are possible: What does a new medium (or technology) 1) enhance, 2) retrieve, 3) obsolesce and 4) reverse into once it fully succeeds? (These are formally called the Tetrad of media effects.)

I suggest a few answers in those four directions in Have We Passed Peak Phone? and The Actually Distributed Web, but will give it a longer and more thought-out treatment in the book I'm writing.


Two videos I need to watch when my eyes are ready:

Since there seems to be a run on eclipse glasses, here's helpful hint: head to the hardware store and get welders goggles with a rating of 14 or higher. They'll do the same thing, and many are still out there, mostly because they're not yet called "eclipse glasses." 

Look also for "brazing" and "safety." More here from Mr. Eclipse.

After paying for her meal and getting up to leave, the patron says to the restaurant's proprietor, "I'm so glad you operate a Christian restaurant!"

The proprietor replies, "Thank you, but we welcome guests from all faiths, or none at all."


"But I'm curious. What makes you say we're a Christian restaurant?"

"The check said, "Thank you Jesus."

"Ah. Your server is named Jesus."


Fantastic thread on the best Top 40 stations of all time, at Radio Ink.

Interesting that Top 40 was less mainstream than one might think in those late great heydays (or decades) of the format, in the 50s and 60s.

Most of the stations listed there were small, and some were even tiny. The early Top 40 "giants" were lesser signals on AM dials. The big signals were mostly devoted to "middle of the road" or "MOR" programming: chatty talk, pop standards, news and farm reports. ABC broke ranks when it went top 40 with its giants in New York and Chicago: WABC and WLS. WMCA in New York, WPGC and WEAM in DC, KQV in Pittsburgh, WIL in St. Louis, KHJ, KRLA and KFWB in Los Angeles... these were all secondary signals in those towns. In smaller cities like Roanoke, Syracuse, Santa Barbara and Winston-Salem, the top stations were as small as they get. WROV, WOLF, KIST and WAIR, respectively in those cities, were all on "graveyard" channels (1230, 1240, 1340, 1400 and 1450), all limited to a max of 1000 watts by day and 250 watts by night. And, since those channels were the most populated, "skywave" interference from the rest of the stations on those channels shrank coverage even more.

FM changed everything, of course. And now both satellite radio (SiriusXM) and Internet streaming are to music radio like vultures to carrion.

I’m trying the Beaker browser now. Sez the site, "Beaker is a peer-to-peer browser with tools to create and host websites. Don't just browse the Web, build it."

Interesting sign of our times: it’s ready on Linux and Mac, and “coming soon” to Windows.

The video on the Beaker index page (above) is a good intro, and then leads to Jeremy Ruston’s video of TiddlyWiki+Beaker.

(I haven’t seen Jeremy in years, but we got a lot of hang time when we were both working for JP Rangaswami at BT.

Key to Beaker is dat.

More in Github about dat-http. Specifics:

An HTTP transport/storage provider for Dat, allowing replication of Dats over normal HTTP connections from flat files on the server. Currently only supports read operations, write operations coming in the future (open an issue if you need this).

The entire .dat folder must be available on the server for this to work. Point this at the root url where the .dat folder is and you can use this to do replication.

This is implemented as a storage provider, conforming to the That may seem counterintuitive, as this provides a networkworking transport but implements a storage provider API. However, in Dat you can wrap a storage provider in a Hyperdrive instance to turn it into a network transport.

I’ve added the Beaker browser to the “privacy protection” section of the VRM developments roster.

This whole thing needs a big re-arrange. If you want to help, talk to me. Thanks.

Yo @MacSales, et. al... I'm looking for a pre-current vintage MacBook Pro with a Retina screen, maximum solid state memory (1-4TB), an SD card reader and MagSafe power connector. Leads welcome. Thanks.

Great photo feature on the very late WFBR/1300, once a landmark radio station in Baltimore. I hope the owners of the space (it's upstairs over an old theater) preserve at least the control room, which appears to be museum-worthy.

The signal, by the way, is still at 1300am, radiating from a new transmitter as WJZ, a sports station.  The call letters were salvaged in 2004 by an unrelated station in the Baltimore area.

I made a funny and completely innocent comment (like a host on a talk radio show might make) under a post at RadioInk, and it didn't appear.