When our New York apartment building developed a mouse problem, they brought in an exterminator (or pest control, or abatement, or whatever they call those services now) to take care of things. The company put out sticky sheets of cardboard all around the perimeters of our rooms, plus little boxes of poison. A crew would come back from time to time and check on these things, all of which did exactly nothing other than cost the landlord money.

So I went to a nearby hardware store, bought some old fashioned mouse traps, which ought to be called mouse killers, because that's what they are. Mounted on a small piece of wood is a rectangular bar on strong spring, which cocked has the power to whap down on a mouse and fold it in two. The trap snaps when the bait moves and releases the bar holding the kill-bark cocked. Those worked. We knew the mice were gone when none were left to touch the bait and get snap-folded in two.

Here at our Santa Barbara place, we've had a similar problem lately, with rats. Or, a rat. Every night around 12:30am, it would make loud noises in the space under our bathroom cabinet. We don't know what path it took to get in there, because it appears to be completely sealed from all times; but it apparently comes and goes because it also feasts on tomatoes in our kitchen pantry. So this time I got a rat trap, which is a big brother of the mouse trap. It's by the same Victor brand that's been making these things since the 19th Century. I baited it with some Trader Joe's no-salt organic crunchy peanut butter and put it on the floor of our pantry. Sure enough, around midnight a loud SNAP! echoed through the house. I went to the pantry, and there was our rat, folded in two. 

I've got another trap set now, so we'll see if our late rat had companions. I kinda don't think so, because the noise in the bathroom cabinet was also gone last night. But we'll see.

Compared with the fires, which are now snowing the cremains of Ventura County all over our house and yard—and scaring the shit out of the whole South Coast—the rat is a small thing. But an old fashioned trap does beat the more expensive options, and that's cool.

Tennyson called now—the present moment—"an arch wherethrough gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades for ever and for ever when I move." 

We tend not to see far through that arch. Hunter-gatherers still, we are built to walk, run, grab and build through a range of anticipations that run from microseconds to years in the future, with nearly all our attention on what's in the very next stage of now.

So we miss the big breakdowns that take a lot longer than now to happen. We also mistake persistence for success.

And such is the state of radio: a topic I can't help obsessing about, because it was so much a part of my life for so long. I like to think we'll miss it when it's gone, but I suspect not.

Here's one interesting fact: there is far more variety on the only (and therefore the monopoly) provider of satellite radio in the U.S. than you'll find anywhere in the country on terrestrial radio bands. Not in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago or San Francisco. Those places all have some innovative radio stations, but not the buffet of formats featured by SiriusXM.

Anyway, those are a few ruminations while I try to remember a few radio websites maintained by individuals far more obsessive than I. A list:

Note: In response to this post, @samueljscott points  to this good news for what's left of radio. by @martindave

BTW, that image at the top is from this Wikipedia entry on Bambergers, the department store. WOR, still a landmark New York station, started atop that store in Newark. In those days they thought transmitters belonged on buildings, and achieved electrical height with "clothesline" and "bedspring" antennae suspended between towers. Those were arch-like, which serves as a metaphorical coincidence here; but have long since been replaced by free-standing or guy'd towers. WORs three stand in the Meadowlands outside Newark near the west spur of the New Jersey Turnpike. It's the third site since the one on the store. For those who dig this kind of history, it's hard to beat REBUILDING A LEGEND: REBUILDING WOR RADIO FROM THE TIP OF THE MIC TO THE TOP OF THE TOWER, by Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE. Other interesting bits are herehere (that's deceased transmitter #3) and here (the transition from #3 to #4). To me #2 was the best. If you want to know why, ask. blush

There is so much I'm not saying, because I need to focus. Just letting ya'll know.

I love @DaveWiner's BingeWorthy Hot List, mostly so I know what I might want to watch if I'm ever laid up without a keyboard and screen of my own. Until then, I'll be mostly a wannabe binger. 

See, on a couch I'm more of a monkey than a potato: too hyper to sit still  for long periods of time. Even movie theaters make me antsy. 

True, I am a desk potato. But at least I can type when I'm there, such as now. In front of a TV, the most I type is a search string. I do that into a bluetooth keyboard for the TV, the Dish receiver or the Apple TV box. (For that I have a cool cheap bluetooth keyboard that has three sets of settings: one for each device. Nice.)

Okay, all that said, here's where I am on the Hot List:

Gore, murder and gross sex are no fun for me, so Game of Thrones turned me off in the first episode (two beheadings, multiple dismemberments, one undead child and another pushed out a window after he witnessed doggie-style incest).

I’m saving The Wire for my next hospital visit, if I ever have one.

Mad Men bored my ass off after two episodes. Or maybe fewer. I forget.

The Sopranos was too close to home. (I'm from New Jersey and knew some of those people. Not fun.)

I liked West Wing a bit, back in the decade, but I only co-watched it with my mother and sister when they were visiting addicts to it. (Mom, as a former Alaskan, loved Northern Exposure.)

Tried and failed to get into Battlestar Galactica.

Liked Six Feet Under a bit. Saw maybe five episodes, which is a lot for me. The last one was perfect.

Tried Handmaid’s Tale on the flights to and from London last week. Fell asleep on the outbound and got bored on the return and  punched out.

Black Mirror left me wanting the much shorter and punchier Twilight Zone again. (I binge-watched that show… damn: sixty years ago.)

The only modern show I’ve binge-watched is Silicon Valley, and I’m not even sure it’s good. It's just familiar, meaning I've seen nearly all of it before, in the real Silicon Valley.

My wife got into Downton Abbey on a plane and wants to see the rest of it. at some point. She’s also into The Collection on PBS, which is about the fashion business in Paris, where she is right now. It’s current with weekly episodes, so not binge-able yet.

That's about it. Main thing is that a show needs to upstage news and sports, which is about 90% of what our TVs get used for, and even then not very often. (More when guests visit than when we're home alone.)

Companies, like every life form, tend not to last forever. Or even for more than a few dozen years.

Even durable ones, like Hewlett-Packard, live by splitting into multiple companies or becoming different entities than they were in the first place. 

Sure, HP may still be around as a legal entity that makes money in a bunch of ways; but how much if any of that company still draws from artesian well of good sense that was Bill and Dave's HP Way? How much is Apple still about what drove the Steves to create it? How much is Google still doing what Larry and Sergey wanted to make in the first place? At most the answers are "some, but not enough."

Projects have purposes bounded by completion. As with life forms, they are made to live and do good things and participate in the world, but also to be done. It is no accident that founders of venture-backed companies have to plan from the start for an exit.

Thought: how is going public not a return of a company's substance to nature? By not throwing their people and property into the public domain they stay alive, walking dead, like zombies. 

Yah, that sounds harsh, but think about it: how little do most stockholders care about a company beyond what shares of it sell for on stock markets? And how little does that one thing matter to what a company actually does? Nothing could be farther from the founding missions of Bill, Dave, Steve, Steve, Larry and Sergey.

There is something brain-deficient about the fiction that a company works only for its stockholders, or to throw off profit like a burning house throws off heat. (Let's throw another bedroom in here, Charles. Need to keep this thing going.)

I know I'm being way too simplistic here, and maybe outright wrong; but I'm just thinking out loud and jet-lagged on a Saturday morning, happy to be home and unable to keep things out of my head that might be worth talking about.

What I know for sure is that every purpose is temporary. Thus seeing everything as a project seems more sensible than all rationalizations toward boundless persistence across time. Everything ends. That's purpose too.

We're no different. When we're moving fast toward our purposes, it's not much help to watch for an exit. But eventually we take one. Or vice versa.

If you like yogurt, especially plain yogurt—you know: the Real Thing, full of fat (none of that 0% shit)—you need to get yourself some kefir cheese

It's actually yogurt*, but thicker: so thick you can stand a spoon in it. Not dense enough to to be called cheese, but it is anyway.

And tasty. O so tasty.

The kind pictured on the right is the latest we picked up, this time at a Costco in Oxnard, California. Our local Costco near Santa Barbara doesn't have it. But there is hope. The container is the one above, from Karoun Dairies, which says it's sold in several other stores around here. One of those stores has been gone for years, so I'll make inquiries before I go running around. (I'm also about to leave for a packed week in the UK, so it'll be after that.)

We got turned onto kefir cheese by a Russian deli near our place in New York. They sell several varieties of it, from several sources. Some are called labne, or labneh,  two Eastern Mediterranean nouns, either instead of kefir cheese, or along with kefir cheese, as does the Karoun we just finished. The traditional labne I've known (mostly through a Lebanese family in L.A. I'm close with) is not as thick as kefir cheese, but is otherwise similar.

Whatever. Get some. Even if you don't like yogurt, get some. It is so damn good. 

* I know, because I've used it as starter for homemade yogurt.

The problem with "cloud" isn't its meaning, which is roughly "where offsite storage and computing happens." The problem is that the tech industry uses "cloud" to blur where stuff actually is and where it is happening. It's a sleight-of-noun trick that causes far more harm than good. It bloats cognitive overhead, wastes time and forecloses countless opportunities.

Let's start with time. Exhibit A: Apple's iCloud.

It isn't just that Apple has blurred what the hell iCloud is and what it's for, but that the company has a fully annoying way of putting stuff in iCloud that used to be on one's device or devices. It does this on the incorrect assumption that it is unhelpful for the individual to know where computing takes place and files get stored.

After Apple did that to me during an iOS upgrade to my phone last month, I spent hours talking to AppleCare, trying to figure out what the fuck happened and how to fix it. Never mind why, because the damage was already done. The main problem was trying to figure out how to get the music back on my phone, so I could listen again when I go offline, which I do a lot. For example, in subways, on boats, on planes, in countries where cloud use is spinctered, or driving around the middle of Wyoming.

Apple has also done its ironic best to both popularize podcasting and to make listening to podcasts as hard as possible. The worst thing it has done, of course, is locate podcasts in iCloud, while making it nearly impossible to figure out where the hell one's podcasts are. 

All this blurring also masks loss of autonomy and agency, and increased dependency on what amount to feudal overlords. It's getting to the point where, if you're not a hacker with a full suite of tools and skills for remaining independent in the connected world, you are in a state of at least partial slavery.

I'd write more, but I gotta go deal with shit before I fly again to elsewhere. Hopefully I'll be able to listen to music and podcasts along the way.

I put up about 20 years' worth of headshots.

Fred Wilson has a better way to do bike sharing.

In The Lie of Transparency, Bob Hoffman (aka @AdContrarian) points at the lovely hair shirt Emperor Adtech isn't wearing but says it is. Even reputable journalists believe it, too.

Maybe the reason political divisions haven't been this deep since the '60s and Vietnam is that now, like then, one side is simply wrong.  Back then supporting the Vietnam war was a huge mistake. Now supporting Trump is exactly the same.

Twitter didn't kill the First Amendment, as Tim Wu says here, but it sure didn't help.

The Swarm Project looks interesting.

The World Economic Forum on Bitcoin vs. Banks.

Kottke.org goes subscription

Here in Santa Barbara La Casa de la Raza now has its own FM station: KZAA/96.5. It's just 100 watts from the .org's headquarters in town. But it covers the city itself, which is the idea. Not much about it on the website, but there is a Facebook page too.

Always good to re-read Andrew Oldlyzko's Network Neutrality, Search Neutrality, and the Never-ending Conflict between Efficiency and Fairness in Markets. Andrew rocks at this stuff. I see some potential overlap between where Andrew goes and where Michael Elling has been for some time too: "If network A has 1 million users and network B has 1000 users, the value of network B to network A is up to 2000x greater with terminating settlement than with just bill and keep, or no settlement. Therefore it is in A’s interest to 'fund' B’s network via a terminating settlement to capture and retain that increased value. This is also known as the network effect or Metcalfe's law."

Adam Gopnik: "What we should fear is not a deep state but a state robbed of its depth."

Study: Fake News Threatens Audience Trust In Digital Pubs, by Sara Guaglione (@SPGuaglione) in MediaPost, correctly laments exactly the point its headline makes. Yet stories like this, good as they are, also misdirect attention from another story that's closer to home: how "content marketing" pays publishers to undermine trust in themselves.*

For example, in my email subscription to Google News for articles about ad blocking, the big G sent me to this piece of non-news in The Drum: Header bidding is the future of publisher income says Sovrn’s chief marketing officer. The smaller print says Sponsored by: Sovrn. The CMO has Manafort smile. Not good.

Then there's AdAge's "data driven TV" story. I just noticed some small print that says it's from "publishing partner" AT&T AdWorks. The byline says "By Rick Welday, President, AT&T AdWorks."

So let's look at the collateral damage here, both to the reputations of publishers who run this kind of shit, and to journalism itself.

To me as a reader, the two items above cost The Drum and AdAge my trust and respect for them. (Slightly less so for The New Yorker, which runs one clearly marked "Paid Post" in its daily emailings. I get why they do it—for the money—but those two words make sure I won't read it.)

As for journalism, there's my personal experience. For example, in this post yesterday I said I want big-name publishers who can afford to pay journalists to do exactly that. In a perfectly tweeted response, @dmarti tells publishers, "When you don't pay, you get "how and why you should buy stuff from http://example.com " by #contentMarketers at http://example.com."

Now I'm wondering if The Drum and AdAge pay free-lancers at all. I'll bet they don't, because that's the clear message a publisher sends with every (literally) fake news piece some content marketer pays a publisher to post.

Bonus links:

  1. Cluetrain's New Clue #66, which says "...how about calling 'native ads by any of their real names: 'product placement,' 'advertorial,' or 'fake fucking news'?"
  2. On "native" advertising, which calls content marketing "a Borg that wants to assimilate all the media it pays to fill with itself."

*To Sara Guaglione's and MediaPost's great credit, their latest is Domino Opens Office Sponsored By Brands. (Disambiguation: Domino is a magazine about interior decor. Domino's delivers pizza.) Pull-quote: 

The new office is not just a stylish workplace for Domino’s employees. CRO Beth Brenner told PD the space also acts as a studio for the magazine's content and can highlight their brand partners. A “large paid deal” with Bosch, for example, is behind the appliances in Domino’s kitchen, which are also featured in an online series, Brenner said.

Maybe my headline should have been Souls For Sale.

This morning an editor with a big-name magazine asked me by email if I would write an op-ed for it. When I asked what they paid, he replied, "We can’t pay for content unfortunately," adding, "We’ve actually found someone else to write this in the meantime, so let’s stand down. Hopefully next time!"

There won't be a next time. First, I refuse to contribute free labor to a magazine with a brand as august (or so I assumed) as this one. Second, I don't write "content." The reason is illustrated in the graphic here. (The full-size original accompanied How True Advertising Can Save Journalism From Drowning in a Sea of Content.)

I gather the magazine is also funded entirely by adtech, since Privacy Badger detects an unusually high number of trackers on its index page alone: 81.

The free work I'm glad to do is saving publishing. I want to do that by bringing the incentives of readers, writers, publishers and sponsors into alignment. More about all that in this series here.

Scott Adams tweets his endorsement of the cryptocurrency movement. Here's his post. I find his pro-Trump stuff fascinating and insufferable at the same time (for reasons that require more time and braining than I'm willing to commit right now). This, however, is different. Not sure how, but it is. By the way, this is his girlfriend. Just sharing facts here. You can't have opinions about facts. (For thus spake Prof. Peter Schickele on this album, which I still have somewhere.)

Yesterday on my main blog, I posted Revolutions take time. This morning I appended a long comment, following an observant question by a reader.

A video, shot last month at the University of Southampton in the UK, in which I bring Eric and Marshall Mcluhan's tetrad of media effects to bear on The Future of Text and on digital life in general.

Nikon is closing a plant for making entry level cameras: a market 90% eaten by smartphones.

Joi Ito on resisting reduction. He goes deep: "In order to effectively respond to the significant scientific challenges of our times, I believe we must view the world as many interconnected, complex, self-adaptive systems across scales and dimensions that are unknowable and largely inseparable from the observer and the designer. In other words, we are participants in multiple evolutionary systems with different fitness landscapes at different scales, from our microbes to our individual identities to society and our species. Individuals themselves are systems composed of systems of systems, such as the cells in our bodies that behave more like system-level designers than we do." Very good stuff. Dig it.

9spokes (@9spokes) looks like a very cool dashboard for small business, which is nearly all business. I assume it works with Xero and Quickbooks, and see possibilities for Lemeno.us as well.

Now that Walmart will be tracking me for the purposes of selling adtech trained on my ass by Walmart's own crosshairs, the chances I'll ever shop there are verging toward zero.

Superteams aren't, it seems. The Cavaliers lost at home, bigly, to the Knicks last night. The Patriots yesterday were a few dumb moves and bad calls away from losing at home to the Chargers. The Warriors lost at home for the second time in a young season, this time to the Pistons.

We've passed peak venture capital. No mention of ICOs.

Interesting to note the prevalence of saloons among businesses listed in Fremont County, Wyoming in 1890.

No surprise that MySpace, which apparently still exists, is fulla fraud.

Hierarchy is bad.

The Coalition for Better Ads (which nobody on the receiving end wants, expects or cares about) still thinks the problem is "annoying"ad formats rather than boundless tracking.

Oracle, which makes one of its livings doing creepy personalization, asks a question about when that happens.

Here's a Guardian feature on a Danish video that does the best job I've seen of demonstrating the problem. Irony::::: according to Privacy Badger, the Guardian was at the same time attempting to follow me with 27 potential trackers.

Yuval Noah Harari video interview. Bookmarked here. Haven't seen it yet. Tomorrow, then.

Is numeracy natural or not? I say if it happens in nature, it's natural.

I hate "the platform economy." Not the article linked to there. That's fine. Just the notion that it's a Good Thing. It's not.

This lamp comes on every time Trump tweets. Watch it without the music. Or save the time. I just told you enough.

If Trump is a black hole, will this let you escape?

Apparently I said something here. Or nothing. Anyway, it's something now

The Onion: Future of Advertising is More and Better Advertising, Advertising Industry Says. Just kidding. The Onion didn't say that, and the link goes to my anti-bullshit series on advertising. More fodder follows. 

Top Ten Reasons Why Online Advertising Must Change, by the great Bob Hoffman, aka @AdContrarian and author of Bad Men and other good books. Why isn't this in AdAge or MediaPost? Sorry, dumb question. We all know why. Colonel Jessup explains.

Juniper Research in BusinessWireDigital Advertising Spend to Reach $420 billion, Despite Impact of Ad Blockers.

Speaking of ad blockers, says here: 1) According to GobalWebIndex,t 37% of all mobile users, worldwide, were blocking ads by January of 2016, and another 42% would like to; 2) There are than 4.77 billion mobile phone users in the world today; 3) 37% of 4.77 billion is more than 1.7 billion; and 4) that's more than 2x the population of the Western Hemisphere (565.265 million in North America and 420.458 in South America). And that's just mobile devices.

White Ops Predicts that up to $3.5 Billion in Ad Spend Could be Lost to Fraud in Q4. Champion investor Michael Burry in The Big Short: "One hallmark of mania is the rapid rise in the incidence and complexity of fraud." Hm.

IAB: Online Video Spend Overtakes Banner Ads for First Time. As if anybody on the receiving end likes either of them.

ForbesWhat Is the Right Response By Marketers To The Rise Of Mobile Ad Blocking? By Brian Handly, CEO of Reveal Mobile, "which helps companies generate more revenue via highly accurate location data," for the Forbes Technology Council Elite ("CIOs, CTOs & execs offer firsthand insights on tech & business"). How about respecting what is clearly the biggest boycott in human hstory? (But they won't. See Col. Jessup, above.)

LA TimesWhy bad ads deserve to die, and what might replace them. Completely misses the tracking issue. By the way, the LA Times is one of the worst tracking offenders. My browser reports "Privacy Badger detected 49 potential trackers on this page."

Mediapost: "GDPR is like a meteorite hurtling toward earth." Yep. Like I say here, with another metaphor.

Mediatel: TV sponsorship - the answer to all of advertising's woes? Answer: no, but to some.

Business Insider: Google's plan to block some ads has ad-tech companies scrambling — and calling it a dictator. This is like a bad bug zapper arguing with doomed bugs.

Recode: Former Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile wants to save the media industry by blocking ads—His new startup, Scroll, will charge consumers once for an ad-free experience across many news sites on all platforms. Bookmarked: need to know more about this one.

TPMJosh Marshall on what Apple is doing against advertising. This one too.

AdAgeHOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR TRADITIONAL SELL-SIDE AD ORGANIZATION. That's what we used to call the "publishing" or the "advertising" department. It's what mostly got fired when adtech showed up.

On a Facebook thread I was reminded that I drove a '66 Peugeot 404 wagon from '69 to '74.  So I thought I'd share a very late review of the thing.

Positives: enormous room in back, comfortable seats, great ground clearance and the ability to go pretty much anywhere, when it ran.

Negatives: screw-on hubcaps, ease-of-rust, dashboard vents that collected water from outside and dumped it on your feet soon as the car started to move, a distributor cap that kept cracking, failing window cranks, spark plugs hidden inside the valve cover at the base end of easily cracked bakelite sleeves, a pointless resonator tank thing above the exhaust manifold that fell apart easily, impossible to start on cold winter days unless one (no kidding) heated the engine compartment for a few minutes with a blowtorch.

I sold it for almost nothing after driving it from New Jersey to North Carolina. During that trip the resonator on the exhaust manifold fell apart, meaning actual explosions in the engine blasted unmuffled into the car, along with exhaust as well. The noise also echoed off the pavement and up through holes in the floor that got larger through the trip as rusty pieces seemed to fall off on every bump.

I would be amazed if any of these cars are still on the road anywhere.

Neustar, J.D. Power Partner For Data Tracking, writes Tanya Gazdik (@TanyaGazdik) in Mediapost. Excerpt:

Neustar has had long-standing relationships with automotive clients and has invested heavily in providing advertisers with audiences that are based on the behaviors, psychographics and demographics of real people to increase digital advertising relevance.
The partnership with J.D. Power, an industry-recognized expert in automotive, will offer the first-ever automotive audiences powered by near real-time transaction data. It will combine J.D. Power’s PIN data (lease data, incentive buyers, cash buyers, down-payment, make, model, series data) and Neustar’s identity mapping capabilities – taking PIN data and matching it to the household level. It will give advertisers best-in-class actionable audiences for targeting across offline and online channels, including mobile, OTT and addressable TV, says Julie Fleischer, vice president of product marketing at Neustar.

My comment, the only one there so far: 

This is hideous.
Can you imagine a car ad that features the "digital advertising relevance" people want because their "behaviors, psychographics and demographics" are being tracked?
The simple fact is that nobody buys a car to be in the "audience" for anything, least of all when they are in a "microsegment" of one. They buy cars to drive and ride.
Want to know why 1.7 billion people now block ads on their digital devces? Because of crap like this.
By the way, the E.U. has made this kind of thing pretty much illegal, with potentially huge fines for privacy violations, starting next May 25. And U.S. companies can be fined if infractions are against European citizens, no matter where they are, including in U.S. cars. Stay tuned for more on that. The news will only get more dire for deals like this one.
Bonus link: http://j.mp/adbwars.

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. 

http://bit.ly/chlngrt, 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.