Internet Use/New Technologies

28 September 2015

The rise of ad-blocking could herald the end of the free internet The Observer

There is, alas, no such thing as a free lunch. What's even more depressing is that there is no such thing as a free internet service. Most people nowadays probably understand that in relation to, say, social networking services, if the service is "free" then the users (or, more precisely, their personal data) are the product. But this also applies to stuff that you haven't signed up for - websites that you browse, for example. The site may be free to view, but there's often a hidden cost.

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26 September 2015

The internet blew the porn industry's business model apart. Its response holds lessons for other media firms The Economist

It was 2012, and Fabian Thylmann's goal was world domination. The man who had put together Manwin, an emerging online-pornography giant, now controlled most of the top ten porn "tubes" -- aggregators that, like YouTube, contain thousands of videos and are wildly popular, because much of their content is free. If he could get hold of the two biggest, XVideos and XHamster, he could put it all behind a pay barrier and build an online porn empire. If competitors emerged, he would buy them, too. What antitrust authority would rein in a monopolist in a business that upstanding people pretend does not exist?

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23 September 2015

Instagram hits 400 million users Reuters

Instagram now has more than 400 million users, the company announced Tuesday, making it far larger than rival Twitter Inc with 100 million more users.

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The Rise of Ad Blocking Could Be a Complete Loss for Everyone ClickZ

Apple's new operating system includes tools for app developers to block ads on Safari browser for iOS 9. As technology has made it easier to block ads, cutting contextually relevant content could do harm to not only publishers and advertisers, but also consumers in general.

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22 September 2015

Internet growth slows; most people still offline: U.N. Reuters

Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world's population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday.

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19 September 2015

The Allure of an Ad-Free Internet: Software promises a better experience for readers, but at what cost? The Atlantic

Well, that happened fast. After 36 hours as the No. 1 paid app in the App store, the programmer Marco Arment is pulling his ad-blocker, Peace, from the market.

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16 September 2015

Coming Soon to Facebook: A 'Dislike' Button New York Times

Facebook's famous "like" button, with its silhouette of an upturned thumb, will soon be accompanied by an alternative: a way to "dislike" a post.

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15 September 2015

Intelligent machines: Call for a ban on robots designed as sex toys BBC News

A campaign has been launched calling for a ban on the development of robots that can be used for sex.

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14 September 2015

Internet-addicted South Korean children sent to digital detox boot camp ABC News

The government sees it as a national health crisis and is now taking drastic measures to help the country's 2 million addicts.

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13 September 2015

How eBay built a new world on little more than trust The Observer

Twenty years ago this month, a French-born Iranian-American computer programmer named Pierre Omidyar added an experimental online auction section to his personal website, which at that time focused mainly on the Ebola virus. He called it AuctionWeb because it enabled people to bid to purchase items that other people were advertising for sale. One of the earliest, and most puzzling, sales on the site was of a broken laser pointer, which went for $14.83. The story goes that Omidyar wrote to the buyer asking if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. The guy replied that he was a collector of broken laser pointers. At this point, Omidyar realised he might be on to something.

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Watching porn does not cause negative attitudes toward women, contentious Canadian study finds National Post

The idea that pornography leads to negative attitudes toward women is pervasive, helping shape obscenity laws, fuelling censorship attempts and even spawning a recent Hollywood movie.

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12 September 2015

Google, Twitter and Publishers Seek Faster Web New York Times

In a world where many people read everything on mobile phones, a few seconds of load time can mean the gain or loss of millions of readers and advertising dollars.

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31 August 2015

Woman who claimed she was 'allergic to Wi-Fi' gets disability allowance from French court Daily Telegraph

Marine Richard has managed to score £500 a month in disability allowance from French courts after claiming that she was 'allergic to Wi-Fi'.

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#Blessed: The Internet actually makes us happier, science says Washington Post

According to a strain of trend piece popular in certain circles these days, the Web is some kind of social parasite, eating our decency and confidence and good humor away. It's filled us with FOMO; it's made us fake; it's torpedoed love and intimacy.

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30 August 2015

Marketing in the digital age: As people spend more time on social media, advertisers are following them The Economist

Earlier this year BMW advertised on WeChat, a popular messaging app in China with around 550m monthly users. But its ads were shown only to those whose profiles suggested they were potential buyers of expensive cars. Others were shown ads for more affordable stuff, such as smartphones. The campaign bruised a few egos. Some of those not shown the BMW ad complained, referring to themselves as diao, or (putting it politely) losers.

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28 August 2015

Facebook has a billion users in a single day, says Mark Zuckerberg BBC News

For the first time over a billion people used Facebook on a single day, according to company founder Mark Zuckerberg.

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26 August 2015

Vint Cerf: 'Sometimes I'm terrified' by the IoT Computerworld

Vint Cerf is known as a "father of the Internet," and like any good parent, he worries about his offspring -- most recently, the IoT.

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25 August 2015

Is this really the beginning of the end for web ads? The Guardian

As you've probably heard, the "infidelity" website Ashley Madison (motto: "Life is short. Have an affair") has been hacked and the personal details of its 33 million users have been dumped on the internet, with predictable results. Reckoning that it's the kind of story that is made for tabloid news outlets, I logged on to Mail Online, and sure enough, they did it proud.

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21 August 2015

Facebook's growth just ain't what it used to be Washington Post

Americans' addiction to social media is deepening, according to a new report that found that while Facebook devotion has plateaued, other social networking platforms are gaining in popularity.

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19 August 2015

Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web New York Times

The great philosopher Homer Simpson once memorably described alcohol as "the cause of and solution to all of life's problems." Internet advertising is a bit like that -- the funder of and terrible nuisance baked into everything you do online.

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13 August 2015

Don’t panic, the internet won't rot children's brains by Andrew Whitehouse, Winthrop Professor, Telethon Kids Institute at University of Western Australia The Conversation

You know the deal: a social phenomenon rises from obscurity to international familiarity within the blink of an eye. Pitchforks are sharpened, torches lit, and higher thought goes out the window. Elvis Presley's hips, the skin revealed by a bikini, Harry Potter's sorcery - you would think by now we'd have learnt to occasionally sit back and thoughtfully stroke our collective chin before writing the eulogy for humankind.

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10 August 2015

Just how easy is it to digitally fake a death? Washington Post

Killing someone is easier than you might think, or at least getting them legally declared dead might be.

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08 August 2015

Teenagers Keep and Make Friends Online, Pew Says New York Times

Researchers say they have discovered something that teenagers already know: Young people use the Internet to maintain friendships made at school or work, but also to forge entirely new ones with peers they meet while browsing social networks like Instagram or playing a game like Call of Duty.

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07 August 2015

Smartphone now most popular way for Britons to browse internet – Ofcom report The Guardian

Smartphones are the UK's most popular device for getting online for the first time, according to industry monitor Ofcom.

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03 August 2015

It’s fast, global, engaged and influential – so why isn't Twitter flying? The Observer

How many tech companies are saddled with the problem of enjoying global fame but struggling with lacklustre performance? Not Facebook, which revealed in its results that it has nearly 1.5 billion users logging in each month around the world. Twitter, however, is an example where participation is lagging behind reputation.

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