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Excellent article on the state of the discussion on Do Not Track at W3C.  To one with more small-company focused privacy-related scars than I can count, this author’s warning on the probable creation of an oligopoly in the tracking space is prescient.  The voices of those big enough to pay to have very sophisticated advocates attend important policy meetings overseas will always be louder.  And their companies’ interests will be protected.   Smaller businesses need to fund an office to represent them in this subject area.  The US government won’t, because they don’t hear from you.

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A very balanced and non-emotional look at what should be, but isn’t, probably because the NRA has already got the answers to the questions and doesn’t want anyone else to have them. In point of fact, we might find that more people are hurt by power and chain saws than by guns, although I doubt it.    Having studied the origins of the 2nd Amendment, I can be pretty sure that both before and after the Revolution, the town authorities knew very well who had a rifle and who did not, and how good a shot they were.  Gun ownership until the industrial revolution was probably a minor part of the population, even on the frontiers.  Until the Civil War, guns were hand-made one by one, and thus were expensive.  Many records of early American settlement of the West mention that the settlers were often powerless against native American attacks because they did not have firearms.

Thousands of people die from guns each year. Certainly as a matter of public policy we should have responsible research. Our entire society pays a price for our collective ignorance.

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At last, a little sanity and some harsh facts from around the world. More guns does not make for a safer society, regardless of what the NRA says.  The example of Australia is especially telling.  Are we a civilized country, or not?  It pretty much comes down to that.

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Excellent partial description of the Obama campaign’s use of big data and sophisticated analysis. The cost of this exercise must have been pretty significant, but so were the money raised using the same techniques!

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This article/synopsis of a recent study on what consumers understand about “do-not-track” protection online is quite revealing.   So consumers are confused about what “do not track” means, and are inherently naive about the lawful ability of websites to collect information about them.  Given what marketers do with the information collected, one wonders why the FTC and Congress make such a fuss about it.  There is already in place a “hierarchy” of data which requires special permission to collect and use – financial and medical information come to mind. For these, one needs permission.

And I’m getting more upset about our government guardians at the State and Federal level spending so much time fussing over this.  Given a recent experience I had with tracking,  I’m especially annoyed that US Senators and Congressman are doing so, given that our economy may well implode unless they do something about the fiscal cliff we are about to drive over while they sit in the back seat and squabble like bored 5-year olds.

In any case, I realized earlier this week that I was being tracked. “Horror!”, you say.

Not a bit of it. In the midst of Sandy I did some research on generators. The increase in the decrease of capability of New York State Electric and Gas to provide timely relief from the lack of electric power is driving me to the expensive conclusion that I must acquire one of these nerve-rattling devices.

Over the last 5 years, NYSEG’s response to removing downed trees and restoring wires has become weaker, slower, and more incompetent, although admittedly exceeded by Verizon’s increasing reluctance to put the telephone wires back up.  I can understand  Verizon’s desire to get out of land-lines and concentrate on the mobile service, and I gather that our home is the last one in our neighborhood not using Skype as its primary phone.  We all have to, you see, since the mobile signal is too erratic, the nearest tower  being nearly 2 miles away. The number of bars seems to vary with wind direction and velocity.

So, Verizon has a business survival need to migrate to the airwaves. But NYSEG does not and it grows increasingly slow to start the meters up again. And we thought that competition would be a good thing in this industry!

In any event, having checked some do-it-yourself sites on how not to kill myself when I hook one of the growling electricity makers up to my house, and prices and manufacturers and various technical articles, I closed out the subject and returned to my browsing of various news sites.  And there I am confronted, on about 3 or 4 sites, with ads for generators of several different brands-most, but not all, of whose websites I had visited.

And the ads, some of which I clicked on, were very useful and informative. Some had technical information; others offered interesting discounts and services.  I was very pleased to receive more useful information and I took notes.

Alas, it was not meant to last.  Today, there are no more pop-ups for generators.  Only ads for business class airfares on a couple of airlines I always fly economy on to places I have never been and have no intention of going, and hotels I could not afford to stay at even if I wanted to go there.

Sigh.   It was nice while it lasted. The ad world was giving me something I really wanted, in fact, needed.  If only they realized my purchase timeline is a long one.  If I don’t research a purchase down to the bone, especially one in five figures, I’ll feel cheated no matter what I buy.  Keep on tracking advertisers. I love it.

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Based on a review of top magazines in the United States, response/use of QR codes in magazines seems to be somewhat higher than response rates to  direct mail.  Some of that is convenience, to be sure.  More likely, it’s the novelty of the QR code being there, and the ability  to experiment with the new toy.  Certainly, the selection of the magazine and the product being offered may also be a factor, although one would hope that the direct mail piece is better targeted than the space ad!

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These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America – Business Insider.

GE, News-Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.  More frightening is the number of media executives who decide what we’ll see and hear: 232.  That is about one-half the number of members of Congress, who themselves don’t have the authority to decide what we see and hear. Ultimately, that is impacted, but not set, by the nine people on the Supreme Court.  Thank you, Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson and Company.

And of course that’s an over-simplification. Fortunately, we have a vibrant and active, although often ignorant and biased, free press across a number of media, especially online. There are multiples of media outlets for information and opinion.   Compared to the colonial period, or even the late 19th century, the power of choice of the media consumer has never been stronger.  Recalling our early media consumption in the ’50′s and ’60′s, we had 3 networks and maybe a local radio station or two, and whatever local or regional newspaper covered local political issues.  How many news outlets do we have on the internet alone?

The biggest weakness is probably the slow loss of local newspaper coverage in non-metropolitan areas. Local TV stations are struggling to keep up coverage, but even they are challenged in markets where ad revenues continue to deteriorate.  And somehow Huffington Post and equivalents don’t seem to be interested in my local School Board’s proposal of a 15% increase in the budget this year.



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Online Privacy: EU Cookie Law Could Be the Death of Digital | DigitalNext: A Blog on Emerging Media and Technology – Advertising Age.

This is a somewhat chilling prediction of the probable impact on e-commerce of the implementation of the EU requirement that websites must get visitors to “OPT-IN” to cookies being put on your machines.

Yes, Virginia, Europe has gone bonkers.

They now require us to “log-in” and say “yes” to activate the simplest of navigation tools on a moderately sophisticated website. The doctrinaire-istas of Euro-law created a “principle and human right” that you have a right to control your “personal information”, and this could mean what you look at in a website, or where you wander.  And this is so incredibly critical and important, as an absolute non-negotiable principle, that the website has no legal right to do this without your express permission.  Even if you invented the cookie itself, or graduated cum laude in computer science from MIT, or have your own website which flashes “I CONSENT TO COOKIES” endlessly, you now have the burden of consenting when you browse.

To experience the pleasure-killing impact of “opt-in to cookies”, visit the UK Information Commissioner’s website at  Try to navigate around without accepting cookies. Try to understand the variety of cookies being used. Try to figure out why they insist on telling you this.

Complete insanity.

On the other hand, since the cost of parcel shipping from the US to Europe is about the same as within Europe, and since US prices are much lower for most products than in Europe, someone in the US Department of Commerce or some express company like maybe FedEx or DHL should launch a “BUY From US Websites” campaign.

“Come enjoy US e-commerce websites!! Still a delight to navigate! Filled with excellent bargains! We won’t waste your time with nonsense about cookies, which you know about anyway, but our sites will tell you about them if you insist. AND BY THE WAY, most of our sites have guarantees of satisfaction.”


Going Global? Reduce Your Risks and Maximize Your Success.

A couple of tips on how to protect yourself if you fulfill orders abroad. A request for “expedited shipping” may be a fraud indicator.  Take your time and make sure the credit card charge clears. Oh, and an order for 12 size 5 women’s speed racing bathing suits for delivery in Nigeria should give you pause.

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pVery worth reading. UK DMA asks a half dozen companies what compliance will cost them. Very, very frightening. a href=””

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