Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

Posts Tagged ‘Internet’

November 16, 2015

Your latest privacy concern – ultrasound

Apparently, TV and computer ads can emit inaudible sounds that find and link you at home to your cell phone or other device.  Advertisers then are able to track you more completely across the spectrum of both online and offline activity.  Creepy article here. You have been warned.  Link from Tyler Cowen.

October 1, 2015


Does this make anyone else queasy?
When the app does launch, probably in late November, you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad, inaccurate or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.

September 28, 2015

You do back up your important data, don’t you?

20012126753_a7af44d995_o If you are somehow not yet convinced that it is critical to back up your personal and other data, or if you just like a good story, I highly recommend Darkode, an excellent podcast from the excellent RadioLab.

Back in the day, the saying was “There are two types of people: those who back up their data already.  And those who will.” This referring to the at-the-time inevitable hard drive crashes that could wipe out all your financial, work, and personal data.

Today, hard drives are not so fallible, but the dangers are so much worse. Just about everything about us is digital, and stored on computers, phones, tablets etc. that are connected to the internet. Hackers, spammers, phishers, botnets and who knows what else are scouring the web looking, and oftentimes succeeding, to cause havoc on these very devices.

With the ease and availability of numerous cloud services, backing- up has never been simpler. Like flossing your teeth, it is basic routine prevention that you may cause you deep regret if you fail to attend to it regularly.

August 25, 2014

Disconnect – Add-On Software You May Want

This recent 60 Minutes segment on data brokers was unsettling to say the least. I knew that big data brokers were tapping our web use but I had no idea just how unregulated and extraordinarily intrusive this practice has become. I presumed it was just Google (or the NSA) but no, according to 60 Minutes, everything about us online and on our mobile devices is being assembled into giant digital dossiers. And then attached to us by name and address.

Not just Google, not just Facebook, but nearly every commercial website today makes its money by selling our personal habits to these data brokers. This nominally private information is assembled from hundreds of sources to create a personalized picture of who we are, from our buying habits, medical conditions, political leanings and more. Then it is bought and sold to marketers, employers, anyone who wants.  The public is largely in the dark and he data collectors aim to keep it that way.

Into this morass rides Disconnect, a free new browser add-on developed by a former Google programmer. Disconnect promises to block the data miners at work on every website you visit. I just downloaded it onto my laptop and, just like I have long had blocking software, I plan to use it on all my device browsers. Watch the 60 Minute segment, and you will likely do the same.

August 29, 2013

Terrific, and actually hopeful, short video on big data

From the BBC

Pointer courtesy of The Big Picture

March 25, 2013

A New Option for Individual Investors with Smaller Accounts

Wealthfront is a new entrant in the automated online investment advice world. This may be an option for many with smaller investment accounts, who otherwise would be do-it-yourselfers, to obtain prudent investment oversight at a very low price point.

December 17, 2012

Facebook Makes You Fat and Poor

Stop the Presses!

Findings showed that more time spent on Facebook was linked with a higher body mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit card debt.

According to a new study cited in the NY Daily News, Facebook enhances the self-esteem of users, while they are online. This has the perverse effect of lessening their self-control when they are not online, leading specifically to overeating and overspending. 

July 28, 2012

NextGen Broadband

Google Fiber is announced with this cute YouTube video. Currently in trials in Kansas City KS only.

June 6, 2012

Change Your LinkedIn Password Now

So says The Tech Chronicles who report on a security breach at the company that may have compromised your user password.

May 14, 2012

It’s Facebook Week

These hangers in a São Paulo store show in real-time the number of “likes” an outfit has received on the Facebook page of Brazilian fashion retailer C&A.

When they go clothes shopping, women always feel insecure and want a second opinion. But one second opinion is never enough. So how about finding what everyone on Facebook thinks of a particular item of clothing?

So says, the retailer’s promotional video, translated from the Portuguese.

h/t Marginal Revolution

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