Hugh Pickens writes "Rebecca Greenfield writes that during their recent earnings call, Google reported a 16 percent decline in Cost-per-Click (CPC), meaning the value of each advertisement clicked has gone down. This follows a 12 percent drop last quarter and 8 percent the quarter before that showing an unfortunate reality of online advertising — unlike the print world, internet ads lose value over time. The daily and stubborn reality for everybody building businesses on the strength of Web advertising is that the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency, writes Michael Wolff. 'The nature of people's behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising's impact.' This isn't just Google's problem. Overall, Internet advertising has decreased in value over the years as online advertising continues its race to the bottom. 'I don't know anyone in the ad-supported Web business who isn't engaged in a relentless, demoralizing, no-exit operation to realign costs with falling per-user revenues,' adds Wolff, 'or who isn't manically inflating traffic to compensate for ever-lower per-user value.' For Google's overall business, this loss doesn't mean as much, since it has since expanded its business beyond AdWords — including its recent acquisition of Motorola. For companies that didn't just buy big hardware companies however, it's a scarier proposition. Like Facebook, for example."
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jones_supa writes "Two sources have told Reuters that Apple's new iPhone will drop the classic wide dock connector used in the company's gadgets for the best part of a decade in favor of a smaller one. The refresh will be a 19-pin connector port at the bottom instead of the previous 30-pin port 'to make room for the earphone moving to the bottom.' That would mean the new phone would not connect with the myriad of accessories playing a part in the current ecosystem of iPods, iPads and iPhones, at least without an adapter. On the upside, a smaller connector will allow for more compact product designs. Some enterprising vendors in China have already begun offering cases for the new phone, complete with earphone socket on the bottom and a 'guarantee' that the dimensions are correct." Gizmodo writer Adrian Covert says it's for your own good.
An anonymous reader writes "F-Secure antivirus company of Finland has reported receiving e-mails from an Iranian nuclear scientist, who says Persian uranium-235 isotope refining efforts have just been hit with yet another cyber strike. (Stuxnet, Duqu and Flamer-Skywiper being the previous iterations of the same Operation Project Olympic attack plan.) Last month, President Obama's staff has admitted to the New York Times that there is a joint Israel-U.S. cybermilitary operation was behind the mishaps Iranians have recently been suffering with their UF6 gas refining centrifuge systems in the Natanz and Fordo plants. This time, the unverified e-mail claims, a new Metasploit-based malware owns Iranian VPNs, causes fault in the nuclear plants' Siemens-based industrial control systems, and randomly starts to play AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck' aloud via the infected computers' speakers."
SmartAboutThings writes "A quite scary talk show with former NSA employees — now whistle blowers — Thomas Drake, Kirk Wiebe, and William Binney reveals that the NSA has algorithms that go through data gathered about us and they can basically 'see into our lives.' And this seems to be going on especially since the Patriot Act has removed the statutory requirement that the government prove a surveillance target under FISA is a non-U.S. citizen and agent of a foreign power." Binney's HOPE keynote has more detail on how the NSA watches people.
TwobyTwo writes "Yesterday, Slashdot posted a piece titled Who Really Invented the Internet?. It quoted a Wall Street Journal article with the same title by Gordon Crovitz. Crovitz makes the claim that government research did not play a key role in driving the invention of the Internet, giving credit instead to Xerox PARC. Unfortunately, Crovitz' article is wrong on many specific points, and he's also wrong in his key conclusion about the government's role. In a wonderful piece in the LA Times Michael Hiltzik corrects the record. Hiltzik, who is the author of an excellent book about PARC called Dealers of Lightning, makes clear that government funded research was indeed the foundation for the Internet's success."
New submitter Ahab's compliments writes "Score another point for sensible judges — the judge in point wants to know why this dispute over the wireless technologies developed by Samsung and used by Apple shouldn't be settled through mediation. 'Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?' Bennett asked the lawyers in court today. 'It's just ridiculous.' The judge also rejected a request to hear the various patent infringement claims from either side in separate cases."
nk497 writes "A Gartner analyst made headlines after describing Windows 8 desktop as: 'in a word: bad.' After web reaction, including one story asking why anyone bothers to listen to the consultancy firm anymore, Gunnar Berger has now yanked the offending sentence from his blog post, saying it was taken out of context and only applied to using the desktop with a mouse and keyboard, and that overall Windows 8 is a good thing. 'If you look at my blog, I've gotten rid of it,' he said. 'It's upsetting me that it's being taken completely out of context.'"
decora writes "Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports that the NSA has just declassified one of the 5 documents NSA whistleblower Thomas Andrews Drake was charged under the Espionage Act for retaining in his basement. The document, which Drake previously faced years in prison for possessing, is essentially a cheerleading memo, complimenting the Trailblazer project team for a great presentation and demo. It stands in stark contrast to numerous other reports that described the NSA IT project as an overbudget, ineffective, billion dollar seven year boondoggle."
Hugh Pickens writes "Louis Uchitelle writes that in Aisle 34 of Home Depot is precut vinyl flooring, the glue already in place. In Aisle 26 are prefab windows, and if you don't want to be your own handyman, head to Aisle 23 or Aisle 35, where a help desk will arrange for an installer, as mastering tools and working with one's hands recede as American cultural values. 'At a time when the American factory seems to be a shrinking presence, and when good manufacturing jobs have vanished, perhaps never to return, there is something deeply troubling about this dilution of American craftsmanship,' writes Uchitelle. 'Craftsmanship is, if not a birthright, then a vital ingredient of the American self-image as a can-do, inventive, we-can-make-anything people.' Mass layoffs and plant closings have drawn plenty of headlines and public debate over the years, and they still occasionally do. But the damage to skill and craftsmanship — what's needed to build a complex airliner or a tractor, or for a worker to move up from assembler to machinist to supervisor — has gone largely unnoticed. 'In an earlier generation, we lost our connection to the land, and now we are losing our connection to the machinery we depend on,' says Michael Hout. 'People who work with their hands are doing things today that we call service jobs, in restaurants and laundries, or in medical technology and the like.' The damage to American craftsmanship seems to parallel the precipitous slide in manufacturing employment. And manufacturing's shrinking presence helps explain the decline in craftsmanship, if only because many of the nation's assembly line workers were skilled in craft work. 'Young people grow up without developing the skills to fix things around the house,' says Richard T. Curtin. 'They know about computers, of course, but they don't know how to build them.'"
judgecorp writes "The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has published a Power Delivery standard which will deliver up to 100W. The specification (press release with link to full details) includes new bi-directional — and backward compatible — USB cables, and has been proposed as the new connector between mains adapters and laptops, eliminating e-waste by standardizing a proprietary component." At home, only having to run one cable to the wall might be nice, and being able to grab some juice from any friend may end the disaster that is forgetting your laptop power brick when on the road. And imagine only having to pack a single power hub instead of three or four redundant transformers (how many people don't use their laptop to charge their phone nowadays?).
An anonymous reader writes "Leading developer Chris Stevens tells Edge magazine that neuroscience researchers will soon find 'non-violent triggers to mimic the rush of pleasure gamers feel when firing guns.' Researchers can now use functional MRI scanners to monitor what is going on in a player's brain and search for more optimistic and non-violent pleasure triggers. 'For decades it's as if developers have been driving a car with no speedometer,' Stevens claims, referring to the reliance on reported emotions rather than empirical measurements in game development. The functional MRI now gives a much more accurate indication of when peaceful triggers light up the brain's pleasure regions, opening up alternative game designs, without crude weaponry. 'I would like to see many more beautiful games like Fez and Limbo,' Stevens says. 'When I was a kid, games were more beautiful and magical and immersed you in fantastical, peaceful and enjoyable landscape.' The functional MRI could make these peaceful titles provably superior — no mean feat in a mass-market games industry currently obsessed with the crude dopamine-triggering effects of simulated weaponry."
jetcityorange writes "When asked repeatedly a Microsoft spokesperson refused to confirm or deny that Skype conversations [could be monitored]. Microsoft was granted a patent a month after purchasing Skype that covers 'legal intercept' technology designed to be used with VOIP services. Is it time to consider more secure alternatives like Jitsi like Tor's Jacob Appelbaum suggests?"
wiredmikey writes "Later this week, the NSA's organizational leader and head of the U.S. Cyber Command – General Keith Alexander — will address an audience of hackers at DEF CON. News of General Alexander's talk at Def Con broke on Friday. Up until that point, the 12:00 Track 1 slot was kept secret, leaving attendees to the world's largest hacker conference to speculate. The buzz was that it would be something interesting – if only because this year is Def Con's 20th anniversary. General Alexander will be giving a talk titled 'Shared Values, Shared Responsibility,' which is outlined as a presentation that will focus on the shared core values between the hacker community and the government's cyber community. Namely, the vision of the Internet as a positive force, the fact that information increases value by sharing, the respect and protection of privacy and civil liberties, and the opposition to malicious and criminal behavior."
Esther Schindler writes "Say that you're leaving a job, either on your own volition or because they decided it was time for you to 'pursue other opportunities.' Before you leave, the HR department wants to chat with you about the employment experience, in an exit interview. 'Oh goodie,' you think. 'Now I can really tell them what I really feel.' Don't do it. If your employer couldn't find the time to ask you what was good or bad about working at the company while you were still working there, writes Lisa Vaas, why bother with honesty and potentially burned bridges now? (If they did ask, give them constructive feedback before you leave this job; they deserve it). Discuss."