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+ - Understanding the mechanisms behind highly focused online ads->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "So you go to a website, or fb, or anywhere, and an online ad appears on your screen

Annoying or not, many of those ads have been purposely selected — almost tailor-made — for our consumption

And behind all these, lighting fast auctions of the slots for tailor-made ads are going on, all the time, and "Behavioral Targeting" is the name of the game

While traditional cookies can be blocked or erased, forms of cookie-less tracking are taking place all the time. “Fingerprinting” records specifics of a user’s device, and it’s next to impossible for most people to avoid sending information to advertisers, publishers and the bewildering array of specialist firms that serve them

Such information can be exploited in real-time computerized auctions for the right to show online ads to individuals. The algorithm-driven auction process takes place on electronic marketplaces in the hundredths of a second after an internet user clicks a link to visit a website. The winner’s ad appears by the time the site has fully loaded. Millions of individual auctions can take place every second

Advertisers see something like their holy grail: the right ad served to the right person at the right time – for the right price. The real-time bidding process allows ad campaigns to be fine-tuned through instant feedback. In a technique called Retargeting, desirable consumers can be followed around the internet, for example by placing ads on other sites they are known to frequent

Yes, the ads are already there waiting for you, at the sites that you haven't go, yet!

As internet-connected TVs take hold, the kind of highly focused ads now booming on the web will be possible there too. Tracking people better via mobile devices, and the rise of the “internet of things” as fridges and other appliances get IP addresses, will bring even more data into people’s digital exhaust for the industry to draw on."

Link to Original Source

+ - Stress level on the rise for IT workers->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "49% of IT workers say they’re closer to burning out now compared with five years ago

Triggers for IT workplace stress include a lack of exercise, feeling understaffed and job insecurity

The survey also revealed freelance workers tend to be more relaxed, with more than half ( 55% ) believing freelancers’ autonomy to change location and set their own hours reduces stress"

Link to Original Source

+ - Intel to form a stylus alliance->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Last year Apple filed for ten smart pen related patents and earlier this month a rumor surfaced from a prominent analyst claiming that Apple was aiming to introduce a smart pen accessory for Apple's 12" + iPad Pro later this year. On Wednesday Microsoft introduced a new digital whiteboard display system for the enterprise called the Surface Hub that accepts input with a Surface pen working in sync with their OneNote software. Their digital pen was emphasized in their Surface Hub patent that we reported on yesterday. Today there's news that Intel is forming a new Stylus alliance that will be formally announced in February. The first standards-compliant stylus is set to roll out in Q3. It's sure beginning to look as if 2015 will be the year that the stylus of old undergoes its biggest overhaul to date

The current situation regarding the stylus input for touchscreen devices is that every IC designer has its own stylus specifications. Users often find themselves unable to use styluses across different products as well as brands

Intel intends to change that

The chip-making giant is pushing for a standardised Stylus device, that works with all types of displays, be it a notebook ,a smartphone or a tablet

To get a deeper insight into what a standardised stylus would me, Take a Note 4’s stylus for example. You can take notes, dial numbers, highlight text, create your own doodles and still do numerous things that cannot be explained in the length of an article. However, with a standardised stylus, you could do all that, on a device with different config., display, processor or memory

Several chip designers have been invited to take part in the alliance and provide their inputs. Some of them are Atmel, Synaptics and Elan Microelectronics (EMC). Intel has also invited Asustek computer as well as Waltop, the stylus makers that Intel has invested in

It is obvious that this move is directed towards the tablet markets at first. A stylus as an accessory to a 12-inch device makes a lot of sense. The phablet market will benefit too. Nexus 6, iPhone 6 Plus and many of the big screen phones come without a stylus. Actually, only the Note series by Samsung comes with an in-built stylus. The big displays are much easier and fun to use with a stylus

Intel plans to announce the members of the alliance and a draft of the standard in February at the earliest and the official platform will start operating in April or May, with the alliance's first product is expected to launch in the third quarter"

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+ - Google Explains Why WebView Vulnerability Will Go Unpatched On Android 4.3->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "If you're running Android 4.3 or earlier, you're pretty much out of luck when it comes to a baked-in defense against a WebView vulnerability that was discovered earlier this month by security analyst Tod Beardsley. The vulnerability leaves millions of users open to attack from hackers that choose to exploit the security hole. WebView is a core component of the Android operating system that renders web pages. The good news is that the version of WebView included in Android 4.4 KitKat and Android 5.0 Lollipop is based on Chromium and is not affected by the vulnerability. The bad news is that those running Android 4.3 and earlier are wide open, which means that 60 percent of Android users (or nearly one billion customers) are affected. What's most interesting is that Google has no trouble tossing grenades at the feet of Microsoft and Apple courtesy of its Project Zero program, but doesn't seem to have the resources to fix a vulnerability that affects a substantial portion of the Android user base."
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+ - Is Pascal an Underrated Programming Language? 6

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the recent Slashdot discussion on the D programming language, I was surprised to see criticisms of Pascal that were based on old information and outdated implementations. While I’m sure that, for example, Brian Kernighan’s criticisms of Pascal were valid in 1981, things have moved on since then. Current Object Pascal largely addresses Kernighan’s critique and also includes language features such as anonymous methods, reflection and attributes, class helpers, generics and more (see also Marco Cantu’s recent Object Pascal presentation). Cross-platform development is fairly straightforward with Pascal. Delphi targets Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. Free Pascal targets many operating systems and architectures and Lazarus provides a Delphi-like IDE for Free Pascal. So what do you think? Is Pascal underrated?"

Comment: Re:No! One reason: Verbosity sucks (Score 1) 6

by hcs_$reboot (#48898001) Attached to: Is Pascal an Underrated Programming Language?
Ok, but saying "One reason: verbosity sucks" tends to make that argument the most important one. While there are many differences between C and Pascal, and verbosity is certainly not the most important one (unless you're paid inversely proportional to the numbers of characters you write in a program!). Pascal is chosen in schools for instance, because of it's more rigid structure to discipline programs writing, its "pointers" are type safe, pointers arithmetic is not allowed etc... etc... I did program in Pascal and C, and verbosity was certainly not a concern - the rest was! (I prefer C). Would that be Cobol, OTOH....

Comment: People need advice more than information (Score 4, Insightful) 317

by hcs_$reboot (#48897969) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA
Most people don't have the knowledge to assess by themselves if a product fits their expectation. Not only for food, any product needs a thoughtful advice/label from an independent and competent / national team to guide customers. What difference does it make for a customer who reads for the first time "chicken raised outdoors" and "chicken from battery cages"? The answer is here, and it's a big long, but a summary on a sticker would help customers to chose more wisely - and that would dramatically improve competition between very-low quality products sold 0.9 X against a much better product sold X (while the manufacturing cost of a "good" product would be twice the cost of a "bad" product). People tend to chose the cheapest one, by lack of information.

+ - Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jennifer Abel writes at the LA times that according to a recent survey over 80% of Americans says they support “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA,” roughly the same number that support the mandatory labeling of GMO foods “produced with genetic engineering.” Ilya Somin, writing about the survey at the Washington Post, suggested that a mandatory label for foods containing DNA might sound like this: "WARNING: This product contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The Surgeon General has determined that DNA is linked to a variety of diseases in both animals and humans. In some configurations, it is a risk factor for cancer and heart disease. Pregnant women are at very high risk of passing on DNA to their children."

The report echoes a well-known joke/prank wherein people discuss the dangers of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide" also known as hydrogen oxide and hydrogen hydroxide. Search online for information about dihydrogen monoxide, and you'll find a long list of scary-sounding and absolutely true warnings about it: the nuclear power industry uses enormous quantities of it every year. Dihydrogen monoxide is used in the production of many highly toxic pesticides, and chemical weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions. Dihydrogen monoxide is found in all tumors removed from cancer patients, and is guaranteed fatal to humans in large quantities and even small quantities can kill you, if it enters your respiratory system. In 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public body that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter bathers from using a large public fountain. "Counting on a lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup," he arranged for signs reading: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT" to be posted on the fountain at public expense"

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