jfruhlinger writes: "One of the recent buzzphrases among entrepreneurs lately is "mobile first" — that is, mobile apps should be your primary focus when launching a new product or service. That might be true, but there are still plenty of things that mobile apps can't do — and so you shouldn't neglect a traditional Web presence."
jfruhlinger writes: "On March 1, Google will launch a much shorter and easier to understand privacy statement for all its services. That's to be lauded, but the newly simplified statement shows how important Android is for Google's plan to monetize what it can figure out about your identity."
jfruhlinger writes: "Facebook recently opened a data center in rural Crook County, Oregon, and after being told to assess the center's value in terms of the "real and personal, tangible or intangible," the company was hit with a $390,000 property tax bill. Though local authorities are now backing off, Facebook is still fighting for a clarification of what exactly will be taxed. At heart is a question that should trouble anyone who runs a data center: is the value of the data on your servers, or of your brand itself, something that can or should be taxed?"
jfruhlinger writes: "If there's one word that gadget-makers can't get into their marketing material enough, it's "thin." Based on their advertising, you'd think consumers would want their gadgetry to be as skinny as possible. But then there's also the fact that cases that make gadgets easier to hold — and, yes, thicker — are a huge money-making industry. What's the dynamic?"
jfruhlinger writes: "You might call this story about a video game that involves aiming your urine an "only in Japan story," but there's no reason to think that you couldn't see this in men's rooms across America soon!"
jfruhlinger writes: "Remember Beacon, the Facebook advertising initiative that went down in a hail of privacy protests in late 2009? Well, as privacy blogger Dan Tynan points out, the array of Facebook Timeline apps announced today look an awful lot like Beacon 2.0. There have been some genuine privacy improvements over the original — and there's probably also been a definite shift in attitudes about sharing in the last 2+ years."
jfruhlinger writes: "We've all more or less given up on this year being the "year of the Linux desktop," but that shouldn't obscure the fact that Linux is thriving in ways few could have predicted in the early '00s. Two big arenas where Linux is king: the cloud servers bearing more and more of the industry's computing load, and doing the heavy lifting for so-called "big data" analytical installations."
jfruhlinger writes: "When you talk about how much RAM your computer has, you're talking about DRAM — dynamic memory that needs to be charged to maintain the data it stores. For years, researchers have been working on MRAM, which stores data magnetically and doesn't require constant charging. It's too expensive now for anything but very specialized uses, but in the not-so-distant future that could change."
jfruhlinger writes: "If typing your Google account password into a public computer makes you nervous, then Google had the answer to you: a login process that involved a QR code processed by your more secure Android phone. Note that I said 'had': the unannounced feature was pulled almost as soon as it went up. Hopefully it'll be back soon?"
jfruhlinger writes: "The main justification of the much-hated proposed SOPA legislation is that it would shut down non-U.S. websites that are hosting copyright-infringing content. But here's an oddity: The Pirate Bay, the most famous copyright-infringing non-U.S. website in the world, has a.org address, and, under the definitions of the proposed law, wouldn't qualify as a foreign site. SOPA provisions wouldn't apply to it."
jfruhlinger writes: "Since 2009, Comcast subscribers who have accidentally typed a non-existant URL into their web browser have not gotten a 404 error but rather been redirected to a "helpful" page with suggestions on the right URL, along with ads. That page has now vanished as the ISP has implemented DNSSEC, a set of security standards that, among other things, prevents the malicious redirection of DNS requests. But if SOPA passes, ISPs will be forced to redirect requests for blacklisted sites, which violates DNSSEC. And, oh yes, Comcast is an enthusiastic SOPA supporter."