Ad industry threatens Firefox users with more ads if Mozilla moves on tracking plans >> Computerworld
The online ad industry has attacked Mozilla over its decision to block third-party cookies in a future release of Firefox, calling the move “dangerous and highly disturbing,” and claiming that it will result in more ads shown to users.
The fierce reaction came from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Association of National Advertisers (ANA), both of which laid out positions in blog posts on March 14.
Ads are optional, except when they aren’t. (Thanks @Stephenjpc for the link.)
CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik leaves Samsung, criticizes TouchWiz on way out >> The Verge
Before leaving Samsung, Kondik had some time to play with his former employer’s new flagship. While he praises the Galaxy S4 for its specifications, which he says “blows the competition out of the water,” his comments on Samsung’s modifications to its TouchWiz UI aren’t so complementary. The Android developer believes that TouchWiz now “feels like it has been sent a few years back in time to the Froyo days.”
Kondik joined Samsung in August 2011, stating that he would be working “on making Android more awesome.”
19 months in the job. Did he make a difference? His departure is still mysterious. (Thanks @rquick for the link.)
(Virtual) hands-on with Windows 8 “Blue” build 9364 >> SuperSite for Windows
While my previous report about the leaked Windows 8 “Blue” build was based on screenshots posted to a Polish tech enthusiast forum, I’ve since gotten my dirty little mitts on the build and have installed it to a virtual machine. Based on a quick run-through of the build, I can say it’s real and that Blue is pretty much the combo feature pack/service pack we’ve been expecting.
New apps: Alarms, Calculate, Sound Recorder, Movie Moments. Also many more settings now available without dropping down to the desktop. (Thanks @rquick for the link.)
Learning from big data: 40 million entities in context >> Google Research
When someone mentions Mercury, are they talking about the planet, the god, the car, the element, Freddie, or one of some 89 other possibilities? This problem is called disambiguation (a word that is itself ambiguous), and while it’s necessary for communication, and humans are amazingly good at it (when was the last time you confused a fruit with a giant tech company?), computers need help.
To provide that help, we are releasing the Wikilinks Corpus: 40 million total disambiguated mentions within over 10 million web pages — over 100 times bigger than the next largest corpus (about 100,000 documents, see the table below for mention and entity counts).
Disruptions: FAA may loosen curbs on fliers’ use of electronics >> NYTimes.com
Nick Bilton (who has been on this subject like a dog worrying a bone for ages):
According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.
One member of the group and an official of the F.A.A., both of whom asked for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about internal discussions, said the agency was under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot.
So that’ll be approval then.
HP Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart review >> The Verge
Battery life is where the Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart’s value falls apart. In our Verge Battery Test, where we run through a series of high-res images and websites over a wireless connection with screen brightness set to a modest 65 percent, the laptop lasted just 3 hours, 34 minutes. That’s already one of the lowest scores we’ve seen from an ultrabook — a full hour below even its shortest-lived competitors — but you haven’t heard the worst yet.
When I tried to actually use the Spectre XT TouchSmart with my typical workload of auto-refreshing browser tabs, two push email accounts, and Pandora streaming music in the background, the laptop died after just 2 hours and 18 minutes of use. There’s a word for that: atrocious. HP currently quotes a 5 hour, 15 minute battery life, but I can’t imagine a realistic computing scenario where that would be true.
Looks good, has a good touchscreen, fails on this part. Is this really where ultrabooks are? Is the touchscreen the cause of the shortened life?
Dealer cheating causes havoc at Volvo’s China unit >> Reuters
Swedish auto maker Volvo has uncovered widespread cheating by its car dealers in China, where retailers inflated sales to win cash rebates from the company for hitting volume targets.
An investigation by the struggling, Chinese-owned car maker uncovered thousands of fake sales booked in 2011 – but also an under-reporting of sales in 2012 to make the books balance. That meant it actually performed better last year than it had thought, according to a senior Volvo executive.
Shipped v sold.
6 things Apple needs to copy from Microsoft Surface in iOS 7 >> GeekWire
The Microsoft Surface is an easy target. It is Microsoft’s attempt to get into touch computing and it is easy to see it as a me-too iPad competitor. Microsoft is frankly just so uncool that their products get much greater scrutiny, and people delight at picking everything apart.
But, the Surface RT is good. I’ve owned one for over three months now. And here’s the crazy thing: I use it all the time. More than my iPad.
Why? A bunch of reasons really. But six things really make it stand out.
Now read on.
2009: NewsGator surrenders to Google >> Ed Bott
In August 2009, he remarked:
selfishly, I’m glad Google has won. It’s the default online RSS reader, and I think they’ve done a fine job with it. I can still use FeedDemon and NetNewsWire on Windows PCs and Macs respectively.
…In the bigger picture, I hate being beholden to Google for yet another service where they can watch what I do and who I watch. But I’m willing to trust them, just as I’m willing to trust Microsoft on many issues.
Now see his newer post this week: Embrace, extend, extinguish: How Google crushed and abandoned the RSS industry
One release away from irrelevance >> getwired.com
Wes Miller (of the analysts Directions on Microsoft):
I believe that the first thing you have to firmly grasp in technology – or really in business as a whole – is that nothing is forever. You must figure out how to out-innovate yourself, to evolve and grow, even if it means jettisoning or submarining entire product lines – in order to create new ones that can take you forward again. Or disappear.
I’ve been rather surprised when I’ve said this, how defensive some people have gotten. Most people don’t like to ponder their own mortality. They sure don’t like to ponder the mortality of their employer or the platform that they build their business upon. But I think it is imperative that people begin doing exactly that.
There will come a day when we will likely talk about every tech giant of today in the past tense.
Newspapers (mostly) won’t miss Google Reader users >> Martin Belam
The findings are quite simple. Two papers, The Guardian and the Financial Times, have built up a significant RSS audience via Google Reader. The Guardian has nearly 250,000 subscribers, the FT over 55,000. Only the Telegraph and the Mail, with 15,000 and 11,000 subscribers, come close.
So that’s lots of Guardian readers who are going to miss it. Has everyone moved over yet?