Archive for the ‘Browsers’ Category

Power to the User! + Pull Advertising

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Princeton’s Ad-Blocking Superweapon May Put an End to the Ad-Blocking Arms Race by Jason Koebler.

From the post:

An ad blocker that uses computer vision appears to be the most powerful ever devised and can evade all known anti ad blockers.

A team of Princeton and Stanford University researchers has fundamentally reinvented how ad-blocking works, in an attempt to put an end to the advertising versus ad-blocking arms race. The ad blocker they’ve created is lightweight, evaded anti ad-blocking scripts on 50 out of the 50 websites it was tested on, and can block Facebook ads that were previously unblockable.

The software, devised by Arvind Narayanan, Dillon Reisman, Jonathan Mayer, and Grant Storey, is novel in two major ways: First, it looks at the struggle between advertising and ad blockers as fundamentally a security problem that can be fought in much the same way antivirus programs attempt to block malware, using techniques borrowed from rootkits and built-in web browser customizability to stealthily block ads without being detected. Second, the team notes that there are regulations and laws on the books that give a fundamental advantage to consumers that cannot be easily changed, opening the door to a long-term ad-blocking solution.
… (emphasis in original)

How very cool! Putting users in charge of the content they view. What a radical idea!

Koebler does the required genuflection towards the “ethics” of blocking ads, but I see no “ethical” issue at all.

IBM, Cisco, etc., are wasting their time and mine advertising enterprise scale security solutions to me. Promise.

What’s broken is that advertisers, like telephone scammers, must contact millions of people to find those unlucky enough to answer the ad and/or phone.

What if instead of a push advertising model we had pull advertising?

For example, not this year but in a few years, I’m going to buy a new car. When that time comes, ads and offers on cars of certain types would be welcome.

What if I could specify a time period, price range, model of car and for that relevant period of time, I get card ads, etc. Notice I have pre-qualified myself as interested, so the advertisers aren’t talking about hits out of millions but possibly thousands if not hundreds. Depends on how good their offers are.

Or if generally I’m interested in books in particular categories or by particular authors? Or when cheese is on sale at Kroger? All of which I could pre-qualify myself.

Pull advertising reduces the bandwidth wasted by advertisers who push content never knowing where a mark (sorry, customer) may be found.

Such a system would need to protect the privacy of consumers, so they would not be pestered when they had not opted in for ads. But anonymous ad brokerage is certainly doable. (The opposite of finding a subject with topic maps is concealing it.)

Interested in ending web-based spam/click-bait?

Fingerprinting Every Browser But Tor

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Browser Fingerprinting Tech Works Across Different Browsers for the First Time by Amy Nordrum.

Yinzhi Cao and colleagues have developed browser fingerprint code that identifies 99.24 percent of users across browsers.

Cao’s paper, (Cross-)Browser Fingerprinting via OS and
Hardware Level Features
.

Github: https://github.com/Song-Li/cross_browser.

Demo: http://www.uniquemachine.org

The lead for the story was buried at the end of the post:

The only browser that his method didn’t work on was Tor. (emphasis added)

Your call, you can take care of your own security or be provably insecure.

Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 – “Really Most Sincerely Dead”

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Web developers rejoice; Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 die on Tuesday by Owen Williams.

From the post:

Internet Explorer has long been the bane of many Web developers’ existence, but here’s some news to brighten your day: Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 are reaching ‘end of life’ on Tuesday, meaning they’re no longer supported by Microsoft.

Three down and one to go, IE 11, if I’m reading Owen’s post correctly. Past IE 11, users will be on Edge in Windows 10.

Oh, the “…really most sincerely dead…” is from the 1939 movie, Wizard of Oz.

Google Chrome (Version 41.0.2272.89 (64-bit)) WARNING!

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

An update of Google Chrome on Ubuntu this morning took my normal bookmark manager list of small icons and text to:

google-bookmarks

What do the kids say these days?

That sucks!

Some of you may prefer the new display. Good for you.

As far as I can tell, Chrome does not offer an option to revert to the previous display.

I keep quite a few bookmarks with an active blog so the graphic images are a waste of screen space and force me to scroll far more often than otherwise. I often work with the bookmark manager open in a separate screen.

For people who like this style, great. My objection is to it being forced on users who may prefer the prior style of bookmarks.

Here’s your design tip for the day: Don’t help users without giving them the ability to decline the help. Especially with display features.