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Content should be free, man. I agree, internet advertising is a fetid swamp of mediocrity and annoyance. I get that. And now Brendan Eich (Mozilla co-founder and inventor of Javascript) is introducing Brave, a browser that blocks ads. Or, in Eich’s memorable phrasing, “blocks all the greed and ugliness on the internet.” Perhaps Brendan is unaware that all the greed and ugliness are the source of funding for, well, everything on the internet. Or perhaps Brendan is just of the opinion that designers and writers don’t deserve to be paid. No matter. You shine on, Brendan. Application to Marketing: We made this fetid swamp. We did. And before we cast too many aspersions at Mr. Eich, we should get our own house in order. Mostly, that involves fewer ads that are less intrusive. But, if I were a client, I would require publishers to block Brave in order to get my ad dollars. Because otherwise we are making suckers of the people who actually bother to look at the ads. Availability: Brave is out there. So brave. Read More Okay, but source code really should be free. Every few months one of the technology behemoths open sources some extremely valuable code. In so doing, they help to create new industries and make our entire digital infrastructure faster, smarter and more efficient. Open source code enjoys a wide, committed developer base and is (generally) more secure, more robust and more extensible than proprietary code. Yet, not a week goes by where I don’t have to convince a client not to use .Net or some similar piece of proprietary bloat-ware. Application to Marketing: The vast majority of the software you use every day is open source. It’s time to stop viewing open source as the domain of idealistic hacktivists and understand that it is a tool for business. Not only is it better and cheaper to maintain, it is simply more secure. Anyone who tells you different is trying to sell you something. Availability: Fire up that Linux server and get with the program. Read More Hanging with Supreme Leader Snoke Whether you believe that Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Sidious or Jar Jar Binks, you have to admit that his Augmented Reality conversations with the commanders of First Order are pretty cool. (If that sentence made no sense to you, please unsubscribe from these emails. You are not wanted.) A few of the large-brained people at Microsoft Research have begun investigating whether or not those Augmented Reality conversations actually improve communication. Preliminary results indicate that while face-to-face communication is clearly superior for accomplishing basic tasks, Augmented Reality is also superior to video-conferencing services like Skype. This begs the question: as augmented reality improves, will it close the gap with face-to-face. Application to Marketing: Marketing is a relationship business. Successful relationships drive results, whether between client and agency, or brand and consumer. If augmented reality can improve communication, it has the possibility to change every type of one-to-one marketing, from client meetings to call centers. Availability: This was a preliminary test. Hopefully the Microsoft Research team has the capability to repeat and expand the test with a larger N. Read More The Internet of (Incredibly Vulnerable) Things The marketing industry is always in search of the newest bright-shiny object. Lately, that’s been the Internet of Things (shortened to IoT, because random capitalization is fun!) It is certainly true that this is going to be a growth industry. But one of the earliest manifestations of IoT – webcams – have proven to be a little bit of a security risk. Although users may be aware that their webcam feed is passing over the internet, they may not be aware how easy it is for others to tap into that feed. Perhaps to alert users to this issue, Shodan, a search engine for IoT, has launched a new section that allows users to browse unsecured webcams. Application to Marketing: It is convenient to use web-based technologies. They scale well and you can tap into a deep well of open source code and knowledgeable developers. But, the internet was built to share content. If you don’t want your content to be shared, whether it is your babycam or the controls to your coffee maker, you need to put some basic security in place. Availability: When someone pitches you an IoT concept, make sure your first question is about security. Read More

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