Start up: adbock in India, no ISIS internet?, Galaxy S7 hints, what else Adele CD buyers buy, and more


“Yeah, let me tell you about my previous job.” Photo by steveleenow on Flickr.

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A selection of 11 links for you. No cadmium was harmed in the making of this post. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

iPhone users in India embrace ad blocking: survey » Livemint

Dhanya Ann Thoppil:

iPhone users in India are warming up to the US phone maker’s move to introduce ad blocking on its devices, as mobile banner blocking gains grounds in one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.

A recent survey by market researcher GlobalWebIndex shows that 42% of India’s iPhone 6 users use the software to block ads on their devices compared with a global average of 31%…

…“There’s a sizable audience who are likely to adopt a similar approach on their smartphones and this is a behaviour which could spread quickly across devices, which could spell the end of the mobile ad banner,” the survey said…

…India ranked fourth among the 34 countries surveyed by the market researcher—after Russia, Poland and Indonesia—in terms of adoption of ad block.

To be sure, Apple accounts for only a tiny share of India’s smartphone market. According to Counterpoint Research, Apple has a 1.5% share of the 190m smartphones sold in India thus far. Android-based devices accounted for 93% of the market.

Interesting split. Bandwidth is really expensive in India. But so of course are iPhones.
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlines plan to capture Indian market with free Wi-Fi, recruitment and faster access – but not Android One » IB Times

David Gilbert:

In 2016, there will be more people using Android in India than there will be in the United States. Very few of those however will be using Android One, Google’s specially engineered version of its mobile software for emerging markets. On Wednesday Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of Google, addressed a large crowd in New Delhi where he avoided mention of the failed Android One effort and instead focused on Google’s new three-pronged approach to get people online and at the same time put Android and Google search right at the heart of India’s internet revolution.

The new approach will see Google aggressively increase its recruitment of developers in the region; getting people online with free Wi-Fi and an initiative to get women to use the internet; and by making the experience of using the internet much better — even for those with limited connectivity.

The Hindustan Times report is here but Gilbert’s has better background. Notable from the HT story: in India, mobile search passed desktop search in May 2013 – about two years before more developed countries.
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No, you can’t shut down parts of the Internet » Errata Security

Rob Graham:

ISIS doesn’t have any “ASN” [Autonomous System Number] of their own. (If you think otherwise, then simply tell us the ASN that ISIS uses). Instead, ISIS has to pay for telecommunications links to route traffic through other countries. This causes ISIS to share the IP address space of those countries. Since we are talking about client access to the Internet, these are probably going through NATs of some kind. Indeed, that’s how a lot of cellphone access works in third world countries — the IP address of your phone frequently does not match that of your country, but of the country of the company providing the cellphone service (which is often outsourced).

Any attempt to shut those down is going to have a huge collateral impact on other Internet users. You could take a scorched earth approach and disrupt everyone’s traffic, but that’s just going to increasingly isolate the United States while having little impact on ISIS. Satellite and other private radio links can be setup as fast as you bomb them.

In any event, a scorched earth approach to messing with IP routing is still harder than just cutting off their land-line links they already have. In other words, attacking ISIS at Layer 3 (routing) is foolish when attacking at Layer 1 (pysical links) is so much easier.

You could probably bomb fiber optic cables and satellite links as quickly as they got reestablished. But then, you could disable ISIS by doing the same thing with roads, bridges, oil wells, electrical power, and so on. Disabling critical infrastructure is considered a war crime, because it disproportionately affects the populace rather than the enemy. The same likely applies to Internet connections — you’d do little but annoy ISIS while harming the population.

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Samsung adding pressure-sensitive display, high-speed charging port to Galaxy S7 » WSJ

Jonathan Cheng:

Next year’s flagship will look largely similar to the Galaxy S6, and many of the new features take cues from other handsets already available on the market.

The pressure-sensitive display, for instance, will be similar to that offered by rival Apple Inc. on the iPhone 6s earlier this year. The responsive display allows the phone to interpret different taps and touches depending on how the user presses on the touch screen.

The Galaxy S7 will likely also feature a next-generation charging and connection port called a USB Type-C port, the people said, which will allow for a full day’s charge in under 30 minutes and in some cases significantly faster than that. The port has already appeared in smartphones manufactured by LG Electronics Co., Huawei Technologies Co. and others.

The noncurved version of the Galaxy S7 will likely also include an external memory card slot, one of these people said.

The retina scanner, which the company is considering for some versions of the phone, would come after handset makers, such as China’s ZTE Corp., have included the feature on some smartphones. 

So let’s see – stepping away from the S6’s wireless charging and lack of microSD; adding in pressure sensitivity (and USB-C, of course). Samsung can’t seem to make its mind up what features are important.
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Samsung restores its PC business by establishing independent business team » ETNews

Han Juyeop:

[The] New PC Business Team will hire additional employees by end of this year and will reorganize product lines with the aim of releasing products in the second half of 2016. It will also newly develop premium PCs that will become the sign of all products and will lay out its strategy for expanding shipment in thre years from now after organization product lines. However modification on whom will be in charge of tablet business is not decided yet. There is a high chance that PC Business Team will be in charge of products based on Windows OS.

Samsung Electronics’ PC business that was almost going to bankrupt rapidly grew between 2009 and 2012. After it went over a hump by shipping 10 million PCs for the first time in 2010, its brand was in the top 10 in industries for the first time. In 2011, it shipped out 14.3 million PCs. While traditionally strong PC businesses such as HP and Dell were growing at an one-digit rate or going through de-growth, Samsung Electronics along with Apple and Lenovo increased their shipments by 20 to 30% every year. Samsung Electronics once presented a blueprint that it would become a top 3 global PC business in 2015.

However its PC business went downhill after IT Solution Business Department disappeared and as PC business was absorbed and combined to Wireless Business Department within IM Sector due to reorganization of group at the end of 2012.

The estimate is its PC shipments for 2015 will total about 3.5m, almost halved from 6m in 2014, and down from a peak of 15m in 2012. Finding its way back will be challenging.
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The EU data law’s effect on online advertising industry – Business Insider

Lara O’Reilly:

The European branch of the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB Europe) interpretation of what has been released of the new rules so far identifies two key concerns: that the idea of “personal data” has now been widened, and that internet companies worldwide will now need to gain consent from European users before they use their data to serve targeted advertising to them. Furthermore, the raising of the digital age of consent to 16 from 13 could be hugely disruptive to companies that have strong teen user bases.

Townsend Feehan, the CEO of IAB Europe, the trade body that represents the European internet advertising industry, told Business Insider: “It’s the amputation of a significant revenue stream just at the moment publishers are having such a challenge in switching to digital.”

One of IAB Europe’s key concerns is that “everything” will now be considered personal data, according to Feehan. She added that the new rules include language suggesting that “some identifiers that could not possibly be used to trace back to an individual person” will be included under the “personal data” bucket.

Expect more popups, and agreement possibly hidden as small X marks or similar. Wonder if the US will take up this idea?
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Why Facebook still worries about Android » The Information

Amir Efrati:

Google’s future app notification filtering might be akin to the way Google automatically categorizes some Gmail email as “promotional” — advertising — or as spam, in which case it doesn’t even deliver the email to the inbox.

Several years ago Google began charging browser-based website owners like Yelp for using Google Maps on their sites, such as when visitors to Yelp located a restaurant. The rate Google charged depended on how much the sites used Google Maps. That caused an uproar and some website developers began using alternative mapping services like OpenStreetMap.

There’s no indication that Google is planning to start charging big mobile-app developers for using Google Maps on mobile or for using Google Cloud Messaging for notifications, especially given that Apple doesn’t charge developers for such privileges, either. But at Facebook, there was a sense that Google, under pressure to make money from Android, was interested in wringing some compensation out of Facebook.

Facebook is unique in its reliance on Android. It has upwards of a billion Android users and owns the two most-used mobile apps in the world, Facebook and WhatsApp, with two of its other apps, Instagram and Messenger, not far behind. As such, its app activity dwarfs that of other developers. In terms of advertising revenue, it generates more ad revenue from Android than any company other than Google itself.

The headline isn’t quite right; it should be “Why Facebook still worries about Google”. Android itself isn’t the concern. It’s what Google chooses to do with it.

The data about advertising revenue is a useful one, though.
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Hello from the shopping aisle: what (else) are Adele fans buying? » Nielsen

According to the HomeScan panel, Adele’s CD purchasers were more likely to be employed full time in professional/managerial roles and, as such, have higher than average incomes. Over 56% of them have household incomes of $70,000 (compared with 38% of total U.S. households) and 38% have household incomes of over $100,000 (compared with 23% of total U.S. households). With their higher incomes, they spend 48% more at retail than the general population: a total of $5,505 each year, compared with the average $3,713 for total U.S. households.

So what else is in these shopping carts? Adele CD buyers over-index for nonessential comfort/mood-related items—not unlike an Adele album—such as magazines, women’s fragrances, men’s toiletries, candles and incense, seasonal merchandise, cordials and liqueurs, and liquor. They also over-index for healthier food items like fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. They spent more dollars on computers and electronic products, health and beauty aids and hair care compared to other buyers of those items, suggesting they might not just be buying more but also be buying higher-quality, more expensive items.

They really spend heavily on electronics – 2.49x more than the average person, making that the biggest divergence from the average. No word on gender split, though.
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Is Adele really ‘dumb and uneducated’ and mean to her fans for keeping her album off Spotify? » Auddly

Helienne Lindvall:

XL Recordings left it up to Adele and her management to decide for themselves if the album would go on streaming sites. Though many more artists and songwriters would like to follow her lead, most of them are, however, at the mercy of their publishers, labels and PROs – companies and collecting societies that can afford to take a gamble on streaming, led by decision makers on salaries, unlike artists and songwriters. Likewise, when Spotify doesn’t make a profit, its employees still get paid every month.

This is why the music creators’ wishes may not always tally with their labels, publishers or PROs, but still needs to be respected. Some streaming proponents argue that artists “only” need 100 streams to equal the revenue of a single download (there are differing calculations on this with some claiming it’s more like a couple of hundred). It may not sound like a lot, but taking a look at my iTunes library it’s clear that not even my favourite records have reached that many listens – and I’m an avid listener. And what about Spotify users that don’t pay?

The elephant in the room, though, is YouTube. You can find the entire album there multiple times for “free”, with the top one having nearly half a million plays already. There’s no way to keep it off, either; you’d just be playing whack-a-mole. So while Adele’s decision is perfectly valid, it’s actually not changing the power balance that existed before streaming.
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Orifice Space » thewalrus.ca

Natalie Zina Walschots:

“I have to relabel all these asses. It’s going to take a thousand years.”

With less than an hour left in the workday, my boss opened his office door and spewed stress all over everyone in the content-creation department, located on the main floor of a squat office building in downtown Toronto. Grey carpet and beige walls, banks of cubicles on the lower floors and big offices with big windows for the executives above: this could be any content farm in the city.

All that sets my office apart from any other is that, instead of an insurance company or consulting firm, it houses an Internet pornography curator. We dozen or so staff writers share a space with customer service. Tech-support calls come from frantic, semi-erect subscribers unable to access our latest video uploads. The keywords for the content we generate comprise sex acts, positions, and assorted vulgarities: Rimjob. Doggy style. MILF. I once watched a co-worker Photoshop a porn star’s armpit stubble out of every single frame of a video in which it appeared.

So anyway, you were telling us about your tedious job that you hate. (Though this is not quite as good as – and is a lot shorter than – one of the internet’s Great Lost Treasures, the wonderful Diaries of a Porn Video Store Clerk; we’d would probably require Indiana Jones to unearth those, however.)
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Vulnerable parking apps allow hackers to steal your login and credit card details » Graham Cluley

Conducted by information assurance firm NCC Group, the assessment analyzed six parking applications for the Android operating system. Some of the apps had been downloaded from Google Play between 5,000 and 10,000 times, whereas others boasted one million registered users.

The number of installs for each app ultimately did not matter, however, as all of the applications were affected by security vulnerabilities.

According to an NCC Group blog post the review determined that while all of the apps used encryption to protect their customers’ sensitive information – something from which four major airlines should learn a lesson or two – not one verified the certificate used by the server.

Attackers could subsequently exploit this oversight to conduct man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, especially if the application used Android WebView and contained a bridge that could enable JavaScript running from WebView to access native device functions.

NCC didn’t look at iOS, which seems strange. As I understand it iOS 9 forces use of HTTPS, unless an exception is given, and checks the certificate except in particular circumstances. So if I’m reading this correctly, iOS 9 apps wouldn’t be susceptible to this MITM attack. Park safely!
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified.

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