Revealed: The naughty tricks used by Instart Logic to bypass ad blockers | The Register

Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers; Thomas Claburn (San Francisco); In The Register; 2017-08-11.
Teaser: A behind-the-scenes look at the cat and mouse game played by publishers and devs

tl;dr → the ad blocker blockers and their blocker blocker blockers.



Ignoring content control affordances


Blocker Blockers

a.k.a. The Enforcers

In alphabetical order

Instart Logic
  • California
  • Behaviors
    • disguises third-party network requests so they appear to be first-party network requests.
    • allows ad services used by website publishers to place cookies and serve ads that would otherwise by blocked by the SOP
    • detects when a browser developer console is open for the purpose of concealing code from the <euphemism>technically inclined</euphemism>
    • detects network analysis tools, cite
      • Wireshark
      • Charles Proxy, of Windows

Attempts to block ad block.


Purveyor to the trades of block-ad-block advice, products & services.


Purveyor to the trades of block-ad-block advice, products & services.

  • JavaScipt code that attempts to bypass content blocking
  • <quote>Our JavaScript detects all blocked ad calls, fully recreates them (including targeting) and communicates them to our servers through a secure, undetectable channel that bypasses ad blockers,</quote> An impactful benefits statement.
  • code, as supplied by WHO? Raymond Hill.


a.k.a. The Dissidents
uBlock Origin
  • yes.


  • Peter Blum, VP product management at Instart Logic
  • Raymond Hill, maintains uBlock Origin
  • Luke Mulks, staff, development, Brave



Roundup on Onavo Protect VPN used to inform Facebook UX, M&A | Houseparty contra Bonfire, On This Day contra Timehop

In archaeological order…

tl;dr → Onavo is a VPN. Facebook snoops the traffic on it to grok trends. Trend highlights cause cloned features in Facebook UX or deal flow at Facebook M&A.

  • The Washington Post piece goes broad to illustrate the pattern across a wide range of business lines and a long time span.
  • The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) piece goes deep to focus on travel log: group video chat with Facebook’s attempt to acqui-hire Houseparty prior to the launch of Bonfire in 2017-Q4 (“in the Fall”).

Separately noted.

Check Your Inbox: Google Warns Publishers Serving Annoying Ads | Advertising Age

Check Your Inbox: Google Warns Publishers Serving Annoying Ads; ; In Advertising Age; 2017-08-08.


  • Better Ads Standard
  • Coalition for Better Ads.
    the Justice League-type group; i.e. brand vigilantes


  • Google,
  • Facebook,
  • Procter & Gamble,
  • Unilever,
  • The Washington Post,
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB),
  • GroupM,
  • Association of National Advertisers (ANA).


The Iconic Brands
  • Betty Crocker
    General Mills

There is just one iconic brand.

The Violators
  • Betty Crocker, brand promotional site, General Mills,
  • Forbes,
  • New York Daily News,
  • Los Angeles Times,
  • The Independent,
  • TV Guide,
  • Chicago Tribune,
  • LifeHacker,
  • ZDNet,
  • PCMag,
  • Orlando Sun-Sentinel,
  • Washington Times,
  • Eurogamer
  • Chicago Sun-Times.
  • iconic brand
  • ad-buying giant
  • self-appointed hero
  • Justice League-type group (per DC Comics)


<quote>”This is long overdue and it is the browser’s job to fix it, The whole rise of ad blocking would have been materially different if it was just the annoying ads that were being targeted. I think the notion of stripping the web of the bad and keeping the good will go over universally well for publishers who have a business to run.”" attributed to Andrew Casale.
<snide>And how much is the adtech (“the trade”) paying browser builders to do their job?</snide>


i.e. Rumor (or perhaps Fiction)
a.k.a. <cool-speak>On Deep Background</cool-speak>

<quote>Indeed, the Coalition has also begun reaching out to other major browser makers to see if they would be interested in blocking “annoying” ads, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversations.<quote>
<quote>people with direct knowledge of the conversations</quote>, that’s who.


  • Scott Spencer, director of product management, Google.
  • Ben Gerst, senior VP of product development, Tronc.
  • Andrew Casale, CEO, Index Exchange.



In Ad Age

Leading with commas — ugly or efficient? An investigation over 320 GB of SQL code | Hackernoon

Leading with commas — ugly or efficient? An investigation over 320 GB of SQL code;
Felipe Hoffa (staff?); In Hackernoon; 2017-07-26.
Teaser: Winning arguments with data: Let’s analyze 320 Gigabytes of open source SQL code to determine if we should use trailing or leading commas. Popularity is not enough — can we determine which style leads to success?
Felipe Hoffa, Developer Advocate @Google, San Francisco


# trailing commas
SELECT name,
FROM `employees`
WHERE state='CA'
# leading commas
  , company
  , salary
  , state
  , city
FROM `employees`
WHERE state='CA'


  • Categories
    • Leading Commas → fewest projects
    • Mixed Style → some more
    • Trailing Commas → the majority
  • Projects that allow a mix of styles show the most success.
  • Projects that enforce leading commas
    •  don’t show as much success as mixed
    • more successful than trailing
  • The trend is stable throughout the years  2016 & 2017.


presented as an image, not as data:


  • BigQuery
  • SQL is shown.


WITH comma_lines_per_files AS  (
    SELECT sample_repo_name, sample_stars_2016, sample_stars 
      , REGEXP_CONTAINS(line, r',\s*$') has_trailing 
      , REGEXP_CONTAINS(line, r'^\s*,') has_leading
      , line
    FROM `fh-bigquery.github_extracts.contents_sql`
      , UNNEST(SPLIT(content, '\n')) line
    WHERE line LIKE '%,%'
    AND LENGTH(line)>5
), stats_per_repo AS (
  SELECT sample_repo_name
    , MAX(has_leading) has_leading
    , MAX(has_trailing) has_trailing
    , ANY_VALUE(line) sample_line
    , ANY_VALUE(sample_stars) stars
    , ANY_VALUE(sample_stars_2016) stars_2016
    , (SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT FROM `githubarchive.month.2017*` WHERE sample_repo_name = AND type='WatchEvent') stars_2017
    , (SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT FROM `githubarchive.month.2017*` WHERE sample_repo_name = actors_2017
    , (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM `githubarchive.month.2017*` WHERE sample_repo_name = activity_2017
  FROM comma_lines_per_files
  GROUP BY sample_repo_name
SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT sample_repo_name) repos
  , IF(has_trailing, IF(has_leading, 'both', 'trailing'), IF(has_leading, 'leading', 'none')) commas 
  , ROUND(AVG(stars), 2) avg_stars
  , ROUND(AVG(stars_2016), 2) stars_2016
  , ROUND(AVG(stars_2017), 2) stars_2017
  , ROUND(AVG(actors_2017), 2) actors_2017
  , ROUND(AVG(activity_2017), 2) activity_2017
  , STRING_AGG(sample_repo_name ORDER BY stars DESC LIMIT 3) top_repos
FROM stats_per_repo
GROUP BY commas
ORDER BY repos
repos commas stars stars17 actors17 activity17 top_repos 571 leading 22.99 7.36 10.04 39.89 drone/drone,aspnetboilerplate/aspnetboilerplate,HazyResearch/deepdiv2847 both true 29.37 6.44 11.73 156.63 apache/spark,begriffs/postgrest,mybatis/mybatis-3  
5933 none false 20.05 4.8 7.57 54.43 ajaxorg/ace,zulip/zulip,fivethirtyeight/data  
69665 trailing false 13.06 3.22 5.49 43.68 Microsoft/vscode,rails/rails,kubernetes/kubernetes

Mobile is eating the world | Benedict Evans

Benedict (Ben) Evans (A16n); Mobile is eating the world; In Their Blog, His Blog; 2016, and yearly,


  • GAFA contra Wintel
    Wintel contra IBM
  • GAFA (something like)
    • Google
    • Apple
    • Facebook
    • Amazon
  • All charts up-and-to-the-right.
  • It’s just phenomenal!
  • S-curves, mini S-curves.
    • Augmented Reality
    • Machine Learning
  • Netflix
    not a “threat” to anyone
  • Hardware
    • Google TPU FPGA for machine learning
    • Amazon Annapurna ASIC for networking
    • Apple A10 SoC, a CPU “for mobile”,
      also chips for Touch Id Airpods, etc.
  • Machine Learning
  • Alpha Go
  • Cameras → “Cameras everywhere, except in cameras”
  • Complexity contra abstraction
  • Apps
    • obvious but boring (and what is that?)
    • Facebook
    • something about live video and (vertical) 16:9 or 16:8 screens
  • Frictionless computing
    a.k.a. is e-commerce by Amazon
  • Something about sensors
  • “Who owns the customer?”
  • Retailers as (metaphoric) newsppers
    old, dirty, falling revenues, ugly business model.
  • Claim-in-Theory
    • Amazon is “Google for buying”
    • missing demand generation; a.k.a. the “discovery” concept
      • “Buzzfeed for shopping”
      • “Facebook for shopping”
      • <ahem>Uber for shopping</ahem>
  • Aphorisms-as-Theory
    • The Channel is the Product
    • YOU are the Product
    • Computer should never ask what can be autodetected, copied, deduced, attributed to Eric Raymond.
  • Cars (electric, autonomic, flying)
    • Electric motors are commodities, and simple.
    • Pattern-as-Theory
      • Nokia 2001 felled by Apple 2016
    • Something about how mapping software is “the moat” nowadays, not physical command of powertrain, dynamics, safety via metal shaping, bending, coloring.
  • <quote>The biggest changes are unknownable.</quote>
    <ahem>Only time will tell.</quote>


AI and ‘Enormous Data’ Could Make Tech Giants Harder to Topple | Wired

AI and ‘Enormous Data’ Could Make Tech Giants Harder to Topple; ; In Wired; 2017-07-13.

tl;dr → <quote>such releases don’t usually offer much of value to potential competitors. </quote> They are promotional and self-serving.



  • TensorFlow
  • Common Visual Data Foundation
    • open image data sets
    • A “nonprofit”
    • Sponsors
      • Facebook
      • Microsoft
  • Other data sets
    • from YouTube, by Google
    • from Wikipedia, by Salesforce


  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • and others!
    • Salesforce
    • Uber
  • Manifold, a boutique
  •, a boutique


  • Luke de Oliveira
    • partner, Manifold
    • temp staff, visitor, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Abhinav Gupta, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
  • Rachel Thomas, cofounder,


Enormous Data
Are you kidding me? Do you even use computers?
incumbents’ usual data advantage
innovative and un-monopolistic by disruption
Appears in the 1st paragraph


The Wikitext Long Term Dependency Language Modeling Dataset; On Some Site

  • an announcement, but WHEN?


In Wired


Two Worlds to Understand When Leading Generation Z | Tim Elmore

Tim Elmore; Two Worlds to Understand When Leading Generation Z; In His Blog; 2017-05-18

tl;dr → promotions: a book, a trade show.

Tim Elmore, Andrew McPeak; Marching Off the Map: Inspire Students to Navigate a Brand New World Kindle Edition; Poet Gardener Publishing; 2017-07-25; 328 pages; Amazon:B073VWV563: Kindle: $10, paper: no.

National Leadership Forum of Growing Leaders (LLC?), circa 2017-06.

  • VUCA → Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity
  • TGIF → Thank God It’s Friday! Twitter(SMS-style) Texting, Google, Instagram, Facebook


  • A “smart” world.
  • It’s all different now.



  • Inspire students to own their education and their future
  • Lead students from an attitude of apathy to one of passion through metacognition
  • Enable students to push back from the constant digital distractions and practice mindfulness
  • Raise kids who make healthy progress, both emotionally and intellectually, through their teenage years
  • Give students the tools to handle the complexities of an ever-changing world
  • Understand and practically apply the latest research on Generation Z



  • Vinika Rao, Executive Director, INSEAD?
  • Leonard Sweet (Ph.D.), futurist,
  • Jean Twenge (Ph.D.), U.C. San Diego


A military doctrine, a metaphorical stance in strategic thought. See Jimi Wales’ Wiki. It has seen since been adopted by the HBR crowd to give a muscular sense to their questing activities.
  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguity

For Elmore & McPeak’s work, the sense is toned down: VUCA for middle school -type social uncertainty, worry for the planet, ambiguity for the life course,etc.The TGIF World

Source: Leonard Sweet, tweet,

  • Texting
  • Google
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Social media: My stars! Gee Whiz! Kids these days!


Generational Theory

  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation X
  • Generation Y
  • Generation Z


  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality


  • apathy,
  • change,
  • distraction,
  • healthy progress,
  • inspire,
  • latest research.
  • metacognition,
  • mindfullness,
  • passion,
  • resilient,
  • resourceful,
  • role models,
  • teenage.


  • State of (un)readiness; staff; Universum, a lifestyle boutique agency; 2017-03-09 (maybe); 26 slides.
    tl;dr → a panel study, N=18,337, 19 countries (unclear how the interviews were collected, <em<e.g. by web, phone, etc.)
    Teaser: A glimpse of how Generations X, Y and Z believe the workplace should function and the technologies poised to transform it. (Hint: your employees expect things you’re likely unprepared to deliver)
  • Self Driving Car Race Crash Buenos Aires Formula E e-Prix; Some Cub Reporter; In Some Blog; 2017-02-18.
  • Changing Mental Health Todays Teens; In Their Blog; WHEN?
    promoting a podcast, an interview of Dr Jean Twenge.

The Limits of the CAP Theorem | Cockroach Labs

The Limits of the CAP Theorem; (Cockroach Labs); In Their Blog; 2017-06-27.

tl;dr → CockroachDB is announced; it is good
  • CockroachDB is CP not AP
  • CAP-Consistency is best
  • CAP-Availability is ill-posed anyway.


  • CAP theorem, In Jimi Wales Wiki
  • CockroachDB
    • is CP not AP.
    • privileges favors CAP-Consistency.
  • CAP-Consistency is known; everyone can wait.
  • CAP-Availability is not well defined, no one can understand it
    <quote>For example, consider an application deployed <snip/></quote> … continues on to problematize the whole concept of CAP-Availability at all. <snide>Indeed. Sure.</snide>

    • binary – “is” or “is not”
    • there is no “maybe”

      e.g. <quote>available 99.99% of the time (“four nines”, allowing for less than an hour of downtime per year); 100% availability is generally regarded as unrealistic</quote>


  • Eric Brewer, Vice President Infrastructure, Google
  • Spanner
    is “technically CP” but “effectively CA” cite


Best to wait for this.
This is ill-defined and everyone settles for “four nines” or fewer (<snide>three sevens of reliability</snide>)
CAP-Partition Tolerance
Everyone wants this.

Service Invariants, as Offered

Single Register Linearizability
The most recent write is always visible to subsequent readers
Configuration Invariance, Write Setting Invariance
Other developers cannot compromise an app’s consistency with optional write settings.
Block [Hang] in Lieu of Inconsistency
In the event of partitions, the system will block rather than return inconsistent data.


In archaeological order…

WikiLeaks Dump Reveals a Creepy CIA Location-Tracking Trick | Wired

WikiLeaks Dump Reveals a Creepy CIA Location-Tracking; Lily Hay Newman; In Wired; 2017-06-28.


  • WiFi
  • CIA
  • ELSA, a codename.
  • Windows 7
  • Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSI)
  • Media Access Control (MAC) [Address]
  • Alex McGeorge, staff, Immunity (a boutique)
  • Public WiFi databases
    • Google
    • Microsoft