howell.io

…as unprincipled as the gods, and as much a jack-of-all-trades.

Readings: 26 May 2019

Having taken away the traditional means of measuring ad effectiveness with Intelligent Tracking Protection, the Safari team is now offering an alternative in “Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution For the Web” (emphasis mine).

Online ads and measurement of their effectiveness do not require Site A, where you clicked an ad, to learn that you purchased something on Site B. The only data needed for measurement is that someone who clicked an ad on Site A made a purchase on Site B.

I won’t go into any of the technical details, but I’m rooting for this proposal. There’s an arms race in ad-tech pulling the industry in directions that would creep out the typical consumer and which waste both computing resources and human capital. External constraints from browser vendors and state regulation (like GDPR or the California Consumer Privacy Act) are the only way out.

Adjusting to the change will be painful for the industry (including me — I’m part of it), but we will all be better off.

Venkatesh Rao had timely comments about writer’s block on Twitter this week:

Writing is fundamentally a sneak-away-from-work activity. Once a writing channel succeeds, it turns into work and causes writer’s block, so you have to sneak away again.

Yes, I am still working on issue three of “The Marginalia Club” and yes, I am getting needlessly hung up about it. But struggle is a useful form of practice, as Alison Kaptur’s tells us in “Effective Learning Strategies for Programmers”:

where they struggled was an accomplishment, it was intentional, and it was a good thing for them to have done that day