Tag Archive for ‘Pixel Envy’

On Audio Files ➝

Nick Heer addresses the rumored removal of the iPhone headphone jack and explains a bit about the characteristics of audio files.

Apple TV and Fitness Integration ➝

Erica Sadun:

At this point, Apple is wasting a strong health branding component with its Apple TV product. Between the watch, iOS Motion, and Health Kit, Apple TV should be much more proactive than apps limited to logging meals (still easier to do on an iOS device) and offering coaching advice.

Imagine if there was an Apple TV app that communicated with the Watch. It could offer customized workout videos based on how active you are in everyday life and take into account how your body reacts to different exercises to get the best results possible. It would be a bit expensive to get started, but I think a lot of people would get really excited about this type of integration.

(Via Pixel Envy.)

Fuzzy User Interfaces ➝

Interesting thoughts from Nick Heer on the inherent fuzziness of Siri’s user interface and the patient building of trust that the feature requires from users — it’s still far from perfect, but it’s steadily increasing in accuracy.

IAB Surveys Options to Fight Ad Blockers ➝

It sounds like the ad industry is pretty upset about this whole ad blocking trend. But I hate to break it to them, they’re going to lose. Users are getting sick and tired of being attacked by a tirade of advertisements when they visit a webpage and they’re going to use all the tools available to them in order to make browsing the web an enjoyable experience.

I understand the other side of things, though. Advertising companies are afraid of going out of business and rightfully so. Nobody wants to be out of a job, especially when there’s a possibility that the entire industry could be uprooted. But there has to be a way to continue displaying ads that ensure publishers get paid, advertisers get paid, the companies paying for the ads get business, and the users aren’t bombarded with JavaScript.

I can tell you one thing for sure, blocking user access if they use an ad blocker isn’t the way to do it. That’s only going to push users to more extreme measures in order to view the content they want. And that’s if they come back at all. There must be a more sane approach to this problem, I just wish there were more creative people in the ad industry that could find it.

(Via Pixel Envy.)

Google Demoting Web Pages That Display Modal App Download Prompts ➝

Google engineer Daniel Bathgate:

However, sometimes a user may tap on a search result on a mobile device and see an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content and prompts the user to install an app. Our analysis shows that it is not a good search experience and can be frustrating for users because they are expecting to see the content of the web page. […]

After November 1, mobile web pages that show an app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page will no longer be considered mobile-friendly

I would be a lot more excited about this if I hadn’t already switched to DuckDuckGo.

(Via Pixel Envy.)

Windows 10 Quietly Includes Ad Targeting ➝

Alec Meer, writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun:

People aren’t so hot on paying for things these days, which means the money comes from harvesting data and flogging it to advertisers and other organisations who want to know exactly what we’re all up to online. Microsoft want a piece of that, so if you ever wondered why they’ve made the Windows 10 upgrade free to Win 7 & 8 users, here’s one possible answer. Windows 10 has all sorts of user tracking baked right in.

Luckily, you can opt-out of the data collection and Alec even explains how. But this is just outrageous to me.

I don’t know what it’s going to take in order to convince our culture that software isn’t free. But I’m willing to do almost anything at this point — I can’t even convince my family members to purchase $1.99 apps. That’s not okay. Developers should be compensated for their work and the bulk of that money shouldn’t be coming from advertising or the selling of user data.

(Via Pixel Envy.)

Considering Piwik

Nick Heer, on his decision to install Piwik on Pixel Envy:

I want you to know that I’m taking Piwik for a trial run. Piwik is analytics software that is self-hosted, so none of your information is going to a giant advertising company. I’ve long been an ardent supporter and user of Mint, but it hasn’t been updated for a while so it’s not super great at reporting recent versions of iOS and OS X, for example.

I had never heard of Piwik until John Gruber started a discussion on Twitter over the weekend about whether or not Google Analytics was a privacy-invasive tracker. I saw several responses that suggested he take a look at Piwik, a freely available, open source analytics package that can be installed on your own server or hosted by their cloud service.

I replied to John pointing out his own policy regarding Google Analytics on his Markdown Dingus — preferring not to have analytics tracking to ensure its users that Google couldn’t read what they were inputting into the text field. I also noted that I observed in Ghostery that Google Analytics was loading a tracking script from Adometry on Daring Fireball.

Adometry, as far as I can tell, is a company owned by Google which helps Adsense properly attribute revenue to the sites which contribute to a successful advertisement conversion. I also observed DoubleClick trackers appear on sites like The Loop, which I can also only assume are being loaded because of their use of Google Analytics. I prefer not to be tracked at all, but I’d certainly consider Google Analytics to be a privacy-invasive tracker when it’s sending my data to ad-related services even when I visit webpages that don’t include Google-served ads.

I haven’t used Google Analytics in years because I was always concerned that they were using the collected traffic data for more than just the betterment of the sites who use it. But until this weekend, I never really had any proof of it. I have been using Shaun Inman’s Mint, which I still consider to be a great analytics system. But as Nick points out, Mint hasn’t been updated in quite sometime and I’m starting to wonder if I should switch to an analytics app that’s more actively developed.

There’s a lot to like about Piwik — there’s a native iOS app, it respects Do Not Track, and I’ve noticed others deciding to test it as well (Ben Brooks being one of them). But I’m not jumping in just yet, I’d like to see how Piwik works out for Nick and Ben first and I’m not sure if Piwik tracks RSS subscribers like Mint does with the Bird Feeder pepper. This means I might have to find an alternative solution if I want to switch to Piwik while continuing to keep tabs on the number of RSS subscribers to Initial Charge.

Piwik might not be the best option for every site — there’s plenty of other options if you look around. But those of us who run websites owe it to our readers to not give up their browsing information to third-parties so easily, particularly when it’s not happening transparently. At least you have some idea of what’s happening when you visit a page that displays Adsense ads, but that isn’t the case when you visit a site that simply uses Google Analytics.

I would especially like to see John Gruber move Daring Fireball away from Google Analytics. He sparked this whole conversation to begin with and is someone who cares deeply about treating his readers with respect. And I think the respectful thing to do would be to stop sending his reader’s browsing data to third-party, ad-related tracking services like Adometry.