If adblocking is dead, the future is brandblocking--and less appetizing things, too

ad-blocking

Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.

A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.

Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]

Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.

Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest

io808: classic drum machine in the browser

conga

Vincent Riemer made a TR-808 drum machine that runs in the browser, complete with all twiddly controls, the classic turn-of-the-eighties color scheme, and all the cowbell you can handle. Read the rest

Landscape painting on the cut surface of a treestump

ZrDq6UQ

This bucolic scene is a work of art that anyone can attempt—so long as they have an unrooted treestump close to hand and the brilliant skills of Alison Moritsugu. [via r/Art] Read the rest

A brief history of "cuck"

cuck

"Cuck" is an insult lately beloved of bigots, spreading inexorably from Reddit to the schoolyards of America. What makes it beautiful is that it exposes the speaker's interest in a relatively obscure category of porn centered on the menacing appeal of big black dicks to scared white men: that being by far the most widespread use of the term online before it ascended to the pantheon of inadvertently-revealing insults. Read the rest

Watch this helpful "Kids Guide to the Internet"

screenshot

....from 1997.

On your mark, get set

Now we're riding on the Internet

Cyberspace, sets us free

Hello virtual reality

Interactive appetite

Searching for a Web site...

(Thanks, UPSO!)

Read the rest

Twitter verification still not for the crowd

twitlarge

I'm not bitter or anything, but Twitter has denied my request for verification. Read the rest

Simulation of live mobile internet stats

hourly
This simulation of live mobile internet stats offers a sense of scale: there are millions of concurrent Google searches, and, every minute, about half a million photos posted on WhatsApp, 3,000 smartphones sold (roughly half from Samsung and Apple), 35m messages sent on Facebook, and 40m emails opened. It is a marketing infographic, take heed, but it does conclude "Heck some people think smartphones are the gateway to transhumanism, where one day we will fully merge with machines!", which is nice. Read the rest

Find the Unicode character you want by drawing it

drawbox
Shapecatcher has just one job: find the unicode character that most closely matches the drawing you give it. It did pretty good finding the Ted Cruz symbol (and many similar ones, though the weirder you get the less likely your system will have a font that includes it) Read the rest

Site finds the "visual center" of your images

visualcenter1
Visual Center is a website that takes an image and attempts to find its compositional center point. It works well with designy images that have an obvious geometry to them and well-defined shapes to find and center — think logotype surrounded by whitespace. I'm not having a lot of success with photographs, though. [via] Read the rest

Using ALLCAPS to denote SHOUTING dates to 19th, maybe even 17th century

charles

Hitherto believed to be a fairly recent innovation derived from the imperative quality of official telegraphy, etc., it turns out that there is a much longer history of using all-caps text to signify SHOUTING AT THE READER. Glenn Fleishman:

I’m here to BLOW THIS OUT OF THE WATER, with a series of citations that date back to 1856. People have been uppercase shouting intentionally for a century more than recollected. And, as with so many things, longtime Internet users want to claim credit, when they really just passed on and more broadly popularized an existing practice...

The first clear citation I can find is in the Evening Star, a Washington, D.C., newspaper. It appears on February 28, 1856 and was syndicated to other papers around the same time. In a “hilarious” dialect story about a Dutchman who seems to be disease-ridden, this wonderful sentence appears:

[“]I dells you I’ve got der small pox. Ton’t you vetsteh? der SMALL POX!” This time he shouted it out in capital letters.

And that's just an explicit reference to allcaps-as-shouting. Implicitly, it goes back to the Stuart era.

Sue Walker, the director of collections and archives in typography at the University of Reading, England, found an apposite description in a 1674 book, The Compleat English Schoolmaster, by Elisha Coles. The author wrote that a whole word in capitals “is alwa[y]es more than ordinarily remarkable; as some signal name, Title, Inscription, or the like...”

Read the rest

Rube Goldberg machine built entirely from HTML form elements

rube

Sebastian Ly Serena's website consists solely of a bizarre HTML contraption that animates form elements until all of them have expanded and the author's email address is exposed. It's built entirely from standard web forms and javascript, ugly as sin, and completely wonderful. [via Hacker News, whose commenters are unimpressed because the underlying code doesn't really model a chain reaction.] Read the rest

URL lengthening service also makes URLs "shady"

Photo: Julian Burgess, CC.
Unlike URL shorteners, Shady URL takes any URL you give it and generates a sinister long one instead: "Don't just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening."

For example, boingboing.net becomes http://www.5z8.info/pirate-anything_p5r2pa_getPersonalData-start and twitter.net becomes http://www.5z8.info/inject_worm_d4o6ox_oneweirdoldtiptolosebellyfat

The creation of Mike Lacher, it was revamped by snipe. Read the rest

Site fetches the real URL for any shortened URL

cyber-creme
Get Link Info protects you from being rickrolled, linked to malware or otherwise misled with a link: punch in a short URL from any of the big URL shortening services, see the real one before you go there. There's a browser plugin for Firefox and IE; for Chrome users, Redditor NickPapa suggests Nope, which doesn't quite do that, but does warn about links that redirect. [via] Read the rest

Moderating the internet is traumatic

iackY

Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly report on The Secret Rules of The Internet: the mass-scale moderation practiced by social networks. Read the rest

Seriousness and sincerity: how to tell jesters from trolls

types

Trolls, when cornered, often excuse themselves as Shakespearean fools of the modern age, as jesters. Given that the term "troll" spans a vast expanse from cute to abusive, this grasp at virtue seems legit. But there's a plain difference between jesters and trolls: sincerity. Jesters are unserious – a good thing! – but that doesn't mean their performance is insincere. Trolls, though, are both of these things.

How, then, do you see a troll for what they are? Unseriousness is visible, but insincerity is often not.

Mercifully, the excuse itself is a clue. Trolls don't really get the difference between themselves and the noble, world-improving court fools of their imagination.

So, when scrutinized in ways that require sincerity, they stop being unserious as well. Instead of proving themselves to be Jesters, they become Squares, serious and sincere, explaining themselves at sententious length until they can retreat back to the Troll corner and resume normal operations.

The people to really watch out for, though, the truly Machiavellian types, are people who are serious yet insincere. These Worms (lots in Silicon Valley!) slide across the opposite diagonal: whenever cornered for their shenanigans, they're disturbingly good at excusing themselves as Jesters – unserious in tone, yet ostentatiously moral.

The corollaries are also true, I find. When otherwise happy, decent, respectable Squares get defensive, they transform into amazingly unpleasant Trolls. And true Jesters, in their weak hours, tend to moonlight as Worms, manipulating others with affected seriousness.

This is just a dumb chart on the internet, of course, even dumber than the Mills Boon personality test or whatever it's called. Read the rest

Associated Press Style: No more capitalizing internet and web

internetswitch
On Saturday, the Associated Press announced that in the 2016 edition of their widely-used AP Stylebook guide to English grammar and usage, the words "internet" and "web" will no longer be capitalized.

"The changes reflect a growing trend toward lowercasing both words, which have become generic terms," AP Standards Editor Thomas Kent told Poynter.

Please note that Boing Boing will continue to capitalize Information Superhighway. Read the rest

Privacy concerns at the heart of the evolving web

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Hulk Hogan's courtroom sex-tape victory signifies how much the web has already changed, writes John Hermann: casual privacy invasion only disgusts readers who are all-too-aware that they might be next.

In 2012, the vast majority of Twitter posts that linked to Gawker’s video were lighthearted jokes — about Mr. Bollea’s physique, about the humiliation of a childhood idol, about fame-seeking… [but by] 2014, when hackers posted hundreds of photos obtained from celebrities’ private accounts. Publications that had previously trafficked in leaked nude photos — including Gawker Media properties and sites like BuzzFeed — shied away from publishing them.

Lurking in the background: Facebook, its policies and preferences. Read the rest

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