Weekly output: Apple security patches, Facebook ad transparency

Next week would normally only have four workdays, thanks to Monday being Presidents’ Day, but for me it’s more like three–Friday I start my journey to Barcelona for MWC. I made that trip for the first time 10 years ago, and I’ve learned a few things about both the wireless industry and international travel since.

Patreon readers got a bonus post this week about a business upside of my broadcasting the demise of my USA Today column.

PCMag Apple security-updates post2/13/2020: Update Now: Apple Ships Fixes for Zero-Day Vulnerability in Macs, iPhones, iPads, PCMag

After I’d vented my annoyance–on Twitter, then Mastodon–about Apple repeating its practice of not giving users any heads-up that a security fix patches a zero-day vulnerability, I decided I might as well write about this for a paying client.

2/15/2023: Facebook Promises More Details on Why Certain Ads Show Up on Your Feed, PCMag

This would have been a shorter post, except that thinking that I should remind readers of how Facebook features can take time to show up in your account reminded me that I’d written about one such feature last July that I’d never seen in my own account, which in turn led me to discover that Facebook’s help page about that Feeds tab had incorrect instructions. And apparently nobody at Facebook had noticed that error until I e-mailed their PR department to ask about that.

Advertisement

Weekly output: farm tech, Firefox in the Microsoft Store, Facebook “sensitive” ad targeting (x2), Mark Vena podcast, the “Facebook is listening” myth

I celebrated testing negative after coming back from an international business trip┬áby getting a booster dose of Moderna Saturday. My Sunday has involved two naps and some overall wooziness, none of which I will regret when I’m at CES less than two months from now.

11/8/2021: Poop sensors, drones, and robots: What automation looks like at the farm of the future, Fast Company

Virginia Tech staged a demo of some of its research into farming robotics at Mount Vernon; in writing that up, I noted a report about the lingering problem of inadequate broadband on farms.

Screenshot of this story, as seen in a copy of Mozilla Firefox installed from the Microsoft Store on my Windows 10 laptop11/9/2021: Firefox Arrives in the Microsoft Store, PCMag

Writing this up allowed me to dust off some my writing from the Microsoft antitrust trial over 20 years ago. It cracks me up that Microsoft has now given the browser that dethroned Internet Explorer a spot in its own app store.

11/10/2021: Facebook to Stop Some ‘Sensitive’ Ad Targeting, PCMag

Starting in January, Facebook won’t let advertisers target ads based on the topics you’re supposed to avoid at the Thanksgiving table–politics, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation, among others.

11/10/2021: S01 E17 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

I rejoined this podcast (also available in video form) to talk about the broadband provisions of the infrastructure bill that President Biden will be signing Monday.

11/11/2021: Facebook ending “sensitive” ad targeting, Al Jazeera

Writing about Facebook’s upcoming change paid off when I was asked to opine about it on this Arabic-language news network a day later.

11/14/2021: No, Facebook isn’t listening to you on your phone, Al Jazeera

I hope the live translation into Arabic got across how ridiculous I think it is that people are still wondering if Facebook’s apps have somehow been secretly eavesdropping on people despite the increasingly strict privacy controls built into Android and iOS, the torrent of leaks out of Facebook over the last year that have yet to reveal such a thing, and the utter insanity of trying this kind of privacy violation after so many governments have taken an intense interest in Facebook’s conduct.