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Damn you're either ignorant or stupid.

After reading this article you can no longer claim ignorance, and whether or not Faceburgler still has a customer base remaining after this piece of information goes into that vacuum between your ears that should have a decent amount of density will tell me whether or not you're collectively stupid!

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook built itself into the No. 2 digital advertising platform in the world by analyzing the vast amount of data it had on each of its 1.3 billion users to sell individually targeted ads on its social network.

Now it is going to take those targeted ads to the rest of the Internet, mounting its most direct challenge yet to Google, the leader in digital advertising with nearly one-third of the global market.

Yes, everyone expects that when you are on Facebook they're looking at what you do -- what you "like" or don't, whether you click through various articles and such, and on and on and on.

You're product to Facebook, in short -- how else can you wind up with something like that being "free"?  Nothing is ever free and that which you're not told the price of is never sold based on it being a good deal -- you're not told the price because if you were there's no way you'd allow the transaction to continue.

But now, buried in here, well...

The Facebook login is most useful on mobile devices, where traditional web tracking tools like cookies and pixel tags do not work. If a person is logged into the Facebook app on a smartphone, the company has the ability to see what other apps he or she is using and could show ads within those apps.

Got it yet?

No, your "disclosure" is not limited to what you intentionally do on Facebook.

See what you "got" when you "agreed" to the permissions that Facebook has on your mobile device as you installed it?

Welcome to Amerika comrade, where the biggest threats to you and your future are not found in the government.  They're found in data brokers who have a myriad of information that they acquired through your "voluntary" consent -- usually given without a bit of consideration as to exactly what you were consenting to!

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Yes, I said it.

The beginning of the return of BlackBerry to global relevance -- and not just in the corporate market.

If you didn't catch the Passport release yesterday you missed the most-important part of it.  It was not the device.

It was "Blend."

What is Blend?  It is a solution to one of the biggest problems you have as a person who uses multiple devices for various things -- how to keep track of all of it at once in your daily life.

Here's how it works -- after you authorize the connection your phone's text messages, emails, BBMs and similar are all accessible from your other device(s) whenever you want them to be.

This breaks new ground and solves a problem that has been a pain in the ass up until now.

Let's consider something simple -- your calendar.  Right now I have my calendar on my desktop via Thunderbird and a plug-in, and on my phone.  You probably have the same situation.  This is not only a pain in the ass it's a security problem! 

Where do you keep your calendar?  If on Android, probably with Google -- and they have it.  If on IOS, probably with Apple and they have it.

BlackBerry (and the others) can use your own cloud infrastructure for this but few people go to the trouble.  I have and do, because I don't trust any of those other guys with my data and I certainly do not want them with my calendar data.  The contact database has the same issue but is potentially even worse in terms of privacy since it contains physical addresses and phone numbers.

Let's look at email. You can have multiple places that can "see" one email box, in some cases.  But not in all.  And among those that allow it some don't do it very well.  Again I can and have solved this, but most people just deal with the constraints -- or have different email accounts available in different places.

Finally we have SMS and other instant messenger programs; most of these have no access at all from your desktop, laptop or tablet.  This is particularly true for text messages.

Now BlackBerry comes out with Blend.

Blend obviates all of this by making your device the locus of all of these communication forms.  When you're away from your desk your phone is with you.  When you're with your desk (or laptop, tablet or other device) those functions are available on your desktop via a secure tunnel between the devices.

This is a game-changer for not just mobile professionals but anyone who has multiple devices -- and these days, that's most of us.  It is especially true for those of us who use different makes of these devices -- for example, an iPad and a Windows PC.  How many of you have pulled your phone out of your pocket while working because it beeped?  How many of you have left it on your desk by accident after doing so?  Most everyone, I suspect.  Now you don't have to pull the phone out of your pocket to interact with your contacts, calendar and messaging -- at all.  Nor do you need to deal with the complexity of linking all of these devices together for those functions; you only need one device that provides those services to you, your phone, and that phone is with you pretty-much everywhere you go.

Nobody else has this functionality and nobody is going to be able to easily do it either as only BlackBerry has, at present, the infrastructure and internal data path design to handle this and the security that is required to do so across both (potentially hostile) WiFi and carrier networks in a seamless fashion -- but without the ability of anyone to intercept it.

Right now this is available on the Passport because BlackBerry has their software coded to prohibit it from working on the other, older devices.  That is going to change with 10.3.1 in a couple of months; this same functionality will then work on all the legacy BB10 devices as well such as the Z10, Q10 and Z30.

Integrated messaging, calendars and contacts are a problem that none of the other vendors do particularly well, especially across vendor environments.  If you have an Apple phone and want to have all of that on your Windows PC you have a problem.  Ditto the other way around with Google's offerings on Android.

Now you have an alternative that integrates it all no matter which "brand" you prefer for a Tablet or PC.

Is this a game-changer?  I believe it is, and I also believe it's only the start of what BlackBerry has up their sleeve.  I know how BlackBerry is doing this and it's both elegant and going to be very hard for the other guys to attempt to replicate -- but not at all difficult for BlackBerry to make available on various brands of tablet and desktop, as has been seen by the release of it on IOS, MacOS, Android and Windows at initial release.

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I'm watching it now at http://live.blackberry.events/

The assistant features are every bit as cool as what they're showing -- and more.

One of my favorites is this -- "What are the Destin tides for tomorrow?"

Try that with Siri and Google's assistant.  When you do it with BlackBerry on 10.3, this is what you get back:

Pretty cool stuff..... and tomorrow ill be a good day to go play at Crab Island -- which was why I asked.

There's plenty more, but I have this to say on the Passport:

Shut up and take my money!

smiley

 

Here it comes: Blend is being announced right now (9:21 AM CT) -- and I found the link for it. It doesn't work yet though -- it comes up with "Restricted to Internal RIM devices only" :-)

UPDATE: Available right now, unlocked, on the shopblackberry.com store!

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smiley

I have to chuckle at people.  They want thin and light.  They also don't mind giving Apple a 50%+ margin on something they buy from them, which incidentally is pretty dumb.

But it is what it is, and what it means for you is that your brand new iPhone's case is made of a material that's cheap for Apple to use, pretty, but.... it will bend, and where the buttons are and the material has been weakened (a lot) by cutting those holes it will bend pretty easily.

So if you stick it in your back pocket (not a good idea in the first place) you might find that it has more of a curve coming out than it did going in.  That, by the way, can break the screen too, or detach it from the base, which is arguably just as bad if not worse, especially if you try to unbend it.

This is what you get when you reward companies that build things with form (e.g. "pretty", "thin", etc) before function (e.g. will it survive everyday use, does it have good RF performance, etc.)  Apple could have chosen a material with considerably better strength (e.g. magnesium or titanium alloy) but it would have been more expensive (and cut into their margin) or they could have used more material (at the cost of thickness and/or weight.)

Instead, they put out a $600+ device that is quite easy to damage in what many people consider to be ordinary daily use.

Apple has always been known for intentional planned obsolescence in an attempt to force you back into their store for another******of your wallet, but this little ditty may be a bit too much of curve even for them -- particularly given the extraordinarily-high asking price attached.

That's what you get for being an iFanboi and buying iCrap!

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This one has my rolling my eyes, convinced that in this world there is utterly no reason to open or run a business.

It's bad enough that the government reaches its hand in your pocket and rips you off wholesale -- what's worse is when the government gives license to private companies to do it too.  

For years, businesses have accused Yelp of running an extortion racket. If companies refused to pay for ads, Yelp would allegedly pull down some of their positive reviews (and wreck sales) until they gave in. Well, those accusations don't appear to hold much legal water; an appeals court has upheld a California judge's dismissal of a 2010 class action lawsuit that claimed Yelp was committing civil extortion. Needless to say, the recommendation service is ecstatic. It cites the ruling as proof that the shops simply had an "axe to grind" and were either trying to "draw attention away" from bad reviews or else prop up review manipulation schemes.

As Engadget notes, that isn't what the court ruled.

What the court ruled was that the company that had positive reviews posted about it didn't own the reviews.

That is, Yelp owned them and could do with them whatever it wanted, including removing them if the company didn't buy the advertising it was trying to sell!

I've written on this before in the context of so-called "comparison sites" that appear to be offering some sort of review of competitors in the marketplace for this or that (specifically, credit cards.)  It turns out that nothing of the sort is going on -- it is nothing more than a company selling advertising space and putting it forward as a "competitive review."

I wonder if the plaintiffs went in the wrong direction alleging extortion; wouldn't consumer fraud or even defamation been more-appropriate here, or perhaps as a companion allegation?

There's a fairly decent case to be made that without fair disclosure that the so-called reviews that you're "allowed" to see are a function of how much advertising spending a company has done the consumer is materially misled by the alleged reviews that are visible.

There is, and properly-so, a pretty-stringent standard for extortion under the law.  But the fact remains that there appears to be plenty of evidence that Yelp does at least remove positive reviews if you don't pay for their advertising.  IMHO they don't need to go to the length of posting fake negative reviews in order to implicate the law on consumer fraud-by-deception -- all they need to do is intentionally, in exchange for money (or the refusal to pay said funds) alter not the number but the tenor of opinions while fostering the belief that what is being presented in some way reflects the actual opinions of those who have been to said business.

As an aside, what this restaurant did in counter-retaliation is literally side-splitting -- they offer a discount for bad reviews!  This of course is against Yelp's terms of service, but since they're refusing to pay the dude demanding money to keep the good reviews up, heh, what is Yelp going to do about it?  They can keep removing the reviews that are obviously posted as a result of the discount but there isn't jack and crap they can do to the restaurant itself.

Well will you look at that -- the market figured out how to sort this crap out all on its own, and if more establishments did the same thing, in fact if any material percentage of them on Yelp did the same thing rather than buying advertising, Yelp's business model would be destroyed.

And there wouldn't be crap Yelp could do about it.

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