Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Fat fingers blamed for rise in mobile ad clicks... -

Fat fingers blamed for rise in mobile ad clicks... - 

Stubby fingers may be the reason many consumers end up checking out ads on smartphones and tablets.

Facebook FB -1.62%  , Google GOOG +0.76%   and other tech companies have puzzled over how to make advertising work on mobile devices. But it turns out that tablet and smartphone users, when reading news sites, are more likely to click on ads than those using computers, a new survey suggests.

Consumers don’t appear to be turned off by mobile ads, according to a survey of nearly 10,000 people by Pew Research Center and The Economist Group. Half of tablet and smartphone users notice ads when they’re getting news on their mobile device. Of that amount, roughly 15% click on ads. “People notice ads on mobile devices and may be even more likely to click on them than they are to click on other digital ads,” the report states. A recent Ad Age study, in stark contrast, found that less than 1% of people click on digital ads regardless of the viewing platform.

But tech pros say the result may be less a measure of the quality of the ads than the size of users’ thumbs.“False positives, namely clumsy digits, are the real culprits here,” says Jonathan Rick, a digital communications consultant based in Washington, D.C. This will become less of a problem for frustrated smartphone owners as screen sizes continue to get bigger, he says. Others say the digital ad world doesn’t make it easy to avoid ads either. Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief at LaptopMag.com, says many mobile ads are designed so that the window-shuttering “X” button is so small, it makes the ad more difficult to vanquish. “I’ve seen many people accidentally click on ads in an effort to get rid of them,” he says.

Plus, the line between mobile marketing and entertainment is becoming blurred, experts say. “It’s difficult for users to tell the difference between ads and content on small devices,” says technology analyst Jeff Kagan. Facebook and Twitter both have personalized “sponsored” stories, which are effectively advertising by another name. Zynga, which makes apps like Angry Birds and Words with Friends, also has sponsored stories. Mobile advertising is expected to reach hit $20 billion by 2015 from $2 billion currently, says Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm, making up 40% of all online ads.

That said, people happily browse ads on their tablets and smartphones during their leisure time, according to one co-author of the Pew study. “Desktops are more search, find and run,” says Amy Mitchell, deputy director at Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. People spend more time reading on tablets and read longer articles, as the screen is visually more appealing than a standard computer’s, she says. In fact, some 90% of Pew respondents say their tablet reading is personal. “It gives people more opportunity to notice everything on the page and think, ‘Maybe I’ll check this ad out too,’” she says. Of those who did click on ads, she says, 7% made a purchase.


$20 million Quebec maple syrup heist solved - 16,000 45-gallon barrels stolen in August found in New Brunswick -

$20 million Quebec maple syrup heist solved - 16,000 45-gallon barrels stolen in August found in New Brunswick - 

If you like your maple syrup hot, there’s tons of it out there. 


The purloined product even traversed a provincial border after sticky-fingered thieves made off with the amber gold over the summer months. 

Contents of 16,000 45-gallon barrels, siphoned off and reported stolen from a central distribution centre in August, have been found. 

The Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP obtained search warrants last week and raided a facility in New Brunswick. 

While Sergeant Daniel Thibodeau of the SQ could do no more than confirm that a search warrant “had been executed,” other sources confirmed that an “important” amount of product was found in a maple syrup processing and exporting facility in Kedgwick, NB. 

The barrels in the storage facility in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, which is located 160 kilometres northeast of Montreal, near Victoriaville, were not taken outright but rather drained of their contents. The theft was discovered Aug. 24. 

Presumably the contents were then whisked away in some sort of tanker truck. 

This theft of sweet sirop is no small deal: the value of the stolen breakfast staple was estimated at more than $20 million. It was insured. 

Last week, S.K. Export in Kedgwick was searched and a large quantity of syrup was shipped back to a storage facility in Quebec. 

The “hot” syrup will be under lock and key, and monitored by surveillance cameras. 

No arrests have been made at this point.

Read it on Global News: Global Edmonton | $20 million Quebec maple syrup heist leads police to New Brunswick 


New privacy fears as Facebook begins selling personal access to companies to boost ailing profits -

New privacy fears as Facebook begins selling personal access to companies to boost ailing profits - 

Facebook is embroiled in a new privacy row after it began selling access to users in order to bolster its profits.

 The social networking site is allowing companies to trawl through its 900m users looking for email addresses and phone numbers so it can better target adverts.

The changes mean that if you hand over any details when you buy something - as many consumers do - that company can now track you down on Facebook.

The measures appear to be a cynical attempt to sidestep restrictions imposed on Facebook by US regulators due to earlier botched privacy changes.

They have already sparked calls for an official investigation by campaigners who claim that the public have not been properly notified.


Mom Jailed For Kids’ Truancy - two kids missed a total of 116 days of school last year - Mom gets 180 days in jail -

Mom Jailed For Kids’ Truancy - two kids missed a total of 116 days of school last year - Mom gets 180 days in jail - 

A South Valley mom is behind bars, being punished for not sending her kids to school.

Kings County school officials say the Hanford mother had plenty of chances to avoid going to jail - now, she'll be locked up for months.

34-year-old Lorraine Cuevas was sentenced to 180 days in jail after pleading guilty to allowing her kids to miss more than 10-percent of the school year.

It's against California's chronic truancy law.

Cuevas is one of the first parents in the state to be convicted under the law.

The mother had a second and third grader enrolled at Monroe Elementary school, between the two of them, they missed 116 days of school last year.

The superintendent says Cuevas ignored phone calls and letters warning her of the consequences.

"It's a process that takes months to get to this point. On average we're making 15-20 calls in dealing with these issues," said Tim Bowers, superintendent of Kings County Schools.

Cuevas was arrested nearly two months ago and has already served about a quarter of her sentence.

"What kind of a mother is she?" said Adriana Castaneda, mother. She feels the judge should've handed down the maximum sentence of one year in jail.

"I would've given her a year. Honestly, I think that punishment is not enough because a kid's education is really important," said Castaneda.

This is the second time Kings County officials have jailed a mom for her kids' truancy.

Last year Victoria Jeff was arrested for failing to bring her three kids to school, causing them to miss 20 days.

School officials say right now, there are a handful of parents in Kings County that may face similar prosecution.

Administrators and prosecutors say they won't hesitate in bringing another parent to justice.

"We take attendance very seriously, and we really want our kids to be in school," said Bowers.

This isn't the first time Cuevas has been arrested.

She does have a criminal history but the Kings County D.A.'s office wouldn't go into detail.

The maximum sentence for parents convicted under California's chronic truancy law is a fine of up to $2,000 or up to a year in jail, or a combination of both.

As for Cuevas' kids, school officials say their attendance record is good this school year.


Japan's First Bar Devoted To Female Masturbation, Opens In Tokyo -

Japan's First Bar Devoted To Female Masturbation, Opens In Tokyo - 

This bar is guaranteed to get a lot of buzz . . . if only for the battery-operated sex toys.

Love Joule, a colorful new bar in the Shibuya district Tokyo, is the first “love and sex bar dedicated to women," according to the Tokyo Reporter. What does this mean, exactly? Proprietor Megumi Nakagawa minces few words.

"Once they take a seat, customers are able to experience a pleasant place in which they can openly discuss masturbation,” she said. “Since most people view female masturbation as something of a mystery or taboo, it is not a usual topic at typical bars.”

It's hard to imagine not talking about the bar's unique theme. Behind the counter, where rows of liquor bottles would normally stand, are colorful display cases filled with dozens and dozens of different types of vibrators.

The spot is already a hit with women in the commercial sex and burgeoning adult film industry, according to its Facebook page, which sites former adult video star Nayuka Mine and model Sayo Hayakawa as customers.

Akiko Teishi, a reporter for blog Bikyamasr.com, visited the bar recently and spoke to some of its patrons.

“I go because it is a safe place and I don’t have to worry about trying to brush off men all the time," said a customer going by the name Sayama. "Add in that it is also a great place to drink and talk about what we women love to talk about, sex and guys, that’s also a big pull."

According to the blog, Ikuko Ikeshita a doctor with the Ikeshita Ladies’ Clinic, said that over the past few years, “there has been a movement to do away with the stigma surrounding female masturbation in Japan, pointing to the increase in websites discussing female sexuality and stores selling female sex goods.” Love Joule is just part of this general trend.

The sanctity of the space is preserved by a policy prohibiting single men from entering-- men are only welcome if they are accompanying a woman, according to Rocket News.

Men without a female companion will just have to wonder what's going on inside. Luckily for them, male masturbation doesn't face the same stigma.

Guys not lucky enough to secure a Love Joule invite may want to check out Koichi Matsumoto's customized toys "just for men." Since 2005, Matsumoto's company Tenga has sold more than 15 million male masturbation units worldwide, according to Salon, including 6.5 million units of his best-seller, the disposable Tenga Egg.

Read more -