around the web: computers-R-stupid edition

Pepe Escobar on AI predictions in the 1980s.

• Maciej Ceglowski on The Website Obesity Crisis (hat tip John Romero). Published 5 years ago and sites have only gotten fatter and slower, included. One of my New Year resolutions is getting a WordPress theme that doesn't use fonts from Eric Schmidt's company (how did that happen?). The font files aren't that large, I don't think, but there's a slight hang while they load that's annoying. I also don't think a page like mine needs all these damn scripts. I do remove embeds once they drop off the front page, because I hate embeds.

retired CD-R design


The MAM-A company (recently sold to an outfit in Chattanooga called WTS Media) changed the design of their CD-Rs and no longer offer an edge-to-edge white printing surface on their gold discs, as seen above. Now there is an obnoxious, bling-y 3mm gold rim around the white. I am rethinking my CD-R design for future releases and took down the CD above from Bandcamp, since I won't be making more copies with that design.

yes, vimeo does have ads

A quick recap on a much-updated post:
Vimeo proudly claims to be ad-free but this isn't true. If you challenge them they qualify it by saying "there are no ads on our platform." Most people would assume "our platform" means Vimeo (just as Facebook and YouTube are commonly called platforms) but their own in-house definition of "platform" is "the video player." Below the player, in the region where comments and older videos are located, they serve annoying banner display ads. They claim that is only on "some" pages but that's not true either -- as of this writing I am seeing them on all my pages.
The "Plus" plan ($7 a month) serves ads but you can get rid of them by paying $20 a month for a "Pro" plan.
In true corporate style, if you point these inaccuracies out, the customer support staff tries to snow you by saying that "as a Plus member you will never see ads." Good to know!

ads on my vimeo pages - ugh

Note: this post was originally titled "Amazon Fire puts ads on my Vimeo pages." It took me several emails to Vimeo customer service to determine that Vimeo is actually the source of the ads. See Update 2 below.


Pardon the bad photo but this was eyebrow-raising. I've been using an Amazon Fire tablet (given to me as a gift) in order to test the responsiveness of my page layouts on a mobile device.*
I popped over to my Vimeo account and discovered obnoxious ads on pages with my "art" videos. I thought with a Vimeo Plus account ($7 a month) this wasn't supposed to be happening. I've gotten conflicting responses from Vimeo customer support. Kaitlin F. says that, yes, "...we do have limited display advertising below the player on some pages. As a Plus member, you won’t see display ads when you’re logged in to your account. However, Basic members and logged-out viewers will see display ads on your page." I asked how long they'd been doing this and got a reply from Bri W.:

Vimeo never displays ads on any part of our platform. It sounds as though you are visiting your video page via the web browser within Amazon Fire, which is the most likely source of the ad placement.

A friend has suggested that Amazon has some backdoor deal with Vimeo, where Vimeo allows them a certain amount of screen real estate, which Amazon uses to send me targeted ads on my Fire tablet. This way both entities have plausible deniability as to who is serving me ads.

Is it possible for the Fire to inject ads on pages of companies they don't have a licensing arrangement with? Anyone familiar with the dark arts of web development and marketing, please drop me a line if you know.

I find this all pretty disgusting.

*i.e., pages of this blahg are supposed to change size and shape depending on what type of screen they're viewed on

Update: Customer support person "Rachel" continues the straight talk:

I can confirm that Kaitlin's previous message is correct, and there is a slight misunderstanding with our last email to you. We do have limited display advertising on Vimeo, however as a Plus member, when you are logged in viewing your own videos or any other videos, you won't see display ads on your page.

Our last message meant to explain that we don't display any third party ads within the Vimeo platform.

If a viewer is on a Basic membership or are logged out, they will see display ads from Vimeo on your page. If you are looking to remove the Vimeo ads on your video page for viewers, our Pro membership offers this.

My increasingly frustrated reply:

Please see the attached photo. (It's an ad for "" placed within my list of personal videos.)

Is this a "display ad"? Is it being served by Vimeo?

I don't understand the distinction you are making between a "display ad" and a "third party ad."

Isn't the ad for both a display ad and a third party ad?

In either case I don't like seeing it and don't think I should have to pay more to get rid of it.

I'll ask my original question -- when did you start doing this? I've never seen ads before on my pages.

Update 2: More straight talk from Customer Support person "Jess":

I think the confusion lies more with the distinction between a Vimeo page and the Vimeo Platform.

We never display advertising of any type on videos in our player (within the Vimeo platform), however as we mentioned Basic members may see display ads on a Vimeo page.

OK, It's pretty clear that Vimeo shows ads to anyone who isn't a member, unless a member, who doesn't want his audience to see ads, pays more than I'm currently paying. This has nothing to do with Amazon. Vimeo doesn't like to admit they're doing this, hence all the bafflegab about "the distinction between a Vimeo page and the Vimeo Platform." Staff claims that serving ads is not a recent practice but they "don't have an exact date of when this started."

please, no facebook money

We can't go back in time and strangle baby Hitler but there's a possibility that Mark Zuckerberg's fake cryptocurrency can still be stopped.
Banking on Surveillance is a "black paper" [PDF] giving all the reasons why Facebook money is a bad idea:

The Libra project poses three overarching, interrelated threats: (1) mass surveillance of Libra users and business partners, (2) hazardous arbitrage of the financial regulatory system, and (3) the concerted encroachment of Facebook and its partners into the financial services sector, which would violate the traditional separation between commerce and banking, and deepen corporate economic and political dominance.

A few years ago it seemed that people were moving on from Facebook. Yet according to the paper,

Around two-thirds of people in the United States use Facebook, three-quarters of us [ouch -tm] on a daily basis. Overall, ​Facebook accounts for 77% of mobile social networking traffic in the country.

Facebook always had a knack for inflating its monthly user count but those numbers above are still frightening. That's power, like it or not. It would be nice to know how many of the 25% who haven't joined the borg are skeptics, versus unwashed clods. In other words, how many are consciously opting to starve baby Hitler. Their (OK, our) actions, if recognized and imitated, could ultimately be much more effective than legislation or inter-agency government oversight.