Prices And Algorithms: It’s A Game Of Cat And Mouse, And You’re Always The Mouse

Pricing changes & algorithms - a game of cat and mouse

You probably have the idea that you can use the power of the Internet to compare prices and find deals. Savvy travelers look for advice about the best time to buy airline tickets for a trip – on a Tuesday, about 90 days before the trip, right? You compare several hotel chains when you’re looking for a room. […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Data Brokers: The Companies Hiding In The Shadows That Know Everything About You

Tight focus on the data broker industry

Your personal information is being bought and sold by companies that lurk in the shadows. You’ve never heard of them. That’s the way they like it.

This is the most important issue that affects your privacy today.

Let’s start with a tight focus.

Assume there’s a company that methodically scrapes information from public records – drivers licenses, voter registration, property rolls, census and change of address records, birth certificates, marriage licenses, bankruptcy records. […] continued

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Headcrabs And The Future Of Virtual Reality

Half-Life headcrab zombie

The future of virtual reality may depend on headcrab zombies.

Last week, game developer Valve Corporation made a bombshell announcement: it will release a new VR game, Half-Life: Alyx, in March 2020. The gaming and virtual reality communities are going nuts – gamer forums exploding with excited comments and complaints; nonstop articles in the tech press evaluating the announcement from every angle; emotions ranging from elation to anger; and mostly hope that the game will be good enough to justify all the angst. […] continued

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Dark Patterns Are Evil – And They’re Everywhere

Dark patterns - deceptive opt in choices

I hate to interrupt the steady flow of happiness and joy in the news, but I want to call your attention to a small way that our civilization is degrading into a dystopian hell. Once I describe it, you’ll notice it everywhere.

The web is filled with dark patterns – deliberately confusing and deceptive choices, designed to trick us into signing up for junk newsletters, subscribing to unwanted services, spamming everyone in our address book, or giving up our privacy. […] continued

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Google, Antitrust, And Zero-Click Searches

Google zero-click searches - no need to click when a question is answered directly

When you search for the phone number for Bruceb Consulting, Google shows the phone number.

Does that seem obvious? It’s a relatively recent change. Google only began serious efforts to provide One True Answer to search queries a few years ago. It completely changes Google’s role in the relationship between users and advertisers. […] continued

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Best Practices To Secure Office 365 Global Admin Accounts

Secure Office 365 global admin accounts

Business Office 365 accounts have at least one global administrator with godlike power over everyone’s business accounts and mailboxes. In our dangerous world, businesses have to protect that account fiercely. I could make a good argument that online security is more critical in 2019 than locking the door to secure the physical stuff in the office. […] continued

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LastPass Learns The Wrong Lessons About Price Increases From LogMeIn

lastpass_priceincrease2

LastPass has learned some of the wrong lessons from its corporate parent LogMeIn, with price increases for LastPass Premium that land unexpectedly like tiny bombs on the credit card statement.

TL;DR

No action needed. Most people use the free version of LastPass (still free!), and the Premium version is priced reasonably compared to the competitors. […] continued

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Huawei And The Dog That’s Not Barking

Huawei and the dog that's not barking

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

  — “Silver Blaze,” The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The United States is spearheading a multinational effort to destroy Huawei Technologies. […] continued

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Amazon And The Infinite Mall

Amazon Marketplace is an infinite mall

Amazon has become an infinitely large mall full of small shops. More than half of the stuff sold on Amazon worldwide in 2017 came from third-party sellers. More than 2,500,000 small and medium-sized businesses sell through Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon was founded in 1994 as a large and well-stocked bookstore, something like Barnes & Noble but with a much larger book selection on the virtual shelves. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 5: What Can We Do?

Privacy in the surveillance era - relax

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Privacy And Trust Part 3: What Do They Know And How Do They Know It?

Spooky predictions from data analysis

A series of articles about privacy and trust in the era of tech overlords.

•  Part 1: Data about you is being gathered by the big tech companies (as well as many other companies) in startling ways. Their ability to analyze that data and predict your behavior is more like magic than technology – and it has the potential to change the world, for better or worse. […] continued

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Microsoft Thinks The Future Belongs To Teams (And It Might Work For You, Too)

Microsoft Teams - the hub for teamwork in Office 365

Microsoft Teams is an Office 365 service that businesses can use for their employees to chat and collaborate, providing an alternative (and perhaps a replacement) for email inside the company. Although it’s relatively new, Teams has quickly become a strategic priority for Microsoft.

Many Office 365 services only make sense for large enterprises, but Teams might be the exception that even small businesses should closely examine. […] continued

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Bloomberg And Chinese Spies: The Strangest Technology Story Of The Year

Bloomberg Businessweek - The Big Hack

The Chinese government has put secret spy chips on US government servers. They’re stealing secrets from Apple and Amazon. And the US government is engaged in a massive effort to prevent us from learning anything about it, for unknown reasons.

Maybe.

How about this: the US government is mounting a full-court disinformation campaign, spreading lies through multiple sources to discredit China and gain an advantage in trade wars – and taking down a huge media entity as collateral damage. […] continued

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