In 1995, Bill Gates made these predictions about streaming movies and fake news on the internet

Today, pretty much everyone regularly uses the internet to read breaking news and stream the latest blockbuster films. But in 1995, the internet was still in its infancy, and many Americans weren’t even online yet.

Bill Gates — as the co-founder of Microsoft (which made Internet Explorer, one of the first web browsers) — likely knew as much about the potential of internet technology as anyone in the mid-90s, however. So it’s not shocking that in 1995 Gates would be asked for his predictions on what the internet might look like a couple of decades into the future.

That’s exactly what happened when Gates sat down with author and journalist Terry Pratchett for an interview that appeared in the July 1995 edition of GQ magazine’s UK version. At the time, Gates was 39 and the world’s richest person with a net worth of $12.9 billion (he’s now second to Jeff Bezo with a $99.6 billion net worth, according to Forbes).

Gates’ conversation with Pratchett recently resurfaced online when writer Marc Burrows, who is working on a biography of Pratchett, tweeted two screenshots of the magazine interview (Gates is identified in the interview screenshots as “BG” and Pratchett is “TP”).

Not surprisingly, Gates had a couple of predictions for the future of the internet — one of which would turn out to be eerily prescient, while the other one seems to have come up short.

View image on Twitter

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Streaming movies

One prediction that Gates nailed was that the internet would forever change the way we consume entertainment, like movies and television shows. At the time, most people’s idea of a home entertainment system was a television hooked up to a VCR (electronic devices that played VHS tapes for anyone too young to remember), though video discs like DVDs were beginning to be introduced by the mid-90s.

In the interview, Pratchett is astounded when Gates tells him that “VCRs will be obsolete within ten years.”

“What? Completely obsolete?” asks Pratchett, who then asks if discs will be the primary home video format.

“Oh, they’ll be replaced by a disc player within four or five years,” Gates says. “I’m talking about access to media across the network.”

In other words, Gates is describing our ability to watch movies, TV shows and other streaming videos online. Gates, who complained that VCRs had “the world’s worst user interface,” went on to explain: “Everything we’re talking about will have screens to guide you and when you pause there’ll be a built-in personality that’ll immediately jump in and help you.”

Gates’ prediction ended up being pretty much on the money, as online video technology continued to improve over the next decade to the point where the now-ubiquitous video streaming platform YouTube was founded in 2005, 10 years after this interview took place. In 2007, Netflix announced plans to start streaming full movies and shows online. Today, Netflix has nearly 150 million streaming subscribers around the world, while more than two billion people watch videos on YouTube every month.

Pratchett also wanted to know if Gates thought that the internet would eventually make it easier to spread misinformation to large groups of people.

“There’s a kind of parity of esteem of information on the Net,” Pratchett remarked to Gates in the interview. “It’s all there: there’s no way of finding out whether this stuff has any bottom to it or whether someone just made it up.”

As an example, Pratchett proposed a hypothetical situation where someone purporting to be an expert promoted a theory online claiming that the Holocaust never happened. That theory, Pratchett argued, could be propped up on the internet and “available on the same terms as any piece of historical research which has undergone peer review and so on.”

While Pratchett’s biographer, Burrows, argued on Twitter this week that Pratchett had “accurately predicted how the internet would propagate and legitimise fake news,” Gates’ response is worth noting for the fact that the Microsoft co-founder failed to foresee the same negative effects of online misinformation.

Gates agreed with Pratchett that misinformation could be spread online, but “not for long,” the billionaire reasoned. For instance, Gates argued, the internet could contain fake news, but it would also create more opportunities for information to be verified and supported by appropriate authorities, from actual experts to journalists and consumer reports.

“The whole way that you can check somebody’s reputation will be so much more sophisticated on the Net than it is in print today,” Gates tells Pratchett.

Of course, we know now that many online platforms — from social media sites like Facebook to online video sites like YouTube — have struggled to squash the spread of misinformation and fake news on the internet. Even Gates himself says today that he’s concerned about the spread of misinformation online, admitting that “it’s turned out to be more of a problem than I, or many others, would have expected.”

But Gates also said, in a 2018 interview with Quartz, that he remains optimistic that the internet will continue to become more sophisticated as an information source over time, and that the benefits of having access to such a wealth of information on the internet will eventually outweigh the “challenges” of separating fact from fiction online.


Tips about blogging on Instagram

In this article, we will give you some tips about blogging on Instagram. Obviously, we cannot tell you everything about Instagram in just one article, but we will do our best to highlight the most essential tips to adequately blog on Instagram. We will start with what you should do with the text space you got. Next, we will talk about how you can create a photo album on Instagram, which is a very important aspect of your account. Thirdly we will give you tips on content creation.  After that, we have some tips on how to maintain and promote your Instagram account. Lastly, we will talk about how to make a book blog on Instagram.

A few tips on writing on Instagram

Whenever you post something on Instagram you need to make sure that you give a large block of information. You can never ever post an empty canvas! Remember this. You also need to break the message into essential pieces. Keep the following rule: One paragraph – one thought. And do this with a line break. Remember that there should be no space at the end of the phrase.

If you have trouble with inspiration or remembering where you wanted to talk about, you should consider to either use notepad or notes on your phone to write small notes for ideas every time something pops up in your head. By doing this you will make it yourself a lot easier to format your posts. You just have to write – copy, insert emoji in the part where it is an essential emphasis. And the emojis can also help you to make up lists.

Another essential tip for writing: If you ever have so much text that it does not fit properly, type the remaining thoughts in a regular editor, take a screenshot and add to the gallery together with the primary picture.

Remember the golden rule: ”Write naturally, inspiring, even if you have a complicated and dangerous topic.”

How to create a photo album for Instagram

Visual perception of your Instagram page plays a significant role in its development. Still, Instagram remains a network for visual media. Buy Instagram comments to increase your credibility as an artist. To make a beautiful picture is not as difficult as it seems. The main thing to study the theory of composition, lighting and a lot of practice. There are free mobile photography lessons on the Internet. View pages of famous companies or people and notice interesting details.

It is better to post pictures every day, one or two during the activity of your target audience. Try to identify this part of the day with a practical method, publishing during the week at different hours: in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. The results of the experiment are well seen in the statistics of the account. The button is located in the upper right corner.

Content Creation Tips

  • Look for unfamiliar angles. Any object will look unusual and beautiful if you approach the matter with fantasy.
  • Process images in the same style: color, image and text sequence (chess format), frames.
  • Do not overload the picture. It should have one main idea.
  • Products and landscapes dilute portraits of people, animals.
  • Take multiple shots at once. They will come in handy on the day when shooting is not possible.
  • Use backgrounds, decorations. It could be anything. Even an old sweater, if only it is photogenic.
  • Stroll through the city, coffee shops, parks, to catch unusual and beautiful moments in the collection of materials for the posts.

Successful applications for picture development:

  • Vsco cam
  • Snapseed
  • Diptic

Do not forget about the useful tools of video and Instagram story. Both the first and second are popular among users and advertisers. The Instagram videos are short, but make up a plot or a logical sequence for them. Look for unusual angles, break the shot frames of the surrounding reality, details. Add the right music.

Another tip on maintaining and promoting an account

If your ultimate goal is monetization, be sure to go beyond your audience and profile. To find new followers it is sometimes enough to write regularly insightful comments on posts on more well-known pages.

Also, do not leave the questions of your followers unanswered. Put a moderate amount of hashtags with your post. Check out your competitors and invent your personal hashtags that you can write together with each post.

How to make a book blog on Instagram

Such profiles can create stories of book lovers. This direction is now gaining momentum. These pages are especially loved by enthusiastic readers. The account maintenance itself is not much different from any other. The requirements are the same: a beautiful visual series, edited, readable, exciting text.

What you can write about:

  • Feedback on the work.
  • A story about the novelties.
  • Moments from the biography of writers.
  • Myths associated with any publications.
  • News.
  • The roles in books.
  • Reading techniques.
  • Congratulations on the different holidays.
  • And much more.

Photo series depends entirely on the fantasy of the page creator. There are various ideas with beautiful objects, scenes, unusual angles,…

Book, as well as the rest, is monetized. If you lead it with a soul and you already have at least a thousand followers, write to the publishing house with a proposal for cooperation. Tell about yourself, give a link to the profile, show the statistical data and tell them with what conditions you want to work with. Participate in contests, write specific hashtags, thematically related to your work.


We told you how to start and adequately blog on Instagram, we looked at topics for its maintenance. This article does not cover all the secrets of this social network, but we gave essential tips. Using them, you will be able to master the social media networking site called Instagram.


Everything you need to know about the education loan: Step by step guide

education loan, education loan in india, education loan eligibility criteria, online application for educational loan, education loan application form, supporting documents for educational loan

These points will help you get an education loan easier.

Education is becoming quite expensive day by day. If you want to complete your education without burdening your parents or guardians or if you are unable to meet the expenses of your higher education, then you can go for educational loans. The first step towards taking an education loan is to meet an eligibility criteria for getting a loan in India.

Education loan eligibility criteria

1. Nationality

An applicant should be an Indian National to avail an education loan in India.

2. Age criteria

An applicant with 18 years of age can avail an education loan or your parents can take the loan in their name. No educational loan is given if you are above the age of 35 years.

3. Admission to an educational course

The applicant should have confirmed admission in a college/university in India by the UGC/Government/AICTE/Appropriate authority.

4. Percentage

An applicant must have secured at least 60 percent in previous qualifying examinations.

Step by step guide:

Here the most important education loan eligibility criteria information.

The application process may vary from bank to bank, but there are some fundamental steps to get one:

Step 1: The loan application form

The applicant has to fill in an application form which may ask for details such as:

  • Two passport size photographs
  • Graduation, secondary school certificate, or High school certificate or mark sheets
  • KYC documents (Voter ID, and PAN card) that include ID, address, and age proof
  • Signature proof
  • Parents income proof
  • For collateral– Documentation for Immovable property, FDs

Applicant/candidate if applying for a loan to study abroad will need to provide the documents below:

  • Two passport size photographs
  • KYC Documents Voter ID, and PAN card) that include ID, residence and age proof
  • Mark sheet or certificates of the last examination passed
  • Proof of admission to the university and the course
  • Schedule of course expenses
  • A copy of the scholarship letter (If you have)
  • Last six months bank account statement of the borrower, parents or guardian
  • Last 2 years’ Income Tax assessment of borrowers, parents or guardians
  • For collateral- The details of security offered. If required, the candidate has to provide an advocate’s search and report about its marketability, mortgage ability, etc.
  • Applicants migration proof.

Step 2: Personal discussion

Once the applicant is done with the application form, there is a round of personal discussion with the bank employee wherein he/she may be asked various question relating to the academic performance, about the course/ subject one has selected, probably the institute etc.

Even there are some banks that hold the academic record important.

Step 3: Applicant need to provide supporting documents

Before the bank considers the loan application, the applicant needs to deposit the mandatory documents related to admissions. The bank needs the documents to verify the enrollment of the student the concerned institute.

If your loan amount is above Rs. 4 then the applicant may also require collateral security such as papers relating to the property to be mortgaged.

Step 4: Approval or denial of loan

A guarantor is mandatory for an education loan. The applicant’s parents or guardians could be the guarantor. The bank before sanctioning the loan will run a thorough check of the guarantor and his/her credit history.

After completion of the process, the bank can sanction or deny the applicant’s loan.

Step 5: Disbursal of the loan

Once the formalities are completed by the applicant, the bank will disburse the loan. The bank pays out the college/institute fee directly to the concerned institute.

Online application for education loan

Students can also apply for loan through online application

An education loan has been made even easier with an addition of online application. The applicant can now apply for an education loan online. The bank will sanction the loan only if the applicant and principal contact for actual approval and disbursement of the education loan.


Miramichi, N.B. man blogging about his fight with colorectal cancer to help others

Image result for Miramichi, N.B. man blogging about his fight with colorectal cancer to help othersDave Gillham is fighting for his life, yet unselfishly trying to spare others the same terrifying battle.

Just before Christmas last year, the 35-year-old father of two from Miramichi, N.B. was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer.

The diagnosis was a shock for his young family, given the belief that colorectal cancer typically does not affect young adults

“You will find yourself crying for no particular reason, for no other reason than you are scared and worried about what is going to happen in the future I suppose,” said Dave, who has a three-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son with his wife, Lori.

“It is incredibly scary when you start to think about the future … It is very overwhelming,” said Lori.

Lori says her husband is staying positive and bravely sharing his story to try to help others.

“I would just rather focus on the positive,” said Dave.

While undergoing chemotherapy, he is blogging from his hospital bed about every aspect of his treatment, hoping to inspire other young men who may be experiencing symptoms to get rectal exams.

“I think that it is not too common that guys my age are willing enough to speak out,” said Dave who said he was inspired to help others because people from Miramichi have been so supportive of his family and even held a benefit concert in his honour.

“Ultimately if I can help save the life of another gentleman being brave enough to say, ‘Hey get a check done,’ and if they can catch it earlier, maybe they can have a better diagnosis than myself,” he said.

According to Barry Stein, the president of Colorectal Cancer Canada, the disease, once believed to impact primarily people over 50, is now a reality for young Canadians.

New research shows roughly 1,500 young adults in Canada every year are developing the disease. Some, he says, are even in their 20s and are being diagnosed in the advanced stages because their doctors did not recognize the symptoms

“Don’t ignore your symptoms. If there is a problem, speak to your doctor about it. Don’t let them brush you off because there may in fact be an issue that has to be checked,” he said.

Stein said symptoms include rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements. Lifestyle, such as diet, may account for the increase in rates among younger adults.

Colorectal Cancer Canada is asking all provinces to consider following the United States’ lead in lowering the recommended screening age from 50 to 45.

Dave was never screened but hopes his blog will encourage others who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked.

“Go get checked out. Don’t hesitate and don’t be proud about what’s downstairs. Go and get it done,” he said.


What’s different about digital marketing in the cannabis industry?

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing in the US, with a diverse and exciting startup landscape. And yet, it faces an uphill battle when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and marketing.

There are no AdWords or Facebook advertising programs available and no current opportunities to advertise a cannabis company among any of the larger advertising platforms.

This seems unlikely to change until these products are legal at the federal level.

You can understand how Facebook wouldn’t want the attention that may come from allowing dispensaries or cannabis brands to advertise, even on a limited basis, in states that legalized it. That probably would not go over well in today’s political climate.

So, how are cannabis brands winning online, and what is different about digital marketing in the cannabis industry?

Sorry, advertisers — cannabis isn’t ready yet

I spoke with Public Relations Manager Jordon Rahmil and Director of Digital Marketing Kevin Keeland at Cura Cannabis Solutions about their experiences in digital marketing and confirmed what their brands are going through.

Cura has two product lines, Select Oil and Select CBD, that seem to be very well regarded by purchasers and reviewers. I found the Cura marketing team has tried on several occasions to get advertising approved on Facebook to no avail; initial ads are approved and then promptly rejected later.

Keeland explained they have worked with industry influencers to help with some marketing, but this is also regulated, and their ability to reach out to these influencers is very limited.

On the bright side, public relations and other content marketing strategies are helping them rank organically and get recognition.

It’s not an entirely advertising-averse industry at the moment; there are some serious traditional marketing opportunities available in the right locations, such as California. Out-of-home (OOH) and print media buyers are loving this current digital advertising drought the cannabis industry faces and are benefiting greatly.

(Note: Search Engine Land has previously covered the challenges as well as the opportunities for the industry in areas such as local listings.)

Building your cannabis marketing team

The interesting difference between a company like Cura and a similarly sized startup in another industry comes down to team construction.

If you’re building a cannabis brand, it doesn’t make sense to hire media planners, buyers and advertising agencies, even though it would be the fastest way for a startup to spark growth.

Instead, you’ll be hiring the best SEO strategists, content marketers, email specialists and public relations (PR) managers available.

SelectCBD, the website for Cura’s non-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) product line is an e-commerce site with a referral program using MailChimp for managing their email campaigns.

Kevin mentioned that Cura is growing rapidly, and publishing partners like Leafly and other websites offering marketing partnerships are very important until larger advertising opportunities begin to be available. The world of cannabis review websites is alive and well, with Leafly offering reviews of dispensaries and even particular strains.

Having staff that can maintain and fully utilize partnerships with sites like these will be absolutely critical to any budding cannabis company trying to gain a wider audience.

What’s interesting about this? Building a brand in a multibillion-dollar industry when you can’t pour money into advertising as a stopgap means you must nail SEO, content and influencer marketing, partnership and affiliate marketing. Finding traditional advertising opportunities that may not be as heavily regulated means when advertising opportunities open up, these brands will already be sustainable, well-oiled machines.

It’s the sort of long-term approach that only comes from a legal lack of advertising ability.

Are there agencies? How should we use them?

There are a number of marketing agencies that work in the cannabis industry. Most are listed in Ganjapreneur, a cannabis directory.

Although the agencies I found in my search are new and may lack experience, the continued growth of legal cannabis in the US means more agencies will be popping up to help guide cannabis companies.

Cannabis agencies with a clean, well-designed website offering branding and creative services are going to be incredibly important to cannabis marketers. Going forward, their SEO and marketing efforts will serve to not only further their brand but also to erase the stigma associated with the cannabis industry.

What’s next for cannabis marketing?

Gaining an understanding of digital advertising on Facebook, AdWords and other channels will be important in order to take advantage of opportunities when they come about. Finding trusted consultants and partners should be done sooner rather than later.

Some testing opportunities may be available that you haven’t considered yet. For example, you might think about creating sponsored content for native advertising placements on respected third-party websites.

What about pursuing podcast sponsorships? The brands that crack what marketing efforts can be done currently and prepare for the eventual tsunami of advertising will find themselves in a wonderful position. This industry is not going away and will likely become bigger than marketers expect.

Personally, I expect we will see federal legalization in the next two years. The jobs and tax revenue that will come from continued medical and recreational expansion will not be ignored much longer.

If you’re a startup in the cannabis space or a digital marketer looking for a niche, it’s time to get ready.


Wilson student blogging about experiences while studying at school in China

If any particularly observant readers noticed that my byline disappeared from Times Higher Education around this time a year ago, I can now reveal why. I spent this past year in Shanghai Jiao Tong University learning Mandarin Chinese, which, apart from helping me learn my 的 from my 地 and my 得, put me back in the very place that I’ve been reporting on for these past few years: university.

Specifically, the year gave me a first-hand peek into Chinese education, often an object of envy and fascination in the West. Every year Chinese universities seem to ascend up the world rankings, while such is the perceived excellence of schooling there that the BBC recently sent a team to film Chinese teachers trying to turn around a Hampshire comprehensive through China-style 7 am starts, copious note-taking and tracksuits for pupils.

But when I mentioned this Western admiration for China’s education system to anyone who had actually been through it, the response was usually one of bafflement. No one that I spoke to remembered their schooling with much fondness; instead, they recalled a tedious diet of rote learning and a heavily propagandised history curriculum.

Chinese friends were also deeply cynical about their university experiences. One described Chinese undergraduates as like “animals released from the zoo” – having passed the ultra-high stakes gao kaoexam, students simply coast through university, their intrinsic interest in learning crushed by the extreme pressure of school. This same friend also knew a contemporary who, having failed the gao kao, had bribed her way into a middle-ranking institution for the equivalent of £2,000.

Another, studying at a prestigious university in Shanghai, had to sit what were called “open book exams” – in other words, students were allowed to take their books into the exam hall, and the test was simply a long exercise in copying them out.

I experienced these rather suspect academic standards up close. In preparation for a multiple choice listening exam, our class was told that if in doubt, choose “C”. And, lo and behold, “C” turned out to be the right answer a suspiciously high number of times.

Having written about international students being treated as “cash cows” in the UK, I couldn’t help but feel that I was experiencing the story first hand. Students learning Chinese were barred from the library on account of there being too many of us. Tuition fees were still low (at about £2,000 a year) but with class sizes of more than 20, it was hard to know exactly where all this money was going.

Our teachers varied hugely in quality: some were excellent, possessing seemingly inexhaustible reserves of friendly patience when faced with our incomprehension. But another found it so difficult to answer our questions that she offered a tearful apology to the whole class. Either way, both belied the stereotype: none of our teachers demanded excessive rote learning, and usually welcomed our questions.

While I was abroad, I interviewed Yong Zhao, a Chinese-born professor at the University of Oregon’s College of Education, who has been arguing for years that the West should stop idolising the Chinese education system. The West oscillates between periods of Sinophilia and Sinophobia, Zhao argues in his book Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World (2014).

He believes that the past decade has been one of excessive Sinophilia, particular in regard to education, and we should look more rationally at what does and doesn’t work in China’s system. Having experienced it for myself, his conclusions seem apt.


YouTube Steps Up Takedowns as Concerns About Kids’ Videos Grow

YouTube Steps Up Takedowns as Concerns About Kids' Videos Grow

YouTube stepped up enforcement of its guidelines for videos aimed at children, the unit of Alphabet’s Googlesaid on Wednesday, responding to criticism that it has failed to protect children from adult content.

The streaming video service removed more than 50 user channels in the last week and stopped running ads on over 3.5 million videos since June, YouTube vice president Johanna Wright wrote in a blog post.

“Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies,” Wright said. “These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge.”

YouTube has become one of Google’s fastest-growing operations in terms of sales by simplifying the process of distributing video online but putting in place few limits on content.

Parents, regulators, advertisers and law enforcement have become increasingly concerned about the open nature of the service. They have contended that Google must do more to banish and restrict access to inappropriate videos, whether it be propaganda from religious extremists and Russia or comedy skits that appear to show children being forcibly drowned.

Concerns about children’s videos gained new force in the last two weeks after reports in BuzzFeed and the New York Times and an online essay by British writer James Bridle pointed out questionable clips.

A forum on the Reddit internet platform dubbed ElsaGate, based on the Walt Disney Co princess, also became a repository of problematic videos.

Several forum posts Wednesday showed support for YouTube’s actions while noting that vetting must expand even further.

Common Sense Media, an organisation that monitors children’s content online, did not immediately respond to a request to comment about YouTube’s announcement.

YouTube’s Wright cited “a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not” for the new efforts “to remove them from YouTube.”

The company relies on review requests from users, a panel of experts and an automated computer programme to help its moderators identify material possibly worth removing.

Moderators now are instructed to delete videos “featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader’s intent,” Wright said. Videos with popular characters “but containing mature themes or adult humor” will be restricted to adults, she said.

In addition, commenting functionality will be disabled on any videos where comments refer to children in a “sexual or predatory” manner.


Dover’s Nicole Warner is enjoying the Swiss life — and blogging about it

Image result for Dover’s Nicole Warner is enjoying the Swiss life -- and blogging about it

The first thing Nicole Warner noticed about Switzerland was that it wasn’t anything like her home state.

“Coming from Delaware, the mountains here are pretty incredible,” the First State expat said. “I remember when I was in high school we were on a hill in Pennsylvania and I called it a mountain. I got laughed at. Seeing the mountains here in Switzerland is just amazing to me.”

Warner, a 2000 graduate of Dover High, has been spending a lot of time among those mountains: for the past two years she and husband Paul have been living in Zug, Switzerland, surrounded by snow-covered Alpine peaks. She writes about their life in her blog, “Warner Wanderweg,” creating a colorful travelogue for her family and anyone curious about living overseas.

So far, the couple and their Hungarian Vizsla, Darcy, have journeyed to the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Austria, Denmark, and Liechtenstein.

“We are less than an hour away from there so one afternoon we spontaneously decided to go,” she said of the tiny principality. “We drove there after lunch, saw the castle, and were home by dinnertime.”

Days in Delaware

Warner, 34, is a native Delawarean, born to Donald and Sharon Petersen at the Dover Air Force Base hospital. Soon after coming into the world, her father was transferred to Berlin, where he served three years before coming right back to Dover.

“That was too long ago for me to remember, but I wonder if German sounds more familiar to me because of it,” she said.

Warner has pleasant memories of growing up in Kent County.

“When I was able to drive, a bunch of friends and I would go out to Rehoboth and spend the entire day on the beach and on the boardwalk,” Warner recalled.

Over evenings were spent at the old Kent Drive-in with friends J.B. Hogan, Luke Siler and Mellora Taylor.

“We’d pack up some snacks and the radio and some blankets and just go watch movies,” Warner said.

After graduating in 2004 from the University of Delaware with a fine arts degree, she lived in Philadelphia, where she met her husband, Paul. He works in the pharmaceutical field but also had studied for a time in Germany.

They were married in 2013.

“He’d always wanted to live in Europe and that was one thing he told me before we got married,” she said. “We thought it was a good time to do it.”

Blog provides more insight

Naturally, Warner has noticed a lot of differences between the United States and Europe.

“We don’t have suburban sprawl over here,” she said. “As soon as you go out of a town, you’re in the countryside. There’s a lot of easy access to public transportation and to shopping; my grocery store is just a five-minute walk from my house.”

Warner was impressed with the Swiss penchant for cleanliness, even when it comes to their highways and roads.

“They really care about keeping their communities clean,” she said. “You don’t see trash on the ground, and if you do, you’re offended.”

Europe also is incredibly dog-friendly, meaning they can take Darcy almost everywhere, including stores and restaurants.

She enjoys the open markets found in German and French towns that are only a short distance drive from Zug. Over the holidays they visited 24 separate Christmas markets including the world-famous Nuremberg market.

And, of course, they’ve traveled to Munich.

“We went there for a soccer game and said, ‘Hey, they’re having Oktoberfest, so let’s go,’” she recalled. “It’s only a three-hour drive, and we can do it in a weekend.”

Warner began her colorful blog soon after arriving overseas.

“I wanted to share photos and stories with my family and to give people a little insight into our lives and to share our experiences,” she said. She and Paul both contribute, as does Darcy, who makes entries — with a little help — to give a dogs-eye view of European life.

“The blog is awesome,” Sharon Petersen said. “Her grandfather, he can’t travel anymore, and her writing and photography allow him to experience it through her eyes.

“It’s made it so much easier for us since we can’t have her close by.”

Warner has learned Europeans are very interested in American affairs of state.

“Everyone here pays very close attention to politics in America. Even my neighbors, who don’t speak English, want to learn. They really care about what’s happening in America.”

While Paul works at his office, Warner, who is seven months pregnant, works at home.

“I’m spending my days learning German, oil painting and figuring out the Swiss art scene,” she said. “I also do a lot of hiking with the dog and carrying around this watermelon that in two months will be a baby boy.”

She’s also working on some chapter illustrations for a book old friend J.B. Hogan is writing, Warner said.

Paul’s contract is open-ended, so the Warners don’t have a set plan for when they’ll return to the United States.

“There’s really no deadline,” she said.

“I think they’re having a really great experience,” Donald Petersen said. “They have the availability of travel and not taking too much time out of their day to do it. I think it’s really great that they’re taking advantage of being able to visit other areas.”

Living in Europe has, thus far, been a life-changing experience, Warner said.

“I think living in a different place you get to see other people’s cultures and how different things are from back home,” she said. “You get to reflect on your culture. There are many things I enjoy about European culture, and being here gives you a chance to step back and see some really positive things about each.”


Restoration Hardware CEO reveals a startling reality about online ad spending

Category 1 storm clouds are gathering over what has traditionally been one of the most lucrative, and perhaps only profitable, sectors to come out of Silicon Valley in decades: online advertising.

Two months ago, it was P&G which fired the first shot across the “adtech” bow when not long after it announced it was slashing its digital ad spending because it thought it was not getting the kind of return on investment it desired, it made a striking discovery: “We didn’t see a reduction in the growth rate.” CFO Jon Moeller said “What that tells me is that that spending that we cut was largely ineffective.”

Speaking to the WSJ, P&G CEO David Taylor echoed Moeller when he explained that cuts on digital ads are part of a larger strategy to more quickly halt spending on things – from ad campaigns to product development programs – that aren’t working: “we got some data that said either it was in a bad place or it was not effective,” Taylor said of the digital cuts. “And we shut it down and said, ‘We’re not going to follow a formula of how much you spend or share of voice. We want every dollar to add value for the consumer or add value for our stakeholders.”

Previously P&G’s CFO had said that “the reduction in marketing that occurred was almost all in the digital space. And what it reflected was a choice to cut spending from a digital standpoint where it was ineffective: where either we were serving bots as opposed to human beings, or where the placement of ads was not facilitating the equity of our brands.”

Moeller also touched on the two most common complaints about digital advertising scams: advertisers are paying for ads that are viewed and clicked on by bots, not humans; and ads are placed by thousands of automated “ad exchanges” that are out of control of the advertiser on sites and pages that don’t match the advertiser’s products.

Commenting on this, in late July, Wolf Richter summarized the state of affairs as follows:

Marketing executives of other companies too have long railed against the murkiness of digital advertising, the false promises, the intractability of the Internet, the clicks and views by bots on which advertisers are wasting their money, and the billions of dollars that get blown without results. But getting a grip on what works and what doesn’t is hard.
There’s a larger issue: Retail spending (not adjusted for inflation) has grown on average 2.4% per year in the US over the past five years. Over the same period, digital advertising nearly doubled to $72.5 billion in 2016. Clearly, even digital advertising – despite the lure of Facebook and the like – cannot induce consumers overall to spend more and increase the size of the overall pie for advertisers. It can only, at best, divide up the pie differently.

And when one of the most sophisticated high-tech advertisers in the world decides it is overspending on digital advertising and is able to very carefully remove the rot, thus bringing down its cost without hurting its revenues, other companies will follow, with some consequences for the relentless but often ineffective surge of digital advertising dollars.

Of course, the implications to this admission that online advertising was either being gamed by bots, or generally underperforming were significant, as it jeopardized the future revenue streams of two of the biggest companies in the world, Alphabet (aka Google) and Facebook, both almost entirely reliant on online advertising. How long before other anchor names decided to similarly cut back on their online ad spending?  In short: slowly but surely, chronic buyers online advertising space, are slowly waking up to the fact that “adtech” may be one of the biggest hype (and hope) bubbles in history. Not all of it, but a material, substantial portion: one that may be responsible for a significant chunk of Google’s or Facebook’s cash flow and market cap.

A separate, if just as concerning problem emerged last month, when the WSJ reported that online ad giant, Google, would issue refunds to advertisers for ads bought through its platform that ran on sites with fake traffic, and generated no actionable advertising “clicks.” Just how much of Google’s ad revenue (and thus profits and market cap) had been inflated over the years by said “fake ads”?

So fast forward to last week, when during Thursday’s Global Retailing Conference organized by Goldman Sachs, Restoration Hardware delightfully colorful CEO, Gary Friedman, divulged the following striking anecdote about the company’s online marketing strategy, and the state of online ad spending in general (courtesy of @parsimony16). What Friedman revealed – in brief – was the following:

“[W]e’ve found out that 98% of our business was coming from 22 words. So, wait, we’re buying 3,200 words and 98% of the business is coming from 22 words. What are the 22 words? And they said, well, it’s the word Restoration Hardware and the 21 ways to spell it wrong, okay?“

Stated simply, the vast, vast majority of online ad spending is wasted, chasing clicks that simply are not there. Here is the full must read excerpt from the conference (full link here):

I’ll share a little anecdote with you on this point.
We had our marketing meeting in the company several years ago and the online marketing team was pitching to double their budget, right, and at the time, say, look, nobody in the company is doubling their budget. But tell me why you believe that’s the right thing to do. And they said, well, look, our customer acquisition cost and our ad cost is the lowest in the company. And I said, well, tell me about the data, show me how. And they said, well, people who click through the words that we buy on Google, the ad cost was lowest. And I said, how do you know that they’re clicking on the word and going to the website because of the word you bought versus they saw a store or they received a source book? They said, oh, we know.

I said, well, how many words do you buy? They said 3,200. 3,200 words. I said, well, what are the top words? How are they ranked, the ranking of the words? Oh, we don’t have that, right. And I was getting the look at like, oh, Gary is kind of one these old brick-and-mortar guys. He just doesn’t get it.

And I said, well, what are the top 10 words? And they didn’t have the information. I said, why don’t we cancel the meeting and come back next week when you have the data? I’m sure that Google sales representatives who are taking you to the expensive lunches and selling you the 3,200 words have that data. So why don’t we get the data and then let, review the data?

And they came back the next week and we sat in a meeting and all of a sudden, I can tell you there’s a little change in the faces. They had to wear it kind of down. Everybody kind of came in. I said, so what did we find out?

And they said, well, we’ve found out that 98% of our business was coming from 22 words. So, wait, we’re buying 3,200 words and 98% of the business is coming from 22 words. What are the 22 words? And they said, well, it’s the word Restoration Hardware and the 21 ways to spell it wrong, okay?

Immediately the next day, we cancelled all the words, including our own name. By the way, we are paying for the little shaded box above our words and said, oh no, we have to hang on to that because Pottery Barn might squat on top of us. I said, excuse me? I said, if someone goes to a mall or a shopping center and they’re going to Restoration Hardware and there’s a Pottery Bam there, they’re already squatting, okay? It doesn’t mean they’re going to go into their store. If somebody wanted to buy a diamond from Tiffany and just because Zale’s is sitting on top of them in a shaded box doesn’t mean they’re going to go to Zale’s and buy a diamond.

I mean, I can’t believe how many companies buy their own name and they’re paying Google millions of dollars a year for their own name, like maybe if this is webcast, right, a lot of people are going to go, holy crap. They’re going to look at their investments. They’d go, maybe we don’t need to buy our own name. Google’s market cap might go down…

One wonders how long before all retailers – most of whom are notoriously strapped for revenues and profits courtesy of Amazon – and other “power users” of online advertising, do a similar back of the envelope analysis, and find that they, like RH, are getting a bang for only 2% of their buck? What will happen to online ad spending then? And what will happen to the online ad giants, if the vast majority of ad spending that justified their hundreds of billions in market cap is exposed as “bloat”? As Friedman politely, yet sarcastically put it, “Googles market cap might go down.”


The Internet’s security key is about to change, and you could get locked out

The Internet's security key is about to change, and you could get locked out

For the first time ever, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is about to change the cryptographic keys that help secure the system which helps organise the Internet with the allotment of domain names such as .com, .org and .net- the Domain Name System (DNS).

This will ensure a safer Internet, but if network operators, Internet service providers and small networks do not make a small upgrade to their systems, they could end up getting locked out of the Internet, when the keys are changed on October 11, 2017.

Here is what is going to happen:

What is a cryptographic key?

The process of disguising information by scrambling it to make it unintelligible to an unauthorized person is called data encryption. The sequence that garbles the text that you write for an unintended recipient is called cryptographic key.

Why does ICANN’s main server use a cryptographic key?

To ensure that when you look up a website, you reach the address you wanted to reach.

This works like a bank locker. You have a key, and the bank has a key. When you want to access your locker, it will only open if both the keys are correct.

So when you type, say,, ICANN operated root server will provide the key for accessing “.com”, while the local server will provide the key for local domain, and only then can you access the website. This process takes only a few milliseconds and the end user hardly notices.

Why is this key being changed? 

Because it’s not good for a cryptographic key to live forever. It is like any password, and needs to be changed sometimes.

Also, it is better to do this proactively rather than reactively in an emergency, says ICANN.

Who needs to know or make changes before the key is changed?

Internet service providers, enterprise network operators and others who operate DNSSEC validation. They will have to update their systems with the public part of the encryption key.

What’s the impact on Internet users?

If completed smoothly, there will be no visible change for the end user.

What could go wrong?

It is possible that all systems of the world may not be able to update with the new key/password changes or some software managing the Internet may not be able to function properly. In such a case, ICANN will reverse the changes to maintain a stable state of the Internet.

This could last indefinitely or until the issues are resolved and stability restored to the Internet again.

What will you see if your network operator hasn’t updated his system to adapt to the change?

You will not be able to access anything on the Internet, and a message such as “Page not found” could pop up.