Spectacular Sunset, and Bonus Rainbow

Rainbows in Genesis 9:12-16:

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

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360 Degrees of “Traffic Acquisition Cost”

While dropping off my bike for a bit of maintenance recently, I noticed balloons, a table and the term “allo” in an area popular with University of Wisconsin students.

Unaware, I inquired of those staffing the table: what is allo(1)?

“Oh, it’s Google’s messaging app for iPhone and Android. Try it and get a free donut.”

Google is trying to get students to use its “free” messaging app. Allo competes with iOS iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp and many others.

It’s important to remember that Google, like Facebook and other surveillance capitalism (2) companies make their money by stalking people, then merging, refining and reselling our user information.

Curious, I dug deeper.

Google is apparently spending well into the five figures per “Big Ten” (3) campus. Students make at least $1000.00 per semester for several events, such as this donut giveaway. They may receive further bonuses based on allo usage. Locations, schedule and the “free” gift for using allo are arranged by someone at Google.

The accounting for an initiative such as this falls under “Traffic Acquisition Costs” (4).

Given Google’s chokehold on traditional internet (www) search, why bother with allo?

John Gapper explains in a recent article: “while Google faces the problem of the web itself degrading, which makes search less useful”. (5)

Smartphones are ubiquitous, and apps dominate smartphone activity. Thus, Google’s traditional method of copying and tracking all web activity does not generally apply to today’s most popular platforms. (6)

Thus, money spent promoting allo, which apparently allows Google to track, collect, refine and monetize personal information, may extend the firm’s reach deeper into the smartphone world.

Google does not give up.

Less than a week later, the Spotify app on my iPhone began to display an in app advertisement (below).

Waze is a GPS navigation app for iOS and Android devices. Waze is owned by Google.

A spotify subscriber, I’m not pleased to see such advertising techniques that detract from a paid experience.

Related: “When Data is Dangerous” by Bob Hoffman.

P.S. My inquiries included a somewhat surprising conversation regarding passive microphone listening on android devices.

1. Allo sends the wrong message about encryption. EFF.

2. surveillance capitalism.

3. The “Big Ten” isn’t. It’s fourteen.

4. Traffic Acquisition Cost links

5. John Gapper @FT.

6. Bob Hoffman on “corrupt” online advertising practices.

Digging Graves at AMC Theatres

I don’t go to movies often.

However, my dear family suggested that we see “The Big Sick“.

The movie was delightful, but the AMC experience, not great.

We viewed the film at Madison’s former Sundance Cinemas, now AMC “Dine-in”.

$45 for three of us, yet AMC subjected us to twenty (20!) minutes of previews. Four of the six were terrible, version 2 and 3 of why bother films. The last two, somewhat of an improvement, but after paying $15 each, the length of in your face advertising was beyond the pale.

All that said, I’m not terribly optimistic that the theatre world will abandon their invasive practices.

Reformation/500: Martin Luther’s Commentary on Genesis 1-4

Martin Luther (PDF):

With respect therefore to this opinion of Augustine, we conclude that Moses spoke literally and plainly and neither allegorically nor figuratively; that is, he means that the world with all creatures was created in six days as he himself expresses it. If we cannot attain unto a comprehension of the reason why it was so, let us still remain scholars and leave all the preceptorship to the Holy Spirit!

These days were distinguished thus. On the first day the unformed mass of heaven and earth was created to which light was then added. On the second day the firmament. On the third day the earth was produced out of the waters and its fruits created.

On the fourth day the heavens were adorned by the creation of the sun, moon and stars. On the fifth day the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air. On the sixth day the beasts of the earth were created, and Man was made. I say nothing of the other views which divide these sacred matters into the work of creation, of distinction, and of ornation, because I do not think such divisions of the subject can be made to harmonize in all respects with each other. If any one admire such views let him consult Lyra.

Rod Dreher pens an interesting article on President Trump and Christians.