Nile Rodgers: ‘Sadiq Khan seems like a totally cool guy’

The Chic frontman talks about Bowie tributes, working with Noel Gallagher and inviting London’s new mayor to his festival
Nile Rogers performs at British Summer Time 2015

Hello, Nile! Is it 4am where you are now?
Yes! I’m in a car on the way to the airport.

You’ve said in the past that you don’t sleep much. Do you think dreaming less has limited or boosted your creativity?
It has been this way since I was five years old. It seems mathematically impossible for me to feel good, but I do! I think I dream more — even if I’ve only been asleep for five minutes, I’ll always wake up thinking it’s the next day. I go right into REM sleep.

You’re bringing Fold, the festival you curate, to London this summer. Have you invited London’s new mayor?
That would be the genius. Just before I left my house, they had Sadiq’s remarks about Donald Trump on CNN. I would love him to come, that would be so super-cool. I’ll try and track him down. He can have VIP tickets, on me!

It’ll be the first music festival ever held at Fulham Palace. Do you think they’re worried people might dig up all the bishops buried there?
Well, I hope that doesn’t happen! Fold’s reputation is very safe, and people are just there to have a good time. I curate each one like a local festival, thinking about what will play well in that area. On the first night, I have Alison Moyet and the Thompson Twins; then we work our way up to funk night.

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And Beck’s playing on the second night!
Yeah! He performed with me at the last Fold in New York. I know Beck quite well — we met at an Elton John party where Chic were the entertainment. I pulled Beck aside on the red carpet, told him I wanted to work with him. We ended up in the studio. That’s a perk of Fold — I set aside a week during rehearsals to work with as many artists as I can on new recordings.

Noel Gallagher recently said he was a big fan. Would you record with him?
If I worked with Noel, we’d figure out something great. I love him! He’s amazing. He must be incredibly shy because he always threatens to come to our gigs and never shows up. Maybe I should invite him to Fold. Dude, you just gave me an idea! Let’s get him on stage at Fold. I’m going to try to get in touch with him when I get back home.



A new Chic album was due out last year. Is it finished yet?
Originally, the album was going to be based on unreleased Chic material, but I started to feel that, as an artist, I’ve learned a lot in the 20 years since [Chic’s bass guitarist] Bernard [Edwards] passed away, and it felt unfair to limit the album. But I’m working on it. I was in California a couple of weeks ago working with Lady Gaga, and the next day I started writing a song with Miguel; it was so good I sang it to Justin Timberlake over the phone, and he, loved it.

Can you sing the song to me now?
I can’t do that! The hook will be out there, and someone will sample it. But it’s catchy. I can’t tell you about the Lady Gaga music, either, but I can tell you one thing — it’s funky.

Nile Rodgers performs at Hyde Park in 2015
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Nile Rodgers performs at Hyde Park in 2015 Photograph: Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images
As well as the London festival, you’ve got a Fold happening in New York, featuring Bette Midler and the Village People. What does Bette have planned?
We haven’t figured it out yet. It’s the first time we’re performing together, but we go back a long way — when Chic was signed to Atlantic and had our first hit, the president of Atlantic wanted us to work with Bette Midler or the Rolling Stones. Instead, we chose Sister Sledge and came up with songs like Lost in Music and He’s the Greatest Dancer.

So, in a parallel universe, the Rolling Stones ended up recording We Are Family?
Well, therein lies the rub: the Stones had their way of doing things. I don’t think they’d have sat back on the couch and let me and Bernard write all their songs.

What’s your favourite Village People deep cut?
I like the record that broke them — San Francisco. Their first album is a compositional genius; I heard it around the same time I heard Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby, and those records inspired me to come up with the whole Chic concept. People see them as a novelty, but what is Kiss? What is Slipknot? It’s funny that rock bands do the novelty thing and get away with it.

Did you view Gaga’s Grammys Bowie tribute as a success?
Yes – and more. We had a massive job: Gaga wanted to tell David’s story in music, and I had to remind her we only had a five-minute segment. We figured out a way to make it work. A lot of people don’t understand that we gave a lot of thought to it; it was just as much my input as hers.

Good luck with the festival, Nile!
Thanks! And if you can hook me up with the mayor, tell him it’s an open invitation! He seems like a cool guy.

I’ll get him to bring Noel along.
Awesome. That would be the ultimate hookup.

Shipping from GitHub to Maven Central and S3, using Travis-CI

If you use GitHub and SBT and need to deliver your artifacts to Maven Central, you want it to be simple to installation and control. We’ve compiled some commands on how our SBT plugin can assist

As a part of open sourcing our scala-automation framework, we wanted to open the build and artifacts and placed them in the cloud. Our necessities had been simple. Firstly, we wanted to run our automated exams on every decide to scala-automation. Secondly, to make matters easy for customers, we desired that allows you to kick off a launch via without a doubt tagging the grasp department with the model quantity we desired to release. For us, a release consists of each sending signed binaries to Maven Central and publishing a beneficial changelog on the net. Finally, we wanted to avoid making commits back to our GitHub repo throughout the release technique, as is executed by the sbt-launch plugin.

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Our plugin is based on sbt-git, sbt-sonatype, sbt-pgp and sbt-s3, so you need to fulfil their necessities to use it.

Follow the steps beneath to apply our plugin to your own SBT challenge.

Step 1: Setting up your PGP key and Sonatype account
Set up the sbt-sonatype plugin as in step with the SBT documentation: http://www.Scala-sbt.Org/0.Thirteen/docs/Using-Sonatype.Html

Test that you could run sbt put up-signed and sbt sonatypeReleaseAll the use of http://www.Scala-sbt.Org/sbt-pgp/ and https://github.Com/xerial/sbt-sonatype



Step 2: Preparing your Secrets
Firstly, add the subsequent line to your .Gitignore

Secondly, reproduction your pubring.Gpg and secring.Gpg to the mission listing as local.Pubring.Gpg and neighborhood.Secring.Gpg.

Finally, move your secrets and techniques to a brand new file neighborhood.Credentials.Sbt as follows:

import com.Typesafe.Sbt.SbtPgp._

// this has to move in an sbt record because if we use an external
// credentials residences document it ignores it
credentials += Credentials(
“Sonatype Nexus Repository Manager”,

pgpPassphrase := Some(“<PGP_PASSPHRASE>”.ToCharArray)

credentials += Credentials(
“Amazon S3”,
Background: Why use Travis CI?
Travis is an established cloud-based totally construct gadget, free for open supply tasks. It takes your source and a special .Travis.Yml build definition from your public repo, runs the construct on a build engine, and reviews the high level end result. Other functions include robotically emailing you while your builds finish, and updating the widget on GitHub pull requests with the build repute.

There are numerous matters I like approximately Travis – you don’t need to manipulate or pay for the servers, it’s tried and examined, and it’s quite simple. Unfortunately, not like many other build structures, Travis doesn’t encompass an included report save to your construct output – handiest the console output is retained and it’s as much as you to shop artifacts somewhere else. Since Amazon S3 affords storage and internet access, and has an sbt-s3 plugin, it’s a terrific region to keep any vital documents.

Shipping from a construct engine is repeatable and at ease, and access can be controlled thru the repository.

Step three: Encrypting your mystery documents
It’s easy to encrypt variables using the travis command – see http://medical doctors.Travis-ci.Com/person/encryption-keys/

Choose a robust encryption password. It is important that it is sturdy because humans can down load your encrypted documents and brute force assault them regionally. You gained’t have to kind this password regularly.

Firstly, run these commands to let Travis CI realize your password.

Gem install travis
Secondly, encrypt your mystery documents together with your password.

Openssl aes-256-cbc -in nearby.Secring.Gpg -out secring.Gpg.Enc -skip pass:<YOUR_ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD>
openssl aes-256-cbc -in nearby.Pubring.Gpg -out pubring.Gpg.Enc -pass skip:<YOUR_ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD>
openssl aes-256-cbc -in local.Credentials.Sbt -out credentials.Sbt.Enc -pass bypass:<YOUR_ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD>
Finally, edit .Travis.Yml to feature these lines. This tells travis to decrypt your files for the duration of the build.

It it critical to apply $ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD as proven and not substitute your actual password here as this record can be unencrypted for your repository.

– openssl aes-256-cbc -bypass bypass:$ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD -in secring.Gpg.Enc -out nearby.Secring.Gpg -d
– openssl aes-256-cbc -bypass pass:$ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD -in pubring.Gpg.Enc -out neighborhood.Pubring.Gpg -d
– openssl aes-256-cbc -pass bypass:$ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD -in credentials.Sbt.Enc -out neighborhood.Credentials.Sbt -d
Now whilst the Travis build runs, the documents must be decrypted robotically.

Background: Generating a Change Log
Usually, users need a first rate changelog in order that they recognize whether or no longer to take a new version. I preferred the idea, however didn’t like more problem of writing it. I determined to percentage the trouble with the aid of pulling the changelog from the git records, thereby making it everyone’s task. I determined that most of the commits were too low stage to encompass, however pull requests typically offer useful facts, and with the default remark that github includes, I should hyperlink lower back to the pull request from a changelog.

For implementation, I decided that it’d be simplest to parse the output of git log with parser combinators, and rework it to HTML. You can see my implementation here.

Generating the changelog become excellent, but I had to add it someplace. I decided AWS S3 would do, as you could store static files there cost effectively and serve them over HTTP.

I determined a sbt-s3 plugin at https://github.Com/sbt/sbt-s3 and determined to use that for my plugin.

Step four: Configuring the sbt-sonatype-launch plugin
Firstly, edit your project/plugins.Sbt and add this line:

addSbtPlugin(“com.Gu” % “sbt-sonatype-launch” % “1.Zero”)
Next edit your construct.Sbt to configure the plugin:

lazy val root = (project in file(“.”)).EnablePlugins(ShipAutoPlugin)

pgpSecretRing := report(“neighborhood.Secring.Gpg”)

pgpPublicRing := document(“neighborhood.Pubring.Gpg”)

mappings in add ++= Seq((new java.Io.File(“medical doctors/changelog.Css”),”changelog.Css”))

host in upload := “YOUR_S3_BUCKET.S3.Amazonaws.Com”
Finally, ensure your .Travis.Yml runs the sbt-sonatype-release goal:

script: sbt testAndOptionallyShip
Step 5: Kicking off a Release
Since Travis is driven from GitHub, we need to indicate inside the repo whilst we want a brand new launch to take place. The cleanest workflow is to tag grasp with the model variety we need to launch, then the build can do a little extra steps to do the release.

To kick off a release – in this situation v1.Zero – simply run the subsequent two instructions:

git tag -a v1.Zero -m “new edition shipped”
git push origin v1.Zero
Check Travis CI to monitor your construct. Once it has completed, your artifacts should be available.

We have installation an SBT challenge to deliver to Maven Central and save a changelog to AWS the use of the sbt-sonatype-release plugin. Now, whenever the grasp department is tagged vN.NN a new edition will mechanically ship.

Flash is lifeless, and YouTube dealt the killing blow

Will all people leave out Flash when it’s gone? Maybe, if this internet hits spark some nostalgia
Flash is useless, long stay Fl– honestly, no, scratch that, Flash is lifeless and it deserved to die. Flash is terrible.

The killer blows to Adobe’s multimedia browser plugin had been added this week in a one-two punch. Firstly, customers of Flash had been left open to not one but two “0-day” vulnerabilities inside the same week, affecting customers of Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Almost right now, hackers were capable of abuse these flaws to dump malware on Windows PCs, which led Mozilla to disable the plugin completely till customers had updated to an at ease version.

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Then on Tuesday, YouTube – the biggest issuer of Flash video ever – introduced that it would stop serving its videos the use of the plugin for all and sundry traveling the site in a cutting-edge browser.

“There have been limitations that held it again from turning into our desired platform for video transport,” wrote the web page’s engineering supervisor, Richard Leider, four years ago. “Most severely, HTML5 lacked support for Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) that lets us show you greater films with less buffering.

“Over the closing four years, we’ve labored with browser carriers and the wider network to close the one’s gaps, and now, YouTube uses HTML5 by default in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and in beta versions of Firefox.”



The writing has been on the wall for Flash for nearly a decade – ever for the reason that iPhone launched in 2007 with no help for the plugin. At the time, Apple became lambasted for its absence; the enterprise worked with Google to create a standalone YouTube app, however many other web sites have been best partially useful till they bowed to person pressure and constructed “cellular friendly.”

Three years later, the pressure changed into such that Steve Jobs wrote an unprecedented missive publicly addressing the enterprise’s persisted refusal to consist of the software program. “Flash became created for the duration of the PC technology – for PCs and mice,” he argued. “Flash is a success enterprise for Adobe, and we will recognize why they want to push it past PCs. But the mobile technology is about low-strength devices, touch interfaces, and open net requirements – all areas in which Flash falls briefly.”

A 12 months after Jobs’ letter, Adobe killed the cellular Flash participant for Android devices, completely withdrawing from the publish-PC world.

With YouTube following suit, it doesn’t appear like lengthy until the participant is a relic of the web beyond. But before all of us uninstall it, perhaps it’s time to appearance returned at the superb hits of Flash gone with the aid of.

The End of the World

“Fire ze missiles.”
“Fire ze missiles” Photograph: End of the World
Time changed into; Flash animations dominated the internet. The End of the World wasn’t the nice of them, now not the first, but it turned into one that completely exemplified the medium for a long time. Scratchy amateurish drawings with worse animation, horrific caricatures of George Bush, and jokes which don’t genuinely make the experience, it was a surefire viral hit.

Xiao Xiao

Xiao Xiao fights.
Xiao Xiao fights. Photograph: Newgrounds.Com
But amateurish animation doesn’t necessarily suggest inelegantly. Xiao Xiao, a nine-part collection which commenced in April 2001, started as just stick figures fighting in a featureless room, and static photographs don’t do it justice: the beauty is in motion. Over the route of the collection’ progression, the animation got better and higher, but even from the primary episode, what stood out changed into elegant choreography that could put Hollywood to disgrace. He breaks a stick and kicks it right into a man’s face! Eleven-yr-vintage me concept this become awesome.

Salad Fingers

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Created with the aid of the British cartoonist David Firth, Salad Fingers felt like one of the first flash animations that went completely viral, inhabiting normal popular culture as well as the bizarre internet one. That was mainly because it became relentlessly, inexplicably creepy. Salad Fingers is a green man with bizarre hands and a more bizarre voice. He wants to stroke your rusty kettle. He likes spoons.

The collection continues to be, once in a while, being produced, with the maximum current episode popping out in 2013.

Weebl and Bob

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Another British creation Weebl and Bob are wobbly eggs who like pie. That set-up took the animation via over 100 episodes, onto MTV in a series of certified indents, and a made for DVD special. The author, Jonti Picking, changed into also employed using Anchor Butter to make adverts for the product proposing cows instead of eggs.

The noughties were weird.

Homestar Runner

Homestar Runner and Marzipan stroll within the snow.
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Homestar Runner and Marzipan walk inside the snow. Photograph: HomestarRunner.Com
The undoubted famous person of early Flash animations is Homestar Runner. Another comedy collection, initially starring Homestar Runner himself, it soon sprawled into a whole host of related collection – and spawned a good larger superstar than its lead inside the shape of Strong Bad, an irritated Mexican wrestler who responds to readers emails and mocks typos. When a new episode was dropped without warning in October 2014, the internet freaked out – and with motive.


The Helicopter Game
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This easy flight sim, which calls for you to deftly faucet the mouse button to keep your chopper airborne, is one of the maximum performed Flash games inside the records of the platform. It’s also absolutely an influence on certainly one of the most important phone gaming hits of 2013: Flappy Bird. Be warned: in case you begin playing it, you likely gained get whatever else done nowadays.

Functional Programming Principles in Scala: Setting up IntelliJ

Tips and hints from software program developers on the way to installation your IntelliJ IDE to paintings well with Coursera’s Functional Programming Principles in Scala course
The IntelliJ IDE, properly installation for Scala
The IntelliJ IDE, properly installation for Scala
Coursera’s Functional Programming Principles in Scala course has kicked off, and we’re very well taking part in it so far. However, Scala is one of the principal languages we use and we opt to use IntelliJ in place of the officially-supported Eclipse. It took a chunk of tinkering, but we’ve got compiled a listing of instructions for purchasing IntelliJ up and strolling with the path’s assignments. If, like us, you’d as a substitute use IntelliJ, then read on!

We’ll count on (on the grounds that you’ve got a choice) which you have already got IntelliJ set up and have introduced the Scala plugin. We’ll also count on you have observed the route’s instructions on installing SBT, so do that now if you haven’t already. These instructions, on the whole, apply to Unix-like working systems (OSX and Linux) with a command line and a general domestic listing. If you manage to follow those instructions on Windows (or have an opportunity method), please let us know the feedback underneath.

For this walkthrough, we’re going to use the introductory example project, but you could use the identical commands for the primary week’s project and – we expect – destiny weeks will work the equal way.

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The first step is to get set-idea, which is an SBT plugin that mechanically generates the files IntelliJ desires to run a Scala task. To use the plugin, upload the subsequent line in your ~/.Sbt/plugins/build.Sbt record (you could create the directories if they do not exist).

AddSbtPlugin(“com.Github.Mpeltonen” %% “set-idea” % “1.1.Zero-M2-TYPESAFE”)
Then, down load the mission’s zip record from the internet site and extract it to anyplace, you need to paintings on the assignments.

From within your newly extracted directory, open an SBT console (by typing set) and run:




This will create an IntelliJ mission and ensure all of the mission’s dependencies are included. More data about the sbt-idea plugin is in this StackOverflow thread or the plugin’s documentation.

Don’t worry in case you see a few warnings – SBT is quite noisy, and unless there are any severe mistakes, it’s commonly simply grumbling.

SBT complaining about things
SBT complaining approximately things
Now open IntelliJ and select File > Open Project

Your listing should now end up an IntelliJ mission
Your directory ought to now come to be an IntelliJ mission
The set-concept plugin has already become this listing into an IntelliJ challenge, so it has to appear with the IntelliJ emblem, as within the screenshot above.

With the assignment now open, we’re going to need to do a chunk of config to make it paintings efficiently. This is because the zip document you download genuinely includes a few one of a kind initiatives. For instance, there is a submission undertaking within it that looks after submitting your work to be marked. While these initiatives are required to make the submission system work, we don’t need to fear approximately it inside the IDE while we are working on the assignments.

Go to File, Project Structure and pick out the “Modules” segment if it isn’t already highlighted.

Your project shape should display three modules
Your venture shape must show three modules
In the second one panel, you need to see three modules, “task”, “project-construct” and “submission.” The mission is your actual paintings, so cross in advance and remove the alternative two.

It ought to then look like the subsequent screenshot:

Just one module ultimate
Just one module closing
Next, you could put off the resources folders from the sources src/important/resources and src/check/resources. These are highlighted in red because IntelliJ can’t locate them (they don’t exist).

The purple
The crimson “lacking” folders at the moment are gone
Now we want to tell the IntelliJ to use the Scala Compiler and Library while running code inside the task.

Select the Scala facet beneath the task challenge:

Note the
Note the “Settings” hyperlink along the “Use undertaking FSC” checkbox
Where it says “Use assignment FSC,” we’re going to need to click on Settings to configure the compiler. In the “Project FSC” phase, choose “Scala-2.9.2” from the drop down field and click OK.

Make certain to pick your Compiler library
Make sure to select your Compiler library
It may additionally nonetheless say “2 errors determined” at the bottom of the venture settings however these are just unused libraries, so cross in advance and close the settings. (If you do determine to tidy it up, do not delete the Scala-2.9.2 library – IntelliJ may additionally say it is not using it however you may fast see that it is fibbing).

The Helicopter Game
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This easy flight sim, which calls for you to deftly faucet the mouse button to keep your chopper airborne, is one of the maximum performed Flash games inside the records of the platform. It’s also absolutely an influence on certainly one of the most important phone gaming hits of 2013: Flappy Bird. Be warned: in case you begin playing it, you likely gained’t get whatever else done nowadays.

Now you ought to be up and walking! To test that it’s far operating, open up the ListsSuite.Scala document and strive strolling the exams. They need to run successfully and (until you’ve got already constant them) you should see that six assessments had been run, four of which failed.

Success! Your IDE is now geared up to head.
Success! Your IDE is now prepared to go.
Now you are ready to tackle the example assignment in IntelliJ and then with any luck move on to the path itself. Success!

Jobseekers’ website spammed with CVs by means of activists

Unpopular Universal Jobmatch site bypassed with a browser plugin that robotically sends CV to more than one advertisers
The Universal Automation plugin in movement.

An organization of techno-activists has devised a manner of sending CVs to multiple employers at the authorities’ respectable job seekers’ web page, in protest at terrible-quality ads and “the drudgery of labor.”

Developed through “a loose collective of individuals who perceive as anarchists and paintings within the tech industry,” the Universal Automation plugin, which changed into brought to the Chrome net store in early December, mimics the movement of a real-lifestyles job seeker. After the consumer searches for a task, with one click, the plugin robotically sends a CV to each function advertised on the first page of the outcomes.

“I’m certain you carried out for jobs on the internet before, and also you realize it’s the maximum tedious thing to do,” said one of the builders, who have asked to stay anonymous. “Most of the time you’re just sending the CV to as many locations as you could and hope that you will get a reaction.

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“With Universal Jobmatch it’s even worse,” the activist instructed  “The majority of postings at the web site are unsolicited mail. If they may be now not outright tries at identification robbery, loads of them (and I imply loads, I could say up to ninety% on a few queries) are 1/3-birthday party posts which can be robotically reposted on the website online and hyperlink to their web sites.



“Now those who use Universal Jobmatch do so due to the fact they’re pressured to accomplish that, and they may also be pressured to use to jobs published immediately on it, so that they may be monitored using process centers.”

More extensively, but, the collective is aiming to highlight the drudgery of work in standard.

“We need to examine structural problems, such as the role of unemployment in the capitalist financial system in well known and also the specific condition of British economic system in the meanwhile. Most of the work we do is at high-quality socially vain and at worst actively harmful. Constant banging on approximate strivers, tough-operating households, the squeezed center and so forth is only intended to obscure that,” said the activist.

“At the identical time, people who do crucial paintings that make this global an awesome place to stay are a goal of constant assaults as shirkers and scroungers and forced into destitution.”

When Iain Duncan Smith announced in December 2012 that the Universal Jobmatch internet site turned into to be obligatory for all jobseekers, fears have been raised that the website online could be flooded with bogus jobs.

At the time, Duncan Smith said that most effective 6,000 jobs had been blocked as inappropriate, and 27 employers eliminated.

The website online requires jobseekers to give an explanation for why they have got became down a task, and are handiest supplied a restricted wide variety of motives. In December, Duncan Smith defined that “if the adviser thinks they’re quite specious reasons, he may also name you in and say, ‘We suppose you need to be making use of for these jobs.'”

Against that historical past, it is easier for jobseekers to just observe for each activity going than exercising judgment over whether a specific application is well worth their time – as a result the advent of the Universal Automation plugin.

“The concept is so apparent it is a marvel nobody has completed that yet,” its developer stated. “If absolutely everyone can use this extension to get their blessings for a few weeks longer, to avoid being compelled into workfare at Poundland, or to have a silent satisfaction of sticking a middle finger to Iain Duncan Smith or their task center adviser, it’s a victory.”

The Department of Work and Pensions become not available for comment.

Mobile Flash is being killed off. The plugin that released a thousand online discussion board arguments and an era standoff among Apple and the layout’s writer, Adobe, will not be developed for cell browsers, the enterprise stated in a observe to accompany an economic briefing to analysts.

Instead, the organization will receive recognition on improvement around HTML5 technologies, which enable contemporary browsers to do the equal functions as Flash did but with out relying on Adobe’s proprietary technology, and which can be applied throughout structures.

The present plugins for the Android and BlackBerry systems can be given trojan horse fixes and protection updates, the employer stated in a declaration first found out by way of ZDNet. But similarly, development will cease.

John Nack, a fundamental product supervisor at Adobe, commented on his non-public blog (which does not always mirror Adobe views) that: “Adobe pronouncing that Flash on cell is not the exceptional direction ahead [isn’t the same as] Adobe conceding that Flash on cellular (or some other place) is bad generation. Its satisfactory is irrelevant if it is no longer allowed to run, and if it’s not allowed to run, then Adobe will need to locate exclusive approaches to meet customers’ wishes.”

Around 250m iOS (iPhone, iPod Touches, and iPad) gadgets were sold given that 2007. There are no clear figures for how many are actually in use. More currently Larry Page, leader government of Google, said that a total of 190m Android devices had been activated. It isn’t always clean how many of the ones include a Flash plugin inside the browser.

At the begin of 2011, round 20m gadgets had Flash in the browser, Adobe said, and it anticipated that by using the stop of this 12 months the total could be 200m.


‘Literally’ figuratively destroyed by program to remove the word’s misuse

A new browser plug-in displays all instances of the much-abused adverb as its traditional opposite. It’s a figurative blast

My favorite misuse of “literally” came from an August editor at an August publishing house. A debut novel, she declared to a group of journalists, had “literally broken her heart.” We all, of course, then made sure to steer well clear.

Not being a football follower, I didn’t know that Jamie Redknapp had formed in this area, however, and I’m rather impressed. I think “he had to cut back inside on to his left because he hasn’t got a right foot” is brilliantly surreal.

Anyway, Slate has brought music to the ears of grammar sticklers everywhere, pointing us towards an ingenious new browser plug-in which replaces the word “literally” with “figuratively” on articles across the web. (“That’s all it does,” writes the developer on the extension’s site; it already has one, five-star review: “This is figuratively the best invention of all time,” says a user, predictably enough.)

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Slate gave it a whirl: “a quick Google News search for ‘literally’ turns up the following headlines, modified by the browser extension to a state of unintentional accuracy: The 2014 MTV Movie Awards Were Figuratively on Fire; 10 Things You Figuratively Do Not Have Time For; Momentum Is Figuratively the Next Starting Pitcher for LSU,” it says.



Unfortunately, the plug-in is not able to spot the correct usage of the word literally, “so if you install it, you’ll also start seeing the word ‘figuratively’ to describe things that are literally true, as in, ‘White Sox Rookie Abreu Figuratively Destroys a Baseball.’ (The baseball was in fact destroyed),” says Slate.

This could be a fatal flaw in the invention – but you know what? I think it makes it even better. The linguistic abuse of literally has got out of control – even the OED now includes an informal definition of literally as “used for emphasis while not being true.” Now it is time for figuratively to suffer, starting off with the figurative destruction of that baseball, an enjoyably surreal image to rival that of Redknapp’s one-legged footballer. As for me, I’m figuratively installing the extension as I write.

Twitter users are no longer able to set their background pictures as they browse the site after the company quietly turned off the much-loved feature and replaced backgrounds with a uniform light gray.

User-set backgrounds will still be visible when a specific user’s feed, or individual tweet, is visited. But when browsing the home timeline, users are now faced with a plain background, rather than one of their own choice.

The change was initially made without an announcement, prompting many users to wonder if the site had broken, but a Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the update was deliberate.

“We’re removing background images from the home and notifications timelines on the web for all users,” the company told Engadget. “Now, background images are only available where logged-in users will see them publicly [Tweet pages, list pages, and collections pages].”

The reversal through Adobe – and its choice to focus on the open HTML5 platform for mobile – brings to an cease a protracted and tumultuous row between Apple and Adobe over the usefulness of Flash on the cell platform. The iPhone released in 2007 without Flash capability, as did the iPad in 2010.

Steve Jobs, then Apple’s leader government, and Apple’s engineers insisted that Flash changed into a “battery hog” and introduced safety and balance flaws; Adobe countered that it become widely applied in desktop PCs and used extensively on the internet.

“The ability to use whatever words we want is one of our most basic freedoms, yet the NSA’s growing surveillance of electronic speech threatens our first amendment rights,” said Grosser.

“All ScareMail does is add words from the English language to emails written by users of the software. By doing so, ScareMail reveals one of the primary flaws of the NSA’s surveillance efforts: words do not equal intent.”

ScareMail is available as a plugin for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and the source code is free for all at Github.

The selection also increases a query mark over the destiny of Flash on computing device PCs. Security vulnerabilities in Flash at the desktop had repeatedly been exploited to contaminate PCs in the beyond 18 months, while Microsoft has additionally said that the default browser in its approaching Windows eight device, anticipated on the giving up of 2012, will now not include the Flash plugin by way of default. Apple, which inside the third sector captured 5% of the world market, does not consist of Flash in its computers using the default.

John Nack, a fundamental product supervisor at Adobe, commented on his non-public blog (which does not always mirror Adobe views) that: “Adobe pronouncing that Flash on cell is not the exceptional direction ahead [isn’t the same as] Adobe conceding that Flash on cellular (or some other place) is bad generation. Its satisfactory is irrelevant if it is no longer allowed to run, and if it’s not allowed to run, then Adobe will need to locate exclusive approaches to meet customers’ wishes.”

Some users have speculated that the changes are to pave the way for adverts which take over the whole background.

The change has upset some users, who appreciated the ability to personalize their Twitter experience, and one has created a chrome plugin to undo the change. Mika, a coder, based in Leipzig, Germany, released the Twitter Background Restorer on Github on Tuesday morning. “I bet there’s gonna be paid-for background ads now,” Mika said this morning. “People are defending it in the comments with ‘good, people were myspacing it up anyway’ – you can still see the background on individual tweets!”

Just Not Sorry: the email plug-in that will make you more assertive

Women use too much self-deprecating language in their emails, apparently – but can a new Gmail add-on help them communicate with more authority?

Name: Sorry.

Age: As old as human error.

Appearance: Apologetic.

Sorry? You mean the word? Yes, the word. That’s the only possible thing I could mean.

All right, sorry. Don’t apologize. Not if you want to be taken seriously. There’s an app for it.

An app for apologizing? No, an app for not apologizing. Or, rather, a new optional plug-in for Gmail that alerts you whenever you use apologetic or qualifying words such as “sorry” or “just.” It’s called Just Not Sorry and underlines the words in red as if they are typos.

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Right. Sorry to be thick, but why? Because they are thought to undermine your authority. It’s being marketed as a way for women to communicate with men in the workplace.



Do they need that? There is a sense – and patchy formal linguistic evidence – that women use more circumlocutions, self-negating words and diffident phrasings in speech and writing that can lead others to misperceive what is being asked or required of them.

But what if you are sorry about something? Then you may ignore the red underline.

Can women do that? I thought they were great rule followers as well? Just so funny. Well done.

OK then – how about: what if suddenly leaping eight rungs up the authoritarian ladder induces more hostility than respect? How so?

Well, language is a delicate dance, innit? You can’t just suddenly start talking or writing about something you’re not. People pull away. Then that’s very sexist of them.

Maybe, but you can’t force them to change. At least, not without putting yourself at a massive personal disadvantage in the meantime. You mean, adopting the commanding tones of a military officer when you have hitherto been known as a mousy secretary may make a valuable wider point but end up doing you more harm than good?

Exactly. I see. Well, you could always install the plug-in but perhaps consider it an advisory service rather than a dictator.

Right. More Microsoft Word paper clip than Académie française. It’s a slow business, this feminism lark, isn’t it?

It is, I’m afraid, yes. Sorry. Just stop.

Do say: “What if you misspell ‘just’ and ‘sorry’ as well?”

Don’t say: “Double underlines, maybe? We didn’t plan for that, sorry.”

ScareMail plugin will flag all your email to the NSA
Gmail plugin appends scary-sounding gibberish to the bottom of all your mail – and the aim is to clog the spies’ filters
A supporter of NSA leaker Edward Snowden holds a picture of US president Obama.

An Illinois-based digital artist has created a Gmail plugin that automatically adds blacklisted words to every email in an attempt to protest against online surveillance.

Ben Grosser has designed the ScareMail plugin in a way that, he says, will ensure that even benign emails are picked up by the security filters of America’s National Security Agency.

Grosser’s idea takes the opposite tack to encryption tools including PGP and Silent Text, and to the IP-masking service Tor, which is designed to hide the contents of messages or the sender.

“One of the strategies used by the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) email surveillance programs is the detection of predetermined keywords. These “selectors,” as they refer to them internally, are used to identify communications by presumed terrorists,” said Grosser.

“Large collections of words have thus become codified as something to fear, as an indicator of intent. The result is a governmental surveillance machine run amok, algorithmically collecting and searching our digital communications in a futile effort to predict behaviors based on words in emails.”

ScareMail generates a chunk of text to append to the end of every email sent, containing as many selectors as possible.

“If every email contains the word ‘plot’ or ‘facility,'” Grosser writes, “then searching for those words becomes a fruitless exercise. A search that returns everything is a search that returns nothing of use.”

The text is deliberately gibberish to a human eye but formatted in such a way that it can’t easily be discounted by a computer. A sample paragraph reads: “‘I’m sorry. One crashes to fail careful.’ He mutated but had not important; we mustn’t vaccinate Palestine Liberation Organisation, seem it!'”

The plugin warns recipients by prefacing the text with the warning “Following Text Generated by ScareMail” — which would make it trivial for the NSA to ignore it in its current form.

“Our destiny paintings with Flash on mobile gadgets will be targeted on enabling Flash builders to bundle local apps with Adobe Air for all the major app stores,” Adobe stated in the declaration. “We will no longer adapt Flash Player for cellular gadgets to new browser, OS model or tool configurations.

“Some of our supply code licensees might also favor keeping running on and liberating their implementations. We will keep aiding the present day Android and PlayBook configurations with crucial trojan horse fixes and safety updates.”

The decision comes as Adobe plans to reduce 750 group of workers, basically in North America and Europe. An Adobe spokesperson declined to provide any figures for the volume of layoffs within the UK. The employer reiterated its expectation that it will meet revenue objectives for the fourth area.


Sky’s internet service mistakenly blocks web-critical plugin

Sky blocked jQuery, a plugin crucial to the operation of many of the internet’s biggest websites, after wrongly classifying it as malware on Sunday night

A plugin critical to the operation of thousands of websites was disabled for hours by Sky Broadband’s parental content filters over Sunday night and Monday morning.

Access to the website was blocked by Sky’s content filters after the domain was mistakenly listed in the “malware and phishing” category. The site hosts code for jQuery, a code library which is used by over three-quarters of the top ten-thousand websites to ease the burden of creating responsive websites

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“JQuery was temporarily blocked this morning having been misclassified. Our review process kicked in shortly afterward, and the site was unblocked just over an hour later,” said Sky in a statement.



Without jQuery, sites like Google are unable to deliver the sort of instant response which internet users expect, and are forced to fall back to designs which require the entire page to be refreshed every time it is changing. The code required to enable those instant responses is usually hosted on one of three “content delivery networks,” run by Google, Microsoft and jQuery itself. It was this latter CDN which was blocked by Sky.

It is unknown how jQuery ended up classified as malware, and for exactly how long it was blocked, although it was eventually removed from the list at 9:45 am and understands that the most likely explanation is that an actual malware site was using code hosted on jQuery, causing the latter to be incorrectly categorised.

Due to the malware label, the network was even blocked for users who had selected “18+” on Sky’s content filters. Only those users who opted out entirely could access a fully working internet.

The news adds a further twist to the debate over opt-in content filters. Despite being introduced by most major ISPs in the midst of a debate about access to porn and child protection, the filters block far more than just sexually explicit material.

For instance, Sky Broadband Shield’s main filter also blocks sites classed as “dating,” “cyber bullying” and “anonymisers, filesharing, and hacking,” while BT’s parental controls offer parents the option of blocking “sex education” and “social networking” categories.

Some sites have been incorrectly filed in these categories; in December, for example, an LGBT charity in the capital called London Friend was blocked by TalkTalk having been classified as “pornographic.”
Thought you missed out on having your emotions tweaked by Facebook’s mood manipulation back in 2012? This free Chrome plugin is for you.

The brand new Facebook Mood Manipulator Chrome extension gives users the power to control their emotions by modifying their Facebook news feeds accordingly.

“Why should Zuckerberg get to decide how you feel? Take back control,” says Lauren McCarthy, the New York-based developer of the plugin on her site.

Happy Mood
As positive as it gets Photograph: Lauren McCarthy
Installing the plugin gives users four sliders for positive, emotional, aggressive and open emotions, which use the same system that Facebook used for its emotional contagion study, called Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC), to analyze the words in posts and remove those that don’t fit within the selected parameters.

“But with internet advertising and marketing we do not but have this dedication to nice: we have beside the point, out-of-context flashing banners and occasional fee advert network gifs about losing weight in a single smooth trick. We have rollovers that cross ‘over’ without being ‘rolled.’ There are autoplay video commercials, and lots else, to disrupt the enjoy.”

The debate isn’t approximately the pursuits of Adblock Plus, but the methods. “I do assume there is some thing slightly sanctimonious approximately Adblock,” says Smith. “I surprise if they’d be more successful as a strain group campaigning to make the web better, rather than a tollbooth for on line content.”

“Ironically… Adblock Plus is itself funded through marketing, via the whitelisted publishers,” adds Blanchard. “Overall, I assume it’d be fine for the Acceptable Advertising movement if an alternative business model can be determined.”

But the plugin also has a few unlikely allies. “I think they’re doing an amazing thing blocking off the one’s advertisements. It’s for the coolest of advertisers,” says Princely Bibi, a research specialist at advert organization Coast Digital. “People have to be able to select whether they may be served advertisements. Advertising is ready offering a carrier, so I must have a choice approximately what commercials are shown to me and what ads aren’t proven to me.”

Adblock Plus’s spokesperson says: “It’s likely a protracted manner off, but the logical final results of Acceptable Ads is a day with simplest marginal adblocking use – because advertisers might have eventually found out that they do now not want to annoy users. So in that feel, you can say that if our initiative is successful, it’ll lessen the desirability of the usage of ABP or different adblockers – that’s part of the reason that we want to increase additional merchandise with [parent company] Eyeo. As we say, purging horrific ads is just a begin to a higher internet.”

“Aw yes, we are all freaked about the ethics of the Facebook study. And then what?” asks McCarthy. “What implications does this finding have for what we might do with our technologies? What would you do with an interface to your emotions?”

Bad feelings
Feeling sad. Photograph: Lauren McCarthy
Users will be able to conduct experiments on themselves to see how they feel over time. It could revolutionize the Facebook experience to a much happier, brighter one. Or it could do absolutely nothing.

Either way, users can now “leverage Facebook’s own research to manipulate your emotions on your terms.”

Facebook ditches Flash video in latest blow to maligned plugin

Social network and its 8bn daily video views join YouTube in switching to HTML5, which could be the critical cut that finally starts Flash’s demise

Has Facebook finally struck the fatal blow in the long, slow demise of Flash by switching to HMTL5 video by default?

The social network has switched to HTML5 for all Facebook web video, meaning videos you upload or publish on your profile or fly through on your news feed will no longer require Flash. The experience will mirror that seen on mobile devices and the Facebook apps.

In a damning indictment of the much maligned Flash, Daniel Baulig, an engineer at Facebook, said: “Not only did launching the HTML5 video player make development easier, but it also improved the video experience for people on Facebook. Videos now start playing faster. People like, comment, and share more on videos after the switch, and users have been reporting fewer bugs. People appear to be spending more time with video because of it.”

Facebook continues to support Flash-based games, which titles such as Farmville and others typically require, but for video and adverts, Flash is now dead to the social network.

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Following YouTube’s switch to HTML5 video, Facebook’s dumping of Flash for its 8bn video views a day means that the majority of web video watched is now Flash-free. A few other video-streaming sites still use the plugin, but the number was holding out is shrinking fast.

Even Adobe is moving away from Flash. Like Microsoft with Windows XP, Adobe has been trying to migrate companies away from using its tools while putting out fires left, right and center. Recently it dumped “Flash” from the name of its creative tools, which shows just how toxic the Flash brand has become.

For Facebook users, it will be business as usual, for the most part, just a little faster and without having to worry about vulnerabilities in an aging, outdated video system.



Give as you Live tapped into one of the UK’s favorite and fastest growing activities: online shopping. Over 3,000 retailers have signed up to the scheme, and more than £4m has been raised so far.

In 2013 a staggering £91bn was spent online in the UK, an increase of £13bn from 2012. Give as you Live harnesses this boom in online shopping by re-directing a portion of the money shoppers spends to UK charities.

Give as you Live an affiliate scheme. It works in much the same way as a comparison site, with the retailer paying a commission for sending people to their sites – only in this case the commission is passed on to a charity of the consumer’s choice. On average, stores taking part send 2.5% of a customer’s purchase to charity.

To name their chosen charity, consumers download a plug-in. The technology works in the background, tracking the purchases eligible for a donation to charity and automatically calculating the amount the retailer needs to pass on. That means there is no need for shoppers to change their online habits, whether they prefer to shop directly with the retailer or search for items in a search engine. The only difference is that when they shop at certain stores, a percentage of what they spend is donated to charity.

Give as you Live works with all 20,000 UK charities and over 3,000 leading online retailers. At the end of January 2014 shoppers using Give as you Live had raised £4,199,940 for national and local charities.

In 2013, the scheme helped parents, teachers, and children at Bishop Gilpin primary school in Wimbledon raise over £1,000 for a new playground. The previous year is shopping through Give as you Live helped supporters of the Samaritan’s Purse campaign raise over £18,000, which went towards buying life-saving mosquito nets.

In 2014 Give as you Live won the title of “most committed company to the charity sector” at the annual Institute of Fundraising Awards. The year before, it won the business of the year and biggest social impact at the Smarta 100 awards.

Give as you Live has also become a source of valued advice and support.

The annual Digital Donor Review conducted by the scheme gives charities a detailed breakdown of how their supporters behave online, from their giving habits to general online behaviors. Each participating charity gets a customized report, giving them a unique insight into understanding their customers’ digital preferences.

“In greenback terms, it would be usual to look a preferred-hobby website lose 10%-15% of its sales,” says Blanchard. “For a site that serves 10 million page views per day, with three commercials consistent with the web page, offered at a price of $five CPM, this can translate into day by day losses of approximately $20,000.”

“One bizarre trick …”
“Purging awful commercials is just a begin to a higher net.” Photograph: Ad screenshot
The one thing all sides agree on is that the modern-day nation of on-line marketing is deplorable.

“I’d put it like this,” says Patrick Smith, of TheMediaBriefing. “The TV adverts in among the motion on the Superbowl in America are the most talked-about things within u. S . A . For a day or so after the occasion. People like them because they’re humorous, interesting, adorable or simply usually interesting. In style magazines, the marketing is part of the content material – there may be almost no distinction.

Over 500 charities have also signed up for a charity support kit containing marketing materials to help them create a compelling emotional connection with their supporters.

Give as you Live its revolutionary approach to online giving has the potential to raise billions. At the same time, with price comparison technology and big names like Amazon, Tesco and Selfridges signed up, shopping through Give as you Live a smart consumer choice.

Adblock Plus: the tiny plugin threatening the net’s business model

Are Eyeo, developers of the Adblock Plus plugin, campaigning for higher adverts, or simply keeping the net’s biggest organizations hostage?

The letter to Twitter, the United States employer, making ready for a $15bn stock marketplace flotation, sounded affordable enough – if cheeky. “We would like to associate with you to engineer proper, non-intrusive marketing,” stated the blog post from Adblock Plus.

But the sentence’s continuation appeared to carry a veiled hazard: “We need you to do it responsibly, with the aid of adhering to our Acceptable Ads recommendations.” And if Twitter doesn’t? Then it might remain on the listing of sites in which adverts are blocked by the browser upload-on, which its developer – a Cologne-based totally agency called Eyeo – claims has 30 million everyday customers, and has been downloaded 200m instances.

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Adblock Plus’s version is simple: unless a site is on its “whitelist,” then it blocks all of the advertisements shown there. And, because it makes clean, even big websites whose marketing techniques (textual content simplest, no flashy gimmicks) it finds proper has to hand over a share in their advertising and marketing sales for the praise of being at the “whitelist” and showing their commercials to visitors. “Small” websites – the suitable definition of “small” isn’t given – don’t ought to pay if their advertisements are deemed ideal.



Twitter declined to comment for this article on its considering Adblock Plus’s offer. But for the many web sites which depend upon advertising – no longer only Twitter, but Facebook, Yahoo and lots of media corporations the concept of tens of millions of desktop users now not seeing the ads that pay a massive a part of their payments is trouble. The idea of paying the enterprise which creates the problem to make the problem go away won’t appear palatable both.

“First it blocks your ads, after which asks for cash to unblock them.”
“‘Shakedown,’ ‘racketeering’ and ‘extortion’ are common phrases publishers we’ve spoken with have used when it comes to [Adblock Plus’s] ‘suited commercials,’” says Sean Blanchfield of PageFair. His employer offers analytical services for web sites trying to discover how plenty they may be losing to customers of advert blockers. “We think that is very unfortunate, as ideal advertisements are the best way to avoid greater people deciding on to install Adblock. The mafia comparisons are not helped with the aid of a lack of transparency across the financial phrases of being at the whitelist.”

Even a few customers of Adblock Plus agree. “I assume the ‘Acceptable Ads’ idea will best work out if there may be no cash involved,” wrote a person referred to as “freaky vibe” on the plugin’s message board while the concept of the whitelist became first announced. “If you were an internet site owner, could you percentage the ad income with ABP? I do not suppose so. First, ABP blocks your advertisements (without asking) after which asks for money to unblock them. Isn’t that extortion?”

Eyeo responds that “publishers and websites simplest take part with the aid of their volition; people who have had been thrilled with the effects of non-intrusive advertising.” The company does concede that it has “initiated conversations” as opposed to just looking forward to companions to technique it, however, emphasizes that “the order of approach is secondary to the procedure.”

Google’s perfect advertisements
Google’s “proper commercials.” Photograph: Ad screenshot
So effective is Adblock Plus that even the effective Google, which is based on showing advertising for 90% of its revenues, has been pressured to make an address the agency to pass its blockers. But in March it kicked Adblock Plus out of its Google Play keep for Android phones, stating that it “interferes with or accesses another products or services in an unauthorized manner.”

A spokesman for Eyeo says it “can’t talk publicly about unique contracts,” however, that “the carrier we provide paying websites gives them the possibility to gain more sales using producing better ads.” He stated the charge, that is paid by less than 10% of candidates, “is the primary component” of the organization’s revenue circulation.

Currently, there are just 148 websites at the whitelist out of 777 which applied, according to a blog post from Adblock Plus. For those who must pay – which incorporates Google, Amazon and Yandex, Russia’s biggest search engine – the price for now not having their commercials blocked is reportedly the coins equivalent of 30% of the sales generated by showing ads.

PageFair’s information indicates that use of ad blocking off software program – of which there are some developers apart from Adblock Plus, inclusive of Adblock and Adblock Edge – is increasing unexpectedly. In some mainly tech-savvy sectors, more than one / 4 of site visitors block commercials but even preferred interest web sites see between 15% and 20% of site visitors the usage of it.

“An ad this is displayed but disregarded doesn’t provide value.”
In March 2010, technology information web page Ars Technica experimented with an outright ban on users who blocked ads. For 12 hours, they have been redirected to a blank web page, till Ars relented, with editor-in-leader Ken Fisher posting an evidence titled “Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you adore”, announcing: “Imagine jogging a restaurant in which 40% of the those who got here and ate didn’t pay. In a manner, that is what advert blocking off is doing to us.”

Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant spoke back that Adblock Plus users were not going to click on on advertisements anyway. “An advert that is displayed however left out doesn’t offer value.”

But web sites are not often paid “consistent with a click.” Instead, the same old metric for selling internet display advertisements is “CPM,” or “fee in keeping with mile” – the cost for 1000 perspectives. Even if customers assume that they’re ignoring adverts, advertisers perceive a price in putting brands in the front of them.