WW 762: Diagonal Shards

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

With each passing week, I identify less and less with some of the “get off my lawn” rantings of the hosts of the show. To quote Paul, why on earth would I want all the ads I see to be for things I have zero interest in? I watched the NFL Playoffs and saw 5,000 commercials for an insurance company who’s whole message was “You can’t buy this, it’s not for you”. In what world is that better than an ad for something I’m already interested in? Most of these methods have gone out of their way to avoid the “embarrassing medical situation” being what they collect, but even when they don’t… at least that’s still useful to me? I have no earthly idea why I’d want the ads that constantly bombard me to be useless to me instead of useful. Hey, maybe the local TV channels should start running ads for businesses that don’t exist within the viewing area, and concerts that aren’t coming to venues in your area! According to your complaining during the episode, you’d apparently prefer that to commercials for events and businesses you might want to visit.

The problem is, “targeted advertising” is anything but,

Google currently thinks I am a pensioner with arthritis, at risk from shingles and have a newborn baby.

I am not a pensioner, I don’t have arthritis and I am not at risk of shingles and I definitely don’t have a newborn baby!

That is the targeted advertising! I could do better with traditional untargeted advertising.

The same goes for Amazon, I bought a new washing machine directly from Amazon, so I am damned to 3 months of ads for other washing machines!

That happened a couple of years back, when we bought a dish washer, 3 months of daily deals on other dishwashers. I don’t know how many kitchens they think I have. The same with smartphones, 3 months of offers on, cases? Screen protectors? In-car holders? Nope, way off, other damned smartphones, here buy a smartphone for each ear!!!

Contextual advertising would be better. Don’t track or target me, look at the current page’s content and show me an advert based on that, that will probably have a higher hit-rate.


I think I’ve kind of unconsciously blocked out whatever online ads might get in front of me. uBlock Origin on Edge and Chrome; DuckDuckGo search; 1Block on iOS; 90% of TV time is on paid, ad-free services. I did watch about an hour of football this weekend, and my wife has some stuff she watches on HGTV and Bravo, and I generally pick up my tablet or phone when commercials on. The one place they really get me is in magazines on Apple News. I was reading Outside magazine this afternoon and it was half ads, but for some reason the print ads don’t really bother me.

You use a Pi-hole; where are the ads finding you?

I’d guess when he’s using external/public networks. Ironically that’s probably also why the targets are so far off - his ad ID is mixed in with a bunch of other entities on public nets.

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At work and on the move, at work I just block Facebook in my hosts file.

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@thurrott said that .Net has turned into a wonderful cross-platform system… If that is the case, why the hell don’t Microsoft use it for their own products, like Teams or VS Code, instead of using bloatware tools like Google’s Electron? :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


Because the UI part is not cross platform yet, so they can’t really.

But to be honest, at this point I don’t think they are going to reimplement the clients in .net even when it is ready

A shame, they are so bloated. When I have a teams meeting on my Core i5/8GB laptop, connected to a 4K display, the fans run up and I have to close all other applications in order to run it!

Yes, massive shame. But we still have to wait and see how good MAUI will actually be

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Hello, wondering how to get windows weekly episode 762 show notes thank you, James Kappel

Click the link at the top of this thread and you will be taken to the show page. If you’re asking about transcripts, those seem to appear a fair bit later than the show itself publishes, you can find the recent AI generated transcripts here:

Currently the most recent show is two back. @Leo, how long should it normally take for the transcript for a show to appear?

Got it. Thank you Paul Holder :ok_hand: James Kappel

It should take more than 48 hours but we do go through them first. It may depend on Ashlee’s schedule!

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Listening to this week’s episode, I was somewhat saddened to hear Paul’s knee-jerk reaction to Google’s latest effort to address the contextual advertising debacle in the form of ‘Topics’. I would strongly suggest hearing Steve Gibson’s take on the subject from episode 856 where he gives an enlightened and balanced view on the subject.

I absolutely agree that the situation we have today with third party cookies and the ability for any organisation that really wants to do so to collect all kinds of information about us is a horrific one, but Topics, if it actually replaces today’s model really does go a long way to addressing those issues. If we keep rejecting out of hand every effort Google (or other large tech companies) puts forward to solve these problems, we will get nowhere, then government will step in and make an even bigger mess of things with misguided regulation.

First, welcome to the community. We’re all happy to have new members that share their well considered opinions.

Unfortunately you’re not going to like my opinion on Google’s latest efforts any more than you liked Paul’s as I fully agree with him and mostly disagree with Steve.

Google is always going to present their latest effort in its most beneficial light–there is nothing for them to gain by making it seem anything but wonderful. Never the less, tracking is still tracking, and most people very much dislike it. Just because something can be done (users can be tracked in detail) does not mean it should be done. Advertising on the web is extremely sh*tty. We need a very graphic word I can’t think of to describe how bad it is.

I almost never use Chrome because when I go to a site with it, I get all sorts of very distracting ad content that makes it difficult for me to consume the content I went to the site for. I believe this, combined with the creepy tracking based ads, are why ad-blockers have grown in use and will continue to be used until ad tech fixes the root cause of the boycott. No one boycotted magazines or newspapers because of the ads, because they weren’t targeted and they weren’t animated or popping up. It’s hugely ironic that the worst ads these days are by the newpaper websites that used to have the “tolerable ads on paper” of the past.

So for now, I stick with Firefox, UBlock Origin, Sponsor Block and Umatrix with scripts defaulted off, and I find the web to be tolerable. As long as the ads are not the product, and are tolerable, I will still allow them. I still mostly listen to Leo’s ads and I will even barely tolerate Amazon ads (the few minutes a month I spend on their site). Any site that goes out of control, gets a mental “never going back there” block.


Welcome rixybix. A well laid out argument, but I will counter it.

I do listen to SN and I did listen to Steve’s take on Topics. I still think it is a bad idea.

Targeted advertising has never really worked - I can’t remember seeing 1 targeted advert over the last 10-15 years that had me go out and buy a product. Mainly because the “targeted” adverts I get aren’t targeted at me. I’m not retired, I don’t have arthritis, I’m not at risk of shingles and need a vaccination and I don’t have a newborn baby - how on Earth you can get the first 3 and the last one in the same targeted group, I’m not sure.

What does work, very well in deed, are contextual adverts - like those here on TWiT. I’ve used well over a dozen services based on the advertising from @Leo . Those adverts are “targeted” at the podcast I am listening to, they aren’t targeted at “me” individually.

Why do these companies need any information about me, especially if their targeting algorithms are so wildly inaccurate? Save the time and money and base the advertising purely on what I am currently reading/viewing.

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As others have said: welcome! I just joined a few months ago too!

My main problem with their announcement is maybe counterintuitive. It’s not the tracking itself—I agree that having third parties getting cookies is objectively worse than them only getting coarser information. And I also understand that a bit of information can deliver a lot of value to everyone. I would be very happy if a similar technology were to replace cookies.

My problem is that I don’t think that having Google control that system will lead to any long-term improvement in our privacy. Google has a direct conflict of interest in protecting our privacy with a coarse system of topics. And if they control the entire topics system while the advertisers are yelling for more information, just how long is it going to be before Google relents?

Until there is some standards body or independent custodian directing the topics API, it’s hard to see this as anything but a play for Google to deliver “Insights-as-a-Service” to their advertising customers. When you think about it, the topic is a succinct summary of all that creepy information that advertisers would collect anyway. So I really view this as a way for Google to say “stop doing this tracking since you’re really bad at it, and just trust us to deliver your actionable insights.” When the pressure gets turned up, I don’t see what prevents Google from delivering “even more actionable” data.

And the last bit of uncertainty: if everyone doing ads recognizes that this is just an attempt for Google to maintain ad dominance by locking them into this proprietary ad system (wow, this really is 2022, folks) how many advertisers will really want to follow through?

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Wow, I didn’t expect quite such a range of considered reactions! Thankyou all. Leo and co are always promoting the TWiT community as a great place to interact, so this serves to prove that out already :slight_smile:

All very good points and I do tend to agree in most respects. I can try to argue aspects of all of them but trying to dream up a reasonable solution that suits all parties just makes my head explode - there are too many competing interests and too much history. Whatever solution is found is always going to be a compromise for everybody (and there has to be some solution, since 3rd party cookies and current tracking technologies are progressively deflating, and nature abhors a vacuum as they say!).

God knows how much I agree with @big_D that targeted advertising never works, on me at least. I also agree that contextual advertising makes much more sense. I generally always take the time to listen to the message for new advertisers on the TWiT podcasts I follow also, and there have been occasions I have taken advantage of those (though apologies to Leo, I sometimes forget to use the referrer links!) On the subject of magazines and newspapers, I would at least point out that I stopped buying some magazines in the day because the sheer volume of advertising in them became too much - they looks like some of the really bad websites you have today (though at least there weren’t flashing and bouncing images and auto-play videos!)

To me, Topics seems like a reasonable compromise on the surface, but you are all probably right that it won’t satisfy advertisers as it stands. If we use a browser alternative to Chrome (I currently use Edge, though the growing frustration with Microsoft’s direction with it is also encroaching on my consciousness!) then we at least minimise Google’s opportunities for collecting data on us in other ways, and we can supposedly switch off the Topics feature also if we so decide.

At the end of it all though, I tend to be a bit like Mary Jo and just not even notice stuff much of the time! Rounded corners? What rounded corners!