Targeted ads are a favorite thing for privacy advocates to rail about. After all, it’s using the power of modern technology to observe, anticipate, and ultimately manipulate your behavior. Which is creepy.

Just one problem:they’re not very good at doing any of that. . For example, a few I’ve gotten on Facebook recently:

Scoliosis new enemy”

The grammar on this one is ambiguous. Is scoliosis my new enemy? Or is whatever it’s advertising an enemy of scoliosis? Is scoliosis a supervillain? Because if so, that’s pretty much the worst supervillian name ever

 

New Leaf Rehabilitation Center

 

There are a lot of ways you could target ads for rehab centers. You could look for status that were obviously posted while under the influence of some chemical, or you could find all the people who scored high on the “How addicted to Crack are you?” quiz. Or you could just show it to people who have never posted anything related to drugs, EVER, in hopes of…actually, I have no idea why you would do that.

Atheists are idiots

The interesting thing about this one is that it doesn’t seem to be actually SELLING anything. In fact, the link just 404s when you click on it. In other words, the entire function of this ad appears to be to use Facebook’s targeting system to locate atheists and unobtrusively inform them that they are idiots.

 

Tired of conventional education?

Um, no, actually. I haven’t had “conventional” education since I was in like, 9th grade, which was before I even had a Facebook account.

 

You have too many questions

This links to a computer program which can apparently answer your Formspring questions for you. The benefits listed include “reduced  stress”, “less email clutter”, and “saves time
Idea:if the volume of unanswered Formspring questions is causing you stress,  cluttering your inbox,, and wasting your time, just delete the Formspring.

 

 


Europe is amusing

July 15, 2010

Some rather funny pictures from my Europe trip

Thanks for the advance warning, I guess

New designer:I have a new concept for a type of shoe!

Manager:Okay, you’re hired. Do you know what a foot looks like?

Designer:No, but I’m pretty sure I can figure it out

Manager:You sure you don’t want a picture or something?

Designer:Nah, I’m good

I find it hard to take seriously the danger of anything called a “drempel”

At least the vegetables are from the South…

“Designated nose picking area”

Maybe tomorrow is open?

So, after recieving a computer with a webcam, I decided to try chatroulette. Having been told by different people that it was anything from the future of communication to a wretched hive of scum and villany, I made a log of my encounters with various people\

So.
Encounter zero: Does this even work on Linux? Oh wait, I need to go to Adobe’s online settings thing and authorize it to use my webcam. Okay, here we go…

Encounter 1: YE GODS I DID NOT NEED TO SEE THAT. Chatroullete needs to redirect some people to an adult camsite. Or  /b. Or at least give them a warning when it’s the first time the person they’re…demonstrating to has ever used the site. Still I won’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Encounter 2:It’s…a beach ball. Or potentially first contact with some form of round, plastic based alien life. Working off the second assumption, I send it a friendly hello, but nothing happens. It’s probably just on here to observe human mechanisms of reproduction, anyway

Encounters 3-10:People just skip right after connecting. Am I seriously that boring? My self-esteem is wounded

Encounter 11:Oh hey, a real person! She isn’t very fluent in english, but we have a brief conversation about how you can turn a toaster into a flamethrower(putting poptarts in it and not letting them pop up). Then, time to move on. I hope I’m not responsible for enabling some act of terrorism

Encounter 12:This kid is literally 7 years old. How does he even know how to set up the webcam? And what would happen if he ran into…

Encounter 13:I did not know that was physiologically possible.

Encounters 14-17:More skips

Encounter 18:Porn ads. Apparently advertising that they could have videos of xxx chatroullette sessions from your neighbor, your sister, or you, which seems more like “potential blackmail” than “sexy”. I presume they are advertising this so you know where to send your lawyers.

Encounter 19:Another real person! We actually have a fairly in depth conversation about various things, and he seems pretty cool 🙂

Encounter 20:AAAGH I THINK I BURNED MY OPTIC NERVE. Okay, I’m done. This is like reading /b/, except that the disturbing pictures try to come on to you. Goodbye.

So, in the end, I would rate ChatRoulette:

Making interesting connections with people:D-

This just doesn’t happen, at least not often enough for a site where that’s it’s advertised purpose

Entertainment:A

What chatroulette lacks in social networking utility it more than  makes up for in randomness and demonstrations of how to explode a toaster

Disturbingness:

Could we just not talk about those parts?

So..yeah.