MarsEdit 4 Public Beta – Red Sweater Blog

It’s been over 7 years since MarsEdit 3 was released. Typically I would like to maintain a schedule of releasing major upgrades every two to three years. This time, a variety of unexpected challenges led to a longer and longer delay.

The good news? MarsEdit 4 is finally shaping up. I plan to release the update later this year.

I’ve been using the beta of version 4 since before it was a beta. It’s a big improvement over the previous version, and it’s really the most useful tool out there for blogging from a Mac.

If you blog, you should use MarsEdit. I use it for all my articles.

Try out the public beta and see if you agree.

Source: Red Sweater Blog – MarsEdit 4 Public Beta

Google Plans Ad-Blocking Feature in Popular Chrome Browser – WSJ

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web.

Interesting that Google is floating this idea. They make much of their money from ads, but they are increasingly trying to change their focus to that of a cloud provider.

If Google were to do this, would they whitelist their own ads? Or, at a minimum, would they enforce some type of ad display rules even with their ads? Say a web page has a dozen Google ads; would they block it, but allow a page with just a single ad?

Source: Google Plans Ad-Blocking Feature in Popular Chrome Browser – WSJ

After vote to kill privacy rules, users try to “pollute” their Web history – Ars Technica

While the US government is giving ISPs free rein to track their customers’ Internet usage for purposes of serving personalized advertisements, some Internet users are determined to fill their browsing history with junk so ISPs can’t discover their real browsing habits.

Scripts and browser extensions might be able to fill your Web history with random searches and site visits. But will this actually fool an ISP that scans your Web traffic and shares it with advertising networks?

This might not be the best solution, as the article explains, but it “just feels good.”

Source: After vote to kill privacy rules, users try to “pollute” their Web history | Ars Technica

Bumpr 1.1.6 review: Quickly open web links with the browser of your choice

Plenty of people use their Macs with just one web browser and a single email client. But many people use different web browsers to be able to easily access multiple accounts, such as Gmail or other services, for work or for personal use. Designers need to test websites on multiple browsers. And some people use different browsers for specific uses; you may have one browser for everyday web use, and another for secure browsing.

With macOS, you can set a default web browser (you do this in macOS’s system preferences under General) or email client (do this in Mail’s preferences), and these settings determine which apps open when you click links. But when you want to open a link in another app, you generally have to copy that link, switch to the other app, then paste it. This works for URLs, but if you click a link to email someone, it won’t work at all.

Bumpr ($8 through April 15, then $15; App Store link), from Scott Ostler and designer Khoi Vinh, helps you deal with these multiple apps.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

I Pay for News; Why Do I Still See Intrusive Ads?

I subscribe to a number of news publications on the web. I get some of my news from The New York Times, I read news and current events from The New Yorker, and there are a few smaller websites I subscribe to.

So why do I still see intrusive ads on these sites? And even more perplexing; why do some sites, like The New Yorker, ask me to subscribe, even though I’m a subscriber and I’m signed into my account?

Here’s an example of The New Yorker today:

New yorker

Above the fold is a massive Google ad, nearly as big as the featured article at the top of the page. I’ve blurred it, so as not to give that company a free ad on my site, but it’s something about building websites. Not the kind of ad I’d expect to see on The New Yorker, but, hey, that’s Google ads for you. Making the best websites look skeevy.

More perplexing is the ad for a New Yorker subscription at the top left; they know I’m signed in, it’s just stupid to display this ad.

Further down on the page – not included in this screenshot – was a big ad for Condé Nast magazines (the New Yorker is part of that group), but, as I was writing this article, it changed to an Amazon ad showing me products I have recently looked at. And it keeps changing, cycling through a number of ads.

The New York Times is only marginally better. A big banner ad for a luxury brand at the top of the page, plus two smaller ads for the same brand. And if I click through to an article, there’s a massive ad for a slipper (and I’ve seen this ad a hundred times), and several Amazon ads as I scroll down the page. But it gets worse, because those slipper ads are animated. These are the worst type of ads, the ones that distract you and make it harder to read the news you have paid for.

New york times

So, even though I pay to read the news, I still have to use an ad blocker. These companies are somewhat stupid, by subjecting readers to exactly the same intrusive ads if they subscribe as if they don’t. (Of course, you only get a limited number of free articles per month if you don’t subscribe.) They don’t make the reading experience as good as it could be, and they make me not want to use their iOS apps, because I can’t block ads if I’m not using a browser.

By the way, I could count on the fingers of two hands the number of times I have intentionally clicked on a web ad on a publication like this. They are rarely relevant to me.

We need good journalism, and I’m more than happy to pay for it; after all, I’m a journalist myself. But we also need to be treated like the paying subscribers we are, and not have crappy ads getting in our way and distracting us (and tracking us across the web). I had thought these media companies had learned something, but apparently they haven’t.

A Huge, Huge Deal – Talking Points Memo

It all comes down to a simple point. You may not like Gawker. They’ve published stories I would have been ashamed to publish. But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.

Wow.

Source: A Huge, Huge Deal