The Manipulative-and-Disruptive Edition Sunday, November 11, 2018

Do Your Children’s Apps Give Them The Hard Sell?, by Stuart Dredge, The Guardian

Pop-up advertising designed to be hard to close; in-game characters showing disapproval if you don’t make in-app purchases; ads with Donald Trump pressing a “nuke” button. None of these things should be appearing in children’s apps, but they were all found by researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School in a recent study of 135 apps “marketed to or played by” children under five years old.

It’s a long way from 2010, shortly after Apple’s iPad launched, when dozens of children’s app developers sprang up, hoping to meet the anticipated demand from parents for high-quality, educational and entertaining apps. Which they’d happily pay for.

How did we get from there to here? Some 129 of the apps tested by the Michigan researchers featured advertising, including “high rates of mobile advertising through manipulative and disruptive methods”.

Where To Cry In An Open Office, by Jiji Lee, New York Times

Your company designed an open office space to break barriers and encourage interaction, but that makes it much harder to sob over a spreadsheet. Here are the best places to cry without your co-workers interrupting you.

What Is The iPad Mini's Role In iPad Lineup?, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The iPad mini, while not appreciated by some, is one of my favorite iPads in the lineup. It’s extremely portable, easy to hold in one hand, but still provides the same experience you’re used to when using an iPad.

The Problem Behind A Viral Video Of A Persistent Baby Bear, by Ed Yong, The Atlantic

The cub’s exploits were equal parts GIF, nature documentary, and motivational poster. It had all the elements of an incredible story: the most adorable of protagonists, rising and falling action (literally), and a happy ending. It was a tale of tenacity in the face of adversity, triumph against the odds.

But when biologists started watching the video, they saw a very different story.

The video, they say, was clearly captured by a drone. And in it, they saw the work of an irresponsible drone operator who, in trying to film the bears, drove them into a dangerous situation that almost cost the cub its life. “I found it really hard to watch,” says Sophie Gilbert, an ecologist at the University of Idaho who studies, among other things, how drones affect wildlife. “It showed a pretty stark lack of understanding from the drone operator of the effects that his actions were having on the bears.” (It wasn’t just scientists, either; several drone pilots were also dismayed by the footage.)

Bottom of the Page

Just finished reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire Noth, and French Exit by Patrick deWitt. Both are great interesting and wonderful reads. If you need a recommendation or two on what to read next, do try them.


Thanks for reading.