March 29, 2013

Opt out of Google's interest-based ads

By Mike Lewis

Imagine this scenario. It's your lunch break, and you start thinking about your next vacation. Out of idle curiosity, you use Google to search for accommodation on your dream Caribbean island. You visit a few of the sites that the search throws up. Then you get back to work.

For the next few weeks, whenever you do a work-related search or visit a work-related site, you see advertisements for tropical resorts, exotic hotels, and up-market tour operators.

What you are seeing are so-called "interest-based ads". They are ads served by Google, based on what Google knows about you. And you might be surprised at just how much Google does know about you. As well as your geographic location, Google knows about the things you're interested in (based on your search history and the types of sites you visit), where you hang out in social media, what mobile devices you use and where you use them, and quite a lot more. It also makes a good guess at your age, sex, marital status, and even your family income. It uses all that information to decide what ads to show.

You might not care about this. It might not matter to you that Google uses your personal information to send you targeted ads in this way. if so, that's fine.

March 12, 2013

Southwest Fox 2013 : Dates confirmed; call for speakers issued

Photo: Therese Schummer
By Mike Lewis

Geeks Gatherings have now confirmed that Southwest Fox 2013 will be held on October 17 - 20, at the SanTan Elegante Conference Center in Gilbert, Arizona. For the second year running, the conference will be combined with Southwest Xbase++, a conference which focuses on Alaska Software’s Xbase++.

If you're a serious Visual FoxPro developer, you should consider attending Southwest Fox. I've done that myself, and I can tell you that it really is a terrific event. It's now the leading VFP conference in the United States, and it attracts developers from all over the world.