Skateboarding Bulldog’s Guide to a Perfect Summer

Reminded me of that skateboarding bulldog from a few years back.

Via Peter Cohen.


German Minister: Drop Google If You Fear US Spying

Germany’s top security official says Internet users worried about their data being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using American websites such as Google and Facebook.

How about not letting these firms write our privacy laws instead?


Mass Protests Planned Over Web NSA Spying Revelations

Reddit, Mozilla and Wordpress are among the big web names backing the action, due to take place on Thursday.

Almost 100 events have been planned across the US.

An interactive map detailing their locations has been published.

+1. Don’t forget to also vote your officials out of office for authorizing the spying in the first place.


Greece Has Three Days to Deliver… Or Else

The lenders are unhappy with progress Greece has made towards reforming its public sector, a senior euro zone official involved in the negotiations said, while another said they might suspend an inspection visit they resumed on Monday.

Methinks this is all quacking and posing. Greece will successfully obtain new concessions.

The EU and the US (through the IMF) will pick up the tab as usual, while doing their best to communicate that they kept their head up. But behind the curtain, they’ll have bent over and coped.

There’s a lot more at stake here than avoiding a hypothetical Greek default. Or a Eurozone breakup, or the EU’s effort to demonstrate solidarity between its members, for that matter. Or the potential for a fiscal union. I expect that the Eurozone will stick to paying lip service to the latter until a major country (try Spain, Italy or France for size) is against the wall.

The more immediate matter is that bank losses would domino their way through the system, as occurred with Greek bonds in the hands of Cyprus banks. At the very end of the food chain, there are French, German, UK and ultimately US banks blowing up en masse and taking their respective economies down with them. And that’s not happening — not in three days, anyway.


State Department Bureau Spent $630,000 on Facebook ‘Likes’

State Department officials spent $630,000 to get more Facebook “likes,” prompting employees to complain to a government watchdog that the bureau was “buying fans” in social media, the agency’s inspector general says.

Sounds like US taxpayer money is being well spent. It gets worse, too:

In September 2012 Facebook also changed its approach to users’ news feeds, and the expensive “fan” campaigns became much less valuable. The bureau now must constantly pay for sponsored ads to keep its content visible even to people who have already liked its pages.


Firefox Takes the Performance Crown

In a surprising turn of events in the browser world:

Firefox 22 pulls off an upset, replacing the long-time performance champion Google Chrome as the new speed king! Google doesn’t lose by very much though. In fact, if we moved the decimal point and rounded, this would show up as a tie. Meanwhile, moving on to the next win-eligible browser, IE10 is far behind in third place, with less than half the performance score of Firefox 22 or Chrome 27. Opera 12 is in last place, lagging slightly behind IE10.


What’s a BlackBerry User Worth?

That implies a net present value of about $40 for each account. This is quite a drop from early 2010 when the value was $866.

That doesn’t sound good. At all.

Update: don’t miss Jean-Louis Gassée’s take on this too:

This isn’t a brightly optimistic picture. Today, Blackberry finds itself caught between Samsung and Apple at the high end, and a rabidly fermenting crowd of Android (official or not) clones at the lower price range.

So, why not consider heresy, or apostasy: Ditch the newer BlackBerry OS too few developers believe in, and bet on Android devices to support BlackBerry’s enterprise services.

The answer is probably the same as it is for Nokia: It’s too late.

And these visualizations by Mapbox.


Email Beats Social Media for Selling Stuff

Surprise! Company that “manages and optimizes email campaigns to keep customers engaged” releases report that talks its book.

Not discounting that email is worth your business’ time or anything. (It really is, in fact.) But this isn’t tech reporting at its best.


China Regulator Says Bank Reserves Are Adequate

China’s banking regulator, in his first public comments since the country’s worst cash crunch in at least a decade, said the operations of its lenders won’t be disrupted because they’ve built up sufficient cash reserves.

This has an odd, familiar ring. Let’s hope no “crisis of confidence” will rear its ugly head.


New NSA Leaks Show How US Is Bugging Its European Allies

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Just wondering here: what are the odds that the EU will enter trade negotiations with the US in this context?

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