Links to read - January 12, 2016

It has been an interesting week and some publications have released some amazing articles. Here are four articles that are definitely worth a read.

You say advertising, I say block that malware

A few days ago, I wrote about malvertising and its impact on computer users, publishers and the digital marketing industry. Well, if you’re interested in reading another take on it, Violet Blue (who is a far better writer than I am), wrote a very interesting look at the Forbes infection and the state of malvertising as a whole. Perhaps the best part of the entire aticle is Blue’s excellent look at the Angler Exploit Kit. This is one hell of a good article and I strongly recommend it.

Aaron Swartz died three years ago today

I never met Aaron Swartz in person but his death hit me hard. Swartz was a very smart man and an amazing writer. And politically, he supported many of the same causes that I support. In this tribute, Henry Farrell did an amazing job of both humanizing Swartz and demonstrating his keen intellect.

Canada forgot to plan for its future by leaning on oil and the loonie

I don’t agree with all of this article, but I particularly enjoyed this quote:

_Many remain optimistic that petroleum prices will recover, but there is strong reason to believe low prices are here to stay. Unlike previous price vacillations that were created by shocks in supply or demand, the price-setting regime of oil has changed. In the past, prices were set monopolistically by OPEC; they’re now set competitively. Low-cost producers, such as Saudi Arabia, used to intentionally lower output to create artificial shortages that boosted prices. With such high prices, more expensive resources such as oil sands and shale oil became viable. Realizing that high prices would eventually lead to OPEC’s demise, the cartel stopped price fixing. The world is now sitting on massive inventories of oil that will take years to consume. On top of that, Iranian oil sanctions are being lifted, adding to cheap supply. Barring some geopolitical catastrophe, the new prices are here to stay.(Canada forgot to plan for its future by leaning on oil and gas by Saeid Fard - Globe and Mail)

Being from Saskatchewan, it’s interesting to think about what would happen if oil prices stayed low. On one hand, it would be very bad as oil lead to a real estate boom and if real estate prices start to drop, it could lead to a foreclosure spiral. On the other hand, it might be an excellent opportunity for Saskatchewan to diversify its economy.

Yahoo’s brain drain shows a loss of faith inside the company

I am very surprised that Marissa Mayer is still Yahoo’s CEO. First, Yahoo employees have painted a picture of a very difficult person to work for. Second, Yahoo’s plans to spin off their stake in Alibaba have been an incredible mess. Third, a prominent hedge fund (and activist investor) has lobbied for a serious shake up on Yahoo’s board and senior executive team. And finally, Mayer and her husband just had twins. The twins would have been an excellent excuse for Mayer to step aside with her head held high and leave the sinking ship behind.

However, if this article is any indication, Mayer is certainly brave for staying. Yahoo sounds deeply (and perhaps irreparably) dysfunctional. I suspect that there will be some major news out of Yahoo in 2016.

Written on January 12, 2016