There are things that you want to get right, I mean really right. Like when Robert Khoo sits you down in front of a laptop and says I’m going to show you the beginning of the first episode of Strip Search, you want to make sure that your scribbled notes get bashed into something resembling actual coherence before they see the light of day. It’s just polite, and while I’m pretty sure that Khoo hasn’t ever had a blogger killed for badly mangling information, I also don’t want to be the test case. So Strip Search news tomorrow, and other things today.
Firstly, Christopher Wright (of Help Desk and other computery comics) got down to some serious technical forensics over the weekend, looking at a latter-day webring/ad service called InkOUTBREAK and what appears to be a mechanism whereby they deliver ads that are not visible to the reader, to the webcomic that they’re running on, or anybody other than the mechanical code that counts up things like impressions. There’s no part of this that I can quote without lessening the impact that it should have, so go read the entire thing now, please.
Wright’s key points, as I read them, are:
- Ads that a webcomic creator cannot see, and did not agree to, are running without the knowledge of anybody outside of InkOUTBREAK
- Since the creator can’t see them, if there’s a dangerous payload in one of those ads, they have no way of dealing with the issue, and will be the ones blamed by malware warnings when they can’t clear them out
- Ads that aren’t visible but which appear to be counting towards impressions skate a line between “questionably ethical” and “fraudulent”
Brian King of InkOUTBREAK responds to Wright’s analysis in the comments, and his argument boils down to Oops, old code, was supposed to be removed, sorry you encountered an old build. Given Wright’s conclusion that the code in question was designed to specifically hide the extra ads from any casual (or not so casual) inspection, you can decide for yourself how much King’s explanation is plausible. Whatever the truth of the matter is, InkOUTBREAK is going to have its code very closely examined by a large number of people in the future, I’d imagine.
- Scott Kurtz’s long-teased Table Titans launches today, and it is one handsome site. I’m still hunting around and finding new content, which includes gaming stories; creatures and gaming techniques from contributors to gaming systems; bloggings; and oh yeah — a longform story comic running Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a heck of a lot more than I was expecting, and looks to be a labor of love that Kurtz will value at least as much as PvP. With the variety and volume of content (daily!), it’s less a “webcomic” and more a “full-service portal” and one that a lot of people I know will be watching very closely.
- Received in the mail over the weekend along with an unrelated book order: one Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff collector’s coin, such as one might find in the SBAHJ Hardcover extravaganza. The obverse has a three-quarters bust of Sweet Bro¹, and the reverse proclaims WINNER. It is the most pointlessly beautiful thing I have ever seen and will become an heirloom of my house, passed down the line of descent like even unto the Ring of Barahir².
¹ The spot where the artist’s signature or initials would normally appear on a coin reads “sign”. That’s with the quotes and everything.
² That one was for you, Aaron.