What’s the tech behind Question 1?

The initiative is aimed at rectifying a loophole in the original Right To Repair measure, passed eight years ago, which required automakers to sell to independent repair shops in Massachusetts the same digital diagnostic tools and software they provide to their own dealerships.

Now, drive a Ford or a Toyota or a Mercedes into pretty much any repair shop, not just here in Massachusetts but across the country, and a mechanic can plug into the vehicle and talk to all of its onboard computers.

But the carmakers stopped short of providing those mechanics with remote access to the data your car can transmit wirelessly, a huge convenience for vehicle owners, who don’t have to first drive to the repair shop to have a problem diagnosed. A large and growing number of vehicles are capable of this — GM cars equipped with the company’s OnStar system, for instance.

“This is like an end run around the intent of the original law,” said Bob Denley, a car mechanic in Lee who backs Question 1.

Both sides have pitched the ballot question in apocalyptic terms: The independent repair shops say they will go out of business without it; lobbyists for the auto companies warn that passage would make it easier for sexual predators and other undesirables to get access to personal information from your vehicle.

But a fascinating video produced for automotive regulators in the European Union shows what’s really at stake.

A couple driving through the French countryside notices that a tire is going flat. Like many late-model vehicles, this car announces the bad news on a dashboard video screen. But we also see an icon that lets the passenger instantly phone a nearby repair shop, and then tap another to instantly relay the relevant information.

Miles away, the mechanic says, “Ah,

What’s a Website Audit and Why Do You Need One?

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Just as it’s important to visit the doctor for routine checkups, the health of your website needs regular assessments as well. A website audit can help you answer important questions such as “How is my website performing?” and “How can I improve it?”

Conducting an audit of your website is a great way to maintain its health and make sure it’s still doing what it’s supposed to do: communicating who you are as a firm, raising brand awareness, sharing helpful and engaging content, and generating and converting leads. A website audit helps determine what’s working, what needs a refresh, or if you might need a more thorough redesign. Here are some of the valuable insights you can glean from a website audit:

Analytics

A website’s analytics are the primary objective tool for assessing the current health of your website, and the analytics should inform all insights, critiques, and recommendations made about the site. One of the most popular website analytics tools is Google Analytics. This, or similar tools, can help answer many questions. What pages on your website are the most popular? Are users engaging with the site? Are you meeting your goals and converting leads?

In addition to traditional website analytics, heatmapping tools can be very insightful regarding user experience. A heatmap is a visual representation of user behavior: it shows where users click on a page, where their mouse moves, and how far down the page they scroll. Some tools also collect screen recordings of user behavior. Screen recordings can help provide insight into how users are interacting with the site, and where they may be exhibiting hesitancy or confusion. Ultimately, analyzing your website analytics will allow you to optimize your website and create the best user experience for visitors.

Structure and navigation

Your website’s

The DeanBeat: What’s at stake in Apple’s potentially apocalyptic IDFA changes

The Identifier for Advertisers, also known as IDFA, seems like an unlikely candidate for causing an apocalypse in mobile games, advertising, and the iPhone ecosystem. But the obscure tracking technology, which anonymously profiles a user, seems like Death riding in on a pale horse.

Starting in June, Apple caused a stir by saying it was effectively getting rid of the IDFA, making it harder for advertisers to target consumers with ads. Apple’s plan was to enhance privacy, but it caused a great stir among the likes of Facebook, mobile marketers, and their customers such as game developers. Apple did this without widespread consultation with the app and game industry.

By getting rid of the IDFA, Apple could make its platform more attractive to those who value privacy, consistent with the latest privacy-marketing ads for its iPhones and iPad. But the uproar from Apple’s partners forced Apple to delay its move from mid-September, with the release of iOS 14, to sometime in early 2021.

A lot of mobile game companies and marketing firms felt like it was a stay of execution. The stay came just as Brian Bowman, CEO of mobile user acquisition firm Consumer Acquisition, warned that the IDFA change could result in thousands of layoffs at the mobile-app advertising ecosystem, including game companies, mobile ad measurement firms, mobile marketing, user acquisition, and ad networks.

“You ever see the movie The Green Mile?” said Bowman. “We’re walking to death row. The phone rings. We walk back. That’s all this is. In five months, we do the walk again. I think the thing that was most shocking to me was how few people were willing to talk to the press about the topic. It was clear that there’s the fear of retribution in the industry, that your next title may