It may be August, it may be quiet but there have been a few things this week that are worth a read or quick schmooze – oh, and where else will you find viral marketing mentioned on the same page as semiconductors and DNA?

IN ADVERTISING

The Guardian reported this week that the Office of Fair Trading is to investigate targeted ads and pricing online. The investigation is going to cover areas such as price comparison websites and the use of personal data in website advertising, including behavioural targeting technologies.
The results of the investigation could prove significant for the industry, particularly in the light of the European Commission’s proceedings against the UK for failing to uphold privacy laws in line with EU regulations as regards Phorm.

This week Advertising Age also asked: Why Do UK Videos Always Seem to Go Viral? With a headline like that, how can you not go and have a peek?

IN TECHNOLOGY
Wolfram Alpha – the computational engine using semantic technology that should not to be confused with Google or a search engine as this thing likes calculating stuff – have blogged on what they have been doing this summer.
The post can be summarised as: we’ve been busy and reliant on summer being quiet and traffic down so that we can make sure the site works even better in the autumn. But, ignore my cynicism, the insights that Stephen Wolfram gives show how a company can be open regarding it’s product development and give you a little glimpse under the hood.

Another semantic technology company to be aware of is Fluidinfo who launched online this week. The idea for the company started in the UK and the team are now based in Spain. Their first product is FluidDB which they describe as “a new kind of hosted (cloud) database, designed to provide a global metadata and personalization engine – for everyone and everything.” You can read the product overview here.

Note: those interested in semantic technologies should also look at OpenCalais.

Finally, the FT reported that IBM scientists may have discovered a way to use DNA to help construct semiconductor chips. The report explains:

Scientists have suggested that artificial DNA nanostructures and “DNA origami”, in which a long single strand of DNA is folded into a shape using shorter “staple strands”, could be used to provide a template for the self-assembly of other materials into nanoelectronic or nano-optical devices on the surface of the chip.