Ignite provides a sweetly earnest kickoff to Web 2.0 Expo

Jackson West · 09/16/08 09:20AM

O'Reilly publishing has set up the company's annual bazaar of of bizarre business models at the Javitz Center in Manhattan, but the festivities truly kicked off with last night's Ignite PowerPoint presentation spectacular hosted by O'Reilly Radar's Brady Forrest and Etsy's Bre Pettis. Pettis and friends used fourteen pounds of butter to bake 300 cupcakes and tubs of frosting, which partygoers were invited to decorate as part of a contest — the winners, Nick and Danielle Bilton, crafted the iPhone application icon cupcakes pictured here. Deb Schultz, a Six Apart veteran, did an Alley vs. Valley routine, noting that while in the Valley code is king, in the Alley folks know how to dress. For fellow Alley expats in the Valley, "You know you've gone native when you're wearing a sweater with flip flops." Case in point? Flickr developer Cal "Don Juan 2.0" Henderson wasn't wearing a sweater, but he did look to be wearing the same cargo shorts and flip flops that he was last spotted in. (Photo by Dan Lurie)

Yahoo Hack Day restores API access between ex-lovers Cal Henderson and Leah Culver

Owen Thomas · 09/13/08 11:00AM

For quippy superstar engineer Cal Henderson, the fellow who has kept Flickr from crashing all these years, attendance at Yahoo's Hack Day developer event was all but mandatory, since he works there. But what attracted Pownce cofounder Leah Culver, Henderson's ex-girlfriend? A Valleywag tipster's spy camera caught the two of them hard at work, laptops side by side. All business, clearly — until it came time for the awkward parting hug, and perhaps more. "Looked like they were kissing in the pic with him holding her, but can't say it looked very enthusiastic or romantic," our tipster analyzes. Full photos below, so you, too, can interpret the body language in the comments.

Ariel Waldman is totes single

Jackson West · 09/11/08 02:46AM

Our apologies to Ms. Ariel Waldman — she is not dating Cal Henderson: "I need dates — stop ruining my game, yo," she Twitters. Good, because that would make for some awkward meetings at Pownce, where she spends time as a community manager working with cofounder Leah Culver, a former Henderson paramour. This also means that polytalented Flickr code jock Cal Henderson is probably available. Probably. "How did Valleywag miss the girl I was actually there with?" he later asked us.

Cal Henderson sighting at 330 Ritch

Jackson West · 09/11/08 12:18AM

Stubblicious Flickr developer Cal Henderson and his "fake wife," Pownce community liaison Ariel Waldman, were sharing a precious booth with their entourage at yet another overpacked Seesmic party. Here, Waldman tries to chat with Laughing Squid founder Scott Beale over the din. Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis and Twitter cofounder Evan Williams, probably fed up with the crowds, have ditched 330 Ritch for the Plista party at Fluid.

When the 250 only date the 250

Owen Thomas · 09/03/08 04:00PM

When we popularized "the 250" as a nickname for San Francisco's Internet cool-kids crowd, we didn't realize how literal the incest was. Take the flirtation between Flickr's engineering chief, Cal Henderson, and Ariel Waldman, the community manager of Pownce, an online file-sharing service. Pownce was cofounded by Leah Culver, Henderson's ex-girlfriend, who has also dated around the scene. Henderson and Waldman traveled to Hawaii together, and have made jokes — on Twitter and Flickr, of course — about Henderson wishing Waldman shared his last name and calling her his "fake wife." It's all so darling, veering on disturbing.

Meet Leah Culver and her circle of ex-boyfriends

Melissa Gira Grant · 08/15/08 02:00PM

Programming Django isn't quite the same as dropping Dorothy Parker quips at lushed-out parties, but Pownce cofounder Leah Culver's line last night warmed even my cynical heart. Scene: We were mobbed briefly around the photo booth at 330 Ritch, former gay bathhouse and setting for the public launch of Yahoo's location-based mobile social thing, Fire Eagle. "Melissa, I want you to meet Cal Henderson," she said, presenting Flickr's head of engineering. "He's a fan ..."And here Mr. Henderson shook my hand and didn't mind at all when I said it was really his longtime companion Tom Coates, part of the Fire Eagle team and old queer hand of the blogosphere, whom I came out to meet. "We're here in my circle of exes," Culver continued. "And I have one to toss back at you," I added. The rest of the evening is lost in a botched Flip video file sync — no footage for you — and a flurry of text messages wherein I tried to locate the guy getting a handjob in the men's room at the end of the night. No help from Fire Eagle there! Tip me if you know who the lucky jack was? (Photo by Andrew Mager)

Flickr's Cal Henderson dumped by Technology Review covergirl Leah Culver

Owen Thomas · 07/24/08 06:40PM

We've been remiss in informing you of this: Cal Henderson, the eminently scalable Flickr engineer, and Leah Culver, the shrill-voiced cofounder of Pownce, San Francisco's favorite way to share MP3 files while evading copyright cops, broke up some time ago. (We hear it wasn't exactly his idea.) But don't feel sorry for Henderson, or Culver. She has no shortage of suitors — including, it seems, Technology Review editor-in-chief Jason Pontin, who was taken enough with Culver to put her on his magazine's latest cover. Pontin's married, but a man can dream, can't he? Sorry, Jason: We now hear Culver's hooked up with a Googler. (Photo of Henderson by magerleagues)

Mozilla's 10th anniversary made Valleywag feel old

Jackson West · 04/01/08 02:20PM

Mozilla's 10th anniversary party at 111 Minna last night felt a little like a high school reunion for the kids who didn't go to their high school reunion. The Mozilla Foundation, maker of the Firefox browser, feigned poverty by renting just half the gallery space and serving up crudités and issuing one drink ticket per guest, only later splurging by opening up the bar. There was some awkward dancing to Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," old jean jackets embroidered with the Netscape logo, a gargantuan chocolate cake and a photo booth. Many of the oldsters who were around when CSS was just a dream and Ajax was still used to scrub toilets also traded reminiscences of Burning Man, tech society's annual prom. Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker earned part of her $500,000 salary by giving a brief speech. And sign-toter Frank Chu showed up, uninvited but always welcome. But the talk of the party was the man who wasn't there.

Leah Culver, Cal Henderson take in "21" on movie date

Owen Thomas · 03/31/08 02:20PM

I remain utterly obsessed with ubiquinnoying Pownce cofounder Leah Culver and heterofabulous Flickr engineer Cal Henderson, not least because he tweaked my nipples the last time I saw the pair in Austin. A tipster reports spotting the besotted twosome at the Westfield mall in downtown San Francisco, going into a screening of 21, a tale of geeks who used higher math to take the house in Vegas. Could a desert debauch be in their future? (Photo by magerleagues)

Crowdsourcing experiment seeks to dictate Leah Culver's love life

Nicholas Carlson · 03/19/08 05:20PM

We asked which man most deserves Pownce founder Leah Culver's attentions: Googler Andy Smith or Flickr's Cal Henderson? In a late rally, Smith advocates won out. His 48.4 percent of the vote displaced the early leader, none-of-the-above option "cupcakes to face for both," at 43.5 percent. Now a pair of tipsters confirm Culver has, in fact, selected a new man. Has she heeded the wisdom of the crowd?

Help Leah Culver pick the right man

Nicholas Carlson · 03/17/08 05:00PM

Pownce founder Leah Culver has made more geeks go wild than we can count. For starters: Daniel Burka of Digg; LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick; and's Kyle Vogt. They're all history, however. One tipster confirms our suspicions that Culver and Flickr's Cal Henderson are "definitely dating." But another writes:

Leah Culver gives Kyle Shank the cupcake treatment

Owen Thomas · 03/16/08 08:10PM

Former Uncov guy and Persai CEO Kyle Shank, at center, recovers from an unsolicited cupcake smearing by Pownce's Leah Culver. The attack, likely motivated by Uncov accomplice Ted Dziuba's frequent gibes directed at Culver, took place at Flickr's fourth birthday party. Flickr's Cal Henderson, right, is said to have served as Culver's accomplice. Speaking of, can anyone confirm whether Henderson and Culver are dating? The two were inseparable at SXSW. If so, snaps to Culver: We hear Henderson's website is highly scalable. (Photo by magerleagues)

True confessions of the world's busiest websites

Owen Thomas · 03/11/08 04:21PM

Do not want fail? Why then, can has win, say the folks behind the curtains at Flickr, Digg, Media Temple, and StumbleUpon. Six of them showed up at a panel organized by Kevin Rose to explain how to make websites that stay online, more or less. Being a not very clever gossip, I just listened in for the quips. Oh, and the drama. Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg almost didn't make it. Check out how his fellow panelists updated the lineup right before he showed up.