Outgoing president Bush's dog, Scottish terrier Barney, bit a Reuters reporter today, according to the Washington Post! Oh, no: Barney knows about the election and doesn't want to leave the White House. He's gone Britney on us: acting out to stay in the spotlight and to demonstrate his relevance. Clearly, he's jealous of the new Obama puppy, who'll be all over the news as soon as they adopt him. What's going through his head right now? He may be worried that he'll end up like Socks. Remember Socks? Yeah, he's the cat that the Clintons gave away when they left the White House.
We hear that this morning Joanne Lipmann notified the unlucky Portfolio staffers who will be losing their jobs as part of Conde Nast's cost cuts and the top of the masthead was hit hard: four of the magazine's seven senior editors have been ushered out. If you know names, please let us know. An email is also supposedly going out to the staff later today with management spin on the cuts.
"Blame Duncan Riley," opens a Fortune report on this week's awesome saga in which an ex-TechCrunch employee unwittingly manipulated Apple's stock price. But it's not over until we bury the bodies. Here's the 100-word recap:Duncan Riley, former TechCrunch blogger, claimed last week to have insider info from a tipster who had seen new Apple price sheets. Laptops started at $800 instead of $1,099, said the tipster. Analysts - if you believe them - think a sub-$1,000 MacBook would be a big change for Apple. Riley's rumor bubbled up from his own site to VentureBeat to the New York Times' new online Technology page, where news from VentureBeat and other tech sites is merged onscreen with the Times' original reporting. Some readers who didn't bother to unpack their trust issues took the headline (note the grammar error: "a $800 MacBook") as Times-grade truth. I don't blame them. The NYT accurately broke the story on Apple's $499 Mac a day before Steve Jobs unveiled it. The only thing I remember from newswriting class is that journalists are telling stories, even when they think they're reporting the truth. Riley told a good story, peppered with enough details to make it plausible. Web surfers crazy for stock market guidance swallowed the tale without stopping to chew. Now that we all know there's no $800 laptop, journalists will pat themselves on the back about some important lesson they've learned. I'll do it myself, right after I stop by Daring Fireball to watch Duncan Riley's ritual spanking.
Maybe you didn't exactly invent an operating system. But other than that, Linus Torvalds is just like you! The open-source movement's favorite Finn has gotten into the blogging game, just like every other Tom, Dick, and Sergey. Unlike the Google founder, whose site blatantly promotes 23andMe, his wife Anne Wojcicki's gene-testing startup, Torvalds just wants to share news and pictures of his family. On the blog, he geeks out over Intel flash-memory disks and even shares a custom script to limit Internet usage for his kids. But like any good long-term resident alien with a green card, Torvalds laments the most about American politics, pointing out the fundamental problem with voting:
Let's just put it out there: At the exact moment that it's poised to dominate the world, Facebook has jumped the shark. With over 100 million users, even your dad — who's probably as old as Fonzy — is on the social network originally meant to get you laid in the dorms. Today's featured commenter, raincoaster, has a theory about what's wrong:
San Francisco's LoveFest 2008 took place this weekend, turning Civic Center Plaza into a sand-free version of Black Rock City. Want to hate the playas? Suggest a caption in the comments. The best one will become the post's new headline. Friday's winner: raincoaster, for "I thought I ordered the pearl necklace." (Photo by az1568)
Apparently there's a major financial meltdown of tech stocks happening that's going to crush the US economy. Or something. I don't know, I'm not daytrader, In fact, I only buy the stocks listed by default on my iPhone because I don't know how to add new symbols. But the issue is apparently important enough for Microsoft to weigh in. Well today's featured commenter, macbeach, has managed to notice a peculiar pattern:
Google's world-domination plans involve airwaves where neither television nor wireless devices play. This issue is so important that Larry Page personally went to Washington to complain to the FCC. Today's featured commenter, WagCurious, weighs in with some field knowledge. Stick around and learn something:
At Valleywag, we pride ourselves on asking the obvious question that everyone else seems to be avoiding. But today we failed you, dear readers, with our review of Gogo's WiFi in the sky. Thankfully, our ever-helpful commenters like bjs don't let the public's truly pressing concerns slip through our fingers:
The latest hire in online tech outlets smacks of cannibalism. Silicon Alley Insider, the vanity blog vehicle of former Wall Street stock analyst Henry Blodget, has lost managing editor Peter Kafka to AllThingsD, the vanity blog vehicle of Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Dow Jones makes for a steadier parent than AlleyCorp, the tech-startup holding company of DoubleClick cofounder Kevin Ryan. But one would think Swisher, who confirms the hire and says Kafka will start at the end of October, might have first raided the vast hordes of reporters working in the faltering medium of print before feeding on her own kind. Let's just hope she lets Kafka get out more.
The random scuttlebutt this morning was that Google might buy Valve — makers of fine slacker software such as Half Life and Team Fortress 2. But the fun came to a stop when Valve's marketing chief quashed the rumors. Or did it? Today's featured commenter, fullman, gives us a pictorial glimpse of what the Google-Valve merge could have given us:
After Apple banned iPhone app Podcaster from its iTunes App Store, CNET called Podcaster the iPhone app that's "so good, Apple won't let you have it." Apple hasn't said why, but it's widely believed that the app was banned for competing with the iPhone's built-in podcast-downloading software. But blogger Niall Kennedy writes that he tested the Podcaster app according to Apple's stated rules, and discovered three reasons Apple might have legitimately rejected Alex Sokirynsky's app.Kennedy said Podcaster takes as long as 3 to 5 minutes to load some menus, that he had to dismiss a confirmation sheet each time he added a new podcast, and that Podcaster's interface is crowded and ugly. Remember, ugly is an unforgivable sin in the eyes of Apple, which warns developers on its Developer Connection site:
If capitalism is supposed to reward great ideas, then how come it's often hard to believe some of these entrepreneurs ever became as successful as they did? After YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley suggested text will be replaced by video in ten years, the only explanation there could possibly be is luck, according to a lovably grumpy rant by FaceMelter:
I'm a pretty simple guy. Hand me a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck and a Xbox controller and I won't bother you for a couple of hours, if not, days. So these posts talking about the harbinger of financial doom is upon us is like trying to understand the Bush Doctrine — I don't get it. Thankfully we have today's featured commenter, madox, to teach, correct, and maybe make you a little bit of money:
Austin-based interactive ad agency Tocquigny embarrassed itself with a video meant to show prospective interns how fun it is to work at the company over the summer. Instead of showing how quirky and Internet-savvy Tocquigny was, it proved to be a turnoff — and a ripoff. Besides not copying someone else's work, what could Tocquigny have done differently? Using five examples the agency should have followed, we'll explain how to do a self-promotional corporate video right:Rule No. 1: Convince the video's participants that the end product will be less embarrassing if they don't worry about being embarrassed while they make it. Get your people to either commit themselves fully to the project, or stay out of the way. Vimeo's companywide lip synch of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" wouldn't work nearly so well if the girl listening to her iPod at the beginning didn't keep such a straight face. Know what else doesn't hurt? Actually memorizing the lyrics.
Victor Wang — huh-huh — from Apple emailed the author of the Pull My Finger app, shown above, to explain that the interactive fart-noise program was deemed "of limited utility to the broad user community." I wonder what would happen if they applied a "utility" standard to the music videos sold through the same store? Wang's full email:
To hear iPhone-app developers tell it, VCs are circling and the end of days is nigh. Some developers can push out at an app in four months for less than $5,000, so why play with other people's money at all? "Fuck the VCs" says indie developer John Casasanta, of Tap Tap Tap. "What we’re about to experience in the iPhone world is going to be a bubble along the lines of the one in the late '90s/early 2000s." Echoing that is Mike Lee, cofounder of iPhone app development team Tapulous, who raised $1.8M in angel funding this summer. This week, Lee, one of Tapulous's nine employees, was told to exit his own company. Lee left a depressingly cocky send-off to his team in his wake. It's hardly the rallying cry to go it alone that he meant it to be.
Here's our theory: Daily deadlines did in the newspaper industry. The pressure of getting to press, the long-practiced art of doom-and-gloom headline writing, the flinchiness of easily spooked editors all made it impossible for ink-stained wretches to look farther into the future than the next edition. Speaking of doom and gloom: Online ad revenues at several major newspaper chains actually dropped last quarter. The surprise there is that they ever managed to rise. The newspaper industry has a devastating history of letting the future of media slip from its grasp. Where to start? Perhaps 1995, when several newspaper chains put $9 million into a consortium called New Century Network. "The granddaddy of fuckups," as one suitably crotchety industry veteran tells us, folded in 1998. Or you can go further back, to '80s adventures in videotext. But each tale ends the same way: A promising start, shuttered amid fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
A year and some after the Facebook platform's launch, few of its widgetmakers have made any real money — unless you count the venture capital they've raised. Just a month after the iPhone 3G launch, Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that $30 million has already changed hands through the iTunes App Store. Even the guy behind the do-nothing "I Am Rich" application made a few thousand bucks. So you, wantrepreneur Web developer, you're thinking: Gee, I made, like, four-and-a-half Facebook Zombie widgets this past year. Maybe I should cook myself up an iPhone app. But hold on there, Steve Jobs Jr. Do you really know what you're getting yourself into?According to Iminlikewithyou's Charles Forman, who's working on porting his startup's copycat games to the iPhone, there's not much in common between the platforms besides the word "app."