This summer, LiveJournal founder turned Google engineer Brad Fitzpatrick briefly sported a fu manchu, a facial-hair styling usually seen in old movies, gay porn, and old gay porn movies. His wistful expression seemed to capture today's end-of-an-era weltanschauung. Will his new pals at Google get trimmed away like his 'stache? Suggest a better caption in the comments, and the best one will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: "Tesla's alternative energy: the tow truck," by Scalawag. (Photo by Brad Fitzpatrick)
Brad Fitzpatrick has a Googlephone, and you don't. And what's he doing with his amazing Android-powered toy? Using Google's mobile operating system, Fitzpatrick is coding an automatic garage-door opener, which senses the presence of his phone using Wi-Fi. He can do this because he's already hooked his garage door up to a Web server. Writes Six Apart executive Michael Sippey on this momentous occasion:
Sugar, the blog network which runs celebrity site PopSugar and fashion site FabSugar, among others, just launched a new blogging tool called OnSugar. Sugar says OnSugar is "sweet and simple publishing." A bit too simple, it turns out. OnSugar looks like a blatant ripoff of Tumblr, the kindergarten-simple blog site popular with Brooklyn and San Francisco's most self-involved Internet users. OnSugar seems to have copied Tumblr's look, feel and features, adding some girly pink. But Sugar's copying was more than just superficial.Many popular blog services offer "bookmarklets" — software tools, installed in browsers, which allow users to quickly post an article they're reading online. The "Share OnSugar" bookmarklet's source code appears identical to the code Tumblr founder David Karp and engineer Marco Arment wrote for the "Share on Tumblr" bookmarklet. Compare the two, above: Sugar hasn't bothered to do much more to the user interface besided adding tags and categories, which are hidden "advanced options" in Tumblr's bookmarklet. The code is an even closer copy. Here's the problem for Karp: Though popular with a certain crowd, Tumblr is far from mainstream. So users who fall in love with OnSugar blogs may never learn about the original. We'd point out that Tumblr itself is just a happily dumbed-down ripoff of LiveJournal, which predates it by nearly a decade and offers all the privacy features Tumblr users have been begging Karp for, but after OnSugar's more blatant blow, that seems cruel.
Internet person Rex Sorgatz put the pieces together-the New York story on the mean Brownstoner commenter, the Times story on commenters running the asylums, and finally last week's Time piece that was kinda-sorta in defense of anonymous nastiness. Commenters are a trend! Everyone is basically terrified of them! And this weekend, former blog entrepreneur Jason Calacanis up and quit the internet. Or, at least, he quit blogging. And started a private email list! Which is basically the definitive proof that the War is Over and the Commenters Won.
Jakob Lodwick, the entrepreneur who still takes Ayn Rand seriously even though he presumably graduated high school, is off the net because of you. He half-quit once before, back in February, when he was concerned that people were being mean to him because he over-shared too much personal information. Now people are being mean to him because he's patently ridiculous, which means he has to scale back his internet presence even more. All because he wanted to learn about China! Lodwick, who is famous because the streaming video site he founded before YouTube failed to become as popular or successful, says, "I may be a millionaire but I this sort of thing still hurts." Like Molly the Bear, Lodwick cannot understand anyone's hostility toward him. After the jump, the 2 a.m. email your day editor received from the 15-year-old girl who took over the 25-year-old tech entrepreneur's body.
Russian publisher Kommersant acquired half of LiveJournal parent company Sup, giving the blog operator control over its news site Gazeta.ru in exchange. Gazeta.ru editor Mikhail Mikhailin said the goal is to create “our own blogosphere." Anybody else worried what the hot air will do to the permafrost in Siberia? [paidContent]
An election to put a LiveJournal user on the company's advisory board ends today at 9 p.m. Pacific, and it looks like a user who goes by the handle legomymalfoy will walk away with the win. But in just a week since polls opened, the election has been mired by accusations of ballot stuffing, conflicts of interest, and multiple death threats.
LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick is a prankster, as evidenced by his Halloween costume last year, when the new Googler dressed up as Facebook to mock his coworkers' fears of the social network. I'm told that in Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, Sarah Lacy's new book about Web 2.0, there's an anecdote about Fitzpatrick submitting an expense report — successfully! — for "hookers and blow" when he worked at blog software startup Six Apart. That was likely a reference to the early days of LiveJournal, when users made ridiculous accusations that Fitzpatrick was spending money meant for servers and bandwidth on "hookers and blow." We'd love to hear more, but alas, Fitzpatrick only got 8 out of 294 pages, according to the book's index. Here's the page for "D" through "F":
LiveJournal, only months after Six Apart sold the blogging site to Russian Web firm Sup, has resumed its tradition of corporate drama. Jason Shellen, the company's VP of product management, just announced he'd left the company. I asked him if this had anything to do with the ruckus over LiveJournal's elimination of unpaid, advertising-free accounts. "No," said Shellen, who worked at Blogger and then Google after the search giant bought the blog startup. "In social media, you have to have a thick skin." What did Shellen in was the 10-hour time difference between Moscow, where Sup is headquartered, and LiveJournal's San Francisco office.
When SUP bought LiveJournal from SixApart, I'm sure the Russian company understood the financial details and the technological nuances, but I'm not sure it understood that the customer base is about one thing and one thing only — drama. At least, that's the impression I get from Anton Nosik in a recent interview with Izbrannoe, commenting on the March 12 move by the company to no longer offer free accounts (translated by russianswinga):
Remember how NotchUp spammed us all alst week? Get ready for a lot more. Brad Fitzpatrick, the LiveJournal founder who noisily left Six Apart for Google last summer, has launched his first big project: a tool which identifies your friends across multiple social networks, so you can invite them all wherever you go. What this means: If you're sick of zombie bites on Facebook, you're going to hate the World Wide Web after Fitzpatrick gets done with it. But forget the spam issue: Am I the only one who thinks this is a terrible idea on principle?
Tumblr differs from most blog software: It doesn't just let you post entries; it also provides an interface for reading the blogs of other Tumblr users. In that regard, it's duplicating a feature available on LiveJournal for a decade — and yet its users still manage to find it befuddling. "Right now I'm following 35 people," Connected Ventures cofounder Rickvy Van Veen writes on his personal blog.
Valleywag is of course known for its dead-on accuracy, so our predictions for 2008 need no introduction. Inside, my 25 predictions (made without inside information) cover the futures of Facebook, Google, Digg, YouTube, Twitter, the Wall Street Journal, Apple, Yahoo, Gawker Media, AOL, Dell, LOLcats, the president, and more.
Users of LiveJournal call it "defriending." As terrible as it sounds, defriending's not really that bad; it just means you're bored with someone and don't want to hear about their issues anymore. Or share yours with them. That, in essence, is what Six Apart, the San Francisco-based blog-software company, has decided to do with LiveJournal, the online community it acquired from Brad Fitzpatrick in 2005. Andrew Anker, Six Apart's vice president of
chopping the company into little bits for convenient and lucrative disposition corporate development, orchestrated the sale of LiveJournal to Sup, a Russian media company which already runs a localized version of the site. With the sale, Anker and the rest of Six Apart's team are letting LiveJournal know, as gently as they can, that they're just not interested in its problems.
Brad Fitzpatrick, the founder of LiveJournal, is a Silicon Valley archetype: The brilliant engineer and troubled young man. In noisily quitting Six Apart, the San Francisco-based software company which acquired his company two years ago, one of the reasons he gave was that he was tired of working on LiveJournal. Now Sup, the Russian company acquiring LiveJournal, has asked Fitzpatrick to join an advisory board meant to protect users' interests, and he's gladly agreed. Why the sudden change of mind?