Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

For Its Upcoming Photo Hack Day Announces Big Prizes and Says Guten Tag to Berlin


This coming Saturday and Sunday, Aviary and General Assembly are hosting the second installment of their baller photo hackathon, often touted as “the world’s largest photo hack day,” though we’re not sure there’s that much competition. At last year’s event more than 175 developers produced 40+ hacks, a number of which were built using Face.com’s futuristic facial recognition technology.

More than  200 developers have already signed up for the second go-round, officially known as Photo Hack Day 2 (Twitter hashtag #PHD2), so you can expect even more hacked-together photo goodness. Like Aviary’s photo editing suite itself, the emphasis now is on mobile development rather than the web. “Sunday demo tickets completely sold out a full week and a half before the event, so we’re anticipating a good, curious crowd,” said Alex Taub, Aviary’s head of business development and partnerships.

Aviary and GA have already announced an impressive roster of speakers for a fireside chat moderated by Aviary CEO Avi Muchnick, including Tumblr’s David Karp, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, and Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh. But today they’re ready to talk about the good stuff: prize$$$. Read More

Do It For the Kiddies

Get Linsane with Alexis Ohanian: Donate to Win Two Tickets to the Knicks with Reddit’s Cofounder


Finally, there’s a feel-good reason to keep the Jeremy Lin puns coming. SeatGeek and Breadpig have teamed up to give away two tickets to the Knicks-Cavalier’s game at Madison Square Garden next Wednesday, February 29th  . . . aaaaaand the chance to experience the Linsanity alongside Reddit cofounder and “all around good guy” Alexis Ohanian. (Those aren’t scare quotes, Mr. Ohanian really is the nicest, but we like that goodness is listed as part of his appeal.)

The philanthropic collabo is being facilitated by DonorsChoose.org.  Mr. Ohanian told Betabeat that he will soon be joining the startup’s advisory board. “WOO for NY startups,” he emailed. Since this is for a good cause, we’ll refrain from asking him to step away from the pom-poms. Anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more towards physical education projects in New York City schools is eligible to win the tickets. The initiative, which did a soft launch last Friday, has already raised $1,561. Deadline for donations is next Monday at midnight. Read More

Old Dogs Learn New Tricks

Flickr Is Getting a Major Makeover

The new Flickr photo view.

Markus Spiering has, as they say, a good eye. Most of his resume was in mobile before he became a senior product manager for Flickr. In March 2011, he slipped into the head product role, lording over Flickr’s 45 or so employees. “”I have the pleasure to run product management for one of the most exciting web sites in the world: Flickr,” he says on his website. He’s in town for the Photo Hack Day hackathon this weekend, the first small sign of what could be the company’s reinvigorated interest in its audience.

Mr. Spiering is very happy to be making extensive changes to the Flickr interface, the first of which will roll out next week, as he explained in a meeting with Betabeat, Yahoo’s Jason Khoury, and Flickr.com, looking pretty on Mr. Spiering’s Macbook Air.

Mr. Spiering moused over the current photo view. “This is very typical of Flickr,” he said. “Lots of white space, small photos, lots of information around.”

He then opened a new tab to show the spread, completely revamped. Suddenly the photos look more than four times their current size and lie neatly justified on the page, somehow jigsawing together without cropping or changing the order in which they appear.

The new photo view will hit on Feb. 28, Mr. Spiering said, and with it comes a new upload interface. Flickr’s uploading page now looks more like an app than a website. Goodbye, retro blue links. Hello, swoopy drag-and-drop. Read More

Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart

NSA Warns that Anonymous May Soon Be Capable of a Causing a Power Blackout


At a Senate intelligence hearing earlier this month, the FBI declared that cyber attacks would soon surpass big bad, old-fashioned terrorism as the biggest threat to America. No big shocker there, intelligence officials have been saying as much since last year. But in private meetings at the White House, the NSA started to paint  a picture of how that might become a reality.

The director of the National Security Agency warned that within a year or two, the hacktivist collective Anonymous may be capable of using cyber attacks to cause a temporary power outage by disrupting power supplies, reports the Wall Street Journal. Read More

Download My Thing

OMGPOP Keeps Rolling in the Downloads

Draw Something (originally the edgier "Draw My Thing").

With $ZNGA raking it in and SNAP Interactive’s booming stock price, why anyone would ever do a startup for something other than social gaming is beyond us. Soho-based OMGPOP just had another hit with “Draw Something,” an app that hit a million iPhone and Android downloads in only 10 days, as the company told TechCrunch.

The game has at least $10,000 in revenue per day, CEO Dan Porter told the blog, due to ads and premium upgrades. Read More

Caught In The Webb

Lay off the Social Media Experts

Mr. Webb.

Rick Webb co-founded The Barbarian Group, a digital ad agency, and is now a writer and angel investor in the tech industry.

It’s happening again. While perusing the never-ending flow of tweets and Tumblr blogs that make up the collective consciousness of the internet, like I do, I’ve noticed that over the last few weeks, it’s become fun again to mock “social media experts.” And so, in the wake of another successful Social Media Week, now seems a good time to stick up for this much-maligned digital wage slave. I admit I have gone on this rant before, and if you’ve heard me before, I apologize.

But it’s time to toast the Social Media Expert. Read More

Metro Tech

Coming Soon to a Taxi Near You: Square Wants to Replace Taxi TVs with iPads and Apps

square app

What if instead of a squawking box, capable only of blaring at you from the partition, Taxi TVs looked more like your smartphone and came stocked with apps like Foursquare? Square, the mobile payment company headed by Jack Dorsey, is trying again with a daring proposal for the Taxi and Limousine Commission: a pilot program that would replace Taxi TVs in 50 cabs with iPads or other tablets.

TLC chairman David Yassky said the tablets would also enable the commission to test out Square’s mobile payment technology “and swipe a credit card at any point in the trip,” reports the New York Times. It should come as no surprise to Brooklyn-dwellers who’ve to had to promise to pay cash in order to get back from Manhattan, but the current credit card system, controlled by Verifone and Creative Mobile Technologies, is hard on cabdrivers, who have to eat the fee for the transaction. With Square, there’s a chance to push down the price of transactions. Read More


Scroogle, Privacy-First Search Engine, Shuts Down for Good

(Gerard Paardekam via Virginia Mataix)

(Gerard Paardekam via Virginia Mataix)

Scroogle, the search engine operated by privacy militant and self-appointed Wikipedia watchdog Daniel Brandt, has folded for real. After enduring DDOS attacks “around the clock” that sent a flood of unsustainable traffic to his servers, Mr. Brandt took down the search engine along with his other four domains, namebase.orggoogle-watch.orgcia-on-campus.org, and book-grab.com. His theory is that he was being attacked by hackers with a personal vendetta. Read More

Modern Startup Family

Foursquare’s Coastal Offices Are Connected by a Video Feed Called ‘The Portal’

Matt Healy, Google+

Foursquare’s engineering office in San Francisco has just 20 out of the company’s 100 employees. But rather than working as an autonomous unit, AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes writes today, the teams are connected by a constant video feed. Called “The Portal,” the feed is powered by Cisco meeting software and allows the satellite office engineers to have stand-up meetings with their New York co-workers throughout the day. The Portal was installed in July and each office can control the other’s cameras.

“Code doesn’t care where it’s written,” San Francisco site lead Benjy Weinberger told ATD. Read More