Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
Some do it for the lulz, others do it for the Benjamins. In a piece published today in Forbes, Andy Greenburg introduces us to VUPEN, a company that is apparently a proponent of the latter. VUPEN sells hacking secrets to government agencies for big bucks, and a host of Internetty folk are terrified of the implications.
The gang at College Humor has a knack for mashing up pop culture iconography into one zeitgeisty web short. Take, for example, Jersey Shore star Snooki’s entrance into the technology scene. What would Snooki’s emails to her unborn daughter look like? With a little help from Google Chrome, we get a pretty good idea. Read More
Refusing to relent to the fact that its main purpose is to host adorable videos of kittens, YouTube is fortifying its $100 million bet on original programming with the release of “My Damn Channel Live,” a daily live comedy show debuting next week.
My Damn Channel is an entertainment website that’s been around since 2007 and was named one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites in 2011. “My Damn Channel Live” is their first foray into live daily comedy, and serves as yet another example of comedy’s migration from TV to Internet. Comedy has recently established itself as the entertainment genre most likely to take risks in the name of innovation, as Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari have demonstrated.
Exit This Way
As expected and reported in many places, today Zynga announced the purchase of New York’s own social game maker OMGPOP.
OMGPOP was founded six years ago, went through a session at Y Combinator, and wound its way through a series of challenges and leadership changes before coming out with the superhit game Draw Something six weeks ago. Draw Something is like Pictionary, except it’s played on a mobile phone and is apparently as addictive as crack. With 35 million downloads, it is by far the largest game OMGPOP has ever made.
“We’re excited to announce Zynga has acquired New York-based OMGPOP,” Dave Ko, Zynga’s chief mobile officer, said on a media call, before praising the “smash hit Draw Something.” “If you haven’t played it already, I highly suggest you check it out. It’s super fun.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took a field trip to Brooklyn yesterday to check out the headquarters of MakerBot Industries, a company that makes desktop "3-D printing devices" that enable users to manufacture plastic products of their own design at home. In his 2012 "State of the City" address, Mr. Stringer mentioned how MakerBot was "leading the revolution in 3-D printing right here in New York City" and is an example of the type of business that can help make the city "a go-to hub for innovation." During his trip to MakerBot's headquarters, Mr. Stringer got a tour of the facility from co-founder Bre Pettis and asked what New York's elected officials can do to help tech companies take root in the five boroughs. Read More
ALL YOUR MEME BELONG TO US
If a vision of post-apocalyptic America overrun with glassy-eyed teens communicating solely through image macros doesn’t sound appealing to you, you might not be a big fan of Blurtt, the new iPhone app that wants to help you “better express yourself” though memes.
The thinking behind Blurtt goes like this: sometimes words can’t express everything we want them to. In real life, we have gestures, facial expressions and vocal timbres to help convey meaning. But over digital communication, all of these physical cues become moot, and what remains threatens the very existence of semantic devices like sarcasm (see what we did there?).
ICANN AND SO CAN YOU!
If the “Made in NYC” label wasn’t enough to cement your status as an integral part of the burgeoning local tech community, perhaps a .NYC domain name might pique your interest. Luckily for enterprising young founders hankering to swap .ly or .co for a cooler extension, the New York Times reports today that the city is seeking a contract with a Virginia-based company that could bring us closer to finally landing .NYC’s.
New York City’s chief digital officer Rachel Sterne has already graced the pages of Vogue magazine. But this morning, fresh off of waving the Made in NYC™ pom-poms at SXSW, she stopped by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to announce NYCgov’s new Facebook photo contest to get your pic on the big screen in Times Square.
Joe Scarborough and his guests took the opportunity to shout out their personal digital requests, such as Wifi in the subway and shower.
“You know, I’m a small government conservative,” said Mr. Scarborough. “But you know just—
“—Free wifi for all,” interrupted one of his guests.
“Everybody!” Mr. Scarborough continued, gesticulating enthusiastically. “User name: USA. Password: Number1.”
The Venmo team is up to 23 “young, passionate people,” as Mr. Kortina said, in an office in Chelsea and is processing $10 million in transactions a month. (Investor Ben Lerer predicted the startup will handle $250 million next year.) “It’s not really stuff that would be captured somewhere else,” he said. “Like if someone’s friend had a bachelor party and they couldn’t go, they could Venmo $20 to get drinks on them because they couldn’t be there. People are using this to share the experience they have when they go out with friends.” Read More
The Third Degree
Pivotal Labs finally made the news official yesterday: the pioneering agile development consultancy known for its influence on startups like Twitter and Square would be acquired by EMC Corporation, a publicly-traded corporation with a market cap of $59 billion that manufactures and sells cloud and storage hardware and helps IT departments move to the cloud. (If that tune sounds familiar, it’s because Om Malik broke the story last Friday.)
The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed, EMC said it was an all-cash transaction that wouldn’t be material to its 2012 finances. Pivotal will remain a separate legal entity and is contemplating global expansion. Along with the acquisition, EMC announced that its Greenplum division would be open-sourcing a Big Data platform called Greenplum Chorus and then hosted a Webcast to explain how these changes would help EMC go “social, open, and agile with Big Data.”
As to expected from a Fortune 500 company, EMC’s jargon was a little hard to parse. We weren’t the only ones scratching our heads at what, exactly, this would mean for Pivotal and its fast-growing Union Square office. So Betabeat talked to Edward Hieatt, principal and VP of engineering, who is based in San Francisco but oversees its offices in Boulder and New York, to find out how the acquisition will affect its clients and engineers, more commonly known as “Pivots,” and what a corporation with $20 billion in revenue knows about being agile.