Adrianne Jeffries

Adrianne Jeffries has been a reporter for the New York Observer since December 2010 and the editor of Betabeat since January 2012. She has written for newspapers, magazines, and blogs in three states, and is a ReadWriteWeb alum.

Microsoft Is the Corporate Equivalent of a Mean Girl, Says Washington Post

Miss u boo (Photo: Wikimedia)

With the Surface tablet, Microsoft has made itself cool. What, you don’t agree? No less an authority than the Washington Post hath declared it so, in a story headlined “Why Microsoft is for once the cool kid in the technology world.” The alternate title is “Microsoft betrays the trust of customers and partners in the name of progress.”

The company unveiled the svelte new tablet with its magical keyboard kickstand without giving its hardware or software partners much of a heads up, WaPo writes, and that makes Steve Ballmer a mean girl. “While much of Microsoft’s new-found popularity is deserved, it’s also become increasingly clear that the company is willing to betray the trust of consumers and its partners to get its way,” the story says. And they have this book, this “burn book,” where they write horrible things about Apple and HP…


Booting Up: LulzSec’s Day in Court Edition

U mad?

Topiary, the 19-year-old spokesman for LulzSec, pleads guilty to two out of four charges. [BBC]

OpenStreetMap passes 12 million edits. [OpenStreetMap]

Six West side subway stations get free Wifi. [The Next Web]

All the news that’s fit to flip. New York Times and paywall come to Flipboard. [AllThingsD]

Look at the world through Instagram-tinted glasses. [Venture Village]

“Our digital servants have the tendency to become tyrants, and it is nearly impossible to escape their reach.” [Forward]

Teach Me How to Startup

Two Year Startup ‘Apprenticeship’ Program: Innovative or Exploitative?

Ms. Ittycheria and Mr. Sarhan.

Want to spend two years working full-time at Thrillist, Learnvest or Birchbox for free? If Enstitute’s campaign on Indiegogo is successful, a group of 18- to 24-year-olds will be heading to New York City for a two-year unpaid apprenticeship at a startup, with living costs covered.

Higher education is a ripoff that leaves graduates indebted and often jobless, Enstitute says, in contrast to its planned “two-year, full time experiential learning program,” which places students at startups in New York where they shadow a founder for a year and then specialize in one area such as sales or product design for the second year. Read More

Spam Awards

If You’re a Private Social Network, You Probably Shouldn’t Tweet About My Address Without Permission [UPDATED]


Addressgate.com is a free, highly specialized social network designed to promote neighborhood engagement and neighbor-to-neighbor communication. All members must successfully claim their home address, after which they can communicate with other neighbors privately and view or post neighborhood-wide alerts, news and events.” Wait, I’d like to know my neighbors, I thought. Perhaps this press release, unlike the other 200 startup press releases I got this week, is talking about something that’s actually a good idea. Read More

So Fresh and So Lean

Employees Forced to Work Out of Bowery Apartment for Five Years Finally Get Real Office [Video]

The Bowery apartment where Indaba Music was headquartered for five years.

Oh, so you thought your startup was lean? Indaba Music, a social network where musicians can find each other and collaborate, is about to show you up. After persevering for five years in an apartment on the Bowery, the startup has decided it was time to stop sharing a single bathroom between 23 people. In March, Indaba moved from the Bowery over to fancy Soho and into a brand new office on Broadway occupying the floor above Foursquare. Read More

XX in Tech

Eight Real Tales of Learning Computer Science as a High School Girl

8 Photos

Sara Robinson

In the debate over the dearth of women in technology—just 11 percent of startup founders that take venture capital are women, as an example of one of the many lopsided statistics—one solution inevitably comes up: get ‘em while they’re young. While there are outliers, most of the tech greats got into technology early. Bill Gates went to one of the only high schools in the country that had a time sharing computer in 1968, for example.

As guest columnist Sarah Kunst wrote on Betabeat, women need to get into the pipeline in order to get to the top. This idea, often raised during debates over the gender ratio in tech, makes Stuyvesant High School an interesting case study. All students at Stuyvesant are required to take a year of computer science. As it turns out, the advanced computer science classes skew mostly male anyway. But for a year, boys and girls get exposed to computer programming together.

We asked Mike Zamansky, the head of the computer science program, to share some stories from his female students. They did us one better. Eight students sent in first-hand accounts of what it’s like to learn computer programming as a teenage girl.

Check out these stories of learning computer science as a high school girl. Special thanks to student Ellie Abrams, who coordinated the project. Read More

Technical Difficulties

Twitter Outage Caused by ‘Cascaded Bug’ and Not by Influx of GIF Avatars, as We First Suspected


Twitter has been in and out, in and out for the past three hours, and the company finally has an explanation, albeit limited to 140 characters: “Today’s outage is due to a cascaded bug in one of our infrastructure components. We’ll provide updated information soon.” At first, we suspected this BuzzFeed service piece, which explains how to make any animated GIF your Twitter avatar.

Twitter’s policy explicitly prohibits animated GIF avatars, probably to avoid having the site go all Myspace on everybody or maybe because pulsing and looping hurts Larry T. Bird’s tiny brain. The site started experiencing issues the day after the great GIF invasion. Did the GIFs had anything to do with it? Twitter declined to say, instead forwarding on the above tweet. There goes that theory.

Kickstarter Announces Live Stats Page So You Can Watch the Numbers Tick


Kickstarter, New York’s premier crowdfunding platform, updates the public from time to time with blog posts full of delicious statistics about the number of projects funded, number of dollars raised, and types of campaigns running. These posts tend to inspire fear, awe and commentaries like “Kickstarter Hits 10,000 Projects With $60 M. Raised – Funding Accelerating Fast.”

But it will no longer be necessary to wait for the company’s sporadic memos. Kickstarter cofounder Yancey Strickler just announced a live stats page that will let anyone see the numbers surrounding different projects. The page will display information like total dollars pledged and success rate per category, updated once a day. Read More

The Third Degree

Quotidian Ventures and Its Venezuelan Founder Have Quietly Funded 34 New York Startups

Mr. Picón.

Pedro Torres Picón is an angel investor of the new breed: Young, hip, and handy with an Instagram, it’s suddenly clear how he managed to make his way into a slew of impressive investments despite moving to New York two years ago without knowing a soul. Mr. Picón has an easy manner, a sweet smile and a certain trustworthiness about him; and, in this town, being personable is most of the battle.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s sharp. Read More

Caveat Investor

Amateur Hour: New Crowdinvesting Rules Mean Everyone Can Play Venture Capitalist

(Photo: James Cridland via Flickr)

It was glaringly sunny in Washington, D.C., on April 5, the day President Barack Obama signed the JOBS Act, and there was some confusion as to the location of the afterparty. One faction of Rose Garden attendees gathered on the roof of the W Hotel and wondered where everyone was. The rest assembled at Off The Record, a dimly lit bar in the basement of the Hay-Adams Hotel, and kicked things off with an icebreaker.

About 30 smartly dressed men and women, still sweating out the adrenaline of being three rows away from the president, stood in a circle. Many had worked with each other but never met. Each stated their names, the role they played in the bill, and perhaps a few words about the brave new world of so-called equity-based crowdfunding, which had just been legalized by one of the six constituent laws that make up the JOBS Act. The new rule will allow “ordinary Americans,” in the president’s words, to invest in a nonpublic company in exchange for shares for the first time since the enactment of the securities regulation that followed the 1929 stock market crash.

The mood was triumphant and boozy. Tim Rowe, a Cambridge-based venture capitalist, raised a glass and offered a toast to working together in the future. “The Marine Corps was founded in a bar in Philadelphia,” he said. “Big things can happen starting in a bar.” Attendees signed up to join a trade organization for the newly minted market. “There was the sense of elation that we had cracked the monopoly of Wall Street,” one attendee recalled. Read More