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Jack Smith IV

Jack is a reporter covering tech business in NYC, Silicon Alley founders and funding, trends in tech innovation and venture capital investment.
Hits and Misses

Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’

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Yesterday, a rumor surfaced on deep web blog DeepDotWeb that Comcast was going to start blocking users of Tor, an anonymous web browser. Comcast Vice President Jason Livingood immediately and rightfully called bullshit, because for all of its customer service foibles, Comcast knows that preventing people from browsing the Internet anonymously would be a daring infringement on user privacy.

The confusion came to rest shortly after the posting of a Business Insider story called “Comcast Denies It Will Cut Off Customers Who Use Tor, The Web Browser For Criminals.” Besides reaffirming the simple notion that you shouldn’t just believe something you read on a subreddit, the story — which was viewed over 22,000 times — reaffirms the notion that Tor is a tool for evil. Read More

Internet Famous

Gamers Drove Minecraft Creator ‘Notch’ Out of Gaming

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So the rumors were true: Microsoft bought Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. Original fans of the game are buzzing with concern that their beloved indie game is destined for ruin — as they are wont to do — and major tech publications are no doubt preparing their lengthy analyses of the business implications. But the man who should be at the center of attention has chosen to bow out completely.

Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson published a farewell letter on his personal site yesterday called “I’m leaving Mojang.” In it, he anticipates the post-buyout community firestorm, and says that’s he’s done being a “symbol of some perceived struggle” for the soul of indie gaming. Yes, he may have an enormous pile of money now, but Mr. Persson was never asking for meteoric fame, or to belong to a cause. He just wanted to make a cool game. Read More

Your Colleagues In the News

Pando’s Paul Carr Is Bringing Back His Call-In Radio Show ‘NSFW Live’

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Tech podcasts are nightmarishly boring. Most either lifelessly emulate glossy, Ira Glass-style documentary segments or simply broadcast 45 minute dialogues between founders and investors while they safely rehash the week’s think-pieces. For only a couple of years, Paul Carr’s NSFW Live offered a respite — an unpolished daily call-in show where the editorial brigands of the now-defunct NSFWCORP would rant about the day’s news slog.

Fans rejoice: NSFW Live is coming back under a new banner, with new studios and a little spending money. The show will come back as “PandoLIVE,” and Mr. Carr told Betabeat it will merge “NSFW ethos with Pando professionalism and sustainability.” Mr. Carr will cohost the new show weekly with longtime bestie and more crowd-friendly counterpart Sarah Lacy, the founder and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily. Read More

XXX in Tech

The Apple Watch Already Has an App For Getting Laid

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We’ve known about the Apple Watch for less than a week, and already developers have figured out a way to use it for sex. Typical.

Close Encounter is a blind-dating app from the future that will match you up with nearby singles and lead you straight to them, all from the convenience of your wrist. The app was announced in a Medium post full of gorgeous mock-ups that repeatedly refers to the daters using the apps as “the humans” — an attempt either to humanize the object of your overwhelming lust, or make you feel like The Terminator for using it.

“No chat, no bullshit,” the post brags. “Just share your location and follow the line until you reach your match.” Read More

Planet Reddit

Reddit’s /r/UpliftingNews Bans Huffington Post For Stealing Article Ideas

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Reddit has a complicated relationship with the media. On one hand, Reddit is a place for organizing content — besides the typical viral stock that’s already trending on Imgur, news sites provide much of Reddit’s diet. On the other hand, Reddit is sick of being a source for journalists who don’t acknowledge the source of their posts.

Moderators from/r/UpliftingNews posted a “PSA” Thursday declaring a ban on all Huffington Post articles from here on out. According to the mod, editors from HuffPost’s Good News vertical have been pillaging the subreddit for leads and content without giving the subreddit or its posters proper credit. Accord to the post: Read More

hbo's silicon valley

Peter Thiel Thinks His HBO Caricature Isn’t Innovative Enough

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At Betabeat, we consider ourselves connoisseurs of HBO’s Silicon Valley, and we’ve been going through pretty serious Pied Piper withdrawal while we wait for season two.

So when Peter Thiel held his Reddit AMA, we were glad to see that someone stepped away from the discussions about market economics for half a second to ask:

How do you feel about your obvious likeness, Peter Gregory, as portrayed in the HBO show Silicon Valley?

Read More

Your Colleagues In the News

Jason Calacanis Made a News Service For Tech Elites Because TechCrunch ‘Is a Joke’

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Jason Calacanis, tech investor and entrepreneur, is sick of tech news. Up until recently, he was spending hours a day reading the top tech blogs and learning “nothing,” so he hired someone right out of college to read them for him and make a spreadsheet.

“My instruction is to just cover the most important things in as few words as possible,” Mr. Calacanis told Betabeat. “No pull-quotes, no PR bullshit.” Read More

Twitter Makes It Real

Here’s What Everyone Was Really Talking About During Apple’s Keynote (Hint: It’s Not the New Features)

What's your problem, hater? (Photo via Getty)

By the end of today’s Apple Keynote, there were already a few hundred articles microscopically telling us which features are meaningless, why or why not the Apple Watch will transform humanity forever and when you can start handing over your sweet money. The announcement was also marred by ironic technical difficulties more worthy of a Motorola Read More