Facebook agreed to remove pages created in tribute to victims of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the request of Connecticut lawmakers. Some of the pages purported to honor the victims were being used to harass victims’ families, the lawmakers said. [CBS News]
Foursquare is adding Visa, Mastercard and debit cards to its check-in deals program as it attempts to expand an existing revenue model. The company has let users pay for the deals—which users can access after checking in at participating locations—with American Express since 2011. [AllThingsD]
The U.S. government wasted millions of dollars in its attempts to expand broadband wireless service, according to a Republican congressman. [Bloomberg]
Thomas Pynchon’s next novel is said to be set in Silicon Alley, in the period between the dot-com boom and the terrorist attacks of September 11; here are some rejected plot lines. [PandoDaily]
The Visual Effects crowd is pissed off, and rightfully, it seems, about the lack of airtime it was afforded during the Academy Awards on Sunday. Television broadcasts largely ignored demonstrators protesting the state of the VFX industry, in which many jobs have been shipped overseas; meanwhile, the Oscar winner for VFX had his speech cut short, and Ang Lee, who won Best Director for his CGI-heavy Life of Pi, forgot to thank his VFX man. [The Big Social Picture]
Uber is signing up drivers in San Francisco; no taxi license needed, but there will be a test. [Engadget]
Bad education? CampInteractive and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian are hosting an ed tech hackathon at General Assembly this weekend, inviting developers, students and ed tech influencers to tackle improve the classroom experience. Since gold stars are being offered for hacks that help engage students with “unusually compelling learning experiences,” we’d like to suggest a Read More
It was only a matter of time before some frighteningly powerful security firm decided to write a program that collects and analyzes all of the tiny wisps of ourselves we leave across the web every day. From tweets to Facebook likes to where you got your last cup of coffee on Foursquare, a new piece of software developed by one of the world’s biggest defense contractors knows exactly what you’ll do next, perhaps even before you do.
Do We Really Need More Blogs? For the last three years, Quora has been the site for headsdown homebodies to ask their fellow coding brethren about what it’s like to go outside. But the company has recently announced two new developments that show a shift of attention to writers. The question site now has plans to include blogs. Quora has also announced the release of a rich text editor for their mobile app which should help Quora users ask bolded crazy questions while they’re on the go.
There’s rarely been a shortage of speculation on the future of Foursquare, the New York startup everyone loves and nobody knows how to monetize. Just last month, a story in The Wall Street Journal and had us wondering whether Apple might kick the tires on Dennis Crowley’s company as a way to buttress its iOS Maps.
Shopping Site Goes Shopping Back in 2011, Khoi Vinh, the former design director for The New York Times’s website, attempted to launch an iPad collage maker called Mixel that even Taylor Swift would love. The interface was kind of clunky, and the company soon pivoted to a smoother iPhone product, which became fairly successful. And now Mixel has been acquired by the custom product giant Etsy.
No, you won’t be creating any collages of your twee collectables any time soon. According to AllThingsD, The Mixel team is being acquired for its stellar mobile talents. Mr. Vinh and his cofounder Scott Ostler, along with employees Akiva Leffert and Roy Stanfield, will all make the move to Etsy’s Brooklyn offices. Mixel will be shutting down the social side of its app, but will leave up its collage-making tool. In an email to Betabeat, Etsy CTO Kellan Elliot-McCrea explains, “We expect our mobile traffic to surpass desktop traffic by the end of 2014.”
Sundancing in the Dark South by Southwest is basically right around the corner, but it seems several techies needed a break before March offers the excuse for a tax-deductible trip to Austin. Investor Scooter Braun is be there (for obvious reasons), as is VHX cofounder Casey Pugh, ABC News’s Maya Baratz, onetime Myspace prez Jason Hirschhorn, and Thrillist cofounder Ben Lerer. Judging from Mr. Lerer’s Instagram, Gary Vaynerchuk is also along for the ride.
Startups are taking advantage of the festival’s halo of hipness. The creatives at Kickstarter have devoted a page to Sundance entrants funded on the platform, and cofounder Yancey Strickler says he’ll be in attendance. Uber will be there–and handing out hot chocolate. “All you have to do is tap the Uber app and we will come wherever you are to deliver sweet salvation from the epic cold,” the company promises. Not to mention helping sooth the pain of Uber’s high fares.
While browsing our Google Reader this morning, we came across this list of wacky interview questions compiled by Glassdoor.com. You know the drill: “How many cows are in Canada?” (Correct answer: Who cares?) However, we were reminded of our favorite party game, which we haven’t played in quite some time, wherein we investigate God-only-knows-how-reliable Glassdoor reviews of our favorite startups.
Let’s just say there are some very unhappy underlings running around Silicon Alley.
You get an iPad! And you get an iPad! BuzzFeed cofounder Jonah Peretti has certainly been in the celebrating mood this week (and for good reason). Emily Fleischaker, editor of BuzzFeed’s Food vertical, tweeted that Mr. Peretti handed out iPad Minis to the whole staff for meeting their traffic goal. (Paging the Betabeat boss!)
BuzzFeed also Instagrammed a photo of Mr. Peretti donning said shirt and drinking what appears to be a beer. YOLO, we suppose.
Oh you fancy, huh? Turns out doing PR for Tumblr, despite the site’s numerous recent outages, has its advantages. Katherine Barna, who works in communications for the blogging platform, got the chance to meet President Obama and the first lady at the White House, and she has the Christmas-themed snap to prove it. Wonder how many jealous reblogs this pic will spawn?