XXX in Tech
Back in April, Colorado-based revenge porn proprietor Craig Brittain promised that he would shutter his online nudes hub Is Anybody Down, feigning remorse about posting naked photos without women’s consent and even changing his Twitter bio to something so emo it’d make Taking Back Sunday proud. But shortly after declaring his intent to shut down the site, Mr. Brittain registered obamanudes.com and transferred all of Is Anybody Down’s archives there. When visitors go to isanybodydown.com, they’re greeted with a message: “Is Anybody Down is OVER! Obama Nudes has begun. http://obamanudes.com/“
In November of last year, Gawker reported that the notorious gross-out site “Goatse.cx,” which showed an old man splaying open his anus for all to see, was being transitioned from a nostalgia-laden ’90s meme to an actual email service. The site’s new owner, an Australian IT consultant who goes by the moniker Jonathan, planned to offer Goatse vanity email addresses for $5 a pop.
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.”
Kickstarted The crowdfunding king released its annual highlights for 2012 this week. And the startups is going about as gangbusters as well, an oversubscribed, blockbuster Kickstarter campaign. In 2012, 2,241,475 people pledged almost $320 million and successfully funded a little over 18,000 projects. That works out to about $606 per minute. Monetization is so much easier when it’s baked into your platform, isn’t it?
Indie No More Kickstarter competitor Indiegogo also released data for 2012. Campaigns raised 20 percent more in last year than they did in 2011 and successful campaigns took an average of 11 days preparing for their launch.
Sandy’s gone but techie do-gooders are still coming out of the woodwork with new relief efforts. The latest: Popular photography blog Humans of New York is devoting the next ten days to chronicling the hurricane and its impact. It’s pretty much impossible to see the images without wanting to help. And so the site is also partnering with Tumblr to raise money for the afflicted, with an Indiegogo fundraiser.
The campaign, which went live last night, is already at $92,000 raised–well on the way to the $100,000 overall goal. It’s amazing how far 6,700 Tumblr notes can get you.
For all the modern-day desire to emulate Steve Jobs, the heroic nerd isn’t a new American trope. As long ago as the Gilded Age, scientist Nikola Tesla was a celebrity. He lived at the Waldorf Astoria and was close friends with Mark Twain.
But he was neither entertainer nor robber baron. Rather, as the inventor of an effective alternating current system of power generation, he’d helped usher in a new, electrified era. His ambitious visions of the future (and complete lack of a filter) made great copy, meaning newspaper reporters were always eager to put him in print.
In 1901, at the height of his fame, Tesla built a laboratory in the rural farmland of Shoreham, Long Island. Dubbed Wardenclyffe, the facility was designed by Stanford White and meant to be the site of his greatest achievement yet: Intercontinental transmission of wireless radio signals. But it wasn’t to be. “Wardenclyffe was a landmark as magnificent in concept and execution as America’s Golden Age of electrical engineering ever produced,” writes Margaret Cheney in her 1981 biography Tesla: Man Out of Time—“magnificent and doomed.”
A few weeks ago, Betabeat wrote about an Indiegogo campaign started by Whitney Port, star of The Hills and The City. Ms. Port began the campaign to raise $50,000 so that she could show her fashion line, Whitney Eve, at New York Fashion Week Spring 2013.
But today, when we went to check up on the campaign’s progress, the funding goal had mysteriously dropped by $40,000. Now, Ms. Port is only soliciting $10,000.
Betabeat has learned that Indiegogo agreed to change the fundraising goal for Ms. Port’s campaign. She is an Indiegogo partner, which is why both parties agreed to lower the goal.
“How Much Would You Pay To See A Photo Of Ryan Lochte’s Alleged Penis?” begs a headline on the irreverent sports blog, Deadspin. The post, which went up a little over an hour ago, is illustrated by a photo of Gawker Media employees clustered around a computer screen looking (and laughing) at an alleged photo of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s penis.
The pic, which is “a neck-down bathroom-mirror self-portrait, in which the tip of the penis almost but not quite reaches into the sink basin,” was provided by a source, who is demanding a fee. Deadspin has decided to start a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, probably because Kickstarter doesn’t consider dickpics “art” (subjective!).
Though Indiegogo has largely been the go-to campaign site for non-artistic endeavors and bullied bus monitors, it turns out that there actually are some projects that the site will not allow. Forbes reports that a group of 20-somethings called Defense Distributed collaborated on a campaign called the Wiki Weapon Project to develop open source blueprints for a gun that can be made with a 3D printer.
For decades, Nicola Tesla was the quintessential forgotten hero, largely neglected as everyone sung the praises of Thomas Edison. But we seem to have reached some sort of nostalgic tipping point, because suddenly the internet is falling all over itself to build a monument to the man.
Why? Betabeat talked to the instigator behind the movement, The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman, and he explained it pretty simply: “I thought, It’s a travesty. There should be a Tesla museum.”
A longtime Tesla fanboy, Mr. Inman has previously expressed his devotion with a comic titled, “Why Nikola Tesla Was the Greatest Geek Who Ever Lived” (and could have been subtitled, “And Why Thomas Edison Was the Devil in Human Form”). Many of Tesla’s newfound admirers, he says, were brought into the fold by that very comic, to the point that, “I sort of felt like I was this unofficial leader of Tesla fandom,” he told Betabeat.