Off the Media
You’re probably pretty aware that you’re being manipulated at this point.
Clickbait. Outrage porn. Shoddy sourcing. Stories being traded up the chain. Fake traffic. Sanctimony. The playbook of online publishers has started to resemble something a 20th century con man might use. It’s suite of ruses, misdirection and outright deception designed to steal clicks here and traffic there. It’s a way of relieving unsuspecting readers of their attention and pawning it off to trusting advertisers.
So if you’re not one of those people, that is if you are finally suspecting and suspicious, what are you to do? Who should you read? Who can you trust?
It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot since I wrote my book. It’s also a question I’ve asked a lot myself — because I’d like to know the answer.
Two drivers in San Francisco have filed suit against Uber for allegedly siphoning too much of their tips. The on-demand car company calls the case “entirely without merit.” [The Verge]
Betaworks-owned Instapaper got a refreshing web-based redesign. [Gizmodo]
Twitter debuted a redesign yesterday that confused everyone. [CNet]
Netflix is using noted romance expert Aziz Ansari to bolster its comedy lineup. His latest stand-up special will premiere on the streaming service this fall. [New York Times]
Apple is seeking to trademark the word “startup” in Australia because sure. [TNW]
Stand down, Instapaper fanatics: Betaworks has no plans to shut the service down. That was the first question out of Alexia Tsotsis’s mouth this morning at Disrupt, when she took the stage to interview CEO John Borthwick.
Wearing his ubiquitous brown corduroy jacket, Mr. Borthwick told her no, followed by an awful lot of throat-clearing.
Hawaii Zuck-O Look who ditched the hoodie (but kept the Adidas sandals). Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recently spotted indulging in a little Hawaiin R&R with wifey Priscilla Chan. US Weekly reports the pair “looked excited to be spending quality time together,” which makes sense since it’s pretty easy to be happy when you’ve escaped the maw of Silicon Valley. The Zucks also “chowed down” on something called “beachside burgers” at a “picnic table.” Stars: they’re just like us (but rich).
Apple in Your Eye
NYC-based non-incubator Betaworks has acquired a majority stake in the article-bookmarking service Instapaper. Creator Marco Arment wrote on his blog that he will slide into an advising role “indefinitely” as Betaworks oversees operations and expands Instapaper’s staff. [PC Mag]
CISPA, the controversial Internet bill, is (probably?) dead. An anonymous source said that “there is no possible plan” to bring it up in the Democratic-controlled Senate because it faces little support from the party. [Daily Dot]
Some big names, like Sean Parker, Steve Ballmer, and Bill Gates, are joining Mark Zuckerberg’s political action committee, FWD.us. We would love to be on those brunch-planning emails. [AllThingsD]
Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has joined the board of Jawbone, the hardware maker behind those groovy wireless headsets and speakers. [AllThingsD]
A study of Bitcoin exchanges revealed that 45 percent of them fail, often taking peoples’ money with them. And the exchanges that don’t shutter are more likely to be the target of cyber attacks. [Wired]
Instapaper, the hugely popular read-later app, recently announced on their blog that they have made their app compatible with the iPhone 5 and iOS 6. Along with that news, Instapaper founder Marco Arment revealed that users would now have the option to use Open-Dyslexic font, an open source font that makes things easier to read for people with dyslexia.
Bridging the Gap
We leave the Internet for 24 hours, and this happens: Something is seriously wrong with Apple’s app store. As in, if you updated Instapaper or Angry Birds Space HD Free yesterday, there’s a good chance it just crashed upon launch. Users are having to perform clean installs, while developers are dealing with annoyed users who assume the fault lies with the app itself.
No one wants to do either of those things while recovering from a holiday hangover.
Instapaper creator Marco Arment kicked up the initial fuss with a rather disgruntled blog post. As he tells it, no sooner had Apple approved the latest Instapaper update than Mr. Arment received a flood of customer complaints that the app was no longer working. He wrote:
App for That
Instapaper’s Marco Arment just made his first big advertising buy with a spot on Howard Stern’s satellite radio show, which aired last week. “I am a huge fan by the way, and this for real, of Instapaper,” Mr. Stern says in the spot. “I have Instapaper on all my devices… I love you Instapaper. I want to make out with you.”
News.me, part of the Betaworks family of social web startups, just released a free iPhone app version of its news curation and discovery service and, due in part to the C train’s snail-like crawl from Brooklyn to Manhattan, we’re pretty psyched to test it out. The startup, which was born as a prototype in the New York Times Research and Development Lab, aims to solve the “too much stuff” problem when it comes to finding news you actually care about.
To pull the right articles from the social media deluge, News.me’s iPhone app analyzes the links shared by your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to determine what’s relevant to you, using some metadata from Bit.ly (another Betaworks company) to help figure that out.
News.me already has a pared-down email product (of the top five links a day) and an iPad app that launched last April, albeit without the Facebook connection. But as general manager Jake Levine told us yesterday, the iPhone app is where things get social. The clean interface displays a nicely-formatted photo, headline, and, immediately below that, what your friends have said about the article, including their tweets and Facebook status updates as well as reactions on News.Me.
Jeremy Lin may be the most popular athlete in history whose physical skills are equally proportional to his consummate nerdiness. One example: The Landry Fields/Jeremy Lin “Nerdshake.” For another, just look to his fanbase, which apparently includes coders and the tech-savvy users they cater to, both of whom are expressing their Linsanity through popular web apps.