shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Jason Calacanis Appoints Himself Obi-Wan to Michael Arrington’s Darth Vader

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The Chat-rooming Classes Today, seemingly every tech reporter in the business tuned into Jason Calacanis‘s “This Week in Startups,” presumably in the hopes that Mr. Calacanis would tell all re: the allegations of abuse against Michael Arrington. But as familiar names chattered away in the chat room, Mr. Calacanis had little to say beyond comparing himself to Obi Wan. That would make Mr. Arrington Anakin Skywalker, of course; Mr. Calacanis said he taught him how to be powerful in media, and “I regret that.”

As for the allegations themselves, Mr. Calacanis was quick to say he wouldn’t be commenting on whether they were true, citing his lack of direct knowledge. (He did, however, openly discuss the time that Mr. Arrington called a PR honcho “the c-word,” thereby outing someone who’d never mentioned the incident publicly!) [Correction: Mr. Calacanis first mentioned the incident and the PR exec (Brooke Hammerling) by name in the comments of his Facebook post, prompting Ms. Hammerling to confirm the story, also in a Facebook comment.] All in all, it sounds like he (kinda sorta) regrets getting involved. He apparently thought writing a Facebook note wouldn’t go very far. “I thought that that would be a place where it just lived there,” he said. (Paging Randi Zuckerberg!) “I got a little P.T. Barnum in me and I feel like me commenting on all this stuff actually detracts from it,” he added. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Mark Zuckerberg, Will.i.Am and Chris Bosh Star in Infomercial About Learning to Code

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Agitprop about “coding as the new literacy,” lost momentum last year somewhere around the time adults felt compelled to issue public apologies to Codecademy for ignoring their email tutorials. But with President Obama shouting out high tech high schools in the State of the Union–and Chinese hackers inspiring a possible “Sputnik moment“–the cause of educating young minds in the ways of coding seems to have taken on new urgency.

Witness, for example, this video produced by Code.org, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing computer programming education. “Learn about a new ‘superpower’ that isn’t being taught in in 90% of US schools,” the description advertises. Wait, America still has a chance at staying a superpower? Tell me more! Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Top Operating Exec Says Goodbye to Square

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Aleksey Vayner, the Yale grad who gained Internet infamy in 2006 for his video resume, “Impossible is Nothing,” is dead at 29. [Motherboard]

Square COO Keith Rabois is leaving the San Francisco-based payments company; Kara Swisher says disagreements with CEO and founder Jack Dorsey are at least partially behind the departure. [AllThingsD]

The latest petty sleight in the high-school style feud between two social media giants: Facebook has cut off access to Twitter’s new video-sharing service, Vine, preventing the app from using Facebook to find new friends. [AllThingsD]

What asshole decided to name a smartphone made for the African market YOLO? [Mashable]

A French court wants to force Twitter to reveal the identities of users who author racist tweets in violation of the country’s hate-speech laws. Twitter is deciding whether to fight the ruling. [NYT]

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: The Winklevoss Twins Take Hollywood and Branch Moves Up and Out

Hukkster Holiday Party Hosted By Louise Roe And Founders Katie Finnegan And Erica Bell

Lala Land When you plunk down $18 million in hard-won settlement earnings on an 8,000 sq. ft. manse with “a jetliner view of L.A.” you don’t just around on the couch watching Bravo. Especially not if your names are Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The strapping venture capitalists recently hosted two parties at their new Hollywood Hills home. The first was feting Katie Finnegan and Erica Bell, cofounders of the fashion startup Hukkster, which recently scored a $1 million seed round from the duo. Guests included actor Jason Lewis (Samatha’s boyfriend to the rest of us).  Read More

Ride or Die

Cab Fight! New York City Vendor Sued for Breach of Taxi Technology Agreement

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With all the excitement over last week’s decision to test out taxi apps in New York City, another technological step forward got overlooked. During a meeting at its Beaver Street headquarters last Thursday, the Taxi and Limousine Commission also unanimously voted in favor of new rules for those credit card swipers and “entertainment systems” (scare quotes necessary) in back of your cab, referred to as T-PEP. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: All Jack Dorsey’s Friends Are Getting Tacos for Christmas

(Photo: Twitter)

Square is now offering gift cards, redeemable anywhere Square is accepted. You’ll need to use the company’s wallet to send a card, but not to redeem one. [Fast Company]

For a use case look to Jack Dorsey, who’s using the product to send gifts like $100 worth of tacos. [Twitter]

No more Instagram photos in your Twitter feed, fostering FOMO among your followers. [AllThingsD]

Several big-name tech companies are making another attempt to stifle patent-trolling. Firms including Google and Facebook have filed an amicus brief in a case currently being argued in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals, asking that the court set a precedent against lawsuits based on patents for things like “an ecommerce platform.” [TechCrunch]

The World Conference on International Telecommunications just got underway, and already nations including China and Russia have attempted (and just as quickly abandoned) a push for the Internet to be considered composed of government-controlled networks. [ZDNet]

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Artsy’s Art Basel Bust and the $50,000 Tip That Wasn’t

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Basel Bust? Artsy’s invite for its Art Basel party this year–thrown by Chanel–was positively littered with enticing cohosts. “On behalf of Carter Cleveland, Larry Gagosian, Wendi Murdoch, Peter Theil & Dasha Zhukova, we invite you to a beachside barbecue on Wednesday, December 5th in Miami Beach,” the invite said. Perhaps too enticing. “I ended up not going because it was such a shit show,” said one would-be guest. The tipster blamed the venue, noting that “the same thing happened last night at Amfar. It was a mess trying to get into the after party and there were 400 people waiting outside and inside it was a crowded mess.”

Typical for Art Basel, said the source, brushing off complaints. “Less so for tech startups :)” Too bad they missed Demi Moore’s highly gif-able turn on the dance floor next to Lenny Kravitz. Perhaps our partier will have better luck with Tumblr, which is hosting its own Art Basel extravaganza tonight. Read More