This Happened

The New New Tech Writing: Straight Up Penning Poems About Stuff

How much do we love thee, Drew Houston? Let us count the ways. (Photo: wiki.smu.edu)

There’s the gadget liveblog, the multimedia-heavy feature and the bloggy, snarky take. But as we near the end of 2012, we may have reached the last possible evolutionary stage of tech writing: just fucking penning some poems about stuff.

Dealbook nailed the approach with shining limericks about business news; Googler Andrey Petrov, whose riling ode to Twitter aptly deemed the company “the Benjamin Button of Startups,” set the bar high for poetic programmers everywhere. Now, prolific TechCrunch scribe Josh Constine has taken the baton. Read More

App for That

Ben Huh’s News Startup Circa Aims to Change the Way Users Consume Mobile News

(Photo: Circa blog)

In recent months, LOLcat emperor and  Bravo TV star Ben Huh has systematically leaked handfuls of details about his news startup, Circa, to the press. Back in April, Circa raised $750,000 from a slew of investors (many of whom were named David). In May, Nieman Lab caught up with Mr. Huh at ROFLCON, where he provided buzzword-laden answers and metaphors involving newspapers and teenagers to their questions about the startup. But today, Mr. Huh’s efforts have finally solidified into a cohesive company: Circa is an iPhone app that wants to change the way readers consume news.

Circa isn’t just a news aggregator. It employs teams of editors who curate and synthesize news stories into digestible bites, optimized for reading on mobile devices. The point is to write stories that are designed exclusively for mobile, instead of repackaging stories released on other platforms and trying to fit them into a mobile setting. Read More

Can You Digg It?

The Digg Bang Theory: Can Betaworks Make a Run on Reddit?

Mr. Rose (Photo: flickr.com/joi)

In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”

It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.

News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers. Read More

Moral Minority

That Massive ‘Jews Against the Internet’ Rally This Weekend Is Not Very Press-Friendly

Shhhh.

Update: Contrary to a previous source, there’s at least one man behind this rally with an email address. The man in charge of the not quite non-existent but ever-elusive press-passes, Eytan Kobre, told Betabeat in an email thatto my knowledge, all available press passes are spoken for.” If only it hadn’t taken three weeks, six phone numbers and a call to another newspaper to find him. Mr. Kobre said he would “check further and try to get back” to us but that’s the line we’ve been getting all along. Ichud HaKehillos may be online but organized, they are not.

Update: It turns out that the Five Towns Jewish Times will be at Citi Field on May 20th, at least. Now on our sixth phone number (“the mailbox is full. Goodbye”) Betabeat’s attendance looks more promising, if not yet a sure thing.

After three weeks of getting the run-around (“Uh, I don’t know, call this number”) it seems that the rally of “Jews against the Internet” at Citi Field on May 20 is looking to exclude reporters as well as women. We asked, not The Times? The Post? The Daily News? Nope.

In retrospect, we should have purchased tickets. The rally is organized by Ichud HaKehillos, an Orthodox Jewish organization aimed at educating the masses regarding responsible use of technology, and we realized gaining access would probably be a unique experience after the moratorium on vaginas.

But after taking our information down on three separate occasions and promising to get back to us, one of the organizers gave us a flat-out no. The last number we tried led us straight to a voicemail explaining that there are no more tickets available for buses to the event.

When we called asking for an email address, the man who answered said they didn’t have one because “we don’t have the Internet.” Read More