Off the Media
In Loco Parentis
It’s a pleasant surprise to see Jonah Peretti make the most salient criticism of the New York Times’ recently controversial (and leaked) innovation report. Why is the Times being so hard on its tech and product teams while ignoring the real elephant in the room?
They spend an estimated $644 million combined on delivery and printing costs, plus untold hundreds of millions to be based in the heart of Manhattan. Aren’t these the real, daily business concerns that the newspaper should be looking at more closely?
teens these days
There’s nothing like the soothing glow of a digital screen to shut your kid up for a few minutes. Parents have known this since the dawn of television.
But now, there’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to getting your kid to sit still for longer than three seconds, and it’s called the tablet. Tablet ownership among families has risen at an insane rate–40 percent of families own the devices now, while two years ago, only 8 percent did, according to the New York Times. So if you wondered who was buying all those Kindle Fires, there you go.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
Kids these days do enough extracurricular activities to make even adults with full-time jobs feel like lazy sacks of disappointment. You may wonder how the hell the city’s teens make it from “gymnastics on the pier” to “fencing practice” to Oliver and Sebastian’s joint quinceanera. Well, the New York Times can tell you: their moms are booking cars through Uber for them.
Guy Parkin is a blase 13-year-old with a busy schedule. “It’s a lot more reliable than a taxi,” he tells the Times. “I have to get around. I also have this Princeton Review thing that’s all the way up on Madison Avenue.” Ugh, tell us about it.
What the New York Times’ wedding announcements sometimes lack in joy and passion, they make up for in good breeding. And judging by a collection of wordclouds culled from the Vows sections over the past few decades, it seems the basic ingredients of an upper-crust wedding don’t change all that much year to year.
Privacy is Dead
The Syrian Electronic Army had a busy day yesterday. It claimed it took control of Twitter and the New York Times‘ domains and made it impossible for some users to access the sites. [CNet]
Groupon is eying a network of warehouses as the daily deals website tries to take on Amazon. [WSJ]
“BlackBerry, as BlackBerry users know it, is finished.” [BuzzFeed]
Thousands signed a petition to retain Uber service in Dallas in response to the city council’s proposed regulation that would make the on-demand car service impossible to operate. [Fox 4 News]
So, this is happening! The Smithsonian has acquired an app’s code for a design collection. [The Verge]
The federal government is perfecting software that will be able to pick suspects out of a crowd through facial recognition, and while we’re sure it’ll prove itself very useful for finding terrorists, it’s kind of horrifying all the same–especially since they might make it available for use by your neighborhood police.
The crowd-scanning project is called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System, the New York Times reports, and will be known as BOSS, because if there’s one thing our government loves more than chipping away at our privacy, it’s hyper-masculine acronyms.
Let's Not Get Physical
Hang out with Hang w/ Hang w/ (pronounced “Hang With”) is kind of like Twitter, except all the posts are live videos, and users will be paid to broadcast. Sorry, what? Does this mean I can literally take selfie videos like it’s my job? “In the future, you will be able to make money from Hang w/,” says the app’s official site, “Hang w/ generates revenue by charging advertisers for the right to advertise during our broadcasts. Because you are the one doing the broadcasting, we feel that you should share in those profits.” The app just closed a $2 million Series A, already has more than 1.3 million broadcasts, and claims celebrity users Paula Abdul, Timbaland and Larry King. You should probably start hanging with this crowd.
Some zany scientists claim that in the future, we’ll be able to lose weight by taking a pill and not actually moving. No, they’re not talking about Adderall.
Two new studies “investigate the enticing possibility” of such a drug, the New York Times reports, although “there remains the question of whether such a move is wise.” Probably the only people who would question the wisdom of never having to work out again are Vibram-wearing freaks. But we digress.
The Perks of Being a Developer
This spring, Nordstrom watched its customers skulk around the department store on-camera and tracked their habits through cell phone signals, as if life were just one big game of The Sims, the New York Times reports. Nordy’s ended the experiment in May, because touchy customers complained for some reason.
But the Times mentions retail analytics company RetailNext in the story, and that company’s site names a host of retailers that use its technology, including Bloomingdale’s, American Apparel and Verizon.
It’s hard out there for your typical startup employee: making more money than the average American, enjoying perks like stress-relieving massages, free beer and maid service, and worse, being forced to indulge in the numerous gourmet food offerings freely provided to you on literal silver platters.