Venture Capitalism

Q1 Report: VCs Invested Nearly $7 Billion Across 841 Deals, the ‘Highest Level’ Since Dot Com Boom

(Photo via CB Insights)

CB Insights released a new report about venture capital financing for the first quarter of 2013, and after a bleak 2012, things are looking up for New York startups. The state beat out Massachusetts for the second time in the last two years on “overall number of deals and funding” (not exclusive to tech companies), placing just behind California. Read More

Metro Tech

Google Implements Real-Time Subway Data, Destroying Another Excuse for Brunch Tardiness

Don't lose this. (Photo: Hashgram)

Expect a marked drop in “running 15 late sorrrrrrryyyy don’t hate meee :(” texts thanks to a new feature on Google Maps that shows real-time travel updates on its desktop and mobile products.

Google is getting timelier information by pulling from the MTA’s open data program. However the improved intel is only available for numbered lines (sans the 7) and the Times Square Shuttle thus far. If you are dependent on perpetually infuriating lettered trains like, for example, the C, you are out of luck. Read More

Play Your Video Games

North Korea Uses Call of Duty Footage in Creepy Propaganda Video [Updated]

(Photo: LiveLeak)

What do you do when you lack the technology to create your own simulation of New York City under missile attack? You use footage from video games, of course!

Kotaku reports that a new space race propaganda video put online by North Korea’s propaganda arm Uriminzokkiri depicts a city that looks an awful lot like New York being struck by missiles. Buildings begin to burn as an American flag waves overtop the footage. The video is couched as a dream sequence, showing the dreaming man aboard the rocket the country successfully tested in December. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Facebook Cofounder Chris Hughes Lives Out Powerball Fantasies of Literature PhDs Everywhere

Mr. Hughes. (photo via flickr.com/dsearls)

New York has just published a lengthy profile of Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, and it confirms what we’ve long suspected: This young man has the chutzpah of a well-capitalized comp lit major. After serving as PR interlocutor for Zuck and helping Barack Obama on his path to the presidency, Mr. Hughes is now plowing that Facebook fortune into the ailing New Republic.

But New York suggests that before he settled on his current property, the most literary of the Facebook mafiosos asked around about a different outlet. Buried in the profile is this tiny tidbit: Read More

Ride or Die

Off Duty Light Goes Off: Taxi Light System to No Longer Confuse Tourists

(Photo: Yellow Cab NYC)

It’s a secret point of pride for experienced New Yorkers that we know how to properly parse the mystifying taxi light system. It gives us a leg up over tourists, who spend so much time trying to differentiate between the Available and Off Duty lights that by the time they realize the cab is free, a local has already settled into the backseat.

But now, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Taxi & Limousine Commission has voted to revamp the baffling system: during scheduled taxi inspections between January and April, all taxis will be outfitted so that their signs only display one light when they’re available. When they’re taken or off-duty, the sign will be dark. Read More

Tech and the City

Touchscreen Guides Are Coming to 250 More Phone Booths Across NYC

(Photo: City 24x7)

A few months ago, City 24×7 teamed up with the city of New York to create touchscreen neighborhood directories in phone booths across the city. Today, in partnership with Cisco, the company announced that it’s rolling out the high tech public communications systems to 250 more phone booths across the New York area.

Each phone booth is outfitted with a 32-inch touchscreen device that offers directory information, city news and alerts, transportation schedules, restaurants and maps. City 24×7 has partnered with a host of companies to bring up-to-the minute info to each booth.

“You can get your real time train alerts, best New York restaurants through Zagat, green market information through Grow NYC, theater tickets through Theater Mania,” said Tom Touchet, City 24×7′s CEO. City 24×7 has also partnered with CityMaps for hyperlocal maps for each booth, and will provide services for those who are disabled and have difficulty using a standard pay phone. Read More

Democracy!

Today, Let’s Remember Everything Hurricane Sandy Just Taught Us About Social Media Misinformation

REMAIN CALM. (Photo: Flickr.com/dpstyles)

Parts of New York and New Jersey are still without power from the last major news event and yet here we are, in the throes of election day. And with cleanup efforts still ongoing, there’s really no excuse for anyone who forgets one of the lessons we just learned about the rapid speed at which misinformation courses through social media in general and Twitter in particular.

For the love of God, as you go about your day for the next several hours, please take almost everything you read on Twitter with a grain of salt. No, a barrel. Maybe an entire salt lick. Read More

Silicon Alley

Houston Not Threatened By New York’s Tech Growth, Nuh-Uh, No Way

Glamorous Houston. (Photo: flickr.com/mrbill)

Apparently Boston wasn’t the only town a little put off by the AP’s flattering article about New York’s burgeoning tech scene. Take this response, which appeared earlier this week in the Houston Business Journal. Upon hearing about our fair city’s recent investments, the reporter couldn’t help wonder: “Does this mean Houston has more competition in terms of trying to be the next Silicon Valley?”

The Journal spoke to Brad Burke, the managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, who promptly attempted to set the minds of Houston’s techie citizens at rest: Read More