Any self-respecting New Yorker can effortlessly call to mind a host of complaints about the subway system, that dingy portal between work and home that we grudgingly wade into day in and day out. While the train certainly gets you from points A to B faster and cheaper than a cab, rat-infested stations, painfully long wait times and people who decide to pee and then take a shower in the middle of the car can add up to a pretty unpleasant riding experience. Not to mention all those fare hikes.
Still, the MTA–an institution as beloved as ConEd or even Time Warner–is doing its best to make hurdling through that century-old series of tubes worth your $2.25. And for its next act, the MTA has begun to install “high-tech Help Point intercoms” in stations around the city.
Apple is reportedly attempting to poach members of the Google Maps team. You know what they say: If you can’t beat ‘em, steal ‘em. [TechCrunch]
The latest boat lifted by the rising tide of the New York tech boom: accounting firms. [Crain's New York]
Apparently NYPD officers were stationed outside Apple’s Fifth Avenue flagship, asking new iPhone 5 owners to register their serial numbers in case of theft. [Yahoo]
Meanwhile, in New Zealand: A court has ordered an investigation into whether Kim Dotcom was the victim of “unlawful spying.” [BBC News]
Internet Wants to Be Free
Ever hop and a cab to get from A to B and feel like it ended up costing way more than it actually should have? Perhaps your driver is surreptitiously tacking on unfair charges to your bill, hoping you’re too stupid to notice. Luckily, that’s where the new taxi tvs come in.
Aside from running rah-rah programming about how many tech companies are hiring and that annoying On the Stoop show, some taxi TVs can now alert you to fare changes and additional charges your cabbie has added on.
Alley vs. Valley
These days, newspapers will seemingly stop at nothing to boost their bottom line. Those Weekender ads are notoriously obnoxious, and we’re getting awfully tired of deleting the identification key at the end of a New York Times URL to get around the paywall. But the Wall Street Journal has finally devised a marketing scheme that we can get behind: instituting free wifi throughout our fine city (oh, and in San Francisco).
The latest CB Insights report on venture capital investment just dropped, and we’ve spent the morning digging into the data. Local entrepreneurs might want to sit down, because this is gonna sting a little.
Overall the quarter was a big one, with 812 deals adding up to $8.1 billion. The report points out that’s the biggest single quarter since the dot com days. (And what with Digg and Yahoo dominating the headlines, you’d be forgiven for getting a little confused on the year.) Seed stage investments made up 22 percent of those deals, which fits with our anecdotal sense that startups are springing up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.
In terms of deal volume, New York held onto the number-two spot for the second quarter in a row. A big part of that is digital: The report calls California and New York a “two-headed monster on the internet front,” and points out that “larger funding deals enable Florida and Washington to challenge Massachusetts for the #3 spot.”
Teach Me How to Startup
Elon Musk got his crazy futurism on at PandoMonthly. He’s the best, isn’t he? [PandoDaily]
London ain’t got nothin’ on New York’s IPOs. [Wall Street Journal]
Meanwhile, the U.S. is going after a 24-year-old British kid who set up a portal to find pirated content, but never hosted any of it himself. FYI, America, ya look desperate. [New York Times]
Facebook is monitoring your chats for “criminal activity.” Maybe keep your cybering to off the record Gchats? [Mashable]
You can now go on a road trip through California’s national parks without ever having to leave your house. [Google]
All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us
On a clear November day, the hard-working students of Harvard College took a collective study break and poured onto the walkway in front of Lamont Library. Undergrads, an inordinate number of them sporting hoodies, pressed their bodies against a set of temporary barricades, their smartphones and cameras held aloft, eyes intent on a grinning visitor making his way from one of the Yard’s gates to a mic stand that had been set up smack in the middle of the walkway.
The excitement wasn’t for Jason Segel, who would be selected as the Hasty Pudding’s Man of the Year in February, nor for Andy Samberg, who’d be tapped to give the Class Day Speech later that year, but a former classmate—a “concentrator” in computer science and psychology—who eight years ago had been just like them, a hard-working kid with amazing grades and questionable social skills, well on his way to a comfortable future.
As Mark Zuckerberg paused to answer questions, the giddiness was almost enough to make everyone forget that, like Bill Gates before him, the Facebook founder had dropped out of Harvard well before receiving his sheepskin.
It\'s Zuck\'s World We\'re Just Living In It
Things are not looking very good for Malcolm Harris, the Occupy Wall Street protestor who was arrested for disorderly conduct for taking place in the 2011 protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Back in April, a Judge ruled that your tweets are not your own, striking down a motion from Mr. Harris’s lawyer to block the courts from subpoenaing his tweets.
Twitter stood up for Mr. Harris in May, protesting the subpoena on several grounds, including the fact that the company’s terms of service explicitly state that all users own their content. Twitter’s Legal counsel, Ben Lee, told Betabeat, “As we said in our brief, ‘Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users *own* their content.’ Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.”
Unfortunately for Twitter, the company’s motion was overturned today by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr., who demanded that Twitter furnish Mr. Harris’s tweets. “While noting that laws regarding social media are evolving, [the judge] held that public speech, regardless of the forum, does not enjoy the protections of private speech,” reports the New York Times.
While most companies need a city-sponsored map to show just how many jobs they currently have open, Facebook’s new engineering office is not struggling for any lack of hirable talent. According to Wired, the company is looking to add a significant number of engineers to its Madison Avenue location and is planning on poaching experienced systems engineers from New York’s financial institutions.
New York City has devoted a lot of time, effort, and money to fostering the local tech scene. Not one but two tech campuses; all those meetups and happy hours. But once we reach critical mass, it’s all gravy, right? Right? Nope. As a smart man once said: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
As companies like Twitter start developing San Francisco’s downtown, the New York Times reports that their tech boom comes at a cost. One local business owner told the Times her landlord was raising her rent from $8,000 to $12,000 and asked, “Of course, Twitter is good for the city, but how about me?”
Meanwhile, the director of the San Francisco Tenants Union reports the trend has “driven up rents extremely” in the last year, while economist Kenneth Rosen predicted the boom would hurt “poor and middle class” while helping the “upper middle class.”
The end result: