Let's Get Pivotal

Diaspora Is Now Community Property: ‘It Was Never Supposed to Be a Startup’

Mr. Salzberg (Photo: Darren McCarra via Sociable.co)

Earlier this month, Diaspora cofounder Max Salzberg told Betabeat that the team would turn away from the highly-anticipated, but daunting enterprise of building the anti-Facebook and instead devote its “main focus” towards Makr.io: a photo remixing tool that makes sharing and creating image macros more social. (All your memes are belong to friends, etc.)

It sounded an awful lot like the dreaded p-word to us, but Mr. Salzberg framed it as a natural evolution for an open source project. To that end, the team, which is working on Makr as part of Y Combinator’s current class, posted a message entitled, “Announcement: Diaspora* Will Now Be A Community Project,” on the company’s blog today.

On the phone with Betabeat this afternoon, Mr. Salzberg compared Diaspora to WordPress or Mozilla. “Lots of open source projects are community run,” he explained, referencing two incredibly successful standouts. “Some people are like, ‘Oh, you’re leaving?’ But that’s not it at all. We can have side projects.” Read More

Fresh Capital

LittleBits Raises a $3.65M. Series A to Build Toys That Aren’t Cheap Trash

Too cute. (Via: Littlebits.com)

Local maker-minded startup LittleBits just announced a $3.65 million Series A, led by True Ventures. Also participating were Khosla Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Lerer Ventures.

Founder (and MIT Media Lab alum, and TED speaker) Ayah Bdeir told Betabeat that the round will help the company to–pardon the expression–kick it up a notch. “The first phase was really sort of a proof of concept,” she said. The response did not disappoint: LittleBits sold better than expected, “so that we actually now know it’s time to press the peddle.”

The company describes itself as “an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnants for prototyping and play.” And what does that mean, precisely? Think wired Erector Sets. Read More

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street’s Web Team Finds Anarchy Ain’t Easy

The Internet Committee at Occupy Wall Street

This is a guest post from Melissa Gira Grant.

***

“Hi, everyone. I’m Drew. With the Internet.”

It’s midway through the General Assembly down at Occupy Wall Street. Radiohead failed to show up and overrun the revolution, but the park is still packed. Two rows of people behind me echo Drew’s words – “with the internet” – serving as a human mic, as cops have forbidden the protestors the use of amplified sound. Liberty Plaza is allowed a generator, which runs the laptop and webcam that’s livestreaming the Assembly.

Now that he’s been introduced, Drew continues for us and the cameras, pausing after each few words to give the human mic a chance to keep up: “Right now. Our website. Is having some problems. If you know how to fix those kinds of things. Come find me. After the GA.” The General Assembly crowd is thick, and as soon as he’s done speaking, Drew is lost within it. One night he gives his report back on the Internet Committee while wearing a hideous holiday-inspired sweater, so he’s easier for potential volunteers to spot.

For a protest movement born of the internet, Occupy Wall Street’s technical situation is at times precarious. Read More

Open Government

The FCC’s Open Source Stance and the Case of the Vanishing Blog Post

House Judiciary Cmte Holds Hearing On AT&T T-Mobile Merger

On July 6, the Federal Communications Commission put up a blog post entitled “Contributing Code Back: FCC.gov’s Open-Source Feedback Loop,” articulating the agency’s commitment to open source and open source development. “Here at the FCC, we’re always excited when we can contribute to open source software,” new media fellow and developer Ben Balter wrote. At some point between then and this week, the FCC deleted the blog post and the Google cache. Some open source developers found this alarming, given that the agency changed leadership around the same time–ex-Microsoftie Steven VanRoekel left the agency in June to become the nation’s CIO and was replaced by Robert Naylor, previously CIO at the Small Business Administration. Read More