Linkages

Booting Up: Foursquare Is Expanding Check-In Deals to Visa and MasterCard

Everyone's favorite Dens picture.

Facebook agreed to remove pages created in tribute to victims of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the request of Connecticut lawmakers. Some of the pages purported to honor the victims were being used to harass victims’ families, the lawmakers said. [CBS News]

Foursquare is adding Visa, Mastercard and debit cards to its check-in deals program as it attempts to expand an existing revenue model. The company has let users pay for the deals—which users can access after checking in at participating locations—with American Express since 2011. [AllThingsD]

The U.S. government wasted millions of dollars in its attempts to expand broadband wireless service, according to a Republican congressman. [Bloomberg]

Thomas Pynchon’s next novel is said to be set in Silicon Alley, in the period between the dot-com boom and the terrorist attacks of September 11; here are some rejected plot lines. [PandoDaily]

The Visual Effects crowd is pissed off, and rightfully, it seems, about the lack of airtime it was afforded during the Academy Awards on Sunday. Television broadcasts largely ignored demonstrators protesting the state of the VFX industry, in which many jobs have been shipped overseas; meanwhile, the Oscar winner for VFX had his speech cut short, and Ang Lee, who won Best Director for his CGI-heavy Life of Pi, forgot to thank his VFX man. [The Big Social Picture]

Uber is signing up drivers in San Francisco; no taxi license needed, but there will be a test. [Engadget]

Let Them Work

Startups At Sea: Peter Thiel Backs Floating Fortress to Avoid Immigration Laws

Image via Wired

Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t do a tech ribbon cutting with reminding us that immigration is critical to our tech sectors future. And prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson has written time and again about the importance of foreign workers in tech and the Startup Visa Act.

But over on the West Coast, they are doing some balls-out crazy stuff to make this happen. Blueseed, for example, a company backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, is constructing a floating city that will drop anchor 12 miles off the California coast. Transient techies will work on the boat by day, then head back to San Francisco to live by night, meaning they can avoid laws preventing immigrants from working at U.S. companies.  Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Big Shots and Billionaires

rumormonger

A billion rumors:

GRUMPY INCUMBENTS. Mobile payments sure make people catty. PayPal sent Betabeat several explicit and unsolicited statements about Google’s announcement of its NFC-chipped phone, including: “As the mobile payment leader (we expect $2  billion in payment volume to transact over mobile devices via PayPal in 2011), we’d be happy to comment. Put simply–before you try mobile (or any other payments) solution, you need to be great at payments.  There is so much more than just technology involved to get payments right. Above all (and this is something that many tech pundits simply forget), any new solution must deliver something better than the existing way to do it. Not just different… better.”

Visa chose to blog its disapproval. “It is certainly news that Google is getting in the game by testing a new payment service… something that we’ve been doing around the world for the past couple of years.  But I’d remind you that launching NFC payments in the U.S. this year was just one small aspect of our recent announcement regarding Visa’s plan to provide a global, comprehensive solution enabling consumers to transact wherever, whenever by using a card, a computer or a mobile device which kicks off later this year.” Read More