The White House is trying to join the 21st century by adding a “digital strike team to improve government technology,” the Hill reports. And in an effort to make the code monkeys feel more at home, the powers that be are not requiring them to dress up for work.
U.S. Digital Service head Mikey Dickerson isn’t necessarily rolling up to the office in a hoodie and Adidas slides, but he does keep it casual “in untucked shirts and rumple khakis,” the Hill says. Mr. Dickerson used to work for Google and was brought in to fix HealthCare.Gov last year.
Space the Final Frontier
It doesn’t take a star UX designer to see that United States’ government and state websites are atrocious. No, it really only takes a quick visit to Florida’s official webpage to see that our national web presence is in serious need of an overhaul.
To that end, the White House announced yesterday that they’ve established the United States Digital Service to rehabilitate the government’s websites, the New York Times reports. The team lead is Mikey Dickerson, the man who was brought in to save Healthcare.gov after its complete release-date meltdown and subsequent troubles.
We the People
NASA and President Obama are asking you, the people, to help them find dangerous asteroids hurtling on a death-path towards Earth. No pressure.
The initiative is the latest in Obama’s new series of 21st Century Grand Challenges, described by the White House as “ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation to solve Read More
At the end of January, it became technically illegal for you to unlock your phone without your carrier’s permission, even if your contract had expired. The call was made by the Librarian of Congress, who (for some reason) oversees exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and decided that cellphone unlockers would no longer get a pass. Read More
After a slew of stupid petitions cluttered the White House’s official petition platform We the People, the administration has decided to raise the bar for the amount of signatures required to elicit a White House response. Now, instead of 25,000 signatures (a number easily attainable by Redditors and 4chan enthusiasts), a petition will require 100,000 signatures in order to garner a response.
This morning a petition on the White House’s official petition portal, We the People, began circulating across the web that asked the government to consider assigning each state a Pokemon character to represent it. It received under 1,000 signatures, but delighted swaths of “’90s ubernerds” nostalgic for a time when trading Pokemon cards on the playground was the most emotionally-fraught adventure of the day.
But a few hours after news of the petition broke, the White House yanked it from We the People, claiming that it violated the site’s Terms of Participation. We have to assume recognizing a state Pokemon is not exactly high up on the administration’s lengthy list of priorities.
Less than a week ago, only 7,000 people had signed the White House petition urging the president to begin building a Death Star, the space station/superweapon from Star Wars, by 2016. Now, with a little help from 4chan, the petition has passed the 25,000 signature threshold it needs to be reviewed by the White House.
In less than a week, you’ll be sitting on your parents’ couch with a belly full of booze and turkey watching shitty cable TV, because ain’t life grand? To tide you over until that wondrous day, we’re back with another batch of juicy rumors. Happy Friday!
Beer Me Storied New York venture capital firm Lerer Ventures knows its target audience. According to a tweet from Scoutmob cofounder Dave Payne, Lerer is hosting a beer pong tournament for some of the companies it has invested in. “just got invited to a beer pong tourney by one of our venture investors,” tweeted Mr. Payne. “that’s hard core @lererventures. well done.”
Competition at the tournament seems like it will be quite fierce. “hope you’ve been practicing,” responded Northeastern student Scott Edelstein. “i’ve seen@benjlerer win with his eyes closed.”
In fact, here’s proof:
The Third Degree
President Barack Obama is about to tear the wrapping off an apparent gift to Internet privacy advocates, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The bill’s goal is to “protect all Americans from having their information misused by giving users new legal and technical tools to safeguard their privacy” from user data hogs like web giants Google, Apple and Microsoft. The measure will address your ability to control the information gathered about you as well as “transparency, respect for context, security, access and accuracy; focused collection and accountability.”
Yesterday a new $10 million early stage seed investment fund called Gen Y Capital Partners launched out of its home base in New York City.
Its no coincidence that the White House’s announcement about easing student loan burdens for entrepreneurs came on the same day. After all part of Gen Y Capital’s business plan, which gets name-checked in the White House release, leverages the recently-reformed Income-Based Repayment plan to help startup founders pay off their student loans. Yup, you read that right. Pay off, not defer.
Betabeat talked to Gen Y founder Scott Gerber, author of Never Get a “Real” Job and founder of the non-profit Young Entrepreneur Council, about how student loans play into entrepreneurship and why Gen Y can help the 99 percent.