Is Snapchat representative of a new wave of apps that tout privacy as the defining feature? Fred Wilson thinks so. [A VC]
Google’s obsessive drive to quickly index and display as much info as possible on search results pages could diminish Wikipedia’s traffic. [Optimize and Prophesize]
Coursera and other startups offering online classes could totally be the future of education…if only they figured out a stable business model. [New York Times]
Marissa Mayer made a Yahoo employee dance to “Gangnam Style” as cruel punishment for not participating in the employee feedback survey. [AllThingsD]
Is Reddit raising a new round at a $400 million valuation? [TechCrunch]
Online privacy pundits might not want to venture over to China any time soon; the country just passed a law requiring citizens to identify themselves when signing up for internet and mobile access. [Bloomberg]
Another Snapchat scandal! Turns out both Snapchat and Facebook’s new Poke app store your videos sent over the services locally, meaning it’s possible to save videos sent to you without the sender ever knowing. [BuzzFeed]
It appears those ads at the top of Wikipedia are paying off: the Wikimedia Foundation has raised $25 million so far in its 2012 fundraiser. [The Next Web]
Someone wants to make a stage show in Las Vegas based on Portal. [The Daily Dot]
John McAfee is at it again. [Wired]
If you turned to Wikipedia for a pre-Avengers deep dive into the Marvel canon or refresher on Harry Potter’s defenses against the dark arts, you are apparently not alone. What’s more, your digital breadcrumbs might be a preview of coming box-office receipts. A team of researchers has shown that Wikipedia data can predict how popular a film will be.
A team from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics looked at 312 movies that came out in 2010 (think Inception, Toy Story 3 and Twilight: Eclipse) and built a mathematical model that measured the number of readers and editors for the movie’s Wiki page. The model’s data was juxtaposed with box office earnings and showed almost a 77 percent correlation between popularity on Wikipedia and big opening weekends.
Microsoft “accidentally” sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, asking them to remove pages from TechCrunch, the BBC, Wikipedia and the U.S. Government. Psst… no one cares that much about Windows 8. [TorrentFreak]
Companies are using patents to stifle innovation and the Times is ON IT. [New York Times]
Is EBay staging a pivot? [TechCrunch]
Whoa, you can raise money for a company without Kickstarter? Mind blown. [TechCrunch]
Jack Dorsey apparently got pushed to a backseat role at Twitter because he’s “difficult” to work with. [SiliconBeat]
Speaking of Twitter, who knew CEO Dick Costolo used to be a standup comedian? [New York Times]
If you tend to spend a fair amount of your time online submerged in a Wikipedia K-hole, mindlessly clicking the “Random Article” link until you snap out of it two hours later deeply engrossed in the entry for Kanye West’s song “Power,” then we have some good news for you. Wikipedia has enabled a new feature that allows you to seamlessly curate your own eBook out of Wikipedia articles, all for free.
Like any good high school English teacher, Wikipedia requires writers to cite sources. The site can’t have the subject of an article merely leap in and say, “NUH-UH.” How would they ever write anything negative about anyone, were it otherwise? Winona Ryder might like to edit that business about shoplifting right out of her biography, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
And that is why Philip Roth had to publish an open letter to Wikipedia–in the New Yorker–to get the crowd-created encyclopedia to admit that his book, The Human Stain, was probably not based on the life of literary critic Anatole Broyard. (In the course of his lengthy rebuttal, Mr. Roth refers to it as a “falsity,” based upon “the babble of literary gossip.”)
Good thing school’s out for summer. Wikipedia, the Internet’s favorite knowledge base, has been down for the last 45 minutes.
The Wikimedia foundation tweeted that its engineers are currently working on solving the problem. Betabeat can access individual articles, but gets the above error message when trying to navigate to the main page. Hopefully it should be back up soon.
In the meantime, if you’re jonesing for your Wiki fix, here’s a pro tip: just read the Google cache version of the article. Or just continue to freak out.
Wikipedia is bleeding admins. Why? The vetting process for becoming one “is basically a hazing ritual at this point.” [The Atlantic]
Poor Microsoft. The unveiling of its newest Office suite yesterday was totally overshadowed by Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer coup. We think we can hear Steve Ballmer throwing chairs from here. [Microsoft]
At a Fortune conference in Aspen, Peter Thiel called Eric Schmidt Google’s “minister of propaganda.” Fight! Fight! Fight! [Fortune]
LinkedIn got a much-needed UI makeover, and it looks a hell of a lot like Google+. [LinkedIn Blog]
No one knows what iCloud is. [Buzzfeed]
Oh good, another Hacker News Alley vs. Valley flamewar. [Hacker News]
KILL THIS THING NOW
The reason people invent sub-genres of music is because, quite frankly, they’re too stupid to describe the sound of something in anything other than terms they just invented. Often redundant, insufferable terms that somehow end up proliferating among a small group of people into a mode of branding by a larger group of people, that corporations then co-opt for the sole purpose of producing and profiting meaningless mass-manufactured culture. Shitty culture.
It’s a widely-accepted adage passed down from class to class that citing Wikipedia in a paper is not just lazy, it’s unacceptable. This reporter had a high school teacher who insisted she’d outright fail us if she found us even using Wikipedia to glean information about a paper topic. Granted, back then Wikipedia wasn’t the well-respected bastion of crowd-sourced facts it is today, but still: citing the Internet’s favorite encyclopedia was–and is–frowned upon.
It seems that even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales agrees with this nugget of wisdom. In a recent Quora thread asking what Mr. Wales thought of professors saying Wikipedia isn’t a “viable source,” Mr. Wales cut the BS and agreed with your crochety 10th grade teacher. Sorry, kids.