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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Facebook releases +2 button

In Startups on March 31, 2011 at 8:49 am

The button wars heated up today as Facebook released a +2 button in response to Google’s +1 button.

“Yes, it works like Google’s button. But better. Twice as good. Clearly better. Simply better,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his signature monotone. “Twice as much with every click.”

Facebook’s +2 button pulls double duty by ‘Liking’ a page and also instantly sending all of your personal data directly to the owners of the page.

Like the +1 button, the +2 button doesn't make any fucking sense to most users.

“If you really like a company, you’d just send them your private, personal information right away, wouldn’t you?” said Paula Jenkins, a Facebook public relations manager. “They’re gonna get it eventually. It saves so many brands from doing this delicate dance of trying to steal your information through Facebook apps, e-mail lists and mobile games.”

Marketers and SEO experts have celebrated the decision. “I’m gonna put this baby on every page I own,” said Mark Mallahe, a self-described SEO guru. “And I own 237,000 pages.”

It remains to be seen how Facebook users will take to the button. Recent trends suggest that they will continue to mindlessly click around the site, whiling away precious hours of their lives.


Chrysler puts other half of company on Kickstarter

In Startups on March 30, 2011 at 11:10 am

Inspired by the RoboCop statue’s success, Chrysler has put half of their company onto Kickstarter, a popular funding platform for creative projects.

“We saw how people in Detroit rallied behind RoboCop,” said Chrysler chairman C. Robert Kidder. “We wanted to emulate that.”

RoboCop was the company's first choice to feature in their Super Bowl commercial. He declined.

Italian automaker Fiat purchased a large portion of the beleaguered car company in 2009, a deal that could eventually give Fiat 51% ownership. The other 49%? That goes straight to Detroit via Kickstarter.

“Sure, it was pretty embarrassing two years ago to have to sell our All-American company to the Italians,” said Kidder. “Especially when I went in for the handshake and they would try to do that weird European thing where they kiss on both cheeks. But we’re getting over it and we think this deal will help how people see us.”

“And hey, like I always say, at least we didn’t sell to an Axis country, like Germany or Japan,” added Kidder.

The deal has indeed resonated.

“This is fan-fuckin’-tastic,” said John Wheatley, a mechanic from Ann Arbor. “I’m gonna put in 100 bucks so I can have my shares, plus my name etched on the inside of every bumper they make.” The Kickstarter offer rewards higher contributions, with the highest level of donor getting a model of car named after them. So far, only a donation by a Robert Buttplug has made the cut.

Kidder expects fans to meet the $40,000 price tag within the month.  “It’s a lot of money, especially for people in Detroit, but I’m confident we’ll meet our goal.”

Founders in bidding war over both planning same terrible joke

In Startups on March 29, 2011 at 8:14 am

Bidding over the domain name hit $15,000 dollars with the click of a mouse.

The man behind the click? Silicon Valley tech enthusiast Doug Gerty.

“It’s gonna be great,” said Gerty. “Just great.”

Gerty owns a variety of domain names but said will be his second favorite if he gets it, right behind has seen increased bidding activity in the past two weeks as Gerty and another bidder, John Etsel, have battled over the domain.

“When I put in the first really big bid at $10,500, I hesitated a bit,” said Etsel. “But then I thought about the payoff when the user clicks the ‘What’s updog?’ link at the bottom of the page.”

“It’ll be classic. I can’t wait.”

Recent investment offers put both Etsel’s and Gerty’s business plans at valuations of over 25 million dollars each.

GitHub adds feature to closely examine images, still lacks features to closely examine self

In Technology on March 24, 2011 at 7:57 am

GitHub recently launched an elegant, powerful interface that lets users compare image revisions in their project.

But for some users, that’s not enough.

“I’ve changed a lot since I started my project three years ago,” said Noel Prowitz, an open source coder. “It’s cool to see how my site’s logo has changed, but I’d really like to see exactly how I’ve changed– as a person– in that time.”

Prowitz went through a divorce in 2009 and claims to have several emotional issues to work through.

“Trust, abandonment. Yeah, I’ve got some things going on. Where’s the diff for my emotional center?” asked Prowitz.

With no GitHub-based alternative, Prowitz has been forced to try other alternatives, such as therapy, psychedelic drugs and owning a cat.

“Maybe one day they’ll git their act together,” said Prowitz, laughing and looking around the room for acceptance of his pun, then awkwardly sipping from his drink to drown the silence.

“My social skills aren’t great either. At least they’re adding in some social features.”

That feature would be GitHub’s latest update, which notifies users in an @mention. The user @mention has been subsequently banned from the site to avoid any confusion.

AT&T one step closer to forging the One Ring

In Technology on March 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

AT&T released a press statement today announcing that they are ever closer to forging a ring of power after their purchase of T-Mobile.

“We can’t wait to have our own Ring,” said John Sauron, CEO. “It’ll be great to have all of our power concentrated into one artifact for easy wielding. No phone owner in the world will be able to avoid our ‘service,'” he said, using air quotes for the last word.

Stocks rose as word of the plan to forge a malevolent embodiment of evil hit Wall Street. AT&T representatives would not disclose exactly how close they were to the Ring’s creation, choosing to speak only in vague, dire prophecies.

Critics of the Ring plan highlighted the vulnerable nature of a singular point of power.

“You can’t just put all your eggs in one basket,” said one forum user. “I know the Ring will have its own evil sentience, but that didn’t help Apple when they lost their iPhone 4 prototype.”

Dark clouds gathered in Nashville as the fiery eye atop the AT&T building seemed to burn brighter.

99.6% of Congress unfamiliar with actual definition of net neutrality

In Politics and Law, Technology on March 21, 2011 at 8:29 am

A recent survey of the House and Senate found that out of 535 members of Congress, only Dennis Kucinich and Al Franken knew what the hell they were talking about when it came to network neutrality.

“You just can’t force Internet website pages to always cover both sides of an issue,” said Representative Jacob Wardell (R). “That’s un-American.”

Wardell leads the charge against net neutrality, the least popular concept in recent American political history.

“We have to torpedo this now before it spins out of control. Do you know how many small businesses this will affect? Imagine a mom-and-pop business website that has to write a paragraph about how great their competitors are,” said Representative Wardell, sweating profusely.

Representative Andrea Glensburg (D) held a different view, seemingly opposite of reality. “Net neutrality will allow corporations to stomp all over our rights on the Internet. It treads all over our freedom of speech.”

After the statement, Representative Kucinich tried to politely correct her, but was promptly drowned out by a fervent chant of “USA! USA!” which echoed throughout the chambers.

Representative Joe Franciscus (D) expressed some of the most out-there views, yelling “We’re in a proxy cyber-war with cyber-terrorists like Julian Assange and they want to just give up? Call a cease-fire? Not in my America, no thanks.”

Kucinich openly wept as Republicans introduced the ‘Internet Freedom of Speech Act,’ a bill designed to kill net neutrality once and for all, to raucous applause.

Senator Franken’s aides said he was “devastated, back on the sauce, and unavailable for comment at this time.”

Donald Trump sues Y Combinator in reality TV turf war

In Entertainment, Startups on March 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

Donald Trump launched a legal assault today on Y Combinator, which debuted its self-titled reality TV show last Fall.

The suit alleges that the show Y Combinator heavily copies The Apprentice, which also features business-themed challenges and a showboat overlord of a host.

“It’s simple. I’m the one who says ‘You’re fired.’ Not that guy, even if he isn’t saying the exact words,” said Trump.

“You come to my town, you better be ready to face off with the big dogs.”

Y Combinator, which just started its second season in Silicon Alley in New York, ends every show at a Y Combinator dinner, where Paul Graham terminates a startup with his famous line, “We’re sorry to say we couldn’t accept your proposal for funding.”

Unlike The Apprentice, Y Combinator pits small teams against each other, awarding the winning teams $11,000 + $3,000n, where n is the number of founders in the team.

While the lawsuit does not specify damages, insiders say Trump’s legal team plans to use the expected catastrophic failure of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice as evidence of Y Combinator‘s negative effect.

“I fail to see any similarities,” said Graham. “We have challenges, sure. Omarosa is on the show. But this isn’t The Apprentice and I’m not Donald Trump.”

Graham quickly added, “Although they did ask me to be on the cover of Forbes again this month.”

Armchair expert urges people on other side of world not to worry, it’ll be fine

In Technology on March 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

Silicon Valley has a wealth of technical knowledge and top talent. Look past the cutesy location-based games and trendy social networks and you’ll even find experts on nuclear energy production.

Mark Prokopp is one of those experts.

“I mostly do backend stuff for websites,” he said. “But I also like to read about nuclear reactors on Wikipedia.”

Prokopp has recently taken to helping disaster victims in Japan by offering advice on several forums on the Internet. His main tip: Stop worrying so much.

“Nuclear reactors are built for this kind of thing. I’ve read about all of the different systems for cooling them down. It’ll be fine. Nuclear power is always safer and better.”

Prokopp, who lives 5,000 miles from the earthquake- and tsunami-affected Fukushima plant, started his obsession after reading a Wired article about nuclear power. He credits the article and Wikipedia for most of his knowledge, along with several passages from the book The Hydrogen Economy which he read in college.

After the roof blew off of a building at the Fukushima plant, Prokopp posted on tech news site Hacker News, saying, “Reactors don’t even need a roof to work. I bet it’s cooling better than ever now.”

As of publication, the comment had 16 upvotes.

Twitter move inspires more user-centric thinking

In Technology on March 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

Last week, Twitter introduced bold ecosystem changes, citing user experience concerns, stating that “a consistent user experience is more crucial than ever.”

“It moved me. It just moved me,” said Jim Franksen, a Ruby developer from San Francisco. “That they care so much about their users. I can’t help but to respect them. Who else makes sweeping changes like this just for the sake of the user?”

Franksen says he’s now recommitted to Twitter as a platform.

Praise and inspiration did not stop with developers, however. Other companies have picked up on it, notably Facebook, with Mark Zuckerberg telling reporters that the social network from The Social Network will also be adopting Twitter’s user-centric views.

“Whatever Facebook’s next privacy debacle may be,” said Zuckerberg,” I just want everyone to know that we’re doing it that way because we’re deeply concerned about providing a consistent user experience.”

Others were unimpressed by the announcement.

“Apple was the first to really care about user experience. Twitter is just being derivative,” said Daniel Alevedo, a self-described Apple evangelist.

“Just last month, they set a 30% cut on their subscription pricing. You just don’t set it that high unless you really, truly care about providing a consistent user experience.”

Barbara Streisand caught editing Streisand Effect Wikipedia entry

In Entertainment on March 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

Mysterious edits to the Streisand Effect Wikipedia page have been traced to an IP belonging to Barbara Streisand, reports Tech Security Weekly.

“I just hate that people call it that,” said Streisand. “I heard that anybody can edit Wikipedia, so sure, I clicked around and made a few changes.”

Streisand’s publicist buried his head in his hands and offered a meek “No comment” when asked about the singer’s actions.

All changes to the page were reverted within minutes.