Rupert Murdoch, offering advice to Facebook, via Twitter.
Murdoch’s News Corp (in)famously bought Myspace in 2005 for $580 million and sold it in 2011 to Specific Media for $35 million. During a 2011 annual meeting, he admitted that News Corp managed to “mismanage it in every possible way.”
To speak with an incarcerated loved one for just an hour a week would cost $240 a month — and that’s on top of the regular phone bill. — Step Up FCC: Lower the Cost of Prison Phone Rates, Free Press.
Is Yahoo Trying to Acquire Tumblr?
All Things D reports that Yahoo is trying to get its cool on with a potential Tumblr acquisition:
Earlier this week, Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman spoke at JP Morgan’s Global Technology conference and underscored the need for the aging Silicon Valley Internet giant to attract more users from the coveted 18-to-24-years-old age bracket. Along with more marketing, he explicitly said Yahoo needed to be “cool again.” …According to sources close to the situation, that could mean a strategic alliance and investment in or outright buy of perhaps the coolest Internet company of late: Tumblr.
Adweek follows up saying a deal could be done by this weekend, adding:
Such an acquisition could be just what CEO [Marissa] Mayer has been looking for to turn around Yahoo’s momentum; Tumblr has the potential to excite the engineering/Silicon Valley community (even though it’s based in New York) while recapturing the imagination of advertisers, who have grown to view Yahoo as big but stale.
While its revenue is modest, Tumblr has positioned itself as one of the few players in the digital ad world that is well suited for brand advertising. And Tumblr is also the domain of the young, cool and creative crowd—not currently a Yahoo sweet spot.
From Tumblr’s point of view, the deal also would seem to make a lot of sense. The company has been looking to make a big exit to justify its huge valuation.
Over at GigaOm, Om Malik suggests Facebook might try to swoop in on a deal.:
We have heard that Yahoo is worried that Facebook could swoop in at the last minute and beat it to the buzzer. If the Instagram acquisition was any indication, then we shouldn’t doubt [Mark] Zuckerberg’s salesmanship. [Tumblr’s David] Karp is said to have a close relationship with Facebook and was recently spotted at the Facebook Home launch. Facebook could use the much needed younger 18-to-24 year old demographic, something it (successfully) tried to acquire with Instagram. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment.
Word of warning via 37signals: What happens after Yahoo acquires you:
Whether it’s Flickr, Delicious, MyBlogLog, or Upcoming, the post-purchase story is a similar one. Both sides talk about all the wonderful things they will do together. Then reality sets in. They get bogged down trying to overcome integration obstacles, endless meetings, and stifling bureaucracy. The products slow down or stop moving forward entirely. Once they hit the two-year mark and are free to leave, the founders take off. The sites are left to flounder or ride into the sunset. And customers are left holding the bag.
At Bloomberg, reporters could sit at their desks and use a keyboard function to see the last time an official of the Federal Reserve logged on. And the Justice Department obtained the records of The Associated Press from phone companies with no advance notice, giving it no chance to challenge the action. The absence of friction has led to a culture of transgression. Clearly, if it can be known, it will be known. — David Carr, Snooping and the news media: it’s a two way street (via soupsoup)
Apple passes 50 billion App Store downloads
FJP: via CNET, “The person who downloaded the 50 billionth app will get a $10,000 App Store gift card from Apple, and the 50 people who downloaded apps right after that each will receive a $500 gift card.”
Yes, You Can Win This Cinetics miniSkates Tripod
And now for something new: The first ever FJP Photo Contest.
Back in March Peter went to SXSW and met Justin Jensen, founder of Cinetics, a company he started from the MIT Media Lab to create portable cinematic systems. Peter loved what they’re doing and Justin and Co were kind enough to donate the miniSkates tripod as the prize for our first photo contest. (You can see the tripod in action in Justin’s original 2011 Kickstarter video.)
The theme for this contest is “Daily Commute”.
You are welcome to interpret the theme however you like but here are some ideas to help get you started:
How to Enter
Deadline: May 31, 2013
Other things you can do: Share this with your friends.
If this contest is successful we think we can get other companies to come together and offer contest prizes for The FJP community.
Many thanks. Start taking your photos and submit them to us over on Facebook. We look forward to seeing them!
In mid-April, we went live with a half dozen articles which we call “stubs.” The idea here is to plant a flag in a story right away with a short post—a “stub”—and then build the article as the story develops over time, rather than just cranking out short, discrete posts every time something new breaks. One of our writers refers to this aptly as a “slow live blog. —
This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code community
The results of Fast Company’s experiment with “stubs” — which allowed them to gradually create long-form journalism — pleasantly surprised the team when it brought a lot of traffic. Learn more about their strategy and check out snapshots of their site analytics from Chris Dannen. (via onaissues)
FJP: SBNation, the network of sports blog, rolled out a feature similar to this when Vox Media redesigned the entire ecosystem. This is how Jeff Clark of SBNation’s CelticsBlog described “Storystreams” when the redesign launched:
This is a kind of post that has several updates within that post. It is a smarter way of handling big stories that have many updates (like trade deadline day and media day) rather than editing a single post or breaking it into several smaller posts.
And yes, I’m a Celtics junkie. — Michael
The Ultimate Nerd Assignment
Slate’s Matthew Yglesias watches every movie and every episode of every Star Trek and reports back on what it all means.
Bing Now Translates Klingon Language
Bing has just added Klingon, the language spoken by the Klingon warrior race of the Star Trek universe, to its language translator.
Bing worked with the linguistics Ph. D. Marc Okrand who developed the language for the series. It also turned to 10 people who are fluent in the language to train the systems, as well as the Klingon Language Institute who assisted in the process.
Bing users can now even translate entire websites into Klingon.
FJP: I think I speak for everyone when I say: HIja’ tlhuchtlh! — Krissy
Image: Today I Found Out
What does everyone make of this tool then?
As in 1957, 1966 and 1989, Chinese intellectuals are feeling more or less the same fear as one does before an approaching mountain storm. The scariest [fear] of all is not being silenced or sent to prison; it is the sense of powerlessness and uncertainty about what comes next… It’s as if you are walking into a minefield blindfolded. —
Hao Qun, as quoted in The Guardian. China Tries to Rein in Microbloggers.
The News, via The Guardian:
China has launched a new drive to tame its boisterous microblogging culture by closing influential accounts belonging to writers and intellectuals who have used them to highlight social injustice.
The strict censorship of mainstream media in China has made social media an essential forum for public debate, but authorities have shown increasing determination to control it. Previous campaigns have warned the public against spreading rumours – a theme that has recurred in this crackdown – and ordered users to register with their real names.
Now attention has turned to the country’s opinion formers. A recent commentary in the state-run Global Times newspaper warned that “Big Vs” – meaning verified accounts with millions of followers – had become “relay stations for online rumours” and accused them of “harming the dignity of the law”.
Somewhat Related: The South China Morning Post reports that the central government has ordered universities to stop teaching seven subjects, among them civil rights, press freedom and the communist party’s past mistakes.
The History of Cuss Words
Salon’s featured excerpt of Melissa Mohr’s Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing, provides an in depth look at commonly used swear words of the 18th and 19th centuries.
According to Mohr, a cuss word is defined by its impact:
Along with grammatical flexibility, this figurativeness is the hallmark of a fully obscene word, a word used not as a literal descriptor but to shock, offend, or otherwise carry emotion — a swearword.
Some of the popular curse words and phrases from Mohr’s excerpt include the following:
FJP: More bloody fun: Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Swear Words. You should also check out, FUCK — the documentary about “fuck’s” origins and uses. If you don’t — it will surely be a “burning shame.” Figuratively, of course. (Let’s hope.) — Krissy
Image: Screenshot from The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Leaks, The Justice Department and the Associated Press
Attorney General Eric Holder responded yesterday to the news that the Justice Department seized two months of Associated Press phone records. Security!
This was a very serious leak and a very, very serious leak. I’ve been a prosecutor since 1976 and I have to say that this is among, if not the most serious, it is within the top two or three most serious leaks I’ve ever seen. It put the American people at risk. That’s not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk.
Leaks! The government doesn’t like them. And Holder’s Justice Department has prosecuted more alleged leakers under the World War 1-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined.
In this case, the alleged leak lead to the AP reporting on a Yemeni-based plot to blow up an airplane.
Here’s some of what we’re reading on the story.
Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian: Justice Department’s pursuit of AP’s phone records is both extreme and dangerous.
The legality of the DOJ’s actions is impossible to assess because it is not even known what legal authority it claims nor the legal process it invoked to obtain these records. Particularly in the post-9/11 era, the DOJ’s power to obtain phone records is, as I’ve detailed many times, dangerously broad. It often has the power to obtain those records without the person’s knowledge (as happened here) and for a wildly broad scope of time (as also happened here). There are numerous instruments that have been vested in the DOJ to obtain phone records, many of which do not require court approval, including administrative subpoenas and “national security letters” (issued without judicial review); indeed, the Obama DOJ has previously claimed it has the power to obtain journalists’ phone records without subpoeans using NSLs, and in its relentless pursuit to learn the identity of the source for one of New York Times’ James Risen’s stories, the Obama DOJ has actually claimed that journalists have no shield protections whatsoever in the national security context. It’s also quite possible that they obtained the records through a Grand Jury subpoena, as part of yet another criminal investigation to uncover and punish leakers.
None of those processes for obtaining these invasive records requires a demonstration of probable cause or anything close to it. Instead, the DOJ must simply assert that the records “relate to” a pending investigation: a standard so broad that virtually every DOJ desire will fulfill it.
Emily Bazelon, Slate: Obama’s War on Journalists:
Whether a leak threatens national security is clearly not the standard Holder and his department are using. And the problem is that the standard is up to them. The 1917 Espionage Act, the basis for most of these cases, was written to go after people who compromised military operations. Back in 1973, the major law review article on that statute concluded that Congress never intended to go after journalists with it, or even their sources. Since then, legal scholars have proposed various ways of narrowing the Espionage Act—University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone wants to limit the law’s reach to cases in which there’s proof that a reporter knows publication will wreck national security without contributing to the public debate. But Congress has done nothing of the sort. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Republicans who are indignant over the AP investigation got serious about reform? Somehow, I doubt it. Instead, with a Democratic White House leading the charge, it’s hard to see who will stop this train.
Timothy Lee, Washington Post: In AP surveillance case, the real scandal is what’s legal
But here’s what’s really scary: The Justice Department’s actions are likely perfectly legal.
U.S. law allows the government to engage in this type of surveillance—on media organizations or anyone else—without meaningful judicial oversight.
The key here is a legal principle known as the “third party doctrine,” which says that users don’t have Fourth Amendment rights protecting information they voluntarily turn over to someone else. Courts have said that when you dial a phone number, you are voluntarily providing information to your phone company, which is then free to share it with the government.
Brian Fung, National Journal: What the AP Subpoena Scandal Means for Your Electronic Privacy.
It’s not just journalists and their sources who stand to suffer from an erosion of the legal barriers between government and businesses. Here’s a short list of your personal information companies can hand over to the feds without repercussion, and on little more than a subpoena: geolocation data, the PCs you’ve accessed, emails you’ve sent and text messages and content you’ve placed on cloud services like Dropbox.
Image: Boiling Water, by Tom Tomorrow, March 2011. Since this cartoon, the government has prosecuted a sixth alleged leaker under the Espionage Act. Select to embiggen.
Spongebob Learns a Lesson in Journalism Ethics
Well this might be the best episode of Spongebob Squarepants ever. You can watch the whole thing here.
If you don’t, here’s the spoiler version:
Mr. Krabs starts his own newspaper, The Krabby Kronicle, and makes Spongebob a reporter. But Mr. Krabs wants some embellishment in the stories. He says:
SpongeBob, what’s the meaning of this? ‘LOCAL RESIDENT WATCHES POLE’? No one’s going to pay to read this malarky. When you write these stories, you’ve got to use a little imagination, boy. Maybe instead of “Man Watches Pole,” you could say something like, “Man Marries Pole.” Then you could alter the photo a little to fit the headline…
After which Spongebob’s readers get angry at his yellow journalism and he ends up teaching his publisher a lesson.
Image: Screenshot from the episode.
H/T: Romenesko for the find.