We still don’t know exactly how many in the Newsweek/Daily Beast newsroom will be losing their jobs, but an anonymous source tells The New York Observer that it’s a “bloodbath” that could annihilate half the jobs in editorial.
The Observer acquired the somber memo editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty sent out to the staff.
Here it is:
To: All Staff
From: Tina Brown / Baba Shetty
The sad moment has arrived when we must go forth with the editorial staff reductions that we discussed in person with all of you several weeks ago. Employees in the affected positions will be notified today. Much of this has already happened on the business side, and today we will be letting staff on the editorial side know where we will be eliminating positions. This is a very difficult day, and one that we approach with enormous regret.
Anyone whose job (or job category) is affected will meet today with a senior member of the editorial team. No one will be asked to leave before December 31st (and many will stay at least into mid-January). Managers will be getting in touch later this afternoon with groups of affected employees to let them know when and where their particular meeting will take place. After the meetings with management, you should feel free to speak with Holly Antiuk or Lauren Strada for more specifics on all aspects of this transition. We are working to ensure that the process is handled as sensitively as possible.
Tina & Baba
If this is what it looks like, it’s terrifying: an electronic voting machine that won’t let you vote for who you want to vote for.
The video, uploaded today which surfaced on Reddit, is allegedly from a voting station in Pennsylvania—a major state in the election. The man who recorded the faulty machine, which is either deliberately not allowing a touch vote for Obama, malfunctioning, or maybe just has a bad touchscreen, said the following:
My wife and I went to the voting booths this morning before work. There were 4 older ladies running the show and 3 voting booths that are similar to a science fair project in how they fold up. They had an oval VOTE logo on top center and a cartridge slot on the left that the volunteers used to start your ballot.
I initially selected Obama but Romney was highlighted. I assumed it was being picky so I deselected Romney and tried Obama again, this time more carefully, and still got Romney. Being a software developer, I immediately went into troubleshoot mode. I first thought the calibration was off and tried selecting Jill Stein to actually highlight Obama. Nope. Jill Stein was selected just fine. Next I deselected her and started at the top of Romney’s name and started tapping very closely together to find the ‘active areas’. From the top of Romney’s button down to the bottom of the black checkbox beside Obama’s name was all active for Romney. From the bottom of that same checkbox to the bottom of the Obama button (basically a small white sliver) is what let me choose Obama. Stein’s button was fine. All other buttons worked fine.
I asked the voters on either side of me if they had any problems and they reported they did not. I then called over a volunteer to have a look at it. She him hawed for a bit then calmly said “It’s nothing to worry about, everything will be OK.” and went back to what she was doing. I then recorded this video.
Again, there’s no proof that this is deliberate vote manipulation—or even that it’s real. Maybe the video is edited. But maybe it’s not. And if there’s a day we should err on the side of scrutiny, it’s the day when we pick the President of the United States with fallible machines. The original poster says he’s “not a video guy, but if it’s possible to prove whether a video has been altered or not, I will GLADLY provide the raw footage to anyone who is willing to do so. The jumping frames are a result of the shitty camera app on my Android phone, nothing more.”
This shouldn’t be happening anywhere, not even once.
Update: Our bros at Gawker talked to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, Senior Staff Technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, who says the problem is “obviously” a miscalibrated touchscreen.
Update 2: NBC says the machine in the video is no longer in use.
Update 3: Mother Jones reports that the misfiring machine has been recalibrated and is back online.
Update 4: CNN reports a second machine in Pennsylvania has exhibited the touchscreen malfunction—but has been restored.
The fact that Amazon’s Instant Video service—which, while no Netflix, is starting to catch up—is just thrown in as an add-on to the already wonderful Amazon Prime is a little astonishing, when you think about it. And now, with iPad compatibility that some of us thought would never get here, it’s gotten dangerously close to being the best streaming deal around.
There are still problems with Instant Video; the selection struggles at times, and even if it were quality it’s a nightmare to navigate. But that’s just the Prime streaming side. Amazon’s selection of movies and TV shows for purchase matches anyone’s, and its prices are always competitive with—and very often lower than—Apple’s.
A quick run-through of both a movie that I own through Instant Video and one that I streamed through my Prime membership showed that the service works quickly, smoothly, and crisply. You can also download movies that you own to your device for offline viewing. It’s a little bit magical.
The only additional downside is that because of Apple takes 30% of any in-app purchase, you can’t buy movies directly through the Instant Video iPad app. Instead, you’ll have to head to Amazon in a browser, complete your purchase, then head back to your app. Which is silly! But worth the inconvenience, especially given Amazon’s daily video sales.
If you’re a Prime member, you need to download this app immediately. If you’re not Prime but are tired of paying iTunes prices, you need to download this app immediately. If you’re a Fringe or West Wing fan—both Amazon Prime Instant Video exclusives—you need to sign up for Prime. And then download this app immediately. [iTunes via 9to5Mac]
O, how the mighty
fall have an asthma attack and roll off the side of a cliff. Digg, erstwhile king of the internet, just sold itself for a mere $500,000. In 2008, it turned down Google’s offer of two hundred million.
Of course, in 2008, Digg was one of the top sites on the entire internet. Now, not so much. As Gizmodo alumnus Mat Honan points out, this is exactly .0005 Instagrams. That’s pretty much a “we’re not giving you zero dollars, now shut up and die” offer in tech land, and certainly not enough to keep Digg going as anything that resembles the Digg of today: WSJ says “None of Digg’s remaining employees will join Betaworks as part of the acquisition.” Frankly, Digg should be glad it wasn’t offered a free bowl of warm soup and some Hollywood Video gift cards.
The site, which once carried the massive internet clout of Reddit in 2012—able to make or break (literally) entire websites with its gigantic traffic tsunamis—was just acquired for less than it costs to buy a tiny apartment in New York. The Wall Street Journal reports that the “New York technology development firm Betaworks,” which ” intends to fold Digg into News.me Inc. a digital media startup that Betaworks launched in April 2011.” Considering nobody knows what the hell News.me is, this is goodbye for Digg, which drifts off to join Blockbuster, CompUSA, Sam Goody, and MySpace’s lower torso under some shadowy rock in hell. Bye, Digg! You’ll long remind us of the late 2000s, when Rihanna was busy capturing our hearts, and you were worth actual attention, and maybe even money. [WSJ]
In what may be a watershed moment for in-home entertainment, both Kansas and Missouri have given Google permission to provide video services to Kansas City residents as a part of its Google Fiber project. Missouri’s Public Service Commission gave Big G the thumbs up on March 1st, and Kansas’ Corporation Commission followed suit last Friday, meaning Google now has the green light to provide video services to residents on either side of the state line. Of course, the folks in Mountain View haven’t committed to taking down the cable companies just yet, but these approvals put the necessary franchise licensing in place for them to do so if they choose. Comcast, Cox, Time Warner… your newest competitor has arrived.
Google gets go ahead to provide video services to all Kansas City residents originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Trolls. They fill the internet with insults, dead-end arguments, and inanity the likes of which we’ve never seen. Or maybe we have. The Guardian’s David Mitchell notes that trolling comments aren’t all that different from graffiti, and should likewise carry no more weight.
More specifically, Mitchell is talking less about trolls as you and I know them and more about anonymous, often inaccurate online reviews. It’s not a bulletproof analogy by any means, but Mitchell’s idea does reframe the way you look at anonymous content in a compelling way:
When you read a bit of graffiti that says something like “Blair is a liar”, you don’t take it as fact. You may, independently, have concluded that it is fact. But you don’t think that the graffiti has provided that information. It is merely evidence that someone, when in possession of a spray can, wished to assert their belief in the millionaire former premier’s mendacity. It is unsubstantiated, anonymous opinion. We understand that instinctively. We need to start routinely applying those instincts to the web.
If you read a review, an opinion, a description or a fact and you don’t know who wrote it then it’s no more reliable than if it were sprayed on a railway bridge. We should always assume the worst so that all those who wish to convince… have an incentive to identify themselves.
The flip side of the coin, of course, is that anonymity is vital to the spread of information on the internet. The important tool to remember, as always, is your skepticism. Without it, you’re letting yourself get all worked up over graffiti. (And we’re not talking Banksy here—or even Hanksy.) Photo remixed from The Awl.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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