Here lies Valleywag, a Silicon Valley gossip and news site launched in 2006 by Gawker Media and decommissioned in 2015. Its editors and writers over the years included Nick Douglas, Nick Denton, Owen Thomas, Ryan Tate, Nitasha Tiku, and Sam Biddle. The site’s archives are maintained here, but no new posts will be published at this page. You can find incisive news and commentary on the personalities and institutions that govern the technology world at Gizmodo.
Bad news: I've been missing in action this week, as I've been stuck in bed heavily doped up and suffering with two things — the recurrence of an old back injury, and the flu. The flu is letting up, but the back injury this time has left behind some damage, which will require ongoing treatment and physical therapy.
WalletHub is a social network where people can share information about credit cards and personal finance. The company has a logo that features the letter W, in white, on a green background. Not so fast, says Major League Baseball. In a classic jocks-versus-nerds standoff, the baseball guys claim that the WalletHub logo looks too much like the W logos trademarked by the Washington Nationals and by the Chicago Cubs. People might get confused! As the Washington Post reports, there are lots of other companies that use W in their logos, like Walgreens, W hotels, and Wilson sporting goods. But they're not getting hassled by Major League Baseball.
Fortune just did a big story on gizmo-maker Jawbone, reporting that the company last summer was sued by Flextronics for not paying its bills. We're hearing rumors that Flextronics might not be the only company having trouble collecting from Jawbone, and that Jawbone, which is 16 years old and still losing money, might be in trouble.
You may have seen the Jon Stewart bit about the measles outbreak, where he teed off on Tracy Skytt, a Marin County mom presented as a goofy liberal California anti-vaxxer. What you may not know is that Stewart and his producers edited out part of the original CNN clip — the part where CNN reported that Skytt's children have, in fact, been vaccinated against measles.
Remember when Twitter was the magical service that played a role in the Arab Spring and was going to make the world a better place? Increasingly it is becoming a platform where demented people hurl abuse and bully each other — it's Troll City, packed with idiots, full of sound and fury, but signifying less and less.
This video praising the virtues of HTC smartphones features an actual rapper, alongside someone who is not an actual rapper. See if you can tell which one is which. My theory is that Samsung, Apple, and Motorola all kicked in to make this video, because watching this makes it impossible for you to own an HTC device without feeling constantly ashamed.
Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving last week put out a report suggesting Uber helped reduced drunk-driving accidents. However, the claim gets a little wobbly when you take a closer look at the numbers, as ProPublica just did. Now MADD is backing away from the assertion, claiming the relationship is "purely correlational." Meanwhile, it turns out Uber started donating money to MADD last summer. Surely that is unrelated, right?
There's a big measles outbreak happening right now, thanks to anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey and the people who listen to them. But Hollywood isn't the only place where people fall for junk science. There are anti-vaxxers in Silicon Valley, too. One of them is NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson, who in 2011 was supporting the doctor whose bogus research helped give rise to the anti-vaxxer movement.
Remember how Eric Schmidt spent years sitting on the Apple board, quietly learning everything about the iPhone — and then, presto, Google suddenly came out with Android and it looked a whole lot like the iPhone operating system and Steve Jobs went nuts on Schmidt for being such a sneaky, backstabbing son of a bitch?
Any working parent will tell you that finding decent child care is a nightmare. But one tech company seems to have come up with a cool idea: Just have the CEO's admin double as a nanny! A friendly tipster (and, I guess, job seeker) sent me a link to this incredible job opportunity posted by Skymosity in San Rafael, Calif. The company is looking for someone who will be an executive assistant three days a week and on the other two days work as a nanny for the CEO's "adorable" 9-month-old kid.
The past few months have been bumpy for tech pundit Robert Scoble. They have included a confession about being sexually abused as a teenager; a diagnosis of cancer; a decision to go to Alcoholics Anonymous; a new best friend who had him wearing a "Hustler" cap (see above) and making videos about "Hustle University"; and now an announcement on Facebook that he's going dark on social media for the next two months so he can work on himself and his family life.
Last week I wrote about a service called Invisible Girlfriend and/or Invisible Boyfriend, which lets people create make-believe partners and have conversations with them via text message. ("World's Saddest Service Offers Make-Believe Boyfriend Or Girlfriend.") Since then I've heard from a guy who gets paid (5 cents per text message) to do this pen-pal work. He agreed to share some of the conversations he's had. The screen shots are below, and once you see them, you'll probably understand why these people don't have partners in real life.