Posts Tagged ‘Walker’

Today In Facebook Scams: Is Chuck Norris Dead?

January 25th, 2012 01:28 admin View Comments

Chuck-Norris-150.jpgFacebook scammers are spreading a vicious rumor on walls everywhere.

The headline reads: “[video] Chuck Norris dies at age 71! Not a Joke,” and is accompanied by a video of the star. You may remember Norris from such films as “The Karate Kid” and “Karate Kommandos,” and the CBS series “Walker, Texas Ranger.” The Naked Security blog reports that this is in fact another Facebook scam, and that Chuck Norris is still alive. What’s the deal behind this spam attack?

Facebook users who have been targeted will see this on their Facebook walls:

[video] Chuck Norris dies at age 71! Not a Joke. [LINK] See the video to find out how he died. News today of Chuck Norris death at age 71 has been met with confusion and humour, but sadly it is true.


Do not be alarmed! This is yet another rendition of the popular Starbucks gift card Facebook scam that tries to trick users into filling out a survey.


To report this scam, go to the Facebook Help Center. And if you have been attacked, be sure to change your password immediately.

Chuck Norris Spam Only Attacks Facebook Users, Not Associated Fan Pages

The Facebook Chuck Norris scam did not hit any of Chuck’s various pages, including Chuck’s “official Facebook Page,” where a January 20 post points to his reasons for endorsing Newt Gingrich pre-death scare. The Chuck Norris Athlete Facebook page has zero posts from anyone, aside from the announcement that Norris joined Facebook. Chuck also has a Fictional Character Facebook Page, which is written entirely in German.

But sometimes the scams do hit fan pages, tweets Naked Security’s Graham Cluley. Celebrity spam attacks have targeted actual Facebook fan pages, such as the Lady Gaga iPad scam and the Van Gogh Museum. “If a scam takes over the account of a Facebook page admin, it can post to their FB page,” tweets Cluley.

Images via Naked Security and

Source: Today In Facebook Scams: Is Chuck Norris Dead?

Valve’s Team Fortress 2 Goes Free-To-Play

June 24th, 2011 06:16 admin View Comments

First Person Shooters (Games)

heptapod writes Valve has announced that Team Fortress 2 is now free to play. ‘We’ve been toying with the idea of making Team Fortress free-to-play ever since the Mann-conomy update [in September 2010],’ said Valve’s Robin Walker. ‘Team Fortress 2 would only be monetized by microtransaction payments. No advertising model will be pursued, Walker said. No premium subscription model will be used. No cynical “pay-to-win” options will be implemented, he assured.’”

Source: Valve’s Team Fortress 2 Goes Free-To-Play

Foursquare SF Hires HR Manager Morgan Missen, Is Closing In On A New SOMA Office

May 12th, 2011 05:28 admin View Comments

Former Twitter recruiter Morgan Missen is joining Foursquare today as Head of Talent for Foursquare West.

Missen (née Missentzis) was the first Technical Recruiter at Twitter responsible for all backend engineering hires. Prior to that position she was Technical Recruiter at Google for three years. Missen’s Foursquare hire is important because it solidifies the check-in service’s ongoing San Francisco expansion; Foursquare is also closing in on an office in SOMA, and is planning on leasing space for between 30-50 additional engineers.

Foursquare SF’s team of ten now has three non technical employees –VP of Mobile Partnerships Holger LeUdorf, VP of Business Development Tristan Walker and Missen — with the seven remaining being engineers.

Missen, who consulted and worked on her side project in between Twitter and Foursquare gigs, will be focusing on recruiting at Foursquare in addition to human resources and development. She will be operating under Foursquare General Manager Evan Cohen and recruiting 100% of the positions at the West Coast branch.

Right now Foursquare shares the historic Chronicle Building with Square, but its team is rapidly outgrowing the small space.  Their move out of the Chronicle Building is imminent, and should be completed in about a month’s time. Foursquare SF eventually wants to grow to 100 people (the entire Foursquare team, SF + NY, is now at 60).

The demand for skilled recruiters like Missentzis in Silicon Valley and SF is high as everyone and their mother is hiring. On what she thought about the talent rush Morgan told me, “It’s an exciting time and I’m fortunate to be at Foursquare,” which she holds has the strongest team and is the best engineering job in SF. Also, it had angel investor Ashton Kutcher call her personally to seal the deal.

Foursquare has somewhere around nine million users and just hit 3 million checkins, with $21.4 million in funding from Kutcher, Andreessen HorowitzUnion Square VenturesO’Reilly AlphaTech VenturesRick Webb and others.

ashton kutcher

I’m starting to become convinced that people put my name in articles just to improve their SEO or hoping I’ll tweet it.

Source: Foursquare SF Hires HR Manager Morgan Missen, Is Closing In On A New SOMA Office

Google Voice CEO Craig Walker Launches Firespotter, A Google Ventures Funded Incubator

May 4th, 2011 05:59 admin View Comments

When Google Voice (previously GrandCentral) cofounder and CEO Craig Walker left Google last year, he didn’t go far. In fact, he just went across the street to set up a desk at Google Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence.

At the time he told me his goal was to start a new company. Now, he tells me, he wants to start lots of them.

He and his team (former Google Voice engineers Brian Peterson and John Rector, and Alex Cornell) are launching Firespotter Labs today, an incubator for new startups. The company has also taken an initial $3 million round of funding from Google Ventures (keepin it in the family!). Wesley Chan joins Firespotter’s board of directors.

Just another incubator? Maybe. But Walker has direct experience with the idea. Grand Central came out of a successful incubator, Minor Ventures. He says he wants to take the parts of Minor Ventures that worked, and then tweak a few things.

For example, he says, Minor Ventures tended to come up with ideas and then hire a team to build those ideas and carry the companies forward. Walker says that Firespotter Labs will build the initial products using its own permanent in house team. When and if an idea has legs, then they’ll hire a team and spin off the company to get outside funding.

Boutique incubators are somewhat in vogue right now. Betaworks continues to do well, and Churn Labs, founded by Admob founder Omar Hamoui, is off to a great start with backing from Sequoia.

So when will we see some actual operating startups coming out of Firespotter? Sometime soon, says Walker. That $3 million, he says, is enough to get 4-6 companies off the ground.

Source: Google Voice CEO Craig Walker Launches Firespotter, A Google Ventures Funded Incubator

Inadco Emerges From Stealth As The ‘AdSense For Leads’

April 12th, 2011 04:03 admin View Comments

Inadco is launching today as a cost-per-lead ad network for display advertising. The startup is similar to an “AdSense for Leads.” The company is also announcing that Dave Zinman, previously the general manager of display advertising at Yahoo, is joining Inadco as the Chief Operating Officer.

Cost-per-lead advertising creates leads from ads, where a users fill out targeted forms. Inadco believes that this is a multi-billion dollar market because a lead can be universally defined by all advertisers and it can occur online (vs. offline) for all advertisers. Essentially cots-per-lead ads result in a tangible way to get customers.

Inadco’s technology platform allows advertisers to purchase media on a Cost-Per-Lead basis, and enables publishers to sell ad inventory to earn more revenue than they can with impression or click-based advertising. Inadco then distributes the display ads across the web for advertisers. Founder James Walker says that Inadco sole focus on “solving the cost-per-lead problem,” telling us that “bringing cost-per-lead to dispay advertising is all we think about.”

And the startup has the backing of a number of well known angel investors. Inadco $1.5 million in angel funding from Ron Conway, LowerMyBills founder Matt Coffin, and RightMedia founder Michael Walrath. Last year, Inadco raised an additional $5 million in series A funding from Redpoint Ventures.

Google also dabbles in cost-per-lead advertising, and it seems like a safe assumption that the search giant will bring this format to display ads. But Walker isn’t worried-he feels that the enormity of the market makes there room for a number of networks.

Source: Inadco Emerges From Stealth As The ‘AdSense For Leads’

Patent Protection? Google Bids Nearly $1 Billion for Nortel’s Patents

April 4th, 2011 04:15 admin View Comments

google150150.gifOur current patent system is a mess, many industry observers contend, and the number of patent lawsuits currently underway regarding technology IP borders on the ridiculous. To say that everyone is suing everyone doesn’t feel like much of an exaggeration. Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, RIM, Motorola, Google, and more – all suing or being sued.

For its part, Google has long tried to take the moral higher ground, if you will, criticizing patent trolls (those who buy patents in order to file suits and profit without actually developing the technology themselves). Google has argued that the current patent system stifles innovation. Indeed, the company has found itself on the receiving end of plenty of lawsuits, most notably in recent months, by Oracle, which is accusing Google of infringing on the company’s Java patents in the development of Android.

That history makes Google’s announcement today a little surprising, perhaps. Google says it is spending almost a billion dollars in a bid to acquire patent rights from Nortel, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Nortel and Google have entered into a “stalking horse” asset sale agreement that will include all of the former’s remaining patents and patent applications for $900 million. This will involve approximately 6,000 patents, spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patent portfolios. According to a statement from Nortel, this “extensive patent portfolio touches nearly every aspect of telecommunications and additional markets as well, including Internet search and social networking.”

Google has called for reform of the patent process, but in announcing the agreement today, Google seems to recognize that while reform is the long-term solution, that stance will do little good in the short-term. “As things stand today,” writes Kent Walker, Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel, “one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services.”

Describing itself as a “relatively young company” without a sizable patent portfolio, Walker says that Google hopes that the acquisition of Nortel’s patent will “create a disincentive for others to sue Google.” Hopefully, Walker adds that it will help those involved in projects like Android and Chrome to continue to innovate. Of course, that argument runs counter to what Google has long maintained about the patent process. But if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Source: Patent Protection? Google Bids Nearly $1 Billion for Nortel’s Patents

Search Your Cloud From Your Browser: Greplin Adds a Chrome Extension

March 11th, 2011 03:29 admin View Comments

It’s been an active 2011 for Greplin. In February, we covered the social search service’s public launch and, mere days later, wrote about its closing a $4 million venture round backed by Sequoia.

Since then, Greplin has been rapidly expanding the social applications it can search and index, adding Yammer, Highrise, and Google Contacts last month to its already healthy set of networks and services. On top of these, you can authorize it to search Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Evernote,, Basecamp, and Google Voice. With a single search query, sha-bang!, Greplin can search nearly your entire personal cloud for that address, contact, or invitation you just can’t seem to find.

What’s more, today Greplin is announcing the addition of a Chrome extension to its search presence, so that you can search your social data directly from your browser without having to go to Greplin’s website to login. Check out the extension here and Greplin’s widget in the image to the right.

Greplin employs the new Chrome Omnibox API so you can get auto-completed results, regardless of what site you are on. For those unfamiliar with Omnibox, it’s another word for Chrome’s search bar, which allows you to type URLs and regular old keyword searches into one unified place, rather than having to go to Omnibox’s API, then, lets extension developers to make the tool even more powerful by adding their own keyword command, so that user can type a query prefixed by the keyword, enabling the extension to suggest potential completions and react to the user’s input.

The company also announced the addition of Aaron Sarazan (formerly at Spark Plug Games), who will be working on creating a native mobile app. Co-founder Robby Walker told me that Greplin is currently looking to beef up its staff, so all expert engineers looking to get involved with a hot young startup attempting to provide us with the “other side of search” should heed the call.

Walker said that Greplin will continue to add to its list of searchable social apps, with Basecamp and Salesforce among the services currently being offered in private beta. TC readers can preview these by emailing

Source: Search Your Cloud From Your Browser: Greplin Adds a Chrome Extension

Foursquare’s Extra Special: A Revamped, Fully Automated Merchant Platform

March 9th, 2011 03:30 admin View Comments

Over the past few days, Foursquare has made headlines for a partnership with American Express, and for a completely revamped version of their mobile experience on the iPhone and Android phones. And they’re not done yet.

The latest bit of what co-found Dennis Crowley calls Foursquare’s “shock and awe” campaign (leading up to SXSW later this week), may be the most important. It certainly will have the deepest ramifications for their eventual business model: a totally revamped Foursquare Merchant Platform — one that is completely automated.

Crowley notes that Foursquare first started taking the steps to make the service a platform for merchants in late 2009. And by early 2010, the model was already breaking out. But it was all manual work. “It used to be Tristan [Walker, head of business development] answering the phone,” Crowley says of how merchant deals got done. As bigger brands started to show interest, that method didn’t scale. Foursquare knew they had to build a fully automated system.

Things like merchant verification moved towards an automated phone service. But that also wasn’t good enough for what Foursquare needed. So they built a set of robust tools that will now work for business large and small — from a single mom-and-pop store, to a chain with thousands of locations around the world.

Once a business is verified with the new system, they’ll be free to use these tools as they please. They can create deals on the fly and have them up and running across Foursquare’s network in minutes. That includes all of the new types of deals that Foursquare announced today as a part of the 3.0 release (Flash Specials Friend Specials, Swarm Specials, Newbie Specials, etc). And here’s one key to all of this: Foursquare already has 250,000 verified businesses in their database. These new tools empower every single one of those immediately.

A few highlights of this new platform include the ability for venues to run multiple specials at once. Previously, only one special could be run at a time — the old one had to be removed to be replaced by the new one. Now, not only can venues run different types of specials, merchants with multiple locations can run and manage different types of specials at different stores.

Along those lines, Foursquare is now giving merchants aggregate stats to show how well their specials are working. Previously, you could only see one special’s stats at a time. Now you’ll be able to see the big picture and compare and contrast how the various specials are doing.

Merchants will also now be able to take advantage of Foursquare’s new “Specials Nearby” area of the newly revamped apps. And they’ll be able to see what kind of check-ins this is bringing in.

All of this will be extremely useful when it comes to merchants interacting with Foursquare’s nearly 7.5 million users. In fact, these tools should spark a true explosion of digital loyalty and deals across the Foursquare ecosystem that could ripple across the entire location industry.

But the obvious next question is: does this mean big business for Foursquare as well? As in: cold hard cash?

Not yet.

Crowley says that while all of this is a potential foundation for Foursquare’s eventual business model, “we won’t charge for something still being baked.” “We’ve always said we won’t monetize until we get it just right,” he continues, noting that they’re getting closer with these tools, but not quite there yet.

For now, with the new tools, Foursquare will have to simply be proud of the big names already interested in the platform. These include names like Sports Authority, Applebeels, RadioShack, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Barnes & Noble, Arby’s Chilli’s, Whole Foods, Toys R’ Us, and H&M.

As for gaming these new deals, the same system Foursquare has used for a while remains: users are welcome to check-in where they please, but deals require the check-in to be location verified. And, obviously, you have to present the deal on the screen to a person working at the venue to redeem it.

Expect a lot of merchant deal action going down this week in Austin, Texas while the new system is put to the test during SXSW. Merchants should look for the new tools to go live on Friday.

Source: Foursquare’s Extra Special: A Revamped, Fully Automated Merchant Platform

We’re Now Watching The “You” News Network

January 31st, 2011 01:34 admin View Comments

Back in November, Reuters published an article titled “Twitter co-founder hopes to create news network” where Biz Stone mulled over the idea that Twitter could create a social news firehose based on verticals. While the erroneous headline ended up being debunked by Twitter, some hypothesized that this could work if news organizations were given access to all tweets on a given topic as well as the power to curate the stream.

Back then my colleague MG Siegler said there was clearly something to this idea. MG is right (sigh) namely because it is already happening. Humans are functioning as defacto news aggregators using the publication tools already available. This, while not a novel idea, really hit home in the past two weeks with the two subsequent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. What I and you probably noticed was that interested people we followed took it upon themselves to become individual nodes of information, using the tools they had to serve as their own news networks.


In subway yesterday young man takes marker and crosses out “Hosni Mubarak Station” on map. Everyone applauded. #Jan25 #Egypt

about 18 hours ago via webRetweetReply

As we struggled to make sense of local conditions, volunteer news conduits who made an effort of curating information gained attention as go-to sources for #Egypt news. Coverage like CNN’s Ben Wedeman’s became more important than that of any mainstream publication’s with the possible exception of vanguard Al Jazeera. In essence these people went beyond citizen journalism and became their own publications.

The Egyptian news nodes/amplifiers included but are not limited to @arabist, @nolanjazeera, @evanchill, @sandmonkey ,@ianinegypt, @ioerror, @acarvin, @ethanz @Brian_Whit, @danny_at_cpj, @SultanAlQassemi, @monaeltahawy, and @litfreak. On site in Egypt, Director of Google Ideas @JaredCohen actually dictated his tweets over the phone this week, reverting back to a decades-old means of communication in order to push through information to a more modern one.

Silicon Valley angel investor Shervin Pishevar took it upon himself to tweet out so much information related to #Egypt that he actually started an off-Twitter movement (OPENMESH) focusing on creating an easily applicable system of open mesh routers in order to prevent a similar internet blackout from happening again. The case of Pishevar becoming his own publishing platform was so acute that YouTube Product Mangager Hunter Walker labelled him the Shervin News Network. Pishevar ended up tweeting so much he went over the rate limit set  by Twitter.

Jared Cohen@JaredCohen
Jared Cohen

Calling in my tweets via landline which is only current means of communication #Jan25 #Egypt

January 28, 2011 10:57 am via webRetweetReply

The ‘”You” News Network’ isn’t just found on Twitter. On YouTube user “Wael Abbas” is calling himself the “The first Egyptian digital video channel,” posting on the ground coverage including cars being set fire to in the streets. User “Justimage” posted Egyptian protest videos from Tahrir Square just 11 hours ago, an impressive feat given the general communication breakdown. Facebook Pages are serving as the locus of anti-Mubarek protest news. Independent niche bloggers like Arabist were the first to report the total Internet black out. After its Cairo office was shut down over the weekend Al Jazeera urged Egyptians to “send blog posts, eyewitness accounts and videos to expand coverage of the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak” to supplement coverage.

There are plenty of non-revolution type examples as well, whether it was Blake Housnell dissecting individual WikiLeaks over Twitter or Christine Lu debunking the WSJ’s Tiger Mom story on Quora or the people who liveblog #American Idol or the #SAGawards or WikiLeaks itself.

Hunter Walk added in an email “It’s clear we’ve reached the tipping point where news self-assembles via emergent hubs such as Shervin. Platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are both the medium and the message — they are broadcasting platforms but they also shape the news itself: short-bursts of info in realtime, video broadcast direct from the streets available to the entire world.”

Over at GigaOm, Mathew Ingram argued that the movement of serving as your own channel for news was independent of one brand “In the end, the real weapon is the power of networked communication itself. In previous revolutions it was the fax, or the pamphlet, or the cellphone — now it is SMS and Twitter and Facebook. Obviously none of these things cause revolutions, but to ignore or downplay their growing importance is also a mistake.”

Indeed, much like the routers of Pishevar’s OPENMESH, we all now serve in one way or another as routers for information. In a world where 88% of the press is still not entirely free, the ability to self-publish and distribute is a enormous and beautiful thing. Just wait until Egypt gets back online.

Here’s an interview with Pishevar, below.

Image: Time

Source: We’re Now Watching The “You” News Network

Are You Ready For the Digital Afterlife?

January 8th, 2011 01:08 admin View Comments

theodp writes “Dave Winer’s call for Future-Safe Archives goes mainstream in Rob Walker’s NY Times Magazine cover story on how the Internet can provide a certain kind of immortality to those who are prepared. To illustrate how digital afterlives might play out, Walker cites the case of 34-year-old writer Mac Tonnies, who updated his blog on Oct. 18, 2009, sent out some public tweets and private messages via Twitter, went to bed and died of cardiac arrhythmia. As word of his death spread via his own blog, Tonnies’s small, but devoted audience rushed in to save his online identity. ‘Finding solace in a Twitter feed may sound odd,’ writes Walker, ‘but the idea that Tonnies’s friends would revisit and preserve such digital artifacts isn’t so different from keeping postcards or other physical ephemera of a deceased friend or loved one.’ Unfortunately, how long Mac Tonnies’s digital afterlife will remain for his Web friends and parents is still a big question, since it’s preserved in a hodge-podge of possibly gone-tomorrow online services for which no one has the passwords. Hoping to fill the need for digital-estate-planning services are companies like Legacy Locker, which are betting that people will increasingly want control over their digital afterlife. ‘We’re entering a world where we can all leave as much of a legacy as George Bush or Bill Clinton,’ says filmmaker-and-friend-of-Tonnies Paul Kimball. ‘Maybe that’s the ultimate democratization. It gives all of us a chance at immortality.’”

Source: Are You Ready For the Digital Afterlife?