Monday, August 10, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Mark Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg, social networking man-boy genius is making waves. Last month Facebook hit a quarter billion users. That growth, largely, has been overseas. Now Facebook is acquiring the less than two-year old FriendFeed. From The NYTimes:

"FriendFeed, a social media tracker, created in 2007 by a gang of ex-Googlers, has been acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed amount.

"'Since I first tried FriendFeed, I’ve admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information,' said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, in a news release. 'As this shows, our culture continues to make Facebook a place where the best engineers come to build things quickly that lots of people will use.'

"FriendFeed works like an RSS reader for social media content, pulling in feeds from more than 60 Web sites, including Twitter, Flickr and YouTube for easy skimming.

"It’s a logical fit for Facebook, which has slowly been shifting its focus to becoming more of a real-time social broadcasting service.

"But the bigger win for Facebook may be the technical talent that comes with the deal: FriendFeed’s founders were involved in the creation of Google’s Gmail service."

The Buzz? CNET's by Josh Lowensohn notes that this acquisition will help Facebook in Search, Content aggregationand IM integration. Caroline McCarthy notes on CNET, "Facebook acquired it for its talent; prior to FriendFeed, Taylor was part of the team that helped launch Google Maps. So the real story here is that Facebook made the rather expensive hire (and we don't know the terms of the deal) of some very talented former Googlers."

Out: Ben Stein. Ben Stein used to be quite a lovable old curmudgeon with a slumber-inducing monotone; teddy bearish, however (".. Bueller?"). Stein also seemed to get John Hughes, which most people of his generation didn't. And, finally, we loved his banter with Jimmy Kimmel on "Win Ben Stein's Money."

There was always his creepy, paternalistic right-wing position on reproductive choice (Do you happen to have a vagina, Ben?). But we let that slide, filing it under the category of acceptable eccentricities we allow in friends.

Now, in the Winter of his years, Stein fully reveals his inner Nixon apologist batshit. He was fired from his New York Times column and, quite frankly, the mensch-y economist has given way to a sort of bitchy sulkiness suffused with a mild hint of douchebag. From the lamentable American Spectator:

"I will miss writing my column for the Times but I miss many things. There were some great people there, really standup people. I got to love some of them. But as to the haters and the weak willed, I think my sister and Bob Dylan had it right.

"You will still see my little thoughts, maybe in some big places. And I can put this Times gig on my résumé when I apply for Social Security. And, I really mean this, I will pray for those who use me despitefully, even if the neo-Darwinists think that's a waste of time. It's not."


In: Michael Vick On "60 Minutes." It will be an interesting, if odd, episode of "60 Minutes." Michael Vick, the man who launched a thousand sports talk radio discussions, is sure to be a ratings grabber for CBS. Oddly, though, he will not be interviewed by Anderson Cooper -- who would be the natural fit -- but another member of the CBS News/ Sports team, who is not as regular on the newsweekly program. From TvNewser:

"60 Minutes" just announced that Michael Vick will sit down for his first interview since admitting to dogfighting and serving time in prison for the crime.

The interview is not being done by one of the '60 Minutes' regulars, but rather by CBS Sports NFL TODAY anchor James Brown.

"The segment will also include interviews with Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the U.S., and Tony Dungy, the former NFL coach who will be a special adviser to Vick."

It should be an interesting dance. Clearly Vick wants to return to playing football but needs to make some sort of public apologia to move some public opinion on his side so as to get signed -- yet keep his masculinity in the process. Did he ask for James Brown? Does he think James Brown will give him a more sympathetic interview?

Whatever the case, it should be an interesting interview (and this blogger is not even a sports fan).

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