You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello

red-chairs

This is the last day of the All Things Digital site, which began life in April of 2007 as a year-round extension of the D conference we launched in 2003. Since then, we have published nearly 40,000 posts and attracted millions of loyal readers.

Starting January 2, we’ll have an all-new site and suite of conferences, with a different name and Web address, run as an independent company with great investors and partners. It’s likely that you’ll hear a lot about it.

But before we go — this will be our last post here, by the way — we want to say we are intensely proud of what we did on this tech and media news and analysis site. And as we reach the end, we’d ask you to indulge us in a moment of sentimental reflection.

When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

Over the years, we’ve had numerous scoops, influential reviews and thoughtful analysis pieces. We have been the first to tell you what was going on inside the big tech companies, from Google to Microsoft to Amazon; what stealthy startups were doing and who was giving them money; and even exactly when Apple was introducing its next iDevice.

We have also explained in plain English what the mobile carriers and the e-retailers, the TV networks and cable companies were really doing — even if they said otherwise.

And we’ve tested hundreds of new products and services to tell you whether they were any good, from game-changers like the iPhone a couple of months after our site began, to a Bluetooth basketball last month.

We’ve also done what we humbly regard as some of the funniest liveblogs in the industry, and have brought you all the video and commentary for our own D conferences, all 11 of them. From the historic joint interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates a month after our site’s launch, through the carousel of CEOs at Yahoo, and many other memorable interviews, we think we have helped deliver some great moments in tech over the last decade.

As for that ethics thing, we’ve innovated there, as well. We introduced a transparent drop-down warning to all new users, cautioning them about tracking cookies. We placed a link to an individual ethics statement next to every writer’s byline. And we banned personal attacks and self-promotion from our comments. We also held stories until we were sure they had multiple solid sources, and killed them when they didn’t.

But what has always made us most proud over the years has been our stellar staff, which — although one of the smallest among tech sites — has worked brilliantly together, and punched far above its weight.

But now it is time to bid farewell to All Things Digital in all its incarnations. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this site as much as we’ve enjoyed producing it.

As we noted, we are deeply grateful to our small but mighty team of writers, editors, developers, conference producers and business folks. And we thank Dow Jones for giving us the chance to run a small, entrepreneurial business inside a very big media company.

Most of all, we are in your debt for being our readers, and we hope you will follow us to the new site and conferences.

Because — in taking a page from the tech industry we cover — it’s once again time to refresh, reimagine, remake and reinvent. (You’ll see what that means soon enough.)

Or, as Kara wrote in her very first post for the website on April 18, 2007: “But enough looking back: On to the next thing.”

– Walt & Kara

Some of Our Fave D Conference Videos Before AllThingsD Signs Off in 3 … 2 … 1 …

i-7nGs7q3-M

Before we end our reign of terror, oops, tech at AllThingsD, I wanted to post a few of my favorite videos from D: All Things Digital conferences that we have done since 2003.

While we are proud of all we have created on the news site, I think it is fair to say that the conferences have also been pretty dang fine and moreso taken as a whole. While others may try to trot out the phrase going forward, I think it’s fair to say we have owned “all things digital” for the last 11 years.

We’ve had a panoply of bigs in tech and media up there over those many conferences, all sitting in our signature red Steelcase chairs, with some memorable moments, including:

More than a half-dozen appearances by the late, great Steve Jobs of Apple, including an joint interview with Microsoft’s Bill Gates; the famous hoodie incident with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who managed to ably recover from the very sticky situation; the testy interview with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; the hysterical one with former Sony head Howard Stringer; the sassy one from former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz; the future-is-here one with former DARPA head Regina Dugan; the silent-off with former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason; the geek-out with Hollywood director James Cameron; the epic Elon Musk chat from last year, he of SpaceX and Tesla.

And many, many more, now numbering in the hundreds, most of which you can find here.

We did not publish the videos for the first five conferences, as we did not have a site to post them too, but here are my top seven from each year we did, all joint appearances with Walt Mossberg, as well as one each from the smaller Dive and other conferences, featuring Peter Kafka, Liz Gannes and Ina Fried.

D5 (2007)

Hands down, the historic — and decidedly poignant — joint interview of Gates and Jobs:

D6 (2008)

New Corp’s Rupert Murdoch in a surprisingly — to the crowd, at least — avuncular mode (this is part one of six — here are the rest):

D7 (2009)

Twitter’s Biz Stone and Evan Williams in simpler days:

D8 (2010)

Zuckerberg and the hoodie that saved the day:

D9 (2011)

Browser man and VC Marc Andreessen on software eating the world:

D10 (2012)

Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel is not shy:

D11 (2013)

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is Tony Stark:

Dive Into Media (2012)

Rust never sleeps for Neil Young:

Dive Into Media (2013)

Vice’s Shane Smith and CollegeHumor’s Ricky Van Veen are also not shy:

Dive Into Mobile (2010)

Google’s Susan Wojcicki is the most powerful Internet exec you don’t know as well as you should:

Dive Into Mobile (2013)

Google’s Eric Schmidt will take your questions now:

AsiaD (2011)

Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square is very inventive:

D@CES (2010)

Netflix’s Reed Hastings knows video:

D@CES (2011)

Twitter’s Dick Costolo is the fashion police of Las Vegas:

How Can You Miss Us if We Won’t Go Away? Paczkowski and Swisher Highlights From AllThingsD.

follow-dhollings-twitter11

A day late, but here’s the last installment of highlight posts from AllThingsD staffers, as we reach twilight on Dec. 31 and this site is no more.

As one of my fave depressing funeral poems goes:

“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.”

Actually, I don’t sleep, since I am a blogger and, as you all must realize by now, a sparkly vampire, too.

Thus, like the undead, we’ll be reanimated in another form and with a new name right quick. And, not to worry, the archives of what we have written since mid-2007 will also forever remain as definitive proof that we existed, thanks to the hard workers at the NSA in its ongoing quest to suck every digital scrap it can find!

But before The Wall Street Journal redirects this site’s URL to its own tech coverage, here are some stories by John Paczkowski, the very first editorial hire Walt Mossberg and I made here, as well as some choice bits by me over the years (Yahoo, Yahoo and, well, mebbe some Yahoo, too!).

JOHN PACZKOWSKI

1. Who Will Buy Palm? If Not HTC, How About HP?

Key lines: “With handheld sales that fell by more than half year-over-year in its first quarter, HP is surely looking for a way to revive them and capture a larger portion of the important mobile market. Acquiring Palm could be a good way to do it.”

2. Google and the Evolution of Search I: Human Evaluators

Key lines: “Google had finally acknowledged that its search results were no longer solely and automatically determined by the company’s vaunted algorithms. Now they simply “relied heavily” on them. Why the sudden change?”

Thorsten_heins_RIMs_happy_rainbow_land

3. RIM CEO Welcomes Critics to Happy-Fun Rainbow Land

Key lines: “Despite a slew of evidence to the contrary — plunging market share, rapidly deteriorating fundamentals, mass layoffs and a stock that’s falling like a knife, Research In Motion’s got a bright future ahead of it. This according to CEO Thorsten Heins, who says RIM is headed for a rebound, not certain doom. In fact, he crowed in an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail, ‘We expect to empower people as never before.’”

4. New Motion Control Patent Could Shake Up Smartphone Industry

Key lines: “Here’s a potentially noteworthy development in the patent litigation-riddled mobile device market. Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a very broad patent on motion-based smartphone control, one that could have significant implications for the industry.”

5. Apple Maps App Takes Reality Distortion to a Whole New Level

“Apple may some day deliver a mobile mapping application that bests Google’s, but the new Maps app in iOS 6 — the latest iteration of its mobile operating system — isn’t it. Not yet, anyway.”

KARA SWISHER

1. Dear Jeff Bezos, Here’s What I Saw as an Analog Nobody in the Mailroom of the Washington Post

“One could say hindsight is 20-20, of course, but what made me sad about the sale — and I was very sad when I heard of it — was that these laudable and smart people could not seem to figure it out, and had to turn to a magical Internet wizard to do so. In the coverage, that sentiment was echoed again and again — that you would somehow conjure up a series of fantastic new news products that would capture the imagination of all and return the paper to its former glory.”

2. Liveblogging Yahoo’s 3Q Earnings: Busy, Busy, Busy (So Go Away, Tim Armstrong!)

Key lines: “[CEO Carol] Bartz then asked the question: ‘What have we done to re-engineer Yahoo?’ She reeled off a list she has repeated many times before, the point of which was to let us all know she has been mighty busy cleaning up the big mess she had to deal with on arrival. So lay off, all you naysayers! It’s kind of like what President Barack Obama is saying these days, as he looks forward to huge political losses in the upcoming election. It’s apparently a disciplined approach. “First you walk, then you run.’ Then, she added, you FLY! Don’t look down, Carol!”

images

3. What Not to Do in Hong Kong (Trust Me on This One)

Key line: “How shall I put this as delicately as I am known for: So I went to AsiaD in Hong Kong and all I got was this lousy transient ischemic attack.”

4. In 2009 Interview, Yahoo CEO Does Not Deny He Has a CS Degree, and Calls Himself an “Engineer” (Audio)

Key lines: “‘Your bachelor’s degree is in accounting and computer science. Now, from both of those, I mean that’s, that’s pretty obvious that’s PayPal,’ said [Moira] Gunn. ‘What are the most important things you learned?’ ‘Yeah,’ begins [Yahoo CEO Scott] Thompson, failing to correct her at all on the fact that he does not actually have a computer science degree — only one in accounting.”

5. CrunchFund? Unethical Ventures? Pig Pile Partners? No Matter What You Call It, It’s Business as Usual in Silicon Valley.

Key lines: “First, my initial reaction when I first heard about the deal: Ugh. Sigh. Hopelessly corrupt. Now 100 percent more icky! A giant, greedy, Silicon Valley pig pile. I was upset. By early evening, after my kids told me to chillax, my dark mood had changed to accept that the transaction — however profoundly distasteful to me — was part and parcel of the insidious log-rolling, back-scratching ecosystem that has happened in every other center of power in the universe since the beginning of time. And so it goes in Silicon Valley.”

The Longish Goodbye: Highlights From AllThingsD Staffers Johnson, Del Rey and Cha

funny-picture-goodbye-cruel-world

Here’s the third installment of posts that the staff has highlighted, as All Things Digital gets ready to close down as the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31.

To be clear, the archives of what we have written since April of 2007 — close to 38,000 posts — will remain in the digital ether for your perusal, and the whole staff of AllThingsD is headed for a new venture. On Jan. 1, The Wall Street Journal will redirect the main page of this site to its own tech coverage.

Taking the bow today will be gaming reporter Eric Johnson, e-commerce ninja Jason Del Rey, and tech reviewer Bonnie Cha.

ERIC JOHNSON

1. Valve’s Steam Machines Won’t Be “Console Killers,” but Here’s How They Could Shake Up Gaming Anyway

Key lines: “Assuming that they work as promised, Steam Machines will bring the PC-esque option to routinely upgrade to better hardware to the living room, while tapping into Steam’s expansive library of both indie and mainstream games. If anything, Steam Machines might disrupt the PC market — not the console one.”

2. Notes From a n00b at E3: A Sensory Overload of Fun and Games (But Mostly Just Games)

Key lines: “This line at E3 is killing my feet. The guy in front of me says he has not moved in five minutes. ‘Do you think this is an actual line, or a fake one?’ he wearily asks.”

snlglass

3. If Wearables Are Going to Grow Up, Games Might Point the Way

Key lines: “In tech circles, the buzz around wearable computing, already a multi-billion dollar market, has never been louder. No one wants to miss the boat if wearable apps are going to be as disruptive as apps for smartphones and tablets, an anxiety reflected well at GDC Next in Los Angeles.”

4. Why Some Videogame Characters Get Toys, and Others Don’t

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, games aren’t entirely a hits-driven business. Innumerable games, particularly on mobile and online, do just fine for themselves by attracting and catering to small, passionate audiences. But if you want to see that favorite game character cross over into the real world, maybe in the form of a toy or stuffed animal? Yeah, you’re gonna need a bigger hit.”

5. Don’t Regulate Me, Bro! Social Casino Companies Band Together to “Inform” Lawmakers.

“Free-to-play games are unregulated, and some of the companies that make them would like to keep it that way. For most game developers, governmental regulation is a non-issue. But the studios behind social casino games claim they’re under pressure from foreign policymakers and are going on the offensive.”

JASON DEL REY

1. Emotionless E-Commerce and the Death of the Joy of Gift-Giving

Key lines: “A visit to H&M’s website: Click, click, click. Done. Then, a visit to Amazon.com: Click, click, click. Done. Hardly a thought involved. No stress. Christmas in a neat brown box for the most important woman in my life, delivered to my doorstep in just two days.”

2. Amazon Expanding Its Own Private Label Offering to Supermarket Goods

Key lines: “Amazon already sells its own brand of batteries, keyboards and bedding. And now it looks as though the Seattle-based online retailer is in the process of creating its own line of the kind of products that you’d normally find on supermarket shelves, according to several job listings the company has posted over the last few months.”

fab-broken-heart-layoffs

3. The Real Reason for Fab’s Layoffs: A Big, Bad Bet on Flash Sales

Key lines: “What [Fab CEO Jason] Goldberg didn’t admit in the public explanation is that the company has had to drastically cut its headcount because it made a giant bet on being able to build a big, sustainable business over the long term around flash sales — the selling of a limited amount of product inventory that’s available only for short periods of time, designed to spur impulse buying.”

4. Does LivingSocial Have an Identity Crisis?

Key lines: “That track record puts LivingSocial’s current management team in a tough spot. If it launches more unique products, it risks more failures and the company will only get so many swings and misses.
But if it continues to follow the playbook of others, the lack of differentiation may eventually catch up to it.”

5. Bitcoin’s Biggest Bet: Andreessen Horowitz Leads $25 Million Investment in Coinbase

Key line: “If you’re a bitcoin doubter, you might want to turn away. The doors to venture funding in bitcoin startups are about to swing wide open.”

BONNIE CHA

1. Twitter Takes On Music Discovery, but Comes Up Short

Key lines: “I’ve been testing Twitter Music on my iPhone 5 for the past week, and it’s a beautifully designed app. It helped me keep abreast of what’s popular, and turned me on to a couple of new artists. The Web version also worked well, and it was nice to be able to navigate through the various sections on a bigger screen. That said, Twitter Music as a whole has limited capabilities.”

2. Tomorrowland Today: Disney MagicBand Unlocks New Guest Experience for Park Goers

Key line: “Walt Disney once said, ‘We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’ So, I’d imagine he’d be pleased to see that the company he founded is heeding his words and heading down a new path.”

P10405051

3. Rescuing Water-Damaged Devices: Is There a Better Fix Than Rice?

Key line: “Let’s play a quick game of ‘Jeopardy,’ shall we? Here’s the clue: An iPhone 5, a water bottle and an energetic 2-year-old. If you answered, ‘What is a recipe for disaster?’ you win!”

4. Apps That Curb the Temptation to Text and Drive

Key lines: “Would you ever drive the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour blindfolded? Some daredevils might consider it, but what if the field was filled with obstacles like people and cars? I’m guessing most people’s answer would be a resounding “no,” but that’s pretty much what you’re doing every time you text and drive.”

5. Good News, Germaphobes: Corning Working on Bacteria-Killing Smartphone Screens

Key lines: “Here’s something to think about: Your cellphone — the one that you hold up to your face during phone calls or fervently tap on to text friends — probably contains more bacteria than a public toilet seat. Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to wipe down your screen.”

Buh-Bye From AllThingsD! More Staff Highlights: Fried, Goode and “Everyone Likes Mike” Isaac.

87c3aaa1a15266e94f9d0702c1c7e3bc

Like that proverbial pumpkin, at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31, All Things Digital goes poof.

As I noted earlier, while the archives of what we have written since April of 2007 — close to 38,000 posts — will remain in the digital ether for your perusal, and the whole staff of AllThingsD is headed for new pastures, that’s not yet!

Before we part, I asked the staff to send me their favorite posts. Yesterday, I put up those of Peter Kafka, Arik Hesseldahl and Liz Gannes, and now it’s time for three more (and more after that!).

Without further ado:

INA FRIED

1. Interview: Apple CEO Steve Jobs on How the iPhone Does and Doesn’t Use Location Information

Key line: “‘As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education,” Jobs said. ‘We haven’t — as an industry — done a very good job educating people, I think, as to some of the more subtle things going on here. As such, (people) jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions in the last week.’”

2. The Three Irreplaceable Qualities of Steve Jobs

Key line: “Computers came in one color before the iMac. There were digital music players before the iPod, but none that the masses wanted. One need only look at the face of the smartphone industry before the iPhone and after to see his vision and impact there.”

3. The Facebook Phone: Forking Android Offers Both Promise and Pitfalls

Key line: “Could Google’s Android be Facebook’s new best friend? It just might be, although it’s unlikely the feeling is mutual.”

4. The Definitive Insider’s Guide to Apple vs. Samsung

Key lines: “There have been plenty of dramatic moments in the case of Apple versus Samsung, which some have dubbed the patent trial of the century. But let’s be clear. There has also been a lot of downtime.”

5. How the Angry Birds Almost Died Before the First Level

“Mikael Hed almost pulled the plug on Rovio while the Angry Birds were still in development. After several years in business, his mobile game company had yet to produce a hit. Rovio’s chief backer, Hed’s father, Kaj, was struggling to figure out how to keep the company going.”

LAUREN GOODE

1. If You Want to Stay out of Jail, Don’t Instagram Your Ballot

Key line: “As tough as it is to peel yourself away from your smartphone for 10 minutes and not blast your ballot pics to your social streams, in some states, it’s wise to use caution when it comes to your vote.”

2. Inside the CES Lost & Found

Key lines: “When I asked what the strangest item is she’s seen so far at CES, she shrugged. ‘Nothing too off-the-wall. Some tripod case today. But other times, we get everything. We’ve gotten hearing aids, we’ve gotten teeth. Entire sets of teeth. Sometimes we even see drugs.’”

966DA0DC-1C1B-4479-82D3-A07C31EC0895

3. Comparing Wearables: Fitbit Flex vs. Jawbone Up and More

Key lines: “Wearable ‘activity trackers’ — not long ago a niche product — are getting more popular, and people are wondering how they work and whether they’re worth it. I decided to wear a bunch of trackers simultaneously for a period of 10 days to really get a sense of their features and, more importantly, their accuracy.”

4. Inside the LG G2 Smartphone Event, Which Is Very Much Like Other Smartphone Events

Key lines: “Will this new LG smartphone be a game-changer? I ask because everybody asks if the next smartphone is a game-changer. Later on, we might all make charts comparing the game-changing specs.”

5. iPhone 5c: Candy Colors With a Nice Price

Key lines: “While the 5c looks and feels very familiar, it’s still a good phone and an improvement over the 5. But its improvements are evolutionary, not revolutionary.”

MIKE ISAAC

1. The Future of Twitter’s Platform Is All in the Cards

Key lines: “Therein lies Twitter’s goal: A rich, consistent Twitter experience for every user. When the hammer drops and Twitter changes its guidelines, those apps that can’t deliver this consistency will no longer be able to integrate with Twitter.”

2. Facebook Wants to Be a Newspaper. Facebook Users Have Their Own Ideas.

Key line: “The gap between these two Facebooks — the one its managers want to see, and the one its users like using today — is starting to become visible.”

6990118382_a54580b2be_z

3. In the Race to Win Social Video, Is One App Gaming the System Too Much?

Key lines: “There’s a popular maxim in Silicon Valley: Find your user base and the revenues will come later. For a while, it seemed to be the easiest way for a founder to explain his or her way out of a proper business model. But with Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of the entirely revenue-free Instagram, that adage now carries more weight than ever.”

4. Back on the Global Stage, Mark Zuckerberg Keeps His Cool

Key lines: “The heat was on, but Mark Zuckerberg refused to sweat. The 28-year-old took the stage at the TechCrunch: Disrupt technology conference, after nearly a year of radio silence from the CEO and company, a botched IPO, a plummeting share price and growing investor ire. All of the tech world and Wall Street wanted to know how Zuckerberg would explain the folly of the past year.”

5. Can Twitter Fix Its Product Problem?

Key lines: “Many employees see the event — the Friday that ends Hack Week — as Twitter at its best, a testament to the company’s capacity for innovation. But some view these days as among the most depressing of the year: A parade of Twitter features that will never see the light of day.”

Viral Video: Country Music 2013 — Trucks, Girls in Trucks, Drinking in Trucks With Girls

Luke-Bryan

Entertainment Weekly’s Grady Smith made a fantastic video compilation, garnering close to two million views on Google’s YouTube by delivering a very good point about the state of country music in 2013:

As he noted:

“I was inspired to make this supercut after posting my 10 Best Country Albums of 2013 list for EW. A few commenters told me that my choices weren’t mainstream enough, and I thought, ‘Well, yeah, because so much of what’s on the radio these days sounds exactly the same!’ So I decided to make a video to prove my point. I hope country fans will stop settling for this derivative junk. I love a dumb party song every once in a while (including some of these!), but when they’re the only flavor available, they get old very, very fast. Here’s to better music in 2014.”

As a huge country music fan, Grady’s got that right:

As AllThingsD Draws to a Close, Here Are Some Staff Highlights — Part One: Kafka, Hesseldahl, Gannes

goodbye

On Dec. 31, at the stroke of midnight, All Things Digital will be no more.

Of course, the archives of what we have written since April of 2007 — close to 38,000 posts — will remain in the digital ether for your perusal (thanks, Edward!). And, as has been reported elsewhere, the whole staff of AllThingsD is reportedly moving on to a new online tech and media news effort with new investors and a new name (ironic, we know, but no comment from us!).

While we are not exactly sentimental types, I asked the crew to come up with a few of the stories they liked best from their tenure. I am posting them here, three AllThingsD writers today, three tomorrow, three on Saturday and two Sunday. (Note: I have not included Katherine Boehret and Walt Mossberg, as they did roundup pieces already for this site and The Wall Street Journal.)

And, on Monday and Tuesday, I will round up the really remarkable highlight videos of 11 years of D conference speakers.

Without tooting the horn too much, using tools of accuracy, fairness, quality and more than a little humor, you will see via this small sampling of stories a staff that has truly distinguished itself over the nearly seven years in bringing its audience the very best in news and analysis. I have posted only a handful for each, but it should give you a glimpse into the wide range of topics the AllThingsD reporters have covered over the years.

Here are some great examples of that, and once the retrospective wraps up — as I also wrote in my very first post on this site on April 18, 2007 — “Enough looking back: On to the next thing.”

PETER KAFKA

1. Time Inc.’s iPad Problem Is Trouble for Every Magazine Publisher

Key line: “Time Inc. likes to show off its iPad apps as a symbol of the company’s future. But inside the publisher, the digital editions have become a source of hair-pulling frustration.”

2. Meet the Prankster Brothers Behind “Jenny,” the Whiteboard-Using, Farmville-Exposing, HPOA Girl

Key line: “Almost certainly made up.”

burning-money-380x253

3. You’re Launching a Digital Music Startup in 2012? Really?

Key line: “Question to the people putting money into streaming music startups in 2012: What are you thinking?”

4. Why the Future of TV Won’t be Here Soon

Key lines: “This is the year for many big pronouncements about The Future Of TV, and we’re hearing the first round this week at the Consumer Electronics Show. Here’s how I’m sorting through the deluge: I’m ignoring almost all of it. Instead, I’m focusing on the ones that promise to bring me the TV I want to see, when I want to see it, without charging me a fortune. And without making me pay for stuff I don’t care about. Try it yourself. See? Things get quiet in a hurry.”

5. YouTube’s Show-Me-the-Money Problem

Key line: “The bigger question is whether YouTube will be able to generate enough ad money for content makers to support the “premium” programming it has been trying to attract so it can compete with traditional TV.”

ARIK HESSELDAHL

1. That Human Vs. Machine Practice Round of “Jeopardy” Didn’t End the Way You Heard It Did:

Key line: “If you consider the philosophical implications of the struggle between humanity and machines to be superior at certain tasks, then tonight is a big night.”

2. Will Bloomberg Disclose How Heavily Reporters Mined Customer Data? (It Watches Them, Too.)

Key line: “The newly fashionable idea that you can learn a great deal and thus improve a software application by analyzing the big mass of data gathered about how it is used and where users run into problems has been been at the core of Bloomberg’s operational philosophy from the beginning.”

bearcat_scanner

3. How a Webcam Pointed at a Police Radio Won the Internet Friday

Key line: “It was at this point that a quarter of a million people, including me, tuned in to the streaming video image of a Uniden Bearcat scanner radio picking up publicly available police communications traffic in Boston.”

4. OuchPad: Best Buy Sitting on a Pile of Unsold HP Tablets

Key line: “Best Buy, sources tell us, is so unhappy that it has told HP it is unwilling to pay for all the TouchPads taking up expensive space in its stores and warehouses, and wants HP to take them back. HP, for its part, is pleading with Best Buy to be patient.”

5. Who’s Next to Run Intel? A Look at the Internal and External Contenders.

Key line: “If indeed there is an internal horse race, it is between [Dadi] Perlmutter and [Brian] Krzanich. But here’s an important precedent: Every single Intel CEO since Andy Grove has been COO first.” [Note: COO Krzanich was picked as CEO.]

LIZ GANNES

1. Tech’s Rising Stars Push Into the Online-to-Offline Era

Key lines: “Although startups like Pinterest, Uber and Airbnb may not seem to have much in common except their lofty valuations, they share a similar purpose that could help describe the current era of consumer technology: Bringing the online world to the offline world. This is not a new concept, of course. But it’s a meaningful moment for the physical world to be activated by social, financial, personalized and sensory data. And likewise, it’s a relief for technology companies to chill out about counting every minute people spend on their websites — and instead figure out ways to fit usefully into the living world.”

2. I’m So Over Oversharing: On Making Our Digital Lives More Real

Key lines: “Caring about other people’s reactions is a natural part of sharing things. But social media so often turns people into strange, oversharing self-promoters.”

3. The Facebook Phone: The “Slayer” That Wasn’t

Key line: “About a year and a half ago, a Facebook mobile special ops team was formed, with its own building separate from the rest of the company. The workspace was accessible by keycard only to people intimately involved in the effort. This Facebook team was indeed trying to build a phone — really build a phone — much as Apple did, with integrated hardware and software. But when the project became too big and too political and different from where it started, many of the people involved left the company or went on extended leaves of absence, and the effort was shelved. The first Facebook phone project was called the “Social Layer,” which was then shortened to “Slayer,” a sly mashup of the phrase.”

4. Google CIO Ben Fried on How Google Works

Key lines: “Google CIO Ben Fried, who sets policies for internal technology usage at the company, said he is driven by the potential of consumer technologies and collaboration to transform the enterprise. But he can’t just let employees mess around with consumer-grade technology.”

5. Inside Dropbox’s Reverse-Engineered Company Culture

Key lines: “Five years ago, Dropbox famously reverse engineered Apple’s Finder system to introduce its own icon onto the top dock, with its folders fully integrated and a little green checkmark when files are synced. The hack was so nifty that it attracted acquisition interest from Steve Jobs. That original approach — thinking a system through and intuiting what it can do — turns out to be central to Dropbox, continuing through to the company’s recent product launches, like automatic camera uploads and integrations with various phone manufacturers.”

Tech Stocks Hover Near 2013 Highs, Paving Way for 2014 IPOs Like Alibaba, Box and Dropbox

rise_and_fall

iStock

Today, the tech sector got a pretty nice post-Christmas present, as stocks of many companies in the sector continued to remain near their highs for the year.

And with 2013 seeing the most U.S. tech IPOs since 2000 — according to a recent report, there were 45 in the year — 2014 is looking to be another strong year for public offerings. Those include, though will not be limited to: Alibaba Group, which could exceed Facebook’s $16 billion outing; Box, the file-sharing site; Dropbox, the online storage upstart; Candy Crush maker King.com; Coupons.com, the digital couponing site; Lending Club, the peer-to-peer lending service; clean-tech firm Opower; payments phenom Square; and Internet dating company Zoosk.

The impact of the upcoming IPOs has already been felt on existing issues, most especially Yahoo.

Though some of the excitement around the stock has been due to the shimmery image of CEO Marissa Mayer, its continued core business declines have been largely ignored by investors in favor of its 24 percent stake in Alibaba. In contrast to Yahoo’s lagging results, the Chinese Internet giant’s performance has been spectacular, and it has had more than a halo effect on shares of the Silicon Valley company. Yahoo’s stock is close to its 52-week high — reached on Tuesday at $41.05 — and is up 104.6 percent in the year to date.

Search giant Google is getting its bump from its own strong performance, up 57.6 percent for the year and hovering close to its $1,118 per share high. The same goes for Microsoft — despite all the uncertainty around the identity of its new CEO, the pending departure of Steve Ballmer has its shares up 40 percent for the year and also close to its nearly $39 high.

Retail giant Amazon is up more than 60 percent, close to its $405 high. LinkedIn shares have gained 92.4 percent, although it is now off its $257.56 high by about $30. And, despite some troubles, AOL is up 53 percent, near its $46.98 high.

The stocks of both social Internet leaders — Facebook and Twitter — are also performing well. Facebook is up 117 percent for the year, after a lackluster 2012 following its IPO — zeroing in on its $58.58 high. Twitter, which only recently went public, is seeing a much better result after its IPO, up 57.6 percent and near its $73.60 high.

Even companies left for dead by investors at the start of 2013 are doing well. Daily deals site Groupon is up more than 150 percent for the year and near its $12.76 high; meanwhile, gaming company Zynga is up 74 percent, close to its $4.55 high.

Merry Christmas From AllThingsD and the Gift of a YouTube Yule Log

One of my favorite memories of Christmas as a kid was watching the annual Yule log broadcast on TV, as I was sitting next to a real fireplace. I will readily admit that this holiday story is warped.

Moving on! In the digital world of today, you can enjoy the tradition via the Internet.

So, here’s an hour of a crackling fire on Google’s YuleTube, oops, YouLog, oops, YouTube:

A Christmas Message From Edward Snowden: “Asking Is Always Cheaper Than Spying” (Video)

41BBdbsF02L._SY300_

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared on Britain’s Channel 4 to deliver an “alternative” Christmas message to the world.

“A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all,” said the man who blew the lid off the government’s controversial spying programs. “They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought.”

Too true, in this reasonable argument for privacy. As he also noted, if the government “really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”

Another good point, though, given the day, let’s be clear that Santa has been using a magic snowball to naughty-or-nice monitor us at no cost for centuries now.

Watch:

Code Genius Alan Turing Gets Royal Pardon — 60 Years Too Late

Alan Turing, one of computing’s most significant pioneers and a key codebreaker in World War II, was given a posthumous royal pardon in Britain for his 1952 conviction for homosexuality, after which he was punished via chemical castration. While it does not correct the past and the devastating impact of history’s discriminatory laws, this tragic injustice done to the tech luminary is now in the dustheap it always should have been in.

Once Again — Ho Ho, the Drone Mistletoe (Video)

This is still worth posting to make sure everyone does not miss it.

The Mistletoe Drone. In San Francisco, of course.

(To be clear, these adorkable drones are lulling us into a jolly sense of security before they attack.)

Enough said:

All Things Walt: Mossberg’s Top Dozen Picks From 20 Years of Reviewing Tech (Video)

walt_cnbc

Here’s the tech reviewer Walt Mossberg talking on CNBC about his top picks from the last two decades he has written about the arena.

Mossberg names Apple products as the biggest influencer over this time, although in his last column for The Wall Street Journal after more than 20 years of reviewing, he also mentions Microsoft’s Windows 95, Google Search and Twitter.

Although he is leaving the WSJ on Dec. 31 — and this site too, since it is owned by News Corp — there is much more to come at the start of 2014. You can read a bit about that here in this Mashable exit interview, where Mossberg talks about his work over the last 20 years and more.

Here’s the best part — his advice for young journalists just starting out, which never really changes:

“I would tell them quality over quantity, which is one of the biggest sins on the Web, particularly today. I would tell them that it is enormously important to earn the readers’ trust by being ethical, another problem that some websites are guilty of. I would tell them to keep in mind who your reader is. Never talk down to that reader.”

Enjoy:

It’s a Jack World After All: Disney Names Dorsey to Board

jack-dorsey-selfie

Disney just announced that it had named Jack Dorsey — chairman and co-founder of social communications company Twitter, and CEO and co-founder of Square, the online payments startup — to its board.

Dorsey is the latest big Internet name to become a director at the entertainment giant. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has served on the board for several years. And Dorsey will be replacing Judy Estrin, well-known technologist and former CTO of Cisco, who has been a Disney director for 15 years.

Former Sybase CEO John S. Chen, who is now interim CEO of BlackBerry and had been a senior advisor at private equity firm Silver Lake, also serves on the board.

And, of course, the most important techie: The late and great Steve Jobs of Apple, who sold Pixar to Disney and became its biggest individual shareholder.

No word on whether an animated film focused on Dorsey’s world-famous selfies is in the works.

But, ever the showman, Dorsey posted this tweet from Los Angeles:


Here’s Disney’s statement:

Jack Dorsey Elected to The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors

December 23, 2013 03:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

BURBANK, Calif. — (BUSINESS WIRE) – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Board of Directors has elected Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter Inc. and CEO of Square Inc., as an independent director, effective immediately.

“Jack Dorsey is a talented entrepreneur who has helped create groundbreaking new businesses in the social media and commerce spaces,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The perspective he brings to Disney and its Board is extremely valuable, given our strategic priorities, which include utilizing the latest technologies and platforms to reach more people and to enhance the relationship we have with our customers.”

“I am honored and humbled to join the Disney Board,” Mr. Dorsey said. “Disney is a timeless company, one we all grow up learning from and admiring.”

Mr. Dorsey is the co-founder of Twitter, the social networking and microblogging service that allows users to create and share ideas and information instantly via messages of 140 characters or less. Mr. Dorsey posted the world’s first Tweet — “just setting up my twttr” — on March 21, 2006, and since then Twitter has grown to include more than 230 million monthly active users worldwide who create about 500 million Tweets every day. Prior to becoming Twitter’s chairman in 2008, Mr. Dorsey was president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Dorsey is also chief executive officer of Square, a commerce company he co-founded in 2009. Headquartered in San Francisco, Square provides innovative products and services for local businesses including a mobile credit card reader, an iPad point-of-sale system, an online marketplace, and a wallet application that allows consumers to make payments using their mobile devices.

Mr. Dorsey attended New York University and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Mr. Dorsey will stand for election along with the company’s other directors at the annual meeting on March 18, 2014. Pursuant to the tenure policy in the company’s corporate governance guidelines that limits board service to 15 years, Judith L. Estrin will not be standing for re-election.

“Judy has served Disney shareholders incredibly well during her 15 years of service, and we will miss having her on the Board,” Mr. Iger said. “Her insight and advice on technological innovation and our business, as well as her passion for excellence, have been invaluable to me.” Ms. Estrin, who has co-founded eight technology companies and served as chief technology officer and senior vice president of Cisco Systems Inc., is chief executive officer of JLABS, LLC, a privately held company focused on furthering innovation in business, government and nonprofit organizations.

Viral Video: Bloomberg Unplugged: “President? Pope? Naked Cowboy?”

This weekend, outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his first-ever appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

Appearing on “Weekend Update” to discuss his future plans, and referring to two of his most controversial initiatives in office, Bloomberg said that said he would be “fulfilling a lifelong dream of enjoying a small soda on a non-smoking beach.”

After that? Joked Bloomberg: “President? Pope? Naked cowboy?”

Enjoy:

Former Yahoo and Zynga Exec Named President and COO of Audax Health

David Ko, who joined the board of Audax Health in September, has been named president and COO of the Washington, D.C.-based digital health development company. He’ll be based in the company’s San Francisco office. Before Audax, Ko was COO at gaming company Zynga and he also spent a decade at Yahoo in various senior roles.