Hacker collective Anonymous has been involved in some of the highest profile hacks in the last couple of years. I talked to Cole Stryker who recently wrote a book about the group.
World renowned hacker Kevin Mitnick hacks my voicemail to demonstrate how phone hacking may have been performed by the News of the World.
I spoke with John Abell, New York Bureau Chief for Wired Magazine, about how Apple might turn out over the next few years without Steve Jobs at the helm. John tells us what we might expect and how Apple is a much different company than the one Jobs returned to after his brief exile.
I had a chance to meet and interview Kevin Mitnick, who at one time was the most wanted hacker in the world. Today he’s one of the most sought after security experts, helping others to understand how hackers break into computer networks.
Yesterday, in the rush to be first, what appeared to be a legitimate breaking news story from a reliable source spread like wildfire in the Twitter-verse, only to have it turn out to be completely false. I happened to be one of the people who saw Jon Snow of London’s Channel 4 inaccurate tweet, ““Piers Morgan suspended by CNN over phone hacking…the rise and rise, and fall and rise, and fall of Piers Morgan!”
On my personal Twitter account, instead of RTing Jon’s tweet, I posted the news as quickly as I could, seeing that it came from an established media person at a legitimate news organization. This was the biggest mistake I made. In 99 out of a hundred cases, I expect Jon to report the news accurately. But this was one of the times a real news person was duped. While it shouldn’t happen, it does from time to time, especially when one is rushing to report “breaking” news.
There’s a lot of differing opinions on what Twitter should and should not be. My colleague Felix Salmon writes:
Google has had a series of embarrassing flops when it comes to new products. Google Wave was too complicated and didn’t solve a problem anyone had. Google Buzz never caught on with enough people to become useful. Now, they’ve set their sights directly on Facebook with Google+ and after spending a little less than a day with it, I have to admit I am intrigued.
There are a couple of things that make Google+ compelling. The first is that despite the fact it’s still in limited beta, with many folks begging for invites from friends, it feels active and alive. When you log in, it appears like the early days of Facebook, before they piled on app after app and feature after feature.
Being the new thing is an advantage, because you can focus on the features that people really want. Google+ focuses on a feed of updates, similar to the Facebook Wall, and forces people to place their contacts into “Circles” which is similar to Facebook’s “Groups” that seems to be utilized only by a small audience.
Editor’s note: This article spurred quite a bit of discussion on Twitter. If you’d like to join the conversation, use the hashtag #smnets. Carl V. Lewis storified some of the discussion that took place.
Bill Keller has spent the last eight years as executive editor of the New York Times. He recently announced he will step down from his post in September and hand it over to Jill Abramson, who will become the first female executive editor in the history of the paper. I asked Bill about his transition and some of the controversy around his statements regarding aggregation and Twitter.
You’ve been doing more writing as of late. Do you miss having the time to devote your energies to that entirely?
On the surface, the story of a newspaper company during an age of digital revolution does not seem like the best candidate for a gripping drama. In the hands of Andrew Rossi and through the eyes of David Carr, Brian Stelter, Bruce Headlam, and Tim Arango there lies something akin to The Social Network for the news business, a movie uniquely capturing this moment in time.
There’s a scene midway through Page One when David Carr goes to meet the guys who run Vice, a brash and unvarnished multimedia content company that CNN just partnered with in an effort to court a younger demographic. “I don’t do corporate portraiture,” Carr tells them as they attempt to give him their pitch. Vice co-founder Shane Smith tries to make a case for why Vice is doing the job that the New York Times failed to do. “Everyone talked to me about cannibalism! That’s fucking crazy! So the actual — our audience goes, “That’s fucking insane, like, that’s nuts!” And the New York Times, meanwhile, is writing about surfing, and I’m sitting there going like, “You know what? I’m not going to talk about surfing, I’m going to talk about cannibalism, because that fucks me up.” Carr interrupts Smith for a history lesson “Just a sec, time out. Before you ever went there, we’ve had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide. Just because you put on a fucking safari helmet and looked at some poop doesn’t give you the right to insult what we do. So continue.”
That moment sort of crystallizes the two worlds that Carr and the Times now live in. Countless outlets like Vice and others were born in an age where virtually anyone can cobble together a place on the media landscape, but often with little regard for those who came before them. Some are outright contemptuous of the Times and newspapers in general, as a few attendees at SXSW, the annual Austin gathering of digerati expressed by a show of hands that they would not miss the Times if it ceased to exist.