Council Committee Approves Digital Ads

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

A rendering of a digital display on South Broad Street

Center City is one step closer to looking like Times Square.

A City Council Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that will allow “urban experiential displays” — 3D digital billboards — to be built at a few select locations in Philadelphia’s downtown district.

KYW reports that the bill was supported by Thadeus Bartkowski, founder of Catalyst Outdoors, which wants to build three of the digital displays — 30 to 50 feet in height — at three locations in Center City.

Bartkowski says, “It’s about creating a multi-faceted communication platform, that’s able to add vibrancy in unique commercial corridors.”

Bartkowski proposes three locations — outside the Convention Center, across from the Reading Terminal Market, and on the facade of the Bellevue Hotel garage on South Broad Street.

He says 70-percent of the content displayed would be ads, the rest would be PSAs and other material — including promotions for local non-profits: “What’s trying to be created here is a pedestrian-viewer experience, not just a simple single form of technology.”

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PlanPhilly Moving to WHYY

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PlanPhilly, the website that covers planning and development news in Philadelphia, is moving from its longtime home under the PennPraxis umbrella to become part of WHYY’s news operations.

A move of some sort had been expected since August, when Harris Steinberg, director of PennPraxis, left the university to become executive director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University. PlanPhilly  was “initiated and nurtured” at PennPraxis starting 2006. The site was originally funded by the William Penn Foundation, but currently operates on funding from the Wyncote Foundation.
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The Three Questions I’m Never Asking Anybody Ever Again

Okay, so the first question you should never ask anyone is pretty obvious, because almost all of us have done it anyway. The question is, “When are you due?” And the reason you should never ask it of anyone is in case they’re not.

Theoretically you could safely ask this of men, but given the increasingly tenuous boundaries of gender, better to play it safe and just zip your lip. Because, really, if you’re a woman and you’ve ever been asked this when you weren’t, you remember. The moment burns in your memory even if (as in my case) it was decades ago. Pregnancy is a joyous occasion. Having a gut is not. Being reminded that you have a gut really is not. So, don’t ask this question. Even if you’re pretty damned sure she’s due any minute and she’s carrying twins.

The second question you should never ask anyone is, perhaps, less obvious, because sociologically, it’s a more recent development. Read more »

Philly Tweeter Shows NYT How to Put That in Their Pipe and Smoke It

You’ve probably heard by now about the New York Times’ huffy, snark-filled appraisal of Philadelphia after Philly beat out Brooklyn to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. There’ve been a number of responses, but Allie Ilagan produced our favorite.

It’s been through several iterations now, actually, but here’s the latest and most definitive version of her reply:

The original version of that has been retweeted more than 240 times so far.
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Jon Stewart Is Leaving the Daily Show at the Right Time

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For his own sanity — and, perhaps, for ours — Jon Stewart couldn’t have picked a better time to announce he’ll be stepping away from The Daily Show.

To understand why, you only had to go back one night before his sudden, shocking Tuesday retirement announcement and watch Monday night’s episode of the show. The topic: NBC’s Brian Williams and his apparent record of mistruths when relating anecdotes about his experiences covering Iraq and some of the other big stories of the last decade or so.

Stewart’s take? Maybe lying is bad, but Brian Williams’ lies weren’t nearly as bad as … Dick Cheney’s lies.

You know. The ones from a decade ago.

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9 Philly Missed Connections That Need to Happen This Valentine’s Day

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It’s not easy to find love — especially in Philadelphia, especially in February.

But it’s not like we’re not trying. No, we’re trying really hard — from the Whole Foods check-out line to the Market-Frankford El — to make contact with fellow humans. Some of us just aren’t very good at it.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re nudging along some of the cuter Missed Connections posted on Craigslist during the past two weeks. You guys deserve to be happy, if only just for one fake holiday. (As for the gross guys trying to pick up Kelly Drive joggers? Ya’ll are on your own – and stop that right now.)

Recognize yourself? Get in touch! Don’t, but like what you’re reading? These people are looking for love on Craigslist — they’ll probably give you a chance.

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Who Isn’t Partnering With Philly.com to Cover Mayor’s Race?

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So maybe this is the future of journalism: Collaboration instead of competition.

We’d already told you that WHYY would be partnering with Philly.com to cover the mayor’s race, with grant support from the Wyncote Foundation. Turns out the partnership is much larger than that: Philly.com on Tuesday unveiled its new “The Next Mayor” website — which, along with the aforementioned organizations, includes support and contributions from the Center for Public Interest Journalism at Temple University, Technically Philly, The Committee of Seventy citizens’ group, 900-AM WURD, and Young Involved Philadelphia.

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Interstate General Media’s partners in covering the 2015 mayor’s race.

It might be easier to name Philly’a journalism and civic groups that are not part of the effort.

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The Worst Ways to Choose a Computer Password

My son Jake came home from college this weekend to watch the Super Bowl with us — I think because he likes my guacamole. The night before the big game, he and I and my husband got to talking about computer passwords. Jake’s a computer science major, and he announced that the best way to choose a password is to pick any three random words out of the dictionary and string them together. (He said this proved it, which it well might, if I understood it.) I announced that that was stupid, because how would you ever remember three random words?

I grew up in the days when you only had to remember two things in life: your street address and your seven-digit phone number (and the first two numbers of that were actually letters). There was no such thing as identity theft, except on The Fugitive. Now I’m expected to memorize — and keep straight — dozens of different passwords that online gatekeepers to my bank, my work email, my home email, my Twitter account, my Amazon one-click account, my primary-care physician’s health portal, etc., etc., etc., decree must be between seven and 10 characters, or must be at least 11 characters, or can be no more than five characters, or must contain at least two letters or can contain no letters or must be all lower-case or must include at least one upper-case letter and the name of one living ex-president. Read more »

Wawa’s New App Offers Free Drinks, Food

unnamedNow Wawa is working its magic on your smartphone.

The beloved convenience store chain this week unveiled the Wawa app. And while it’s handy — you’ll be able to use the app as a “gift card” that can be used to make purchases at the store — it’s also, literally, rewarding: Use it often enough, and you’ll be treated to free food and drinks.

There’s now a payoff to being a Wawa fanatic. But you’ve got to spend at least $50 before you accumulate rewards.

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