Joe Biden’s Cadillac On Craigslist for $15,000

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According to the guy selling this Cadillac STS on Delaware Craigslist for $15,000, the car was leased by now-Vice President Joe Biden from 2005 to 2008. Owner Jeff Finkle told Delaware Online that he first realized who the previous driver was when he discovered the names Beau, Hunter and Jill (aka Biden’s family) programmed into the Bluetooth.

Biden was not immediately available for comment. (Yeah, we called.)

Katz Pledges $77 Million for Inquirer, Daily News

Businessman and co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer Lewis Katz, center, walks to Judge Patricia McInerney's courtroom, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at City Hall in Philadelphia. McInerney is scheduled to hear arguments over who should control The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Businessman and co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer Lewis Katz, center, walks to Judge Patricia McInerney’s courtroom, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at City Hall in Philadelphia. McInerney is scheduled to hear arguments over who should control The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

CBS Philly reports that minority owner Lewis Katz has pledged to pay at least $77 million to acquire the Inquirer and Daily News outright. The pledges emerged during testimony Tuesday as a Delaware judge tries to decide the process by which the papers will be sold.

Lewis Katz promises to match rival owner George Norcross’ $77-million minimum bid. Katz and co-owner Gerry Lenfest favor a public, open, sealed bid. Katz says that will drive up the price, rather than “bluffing, starting low and then raising bids.”

Norcross, who leads a majority owner group of three, wants a private auction limited to the current owners, and the Newspaper Guild, if deemed qualified, with ascending back and forth bidding.

Of course, that $77 million would represent an increase from the $55 million the owners jointly paid in 2012 for the newspapers and Philly.com. It does raise a question: Does anybody think the value of those properties has increased by $22 million in the last two years?

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Suburban Philly Papers May Go On Sale

Nieman Journalism Lab is reporting that Digital First Media — which owns dozens of community newspapers nationally, including a few in the Philadelphia suburbs and across Pennsylvania — will announce deep cuts to its online journalism operations, and is expected to auction off many of its newspapers.

Philly-area newspapers and news organizations owned by the company include Main Line Media News, the Lansdale Reporter, the Delco News Network  and others; Digital First owners nearly 30 properties, some print, some digital across the state.

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My Crowdsourced Life

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Illustration by Joe Reinfurt

It was, you have to admit, a pretty smart publicity grab.

Back in January, Mark Zuckerberg snapped a picture, posted it online, and posed a question to his readers: What kind of spider is this, and is it okay to let it keep living in my shower?

The Facebook founder wasn’t posting on his own site; he was on Jelly, a hip new app from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone that lets users upload photos so their social media contacts can answer questions about them. Nine minutes later, Zuckerberg got his answer from Kevin Thau, Jelly’s COO: I think it’s a Phidippus johnsoni. Probably want to relocate it out of the house. As backup, Thau included a Wiki link about Phidippus johnsoni — a terrifying jumping spider with a nasty bite. Not long after, Stone completed the loop with a tweet: “First life saved via Jelly!”

Welcome to research in the age of social media. Jelly’s raison d’être may be crowdsourcing, but you don’t have to download the app to tap into the collective brainpower of the masses — not if you have any other sort of social media account. At 31, I’m at the stage of life where I use my Facebook account mostly for birthday reminders and cat videos (fine, and maybe to find out if that cute woman I met has a boyfriend) — but I think I’m increasingly alone. So many of my friends in Philly use social media to outsource their problems that my various newsfeeds have more pleas for help than an episode of Dr. Phil.

My car horn stopped working — will it be expensive to fix? Does someone have a copy of Photoshop I can have? I want to start running. What’s the best couch-to-5K app? I don’t know what to wear tonight! (On that last one, the “help me” is clearly implied.)

A journalist friend of mine turns to her “friends” on Facebook regularly for stories she’s working on. “I don’t only learn about my topic,” she says, “but I figure out what people are interested in hearing about. It helps me shape my stories, too.” Another pal cops to crowdsourcing everything from mechanics to cold remedies, out of what he readily admits is sheer sloth.

The lazy friend has a point: Any reasonably connected human being can simply ask and then receive — and receive immediately, with zero effort. Crowdsourcing is about efficiency, really — about putting social media to work for you. But while the answers you get from that network of 500 of your nearest and dearest are fast and easy (and also probably better than the ones that come from the unwashed Internet masses on, say, Yahoo! Answers), that doesn’t mean the collective brainpower of the crowd is always right. Is it your transmission making that noise? Was that a Phidippus johnsoni? Does having so many answers at our fingertips actually make life easier and better? Or just … noisier?

I decide to find out — to spend a week crowdsourcing my decision-making, letting “friends” on Facebook and my Twitter followers guide my path.

Comcast Upgrades X1, Lets Users Download DVR’d Shows to Tablets

The X1 upgrade includes a streamlined user guide to help viewers find their favorite videos and shows.

The X1 upgrade includes a streamlined user guide to help viewers find their favorite videos and shows.

Ever wish you could download your DVR’d TV shows to your iPad and take them on a plane with you? Comcast customers in the Philadelphia region will be able to do that starting today.

The new feature is part of an upgrade of the Xfinity’s software upgrade to its X1 platform, which already offers access to live, recorded, and on-demand television and movies. The upgrade also includes revisions to the platform’s on-screen guide to help users more easily find the shows and channels they desire out of the vast array of content available.

But customers will probably notice that they now have more options for viewing TV and movies than they did before. Over their home wifi network, for example, they’ll be able to view live TV and DVR recordings on multiple devices, using the Xfinity TV site for laptops and computers, or the brand-new Xfinity TV app for tablets and mobile devices. Using that app, users will also be able to “check out” up to 10 DVR-recorded videos — they won’t be available on the home DVR until the checkout is over — for offline viewing on the road, away from home.

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