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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Will New Blog Bring WHYY, Philly.com Together?

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WHYY’s new blog covering the mayor’s race is just one piece of what could end up being a unique collaboration among Philadelphia’s most-powerful media outlets.

The blog, NinetyNine, debuted Wednesday at WHYY’s news site, NewsWorks.org, helmed by longtime Philadelphia reporter Brian Hickey. It’s expected to be the first piece of multi-platform coverage of the mayor’s race, which will ultimately be hosted at Philly.com.

“The blog will be our contribution,” said Chris Satullo, WHYY’s president for news and civic dialogue. ‘The blog will also be on Philly.com.”

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Media Startup Showdown: Ranking Philly’s Three New Online News Sites

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Pay no attention to those gloomy statements coming out of the city’s long-established newspapers: Philadelphia’s media scene is growing by leaps and bounds! The launch last week of PhillyVoice.com completed the trifecta of new news organizations that have gotten their start in the last year. What they all have in common? They’re built by refugees from so-called “legacy media.” But none of them has a foot in the print world — they’re all digital (and even mostly mobile) all of the time.

Now it’s time to sit back and make some judgments. Here are the three new news sites, and what we make of them. Ranked in order of essentialness:

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All Comcast Eyes on New York

Comcast-TodayIt looks like New York is going to drive a tough bargain if Comcast wants that state’s approval to complete a merger with Time Warner Cable.

We knew that already, but a Sunday editorial in the New York Daily News is urging state regulators there to drive an even harder bargain, noting that other capitals of world commerce — including Seoul, Hong Kong, and even Latvia — have better Internet speeds than what is typically available in New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should demand better, the paper says.

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WATCH: Evel Knievel Jump Over Cars at the Spectrum in 1971

This is kind of neat — Vimeo poster Dave Mueller put this video up the other day: Video of Evel Knievel’s 1971 visit to the Spectrum. “In 1971 a boy and his camera went to see stunt rider Evel Knievel,” Mueller writes. “Today the technology exists to share this moment with the world.”

Mueller says in the video that Knievel jumps his motorcycle over eight cars; Knievel’s website says he jumped over 10 cars that day. The video is grainy, so it’s hard for us to say for sure, but it sure looks like eight cars to us. (This video from Jim Samuel makes it look like eight cars, with a van as the jumping-off point.) Then again, he cleared it with plenty of room.

No matter. That’s a lot of cars to jump over in a motorcycle.

In any case, Knievel returned to Philadelphia just once after that, according to his records — jumping over 13 cars at the old JFK Stadium in South Philadelphia. They just don’t make them like that anyore.

Americans Are Paying Good Money for Professional Cuddling

In the latest sign of the Apocalypse, the Wall Street Journal on Friday had an article on the growth of professional cuddling. That is, people who get paid to lie on beanbag chairs and chaise longues beside other people who pay them for the privilege. Of being cuddled. I know your next question, and here’s the answer: $80 an hour. And I know your next question: Yes, everyone’s clothes stay on. Read more »

Comcast Says It Will Offer Super-Fast “Gigabit” Service This Year

Comcast’s Internet service is about to get blazingly fast, Gizmodo reports:

In an exciting if suspicious announcement today, Comcast, everybody’s least favorite company, just told an audience at CES that it would start offering home customers gigabit internet speeds in 2015.

That would be a huge improvement, since Comcast’s current “Extreme” plan only offers speeds up to 150 megabits per second. It remains unclear exactly how many customers would get Comcast’s new headline-grabbing gigabit offering. Comcast has been dangling the possibility of offering these speeds for a while. A couple years ago, it showcased the ability to achieve 3 Gb/s speeds on its network and announced last year that some of its customers would enjoy all fiber networks. It even trademarked a catchy name for a new service: “True Gig.”

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Why Do Trolls Especially Hate Women?

If you’re a reasonably well-adjusted person, you probably don’t spend much time in the comments sections of local news stories — maybe not any time at all.

Before we start, here’s a brief recap of what you’re “missing” from most outlets: racist jab, misogynistic non sequitur, left-field Obama rant, casual grumping that suddenly seems cute by comparison.

Citified, for one, is attempting to keep the conversation civil. Philly Mag’s just-unveiled urban affairs channel will strictly moderate the comments on all posts, weeding out not only the obviously hateful, but the garden-variety dumb and unhelpful as well.

I don’t envy whoever is tasked with sorting through that noise, and I can only hope that a morale-boosting desk puppy was part of the deal. But I’m pretty excited for the new approach — especially for someone who doesn’t, as a rule, read the comments.

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