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Geeks Gone Gossip

December 21, 2009 Culture, Interview, web 2 Comments


“I grew up in Palo Alto and when I discovered this L.A. tech world I couldn’t believe how different it was than the area where I grew up,” Julia Angwin, author of Stealing MySpace, told the LA Weekly at South by Southwest: Interactive in March of this year.

“In Palo Alto everyone is smart; they all went to Harvard and had some brilliant idea,” Angwin said. “In Hollywood, in L.A., these guys were totally scrappy–they would do anything to make money and they were marketing geniuses so it’s a totally different world filled with clubbing and hanging out in Santa Monica and pornstars.”

It’s true, L.A. tech has something of a reputation. After a few years of wrestling with it, trying to build our cred, I think it’s time we stopped apologizing. A lot of interesting tech offerings are coming out of Los Angeles, not to mention incredible content. So we like to look pretty and we like chic clubs and pornstars and rockstars and bubbly and fun as much as gossip about Google’s latest acquisition. So we’ll put a red carpet at a BBQ truck. Deal with it.

Nothing illustrates this attitude more clearly than @LaLaWhat, a Twitter user that reports on the unprofessional aspect of some of Los Angeles’ most active tech scenesters. Not to be confused with lalawag, Los Angeles’ favorite tech blog, @LaLaWhat is simply a Twitter account that reports in the refreshing and eternally juvenile style of Gossip Girl.

I fired off a set of questions to the anonymous tweeps last night for your reading pleasure.

How did you come up with the idea?

We were enjoying just enjoying ourselves when we noticed L.A. all a’twitter with some interesting news. We thought–what a shame it was to have that lovely gossip to broken up, hidden in subtext, and forgotten, and since the lovely Lalawag was taking a decidedly more journalistic approach, we decided to have a little fun!

How do you get your information?

It’s quite simple. We have our “agents” who can post directly and anonymously, and then we have all of you whom we follow who lovingly DM us about all the debauchery. We only post details from those we trust and from those we can verify.

Are there tips you get DMd that you just can’t share because they’re so scandalous?

We like to think there are unspoken rules among us. Let’s just say that the truly damaging secrets we keep to ourselves. We’re not here to hurt anyone, we just like to keep things interesting. After all, its the private things that bind us.

Who would ever want to be Valleywag? We don’t have any “clear cut rules” though, with the exception being not to tweet anything that is truly damaging. Like @TheMan [Editor's note: Francisco Dao, organizer of the Los Angeles tech conference Twiistup] once said, the scene can be “a whole lot like high school” but high school isn’t real life.

We know a few of you have gotten a bit upset about a certain tweet or two. Most of those times, it was because of a slight misinterpretation or assumption based on our tweets. Each time, we tweeted a clarification.

We want you to enjoy the gossip and continue to send us tips, and we know you won’t do that if you didn’t enjoy it. We are your guilty pleasure. We want to know all the little things you couldn’t tweet, but you know you really wanted to. We have our own ways of hearing about your thrilling little secrets. For example AV, we hear you’ve been having quite the passionate ride, and this time we don’t just mean in bed.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. Anyway… how do you classify who’s fodder-worthy to the community?

You should only gossip about those you know. No one is just fodder, we love each and every one of you we gossip about. After all it’s all in good fun. Choosing really depends on the juicy details, sometimes even the cute little quiet ones, lingering in the background, are the most interesting.

“So there AV, for your infinite perusal, are our answers to your intimate questions,” they wrote in closing. “So until the next time you sneak out for a cross-country midnight rendezvous…”

I still have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

Deny, deny, deny.

But can you deny this kind of fun? Didn’t think so.

(Not involved but curious? Hit up lalawag’s event page to see what tech-related events are happening in Los Angeles this week. There’s always something going on somewhere. But be warned… no matter who you are, there will be tweeting.)

Image from @LaLaWhat’s Twitter page.

It’s Not A Sex Tape, Baby, It’s Art

December 16, 2009 Culture, web No Comments

timelapser2The sex tape: a staple of our time, and, as far as Los Angeles goes, a requirement.

Introducing Timelapser, an iPhone app that turns the sex tape into an artsy proposition.

This app lets you easily make time-lapse videos on your iPhone. Because it works using still shots, you can use it even if you don’t have the snazzy iPhone 3GS.

Timelapser lets you set your own compression settings, dictate how often to capture a frame (with some technical limitations: the iPhone 3GS can capture a frame every three seconds; the 3G, every six seconds; and the first-gen iPhone, every eight seconds), and allows you to select the number of frames you see per second during playback.

The app auto-assembles the frames into movies, and the captures are stored as a unit without overcrowding your photo library.

You can easily e-mail the movies right from the app as well.

If you won’t do it for the art, get this: Timelapser is currently running a contest offering a $500 prize for the best Timelapser video.

I contacted Jake Maymudes, one of the developers, and asked whether our raunchy sex tapes are eligible.

“At the risk of sounding like a sleazebag, sex tapes made with Timelapser are totally eligible for the Timelapser Challenge,” he told me. “Despite Youtube probably removing them, they will be watched and rated for overall artistic content.”

Hear that? The game is on. All you need to do is post your Timelapser video as a response to their video challenge on YouTube.

Oh, and you might want this.

Lights, iPhone, hot, animal action!

Image courtesy of the Maymudes Bros.

3 Sexcessories You Need

December 9, 2009 Culture, web No Comments

Technology and sex have always been an ideal match. Recently, Rachel Kramer Bussel at The Daily Beast did an overview of the top eight hottest sexcessories around. These are our top three:


Want to know how good you are in bed? Surprise, surprise–there’s an app for that!

Launched in July, Passion uses “all of the iPhone’s distinct features such as the microphone, accelerometer and many others to determine an accurate score. All you have to do is start the application, put your iPhone on the bed, in an arm band, or even in your pocket and have intercourse, it is as easy as that.”

You’re judged on how long activity lasts, how much activity seems to be involved, and decibels. The scores are graphed and pit against those of others around the world.

Gauges, sex and oversharing? I dare you to tell me what you get.


Little black book meets spreadsheets. nOOkis is probably one of the most thorough ways of keeping track of your sexploits.

You catalog everything from partners’ nationalities, to their attractiveness, how often you orgasm, to what positions you prefer together.

You can make graphs from the data, as well as have the site analyze your sexual habits and forecast your likelihood of contracting a venereal disease, which is dicksoftenus maximus to think about, but, hey, thanks. At the very least if you encounter some unpleasant symptoms in the future, such a meticulous record should come in handy.


This weekly digest of sex toy reviews covers it all. “Many of the reviews are CNET-grade in their earnestness and technicality,” notes Kramer Bussel. Excellent–it’s about time someone took these matters into their hands–err…

Well, you know what I mean.

Image from Chris Alvares. Information via The Daily Beast.

e-Stalking Your Way To Hot Sex

December 1, 2009 Culture, web 10 Comments


Maybe there is a reason I have always been attracted to musicians. For those in the know, what you see him do when he performs onstage is very telling of how he will perform in the bedroom. But what about the guy who has made a name for himself by his blogs, tweets, podcasts and over all social media prowess–how can you tell?

The truth may lie in how he performs on the world wide stage of the web. It’s not what he does, it’s how he does it. What is he talking about and how is he talking about it? Is he confident or cocky? Are his writings masturbatory and self-important? Are they informative yet dry? Interesting and safe? Thoughtful and insightful? He may not be trying to make you hot in 140 characters but could he?

Some things to think about:

  1. If he has more followers than he himself follows people on Twitter, he is obviously desirable, just be sure to check out his other attributes because, in this case, quantity may not mean a quality lay.
  2. If he uses a variety of methods to get his message across, including blogging, tweeting, responding to comments, posting mobile photos and hitting the “like” button then he may use a variety of methods on you until you hit the like button.
  3. If his friends and followers are diverse and he writes and talks about a multitude of subjects, he will probably be able to go out to a variety of places with you and feel comfortable. Then take you home and show you the world.
  4. If he responds to @ messages on Twitter and the comments on his blog posts, that means he pays attention and will respond if you tell him “a little to the left.”
  5. If he is consistent in his blog posts and his tweets, but obviously takes time away to be out in the real world, he may have better insight to your needs and subtle moves and not try to play you like a video game.
  6. Even if he is an expert at social media, if he only writes about one subject and it is usually about himself, his company and maybe the newest trend, then he may be quite selfish in the sack or favor one position only. #fail

A few more things to think about:

  • If he is out every night and has posted his mobile photos to prove it, you should know going in that you may be dealing with a voyeur. Be ready to show off.
  • If he is constantly letting everyone know where he is on Foursquare then you can track him down and jump his bones at any time.
  • If he only acknowledges you through Twitter direct messages or e-mail and never an @ message on Twitter or Facebook, it usually means he doesn’t want a relationship, he is a player, or you are having a secret hot affair. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Oh, and if he tweets 20 times in a row, even if it is informative, this does not mean he has longevity while giving it to you.

So before you jump into bed with him, add his RSS feed to your Google Reader, follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook and do a little social media snooping, or e-stalking. In this case, the best way to get your ROI is to do a little R&D.

Me? I met him, read his blog and checked out his tweets, but ultimately it came down to the fact that he had some kick ass tattoos. What can I say? He’s my Social Media Rock Star.

Image by Johanna Hobbs.

What Your Chat Status Says About You

November 30, 2009 Culture, web 1 Comment

gtalkI’ll admit it–I don’t chat a lot, but I open Gtalk and watch people’s chat statuses when I’m writing.

I judge my permanently-available friends (green) and mobile (little phone), feel annoyed at my friends who idle (orange), and think my offline friends are antisocial assholes or technologically inept (gray).

I know that’s not fair. I mean, I’m that jerk who’s always busy (red), even when I’m just staring at my Gtalk screen.

Psychology Today‘s Dave Levitan (@davelevitan) has a post about what each chat status actually says about us–according to a media expert and director of the Media Psychology Research Center, Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D.

Prepare yourselves to be labeled, sweet minions of teh inyterwebz:

Always/Often Green:
“This is an extrovert who feels that he always needs to be available,” explains Rutledge. “It’s someone who is too much of a caretaker, or someone who is narcissistic and assumes you always want to see him.”

Idle/Orange (Even When at the Computer):
“It might mean that she’s feeling like she wants to have a little bit of protection from the exposure, which is a normal human thing,” says Rutledge. “It might mean that she’s a bit more introverted than extroverted.”

“That’s one way of call screening,” Rutledge tells us. “Or, call that person an introvert, because he wants to have the option of not responding. He’s protecting his own boundaries; maybe he’s working or doing something where he doesn’t want to be interrupted, but he’s not missing from the face of the earth.”

Ninja /Invisible:
“This is like stalking, but it’s a level of stalking that isn’t negative,” says Rutledge. “It’s a technologically advanced and effective way of eavesdropping.” But she is quick to point out that messaging someone while in appear offline mode is a hostile response. That behavior allows them to reach you but disables you from responding, thereby robbing you of communication. “If that is someone’s standard operating procedure, it’s a power trip,” she says.

The post doesn’t address people who are on Gtalk mobile. What do you think that says about someone that they’re always connected, even when they’re not at their computers?


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Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.


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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...