DID YOU READ

Where You At?

Where You At? (photo)

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In real estate, it’s the most important variable in the equation; in 2010, it’s become the topic that seems to be everywhere. Everyone seems to be trying to integrate location-based aspects into their applications these days, but hyper-local has been around for nearly a decade. It’s not a new topic; it’s just one that has taken hold more so than ever before, driven by hardware and technology finally catching up to truly make location accurate and useful. The cool kids are Gowalla and Foursquare, contenders of this year’s SXSWi Geowars, but they have some elephants in the room that could squash them like bugs at any moment — namely Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Being bigger, however, doesn’t necessarily give the behemoths of the tech world an advantage. You still need to convince a built-in audience that you’ve got something compelling and useful enough to use on a regular basis. Google’s Latitude failed to attract a loyal, active user base. Twitter is using geolocation to provide more context around the messages being passed around their network. Foursquare is a closed network where only the people you choose to share your location with are alerted of your whereabouts — with Twitter, once you’ve enabled the ability to track your location, every message you post is publicly tagged with your parameters. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the privacy concerns with that social contract.

Facebook has the most potential to level everyone in their path. They’ve got a 400 million-strong user community that has already been programmed to give up every minute detail of their mostly mundane lives. Giving them an automated way to share where to find you at any given time is the equivalent of hooking an overshare IV up to a too-much-information-aholic. It’s the next logical step in the Facebook equation. They’ve already begun doing it in more subtle ways, with community-created geolocation applications, but you just know a Facebook-branded geolocation app of their own is just around the corner.

Yelp, with over 200,000 iPhone application users, dwarfs Foursquare’s 40,000. Originally, they only provided listings and reviews for bars and restaurants, but recently created a check-in system that is so similar in look and feel to Foursquare it’s almost criminal. The only hurdle left is to convince the people who were only looking for reviews to go the extra step and check into the places they actually decided to go to. There is a pretty wide gap between the passive audience Yelp attracted with listings and getting them to participate in the activity of a very different type of user, who obsessively needs to broadcast their location.

So how did the players manage to make their mark at SXSW? Foursquare picked up press from CNN (who declared them winner of the #geowars), Bloomberg and the New York Times. They used guerrilla marketing this year at SXSWi, armed with chalk and rubber balls to create DIY foursquare courts on the sidewalks just outside the Austin Convention Center. Who needs an overpriced booth inside the building when you can attract both badge holders and the many others who simply make the trip to Austin to attend the events based around the actual conference?

Foursquare spent their money where it counted, at a packed party attended by the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Evan Williams of Twitter, and David Carr of the New York Times. Foursquare was indispensable as a means of tracking where the parties all weekend were. The ones that had the most recent check-ins would appear near the top of the check-in screen, tempting the user to head where the most action was. Quite simply, Foursquare was built for SXSW, and in large cities like New York — where it’s the media crowd equivalent of SXSWi every night — it’s an equally essential social tool.

Foursquare was a virtual pied piper and you could physically see the teeming masses on Monday night being pulled in the directions Foursquare’s trending locations were leading them, especially along the popular bars on Sixth Street. People were led to a Foursquare afterparty by co-founder Dennis Crowley, who later drew attendees from that and a College Humor event across the street to the lobby of the Hilton around 2am for the annual Austin Hilton Backstroke Race, with The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston among its participants.

Gowalla had the home field advantage, being an Austin-based business. They threw their party the same night as Foursquare at the Belmont. CNET’s Caroline McCarthy was there and reported it as being well-attended and featuring a DJ set by Diplo. I used both applications while in Austin and didn’t see nearly as much activity taking place on Gowalla — there were far fewer check-ins being pushed to Twitter, if any. It could be the New York media bias in my Twitter feed, but it seemed that Foursquare held on to its already significant lead.

Anthony De Rosa is the co-founder of Neighborhoodr.com. His personal tumblr soupsoup.tumblr.com is, according to Compete, in the top 25 of over 2.3 million tumblogs and among the top 200 blogs in the world listed on Technorati.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.