Thursday, 23 August 2012

Who's defrauding the University of California, now? SEK's insurance provider outsourced its "dependent eligibility verification process" to a company called Secova whose homepage redirects to a shifty search engine that's already looking for "xanax bars." Or it redirects to an ebay store selling Unique Jewelry from Paula. [DO NOT CLICK ON THOSE LINKS UNLESS YOU LIKE TROJANS AND YOU DON'T LIKE TROJANS.] The point being that it redirects ... and that his insurance company required him to send this company his last two years of tax returns to prove that he's married to his wife. Had SEK known about the fraudulent web-redirects before speaking to this representative this conversation would've gone much differently. Not that he finds any of this surprising mind you. Now that they're not returning his calls, SEK will provide them with some free publicity. SEK: What's with you not wanting to acknowledge that I'm married to my wife? SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: Did you know your wife has a different last name than you? SEK: Yes. She kept her maiden name. SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: That's odd. Hold on (audibly typing) "kept ... maiden ... name." What's wrong with yours ha ha ha? SEK: (resisting the urge to say "Mine's too Jewish") Nothing. SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: I see. And who told her to keep it ha ha ha? SEK: ? SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: It just seems strange. Woman marries a man, keeps her own name. Like it's not a real marriage ha ha ha. SEK: (resisting the urge to say "After 13 years, someone's finally busted us, congratulations, sir!") ?? SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: We're going to have to investigate this. I'm not saying it looks suspicious, but if we can't verify you're married, she'll lose her coverage on September 11th. SEK: (resisting the urge to say, well, something about 9/11 and Obama and the ACA) ??? SECOVA REPRESENTATIVE: We'll be in touch once we've sorted your relationship out. You could've made this easy if you just made her change her name, you know ha ha ha. Ha ha ha.
Ryan Lawler is a terrible human being. I gather you know how I feel about the quality of American political journalism. But American technology journalism is even worse. Consider the case of Ryan Lawler, which is currently being secretly prosecuted by Ryan Lawler in the form of a post he better hope he never finds out he’s written. It concerns a party held last night in honor of what seems to be as laudable as something called “an app” can possibly be: a ride-sharing app called Lyft. What horror befell Lawler at this party? There was beer and wine and a little bit of food. There was cake. Somebody drove a car with a pink moustache on the front into the middle of the office and some people hopped out and talked about their experiences with users. It was a joyous occasion, a time for everyone to relax and celebrate all the hard work they had been putting into it, to breathe a little, let loose … After the launch party concluded, I went to another event, and blissfully ignored all RSS feeds and emails. It was a good night. I got drunk. I danced a little. I went home and passed out. The horror! Wait—the title of Lawler’s post is “Exclusive: Startup Launch Ruined By Careless Blogger.” Where’s the ruin? Then, an hour later, someone posted about the event and the upcoming launch, and shit went sideways. That person must’ve written something really horrible, right, if the “shit went sideways.” What did they write? I didn’t realize the embargo was broken until about 12 hours later … I searched Google, found the offending post, and realized how late it was to follow up. It wasn’t like the thing had just been published. I would be following someone else’s story half a day later, and no one wants to do that. They just wrote about Lyft before Lawler did. They weren’t supposed to mention it until next Tuesday but they did. Meaning that while Lawler “got drunk,” “danced a little,” and “went home and passed out,” some other journalist didn’t get drunk, danced very little, and went home and filed a story. And because that other journalist did, Lawler can’t write about Lyft now. He can’t. Even though it’s become really popular among the TechCrunch staff. Alexia, Josh, Kim, and I are all users. We all love the service, love what these guys are doing. He can’t write about it, because someone else announced the launch before he did. He loves the service, but someone else wrote about it before he did so now he can’t write about it. He really wanted to support them and get the word out. Sometimes you’re ambivalent about a startup, and so it’s not a big deal to just let that one go. But this was a product and a team that I like. I want them to succeed. So he really wanted to support a company he loves, one that wined-and-dined him a mere twelve hours earlier, but now he...

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