Technology

By - 6/23/17 - 5:47 pm

Credit/Debit Card Only fare machine that doesn't take credit or debit cards

At lunchtime today, I went to purchase my July commuter rail pass. The Charlie sales machine in the State Transportation Buliding accepts only credit or debit cards - which doesn't make sense, given that the machine is in the STB where many tourists congregate and where the T has its administrative offices - and is clearly marked as so (see first photo).

So I tap the "Purchase Charlie Ticket" button, and immediately get a flashing message "Sorry No Credit Or Debit Cards Accepted." (see second photo)

By - 6/6/17 - 2:03 pm

The Globe reports MIT researchers have developed pastas that can change their shapes when water is added.

By - 5/11/17 - 4:59 pm
Phoenix patent example

From the now invalid patent.

It took more than seven years, but a federal judge in Boston today ruled that a former Boston Phoenix subsidiary that outlasted the alt-media company does not own the rights to methods for creating and securing Web pages out of information uploaded by users. Read more.

By - 5/8/17 - 6:32 pm

Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Oliver had a couple of choice words for the WGBH host on his way to making a point about net neutrality.

By - 4/26/17 - 8:11 am

WBUR reports the city has let a Cambridge company piloting driverless cars expand its testbed to include much of the South Boston Waterfront and Fort Point.

By - 4/10/17 - 8:58 am

State Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-1st Essex and Middlesex) has filed a bill that would bar Internet service providers from selling customers' Internet browsing and connection data to third parties without the customers' consent.

Tarr's bill would also bar the companies from charging customers a fee to keep their data private.

By - 4/4/17 - 2:43 pm

A Brookline company that has figured out how to beam mobile-phone ads at people in very specific geographic locations today agreed not to use the technology to target people sitting in Massachusetts health facilities. Read more.

By - 3/31/17 - 9:08 am

But it turns out there's a company on Rutherford Avenue, called Indigo Agriculture, that is using the idea of microbiomes to assemble bacteria packets that can help plants resist drought and disease, and it recently hired EMC's former chief lawyer.

By - 3/16/17 - 9:25 am

The Boston Business Journal reports that eGenesis Bio has received $38 million in venture capital to build on its Harvard-spawned idea to use CRISPR-based technology to make grow pig organs that would be safe to transplant into people.

By - 3/1/17 - 9:19 am

A Brighton company that says it was inspired by an African desert beetle says it's come up with a substance that can make materials, such as the surface of soccer balls, repel water, dirt, mud and ice, the Boston Business Journal reports.

The NBD in NBD Nanotechnologies stands for for "Namib Beetle Design:"

[O]ur company was inspired by the Namib Desert Beetle, an insect that is able to harvest fog in the desert by alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic regimes on its back. This beetle has evolved to drink 12% of its weight in water via mastering surface wettability to thrive in the desert.

By - 2/28/17 - 3:02 pm

BGR reports that Amazon Web Services, which many Web sites use (not this one, but whatevs) is having some East Coast issues right now. Among the sites knocked offline: The T's commuter-rail call center, which provides an alternate number.

By - 2/21/17 - 8:06 am

Xconomy reports Boston (and New York) saw its weakest quarterly increase in tech jobs in five years in the last quarter of 2016.

By - 1/28/17 - 1:17 pm

MIT and a group called Conservation International yesterday announced a program to look at ways to use nature to help fight climate change:

The collaboration brings together MIT’s technical, scientific, and engineering expertise with Conservation International’s expansive environmental programs, to look for ways that forests, coastal ecosystems, and urban areas can be managed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

The collaboration launches today with a one-day hackathon at MIT that invites participants to team up on ideation and early-state design of nature-based, technologically savvy solutions to climate challenges in developing world communities. The collaboration will involve MIT students in CI’s international fieldwork and will initially include four joint research projects in which scientists will focus directly on climate challenges already having an impact in places such as the Philippines and the Amazon Basin.

By - 1/13/17 - 8:00 pm

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans announced tonight that he has canceled plans to buy software that would let the department monitor social media for potential public-safety threats and ferret out Internet-based crimes because the offerings the department was considering are overkill and raised privacy issues. Read more.

By - 12/29/16 - 1:03 pm

Prevailing sentiment in progressive haunts is “2016, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Between a stressful election season, acts of terror, and the crisis in Syria, many of us will be glad to see the calendar page turn on Sunday night. Still, to every cloud there is a silver lining, and at least when it comes to tackling climate change in the US, Massachusetts was a bright spot amidst the clouds of 2016.

By - 12/19/16 - 8:21 am

The Crimson reports hackers apparently connected to the Russian government put some malware in a hacked up copy of a Kennedy School paper on the problems with American elections, then sent it out to addresses at American think tanks and non-profit groups, in the hopes people would open up the alleged document and infect their computers.

By - 12/6/16 - 5:39 pm

Hizzona signed an agreement letting Verizon offer TV channels and the company says it begins cabling up homes in parts of West Roxbury, Roslindale and Dorchester tomorrow - with Dudley Square by the end of the year. The move means parts of Boston now have three main broadband/TV/phone providers: Verizon, Comcast and RCN; Verizon says it will roll out FiOS to the entire city within six years.

By - 12/6/16 - 12:26 pm

The city's Office of New Urban Mechanics, which tries to come up with all sorts of cool techie ways for the city to improve basic services (speaking of which, will City Hall get a Twitter-controlled Christmas tree this year?) has published a manifesto, or what they call a playbook on their efforts so far to build a sensor-meshed "Smart City" and where it wants to go from here (published on github, for the techies, no less.)

It starts with the candid observation that "So far, every 'Smart City' pilot project that we’ve undertaken here in Boston has ended with a glossy presentation, and a collective shrug." Read more.

By - 12/6/16 - 9:46 am

The Herald reports on a City Council hearing on a Boston Police bid to buy software to monitor possible threats posted on social media.