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.
Prevailing sentiment in progressive haunts is â€ś2016, donâ€™t let the door hit you on the way out.â€ť 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.
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.
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.
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 weâ€™ve undertaken here in Boston has ended with a glossy presentation, and a collective shrug." Read more.
The Herald reports on a City Council hearing on a Boston Police bid to buy software to monitor possible threats posted on social media.
BostInno reports on some noodling by local techpreneur Rob May and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu to set up a sort of West Coast District Hall - called something like, oh, Boston House - that would give Hub techies a place to gather on those West Coast business trips and maybe even convince a company leader or two that the grass really is greener here.
A Lowell man will spend 24 days in federal prison after acknowledging he logged into the network of the computer-services that fired him and deleted data on a key server - and then repeated the process when he was charged with a crime, only this time doing the same thing to clients of the company. Read more.
WBZ reports a Cambridge company plans to begin testing self-driving cars in the South Boston Waterfront by the end of the year. But a company honcho cautions not to expect widespread use of the vehicle in Boston, because, you know:
Bostonâ€™s a city with some challenging weather and some complex traffic patterns.
Boston has loaded the source code for boston.gov on github, which means code writers can now rummage around and submit improvements to make the site work better.
City Hall says this makes Boston the first "major" US city to turn its Web site into an open-source project. Officials emphasize the code - based on open-source Drupal software - contains no sensitive data.
Intriguingly, github stats show a code contribution from Marty Walsh. OK, granted, just for the "readme" file.
Somebody's launched a distributed denial of service attack on Dyn, Inc., which provides DNS (basically site lookups) for a number of large providers, such as Twitter. Basically, the effect is as if your phone burped and wouldn't let you access your contacts and you'd have to look up all the people you want to call by hand. Read more.
Even as we still try to tame our human drivers, Boston will begin planning for cars that drive themselves - in a year-long effort that will include figuring out how to test "autonomous" cars on our centuries-old roads. Read more.
MIT Technology Review reports Keolis workers will soon test Android-based "smart glasses" that will let them do real-time lookups of important data or consult with colleagues remotely.
The glasses will be tested in several locations, including the large repair facility in Somerville and a smaller yard in Readville. If successful, even train drivers could one day be given pairs - to let them make emergency repairs while still on the tracks.
Industries have a life cycle just like humans . Like a personâ€™s childhood, teenage years, adulthood and golden years, industries have distinct life stages. A local example is the Nantucket whaling industry. Letâ€™s review the lifecycle.
1659: Nantucket settled.
1752: Start up stage. Whaling voyages begin. The market for clean burning whale oil is small but growing. Industry profits are negative and large amounts of capital are required to build ships and train mariners.
1760-1789: Growth stage. In this stage capital requirements are still high, but sales grow rapidly and profits are positive.
Verizon and city officials said tonight that if they reach agreement on a cable contract, the company will roll out its FiOS service to four Boston neighborhoods using its traditional fiber-optic cables right to people's homes or buildings. Read more.
The Boston Business Journal reports the Milk Street Cafe is using a 3D printer to spritz out latte foam.
Boston unveiled its new city Web site today at boston.gov (if you go to the old cityofboston.gov, you'll be redirected, or should be). Gone is the clutter of the old site. In fact, as you can see from the home-page, there's a whole lot of nothing there, unless you like staring at a blue version of the lagoon in the Public Garden.
CommonWealth Magazine reports Harvard is now thinking even bigger: It's looking to turn the wastelands into the next Kendall Square - a large "innovation zone." But:
The real question is whether Harvard, a buttoned-down institution known for trying to control everything, can stand the chaos that innovation entails. Those who have studied innovation clusters say there is no guidebook, that Harvard is setting in motion a process it cannot control.
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