Oh, phew, the former ophthalmologist is still just the brutal thug strongman of Syria. It was just some Syrian kiddies hacking the Harvard Web site. Wait, what? Maybe Harvard could ask MIT for some computer-security tips.
The Boston Climate Action Network reports, posts photos from a march from Forest Hills to downtown on Saturday
According to stats by the state Attorney General's office on data breaches, as reported by the Globe.
Local social-media consultant Chris Brogan reports on the reactions he got when he unfollowed the equivalent of much of Worcester on Twitter.
MIT, UMass researchers work to protect RoboCop, the Six Million Dollar Man and people with pacemakers from hackersBy adamg - 8/23/11 - 9:47 am
Technology Review reports that some researchers at MIT and UMass Amherst have developed a system for keeping hackers from interfering with implanted medical devices.
Yes, it's another hacking threat you didn't know existed: Modern pacemakers and defibrillators, insulin pumps and cochlear implants have wireless systems for uploading patient data to doctors and downloading new directions, and some experts have begun to worry what happens when these unencrypted systems are hijacked by hackers. But the researchers say they've found an answer, albeit a somewhat bulky one (at least for now):
[T]he laptop-sized device, called "the shield," emits a jamming signal whenever it detects an unauthorized wireless link being established between an implant and a remote terminal (which can be out of sight and tens of meters away). Although no attack of this kind is known to have occurred, "it's important to solve these kinds of problems before the risk becomes a tenable threat," says Kevin Fu, an associate professor of computer science at UMass and one of the developers of the shield.
The drugs, which are still a long way away from human testing, let alone the market, work by latching onto a form of RNA only generated by viruses inside living cells and signalling those cells to kill themselves, MIT reports:
"In theory, it should work against all viruses," says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory's Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.
Cell suicide stops viruses because the organisms reproduce by reprogramming cells to become virus factories. Human cells have their own natural self-destruct systems, but many viruses have evolved mechanisms to short circuit them.
MIT researchers call their new drugs Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers, or DRACO, which could make them a hit among older James Bond fans and younger Harry Potter fans, not to mention people with colds or far more severe infections.
Via Tinker Ready.
WBUR reports on possible effects of research cuts on teaching hospitals in Massachusetts, which bring in more federal science funds per capita than any other state - some $2.4 billion just from the National Institutes of Health last year.
AT&T says it's dramatically boosted its wireless broadband capacity in the vicinity of Fenway Park, meaning customers are less likely to strike out while trying to make phone calls or getting online during games.
The company says it did this by adding a distributed antenna system to the area around the park.
"We want our customers to have a great network experience whatever they're doing - whether that's making a call, checking e-mail, downloading apps or surfing the Internet," Steve Krom, vice president and general manager of AT&T New England, said in a statement.
A company spokesman was unable to say exactly how much extra Pink Hat capacity the company added.
BostInnovation reports New York start-ups got more than twice as much venture funding in the second quarter as Boston start-ups (Silicon Valley, of course, leads the pack).
The indictment against Aaron Swartz on charges he used MIT networks to download 4.7 million documents from an online database of academic papers has some details of interest to net geeks, such as his use of pseudonyms like "Gary Host" and "Grace Host" (because he was using a "ghost" laptop, which he might have bought at Micro Center) and his preference for the Python scripting language.
And it also contains alleged observations of physical breaking and entering at an MIT basement wiring closet:
On January 4, 2011, Aaron Swartz was observed entering the restricted basement network wiring closet to replace an external hard drive to his computer.
On January 6, 2011, Swartz returned to the wiring closet to remove his computer equipment. This time he attempted to evade identification at the entrance to the restricted area. As Swartz entered the wiring closet, he held his bicycle helmet like a mask to shield his face, looking through ventilation holes in the helmet. Swartz then removed his computer equipment from the closet, put it in his backpack and left, again masking his face with the bicylcle helmet before peering through a crack in the double doors and cautiously stepping out.
The Times reports Aaron Swartz, 24, was indicted today on charged he broke into an MIT wiring closet - physically breaking in, with his own hands - then using a network connection there to grab copies of documents from JSTOR, which sells online access to academic publications.
Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit, a geeky social network with an active Boston community.
Here's the second of two posts on the #branducambridge event at Ryles. Overall, most of the evening's panelists were focused on how digital is changing our lives and how technology and content will affect everything we do going forward. Our behaviors, consuming patterns and communication will eventually be the activity that changes how businesses approach and fete us in the future. Some more thoughts from the panelists...
Paid media has a role. Weber
Social media has changed the game by allowing a hidden world of what happens before news hits the air. Miller
Social media has transformed journalism. It's allowed different stories to be told. It's transforming storytelling. Miller
Social media is about getting people to recognize brands and drive sales - on the business side. Miller
Imagine if you got a tour through Santa's workshop. Social media lets you behind the curtain. Miller
Bad things about social. Sexting, cyberbullying. It's a different experience than what we had when we were young. Because it's so new...it becomes a little too naked. Miller
Just like life, you're going to have those evils. Weber
There's huge potential for using social media as a propaganda tool. Weber
Reinventing yourself is no longer possible because your social graph follows you through your life. Hewitt
Future is supporting video across platforms. Hewitt
What is Web 3.0? Tonight at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, the folks at Millennial Branding put together a panel of marketers and media experts to discuss just that. We've all be inundated by the term Web 2.0 and if I hear "the Twitter" or "friend me on Facebook" again I might just lose my lunch. But I showed up tonight to see if the panelists could actually tell me what comprises Web 3.0 and if it's just another term for the newest of new media strategies.
According to the event's moderator - Tim Hare, Director of Events at Millennial - the panel was created not to focus on the broad definition of digital media, but to really explore how digital media and the strategies behind the use of digital will change the way businesses operate in the long run.
On the panel were Mike Proulx of Hill Holiday, Stephanie Miller of Triad Retail Media, Perry Hewitt of Harvard University and Larry Weber, Chairman of W2 Group. But their roles at these organizations is really what qualified them to speak to the room of 150 business professionals who paid $20 a head to attend. Miller was most recently with CBS as their director of digital media at WBZ Boston; Hewitt is the Chief Digital Officer for Harvard University; Proulx heads up digital strategy and media for Hill Holiday; and Weber started a digital agency 17 years ago when digital meant putting brochures online.
A Mississippi woman charges Boston and Cambridge companies conspired with AOL to figure out how to track consumers online even if they turned all their cookies off and has, of course, sued them.
In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, Sandra Person Burns charges Brightcove of Cambridge and ScanScout of Boston figured out a way to use Flash on her computer to track her Web activity for year. She is seeking to become the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit against the two companies and AOL, which uses their platforms. The suit claims damages of more than $5 million.
Jeter Filter does just what it says on the box, at least for Chrome users: It either warns you when a page you're on has a mention of the Yankees shortstop or just deletes all references to him. Bonus:
Jeter Filter anonymously reports each webpage found to contain Derek Jeter to the awesome open metadata service FluidInfo. This means the more you use the Jeter Filter, the easier you make it for other developers worldwide to filter Jeter from their apps.
It was developed by a guy from Brooklyn, no less:
Jeter Filter was conceived in the wee hours of the hackNY Spring Hackathon and eventually coded over a series of Red Sox games in June 2011. The Red Sox winning percentage at the beginning of the project was .439 and was .611 at time of 1.0 release. Sam Adams was primarily consumed during initial coding, followed by Templeton Rye during skinning and/or during Red Sox losses.
Via Texas Gal.
Paul McNamara at Network World reports the Department of Revenue went down this weekend when a software patch went horribly awry.
Via PC World, which notes:
Mario is currently working with other students and professors to program PR2 so it can wipe down the table and put the baking sheet in the oven.
Wired reports Harvard researchers have managed to create "living lasers" out of human embryonic kidney cells re-engineered to create a protein used by jellyfish to create light:
When the team ran pulses of blue light through the kidney/jellyfish combo, a visible laser beam shot out. It only lasted for a few nanoseconds, but the light could be easily detected and carried useful information on the properties of the cell. The cell also left the experiment unharmed.
Turns out you can now rent researchers and labs for designing new drugs, and a new breed of small-scale entrepreneurs are doing just that, WBUR reports:
Dennis Goldberg runs a drug company out of one corner of his living room.
Xconomy reports on the FDA giving the nod to Vertex's Incivek, designed to inhibit the liver-destroying virus. Approval means potentially big sales and a move to the South Boston waterfront.
Boston's startup scene constantly gets compared, negatively, to San Francisco & NYC. A group of Bostonians had enough and decided to show everyone that we might not be the biggest or most famous innovation center but we are the loudest and nothing can stop us when we work together.
Bostonians from all over are uniting tonight to show that not only is our startup scene huge, vibrant and growing but we're also willing to help each other and others purely for the sake of helping. Need a job, a lead, or just someone to bounce ideas off of? Ruby Riot is calling your name.
John Halamka, in charge of network computing at both Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, considers recent public cloud outages (from Amazon to Blogger), says he remains optimistic about the basic concept, in part because:
Problems on centralized cloud architecture that is homogenous, well documented, and highly staffed will be more rapidly resolved than problems in distributed, poorly staffed one-off installations.
He describes some of the issues his own campus clouds have had over the past year, including:
HMS has clustered thousands of computing cores together to create a highly robust community resource connected to a petabyte of distributed storage nodes. In theory is should be invincible. In practice it went down. A user with limited high performance computing experience launched a poorly written job to 400 cores in parallel that caused a core dump every second contending for the same disk space. Storage was overwhelmed and went offline for numerous applications.