By - 6/11/15 - 12:24 pm

The Boston Business Journal reports a Boston startup is getting ready to ship wristbands that you can use to give your self an electric shock every time you're about to do something you shouldn't - such as smoke a cigarette.

Pavlok's eponymous device can be set to supply as little as a "pinprick" or as much as 450 volts of searing electropain. The Journal reports interest is particularly strong among Norwegians, Brits and Germans.

By - 6/8/15 - 8:20 am

Xconomy reports that Spero Therapeutics today announces a $30-million round of investments for its search to find new drugs to fight bacteria that have gained resistance to current antibiotics.

By - 5/26/15 - 7:39 am

WBZ reports on an incident during Marblehead's Memorial Day parade.

By - 5/4/15 - 12:11 pm

CyPhy of Danvers, started by the co-founder of the equally local iRobot, today launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $250,000 for making drones it swears any idiot with a smartphone can fly.

By - 4/28/15 - 2:49 pm

A BU spinoff that is selling panels in a centralized solar farm is suing crowdsourcing site Indiegogo after the site blocked its campaign, the Boston Business Journal reports.

CloudSolar had raised nearly $450,000 in pledges before Indiegogo decided to halt the campaign and refund all the money, the Journal reports.

By - 4/18/15 - 12:49 am

Makezine reports MakerBot shut its three retail stores, including the one in Boston, and laid off 100 workers.

By - 4/5/15 - 10:22 am

DronesX, a startup seeking to become the authoritative source on the burgeoning drone industry, is seeking a reporter to cover droney things in the Boston/Cambridge area. "Actors who look good on camera" eagerly sought, but they have to have reporting chops, too, and not be a human drone.

By - 3/31/15 - 1:43 pm

City Councilor Michelle Wu breaks the news: On April 6, the City Council moves from RealPlayer streaming to YouTube streaming - and closed captioning - for its meetings and committee hearings.

By - 3/25/15 - 12:05 am

Ryan Miller caught one of the two giant $1.5 million wind-turbine blades that turned up in Grove Hall on its way to Charlestown's Wind Turbine Testing Center, only the lead blade got stuck.

By - 2/23/15 - 9:28 pm

Kara Pernice writes she is sick of a stupid gadget that thinks it's smarter than she is:

When I turned the dial to increase the heat to 66 degrees, rather than responding by making the house warmer, or by informing me that it is now working toward this, it read, "in 1 hour and 20 minutes 66 degrees until 10:00PM.” The next day the house temperature plummeted to a punishing 50 degrees (I realize I may be spoiled) for no reason I was privy to. Here, by the way, is another usability heuristic not heeded: visibility of system status.

By - 2/22/15 - 2:12 pm

My promotional deal with Comcast just expired and my bill jumped by a HUGE amount. My place is both Comcast- and RCN-ready, but before I switch to RCN, has anybody made the change? I'm just looking for HD/DVR TV, maybe HBO, plus high-speed internet services. Any thoughts/experiences/warnings would be most appreciated!

By - 2/6/15 - 11:11 am

A Massachusetts man who says he's lucky to get five hours use out of a Lenovo laptop that promises nine hours of battery life is suing the manufacturer for the more than $5 million he says he and "hundreds of thousands" of other Lenovo users are owed for the allegedly deceptive advertising.

In a suit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Orlando Medeiros said he never would have shelled out the extra money for the allegedly high-end Yoga 2 Pro if he knew the "up to nine hours" of advertised battery life was really closer to just four - even when he puts the computer in "power saver" mode. Also:

By - 1/16/15 - 8:37 pm

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron say they will harness the collective geekpower of trans-Atlantic Cambridges in a bid to help squelch cybercrime. As MIT reports:

By - 1/13/15 - 7:56 pm

In his State of the City address, Mayor Walsh said he plans to turn the Mayor's Hotline into an easier-to-remember 311 system, like Somerville and New York have.

Walsh added he will hire a "startup czar" to help entrepreneurs start new businesses in Boston, from the Innovation District to new neighborhood innovation centers.

He added the city is working on an app to let people use their phones to pay for parking spaces.

By - 12/25/14 - 1:46 pm

Harvard professors are working on it. The idea of tanks of microbes making things isn't new - remember the giant tanks of Chinese hamster ovary cells along the Charles in Allston - but the Harvard boffins say they've figured out how to up the production of whatever 30fold:

By - 12/18/14 - 7:53 am

Xconomy profiles CAMX Power, which is working to boost the power storage of lithium batteries. It's largely funded by Kenan Sahin, who made a bundle selling his eponymous software company to Lucent in 1999.

By - 12/10/14 - 4:21 pm
Hashtag Christmas tree

A Twitter-enabled Christmas tree in the lobby of Boston City Hall lets anybody around the world change its colors just by tweeting at it.

By - 12/8/14 - 3:22 pm

MIT reports some of its researchers have developed a method to produce cheap NFC-based sensors that could tell if a box contains spoiled food - or explosives.

These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses. Using this system, the researchers have demonstrated that they can detect gaseous ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and cyclohexanone, among other gases.

“The beauty of these sensors is that they are really cheap. You put them up, they sit there, and then you come around and read them. There’s no wiring involved. There’s no power,” says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. “You can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this.”

By - 12/6/14 - 12:31 pm

The Harvard Gazette reports on an effort to scan in old ornithology journals using crowdsourcing to convert the hand-written journals into text and then gaming software to verify the accuracy of that transcription - critical when you're talking about possibly obscure scientific names:

First versions of the video games should be ready by early next year, Flanagan said. One is aimed at the more altruistic volunteer, who will want a minimum of gameplay features. The second will have more of those features, such as the ability to track progress, gain points for correct transcriptions, and lose them for incorrect ones.

The challenge, according to Flanagan and TiltFactor game designer Max Seidman, is to create gameplay that is interesting enough to stand by itself and even attract players who might not be interested in natural history, birds, or the broader societal benefit of their high scores.