â€” Ryan miller (@Millllertime) March 25, 2015
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.â€ť 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.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
â€śThe 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. Thereâ€™s no wiring involved. Thereâ€™s no power,â€ť says Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur Professor of Chemistry at MIT. â€śYou can get quite imaginative as to what you might want to do with a technology like this.â€ť
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.
ZipCar founder and current MassDOT board member Robin Chase has started a new company that aims to equip vehicles - such as buses and garbage trucks - with WiFi gear. Business Insider reports on her new company's ideas for "a network of moving things," which in addition to providing roving WiFi service would also allow creation of citywide sensor networks to, well, sense things for the coming Internet of Things.
Via The Transit Wire.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Traffic Hackers has gone live with both live data and predictions for when you should head out - if your plans include the turnpike, I-93 north of the city or Rte. 3 south of it.
The site uses real-time data from MassDOT and historical data to try to show you how the roads are doing - without a single helicopter - and when you might want to leave.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court today tossed a lawsuit by Skyhook Wireless of South Boston against Google, saying the company failed to prove Google maliciously tried to keep its location services off Android phones in 2009 and 2010.
If anything, the court ruled, the fault was entirely Skyhook's, for failing to ensure its software would work properly with the application programming interfaces Google wrote for determining the location of an Android phone.
Acquia, which currently provides content-management applications and services plans to move from Burlington to 53 State St. next year, BostInno reports, adding the company will be doubling its space with the move.
Acquia's core offerings focus on an enterprise version of Drupal, a system originally written by Acquia founder Dries Buytaert. The software powers a number of large corporate Web sites, and also this one.
Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan says his detectives got the case on Friday. In a statement, he says:
We will use all tools and assets at our disposal to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
Alex Howell asks:
Anyone know of any places where I can donate a nice iMac to? Donâ€™t really want to deal with the wilds of Craigslist.
Avid Technology of Burlington, which makes tools for managing movies, audio tracks and other media files, says a California file-sharing company not only poached some of its employees, it's illegally using its proprietary software.
In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Avid accuses Gobbler of copyright and trademark violations and of violating the non-compete agreements four former Avid employees signed. Non-compete clauses are legal in Massachusetts, but not California.
Boston and a local startup called Mapdwell have released a mapping system that lets residents look up their home's roof size and then figure out how much installation of solar panels would cost them.
The city hopes the map will help it reach a goal of having 25 MW of solar energy capacity by 2020 - it's currently at about 12 MW.