In the 1990s, an MIT team experimented with large tubes with the air sucked out as a potential way to speed trains between here, there and everywhere. Last year, the BBC talked to now retired professor Ernst G. Frankel about the proposed "vactrains," which could cut travel from Boston to New York down to 40 minutes:
Xconomy reports on another Boston-based travel startup, this one called Wanderu, which is aiming to build a national system for bus companies to put their scheduled and booking systems online in a single interface. It's currently limited to the northeast, but $2.5 million in venture capital could help it expand nationwide.
On Sales Tax Free Saturday, Red Mass. Group provides a good roundup on growing opposition to the new tax on software services - under which everybody from giant corporations to individual Web designers are now supposed to collect a tax every time they install or customize software for a client (including the cost of customizing open-source software).
State Sen. William Browsnberger wrote one constituent:
The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld the validity of evidence obtained through tapped cell-phone convesations and text messages obtained under the state wiretapping law, written in 1968, before the advent of cell phones or widespread text messaging.
Two alleged coke dealers in Berkshire County had sued to bar the conversations as evidence against them, arguing that because state law doesn't refer to these newfangled ways of communicating, police would have needed to win warrants in federal court, where a federal law updated in 1986 to cover such things, applies.
Boston University yesterday sued two more companies for allegedly violating a 1997 patent it holds on a technique for building LEDs.
TechTarget of Newton says three former executives stole its proprietary information to build a competing business and filed suit yesterday to get them to knock it off. The executives, who now run a company called Prelytix, countered with their own suit, saying TechTarget is not all that, that they've built a new business based entirely on software they bought from another company and that a judge should order TechTarget to leave them alone.
WCVB this week sued Aereo, which recently began a service to let people watch Boston TV stations, charging the company is ripping off the station's valuable local programming.
In its suit, filed in US District Court, WCVB says other companies that rebroadcast its programs do so only after paying a fee.
The Dorchester Reporter reports a local company is looking at the possibility of setting up a mass-transit system on Columbia Point that would use tiny pods on a monorail-like structure to whisk people along Mt. Vernon Street.
On the one hand, the Globe of the Midwest runs a sweet story about how Chicagoans and Bostonians are really more family members than people who have an innate hatred for each other - we're both have guys in tuxedos starting our hockey games, we both have waterfronts, we both have lots of rich people who give money to charity (really). The story features quotes from Bostonians living in Chicago and a professor who teaches classes at both BU and the University of Chicago.
Galaxy Internet Services, which started when local digerati knew that local ISPs were fresh (TIAC, anyone?), e-mailed customers yesterday that it's shutting down on June 30.
In addition to providing Internet access, the company also provides the free WiFi service at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and parts of Brookline.
The mayor's office announced today city government will be moving from its current legacy applications - such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook - to Google Apps.
In addition to making legally required e-mail retention easier, the move will save money and free city MIS from the task of maintaining creaky legacy applications, by handing the thing over to Google:
A tiny company called Lexington Luminance is suing both Amazon and Google over a patent it claims is violated by the LEDs used in the companies' tablets.
Boston University this week filed its own LED patent lawsuit against Amazon over the LEDs used in its Kindle tablets.
Yesterday, Formosa Epitaxy, the company that makes the LEDs that Google uses in its Nexus 7 tablets, filed a lawsuit against Lexington Luminance to try to forestall an anticipated Lexington Luminance lawsuit against it.
Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have created what they're calling RoboBees - robots smaller than a penny that can fly.
Inspired by the biology of a fly, with submillimeter-scale anatomy and two wafer-thin wings that flap almost invisibly, 120 times per second, the tiny device not only represents the absolute cutting edge of micromanufacturing and control systems, but is an aspiration that has impelled innovation in these fields by dozens of researchers across Harvard for years.
Boston University yesterday sued Amazon.com, charging the LEDs used in its Kindle tablets violate a patent the university holds on making the lights.