Work in progress
Twitter expands safety team to better monitor harassment online
twitteronline
Twitter has tripled the number of staff working on safety issues, and rolled out new systems to track harassment and abusive behavior on the social network. Among the new features will be a method to verify the identity of users, as well as a mechanism for reporting accounts that "dox," or share, a target's personal information, such as a home address, online. Read More
PayPal strikes again
Newton-based Paydiant acquired by PayPal for $300 million
paydiant_hq
On its way to being spun out as a standalone company, PayPal made a big move locally Monday, acquiring Newton-based mobile payments software company Paydiant. The acquisition comes a few weeks after PayPal laid off workers at its Boston office and ended support for its local startup incubator Start Tank. Read More
Less Bzz, more Buzz
Dunnhumby's Boston office moving out from the shadow of BzzAgent with new marketing technology
Photo via dunnhumby.com
In 2011, dunnhumby, a global marketing and advertising company headquartered in London, acquired BzzAgent, Boston-based social marketing and brand advocacy company founded by Dave Balter in 2001. Since then, BzzAgent and its "word-of-mouth" brand of marketing has continued to thrive as a part of dunnhumby, which is itself a subsidiary of multinational grocery and merchandise retailer Tesco. Read More
human-computer interactions
Siri, do you like being famous? Meet the woman behind Apple's iconic computerized voice
Siri, how does it feel to be famous?
When Atlanta resident Susan Bennett took on a gig to be the voice of a computer software program in 2005, she had no idea she would one day become the all-knowing voice of Siri in Apple's iPhone. Heidi Legg and Beta Boston sat down with Bennett — via Face Time, of course — to ask her how it feels to be a world-famous voice.  Read More
Just wingin' it
Soaring investment and lagging legislation — it's a Wild West for drones
The PARC drone from CyPhy Works is tethered to a controller by a microfilament cable that sends power up to the drone and downloads high-definition video. (Photo: Cyphy Works)
Andrew Kehlenbeck pulls up a shirtsleeve and exposes a few linear scars on his forearm. They’re slashes from the plastic propeller of a small drone — a very modern sort of workplace injury. Kehlenbeck is co-founder and lead engineer at Panoptes Systems in Cambridge, and he is designing a safety system to keep unmanned aircraft from hitting walls, ceilings, trees, and people. Panoptes is just one of the local companies hoping to benefit from a soaring hobbyist drone market and an expected surge in sales to businesses. Read More
Beta Testing
Confide: Keeping your messages truly secret
Photo "Discretion" via <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-101127469/stock-photo-discretion.html?src=pp-same_artist-121080262-XJMxjV5JF9SNnTNcwQXlTw-5&ws=1">Shutterstock</a>
My mobile phone pinged me recently with an interesting, yet ominous alert: “Someone has sent you a confidential message on Confide.” To read it I had to download the app, which I'd never heard of. But I did it anyway and quickly realized I was wading into “Mission: Impossible’’-style technology territory. Read More
Raked, bagged, and carted away
In restructuring, Heartland Payment slashes most of Cambridge-based Leaf team
LEaf payments
You may have encountered the technology from Leaf at local businesses like Voltage Coffee, Aceituna Cafe, or Garlic & Lemons: instead of a cash register on the counter, a small Android tablet sits on a pedestal. After the cashier rings you up by tapping the screen a few times, he swipes your credit card and asks you to sign the screen instead of a receipt. Leaf's software could provide merchants with reports on what had been selling well, and it also tracked workers' hours. Cambridge-based Leaf aimed to dramatically undercut the big sellers of registers (also known as point-of-sale systems), selling its tablet for $250 and the accompanying software for $50 per month. Read More
Thinking spring, Practice Gigs readying app to connect you with tennis partners
PracticeGigs co-founders Matt Neary and Toni Oloko.
This time last year, Toni Oloko was captain of the tennis team at Boston Trinity Academy, a small prep school in Hyde Park. While he got accepted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Oloko decided not to start college last fall. Instead, he has been working on a startup called PracticeGigs — and raising a seed round of funding from investors like Andy Miller of Constant Contact and Jeff Fagnan at FKA (the tech venture capital firm Formerly Known as Atlas.) Read More
Zoom Zoom Zoom
Zoombinis’ relaunch will target the iOS and Android markets
Image via Zoombinis
About 20 years ago, an educational video game called “Zoombinis” was launched to help children improve problem-solving skills. The game, from Broderbund Software, which was later acquired by a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt subsidiary, The Learning Co., ended up selling more than 1 million copies. Now the original creator, Cambridge-based TERC (for Technical Education Resource Centers) has teamed up with a Boston children’s media company, FableVision, and the Learning Games Network to launch an updated version of the game for Android, iOS and, eventually, a wide array of other devices. Read More