Just a few blocks away from where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, entrepreneur Ray Ozzie and a small team have been reimagining telephone calls for the 21st century. And today, they're debuting a new iPhone app called Talko that seeks to nudge the phone out of the "just dial a number and hold it to your ear" era and into the 21st century.
Read MoreRethinking online shopping, in the old Sears buildingFirst look: Launch, new Boston incubator for e-commerce ventures
In the middle of July, two local entrepreneurs launched “crowdfunding” campaigns two days apart. They were seeking enough preorders from customers to help them start making new products. One was a sleek aluminum iPad stand called the SlingAmp, priced at about $35. The other was Jibo, a $600 robot that will be able to do things like coordinate family schedules and read bedtime stories. Read MoreThings changeShake-up at LogMeIn's Xively division, focused on the 'Internet of Things'
Several top execs focused on launching new services to support the "Internet of Things" — sometimes called machine-to-machine communication, or M2M — have left Boston-based LogMeIn in recent months. And LogMeIn is closing the London office of what had been Pachube, a startup it acquired in 2011. But a LogMeIn spokesperson tells me that the publicly-traded company is not shutting down Xively, its division that offers cloud-based software and services to help companies create and manage their own Internet of Things projects, like tracking the maintenance needs of factory equipment, or monitoring a fleet of trucks.
Tech exec Jana Eggers is returning to Boston after a three-year stint in South Carolina. Eggers, a former senior executive at Lycos, Intuit, and Spreadshirt, joined Cambridge-based Nara Logics this week as president. The personalization and recommendation startup has raised $7 million from investors since its founding in 2010.
Read MoreTime travelingWalk Boston's innovation trail, September 28th
Innovation historian Bob Krim and I occasionally — very occasionally — organize a walking tour of what we call the Innovation Trail in Boston and Cambridge. It's an alternative version of the Freedom Trail entirely focused on science, technology, and entrepreneurship. We talk about the past and present — and you'll get into some cool historic places like the Ether Dome at Mass General, above.
Read MoreAfter SegwayGetting advanced prosthetics to those who need them
For the past eight years, in an old mill building in Manchester, N.H., a team of engineers has been developing what you might call the Tesla of artificial limbs. The DEKA Arm System, about the same size and weight of an adult’s arm, can pick up an egg from a carton or a credit card from a desk.
It's getting harder for startups to score free office space at PayPal's Boston office. PayPal executive David Chang, who oversees the "Start Tank" program that sets up chosen entrepreneurs with office space that PayPal isn't yet using, says only about 11 percent of applicants got in this fall. That's compared to a 20 percent acceptance rate earlier this year.
Read MoreLayoffs at adtech firmVideo analytics startup Visible Measures cuts staff
One of Boston's best-funded adtech startups, Visible Measures, has been shedding employees, with the latest round of layoffs taking place yesterday. According to former employees and executives at other companies who have been fielding resumes from laid off employees, the cuts represent 30 or more people, about one-quarter of Visible Measures' workforce. CEO Brian Shin declined comment yesterday evening, pointing me to a public relations rep who hasn't responded to phone calls or e-mails. The layoffs affect employees across all departments, says one former employee, adding that the company may have simply grown too fast in a hyper-competitive business: "A serious case of cart in front of horse," he says.
Read MoreParties without the clean-up'Avon meets Skype' with new video house party software from Kitsy Lane
I'm not a big buyer of dangly earrings or silver-and-turquoise cuffs, but I have to admit: the new video "house party" software from Kitsy Lane, a Boston-based e-commerce startup, is a lot of fun. Instead of lining up a babysitter and visiting a friend's house to nibble cheese and crackers and try on costume jewelry, you sign on for a group videochat. The new vParty software is part of a recently-launched site from Kitsy Lane called Chelsea Row that focuses on selling jewelry and accessories online, through in-person "trunk shows" and the new live video events.
Read MoreSpeak softly...Apple is growing the Cambridge research team focused on improving Siri speech recognition
On the eve of its next big product announcement, Apple is expanding its super-secret research office in Kendall Square. Several commercial realtors tell me that the Cupertino company has leased more than half a floor at One Broadway, an MIT-owned building that also houses Facebook's small local team, several venture capital firms, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. The new office, about 13,000 square feet on one of the building's upper floors, is a major expansion for Apple, which currently has a small team on the building's fifth floor.
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and the Convergence Forum. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.