Double feature
After Google buy, special effects shop Zero VFX cooking up more software
Zero VFX co-founders Sean Devereaux and Brian Drewes on the set of the soon-to-be-released boxing film, Southpaw. (Courtesy Zero VFX.)
It was a surprising acquisition by Google that happened in the thick of vacation season last August: the Silicon Valley giant picked up Zync Render, a software tool developed in Boston that makes it easier and cheaper to use cloud data processing services to produce special effects for movies or TV commercials. Zync Render had been created by a team at Zero VFX, a special effects shop that has worked on movies like "American Hustle" and "The Equalizer." And now the parent company that spawned Zync is planning on a sequel. Read More
bridjing technology and transport
Private shuttle service Bridj launches new app and expands service
Bridj announced new apps and expanded service on Monday
Bridj, the data-driven private transportation system that has been shuttling passengers between Kendall Square, Brookline, Allston, Back Bay, Downtown, South Boston, and the Innovation District, announced expanded service Monday morning and the launch of a new app that will allow users to track their Bridj in real time and book trips in advance. Read More
Name Change
Merchant Warehouse rebrands as Cayan in a move to represent a shift in the company's development
Cayan chief executive Henry Helgeson.
Merchant Warehouse, a Boston-based company specializing in payment technology and services, is rebranding today as Cayan. It's a move tied to the expansion of its online payment and point-of-sale, or POS, software systems and devices. It's a move that's tied to the expansion of its cloud payment technologies which work with point-of-sale (POS) systems and devices. Read More
A new year, a new start
Investing, identity, ice cream: Six New Year's resolutions for Boston startups
Fireworks over Boston Harbor at midnight on new year's eve. (Photo: Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff)
My pants are too tight. My blood sugar is all out of whack and I am pretty sure that I did something terrible to the Jello mold at the company office party. It looks like the holiday season has passed us and that the new year is finally upon us. It’s time for us to resolve to do better in 2015. Read More
Smarter stuff
PTC chief executive discusses drivers behind ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon
PTC headquarters in Needham. (Photo: Scott Kirsner/BetaBoston)
In the early stages of writing a piece about whether 2015 will be the year that the Internet of Things finally goes mainstream, I sat down with PTC chief executive Jim Heppelmann. PTC is the Needham-based company that sells software related to designing products and then servicing them once they've been sold. An increasing number of those products, Heppelmann says, will connect to the Internet for monitoring and upgrades, and creating new offerings for those connected devices has been a big focus for PTC of late. The company recently said that it expects to see double-digit growth of its IoT revenues over the next four years, and several of PTC's latest acquisitions have been IoT-related. Read More
Boston's Innovation History
126 years ago today, Boston launched the first electric street car
FirstTrolleysOutOfSubway

Jan. 1, 1889 -- Just over a century and a quarter ago, Boston and New York had themselves a choice to make: clean up their respective crowded, stinking, horse-jammed roadways with cable-based transit technology a la San Francisco, soot-belching steam trains like London's, or go for broke with comparatively untested newfangled electric railways popping up in small experimental models around the country?

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Sharing about ride-sharing
Surge pricing going into effect tonight; let us know how your ride goes
Uber
New Year’s Eve: the day to overpay for everything, including that ride home from Uber. The ride-hailing app expects this New Year’s Eve to be its busiest night ever. Because of high demand — and because it can — Uber expects surge pricing will come into effect, a boon to its drivers but a bane to passengers. Fares can increase sevenfold or more during the busiest time of the night, which Uber says will be between 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Read More
Robots vs. Humans
Bring it humans: This robot will school you in beer pong
If you're prepping for a house party this New Year's Eve, you might already have picked up your Solo cups, champagne, and beer. But chances are that you won't have the life of the party on hand, because this Boston-based beer pong playing robot is headed to the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas, where it will take on humanity in a tournament of champions. Read More