Putting up walls
Facebook apologizes to drag queens, but politics of online identity and privacy persist
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Two weeks ago, Facebook began suspending the accounts of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag and community service organization. Members who'd been active on Facebook under their stage names were locked out until they registered with their legal names. For those members who wanted to keep their stage identities separate from the rest of their lives, at least online, Facebook's actions threatened to tear down a critical wall of privacy. After attempted discussions with Facebook, a whole lot of media (and social media) attention, and a Change.org campaign that's collected more than 36,300 signatures, on Wednesday Facebook's chief product officer Chris Cox apologized to the group. Read More
Seeking robo-supremacy
Robot makers and tech trade group hope to create new workspace for robotics ventures
Vgo Communications makes a videoconferencing robot that is used by Audi at some of its service locations.
Robotics entrepreneurs may soon have their own special place for bot-building. A group of robotics companies, research-and-development labs, and the tech industry trade group Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council are working to create a shared workspace for fledgling robotics ventures, dubbed Mass Robotics. Plans could be announced as soon as mid-October. The space may be located at Alewife on the far fringe of Cambridge, but that's still up in the air, as is a target opening date. Read More
We're listening
Where are Boston's most creative places? #TellBeta
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My desk is a creative dead-zone. There, I've said it. I find my best ideas on the move, when I'm strolling to the T from a meeting, or just going for a walk along the Charles—of course, when my keyboard is safely out of reach. We want hear about the places around town you head to for inspiration: Those hotspots you seek out to shake out of a funk or wrestle down a knotty problem. Read More
Learning machines
MIT online course will teach you to design a robot that moves
Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT
Walking, jumping, running robots like Big Dog and Atlas are equal parts amazing and terrifying. And look how they've grown: MIT's Cheetah bot, once a tethered machine on a treadmill, can now bound across an open field unchained. A few makers of the sophisticated moving robots that are starting to pop up in public more and more are going to be sharing their wisdom with the masses. Starting today, MIT's online course on moving robots is open for business. Read More
Venture Hits the Heights
Not just football rivalries, now alums can compete through venture funding
Photo via WINSLOW TOWNSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Today, the Maroon & Gold Fund, an "affinity fund" being run through Launch Angels was announced. The fund looks to raise up to $2 million from Boston College alumni and use that money to invest in 12 to 15 early stage BC-founded startups. While the new fund will help propel BC—which has already produced some recent startup success stories such as Jebbit, NBD Nano—it also presents a new battleground for ultra-competitive college alumni to fight for bragging rights. Read More
Another Trip?
eBay to spin off PayPal...Will it work? Look to TripAdvisor
Photo of PayPal's Boston office via PayPal
News comes in today from all quarters that eBay will spin off PayPal, which it acquired in 2002, as its own public company, sometime late in 2015. While the news raises some questions, and answers a few others, the move could breathe fresh life into Paypal which is competing with Apple, Stripe, Square, and others in the mobile payments space. Read More