Where are they now?
Tracking the Microsoft Startup Labs diaspora
Former Startup Labs employee Pat Kinsel, standing and gesturing to the screen. Photo courtesy of Reed Sturtevant.
A little more than five years ago, I wrote about a re-org at Microsoft's internal Startup Labs product development group. It turned out to be curtains for the Cambridge-based team, led by Reed Sturtevant — even though their old Web address still optimistically implores visitors to "please come back later." But five years on, it's clear the 2009 shakeup and ensuing departures freed up a number of people who've gone on to pollinate the local startup scene. Read More
To post or not to post
After #GamerGate, Supreme Court hears case concerning threats online
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In October, game developer Brianna Wu was forced out of her house in Arlington and went into hiding after strangers from the GamerGate online mob posted personal threats at Wu and her family on Twitter. Wu and the scores of other women who face personal hateful speech on the Internet may one day have more options to deter their attackers. Today the justices of the Supreme Court heard arguments about online abuse perpetrated on sites like Twitter and Facebook, the first case of its kind to reach the nation's highest court.  Read More
Amazon's Cyber Monday strategy? Robots. Lots of robots.
Amazon's Kiva System
Just in time for Cyber Monday, Amazon announced this morning that it is prepping for the holiday rush by recruiting over 80,000 part-time workers, a 14 percent spike over last year. But in addition to those human pickers, the online retailer is also employing a whole cadre of technological elves (i.e., robots) to ensure that your gifts arrive for the holidays just in time. Read More
App team acquired
Airbnb picks up Pencil, Cambridge startup that built scheduling app
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Airbnb has quietly acquired a small Cambridge startup, Pencil Labs. Pencil Labs had built a scheduling app called Wyth that was intended to eliminate some of the headaches of coordinating get-togethers with friends. Three of the key players at Pencil, including co-founders Carla Pellicano and Han Shu, have already relocated to San Francisco, where Airbnb is based. Read More
Turkey, beer, and sleep
For Thanksgiving, sit back, relax, and let our tech overlords take the wheel
MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF
Thanksgiving is upon us once again. And whether you will be nursing a hangover from your 15th high school reunion the night before, sweating out who to play on your fantasy team with all the NFL games, or just sick and tired of doing the pie-baking/turkey-basting thing, you are probably looking for a way to seize the inherent laziness of the day and do as little as possible. Read More
One card to rule them all?
My pre-Black Friday spending spree with LoopPay's mobile wallet device
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I've been on a little warmup spending spree this week, in advance of Black Friday. But instead of purchasing iPad Minis and scented candles for my family, I've been buying coffee and tacos around town to test a new mobile payment device from Burlington-based LoopPay. LoopPay touts its technology as "the most accepted mobile wallet on the planet," and the fantasy is appealing: stash all of your credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards in digital form on your phone, and then leave the physical versions — and perhaps your wallet, too — at home. Here's the reality. Read More