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hide and seek
4 Talking Points: Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith on privacy, technology, Edward Snowden
It's been about 17 months since Edward Snowden leaked details about the National Security Agency's tracking practices, information that triggered a firestorm of investigations into the US government's access to private data and the way technology companies secured and shared consumer information. On Tuesday, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith spoke at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, facing an audience that included some of the loudest critics of the NSA's activities in the US. Read More
Mining for Future Talent
Big week for Big Data in Boston
<a href="">"Finger touching glow line" via Shutterstock</a>
Earlier this week, hack/reduce announced a Big Data-focused college ambassador program, a joint effort with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. It was part of a bigger initiative this week that puts organizations working in the Big Data space, like hack/reduce, Microsoft, and Thomson Reuters, among others, in the spotlight. Read More
Smarter city
From to Boston to Beijing, tracking taxi trips could help build cleaner cities
The paths of 170 million cabs in NYC over 2011. Image credit: HubCab
Big cities tend to have big pollution problems. But the very source of that bad air — tens of thousands of trips made by crawling, stalling, fuming taxi cabs — could offer city planners a more granular look at the pollution problem. It could even reveal suggestions for fixes, two studies of cab habits in Beijing and New York City suggest.  Read More
Watch word
Watch who watches what you say: MIT researchers can recreate sound based on video of nearby items
I've watched this video a few times, and it still blows my mind: Using high-speed video of nearby items, such as a plant or stray chip wrapper, MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe researchers found a way to analyze vibrations and algorithmically recreate roughly what sounds were in the room, down to actual words being spoken or a tune being played — without any recorded audio cues. Read More
Everyday prodigies
Boston has a hot new app developer. Oh, yeah, he's 8 years old.
Mohamed Tariq Jaffar Ali, 8, was the youngest participant in a Nokia DVLUP Day in Boston. The app he designed, called Kids Zone, has been downloaded about 500 times.
I met a promising young app developer at Microsoft in Cambridge the other day, which wouldn't be unusual except for one key fact: He's 8 years old. Mohamed Tariq Jaffar Ali (he goes by Tariq) is the author of a Windows Phone app called Kids Zone that aggregates online videos from popular cartoons, like "Tom and Jerry" and "SpongeBob SquarePants." It culls YouTube for relevant clips and sorts them into channels. "That's the data source," Tariq told me. Typical third-grade stuff, right? Read More