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March 31st, 2010

Can doc use info from my Facebook page to help diagnose me? I think I'm fine with that. How about you?

Can doc use info from my Facebook page to help diagnose me? I think I'm fine with that. How about you?

The debate continues over the use of information available through social media in diagnosing and treating patients.

My thought: If the information is out there, and it could help me? Then by all means — use it. And a little word of advice: If there is anything you *don’t* want doc to see/know about — it shouldn’t be on Facebook/Twitter/your blog/MySpace/YourSpace or anywhere else willingly put in the public domain. Just saying.

Either way — check out this cool image that ran alongside a story of similar importance in the Washington Post:

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March 19th, 2010

Putting the 'Za' in pizza

Putting the 'Za' in pizza

Recently, a brand new gourmet pizza restaurant, Za, set up shop right next door to our office here at the Cambridge Innovation Center. We were lucky enough to find out about this great place from Tim Rowe, the CEO of the CIC–as well as the first customer to arrive for the opening–and have already been there a few times since it opened its doors.

Za has some tasty and truly original pizzas. Just take a look at the fully-loaded Mac&Cheese; pizza.

On top of having delicious food, Za also boasts a great atmosphere and a top-notch playlist. If you’re ever in the area, we highly recommend stopping by (and bringing us any leftover slices).

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March 12th, 2010

How does your internet measure up?

How does your internet measure up?

Now that surveys show that users think the internet is a fundamental right, the FCC is taking strides to ensure that the people get what they want.

On Thursday, March 11, Broadband.gov went live, allowing American broadband users to clock their internet speeds.

The FCC will use this data to measure broadband data nationwide, turning to users, not their providers, for this information. It’s a strictly voluntary broadband census: enter your home address, run a quick online test, and help the FCC find dead spots in coverage.

In addition to helping provide broadband to places without it, hopefully the collected data will help increase accountability amongst providers. Consumers should be afforded more protection in choosing an internet service provider — receiving services and speeds they were promised.

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March 5th, 2010

Uniltìrantokx for krr : Na’vi the new Klingon?

Uniltìrantokx for krr : Na’vi the new Klingon?


If you haven’t heard of Navilator.com, maybe you’ve heard of the movie that it sprung from – a low-key, low-budget film called Avatar.

Yes indeed, James Cameron’s latest box office hit has introduced the world to a planet full of an indigenous people who speak a completely different language called Na’vi. As it turns out, the language heard in the movie was created by linguistics professor, Paul Frommer from the University of Southern California, who designed the language by combining syntactic and grammatical rules from existing languages.

Soon after the release of the box office hit came the launch of Navilator.com – a website created as a translator for the Na’vi language. Upon first visit, the website looks an awful lot like a Google Translator page with a black background and flashes of red here and there.

A disclaimer reminds site visitors that, “Na’vi is a new and ever expanding language, so words that are not in the database today maybe tomorrow, new words are added every day.” Words that haven’t been added yet display in red, but that really doesn’t take away from much of the fun – have a look and see for yourself. If you stick around long enough, maybe you will be graced with an ad for Rosetta Stone’s language tutorial software like I was! Unfortunately, a Na’vi software pack is not yet available.

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March 1st, 2010

Please (Don't) Rob Me

Please (Don't) Rob Me


Whenever my family leaves for vacation, we keep the upstairs light on and arrange for our neighbors to take in the mail. “This way,” my mother reasons, “Burglars won’t know we’re not home.”

Foursquare, a location-based social networking website, has gained a ton of popularity recently. The website encourages people to connect and explore their communities, particularly local businesses. Members earn points by ‘checking-in’ to locations, unlock ‘badges’, and become the ‘Mayor’ if they accumulate the most check-ins at one location.

When a lot of people start using a new social network, it’s almost guaranteed that some won’t get the point. People who check-in to places far from their usual neighborhood are exposing that their home is empty, and those who check-in to their homes might as well broadcast their address for all to see.

This is where Please Rob Me comes in. The “dressed-up Twitter search page,” as proclaimed by its founders presents ‘opportunities’ to visitors to ‘Please Rob Me’ when it appears someone is not home. The website’s main aim isn’t to help people burglarize homes, but rather to point out the dangers of publicly telling people where you are.

Burglars and other would-be predators have every reason to pay attention to social media, however. British insurance and investment management firm Legal & General found that almost 40% of social networking users share holiday plans on sites like Facebook or Twitter. In addition, 13% of Facebook users and 92% of Twitter users accept follows without checking up on the source.

The main point: Be careful about what information you share on the web. As Please Rob Me creators reasoned, publicly telling people where you’ve checked in is dangerous because it leaves one place you’re definitely not: home. And if you’ve checked in to the airport 5 minutes ago, that upstairs light won’t fool anyone.

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