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Category: Uncategorized

Your smartphone knows if you’re depressed

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter Your smartphone knows if you are depressed. So say researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, citing their preliminary study of phone-use data that tracked location and time spent on the phone. Depressed people spend far more time on their smartphones and spend most of their time at home or at fewer locations than people who aren’t depressed, they found. All this data easily can be collected by the phones themselves, and it can be used to help researchers studying depression, doctors treating… Read more Your smartphone knows if you’re depressed

Reaction to Ellen Pao’s departure from Reddit

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter After a weekend that saw some Internet commenters alternately tut-tutting and high-fiving over the Friday departure of Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, a few themes have emerged. Just about everyone condemns the torrent of misogynistic, vile, personal attacks against Pao from some Reddit community members, wondering how it is that one of the Internet’s more heavily trafficked sites can be commandeered by anonymous keyboard cowboys who seem to hate women. “The terrorists of the Internet have their first scalp,” wrote Beth Winegarner on Sunday in The Guardian, in a widely shared… Read more Reaction to Ellen Pao’s departure from Reddit

Kickstarter, Central Standard Timing, and the futility of a lawsuit

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter It’s hard to imagine a more clear-cut failure than Central Standard Timing, the Chicago-based Kickstarter project that raised $1 million two years ago and now seems to be out of money after delivering only a handful of its “world’s thinnest” watches. Some backers of the project have raised the possibility of lawsuits, yet none have followed through. Lawyers say that underscores the risk of supporting product-based crowdfunding campaigns: Good luck getting your money back if you “buy” something on Kickstarter and it never gets delivered. To read… Read more Kickstarter, Central Standard Timing, and the futility of a lawsuit

Soundslice: Adrian Holovaty’s way of making entrepreneurial music

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter You might recall the bootstrap rallying cry of entrepreneur Adrian Holovaty. He had an off-beat message in early 2014, telling a roomful of big-money venture capitalists and entrepreneurs dreaming of billion-dollar IPOs that the startup heroes Chicago should celebrate are the little ones who aren’t necessarily trying to become the big ones. He appears to be living by those words with his latest startup venture. Holovaty, founder of EveryBlock, a hyperlocal news and discussion site now owned by Comcast, recently unveiled a new iteration… Read more Soundslice: Adrian Holovaty’s way of making entrepreneurial music

Mark Thomann: Entrepreneurial capitalist farmer

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter Mark Thomann made a name for himself as an entrepreneur who resurrects dormant iconic brands from the junkyard of unused corporate assets. These days, he’s also a farmer. “Smell that,” he said as he walked a visitor through racks of pungent basil growing in a warehouse building in Bedford Park one recent afternoon. “Wonderful, isn’t it?” Thomann is a capitalist who follows his nose, so to speak. As CEO at River West Brands, he continues to sniff out value in old brands such as… Read more Mark Thomann: Entrepreneurial capitalist farmer

Lane Tech students use 3D tools to stay a cut above

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter A lanky teen with half-dyed hair leans over a laptop, pecking commands that will tell a 3D carving machine how to make what he hopes will become a smartphone holder. Not far away, a diminutive young woman hefts a circular saw, lining the blade up with a piece of plywood that will anchor an art teacher’s storage unit. In the opposite corner, a serious-looking young man peers through the shield of a whirring laser cutter, eyeing with furrowed brow the beam that shoots into… Read more Lane Tech students use 3D tools to stay a cut above

SXSW Interactive: Hipster, geeky, massive, and as American as Apple Pi

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter AUSTIN, Texas — As SXSW Interactive launches its 22nd year at the intersection of American capitalism, hipster cool and tech-geek pride, the Lone Star State’s capital features a high density of smartest-kid-in-your-high-school-math-class types. So it’s fitting that this carnival of knowledge-seeking wraps itself around a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of mathematics and time-keeping — the Pi moment of the century. Click here to read the rest of the story, published in the Chicago Tribune March 12, 2015    

Firehouse bats designs a handmade bat business

By John Carpenter Blue Sky Reporter The fortuitous discovery of a battered old lathe in the basement of a firehouse by a curious teenage baseball player is the starting point for one of the latest Chicago maker stories. Russell Herberg, known as Buddy, spotted the motorless machine back in 2009, nosing around the basement of his dad’s Chicago firehouse. Dad and some firefighter pals fixed it up and taught him the basics of turning and shaping wood, and the teenager started to tinker. Click here to read the rest of this story, published… Read more Firehouse bats designs a handmade bat business