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  • This week’s Progressive Pioneers  will focus on two very special “other worldly” people who tirelessly worked behind the scenes the make the world a better place. I’m talking about none other than Tia and Tony Malone. And now thanks to WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Information Act, we know the full truth about these two amazing beings, which will blow your mind! Their story is a rich and complicated one that has taken four documentaries to tell! Escape to Witch Mountain Return from Witch Mountain The Blair Witch Mountain Project Race to Witch Mountain And though Digital Batman cannot fully do justice to their story, I’m going to give you a glimpse into their contributions to our society. Escape to Witch Mountain & Return from Witch Mountain documentaries can be currently watched on Disney+. Endless movies and TV shows. Always ad free. The best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From new releases, to your favorite classics, and exclusive Originals, there’s always something new to discover. Race to Witch Mountain documentary can be currently watched on Netflix. Watch Netflix movies & TV shows online or stream right to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more. The Blair Witch Mountain Project documentary can be currently watched on YouTube (embedded below for your convenience). Tia and Tony Malone come from a binary star system some 3,000 light years from Earth. Their world was in the late stages of climate and environmental collapse (much like where our own world is headed). They were part of an advanced group of alien colonists seeking to find a way to reverse the self-inflicted damage done to their planet by studying our own in the early stages of exceeding the nine planetary boundaries. However, things did not go as planned. In 1975, their ship was damaged upon arrival at Earth and the two children were almost...
  • Recently, Jim Heppelmann (President and CEO of PTC, the company I currently work for) was featured in an article in the Boston Globe talking about PTC’s exciting move to the Boston Seaport, A.K.A. The Innovation District. The article also featured the story of how Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came to PTC for a visit and spoke to the employees at one of our famous socials. He praised the company and the employees for making the move to Boston’s newest up and coming hub for business and cultural innovation! And the seaport is pretty much an amazing new innovation district at that—especially with all the incredible simultaneous construction projects going on down there. However, it might be interesting to take quick walk down memory lane to reminisce about Boston’s other innovation districts, of the past. Let’s go all the way back to Colonial times. Over by where North Street meets Moon Street is Paul Revere’s House. This historical landmark is located in Boston’s North End district, now synonymous with the Italian-American community. However, back in the late 17th Century, this area was well known for it’s silversmiths (like Paul Revere, an innovator of his time), blacksmiths, artisans, journeymen, and laborers. For a city that was founded in 1630, this part of Boston became its innovation district of that time. Fast forward through the Industrial Age which affected the entire world, Boston included, and you will see that another innovation district presented itself. This time on the Boston waterfront known as Boston Harbor—part of which is where today’s Boston Seaport Innovation District now resides. For over two hundred years, Boston Harbor, which compromises all the famous Boston wharves such as Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Fish Pier, Commonwealth Pier, and Union Wharf to name a few, were the gateways to shipping, railroads, international commerce, jobs, markets, construction, and of course innovation. Without the wharves of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Boston could not have grown...
  • January 24, 2020

    Long Live the Browser Wars!

    Google recently announced that it was going to strip cookies from its Chrome web-browser. This is a big deal for a lot of people, namely advertisers. In case you weren’t aware of what a cookie is (not the yummy kind you eat), let Digital Batman tell you. A cookie is a bit of third-party data that gets stored on your system when you access a website. This data is used to track your online activities such as product browsing history, location, etc. Advertisers can then use this data to target ads specifically to what they think you’re interested in. And furthermore, advertisers can “retarget” ads after you as you browse around the Internet from site to site. Ever wonder how a random website you visit seems to know that you were looking at plushy chairs on Amazon? Well, that’s retargeting and that’s powered by cookies. Which leads to a lot of privacy issues that have been debated for as long as the Internet has been around. Therefore, Google is trying to assuage users’ concerns about privacy by eliminating cookies. What will advertisers do? Well, they’ll probably have to come up with more transparent ways to gather your information, with your permission. Now I mention this because it reminds me about how things have both changed and remained the same over the last 25+ years of browsing the Internet. Back in the heyday of the World Wide Web (mid-to-late 1990s), we had a whole battlefield of web browsers all vying for dominance in The Browser Wars! It all started with Netscape Navigator (technically Mosaic in its initial form), invented by Marc Andreessen founder of Netscape. [Digital Batman had done a previous Progressive Pioneers profile on Andreessen back in July.] Navigator was initially released in December of 1994. It sported a simple interface with a few oversized navigation buttons (like Back, Home, and...
  • January 7th through January 10th were the dates that the epic annual Consumer Electronics Show (A.K.A. CES) in Las Vegas happened recently. Even though Digital Batman was unable to get to this massive tech conference—due to prior commitments chasing after tech villains such as RISC-Riddler—I have managed to compile a list of some of the most bizarre tech shown off at this year’s CES. Toilet Paper Anyone? Leaving the flashy super-advanced 8K TVs aside, this year’s CES was marked by what has to be the most inventive, if not quirky, technological invention of the year: a toilet paper-delivering robot! Yep! You heard that right. The Charmin RollBot is by far the most unique invention yet. And surprisingly useful! How can you argue the merits of a machine that brings you toilet paper in your most dire of needs?! Olive You! Need a delicious helping of fresh olive oil for your salad or sandwich? Well, you’re in luck. The Fresco Eva Mini olive oil dispenser will serve up this ancient delicacy in a Keurig K-cup-like experience. And there’s an added benefit of the final elixir being so fresh that you’d swear you had pressed the olives yourself! Easy on the Eyes! So you like to experience social media on your phone but have trouble with the small screen? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just view the app on a TV? Oh, but then it would still be relatively small, right? Wrong! The new Samsung Sero remedies all of that! It is a large-screen TV that flips into a vertical position (like you’d see at mall kiosks) to display your entire Instagram feed in mega eye-candy glory! Though, no one really asked for this, I’m sure people will try the Sero anyway because who can’t get enough of large-format social media, right? Getting Around in Style… You...
  • January 3, 2020

    Top Five Must-Haves of 2019!

    Now that we have said, “Goodbye,” to 2019, we should take a moment to look back on the top must-haves for the decade-ending year. Since this list is completely arbitrary, Digital Batman will weigh in on what I found to be the most popular gadget, item, digital something, and whatever. Oh, and this list does not put items in any particular order of importance. Enjoy! 1. Disney+ – Yep! The highly anticipated, hugely successful, and most extensive streaming video service from the “House of the Mouse” easily makes this list. Not only does Disney+ have hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of television series, it is now home to the most popular sci-fi show on the small screen, The Mandalorian. This new live-action genre show set in the Star Wars universe is arguably better than the recently released final chapter of the Star Wars/Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker. And there’s more to come with a limited Obi Wan Kenobi series and potential Darth Maul or Darth Vader series. And let’s not forget the new Marvel superhero shows like Falcon and Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Plus, a whole host of kids programming that is way too extensive to go into here. With over 20M (that’s million) subscribers on its launch day, this is definitely a must- have in 2019 (and now)! 2. The Impossible Burger – Why is this on the list? Well, Digital Batman could cite a bunch of health- related reasons why you should give this burger a try. However, the biggest reason is that this new type of plant-based food that mimicks real animal meat (including it protein content) actually made it to market! Giant restaurant chains like Burger King and Dunkin are now sporting Impossible Burger variants on their menus. You can also purchase this...
  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • December 13, 2019

    The Man Who Captured Lightning in a Bottle

    In modern times, no one man has been more revered as the greatest technological scientist and visionary as Nikola Tesla. This consummate inventor of dreamlike machines, whose reach sometimes exceeded his grasp, has been so highly regarded by society as the scion of invention that whole streets, songs, companies (like Elon Musk’s futuristic electric car company), awards, measures, holidays, places, schools, and more have been named after him. He was even famously portrayed by punk rock legend David Bowie in Christopher Nolan’s 2006 film The Prestige. Of course, in that fictionalized version of Tesla, we find him inventing a trans-dimensional duplicator used by Hugh Jackman’s character for the purpose of inexplicable magic showmanship. However, in real life, Tesla was so far beyond his contemporaries such as Thomas Edison or George Westinghouse that both of them had employed Tesla in their companies at one point. In fact, it is said that Westinghouse even paid Tesla a life-long stipend of a $1000 a month long after he left the company due to his patents making Westinghouse a fortune. Nikola Tesla’s life began in Croatia (the Austrian Empire at the time) on July 10, 1856. His father was an Easter Orthodox priest and his mother was so talented in the making of craft tools and mechanical devices—along with a photographic memory—that Telsa credited her for all of his genius and gifts. Tesla had some troubled years in his youth dealing with a gambling addiction and never completing his engineering studies at Austrian Polytechnic. However, that did not stop him from making his way through Europe, devising patentable inventions, and making a name for himself in engineering circles. Eventually, he would find his way to New York City in 1884 where his advancements in Alternating Current (AC) technology, and an induction motor that was...
  • So it turns out that Kevin Costner was right all along not to try to fake a British accent in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves! In fact, if anyone spoke closer to the way the mythical Robin Hood would have spoken back in those days, it would have been Costner (portraying the titular character) and not the predominantly British cast (with the exception of Morgan Freeman of course who played the Moor Azeem sporting a Persian dialect)! Okay, now before my British friends flame the hell out of me listen to my reasoning on this matter: So last night while watching an episode of Sleepy Hollow I was intrigued by an exchange between Ichabod Crane and one of the modern-day police officers. The officer was trying to insult Crane by saying something that he wasn’t an American because he spoke with a British accent. However, the officer didn’t realize that Crane was transported through time from the American Revolution to modern times (by witchcraft) and that would explain his accent because back then (ca. 1776) American colonists and their British counterparts all pretty much spoke with the same accent. So then my interest was piqued, and I looked up when did American English and British English accents diverge. The answer surprised the hell out of me! It turns out that it weren’t Americans who lost their so-called British accent. It was the British who gained theirs over the last 300 years or so (242 years since the American Revolution)! I couldn’t believe it! I have a degree in English but I don’t recall this being covered in any of my English classes. Please no comments about the quality of American education—let’s just stick to the subject at hand. So anyway, that blew my mind. I’ll post the link to the research here. Now there are a few exceptions to...
  • Not too long ago on a rainy night early in October 2015, I found myself attending my 30th high school reunion for the RHS Class of 1985. Attending Revere High School was, like for a lot of young people, both a harrowing and amazing experience. However, over the years, I seemed to only focus on the former, and had all but forgotten the latter. Why? It probably had to do with a less than pleasant personal life. My parents were split up, my family struggled to make ends meet, my social life was all over the place, my young romantic life was non-existent (not for lack of trying though), and I had no idea who and what I was or to become. In fact, as it turns out, I had many, many friends in high school who reminded me of just how much they liked me, and still liked me 30 years later. 30 years… Quite a long time to lose touch with so many good people. I basically avoided all the reunions until the last one like they were the plague. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. What turned me around? Believe it or not Facebook did. Say what you will about this social media network being a huge waste of time and a banal wasteland of inane babble, Facebook allowed me to reconnect with my old classmates reminding me of just how great they really were. A few people in particular, like Christine Ruberto (Berensten, her married name), really got me off my duff to come back to the fold and see everyone once again. And I’m sure glad she did! It was held at the Kowloon Restaurant in Saugus Mass. on Sunday October 4, 2015. Though the weather outside was rainy, the atmosphere inside was...