Forecast: January 2010

1/17 Dr. do-everything grows public practice

Feeling overworked? Don’t bother complaining to Dr. Atul Gawande, the celebrated surgeon with a seemingly impossible collection of job titles: Harvard professor, staff member at Brigham and Women’s and Dana-Farber, staff writer for the New Yorker, and bestselling author. It’s that last one that accounts for his appearance today at the American Library Association conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where he’ll speak about ways to improve healthcare.

You’ll also begin seeing his new book, The Checklist Manifesto, pretty much everywhere this month. In it, Gawande makes the case for the otherwise uncelebrated "checklist," a tool that can save lives (and might also help us understand how this guy gets everything done).

Even more impressive than Gawande’s output is his growing influence. Last summer, his widely talked-about New Yorker article shrewdly examining medical costs became required reading for Obama aides as the president pondered his reform agenda. Gawande will no doubt surface more and more as a provider of perspective—and a model of efficiency—in the weeks ahead.


Attorney General Martha Coakley is staring down more than Representative Scott Brown in today’s special U.S. Senate election—she’s also up against history. On the line is a chance to become the Bay State’s first female senator and to join Niki Tsongas as just the second woman elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress in the past 26 years.


With Filene’s Basement shuttering stores, we’ve been given new reason to wonder how long the retailer’s annual Running of the Brides might continue. For ladies not interested in choosing a wardrobe in a hurricane, there’s today’s Baystate Bridal Show, a massive showcase of everything from cakes to bands. Sure, the event offers less tradition, but also less chance of getting trampled to death while preparing for your big day.

Mass. Appeal  
The coolest local gizmos being unveiled this month  
The Consumer Electronics Show, which opens in Las Vegas on 1/7, is the world’s grandest tech showcase—think of it as the geek world’s Olympics. Naturally, plenty of Boston-area technology firms are debuting potentially revolutionary products. Here are a few of our favorite homegrown gadgets:

Armada Chip by E-Ink:  Technology from Cambridge-based E-Ink powers the Kindle and just about every other e-reader on the market. Now the company is introducing a microchip that conserves power, works faster, and costs less—and will likely turn that Kindle you got for Christmas into an Edsel in no time. (Sorry.)

Home Internet Device by Tap ‘n Tap: The touchscreen tablets (pictured above) from this Cambridge outfit are sleek, always-on computers that make surfing the Web or checking e-mail from the couch much easier than lugging a laptop or squinting into a smartphone.

KOR-fx by Immerz: While it may sound like an ab workout, the KOR-fx (invented in—you guessed it—Cambridge) is a device that allows video gamers and movie fans to actually feel the action by sending vibrations through their chest cavity. If your kid didn’t already love his Xbox, look out.