technology

Planet Money
7:10 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Self-Published Authors Make A Living — And Sometimes A Fortune

The cover of Michael Bunker's self published book Pennsylvania Omnibus.
Michael Bunker

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 1:32 pm

Five years ago, printing your own book was stigmatized and was seen as a mark of failure.

"But now," says Dana Beth Weinberg, a sociologist at Queens College who is studying the industry, "the self-published authors walk into the room, and they say, oh, well, 'I made a quarter million dollars last year, or $100,000, or made $10,000.' And it is still more than what some of these authors are making with their very prestigious contracts."

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Ticket Websites
2:49 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

TicketNetwork Agrees To Fix "Unfair Trade Practices"

Ticket resale company TicketNetwork settled with the State of Connecticut and the Federal Trade Commission.
Bradley P. Johnson Creative Commons

A settlement has been reached between South Windsor-based TicketNetwork and the State of Connecticut. In the deal, TicketNetwork agreed to clearly disclose that it is a ticket resale company, and not an official box office outlet.

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National Security
4:45 am
Wed July 23, 2014

The Challenge Of Keeping Tabs On The NSA's Secretive Work

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (center), accompanied by FBI Director Robert Mueller (left) and CIA Director John Brennan, testifies on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2013. When questioned, Clapper said the NSA did not collect data on Americans. He later acknowledged his response was "clearly erroneous."
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:51 am

Here's a question with no easy answer: How do you hold the nation's spy agencies accountable — when they control the secrets?

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden apparently thought the answer was to blow the lid off some of the NSA's highly classified programs. He took documents and shared them with journalists.

But what about Congress? It's supposed to oversee the NSA — and other spy agencies. For the committees charged with that task, it hasn't been easy keeping tabs on the secretive world of federal surveillance.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue July 22, 2014

The Culture and Design of Podcasts

Julia Pistell.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Radio has a very long and storied history, and is influenced by -- some might say ruled by -- some long-held, traditional practices.

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Space Exploration
11:13 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Astronaut Who Walked On The Moon: 'It Was Science Fiction To Us'

During the Apollo 12 mission, astronaut Alan Bean holds a container of lunar soil. The astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad, who took the photograph, is reflected in Bean's faceshield. Bean says he used to think that in his lifetime, we'd build a base on the moon and start preparing to travel to Mars.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 2:20 pm

In November of 1969, astronaut Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the moon. His mission, Apollo 12, arrived at the moon a few months after Apollo 11 made the first moon landing. That historic event celebrates its 45th anniversary Sunday.

Apollo 12 got off to a dramatic start: A storm rolled in as the rocket was scheduled to launch. Bean, with fellow astronauts Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon, sat inside the spacecraft while the bad weather threatened the operation.

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Agriculture
12:20 pm
Sat July 19, 2014

Deploying Drones To Get An Overview Of Factory Farms

The drone in Potter's promotional video on Kickstarter. "Now I'm looking at other models (and a second drone) because some people have threatened to shoot it down," Potter says.
via Kickstarter

An independent journalist says he's found a way around the so-called "ag-gag" laws by flying drones over large livestock operations to document animal welfare problems and pollution.

Will Potter, a Washington D.C.-based author and blogger, recently raised $75,000 on Kickstarter to buy the drones and other equipment to investigate animal agriculture in the U.S.

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Technology Industry
8:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Microsoft Will Cut As Many As 18,000 Jobs

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:23 am

A large layoff is under way at Microsoft, as the technology company says it will cut 13,000 jobs in the next six months. All but 500 of the layoffs are related to the Nokia phone division the company acquired in April. Microsoft says it might shed as many as 18,000 jobs as it restructures itself.

The company says it will complete most of the layoffs by the end of this year, and complete the restructuring by next June.

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Online Shopping
5:16 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Visa Makes Big Move To Boost Consumer Spending Online

Visa Checkout will store customers' credit card numbers and billing addresses once without their having to re-enter the information each time they shop online.
Visa

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:28 am

Here's an experience many of us have had: You're shopping on your smartphone. You click on the shoes or books you want. But then, when you get to the shopping cart, you abandon ship.

Visa says that's a big problem for retailers. On Wednesday, the credit card company announced it's rolling out a brand new system designed to get us to spend more money online.

One Password, Many Tokens

Visa is actually trying to fix two problems with one swipe.

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Technology
3:20 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Company Experiments With 3D-Printed Car

Local Motors engineer James Earl prepares to test drive the company's 3D printed vehicle prototype. (Carrie Jung/KJZZ)

3D printers are capable of producing a variety of consumer products, from children’s toys to prosthetic limbs. Now, a company in the Phoenix area is trying to take the technology to the next level with cars. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Jung of KJZZ reports.

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Customer Service
2:32 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Don't Fire The Comcast Guy, Says Caller Who Tried To Cancel

We don't know the fate of the Comcast service rep at the center of a viral call recording.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:12 pm

Ryan Block, whose hilariously tedious customer service experience with Comcast struck a chord with millions, says the customer service rep who harangued him should not be fired.

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Congress
1:41 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

House Votes to Extend Moratorium on State, Local Taxes for Internet Access

The U.S. Capitol building.
Credit Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

The House has voted to make permanent a moratorium that prevents state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet. 

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Customer Service
1:15 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Comcast 'Embarrassed' By The Service Call Making Internet Rounds

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:38 pm

When a customer service call is described as "Kafkaesque" and "hellish," you pretty much know how it's going to go down before even taking a listen. But in case you haven't heard the condescending, tedious call that's lit up the Internet, here it is:

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Internet Traffic
2:16 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Tech Giants Make Net Neutrality Case As Deadline Nears

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right) and Facebook lobbyist Joel Kaplan are part of the Internet Association, which filed comments in support of net neutrality Monday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:49 pm

It's not just comedian John Oliver coming out against cable companies to support net neutrality. The world's largest Internet companies — Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and others — have officially chimed in, filing comments Monday to the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees Internet traffic.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Emojis Make The Nose :)

Rebecca Castellani, a scholar of modern literature.
Chion Wolf WNPR

It's time for our cultural roundtable, The Nose! Insert smiling cat face with heart-shaped eyes. With 250 new emoji coming to a phone near you, we think it's time to give these tiny additions to our written language a face with stuck-out tongue and winking eye. Don't go all Hear No Evil Monkey on us!

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Technology Etiquette
2:35 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

What's Right And Wrong In The World Of Texting

Jodi Smith shares tips on the proper text messaging etiquette. (Intel Free Press/Flickr)

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 2:14 pm

In the past decade, texting has become more and more popular, and is even a primary means of communication for many people. But are there rules to these 160 character messages?

Does every message warrant a response and is it ever appropriate to thumb a message during a meeting?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:56 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Sumptuous Silence Transcription

Marie Coppola is an assistant professor of psychology and linguistics at the University of Connecticut where she directs the Language Creation Lab. She’s also the founder and Executive Director of Manos Unidas
Chion Wolf

Imagine having no capacity for language acquisition. Imagine developing a language with grammars that are completely independent from the spoken language of the surrounding hearing culture. Imagine being unable to engage in any of the thought processes I'm using right now.  Choosing words and bundles of words to convey meaning, pausing to ponder the interesting similarities between deafness and deficit. Grabbing for a phrase like language acquisition and appreciating the neat little package it represents. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:02 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Can Technology Save the World?

Wendell Wallach is the Chair of Technology & Ethics at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Chion Wolf

Let's take the most dire problem facing humankind: Climate change has so many negative implications it would take all day to list them. Meanwhile, there's the possibility of a sudden acceleration of a problem caused by the melting of Arctic ice, which exposes more ocean water to warming, which causes more melting, which causes more...well, you get the picture.

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Kid Whiz
3:26 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets

If you've noticed that kids seem to be better at figuring out these things, you're not alone.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:32 pm

Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they "totally get" apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.

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Social Media
10:57 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Facebook's Diversity Numbers Are Out, And They're What You Expect

Numbers out Wednesday show almost 7 out of 10 Facebook staffers are male.
Photo Illustration: Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 3:42 pm

The summer of tech company demographic data dumps continues apace. Facebook is the latest big firm to share its staff's racial and gender breakdowns, following similar releases from Google and Yahoo. Other tech firms NPR has reached out to say they are having conversations about whether they will do the same.

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Media Consumption
10:35 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

Aereo.com, a Web service that provides television shows online, is shown on an iPhone on April 22. The company lost a Supreme Court case Wednesday, as the justices ruled it violates copyright law.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 12:18 pm

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court ruling on what has been a hotly contested issue.

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Technology
10:04 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Redefining What It Means To Talk In The Age Of Smartphones

Twenty-nine percent of all cellphone owners described their phone as "something they can't imagine living without," according to a Pew Research Center survey.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 11:59 am

Of all of the things that were a big deal as a sprouting toddler, learning to talk was one of the major milestones.

"Ma-Ma," we uttered, wide-eyed, to camcorder lenses and disbelieving parents. "Da-Da."

Talking is a big part of who we are as humans: as families, as business partners — as a society. It's arguably one of the most powerful forms of expression, alongside writing and art. We use our voices to ask questions, to deliver bad news, to tell someone we love them.

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Technology
11:27 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Yo Is The Buzzy App Of The Moment, Whether Yo Like It Or Not

justyo.co

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 2:41 pm

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Gaming
4:04 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

In War Against AIDS, a New Potential Weapon: Video Games

Designers are working to build a video game that helps educate men in Mexico City about treatment options for HIV.
Credit L.Bö / Flickr Creative Commons

It's not something you'd immediately associate with staying healthy: video games. A professor at Quinnipiac University is exploring whether or not digital avatars can encourage gay men in Mexico City to get tested regularly for HIV. 

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Preserving Michelangelo
11:58 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Carrier to Install New HVAC System in the Sistine Chapel

The famous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
Antoine Taveneaux Wikimedia Commons

Farmington-based Carrier is to install a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the Sistine Chapel as part of an effort to preserve the frescoes of Michelangelo.

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Courts
9:33 am
Thu June 19, 2014

British Terror Suspects Imprisoned in Connecticut to Be Sentenced in July

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Federal prosecutors filed court papers this week in advance of the July sentencing of two British citizens imprisoned in Connecticut for supporting terrorism.

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Technology
1:14 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Facebook Ad Targeting Will Use Even More Of Your Data

Facebook says that starting soon, ad targeting will "include information from some of the websites and apps you use," making ads more relevant to users' interests.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 11:53 am

Facebook says it will pull from more user data, including browsing histories, to better target ads to consumers. As the changes roll out over the next few weeks, users will also have more control over their own data profiles, the ones that help determine which ads they see.

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Manufacturing
2:43 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

CCAT Installs "World's Most Advanced" 3D Printer

Machining Applications Specialist Eric Wold uses the new ProJet printer.
Matthew Perry CCAT

The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology has installed what it says is the world's most advanced 3D printer.

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Maximus
9:16 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Call Center Worker on Leave for Access Health CT Data Breach

Credit zimmytws/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's health insurance exchange said the owner of a backpack found on a Hartford street containing Social Security numbers and other data works for a call center vendor, and has been placed on administrative leave. 

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Covert Agencies
3:17 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

@CIA Tweets; Internet Explodes In Not-So-Covert Sarcasm

Twitter

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 3:41 pm

The CIA has probably been on Twitter before, but this was the agency's first tweet (or the first it has publicly acknowledged):

Much of the response to the clever tweet from the covert agency was, as you might expect, dripping with overt sarcasm. Here's a selection:

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Technology
12:53 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Listen: How the Internet Works

Lit-up servers serving.
Tristan Schmurr Creative Commons

Have you ever wondered how your favorite cat video reaches your computer? Some questions stump even the most techno-savvy adults. 

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