technology

You'll find spinning wheels at the top of Netflix, Etsy, Foursquare and other top sites today, as they take part in Internet Slowdown Day. While sites won't slow down for real, participating Internet companies will be covered with the symbolic loading icons "to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like," the organizers write on their website.

After months of rumors and dozens of fan-created images of what an Apple watch might look like, today the tech giant will show us what it's been working on. Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled a new smart watch at a splashy event in Cupertino, Calif., called the Apple Watch

We'll be updating this post with news from Apple today, including tweets from NPR's Laura Sydell, who's at the event at the Flint Center.

Update at 2:40 p.m. ET: Apple Watch Price: $349

You may have noticed that after years of getting smaller, smartphones are getting bigger. It's a trend that's mostly been led by Samsung. Apple's late CEO, Steve Jobs, famously knocked the idea that people wanted larger phones. But on Tuesday, Apple is expected to announce bigger iPhones and is relenting to the reality that we're talking less on our phones and using them more like a mini computer.

These days, you don't have to be a model — or a real housewife of reality TV — to have a personal stylist. You can get one online, for a reasonable monthly fee. The services, in which clothes are picked out for you and sent in the mail, are catching on among the time-starved and the fashion-challenged. Like my editor, Uri Berliner.

"Most days I couldn't even tell you what clothes I have on, what color they are," he says.

If you spend enough time on Twitter, you've probably run across tweets from people who are ostensibly writing a novel but manage to leave a digital trail that indicates they may be doing anything but:

Artist and computer programmer Cory Arcangel started noticing these aspirational tweets and began collecting them in his @WrknOnMyNovel Twitter feed. He's now curated that collection into a book called Working on My Novel.

The Myth Of The Private Naked Selfie

Sep 4, 2014

Apple's iCloud hack involving nude photos of celebrities is different from many of the other hacks we've heard about. When hackers steal credit cards — like with Target or allegedly now with Home Depot — the expense falls on the retailer and the banks. And these companies can cancel and replace credit card numbers to contain the damage.

But in this case involving Apple, just about all the damage falls on the user, like actress Kirsten Dunst. And you can't take back the images. They're out there forever.

Here are some questions we thought you might be asking:

Gabriela Pinto / Creative Commons

Perhaps you've seen an option on Netflix, the video rental and streaming company, to share your movie watching habits with others via Facebook. Did you opt in? Like many people, perhaps you didn't. 

Netflix is now trying something new that it hopes will work better to let you share viewing interests with your social circle. 

Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?

Aug 28, 2014

Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions, according to new research out of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The FBI says it's working with the Secret Service to investigate reports that Russian hackers breached security at JPMorgan Chase and other financial institutions, stealing customers' account information in possible retaliation for U.S. government sanctions on Moscow.

"We are working with the United States Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks against several American financial institutions," FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell said in a statement late Wednesday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You live in an invisible ocean of vibrations caused by the sounds around you. On this show, an almost-creepy experiment shows how the physical changes caused by vibrations can be reverse-engineered to discover the sounds that caused them.

Then, an oncologist, a sonic therapist, and a world-renowned deaf percussionist give their unusual perspective on vibrations.

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.

Katy Tresseder / Flickr: Creative Commons

Poetry, prose, sculpture, painting and music composition: Humanity's final frontiers beyond which no computer will ever go... right? Perhaps not. As technology advances and the dawn of true A.I. draws near, Machines are usurping creative domains once thought to be solely the province of man. 

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, 58, has resigned from the company's board citing other time consuming commitments including his new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Tuesday's announcement closes a chapter in Ballmer's 34 years with the software giant. He remains the largest individual shareholder in the company.

Ballmer spent $2 billion of his roughly $20 billion fortune on the Clippers purchase, which a judge confirmed last week.

Meme Binge / Creative Commons

Once upon a time you opened your first email account and picked out a password. You probably don't know what it was now but let's assume you weren't the type of person to pick out "password" or "123456." So, maybe it was the name of a dog or a kid or two dog and kid names mushed together. Easy to remember, right?

Today, you probably have passwords tied to multiple email accounts, a few social media platforms, a few credit cards and banks, and an unclassifiable hodgepodge of other stuff from Dropbox to Airbnb.

Uber And Lyft Spar Over Alleged Ride Cancellations

Aug 12, 2014

Uber and Lyft are battling for customers looking for rides via smartphones, but maybe not everyone is fighting fairly.

CNNMoney reports that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides since October, according to Lyft's data.

"And it's not just a rogue employee or two," CNN reports. "Lyft claims 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides in that time frame."

From the aerospace sector to Silicon Valley, engineering has a retention problem: Close to 40 percent of women with engineering degrees either leave the profession or never enter the field.

Conventional wisdom says that women in engineering face obstacles such as the glass ceiling, a lack of self-confidence and a lack of mentors. But psychologists who delved deeper into the issue with a new study found that the biggest pushbacks female engineers receive come from the environments they work in.

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are on a chase for what some consider the holy grail of the information age: Quantum computing. And some of that research is going on right there in New Hampshire. But one big challenge is to get the quantum bits to dance how we want them to. 

Before getting too high-tech, let's go back to 1938. A brilliant physicist, an Italian named Ettore Majorana, withdraws all his money from a bank and boards a boat. Then, somewhere between Palermo and Naples, he vanishes without a trace.

Cambridge Biotech Company Asks Feds For OK On New Ebola Drug

Aug 7, 2014

A Cambridge-based biotech company is seeking approval from federal regulators to use its experimental medication on patients brought to the United States for treatment after being infected in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Sarepta Therapeutics says if given approval, the firm will, within a few months, have enough of the injectible drug — AVI-75370 — for up to 125 patients.

The drug aims to stop the virus from replicating, allowing the body to fight it off.

digitalbob8/flickr creative commons

What happens in our early childhood has a lot to do with how we develop as humans. Dr. Paul Harris researches the role the imagination plays in helping children grow into healthy adolescents. He says we tend to think of the imagination as something divorced from reality, when in fact it is deeply intertwined with how we determine reality from fantasy.

Mystic Aquarium

Researchers from Mystic Aquarium are set to release a snapping turtle into the wild that will be outfitted with a Crittercam. The release is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Rogers Lake in Old Lyme. 

Ending a contentious and very public spat between two branches of government, Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss because some CIA officers improperly accessed computers used by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Cali4beach

A recent online poll showed Republican Tom Foley leading Governor Dannel Malloy by nine percentage points in the race for the state's top office. The nature of the poll itself, though, is stirring discussion. Here's why. 

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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