technology

Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

A World of Conflict: Ukraine, Net Neutrality, and Local Man Rescued From Nazis

Protesters clash with police in Kiev last fall.
Credit Mstyslav Chernov / Creative Commons

Shortly after protests began in Ukraine, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy flew to Kiev and met with the anti-government demonstrators. 

"The protesters are down there because they’re sick of seeing a government that too often resorts to violence, that has become endemic with corruption and is moving toward Russia instead of towards the European Union," said Murphy. 

We hear more from Murphy about the recent, violent developments in the Kiev protests.

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Technology
3:42 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Target Hack A Tipping Point In Moving Away From Magnetic Stripes

A cryptographic chip embedded in a British debit card. America is nearly alone in still relying on magnetic stripes to authenticate purchases.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:01 pm

The credit and debit card data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus compromised more than 70 million American consumers, and analysts say even more of us are at risk. That's because the technology we use to swipe for our purchases — magnetic stripes on the backs of cards — isn't hard for a skilled fraudster to hack.

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Agriculture
5:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:01 pm

Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.

Monsanto and John Deere are offering competing versions of this service. Both are promising to mine that data for tips that will put more money in farmers' pockets.

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Technology
4:36 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Apple's Mac Computer Turns 30

The Apple Computer Inc., manufacturing plant in Milpitas, Calif., producing Macintosh computers, is shown in this Feb. 24, 1984 photo. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

This coming Friday marks the 30th anniversary of the first Apple Mac that went on sale.

NPR technology correspondent Steve Henn joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to discuss the genesis of the Macintosh, the future of Apple and how the Mac has influenced both Apple and the technological world.

[Youtube]

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Surveillance
6:01 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Congress Vows To Step Up To Surveillance Policy Challenge

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., after President Obama's speech.
Charles Dharapak AP

If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.

Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.

Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.

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Into the Breach
1:38 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Analysts: Credit Card Hacking Goes Much Further Than Target

Hackers use credit card scanning machines as part of their sophisticated campaign to steal credit card information and sell it.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:23 pm

The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.

And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.

"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.

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White House
11:49 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Calls For Limits On NSA's Collection Of Phone Data

President Obama speaks about the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies surveillance techniques during a speech Friday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:20 pm

  • LISTEN: President Obama's national security address

(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

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Adorbs or Cray?
11:27 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Researchers Are Totes Studying How Ppl Shorten Words On Twitter

Some clippings: "Hilar" or "hilars" mean "hilarious." "Alc" is shorthand for "alcohol" in some circles. And "obvi" is pretty straightforward (er, "obvious").
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 1:31 pm

Shortening words, swapping them out, giving them different meanings — that's not new. Remember in Mean Girls when the queen bee character, Regina George, berated one of her underlings for trying to make the word "fetch" catch on?

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Electronic Surveillance
7:47 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Expected To Say NSA Should Not Hold 'Metadata'

Nicolas Armer DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:51 am

President Obama is expected to announce Friday morning that he is "ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone 'metadata' " that the National Security Agency collects, officials are telling Reuters and NPR.

The wire service, which broke the story, writes that:

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Electronic Surveillance
7:11 am
Fri January 17, 2014

5 Changes To The NSA You Might Hear In Obama's Speech

Protesters in Hanover, Germany, hold placards amid hundreds of demonstrators protesting the surveillance programs of the U.S. National Security Agency in July.
Peter Steffen EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:34 pm

A committee tasked by the White House with reviewing U.S. electronic surveillance has come up with 46 proposed changes to National Security Agency spying practices. Here are arguments for and against five recommendations that President Obama may take up in a speech announcing policy changes Friday:


Limit Access To Bulk Telephone Data

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FCC Regulation
4:14 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Netflix May Take A Hit With End Of Net Neutrality

While the end of net neutrality may mean higher costs for Netflix, the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content stream faster and in higher quality than its competition, or refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet. (Netflix Blog)

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:46 pm

The recent appeals court ruling that overturned a FCC regulation requiring Internet Service Providers to treat all online services equally, known as “net neutrality,” may mean higher costs for Netflix and other online services.

But it also could have an upside for Netflix: the company may be able to pay to ensure that its content streams faster and in higher quality than its competition. Or the company can refuse to pay more money for high speed Internet.

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Winter Olympics
3:25 am
Thu January 16, 2014

For A Better Bobsled, Team USA Turns To Race Cars

U.S. bobsledders Nick Cunningham and Abraham Morlu compete in a BMW-designed sled at the World Cup in January in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The U.S. team paired up with a BMW race car designer several years ago to boost its chances at the 2014 Winter Games.
Alex Livesey Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:07 pm

When you meet bobsled driver Steve Holcomb, he doesn't talk about his Olympic gold medal — the one he won with the four-man team at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Instead, he talks about the one that got away.

Four years ago, his two-man bobsled started the Olympic run with a great push. "I was actually winning the race in Vancouver," Holcomb says. But then he "made a driving mistake, and we went from first place to sixth place in two turns."

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Television
10:04 am
Tue January 14, 2014

20 Million DirecTV Customers Just Lost The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore reporting from Manhattan's Battery Park during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
Jonathan Saruk/The Weather Channel Getty Images

What was already a stormy relationship between The Weather Channel and DirectTV has now become something of a Category 3 communications catastrophe.

Twenty million DirecTV customers can't see The Weather Channel today because the two sides didn't reach an agreement on a new distribution deal before a midnight Monday deadline.

According to The Associated Press, "the two companies pointed fingers at each other":

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Technology
5:36 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Google Buys Nest, May Soon Know How Cool You Like Your Home

The Nest Learning Thermostat. The four-year-old company is now owned by Google.
Courtesy of Nest

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:14 pm

As further evidence that this is perhaps the year the Internet of everything really becomes a thing, Google paid $3.2 billion in cash for Nest, the home automation company that pioneered smart thermostats and lately,

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Security Breach
4:50 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Neiman Marcus Notifying Customers Whose Cards Were Compromised

A Neiman Marcus in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus says it has begun notifying customers whose credit cards were compromised during a security breach.

The AP spoke to Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for Dallas-based company, who would not estimate how many customers could be affected.

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Pocket Technology
5:45 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Trouble Getting in a Workout? Try an App That Fines You When You Slack

The Pact team in San Francisco with Yifan Zhang, CEO, at the center.
Pact

Listen to the full story.

  We live in an age where our cell phones tell us how much to exercise and what to eat. And people find that it's helping them. 

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Fashion
5:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Tech Fit For The Showroom, But The Runway Might Have To Wait

The Navigate Jacket from Wearable Experiments uses GPS navigation and a mapping app on the wearer's smartphone to signal directions. It's part of a new trend of wearable tech that some speculate will be a billion-dollar industry.
Rupert Kaldor Wearable Experiments

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:27 am

The human body is a limited piece of real estate.

For years, tech companies raced to make the smartphone a beautiful device with soft curves and bright screens. Now, the industry is racing to make clothes that free up your hands from the phone while still connecting you to streams of digital information.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:05 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Are Babies Born As Moral Persons?

Credit Kitt Walker/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Yale's Paul Bloom is an expert on research showing infants do, in fact, act with moral purpose, if given the opportunity.

Babies, says Bloom and his colleagues, show empathy, compassion, and have a clear understanding of what is and is not fair.

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Technology Funding
10:11 am
Fri January 3, 2014

State Seeks Applications for Bioscience Fund

Credit Harriet Jones

Connecticut's new Bioscience Innovation Fund is looking for ideas to expand and improve the state's bioscience industry.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:13 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Enjoying the Randomness of Miscellanea

The joy of miscellanea!
Credit Evelyn Giggles on Flickr Creative Commons

Wandering the vast labyrinth of useless information, you might encounter some people having a debate about the last person who knew everything. This is a great, and also pretty hopeless debate, because it requires a judgment about what all the useful information in the world might have been and who was capable of knowing it. 

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Distracted Driving
5:08 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

When Teen Drivers Multitask, They're Even Worse Than Adults

You can do it. But your 16-year-old can't. Teens were more likely to have accidents while eating or talking in the car.
iStockphoto

Everyone knows that the first rule of driving is never take your eyes off the road.

Teen drivers start off being careful, but they tend to start multitasking after just a few months behind the wheel, according to research published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

And while older drivers can handle eating or talking to passengers, which trip up the newbies, dialing a cell phone increased the risk of accidents among young and experienced drivers alike.

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Television
9:28 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Is The DVD Box Set Dead? Yes ... And No.

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:35 am

Are we witnessing the twilight of DVD and Blu-ray?

Kinda-sorta. With the emergence of various digital distributions systems — streaming and downloading through your laptop, your cable system, your game console — it's easy to see how these discs will be the next physical media formats to fade away. DVD and Blu-ray could well go the way of CDs and vinyl, becoming a niche boutique market for collectors.

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Grim Reaper
3:27 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Nothing Focuses The Mind Like The Ultimate Deadline: Death

Could a countdown to death help you lead a more ecstatic life?
Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:38 pm

Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock.

The seconds left in 2013 are slipping away. And you know what else is slipping away? The seconds left in your life.

Luckily for you, there's a new product called Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your life, so you can watch on a large, dot-matrix display as the seconds you have left on Earth disappear down a black hole.

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Space
3:26 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Bon Voyage, Voyager: Old Friends Take Stock

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:37 am

For the scientists who have emotionally traveled with NASA's Voyager mission for decades, 2013 will be remembered as the year they knew Voyager 1 had finally become the first explorer from Earth to enter the mysterious realm of interstellar space.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, both blasted off in 1977, more than 35 years ago. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, then Saturn — and then on toward the unknown region that lies between stars.

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Technology
3:17 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

5 New Year's Resolutions From Women To Watch

Maya Penn
Marla Aufmuth TED

New Year's resolutions: Sometimes we make them; usually we break them. The annual goals are intended to bring out the best in us — but what if you're already extremely accomplished?

These five women have worked hard to help others, through businesses, innovation and writing. Four of them were speakers at the TEDWomen conference earlier in December in San Francisco (Katrina Alcorn was an attendee).

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Drones
2:24 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Test Sites Chosen For Commercial Drone Testing

The Federal Aviation Administration's map showing the locations of the six "unmanned aircraft systems" test sites it has chosen.
FAA.gov

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:24 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday unveiled the names of the six applicants who have been granted the right to test the commercial uses of "unmanned aircraft systems" — drones.

The FAA's approvals were highly sought after because the test sites are expected to bring high-tech jobs and investments to the states where they're located. The six winners are:

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Data Breach
12:59 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Target: Encrypted Data Were Taken, But Not The Key To Unlock

The scene outside a Target store in Brooklyn on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.

Target posted this explanation:

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Air Travel
10:25 am
Fri December 27, 2013

The Price Is Wrong And You Know It: Do You Buy That Ticket?

Delta made a mistake, but says it will stand by some cut-rate fares.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 11:10 am

Headlines such as this come along every few months:

"Delta To Honor Extremely Cheap Mistake Fares."

The news, says The Associated Press, is that:

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu December 26, 2013

What Do You Mean, Coding?

Code education is being pushed by politicians, CEOs and basketball stars alike.
Credit Ben Simo / Creative Commons

Our schools teach a variety of foreign languages: Spanish, French, even Latin. But should we be focusing on the language of computer programming? Even NBA star Chris Bosh is asking everyone from young kids to the homeless to learn to code. Why aren’t we teaching it more? It seems like President Obama needs an army of coders to fix the glitchy HealthCare.gov website.

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Malloy Visits WNPR
7:27 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Malloy Says Connecticut Hired Contractor to Find Fraud

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state could lose $170 million over the next two years in fraud and abuse at the Department of Social Services. But Governor Dannel Malloy said the state has hired an outside contractor to help stem the losses.

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