technology

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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Targeted
1:21 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Customers Sue Target Over Credit Card Breach

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

At least 11 customers have filed lawsuits against Target over a security breach that exposed the credit card information of 40 million customers.

The BBC reports:

"The lawsuits, each seeking class-action status, have been filed in US courts in the past several days.

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Retail
6:30 am
Mon December 23, 2013

After Target's Data Breach, Customer Incentive Disappoints

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 9:06 am

Target is trying to get back in its customers' good graces after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.

The breach affected customers who used their credit and debit cards at one of Target's 1,750 stores during a three-week period after Thanksgiving.

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Rick In Space
10:31 am
Sat December 21, 2013

Waterbury's Rick Mastracchio Repairs International Space Station

Rick Mastracchio of NASA is seen prior to launching aboard the International Space Station in November. Mastracchio and one other astronaut will conduct a space walk on Saturday to make repairs to the International Space Station.
Credit (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio is scheduled to make the first of three space walks on Saturday. He'll replace a pump module on the International Space Station, which broke last week forcing the shutdown of several science experiments and other non-critical systems. 

This will be Mastracchio's seventh EVA. NASA officials say they anticipate the first space walk, on Saturday, will last about six-and-a-half hours. The broken pump he will repair is linked to one of the station's two external cooling loops, which circulate ammonia outside of the space station to regulate equipment temperatures.

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Retail
7:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Shop On The Web Or In The Store; Each Has Risks

A customer prepares to sign a credit card slip Thursday at a Target store in Miami. The giant retailer says 40 million payment cards nationwide may have been compromised by data theft.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:37 am

Back in ye olden days — say, a decade ago — many holiday shoppers worried about using credit cards to buy gifts online. They feared their information would end up in the hands of computer hackers.

Turns out, walking into a store and swiping a credit card can be plenty risky, too.

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Telecommunications
11:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Frontier to Buy AT&T's Landline Business

Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Stamford-based Frontier Communications announced plans to buy the landline service of AT&T in Connecticut. About 1.4 million households in Connecticut will be affected by the sale of the business, which includes Internet subscribers and U-verse video customers. 

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Privacy
3:37 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 4:31 pm

A federal judge in Washington says the National Security Agency's program for bulk phone record collection violates Americans' reasonable expectation of privacy.

The ruling (pdf), however, has been stayed pending a likely appeal.

Judge Richard Leon says the sweeping NSA collection of U.S. phone metadata constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

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Space
10:35 am
Sat December 14, 2013

State TV: Chinese Spacecraft Makes Soft Landing On The Moon

Staff members make preparations for Chang'e-3's soft-landing on the moon at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, on Saturday.
Li Xin Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 9:01 am

A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.

Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.

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Privacy
6:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Movement To Bake Online Privacy Into Modern Life, 'By Design'

"The death of privacy has been predicted repeatedly over the years," says Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner. "And my response to that is, 'Say no to that,' because, if you value your freedom, you will value your privacy."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:46 pm

As we become a more digitally connected society, one question has become increasingly pervasive: Is the expectation of privacy still reasonable?

Ann Cavoukian, the privacy commissioner for Ontario, Canada, thinks so. She contends that privacy — including privacy online — is foundational to a free society. She developed a framework for approaching privacy issues back in the 1990s that's been recognized around the world.

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Innovation
11:13 am
Thu December 12, 2013

North Haven Company Joins Smart America Challenge

Solar panels on building tops are part of smart grids, which give real-time data about energy usage and are part of the "Internet of Things."
Credit National Institute of Standards and Technology

A Connecticut company was among those at the White House Thursday for a summit about the emerging Internet of Things. 

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Metro-North Derailment
5:33 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

N.Y. Train Crash Spotlights Push For Automatic Safety System

A police officer stands guard at the scene of a Metro-North passenger train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York on Dec. 1.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 11:36 am

A commuter train crash that killed four passengers in New York is raising questions about whether a high-tech safety system could have prevented the derailment.

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Debit Cards
8:38 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Security Lapse at JP Morgan Chase Affects Connecticut Residents

Credit Elph / Creative Commons

More than 14,000 Connecticut residents may have had their personal information compromised in a data breach from JP Morgan Chase. 

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Communication
3:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Robot And Chimpanzee: It's Evolution At Work

Humans and chimpanzees — like this individual at a zoo in Australia — are animals who have evolved to forge extensive and elaborate social connections.
Lisa Maree Williams Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:27 pm

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Code Switch
3:32 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Why Isn't Open Source A Gateway For Coders Of Color?

The hands of this ostensibly black stock photo model might be coding on an open-source project. But probably not.
istockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:03 am

All this month, our friends at Tell Me More are digging into the role of blacks in technology. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NPRBlacksInTech.

Software development is a huge and growing industry, and there are likely to be far more jobs in the future than there are folks to do them. But today, there's a paucity of blacks and Latinos in software development positions.

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Technology
11:22 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Getting To Know Black Innovators, One Tweet At A Time

Pitch Mixer founder Ayori Selassie speaks at an entrepreneur forum.
Tamara Orozco

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:37 pm

There is no question that Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Beach and all of the other places we associate with tech entrepreneurism face diversity problems.

African-American innovators represent just 5 percent of America's scientists and engineers, according to a 2010 study by the National Science Foundation.

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Online Retail
9:52 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Delivery By Drone? Amazon Says A New Era Looms

In an image taken of a test flight, an Amazon Prime Air drone carries a package. The online retailer could begin 30-minute deliveries within four to five years, CEO Jeff Bezos told 60 Minutes Sunday.
Amazon

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:21 pm

Amazon is looking at drastically reducing its delivery times — to 30 minutes or less — as it plans a new service called Prime Air that it says could debut in a few years. In an interview on CBS' 60 Minutes, CEO Jeff Bezos said the giant online retailer plans to use semi-autonomous drones to carry purchases to customers.

That's got tech experts buzzing about whether the idea will fly.

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Affordable Care Act
10:19 am
Sun December 1, 2013

HealthCare.gov Is Now Working Smoothly, White House Says

The HealthCare.gov website.
Jon Elswick ap

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am

White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.

"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.

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Retail
3:24 am
Wed November 27, 2013

How Shopping Malls Are Adapting In An Online World

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 11:49 am

Traditional shopping malls took a big hit after the economic collapse. Problems at big retailers Sears and J.C. Penney — two of the biggest mall tenants — could signal even more troubles.

But malls are trying to adapt. As online shopping grows, things are getting more and more competitive out in the real world of brick-and-mortar retail.

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Technology
5:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

The Misery Of Holiday Travel, In One Real-Time Map

The FlightAware Misery Map combines weather and flight data into a live map.
FlightAware

As I write this, snowstorms are swirling over the East Coast, threatening Thanksgiving holiday travel plans for millions of travelers. How much time in the purgatory of airports will this mean for you? Check out FlightAware's MiseryMap, which combines weather and flight data into a live map that lists which airports are being struck by storms, the number of delays and cancellations, and graphs that show flight destinations and the chances they'll actually make it on time.

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Entrepreneurship
9:06 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Small Firms May Soon Turn To Crowdfunding To Sell Shares

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:28 pm

Crowdfunding is popular among musicians, filmmakers and artists looking for a way to finance their next project.

Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering rules that, for the first time, would allow small companies to solicit investments over the Internet and sell shares to the general public.

For some small firms, these new rules come as welcome news.

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