Technology

Word of Mouth
1:39 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

6.10.14: The Exo-Skeleton Kicking Off The World Cup And Why Reading YA Is Embarassing

Credit Thomás via Flickr Creative Commons

The world cup kicks off in Sao Paulo this Thursday amid controversy, corruption, and protest. Today, a profile of the neuroscientist behind a bionic exoskeleton that will make a miraculous kickoff at the world cup possible. But first, Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freaknomics, explains some of the decisions that are part of playing in the world cup. And then, a conversation with Ruth Graham, who triggered a fury among young adult fans by claiming "Adults should be embarrassed about reading literature for children".

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


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NH News
6:55 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Tech, Environmentalism And Agriculture Converge For iFARM

For iFARM 2014, all 250 acres of Tuckaway Farm have WiFi.
Credit Michael Samuels

 

A big part of farming and conservation is finding creative solutions on a budget.

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Word of Mouth
11:57 am
Tue May 13, 2014

WOM Covered 5 Of The 10 Biggest Breakthroughs In MIT Tech Review

Credit Chris Isherwood via flickr Creative Commons

Each spring, MIT Technology Review puts out its list of the 10 biggest breakthrough technologies – and every year we check that list to see how many of them have been covered on Word of Mouth. We’re happy to report another strong affinity. Here to recap twelve months’ worth of amazing – and useful -- scientific advances is Brian Bergstein - deputy editor of MIT Technology Review.

Listen to Virginia's conversation with Brian below:

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NH News
2:56 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

N.H. Internet Speed Ranking Slips Slightly, State Still In Top 10

For 2007 to 2012, Internet speed increased in the Granite State at pretty much the same rate as Vermont and Massachusetts. But the most recent State of the Internet report found that Vermont was the only state to see its Internet speed drop between 2012 and 2013, while Massachusetts grew more than twice as fast as New Hampshire over the same time period.

New Hampshire ranked seventh in the nation for Internet speed in 2013, according to a new report.  That’s a slip from the state’s position in fourth place the previous year.

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Word of Mouth
2:26 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

5.8.14: Defending Millennials, Wheelchair Motocross & 'I Didn't Type This Article'

Credit Acumen Fund via flickr Creative Commons

"No man ever steps in the same river twice" - Heraclitus, pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

While the philosophy of Heraclitus and his pre-Socratic peers is debatable, fans of Word of Mouth can attest that they never listen to the same WoM show twice. Ideas change. Concepts Change. Times change. Even when the segments stay the same, the takeaway, the emotion, the value in context of your life can change. Today, we bring you new ideas, old sound with new meaning, and new sound with retrospective importance. So join us, scholars of WoM, for today's show, and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments

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NH News
2:51 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Flying Car Will Be Tested At Pease

Credit Terrafugia

  The Massachusetts-based company Terrafugia will test a flying car at the Pease Airport in Portsmouth over the next two weeks.  

The vehicle caters to recreational pilots who live near an airport and don’t want to rent a hangar. the "Transition" vehicle being tested at Pease looks like a small plane with wings that fold.  When folded, it fits into a one-car garage.  The vehicle is legal for driving on public roads, and is expected to cost $280,000. 

Watch Terrafugia's promotional video:

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All Things Considered
5:48 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Network Project Brings Broadband To Towns Where Dial-Up Has Ruled

While many of us streamed movies on Netflix on broadband connections, some Granite Staters had to endure the painful buzzing of the dialup modem. A new network project aims to change that.
Credit Kevin H via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sOuVt

For years people in New Hampshire have gone without broadband internet access - and now, some of them have it, through a project called Network NH Now.

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All Things Considered
5:46 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

How Are Electric Cars Faring In N.H.?

a Nissan Leaf charging station, part of the infrastructure required when electric cars start popping up in a state like New Hampshire.
Credit mariordo via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/sybjF

There’s a growing number of electric cars on New Hampshire roads these days. But this part of the auto market may grow slowly in New Hampshire.

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Word of Mouth
1:35 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Rethink 2014: Teens and Technology

Credit Sara Plourde

Teenagers are the most tech-savviest among us with their heads glued to their screens, posting stylized selfies on Instagram and compulsively checking Facebook. Or are they? Our guest Cliff Watson challenged our conceptions about the digitally-driven lives of teens. “Teens aren’t abandoning ‘social,’ he writes in an article for Medium, “they’re just using the word correctly.”

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Word of Mouth
1:44 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Tech Trends To Look Forward To In 2014

The Sony Curved LED HDTV
Credit Sony

50 years ago, inspired by the 1964 World’s Fair, Isaac Asimov wrote an article for the New York Times envisioning what the world might look like in 2014. Among his predictions: “By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.  Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Breakfasts will be "ordered" the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books.” While we may not have “automeals,” many of Asimov’s predictions were remarkably prescient. Now that we have time on our side, let’s discuss the technology forecast for 2014. Tech analyst and writer Tim Bajarin joins us.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Clive Thompson's "Smarter Than You Think"

Credit smarterthanyouthink.net

When the IBM supercomputer dubbed “Deep Blue” defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, it was considered a major blow for human intelligence, and a big moment for artificial intelligence.  But, as Clive Thompson explains in his new book, Kasparov went on to outsmart computers with human-machine teams.  It turned out that the combination of computers and human intelligence was unbeatable.  With digital realms at our fingertips, Thompson argues, our abilities have been enhanced to an extraordinary degree.

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Word of Mouth
1:53 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

What Does Quality Mean In the Age Of Hi-Def?

Will TVs get even larger than this 75" Samsung? It's hard to imagine.
Credit SamsungTomorrow via flickr Creative Commons

Whether scoping out plasma-screen HDTV’s, or picking up a PlayStation 4, consumers upgrading their entertainment systems this Christmas are generally looking for products promising a better picture, superior sound, or next-generation graphics.  We’ve come a very long way since the VHS and Atari 2600.  So far, in fact, that one may wonder how much better the visuals, sound and graphics on entertainment systems can get – and would the casual user even be able to tell the difference?  

Joining the conversation about where entertainment technology can go from here is Jamin Warren – founder and editor-in-chief at Killscreen, a videogame arts and culture magazine, Slate music columnist Carl Wilson, and, David Ewalt, contributing editor at Forbes.

All Things Considered
5:16 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Lots Of Conditions To Consider In N.H. Judicial Branch's 'E-Court'

New Hampshire’s judicial system is going digital with a new system called eCourt. The system is launching pilot programs in parts of New Hampshire in 2014 - but don’t expect a big rollout like what the White House did for HealthCare.gov.

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Word of Mouth
2:55 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

A Real-Life Tricorder? Affirmative! (Maybe.)

Star Trek's seemingly miraculous 'tricorder' is a device which can measure anything from a patient's vital signs to geological activity with the push of a button. Now, a company called Scanadu has developed a device called the 'Scout,' which they hope can be as useful for the health industry as tricorders were on the Enterprise. We talked with the company's co-founder to learn more. 

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Word of Mouth
10:24 am
Mon November 25, 2013

A Tracking App That Tracks Other Tracking Apps

Credit via fastco.com

The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets and a certain level of self-absorption have led to a number of apps and programs that track sleep, diet, heart rate, baby weight, twitter use, mood, sweat, caffeine, memories and bowel movements. Welcome to the age of the quantified self, but with a thousand ways to keep tabs on your own life, how then, do you keep track of all the trackers?

Sarah Kessler is associate editor for Fast Company. She wrote about how developers creating tracking apps that track other tracking apps.

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Word of Mouth
3:49 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

NYU Journalism Professor: Hack Me!

Credit Don Hankins via flickr Creative Commons

If you’ve been keeping up on the scope of NSA data harvesting and reports of corporations selling – or losing – your personal data, you may well be:

a) scared out of your wits

b) changing your passwords, securing your routers taking steps to protect your data or 

c) throwing your hands up in the air and surrendering to the new insecurity state. There is also the option of throwing out your smart phone, pulling down the shades, and curling up in a ball.

Adam Penenberg is an editor for PandoDaily, a technology news site and a professor of journalism at New York University. He wrote about hiring hackers to test his own security – and found himself  to be more vulnerable than he thought. 

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Word of Mouth
1:23 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

What If Apple, Google, Or Facebook Had Launched Healthcare.gov?

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been called many things – smooth is not one of them.  Once attention shifted from the government shutdown to the October 1st launch of the website healthcare.gov, pundits, reporters, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned glitches and delays as irresponsible and ultimately, unnecessary.  We decided to play a little thought experiment…what if, instead of the government, one of America’s tech giants had been in charge of the site for applying for and purchasing health insurance?  What if instead of healthcare.gov, we had “i-healthcare?”  “Or Google Health?”  What if Mark Zuckerberg were asked to spearhead the “Facebook Health Exchange?”

Joining me to speculate on how the rollout might have gone differently is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and our regular oracle of all things digital. Also joining us is David Ewalt, senior editor at Forbes who writes about technology, games, space and other geeky stuff.

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Word of Mouth
11:26 am
Mon October 21, 2013

The Video Game That Could Get You Hired

Credit via Knack.it

There’s been a lot of fuss made in recent years over the increasing “gamification” of everyday life – that is, the use of game mechanics in unusual settings like personal fitness, or in schools – where the incentive to get points or awards might have more motivational power than getting good grades, or dropping a dress size. In the workplace, companies like Cold Stone Creamery and the Miller Brewing have starting using video games to train fresh hires – and a recent study by the University of Colorado found that employees trained using video games did their jobs better, and retained information longer than those who were instructed by more conventional methods. One company thinks video games can play a role in businesses even earlier – before an employee has even been hired.

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Word of Mouth
12:37 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

A Smart Rifle That Turns Amateurs Into Sharp-Shooters

Motherboard's Derek Mead takes a 1,000-yard PGF shot off the top of Sandstone Mountain in Llano, Texas. That's Darren calling wind.
Credit via motherboard.vice.com

Pop culture has made the sniper out to be the lone wolf of warfare.  The truth is that long-distance shooting is a two man-job.  The sniper may hold, aim and fire the rifle, but it’s the other half of the team – the spotter – who does the ballistics calculations of distance, drop, the slant of the earth, along with wind and other atmospheric factors. They’re typically equipped with a scope and a notepad, sometimes even a laptop.  So, what if there was a weapon that could do all the arithmetic for you, transforming even amateur fire-arm users into deadly sharp-shooters?  Well…now there is.

Derek Mead is host of the short film called “Long Shot” – covering his investigation and field test of the so-called “smart-rifle”, created by the Texas-based company Tracking Point  Solutions. “Long Shot” was produced by Vice magazine’s tech-based video channel Motherboard, and  Derek is also editor-in-chief of Motherboard.

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Word of Mouth
1:42 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Are We Reaching The End Of The Password Era?

Biometric Security, Non-Contact Hand Vein Scan
Credit Worklife Siemens via flickr Creative Commons

Of all the features on Apple’s newest iPhone, the one generating the most buzz by far is the finger print scanner.  The iPhone 5s allows people access to their phones without entering a passcode or even a swipe. So, is this the latest gimmick to sell phones or the beginning of the end of the password? David Ewalt writes about technology, games, space, and other geeky stuff as senior editor at Forbes…which is where you can find his blog, “Spacewar.”

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Word of Mouth
1:10 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Did Your Computer Connect To The Internet Today? Thank A UNH Student

UNH Alumns Dave Andrews and Ben Major at the InterOperability Lab
Credit Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services

 Almost 9 percent of Americans who graduated from college this year will be unemployed.  Eighteen percent will be underemployed. And, according to the Economic Policy Institute, more than half of those who do get jobs will be in positions that don’t require a college degree.  But at the University of New Hampshire, 120 college students know for certain they’ll be getting good, high paying jobs --  before they even graduate.  

Picture your computer workstation.  Maybe you’ve got a Logitech keyboard and an Acer monitor, plugged into a Lenovo laptop – which is hooked up to the internet through a Motorola router and a Netgear modem.

Who is making sure all those devices actually work together?

Turns out it is students at the University of New Hampshire, like Nathanael Rubin and Glenn Martin. The two seniors, both IT majors, are seated  between tall racks of humming servers at the University’s InterOperability Lab, or IOL.  

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Word of Mouth
11:31 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Athens Community Builds Its Own Internet

Credit Curtis Gregory Perry via Flickr Creative Commons

Activism and innovation among Greeks started long before that country's debt crisis. In 2002, an Athens community fed up by slow and expensive service set up its own private internet. More than 1000 members of the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network have free access to the web with speeds up to 30 times faster than commercial telecom carriers in the area. Given global concerns over the extent of the NSA’s surveillance program, independent “mesh” networks like the one in Athens could be adapted in other communities.

Joe Kloc is a reporter for The Daily Dot.

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Best of Public Radio
3:00 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

One Child At A Time: Custom Learning In The Digital Age

8th grade language arts students in Mooresville, NC work with laptops; the computers give them personalized assignments to improve the skills that they need to work on.
Credit Emily Hanford / American RadioWorks

Researchers have long known the best way to learn is with a personal tutor. But tutoring is expensive. Providing the benefits of tutoring to everyone hasn't been possible. Now, experts say technology creates new ways for schools to customize education for each student.

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Word of Mouth
12:40 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Are Recent Reports About The NSA Overblown?

The NSA doesn't have the spy power of Lucius Fox...yet.
Credit via filmonic.com

According to recent reports published by the New York Times, Britain’s Guardian and the non-profit news site Pro-Publica, the National Security Agency, in concert with the British government, has cracked a large portion of the digital encryption used by businesses and everyday web users. These reports also outline the billions of dollars the NSA has invested in powerful technology that allows the government unfettered access to nearly all user’s information before it gets encrypted. Our resident tech expert, Rob Fleischman says these alarming reports are not quite true.

Rob Fleischman is chief technology officer at Xero-Cole, and our chief explainer of all things wired. He sat down with Virginia Prescott to explain.

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Word of Mouth
2:31 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

NASA's Simulates Asteroid Impacts Using A Really Big Gun

Credit http://www.nasa.gov

There are some ways NASA can learn about deep space without sending anyone – or anything – into orbit.  For example, scientists are studying meteorite impacts by recreating them here on earth at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range… the gun shoots projectiles up to fifteen thousand miles per hour into materials designed to simulate the surface of the moon, Mars, and even asteroids. Producer Zach Nugent spoke with Adam Mann, an astronomy and physics reporter for Wired, who visited the Ames facility to see the gun in action.

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Word of Mouth
10:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

'GPS Spoofing' Is More Dangerous Than It Sounds

Credit jonrandel via Flickr Creative Commons

With all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect.  Todd Humphreys is an assistant professor with the Aerospace Engineering department at UT Austin.

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Word of Mouth
9:46 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Reviewing Google Glass

Taylor Quimby

Last February, Google sent out invitations for developers and consumers to “test drive” its new Google Glass technology – a head mounted computer that can access email and is equipped with a camera. The winners of the “Glass Explorer” program were required to attend an event in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles before purchasing the wearable eyeglass computer for fifteen-hundred dollars. Reviews for the cutting-edge gadget have been mixed – there are concerns about safety, distraction, and privacy in Congress, along with more sartorial complaints about Google Glass being inexcusably geeky.

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Word of Mouth
10:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

A Battle Of The Tech Titans

charliesalina/jtprattmedia via Flickr Creative Commons

Patent wars are now standard in the tech industry, so is fierce competition for markets. But what would happen if two Silicon Valley superpowers made the jump to all-out war?

“Though the feud with Apple has been escalating for months, Google CEO Larry Page has never given serious consideration to the plan known internally as Operation GhostFruit. Then Apple decided to test him, first by removing Google as the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad, and then …by blocking Apple devices’ access to Google.com entirely. Larry Page has no choice but to go nuclear.”

That’s an excerpt from Slate’s totally fictional, not remotely thought out experiment called “Wargames: Apple Versus Google,” a highly entertaining ten-part series imagining what might if happen if the two behemoths used all their power, resources, and money to destroy each other. Matt Yglesias is Slate's Business and Economics Correspondent and he spoke with us about the potential battle: Google vs. Apple.

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Word of Mouth
9:06 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Need Help Gardening? There's An App For That

Credit Pebbleheed via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether you have a well-worn green thumb, or are making your first foray into home gardening, rest assured: there’s an app for that. New York Times Smart App Columnist Kit Eaton confesses he’s not an experienced gardener, but he dug in to the wide variety of garden-related apps on the market and joins us with some winners.   

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Word of Mouth
9:29 am
Thu August 8, 2013

U.K. Welcomes The World's First Lab Grown Burger

Credit sneurgaonkar via Flickr Creative Commons

You may have heard the news earlier this week that taste-testers and scientists in the U.K. sampled the world’s first lab-grown burger.  One food researcher said that the burger tasted “close to meat, but not that juicy”. Another quipped, “what was consistently different was the flavor”. Not a great review for a patty costing somewhere around three hundred and thirty thousand dollars, but you’ve got to start somewhere.  Henry Fountain, science reporter for the New York Times, tells us about the science under the bun.

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