Technology

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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Word of Mouth
11:02 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Astroturfing On Amazon: Why Telecom Lobbyists Are Planting Bad Reviews

Credit MeneerDijk via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for Amazon.com.  First, President Obama chose one of the company’s fulfillment centers as a backdrop for a speech on raising the minimum wage.  Then, news broke that Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, had purchased the venerable Washington Post.  Amazon now has one hundred and twenty-six million monthly users.  But they might want to start reading product reviews with a grain of salt.  Cited as the largest single source of internet consumer reviews in 2010, the online giant is susceptible to a deceitful practice called astroturfing.  When Susan Crawford’s book “Captive Audience” about the Telecom Industry was published in January, it attached a number of bad reviews later revealed to be fake…with a political agenda behind them.  Our guest Mike Masnick weeded out these fake reviews and published an expose for Techdirt that reached the front page of Reddit.  Masnick is the founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of the Techdirt blog, we spoke with him about his findings.

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Word of Mouth
11:57 am
Thu August 1, 2013

One Of These Space Weather Events Is Not Like The Others

Courtesy nasa.gov

As we learned from Joe Hanson, space weather can be an amazing thing. As receiving real-time space weather forecasts is becoming more of a reality, it would be good to familiarize yourself with some of the weather events you can expect to see. We’ve compiled a list to test your space weather knowledge. All of these events sound fantastic and have been the fodder for many a Sci-Fi plot, but do you know which one of these 4 space weather events isn’t real?

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Word of Mouth
1:21 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Handwriting Is Not A Lost Art Thanks To A Computerized Pen

Credit lernstift.com

People often lament that handwriting is a lost art. But if the creators of a new educational tool have their way, calligraphy will never die out completely. The Lernstift – or “learning pen”– is a working computerized pen which uses vibration to help improve handwriting, and is projected to go into production this fall.   Word of Mouth’s Molly Donahue spoke with Daniel Kaesmacher who helped develop the Lernstift, to learn a little bit more about it.

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Word of Mouth
9:30 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Word Of Mouth 07.27.2013

Credit Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Our favorite content, curated in one amazing hour of radio. This week, the science behind J.K. Rowling's unmasking, a guy who played Mr. Darcy at a Jane Austen Summer Camp, the Libertarian festival for Seasteaders, a new telescope technology that will send balloons into space, regular folks drive NASCAR cars, and a musician who writes songs based on the New York Times column, "Modern Love."

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Word of Mouth
9:30 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Fighting Crimes Of The Future...In The Present

Credit NakedSwanTrader via Flickr Creative Commons

The 2002 film Minority Report, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, imagines a futuristic crime unit that uses data provided by psychics to apprehend criminals before they commit crimes.

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