Apple's new iPad goes on sale this Friday, the latest version of a wildly popular product from an iconic company. In the past couple of months, though, Apple has come under criticism for working conditions in Chinese factories that help build iPads.

A New York Times investigation focused on an explosion at an Apple supplier factory last May. In December, another explosion struck a different Apple supplier factory in Shanghai.

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

Apple Expected To Unveil New iPad

Mar 7, 2012

As has been the case with all of Apple's product unveilings, there is a shroud of secrecy surrounding today's impending announcement.

Today, Apple has invited media to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for a 1 p.m. ET. event. The only clue provided by Apple was a typically cryptic invitation with a picture of an iPad and a few words: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

Federal prosecutors have charged five men with responsibility for some of the biggest computer hacks in the past few years. The FBI says the hackers penetrated the computer systems of businesses like Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures, stole confidential information and splashed it all over the Internet.

But what's most unusual about the case is how investigators cracked it — with the help of an insider who became a secret government informant.

Photo by Anthony Reeves, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Vents in Egypt and Tunisia prove that although the internet can’t be destroyed per se, it can be more or less “turned off” – a fact that has some digital-rights activists questioning the centralized, top-down organization of internet service providers.  Julian Dibbell is a tech journalist and author of The Shadow Web, an article in the March issue of Scientific American outlining growing efforts to provi

The old social networks...

Mar 6, 2012
Photo by John Lam via Flickr Creative Commons

"Mesh networks" are set up the way the original internet was envisioned to work – users hosting and transmitting as individuals, rather than using centralized networks. Back then, users also communicated differently with each other – on platforms with funky names like IRC and NNTP. Those systems live on today.

A select few are choosing to bypass Facebook and go old-school, with an online forum that lacks pop-up ads and animated banners, where there’s no double-clicking, no need for a mouse, and no graphics…

If you’re into tech I’m sure you’ve heard the joke about Apple’s iPad – not since Moses has the world been this excited about a tablet. Truth be told, the iPad’s iconic features didn’t drop from the sky into Steve Jobs’ hands – if anything, tech development is a lot more like evolutionary biology – and if you look beneath our latest and greatest gadgets, you’ll find evidence of that evolutionary process – products that were born of good ideas, but didn’t quite make the cut.

To the list of weird-sounding hybrid words of the digital age, like Googling and tweeting, we can now add "pinning." As in Pinterest. It's sort of an online scrapbook or bulletin board, and it's one of the fastest-growing websites in history.

Last month, more than 10 million unique visitors signed on to Pinterest. But some of them, like Billy Winburn, are still trying to get the hang of it. At an office in Alexandria, Va., Jennifer Folsom, who works a few desks away, is walking him through the process.

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.

George Harrison wasn't the flashiest, craftiest guitarist of his day, just the one everyone loved. His sound always served the songs, just enough to make them better, but never enough to eclipse the writing of Lennon or McCartney or even his own tunes.

Troubled Sony Pins Hopes On PlayStation Vita

Feb 22, 2012

Sony launched the PlayStation Vita, its first hand-held gaming device in seven years, Wednesday. Vita, of course, is the Latin word for "life." And after suffering a series of tough blows — from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to a relentlessly strong yen and a significant hacking attack — a bit of new life is just what the struggling company needs.

The Vita went on sale at a Best Buy in Los Angeles Wednesday morning. Despite the company's $50 million marketing campaign, only about a dozen gamers were on hand.

Modern computer games and their fast-paced graphics require an incredible amount of computing horsepower. So much, in fact, that the kinds of chips commonly used for gaming are now being built into some of the world's fastest supercomputers.

If you're a serious gamer, if realistic, detailed graphics get your pulse racing, you should write Jen-Hsun Huang a thank-you note.

With developers pumping out an estimated 2,000 applications daily for use on smart-phones and tablets, reviewers and web-critics are keeping busy sorting out what’s worth downloading, and what’s worth squat. 

iLove Don'ts

Feb 14, 2012
Photo by Garrett via Flickr Creative Commons

Hallmark holiday or not, Valentine’s Day carries joy, expectations, sadness, and more than its share of tired tropes for just about everyone. What, we wondered, signals love in the age of digital-era dating? Synching calendars on Outlook? Downloading a marriage counselor app on your smart-phone?

As zealous consumers know, the sleek look and user-friendly feel of Apple’s high-end gadgets are big part of their sticker price. One man is rethinking form and function with a tiny, inexpensive, bare-bones computer called the Raspberry Pi …which he hopes will bring the power of programming to even the poorest corners of the globe. Eben Upton is the creator of the miniature machine – he’s also founder of the Raspberry Pi foundation.

Here's video of the Raspberry Pi in action:

<a href="" target="blank">aartj</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

Best journal article title of the week? "Accelerated ion beams for art forensics." Frankly, they had me at "accelerated ion beams" - the beams could have been for almost anything - but using it to stop art fakes is even that much cooler.

Photo by (cup)cake_eater, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Produced by Chris Cuffe

Photo by Leo Reynolds, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons



Part 1: Revenge of the Web-nerds

Just to be clear:

Wikipedia's English pages have indeed "gone black" until midnight ET tonight — part of an organized protest by it and many other websites over pending anti-online piracy legislation in Congress.

Courtesy Joseph Schlesinger and MakeIt Labs

In Nashua, engineers, gadget lovers, tech enthusiasts and other so-called “makers” are working to reopen MakeIt Labs; Nashua city inspectors shut the space down late last year over safety and permitting issues.

Gwarlingo's Michelle Aldredge

Somewhere on the list of why making a radio show is so fun would be this:  surfing the internet is part of the job. In other office pods, people have to Google on the sly. We consider following links and electronic crumbs rather productive. You never know when you might accidentally stumble onto your next guest.

Photo by SuperlativeQuip, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

In the span of one year, a business can achieve record-breaking profits, or suffer staggering financial losses – and despite the size of its product or the confidence with which it’s marketed, the automotive industry has proven to be no exception. You only have to look as far back as March of last year – when a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan took the lives of thousands, set off an international nuclear scare, and sent Toyota’s quarterly profits plummeting as production was delayed, and parts suppliers were wiped out.

Photo by Sebastianlund, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Twenty eleven was a big year for personal computing, from the explosion of cloud technology and the tablet computer to the death of Steve Jobs and our introduction to his iphone brainchild, the personal assistant named Siri. Here to tell us what might be coming next is Rob Fleischman. He’s a computer scientist, serial tech entrepreneur, and our favorite explainer of all things technology related.


(Photo by Johan Wieland via Flickr Creative Commons)

In 1948, a plane crash in a remote Alaskan mountain range killed everyone on board …twenty-four merchant mariners returning to the US from Shanghai, and six Northwest Airlines crew members. The crash site was quickly covered by snow and eventually entombed in ice…where it remained until 1999. It was then that a pair of former US Airforce pilots turned their hobby of solving forgotten aviation mysteries into an investigation.

(Photo by Eifachfilm Vacirca via Flickr Creative Commons)

Back in the mid-2000's, peer to peer lending web sites like Prosper and Lending Club bet that ordinary people could take the place of banks. The business model was both daring and consistent with the hyper-connected internet culture. The idea was that people who needed loans could connect with investors willing to bet on getting paid back with a little interest. Prosper’s faith in crowd-sourcing replacing traditional risk-assessment tools used by banks turned out to be a mistake.

(Photo by Mr. Wright via Flickr Creative Commons)

The CEO of Reppify, a start up offering employers a new way to measure prospective employees by their use of social media, explains why "Klout" is what it's all about.   

<a href="" target="blank">Jim Nutt</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

The hospital delivery room is not a fun place for surprises - the more parents and medical staff know going in, the better the outcome usually is. The Predibirth system helps keep surprises to a minimum by MRI-scanning Junior in the womb* and running virtual simulations of labor - if it sees a potentially serious problem, like baby's head being bigger than expected, doctors can consider planning a c-section in advance.

Dennis Skley / Flickr

Recently, Wells Fargo Securities released a short report offering a state-by-state look at the places that could be hardest-hit by a potential European recession.  Since New Hampshire has carved out a healthy niche for itself in the high-tech components export market, we thought this report might be of interest to our StateImpact readers.

flickr by liewcf

Here’s a story worth sharing on your smartphone: new research says there is NOT an epidemic of teen sexting.

Janis Wolak is senior researcher at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. She’s co-author of two studies on sexting being released in today’s edition of the journal Pediatrics, and she tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson the UNH data shows a rate of sexting much lower than the 20 percent number commonly cited in news reports.