Technology

All Tech Considered
1:58 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Finding Cheaper Gas With Your Smartphone

The GasBuddy app and website rely on crowdsourcing — people across the country sending in gas prices.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 6:35 pm

Gasoline prices seem to be going up every day, and motorists are looking to squeeze every penny of savings out of each fill-up. Well, as it turns out with so many things these days, smartphone apps can help.

Companies have applications for most smartphones out there to help people find the cheapest gas in town. I tried out six applications on an iPhone and narrowed the selection to two that I found the easiest to use: GasBuddy and Fuel Finder.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:23 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Siri v. Everyone Else

We begin with the implications of man-made beings in the 21st century, and some potential legal questions recently posed by New Hampshire attorney John Weaver.

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All Tech Considered
3:41 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Digital Technologies Give Dying Languages New Life

In an undated photo, members of the Siletz tribe gather for the Siletz Feather Dance in Newport, Ore. The tribe is using digital tools to help preserve its native language.
Courtesy of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 8:45 pm

There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.

Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

The Wild And Crazy 'Tweets Of Steve Martin'

Steve Martin has won two Grammys for his comedy albums. His film credits include Father of the Bride, Parenthood and The Spanish Prisoner.

After 40 years on the stand-up stage, countless comedy albums and iconic movies, Steve Martin is still finding new ways to make people laugh.

The comedian got on Twitter in 2010, and by now he has attracted nearly 2.5 million followers with his funny and slightly demented tweets.

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Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
4:35 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

On Utah's 'Silicon Slopes,' Tech Jobs Get A Lift

Josh James co-founded the Web analytics site Omniture in 1996, then sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion in 2009. Domo is James' latest startup.
Derek Smith

Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies.

Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.

For Jill Layfield, the decision to move here from Silicon Valley was not a tough call.

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Asia
12:01 am
Mon March 12, 2012

iPad Workers: Plant Inspected Hours Before Blast

Workers burned during an explosion at an Apple supplier factory in Shanghai are seen at a hospital where they are receiving continued treatment for their injuries. According to the factory, 24 workers were burned in the explosion.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 1:06 pm

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.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

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.

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Apple Expected To Unveil New iPad

An Apple logo is seen at the entrance of Yerba Buena Center for Arts on Tuesday in San Francisco, one day before Apple holds a press event, to make a special announcement.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 8:49 am

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."

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Law
4:54 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

To Solve Hacking Case, Feds Get Hacker Of Their Own

The LulzSec icon on Twitter.
Twitter

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.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
2:02 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

A Web With No Off-Button

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

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:21 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

The old social networks...

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…

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Word of Mouth - Segment
12:13 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Technology's Missing Links

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.

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All Tech Considered
12:01 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Nailing Down The Appeal Of Pinterest

A visit to the Pinterest home page reveals images of what some say are stereotypically female interests, from women's fashions to recipes.
Pinterest

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

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.

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Technology
4:38 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

A California Civil War Over Internet Piracy

Supporters of the website The Pirate Bay, one of the world's top illegal file-sharing websites, demonstrate in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009.
Fredrik Persson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

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.

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All Songs Considered Blog
9:33 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Explore George Harrison's Guitars

Peter Belanger Courtesy of the Harrison Estate

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:30 am

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.

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