Technology & Digital Life

All Tech Considered
4:40 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

U.K. Cracking Down On Porn, Blocking It Unless Users Opt In

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to block Internet porn by default on all British computers.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Every home in the United Kingdom will be blocked from accessing pornography through Internet connections, under new measures announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron. When these go into effect later this year, Internet users who want to access porn will have to opt in with their Internet providers.

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Business
4:28 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Residents Forced To Live Without Landlines

Saltaire is one of the vacation villages on New York's Fire Island where Verizon has replaced copper landlines with home wireless connections.
Dan Bobkoff NPR

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:02 pm

Last fall, Hurricane Sandy damaged homes, buckled boardwalks and ruined much of the infrastructure of the small vacation spot of Fire Island, just off the coast of New York. The storm also destroyed many of the island's copper phone lines. But the island's only traditional phone company has no plans to replace them. Instead, Verizon is offering customers a little white box with an antenna it calls Voice Link.

"It has all the problems of a cellphone system, but none of the advantages," says Pat Briody, who has had a house on Fire Island for 40 years.

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All Tech Considered
1:33 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

On Digital Dating: Never Committing, And Never Breaking Up

Texting and social media make romantic ties simultaneously easy to avoid and harder to shake.
Ben Margot AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:54 pm

I've been out of the dating world for the past decade, which makes me unqualified to speak from personal experience but intensely curious about how technology has upended courtship conventions. Based on the recent headlines, it seems an interesting paradox has emerged: Texting and social media make romantic ties simultaneously easy to avoid and harder to shake.

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Parallels
11:22 am
Mon July 22, 2013

They Can Hear You Now: The Global Surge In Cellphone Use

A woman uses her cellphone to record celebrations in Cairo's Tahrir Square on July 4.
Ed Giles Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:03 pm

The age of the traditional landline telephone is in rapid decline, as NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports on today's All Things Considered.

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All Tech Considered
6:21 am
Sun July 21, 2013

High-End Stores Use Facial Recognition Tools To Spot VIPs

Hey, isn't that ...? New facial recognition software is designed to help store employees recognize celebrities like Mindy Kaling — and other bold-faced names.
Chelsea Lauren Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 3:33 pm

When a young Indian-American woman walked into the funky L.A. jewelry boutique Tarina Tarantino, store manager Lauren Twisselman thought she was just like any other customer. She didn't realize the woman was actress and writer Mindy Kaling.

"I hadn't watched The Office," Twisselman says. Kaling both wrote and appeared in the NBC hit.

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All Tech Considered
12:30 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

The Tech Week That Was: Phone Upgrade Plans And TV's Future

Cord-cutting was among the top tech topics this week.
Pennuja via Flickr

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 1:25 pm

So much fascinating tech and culture news, so little time. But we certainly think you should see the journalism that's catching our curiosity each week, so each Friday we'll round up the week that was — the work that appeared in this blog, and from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.

ICYMI

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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Thirsty? 'Sweat Machine' Turns Perspiration Into Drinking Water

The Sweat Machine was unveiled as part of a UNICEF campaign promoting safe drinking water.
UNICEF

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 11:53 am

Thomas Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration — words that could well apply to a new machine promoted by UNICEF that turns human sweat into drinking water.

The Sweat Machine extracts moisture from worn clothes by spinning and heating them, then filters the resulting liquid so that only pure water remains. It was built by Swedish engineer and TV personality Andreas Hammar, and uses a technology developed by Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and the water purification company HVR.

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Science
10:41 am
Fri July 19, 2013

DIY Summer Hacks, From the Pool to the Grill

Ever tried to make your own sunscreen? A water bottle rocket? How about a cardboard canoe? Eric Wilhelm, founder of Instructables, and Mike Szczys, managing editor at Hackaday.com, discuss their favorite do-it-yourself summer projects. And Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton suggests some cooking hacks, like "cooler corn" and turning your BBQ into a smoker.

All Tech Considered
12:04 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Tech Companies Issue Loud Call For Surveillance Transparency

A Ukrainian activist protests the NSA Internet surveillance program.
Sergei Supinsky Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 12:44 pm

Apple, Google, Microsoft and a broad coalition of major tech companies are making a loud call for greater government disclosure of digital communications monitoring.

In a letter out today, an alliance of 63 companies and groups are calling for dramatically increased transparency around U.S. government surveillance efforts. This comes as the companies — and individual Americans — continue to grapple with recent revelations of a sweeping surveillance program led by the National Security Agency.

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All Tech Considered
8:32 am
Thu July 18, 2013

For Online Ranters, Anger Begets Anger

Researchers examined how people feel after reading and writing online rants.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 11:25 am

It's no secret that angry online ranters have become a real scourge of the Internet. The equation goes something like this: Normal person + anonymity + audience = terrible person.

If people hiding behind their angry rants with anonymous identities have ever made you feel bad, know this: Research shows the commenters feel worse.

"Frequent venting leads to subsequent increases in anger rather than decreases," write the researchers behind "Anger on the Internet: The Perceived Value of Rant-Sites."

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