Technology & Digital Life

The Two-Way
5:28 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Using Sound To Levitate Objects And Move Them Midair

An image shows particles levitating in space between four sets of speakers. A Japanese team says they have used the system to manipulate items in mid-air.
Yoichi Ochiai

Researchers in Tokyo have put a new twist on the use of sound to suspend objects in air. They've used ultrasonic standing waves to trap pieces of wood, metal, and water – and even move them around.

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All Tech Considered
2:51 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Netflix Built Its Microgenres By Staring Into The American Soul

While counting Netflix's microgenres, Madrigal discovered the streaming service's favorite adjective: romantic. It appears in 5,272 categories.
Robert Sullivan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 10:17 pm

In the old days, a movie genre was a simple, communal category: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama. One had to locate oneself in the Drama aisle at the video store and then look for just the right thing: A dark road trip movie with a strong female lead? Aha, Thelma & Louise.

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Best Video Of The Day? MIT's 3-D Remote 'Touching' Device

The man on the screen isn't really there. But the flashlight he's moving around is.
Tangible.Media.MIT.edu

It's tempting to say this is the coolest video we've seen so far this year, but a joke like that might make it sound like we're not serious.

Really, there is something about this that strikes as amazing.

The Tangible Media Group at the MIT Media Lab calls its invention a "tangible user interface."

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Alleged Hackers Explain Reasons For Posting Snapchat Data

The logo and a page of mobile app "Snapchat" are displayed on tablets. Hackers broke into Snapchat, the popular mobile app, accessing the phone numbers and usernames of 4.6 million users and publishing them online.
Lionel Bonaventure AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:56 pm

After millions of Snapchat usernames and other data were posted online, a group is saying it revealed the partial phone numbers and other information because the social-sharing service didn't do enough to increase its security. The popular service allows users to send images that vanish 10 seconds after they're seen.

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All Tech Considered
8:43 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter

A shark warning is displayed near Gracetown, Western Australia, in November. An Australian man was killed by a shark near the area that month, sparking a catch-and-kill order.
Rebecca Le May EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 10:35 am

Sharks in Western Australia are now tweeting out where they are — in a way.

Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark's size, breed and approximate location.

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Latin America
3:01 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Brazil's Social Media Boom Sparks Calls For New Privacy Laws

Social media is booming in Brazil, which has become a major market for both Facebook and Twitter. But Brazilian law is still in flux, and legislation is only just being created to deal with the rise of social media.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 11:59 am

The use of social media is exploding in Brazil. It's the third largest market for Facebook and the fifth largest for Twitter.

The controversial women-only app Lulu recently launched here and quickly became the top downloaded app in the country, making Brazil Lulu's biggest market.

"I think it is cool because it's a social network for what all women throughout history have always done — talk about the guys we like, the guys we think are handsome," says 20-year-old Marcela, as she taps away at the Lulu app on her iPhone.

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All Tech Considered
2:58 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Banks Try To Save Big With 'ATMs Of The Future'

An ATM at a Chase lobby in New York is part of what company executives are touting as a "branch of the future" — a place where machines distribute exact change and count cash so tellers don't have to.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 11:42 am

There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."

The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"

She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. I ask for $26.

"Just a $1, a $5 and $20," I say.

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Middle East
4:48 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

In Syria, Conflict In Cyberspace Complements Ground War

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For Syrians who remain in their country, you might think that computer security would be a low priority, but with a civil war raging, so, too, is an electronic war between groups allied with President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces. Anti-Assad groups use cyberspace to recruit fighters and coordinate with allies.

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Around the Nation
4:46 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course

Students at the Oakland Military Institute took several courses offered by San Jose State and the online course provider Udacity this year. The university is now scaling back its relationship with Udacity.
Laura A. Oda MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:23 pm

One year ago, many were pointing to the growth of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, as the most important trend in higher education. Many saw the rapid expansion of MOOCs as a higher education revolution that would help address two long-vexing problems: access for underserved students and cost.

In theory, students saddled by rising debt and unable to tap into the best schools would be able to take free classes from rock star professors at elite schools via Udacity, edX, Coursera and other MOOC platforms.

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All Tech Considered
4:44 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Too Many Games, So Little Time: Indies That Innovated In 2013

The game Don't Starve casts you in the role of "gentleman scientist" Wilson, with just one goal: Survive. Its unique mix of survival horror and crafting gameplay, paired with a charming Tim Burton-esque art style, made this a standout game of 2013.
Klei Entertainment

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 2:42 pm

The indie gaming market is a growing force in the industry. And while the nature of the market makes it difficult to get exact sales figures, there is no denying that 2013 was a great year for introducing new and innovative titles to gamers of all stripes and on all platforms.

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