Technology & Digital Life

The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Google Announces Foray Into The Wireless Business

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 3:11 pm

Google announced on Wednesday that it is venturing into the wireless business by offering a service called "Project Fi."

Essentially, Google is using the Sprint and T-Mobile networks to provide wireless access to users of Google Nexus 6 phones.

That means that service will be limited, but the real news here is that Google is offering the service with a novel pricing scheme in which customers only pay for the data that they use.

Here's how Google explains it in a blog post:

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Planet Money
5:06 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Why Do Courts Still Deliver Many Legal Documents By Hand?

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
5:37 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Google's New Search Algorithm Stokes Fears Of 'Mobilegeddon'

The Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels. This week, Google is changing the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.
Virginia Mayo AP

Google has a lot of algorithms. And the company updates them on a regular basis. But one update that started rolling out Tuesday has tech writers across the Internet warning of a coming "Mobilegeddon."

The change is only taking place on Google searches made on smartphones. The results will favor websites deemed "mobile friendly," giving them higher rankings than sites that are only optimized for desktops and laptops.

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It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Should The Government Get Out Of The Air Traffic Control Business?

An air traffic control tower at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

Keeping track of the traffic in the skies above us is a big job. The nation's air traffic control system has been reliable, but it's not very efficient. And efforts to replace it with newer technology have gotten bogged down by a combination of uncertain congressional funding and the slow-moving federal bureaucracy. Now, some in Congress want to get the government out of the air traffic control business.

The Federal Aviation Administration says some 7,000 aircraft are over the U.S. at any given time.

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Michel Martin, Going There
7:03 am
Tue April 21, 2015

What Can #NOLASCHOOLS Teach Us?

Teacher Towana Pierre-Floyd in her classroom at New Orleans West in 2005. It's a structured charter school set up for students and teachers displaced by the storm.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 10:38 pm

What if you had to start your school system over almost from scratch? What if most of the buildings were unusable, and most of the teachers had left or been fired? Is that a nightmare, or your dream come true?

In New Orleans, that was the reality after the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina. That set off a chain reaction that transformed the city's schools forever, first by a state takeover and then by the most extensive charter school system in the country.

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U.S.
3:57 am
Tue April 21, 2015

Solar Power Makes Electricity More Accessible On Navajo Reservation

This solar panel unit cost about $17,000, less than half as much as it costs to extend the electrical grid a mile. Thompson pays the power company $75 a month to maintain and service the unit.
Ibby Caputo for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:39 pm

Most people can't imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. Many are Native Americans living on tribal reservations.

For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother's house.

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The Two-Way
8:01 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Norway Becoming First Country To Eliminate FM Radio

Norway is moving on from analog radios in 2017.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 6:22 am

Norway is going to eliminate FM radio in less than two years, the country's government announced, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

Norway is planning to transition completely to digital broadcasting in January 2017.

The Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) system offers a number of benefits over FM, said Thorhild Widvey, Norway's minister of culture, in a statement last week.

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All Tech Considered
6:29 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

At 50 Years Old, The Challenge To Keep Up With Moore's Law

Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore holds up a silicon wafer at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2005. Moore's prediction 50 years ago, called Moore's Law, has been the basis for the digital revolution.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 9:40 pm

Fifty years ago this week, a chemist in what is now Silicon Valley published a paper that set the groundwork for the digital revolution.

You may never have heard of Moore's law, but it has a lot do with why you will pay about the same price for your next computer, smartphone or tablet, even though it will be faster and have better screen resolution than the last one.

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Twitter Now Allows Users To Receive Direct Messages From Any User

Twitter changed its direct messaging guidelines Monday. Now, any user can direct-message any other user even if they are not following each other. The new feature is not automatically enabled; users will have to opt in.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 5:04 pm

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET: Twitter responds to harassment questions

"Communicating with people you may or may not know in real life just got easier," says Twitter Senior Software Engineer Nhu Vuong in a blog post announcing a change to Twitter's direct messaging system. The new feature gives users the ability to receive messages whether the user follows them or not. Vuong used an example of an ice cream shop and a fan to show what's changed:

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All Tech Considered
5:01 am
Mon April 20, 2015

Social Media Can Help Track Tornadoes, But Was That Tweet Real?

Purdue University students are testing new software that may track and warn about tornadoes, such as this one which struck Rochelle, Ill., in early April.
Walker Ashley AP

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 7:49 am

Last week, as a big storm bore down on Rockford, Ill., students in a Purdue University classroom prepared to track its effects using Twitter.

Using software jointly developed by Purdue, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service, they huddled around laptops to analyze a tiny sample of the tweets from the storm's immediate vicinity. They were looking for keywords like "damage" or "tornado" and for pictures of funnel clouds.

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