Technology & Digital Life

Digital Life
7:09 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Google Chrome Explores Middle Earth

Browsers can tour the Hobbit's homeland thanks to Google Chrome. Think Google Maps with fantasy destinations. Not all the Hobbit's haunts are available. Google still has to unlock three kingdoms before you can "rule them all."

Planet Money
3:35 am
Fri November 22, 2013

A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto

This is not a bitcoin.
eagleapex's posterous Flickr

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:48 am

For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story "What Is Bitcoin?"

Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, back in 2011. I checked back in with him this week, because so much has been going on with Bitcoin lately.

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All Tech Considered
3:23 am
Thu November 21, 2013

How HealthCare.gov Is Giving A Once-Obscure Bill A Boost

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. (right) reacts to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., at a May hearing. The two are co-authors of a federal IT reform bill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:42 am

As federal tech launches go, it's not just HealthCare.gov that didn't take off. A report from IT research firm the Standish Group finds that 94 percent of federal IT projects come in late, over budget or get scrapped completely.

President Obama focused on the issue of procuring technology for the federal government in a recent interview.

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All Tech Considered
4:52 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Video Game Creators Are Using Apps To Teach Empathy

A screenshot of the iPad game If, which aims to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:06 am

Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.

In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.

Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.

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All Tech Considered
11:50 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Russian App Wants E-Book Piracy To End, Happily Ever After

Moscow-based app Bookmate has a subscription e-book service — similar to others on the U.S. market, but with more of a focus on targeting piracy in emerging literary markets.
Courtesty of Bookmate

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 3:55 pm

In our Weekly Innovation series, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Got an innovation you think we should feature? Fill out our form.

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All Tech Considered
11:35 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Tech Team Podcast Episode 2: The Sharing Economy

NPR correspondents Laura Sydell and Steve Henn introduce this week's tech team podcast from a garage in Silicon Valley.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:13 pm

Keeping with our just-started tradition, all the features that we do during our themed reporting week get a new home in a podcast on SoundCloud. The first episode featured kids and technology, this time around, our four stories on the sharing economy get freshened up and hosted by our Silicon Valley correspondents, Steve Henn and Laura Sydell. Just press play or download for your device.

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The Two-Way
2:47 am
Wed November 20, 2013

First Satellite Developed By High Schoolers Sent Into Space

NASA's PhoneSat, a 4-by-4-inch CubeSat satellite, will use an Android smartphone as its motherboard. It was among the 29 satellites launched Tuesday from Wallops Island, Va. Another miniature satellite, developed by high school students, also was on board.
Dominic Hart AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:51 pm

The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va.

Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text message.

The satellite, using a voice synthesizer, is built to transform that text into an audio message that can be heard over certain radio frequencies around the globe, and in different languages.

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All Tech Considered
12:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

This Slide Shows Why HealthCare.gov Wouldn't Work At Launch

A slide from McKinsey & Co.'s outside review of HealthCare.gov, in the spring.
House Energy and Commerce Committee

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:07 am

This is a story of contrast between two popular methods of software development. One is called "waterfall," the other, "agile."

Waterfall development favors listing a huge set of requirements for a system up front, letting developers go away for months (if not longer) and expecting a huge software product in the end.

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All Tech Considered
10:09 am
Tue November 19, 2013

March Of The Indies: The Punk Rockers Of Video Games

Independent developer Jonathan Blow's time-warping, mind-bending puzzler Braid turned a hackneyed plot — little guy rescues a princess — into a melancholy meditation on love and loss.
Microsoft AP

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:05 pm

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Picture This: Selfie Is 'Word Of The Year'

If old bloggers are doing it when they bike, then you know the word "selfie" has gone mainstream.
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 1:19 pm

Oxford Dictionaries has decided that 2013's word of the year is selfie — and if you don't know what the word means, you may not be a somewhat self-absorbed type who likes to share photos you take of yourself. (Just kidding, selfie fans!)

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