technology

Technology
11:21 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Austin Startup Uses Dumb Phones to Bring Smart Solutions to Africa's Ebola Epidemic

Developers Doing Development hopes to use texts and voicemails to Africans to help combat food, water and safety crises.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Smartphones are now the norm in the U.S., and in Austin, brandishing a flip phone in most situations is the social equivalent to wearing a dunce cap while riding a Segway. 

But in Africa and other developing countries, mobile-only networks dominate communications markets. In those places, a "brick", flip phone or “dumb” phone is a communication lifeline. 

So this weekend, Austin-based group Developers Doing Development is asking tech communities in both Austin and Madison, Wisconsin to bring smartphone-level coding to the dumb phone, and create apps that will provide on-the-ground updates and vital information to developing countries. 

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Texas
4:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Paying With Your Phone? You've Got Options – But Are They Any Good?

flickr.com/williamhook

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

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Texas Standard
4:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Marshall, Texas Became Ground Zero for 'Patent Trolls'

A Texas company has claimed the patent for podcasting – and it's gone after some of entertainment's biggest names.
Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, https://flic.kr/ps/rNSVJ

A courtroom in Marshall, Texas – population 25,000 – is deciding patent cases with implications for some of entertainment's biggest names.

Marshall was the setting for a court case against CBS this week. A small company, Personal Audio, has sued media giants including Apple, Sirius XM, and CBS for damages related to alleged infringement of their podcast patent. (Podcasts are digital files on the Internet that can be downloaded to a computer or media player.)

A jury found CBS did infringe the patent – awarding Personal Audio $1.3 million.

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Texas Standard
2:23 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Overflowing Inbox? Declare Email Bankruptcy

Does your email inbox look like this?
Chad Swaney Flickr

Here’s the scenario: You’re drowning in thousands of unread messages, you're missing meetings and appointments and dreading checking your overloaded inbox. What should you do?

You could declare email bankruptcy by sending a mass-email to all your contacts to inform them of your email insolvency and providing a new email address at which they can reach you.

Or you could take inspiration from Brigid Schulte, the Washington Post reporter who decided to tackle her bloated inbox, which contained 23,736 unread messages, one email at a time.

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Texas Standard
3:42 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

The Dark Corners of the Web That Hacked Nude Celebrity Photos

Flickr user Marco Manna, https://flic.kr/ps/mRKBS

It's being called Celebgate: private photos of some of entertainment's most famous women, ricocheting around the web.

Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Lea Michele are among the female entertainers targeted. And the anonymous hacker claims to have private images of dozens more celebrities.

Fernando Alfonso III is a reporter with the Austin-based website The Daily Dot. He tells Texas Standard most photos appear to be gleaned from the performers' cloud storage accounts online. The photos were then posted to what the Dot describes as "the seediest corners of the Web," including the infamous, unmoderated image board called 4chan.

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Technology
10:12 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Enlisting Smartphones In The Campaign For Campus Safety

Circle of 6 was born out of the 2011 "Apps Against Abuse" challenge, a partnership between the Office of the Vice President, Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:00 am

Technology – and particularly smartphones – could reshape safety efforts on college campuses. At least that's the hope of some developers.

Several new apps offer quick ways for college students facing unsafe or uncomfortable situations to reach out to their peers, connect with resources on campus and in their communities, or notify law enforcement.

These apps for the most part target sexual assault and rape, amid growing national concern about the prevalence of incidents and criticism of the ways colleges and universities are handling them.

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Science
2:33 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Could Maker Culture Spark the Next Industrial Revolution?

A 3D As tools like 3D printers (pictured) drop in price, they increasingly fuel a maker culture, according to UT engineer Scott Allen.
flickr.com/creative_tools

Everyone has ideas. Machines, inventions, and improvements to everyday products: things that bounce around in everyone's mind. But unless that someone is an engineer, inventor, or tinkerer, those ideas stay just that … ideas.

Until now that is.  

A new, emerging "maker" culture encourages innovators to create as they wish with the help of 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other tools. The Obama Administration even recently hosted a nationwide "Day of Making" for these creators. 

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Supreme Court
10:01 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Aereo's TV Streaming Service Is Illegal, Supreme Court Says

Aereo.com, a Web service that provides television shows online, is shown on an iPhone on April 22. The company lost a Supreme Court case Wednesday, as the justices ruled it violates copyright law.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 11:18 am

Aereo, the company that lets subscribers watch TV stations' video that it routes onto the Internet, violates U.S. copyright law, the Supreme Court has ruled. The court's 6-3 decision reverses a lower court ruling on what has been a hotly contested issue.

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Technology
11:27 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drones Approved: FAA Gives OK To First Commercial Use Over Land

A 2011 photo shows an AeroVironment Puma drone being prepared for launch by University of Alaska researchers. The FAA says it approved BP's use of the drone to survey oil fields in Alaska.
Keith Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 12:24 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has issued the first permit in its history for an unmanned aircraft to fly over U.S. soil. Oil company BP will use a drone from the company AeroVironment to conduct surveys in Alaska.

The first drone flights under the recently issued waiver have already taken place, the FAA says.

From the agency's news release:

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Technology
4:17 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Tech Week: Apple In Homes, Snowden Anniversary, Sexism Flare-Ups

Apple's Craig Federighi introduces the company's Home Kit platform during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 7, 2014 9:46 am

It's time for your quick rundown of the week that was in technology and culture.

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Life & Arts
7:08 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Halt and Catch Fire: New AMC Program Focuses on Texas' Silicon Prairie

"Halt and Catch Fire" premiered on AMC Sunday night. SXSW audiences got a sneak peak in March.
Tina Rowden

Texas is the setting of a new AMC show touted as the next “Mad Men.”

Halt and Catch Fire” made its television debut last night. The show follows an unlikely group of computer geniuses in the early 1980's in the so-called "Silicon Prairie."

KUT talked with the show’s creators – Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers – at a busy downtown Austin restaurant when they premiered the program at South by Southwest.

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Technology
4:34 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

SpaceX Unveils A Sleek New Ride To Orbit

SpaceX's new crew capsule was unveiled yesterday.
SpaceX

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 3:38 pm

Yesterday, entrepreneur Elon Musk sauntered on to stage and unveiled his latest product: not a smart phone, but a spaceship.

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Another Data Breach
12:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Saying It Was Hacked, EBay Urges Users To Change Passwords

Hackers broke into a database containing customer information, auction site eBay said Wednesday. The company is based in San Jose, Calif.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:20 pm

Online marketplace eBay says it was the target of a cyberattack in which hackers accessed a database of its encrypted passwords. The auction site says no financial data were revealed — but it's urging its users to update the passwords on their accounts.

EBay says that it hasn't seen any sign of fraudulent activity since the problem was first detected "about two weeks ago." It also said that it stores financial data and customer records in different places and that accounts of its direct-payment subsidiary, PayPal, were not affected by the data breach.

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Technology
4:32 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

As Drones Fly In Cities And Yards, So Do The Complaints

Merrill uses a drone to take aerial shots of Santa Cruz, Calif.
Courtesy of David Merrill

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 9:25 am

The price of drones is dropping — a decent one could cost you $300 — but the reality of the devices flying around cities and neighborhoods doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans.

Are they just paranoid?

Three months ago, when Michael Kirschner and his wife purchased a new condo in San Francisco, they were not concerned about drones. They fell in love with the unit because of its big picture windows.

"You have a view that reaches all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge," Kirschner says.

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Texas
2:36 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Big Hoss, The World’s Biggest HD TV Screen, Debuts At Texas Motor Speedway

Presenting the world's biggest high-definition TV screen.
Texas Motor Speedway

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 12:49 pm

Oh, those boys and their video toys.

Move over, Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth says it has the bigger and better video screen. And it's way bigger than whatever fancy screen you have in your living room.

The speedway on Wednesday night unveiled its giant high-definition video board. TMS says it’s the world’s biggest HD screen at a sporting venue.

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Technology
5:30 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

With Google's Robot-Buying Binge, A Hat Tip To The Future

A BigDog robot at Boston Dynamics in 2010. The BigDog is being developed to help soldiers carry heavy equipment in the field. It can follow a human being, walking across wet/sandy/rocky terrain, just like a dog would.
Suzanne Kreiter Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 7:56 pm

In less than a year, Google has bought more than a half-dozen robotics companies, setting the industry abuzz. But when I ask Google what it's up to with all these robots, the company won't say a thing.

"They are very careful — they haven't disclosed what they are doing," says Richard Mahoney, the director of the robotics program at SRI International, a nonprofit technology accelerator in Menlo Park, Calif. Mahoney also served on the board of Redwood Robotics, one of the companies Google bought.

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Technology
2:59 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Computers That Know What You Need, Before You Ask

Expect Labs' MindMeld app uses predictive computing to push information to us, instead of us having to ask.
Courtesy of Expect Labs

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 11:14 am

We're already giving voice instructions to virtual personal assistants, like Apple's Siri. But artificial intelligence is getting even smarter. The next wave of behavior-changing computing is a technology called anticipatory computing — systems that learn to predict what you need, even before you ask.

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SXSW 2014
2:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Latinos Welcome SXSW Spotlight, But Still Feel Marginalized (Update)

The first ever Latinos in Tech event, which took place on March 6, 2014, was founded by the Kapor Center and Esquivel McCarson Consulting.
Kety Esquivel/Esquivel McCarson Consulting

Update: KUT's Veronica Zaragovia's story on Latinos at SXSW Interactive aired on WBUR's Here and Now today. Listen to the conversation here.

Original story:  South by Southwest Interactive is underway in Austin. This year, there’s a focus on the Latinos innovation in tech – a field where many Latinos face significant barriers. 

When SXSW Interactive kicked off on Friday, people began discussing where Latinos stand in the tech world. Geographically, at least, they haven’t been at the center of SXSW events: the so-called Latinos in Tech sessions took place at a Holiday Inn about a mile from the Austin Convention Center.

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SXSW 2014
11:10 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Austin: Here's the App You Need to Ditch the SXSW Crowds

An Austin-based advertising company created a web app to avoid crowds at SXSW. It uses Foursquare technology to let you know which bars, restaurants and coffee shops people haven't checked in at.
avoidhumans.com

Yogi Berra's famous quote – "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" – has never really applied to Austin's South by Southwest festival.

Yes, there are crowds galore. But people keep coming: in 2012, the number of registrants increased by 15 percent over the previous year.

But now an Austin-based ad agency has developed an app for locals who might be looking to avoid the SXSW masses. It lets you know where people aren’t.

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Austin
12:16 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

The Smartphone App Connecting Austin to Protests in Venezuela

Protestors in Venezuela use smartphone app Zello to communicate
flickr.com/aandres

According to published reports, for the first time in four years Venezuela is set to send an ambassador to the US. This comes despite the fact that Venezuela's president is accusing Washington of fomenting violent anti-government protests – protests that have left more than a dozen people dead. 

Just last week, Venezuela expelled three US diplomats accused of conspiring with student protesters, a charge rejected by the Obama Administration. But that's not to say there's been no Texas role – albeit an unofficial one.  

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