technology

Austin
5:43 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

What's a Bitcoin ATM Doing in a Downtown Austin Bar?

Handlebar on East 5th is the home of Austin's, and the United States', first Bitcoin ATM.
Kelly Krupa/KUT

The first cash-dispensing Bitcoin ATM machine in the U.S. launched today, and it’s right here in Austin.

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency that was first developed in 2009; it is a peer-to-peer payment system that operates outside of a central authority or bank. As previously reported by KUT, Bitcoin was created for and traditionally used as a web-based currency, but some are attempting to move the currency offline.

The new Bitcoin ATM represents a big step in the process of trying to brand Bitcoin as a more “mainstream” form of currency.

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Technology
1:29 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

In Austin Fiber Wars, the Little Guy Beats Google & AT&T to the Punch

An Austin arms race is afoot to deliver high speed Internet to Austin.
flickr.com/rutlo

For KUT News and Reporting Texas

Another competitor is joining the fiber arms race in Austin.

San Marcos-based Grande Communications says it will begin rolling out its own super-fast Internet service – offering speeds up to 1 gigabits per second (Gbps) – in select Austin neighborhoods starting next week. The service, which Grande is calling “Power 1000,” would cost $65 per month, with no contract or activity monitoring.

As a comparison, Internet speeds of 1 Gbps allow a user to download a full-length film in about 10 seconds, compared to over two minutes with a 50 megabits per second (Mbps), which is generally the top-tier speed offered to consumers by most Internet service providers.

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Health
12:06 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Online Doctor Ratings About As Useful As Those For Restaurants

Would a doctor dressing neatly affect your rating?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:58 am

If you're looking to go out for dinner, see a movie or plunk down big bucks on a new TV, chances are you'll look online for help with the decision.

Lots of people are now checking out potential doctors that way, too. Online ratings are becoming part of how many Americans shop for a physician, according to a study in the latest issue of JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

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Business
12:13 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Infographic: Texas Leads the U.S. in Technology Exports, Jobs

Apple recently announced plans to manufacture the new Mac Pro in Austin, which will bring about 800 new tech jobs.
youtube.com/apple

In a neverending battle of one-upmanship it seems — for now at least — Texas has the upper hand over the rest of the nation in the tech game.  

A report from the Tech America Foundation found that Texas surpassed long-time tech export leader California with a total $45.1 billion in tech exports, compared to California's $44.8 billion in exports in 2012. Texas and California also led the nation in tech jobs with 330,977 and 328,301 jobs — 22 percent and 21 percent of the 1.4 million tech jobs in the U.S.

To illustrate the data, we've created an infographic you can see below. 

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Technology
10:08 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Facebook At 10: Amid Doubters, Company Eyes Next Growth Phase

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told James Bennet, editor in chief of The Atlantic, in September that he wasn't worried about whether Facebook is "cool." "We're almost 10 years old, and we're definitely not a niche thing at this point," Zuckerberg said.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

Ten years ago, when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook at Harvard, Noah Buyon was only nine years old.

Facebook started out as a site exclusively for college students, so it took Buyon a few years to find out about it. But when his older brothers got accounts, he wanted one too.

"It became kind of the cool thing to have," Buyon says. "I couldn't hold out any more — and I got it, and I've been saddled with it ever since."

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Technology
2:37 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

U.S. One Step Closer To Future Where Cars Talk To Each Other

An illustration showing how a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system would work.
U.S. Department Of Transportation

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:50 pm

The United States is one step closer to a future where cars will communicate with each other to avoid accidents.

The Department of Transportation announced on Monday it was moving forward with the steps necessary to one day mandate vehicle-to-vehicle — V2V — communication technology on light automobiles.

The big deal here is that research — including a 3,000-vehicle test of the system in Ann Arbor, Mich. — finds that V2V technology has the potential to "help drivers avoid or mitigate 70 to 80 percent of vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers."

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Business
2:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Austin Snail Mail Disruptors Outbox Shutting Down

A fleet of Outbox "unpostmen" would pick up and scan subscribers mail. Today, the company announced it was closing.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Less than a year after expanding, an Austin startup is shutting down.

As KUT reported in February of last year, “Outbox picks up its customers’ mail, scans it, and makes it available online. … Outbox workers open and scan letters, catalogs and flyers. Customers log in to Outbox’s website to see their – now-digital – mail.”

At the time, Outbox had expanded its operations into California after testing its service in Austin. But citing a litany of issues impacting its service, Outbox announced today it was ceasing operations.

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Business
2:38 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Analysts: Credit Card Hacking Goes Much Further Than Target

Hackers use credit card scanning machines as part of their sophisticated campaign to steal credit card information and sell it.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:23 pm

The holiday season data breach at Target that hit more than 70 million consumers was part of a wide and highly skilled international hacking campaign that's "almost certainly" based in Russia. That's according to a report prepared for federal and private investigators by Dallas-based cybersecurity firm iSight Partners.

And the fraudsters are so skilled that sources say at least a handful of other retailers have been compromised.

"The intrusion operators displayed innovation and a high degree of skill," the iSight report says.

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Technology
3:08 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Apple is Manufacturing its New Mac Pro in Austin

A screen shot from a promotional video showcasing the new Mac Pro.
youtube.com/apple

Update: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says Apple’s local manufacturing of the Mac Pro means about 800 new jobs.

“I think it’s another day in the life of a growing city,” he tells KUT News, “but it’s a big day in the life of Austin, because as you know, Apple is a premiere company around the world. When they make an important step like this here in our city, that’s going to be heard around the world to our advantage.”

Apple has already announced it’s building a $300 million operations center in Northwest Austin. For that project, Apple is receiving a $21 million grant from the state, over $8 million from the city and $6 million from Travis County

Original story (11:58 a.m.): Apple’s new Mac Pro is being manufactured in Austin.

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Google Fiber
3:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

MAP: The 99 Places in Austin Getting Free Google Fiber (Update)

Update: Sites Approved

The Austin City Council approved recommending 99 public and nonprofit organizations for free access to Google Fiber. The much-anticipated high-speed internet service will include 23 public libraries.

Read more about the council's actions - and which site got cut from the initial list - here: City Council Update.

Update: Council Postpones Action (Nov. 21)

This morning, the Austin City Council voted to postpone adopting a list of 100 sites receiving a free “community connection” to Google Fiber.

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Technology
2:05 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Austin, This Weekend is Your Chance to Try Google Glass

Google Glass is a sleek, lightweight hands-free computing device in a eyeglass frame.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Google has been traveling the U.S., showing off its wearable computing device Google Glass.

This weekend Google is bringing Glass to Austin. It's an unique opportunity to get  firsthand experience with the divisive device - which has inspired strong reactions among many who have yet to use it. 

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2013 in Review
3:44 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Take A Look At The Top Tweeted Moments Of The Year

Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:02 pm

We're preparing to bid adieu to 2013, which means it's time for the ever-reliable year-end lists. NPR's Book Concierge lets you explore the best books of the year. NPR Music chronicled the best albums. And Twitter is out with the biggest tweets and most-tweeted moments of 2013.

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2013 in Review
1:37 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

The Things We Did And Said In 2013, According To Facebook

What the world was talking about on Facebook in 2013. The social media site released a review of the most popular topics, events, and places Wednesday.
Facebook

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:38 pm

Did you travel in 2013? Perhaps you went to Disneyland. Or maybe you met someone special or watched the Super Bowl. Those moments of commonality are being highlighted by Facebook, which today released its list of the year's most popular topics, events and places.

After we spent a few moments reviewing the most common life events people reported in 2013, the list reads a bit like a 10-sentence short story — perhaps a fable or a coming-of-age tale.

See what you think: Here are the events Facebook says "people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013."

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Technology
11:27 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Texan Named to Twitter's Board of Directors

Texarkana-born Marjorie Scardino is the first woman appotinted to Twitter's board of directors.
flickr.com/financialtimes

Social media giant Twitter announced Thursday that Marjorie Scardino – Texarkana native, Baylor grad and former Pearson CEO – is joining its board of directors. Scardino is the first woman to be appointed to Twitter’s board.

Scardino received a little more than 4,000 shares of Twitter to serve on its board, according to SEC filings. She comes onboard after the company was criticized for not having women in high company positions. Twitter went public in November and is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion.

Scardino led educational publishing company Pearson for more than 10 years until 2012. During that time, she tripled its profits to a record $1.5 billion.

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Project-Based Learning
1:15 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Manor New Tech High School Takes Project-Based Learning to Thailand

Manor New Technology founding principal Steve Zipkes speaks to a crowd of guests. A group of students are exporting the school’s educational techniques to Thailand.
twitter.com/ManorNewTech

For students at Manor New Technology High School, lectures and homework assignments are a foreign concept. Tablets take the place of textbooks, and many classes are taught by a team of instructors.

This fall, a group of students is working to bring their school’s innovative learning system abroad.

The school exclusively utilizes project-based learning, a process that teaches course concepts through hands-on projects and presentations which students design themselves. Steve Zipkes, Manor New Tech’s principal, says it's a more engaging and up-to-date learning system. 

"Student these days are digital natives," Zipkes says. "We’re using technology as the invisible tool. It’s not what makes teaching and learning, but it certainly enhances it. With our students today, it’s almost a necessity."

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Chief Innovation Officer
4:29 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Austin's Getting a Chief Innovation Officer. (So What the Heck Does That Mean?)

Austin is adding a new Innovation Office, but the actual work of the office is yet to be defined.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The City of Austin will soon name a leader for its newly created Innovation Office.

So what exactly will this person do – and does Austin need one?

Innovation – like sustainability, transparency, and social responsibility – are buzzwords the public sector is appropriating from the business world. Austin established its own Office of Sustainability in 2010.

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Turning the Corner
10:13 am
Fri November 8, 2013

What Blockbuster Video Can Tell Us About Austin’s Digital Divide

While Blockbuster Video has fallen due to online video, the stores are doing well in a less digitally-connected part of Austin.
Flickr user trebomb, http://flic.kr/ps/dmXZU

Update: This week, Blockbuster Video announced it is closing its 300 remaining retail stores. It’s a bitter end for the rental chain, founded in Dallas, which once had 9,000 stores.

Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood contains two of the city’s three final Blockbuster stores. And unlike the company as a whole, those stores are thriving.

In the story below, KUT examines how forces behind the chain’s closure – the Internet and the rise of streaming video – are the same forces that have kept Dove Spring’s Blockbuster stores open for years.

Original story (Oct. 4): When was the last time you rented something from a Blockbuster Video?

Austin City Council member Laura Morrison’s recollection probably speaks for most of us. “My memory doesn’t go that far these days,” she says.

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Technology
7:05 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Startup Week: What Does Austin Need to Become a Legitimate Tech Hub?

Capital Factory founder and executive director Joshua Baer says Austin is in the cycle to becoming a tech hub.
Laura Rice, KUT News

It’s Austin Startup Week – when the technology community invites people to visit to see why they should start their business in Central Texas. But is Austin a legitimate tech hub?

KUT’s Laura Rice put that question to Joshua Baer – the founder and executive director of the tech startup incubator Capital Factory:

Is Austin a Legitimate Tech Hub?

"I meet people every day and every week who are moving here, that picked up and are moving their whole company here from Silicon Valley or from New York or from somewhere else. But these things don't develop overnight. They don't even develop over the course of one or two years. Really, the lifecycle of a tech company is five to ten years. So to get through a few cycles of that, you're talking 20 to 30 years. That's how long it takes to build up a tech community. Silicon Valley? They've had that going for a long time. Austin? We're still a little earlier in that cycle – but we're in that cycle."

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Crime & Justice
4:20 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Alleged Mastermind of Deep Web's Hidden Drug Marketplace Has Austin Ties

TOR is software used to access the deep web.
flickr.com/brendangates

The man behind Silk Road – a site on the hidden “deep web” where users can buy drugs – has been arrested. And he appears to have Austin ties.

The FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht this morning, accusing him of multiple offenses in connection with running Silk Road.

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Arts & Culture
5:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Five Things You Should Know About Brain-Altering Software

William Hurley, aka whurley, says brain-altering software could someday allow all of the knowledge of, say, Kung Fu to be 'zapped' into a person's head.
Laura Rice, KUT News

Technology is improving – and fast. The next frontier for some software designers is the human brain.

William Hurley, or “whurley," is the co-founder of Austin-based mobile studio company Chaotic Moon.

1. Brain-Altering Software Already Exists:

"Currently there are things that are considered brain-altering software. Sites like Lumosity and things like that where you do brain training and different activities."

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