technology

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/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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Business
8:57 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Dell Vote Delayed Again: New Deal Includes Higher Offer, Voting Changes

Dell

A Dell Special Committee has reached a deal with founder Michael Dell. It raises his bid to buy the company by 10 cents per share but also changes some of the voting rules.

Instead of counting votes not cast as “no” votes, only votes that are submitted will be counted. This gives Michael Dell a better chance of getting his deal passed.

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Austin
11:33 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Loud, Late Night Amber Alert Rattles iPhone Users: How to Change Settings

Some iPhone users were unaware they would receive new "Government Alerts” – until they were notified of an Amber Alert last night.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

An Amber Alert issued late yesterday evening was a wake-up call to many iPhone users in Texas.

An alert was issued close to 10:45 last night for abducted children in San Angelo, Texas, 200 miles northwest of Austin. An Amber Alert was then sent to iPhone users in Austin – which was announced with a loud, jarring tone. 

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Business
8:30 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Dell Decision Day: Today's Vote on Buyout Delayed (Update)

Dell employs about 14,000 people in Central Texas.
flickr.com/philschatz/

Update: Dell is delaying a vote on founder Michael Dell’s offer to buy the company and make it private. The vote was scheduled to happen this morning – but is being pushed back – likely because major shareholders don’t support the deal.

Reports say the vote has been rescheduled for later this month.

Original Story (6:14 a.m.): It is decision day for Dell shareholders.

They are scheduled to meet this morning and vote on whether to accept a buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Management that values the computer maker at $24.4 billion.

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Texas
7:14 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Anonymous Person Posts $500,000 Bond To Free Texas Teen

An undated photo of Justin Carter, who's facing a felony "terroristic threat" charge in Texas.
Courtesy of Jack Carter

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 4:06 pm

Justin Carter, the 19-year-old who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting, is out of jail. An anonymous donor posted the $500,000 bond to allow Carter to go home. Carter plans to stay near New Braunfels, Texas, to await his trial on a felony terroristic threat charge.

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Technology
5:50 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Tech-Savvy Cities May Be 'Smart,' But Are They Wise?

Cable cars move commuters over a complex of shantytowns in Rio de Janeiro, one of many cities taking part in the smart city boom around the world.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 3:52 pm

This summer, NPR's Cities Project has been looking at how cities around the world are solving problems using new technologies. And though there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, New York University's Anthony Townsend remains skeptical.

Townsend, whose book Smart Cities is due out in October, tells NPR's David Greene about the causes, benefits and potential dangers of the smart city boom.


Interview Highlights

On what caused the smart city boom

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Arts and Culture
5:35 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Heard of Tugg? Austin Startup Changes How People Go to Movies

Gonda says movie theatres like Tugg because many screenings are on weeknights – when they're more likely to have open seats.
tugg.com

There’s a screening tonight in Austin for a movie you probably haven’t heard of.

It’s not part of a film festival or a private event. It's happening in prime time at the Alamo Drafthouse on Research Boulevard.

"’GrowthBusters' is an independent documentary film that brings attention to the fact that we’ve outgrown the planet and it’s time to embrace the end of growth," Director Dave Gardner said.

"GrowthBusters" is Gardner's first big documentary. As a small fish in the big pond of the movie industry, he has limited options for getting it on movie screens. So he turned to an Austin-based startup: Tugg.

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Technology
12:35 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Neighborhood Watch Goes Online: New App Links Austin Neighbors

Social media site Nextdoor looks to build relations in Austin neighborhoods using technology.
flickr.com/BruceTurner

The days of lost dog posters and last-minute babysitter scrambles may be coming to a close.

Nextdoor is an app that connects neighbors via their smartphone to help organize neighborhood watches and community conversations. Over 200 neighborhoods in Austin have already signed up for the app, which is set to roll out this summer.

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Business
10:06 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Austin Slow to Warm to Mobile Pay Apps like Isis, Square

While mobile payment apps make transactions easier for retailers, some Austin business are still waiting for the payment platform to take off.
flickr.com/joeybones

The idea is great: Walk into your local coffee shop, order your usual, and pay with the tap of a finger. No credit cards, no cash, no wallet.

That’s the concept behind mobile payment apps like Isis and Square. Customers download an app to their phones, program their credit card, and pay by giving the cashier their name. Their card is charged instantly.

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NSA
8:09 am
Fri June 7, 2013

'Profound Questions About Privacy' Follow Latest Revelations

The National Security Agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
NSA Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 11:32 am

Fresh reports about the massive amount of electronic data that the nation's spy agencies are collecting "raise profound questions about privacy" because of what they say about how such information will be collected in the future, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said Friday on Morning Edition.

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Business
4:48 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Crunch Time Tonight for Tech Startups

Local entrepreneurs will be making pitches for funding at a TechCrunch event.
Huma Munir, KUT News

The tech news website TechCrunch is in Austin hosting a competition looking for the next big ideas.

At Pitch-Off, startups and individuals make minute-long pitches to a panel of judges. It’s already made stops in Chicago, Seattle, Toronto and Boston.

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Business
9:41 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Pledging Not To 'Screw It Up,' Yahoo Seals Deal For Tumblr

They're coming together: Yahoo will pay $1.1 billion to acquire Tumblr.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 8:06 am

The news that broke Sunday is now official.

Yahoo confirmed early Monday morning that it is buying Tumblr in a deal worth about $1.1 billion. "Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business," Yahoo added.

In its statement announcing the deal, Yahoo says that:

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Technology
3:24 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Google's Privacy Shift Powers New Customized Maps

The new Google Maps features tailor-made results based on users' habits and search histories.
Google

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 10:15 am

This week, Google, already a leader in mapping, created more space between itself and its competitors by more deeply mining the data users provide the company when using its various services.

At the Google developers' conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Daniel Graf, director of Google Maps, crowed about the company's mapping app for the iPhone — and couldn't quite stop himself from taking a dig at Apple.

"People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let's not forget, accurate," he said.

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Austin
2:15 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Austin Launching 'Office of Innovation' Later This Year

Among other things, an Office of Innovation will provide city data to app makers, like Yelp.
KUT News

The City of Austin plans to launch an Office of Innovation later this year.

Last night, City Council’s Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee met to discuss expectations for the office. What would it do? What would it cover? The city is open for innovative suggestions.

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Business
11:35 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Looks to Sell Austin Internationally

The State Department and Austin Chamber of Commerce welcomed 26 ambassadors this week in an effort to bring more business to the Capital City.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

The Austin Chamber of Commerce is looking to sell Austin abroad.

Yesterday, the chamber and the State Department invited 26 ambassadors from around the world joined top tech companies like Google, Apple, Samsung and AT&T at the Driskill Hotel, in a tour aimed at bringing more international businesses to Austin.

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Technology
1:14 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Gun Made With 3-D Printer Is Successfully Fired

The Liberator — a plastic handgun made with a 3-D printer.
Defense Distributed

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 12:22 pm

The Texas-based company Defense Distributed is getting quite a bit of attention this week for its Liberator — a handgun made almost entirely by a 3-D printer.

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