technology

National Security
1:10 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

How Could The U.S. Respond To Chinese Hacking?

A Chinese soldier stands guard Tuesday in front of the Shanghai building that houses military Unit 61398. A U.S. cybersecurity company says the unit is behind nearly 150 computer attacks on U.S. and other Western companies and organizations in recent years. China denies the allegation.
Carlos Barria Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 11:07 am

If the Chinese military is regularly hacking into the computers of U.S. organizations, as an American security firm says, it raises all sorts of questions about how the U.S. should respond.

Is this a job for the military or the intelligence agencies? What role should diplomats and trade officials be playing?

The report issued this week by the IT security consultancy Mandiant says it has traced the hacking activity to the People's Liberation Army's Unit 61398, which has "systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organizations."

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Business
9:41 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Law Change Makes It Harder To Unlock Cellphones

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:41 am

Maybe you don't like your mobile phone carrier, but you like your phone and you want to keep it but change providers. An obscure change in federal law makes it illegal to switch without permission from your carrier.

If you have, for example, AT&T, in order to switch to T-Mobile you have to unlock the phone, and AT&T can now stop you from doing that.

The change in the copyright law has some people upset, and they're petitioning the White House for a fix.

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Business
7:55 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Austin Company NetSpend Acquired for $1.4 Billion

Austin-based NetSpend is being acquired for $1.4 billion.
netspend.com

One of the largest public companies in Central Texas is changing hands. Austin-based NetSpend Holdings Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Total System Services (TSYS) for around $1.4 billion.

TSYS is a payment processing company based in Columbus, Georgia. It provides credit solutions to financial institutions, businesses, and governments in more than 80 countries.

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Business
4:35 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

HeyRide Bought Out by San Francisco Rival

The ride-sharing app HeyRide is now part of SideCar.
courtesy Heyride

SideCar, a San Francisco company that uses smartphones to connect car owners with people who need a ride, has acquired HeyRide, an Austin company that tried to do the same thing.

HeyRide received a cease and desist order in November from the city of Austin. The city said the startup operated like a cab service but didn’t take the same safety and regulatory precautions.

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Politics
12:59 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Obama to Hold Virtual 'Fireside Hangout' at White House

President Obama video chats with a questioner in 2012.
The White House

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 10:03 am

The White House has set up its latest online Fireside Hangout to focus on issues President Obama raised in his State of the Union Address this week. The live event is hosted by Google. The White House says he'll focus on jobs and other topics, such as early childhood education.

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Austin
8:22 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Lawsuit Claims Dell Buyout is at Expense of Shareholders

The lawsuit says that founder and CEO Michael Dell's buyout is unfair to the computer company's stockholders.
flickr.com/oracle_images

Dell Inc. is facing a lawsuit. It was filed in Delaware on Wednesday.

The lawsuit accuses founder and CEO Michael Dell and other company directors of breaching their fiduciary duties by failing to maximize shareholder value and selling the company at the lowest price at the expense of shareholders.

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Business
10:56 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Michael Dell Taking Company Private (Updated)

It's showtime: Michael Dell at a 2012 Dell World event.
flickr.com/dellphotos

Update: Dell's announcement this morning has thousands of Austin employees wondering how going private will affect them.

John Doggett is a Senior Lecturer at UT’s McCombs School of Business. He expects layoffs at Dell.

“I expect they will substantially reduce their PC group by most likely getting rid of consumer PCs and anybody in that group may lose their job," Doggett said. "They will also get out of their investor relations group because they don’t have any investors to talk to in the public. They probably will also not do any or many acquisitions... And I expect those who can leave, are going to leave. There’s going to be an exodus if they feel that their job is at risk."

Michael Dell sent an email out to employees shortly before 8:30 this morning.

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Technology
10:18 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Google Street View Takes A Hike. So?

A view of the Grand Canyon captured by the Google Trekker
Google

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 9:45 am

A few months back, Google released a few of its engineers into the wild with a camera called the Google Trekker.

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Austin
10:04 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Gaming Company Launches First North American Studio in Austin

Another technology company brings a studio to Austin.
Crytek

Austin may be reaffirming its place at the center of the gaming industry.

A company based in Germany has announced its first studio in North America will be in Austin.

Crytek GmbH ("Crytek") is an interactive entertainment company. It already has eight studios spread across Europe and Asia.

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Technology
8:22 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Austin AT&T U-verse Customers Without Phone, TV & Internet (Updated)

Thousands of AT&T U-verse customers have been without service since Monday.
flickr.com/cytosine

Update: AT&T U-verse says service has been restored to most customers affected by the outage. The company posted the following on its facebook page this morning:

U-verse service has been restored for the vast majority of our customers affected by the outage. We expect any remaining customer issues will be resolved this morning. We will provide a credit to customers who were affected. We know our customers count on their U-verse service and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Are you still without service? Leave us a comment or send us an email—news@kut.org—that is, of course, if you can track down some internet access.

Original post: (Jan. 23, 4: 59 p.m.) Some AT&T U-verse customers across Texas and throughout the southern U.S. are experiencing TV and Internet outages.

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Business
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Austin No. 2 in Economic Growth

Tech is the main driver of Austin's growth, a report says.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin has come out on top, almost, in an economic ranking of U.S. cities.

The Milken Institute said Austin is the second best performing city, based on measures like job growth and wage increases. The study’s author, Ross De Vol, say technology is the region’s big wealth driver.

De Vol says what Austin needs to catch No. 1 city San Jose is more money for growing businesses.

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Business
7:34 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Report: Dell Could Go Private

Dell Inc's headquarters in Round Rock. Dell stock surged on word the publicly-traded company could go private.
Dell Inc.

Shares in computer-maker Dell Inc. surged by 13 percent Monday on rumors the Round Rock based company could go private. Bloomberg News cites anonymous sources as saying Dell is in talks with at least two private equity firms.

John Doggett is a lecturer at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. He says the talks come as Dell is shifting its business strategy away from PCs.

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Education
5:05 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The Texas School District Where Every Student Gets an iPad

Eanes ISD will soon join a few other districts that provide tablet computers to students.
Carlos Morales/KUT News

The Eanes school district will become one the first in the state to distribute iPads to every single one of its students, kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Texas Legislature paved the way for school districts to adopt tablets two years ago by allowing schools districts to spend textbook money on digital learning materials.

Of course, the school districts still have to buy their own iPads, and that’s what the Eanes school board voted to do last month: Spend $1.2 million to buy enough iPad 2s for every student in the district.

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Austin
4:05 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Austin Wants to See Your New Year's Resolutions - Via Text

Will you resolutions make the city's cut? Text to find out.
KUT News

Please don’t say your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. As full of merit as your resolution is, it may not be tweeted out by city staff.  

Starting today and through Dec. 31, the city of Austin is encouraging Austinites to text their New Year resolutions to 512-518-5879.  But there’s a catch: you need to think about how your resolution will make the city better. City staff will then go through them and pick the most interesting responses.  

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Austin
12:35 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

What Austin Googled in 2012

The Alamo Drafthouse was Austin's most searched term in 2012.

Google has released its Zeitgeist 2012, cataloging what the world was searching for online this year.

And sure, while Austin has its share of Whitney Houston and Gangnam Style fans (Houston and the song from Korean rapper PSY being the world’s top two search terms), Austin residents made plenty of queries closer to home.

Without further ado, here’s the top 10 most searched terms in Austin in 2012:

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Health
4:25 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breeding Some Digital Discontent

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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Technology
11:00 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Making Permanent Digital Records Not So Permanent

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:11 pm

The Internet is forever — and so are texts, tweets and Facebook updates — but a startup has big ambitions to bring privacy and impermanence to online communication. The company, called Wickr, lets users decide how long a message lives.

The people behind Wickr found inspiration in 1960s-era TV and messages that self-destructed. "I think everybody who's watched Mission Impossible has always wanted self-destructing messages," says co-founder Nico Sell.

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Technology
11:33 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Group Of Internet Trolls Claims Thousands Of Tumblr Blogs Infected By Worm

A screenshot of the Tumblr homepage.
Tumblr

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 11:32 am

A notorious group of Internet trolls says it has unleashed a worm that has littered Tumblr blogs with inflammatory and racist posts.

According to the technology site The Verge, GNNA, whose full name we can't print in a family blog, says the worm has infected more than 8,000 accounts. The worm spread when users were logged into Tumblr and clicked on a viral — in more ways than one — post that asked for all Tumblr users to "drink bleach and die."

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Technology
7:19 am
Mon December 3, 2012

In Eye Control, A Promise To Let Your Tablet Go Hands-Free

In an image from an Eye Tribe video, a man uses his eyes to play the Fruit Ninja game, slicing fruit in half as it appears on the screen.
The Eye Tribe

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 3:57 am

Forget touch screens and voice recognition — what if you could control your computer just by looking at it? Gaze-based interaction has been around for 20 years, used mainly by people with disabilities. But the technology could be available to the masses soon, allowing users to move a cursor with their eyes, or turn the pages of an e-book without lifting a finger.

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Austin
12:45 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Evacuating a Wildfire? There's an App for That

The app provides interactive maps with wildfire information.
American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has released a free mobile app to help people stay aware of wildfire danger.

The app gives users instant access to a so-called “blaze tracker” that issues alerts when conditions are favorable for wildfires and when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any location designated by the user. Users can also monitor multiple locations to keep up-to-date with what might be happening in a region susceptible to wildfires where friends or family live.

"A lot of information about wildfires is really hard to get and to take in. Wildfires are big, covering hundreds of acres, and also really fast-moving... [This app] actually even allows you to see the path of a fire, where its perimeter is, and what's happening. And that really makes the information about these big fires a little easier to digest," Sara Kennedy, Director of Communications for American Red Cross Central Texas Region, says.

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