technology

Technology
5:00 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Computerized Rifle Makes Anyone an Expert Marksman - Should It?

Digital optics and tracking technologies enhance this long range rifle.
Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint, Inc.

An Austin-based company, TrackingPoint, has developed a high-powered, long-range computerized rifle that can turn anyone into an expert marksman. But some wonder whether putting that technology in the hands of everyday people is a wise idea. 

At shooting range just outside of Austin, I’m holding one of TrackingPoint’s top-of-the-line, $22,000 rifles. I have some shooting experience. But I’ve never shot a big rifle before. Three company representatives walk me through it.

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Arts and Culture
7:38 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Whose MP3s Are They, Anyway?

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 2:50 pm

If you have a CD or book you don't want anymore, you can sell it. The law says that's perfectly legal. But what about an MP3 or an e-book? Can you legally resell your digital goods?

This was the question before a judge in the case of Capitol Records v. ReDigi Inc.

Launched in 2011, ReDigi is basically a digital version of a used-record store. You can sell the company your old MP3s, and you can buy "used" MP3s that other people have sold.

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Austin
12:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

After Kansas City, ISPs Watch Google's Austin Plans Closely

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell at yesterday's Google Fiber announcment.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin has been tapped by Google to be the second city in the U.S. to get Google Fiber, the search giant’s super fast gigabit internet service. Kansas City was the first city to dive in with Google. And it’s learned some lessons.

Some of Central Texas’ largest Internet providers also serve Kansas City, Missouri. Think Time Warner and AT&T, among others. Kansas City Assistant City Manager Rick Usher says as soon as word spread that Google was getting some deals –  waived fees, right-of-way access and more – his phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

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SXSW
2:54 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

At SXSW Interactive, Civic Apps Hack City Data For a Safer Austin

A "hackathon" of City of Austin data resulted in an app mapping the location of known dangerous dogs.
flickr.com/satyrika

As South by Southwest Interactive grows, so does the difficulty of trying to encapsulate the annual conference. And while onlookers can point to big themes in 2013 and much, much more, one burgeoning area with real world applications is civic apps and hacks.

Simply put, civic apps take publicly available data – anything from crime statistics to restaurant inspection scores – and mashes them up with applications like maps, making them accessible to the smartphone set. The biggest example is Code for America, a national non-profit that works with cities to develop meaningful data applications.

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Technology
1:24 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Google Paying $7 Million to Settle Street View Data Capturing Case

The camera mounted on a Google Street View car used to photograph whole streets obscures part of the U.S. Internet giant's logo.
Daniel Mihailescu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:37 pm

Google has agreed to pay a $7 million fine to settle claims from 37 states and the District of Columbia that the search giant improperly collected data from unsecured wireless networks across the United States using its "Street View" vehicles.

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SXSW
7:21 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Self-Tracking Apps To Help You 'Quantify' Yourself

Noah Zandan shows off his Zeo sleep-tracking headband. His other self-tracking devices are on his wrists. Noah and his father, Peter, are both part of the growing "Quantified Self" movement.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 10:11 am

Technology has made it easier than ever to track your activity levels, your sleep cycles, how you spend your time, and more. The self-trackers who near-obsessively capture and analyze their own data are part of a growing "Quantified Self" movement.

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SXSW
6:46 am
Mon March 11, 2013

The Most Talked About Tech And Culture Trends At SXSW Interactive

The feline known as Grumpy Cat.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Everywhere you walk in downtown Austin, Texas, new names compete for the attention of the tens of thousands wandering the SXSW Interactive festival. Which of this year's emerging ideas and brands — MakerBot, Leap Motion, Geomagic — will break into mainstream consciousness? Here's a quick rundown of the conversation topics in coffee lines, and some notes on appearances and panels that caught our attention:

Beyond The Keyboard And Mouse

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Technology
1:21 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Facebook Unveils Big Changes to Your News Feed

The new look of Facebook's news feed.
Facebook

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:49 pm

Update at 1:31 p.m. ET. Larger Images, Mobile Oriented:

Facebook announced today that it was overhauling its "news feed." This is significant on two fronts: First, this is truly the first big makeover for the feature since its inception. Second, its users — some 1 billion worldwide — are known to be very touchy about changes.

Reuters said the new news feed is "visually richer" and "mobile device-oriented." It means the feed will look the same on your computer as it does on your mobile device.

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Transportation
3:32 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Austin Could Start Impounding 'Gypsy Cabs' - Including HeyRide Drivers' Cars

Looking to offer rides over South by Southwest? If drivers aren't licensed with the city, they could have their cars impounded.
flickr.com/atmtx

Police may begin impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers who offer rides for money – and that includes drivers using online apps like SideCar.

Item 30 on this week’s Austin City Council agenda would allow police to impound “a ground transportation service vehicle operated in violation” of the city code governing transportation franchise agreements, like the ones in place with Austin taxi companies.

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Business
5:25 am
Tue February 26, 2013

The Austin Startup That Says You’ll Never Touch Snail Mail Again

With Outbox, a fleet of vehicles "undeliver" subscribers' mail.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update (Jan. 21. 2013): Outbox has announced it is ceasing operations. Read more here.

An Austin company is expanding its concept of undoing the work of the United States Postal Service. 

Outbox picks up its customers’ mail, scans it, and makes it available online. The company announced today that it will start serving San Francisco and parts of Silicon Valley, after testing its service in Austin since 2011.

Outbox workers open and scan letters, catalogs and flyers. Customers log in to Outbox’s website to see their – now-digital – mail. You never have to go to your mailbox. The cost? About 5 bucks a month.

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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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