technology

Technology
1:08 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Google Poses Challenge to the Austin Tech Community

Google is hosting a challenge for Austin techies that can help better the community.
flickr.com/grahamsblog

The City of Austin has agreed to participate in the first ever Google Place API Developer Challenge.

If you’re a developer, designer or generally tech-savvy, you’re officially invited to the challenge. But there’s something quite different about this event. It is specifically designed to help communities and governments run more efficiently through the use of technology. The idea is to make public information more accessible and useful, so developers will have access to Google’s database to make it easier to build applications on services like Google Maps.

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Environment
1:27 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

How Natural Gas is Fueling the UT-A&M Rivalry

Researchers hope to make it easier and more affordable for consumers to own natural gas vehicles.
Wikimedia

When Texas A&M left the Big 12, many assumed the rivalry between the Aggies and the Longhorns left with it.

Now the two Texas colleges are facing off again, but this time there’s a chance both schools – and the public –  could win. Yesterday, UT-Austin and Texas A&M were awarded grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop cheaper natural gas vehicles.

UT’s Center for Electromechanics received more than $4 million to engineer new ways to refuel natural gas cars at home.

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11:06 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Bush Library Wrestles with Presidential Emails

Lead in text: 
The Dallas Morning News reports on a challenge facing the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University: How to archive the first Internet-age presidency? The Morning News writes that 200 million emails – 80 terabytes – from the Bush administration are set to be archived, but they must be reviewed and redacted; the center has a goal of processing 600,000 to 900,000 emails annually.
Though they fit on a few computer servers in an undisclosed, secure location, the emails represent about 600 million printed pages of material sent and received during the eight years of the Bush presidency, the first administration fully in the Internet age. By contrast, Bill Clinton’s 1990s administration generated about 20 million messages.
Technology
3:05 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Bridging the Digital Divide: Conference Aims to Bring Broadband Internet to All Texans

Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

In Texas, nearly one million households still are not using the Internet. More than 38 percent of Texans are still not connected to high-speed Internet at home, even though they could be. And with 11 percent of the Texas population completely unconnected, a lack of digital literacy is a real issue.

The Connected Texas Broadband Summit, being held today in Dallas, is for anyone who wants to address those issues. 

“We want to help plan to create initiatives and momentum behind expanding broadband in areas where it remains gapped, and in areas where digital literacy and broadband adoption lag behind,” explained Jessica Ditto, Director of Communications for Connected Nations.

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Business
3:35 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Newest Downtown Tenant: A Tech Start-Up Space

Tech Partnership Chair and CEO Bryan Jones explains the new TechLive venture in the room Capital Factory will be using as its main office.
Photo by Robb Jacobson for KUT News

The 16th floor of the Omni Hotel will now be a shared workspace for start-up technology companies.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced the initiative today. They’re calling it Austin TechLive.

The facility will provide entrepreneurs with office, meeting and event space in exchange for monthly membership. And with over 4,000 tech companies responsible for over 100,000 jobs in the Austin area – and that number expected to grow by 5,000 jobs this year – the city's tech community is burgeoning. 

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Austin
12:23 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Austin Unemployment Rate Lowest in Three Years

The latest numbers show fewer people are searching for jobs across Texas and here in Austin.
Photo courtesy Ben Thompson via Flickr

The April unemployment rate in the Austin metro is the lowest it’s been in three years. It dropped half a point—from 6 percent in March to 5.5 percent in April. Last year at this time, Austin unemployment was at 6.3 percent.

"The Austin metropolitan area's unemployment rate has decreased in eight of the last nine months," said Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Mark Lavergne.

The Texas Workforce Commission says Austin saw growth in nine of 10 major industries in April. 6,300 jobs were added in the Austin area last month —many in construction and in the Professional and Business Services sector.

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Business
1:04 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Chamber of Commerce Aims to Lure Tech Talent to Austin

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce hopes this new website will attract new talent.

Today the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of a new website designed to help fill Austin’s so-called “technology gap.”

The chamber says that Austin tech companies are having trouble finding qualified local candidates for mid-to-senior level positions. Last month the chamber found that 28 percent of posted job openings in the area were tech-related.

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Technology
11:55 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Congressman Calls for Hearing on Google Street View Data

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 Thu May 3, 2012 11:59 am

Google may be facing new investigations into its Street View program, which collected 600 gigabytes of personal data including e-mails, passwords, pictures and web searches while its vehicles roamed the streets.

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Technology
10:08 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

When Online Hacking Poses Real-World Dangers

In January, the hacker group Anonymous staged a demonstration at a BART station in San Francisco after officials turned off cell phone service in its stations.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:08 pm

There are a couple interesting Anonymous stories out there in the ether today. First, the news.

The group claims to have hacked a number of Chinese government websites. Last month, Anonymous China launched its own Twitter account. It was endorsed by the YourAnonNews account, which is kind of the unofficial clearinghouse of Anonymous posts on Twitter. And then the folks who are behind this project got to work.

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Arts and Culture
10:34 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Nailing Down The Appeal Of Pinterest

A visit to the Pinterest home page reveals images of what some say are stereotypically female interests, from women's fashions to recipes.
Pinterest

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 10:02 am

To the list of weird-sounding hybrid words of the digital age, like Googling and tweeting, we can now add "pinning." As in Pinterest. It's sort of an online scrapbook or bulletin board, and it's one of the fastest-growing websites in history.

Last month, more than 10 million unique visitors signed on to Pinterest. But some of them, like Billy Winburn, are still trying to get the hang of it. At an office in Alexandria, Va., Jennifer Folsom, who works a few desks away, is walking him through the process.

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Austin
1:07 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Sentient Shopping Carts Invade Whole Foods

Whole Foods is testing intelligent shopping carts at a local store.
Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel for KUT News

Well, our robotic shopping cart overlords aren't here just yet. But a partnership between Austin-based Whole Foods and a local tech firm may lead us a step closer.

Computing giant Microsoft recently demonstrated a “smart cart,” wired to a computer tablet and a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor that can follow shoppers around the store, check items off a shopping list, and, as the video below shows, even make corrections if you select the wrong item.

Microsoft doesn’t mention who made the cart, but news outlets like Wired point to Austin-based Chaotic Moon Studios. Chaotic Moon has previously tweaked Kinect technology; at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, it unveiled the “Board of Awesomeness,” a Kinect-connected skateboard that can travel at up to 32 mph.

Wired says Whole Foods is currently testing the carts at stores in Austin, and will launch a broader trial run in April.

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Austin
10:38 am
Thu February 16, 2012

What Can Code for America Do for Austin?

An image of Adopt a Hydrant, an app where citizens can volunteer to maintain important city infrastructure.
Image courtesy adoptahydrant.org

Technology is an increasingly inseparable part of everyone’s life. A recent report noted the number of mobile devices on Planet Earth will exceed its population by the end of the year.

But how can people and governments use this change for good? (It’s got to be for more than playing with disgruntled virtual birds, right?) Code for America may have some answers.

Three Code for America volunteers came to City Hall yesterday:  Joe Merante, Emily Wright Moore, and Aurelio Tinio. What is Code for America? It’s “a new kind of public service,” Tinio told the City Council’s Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee. Essentially, Code for America fellows work with citizens and governments in select cities to develop civic-minded applications. The organization describes its apps’ features on its website:

1) They are web applications – think Facebook, Yelp, Zillow, or Picnik; 2) They will enable cities to connect with their constituents in ways that reduce administrative costs and engage citizens more effectively; 3) They support the move toward transparency and collaboration; 4) and finally, they are shareable – which means that an application built for one city can be used by any other city.

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Transportation
4:02 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Cap Metro Goes Mobile, But Not In Real Time

Capital Metro is rolling out new signage with QR codes. But real time bus information won't be ready until 2014.
Photo by Wells Dunbar, KUT News

New signs are in place at Capital Metro bus stops around town. But instead of a list of times, they feature an identification number for that specific stop, and information on how to learn more about the next bus arrival. The signs include a quick response (QR) code , which people can scan with their smartphones to open a mobile website containing upcoming arrival times for that individual spot.

It’s a technological step forward for Capital Metro, which is in the process of installing site-specific signs at each of its 2,700 bus stops around Austin.

However, the times Capital Metro displays are the set, static times the transportation agency displays in their schedule books. Real-time information on bus arrivals and departures are still some two years away, the agency says.

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Austin
4:55 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Austin: Good Place for Jobs, Great Place for Techies

Austin salaries rank well among U.S. cities, with tech salaries leading the pack.
Huma Munir, KUT News

A wealth of employment and salary data for the Austin region has just been released, and it confirms Austin has become a high-tech capital.

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Austin
2:11 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Austin Tech Firm Convio Acquired by Competitor

Convio, a firm that sells software tailored to non-profits, was purchased by a competitor today.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/mydigitalslrcamera

Austin based tech firm Convio – which sells fundraising and outreach software to non-profits (including KUT) – has agreed to be purchased by South Carolina-based Blackbaud, a competitor that sells similar software.

The agreement was announced today on Blackbaud’s website. In a press release, the company wrote “The acquisition of Convio will combine the two companies’ strengths to accomplish a common mission – making multi-channel supporter engagement a reality – at a faster pace than either company could achieve on its own.”

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Arts and Culture
4:50 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

The Panopticon Shot Bar: SceneTap Uses Cameras to Survey Nightlife

Smartphone app SceneTap uses cameras and facial recognition software to assess the male-to-female ratio in Austin nightclubs.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/mrjoro

So this is the way we live now: a new mobile application is coming to Austin that rates bars. But instead of relying on user-submitted data like Yelp, it has a network of cameras in participating nightclubs feeding real time information on a club’s capacity and demographics.

That’s the idea behind SceneTap, launching across several Austin bars this Friday.

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Business
11:34 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Austin Will Be Test Market For Mobile Phone Payments

The three largest cellular carriers in the United States are going to pilot near-field mobile phone technology in Austin next year, according to a statement released yesterday. The review aggregator TopTenReviews.com posted the promotional video above, which offers a decent explanation of the technology.

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obituary
12:22 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

LBJ School Internet Policy Expert Gary Chapman Dies Suddenly At 58

Image courtesy LBJ School of Public Affairs

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is reporting that senior lecturer Gary Chapman died of an apparent heart attack yesterday during a kayaking trip in Guatemala.

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Business
11:09 am
Thu December 9, 2010

New Report Says 10 Percent Of Austin Works For Tech Industry

Image courtesy Andy http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/

A report examining the nation's "top 60" high tech cities says Austin has 65,400 tech sector jobs. The Cybercities 2010 report was released yesterday by the TechAmerica Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of a large technology trade association.

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Austin
3:22 pm
Thu December 2, 2010

City Measuring Austin's Tech Savviness With Paper Survey

Austin is known as a high tech hub, but not everyone in the city can afford a laptop. Local officials want to measure that digital divide.
Image courtesy stetted http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunlitrain/

The City of Austin is sending out 15,000 surveys to randomly selected people across town to find out what kind of technology they use.

The survey is not available online, only as a paper questionnaire, so that the results won't skew towards people with home internet access.

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