Technology

Yahoo!'s Buying Tumblr...But Will They Wreck It?

May 22, 2013
Rebecca Lavoie

Earlier this week, Yahoo!'s board of directors approved the tech company’s one point one billion dollar purchase of the micro-blogging site Tumblr, the latest move in CEO Marissa Mayer’s bid to revive the flagging tech company. The purchase has some Tumblr users up in arms, and others simply shrugging their shoulders at what just seems like the latest acquisition in the wake of so many to come before it.

Joining us to explain a bit more what the purchase of Tumblr means for Yahoo! and fans of the site is Lance Ulanoff, Editor in Chief at Mashable.

The Hedonometer: A Mood Ring For Twitter

May 13, 2013
hedonometer.org's Facebook page

A new data collection tool is being heralded as the first “mood ring” of the social media world. The “twittersphere” has become the home for millions and millions of micro-stories - fleeting tales of everyday life broadcast to the masses. Now, researchers at the University of Vermont are looking to extract a social pulse from Twitter’s vast output. Millions of tweets have been processed through UVM’s Hedonometer, which measures collective levels of happiness over space and time. Here to discuss the project - and the newly launched website, is Chris Danforth, associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics and one of the developers behind the Hedonometer.

A Quantum Internet? Apparently, Yes.

May 9, 2013
jieq via flickr Creative Commons

A government lab announced earlier this month that it’s been operating a quantum internet at Los Alamos for the past two years. Which led us to wonder, um, WHAT IS A QUANTUM INTERNET???  Joining us to explain it is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and the guy we call to help us understand things like, you know, quantum technology.

Jordan Holds Tech Bootcamp For Syrian Entrepreneurs

May 9, 2013
Photograph by Monique Jaques for Bloomberg Businessweek

Syria’s civil war is now in its third year. More than 70,000 people have been killed; more than 1.4 million people have fled their homes; lives and families have been shattered; landmarks decimated and the economy is crumbling. Among those seeking refuge in neighboring Jordan are innovators and diaspora entrepreneurs who may well be seeding the ideas and infrastructure of Syria’s future. Patrick Clark is a reporter for Bloomberg Business Week covering small business and entrepreneurship and wrote about a tech boot camp for Syrians working in Jordan with Sarah Topol.

Is Google Glass Too Dorky To Go Mainstream?

May 8, 2013
whitemenwearinggoogleglass.tumblr.com

Google Glass -- a glass-lens like device  which allows users to access the internet, take photos and film short snippets, is slated for retail release at the end of this year or in early 2014. Already, the wearable computer has been preemptively banned in large parts of Las Vegas, and legislators in at least one state are trying to make it illegal to use while driving. While there could be some tough legal battles ahead, that may not be the biggest hurdle facing Google Glass. Marcus Wohlson is a staff writer for Wired Business…and he wonders if Google Glass may just be too dorky to go mainstream.

A Year Of Living Internet-Free

May 6, 2013
Jan Hruby via Flickr

“Internet Addiction Disorder” is a disputed diagnosis in academic and mental health circles, but just try going a day without your daily habit of checking email, the news, weather, sports, recipes, and Facebook, and you may find yourself jonesing for access.

10 Breakthrough Technologies For 2013...According To MIT

Apr 24, 2013
Pebble Kickstarter

Every year, the MIT technology review publishes a list of ten breakthrough technologies. From health care to environmental sustainability to consumer electronics, the list covers at it all. Here to discuss this year’s picks, just released yesterday, is Brian Bergstein, deputy editor of the MIT Technology Review.

The Autism Simulator

Mar 21, 2013
via Ars Technica

Last month, Vancouver hosted the Hacking Health Weekend Hackathon, a place for collaboration between technology experts and health officials from across Canada. A team of three in attendance created a game simulation that elicits understanding and empathy towards those suffering from autism. The first-person indie game is called “Auti-Sim”, and uses 3-D graphics to simulate the horrors of sensory overload. Taylan Kay is a developer behind the thought-provoking indie game, and joins us today.

Breaking Ground In Interplanetary Reconaissance

Mar 20, 2013
Project 1640 via amnh.org

The existence of planets outside our solar system was first confirmed in 1992. Since then, nearly 900 extra solar planets have been identified, with NASA’s Keppler Mission detecting more than 18,000 potential planets, including 262 in the so-called “Goldilocks Zone,” or habitable range from the stars they orbit. Now, the American Museum of Natural History is breaking new ground in the observation of far-distant planets using high-tech spectroscopy and software for Project 1640.

The Right To Print Arms: An Innovation In 3-D Printing

Mar 19, 2013

Last week, a Senate judiciary panel approved a measure to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. Those same legislators could have a whole new field of weaponry to contend with: homemade guns. A small, Texas-based company called “Defense Distributed” has been spearheading technological and legal advances behind the 3-D printing technology that could produce guns.

Bitcoin.org

A digital currency is getting traction with New Hampshire residents looking for an alternative to the dollar.

 What is Bitcoin?

On the front door of the Pao Café in downtown Newmarket, there’s a familiar collage of credit card stickers - Amex, Discover, Visa - and one that’s not so familiar. It reads: ‘Bitcoin accepted here.'

The Vatican's Very Own "Cone Of Silence"

Mar 12, 2013
via wikimedia commons

There was a time when locking the Vatican’s doors was enough to ensure secrecy over the process of choosing a new pope – but with at least seventeen cardinals on Twitter, and who knows how many on Facebook – the church isn’t taking any chances.   The Vatican has now installed something called a “Faraday Cage” – a device sort of like the “Cone of Silence” from the 1960 spy comedy, “Get Smart”, designed to keep what happens in the Vatican… well, in the Vatican. Joining us today to unlock the secrets of the Faraday Cage is Rob Fleischman, Chief Technology Officer at Xero-Cole, and our favorite explainer of all things wired.

Touchy Feely Technology

Mar 5, 2013
nb360 via flickr Creative Commons

You may have never heard of a “haptic interface”, but chances are you use one every day.  When your cell phone vibrates in your pocket to tell you someone is calling – that’s a haptic interface.  The visual and audio design of new technologies tend to soak up attention from reviewers and users alike – but recent revolutions in haptics remind us there is another sense gadgets can use to communicate –touch. 

Nathan Hurst is a staff writer for Wired, where he recently wrote about the sensational future of the haptic interface.

Falling In Love...With A Robot?

Feb 14, 2013
PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via FLickr Creative Commons

This past fall we spoke with Robert Ito about the growing phenomenon of human-robot bonding. His article "The Love Bot" was featured in Pacific Standard Magazine. From C-3PO to WALL-E, the loveable robot has long inhabited popular imagination. Robots like the Japanese made "Paro," pillow pets, and vacuum cleaning Roombas are engineered to be social.

High Tech Ways To Track Pets

Jan 22, 2013
Nothing exceptional here via Flickr Creative Commons

Today when dogs do a disappearing act, infrared cameras, tracking devices, and social media help owners keep tabs on wandering pets. These security technologies are a growing part of the 56-billion dollars spent annually on America’s pets.

Calling Doctor Roboto

Jan 16, 2013
http://www.intouchhealth.com

Last week, the FDA approved the first self-navigating communications robot for use in hospitals. The RP-Vita which stands for remote presence virtual independent telemedicine assistant – was created by iRobot and In-Touch. The FDA sanction for the self-guided robot could mark a new era of robotic care in hospitals here in the United States.  Joining us with more on how RP-Vita works is Marcio Macedo, Director of Product Management for iRobot’s remote presence business unit.

Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

The best and brightest segments from our daily program.

Code for America

The non-profit Code for America brings together coders, artists, and designers to create easy to use applications that address the specific needs of local communities.  Mick Thompson, engineer in residence and 2012 fellow at Code for America joined us to talk about how code and collaboration leads to better lives for citizens.

Are Video Games Art?

Dec 18, 2012

The Museum of Modern Art in New York recently added 14 video games to its permanent collection. Killscreen says they helped.

Killscreen co-founder Jamin Warren explains how, and helps us answer the burning question, are video games art?

Mourning a Loved One Via the Internet

Dec 5, 2012
cromely via Flickr Creative Commons

The funeral industry is embracing the digital age. Funeral homes are beefing up their websites and social media to include tributes and photographs of the departed.

Top 3 High-Tech Marriage Busters

Dec 3, 2012
macropako via Flickr Creative Commons

We discussed the quickly-developing market for spousal surveillance technology with Wall Street Journal reporter Jennifer Valentino. You can listen to her interview here:

In the meantime, we were surprised to learn how marriage and divorce are being affected by technology...and how quickly it's all happened:

1) Social Media: Breeding Ground for Evidence

The End of Smartphones?

Dec 3, 2012

Word of Mouth's favorite explainer of all things wired Rob Fleischman discusses our beloved internet devices and the emerging technologies that may be gearing up to take their spot.

Word of Mouth 12.01.2012

Nov 30, 2012
tiny cc via Flickr

Word of Mouth's weekend program includes some of our favorite stories from from the daily program.

Part 1: Syria/Chemical Dangers

When we first saw Robert Ito's Pacific Standard piece on folks who've fallen in love with their robots, we were all....huh? So of course, we booked him on the show. You can listen to that interview here:

But all that talk about human-robot love got us thinking...if a robot is the love of your life, how do you show it? Here are some ideas we dug up:

1) Buy him a snazzy costume!

Exploring One Laptop Per Child in Ethiopia

Nov 19, 2012
One Laptop Per Child

The trope goes something like this: one minute you’re teaching your kid to tie his shoes, and the next he’s showing you how to use the new Blu-Ray player. No doubt, fresh minds tend to have an easier time adapting to new technologies – but does the cliché hold water in third-world countries where kids have never seen so much as a calculator? 

Using Robots As...Friends?

Nov 15, 2012
PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via FLickr Creative Commons

From C-3PO to WALL-E, the loveable robot has long inhabited popular imagination. Today we examine the increasing melding of fantasy and reality…the social robot has begun to win the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

Alexandre Lemieux via Credit Flikr Creative Commons

With E-book sales outpacing print books, the days of the heavyweight backpack are numbered. In New Hampshire, thirty-three public schools banded together to purchase E-books instead of textbooks. Producer Sam Evans-Brown finds out why public schools are making the switch now, and why the long wait.

Read and Listen to Sam's story here.

Apple vs Samsung, An Ad-war Brewing?

Oct 18, 2012
avlxyz via Flickr Creative Commons

In 2010, Ad Week declared the “Get a Mac” campaign to be the the best campaign of the first decade of the 20th century. The beloved series of ads pitted John Hodgman as a stodgy stand-in for PC’s trading barbs with Justin Long and a cast of hip-looking, unflappable surrogates for Macs. Samsung took a page from that ad, rolling out a new commercial; its Galaxy s-3 that takes a stab at Apple true believers, waiting in a long line for the new iPhone 5.

What do you think?

JonJon2k8 via Flickr Creative Commons

An app released this week called Silent Circle says it offers NSA level encryption tools to ordinary citizens. That means e-mails, phone calls, and text messages can’t be traced, intercepted, or recovered by just about anybody. Russell Brandom is a staff writer for Buzzfeed, where he wrote about the developers of Silent Circle.

Check out "A Peek into Silent Circle":

The Secret Servers

Oct 2, 2012
Sebastian Hillig via Flickr Creative Commons

Every Google search, every saved photograph, streamed song, text message and each stroke of the e-mail send button is served and stored on a digital infrastructure that is – to the end user – invisible.  The New York Times has spent a year investigating the tens of thousands of data centers that support the information industry, and discovered a secretive, power-sucking infrastructure sharply at odds with its sleek, e

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