NPR tech news

NPR tech news
2:14 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

You know you want one, but personal robots not ready yet

Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 8:06 pm

Meet Jake. At 500 pounds, he stands 4 feet 4 four inches tall, with a spine that stretches another foot. He has white urethane skin, a flat head sporting an array of camera lenses, and a laser scanner in his throat.

And he may be coming to a home near you.

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NPR Tech/Business
11:04 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Facebook's growth: A tale of two headlines

Are its days of "wild user growth" over, or is Facebook "eating the world"?
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 10:32 am

I love this. Here is a headline today at The Wall Street Journal's online edition: "Days of Wild User Growth Appear Over at Facebook."

And over at The Next Web: "Facebook is eating the world, except for China and Russia."

And the best part is the two sites really are telling the same story.

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NPR tech news
10:02 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

'Today,' 'Tomorrow,' and Nine Other Words You Can't Search For In China

A Chinese protester, calling for an end to the violence against pro-democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square, blocks a line of tanks on June 5, 1989.
Jeff Widner AP

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 2:20 pm

A weird coincidence has led the Chinese government to block certain Internet searches for "Shanghai Composite Index," the country's big stock exchange.

Twenty-three years ago today — June 4, 1989 — the Chinese government began its violent crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The Shanghai Stock Exchange fell by 64.89 points on Monday — a number that evokes 6/4/89, the date of the crackdown.

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NPR tech news
12:41 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

'Flame' Virus Fuels Political Heat Over Cyber Threats

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 2, 2012 10:51 am

New information about computer viruses shows how countries may be lining up to fight a cyberwar. The New York Times reported that former President George W. Bush and President Obama both authorized computer attacks against Iran, culminating in the Stuxnet virus, which targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.

Meanwhile, a United Nations agency raised alarms about another virus, dubbed "Flame," which may also have been designed for use against Iran.

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NPR Tech/Business
2:48 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Facebook stock falls another 9 percent

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 1:52 pm

Facebook's stock fell $3.07 to end the day at $28.84. That's first time it's fallen below $30 since the stock went public.

That price is also 24 percent below its opening price of $38.

The Wall Street Journal that the drop had to do with negative sentiment about the stock, as well as the fact that today traders were able to trade on derivatives.

The Facebook stock saw so much trading, the Journal reports, that it triggered Nasdaq's short sale circuit-breaker.

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NPR tech news
9:52 pm
Sat May 26, 2012

In A World Where One Teen's Voice Is An Internet Hit

Jake Foushee's "movie trailer" voice went viral when he was 14. Now he may be headed for the big screen.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 6:17 pm

Jake Foushee had a cold.

He was 13 at the time, at his home outside Chapel Hill, N.C.

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NPR Tech/Business
2:36 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

How much can potential employers ask about you?

Massachusetts lawmakers tried and failed to pass legislation that would have required criminal history checks, urine screening and fingerprinting and photographs of all new hires at the state Gaming Commission.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 11:03 am

Everyone knows it's tough to get a job these days. The task is that much harder if you have any kind of blemish on your past.

The use of background checks to screen potential employees has become a billion-dollar business. More than 90 percent of employers in the U.S. conduct criminal background checks, at least on some potential hires, according to a recent study by the National Consumer Law Center.

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The Two-Way
10:47 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Supreme Court lets stand student's $675,000 penalty for downloading

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 9:16 am

Without commenting on the merits of the case, the Supreme Court this morning let stand a $675,000 jury verdict against a 25-year-old Boston University student who downloaded 30 songs nearly a decade ago and then shared them with others on a peer-to-peer network.

The court denied Joel Tenenbaum's "write of certiorari," which means his appeal of a lower court's ruling and the judgment were turned down.

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It's All Politics
3:20 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Which is more addicting, politics or Twitter? #FollowFriday

Twitter keyboard.
Arda Guldogan iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 11, 2012 12:11 pm

Note: We've asked NPR journalists to share their top five (or so) political Twitter accounts, and we're featuring the series on #FollowFriday. Here are recommendations from Arnie Seipel (@NPRnie), a producer with NPR's elections unit.

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NPR tech news
8:09 am
Sat May 5, 2012

A Panda's inseminal moment, tweet-by-tweet

"Here's Mei right now," tweeted the National Zoo just before the procedure. "Volunteers are watching her from our research station as we prepare."
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 4:37 am

You can't predict the turns new technology takes.

The Internet, originally developed for scientists in southern California to bandy information back and forth with scientists in northern California, has also become the prime means of sending naughty jokes instantaneously around the world.

This week Twitter, the social media service famed for carrying the messages of pro-democracy dissidents in Iran, Egypt and other places, featured something a little difficult to conceive: live tweeting of the artificial insemination of a giant panda at the National Zoo.

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NPR tech news
10:58 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 9:59 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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NPR tech news
9:18 am
Tue May 1, 2012

Facebook status lets you share whether you're an organ donor

A new status option.
Facebook.com

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 4:33 am

In a bid to encourage its members to become organ donors, Facebook just announced that "starting today, you can add that you're an organ donor to your timeline, and share your story about when, where or why you decided to become a donor."

Also, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg write, "if you're not already registered with your state or national registry and want to be, you'll find a link to the official donor registry there as well."

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NPR tech news
3:10 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

With 'Drive,' Google joins the cloud storage war

Google Drive.
Google

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 11:44 am

After years of speculation and rumor, today Google announced Google Drive, a new service that allows users to store data on the cloud.

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NPR tech news
10:28 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Greenpeace: How clean (and green) is your server farm?

Greenpeace's annual report ranks Internet companies based on the efficiency of their cloud facilities.
szaz iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 12:22 pm

Greenpeace released its latest report today asking, "How clean is your cloud?"

The annual report examines the server farms built by the largest Internet companies — including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — and ranks them according to how efficient their cloud facilities are, and where they get their electricity.

Yahoo — which has struggled to please investors in recent years — was the only major Internet company in the study to get most of its electricity from renewable or clean energy sources, according to the report.

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NPR tech news
3:06 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Like The Instagram-Facebook Deal? Depends On Your Filter

A photo illustration shows the photo-sharing app Instagram's fan page on Facebook's website. Facebook is acquiring Instagram for some $1 billion.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 3:00 pm

Facebook's decision to acquire Instagram for $1 billion set off strong reactions among Instagram users Monday, when the deal was announced. And if any users of Instagram's photo-sharing service were in love with the deal, they seemed to be keeping pretty quiet about it.

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