WBEZ | All Tech Considered http://www.wbez.org/tags/all-tech-considered Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en For Software Developers, A Bounty Of Opportunity http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-05/software-developers-bounty-opportunity-91522 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-05/smartphone.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As people across the country suffer from long-term unemployment, the tech industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers. Particularly in software development, employers are waging bidding wars over a tightening supply.</p><p>Take the case of Mike Champion. He and his wife, Sandra, live in the Boston suburbs with their 9-month-old daughter, Molly.</p><p>When the couple found out they were going to have another mouth to feed, Champion had just started working as a software developer at a small startup company — the type of early-stage, risky venture that often fails and goes out of business. But he wasn't worried about getting a pink slip.</p><p>"The market, especially right now, is really hot. A lot of folks are looking for people, and so I felt very comfortable that if I needed to do a job search on short notice that I'd have a lot of options," Champion says.</p><p>The number of job options for software engineers surprised Ben Johnson, who graduated from college this spring with a computer science degree. He remembers going to a job fair in Boston.</p><p>"Everyone in the room wanted to talk to me," he recalls. "It wasn't like, 'What interviews will I get?' It was 'What interviews do I want to have and take?'"</p><p>Johnson chose a job at a small company that writes applications for iPhones and other smartphones. He's not making quite as much as his friends, who are getting $70,000 to $80,000 salaries straight out of school. But he's not complaining.</p><p>"I have a job, and I'm paid to do it, all day, and it's awesome," he says.</p><p>It's not so awesome, however, if you're paying those salaries.</p><p>"It'd be awesome to get developers at 50 percent of the price. The reality is that's not the market," says Dharmesh Shah, founder of an online marketing firm called Hubspot.</p><p>Shah says he's doing everything he can to attract software engineers — paying top salaries, making the workplace as fun as possible, including, he says, "the requisite startup beer fridge, Ping-Pong table and foosball table."</p><p>But it hasn't been enough. Hubspot still has almost a dozen software jobs posted right now. So it's offering a bounty for new hires.</p><p>"If you're out there and you know someone who would make a really good Hubspot employee, we're willing to pay you really good money — $10,000 — in order to refer that person to Hubspot," Shah says.</p><p>Those referrals, high salaries and amenities are all costs that consumers end up paying. Shah says the other downside to this tight labor market is not being able to staff projects.</p><p>"We've got 50 times more ideas, really good ideas that our customers would love that people are asking for, that just never make the cut simply because we're resource-constrained," he says.</p><p>The main reason for the tight labor market is growing demand. As the number of apps grows, so, too, does the need for software. Andrew Bartels of Forrester Research says the hot market for developers is bound to cool off. But he says the field will continue to grow, as software plays a bigger role in our lives.</p><p>"For example, [software] in refrigerators, that's tracking and monitoring what goes out so you can prepare a shopping list. Or software that's showing up in medicine cabinets. Those are not places you'd normally expect to see software," he says.</p><p>And writing that software will be somebody's job. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 WBUR. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.wbur.org">http://www.wbur.org</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1315246630?&gn=For+Software+Developers%2C+A+Bounty+Of+Opportunity&ev=event2&ch=97097438&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Around+the+Nation,Technology,Economy,Business,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140194803&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110905&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=329&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=97097438&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 13:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-09-05/software-developers-bounty-opportunity-91522 Apple's Secret Is In Our DNA http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-30/apples-secret-our-dna-91303 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-31/apple_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There is a lot of talk about DNA since Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple this week. Mostly in terms of what Jobs has infused into Apple's DNA: impeccable taste, innovation, persistence, attention-to-detail, hard work, different thinking.</p><p>All of this talk is great. It's reassurance to all of us Apple fanboys and girls that the company we idolize will continue to produce the products we love to love. <em>Need</em> to love. Can't <em>not</em> love, really, even if we try.</p><p>And why is that? Why are so many of us addicted to Apple products (and yes, I mean literally addicted)? What, when asked what she loves about her Macbook and iPhone and iPad, makes my friend Caren respond with: "When something is a prosthesis [an extension of one's body and mind], how can one begin to unravel it?" What makes my other friend, Supisa, carry her Macbook around with her <em>everywhere</em>, like a newborn baby, because she refuses to leave the house without it? What makes me sleep with my iPhone under my pillow?</p><p>Why do so many of us get so emotional about Steve Jobs, to the point of crying upon hearing he had cancer and tearing up last week while reading his poignant resignation letter? The answer to all of these questions, I think, lies in mathematics and our own DNA.</p><p>I've been researching design aesthetics recently, and in a nutshell here's what I've found: Beauty is more objective than you might think. It's based on numbers and proportions. As humans, we're biologically programmed to seek out and respond to these numbers and proportions because they indicate superiority, in everything from the human form, to great works of art, to musical patterns, to plants, to architecture and to product design. The screen of a Macbook, for example, is a Golden Rectangle, which is based on this magical number: 1.6178, also known as the Golden Ratio, the Golden Mean or the Divine Proportion.</p><p>And the pulsing light that softly undulates to indicate that your Macbook is asleep? Well, that mesmerizing light mimics the rhythm of a human heartbeat, a deeply resonating mathematical pattern which can also be found in tidal flows, DNA sequences and blissful cognitive states.</p><p>The inclusion of these patterns in Apple's designs is no accident. Steve Jobs knows better than any other modern-day CEO our biological attraction to beautiful things. With the help of Jonathan Ive, Apple's VP of industrial design, he exploits our biological tendencies to give us exactly what we want. He has an uncanny ability to tap into our genetic propensity toward beauty, seducing us through exquisite product design.</p><p>Additionally, humans are born to tell and listen to stories. We love myths and heroes and villains and protagonists. Stories are how we make sense of the world and of ourselves. When we purchase an Apple product, we're not only buying into the legendary story of how Steve founded, was kicked out, then saved Apple to make it the most valuable company in the world, but we're also buying elegant tools with which to tell our own meaningful stories and make our own beautiful things.</p><p>So, instead of our worrying about what's in Apple's DNA, I just hope Apple keeps worrying about what's in yours and mine. Then hopefully, everything will be OK, with or without Steve Jobs at the helm.</p><p><em>Callie Neylan is a former NPR designer and currently assistant design professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.</em> <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1314802056?&gn=Apple%27s+Secret+Is+In+Our+DNA&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=design+,Apple%2C+Inc.,Steve+Jobs,All+Tech+Considered,Commentary,Opinion,Digital+Life,Art+%26+Design,Technology,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=140039539&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110830&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=140056351,133015190,126481297,102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 09:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-30/apples-secret-our-dna-91303 Air Force Eyes Artificial Birds, Bugs That Can Spy http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-16/air-force-eyes-artificial-birds-bugs-can-spy-90664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-16/micro-air-vehicle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At the Wright–Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, some Ph.D. candidates are working on micro air vehicles, or tiny flying machines that are remotely piloted.</p><p>The micro machines are often "bio-inspired" — study a bird or an insect and then build one.</p><p>"If you close your eyes and think of a fat pigeon, that's about the biggest size that we want to use." says Leslie Perkins, who worked with the micro program at the Air Force Research Laboratory. She says the smallest would be about the size of a dragonfly.</p><p>These are gentle images of nature, but the micro vehicles would be used by what the research lab calls the "warfighter," to "improve total weapon agility."</p><p>Ph.D. candidate Steve Ross is ready to fly his small quad-rotor helicopter, which is about the size of a laptop. It has four motors that work in opposition, so it can rise and dip and bank.</p><p>Ross is a lieutenant colonel working on a doctorate at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson. And he says this project will be his dissertation.</p><p>"These little tiny [unmanned aerial vehicles] are great for surveillance, or looking around, or collecting data that way, but they're very short on battery power," he says.</p><p><strong>Early Research</strong></p><p>Ross is working on a system that would let the micros steal power from utility lines. They'll fly up in a slow approach, and then use a hook to catch on.</p><p>"Hang a couple on a power line to recharge batteries, send one of them on site and you just cycle through like you were coming off of a tanker and you can keep one guy on station all the time and have a continuous presence," he says.</p><p>On another workbench nearby, a carbon-fiber wing about the size of your thumb is connected to a small motor and poised to flap.</p><p>"The Latin term is <em>Manduca sexta</em>, and it's the tobacco hawk," says Maj. Ryan O'Hara. "And it's basically a very common moth than can hover."</p><p>O'Hara has been working on his Ph.D. project for two years — the bio-engineering is based on a moth you could find in your garden.</p><p>"The individual fibers are about seven microns in diameters," he says. The average size human hair is about 75 microns. "So we take these very, very thin carbon fibers, and we put them in epoxy resin, and we lay them up in different orientations," O'Hara says.</p><p>O'Hara flips on the motor and the wing quickly blurs, flapping 30 times per second. Then a strobe light stops the motion, and there's the elegant deflection of the wing, curving as if in flight.</p><p>The Air Force says this is early research into the potential of micro aircraft, and it doesn't know how it'll be used.</p><p>Fiction writers of course have no hesitation — they could describe an insect buzzing through an open window — an almost silent nighttime attack. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1313527327?&gn=Air+Force+Eyes+Artificial+Birds%2C+Bugs+That+Can+Spy&ev=event2&ch=97097438&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Around+the+Nation,Technology,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=139651358&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110816&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=97097438&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Tue, 16 Aug 2011 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-08-16/air-force-eyes-artificial-birds-bugs-can-spy-90664 Netflix Raises Ire Of Some Subscribers After Price Hike http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-13/netflix-raises-ire-some-subscribers-after-price-hike-89093 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-13/netflix_01.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Judging from the comments left on the <a href="http://blog.netflix.com/2011/07/netflix-introduces-new-plans-and.html">Netflix blog post</a> announcing the company's move toward unbundling its mailed DVD and online streaming services, a lot of customers are not happy.</p><p>"Way to go again Netflix — Divide and Conquer — EPIC FAIL!!" was the response from one mildly disgruntled customer. Several others directed Netflix to dispose of their accounts in ways that we wouldn't want to detail on a family website like NPR.org.</p><p>If, like me, you're an existing Netflix customer, you've probably already read the email about the changes. For everyone else, here's the deal:</p><p>To get both unlimited DVDs through the mail and unlimited streaming video, it now costs $9.99 a month. Starting on Sept. 1, existing customers can opt for either unlimited downloads or unlimited DVDs – either at $7.99.</p><p>So far, so good. But here's the rub: If you want to keep both services, it's going to cost you $15.98 a month — 60 percent more than you're currently paying for both. If you opt for a plan that allows you to receive two DVDs at a time plus unlimited streaming, the increase is only 33 percent.</p><p>Many people like having BOTH services — the convenience of the streaming movies, as well as the much wider selection available by mail.</p><p>Of course, Netflix is spinning the 20 percent savings to be gained by those who chose one or the other of the $7.99 options.</p><p>"By better reflecting the underlying costs and offering our lowest prices ever for unlimited DVD, we hope to provide a great value to our current and future DVD-by-mail members," Andy Rendich, Netflix chief service and operations officer, said in a statement released with Tuesday's announcement.</p><p>Of the more than 5,000 comments that have choked the Netflix blog (and another 6,700 plus on the Netflix Facebook page at this writing), many go something like this one:</p><p>"I guess it's finally time to cancel my Netflix subscription. DVDs + streaming gave me a great bang for my buck, but by not offering any sort of bundling discount for those wanting both, I can't justify sending you my money every month."</p><p>Michael Olson, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., says the move is about weaning us off the DVDs, which are expensive to mail and process.</p><p>"The bottom line is that Netflix is looking to increasingly shift its subscriber base over to streaming only as quickly as possible because streaming subscribers are more profitable subscribers," <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/07/13/137811875/netflix-announces-price-increase">he told NPR's Nina Gregory.</a></p><p>Whereas some Netflix customers are seeing red, Redbox, which offers DVDs for rent at kiosks in grocery stores and fast-food restaurants, is seeing the potential for green from what is beginning to look like a Netflix debacle.</p><p>"Redbox and Netflix share the goal of giving movie lovers access to entertainment and consumers will ultimately choose the price model that fits their life," Redbox President Mitch Lowe said in a statement provided to NPR on Wednesday, adding that "Redbox makes it easy for our consumers to find the hottest new release movies and games for as low as a buck a night."</p><p>But not all of Netflix customers are irate about the change. One person commented on the company's blog, saying the change "Sounds great to me!</p><p>"The amount of use I get out of my Netflix account means I'd be willing to pay more (sorry whiners, but $16 is ridiculously cheap for unlimited anything, you can't get a good cable package for that price). I hope this means much more streaming content in the future," said "Natalie." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1310575328?&gn=Netflix+Raises+Ire+Of+Some+Subscribers+After+Price+Hike&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Movies,Your+Money,Arts+%26+Life,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137819423&c7=1006&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1006&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110713&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 13 Jul 2011 11:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-13/netflix-raises-ire-some-subscribers-after-price-hike-89093 Doubts Emerge In Case Against Ex-IMF Chief http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-30/doubts-emerge-case-against-ex-imf-chief-88606 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/was4047972_7853205.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lawyers from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, are due in court Friday at 11:30 a.m. for what's being described as a proceeding that could ease the bail conditions for Strauss-Kahn, accused in a high-profile rape case.</p><p>Investigators charged Strauss-Kahn with assaulting a hotel maid in Manhattan in May, touching off an international scandal based mostly on the credibility of the unnamed accuser. But now two sources, confirming portions of a report on the website of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/01/nyregion/strauss-kahn-case-seen-as-in-jeopardy.html" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em></a>, say government officials themselves have uncovered inconsistencies and possible misstatements by the woman.</p><p>Many of those details could emerge in court Friday, when the District Attorney's office is expected to agree to a defense request to ease severe restrictions on Strauss-Kahn's movements. After being taken into custody at the airport, where he was planning to return to France, Strauss-Kahn spent a few nights in lockup and now is paying $200,000 a month for security guards to watch over him in a luxury apartment.</p><p>Any doubts about the credibility of the lead witness could spell doom for the case. Although investigators say they have obtained DNA from the hotel room, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have said any intimate contact was consensual.</p><p>Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York Police Department, declined comment via email Thursday night. The press line for Vance confirmed the details of the hearing in lower Manhattan Friday morning, but said no further comment would be issued. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1309488136?&gn=Doubts+Emerge+In+Case+Against+Ex-IMF+Chief&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Europe,Around+the+Nation,World,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=137541400&c19=20110630&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 21:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-30/doubts-emerge-case-against-ex-imf-chief-88606 Beyond Cute Babies: How To Make Money On YouTube http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-04-11/beyond-cute-babies-how-make-money-youtube-85081 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-12/hires.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>YouTube is best known for its viral videos of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JmA2ClUvUY">babies</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szqoIB52ij8">cats</a>. But there are thousands of decidedly less cute videos racking up the views. How-to videos are extremely popular and some of the creators are actually making serious money.</p><p>Want to know how to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/tjw1963#p/u/1/_5UsK-mNgiE">crochet a flower</a> or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/RobH0629#p/u/9/_yU-EwlRRvc">solve a Rubik's Cube</a>? How about a guide for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3_VMPkzI8A">making a paper airplane</a>? There's even a video with detailed instructions on how to use clip-in hair extensions.</p><p>Sara White, a first grade teacher in Charleston, W.Va., is the woman behind a series of popular videos about <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/sarasweetie99">hair extensions</a>. White says she posted her first video about hair extensions because she couldn't find a good instructional video on YouTube. When the clicks started adding up, she started adding new videos.</p><p>She eventually joined YouTube's <a href="http://www.youtube.com/partners">partner program</a>, where the site shares ad revenue with people who post videos regularly.</p><p>"I thought, 'Well, I won't make that much money from it,'" White says. "You know, I thought I'll make a couple dollars a month. But I was like, 'Wow, this is really cool.' I don't have to get a second job now."</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Making Over $100,000</strong></p><p>This is a common experience among YouTube's 15,000 or so partners.</p><p>"A lot of YouTubers describe themselves as accidental entrepreneurs," says Annie Baxter, a YouTube spokesperson.</p><p>YouTube says there are hundreds of people who make more than $100,000 a year on their videos. Baxter says instructional videos are on the rise.</p><p>Geoff Dorn knows this market well. He's the man behind a series of videos on <a href="http://www.how-to-tie-a-tie-video.com/">how to tie a tie</a>.</p><p>In the video, you can't see Dorn's face — just a close-up of his neck, his white dress shirt and pale blue tie. With a monotone voice, he carefully describes the mechanics of the four-in-hand knot.</p><p>"That was shot in my kitchen," Dorn says. "I think I tacked a white sheet up against what was a red wall."</p><p>That incredibly dry video has been viewed six million times. He also has videos on the full Windsor, the half Windsor, the Shelby knot and the bow tie.</p><p>"It's nice to get paid for doing absolutely nothing, or doing something once," Dorn says, adding that he can pay his property taxes each year with the money he gets from Youtube.</p><p>He lives in Portland, Ore., and works in finance. And Dorn does actually wear a tie to work every day. But that's not why he decided to make videos about tying ties.</p><p>"You know, any entrepreneur gets an idea that they want to make whatever, donuts — they want to make whatever they think they're good at," Dorn says. "But what you really should do is figure out what the market is and make that."</p><p>He says he made these videos because he knew there was demand.</p><p>While Dorn's videos seem to lack personality by design, Sean Plott's videos embrace it.</p><p>Plott has a daily <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/day9tv">Web show</a> that focuses on the computer game <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2010/07/29/128846098/starcraft-placeholder">Starcraft II</a>. His mission: helping a growing community of fellow players improve.</p><p>In his videos, Plott goes by his gaming handle Day[9]. He says the videos really took off when he started talking more about himself.</p><p>"It wasn't just Day[9], the analytical nerd who just sat down and only talked about how to improve and how to learn," he says. "It became this edutainment show and that helped tremendously."</p><p>So much so that when Plott finishes his master's degree at the University of Southern California later this year, he plans to make this Web show his full-time job. </p> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-04-11/beyond-cute-babies-how-make-money-youtube-85081 How To Create A Social Media Scrapbook http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-04-04/how-create-social-media-scrapbook-84723 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-04/memolane1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>My sister Anita has been on Facebook since the beginning — more than seven years — and she's been posting pictures all along.</p><p>But she hasn't exactly considered that she's been creating a history of her life.</p><p>Social media is all about what's going on right now. Twitter asks, "What's happening?" when it prompts you to update. But a new service called Memolane promises to feed your nostalgia by tapping your social media history.</p><p><a href="http://memolane.com/site/">Memolane</a> enables you to create a graphic online album of all your postings on a timeline. It can include content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Last.fm, Vimeo, Foursquare and other social media <a href="http://memolane.com/site/what-is-memolane.html#Services">outlets</a>.</p><p></p><p><textjump></p><p></p><p><textjump></p><p></textjump></p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p><textjump></p><p><strong>After the jump: A Social Media Album Of Paris</strong></textjump><strong> </strong></p><p><strong> </strong><strong>A Social Media Album Of Paris</strong></p><p>Anita and I used Memolane to look back at a trip to Paris we took three years ago. It showed us statuses, pictures and tweets — all of it.</p><p>Right after the trip, we created photo albums. Neither of us had realized that our social media usage from that time could be an album itself.</p><p>"Our experience on the Internet is just at the very, very beginning," says Marshall Kirkpatrick, co-editor of the tech blog <a href="http://www.readwriteweb.com/">ReadWriteWeb</a>. "We are producing so much more data now than ever before. It's not going away. But that's always been thought of as a problem and not an opportunity."</p><p><strong>A Different Outlook On The Past</strong></p><p>It's not a problem for Memolane. With this service, you can instantly access a detailed historic record of your life. But that could also change how you feel about the past.</p><p>"So, if these sites make our past more present to us then it may end up failing to create that sense of distance," says <a href="http://www.virginia.edu/sociology/peopleofsociology/jolick.htm">Jeff Olick</a>, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia who studies memory. He says we need to have distance from the past in order to feel nostalgic.</p><p>Imagine if you moved out of an old apartment and then looked at a picture of it every single day. You probably wouldn't miss it too much.</p><p>When we tried out Memolane, my sister and I hadn't relived our Paris experience for a while. So, the memories held their magic. Nice as it was, though, Anita doesn't plan to constantly review the past on Memolane.</p><p>"It allows you to stroll down memory lane," she says. "That's not something everybody needs to do every single day."</p><p>Maybe not — but a sappy procrastinator like me could end up strolling more often than I should.</p><p><ul></p><p><li>Learn how to create a Memolane timeline <a href="http://memolane.com/site/what-is-memolane.html#Timeline">here</a>.</li></p><p></ul></p><p></textjump> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1301950962?&gn=How+To+Create+A+Social+Media+Scrapbook&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=Social+Web,All+Tech+Considered,Around+the+Nation,Digital+Life,Technology,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135114356&c7=1049&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1049&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110404&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=2&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=125104516,102920358,97097438&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 04 Apr 2011 10:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-04-04/how-create-social-media-scrapbook-84723 Music In The Cloud: What's In Store For Consumers? http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-29/music-cloud-whats-store-consumers-84465 <p><p>We may be moving closer to the reality that Julie Andrews sang about when she crooned: "The hills are alive, with the sound of music."</p><p>At least that's if Amazon's new <a href="https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore">Cloud Drive</a> delivers on the promise to enable consumers to store music remotely in the cloud and access it wherever they go.</p><p>But we still don't quite have all the technology in place to achieve this ideal. What's more, consumers may not yet have the desire to move all their music, photos or assorted digital files out of their real or virtual file cabinets at home and into the equivalent of a self-storage locker that may ultimately have to be rented for a monthly or annual fee.</p><p>Here, a look at some of the concerns consumer advocates and analysts have about Amazon's service and the implications for rival services that Apple and Google may have in the works.</p><p><strong>Why are Amazon, Apple and Google looking to the cloud? </strong></p><p>Mega-technology companies are interested in providing cloud storage solutions for their customers because it's a way to keep them coming back for more. Mark Mulligan, an analyst for Forrester Research, says Amazon, Apple and Google are looking to provide an "extra feature set" to bolster their core businesses.</p><p>For Apple and Google, the core businesses are devices and apps. And for Amazon, it's all about retail.</p><p><strong>Is Amazon's service really free for its music customers?</strong></p><p>There's no charge for Amazon's music customers to store up to 5 gigabytes of music in the cloud. Amazon MP3 purchases also won't count against this quota and customers who purchase one MP3 album will receive an additional 20 gigabytes of storage. But for storage beyond this, NPR's <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/03/29/134934844/what-you-need-to-know-about-amazons-new-music-service">analysis</a> found it will cost about $1 per gigabyte.</p><p>And then there are costs that consumers still have to shoulder to get online.</p><p>"We're not yet in an age of ubiquitous connectivity, and locker services require ubiquitous connectivity to really come into their own," Mulligan says. He says patchy areas of cellular coverage and problems switching between Wi-Fi and mobile broadband still stand in the way of getting online from any point on the globe.</p><p>Mulligan says consumers expect these kinds of "locker services" to be free. But that's also dependent on whether record companies demand a license fee every time a song is played.</p><p><em>Consumer Reports</em> notes that it still isn't clear whether Amazon will encounter opposition from music labels, which have "traditionally fought new business models that utilize music from their artists without compensation."</p><p><strong>What's in store from Apple and Google?</strong></p><p>Amazon may be the first major company to launch its cloud-based music service, but Apple, Google and Spotify may not be far behind, according to <a href="http://news.consumerreports.org/electronics/2011/03/amazon-to-launch-cloud-based-locker-service.html?CMP=OTC-NEWS4"><em>Consumer Reports</em></a>.</p><p>The magazine says Apple and Google's services will allow someone to stream all the music they own.</p><p>Apple doesn't have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to Amazon stealing its customers, according to Mulligan, the Forrester analyst. But he's curious to see how this will affect Apple's music pricing strategy.</p><p>Google's plan, he says, will add something to the mix that's different from Apple's iTunes. "Google wants to deliver a music experience which is unique to Android devices so that people buy Android devices," he says.</p><p><strong> </strong><a href="http://www.spotify.com/int/new-user/">Spotify</a><strong> </strong>is one of the only companies that has been able to make inroads into solving the problem of making music accessible despite the lack of seamless Internet connectivity, Mulligan says.</p><p>"The way they got around the streaming issues is they do advanced caching," he says. Spotify essentially anticipates a user's needs. So, if you're listening to one song from an album, it caches the rest of the album while a solid Web connection is in place.</p><p><strong>What are some of the potential drawbacks to these services?</strong></p><p>The downside to using any one company's service is that if you later change your mind later about the devices you want to own, it may be harder than you think to switch gears and you may have to upload your content again.</p><p>"That's exactly the sort of thing that each of those companies want to achieve," Mulligan says. "They're about ways of locking customers into each of their ecosystems."</p><p>Paul Reynolds, the electronics editor for <em>Consumer Reports, </em>says that for any cloud-based services, the magazine plans to scrutinize "the terms of the storage — what permissions do you give to the cloud service to use your data and its underlying preferences in ways such as marketing."</p><p><strong>Will mainstream consumers flock to cloud-based services?</strong></p><p>Consumers have been using cloud services for ages for a host of Web-based services including email.</p><p>Carl Howe, an analyst for Yankee Group, says cloud-based music service may be "too new" for many consumers.</p><p>"And history is not on their side," he says of Amazon's new service. "People have been buying records or CDs for well over 50 years. It's hard to get them to buy something that isn't a physical product for music."</p><p>Digital music still trails behind the sale of CDs: Digital music sales accounted for 46 percent of all music purchases in 2010, but that's up from just 32 percent in 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan.</p><p>"I think this is really another attempt to create a subscription-like model," he says of Amazon's initiative. "But there's no guarantee the service remains free forever."</p><p>What's more, Howe doubts that millions of iTunes users will sign up for Amazon's service just because it provides cloud storage for their music library.</p><p>"Consumers would still have to buy music as they did before, it's just that I can consume it in a different way by streaming it," he says.</p><p>Consumer adoption will also depend on the speed of broadband connections.</p><p>"With those generally rising, cloud storage should also rise," says Reynolds of <em>Consumer Reports</em>. "Yet for some consumers on some platforms, speed limitations might still limit the appeal of some cloud content and storage." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1301438226?&gn=Music+In+The+Cloud%3A+What%27s+In+Store+For+Consumers%3F&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Around+the+Nation,Digital+Life,Technology,Your+Money,Business,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134961173&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110329&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 29 Mar 2011 16:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-29/music-cloud-whats-store-consumers-84465 Game On: Can Nintendo 3DS Score Against Smart Phones? http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-28/game-can-nintendo-3ds-score-against-smart-phones-84375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/3dsphototouse.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Playing a game these days is just a touch away on many smart phones.</p><p>But Nintendo hopes it can convince customers to carry another device by offering another dimension — a 3-D gaming experience — with its <a href="http://www.nintendo.com/3ds">3DS</a> hand-held device, which went on sale this weekend.</p><p>Consumers have been slow to embrace 3-D television given the high cost, the need for glasses and a shortage of content. So far, <em>Consumer Reports</em>' <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/tvs-services/tvs/tv-buying-advice/tv-3d/tv-3d.htm">advice</a> has been "don't' rush" to buy a 3-D TV, at least until prices come down and there's more content available.</p><p>But Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo America, thinks the 3DS has the right formula to attract people to the 3-D experience. "In our view, the key issues that have limited 3-D so far in the home have been shattered with this device — no glasses required, wide range of content, and it's affordable," he says.</p><p>While the 3DS does deliver on a 3-D experience without the shades, some consumers may find the $250 price tag a tough sell given all the entertainment — including books, movies and games — you can easily access via a smart phone or tablet.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p></p><p><strong>A Gyroscope And Motion Sensor </strong></p><p>Playing a game in 3-D on the 3DS is a simple exercise even for non-veteran gamers and the 3-D experience can be customized or turned off completely by moving a slider on the top screen. The bottom screen, which doesn't feature 3-D, is touch sensitive and provides additional information and instructions. There's an expandable stylus that Nintendo recommends using to tap the on-screen menus. But if you don't place it back in its holster, it can easily be lost. Overall, on-screen instructions are pretty easy to follow to start playing games quickly.</p><p>One of the built-in games <em>Face Raider</em> beckons you to snap your portrait with the device's forward-facing camera and allows you to make good use of the gyroscope and motion sensor (that's also the case with six AR or augmented-reality games that are included). The 3DS also has two cameras facing away from the player, which can take 3-D photos. Unfortunately, those photos only appear as 3-D on the device and the lens resolution is low.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>An Absorbing Gaming Experience</strong></p><p>Playing 3-D games is absorbing — not just because of the images, but also because of the sound effects. In <a href="http://www.lucasarts.com/games/legostarwarsiii/index.jsp"><em>LEGO</em> <em>Star Wars III</em></a>, which is sold separately ($50) as a game card that you insert into the back of the device, Yoda's grunts and the movement of a light saber sound just like they did on the big screen.</p><p>Another game, <a href="http://pilotwingsresort.nintendo.com/"><em>Pilotwings Resort</em></a>, which also isn't included ($40), allows players to navigate a small plane, rocket belt or hang glider over an island-like paradise, complete with blue skies, palm trees and a wind farm. There's something about flying in 3-D that makes this especially engaging even if you crash along the way. (Rest assured, your virtual pilot knows how to eject and parachute to safety).</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>Will It Have Broad Appeal?</strong></p><p>Fils-Aime says the goal of the 3DS is to function as a "full entertainment device," but it will be hard to know whether it lives up to that potential until later this year.</p><p>He says Nintendo will release a "well-developed full-on browser" that will allow people to surf the Web and send email (the company uses the Opera browser on the Wii). But the 3DS keyboard, which is designed to work best with the retractable stylus, could be a drawback for consumers used to thumbing it with real or virtual keys.</p><p>The 3DS also has a wireless feature that enables it to detect wireless hotspots and receive updates or videos even when the device is in sleep mode and a separate optional feature that allows for the exchange of data with other 3DS owners who pass by within close range.</p><p>There's also a plan to offer free wireless service through thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. And Nintendo says that later this year Netflix subscribers will be able to start watching a film at home — on any device — and then pick up where they left off on the 3DS when they hit the road. Fils-Aime also says Nintendo is discussing this type of partnership with other online video providers.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>An 'Amazing Test Case' </strong></p><p>Unfortunately, there are some downsides that could interfere with watching a lot of movies on the device. CNET's Jeff Bakalar found the 3DS had a "very short battery life" that lasted roughly three to five hours.</p><p>"With the 3DS, Nintendo is offering a $250 gaming-focused device that features limited functionality beyond games, which may not be as easy a sale as it was, say, five years ago," Bakalar <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/consoles/nintendo-3ds-cosmo-black/4505-10109_7-34469175.html?tag=latestReviews#reviewPage1">writes</a>. "It's becoming increasingly important to offer some sort of all-in-one solution, and while there are plenty of extras inside (and coming down the road), the 3DS won't be making phone calls anytime soon."</p><p>Still, Drew Davidson, the director of the entertainment technology center at Carnegie Mellon University, says the 3DS is an "amazing test case" because it "does add a layer of depth and immersion to the experience."</p><p>Gamers, he says, have an appetite for exploring new things and in this case, Nintendo has taken the lead in bringing a 3-D experience to a hand-held device.</p><p>But will that be enough for consumers to put down their smart phones, which most people already carry with them all the time?</p><p>Davidson says the latest smart phones are "solid game platforms" and the prices for games are "less expensive."</p><p>Nintendo, it seems, is bucking the trend and taking a 3-D bet. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1301344335?&gn=Game+On%3A+Can+Nintendo+3DS+Score+Against+Smart+Phones%3F&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Around+the+Nation,Digital+Life,Technology,Business,U.S.&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134928439&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110328&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 14:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-28/game-can-nintendo-3ds-score-against-smart-phones-84375 iPad 2 Mania Leads To Shortages http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-14/ipad-2-mania-leads-shortages-83742 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/us-it-apple-ipad2_6547927.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Weekend sales of Apple Inc.'s newly released iPad 2 soared beyond industry expectations, so much so that the device left most store shelves before the weekend actually ended.</p><p>From the product's rollout Friday afternoon on the West Coast, and cascading across the U.S., consumers reported standing in lines for several hours. And retail Web sites quoted delivery dates of four weeks out.</p><p>When the original iPad debuted 11 months ago, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 on the first day. Sales reached 1 million after 28 days.</p><p>By some estimates, iPad 2 sales may already be approaching that mark. Analysts put the weekend's volumes at between 500,000 and 1 million.</p><p></p><p>Apple on Monday didn't disclose actual sales figures, but said the product launch has been "amazing." The company said it's working to replenish inventory at stores as quickly as possible. Many retailers, including Best Buy, Target and Walmart, have said they could receive more shipments late this week at the earliest.</p><p>By last Saturday morning in many parts of the country, the quest for the new tablet had become a quest for something exotic and rare.</p><p>Photography student Brad Chatellier, an Apple devotee who lives in western Massachusetts, called every nearby store early Saturday, but found no trace of the device.</p><p>Chatellier resorted to Craigslist. He found precisely what he'd wanted, one with a 64-megabite memory and Wi-Fi. The seller asked him to meet him an hour away. No problem, Chatellier thought. The seller wanted $900 for the device, compared with the roughly $740 Chatellier would have spent at a store. Chatellier was willing to pay the mark-up.</p><p>"I figured when you worked in the taxes, I would have paid about that much anyway," Chatellier said later.</p><p>One problem: It was Saturday afternoon and banks had closed, leaving Chatellier able to withdraw only $700 from the ATM. He already had another $100 in his wallet, but he was still $100 short.</p><p>"'What am I going to do?' I thought. Then I remembered I had a bunch of change in a glass jar. I'd been putting my change in this jar for, like, a year and a half. I figured there'd be $150 in it," Chatellier said.</p><p>With cash and jar in tow, he set off to meet the seller at a grocery store in Ware, Mass.</p><p>"I didn't know if this grocery store had a change machine. Didn't know if this guy would let me buy him groceries to make up for the cash," Chatellier said. "Didn't know even know if he'd meet me. The whole thing felt like a stretch."</p><p>The store did have a machine that converts change to dollars. Chatellier's jar mercifully belched $120 in coins, more than enough to make up the difference.</p><p>"I'm admittedly an Apple fanatic," Chatellier said, now content with his new toy. "So what I did was a little bit ridiculous. I'm a die-hard loyalist." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1300209967?&gn=iPad+2+Mania+Leads+To+Shortages&ev=event2&ch=102920358&h1=All+Tech+Considered,Digital+Life,Technology,Home+Page+Top+Stories&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=134548629&c7=1019&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1019&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110314&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=102920358&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/all-tech-considered/2011-03-14/ipad-2-mania-leads-shortages-83742