smart phones

You use software nearly every instant you’re awake. It powers everything from social media, video games, and email to credit card fraud monitoring, smart home systems, and the brakes in your car. All of this software is written by computer programmers, and through their work, coders have become the most quietly influential people on the planet. If we want to understand how today’s world works, we ought to understand something about these digital architects.

In "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World," tech journalist Clive Thompson draws on his access to today’s tech world to dive into the enigmatic world of coding and examine the consequences of the “programmer mentality.”

To join in on the conversation, we welcome our tech guru, app developer and author Jesse Feiler.

We’re all aware that innovations like smartphones and social media can have a negative impact on our lives, but the thought of quitting these technologies can scare us into believing we’ll be left disconnected and left behind.

According to Georgetown Computer Science Professor Cal Newport, the solution isn’t relying on tips and hacks to use technology less, and it isn’t an outright rejection either -- it’s a clear, simple philosophy for our technology use.

In his new book, "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World," Newport suggests focusing your online time on a small number of carefully selected activities that strongly support things you value, allowing you to happily miss out on everything else.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Capital District Transportation Authority has officially launched its Navigator smartcard system.

Throughout the fight over whether Apple should help unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone was the understanding that this was not Apple's first time at bat.

Now, documents show that Apple has been facing similar requests since at least 2008, and that the Silicon Valley giant is not alone, as Google, too, has fielded calls for help unlocking phones in court, for instance to bypass a lock screen and reset a password.

  Award-winning journalist and author Nancy Jo Sales is the featured keynote speaker at The Woodstock Writers Festival this year. Her latest book is American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teen­agers. She will be in conversation with Carla Goldstein, Omega Institute’s chief external affairs officer and co-founder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media and Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. She crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income.

American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A coalition of consumer groups, organized labor and elected officials says New York state’s telecommunication system is in decline, while a new government survey says American households are increasingly disconnecting their landline telephones.  

The coalition includes groups like the AARP, Common Cause, the Working Families Party, several unions and dozens of elected leaders from around the state. It has filed a petition with the Public Service Commission seeking a "complete and public" review of the state's telecommunication system.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Apple added what’s known as a "kill switch" to iPhones last September. Authorities say that has sharply reduced robberies and thefts of the popular smartphone. Now, Microsoft and Google will a kill switch to their smartphone operating systems.

Smartphones Changing Face Of Journalism

Mar 27, 2014

Before the Smartphone, Journalists focused on meticulous note taking and their observational skills to report the news.  Now, the device that can fit in a pocket has revolutionized the industry and has quickly become one of the most important tools in the journalism field, including the popular area of sports reporting.

Don't Text and Drive - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was underlining that mandate in an appearance this morning at a Thruway rest area, as Thruway authorities plan to ramp up penalties for distracted driving.

Despite a beefed-up public awareness campaign and new laws combating distracted driving, New York State Troopers issued 21,500 tickets issued over the summer, compared to 5,000 last year.

Photocomposite by Dave Lucas / WAMC

Mayor Jerry Jennings has announced a round of technological leaps for the city of Albany. It's a triple dose of innovation - first, a redesigned, more user-friendly city website... second, the city rolls out its second major app...  and third, a new information czar.

A decades-old problem that plagues large cities is about to meet a new, digital foe.

The city of Albany is turning to smartphone technology in the fight against urban blight: Mayor Jerry Jennings announced the activation of The Graffiti Buster.   The free app was about a year in the making, the brainchild of Tim Varney, a partner at Troy Web Consulting. Albany's Department of General Services cleans up hundreds of incidents of graffiti every year.
 

  Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. We discuss the ups and downs with our tech guru, Jesse Feiler.

It is the end of a calendar year and that time when the media makes lists. Best of the year, worst of the year and the, ever fun, predictions for the New Year. The 2013 tech predictions are already in and our Jesse Feiler is here to help us handicap the future.

Half of all U.S. adults now have a mobile connection to the web through either a smartphone or tablet, significantly more than a year ago, and this has major implications for how news will be consumed and paid for, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center's Project. We’ll go behind the numbers this morning with Jesse Feiler.

With the release this week of Apple’s iPhone 5, the Pew Research Center reports 45% of American adults own smartphones. They are particularly popular with young adults and those living in relatively higher income households; 66% of those ages 18-29 own smartphones, and 68% of those living in households earning $75,000 also own them. Duh, right?

Our tech guru Jesse Feiler says there is more to the story.

It's computers on this edition of Vox Pop, with Jake Cunningham of Brown Trout LLC. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.