Tech

News about computers, smartphones, gadgets, apps, the Internet and the tech industry.

If you feel like Internet ads are more pervasive and invasive than ever before, you're not alone. Author Tim Wu tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that the Web has gotten worse over the years, not better — and unrelenting ads are to blame.

"I think you spend 50 percent of your mental energy trying to defeat ad systems," Wu says. "It's amazing that we've got this great scientific invention, the Web and the Internet, and then it has come to the point where using it reminds me of swatting mosquitoes."

The activist organization WikiLeaks says the Internet connection for its founder, Julian Assange, has been severed by what it called a "state party."

The accusation came in a tweet early Monday.

San Francisco has made headlines as a hub for technology — giants like Facebook, Apple and Google are headquartered nearby, as are a plethora of tech startups. At the same time, residents complain that those same tech companies are part of the cause of the city's astronomical cost of living — and in turn, contributing to the city's big homeless problem.

Law enforcement is increasingly worried about losing access to powerful tools for searching social media because of changing attitudes at the social media companies that allow the searches.

Digital gizmos can monitor your heart, whether it's a wrist-worn fitness tracker or a smartphone app to help cardiologists analyze diagnostic tests. The question is whether they're going to do your heart any good. The short answer: it depends.

The Department of Transportation did not mince any words: Starting mid-Saturday, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be "considered a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations."

Self-driving cars have been getting a lot of attention lately: Uber's self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh, Tesla's semi-autonomous Model S and the driverless Google rides that look like a cross between a Cozy Coupe and a golf cart. But quietly and without much fanfare, researchers and entrepreneurs are working on self-driving trucks — big rigs, tractor trailers.

There is a man who is a thorn in the side of Facebook — a problem that just won't go away. In 2008, Facebook sued him, saying he was a hacker and a spammer who was putting users at risk. But in a truly bizarre plot twist, he stood up to the Internet giant — and he has become the unlikely protagonist in a battle for your rights online.

Our protagonist

Steven Vachani and I are sitting at a Starbucks because, he doesn't want to say it, but: He doesn't have an office or a home in Silicon Valley anymore.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Twelve years ago, a car wreck took away Nathan Copeland's ability to control his hands or sense what his fingers were touching.

A few months ago, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave Copeland a new way to reach out and feel the world around him. It's a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip that send signals directly to Copeland's brain.

After last month's televised congressional hearings, Wells Fargo's top executive, John Stumpf, had become the face of the company's sham-accounts scandal. He retired Wednesday.

Stumpf's downfall was the latest twist in a strange, yearlong tale about huge corporations taking their sterling reputations, tarnishing them and then frantically trying to restore luster.

Experts say undoing the harm won't be easy; great reputations can take decades to build.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

There is a startup in the love industry that promised to help people find real relationships — not just sex. But, as with so many things in love, it didn't go according to plan. The app became yet another hookup app. Today, after 10 months of soul-searching, the startup is making a very public commitment to change.

It's called Hinge, and it's based in Manhattan's Flatiron District. Back in January, it was coming to grips with a crisis.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In oral arguments on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court enters the smartphone wars.

The case, which pits Samsung against Apple, could have major repercussions for tech products across the board.

The two smartphone giants have been battling each other — not just in the marketplace but also in the courts — since 2011, a year after Samsung unveiled a new set of smartphones, including the Galaxy. Like iPhones, the Samsung products, for the first time, had rounded corners and square icons on a touchscreen.

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