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Newest Nintendo 'Animal Crossing' Arrives

Apr 7, 2020

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a video game from Nintendo that's bringing comfort to millions of socially distant people around the world. That's because it's all about creating a reassuring reality in a time when the real world isn't. Reporter Megan Manata explains.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Musicians and other professional performers are among those who have already been hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. For many, most of their regular income opportunities have been canceled, or have been delayed indefinitely. So many musicians are trying their hand at teaching online.

Bassist Steve Whipple has played with everyone from Lady Gaga to NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi to his own group.

The streaming service Quibi — short for "quick bites" — calls itself "the first entertainment platform designed specifically for your phone."

Translation: They're doling out their shows in 7-to-10-minute chunks — er, episodes — at a rate of one per day. Quick bites, get it? Perfect for the busy, distracted, on-the-go consumer! Too bad none of us are on-the-going anywhere these days.

Quibi divides its shows into three categories: Movies in Chapters (read: serialized narrative), Unscripted and Documentaries (read: episodic nonfiction) and Daily Essentials.

April McGhee and her teenage daughter started feeling sick last month. They had coughs, sore throats and fevers. Her daughter's condition became so bad that they went to the emergency room.

"She had it worse than I did," McGhee said. "Her cough lasted longer. It was really a concern. ... It was like a dry, nonproductive, hacking cough."

McGhee, who lives in Sacramento, wanted both of them to get tested for the coronavirus. But the hospital told her they weren't sick enough to qualify for testing under California's rules. So, they went home and into isolation.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A powerful Senate Democrat is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Zoom for deceptive practices, adding to the growing chorus of concerns over the popular video chat software's privacy and security flaws.

Several state attorneys general are also probing Zoom, after users, including government officials, reported harassment, known as "Zoombombing," on the platform.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Teaching For Better Humans 2.0.

About Richard Culatta's TED Talk

What does a global pandemic mean for our education system? Educator Richard Culatta discusses the ways we can teach for better humans virtually... and the opportunity this moment presents.

About Richard Culatta

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET

Dennis Johnson fell victim last week to a new form of harassment known as "Zoombombing," in which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images such as pornography. It's a phenomenon so alarming that the FBI has issued a warning about using Zoom.

Like many people these days, Johnson is doing a lot of things over the Internet that he would normally do in person. Last week, he defended his doctoral dissertation in a Zoom videoconference.

It was never meant to get this big, this fast. Zoom — the video-conferencing service which has become the go-to way for millions of self-distancing users to get in touch with friends, family, teachers, co-workers and more — has gone public with exactly how large it has grown since the coronavirus pandemic, and what it plans to do about its growing pains.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she welcomes the development of a European COVID-19 tracing app that protects data and doesn't store the location of its users.

The app, developed by a European initiative, uses Bluetooth to log a user's proximity to other cellphones. Users then receive a message if they've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

City authorities in Moscow are rolling out new digital "social monitoring" tools targeting the public, after what officials say were constant violations of the city's quarantine imposed this week to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Under restrictions in place since Monday, most of the city's 12 million residents must remain indoors, barring a few exceptions — like trips to the supermarket or pharmacy, taking out the trash or briefly walking the dog.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are relying more heavily on automated systems to flag content that violate their rules, as tech workers were sent home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, when the Internet Archive announced its "National Emergency Library," expanding access to more than a million digitized works, the group explained the move as a goodwill gesture in the time of coronavirus.

Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

Some Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, N.Y., and Instacart's grocery delivery workers nationwide walked off their jobs on Monday. They are demanding stepped-up protection and pay as they continue to work while much of the country is asked to isolate as a safeguard against the coronavirus.

Facebook says it's dedicating $100 million to prop up news organizations pummeled by the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Just two weeks ago, the company announced it would devote $1 million to aid local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada covering the crisis. It turns out, Facebook was already thinking about giving far more.

Large numbers of companies are rolling out mandatory work-from-home policies to help limit the risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak. But cybersecurity experts warn that those remote setups invite new hacking risks.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently issued warnings of an uptick in fraudulent crimes tied to the coronavirus, particularly by scammers posing as official health agencies.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The sun shines as Felix Quintana cruises through South Central Los Angeles. He's always been inspired by what he sees out of his car window, from the strip malls to the street vendors. "I love the hustle," he says. "The hand-painted signs, the swap meets, the people making money washing windshields."

But those moments can fly by. And his ongoing series of cyanotypes make us pause on the often overlooked Angelenos who work and live in the less glitzy, more gritty neighborhoods of LA County.

Apple's new COVID-19 website and app allow users to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms and receive recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do next.

The tool was developed in partnership with the CDC, the White House's coronavirus task force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Both the website and the app were made publicly available on Friday.

As the coronavirus spreads and disrupts life across the country, Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans are facing a secondary threat: racism.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and some now blame the country for its global spread. In recent weeks, blame has escalated into reports of harassment and even assault in places with large communities of Asian Americans.

With very few people booking Airbnbs or taking Uber rides right now, millions of people in the gig economy are seeing their livelihoods abruptly upended.

Take Ed Bell, in San Francisco, who rents out his in-law suite on Airbnb. That is his main source of income — he calls it his "gig" — supplemented by "side hustles" doing consulting work.

As a global pandemic takes hold, more people are turning to Facebook in search of news about the coronavirus.

But the traffic load on the social media platform is also testing its ability to crack down on a spike in virus-related misinformation. Users are being confronted with phony cures and conspiracy theories around the virus' origin. (Note: Facebook is a financial supporter of NPR.)

For 6-year-old Sadie Hernandez, the first day of online school started at her round, wooden kitchen table in Jacksonville, Fla. She turned on an iPad and started talking to her first grade teacher, Robin Nelson.

"Are you ready to do this online stuff?" her teacher asks, in a video sent to NPR by Hernandez's mother, Audrey.

"Yeah," Sadie responds.
"It's kind of scary isn't it?"
"Kind of."

The coronavirus has infected more than 450,000 people worldwide, and now cybersecurity experts are warning the pandemic could take a toll on computer systems, as well.

Many companies that usually handle sensitive information in their offices are now telling employees to work from home. And that can make them more vulnerable to hackers — especially if workers browse certain websites they wouldn't visit when the boss is watching.

In other words, porn.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

All right. There has been lots to adjust to during this whole coronavirus pandemic, wouldn't you say, Ari?

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Absolutely. For those of us working from home, we've had to learn how to video conference, for example.

Joe Biden is a classic retail politician — a man who loves to shake hands, give hugs, take selfies and look voters directly in the eye, one-on-one. But now he can't do any of those things.

Instead, because of the coronavirus outbreak, his campaign is grounded: no rallies, no travel. It's all virtual fundraisers, live-streamed speeches, remote TV interviews, Facebook videos and volunteer Slack channels.

The federal government is now adding supercomputers to its tool set in the hunt for ways to stop COVID-19.

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