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Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News

Technology Podcasts

Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.

Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.


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Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.




Amazon’s Hidden Prime Secrets

If you have an Amazon Prime membership (maybe it’s where you’ve been buying all your toilet paper during the pandemic) then you’re likely aware of the key benefits: free shipping, access to special deals, and the free streaming movies and TV shows. But there are a host of other, lesser-known benefits available to Prime customers, like free Kindle books, free Twitch Prime, free kids’ content, and a few ways to earn credit on future purchases. This week, we’re joined by WIRED staff writer...


Tick Tock, TikTok

All the kids are talking about it. And now, so are government officials and corporate bigwigs. An app typically known for short, clever videos (and lots of dancing), TikTok has recently found itself at the center of international scrutiny. Critics say that TikTok’s massive presence in the US is a national security risk because the app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company. Business leaders are also worried, in some cases asking their employees to delete the app from their devices....


Get WIRED: Citizen and the Bizarre World of Live-Streamed Crime

The idea behind the Citizen app is that its users upload videos of the things that are going on in the neighborhood in real time — anything from as a gas leak to something potentially a lot more violent. It's an app built on the premise that the more information a community has the better off it is, but it also comes with all of the trappings and problems of a lot of community surveillance — the app has some toxic comments, it can lead to racial profiling, and it has sparked a lot of...


Introducing: Get WIRED

Get WIRED is a new podcast about how the future is realized. Each week, we burrow down new rabbit holes to investigate the ways technology is changing our lives—from culture to business, science to design. Through hard-hitting reporting, intimate storytelling, and audio you won’t hear anywhere else, Get WIRED is the must-listen-to tech podcast that sets the agenda for the week. Hosted by WIRED Senior Writer Lauren Goode. Listen and subscribe to Get WIRED here. Learn more about your ad...


I Stream, You Stream

It’s hard to remember what television on the internet was like before Netflix started streaming original programming on demand. But maybe that fact just underscores the massive influence the platform has had over the shows we watch and how we watch them. This week on Gadget Lab, Peter Kafka, cohost of season two of the Land of the Giants podcast from Recode, joins us to talk about the rise of Netflix, its influence on our culture, and how the pandemic has affected our use of the service. In...


I Can't Stop Doomscrolling

Doomscrolling—everybody's doing it! You’re lying in bed, on your phone, trying to fall asleep, but then you end up staying awake for hours as your social media timeline fills you with anger and anxiety. This isn't just your garden-variety FOMO either. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and it can feel like there's a fresh new calamity or setback every single day. Add displays of collective grief over racial injustice to the mix, and it can be even harder to look away. So how do you stay...


Home Bodies

Getting through this pandemic hasn't been easy. Each day can feel like a slog, especially when, for many people, the necessary shelter-in-place restrictions have no end in sight. While being cooped up and isolated from others isn't pleasant, there are some ways to make the experience more bearable. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED service editor Alan Henry and WIRED senior writer Adrienne So join the show to talk about the gadgets, media, and lifestyle adjustments that have helped them get...


Arrested Developer Event

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference is normally an energetic, bustling affair. This year, of course, things are anything but normal. Instead of live talks in front of full crowds and attendees mingling face to face, WWDC was a virtual-only experience. During the keynote address, execs rattled off their announcements in pre-recorded video segments filmed on a very empty Apple campus. The slick, occasionally eerie production was a glimpse into just how lonely the tech world has...


Inside the eBananas Scandal

A package showing up on your doorstep normally gives you a little hit of excitement. But for one Massachusetts couple last year, the arrival of each new package triggered feelings of anxiety and dread. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk about the cyberstalking campaign that six former eBay employees allegedly launched against the married owners of a news website that’s often critical of the ecommerce industry. It’s a twisted tale featuring shipments of live roaches, a pig’s head mask, unwanted...


When Can I See You Again?

As states and cities lift shelter-in-place restrictions, there’s still so much we don’t know about the coronavirus and how it spreads. Which has left a lot of people wondering: How safe is it, really, to start socializing again? Is wearing a mask a part of our lives for the foreseeable future—and is it possible to persuade stubborn family members to wear one, too? Are short flights safer than long flights? And, are single people destined to remain dateless in the time of coronavirus? This...


Tech and the Police State

Across the world, millions of people have gathered to protest police brutality and systemic racism after an officer in Minneapolis killed George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Amid the outpouring of grief and support, tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Reddit have issued statements backing protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement. But these same companies also provide platforms and services that prop up communities of hate and help law enforcement disproportionately track and...


Trump v. Twitter

A political firestorm erupted this week when Twitter flagged two of President Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting, calling them potentially misleading, and amending them with some timid attempts at fact-checking. This action caused the President to lash out at the social media platform by signing an executive order demanding a legal review of the protections it enjoys under the Communications Decency Act. The order doesn’t just affect Twitter, but also Facebook, YouTube, and any platform...


Remote Desktop

Silicon Valley loves its disruption. If any industry was prepared to handle the monumental changes brought on by the coronavirus, it’s big tech. Companies like Twitter and Facebook were some of the first to require their employees to work from home, even before official shelter-in-place orders went into effect. Now, they and others have extended their remote work policies to allow their employees to telecommute from home forever, even after the pandemic ends. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED...


The Dark Secrets of a Hacking Hero

In May of 2017, Marcus Hutchins saved the internet. A vicious ransomware attack known as WannaCry had infected computer systems across dozens of countries. It was the worst cyberattack in history at the time, and it seemed unstoppable. But Hutchins, a 23-year-old-hacker in Ilfracombe, England, discovered a secret kill switch that stopped the malware from propagating. Hutchins became a celebrity overnight, with the hacker community and the media hailing him as a hero. But all of the newfound...


On the Road Again

While every economic sector in America has been upended by the coronavirus, few have been hit as hard as the transit and food service industries. It's not so easy to hop on a bus or train when there's a need for increased sanitation and social distancing. It’s equally as difficult to imagine sitting down in a cafe next to some strangers and ordering a nice salade niçoise as servers buzz around the dining room. As the country grows more desperate to return to something approaching normalcy,...


The Argument for Making End-of-Life Decisions Early

Back in March, counter-culture icon and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog Stewart Brand made a statement on Twitter that surprised some people: He had decided, and had communicated to his wife and the rest of his family, that if he got sick from the coronavirus, he wanted to refuse invasive procedures, including being put on a ventilator. It sparked a conversation about medical freedom and what it takes to have a sense of agency over death. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED editor-at-large...


Open For Business

Depending on where you live, the stores, parks, playgrounds, and offices in your area could be shut down for the rest of this summer. Or, they could all be open again right now. State governments have differing opinions on when the best time is to restart normal life (and the economy) even though public health experts are advising us all to continue to shelter in place until we’re equipped to test and care for every American who falls ill. This week on Gadget Lab, we ask WIRED senior...


Will Contact Tracing Work?

Even amid a global pandemic, the world of tech keeps on turning. Some companies have responded directly to the outbreak, offering up smartphone-based contact tracing and wearable solutions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But none of these options is perfect, and many of them raise ethical concerns about the information they ask for in return. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED senior writer Sidney Fussell about Apple and Google's plans for contact tracing and whether...


The Race to Make a Vaccine

Researchers around the world are toiling to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. But the creation of a working vaccine that can be safely distributed to a broad population requires a tremendous amount of rigor and caution, so the process is likely to take at least a year. WIRED staff writer Megan Molteni has covered the novel coronavirus outbreak since the virus was first identified in early January. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with Megan about where our efforts to make a vaccine...


Supply Demand

The coronavirus outbreak is accelerating in the United States. According to projections, the number of Covid-19 cases in the US is expected to peak around the middle of April. Meanwhile, medical practitioners at hospitals and other health facilities across the country face a shortage of life-saving medical equipment. Without enough ventilators, masks, and tests, the task of dealing with the coming surge in patients becomes significantly more challenging. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior...