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Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News
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Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News

Author: WIRED

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

40 Episodes
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How long have you gone without checking your phone in the past week? 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes while you’re awake? Our screens have commandeered our eyeballs and taken hold of our lives. Our phones buzz constantly with notifications, even when we intentionally move them off the dinner table, away from our bedsides, and out of sight. Ten years ago, before smartphones had even become mainstream, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain felt like something was askew in her life—and believed that technology had something to do with it. So she and her family instituted a “Tech Shabbat,” one day a week where they refused to use any form of modern technology. It involved installing landlines, printing out maps, and actually looking one another in the eye during conversations, but a decade later Shlain has determined that the benefits of consciously disconnecting outweigh the short-term sense of accomplishment we get from being on our phones. Shlain joins this week’s Gadget Lab podcast to talk about her evolving relationship with technology, and the process of stepping away from film to write a full-length book. Show Notes: You can find out more about Tiffany Shlain’s book here. You can read Peter’s exclusive story about the PlayStation 5 console here. Lily Newman’s story about Twitter’s usage of your phone number for ad targeting is here.  And for fun, you should read Boone Ashworth’s story about the big lure of tiny keyboards. Recommendations: Peter recommends Marvel Puzzle Quest, a mobile game that’s also available on PCs. Arielle recommends Fleishman Is In Trouble, a novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. Lauren recommends the Ask Molly newsletter, written by Heather Havrilesky, who is also the author of Ask Polly.Lauren Goode can be found at @LaurenGoode. Tiffany Shlain is @tiffanyshlain. Arielle Pardes is @pardesoteric. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Boone Ashworth, who edited the show, can be found at @booneashworth. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
Microsoft surprised just about everyone this week by showing off a pair of new mobile devices with two screens apiece. The pocketable Surface Duo and the tablet-like Surface Neo won't actually go on sale for at least one year, but Microsoft trotted the devices out anyway to signal how it's positioning its future in the mobile landscape.The company’s hardware chief, Panos Panay, joins us on the show this week to talk about the Duo and Neo, and what they say about productivity in the mobile age. Also, Panay urges us not to call the Android-powered Duo a phone … even though it makes phone calls.Also, news from Facebook, a new app from Instagram, and some not-self-driving car news from Tesla.Show Notes: Read Lauren Goode on the dual-screen Surface devices, and everything else new in the Surface lineup. Facebook’s leaked audio is here. Aarian Marshall tells us about Tesla’s Smart Summon. Arielle Pardes tells us about Instagram Threads.Recommendations: Arielle recommends Stoic Week. Mike recommends the Open Ears Project. Lauren recommends catching up on HBO’s Succession, as well as this Outside podcast episode, titled “Getting Past Our Fear of Great White Sharks”.Michael Calore is @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Boone Ashworth, who helps produce the show, is @booneashworth. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
For 25 years, Boston Dynamics has been building robots and releasing videos of the terrifying things running around, opening doors, and fending off stick-wielding humans. The company’s most famous creation is a four-legged, canine-esque robot called Spot. Now, for the first time, the company is unleashing Spot out into the world. Aimed at workplaces like construction sites, select customers will be able to lease one of the signature robots and get it to do their bidding.On this week’s episode of Gadget Lab, Mike and Arielle talk with WIRED science writer Matt Simon about his trip to Boston Dynamics, what it was like controlling Spot, and what robots like it mean for the future (and/or doom) of humanity.Also in the news: Amazon announces Echo wearables, and the FDA officially says that e-cigarettes are not safe.Show Notes: Read Matt Simon’s story about Spot the robot here. Read more about Amazon’s new Alexa glasses here and catch up on all of WIRED’s Amazon coverage here. Read more about the FDA’s stance on e-cigarettes here.Recommendations: Matt recommends Townsends, an 18th century-themed cooking channel on YouTube. Mike recommends the show Undone on Amazon Prime Video. Arielle recommends YouTuber Big Marvel and his rubber chicken cover of Toto’s “Africa.” (Yes, really.)Follow Matt Simon on Twitter @mrmattsimon. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
You may not realize it, but when you send a spit-filled tube off to a lab that’s going to analyze your DNA, you’re linking the most unique identifier possible (your gene sequence) to other sensitive personal information, like your name, home address, and credit card number. How can you know that the DNA lab will properly decouple your genetic data from your personal information? Well, you just have to trust them.Obviously, that arrangement isn’t ideal, which is why a new startup called Nebula is using robust digital privacy protocols—encrypted email, VPNs, and blockchain technology—to guard its customers’ information. WIRED reporter Megan Molteni joins us this week to talk about genetic sequencing, how personal data is handled, and what this startup is doing to change the best practices within the industry.Also, there’s a new Facebook Portal in the world, Amazon is cracking down on shady shopping apps, and we’ll tell you why you should wait to upgrade to iOS 13.Show Notes: Read Megan’s story about Nebula’s use of blockchain technology here. Tom Simonite tells us about the new Facebook Portal. Lauren Goode on iOS 13’s many bugs. Louise Matsakis on Amazon’s app crackdown.Recommendations: Lauren recommends the new Netflix series Unbelievable. Megan recommends the true-crime podcast In the Dark. Mike recommends the meta-interview show Everything Is Alive. Arielle recommends the book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb.Follow Megan Molteni on Twitter @meganmolteni. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
iPhones to the Max

iPhones to the Max

2019-09-1300:31:371

New iPhones! A shinier Apple Watch! So many camera lenses! On this week’s episode of Gadget Lab, it’s Apple week yet again. Lauren, Mike, and Arielle discuss all the new devices and services that made a splash in Cupertino. Also, they delve into the state of Apple events as a whole, and whether all the onstage excitement is a little removed from what’s happening in the rest of the world.In other news, California prepares to pass a law that would force ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees (and offer them a minimum wage, health benefits, and other worker protections). Also, social media companies experiment with removing the “likes” feature from their platforms, and nearly 300 email scammers are arrested in the biggest takedown of digital criminals ever.Show NotesRead about the new iPhones, Apple Watch, or follow all of WIRED’s Apple coverage here. Read Aarian Marshall’s story about Uber’s battle over its drivers here. Read Paris Martineau’s story about social media demetrication here. Read Lily Hay Newman’s story about email scammers here.Recommendations Arielle recommends the book Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. Lauren recommends that if you're in San Francisco, go see the art exhibit Pearl Jam: Live in Two Dimensions at the Haight Street Art Center. Michael recommends the podcast Lost Notes.Follow Michael Calore on Twitter at @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
How Uber Went Down in Flames

How Uber Went Down in Flames

2019-09-0600:48:451

Once upon a time, there was a true unicorn, a startup named Uber. Led by CEO Travis Kalanick, the company broke all the rules of business and truly disrupted the way people move through the world. But with a meteoric rise comes a steep fall. As it turns out, an inherently unstable business model and an even more unstable leader do not bode well for long term success.On this episode of the Gadget Lab, we are Super Pumped to talk New York Times tech reporter Mike Isaac about his explosive new book (it’s called Super Pumped) that chronicles the tumultuous rise and fall of Uber and the man who ran it.Also in tech news, Sonos unveils its first Bluetooth speaker, and Facebook introduces a new dating service. (What could go wrong?)Show Notes: Learn more about Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped here, and read WIRED’s review here. Read Lauren’s first look at the Sonos Move here. Read more from Louise Matsakis about Facebook dating here.Recommendations: Michael recommends Thomas Campbell’s skateboarding film Ye Olde Destruction. Lauren recommends Bay Curious podcast and Lana Del Rey’s new album Norman Fucking Rockwell!You can follow Mike Isaac on Twitter at @MikeIsaac. Michael Calore can be found at @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
If you have both an Instagram and Facebook account, chances are they are connected, whether you like it or not. But what if you didn’t connect them in the first place, or if you have a Finstagram account that you really don’t want linked back to your main? Too bad, because once Facebook has enough data on you to sync your accounts together, it’s never letting go. (Yeah, that “unlink account” button? It doesn’t actually work.) This week, WIRED staff writer Paris Martineau joins the show to talk about how Facebook has tightened its grip on Instagram and the other apps it has dominion over.Also in the news: Apple revises its stance on having humans listen to your Siri queries, a former Google and Uber engineer goes to court after he was accused of stealing trade secrets, and Amazon defends its practice of heavily promoting its own products over those sold by other retailers on the site.Show Notes: Read Paris’ story about unlinking Facebook and Instagram accounts here. Read stories about Anthony Levandowski’s legal troubles from Aarian Marshall and Alex Davies here and here. Read Jay Greene’s story about Amazon’s self-marketing tactics at the Washington Post here.Paris Martineau is on Twitter at @parismartineau. Michael Calore can be found at @snackfight. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.Recommendations: Paris recommends the Bear Notes app for iOS and MacOS. Lauren recommends the movie The Last Black Man in San Francisco, available on demand. Arielle recommends the Chrome browser extension Safe Book. Michael recommends the show The Green Frontier on Netflix.
You’ve Got Microplastics

You’ve Got Microplastics

2019-08-2300:43:441

Plastic is everywhere. No, really, it is everywhere. Tiny bits of plastic waste, called microplastic, have come to permeate nearly every part of the planet. We drink it in our water. We breathe it in the air. It is inescapable. On this episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, WIRED science writer Matt Simon joins Mike, Lauren, and Arielle to talk about where microplastic comes from, how it gets into our bodies, and what, if anything, we can do about it.Also in the news: Reddit gets into the livestreaming game, the latest version of Android’s operating system gets a healthy name change, and reviews are in on Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10+. The consensus is that it’s pretty darn cool. Show Notes: Matt Simon’s story on microplastics is here. Read Arielle’s story about Reddit’s livestreaming experiment here. Read Lauren’s review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ here. Read more about Android’s new naming conventions here.Recommendations: Matt recommends a series of books about wildfires by Stephen Pyne. Lauren recommends an episode of the Bill Simmons Podcast featuring journalist Kara Swisher. Arielle recommends the podcast Carrier. Mike recommends the book How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan.
For years, Google has flourished in large part because of its famously open internal structure. Leadership encouraged active and vocal communication between employees who held strong opinions or dissented with the company’s decisions. But over the past three years, that free-thinking atmosphere has become the breeding ground for deep divisions among Google’s workforce. Executive secrecy about controversial Google projects and a lack of unity on how to address charged political issues has steadily torn Google apart from the inside.On this week’s episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, Lauren and Arielle talk with WIRED senior writer Nitasha Tiku to discuss her cover story about Google’s three years of misery. Also in the news: WeWork files to go public and Apple responds to the controversy surrounding its batteries and right to repair.Show Notes: You can find Nitasha’s cover story here. Lauren’s story about iPhone battery swaps is here. And this is a good read on WeWork’s ambitions to “elevate the world’s consciousness.”Recommendations: Nitasha recommends “A Little Bit Alexis,” a song performed on season 5 of the TV show Schitt’s Creek. Arielle recommends a podcast called “The Anthropocene Reviewed” with John Green. Lauren recommends diving into season 3 of GLOW, which just became available on Netflix.  How to ListenYou can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. We’re on Spotify too. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Google Podcasts, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here's the RSS feed.https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-labWe're also on Soundcloud, and every episode gets posted to wired.com as soon as it's released. If you still can't figure it out, or there's another platform you use that we're not on, let us know.
Amazon didn’t become the behemoth it is by accident. Its services, like Amazon Prime, and products, like the Echo smart speaker, were designed to learn everything about you and become essential fixtures in your daily routine. But the convenience that Amazon offers often comes at the expense of privacy. On this week’s episode of the Gadget Lab podcast, Lauren sits down with Jason Del Ray, host of Recode’s new podcast *Land of the Giants* to talk about how Amazon came to rule the retail landscape and become an integral part of our lives.Also in the news, Apple is now taking applications for its new credit card, and Samsung unveils its new Galaxy phones.**Show Notes:**You can find Jason Del Rey’s podcast *Land of the Giants* [here](https://podcasts.voxmedia.com/show/land-of-the-giants). Read Arielle’s story about the new Apple card [here](https://www.wired.com/story/apple-card-now-available/). Read more from Lauren about Samsung’s latest phone announcements [here](https://www.wired.com/story/samsung-galaxy-note10-and-note10-plus/).**Recommendations:**Mike recommends reading “[The Weird, Dark History of 8chan](https://www.wired.com/story/the-weird-dark-history-8chan/)” by Timothy McLaughlin. Arielle recommends [*Dead to Me*](https://www.netflix.com/title/80219707) on Netflix.**How to Listen**  You can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just [tap this link](https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gadget-lab-podcast/id266391367?mt=2). You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by [tapping here](https://play.google.com/music/m/Iec5bnjozxz7wpye5n4m32mgsuu?t=The_Gadget_Lab_Podcast). We’re on [Spotify](https://open.spotify.com/show/11hUjoJv4FxFnw9r0mHIsC?si=a252nTYbQvi47_kimwWwsA) too. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Google Podcasts, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, [here's the RSS feed](https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-lab).  [https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-lab](https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-lab)We're also [on Soundcloud](https://soundcloud.com/wired), and every episode gets [posted to wired.com](https://www.wired.com/tag/gadget-lab-podcasts) as soon as it's released. If you still can't figure it out, or there's another platform you use that we're not on, [let us know](mailto:radio@wired.com).
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Comments (2)

Jeannie

the voices are too annoying to listen too. could not listen to these kids sounding like . . . kids. yuk!

Apr 29th
Reply

Jeannie

climate change? what a bunch of bs. this podcast is already boring me to death.

Apr 29th
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