Marc Sanchez is the technical director and associate producer for Marketplace Tech Report where he is responsible for shaping the sound of the show. 

Sanchez started at Marketplace in April of 2011, but has worked for American Public Media since 2005. During that time, he was the director and associate producer of Weekend America, produced a season of American RadioWorks, worked in the Minnesota Public Radio newsroom and helped out with Speaking of Faith, now called On Being.

Sanchez believes that the everyday people around us often have the most interesting stories to tell.  In 2010, Sanchez started a project called Minnesota Sounds, which captures Minnesota, his home state, from an audio perspective.

Sanchez received his degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. 

In 2008, he received a Minnesota Excellence in Medical Journalism award for “Donation Day,” a story inspired by his experience being a marrow donor.

Sanchez is originally from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., but currently calls Minneapolis home. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and daughter, playing music, record shopping and continuing his quest to find the world’s best tacos.

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Features by Marc Sanchez

Take that Squarebucks

It was just a couple weeks ago, that Square announced a deal with Starbucks, which will give customers mobile payment options in all of the coffee king’s 7,000 + U.S. locations. Now, PayPal  announced that it’s going to partner up with Discover to enable mobile all over the freaking place - 7,000,000 U.S. merchant locations. From AllThingsD:

Discover may not hold the same cache among consumers as Visa and MasterCard, but it reaches nearly as many merchants, roughly 95 percent of the two other payment networks combined. And when matched up with PayPal’s more than 50 million users in the U.S., the two could mark the first mobile payments network that spans both millions of users and millions of locations.


Mick (Visa) has the moves and Keith (MasterCard) has the licks, but the stones were nothing without Charlie Watts (Discover). You gotta have a back beat. Maybe Square can partner with Bill Wyman (Amex) and try to get back some satisfaction.
Expect to see the deal in action on the retail front next spring. The companies say that come April 2013, you will be able to use your PayPal card or phone number and a PIN (no card needed) anywhere Discover is taken.

Michigan begins a test to see how smart cars can be

The U.S. Department of Transportation began a new phase in a project, joining researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, that will track data from vehicles in hopes to make driving safer. The $14.9 million, yearlong study began yesterday will have cars talking to each other on a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) system, similar to Wi-Fi but operating on a specified band of spectrum the FCC has set aside for autos. Break it down The Verge:

The deployment includes approximately 2,800 cars, trucks and buses, 300 of which are getting aftermarket safety devices to beam data like position, velocity, and acceleration to and from neighboring vehicles and infrastructure ten times every second. Another 64 will be "fully integrated," with safety systems installed during production, while the remainder will have simple transmission-only devices.


Researchers say DSRC is better than Wi-Fi for a couple reasons. First off, it’s faster and more reliable. Also, be able to track you. It’s specifically being deployed for safety reasons. So when a giant bus comes barreling through a red light, getting ready to crash into that tiny two-seater you drive because it fits into more parking spaces than other cars, you won’t be pressed into the city’s newest manhole cover. DSRC will tell your car and the bus about the impending collision with (hopefully) enough time for you to react or for your car’s auto-brakes to kick in. It won’t, however, use information from the bus’ data to give the driver a ticket.
Bonus green points! Again, from The Verge:

… it’s hoped that the project will have green spillover effects for the environment. Drivers will be able to get accurate real-time traffic updates directly from cars ahead of them, and be given alternate route suggestions. If all goes according to plan, fewer accident-induced backups and better use of less-congested roads should lead to less efficiency-sucking idling.

Awkward phone call from South Korea to Cupertino

Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the Apple vs. Samsung case, asked that the CEOs of both companies give it one more shot before their case is sent off for a jury to decide. A lawyer on Samsung’s team confirmed that Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Kwan Oh Hyun did speak but were unable to come to any resolution.

Bloomberg reports

As testimony in the trial drew to a close, Koh asked that the CEOs talk, and said she was “pathologically optimistic” they could settle claims over patents for smartphones and tablet computers.

Here’s what I imagine how the phone call went:
TIM COOK: Siri, get Kwan Oh Hyun on the horn
SIRI: dialing Kwan Oh Hyun
KWAN OH HYUN: Is that you Tim?
COOK: Um hmm.
HYUN: Fantastic! Please, you go first.
COOK: Rectangle.
HYUN: 90 degree angles!
COOK: Shiny.
HYUN: Glossy!
COOK: Swipe.
HYUN: Sweep!
COOK: Phone.
HYUN: Talking device!
COOK: Disagree.
HYUN: Agreed!
BOTH: See you when the jury comes back from deliberating. Bye!

You have until August 30 to get metaphysical

Did you hear that gasp? It was let out by witchcrafters, potion-pawners, and voodoo doll-dealers, all of whom currently sell their wares on eBay. In a routine clean up its site, the company announced that after August 30, it will no longer list auctions for items classified as intangible or metaphysical.

From Wired:

Among the items that will be taken down and prohibited from August 30, 2012, are “advice; spells; curses; hexing; conjuring; magic; prayers; blessing services; magic potions; healing sessions; work from home businesses and information; wholesale lists, and drop shop lists.”

I mean really, there is nothing worse than the stay-at-home sorcerer who tries to magic potion a wholesale list through a healing session. Can I get a what-what?!? Uh... how about a hocus pocus?
An online petition has been circulating trying to urge eBay to reverse its decision. But wait a minute, couldn’t they just... I mean, aren’t they... why not just cast a spell and make it so this thing never happened?

Again from Wired:

Though the petition does not use the word discrimination, it does point out that the sales of items reflecting other belief systems that remain unproven are not in dispute. Most significantly, it singles out “rosaries, crucifixes or religious medals, all of which have perceived ‘intangible’ abilities and energies associated with them,” and goes on to say that feng shui items, such as crystals, and magnetic therapy jewellery could also be seen to offer “intangible benefits.”
eBay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff has cleared this matter up, however, explaining that “items that have a tangible value for the item itself and may also be used in metaphysical rites and practices (for instance, jewellery, crystals, incense, candles, and books) are allowed in most cases.”

Coming soon to an auction near you: potion rocks!

Your next Wi-Fi hotspot could be a donkey

“Heehaww!” might be a decent password, and it also might be the sound your Wi-Fi-enabled donkey makes at an Israeli, historical amusement park. Visitors to the park can now simultaneously recreate the past whilst traveling on a donkey in a town built to look like ancient Galilee and embrace their modern addiction to documenting every moment of every thing.

Fast Company writes:

Kfar Kedem is a small historical reenactment park where actors drawn from the surrounding village play the role of peasants in Biblical-era Galilee. The park's decision to strap Wi-Fi routers to their donkeys as a publicity stunt marks one of the first times that any business, anywhere, has adopted animal-mounted wireless Internet as part of their business strategy.

And yes, this means that visitors can now tweet, update, and get all Instagrammy without ever getting up off their ass.

From Engadget:

So far, only five of the village's 30 available donkeys are currently outfitted with routers, but park manager Menachem Goldberg's toying with an expansion to the rest of his "fleet."

Curiosity killed the cat. And now it turned a space rock into plasma with a laser.

Outasight, man! The Mars rover Curiosity got a chance to go to the gun range yesterday. It tested out its laser by firing it at a rock. MTR talked to Roger Wiens, in charge of the laser (ChemCam), just before the rover touched down, and he described its power as a: “million lightbulbs into the spot the size of the pin for five billionths of a second.” That’s just cool, right?

The Verge reports:

According to a statement from NASA, the test — billed as "target practice" for future missions — involved hitting the rock with 30 brief laser pulses, each delivering more than a million watts of power. The barrage transformed the target area into a stream of molten plasma

The test was deemed successful as the laser-enabled plasma was able to detect the rock’s chemical makeup.

That crazy, little Curiosity has a sense of humor too. Its official Twitter account tweeted this after the test:

“Yes, I've got a laser beam attached to my head. I'm not ill tempered; I zapped a rock for science: http://1.usa.gov/P7IXF1  #MSL#PewPew

Somewhere, deep in a maze of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, Calif. Roger Wiens has just high-fived everyone in arm’s reach.

Sure, AT&T will let you use FaceTime. Just sign up for a new shared data plan.

People have been speculating at how AT&T was going to handle the expected influx of video-enabled calls, as Apple expands its FaceTime feature from Wi-Fi to cell networks. Ma Bell speaks, this time through an interpreter who calls himself AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel.

From the Wall Street Journal: “AT&T will offer FaceTime over cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans.”

You may recall that Mobile Share is AT&T’s plan that lets users share a pool of data across devices like phones and tablets. Anybody wanting to sign up for Mobile Share can do so beginning this Friday. If you’re a current AT&T unlimited plan holder, you’ll have to make a choice: keep unlimited (which really isn’t unlimited, because you get slowed down after you reach certain thresholds) or switch to the shared plan and most likely pay more scratch to watch your phone calls.

But hold on a second! The Hill reports that the new plan might violate FCC Rules.

Free Press and Public Knowledge argue that AT&T's plan violates the Federal Communications Commissions's Open Internet rules, which restrict mobile providers from blocking applications that compete with its voice services.

"Although carriers are permitted to engage in 'reasonable network management,' there is no technical reason why one data plan should be able to access FaceTime, and another not," said John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney at Public Knowledge, in a statement. "'Over-the-top' communications services like FaceTime are a threat to carriers' revenue, but they should respond by competing with these services and not by engaging in discriminatory behavior."

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint does not plan to change its fees as FaceTime becomes accessible on its network. There’s no definitive word on which way Verizon will swing on this issue.

Apple vs. Samsung wraps testimony

Before the trial got underway, Judge Lucy Koh put a time limit on how long Apple and Samsung lawyers had to tell their stories. 50 hours - 25 per side. That time came to an end on Friday, so now  what? Closing arguments are set for tomorrow, and then the jury goes on deliberate one of the biggest patent cases in history.

All Things D gives the bottom line:

Apple has sued Samsung for violating several patents as well as infringing on several protected design elements, known as “trade dress.” Samsung denies those charges and has countersued Apple for infringing on three feature patents as well as some core wireless patents.
The jury will have to unanimously agree that a particular patent is valid and infringed by a particular device in order for a finding of infringement. There are dozens of different phones and tablets at issue in the case, in addition to the many patents.

Details that have come out of the trial ranged from the mundane - what denotes a rounded corner? - to the va-va-VOOM - Apple brings in an average of 558 bucks of revenue on each iPad, roughly $100 more than Samsung.
But the battles of the super rich could have an effect on you.

The New York Times writes:

If Apple prevails, experts believe Samsung and other rivals in the market will have a much stronger incentive to distinguish their smartphone and tablet products with unique features and designs to avoid further legal tangles.


And if Samsung prevails? Well then, this holiday season should be filled with iPhonies. Innovation be damned!

This is how long we will wait for cool stuff

Driverless cars, 3D printing, “smart” drugs, and hummingbird drones have all made appearances on Marketplace Tech Report. Some form of the same caveat seems to emerge time and time again. It has to do with when all this cool stuff will actually be in our lives. Analytics firm Gartner has just released its 2012 Hype Circle of Emerging Technologies report, which estimates the tipping point for lots of this cool stuff

Sorry mobile robots, 3D bioprinting, and the Internet of Things, Gartner says we’ll have to wait more than 10 years for you. And even though Google prints its own pasta, every day 3D printing still looks to be 5-10 years down the road. Don’t laugh, Internet TV, because along with NFC payments and crowdsourcing, you’re on the same 5-10 year trajectory. On the other hand, expect to see wireless power, private cloud computing, and biometric authentication methods to become integrated in the next 2-5 years. Hooray - I’m totally planning to remote-retina scan into my home network and turn on some wireless lights in 2015!

 

Threat level goes from orange to malware

Security firm Trusteer says it has uncovered malware on an airport computer system. It’s unclear if the motives behind the attack were for money or more nefarious reasons, and Trusteer won’t say which airport was attacked.

Business Week has the details:

The attack used Citadel Trojan malware—which computer users can unknowingly install simply by clicking on a Web link—to read the screens of employees who logged in remotely to the airport’s virtual private network (VPN). It also allowed the cybercriminals to capture the username, password, and one-time passcode of the victims with a form-grabbing technology, according to Trusteer. With the employee’s credentials in hand, the hackers would have unlimited access to the airport computer system’s software to the extent the worker’s account would allow.

Trustee says VPN access was immediately cut off after the breach was discovered.

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