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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

Nokia is about to silently scream “WE HAVE A NEW WINDOWS PHONE!”

The Finnish smartphone maker, that most see as on its last leg, announced it will hold a joint media event with Microsoft on September 5, presumably to herald a new Windows 8  smartphone. Once at the top of cell phone heap, Nokia has been struggling to keep up with the Joneses - that’s Apple Jones, Samsung Jones, Motorola Jones, and probably even Mother Jones. Even though the event is scheduled a week before Apple’s rumored-announcement of a new iPhone, expect it to make less of a splash than a tiny pebble dropped into a puddle on the sidewalk.

The Guardian reports:

For both Nokia and Microsoft, the upcoming version 8 of Windows Phone will be a key weapon in trying to regain leverage in the smartphone business. The next version of Windows Phone will use the same code kernel as Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8 – which has just been "released for manufacture" to computer makers – meaning that for programmers it should be simpler to write apps that will run across both platforms, while the appearance of the Windows Phone interface, using large tiles rather than the small icons of Apple's iOS and Google's Android, will become more familiar to millions of users around the world who buy Windows 8 PCs.

Forget hard drives, DNA is the storage device of the future.

At the same time my brain can barely process this information, it can apparently TOTALLY process and store this information. And then some. In an effort to figure out how we’re going to manage all the “big data” that is being unearthed (and mined), researchers at Harvard have successfully coded an entire book into DNA. According to the Guardian, “53,000 words, 11 images, and a computer program” were successfully encoded and able to be recalled using our genetic makeup.

Chew on this quote from the Wall Street Journal: “‘A device the size of your thumb could store as much information as the whole Internet,’ said Harvard University molecular geneticist George Church, the project's senior researcher.”

OK, get that? No? The Guardian has even more context:

Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA – the chemical that stores genetic instructions in almost all known organisms – has an impressive data capacity. One gram can store up to 455bn gigabytes: the contents of more than 100bn DVDs, making it the ultimate in compact storage media.

In addition to vast amounts of storage, the researchers say that DNA is built to last, meaning it won’t become obsolete. No more trying to figure out how to run your floppy disk on the cloud or play your wax cylinder collection on iTunes.
To be clear, the researchers didn’t use living DNA for the tests. They say there would be too much room for error. Similar to the zeros and ones that power current technology, DNA uses the letters A, C, G, and T. The Guardian reports:

The fragments on the chip can later be "read" using standard techniques of the sort used to decipher the sequence of ancient DNA found in archeological material. A computer can then reassemble the original file in the right order using the address codes.

Even though the price for this kind of storage is dropping, it’s still prohibitive. Don’t expect to be copying your music library to DNA for a good 10 years.

OMG! LPRs make us LOL nervously

LPRs you ask? License plate readers, like the ones found on the two sole roads leading in and out of Tiburon, Calif., that can feed police a list of plate scans at up to 60 per second. Police use the scanners to spot stolen cars or people who might be wanted, but privacy advocates are raising concerns about everybody else. Tiburon has been using LPRs since 2009, and now similar readers can be found all over the country.

Ars Technica reports:

In late July 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates sent requests to local police departments and state agencies across 38 states to request information on how LPRs are used.

Law enforcement officials in Tiburon say crime has dropped one-third since the cameras have been up and running. The nation’s capital sports the most densely packed area of LPRs, sporting more than one every square mile. A major privacy concern that keeps popping up is data retention. Again from Ars:

"I want to give law enforcement all the tools to catch the bad guys, but I don't want to yield to [a] Big Brother state," Utah State Senator Todd Weiler, a Republican, told Ars. "There has to be a happy medium, but part of the happy medium is showing how long you need to store the data."

So far, lawsuits challenging LPRs are being upheld.

Now you can use your S-Pen and jot a S-Note. A Galaxy Note 10.1 roundup

Samsung is letting loose an update to its Galaxy Note tablet today, as the Galaxy Note 10.1 is now officially on sale. Phorget about the phablet - the original Galaxy note was dubbed a “phablet” because it had phone capabilities but was the size of a small tablet - the new version has a 10.1-inch screen, and it’s all tablet. One feature it kept is the stylus, or as Samsung calls it, the S-Pen, which the company says is perfect for using with its pre-loaded note-taking software called S-Note. S-Neat, I S-Guess. But what other features are included... I mean besides adding “S” to words?

PC World:

The Galaxy Note 10.0 also comes with a customized copy of Adobe Photoshop Touch, allowing users to do fine-grained, professional-quality photo editing.
The tablet also comes with universal television remote software and it even offers recommendations based on previous TV viewing habits.

If cost is your guide, Time offers this note:

The Galaxy Note 10.1 with 16GB of storage lists for $499, the same price as a 16GB iPad. But the 32GB Galaxy Note is $549, $50 less than a 32GB iPad. And while there’s no 64GB model, the tablet’s microSD slot lets you add a 32GB memory card for $20 or less, bringing capacity up to 64GB for a grand total of about $570 — a steep discount off the 64GB iPad’s $699 sticker price. Both the 16GB and 32GB variants offer wi-fi but no cellular option and come with 50GB of Dropbox online storage for two years.

Walt Mossberg’s Wall Street Journal review has this to say about the unique, split-screen feature:

While in this multiscreen mode, each app takes up half the screen, and you can copy and paste content between them. I liked using this feature, but found copying and pasting often required multiple, clumsy steps, like taking screen shots of what's in one app, and then cropping.

Making a parody song using video game characters can pay the rent

 

No eggs! (That’s MTR slang for: for real.) Minecraft, the game where players build virtual worlds, hunt for diamonds, and try to avoid creepers, has spawned a cottage industry of YouTube videos that feature block-headed characters from the game. There’s a guy in England who even sells “Form This Way,” his version of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” on iTunes. He tells the Wall Street Journal, “It just about covers monthly bills - or at least the rent.”

Just to be straight, these videos are not low-budget throwaways that people spend a few minutes hacking together. These people are passionate about their gaming and even more passionate about their videos. Millions upon millions are clicking to watch too.

The godfather of Minecraft song parodies may be Jordan Maron, a.k.a. CaptainSparklez, maker of the hugely popular Usher parody. In his version, dubbed "Revenge," a cube-shaped Usher figure in trendy glasses and a half-unbuttoned shirt sways and croons, " 'Cause baby tonight, the creeper's trying to steal all your stuff again."
The video has more than 54 million views on YouTube, a strong showing to Usher's original video, at more than 75 million views.

 

 

AT&T’s new software is a parent trap

Ensuring that the next generation of teens will slam doors in a huff, throw eye-daggers, flip up the collars on their leather jackets and rebel, a new AT&T video shows it’s testing software that will let parents remotely turn off voice and texting abilities on their kids’ phones. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The Verge reveals what’s below sea level:

The video shows an AT&T marketing manager demonstrating how an iPad app could be used to remotely block calls, messaging, and internet access on a child’s device. It also shows how the app can be used to set up email alerts for excessive speeding, or to let you know when your child is trying to initiate a call or text message. And a “Safety Violation Summary” screen gives an overview of the dangerous driving behaviors recorded, like harsh acceleration or taking turns too quickly. The video mentions that the same tools could be used to prevent professional drivers from texting while driving as well.

You know what a nervous, new teen driver needs after his or her first week in rush hour traffic? A debrief. Nothing says “I trust you” like going over your kid’s acceleration patterns. And what’s this about “professional drivers?” The days of the “how’s my driving” sticker are numbered, if employers will be able to remotely answer that question.

I’m sure insurers are champing at the bit too. Your 2015 interaction with an insurance agent could look like this:

YOU: I haven’t had any tickets or accidents for five years. How about a rate reduction, Mac?
MAC: Hmmmm, OK, let’s pull up your scorecard. Heavens! Your phone tells me you’ve been rounding corners at an excessive rate. In fact, you have gone so far as to run over a curb. You sir not only deserve a rate increase, I will be phoning the authorities to have them add you to the Most Likely to Hit a Pedestrian list.

Oh well, I guess there’s always a driverless car...

Tech company scramble (Surface edition)

There’s a dance that goes on prior to a big Apple announcement. The fruit company has a big media event planned for September 12, where most people speculate the next iPhone and, perhaps, a smaller, cheaper iPad will be announced. No parking baby, no parking on the dance floor.

The Twist: rumors that the new Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 will be announced at the end of this month.

Bunnyhop: Barnes & Noble cut prices on their Nook line of tablets.

… And the Madison: Engadget is reporting that Microsoft’s new Surface tablet will be priced waaaay cheaper than people were speculating:

According to an inside source, a session was held at Microsoft's recent TechReady15 conference in which all the launch details were laid out. If things go according to the plan detailed then, the Surface for Windows RT tablet will be launching October 26th --no surprise there -- at a compelling price of $199.


At that price, chances are pretty good that Microsoft will take a loss on each Surface it sells, following the Amazon model of just get ‘em in the store and they’ll buy more stuff.

 

Super-duper payment consortium announcement. Legion of Doom seen with tail between its legs.

A group of over a dozen big-time retailers will announce a mobile payment partnership later today. Target, Walmart, and 7-11 are among the heavy hitters that say they will use Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), foregoing other payment systems like Google Wallet, ISIS, or Square, which announced its own big partnership with Starbucks last week. The burgeoning market for mobile payment is getting crowded quick, fast, in a hurry.

From the Wall Street Journal:

All the mobile-payments efforts now under way are aimed at satisfying growing demand from consumers, particularly younger ones, for payments that are less cumbersome and faster. Merchants believe that building such electronic systems will deepen customer loyalty
By setting up their own system, the merchants in MCX also are counting on leveraging existing relationships with customers to get them accustomed to paying with a phone.

What comes from said leveraging of said relationships? Well, a better shopping experience, like maybe soon you’ll be able to take your phone that just downloaded a list of what’s running low or empty from your fridge, to the grocery store, where you can find a grocery cart full of your goodies waiting for you with special coupons and a big gold brick. Minus the gold brick thing, I could easily see that as future us; BUT, let’s there’s a trade off. Sure, stores might know your shopping habits, but putting a piece of them on your phone means they could potentially know when you’re near (thanks GPS), where your friends shop (thanks shared contact list), and the social media you like to consume (thanks to you, addicted updater).

Google gets Frommer’s

Just another day, really, in a billion-dollar company’s life. Yesterday the Googs tapped a few coins out of the water jug where it saves pocket change and plunked down a reported $23 million for Frommer’s, the long-standing trusted name in travel guides. You might remember a similar amount ($22.5 million) Google was ordered to pay earlier this week by the Federal Trade Commission to settle a breach of privacy. The pizza party that Google honchos are planning to throw next week for co-founder Sergey Brin’s 39th birthday - that’s going to be bananas expensive. The next five generations of Chuck E. Cheese’s offspring will be going to college on Google’s dime. PARRRTAAAAY!
Says Reuters:


The deal will meld the 55-year-old travel publisher's deep database of hotels and sights into a search giant that is seeking to position its services across the entire trip-planning process, from searching for a holiday destination and looking up hotel reviews to booking tours and restaurants in far-flung cities.


Google hasn’t said yet how it plans to use Frommer’s, but one can see how incorporating the kind of reviews and travel information, which you used to have to pay for in book form, might attract advertisers.
Fairness concerns are already being raised by online travel sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. They’re worried that people looking into travel using a Google search might be directed to one of Google’s products, thus making the Big G more attractive to advertisers. Yelp has already been... well yelping about the purchase restaurant review stalwarts Zagat that Google made last year.

Teens love watching music on YouTube. Wolfman Jack howls from his grave.


A new study from Nielson finds the under-18 set could care less about CDs. YouTube, it turns out, is the way the majority of kids listen to music. And don’t even talk to them about streaming sites like Spotify and Rhapsody. According to the study, in fact, don’t bother anybody with streams. The Wall Street Journal says:


… among adults, cassette tapes remain more popular than many online music services, or even vinyl records, despite the latter medium's purported comeback in recent years. Nine percent of adult respondents said they listen to cassettes, more than Spotify (7%), LP records (6%), or music services from Yahoo Inc. (2%),AOL Inc. (2%), eMusic.com Inc. (1%) or Rhapsody (1%).
Not only is this bad news for the next generation’s ability to focus on one thing for more than a couple minutes, but weren’t streaming services supposed to be the wave of the future (and the saving grace for record companies)?
Nielsen executives said that the listening patterns, particularly the massive popularity of YouTube, show that record companies will need to stay nimble in a changing world. "What is the revenue they're getting per stream?" said David Bakula, a senior executive in Nielsen's entertainment-measurement division. "It's not the $10 they got for a CD."


When I look at the results of the over 3,000 respondents, it seems that people don’t like too much choice. 67% of adults like to get their music programmed for them and listen to the radio - not much choice there. YouTube is similar - click on one video, and you’re headed off down the curated rabbit hole that makes up YouTubes algorithm. Even iTunes, if you think about it, with its splashy front pages and chart lists serves up content. And we seem to like it that way as that’s where 53% of kids ages 13-17 and 29% of adults like to get their music.
Spotify... Rhapsody... Mog et al? Maybe the sites are too overwhelming. 

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