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.


Features by Marc Sanchez

The case of Apple screws

When it comes to news about Apple, there’s a weird megalomaniacal game that bloggers and tech journalists like to play. People seem to have scorecards to notch whenever they can report new news about the company. Case in point: a story about an “asymmetric screw,” new hardware that Apple was reportedly creating for the new iPhone so people couldn’t open the backs of their phones. The whole story was fake made up by the Swedish advertising firm Day4 - a test, in fact, to turn a mirror towards salivating Apple junkies.
Here’s how a post on Day4’s site explains it:

One afternoon we sketched out a screw in our 3D program, a very strange screw where the head was neither a star, tracks, pentalobe or whatever, but a unique form, also very impractical. We rendered the image, put it in an email, sent it to ourselves, took a picture of the screen with the mail and anonymously uploaded the image to the forum Reddit with the text ”A friend took a photo a while ago at that fruit company, they are obviously even creating their own screws .”

Half a day later the “news item” started showing up on blogs but with a certain degree of skepticism. Comments on articles, however, tended to treat the news as legit. And when the average Joe decided to tweet or post something about the new screws to Facebook, they tended to be talking in facts. Day4 says it was trying to get a handle on the question: “How much of what we read on the Internet today is really true?

Google to make pirates walk the plank

The “plank” in this case means search ranking on Google. The Googs announced a new policy on Friday that aims to penalize sites which continually post copyrighted material. Google isn’t actively searching for copyrights, but it is receiving over one million requests each week, mostly from recording industry folks and big media companies like NBCUniversal, asking to have sites blocked. So if a recidivist site doesn’t comply, its Google search ranking will go down, eventually pushing it into the nether-world of page three and beyond - face it, you rarely look past page one right?

From the Wall Street Journal:

The move comes as Google itself is attempting to become a major seller and distributor of professional video and music content through a variety of services, from its YouTube video site to the Google Play online-media store to its pay-TV service in Kansas City, which required deals with cable-channel networks. It is pursuing such initiatives partly in a bid to compete with Apple Inc. and Amazon Inc., among other tech companies that distribute media.

One big exception: YouTube, Google’s own service that sees users upload something like a half a ba-million videos that might could come into question. From Search Engine Land:

YouTube will let those who want to do a removal do so, but it also pitches a way to submit multiple notices more easily through a special Content Verification Program (a sign that YouTube gets lots of takedown requests), as well as the pretty cool Content ID system, which lets those who have infringement allegations decide to be mellow, let those videos stay up with ads and collect some income off of it.

Birds love spider web glass!

Reflections off this new, arachnid-inspired glass are pretty much invisible to humans, but our feathered friends can spot it with no problem and avoid windows coated in the stuff. The coating, a product of German company Arnold Glas, is called Mikado, the German name for Pick-Up Sticks, because it kind of looks like a bunch of breadsticks flattened and strewn over a window. The pattern is based on webs made by Orb Weaver spiders, which use a similar UV coating so that birds don’t fly into and wreck all their webs.

The BBC reports that the company tested the glass in a tunnel on a U.S. nature preserve:

Birds were encouraged to fly to the end of the facility which was covered with two types of glass - one containing the Mikado coating, the other without. A net was used and the firm says no birds were injured.

Birds at the nature preserve were heard chirping: “Hey, mom! Look at me - I’m flyi..... OOF!” Fun fact: when birds get a knock on the noggin’, the cartoon figures that circle their head are human babies. Ask any bird, it’s true.

The sound of Beck’s new record: crinkly paper

BitTorrents be damned! Nobody is going to be leaking the new Beck record. That’s because he’s releasing the whole thing as sheet music. That’s right, you’re a loser baby, especially since you can’t read sheet music and therefore will never be able to listen to the new Beck record. The “album” is called “Beck Hansen’s Reader” and will be out in December.

Beck’s site has the details:

… twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music, never before released or recorded. Complete with full-color, heyday-of- home-play-inspired art for each song and a lavishly produced hardcover carrying case (and, when necessary, ukelele notation), the Song Reader is an experiment in what an album can be at the end of 2012—an alternative that enlists the listener in the tone of every track, and that’s as visually absorbing as a dozen gatefold LPs put together.

If you’re ukulele notation, and sheet music reading, skills aren’t up to snuff, a group of select artists will be working up renditions of the songs and posting them on McSweeney’s, which happens to be publishing the throwback. Of course, if you do read music, you’re invited to join the party - record and upload your own versions. Now, you too can record your own Beck album.

New virus does just about everything except steal the lint from your pockets

If Gauss, the virus Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab has just discovered, was a person, you probably would have to guard your pockets to protect your lint. The virus follows the path of Stuxnet Flame, and Duqu, and it’s thought to be government sponsored due to its complexity.

Reuters reports:

The Moscow-based firm said it found Gauss had infected more than 2,500 personal computers, the bulk of them in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Targets included Lebanon's BlomBank, ByblosBank and Credit Libanais, as well as Citigroup Inc's Citibank and eBay's PayPal online payment system.

Got that? It goes after bank accounts. But there’s more - lots more. Gauss can also snoop and steal  passwords for social networks, email, and chat services. Maybe it’s time to start building that bunker in the back yard.
Why banks? Why Lebanon? Again from Reuters:

Jeffrey Carr, an expert on cyber warfare who runs a small security firm known as Taia Global, said the U.S. government has long monitored Lebanese banks for clues about the activities of militant groups and drug cartels. He said Gauss was likely built by adapting technology deployed in Flame.

Kaspersky researchers say the virus has traits of other complex pieces of malware in that it is capable of corrupting large, industrial infrastructure, like the Iranian nuclear facility Stuxnet took down in 2010.

Release the Meshworm!

The Pentagon’s latest technology isn’t a speedy laser jet that can see through walls. It’s a worm. A reconnaissance robot worm no less. The slithering sleuth was built to gather information in tight spaces and is a joint effort by a team from MIT, Harvard, and Seoul National University. No surprise here, but the Meshworm project comes courtesy of DARPA, the Pentagon’s “let’s try this and see if it sticks” division. Instead of using gears and pneumatic pumps, like past robot worm efforts, the team turned to real life for inspiration.

From the BBC:

The Darpa-supported team instead moved their machine by using an "artificial muscle" made out of nickel and titanium wire designed to stretch and contract with heat.
By wrapping this wire around a mesh-like tube the engineers replicated the circular muscle fibres of an earthworm, creating different segments in the process.
When a current was applied to part of the wire it contracted, squeezing the tube.
The team created algorithm to send a contraction wave across each of the machine's five segments in turn, squeezing the tube and propelling it forward. This mimics the movement of its biological counterpart.

And you know how you can cut a worm in half and it just morphs into two worms. Well, the Meshworm can exactly do that, but the researchers did try bashing the thing with a hammer, which left it battered but functional.

Time to buy an iPhone

A couple days ago, with about zero fanfare, Sprint lowered the price of the 16 GB iPhone 4S - the latest version of the much-coveted, rarely-discounted Apple device - from $200 to $149. Other carriers soon matched the price, and now Apple itself is doing the same.

From Mac Rumors:

In all cases, Apple will discount iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 models by $49.01 upon request to bring pricing down to $349.99/$249.99/$149.99 for the iPhone 4S and $49.99 for the iPhone 4. As with most price matching offers, consumers will likely need to cite the source offering the lower pricing in order for Apple to honor the price match.

Did you get that? You have to ask for the discount. It’s not just there. Currently Target, Best Buy, and Nextel stores are offering the discounted iPhones, so cite one of their deals if you want the same at an Apple Store.
The current line of iPhones are certainly well-regarded, and would easily impress the pants off the You of three years ago, but The

Wall Street Journal has this caveat:

The discounts come as Apple is widely believed to be readying a new version of its iPhone, which is expected to sport a thinner yet longer screen, measuring at least 4 inches diagonally, among other things.

That last quote... that’s for the three readers whose residential address begins with “under” and end in “a rock.” Yes, it seems even Apple is pretty much admitting that a new iPhone will hit the shelves shortly after its September 12 media event.

Facebook experiments in postcards. Postmaster General salivates.

Remember postcards? How about stamps? Facebook does, and its mulling over getting users to buy into the antiquated idea of sending real friends real notes on real paper through the real mail. Big Face is working with a small group of users, giving them the option to turn their pictures into postcards and mail them off to their friends. It says pricing is still being worked out, although the app Postagram does a similar function with Instagram pics for $0.99 a pop.

Tech Crunch reports:

The few users who are in the feature’s tester group will see a “Mail Postcard” button at the bottom of photos they’re viewing. Clicking it opens a screen to enter the friend’s address and message. Users can ask their friend or check their profile for their mailing address if they don’t know it. For now you can only mail your own private photos to friends, or mail friends their own photos that you can see. It doesn’t work for public photos or photos from Pages.

Currently postcard stamps range from $0.32 for small to $0.45 for large-sized, so minus the cost for the cards themselves this could actually be a money-maker for a company that’s in desperate need of just such a thing.

And, if this comes to fruition and catches on, think about what a boon it could be for the postal service, which has Facebook beat in the category of money problems. Yesterday the post office reported losses of $57 million per day in the last quarter and, by most accounts, is on the brink of bankruptcy. Now, what if all those birthday greetings that show up on everybody’s Facebook page were shipped off through the mail. I can imagine some sore feet and mounting chiropractic bills for mail carriers, but a godsend for the USPS.

Check your packing slip: dude gets gun instead of the TV he ordered

Seth Horvitz was in the market for a new TV for his D.C. pad. He ended up on Amazon and ordered a $320 Westinghouse model. The Internet is so cool - click buy and a TV shows up at your doorstep a few days later. When Horvitz’ package arrived, it wasn’t shaped like a TV, but he thought maybe it’s just a partial delivery... maybe it was a stand or something. No dice. The package held a semi-automatic Sig Sauer 716 patrol rifle - an illegal assault rifle in D.C.

Good thing he didn’t think the rifle was a remote control and try pulling the trigger to change the channel. Instead, he called the police, who came by and confiscated the item.

From Wired:

An invoice found inside the box, Horvitz said, listed the sender as online gun retailer The invoice, for $1,590, was addressed to Independence Gun Shop, a gun store in Duncansville, Pennsylvania.

In the end, the mix up seems to have stemmed from a UPS error. But poor Seth Horvitz is not only out a rifle, but he still has no TV.

First DOS, now DAS. Microsoft now fighting crime in the Big Apple

In an effort to tighten security in New York City yesterday,  mayor Michael Bloomberg and honchos from Microsoft announced the Domain Awareness System. The software is designed to help make sense of security devices, like street camera feeds, currently running all over the city.

All Things D reports:

It brings to bear the extensive network of cameras and sensors that had been put in place to guard against another terrorist attack, and puts it to use in the fight against more common crimes. As New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly put it, when he arrived on the job in 2005, there was “a lot of data that we didn’t know we had.”

The system helps sift, order, and can cross-reference all that data all in the name of catching bad guys. For example, if a camera catches a glimpse of a license plate number, the Domain Awareness System can cross reference the number to see if the car has been photographed in other parts of the city or whether been stolen, or if its owner might be wanted for a crime.

Don’t expect any NYC officials to go bad-mouthing DAS, since the city will get a cut of its future sales.

Again from All Things D:

Bloomberg said that while Microsoft provided “the technical muscle” in building it, the city’s police force provided the institutional and professional knowledge and experience in describing what it was they wanted the system to do. Now Microsoft will offer the system to other police agencies around the world, and the city will pocket 30 percent of the net profits on every sale.


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