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

Google searching new frontiers, like your Gmail

If Google had a nickel for every search its engines perform, it would be even richer than it already is, as the company announced yesterday that it handles 100 billion searches per month. The take away: people want to know stuff. The Googs’ search number was part of a larger update on search, which also featured an updated voice search for Apple devices and Androids running the 4.1 operating system (not many). And it want to be an index of y-o-u.

Search Engine Land gives a preview:

Google released a “field trial” today allowing people who enroll to do Google searches and get information from their Gmail messages mixed in with their web results. Don’t worry. Only those enrolled see their own messages this way.

If you decide to use the enhanced search, you will be able to look up people and keywords from a Gmail account within a regular Google search. So Googling “Mother” would not only return a sponsored ad from Hallmark and a video by 90’s ghoul-rocker Glenn Danzig, but you would also be shown Mother’s recipe for cheesy corn-flake potatoes.

 

Starbucks joins up with Square, shatters all you thought you knew about money

The coffee giant, or should I say coffee venti, announced yesterday that it’s teaming up with Square, that little thingy you saw hanging off an iPhone or iPad at that boho art fair you went to a couple weeks ago. In addition to shipping out the mobile payment device to 7,000 of its U.S. stores, Starbucks will also invest $25 million in the company, and Bucks’ honcho Howard Shultz will sit on Square’s board.

The Wall Street Journal says:

Square technology won't replace Starbucks's main cash-register systems, and customers will still be able to use the popular Starbucks mobile payment app that the company launched in January 2011. The key difference is that Square will allow the customers to pay with credit and debit cards on their phone, while Starbucks's current system only allows consumers to use their Starbucks debit card to pay.

Square recently introduced an app of its own, which not only lets you pay for stuff using your phone, but gives vendors the ability to know when a customer enters a store and lets them offer digital customer loyalty cards. The New York Times illustrates what your future java ritual might look like:

At first, Starbucks customers will need to show the merchant a bar code on their phones. But when Starbucks uses Square’s full GPS technology, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the merchant his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete.

It starts with coffee, people, but next thing you know you’re going to be walking into Target, greeted by a shopping cart full of your “favorite items.” Pretty soon we’ll all just be yelling “buy that!” at our computers and phones.

Just your average Craigslist Joe

In 2008, Joe Garner was feeling apathetic about how the Internet made people hyper-insular and discouraged face-to-face contact. His solution to the problem was to see if he could live off Craigslist for a month and travel around the country without any money or help from friends. He did it and made the documented the whole thing in “Craigslist Joe,” which opened in a handful of theaters last week. The film was produced by Zach Galifanakis, and oddly enough, doesn’t feature anyone with a Mike Tyson-style face tattoo. Instead, it shows Garner “using [the Internet] to better face to face interactions with people all over the world.”
And now the top three missed connections that I imagine will come from people seeing this movie
1. SLIPPERY EXCHANGE
Our buttery popcorn fingers touched as we both reached for a napkin at the concession counter during Craigslist Joe. You - beautiful brunette with happy face tattoo on your neck. Me - guy that tried to grab your hand at Craigslist Joe concession stand. Was that creepy? Coffee?

2. SIX PACK ABS
Were you the roided up dude with no shirt at the 7:15 showing of Craigslist Joe last night? Wa-wa-wow! It was a tough deciding whether I wanted to watch the movie or you more. Our eyes met when Joe finally made it out of Seattle. I was the woman jumping rope made of Twizzlers. Smoothie?

3. TEXTING ANGEL
Do you enjoy texting during documentaries about guys who try to live for a month off the kindness of Craigslist strangers? It was dark, but through the glow of your phone, I saw an angel. I know it’s been three weeks since Craigslist Joe had its run here, but I can’t stop thinking about you. I know you might think I was that rude guy in front of you who kept turning around asking you to turn your phone off, but that was the only way I could think of to keep stealing glimpses of your angelic angel beauty. OMG, how I wish you would text me!!!!!!!!!! Chat Roulette?

WhitePages app gets an update. And yes, WhitePages has an app.

No the app can’t prop open your door like the phone books of yore. And it doesn’t have a “random” function that will help you figure out who to crank call. What the WhitePages app has been showing users is who’s calling them. In other words, caller ID. The company’s app is actually called Current Caller ID, and the nifty part of the update is the all the social media updates you’ll now be able to see about an incoming caller.

All Things D writes:

[The] app that integrates with social networks to show a caller’s recent status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It also displays an infographic on the caller’s relationship to the recipient, to help the user decide if he or she wants to answer.

The app draws on your social connections as well as over 200 million U.S. adult listings that WhitePages has in its database. It may not seem like much, but knowing more about who’s calling could come in handy.

Lifehacker says:

If you miss a call, you can use Current Caller ID to see how you and the other person communicate—whether it's through calls, emails, or texts, and pick the method that works for the way you interact. The app will even tell you the best time of day to call or text so you'll get a response (or won't get a response, if you're not looking for one!)

For now, the app is Android-only. No word on if/when an iPhone version will be available.

The password worm hole

Earlier this week we told you about Mat Honan’s experience of getting all his Apple devices wiped clean by a hacker (iPhone, iPad, Macbook erased in a matter of minutes). The derelict hacker called Apple’s tech support and used Honan’s Apple ID - the username you use to log in and buy/download stuff on iTunes - to do his bidding. Honan has been writing about his wild ride on his blog and on Wired, where he is a reporter, and it turns out Apple isn’t the only one who had such an easy workaround. Amazon had a similar protocol, which is how the hackers initially spoofed Honan’s account.

From Wired:

The security gap was used by hackers, one of whom identified himself as a 19-year-old going by the name “Phobia,” to gain access to Honan’s Amazon account on Friday. Once Phobia and another hacker gained access to Honan’s Amazon account, they were able to view the last four digits of a credit card linked to the account.
The hackers then used those four digits to trick Apple customer service into thinking it was dealing with Honan. Apple customer service then gave the hackers a temporary password into Honan’s Apple ID, which the hackers used to wipe his iPhone, iPad and MacBook, and gain access to a number of email accounts as well as his Twitter account.

Both Apple and Amazon have shut down call-in access to their accounts, hopefully discouraging others from trying the same scheme.

What you should watch

So long TV Guide, we have new ways to choose our stories. Apps that use predictive technology to tell you what’s on TV. The Wall Street Journal reports:

App developers are updating the traditional channel guide to show viewers programs that are uniquely relevant to them based on their social circles.
Instead of channel-surfing or scrolling through a long list of shows, viewers can use these mobile apps to display shows that they or their friends like based on their preferences. Some of the apps integrate with Facebook Inc.'s social network to identify and recommend TV shows and sports teams liked on the social network.


I can see how apps that use social features could be useful. You like people that probably like stuff you like, and when they let an app know that they like a show, chances are good that you might like it too. But, like we’ve said more times than there are plankton floating in the sea, follow the money. Here’s another way for advertisers to target precisely segmented groups of people, like: 18-25 year-olds who watch “How I Met Your Mother” between noon and 3:00 p.m. on a Wednesday. Or, 40 -50 year-olds who say like to keep up with the Kardashians (you’re either sick or lying - either way you’re sick). And what might advertisers not try to sell to people that are into “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” and NPR’s “Fresh Air”?  Probably a tote bag.

The app field for channel surfing is pretty crowded. Again from the Journal:

Given those challenges, and the strides being made in the TV industry by giants like Apple Inc., Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said many social TV start-ups will likely get gobbled up and their ideas brought into bigger projects.

Lock it up


Sometimes, especially when you live in a big-city apartment, packages mysteriously  grow legs and walk off. Last year Amazon began testing a low-tech solution to this problem in New York, Washington DC, and its hometown of Seattle: lockers. Now the tech giant is taking the service into the heart of the beast as these kiosk-like stations have begun to show up in San Francisco. The Wall Street Journal explains the program (not that you need a lesson in keys and locks, but maybe it’s been a while since you strutted the halls of your junior high):

Amazon's locker program works fairly simply. Customers who ship their item to a locker—typically in 7-Elevens, grocery or chain drugststores—are emailed a code after a package arrives that unlocks the door holding their merchandise. The lockers can hold only smaller items that weigh less than 10 pounds, such as books, DVDs or electronic devices like iPads. Users have several days to retrieve their merchandise.

That means if you wanted to get your hands on the JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank, you’re out of luck.
Interestingly, the four states in which lockers are currently located are all states that already charge tax to Amazon orders. You might recall that tax-free items have been a major grumbling point for other retailers and a major selling point for Amazon. Setting up a locker in a state could mean that Amazon operates, at least in some small way, a business in that state, which means no tax-free goodies. 

Did someone forget to tell me about an Internet blackout?

Nope, but Wikipedia did go dark yesterday. For a couple hours on Monday afternoon, no one was able to find fast facts about the 2012 Olympics, spoilers about the Dark Knight Rises, and perhaps most devastating, Mother was shut out of  “looking into” this whole Fifty Shades of Grey thing. Online protests didn’t cause this blackout - it was scissors! The Guardian reports:

… two overland cables were cut between Tampa and Virginia, which took down the website for just over an hour. It took another hour to bring the site back online, although some services were still not fully accessible.

And just whose scissors were they? The Romney campaign, perhaps? Team Romney has been trying to get people to download its smartphone app, promising that will be the first place people will be notified of his pick for running mate. The Washington Post, however, says that you might not need to look past an uptick in Wikipedia activity to figure out Romney’s veep:

On August 28, Palin's entry was updated at least 68 times, with at least an additional 54 changes made to her entry over the preceding five days. In contrast, Pawlenty's entry received 54 alterations on the 28th, and just 12 changes during the prior five days.
There appeared to be very little crossover between Wikipedia user accounts editing the Pawlenty and McCain entries, said Terry Gudaitis, director of cyber intelligence for Cyveillance, an Arlington, Va. based Internet monitoring company.


Guadatis goes on to show the same editorial fervor on the Democratic side during Barack Obama’s run up to the presidency:

On August 22nd, the day before the Obama campaign officially named Biden as the veep pick, Biden's Wiki page garnered roughly 40 changes. Over the five days prior, users would make at least 111 other changes to his entry.
In contrast, Kaine's Wiki profile earned 28 changes on the eve of the announcement, and just 22 alterations in the preceding five days.

If this theory hold true, then Michael Phelps will not only have captured his 22nd Olympic medal this year, but he will also be chosen as Romney’s running mate.

2G no mas

AT&T announced that it will be shutting down 2G wireless networks by 2017. That silent groan you barely heard was the collective last gasp of flip phone users desperately clinging on to their low-cost monthly service. From the Wall Street Journal:

The telecom giant said about 12% of its contract wireless customers, or roughly 8.4 million people, were using 2G handsets at the end of June, but it will work "proactively" in coming years to move them to more advanced devices. Like the other major carriers, AT&T's customers mostly use phones with 3G, or third-generation, technology, and it is aggressively rolling out a nationwide 4G network.

Killing off 2G networks is one way to gain a little bit of that oh-so-important spectrum back, especially for AT&T, which is playing catch-up to Verizon when it comes to spectrum. Again from the Journal:

A spokeswoman from Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, said the company plans to keep its existing networks functioning for the foreseeable future.

People/Things getting hacked

Not that he’s more special than any of us, but Gizmodo senior reporter Wired reporter Mat Honan had a bunch of his accounts hacked into over the weekend. Being the public figure in the tech community that he is, he was probably more likely than you or I to have this problem happen to him, and his Tumblr tales the tale of how quickly your digital life can get compromised. Honan writes:

Although embarrassing, Twitter was the least of it. In short, someone gained entry to my iCloud account, used it to remote wipe all of my devices, and get entry into other accounts too.


iPhone info: gone. iPad info: gone. Macbook Air info: gone. Personal Twitter accounts and accounts for Gizmodo and The Daily Dot: hacked. All this took place in about 15 minutes. Honan has since gained control over his devices and social media, but he may never get the data that was wiped from them. He traced the break in to, of all places “Apple tech support and some clever social engineering that let them bypass  security questions.” Will impersonating a user become the next hack to watch out for? Not if Honan has anything to say about it. His case has been given top-priority status and he’s been working with Apple tech support to stop others from breaking into accounts the same way.
And the hacks don’t stop there - the news outlet Reuters had one of its Twitter accounts taken over this weekend. Tweets from @ReutersTech began sending out missives about Syria. From Reuters:

In the latest incident a series of 22 false tweets were sent purporting to be from Reuters News. Some of the tweets also carried false reports about Syrian rebel losses suffered in battles with Syrian government forces.


For now, the account has been suspended, while Twitter and Reuters look into the problem.

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