It's 2014 and we're back to full team strength, which means we've returned with your guide to the week's previous tech coverage on NPR (in case you missed it) and from our friends at what seems like an ever-growing crop of tech journalism organizations.
Steve Henn was NPR's eyes and ears in Las Vegas this week, where an estimated crowd of 150,000 (!) attended the International Consumer Electronics Show. He highlighted some of the up-and-coming trends dominating the tech scene there (smart toothbrushes, anyone?). KQED's Aarti Shahani looked at the Internet-connected clothing and accessories, called wearables, on display at CES. They might look a little silly, but don't write them off so soon — some estimate wearables will become a billion-dollar industry this year. And NPR's Alan Yu covered the ultra-high-definition TVs that several companies were showing off.
New technology is taking place outside Vegas, too: Our weekly innovation featured MIT researchers who are working on a way to make your face look more memorable (with pics). And in the wake of the HealthCare.gov fiasco, experts are pondering how to make the government's tech acquisition better.
We also continued our conversation on indie video games, with Desktop Dungeons ("think Minesweeper in bed with chess and wrapped in a warm blanket of Dungeons & Dragons-style RPG elements," Steve Mullis writes) and a post from Travis Larchuk about emotionally complex story lines.
And lest you forget the agonizing "polar vortex" so soon, here's a post by NPR's new digital intern Jessica Glazer to remind you about how cold it was: so cold that you couldn't even use your phone. Surely this is the end of days.
The Big Conversation
CES dominated the first full week of the new year, and the big headline-maker was T-Mobile CEO John Legere pulling a little mischief and getting thrown out of competitor AT&T's CES concert. "I just wanted to hear Macklemore," he quipped. In a video interview later in the week with Yahoo's David Pogue, Legere said, "I said to [AT&T security], do you really want to do this, because do you know how much mileage I'm gonna get out of this?"
There was plenty of dumping on CES, too. Amid all the buzz about wearables, TechCrunch challenged the industry to prove there's actually anything people would add to their existing wardrobes. The booth babes (scantily clad promotional models on the expo floor) were back despite many calls for a more female-friendly environment at the show. And some wondered whether press should be at CES anymore, at all.
When people weren't writing or grousing about CES, they were posting their takes on the technology that will shape us in 2014. The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal presented a thoughtful take on how while 2013 was all about doing things the old way, he thinks this year is the "the beginning of a new cycle." We also found interesting a lot of the predictions in Frog's Tech Trends that will Define 2014.
And just this morning, Target revealed that its heretofore second-largest data breach in American history was much bigger than the retailer thought — information of up to 70 million consumers was exposed during its holiday season data breach. Check your bank statements, Target shoppers, for any funky charges.
New York City's MetroCard, the card-based system for paying for the subway, turns 20 this year. But the city wants to change it out in favor of smartphone apps.
On Thursday, Snapchat finally said it was sorry — more than a week after 4.6 million users' phone numbers were compromised.
As more devices get connected, they're "riddled with vulnerabilities" that are much harder to fix than even PCs and software were in the 1990s.