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Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News

Technology Podcasts

Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.

Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.


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Inside the hottest personal tech stories of the week; mobile apps, gear, social networking, and entertainment.




Remote Desktop

Silicon Valley loves its disruption. If any industry was prepared to handle the monumental changes brought on by the coronavirus, it’s big tech. Companies like Twitter and Facebook were some of the first to require their employees to work from home, even before official shelter-in-place orders went into effect. Now, they and others have extended their remote work policies to allow their employees to telecommute from home forever, even after the pandemic ends. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED...


The Dark Secrets of a Hacking Hero

In May of 2017, Marcus Hutchins saved the internet. A vicious ransomware attack known as WannaCry had infected computer systems across dozens of countries. It was the worst cyberattack in history at the time, and it seemed unstoppable. But Hutchins, a 23-year-old-hacker in Ilfracombe, England, discovered a secret kill switch that stopped the malware from propagating. Hutchins became a celebrity overnight, with the hacker community and the media hailing him as a hero. But all of the newfound...


On the Road Again

While every economic sector in America has been upended by the coronavirus, few have been hit as hard as the transit and food service industries. It's not so easy to hop on a bus or train when there's a need for increased sanitation and social distancing. It’s equally as difficult to imagine sitting down in a cafe next to some strangers and ordering a nice salade niçoise as servers buzz around the dining room. As the country grows more desperate to return to something approaching normalcy,...


The Argument for Making End-of-Life Decisions Early

Back in March, counter-culture icon and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog Stewart Brand made a statement on Twitter that surprised some people: He had decided, and had communicated to his wife and the rest of his family, that if he got sick from the coronavirus, he wanted to refuse invasive procedures, including being put on a ventilator. It sparked a conversation about medical freedom and what it takes to have a sense of agency over death. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED editor-at-large...


Open For Business

Depending on where you live, the stores, parks, playgrounds, and offices in your area could be shut down for the rest of this summer. Or, they could all be open again right now. State governments have differing opinions on when the best time is to restart normal life (and the economy) even though public health experts are advising us all to continue to shelter in place until we’re equipped to test and care for every American who falls ill. This week on Gadget Lab, we ask WIRED senior...


Will Contact Tracing Work?

Even amid a global pandemic, the world of tech keeps on turning. Some companies have responded directly to the outbreak, offering up smartphone-based contact tracing and wearable solutions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But none of these options is perfect, and many of them raise ethical concerns about the information they ask for in return. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED senior writer Sidney Fussell about Apple and Google's plans for contact tracing and whether...


The Race to Make a Vaccine

Researchers around the world are toiling to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. But the creation of a working vaccine that can be safely distributed to a broad population requires a tremendous amount of rigor and caution, so the process is likely to take at least a year. WIRED staff writer Megan Molteni has covered the novel coronavirus outbreak since the virus was first identified in early January. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with Megan about where our efforts to make a vaccine...


Supply Demand

The coronavirus outbreak is accelerating in the United States. According to projections, the number of Covid-19 cases in the US is expected to peak around the middle of April. Meanwhile, medical practitioners at hospitals and other health facilities across the country face a shortage of life-saving medical equipment. Without enough ventilators, masks, and tests, the task of dealing with the coming surge in patients becomes significantly more challenging. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior...


Pandemic Panic

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to keep track of what's real and what's not. There is a constant deluge of news from across the world, some of it is based on false assumptions or panicky reactions that fail to put data or science into the proper context. This week on Gadget Lab, a conversation about all the misinformation swirling around the coronavirus pandemic. We talk with WIRED editor-in-chief Nick Thompson about how to parse the information coming out of the White...


The Generation Gap

As the number of coronavirus-caused quarantines has spiked across the globe, people are being driven into isolation en masse. In some countries, social distancing measures have been helping, but they also come a little too late. This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with WIRED science writer Matt Simon about why places like Italy have been hit so hard by the coronavirus and what it could predict as the outbreak ramps up in the U.S. Then, a conversation with WIRED senior writer Adrienne So about...


Socially Distanced

As COVID-19 sweeps across the world, it has prompted thousands of people to isolate themselves to avoid spreading the virus. This week on Gadget Lab, we look at what happens when schools and universities close, conferences get canceled, and employees are told to work from home en masse. Then, we talk with WIRED digital director Brian Barrett, a longtime remote worker himself, about how to handle prolonged isolation without going completely bonkers. Show Notes: Read Brian Barrett’s tips for...


Is Facebook Forever?

Facebook started in 2004 as a simple network for connecting students at Harvard University. At the time, nobody could have predicted that it would grow to become the largest social network in the world, with 2.5 billion monthly active users, or that it would wield such tremendous influence over our lives, our politics, and our concept of free speech on the web. The progression of events between the Facebook of then and the Facebook of today is cataloged with great detail in Steven Levy’s new...


There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior writer and former show host Arielle Pardes drops by to talk about how Silicon Valley has ruined work culture. Then WIRED senior writer Lily Hay Newman comes on for a conversation about cybersecurity, encryption, and the hacker’s mom who infiltrated a prison. Show Notes: Read Arielle’s story about work culture here. Read Lily’s story about how a hacker’s mom broke into a prison here. All of WIRED’s cybersecurity coverage can be found here....


The Anti-Bias Bot

Many companies say they want to diversify their workforce. Far fewer have actually succeeded in doing so, even if they're earnestly trying. And one of the first hurdles can come before any candidates have even been interviewed: The language used in recruiting emails or job postings is often full of unconscious biases—phrases like "gentlemen's agreement" or even "ninja" can deter women or people of color from even applying in the first place. But how do we check our unconscious biases when,...


Smartphone Launch Events Are Silly

On Tuesday of this week Samsung held its annual Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco. It did what most tech companies set out to do when they host a big event: Announce shiny new products (Galaxy S20! Another folding phone! Some earbuds!) and get customers stoked for features like "sub-6 5G compatibility" and "Space Zoom." It was the kind of product launch that has become standard over the years for big tech companies. This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior associate editor Julian Chokkattu...


The Virus and the Vote

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED digital director Brian Barrett joins us to talk about the app that derailed the Iowa caucus—and what it means for elections to come. Then, a conversation with WIRED staff writer Megan Molteni about how the spread of the coronavirus is claiming lives, disrupting the economy, and creating chaos in the global supply chain. [#iframe:](100%x482) Show Notes: Read more about what the hell happened with the Iowa caucus...


Everything Old Is New Again

It doesn’t take much to make people nostalgic anymore. With the rapid pace of technological advancement, folks get whimsical for even their clunky cell phones from 2005, or a defunct video service from just four years ago. Nostalgia sells—especially when you imbue a familiar screen with a bleeding-edge, high-tech foldable display. Companies are building devices meant to make you feel like you’re bounding into the future, while still invoking those good ol’ days. But does sentimentality make...


Open Wide for Mouth Tech

There's money in your mouth. Figuratively speaking (we hope). A growing number of startups and full-fledged companies are looking to bring their smart technology into your mouth. A toothbrush that uses AI to monitor your brushing, dental floss as a subscription service, wearables for teeth—oral hygiene is a booming business for tech companies, who see dollar signs every time you flash your pearly whites. But who does this actually help? Do we really need to spend $200 on a high-powered...


One Wheel, Zero Buttons

There’s an old joke about Steve Jobs, that he never wore a suit because he hated buttons. There’s some truth to that old trope about designers always trying to refine their creations to their absolute core. Minimize the clutter, clear the mind, purify the experience. That’s what consumer electronics manufacturers are still doing, and we explore this trend by pointing at two recent developments in our world: new smartphone designs totally devoid of buttons, and the rising numbers of...


Best of CES

CES, the all-consuming tech trade show, took over Las Vegas this week. Convention halls and hotels were jam packed with shiny gizmos, bleeding-edge technology, and dazzling devices. Of course, our intrepid Gadget Lab reporters were there in the midst of it all. This week on the show, Mike and Lauren talk with WIRED digital director Brian Barrett at CES. They'll guide you through the glitzy extravaganza, from folding laptops to high-tech sex toys, and highlight the most important trends that...