technology

San Francisco seniors cross the digital divide

Aug 4, 2015
Jen Chien

Mary Bartholomew is a senior citizen. A couple years ago, she didn’t know much about computers, or how to use the internet. And one day she found herself in a bit of a pickle.

 

 

Scientist and entrepreneur Richard Caro believes tech innovation has the power to actually change the way we grow older, "to really push off the time at which things like how well you can walk and how well you can talk starts to decline."

Caro is the CEO of Tech Enhanced Life, a public benefit corporation that researches and evaluates technology for seniors. KALW’s Jen Chien spoke with him about some new developments in home safety for aging adults.

 

Surveillance and privacy issues have been in the news a lot in the past few years. Perhaps the biggest news was made by by Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the NSA’s massive collection of American citizens' cell phone data. But the privacy debate has also hit closer to home. You may remember last spring, when the Oakland City Council debated a controversial surveillance hub called the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC.

Liz Pfeffer

These days, our technology is getting smarter. We don’t just talk on the phone anymore, we talk to them. Siri is already a household name and our homes are getting smarter, too. There are thermostats that you can control from your cell phone. And smoke detectors that will text you if there’s a fire. San Franciscan Tom Coates has taken this technology one step further. He’s designed his home to track its vitals and tweet them out to the world, all triggered by a network of wi-fi enabled sensors.

Whether it's making donations and signing petitions online, or using social media to highlight political causes, cyber-activism has never been easier. With a few clicks, we can make our voices heard around the globe. But who's listening, and is anything actually changing? Does cyber-activism mobilize real-world action on the ground, or does it reduce political engagement to simple mouse-clicking and ultimately threaten the subversive nature of change?

Julie Martin/NEDCC

This week on KALW's showcase for the best stories from public radio podcasts and independent radio producers...


Jack Alley for The New York Times

Sharing economy companies like Uber and Lyft have become a powerful part of the economy. Now, some of the workers propelling that sector are organizing to ask for more from the companies that pay them. Drivers from both companies have filed a lawsuit -- they want to be made employees rather than contractors, and receive the benefits mandated by the state of California.


Hundreds of students at Schools of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco are taking part in a nationwide Tech Timeout, challenging students to unplug from digital devices for 72 hours. The private school is laced with technology: more than 700 students from fifth to 12th grade received an iPad in 2013 and most assignments are done digitally, through apps or Google docs. But now they want to teach kids the value of unplugging.

Whether it's making donations and signing petitions online, or using social media to highlight political causes, cyber-activism has never been easier. With a few clicks, we can make our voices heard around the globe. But who's listening, and is anything actually changing? Does cyber-activism mobilize real-world action on the ground, or does it reduce political engagement to simple mouse-clicking and ultimately threaten the subversive nature of change?

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Feb 11, 2015
Larry Zhou

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

LGBT Community Holds "Die In" For SF Transgender Woman Killed in Stabbing // NBC Bay Area

"Hundreds of people came out Tuesday and staged a die-in in front of San Francisco City Hall to honor all those transgender people who have died violent deaths.

Sandip Roy tries to call his mother, but it proves to be more challenging than one would expect.  

Sandip Roy is currently on tour promoting his debut novel, "Don't Let Him Know" published by Bloomsbury.

Hear him read in the bay area this week:

Wed. Feb. 4 at 7:30pm. Kepler's - 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA

Under CC license from Flickr user Master OSM 2011

KALW's Ben Trefny talks with UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism Dean Ed Wasserman about how social media and the page views are impacting newsrooms.

ED WASSERMAN: There was a lot of talk about citizen journalists, and the like, but this is really more about citizen editors. And in many respects, that editorial function is a far more powerful and a far more influential one than the actual reporting.

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jan 28, 2015
Bert Johnson / East Bay Express

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Artists Create Two-Way Video Portal for Oaklanders to Meet Their Neighbors // East Bay Express

Under CC license from Flickr user Beatrice Murch

In San Francisco’s Richmond District, where Geary Boulevard meets Park Presidio, there stands a bright, white, defunct Christian Science church. There are big white columns out front, with pink steps leading up to iron double doors.

But, what goes on inside this church is not quite what you’d expect.

  Sandip Roy tries to call his mother, but it proves to be more challenging than one would expect.

City Visions: Can Tech Be a Force for Good?

Aug 12, 2014

August 18, 2014:  City Visions' guest host Victoria Thorp talks with leaders who are drawing on tech knowledge to solve key problems in San Francisco and across the country:

Catherine Bracy from Code for America

Clara Brenner from Tumml

Rose Broome from Hand Up

Jake Solomon from Code for America

Produced by Victoria Thorp

This week on KALW's showcase for the best in public radio podcasts . . .

One with Farai "Hacking Race & Technology" Technologist Kimberly Bryant talks with Farai about why she founded the nonprofit Black Girls Code.

Your Call: Is coding the new literacy?

Jul 30, 2014

  

 

 

On the July 30th, 2014 edition of Your Call, we're talking about what skills are necessary for success in the digital age. The Department of Labor predicts that there will be 1.2 million new computer-science related jobs by 2022, but fewer computer science majors are graduating today compared to the 1980's. Is coding the key to securing a good paying job? If so, how can we make it accessible to all? How are organizations reaching out to underserved communities? Join us on the next Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you.

http://www6.sfgov.org/index.aspx?page=246

At the corner of Sanchez and Market, Jason Dorn pulls out an iPhone. He’s at one end point of the access area for San Francisco Free WiFi, a free wireless network that the city launched this past December. It spans Market Street, from Castro Street to the Embarcadero.

When you’re trying to figure out a piece of information online, your search will typically bring you to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia about practically everything.

But, what if you wanted to know something about Oakland – like why 880 is also called the Nimitz freeway – there’s another place you might land: Oakland Wiki.

Back in 1992, toy company Mattel nearly had to recall its “Teen Talk” Barbie. Women’s groups protested the doll’s use of the phrase “Math class is tough.” They called it out for indirectly perpetuating a harmful stereotype-- that boys and men are better at math than girls and women. Research -- especially over the last 10 years -- has shown there is no innate difference in math ability between males and females. And yet the stereotype persists. Women earn 43% of all college math degrees, yet their presence is scarce in the higher echelons of mathematics.

There’s a statue at the Letterman Digital Arts center in San Francisco’s Presidio depicting a classically handsome man. He’s holding some rolled-up papers in one hand, and gazing at something that looks like an overly large, oddly shaped light bulb, which he holds in the other. At his side is a box that most everyone will recognize as an early television.

Womens Audio Mission


Picture a scientist in a white lab coat holding a test tube up to the light. Or a brilliant computer geek hunched over a keyboard. These are stereotypes we associate with STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. But there are a lot of industries involving STEM skills that don’t fit those stereotypes.

KALW's Ashleyanne Krigbaum

Groups like Open Oakland and Code for America want to help improve digital efficiency in the city, and now, a new government office is joining that effort. This past January, Bryan Sastokas became Oakland’s first Chief Information Officer (CIO). He has held the role in two cities previously, most recently Modesto. He oversees all things tech in city government, and it is his job to figure out how technology can solve communication breakdowns between residents and City Hall, or within the network of city departments. 

It’s a Tuesday evening in Oakland’s City Hall. A group of people ranging in age from their 20s to 50s are sitting, many in front of their laptops. This is an Open Oakland hacking meeting. Though a lot of jargon is thrown around, some of the people here have no tech backgrounds at all, including Anna Mathai.

  

Flickr user Public Citizen

 

Trade representatives from twelve countries have been discussing the Trans-Pacific Partnership for four years. They’re discussing removing tariffs, protecting the environment, and stopping the piracy of copyrighted  material - all in the name of freer international trade.

Not much is known about what’s in this agreement, but based on what’s been leaked, here’s what we think we know about a couple of key components that will affect Californians: cows and computers.

On the farm

 

While some high-profile women--like Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook, or Marissa Meyer at Yahoo--have made it to the top of the tech world, few women are waiting to succeed them. In 2010, women earned JUST 18% of computer science degrees. And while women are the main users of online social networking and e-commerce, most leaders of these companies are men.

Five Percent Movement via www.fivemovement.org

 

The conflict in Syria has been raging for three years now. While other Arab countries witnessed the "Arab Spring", Syria's spring hasn’t happened yet. The government is shelling territory held by rebels – the Free Syrian Army – and it's gotten so messy with other militant groups infiltrating the country, that it is a completely chaotic situation.

Some Syrians, including Syrian Americans, have lost hope in any political process to solve the crisis, and have found other ways to help their country from right here in the Bay Area.

  

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