Super Bowl suspense is building — for the game and the commercials. With an audience of over 100 million people, advertisers covet this space, but at a reported $4 million a spot, only the mightiest corporations can afford Super Bowl exposure. This year, though, there's an exception. One lucky little business will get one of those primo slots — free.
It may have been a slow news week — no national security flaws or revelations, no more signs that Google is trying to take over the world — but we had plenty of content to feed your tech appetite here on All Tech Considered.
More and more people are buying homes with pure cash. In December, all-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, a company that collects and analyzes housing data.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 8:10 am
Windows XP may have been largely developed in a different millennium, but it's not going into retirement without a fight.
Even as Microsoft promotes Windows 8, its latest operating system, Windows XP is still the second-most used OS on nonmobile computers, according to Net Applications web analytics. Debuting in 2001, XP lasted through three new Microsoft operating systems and the growth of mobile technology.
David's Bridal is famously known for carrying inexpensive bridal dresses, some for less than $100. Now the company wants to offer an elevated experience for brides to be — with chandeliers, marble tiling and plush chairs. There will be price tags to match — as much as 2,000.
Montreal-based Bixi, which came up with the bike sharing systems offered in many American cities, has filed for bankruptcy. Renee Montagne talks with Andy Riga of the Montreal Gazette about where things went wrong for Bixi, and the future prospects of its operations in North America.
I was in the car for about an hour, rolling around Manhattan in the middle of a snowstorm. The ride normally would have cost me $65. But when it came time to pay, my driver, Kirk Furye, was concerned for me.
"Are you going to get in trouble with NPR?" he asked. "You are almost at three times the [normal] amount."
A new study from Consumer Reports finds varying levels of a chemical compound classified as a possible human carcinogen in many popular brands of soda.
The findings have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to take a new look at the compound, 4-methylimidazole — or 4-MEI for short. It is found in the caramel color that soda makers use to dye the drinks brown.
And as we just heard from Jim, economic mobility may not have changed much in the last 20 years, but income inequality has skyrocketed. More on the latter now from Michael Dimock, vice president of research at the Pew Research Center. Pew has a new survey out, asking Americans what they think about income inequality.
Michael Dimock, welcome once again.
MICHAEL DIMOCK: Thanks for having me.
SIEGEL: And first finding is Americans say there is growing income inequality, yes?
You might think that retailers have to let you know right away if they get hacked and someone steals your account information.
But recent disclosures by Target and Neiman Marcus that their networks were hacked, and data about their consumers were stolen, have raised questions about how quickly merchants need to alert their customers.
In the case of Neiman Marcus, the company may have had evidence of a breach as far back as July. But the law is a bit murky on just how quickly companies need to let customers know.
Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 3:41 pm
The private contractor that signed off on background checks for both NSA leaker Edward Snowden and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis is being accused of fraud by the Justice Department for allegedly submitting more than 650,000 incomplete investigations.
Police in Ceres, Calif., have a warning: If someone comes up to you in a silver Lexus at dusk offering a ridiculously cheap iPad — don't buy it. Authorities say several people have fallen prey to the alluring low prices.
MONTAGNE: The video streaming company's shares spiked more than 17 percent yesterday during after-hours trading. That's thanks to better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Netflix reported a net income of $48 million for the last quarter of 2013 - up from eight million a year ago.
The World Economic Forum is underway at the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. It's an annual meeting of the world's business elites but also in attendance are world leaders and academics, celebrities and charities.
Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. He's a regular at Davos and he joined us from there. Good morning.
GIDEON RACHMAN: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: Tell us about who is there this year and if there are some names that you're surprised to find are not.
Oil is now running through the southern part of the keystone XL pipeline. Supporters and opponents will be watching carefully to see what that could mean for the northern section of the project, that still awaits approval from the Obama administration.
Spain's banking system on Thursday is marking an end to its reliance on bailout loans from Europe that were desperately needed 18 months ago to shore up its banks after a construction boom-and-bust.
Spain is now the second eurozone country to cleanly exit its bailout program, after Ireland.
It's a dramatic difference from a year and a half ago, when demonstrations erupted outside banks in Spain almost daily. At the time, record numbers of Spaniards were losing their homes in foreclosure. Unemployment soared past 25 percent and kept rising.
The credit and debit card data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus compromised more than 70 million American consumers, and analysts say even more of us are at risk. That's because the technology we use to swipe for our purchases — magnetic stripes on the backs of cards — isn't hard for a skilled fraudster to hack.
The Affordable Care Act had ardent critics and supporters long before last fall's troubled launch of the HealthCare.gov website. Opponents of Obamacare say the law will reduce, not increase, the number of health plans available to Americans and that fewer consumers will be able to afford care than before. And delays in implementation of portions of the ACA, they argue, demonstrate how the Obama administration has been forced to undermine its own law in order to keep it running.
Basically, Quicken is offering a $1 billion grand prize — yes, that's billion, with a B — if someone correctly picks the outcome of all 63 games in the men's Division I college basketball tournament this spring.
Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 8:35 am
It might be hard to imagine in this sputtering recovery, but 2.4 million people actually quit their jobs in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's nearly a million more quitters than there were during the darkest months of the recession.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 2:22 pm
Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)
But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.
Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 11:26 am
It is a myth that "poor countries are doomed to stay poor," and by the year 2035, "there will be almost no poor countries left in the world," Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates writes in his latest annual letter about the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conditions in the nations where the foundation works.
Gates sees a world where once-impoverished countries have already made tremendous progress and where more will follow their lead.
Amazon has a patent for what it calls "anticipatory shipping" — shipping goods to a warehouse near you before you've bought them. Renee Montagne talks to Tim Stevens, editor-at-large for CNET, about Amazon developing a sales method to ultimately read your mind.
And this latest winter storm and those freezing temperatures are putting a strain on already low supplies of propane in the Northeast and Midwest. Millions of Americans use the liquefied gas to heat their homes. And as NPR's Tovia Smith reports, they're paying more and getting less this winter season, which started early, thanks to the extreme cold of the polar vortex.
Over the past week or so, most of the country's banks have reported their profits for the last quarter of 2013. The numbers, mostly, have better than most analysts expected. After a rough few years, most big financial institutions are faring pretty well. But there's some debate about how sustainable the numbers really are.