recent Episodes

Taliban get to play (in) Medal of Honor

08/24/10 06:00 AM

The latest in the “Medal of Honor” video game series comes out in October. The popular first-person shooter games are usually set in World War II. Players can do things like storm the beaches at Normandy or survive the attack on Pearl Harbor.

But this latest version has a new twist—it takes place in Afghanistan. The company that makes the game, Electronic Arts, consulted with soldiers who’ve fought in that country.

Of course, nobody’s seen the game yet, but it’s already creating controversy. That’s because it allows players to fight as members of the Taliban.

Over the weekend, the United Kingdom’s defense secretary called the new game tasteless. The mother of a fallen soldier recently said on Fox News that war is not a game.

EA Games president Frank Gibeau has defended his company’s vision for the new “Medal of Honor,” asking why films and books set in Afghanistan are considered OK, but games are not. We talk with a couple of gaming experts, Heather Chaplin and Ian Bogost, about games as art, as war, and what standards they need to meet if they want to be taken seriously.

Comments | Filed Under: afghanistan electronic arts gaming war

How safe is a voting machine if some guys can turn it into a Pac Man machine?

08/23/10 06:00 AM

A fair question. And one that frankly we never imagined ourselves asking. But there it is.

We’re only in August but the fall election season is very much under way. I don’t know about your neighborhood but there are already a ton of campaign signs around where we live. And with it the ongoing controversy about the reliability and security of electronic voting.

Today, we want to inject a new angle into that issue: Pac Man. Yes, Pac Man.

A couple of engineers were recently able to take a standard voting machine, hack into it, and program it to play Pac Man.  We talk to Alex Halderman, a computer scientist at the University of Michigan. He worked on the project with Princeton University PhD student Ari Feldman.

Comments | Filed Under: voting pacman

Do you want Facebook to know where you are?

08/20/10 06:00 AM

Facebook already wanted to know what you were doing, now they want to know where you’re doing it  Facebook Places is a new service that lets you report where you are as you go through your day. It’s the company’s long anticipate foray into geolocation, a sort of melding of cyberspace and “meatspace” that a lot of people think will become very popular.

But it’s probably a good idea to know exactly what you’re sharing and what you’re keeping private, especially since that’s a line that has been a bit shaky on Facebook in the past.

We talk to CNET’s Molly Wood about how Places work so you can get a better handle on how to use it.  We also talk to video editor Bill Cammack who posted on his web site instructions on opting out of the “location tagging” section of Places. He walks us through that.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook geolocation places

Clickjacking: the feature Facebook isn't so proud of

08/19/10 06:00 AM

Amid all the announcements Facebook has been making lately, there’s one feature you might not even know about. But you should. It’s called clickjacking. Maybe this has happened to you: you see a link  that says “Justin Bieber’s phone number leaked” or “Top ten t-shirt fails”. Maybe it’s in an ad or maybe it even appears to be posted by your friend.

So you click on it and that’s where the trouble begins. You’re taken to page after page of buttons to click, surveys to take, and permissions to give. Unlike the rest of the web, the links are associated with your friends’ names so you trust them. One recent scam was secretly placing $5 weekly charges on users’ cell phone bills.

We talk to Beth Jones from internet security firm Sophos about how clickjacking works. We also check in with Mashable founder and CEO Pete Cashmore who talks about the advantages scammers have in working on Facebook.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook security privacy

How to surf the impending geolocation wave

08/18/10 06:00 AM

Facebook holds a press event today and they’re expected to unveil a geolocation service. Most likely it will involve the ability to identify where you are when you update your status, so it’s not just what you’re doing but where specifically you’re doing it.

Geolocation is the idea of using your smart phone to report where you are as you go through your day. A company called Foursquare is the leader of this movement.  They’re best known for letting you become the honorary “mayor” of a restaurant or café if you check in there enough. It’s fun. But big tech companies like Facebook are taking it very seriously and investing heavily in the idea of geolocation.

Indeed, geolocation is supposed to be the next big thing online, the tool you won’t be able to live without. But how might you actually use it?

We talk to Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of Location Labs. It’s a company that provides geolocation data to companies that build applications.  He says geolocation as it stands today can be used for three big things: socializing, safety like knowing where your kids are, and shopping.

We also talk to Baratunde Thurston, a comedian and web editor for The Onion. He’s made a sort of art project out of running for Foursquare mayor of the New York restaurant Delicatessen. Even held a rally.

He’s having fun but thinks geolocation could grow into something more valuable.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook geolocation

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Future Tense becomes Marketplace Tech Report

09/17/10 06:12 PM

Hi everyone. John Moe here. Starting Monday, September 20th, Future Tense will be going by the name Marketplace Tech Report.

Producer Larissa Anderson and I have been working closely with the folks at Marketplace ever since we took over Future Tense in May. It’s worked out great. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and together we’ll find more stories you’ll want to hear. Basically, we loved Marketplace so much we married them. And kind of took their name too. Is it creepy to compare two radio shows to a married couple? Sorry about that.

As part of the Marketplace portfolio of programs (along with Marketplace, Marketplace Morning Report, and Marketplace Money), Marketplace Tech Report will keep bringing you stories that explain news and trends and technology and what it all means to you. We’ll be moving to a new simpler URL:, which will go live over the weekend. We’ll be bringing our entire archive of past shows and blog posts with us but in the meantime, we’re leaving up so you can access the show archives from there as well.

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