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Twitter restricts access to lawmakers’ deleted tweets

The nonprofit organization Sunlight Foundation has been keeping track of the tweets politicians didn’t want you to see anymore. The site, called Politwoops, saved the tweets deleted by lawmakers. For the past three years, it tracked thousands of blunders and position changes. It also helped track how Twitter was being used for political discourse. But last week, Twitter suspended Sunlight’s access to its information, shutting down Politwoops. The move raises questions about how the social...


Tech Shift: Software allows parents to monitor their kids’ smartphones

Would you spy on your kids? What if it kept them out of trouble? There are a number of programs on the market that give you an inside look at your child’s smartphone, like TeenSafe. It allows parents to monitor their kid’s text messages, phone calls, social media posts, and even provides a history of the smartphone’s location. Ameeta Jain is the co-founder of TeenSafe and she joins us to talk about her software.


Tech Shift: Tracking venture capital investment in Chicago

The amount of venture capital investment in Chicago startups is on the rise. Or maybe not. Depending on how you crunch the data, the first quarter of this year was either lackluster or spectacular. Regardless of how the numbers break down, hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital are flowing to companies in our city every year. So, where’s all that money going? And what effect is it having? Jason Heltzer is a Chicago-based VC who’s a partner at Origin Ventures. He also teaches at...


U.S. Technology Chief pushes for diversity in tech

On Friday April, 17 the Chief Technology Officer of the United States brought fifty tech organizers from around the country to Washington for a meet-up at the White House. The idea was to spark a conversation about how communities can get citizens more involved in technology. Demond Drummer of Smart Chicago, attended the event and joins us to talk about the meet-up and what his organization is working toward locally in Chicago.


Cyberbullying and threats plague messaging app, Yik Yak

If you haven’t heard of Yik Yak, you’re not alone. The messaging app is meant to be used exclusively on college campuses. Going through a Yik Yak feed feels like going through tweets or Facebook statuses, except the posts are anonymous. The app bills itself as a sort of online bulletin board where people can “find their herd,” but in practice, it can read more like the wall of a men’s bathroom. The app has become a breeding ground for racism and sexism, and many feel it fosters an...


MLB releases Statcast, a new way to look at baseball statistics

Want to know exactly how fast an Anthony Rizzo line drive is? Or how far a Jose Abreu home run goes? Now, we may be able to find out. For the 2015 season, Major League Baseball quietly released a new set of numbers that have analysts very excited. Ben Lindbergh is a staff writer at ESPN’s Grantland and has studied the possibilities of the new data. He joins us with details.


Tech Shift: App helps doctors and med students communicate about diagnoses

Social media is everywhere and there’s a platform for almost everything including diagnosing an illness. Doctors and medical students now have an app to help them communicate with their peers for second, third, even fourth opinions. It’s called “Figure 1,” and it’s been called the “Instagram for doctors.” Max Fitzgerald, a resident at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, uses the app and joins us to explain how it works.


New app lets users delete sent text messages

A popular Gmail feature is the “undo” button. You send an email and if you’re in that few-second window, you can recall that email you just sent. Now, there’s an app for texts that does the same thing. It’s called “On Second Thought.” The app’s inventor, Maci Peterson, joins us in studio.


ComEd to use drones to inspect power lines

Drones are coming to Chicago this summer and they might just be flying in your neighborhood. ComEd has received approval from the FAA to use drones for power line inspections. It all starts in the south suburbs this summer. ComEd will use drones crafted by students and professors at IIT, the Illinois Institute of Technology. With cameras attached to them for video and photos, the mini flying machines are expected to provide an in-depth look at power line failures. Matthew Spenko is an...


Tech Shift: German startup chooses Chicago as its U.S. base

Here in Chicago, space is hard to come by, whether it’s a little nook on the “L” during rush hour, or the lack of storage space in your vintage walkup apartment. But one German startup is trying to fix the latter. In 2014, Rob Rebholz and his co-founders launched SpaceWays, a personal storage company. It’s an online service that will pick up your stuff, store it for you, and even provide boxes for you to pack it up in. Chicago is the first U.S. city to get the service and co-founder Rob...


The State Decoded project wants to simplify your search for civic data

When was the last time you went to Google for the source of information about a city of Chicago law? Well, there’s a better place to help you with that. The State Decoded project works to make it easier for citizens to find laws for states and cities. Last week the group launched, with the Chicago Clerks Office, a new version of The site simplifies access to Chicago’s municipal code. Seamus Kraft, executive director for the OpenGov Foundation, which runs State Decoded,...


The importance of diversity in STEM fields

Today, the American Association of University Women group released a study that finds women make up just 26 percent of the computing workforce and 12 percent of the engineering workforce. Usually when people talk about the gender gap for women in science, technology, engineering and math, they often refer to numbers from the AAUW. But the report doesn’t just harp on the sad state-of-affairs, it also offers solutions. Christi Corbett is a senior researcher at AAUW and co-author of the...


Tech Shift: Government Technology Foundation hopes to make Cook County more

Tomorrow, the Government Technology Foundation launches in Chicago with an event designed to bring together more people in the private sector with chief information officers for Lake County, Cook County and the city. The person behind the initiative is Poonam Gupta, who is doing tomorrow’s event after staging several similar events in the suburbs. She joins us in studio.


UI Labs is working to make Chicago a true “smart city”

Today Chicago’s UI Labs announced CityWorks. The idea brings together big business - companies from Microsoft to Commonwealth Edison to Siemens - to partner with the city to figure out ways Chicago can truly become a smart city. It’s the second major project for UI Labs which is known now mostly for its digital manufacturing. UI Labs, Caralynn Nowinski joins the conversation.


Week in Review: SXSWi and Tesla’s driverless cars

Every Friday, we wrap up the week’s biggest technology news for our Tech Shift Week in Review segment. This week, we discuss this year’s South by Southwest Interactive. Plus, we take a look at Tesla’s driverless car announcement and what that could mean for the future of travel. WBEZ’s Tricia Bobeda and Chris Haga join us in studio.


Tech Shift: Code Fellows is setting up a coding bootcamp in Chicago

The tech scene in Chicago is booming, and the rest of the country has taken notice. Code Fellows, a Seattle-based company, is the latest bootcamp style computer science training ground to set up shop in Chicago. The CEO, Kristin Smith, joins us in-studio to explain why. Guest: Kristin Smith is the CEO of Code Fellows.


Tech Shift: Financial technology companies are growing in Chicago

The financial sector has always been strong in Chicago, but when businesses look for innovative financial technology, they often look to places like Silicon Valley, New York, and London. Soon, that could change. The fintech, or financial technology, sector is on the up-and-up in Chicago, and the community has a new conference here in April called Fintech Exchange. Eero Pikat is one of the conference’s organizers and founder of fintech company Barchart and he joins us in studio.


Will eliminating software patents take care of patent trolls?

There is no limit to the type of company that can be targeted by a “patent assertion entity” more commonly called “patent trolls.” Those companies buy up patents and then sue companies for infringement. Last month, a court ruled that Samsung had to pay $15.7 million to a patent troll. And just yesterday, a senator from Utah called upon readers for support in his attempt at reform. One of the most vocal supporters on this subject is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF...


The Sunlight Foundation wants to make election data open and available

Chicago’s run-off election is just weeks away. What if there were an app to tell you how long you would have to wait in line at your polling place? Or another one that could tell you exactly when your vote was counted? Those are a couple of possibilities for having more open data on elections. The Sunlight Foundation is starting a series looking at what election data is already available and what’s missing. Its director of partnerships and training Amy Ngai, joins the conversation.


Tech Shift: South by Southwest Interactive

This week, South by Southwest Interactive begins in Austin, Texas. What are the big ticket items and how can building web applications help the public good? Chris Gansen is the vice president of engineering for PublicGood, and he’s down there for the first time. He joins our conversation along with Justin Massa, the president and founder of Food Genius.