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What's Tech?

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We live in the future, where drones skim the sky, corporations enter the space race, and smartwatches track our every movement. But how? And why? What's Tech invites experts to explain the technology bit by bit, in clear, brief, enjoyable audio nuggets. These days, technology is everywhere. Let's make sense of what's around us.




The What’s Tech series finale

When I started at The Verge in 2014, I needed an excuse to learn about technology. My background was in covering video games, television, and pop culture, and I lacked the basic cognitive functions to hold a phone above my head without dropping it on my face. So I launched a podcast called What’s Tech. For two years, the show was an opportunity to learn the fundamentals about the technology that supports everyday life. Free to ask silly, obvious, and embarrassing questions, I learned a...

Duration: 00:24:19

Why Pokémon Go is a hit, how it helped Nintendo, and when its moment could fizz out

Pokémon Go had a week unlike any video game I’ve covered in my career. Here’s a collection of the posts we penned last week, ranging from players finding dead bodies to Craigslist entrepreneurs selling pre-played accounts. My friend and former boss Chris Grant wrote about the staggering demand for coverage at our sister-site Polygon. In "Some thoughts on Nintendo’s big week," Grant contextualized the game within Nintendo’s unusual year. And he noted how Pokémon Go inspired the most popular...

What you need to know about doxxing, the average internet user’s nightmare

My entire body clenches when I hear the word doxxing. Each time I write something that, for whatever reason, upsets a corner of the internet, I wonder if my personal information — phone numbers, address, social security number, credit card information — will be made public, or doxxed. And if it is made public, then how will it be used? Even though our identities on the internet are more public than ever, we are still individually afforded a certain amount of privacy. Our passwords, our...

How a computer the size of a credit card is changing education — and GameBoy emulators

For longer than I would like to admit, I thought Raspberry Pi was a dessert. I'm not proud of that. Fortunately, I eventually learned what Raspberry Pi actually is, and though it's not nearly as tasty, it's just as exciting: an affordable, customizable computer the size of a credit card. Raspberry Pi has changed how thousands of people tinker with and learn about computers. People have used the hardware to create Game Boy emulators and synthesizers, tiny cameras and jukeboxes. To learn...

How people play Nintendo games on a computer, and why that's probably illegal

Whether or not you've used a video game emulator yourself — and if you have, it's okay, I'm not gonna snitch — it's impossible to deny their prevalence. Since the age of modern computing, people have figured out how to use code to mimic game consoles like NES and Genesis in order to play them on everything from laptops to smartwatches. Sometimes it's a near-perfect recreation of a childhood memory. Sometimes it's a virtual reality "remix" of a popular cartoon fighter (blatant...

What are graphics cards, and why do you want one?

Graphics cards! So hot right now. Whether it's the slow realization that jumping on board with the 2016 VR revolution requires a tricked-out gaming rig you'd never previously have dreamed of stashing under your desk, or the blitz of hype surrounding Nvidia's latest 1000-series GPUs, there's more reason to get excited about PC gaming hardware than there has been in years. But what is a graphics card? Do you really need one, and which one do you need?

Everything you wanted to know about Drake, but were too afraid to ask

Share on Facebook Tweet Share Pin Drake is a former child actor, current pop star, and the secular god of memes — even if he denounces that last label. Born Aubrey Drake Graham, the Canadian celebrity has been inescapable, not just for fans of music, but enthusiasts of technology. That's because Drake is a meeting point of the two. To talk about Drake's give-take relationship with technology — specifically social media — I invited my friend and colleague Jamieson Cox onto this week's...

Why bots are the new big thing, and what that means for ordering pizza

2016 is shaping up to be the year of the bot. Late last month, Microsoft made a big bet on tools that will help developers create artificial intelligence software meant to improve the lives of humans by completing small tasks, and last week Facebook launched an entire bot platform for its communication tool, Messenger. I invited my buddy and colleague Casey Newton — who wrote one of my favorite features on bots — to explain the technology. Newton has some predictions for the applications...

What is Slack, why is everybody using it, and will it destroy my work-life balance?

I love Slack, the mega-popular corporate-friendly chat client. I love it so much that I desperately want to delete it from my phone, because I can't help but check its messages every hour of every day. Yesterday night, I responded to a message at 3AM. Lol, I have no self-control and this is a cry for help! Anywho, Slack is still so new that it's possible you haven't heard of, let alone used, the service, which I describe to newcomers as something between text messaging, AOL chatrooms, and...

Everything you need to know about the Hyperloop, a potential transportation game-changer

In 2013, billionaire eccentric inventor Elon Musk announced an idea called the Hyperloop: a super-fast, low-friction transportation system that looked like the prom photo for a subway tunnel and a bullet-train. Musk made the Hyperloop an open-sourced project, inviting thinkers, scientists, and fellow inventors — no matter their age — to help make the potentially revolutionary concept into a reality. This year, we're seeing some of the early steps from the theoretical sketch room to a real...

What is CES?

The Verge's Dieter Bohn shares the history of the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, which is taking place this week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Duration: 00:32:18

What is a hoverboard?

The Verge tested Lexus' hoverboard in August. Thanks to science and a considerable promotional budget, the car maker's hoverboard actually hovered above the earth — as its name suggested. The experience was the culmination of a shared pop culture dream dating back to Michael J. Fox's faithful special effects-aided ride in Back to the Future Part II. It felt perversely historic. Somehow, only a couple months later, the creation of an actual working hoverboard has been overshadowed by a...

What is Windows 10?

Last week, I wrote about Microsoft's plan to bring Xbox One and Windows 10 closer together. I've been wondering what this future might look like. I know a good deal about Microsoft's video game consoles, but Windows remains a bit of a mystery. I switched to Apple laptops in high school, and only recently welcomed a Windows PC into my home exclusively for gaming. But more and more, I'm tempted to switch back to Windows for my work computer. It seems less fussy, prone to viruses, and bland...

What is an internet router?

When I joined The Verge, many of my peers from the video games press congratulated me on a lifetime of writing about internet routers. I laughed at their silly joke. How much, I thought, is there to really say about an internet router? If only my naive self of 2014 had known the truth, that routers evoke a passion among the citizens of the internet like few pieces of technology. I thought people cared about console wars, then I witnessed a debate about the benefits of Netgear's Nighthawk...

Duration: 00:27:03

What is Fallout?

On a recent Sunday afternoon, you may have noticed Brutus — Fox's NFL mascot — wearing a new set of protective armor. This costume wasn't promoting a nonprofit initiative meant to distract from professional football's abundance of PR debacles, nor was it celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was an ad for a video game: Fallout 4. As your pupils dilated and the molten cheese dribbled from your pizza roll, you likely found yourself in one of two camps: the camp that recognizes the...

Duration: 00:19:39

What is an internet meme?

I remember my first meme. I was in my grade school computer lab — this was a time when computers were still novel, not mandatory. My fifth grade teacher was explaining email to our classroom, and how she could use it to talk with a friend in another country about what happened on this week's episode of Friends. Presumably Friends didn't air in said country. After an awkwardly long explanation of what Friends is to a couple dozen 11-year-olds, my teacher decided to show us something more...

Duration: 00:19:18

What is the quantified self?

I have tried various health trackers, and they always wind up buried in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I should love the pursuit of a quantified self. I like data; I want to be healthier; I enjoy new technology, even when it's fussy and doesn't really work. But for whatever reason, trackers just leave me feeling guilty at best and competitive with friends and family at worse. I shouldn't be competing, I should be collaborating! We all should be better! This week, I invited The Verge's...

Duration: 00:25:57

What is alien life?

More recently, discussions of extraterrestrial life have become mainstream. Brilliant minds like Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson have made headlines with their thoughts on how humans should or shouldn't make contact. This week, I invited my friend and colleague Loren Grush to explain how science thinks about alien life. It's a bit spooky, like a Halloween-ish episode, airing just a few days late for the horror holiday.

Duration: 00:24:54

What is Minecraft?

This week Microsoft released Halo 5, the latest installment of its most iconic exclusive for Xbox consoles. The adventures of Master Chief and his console cohorts, however, pale beneath the popularity of the stories created by players in the universe of Minecraft. Designed largely by a single gamer maker and purchased for billions of dollars by the software giant, Minecraft has the potential to be the Super Mario of a generation, not in how it plays but what it represents for an entire...

Duration: 00:29:05

What Is The Patriot Act

A little over a month after the events of September 11th, 2001, an Act of Congress called the USA Patriot Act was signed into law by then President George W. Bush. Despite its controversial expansion of government power pertaining to domestic surveillance, law enforcement, and border security, President Obama signed an extension of what were key provisions in 2001. That extension expired this past summer, but parts of the extension were renewed for another four years under a new name, the...

Duration: 00:23:53

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