technology

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.

Before Google Chat, before Facebook Messenger, there was AOL Instant Messenger. AIM still exists today, but it was hugely popular in the late 1990s. And for many young adults who grew up using AIM, those old screen names are a blast from the past they'd just as well forget.

As the ongoing, harassment-fueled controversy known as Gamergate rages into its second month with no sign of dying down, the Pew Research Center is out with new numbers on online harassment.

Litesprite

If you’re feeling depressed or stressed out, and therapy seems overwhelming, consider spending time with a fox.

One night last fall, I was walking through Chinatown in Washington, D.C., with my friend Terryn. We were not far from a dude who was in his mid-20s — slim, with neat, shoulder-length locks, skinny chinos, loafers and a leather briefcase slung across his torso — standing on the corner, his arm raised skyward. He was trying without luck to hail a cab.

Modern computer science is dominated by men. But it hasn't always been this way.

A lot of computing pioneers — the people who programmed the first digital computers — were women. And for decades, the number of women studying computer science was growing faster than the number of men. But in 1984, something changed. The percentage of women in computer science flattened, and then plunged, even as the share of women in other technical and professional fields kept rising.

What happened?

Marcie Sillman talks with Geekwire co-founder Todd Bishop about the latest tech news, including tablets, smartwatches and a new app on the market for ordering coffee. 

Mason jars have been riding a huge wave of popularity thanks to hipsters who embrace them for pickling projects, cake containers and all sorts of craft creations. Now, two engineers from Brooklyn are turning Mason jars into simple sound machines, to play your favorite FM radio station.

For those who follow the video game industry and its community, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian is a familiar figure. Her video series "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" analyzes how women are represented in games past and present.

In the aftermath of disasters like earthquakes, fires and severe weather events, the rush to both alert and check on family and friends can crash telecommunications networks. During the freak 2011 Virginia earthquake, which rattled the nation's capital and damaged the Washington Monument, panicked phone calls quickly overloaded the phone network.

Facebook's newest tool, known as Safety Check, aims to allow people to quickly alert friends and family that they are safe after a natural disaster.

Marcie Sillman talks with Gary Jenkins, chief of police in Pullman, about why every police officer in the city has a body camera as documentation of what really happens when they interact with the public.

In April, residents of Louisa County, Va., were shocked to learn of a sexting "ring" among the town's teenagers. When Hanna Rosin asked teens from Louisa County High School how many people they knew who had sexted, a lot of them replied: "Everyone." But what was originally characterized in the media as an organized criminal affair was soon revealed to be widespread teen behavior.

"I think we as a culture don't know whether to be utterly alarmed by sexting, or think of it as a normal part of teenage sexual experimentation," Rosin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Flickr Photo/Teresa Boardman (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with Steven Johnson, author of "How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World," about the technological innovations that led to widespread clean water in America, despite the E. coli in Mercer Island's drinking water this month.

Ross Reynolds talks with journalist Cyrus Farivar about untraceable, homemade guns. Farivar is senior business editor for the technology website Ars Technica.

Nicholas Carr's book "The Glass Cage"

Ross Reynolds talks to author Nicholas Carr about his new book "The Glass Cage: Automation And Us."

Ross Reynolds speaks with Sara Laschever, co-author of  the book, "Women Don't Ask," about some strategies for women to become more comfortable in salary negotiations. 

At a conference on Thursday for women in tech, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella advised women who aren't comfortable asking for a raise to have "faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. That's good karma. It will come back." Nadella has since apologized for his comments, and added that, upon reflection, he realized that the best advice is, "If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.

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