Each Friday we round up the big conversations in tech and culture during the week that was. We also revisit the work that appeared on this blog, and highlight what we're reading from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
In case you missed it ... here on All Tech, I wondered about the competing notions of noncommitment and yet endless connection in today's digital dating world. Steve Henn explored the science behind how unexpected freebies and rewards offered by apps and services wire us to keep wanting more. Tech addiction is so prevalent that millions have downloaded apps to block themselves from using social media sites while trying to be productive. Our weekly innovation pick was Uniqul, which is letting shoppers in Finland use their faces for payment transactions.
On our airwaves, All Things Considered featured a chat about the U.K.'s plans to block pornography access. And you could hear Steve and me Friday on Morning Edition — he reported on the big takedown of a global credit card hacking ring, and I took another look at email overload after the "didn't-see-the-email" defense was offered in a high-profile insider-trading case.
The Big Conversations
Facebook's earnings triumph and its subsequent stock surge (it's trading at IPO levels again) dominated headlines, and the ongoing theme of the future of television continued to play out with the launch of Google's Chromecast.
Chromecast is a dongle-like device that plugs into your TV's HDMI jack and lets you cordlessly watch the Web on your TV. Priced at $35, it's significantly less expensive than comparable products — AppleTV and Roku — and you can get it at Best Buy or order online. Time magazine calls it a "cord cutter's dream," but Buzzfeed points out it doesn't solve "the only problem that matters" — content. Live sports and HBO still can't be easily accessed on a Chrome browser. The Wall Street Journal rounded up many more takes on it. The slow slog to mass cord-cutting continues.
What's Catching Our Eye
In no particular order:
The Verge: What's Behind Google and Apple's Sudden Patriotism
A look at why tech giants are making their products in America again. (Hint: "Made in America" sells.)
The New York Times: A Social Network Dedicated to Happy Moments
This was the link that people sent us the most this week. "Like a station that plays love songs and only love songs," the new network aims to focus on the happy moments in life.
Wall Street Journal: Taiwan's Smartphone Addicts Turn to Eye Massagers
The densely populated but tiny island of Taiwan is full of tech-obsessed consumers. Those tired eyes need some love, and vendors of eye-massaging goggles say sales have surged this year. But you don't have to be Taiwanese to get a pair. Apparently similar eye massagers are available on SkyMall.