Tech tAUk December 11, 2010 – Tech the Halls Edition

The temperatures dip below freezing, the sun sets earlier, Starbucks cups turn red, and everyone wonders if Snowpocalypse 2.0 is just over the horizon. All telltale signs that the holiday season is here, and on this episode, we celebrate the holiday season in style. Actually, in lots of styles.

We proudly present Tech the Halls: Tech tAUk’s Christmas Spectacular! (And Hanukkah!), our 90-minute special edition for the holiday season. In addition to a sleigh-packed package of tech coverage, we’ve made this a musical episode by “techifying” a number of songs of the season, with some hilarious results. We’ve also decked out our studio so it doesn’t look like (as much of a) black hole, and we’ve got snacks and goodies to make our season merry and bright. Not yours, though. We can’t figure out how to share snacks and goodies through the camera yet.

Our tech headlines this week:

Then, Josh gets on an airplane (actually in front of a green screen, but we tricked him) to discuss the latest bout of holiday travel fun brought to us by the TSA, noting some of the controversies that their newest screening policies have aroused.

We then step back and recap some of the biggest developments in tech from 2010, including:

  • The dramatic expansion of mobile devices, including Google Android devices, the iPad, and the iPhone 4,
  • The advances of Facebook as they crossed half a billion users and launched a number of new features,
  • Numerous new announcements and directions for Google, and
  • The expansion of online activism campaigns.

But we save our biggest development of the year for its own segment due to its recent pertinence, as we look at the many waves that WikiLeaks and its spokesperson Julian Assange have made during the year, particularly in recent weeks. Despite other universities warning students not to talk about WikiLeaks, lest they jeopardize their chances at future careers in government, we feel that this is an incredibly important story that may have major implications for our freedom of speech and expression on the internet. So we take our chances and discuss the strange rationale for arresting Julian Assange, how a number of companies like PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa have blocked donations to WikiLeaks, and a number of other concerns with regards to the response to the latest set of leaks.

Then, Douglas shares a number of more “interesting” tech gadgets available for your gift-giving pleasure, for when you want your gift to go out of the ordinary and be truly memorable:

Finally, we share our Viral Video of the Week, The Christmas Can-Can by Straight No Chaser (Animated Version), and thank our crew on-camera for a great semester of episodes. We then close out the show by performing an instrumental rendition of “Silent Night.”

Coming Soon: We will be posting all of our musical clips to our YouTube channel over the next few days, including a hilarious “Twelve Days of Christmas” outtake from this episode!

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About Douglas Bell

I live in Washington, D.C., and work as a Broadcast Technician at WAMU 88.5 FM, the local NPR affiliate in the Washington metro area. My primary shift is to engineer the local feed of NPR’s Morning Edition, including local news and weather, long-form features and station breaks… and yes, the shift starts at 5 am, so I’ve got the whole quasi-nocturnal thing going on. I am also the Coordinating Producer for Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie, an independently-produced podcast and public radio program. Extracurricularly, I play cello, and participate in a church choir and a handbell choir. I enjoy discovering new places, and am constantly searching for the perfect cheeseburger. I am also known as a frequent teller of puns.