Researchers at the University of Washington are working on a project that could, in effect, make any proprietary software open source.

Prefab works not on the underlying software source code, but on the pixels that all programs put on screens. Prefab would allows users to change those pixels around to create new features in all their programs.

Guest: James Fogarty, University of Washington

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A new smartphone app allows users to set a time limit on the life of text messages. Any message sent using TigerText — which got its name before the Tiger Woods scandal — can be deleted from the phone of the both the sender AND the recipient, as long as both are using Tiger Text. What’s more, the messages never pass through carriers systems,

Guest: TigerText founder Jeffrey Evans

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Google has been famously protective of its super-secret search algorithm — that is, the computer code that translates our searches into relevant results we expect. But technology journalist Stephen Levy has gotten unprecedented access to the process Google employs to improve search. In Wired magazine he reports Google is set to make more than 500 changes to its search algorithm this year alone.

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Google on Wednesday said it would build and test a super-fast, fiber-optic Internet service in a few communities, providing service to as many as 500,000 people.

The Sun-Star newspaper in Merced, California ran an editorial yesterday, trying to rally community support for a bid to get Google to build a fast network there.

Guests: Brandon Bowers, Merced Sun-Star; Stacey Higginbotham, GigaOm

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Scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Center have developed a prototype device designed to plug into an iPhone, for the purpose of detecting harmful chemicals in the air. The gadget, which will be retrofitted for other smart phones, contains sensors for sniffing ammonia, chloride, hydrazine, formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances. The long-term goal is to turn cell phone users into a vast threat detection network.

Guest: Jing Li, NASA

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