Tech Tent: Indian rockets, password confusion and the parenting app

Rory Cellan-Jones

On my technology podcast this week, we find out what a record-breaking satellite launch says about India's technology ambitions.

We also discuss whether there's a better, simpler way to use passwords online, and we talk to the entrepreneur using dating app techniques to connect mums.

India's Space Journey

This week saw an amazing feat, the simultaneous launch of 104 satellites from southern India. That broke the previous record, set when Russia launched 37 satellites in one mission in 2014.

Image copyright EPA

It was a huge boost for India's space programme, as well as for the new nano satellite industry - an American firm with ambitions to provide dynamic close-up maps of the globe was the main customer of the launch.

Read full article Tech Tent: Indian rockets, password confusion and the parenting app

Should you take your phone to the United States?

A smartphone in a case showing the US flag Image copyright Getty Images

"The next time you plan to cross a border, leave your phone at home."

That is the rather startling advice in a blogpost that is being widely shared right now.

Read full article Should you take your phone to the United States?

Whitehall’s identity crisis: HMRC and Verify

gov.uk Verify Image copyright gov.uk

Verify is the flagship of the Government Digital Service (GDS). It's an online identity system designed to let citizens securely access all sorts of public services with ease. But now it has competition from another branch of government, HMRC.

This week, HMRC revealed that it was working on its own "identity solution" for individuals and businesses, while mentioning in an offhand way that "other departments will use gov.uk Verify for all individual citizen services".

Read full article Whitehall’s identity crisis: HMRC and Verify

Tech Tent: Robots, radio and Indian phones


This week we roam far and wide in our search for the top trends in tech, from the history of robots, to a huge battle for dominance in the Indian mobile phone market, and an innovative way of interacting with your radio.

Image copyright Carl Court
Image caption The exhibition shows off both old and new robots

Robots and jobs

This week a major exhibition on the history of robots opened at London's Science Museum. It tracks our relationship with humanoid devices from the 16th century right up to the present day, where robots embedded with artificial intelligence are encroaching on all sorts of jobs.

Read full article Tech Tent: Robots, radio and Indian phones

Streetlife users in Nextdoor privacy row

Nextdoor app Image copyright Nextdoor

It was meant to be a neighbourly get-together - but the takeover of the UK's Streetlife website by America's Nextdoor has left many British users deeply unhappy with the new arrangements.

It has also revealed a transatlantic cultural chasm in attitudes to privacy.

Read full article Streetlife users in Nextdoor privacy row

Shopping robots on the march in Ocado

Media captionThe Ocado warehouse run by robots

There is growing concern about the impact of automation on employment - or in crude terms - the threat that robots will eat our jobs.

But if you want to see how important robotics and artificial intelligence can be to a business Ocado is a good place to start.

Read full article Shopping robots on the march in Ocado

US neighbours' network Nextdoor buys UK's Streetlife

Nextdoor home page Image copyright Nextdoor
Image caption US network Nextdoor is buying the UK platform Streetlife

How do you build an online community that isn't an echo chamber and doesn't descend into an ugly shouting match?

Make it local, is the answer from two neighbourhood networks, one British, one American, that are getting together.

Read full article US neighbours' network Nextdoor buys UK's Streetlife

Tech Tent: Silicon Valley strikes back

Rory Cellan-Jones

The week began with Silicon Valley bosses coming out of their shells and speaking out against President Trump's immigration policy.

But by the end they were turning their minds to other matters - some spectacular results from Facebook and Apple and the prospect of the biggest stock market debut by a tech firm for years.

Read full article Tech Tent: Silicon Valley strikes back

Tech Tent: Winners and losers in the 'gig' economy


On this week's Tech Tent we address one of the key questions of the era - what is new technology doing to jobs? We also look at the hunt for better batteries and find out about the latest technology in the toy industry.

No, Uber isn't wiping out taxi drivers

"Does the expansion of the 'sharing economy' spell the end of traditional jobs?" That's the unusually catchy introduction for an academic paper on the effect of Uber on jobs and wages.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protests from established taxi drivers have greeted Uber's arrival in many cities

Read full article Tech Tent: Winners and losers in the 'gig' economy

The battery battle hots up

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Image copyright Ariel Gonzalez
Image caption A Galaxy Note 7 reportedly caught fire shortly after its charger was unplugged

Batteries are hot right now - literally in the case of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7.

The investigation into what caused the overheating in the smartphone concluded, unsurprisingly, that it was a fault in the design and manufacturing of the batteries.

Read full article The battery battle hots up