<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usWed, 01 Mar 2017 13:01:15 -0800Wed, 01 Mar 2017 13:01:15 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[YouTube Announces Cable-Free TV Subscription Service]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:25:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_142450164879.jpg

YouTube is giving viewers a way to tune in live to their favorite shows, without a cable or satellite subscription, CNBC.com reported.

The company announced a live and on-demand streaming TV service called "YouTubeTV" on Tuesday. The subscription, which will cost $35 a month for a family plan of up to six accounts, is expected to launch in the next few months in the U.S. Currently there are no plans for international service.

Subscribers will have access to up to 40 networks, as well as YouTube creator content like original content from subscription service YouTube Red. Channels include all broadcast channels and cable channels like USA, FX, Freeform, ESPN, Fox Sports and NBC Sports. Users can add Showtime and soccer programming for an additional fee.

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX to Send 2 Citizens to Moon in 2018: Elon Musk]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 03:52:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/elonmusk3.jpg

SpaceX said Monday it will fly two people to the moon next year, a feat not attempted since NASA's Apollo heyday close to half a century ago.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk — the company's founder and chief executive officer — announced the surprising news barely a week after launching his first rocket from NASA's legendary moon pad.

Two people who know one another approached the company about sending them on a weeklong flight just beyond the moon, according to Musk. He won't identify the pair or the price tag. They've already paid a "significant" deposit and are "very serious" about it, he noted.

"Fly me to the moon ... Ok," Musk said in a light-hearted tweet following the news conference.

Musk said SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018. This moon mission would follow about six months later, by the end of the year under the current schedule, using a Dragon crew capsule and a Falcon heavy rocket launched from NASA's former moon pad in Florida.

If all goes as planned, it could happen close to the 50th anniversary of NASA's first manned flight to the moon, on Apollo 8.

The SpaceX moonshot is designed to be autonomous — unless something goes wrong, Musk said.

"I think they are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here," Musk told reporters in the telephone conference, a day after teasing via Twitter that an announcement of some sort was forthcoming.

"They're certainly not naive, and we'll do everything we can to minimize that risk, but it's not zero. But they're coming into this with their eyes open," said Musk, adding that the pair will receive "extensive" training before the flight.

Musk said he does not have permission to release the passengers' names, and he was hesitant to even say if they were men, women or even pilots. He would only admit, "It's nobody from Hollywood."

The paying passengers would make a long loop around the moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether. It's about 240,000 miles to the moon alone, one way.

The mission would not involve a lunar landing.

"This should be a really exciting mission that hopefully gets the world really excited about sending people into deep space again," Musk said.

NASA will have first dibs on a similar mission if it so chooses, he said. The space agency learned of his plan at the same time as reporters.

In a statement, NASA commended SpaceX "for reaching higher." In all, 24 astronauts flew to the moon and 12 walked its surface from 1969 to 1972.

The California-based SpaceX already has a long list of firsts, with its sights ultimately set on Mars. It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission.

Just a week ago, SpaceX made its latest delivery from Kennedy Space Center's legendary Launch Complex 39A, where the Apollo astronauts flew to the moon and shuttle crews rocketed into orbit. That will be where the private moon mission will originate as well. 

The crew Dragon capsule — an upgraded version of the cargo Dragon — has yet to fly in space. Neither has a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is essentially a Falcon 9 rocket with two strap-on boosters, according to Musk. A Falcon Heavy test flight is planned this summer, while an empty crew capsule is set to launch to the space station late this year. He said there will be ample time to test both the spacecraft and the rocket, before the moon mission.

NASA last week announced it was studying the possibility of adding crew to the test flight of its megarocket, at the request of the Trump administration. Such a flight to the lunar neighborhood wouldn't happen before 2019 at best — if, indeed, that option is even implemented.

Musk said anything that advances the space exploration cause is good, no matter who goes first.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will celebrate his homecoming this week from a one-year space mission, was quick to tweet: "It's been almost a year. Send me!"

Musk said he expects to have more moon-mission customers as time goes by.

At the same time, SpaceX is also working on a so-called Red Dragon, meant to fly to Mars around 2020 with experiments, but no people — and actually land. His ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Facebook Users Report Account Outages, Technical Errors]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:25:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Some Facebook users are getting logged out of their accounts Friday afternoon due to a technical issue, according to reports being sent on Down Detector. The reports started just after 1 p.m. EST.

Users are getting a message saying "Someone May Have Logged Into Your Account," according to the reports being sent to the site. Facebook prompts them to verify their identities and change their passwords to unlock their accounts.

Users of the popular social media site are also receiving another error message which says "Sorry, this feature isn't available right now. An error occurred while processing this request. Please try again later," with an option to "join Facebook" or "log in to continue."

The error did not appear to affect all accounts.

A Facebook spokesperson reached out to offer the following comment: 

"Earlier today an error in one of our systems designed to help prevent suspicious account access sent a small set of people to our account recovery flow unnecessarily. We have fixed the issue and are in the process of clearing the affected accounts from this recovery flow. We apologize for any inconvenience."

It appears that users getting locked out of their accounts are not victims of a security breach but victims of a technical difficulty.

Users don't need to take any immediate action, but they can change their passwords to unlock their accounts. If no action is taken, the technical issues should be resolved by Facebook soon.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[TV Snooping: What Your Tube Knows]]> Fri, 24 Feb 2017 04:49:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TechTalker0224_MP4-148793967321000001.jpg

Similar to internet ads that follow you while you are shopping, smart TVs can snoop on what shows you watch, what you search for, or even your daily television patterns.

<![CDATA[Bay Area Teens Help Navigate SF With New Crime-Mapping App]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:36:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/thumbnailverizon_1.jpg

A group of Bay Area teenagers won a national hunt for new and innovative applications for their crime-mapping navigation app in San Francisco. 

"I went to a 'Sweet 16' party in San Francisco and it was just a bunch of girls and we were planning on where we were going to go, but we weren't really sure what places to avoid and what places were safe." Savita Balaji, 16, a member of 'Team Intuit' said.

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In addition to the honor, the team received $20,000 from the Verizon Foundation, five tablets as well as mentoring from application experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help build their final product.

Once finished, they will travel to the Technology Student Association Conference in June to present their product.

The winning team initially met during the Girls Who Code program, a non-profit program which focuses on teaching girls emerging skills in technology.

"Us girls in Girls Who Code, we formed a group and created this app," Balaji. "We want everybody to feel safe and comfortable when they’re traveling."

Fittingly named after the Greek goddess of protection, Soteria, the app recommends routes based on crime data, police social feeds and includes an emergency call feature.

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Erin Allard, the Girls Who Code coach is excited for the girls' future.

"I wrote letters of reference for a handful of them who are graduating seniors hoping to get into computer science programs so that's been really rewarding for me as a teacher," Allard said. "It is so empowering for anyone to learn how to code but especially girls who are really underrepresented in tech."

With about 1,800 submissions, Verizon presented the awards to just a handful of teams.

The Soteria app creators recieved recognition Wednesday during a ceremony on the Intuit headquarters in Mountain View, where they had been hosted for the Girls Who Code program.

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And for Balaji, it's only the beginning for the Soteria app.

"We would like to reach a larger crowd," Balaji said, adding that she wants to include more visual features and cities before its launch.

The Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge is part of a #weneedmore campaign Verizon announced to call attention to the gap in technology education. 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Greenway
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<![CDATA[Bill Gates Thinks It May Be Time to Tax Robots]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:05:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Bill_Gates.jpg

Bill Gates sees an upside to the robots taking jobs from humans: taxes.

Harnessing technology helped make Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, the richest man in the world. Recently, he told the publication Quartz that technology can be harnessed to help maintain the social safety net for the communities that lose jobs to automation.

"Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things," Gates said in the interview. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level."

Automation is a hot topic these days, with American jobs a major focus of Donald Trump's presidency. He is pursuing policy that will incentivize companies creating manufacturing jobs in places like the Rust Belt and punish companies that move such jobs overseas.

But some analysts believe that many of the manufacturing jobs that stay in the U.S. will simply be automated. Roughly half the world's jobs could be automated with technology that already exists, accounting for $15 trillion in wages, according to a recent analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute.

In his farewell address, President Barack Obama warned of economic dislocation that comes "from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete."

Gates argues that taxing robots that take the place of American workers would help communities accept that kind of change, since they would benefit from the work the robots do.

"It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm. That means they won’t shape it for the positive things it can do," Gates told Quartz.

Gates isn't the only major player in the tech world thinking about how to help society adapt to the technology that's so quickly changing the way people interact.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg released a manifesto last week aiming to explain how his company will try to create a "social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Young Adults More Likely Than Teens to Text and Drive: Study]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 07:39:44 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-565978511.jpg

A new study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed that millennials can’t seem to put down their cellphones, even when they’re behind the wheel. 

After surveying over 2,500 Americans, AAA concluded that 19- to 24-year-olds are more inclined than any other age group, including teens, to check their phones for texts while in the driver’s seat. Millennial drivers also aren’t as supportive of legislation aimed at stemming distractions while on the road, and they’re more likely to normalize texting and driving than other groups.

In all, 88.4 percent of respondents from ages 19-24 reported engaging in dangerous behaviors like texting, speeding and red-light running. That compared to 79.2 percent for people 25-39 and 69.3 percent for 16- to 18-year-olds.

Phone use is one of many dangers that contribute to almost 100 American deaths every day, on average, because of car wrecks. Another is driving while intoxicated, which almost everyone agreed was a serious threat to their personal safety.

But as the study notes, most American drivers seem to abide by the mantra, “Do as I say, not as I do.” More than one in eight respondents said they had driven after drinking within the past year.

Aggressive driving can also cause wrecks. Though over three-fourths of those polled said they disapproved of speeding on the freeway, nearly half admitted to driving at least 15 miles over the speed limit in the past month.

Because of irresponsible driving, 982,307 Americans have died since 1991. One in five survey respondents had been in a serious accident, and one in three was close with someone who had been injured or killed on the road.

In 2015, there were 35,092 people who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, a 7.2 percent increase from the year before.

"People in the United Sates do value safe travel and desire a greater level of safety than they now experience," the authors of the survey wrote.

Because of dangers associated with driving, many of those questioned said that it’s unacceptable to not wear a seat belt. Still, one in six admitted they hadn't buckled up in the last month.

Photo Credit: Getty/Spaces Images
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<![CDATA[Apple Unveils New 'Planet of the Apps' Show]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:45:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16294465474204-iphone-charger.jpg

Apple revealed the first trailer for its upcoming TV reality show "Planet of the Apps," an unscripted series about apps and the talented developers who make them.

The show, a mashup of "Shark Tank" and "The Voice," features an "escalator pitch," a celebrity panel and some of Silicon Valley's heavy hitters.

App developers are given 60 seconds on an escalator to pitch their app idea to a panel of celebrity judges, including Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am.

If their pitch is selected, the developer will partner with one of the judges who will act as an adviser on the project. The celebrity mentors will help the developers prepare for their final pitch to LightSpeed Venture Partners in the hopes of scoring a $10 million investment.

And what good is a show about apps without its own app? Apple, of course, has it covered. The "Planet of the Apps" app allows viewers to swipe left or right to signal whether the developer's idea seems promising, according to Recode.

Recode also notes successful apps will be prominently featured in Apple's App Store.

The show will air exclusively on Apple Music. A launch date has not been released.

Photo Credit: AP, File
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<![CDATA[Keith Morrison Is a New Guest Voice on Waze App]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:02:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Keith-Morrison.jpg

Keith Morrison and Waze have a special Valentine's Day present for fans of NBC's "Dateline," which is turning 25.

Morrison is a limited-edition voice guide on the traffic navigation app starting Feb. 14, NBC News reported.

He'll guide you around traffic and construction and help you avoid those pesky potholes.

To get Keith's voice, Waze app users should go to Settings in the app, hit Voice Directions and scroll down to Keith Morrison.

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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<![CDATA[Elon Musk Bashes Claim of Unfair Work Conditions at Tesla]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:35:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-479833756-Musk.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied allegations by an employee that his car company overworks and underpays its workers, CNBC reports. 

Jose Moran, who says he works for Tesla’s San Francisco Fremont plant, wrote a scathing blog post about his working conditions, including "excessive mandatory overtime."

Musk responded in a Twitter direct message to tech news site Gizmodo, saying, "Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous." He suggested that Moran had been placed at Tesla by labor union United Auto Workers, which tasked him with agitating for unionization.

UAW called Musk’s claim "fake news" in a statement to CNBC.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Taps NASA Engineer to Boost Flying Car Initiative]]> Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:04:24 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/UberFlyingCars.JPG

Just four months after officially joining the flying car revolution, Uber has added a big name to orchestrate its innovative plans.

Mark Moore, a 30-year veteran of NASA, is ditching the government agency to take on Uber's director of engineering for aviation gig, according to the ride-hailing company. Moore's primary role is to enhance the San Francisco company's flying car strategy coined Uber Elevate, a program originally outlined in a 98-page white paper released in October.

The enticing and futuristic proposal would work like this: Uber users would catch a traditional ride or walk to a neighborhood "vertiport." Riders would then climb aboard a flying car and float to another "vertiports" located near the rider's destination.

Uber won't actually be constructing these vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, gizmos. The ride-hailing service plans to collaborate with other companies leading the charge in the flying car industry.

"Uber continues to see its role as a catalyst to the growing developing VTOL ecosystem," Nikheil Goel, head of product for advanced programs at Uber, wrote in a statement. "We're excited to have (Moore) join us to work with companies and stakeholders as we continue to explore the use case described in our white paper."

Before any flying cars operated by Uber are zooming above clogged commutes, a slew of issues, including noise pollution, battery life, safety and air-traffic concerns, will need to be checked off of the to-do list. Moore's expertise is being tapped to address those concerns.

The San Francisco-based company isn't the only collective thinking about the future of transportation, as reported by Bloomberg. Google co-founder Larry Page is said to have commissioned Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk — two startups in the Silicon Valley — to create flying car capabilities.

Photo Credit: Uber]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla, SpaceX, Others Sign on to Fight Trump Travel Ban]]> Tue, 07 Feb 2017 12:53:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/techcompanyamicus.jpg

More than 50 more tech companies signed on late Monday to a friend of the court brief trying to oppose President Donald Trump's travel ban, bringing the total number of those opposed to roughly 150.

The vast majority of those are based in Silicon Valley; the others are mostly based in New York and Southern California.

Late additions include Tesla, SpaceX, Groupon, Pandora Media, Fitbit, GoDaddy and Slack. They join companies ranging from Airbnb to Zynga, who filed an amicus brief earlier on Monday with a San Francisco appeals court earlier, all of who are arguing that the United States and their businesses are comprised of, and better off with, a welcoming atmosphere to immigrants.

Of particular note, is the signature of Tesla, based in Palo Alto, and SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, both headed by CEO Elon Musk, who is an immigrant from South Africa via Canada. Tesla relies heavily on federal tax breaks — hence the Trump administration — to make the high-priced electric vehicles more affordable. SpaceX funding depends, in part, on government contracts to deliver supplies and eventually astronauts to the International Space Station.

A SpaceX spokesman on Tuesday said via email the company has "no additional comment, and unfortunately Elon is not available for an interview."

Musk had previously said he would use his membership in Trump's advisory forum to "express out objections to the recent executive order on immigration." Musk's last tweets on the immigration issue were on Feb. 5, when he wrote, "Activists should be pushing for more moderates to advise President, not fewer. How could having only extremists advise him possibly be good?" In a second tweet, Musk wrote, "Many in America don't realize how proud they should be of the legal system. Not perfect, but nowhere is the cause of justice better served."

The legal filing follows on the heels of other actions that tech companies have taken, including a massive employee rally at Google and a  $4 million donation to immigration groups; Lyft's donation of $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union; and Airbnb's creation of a #WeAccept message during the Super Bowl.

“Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, and philanthropists,” the 53-page amicus brief, filed with the U.S. District Court of Appeals, states. “The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children—to pursue the “American Dream”—are woven throughout the social, political, and economic fabric of the nation.”

Also late Monday, the Solicitor General's Office filed a reply to the state of Washington and others, arguing that the president alone has the power to decide who can enter or stay in the United States

The Department of Justice lawyers said Monday the travel ban was a "lawful exercise" of the president's authority to protect national security.

The three-panel court of appeals, comprising two Democrat-appointed judges and one Republican-appointed one, will hear the case at 3 p.m. PST. The oral arguments will be conducted by phone, which will be livestreamed here.

NBC Bay Area's Scott McGrew contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Take Down Thousands of ‘Dark Web’ Sites]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 17:36:13 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Someone claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous compromised a private web hosting service last week, taking down more than 10,000 sites on the highly encrypted "dark web," security researchers said.

As NBC News reports, the hacker or hackers broke into the hidden web hosting service Freedom Hosting II, claiming to have harvested all of the sites' files and its database, totaling almost 80 gigabytes of material.

"Dark web" is the term used to describe the networks of private sites that exist on the same public internet you use at home and at work but that are accessible only through special software or access configurations. 

Sites on the dark web are often used for legitimate, even laudable, purposes, such as protecting political and social activists' communications from opponents and repressive governments. But such sites are also often used — in back-alley locations that make up what is sometimes called "darknet" — to shield illegal activities from law enforcement, particularly black markets in weapons, drugs and child pornography.

Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[300 Drones Flew as 1 for Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Show]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:40:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Super-Bowl-LI-Flag.jpg

There’s no question that Lady Gaga was on fire all on her own Sunday night, but the singer's Super Bowl extravaganza was made even more electrifying by 300 "Shooting Star" drones floating above in the Houston sky.

They were run by Santa Clara, California-based Intel, which proudly tweeted about its tech throughout the Big Game.

The fans went wild.

"LOVED the drone art in in the sky," tweeted Karen Allen, one of the many drone fans out there.

Allen was ooh-ing and ah-ing about what Intel said was an unprecedented show of drones at a Super Bowl or televised event. (The drone part of the show was rehearsed and filmed before the game.)

The colorful quadcopter drones, which weigh less than a volleyball and can generate over 4 billion color combinations together, are created for use festivals and other events, the company says, and have the audience's safety in mind.

The Super Bowl was also the highest these drones have flown, according to Intel — the company said it got a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the fleet up to 700 feet.

"Lady Gaga and the Super Bowl creative team wanted to pull off something that had never been done before and we were able to combine Intel drone innovation with her artistry to pull off a truly unique experience," Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, said in a statement.

This is not Intel's first foray into the world of drones.

Intel sent up the same type of drones at Walt Disney World in December 2016. And the month before that, Intel launched 500 drones in the sky in Germany to break a Guinness World Record for "most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously."

Lest amateurs think they can send up Shooting Stars from their home backyard, the company said the drone meets all Federal Communications Commission technical specifications but has not yet been authorized as required by the rules of the FCC.

As for how they didn't all crash into each other while forming into a waving flag in the Texas sky, Intel said that all 300 machines were controlled by one computer and one drone pilot.

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<![CDATA[Tech Companies File Legal Brief Against Immigration Order]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:18:41 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/632863052-realdonaldtrump-potus-donald-trump-twitter.jpg

Twitter, Uber, Google and Apple were among 97 companies to file a friend-of-the-court brief early Monday with a federal appeals court hearing challenges to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, NBC News reported.

In the filing, the companies call the temporary ban, which keeps refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., unconstitutional, un-American and bad for the economy.

"It hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international market- place; and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations—and hire new employees—outside the United States,” the brief filed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco read.

The appeals court earlier Sunday rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate the president's order. A federal district judge in Seattle halted implementation of the order on Friday.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Online Privacy Virtually Nonexistent For Users]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 14:03:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_techtalker0203_1500x845.jpg Should internet users expect to see personal information online? With something as simple as a name and the click of a mouse, dozens of websites will fork over your personal information for a small fee...or even sometimes for free.]]> <![CDATA[Chip or No Chip, Credit Card Fraud on the Rise; Here's Why]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 17:03:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_357621665550.jpg

Credit card fraud is on the rise despite those new chip cards that were supposed to help reduce it.

A leading research company says credit card fraud is up 18 percent from 2015. That's about $16 billion in total losses, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.

How is that possible? There are a couple things:

Online shopping is one of them. Most of the increase comes from punching in credit card numbers online, which is a lot less secure than using the credit card chips in person.

Most of the other problems came from brick-and-mortar stores without chip technology.

While skimming is a concern, the biggest problem is the numbers printed on the actual card.

The easiest way to stay secure? Cover your credit card with your hand so crooks can't take a picture of the numbers on it and steal your information.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Sales Soar; Apple Stock Rises After Hours]]> Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:10:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16299610949177-Apple-Earnings.jpg

Apple has become the phone company.

And that’s good news for investors in the Cupertino company, watching the stock price (AAPL) rise after the latest earning report.

78 million iPhones were sold over the last three months; Apple CEO Tim Cook telling reporters sales of the iPhone 7 Plus were especially strong.

As for the iPad? That’s falling hard. 13 million sold, and the number is dropping steadily from quarter to quarter.

Besides iPhones, Apple is making good money from its sales and services department – read, a lot of people are streaming music on Apple Music.

Not much love for the Mac (a decent 5.3 million sold), or the Watch (Cook will only say it’s the “best selling smart watch.”)

But, the phone is still hot, and there’s another one on the way.

Enough to keep investors buying.

Scott tracks Apple on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Boy Invents Device to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 11:17:32 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bishop+curry+v.jpg

The number of children who overheated and died inside cars increased across the country last year, and Texas had the highest number of cases.

Now a 10-year-old boy from McKinney has invented what he hopes is a life-saving tool that every parent could use.

Bishop Curry V says he was inspired to create a device he calls "Oasis" after a baby died in a hot minivan last summer outside a home in Melissa.

The home is near the Curry family's home in McKinney. 

Curry is a fifth grader at Melissa Ridge Intermediate and his father says they drive by the home every day on their way to school.

"I knew exactly where the house was," said Bishop Curry IV.

The tragedy hit close to home for the Curry family because they have a 1-year-old girl of their own.

"Sometimes babies fall asleep and they're really quiet, so if you're rushing home from work or you're rushing to the grocery store, I could see how somebody could forget," said Curry IV, who is an engineer for Toyota in Plano.

Thirty-nine children died of heat stroke in hot car incidents last year, seven in Texas, according to a San Jose State University meteorologist who tracks the data. 

Curry V's device is currently in the design phase. It would attach to a car seat, detect if a child is left inside the vehicle and then blow cool air until parents and authorities are notified.

"It would be a dream to have lots of inventions that would save many lives," Curry V said.

The fifth grader already has a provisional patent on the "Oasis," and Toyota has already taken notice of the invention.

The Currys recently traveled to Michigan to introduce the idea at an auto safety conference.

The family is also raising money on a GoFundMe page to cover costs to develop a product.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[New Images Show Saturn Rings in Dazzling Detail]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 15:46:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/01-31-2017-cassini-saturn-ring-1250.jpg New images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft provide some of the most detailed close-ups ever of one of space's most dazzling sights -- Saturn's rings.

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Provides Android Users Parking Alerts ]]> Mon, 30 Jan 2017 17:50:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/google-maps-street-parking-1.jpg

A new feature on a beta version of Google Maps has arrived for Android users looking for parking in traffic-congested areas.

Whether heading to Long Beach or downtown Los Angeles, drivers using v9.44 of Google Maps on an Android phone will now see a small "P" symbol next to the time and distance of their final destination. The P will either appear in blue, if there are "Easy" or "Medium" amounts of parking spaces available, or red if spots are "Limited."

As users are driving, they can expand their directions information on Google Maps for more detailed information on the area's parking situation.

The feature will emerge when drivers are heading to public places such as stadiums, restaurants and airports, among others, according to Google.

An essential component of the new feature is that traffic volume will not be updated in real-time — it will just serve as a sign of how difficult it may be on average to find parking. In a blog announcing the feature, Google said parking difficulties are based on "historical parking data."

The company has rolled out the parking feature in 25 U.S. metros, including: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.

We downloaded the v9.44 beta to a Samsung Galaxy phone in Studio City and parking information showed up for general destinations like downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach, but also more specific ones like the Staples Center. A blue P icon appeared next to the estimated time and distance for Long Beach, while a red P icon popped up for downtown. The Staples Center also had a red P symbol.

Google Maps' communications manager, Elizabeth Davidoff, confirmed to NBC4 that the feature is not yet available on iOS devices, so for now an Android device is necessary.

For packed cities like LA, cutting down on traffic is key. According to a 2012 parking study, about 30 percent of traffic comes from drivers looking for parking. With the help of this new feature, congestion from drivers roaming around a sports arena looking for parking, is expected to be cut down.

Other apps helping drivers looking for parking include SpotHero and Parker. SpotHero allows users to pay for spots available in garages and valet lots. While Parker is designed as an Airbnb for parking, where drivers can find in real-time parking spaces that are available in residents' garages and driveways. It shows pricing information for the spaces, but they cannot be purchased through the app.

Photo Credit: Willian Avila/Google Maps]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities, Tech VIPs Drive ACLU's $24M Weekend Surge]]> Mon, 30 Jan 2017 02:25:17 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GOOGLE_AP_16118529018333.jpg

The American Civil Liberties Union raised more than $24 million over the weekend in a surge of online donations following President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, NBC News reported.

The organization typically raises a total of about $4 million online annually. 

Celebrities including singer Sia and actor Kal Penn appealed for donations on Twitter, while Google created a $4 million crisis fund for the ACLU, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR, USA Today reported. The tech giant set aside $2 million in donations that can be matched in employee donations totaling $4 million.

The ACLU also said its membership had doubled since the election and is now at more than 1 million members.

The group's complaint was one of several over the weekend successful in temporarily blocking deportations under Trump's new national security initiative.

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<![CDATA[In Trump's Twitter Presidency, Experts See Risks and Rewards]]> Thu, 26 Jan 2017 23:11:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16238456041305.jpg

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Former President Barack Obama was the first commander-in-chief to ever send a tweet, but President Donald Trump is pioneering an approach to mass communication that may put Twitter at the center of his strategy, raising legal and security questions, NBC News reported.

In his first week on the job, Trump has used an unsecured Android phone to post tweets from his personal Twitter account, and to delete them. His staff initially used a personal email to arrange his government Twitter account, which was updated to a government email on Thursday.

Experts said these activities, while perfectly legal, create avoidable risks.

Using an unsecured phone, or personal email registration, makes the president more susceptible to hacking.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning First Images From New Weather Satellite]]> Fri, 27 Jan 2017 09:50:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*160/NOAA1_resize4.jpg The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the first batch of images from GOES-16, the first spacecraft in its next generation of geostationary satellites. ]]> <![CDATA[Buying a TV? Here's How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck]]> Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:39:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/big-screen-tv-GettyImages-93193633.jpg

With Super Bowl LI less than two weeks away, big deals on TVs are starting to crop up. But how do you know if you're getting the best bargain?

The thing to keep in mind is the shelf life of new TVs. It's about 1.5 years. Over that time, the price of a TV gets cut in half, so if it was $1,200 in 2015, you can probably get it for $600 today.

But there is a sweet spot about six months in where you can get the best value.

Here's our cheat sheet:

1. Bigger TVs are exponentially more expensive, so get the right size you need. Here's the formula: Measure how far away you sit from the TV, then divide by two. That's the ideal size for the room you're in. Any bigger and it may not be comfortable to watch.

2. Find a model released in mid-2016. You'll have to search online to figure that initial release date. That also makes sure you're getting proven technology.

3. Want it to last a few years? Think twice about 3-D or curved TVs. You pay a premium and experts say those technologies are quickly on the way out.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[HP Recalls More Than 100,000 Batteries Due to Overheating]]> Wed, 25 Jan 2017 12:24:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/battery_1024.jpg

HP is recalling about 101,000 laptop batteries due to risk of overheating and causing fires.

The company has expanded the number of recalled batteries to include those shipped with laptops sold between March 2013 and October 2016. A previous battery issue for the same model led to a recall of 40,000 batteries in June 2016.

The defective lithium-ion batteries containing Panasonic cells that are used in HP notebook computers were sold at Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and authorized dealer dealers nationwide and online at www.hp.com. The batteries were also sold separately for between $50 and $90.

It is compatible with HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion laptop computers. The batteries that are part of the recall start with the codes: 6BZLU, 6CGFK, 6CGFQ, 6CZMB, 6DEMA, 6DEMH, 6DGAL and 6EBVA.

HP recommends that customers with the potentially defective batteries stop using them completely, remove them from the laptop and contact HP for a free replacement battery. Until a replacement battery is received, HP recommends consumers should use the notebook computer by plugging it into AC power only.

There has been one report of the battery overheating, melting and charring, leading to about $1,000 in property damage.

Customers can call HP Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET at 888-202-4320 on line at www.HP.com for more information. 

<![CDATA[Dementia Patients Get Police Tracking Devices]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 02:22:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-dementia-tracking-device-project-lifesaver.jpg

Police in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale are hoping to reduce the time it takes to find missing people diagnosed with dementia by providing patients with tracking devices.

The Glendale Police Department has partnered with the nonprofit group Project Lifesaver to provide tracking devices to families with members who suffer from cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's disease of autism, The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. If that relative wanders away, the device would allow authorities to find that person in minutes instead of hours.

Glendale police Sgt. Traci Fox says 15 people are currently enrolled in the program, which costs $375 per person for the first year.

Fox says the tracker program is a short-term solution for those with wandering relatives. She says families should still look for other ways to keep relatives from walking out.

Photo Credit: Project Lifesaver]]>