<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 01 Aug 2015 00:50:10 -0700 Sat, 01 Aug 2015 00:50:10 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[See the New Features in Windows 10]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:37:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_louisianatheatershootingjonathanarnold_1500x845.jpg Windows 10 is a free upgrade that Microsoft hopes will fix some of the most glaring issues of Windows 8.]]> <![CDATA[Google Admits That Google+ is 'Confusing']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:22:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Google-Privacy-Update-3-June-2015.jpg

Google has halted its pursuit of making Google+ a rival to Facebook with the search giant even admitting that the social service was a little "confusing" for users, NBC News reported.

The service's intention of unifying Google's sharing models was "a well-intentioned goal, but (we) realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing," Bradley Horowitz, who took over Google+ a few months ago, said in a blog post on Monday.

Google+ has failed to gain traction as a serious contender in the social media space. Analysts said that the service failed to carve out its own distinctive purpose.

Google is not shutting its social media service down completely but said it is becoming "more focused."



Photo Credit: AP/Virginia Mayo]]>
<![CDATA[Simple Hack Could 'Critically Expose' Most Android Phones]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:13:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/AP100520138908.jpg

A flaw called "Stagefright" in Google's Android operating system could let hackers take over a phone with a message -- even if the user doesn't open it, NBC News reported.

The flaw could "critically expose" 95 percent of Android devices, according to Zimperium, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability.

Stagefright, which Zimperium called the "mother of all Android vulnerabilities," allows people to send a video containing hidden malware to Android phones via a multimedia message (MMS) application. For the default messenger app on most Android phones, users don't even have to play the video.

"Patches have already been provided to partners that can be applied to any device," a Google spokesperson told NBC News in a statement.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[High-Tech Car Seat Aims to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 09:24:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/evenflo.jpg

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of hot car deaths among children. Now, one company is using new technology to help parents avoid tragedy by remembering their little one in the back seat.

The Evenflo Embrace DLX Infant Car Seat features a sensor that attaches across the baby's chest, sounding an alarm after the car ignition is turned off, according to TODAY.

"It seems impossible that you would forget that your baby is in the car, but you're exhausted, the seat's facing the other way, you're sort of going by muscle memory, and you can forget the baby is in the car,'' said Jason Tanz, editor-at-large at Wired Magazine. "So this is a reminder using Wi-Fi, using a sensor to keep your baby safe."

The carseat is currently sold online at Walmart for around $150, and is set to hit store shelves next month.


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<![CDATA[NASA Releases First Photo of Sunlit Earth in 40 Years]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:14:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/earth+new+photo.png

While images of Pluto are still coming in from NASA, the organization has released another milestone photo: one of a sunlit Earth.

The last time NASA released a full image of the Earth from space the year was 1972 and the photo, snapped by the Apollo 17 astronauts, was called the "Blue Marble." 

This photo is significantly better in quality than the "Blue Marble" pic because of the resolution (click here for the high resolution version). 

A camera, known as Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite took the historic photo from one million miles away, according to NASA. EPIC is made up of a four megapixel camera and telescope. 

The Earth image, taken on July 6, 2015, was created by combining three different images — taken with red, green, and blue filters — to create one full photo.

The image is meant to show the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules. It showcases North and South America.

Eventually, NASA said on their website it is hoping the camera will harvest regular data and provide daily images of Earth.



Photo Credit: NASA
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<![CDATA[Apple Resolves Problem With Services]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:33:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/apple+services.jpg

Apple services were back up and running on Tuesday after it reported a problem with all store services, including the App Store and Apple Music.

"Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available," a message said on the company's system status page.

Services affected include App Store, Apple Music, Siri, Radio, Photos, Apple TV, iCloud Mail, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, iCloud Contacts, Beats Music, iTunes in the Cloud, OS X Software UpdateiTunes Match, iTunes Store and Mac App Store.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[This Command Can Cause Siri to Call 911]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 05:08:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

If you need to charge your iPhone, it's probably best not to ask Siri.

Some users have discovered that asking Siri to "charge my phone 100 percent" will result in a five second delay before automatically calling 911 services, according to CNBC.

While this could cause problems to users who simply want their phone on full power, others have said the feature may come in handy during times of trouble.

It is unclear whether the function is intentional by Apple or a glitch in the system, according to NBC News.

Update: Apple appears to have fixed the glitch.

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Changes News Feed Settings]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 09:15:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/facebooknewsfeed.jpg

Facebook is giving users more control over what they see in their news feed by letting users pick which friends' and brands' updates they want to see first, and even the order in which they'd like to view them. 

"We rank [items in] your news feed with the goal that whether you have five seconds or five minutes, you're seeing the best of what's in your feed," Greg Marra, product manager at Facebook, told NBC News. "We know we don't always get that perfect right now."

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To personalize the news feed, users have to go into "Settings" and select "News Feed Preferences" to choose who they see first when logging in. 

The "see first" feature is already available on iOS and will soon come to Android and desktop.

The social network giant is also introducing a feature that allows users to pick pages they'd like to see at the top of the news feed and is re-designing the existing feature that lets people un-follow other users' posts without un-friending them.

Facebook has recently implemented another change. It has redesigned the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page so that a woman is featured in front of a man. 

[[238427591,C]]



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Uber Could Be Tesla's Biggest Driverless Car Customer]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Uber+GettyImages_451551326.jpg

Uber has possibly expressed informal interest in Tesla's driverless vehicles that are currently in development. 

Interest in acquiring all of them, that is. 

After Forbes reported that Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes to release half a million autonomous automobiles per year by 2020, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may have told the crowd at a Top 10 Tech Trends dinner that his company could be in the position to buy them all by then, according to Yahoo.

Perhaps buoyed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's new study that suggests that driverless "robocabs" could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Uber is banking on a more ecofriendly, if humanless, future.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: U.S. Robot Company to Japan Company: Let's Duel]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 07:34:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-9.46.41-PM.jpg

A U.S.-based robotics company has thrown down the metallic gauntlet and goaded a Japanese competitor into a heavy metal battle of mechanical proportions. 

"Suidobashi, we have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen," said co-founder of MegaBots, Inc Matt Oehrlein—along with his partner Gui Cavalcanti both draped in an American flag—in a YouTube video challenging Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas. 

Megabot, the U.S.-based company, is confident in its Mark 2 model: a towering 6-ton metal beast. 

"We just finished tightening the last bolts on the Mark 2—America's first fully functional giant piloted robot," Oehrlein says in the video to the Japenese robotics company.

The massive robot is operated by a team of two people and can shoot three pounds paint balls at from its cannon at 100 miles per hour, according to Oehrlein.

"And because we're American, we added really big guns," co-founder Cavalcanti added with dramatic pause. 

Suidobashi's CEO responded to MegaBots' gentlemen's duel in his own video: "Come on guys, make it cooler," Kogoro Kurata said, with shots of him wrapping the Japanese flag around his shoulders.

"Just building something huge and sticking guns on it," Kurata continued. "It's super American."

Suidobashi launched The Kurata, named after the CEO and designer, in 2012. At 4.5 tons, it was a little less than Mark 2, a full heads-up display (HUD), and guns controlled by an advanced targeting system. 

No venue or date for the battle of the death metals, but the challenge has been accepted. 


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<![CDATA[Spot the Difference: Facebook Changes Its Friends Icon]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 08:59:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Facebook_Imagen_Vegas.jpg

The latest change to Facebook's look may have gone unnoticed to many, but it's meant to make a major statement. 

A change to the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page is about more than aesthetics — it's about equality, according to one employee. 

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, initially noticed something was off about the icon featuring silhouettes of two users. When she looked at the female icon alone, she noticed a "chip" in the lady's shoulder, "positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her" on the site's page. 

“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration,” she  wrote in a Medium post. “But as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.”

Winner decided to take action. 

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"The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design," she wrote. 

While she originally set out to simply fix the shoulder, Winner soon found herself updating the hairstyles of both sexes, the man icon's shoulder and the positioning of the pair, which she flipped to put the woman in front. 

"As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in," she wrote. 

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Eventually she took a look at the site's "group" icon, which also had a man featured in front with a man and woman behind him. She switched the icons there, too, placing the woman in front.

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Winner said this small personal project, which was soon incorporated into the site design, has changed her perspective on symbolism with other icons.

"I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar," she said. "For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?"


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<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic New Trailer for "Steve Jobs" Biopic]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:36:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/jobs-fassbinder.jpg

A new trailer for the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic reveals dramatic family and business conflicts.

Jobs, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, is seen throughout the trailer dealing with recognizing and building a relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Writer Aaron Sorkin told The Verge that Jobs' daughter, who consulted with him on the script, is the heroine of the film.

The Danny Boyle-directed flim – called simply “Steve Jobs” – is scheduled to debut in theaters on October 9.



Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
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<![CDATA[Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Law Takes Effect]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:21:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smartphone+kill+switch+proposal.jpg

Effective Wednesday, newly-purchased smartphones in California will be required to come pre-equipped with theft-deterrent technology.

This technology allows for a “kill switch” to be enabled in consumers’ smartphones unless they intentionally opt out. In the event that the phone gets stolen, cell phone providers have the ability to instantly shut off or “kill” access to the phone.

This smartphone theft law is the first of its kind and could set a precedent for other states to follow. The state district attorney’s office has reported that many industry leaders will not be making California-specific smartphones, meaning that all the smartphones sold by major companies nationwide will have the same theft-deterrent capability.

Technology like this has existed for quite some time, but it has only now become law.

“California has led the nation in protecting consumers against the epidemic of smartphone theft, and our efforts are already paying off,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Recent reports show that smartphone thefts are already on the decline as more new phones come equipped with kill switches. The incentive to steal smartphones, which had become a trigger for violent street crime in many of our largest cities, is rapidly dwindling.”

A study conducted by consumerreports.org found that smartphone theft was down from 3.1 million in 2013 to 2.1 million in 2014. With California’s historic new law in place, that number is likely to decrease at an even more rapid rate while simultaneously increasing public safety.

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<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Pops In For Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A, Asks About 'Gravity and Other Forces' ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:31:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

When Mark Zuckerberg does Townhall Q&As on Facebook to hear from users, he gets thousands of questions.

Sometimes famous people ask questions. On Tuesday, Stephen Hawking asked him a question.

"I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?" the world-famous physicist posted on Facebook through a verified account.

His question received over 6,000 likes.

"I don't think Mark would wanna answer this," one Facebook user joked. "Mr. Hawking wins the best question Q&A award," another quipped. "Epic,  respect, legend," others commented.

Zuckerberg responded within minutes, saying: "That's a pretty good one! I'm most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I'm also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."



Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:43:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.


Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases New Music Streaming Service]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 06:38:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476371856.jpg

Apple's new music streaming service is finally here: Apple Music.

In an attempt to compete with Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody, Rdio and other streaming-music services, Apple Music combines downloaded music, streaming tunes, radio and some social elements.

“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists,” said record producer and Beats by Dre co-founder, Jimmy Iovine in the company's press release. “Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”

The new services takes songs from the users' own library in addition to a catalog of 30 millions songs available to stream. The 24-hour radio station, Beats 1, is Apple's first live radio station "dedicated entirely to music and music culture," according to the press release. Apple Music Connect will allow artists to share lyrics, backstage photos, videos and song releases directly to fans' iPhones. 

Starting June 30, users are able to use the service for three months before being charged $9.99 per month—a comparable price to other monthly streaming-music applications. For $14.99 per month, up to six family members can use one membership as part of Apple's family plan. 

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app — a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

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<![CDATA[Facebook Lets Users Show Their Pride with Rainbow Filter]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:56:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4786255681.jpg

Facebook is now offering a rainbow filter that anyone can overlay on his or her profile picture, following Friday’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

The site’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg applied the filter to his own picture and posted a graphic showing two maps, one from 2008 and one from 2015, that showed the huge increase in membership in LGBT Facebook groups.

“I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recogized as equal couples under the law,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the Facebook Stories page posted a video profiling Justin Kamimoto, who “started a Facebook group to support LGBT+ youth in California’s Central Valley.”

Six million people in the United States identify as LGBTQ on the site, according to Facebook. The company was one of 379 corporations and employer organizations that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, in a friend-of-the-court brief.

In February 2014, Facebook expanded users’ ability to self-identify with the gender of their choice, adding 56 options to the original “male” and “female” categories.

But Facebook wasn’t the only social media site pumping up the pride on Friday. Twitter, which also supported the ruling, also got in on the celebration, offering two new emojis, #Pride, a rainbow flag, and #LoveWins, a rainbow-flag heart.

Many companies updated their social media to reflect support for the court’s decision, in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Even The Weather Channel got in on the act, tweeting, of course, a rainbow.


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<![CDATA[The Future Has Arrived: Hoverbike in the Works]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:15:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hoverbike1.jpg

A UK aeronautics company that once used Kickstarter to raise funds has a real hoverbike in the works. A prototype for the vehicle is moving forward with the help of the an American engineering company and the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Reuters, Malloy Aeronautics is collaborating with Maryland-based engineering firm SURVICE and the DoD to create manned hoverbikes for the U.S. Army. Malloy's marketing director said hoverbikes will provide safer and more agile and cost-effective alternatives to helicopters. Developers said the vehicle could be used in emergency response tasks including search and rescue operations.

At the Paris Airshow, directors from both Malloy and SURVICE along with Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the opening of a Hoverbike office in the Harford County, Maryland for the U.S. Army, Reuters reported. 

The hoverbike isn't the only hover prototype floating around. Toyota's Lexus division charmed the Internet with a promotional teaser on YouTube. The video shows a sleak skateboard-like device much like the one seen in 'Back to the Future.' Other hoverboard prototypes have been in the works for in recent years.



Photo Credit: Malloy Aeronautics
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<![CDATA[Apple Responds to Taylor Swift's Open Letter]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 06:59:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476492963.jpg

Apple says it's bowing to concerns raised by pop superstar Taylor Swift. The giant tech company now plans to pay royalties to artists and record labels during a free, three-month trial of its new streaming music service.

Swift criticized the company in an open letter on Sunday, saying it wasn't fair that artists and labels wouldn't be paid directly for the use of their music during the trial period.

Writing on her Tumblr page in a posting titled "To Apple, Love Taylor," Swift said she would withhold her 2014 album "1989" from Apple Music, which launches June 30. The pop star called Apple's plan not to compensate artists, writers or producers during the three-month trial "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

Eddie Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, responded to Swift late Sunday night in a series of tweets announcing the policy change.

Swift said she was speaking up for the music community at large, not for her own personal gain. Three months, she said, "is a long time to go unpaid." Last November, Swift also pulled "1989" off Spotify.


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<![CDATA[Newt Gingrich Takes on New Job: Tech Reviewer]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:38:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gingrich14.jpg

Newt Gingrich's long resume just got longer.The former presidential candidate, House speaker and political consultant is now also a tech reviewer for Mashable.

His first post, a review of the Apple Watch, hit the site today, saying while there are some hiccups with the wearable gadget, it's a step in the right direction and fun for many people.

"At the moment, the Apple Watch seems best suited for busy people who need quick access to information on the go, those who want access to their schedules at a glance and anyone who likes being an early adopter of the newest technology," he wrote. "In many ways, the Apple Watch is like a beta product, but one promising a new direction, much like the first BlackBerrys and first iPhones." 

The idea to have him write for the site arose on Twitter two years ago, after Gingrich tweeted about virtual cars. A then-Mashable employee tweeted back, saying he wished the Republican would review the car for the site. 

 

While that review never happened, the prolific writer and technology fan later gave the site another reason to ask. In May 2015, he wrote a post for his own website about the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Mashable again took to Twitter to hint at the idea of him writing for the site.

With an excited response from Gingrich, a plan was set: he would be reviewing the Apple Watch. The 1,000-plus word review, which covered use of the watch during a cross-country flight and managing a busy schedule, got more than 1,000 shares within hours of hitting the Web. And the cub Mashable reporter seemed to be enjoying the job, too. 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ladies Take the Lead at E3]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:39:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Girl+Gamers1.JPG

The Electronic Entertainment Expo this week in downtown Los Angeles is expected to attract 48,000 attendees, including a never-before-seen volume of female video gamers and creators.

Both gamers and gaming businesses, along with their strong female leadership, featured new video game releases Tuesday morning. Presentations like XBox were led by woman leaders and executives.

"Women over 40 are faster growing demographic, more than boys under 20," said Rich Taylor, Vice President E3. "The average gamer is 35... So parents are gamers."

The once male heavy industry is quickly shifting gears as its consumers continue to change demographically.
Erica Hampson, a game developer from Virgini, said that she loves video games and female representation within them.

"Sometimes, girls feel as if video games aren't meant for them," Hampson said. "Games used to be very sexualized but it's been getting a lot better."

Hampson stressed that she focuses on including more female roles within games.

Gamer fan Emily Morrison was always made fun of for her male dominated pass time. But now in 2015, the virtual world has gained more female users than ever before. With a little under half of the gamer population made up of women, the game industry has shifted its products and tailored them to show more female leads, less gender stereotyping and sexualization.

Recent changes can be attributed to the 30 percent of female game designers in America.

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<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Gives $5M to Scholarship]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:59:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mark-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are giving $5 million to a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. 

The Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their donation to TheDream.Us in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"America was founded as a nation of immigrants. We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential," he wrote. "If we help more young immigrants climb the ladder to new opportunities, then our country will make greater progress."

Zuckerberg is among Silicon Valley's most philanthropic people. In 2013, the Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $1 billion, according to reports.

He came out as an advocate for immigration reform in 2013 when he spoke publicly for the first time on the issue.

"Someone did a study and it showed half of tech companies are founded by immigrants," he said. "These are issues that don’t just touch our industry, but really touch the whole country."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Thousands Pack Electronic Entertainment Expo]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 19:16:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/The_Largest_Gaming_Event_in_the_World-_Electronic_Entertainment_Expo_1200x675_465739331729.jpg Female gamers turned out by the thousands at the Electronic Entertainment Expo - E3. Women over the age of 40 are one of the fastest growing demographic of gamers, E3 officials say. Mekahlo Medina reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[TIPS: Take Better Vacation Pix on your Smartphone]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 09:44:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/smartphone-better-pxi.jpg More than 10 billion photos are taken each month. 6 billion of those are with smartphones. Accessories and apps can make the photo taking experience that much greater.]]> <![CDATA[Can A Company Own the Word “Book?”]]> Wed, 03 Jun 2015 16:36:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Facebook-Logo1.jpg

Vermont’s governor has waded into a dispute between a small technology company in his state and the social media giant Facebook.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, sent a letter to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, asking Facebook to back off its objections over a trademark application from Designbook.

“I hope that he'll listen,” Shumlin said Wednesday. “How is it fair to claim you own the word ‘book?’”

Designbook, a Burlington startup, provides an online platform for entrepreneurs to describe their infant business, as they seek professional feedback, collaborators, and maybe even investors.

“That is not what Facebook does,” said Aaron Pollak, one of Designbook's founders.

Pollak, an engineer who has used what is known as a “design book” to jot down ideas or sketches for projects, said he received legal notice that Facebook objects to his company’s use of the suffix “book” in its name.

Facebook, as it has done in other cases involving the words “book” or “face” linked to technology or social media ventures, argued since both brands operate in the digital space, a consumer could get confused about whether the two are linked.

The Designbook team will have to spell out its differences from Facebook in legal filings if it's to pursue that trademark.

“The two businesses are completely divergent,” Pollak said. “It looks to be a relatively expensive process, and something we really shouldn't be focusing on. We should be focusing on materializing our business and supporting other entrepreneurs, not fighting frivolous battles.”

Attorney Jared Carter with the Vermont Community Law Center said it is the nature of trademarks to see holders aggressively seek to protect them.

“It's quite common,” Carter observed. “If Facebook or Nike, or some other major company, doesn't police—vigorously—its trademark, then there's a chance they can lose it.”

One high-profile example of a large company protecting its trademark came in 2013, when Vermont-based ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's successfully halted the release of X-rated movies that used ice cream-themed titles and logos on the porn packages that were very close to the dessert brand’s.

Carter said the filings back and forth between Facebook and Designbook could be a lengthy process, and could result in either some sort of agreement between the brands, or in litigation.

Shumlin said he hopes the tech firm will have a result similar to another small Vermont company, Eat More Kale. In 2011, the sandwich sellers at Chick-fil-A said the t-shirt slogan was too close to its “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign, which saw cows urging quick-serve restaurant customers to choose chicken over beef.

Eat More Kale eventually prevailed over Chick-fil-A, which failed to prove any risk to its brand through customer confusion or other factors.

“Designbook is a good company,” Shumlin said. “Let’s not underestimate the imagination of the American people.”

Here is the complete text of the letter Shumlin sent to Mark Zuckerberg, which Shumlin’s office provided to news outlets including necn:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

I was very concerned to read about Facebook’s unnecessary bullying of a Vermont startup called Designbook. The Vermonters behind this company are the type of people that make me proud to be this state’s Governor. They are young, entrepreneurial, and innovative. Given your background, I am sure you can relate.

The last thing these Vermonters deserve is for a giant corporation to threaten them unnecessarily. We don’t stand for that type of injustice in Vermont. Just ask Chick-fil-A.

I’m sure that the enormous growth and worldwide success of Facebook insulates you from many of the decisions made within the organization. I sincerely hope that is the case here. And I hope you will step in to take action to right this wrong.

Sincerely,
Peter Shumlin
Governor of Vermont

A Facebook spokesperson told necn that Facebook is aware of Gov. Shumlin’s letter to Mark Zuckerberg, but declined comment on the letter itself, or on the disagreement between Facebook and Designbook.

Nathaniel White-Joyal, a Designbook employee, said he and his six co-workers greatly appreciate Shumlin’s support. “We’re excited to have the governor on our side on this one,” White-Joyal told necn. “We want the same thing he does: to help make Burlington and the Burlington area the center for entrepreneurship for the state.”



Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>