<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:13:51 -0700 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:13:51 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

A Bay Area tech company has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in back wages after a United States Department of Labor investigation revealed the company paid workers $1.21 an hour.

The Labor Department said about eight employees of Fremont-based Electronics For Imaging were flown in from India and worked 120-hour weeks to help with the installation of computers at the company's headquarters. The employees were paid their regular hourly wage in Indian rupees, which translated to $1.21.

EFI, which posted third-quarter revenue of nearly $200 million, released the following statement on Thursday: "During this process we unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local US standards."

Last year, another company, Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, faced similar charges and was fined for underpaying employees from Mexico an hourly wage of $2.66.

Federal officials said both cases are particularly egregious, given the booming labor market and the wealth in Silicon Valley.

"It is certainly outrageous and unacceptable for employers here in Silicon Valley to bring workers and pay less than the minimum wage," said Alberto Raymond, an assistant district director for the United States Department of Labor.

EFI has been ordered to pay $40,000 in back wages to the employees. In addition, the company was hit with a $3,500 fine.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Company Develops Hoverboard]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:43:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hoverboard-raw-two---00005717.jpg

Lots of companies talk about their "float." For the employees of Los Gatos-based Arx Pax, their product has extra bragging rights. It really does float. It's a working hoverboard. Kind of like what you remember Michael J. Fox riding on in "Back to the Future Part 2." 

NBC Bay Area got a chance to glide around the Arx Pax warehouse in it for a little bit, and watch real surfers take it for a very fast very cool spin. This is the real deal, part of a Kickstarter campaign to get the hover technology into the hands of developers, while possibly keeping us safe from future earthquakes.

Earthquakes?

"In the event of an earthquake," says company Co-Founder Greg Henderson, "the ground can shake, but the building would stay still." This would happen if the magnetic technology that floats the hoverboard were used underneath your house.

How does it work? A magnetic field pushes the board into the air. Four circular hover engines generate an electromagnetic field over the copper flooring, which creates an opposing field. The two fields then repel one another.

Henderson's co-founder, Jill Avery Henderson (yes, they're married – it's why the hoverboard is called the "Hendo") adds to the long-term mission: "It's not all about hoverboards. It's a wonderful springboard to take it where it really needs to go, a better world."

A world where we might float, instead of shake.

Scott rides the "Hendo" on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[LA Shoppers Not Sold on Apple Pay]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:19:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/516604997.jpg

Apple Pay failed to find immediate favor with LA shoppers when it launched Monday morning.

It is being billed as a game changer in the way people pay for things, but concerns about security have led to some holding off at the moment.

However, those that are using the system so far, in which a credit card’s information is stored on users’ iPhones and accessed by swiping it at the tills, have given it positive reviews.

But Carol Drake, who was shopping at Whole Foods market in Glendale, isn’t quite convinced.

"I'm just not comfortable yet," she said.

Fellow customer Robert Pruitt, who is unable to use the system because he has a Samsung phone, wasn’t as concerned about privacy.

"I’m more concerned about the convenience than I am about someone taking my ID," he said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

The store’s manager, Linda Gutierrez, also believed it would benefit customers and businesses.

"Excited it’s a secure way for customers to pay for their purchases and we don’t have to deal with cards or cash or anything else," she said.

The new system got off to a bumpy start on the tech front, too. While stores were ready for it, iPhones weren't.

Apple Pay was only available with the iOS 8.1 download, and most did not get it until afternoon.

Once it is installed, users can swipe their phone at a vendor’s location and confirm transactions using a built-in fingerprint sensor.

The tech giant said it will take awhile before all users get the iOS rollout, and only iPhone 6 and 6-plus devices are equipped with the necessary communication system which makes transactions possible.

The Cupertino company also claims the system is one of the most secure out there, despite Google and Microsoft offering similar applications in their mobile operating systems.

When users pay in stores, the Device Account Number and a transaction security code are used to process the payment.

Neither Apple or the phone sends actual credit numbers to merchants.

They do say they receive anonymous transaction information like time and location of the transaction, which helps them improve Apple Pay.



Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Event: New iPads Announced]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/new-ipad-AP903945536056_0.jpg Check out the newest products and programs tech giant Apple announced on Oct. 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NASA Ames Hosts Open House on 75th Anniversary]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:03:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/ames-aerial-2012_0.jpg

It's not every day a regular Joe can see what an astronaut or a NASA Ames scientist does for a living.

But everyone is invited to the open house at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday, to celebrate the agency's 75-anniversary and take the two-mile tour of the sprawling plant. The last time the renowned research center was opened to the public like this was in 1997.

The event is free, but advance tickets are required.

Visitors will get to see the ArcJet Alley, Technology Way and the Ames Rotocraft researchers.

The Ames Research Center is one of 10 NASA field centers in the United States, which employs 2,500 employees. It was established in 1939 and named for Joseph S. Ames, the then-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. It's located at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale.

According to the center, NASA Ames is the lead agency for the Mars Curiosity rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument and for NASA’s first mission capable of finding Earth-size and smaller planets.

Ames Research scientists also do supercomputing, build sophisticated wind tunnels, create robots to aid humans in space and help to generate $1.3 billion annually for the United States.

The open house is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with ticketed reservation. Click here to make a reservation.



Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center]]>
<![CDATA[Report Links GoPro to Brain Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

The French commentator whose reported remarks had sparked reports that a GoPro camera may have played a role in Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher's brain injury is now urging everyone to "stop all speculation."

Schumacher, 45, has been immobile and unable to speak after he fell and hit a rock in a skiing accident last year while he was wearing a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet.

European news outlets had reported that racing commentator Jean-Louis Moncet told Europe 1 radio that Schumacher's son Mick told him the placement of the camera contributed to the brain injury — but Moncet denied that Tuesday on Twitter.

"The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the GoPro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain," Eurosport had earlier quoted Moncet as having said.

But Moncet appeared to contradict that suggestion in a tweet Tuesday.
"STOP ALL SPÉCULATION," he tweeted. "Mick could not say something about camera or injury of Michael because we did not speak together."
Following the initial report linking the GoPro to Schumacher's injury, shares of the Bay Area-based company plummeted, losing as much as 10 percent in trading Monday, Business Insider reported.

A GoPro spokesman declined to comment on the report linking the camera to Schumacher's injury but said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Schumacher emerged from a medically-induced coma in June but remains in serious condition.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Fire Deploys App to Speed CPR Response]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 21:38:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/pulsepoint+app.JPG

Long Beach has signed on to a new smartphone app that alerts nearby users when someone needs CPR, and emergency personnel said the connection could mean the difference between life and death.

Called Pulse Point, the app buzzes users' phones when someone in close proximity is in need of CPR, potentially decreasing the wait time before someone in need gets help.

Inside the Long Beach emergency operations center, 911 operators coordinate calls and emergency crews, and navigate about 40 cardiac arrests calls a week, averaging 4 to 5 calls a day.

“Over a thousand people a day die of sudden cardiac arrest across the country,” Long Beach Fire Department Deputy Chief Rich Brandt said.

Brandt says Pulse Point is an essential tool to save more lives.

“Or improve their chances of survival," he said.

The iOS and Android app is a free download. Once it’s on the phone, users share their location with the developers and the fire department, who are able to alert you when someone nearby needs CPR. Even if a user doesn’t know how to perform the technique, the app can deliver a play by play, even down to the chest compression rate.

"We take pride (that) we provide best service possible,” said Jake Heflin with the fire department. “We’re not everywhere all the time, we rely on community to help fill that gap."

Heflin said about 500 Long Beach residents have downloaded the app since they launched two week ago, and they are hoping for tens of thousands more.

The developer is a former fire chief from Northern California and said the app doesn’t store any information other than the phone’s last location.

Long Beach fire said it hopes the app will empower more residents to help maintain each other’s safety, especially with something as accessible as CPR.

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<![CDATA[Teens Develop Brain-Teaser App]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:13:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/impossible+rush+app.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Austin Valleskey doesn't have his drivers license yet...but he already has a worldwide successful app.

A few months ago the suburban Chicago teen was contacted about an idea for an app by Australian Ben Pasternack, who is also 15.

"I thought it was cool," said the Wheaton Academy sophomore. "He asked if I wanted to make it into a game. I said sure, it's a Saturday, I've got a couple of hours."

And a few hours is all it took for Valleskey to create a prototype for Impossible Rush- a brain-teaser game.

"We didn't think much of it. We just wanted people to have fun with it," Valleskey said.

And people did.

The pair contacted a marketer who agreed to buy the app and the game's popularity skyrocketed.

With over 500,000 downloads at its peak, the app was ranked 16th in the U.S., 7th in Sweden and 18th in Australia, according to Business Insider.

Valleskey said he was in disbelief.

"It passed up Skype, Tinder, Netflix, all of these huge companies. It was crazy cool to me!" the teen told NBC Chicago Thursday. "It's a great thrill."

The young teen says he taught himself computer programming just one year ago during a road trip to Florida.

His parents shared his latest excitement.

"It's been just so much fun to see the success he's had with it," said Michael Valleskey. "He's learning so much going through this process."

Valleskey says he's already working on developing another app.

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<![CDATA[Tesla to End Speculation Over "The D"]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:12:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/10-09-2014-tesla-model-s-470486031.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is expected to make an announcement Thursday night that should clear up a week of speculation that put "the D" in dramatic and a bump in the electric carmaker's stock price.

The electric car manufacturer appears poised to unveil a new model after Musk's tweet last week that indicated plans to "unveil the D and something else." The tweet featured a graphic with Thursday's date and a partially opened garage door that masked all but the menacing front end of a vehicle with Tesla's logo and signature headlights.

In the days after Musk's mysterious tweet, Tesla's stock price climbed about 6 percent. The stock took a slight dip Wednesday before rising again Thursday ahead of the announcement.

Tesla is likely adding another member to its family of vehicles, which includes the Model S luxury sedan. The company has plans for a Model X SUV and mass-market model called the Model 3.

Thursday's announcement might involve an all-wheel drive vehicle, which would fit nicely into the carmaker's lineup and allow Tesla to match offerings from similarly priced competitors. Electric vehicles allow engineers more flexibility than a traditional front-, rear- or mid-engine vehicle when it comes to how power is distributed to each wheel. For example, instead of transferring power from one engine to four wheels, an electric powertrain might use two electric motors for the front and back wheels or even four electric motors dedicated to each wheel.

But the guesses don't stop there.

A Tesla with greater range or higher level of driver assistance technology, such as lane assist or collision-avoidance braking, are some of the possibilities.

A self-driving vehicle or something that's not a car at all have all been mentioned in response to last week's tweet.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[With New App, Predators Have "Nowhere to Hide"]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 22:06:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/predator_app.PNG

Federal authorities are mustering all the help they can get to track down child predators.

They're expanding "Operation Predator," an app available for Android and iPhones, that asks you to help ICE track down wanted criminals.

"This app is one piece of our commitment to ensuring child predators have absolutely nowhere to hide," said Acting ICE Director Thomas Winkowski.

The app displays mugshots of fugitives wanted in child porn cases, describes their crimes and allows the public to call or send in tips.

The app also sends out alerts of wanted felons and allows users to further distribute that information on social media.

It was developed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which named its app after its effort to combat the large number of sexual exploitation of children every year.

The app is downloadable from the Google Play store and iTunes. It's also available in Spanish.

The idea behind it?

The more the public puts eyes on these wanted criminals -- from anywhere, anytime on their mobile devices -- the better chances the cases will get solved.

Within 36 hours of its launch on iPhones and iPads in September 2013, the app was credited with helping capture a suspect, officials said. Tips from users of the app helped capture three other predators since then, said ICE Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold, who is based in Los Angeles.

"The most important thing is that [this app] has raised awareness about child crimes," Arnold said.

Anti-child abuse advocates applaud the effort.

"Anything that draws public attention to this problem and the perpetrators is great," said Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.



Photo Credit: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Bus Drivers Looking to Unionize]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 08:32:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/social_media_debate_president.jpg

Facebook's tech bus drivers have had enough.

Fed up with working conditions that include a long mid-day "break" in between split shifts, drivers for Facebook's fleet of tech shuttles are looking to join the Teamsters, according to the New York Times.

And the union is employing a full-court press.

Union honchos wrote directly to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to pressure Facebook's shuttle bus contractor to bargain on behalf of about 40 drivers, the newspaper reported. The company does not directly employ shuttle bus drivers but does so through a company called Loop Transportation.

Working conditions for drivers are akin to "a time when noblemen were driven around in their coaches by their servants," wrote Rome Aloise, the Teamsters' Northern California boss. "Frankly, little has changed."

Drivers said the worst bit about the job is the split shift that requires them to work the morning and evening commutes, with shifts running from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then 5:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. or so, the newspaper reported.

Loop Transportation told the newspaper that most drivers make between $18 and $20 an hour, along with overtime and benefits. 

The president of the company told the newspaper that the union is not "necessary" thanks to the nice pay, and that nobody has " an answer for" the "split-shift problem," the newspaper reported.

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<![CDATA[Report: Facebook Moving Into Healthcare]]> Sat, 04 Oct 2014 11:15:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/4654813851.jpg

Likes, comments, photos and medical advice? Facebook is making plans to enter the world of healthcare, Reuters is reporting, quoting "three people" who requested anonymity.

The Menlo Park-based social network is thinking about creating online "support communities" that would connect sufferers of various diseases with each other, according to reports, as well as "preventative care" applications.

Plans are in initial phases, Reuters reported. Facebook has been busy meeting with members of the medical industry for the past few months but is still in the process of setting up a new R&D unit to test out the apps.

Meanwhile, Facebook has noticed that its users are health-minded: the 2012 move to allow Facebook users to promote the fact they are organ donors proved popular, and many users do perform searches "for advice" via the network.

And, of course, Dr. Priscilla Chan, whose husband is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a resident pediatrician at UC San Francisco.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber CEO Says He Won't Wait for Regulations ]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/UberGeneric.jpg

Uber plans to "aggressively roll out new ridesharing features" first and ask for permission from government agencies later, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.

If Uber does something and government does nothing, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will take that as "tacit approval," the newspaper reported.

District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles are cracking down on the ride-providing company for allegedly breaking four areas of California law, including breaking pricing rules and failing to conduct proper background checks of its drivers.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[College Bans App Over Bullying]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 08:54:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Yik+Yak+Norwich+University.jpg

Concerns over cyberbullying led Vermont's Norwich University to block users of the school's servers from accessing a social media app.

The app, Yik Yak, allows users to post anonymous blurbs, including rants, gossip, or praise for the best classes or parties. Those messages are visible to other users in close proximity.

"People are talking smack to other people; talking smack about the school and groups on campus and stuff," said student Michael Muradyan, describing content he has seen on Yik Yak at Norwich.

In a prepared statement, Norwich said the policy decision was made effective this past weekend.

"This action was taken in an effort to protect Norwich students and to demonstrate that bullying in any form is not tolerated at Norwich University," the statement read.

Norwich computer systems professor Mich Kabay said that message about cyberbullying is "something we need to get across in society."

Kabay, whose courses including one on cybercrime, told New England Cable News he knows cyberbullying can have extremely serious consequences for victims, including some around the nation who have taken their own lives.

"The more individuals and organizations that take a stand and say, 'No, that's wrong. I don't like that. That's ugly; we don't do that,' then we will see change across generations," Kabay predicted.

Muradyan pointed out to NECN that at Norwich, students can still access Yik Yak through their phones' own data plans-- separate from the school's servers.

"Kids are still finding a way around it," he said.

While there have been no official reports of criminal behavior at Norwich using the app, the school is launching an internal campus investigation into the issues of cyberbullying and the use of Yik Yak. The police are not involved in that internal campus investigation, which is being led by the school's vice president of student life and enrollment management, according to the statement.

In response to an NECN inquiry about its policy regarding alleged instances of cyberbullying, Yik Yak released a statement saying it "recognizes that as with any social app or network today, there is the likelihood for misuse from a small group of users.. It said it has "geo-fenced almost all primary and secondary schools and turned the app to 17+ in stores to ensure the user base is age appropriate and parents can easily block the app on their children's phones."

"Additionally, the app monitors conversations and posts, and any negative or harmful behavior can result in the respective user being blocked, or altogether banned from future use," the statement added. "Yik Yak also finds that as more users sign up and start using the app, communities begin to self-regulate in a positive way."

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<![CDATA[Report: iPhone 6 Is "Most Durable"]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:45:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP501921875874.jpg

Through rain, scratches and drops, the iPhone 6 pulled through. Apple's latest smartphone is also the company's most-durable smartphone, a conclusion reached by the phone-droppers at SquareTrade, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports that after 10 seconds underwater and six 4-foot drops, the iPhone 6 was still making calls and receiving data from the Web.

In fact, the iPhone 6 is the best phone to drop, if one is inclined to do that. SquareTrade reported that Apple's latest gadget put in the "best drop performance" ever seen in one of its "drop tests."

The iPhone 6 Plus is not quite as hardy. Six drops in, the phone's panels came apart and the speakers stopped working.

The phones were also rubbed on wood and plastic to see if they would scratch. Damage was "minimal," SquareTrade reported.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SF Neighbors Sick of Construction on Zuckerberg's House]]> Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:01:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_zuckerberg1a28729.jpg

In Mission Dolores, there's the park, there's Bi-Rite. And then there's "Fortress Zuckerberg," according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the $10 million mansion of the Facebook founder that's been under construction, continuously, for 17 months.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, bought a "fixer-upper" in the neighborhood on 21st Street near Dolores Street about a year and a half ago, the newspaper reported.

And since then, the area has been besieged by near-nonstop construction: Sidewalks have been torn up to install fiber-optic cables, the home itself has been turned inside-out for new amenities, and all of the above has been observed by "round-the-clock security," the newspaper reported.

Over $1.5 million has been sunk into building new bathrooms, a wine room, a "wet bar," and a "media room," the newspaper reported. There's also a garage with a "turntable pad," all built by "40 to 50 workers on the job daily" since April 2013.

That's a lot of work.

The Department of Building Inspection has a record of one formal complaint filed last year. The district supervisor confirmed he has received complaints, but points out that complaints related to home improvement are common and construction is booming all over Noe Valley.

No word as to when Mr. Mark and Dr. Chan will declare the work done and move into the home.

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<![CDATA[Celebrity Photo Scandal Continues, Apple Breaks Records]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:32:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/web_the_trend_mekahlo_noon_1200x675_332197443722.jpg Another round of nude celebrity photos found their way online this weekend. Kim Kardashian, Mary Kate Olsen and Vanessa Hudgens, among others, were victims in the latest leak. In more positive tech news, Apple reported selling a record-high 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units in the first three days of sales. Mekahlo Medina reports live for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Tim Cook Greets iPhone Fans in Palo Alto]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 09:34:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/iphone16.jpg

If you didn't know any better, you may think that San Francisco's homeless population had skyrocketed on Friday morning, with all the people camping out on the sidewalks.

But no, the bleary eyed consumers were there to actually plunk down about $200 to $300 for the latest and greatest Apple product - the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, released to the public for the first time on Friday.

People admitted to living out on the streets outside Apple stores for days, across the globe.

Thalya Fernandez, a California State University East Bay student, joined her friends outside the Apple store in Palo Alto who had been camped out since Tuesday. School doesn't start until next week, so she said she had nothing else to do, other than wait for the newest high-tech gadget. She was prepared to spend "a grand."

As for what she wanted and liked in the new phone? "Everything," she said.

Maybe no one was happier than one customer from Europe who said he "traveled all the way from Norway for this."  Willy Wonka style, he clutched his newly bought iPhone, showing reporters his golden ticket. "I"m so stoked for my brother."

Slightly before doors opened at 8 a.m., Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in jeans and a blue T-shirt, waving to adoring customers, trying to gauge fan reaction to the new phone. Customer sales told the story: The iPhone 6 Plus sold out at the Palo Alto store by 11 a.m.

And it wasn't just in Silicon Valley that drew out the Apple lovers in droves. In Pasadena, lines wrapped around the block too. Same in New York, South Florida and Boston. Same in Japan. The phone has already seen a record number of orders.

Fanatics of iPhones from far and wide, some bearing Apple-themed cupcakes for sustenance,  flocked to the Pasadena store, and others around the country, to be the first to buy Apple’s newest release.

"We have, um, peanut butter chocolate sprinkled sandwiches," said Brenn Corcoran, 11. "I wanted to stay the whole time from Tuesday, but my mom wouldn't let me do that."

NBC LA's Ted Chen and Katherine Hafner contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA["iPhone 6 Plus, Baby:" Customer Chaos at Brea Mall]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:15:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/iphone17.JPG

Customers expecting the new iPhone got more than they bargained for at the Brea mall Friday morning, as thousands of people pushed their way through to get their new gadgets as soon as the Apple store opened.

An estimated 3,500 people showed up at the Orange County mall, all hoping not to miss out on the store’s stock.

Police said they were concerned as early as 10 p.m. Thursday when they saw people showing up with sleeping bags. Customers were told to leave and not allowed on Brea mall property until 6 a.m.

That’s when the chaos began. As the line to get in line turned to a free-for-all, some customers realized it was no longer worth the trouble, saying they no longer even wanted the phone.

"When they rushed it, the line fell over," said customer David Dewyke. "It was a disaster … People got trampled on."

Kevin Shea said he saw shoes fly.

They "hit somebody in the face," he said.

Up to 32 officers from three agencies were called in to help control the crowd. There were no arrests, but the head of security at the Brea mall was cut on his face.

Mall officials said they were concerned about the safety of their customers, but would not answer questions about whether they had prepared for such a large crowd.

When the store opened, groups of people were led into the mall with an escort, to reach another line inside.

Friday afternoon, the line wove through the parking lot and around other stores.

Meanwhile, at the Pasadena Apple store, iPhone fanatics, some of whom had been waiting for five days to get their hands on the latest phone models, were overjoyed when they were finally able to do so.

"iPhone 6 Plus baby," said Francisco Naranjo, who was first in line, having waited since Monday.

Both the Apple store and an AT&T store down the block in Pasadena sold out of their phones, about 500 and 100 respectively.

Unions in Silicon Valley have also been protesting Apple for what they say is a lack of hours for Apple security guards, as well as the negative impacts of tech companies in the area.

Apple has made no official response.

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<![CDATA[Exiled from SF, MonkeyParking App Appears in LA]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:10:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/07-10-2014-monkey-parking-app.jpg

What better place to buy and sell parking spaces than Los Angeles? After its hasty exit from San Francisco, it is perhaps only natural than MonkeyParking would appear in Los Angeles.

The company that was so roughly removed from San Francisco, where the city attorney declared that buying and selling parking spaces was not something that could be done, is now trying to get a fresh start in Santa Monica, according to LA Weekly.

Though this may be tougher than trying to get to the 101 from the 10 on a Friday afternoon.

MonkeyParking is trying to set up in Santa Monica, but is already running afoul of city leaders like the parking administrator, who is saying that allowing parkers to auction off a space in the public right of way is not only illegal, but "immoral," the newspaper reported.

Spots are sold from anywhere from $5 to $7, the newspaper reported, of which MonkeyParking takes 20 percent.

Can what failed in SF fly in LA? So far, it's not seeming likely.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Man Buys iPhone 6, Drops It on Sidewalk]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:27:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-19+at+11.13.16+AM_edited-1.jpg

It's official: the new iPhone has hit the streets.

Jack Cooksey was reportedly the first person to leave the Apple store in Perth, Australia, with an iPhone 6. The 18-year-old shakily opened the phone's white package, but when the box lid came off, the gadget fell to the pavement. The blunder happened during a live International Business Times UK video broadcast, as a crowd of onlookers gasped and booed.

Luckily, the phone was unscathed.

"It's fine," Cooksey says in the video. His ego may not have fared so well.



Photo Credit: IBT UK
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Users Could Face Battery, Wi-Fi Issues From Latest Update]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:00:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tsiphoneupdatepic.jpg A tech expert advises consumers to wait before downloading the iOS 8 update.]]> <![CDATA[Do You Need the iPhone 6?]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:47:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP501921875874.jpg The question that's been buzzing: do you need the new iPhone 6? Tech reporter, Mike Wendland, shows what IOS 8 features are available for older iPhones.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Fans Wait Days in Line for New Devices]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 05:37:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/iphonepic.JPG

This is not the first time Francisco Naranjo has been the first person in line at the Apple Store in Pasadena.

In a line that wraps around the block, Naranjo, who’s been there since Monday night, and many others, sit anxiously awaiting the release of the iPhone 6 on Friday. The phone has already seen a record number of orders.

Fanatics of iPhones from far and wide, some bearing Apple-themed cupcakes for sustenance, have flocked to the store, and others around the country, to be the first to buy Apple’s newest release.

"We have, um, peanut butter chocolate sprinkled sandwiches," said Brenn Corcoran, 11. "I wanted to stay the whole time from Tuesday, but my mom wouldn't let me do that."

Martin Gijzemijter, for instance, came all the way to Pasadena from the Netherlands to get his hands on the new iPhone just a week before his compatriots. Gijzemijter said this is the seventh or eighth time he’s flown across the Atlantic to get new Apple hardware.

"We have great weather," he said. "We meet great people and I have a vacation and I get to go home with a phone."

Some eagerly await the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5-and-a-half-inch screen, while others just seek the newest iPhone model.

The people waiting in line don’t know how many or what make of the new phones the store will carry when it opens, but they all hope their prime real estate will give them an advantage in getting the one they want.

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<![CDATA[Androids Vs. iPhones: Tech Blogger Weighs In]]> Sat, 20 Sep 2014 14:47:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/tlmd_iphone64.jpg

With the release of the iPhone 6 slated for Friday, it’s time again for smartphone users to consider which phone is the smartest choice.

This time around, choosing between an iPhone or Android, or switching between the two, may not be as big of an undertaking, according to tech blogger Juan Carlos Bagnell.

Unlike late 2008 and 2009, when switching devices meant music files might be restricted or email accounts did not always transfer smoothly, operating systems are slowly merging, both in appearance and internal hardware, Bagnell said.

The last time Apple rolled out a new iPhone, research showed that a fifth of new users came from Android phones.

If you are going to switch to a new device, Bagnell recommends having a "digital date" with the phone, sitting down and getting to know it.

Bagnell added that there will still be accessory differences, and to be prepared to pay extra for docking stations and the like if switching types.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Take the Phone Quiz: iPhone 6 or Android? ]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 07:46:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pile+of+phones1.jpg

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit the shelves at Apple Stores on Friday morning, ending weeks of anticipation by Apple fans.

At some Apple stores, lines have stretched around the corner for days or even weeks. Apple sold more than 4 million phones in online preorders on the very first day they were available. And this weekend, the company is expected to make billions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the phone line accounts for more than half of Apple's $171 billion annual revenue.

But is the phone for everyone? More importantly, is it for you?

We put together this Phone Wizard to help you find out. We examined the key features of eight state-of-the-art phones, looking at things like battery life, size, operating system and camera quality. After you answer a handful of questions about your personality, preferences and habits, we identify the phone that we think is right for you.

Now, don't get carried away: Just because we tell you the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better for you than the iPhone 6 Plus (that 4K HD is just so important to you, right?) doesn't mean you should go and buy one today. At least visit your local retailer to see how it feels in your hand before plopping down a few hundred dollars. But consider this a starting point. 



Photo Credit: Photograph: Alamy
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<![CDATA[Audi Gets First Permit to Test Driverless Cars in California]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:34:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/Traffic_Jam_Pilot_California.jpg

Audi beat out other car manufacturers Tuesday to become the first to get a permit from the state of California to test drive autonomous cars on public roads.

New state laws allowing the testing of automated driving also went into effect the same day.

“Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, said in a statement.

According to a press release, Audi has conducted research over tens of thousands of miles in Europe and U.S. states where such testing is permitted to develop a highly-automated Piloted driving system for freeway traffic conditions. Audi hopes to launch the new technology to consumers within five years.

In the past, California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing. The state legislature, led by Sen. Alex Padilla, passed legislation to establish new guidelines for autonomous testing which Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2012.

Regulations Audi will have to abide by include a minimum $5 million surety bond for each driverless car that's tested. Other states that allow automakers to test driverless cars include Michigan, Florida and Nevada.

Calling California “a global technological leader,” Padilla said that “driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives."

"We are living in the era of Moore’s Law where every two years we double our computer processing speeds," Padilla said. "This enables the exponential leaps in advanced technology.”

Google, Audi, BMW, Ford and GM have been developing driverless cars for several years. Google's self-driving cars gave logged more than 700,000 test miles on California's roads so far.



Photo Credit: Audi USA]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases Tool to Remove U2 Album]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:14:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/455053622.jpg

Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple has released a special tool that lets people remove the album from their collections.

U2 played at an Apple event last week that included the unveiling of the iPhone maker's new smartwatch and updated iPhone models. In a surprise move, the Irish rock band performed at the event and put out its 11-song release.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the new album would be given to the company's 500 million iTunes users. The release showed up in users' iTunes music libraries. The company said Monday that 33 million iTunes account holders have accessed the free album.

But some iTunes users took to Twitter to complain and ask how to remove it. While it was already possible to delete the album, Apple's tool makes it possible in one step.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Investigating Threats with Possible Links to ISIS]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:17:09 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TWITTER-ISIS-THREATS-SOT-TZ---18281826.jpg

Twitter says its security team, along with relevant law enforcement officials, is investigating the veracity of apparent death threats made against its employees by radical Islamists.

The threats reportedly showed up on a Twitter account with ties to the Islamic State rebel group that has beheaded reporters.

Twitter has 800 employees in San Francisco, but none were eager to talk to reporters on Tuesday. The social networking service has been taking down accounts the company believes are platforms for the terrorist group ISIS. It is believed that action is what prompted the threats posted on such an account, which has since been removed.

The original threatening posts were in Arabic and initially translated on the website Vocative. They reportedly said:

“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter’s management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them.”

“Every Twitter employee in San Francisco in the United States should bear in mind and watch over himself because on his doorstep there might be a lone world assassin waiting.”

Steve Weber, a terrorism expert at UC Berkeley, believes the tweets are intended to frighten, but are without substance. “Day-to-day employees there are probably in more danger walking across the street in San Francisco than the likelihood of being hit by a terrorist assassin inside the United States,” he said.

Marc Sandalow, associate director of the University of California’s Washington Center, said he believes ISIS is using the threats and the recent videotaped beheadings of journalists to raise its profile on the world stage, but since President Obama’s initial statements discounting ISIS, the group’s soldiers have taken control of a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Weber says “that has moved the discourse in Washington from ‘Maybe this thing is just going to go away’ to ‘We need to make sure that this thing goes away.’”

The president laid out his strategy for going after ISIS to members of Congress on Tuesday. Wednesday night, he briefs the nation at 6 p.m. PT in an address that will air live on NBC.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Apple Watch: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 04:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-watch-thumb-new.jpg

Rumors of the Apple Watch have been swirling since 2012, and while Apple is not the first to debut a smartwatch, it has arguably designed the most elegant wearable yet.

Why isn't it called iWatch? Apple may have been unable to license the name as it is owned by Swatch.

Name aside, here are the top features to know about the Apple Watch.

Requires an iPhone, Old or New

The watches require an iPhone: either the new 6 and 6 Plus, or the older iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, meaning 200 million people can already use the device, Cook said.

The Handoff iOS 8 feature will let you start composing an email on the Apple Watch and finish it on your phone, iPad or Mac.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. In addition, the newly introduced payment system Apple Pay will work with the watch.

A New User Interface: The Digital Crown

As CEO Tim Cook pointed out, with each new product category Apple created a new UI: the Mac's mouse, the iPod's clickwheel, the iPhone's multi-touch. For the Apple Watch, there is the Digital Crown.

The Digital Crown, a souped-up dial on the right side, provides a way to scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. A wearer can scroll through lists and messages, make selections and more without obstructing the screen.

From CEO Tim Cook: "What we DIDN'T do is shrink down the iPhone interface and put it on your wrist. That'd be a horrible experience!"

Interactivity and Communication

The watch will have Siri, Maps and Photos apps, among others. The Maps app shows the way and guides wearers to go left or right with a tap. From a feature called Friends, wearers can make a call, send a message, customize emojis or a sketch made with their finger.

There's also a feature called "Glances," which you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see stocks, meetings, weather and world time.

Wearers can also send their friends a "gentle tap on the wrist" through haptic feedback (or tiny vibrations), even if they are thousands of miles away. They can also capture and send their heartbeat by pressing two fingers on the screen.

More than a Health Tracking Device

Apple is pushing the watch heavily toward fitness-savy consumers. A "Workout" app will monitor calories burned and miles run, and an "Activity" app will show the same metrics over the course of a day.

The watch measures three aspects of movement inside "rings": Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring gives an overview of how active the wearer is, while the Exercise ring measures brisk activity, and the Stand ring shows how often the wearer has stood up to take a break from sitting.

An accelerometer measures body movement while a custom sensor measures intensity by tracking the wearer's heart rate.

Customizable Faces, Bands

There are three watch collections: the Apple Watch, made with stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport, inside an aluminum casing; and the Apple Watch Edition, made of 18k gold. There is also a smaller-sized watch for smaller wrists.

For the bands, there are six different versions, made of leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel, and each has a mechanism that makes the straps interchangeable.

The screen is made of ultra-durable sapphire, resistant to cracks. Wearers can personalize the capabilities and appearance of the faces.



Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Apple's New Watch, iPhones]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:22:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/edt-iwatch-1.jpg Apple announced two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its new Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino on Sept. 9.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:26:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-lead-455042032.jpg

Apple unveiled a sleek new smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch and two new, bigger iPhones on Tuesday, marking its much-heralded entry into wearable technology and signaling its intentions to keep innovating three years after co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

The event, held at the same Cupertino venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer a generation ago, was capped by a performance by U2, whose new album "Songs of Innocence" would be available for free on iTunes.

Apple's big reveal wasn't without its hitches, as technical problems marred its livestream and frustrated would-be watchers online.

But at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts itself, CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the new watch — "the most personal device we've ever created," he said — was met with a standing ovation from Apple fans.

The smartwatch, with its square display and rectangular bezel and screen, can function, Cook explained, as a fitness monitor, communication device and, of course, timepiece. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

What looks like an ordinary crown on the watch's side is a dial that lets users zoom, scroll and navigate, in a departure from the commands iPhones use. Its touchscreen, with a sapphire crystal, also senses force.

"What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist," Cook said.

The watch, available in two sizes and in 18-karat gold with a variety of straps to choose from, was the crowning new product announced at Tuesday's event, closely watched by Apple fans and industry-watchers, near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Its unveiling came after two new iPhones, iOS 8 and Apple's first game were announced.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boast larger screens, more powerful cameras and a new payment system Apple vowed would prove a radical improvement.
The iPhone 6's screen will measure 4.7 inches, the 6 Plus' 5.5. Both boast a new next-generation retina display, and apps on both can be viewed differently, including in a double-paned display, when the phone is held horizontally, giving it the air of an iPad.

Each model also promises a more powerful camera, with autofocus and face detection that's twice as fast as older models' and that works seamlessly in video, in a move by Apple that seemed designed to preclude users from needing separate cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization, too, to adjust for users' unsteady hands.

Both models also use a new payment system, dubbed Apple Pay, that CEO Tim Cook said was safe, simple and a vast improvement for users' experience.

It will let users use credit cards already on file with iTunes or take a photo of their cards to use them, and to preserve their safety, no credit card information will be stored on their phones.

"We're totally reliant on the exposed numbers and outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface," he said. "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic." 

Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and go up to $399 for 128 GB, while the 6 Plus starts at $299 and goes up to $499. Pre-orders will begin Friday, and the products will begin shipping a week later, on Sept. 19.

Apple also launched its first-ever own game, a battle game called Vain Glory.

That wasn't the only exciting news for gamers: The new iPhone also boasts a new 64-bit chip, the Apple A8, which Apple promises will make for a 20 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics, according to The Verge.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Sell Your iPhone for the Most Money]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:06:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_iphone_edited.jpg

Looking to sell your iPhone before the new model is released? The longer you wait can have a dramatic effect on the value of your phone.

Many users are looking to upgrade their phones to get their hands on the latest gadget after Tuesday's announcement of Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Even if you are locked in a contract or not due for a subsidized upgrade from your phone carrier, you can still sell your current iPhone to help pay for the new model.

Many sites offer trade-in deals that will give you a fair amount of cash for your gadget.

Gazelle, an online trade-in store, is offering up to $335 for an iPhone 5S, a price expected to be good until Tuesday. The value is estimated to drop as the iPhone 6 was announced on Tuesday.

Worried about not having a phone? Gazelle is letting users hold on to their current phones until Oct. 10 so they are not phoneless while waiting for the new model. Users must first lock in their deal by Sept. 9 through Gazelle.com.

Through Gazelle, you lock in a price online, and the company will send you a package to ship your phone for free. Once your phone is processed, you can choose to receive a check, gift card or PayPal.

If you are looking to get more bang for your buck, you can try selling your phone privately on eBay. Prices vary depending on the model and storage space of your iPhone. Current listings on eBay as of Monday found iPhone 5S models being sold on eBay for between $300 and $500.

Another option for a user looking to unload their iPhones is Craigslist. You should complete your Craigslist transaction in a public place to be safe. Keep in mind that Craigslist does not offer any “buyer/seller protection” as they are not involved in any transactions.

Apple also has a trade-in program called Apple Reuse and Recycling Program that lets users trade in their phones and receive an Apple Store gift card in exchange. A previously owned iPhone 5 was estimated at a value of $225, while an iPhone 5S is currently not available to trade in through Apple’s site.

Another option to get rid of your phone is through a retailer like Best Buy or Amazon, which both offer competitive pricing onto a store gift card.

The value of a previous iPhone model typically drops when a new model is introduced, so the sooner you sell your phone, the more money you may be able to get.

The price of new iPhone's without a contract typically starts at $649 depending on the model of the phone. If you are due for an upgrade, or start a new contract, prices for new models start at $199.

Check with your carrier to see if you are eligible for an upgrade.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Live from Cupertino: Apple Will Live Stream Sept. 9 Event]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 07:54:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/tim+cook+2.jpg

Is it a phone, a watch, a wallet? All eyes will be on Cupertino Tuesday for Apple's next big announcement. Apple will also be live-streaming the "special event" on Apple.com starting 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Apple website already features a countdown clock counting down to the magic hour.

Announcements on both the iPhone 6 (with apparently a bigger screen) and the iWatch (or iBand?) are expected, reports indicate, but there's also the "what else" aspect.

Reports from both Re/code and Bloomberg indicate that the debut of a wearable device is in the cards. There are also reports that the tech giant might unveil its own mobile-payment system -- possibly an iWallet? Apple is also reportedly working on a new, taller iPad.

Apple's invitation to media last week didn't say much, except for a one-line teaser: "Wish We Could Say More." The company stock reached a new all-time high following the announcement and sent social media abuzz.

Apple opted to switch venues for the event, opting for the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, instead of its usual Moscone West venue in San Francisco.

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to add extra security to iCloud, following a celebrity photo hacking incident last week.

According to Apple, live streaming Tuesday's video from its website will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

Follow NBC Bay Area on Twitter @nbcbayarea for live coverage of the event.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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