<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Tech News]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.com en-usMon, 21 Jan 2019 19:05:10 -0800Mon, 21 Jan 2019 19:05:10 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Google Helping People With Disabilities Access Internet]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 21:31:04 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0117GoogleEmployees_5727915.JPG

The ability to use a smart phone is something most of us probably take for granted.

But for people who couldn't use one, a Silicon Valley tech giant is coming to the rescue. Google is now helping people with disabilities access the Internet.

"Googlers are volunteering their time to build devices for people with disabilities," said Chad Leaman, Neil Squire Society.

The company on Thursday hosted what it calls the "Buildathon" at its headquarters, and you could say they're building a new way to search.

Launched by an $800,000 Google grant, techies are working with the Neil Squire Society, which aims to bring economic and social equality to people with disabilities.

The result? They call it lip sync.

"The lip sync is a mouth-operated mouse for someone with a disability that can't use their hands," Leaman said.

So people can -- for the first time -- operate a computer, tablet and even a smartphone by using their mouths to navigate around. The device itself uses common electronics, a little 3D printing and costs Google about $200 each.

"A device like lip sync can help users do what other people can do with their devices -- browse the Internet, maybe watch cat photos, send an e-mail, apply for a job, pay their bills," said Olga Prelipova with Google.

In other words, join the mobile revolution. With a piece of technology Google says it will give away to patients, for free.

"It's very rare we get to build something in a day and see how it impacts their life," Prelipova said.

Google said the first batch of 10 lip syncs it made will be donated to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The company is also posting the assembly instructions online so others can make them too.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[10-Year Photo Challenge Raises Data Mining Concerns]]> Thu, 17 Jan 2019 10:06:14 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_10yearchallengeconcerns_1500x845.jpg

 The "10 Year Challenge" has gone viral on social media, leading millions to post side-by-side photos of themselves from a decade ago and now. It may seem fun, but tech experts say participants could unknowing be giving up valuable information. 

<![CDATA[The Robots of CES]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:45:35 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Robots_the_Focus_of_CES-154697956955600002.jpg
From Lovot to LG's Cloi, robots are working to win over visitors at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Ub Tech's "Walker" can even bribe you with snacks.
<![CDATA[Aspiring Paleontologist Wins National Google Doodle Contest]]> Wed, 09 Jan 2019 04:23:26 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/010819+dinosaur+google+doodle.jpg

An aspiring paleontologist in the second grade has won Google's annual Doodle for Google contest.

Sarah Gomez-Lane, 7, of Virginia, had her drawing of dinosaurs selected and transformed into an animation on the search giant's homepage. In it, dinosaurs play the trumpet, eat blueberries and more.

Sarah, who responded to the prompt "What inspires me ...," originally drew the Doodle's design as a first grader, a Google spokesperson confirmed.  

Google said her school in Falls Church, Virginia, will be awarded $50,000 to spend on technology, and Sarah will get $30,000 toward a college scholarship.

"When they called my name, I felt happy and surprised," she said when she learned she had won. "I'm going to call my principal. He's going to say 'Yay!'"

On video, a Google employee said she hoped the Doodle would inspire kids and adults alike.

"I just hope that when people see the Doodle, they also are inspired to think about — not only what they dreamed of and wished for when they were kids — but to also just take a second to enjoy the simple things in life," she said.

Sarah's drawing will be on the Google homepage for 24 hours. Go there to see the Doodle in action.

Photo Credit: Google
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<![CDATA[CES 2019 Sneak Peek: Self-Driving Delivery Car]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2019 18:57:57 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Self-Driving_Delivery_Car_Sneak_Peek_at_CES_2019.jpg

Ride along with a new delivery car that is self driving. Mekahlo Medina reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2019.

<![CDATA[Tech to Expect at CES 2019]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2019 09:08:25 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ces-day-2.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[CES 2019 Offers a Look at the Latest Gadgets]]> Mon, 07 Jan 2019 09:57:26 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CES_2019_Offers_a_Look_Into_the_Future.jpg

New gadgets go on display at the Consumer Electronics Show 2019 in Las Vegas. Mekahlo Medina reports for NBC4 News at 12 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2019.

<![CDATA[Grindr Harassment Suit Could Change Accountability for Tech]]> Sat, 05 Jan 2019 08:00:26 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-625496356.jpg

Matthew Herrick, a restaurant worker and aspiring actor in New York, claimed that for months an ex-boyfriend used the dating app Grindr to harass him.

His former partner created fake profiles on the app to impersonate Herrick and then direct men to show up at Herrick’s home and the restaurant where he worked asking for sex, sometimes more than a dozen times per day. Herrick took action against his ex, filing 14 police reports. The alleged harassment continued for months, even after Herrick obtained a temporary restraining order against Grindr that required the company to disable the impersonating profiles.

Herrick is pursuing an unusual legal theory as he continues to push back against Grindr, arguing that tech companies should face greater accountability for what happens on their platforms, NBC News reported. His lawsuit alleges that the software developers who write code for Grindr have been negligent, producing an app that’s defective in its design and that is “fundamentally unsafe” and “unreasonably dangerous” — echoing language that’s more typically used in lawsuits about, say, a faulty kitchen appliance or a defective car part.

If successful, the lawsuit could bring about a significant legal change to the risks tech companies face for what happens on their platforms, adding to growing public and political pressure for change.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[New Year's Tech Resolutions: Protect Your Data]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2019 07:53:14 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_resolutions0104_1500x845.jpg

Your data was probably stolen in 2018. Billions of consumers were affected by breaches and cyber-attacks last year, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. Now, more than ever, it's important to make a digital security check-in an annual habit.

<![CDATA[Calling All 'Snowflakes': British Army Recruits Millennials]]> Thu, 03 Jan 2019 09:02:02 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/240*120/190103-british-army-mn-0940.jpeg

"Snowflakes," "phone zombies," "binge gamers" and "me me me millennials" are the focus of the British army's latest recruitment campaign, NBC News reported

Posters and billboards reminiscent of the famous World War I "Your Country Needs You" ads have been given a 21st-century twist, sending the message: "The army spots potential. Even if others don't."

The U.K. has struggled to maintain its target of 82,000 troops in recent years due to a declining number of recruits. The new ads appear to attempt to engage millennials by connecting the stereotype of the screen-addicted generation with desirable skills. "Phone zombies" are wanted for their focus and "binge gamers" for their drive.

"We are trying to show that we are unlocking potential — potential that many elements of society may not see in young people, but we do," Col. Ben Wilde, head of recruiting for the British Army, told journalists at a press briefing on the initiative Thursday.

Photo Credit: Ministry of Defence
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<![CDATA[What's The Deal With Printer Ink Prices?]]> Thu, 03 Jan 2019 04:18:12 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Whats_The_Deal_With_Printer_Ink_Prices.jpg

Outraged over the price of printer ink? You’re not alone.

A recent Consumer Reports survey shows the price of ink is the number one complaint for printer owners. So why are those tiny little ink cartridges so expensive?

Experts at Consumer Reports say one reason: There’s a lot of science and engineering behind printing, and it all has to work together seamlessly. Consumers expect a push-button experience and that’s what they try to deliver. 

Consumer Reports says to think of what you paid for your printer as more of a down payment. The manufacturer hopes you come back to them and buy their original brand ink or toner. That’s the profit motive. So now they sell the printer cheaply, but can charge more for the ink and toner. 

And when it comes to that ink, most consumers aren’t even getting what they paid for. CR says tests have shown with many inkjet printers, more than half of the ink you buy never winds up on the page!

Inkjets, which are a very popular type of printer, tend to use up more ink than other types of printers because they have to do a maintenance cycle. That maintenance cycle helps keep the printheads from clogging, which can ruin your prints. CR says consumers who print the average 25 to 35 pages a month should leave their printers on. That’s because turning a printer off and on can trigger more maintenance cycles. Don’t worry about your electricity bill. CR says inkjets nowadays use very little power in sleep mode. 

Other ways to save? Consider an affordable black and white laser printer, especially if you’re mostly just printing text. You can also check out reservoir inkjet printers. They use ink reservoirs you fill yourself instead of cartridges. And those refills can last up to two years. 

Consumer Reports urges consumers not to be attracted by low prices when shopping for a printer, especially this holiday season. They say it’s important to consider the price of a printer over time, including ink. CR members can check out the two-year estimated cost of ownership in the printer ratings.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright © 2019_ Consumer Reports, Inc.


<![CDATA[Instagram Users Share Outrage After Brief Update Rolls Out]]> Thu, 27 Dec 2018 10:01:07 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/instagram-new-thumb.jpg

Some Instagram users found themselves swiping through their timelines left to right on Thursday, rather than vertically, prompting widespread outrage and the social media company to roll back the update, NBC News reported.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained what happened on Twitter: "That was supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident. Should be fixed now. If you're still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays!"

The Facebook-owned app's test focused on user interaction with its feed, switching from its traditional up-down swipe to a left-right version. 

The update seemed to upset many people, based on the reactions on social media, but many users said their feeds soon went back to normal. 

An Instagram spokesperson later described the situation as a bug and wrote by email: “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”

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<![CDATA[Top 2018 Space Stories: InSight on Mars, Asteroid Rendezvous]]> Wed, 26 Dec 2018 08:30:49 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_18330735319034-edited.jpg

Space fans had plenty to celebrate in 2018, including the launch of three new NASA missions and the debut of SpaceX’s giant Falcon Heavy rocket. In case you missed any of the action, here are particularly noteworthy space stories, according to NBC News MACH.

NASA’s InSight lander arrived at Mars on Nov. 26 after a six-month journey of more than 300 million miles. The dramatic landing was NASA’s first on Mars since 2012.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached the asteroid Bennu on Dec. 3 and will spend about a year surveying and mapping the 1,600-foot-wide asteroid. The spacecraft had already detected water on the space rock — a discovery that lends support to the idea that asteroids and comets could have brought water to Earth.

SpaceX’s massive Falcon Heavy booster nailed its maiden flight on Feb. 6. The rocket, which is designed to carry astronauts to the moon and Mars, can lift a heavier payload than any American rocket since NASA’s Saturn V, the behemoth booster that ferried Apollo astronauts to the moon half a century ago.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Unboxing Videos on Youtube a Hit With Kids During Holidays]]> Sun, 23 Dec 2018 05:49:41 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/YoutubeUnboxingVideos.jpg

Unboxing videos have been on YouTube for years, and their popularity has only continued to grow with time. They’re appealing to almost every demographic on the site, but they have a particular draw for children, NBC News reported.

The videos are particularly popular around the holidays, according to YouTube search data from Google Trends. With the holiday season in full swing, many of these videos have informed the Christmas wish lists of children across the country, and for some who can’t afford lavished items, it allows their children to live vicariously through an unboxer.

But experts warned that unboxing can be seen as unmitigated and relentless advertising to children, who often don’t know the toys or electronics are given to a YouTuber with a large following as part of new-age marketing.

Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Suspends 5 for Suspicious Behavior During Election]]> Sat, 22 Dec 2018 23:25:09 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

Facebook says it has suspended five accounts that were being run by multiple people for "for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior" on the platform during the Alabama special election last year.

In a statement to NBC News, a Facebook spokesperson declined to name the account holders, but said an investigation into the improper behavior is ongoing.

"We take a strong stand against people or organizations that create networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing. We've removed thousands of Pages, Groups, and accounts for this kind of behavior, as well as accounts that were violating our policies on spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior during the Alabama special election last year," the platform said.

Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Rich Explorer First to Reach Deepest Part of Atlantic Ocean]]> Sat, 22 Dec 2018 00:50:36 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/PuertoRicoTrench.jpg

Explorer and multimillionaire Victor Vescovo just reached the bottom of the Puerto Rico Trench, NBC News reports. The trench is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Vescovo became the first person to do so on a solo mission in a manned submersible vessel and the second ever to make a solo dive deeper than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet), according to a statement released by the Discovery Channel which will air a documentary of the expedition in the upcoming years.

The deepest point of this trench plunges to 8,376 meters (27,480 feet) below the surface of the ocean. James Cameron, in the Deepsea Challenger vessel, dove deeper in 2012 to 10,908 meters (35,790 feet) down in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the world's deepest spot.

"It felt great to get to the true bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history and to prove the technical capabilities of this diving system, which we believe is now the deepest operational one in the world," Vescovo said in the statement. "We are really looking forward to continuing to the other dive sites, and continuing our technical and scientific goals."

Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Tries to Explain Why Companies Could Erase Messages]]> Thu, 20 Dec 2018 01:48:54 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/facebookGettyImages-1058494598.jpg

Facebook again aimed to convince its 2.3 billion users that it didn't allow more than 150 other companies to misuse their personal data on Wednesday night after its valuation fell by more than $28 billion on the stock market, NBC News reported.

"In the past day, we've been accused of disclosing people's private messages to partners without their knowledge," said Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships, in a post on the company's blog. "That's not true — and we wanted to provide more facts about our messaging partnerships."

It's the second blog post from the company since The New York Times reported Tuesday that Facebook for many years gave more than 150 companies extensive access to personal data. The post focused narrowly on the contention in the Times report that emerged as the most controversial: that Facebook gave four companies access to read, write and delete users' messages.

Archibong said the companies — Spotify, Netflix, Dropbox and the Royal Bank of Scotland — were granted automated access to users' messages so Facebook users could send Facebook messages to other Facebook users without leaving the Spotify, Netflix, Dropbox or Royal Bank apps.

Photo Credit: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Do You Even Twitch? Go Inside the Hub of Game Live-Streaming]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2018 17:01:46 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TWITCH-STILL-01.jpg

Twitch’s new headquarters is a combination of gaming and popular culture, and it's everything streamers would expect it to be.

The nine-story building in the heart of San Francisco took three years to design. It features fully stocked mini-kitchens, gender-neutral bathrooms, a smoothie and coffee bar and theme-designed conference rooms like Stranger Things, Harry Potter and Bob Ross.

“We really wanted it to feel like you were leaving San Francisco and entering Twitch world,” Chief Marketing Officer Kate Jhaveri said. “Where you could feel the video games, the content and the art that our community creates every day.” 

Twitch's new office space has two PC gaming rooms and two broadcast rooms for staff and the Twitch community to engage in competitive gaming and live streaming. 

“We really wanted to bring it to life and so we have really focused on great spaces for people to do the types of things that they're interested in and to bring their whole selves to work,” Jhaveri said. “And we really feel like that makes for a better Twitch a better community and frankly a better place to work.”

A highlight of the building is "Flynn's Arcade," a gaming room named after the movie "Tron" filled with pinball machines, board games, classic arcade games and large CRT monitors for fighting games.

The company’s new headquarters also offers a full commercial kitchen that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner to their employees.

But why design such a interactive office space?

“We wanted to make sure that we thought about all of the different experiences from an employee point of view and really brought to life a really great working environment for our community and also highlight all of the great things that make Twitch unique,” Jhaveri said.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Gonzalez / NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Facebook Denies It Let Tech Companies Misuse Personal Data]]> Tue, 18 Dec 2018 21:17:24 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_18233646267301.jpg

Facebook denied Tuesday night that its dozens of "partners" — companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Yahoo — were able to misuse Facebook users' personal data, NBC News reported

The company, however, didn't address explosive new allegations that it gave those companies far broader access to private data than it has previously acknowledged. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Facebook for many years gave more than 150 companies extensive access to personal data, including private messages and contact information for users' friends, than was previously known and without users' explicit consent.

The Times said it based its reporting on more than 270 pages of internal Facebook documents and interviews with more than 50 former employees of Facebook and its so-called integration partners, as well as other former government officials and privacy advocates.

Facebook has said it is ending the "integration partnerships," some of which the Times reported extend as far back as 2010 and some of which were still in effect this year.

Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP, File]]>