<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usSun, 26 Mar 2017 03:33:09 -0400Sun, 26 Mar 2017 03:33:09 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Program After Crash]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 01:24:21 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_16349000708921-Uber-Self-Driving-Cars.jpg

Uber Technologies Inc. suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

As Reuters reports, the accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe.



Photo Credit: Eric Risberg, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[How Can You Keep Your Internet Searches Private?]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:08:44 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/57374883.jpg

The Senate passed a joint resolution on Thursday, barring the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules passed last year that would ban internet, cable, and mobile providers from selling your data without your consent, NBC News reported.

Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com told NBC News the best way to protect yourself is by installing a VPN — that's a virtual private network. This piece of software will encrypt your data on the internet. 

You'll also want to start paying attention to cookies — those little pieces of data sent by a website and stored on your browser.

Kate Tummarello, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that if enacted, the new rule would be a "crushing loss for online privacy," essentially prioritizing profits over privacy.

NBC News is a division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable provider.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Robot Helps Boy Go to School]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 03:10:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Max+Robot.jpg

Despite a degenerative disease that makes going to school a life-threatening situation, a three-year-old Maryland boy attends classes every day thanks to technology allowing him to connect with his classmates, make friends and even join them for lunch.

Max Lasko and his mother operate a Beam telepresence robot from home, several miles from school.

“When Max first started, every time Max would beam in on the robot, they would be really excited and yell, ‘It's the robot! It's the robot!’” teacher Allyson Levine said. “But after about a week or two, it became, ‘Max is here.’”

Max was born with spinal muscular atrophy, which makes it difficult for him to move, breathe and eat. He can’t be in a classroom for fear of catching a cold or flu, which could be life-threatening for him.

“We felt that it was really important -- since Max's cognition is fully intact, his social intelligence is fully intact -- we wanted him to be able to interact with his peers but we wanted to do so safely,” said his mother, Kristen Lasko.

Max's mother is a teacher, and his father, Jonathan Lasko, is a computer scientist. They applied for and won a grant to cover the costs of the robot, and they asked the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville to accept Max into class.

“What our role is is just to be accepting of everyone,” said Ora Cohen Rosenfeld, head of the Bender JCC Early Childhood Center. “And I think this is teaching our children to see Max as a child just as they are with the same needs. He’s different and yet he's very much the same.”

Max is on a ventilator, and his mother puts "angel arms" on him so he can move his hands and participate in activities like coloring for a friend’s birthday picture book.

Max vocalizes but lacks strength for articulation. His mother understands everything he says.

Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Max surprised his mother when he replied he wants to be a teacher like she is.

“A teacher?” his mother reacted. “You want to be a teacher? I didn’t know that. Wow.”

“I’m glad he has these teachers as role models,” Jonathan Lasko said. “He's looking ahead and imagining himself in the role of teacher, and just like any of us, he's not going to let his different abilities get in the way of doing what he is passionate about.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[First of Three Spacewalks Underway at ISS]]> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:38:42 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DIT_INT_NASASPACEWALK_032417_1-149037083343000001.jpg

Two astronauts left the International Space Station on Friday to prepare the orbiting laboratory for the arrival of commercial space taxis and to tackle some maintenance.

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<![CDATA[At Facial Recognition Hearing, Congress Attacks FBI]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:20:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/202*120/170321-face-recognition-nsf_c73b4424b103834c97bd0af277c04c4d.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Democrats and Republicans alike hammered the FBI on Wednesday for its use of facial recognition software to identify potential suspects, saying the technology fosters racial bias, leads to arrests of innocent people and trashes Americans' privacy.

More than 400 million pictures of Americans' faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, according to the federal Government Accountability Office, NBC News reported.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, experts estimate.

"I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check," Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.



Photo Credit: National Science Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Wholesale Expands Test of Home Grocery Delivery ]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:52:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with another third-party service, CNBC reported.

Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, said Tuesday it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area. The service is available to consumers using the Shipt app.

Costco already has home grocery delivery service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart, another third-party delivery service.

Costco didn't respond to requests for comment.

In Tuesday's release, Shipt said it plans to offer its services to 50 markets and over 30 million households by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Red iPhone 7s Will Soon Hit Apple Stores]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:10:24 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/iPhone_7_and_iPhone_7_Plus_Product_Red_Hero_Lockup_2_Up_On_White_PR-PRINT.jpg

The palette of colors that iPhones come in is increasing this week, as Apple releases a red special edition of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The new edition will be available to order on Friday in the United States and around the world, and it gets its color to mark the 10th anniversary between Apple and the AIDS-fighting organization (RED), the tech company announced Tuesday. The phones will start shipping by the end of March.

(RED) raises money through the sale of branded proudcts for a group called the Global Fund, which invests funds in local programs to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics around the world. (RED) funding goes to HIV programs in Africa, the organization says.

"Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million as part of its partnership with (RED),” (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said in a statement.

iPhones already come in rose gold, gold, silver, black and jet black.

Apple also announced Tuesday that it's dropping the price on its 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display.



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Uber President Jeff Jones Resigns, Cites Differences in "Beliefs"]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 16:17:50 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-500350466.jpg

Uber President Jeff Jones has resigned just six months after joining its ranks.

"We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best," Uber spokeswoman Sophie Schmidt said in a statement to NBC News confirming Jones' departure.

The No. 2 executive at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company cited differences in "beliefs and approach to leadership," technology news site ReCode reported.

“After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber," CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in an internal email to company employees. "It is unfortunate that this was announced through the press but I thought it was important to send all of you an email before providing comment publicly."

Kalanick praised Jones' contributions to Uber, including the company's "first brand reputation study, which will help set our course in the coming months and year."

Sources with Uber told NBC News the departure is effective immediately.

Jones is the latest in a string of high-level executives to leave the company. Earlier this month, Uber asked engineering executive Amit Singhai to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure at Google, NBC News reported. 

Ed Baker, Uber's VP of product and growth, also quit Uber this month, according to Recode. 

In a statement to Recode, Jones offered a harsh review of the company.

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride-sharing business."

Jones was Target's chief marketing officer before joining Uber in August 2016. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Target
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<![CDATA['Loads of Love': Apple Engineer Converts Van Into Mobile Laundromat for Homeless]]> Sat, 18 Mar 2017 00:41:03 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/loads+of+love+4.jpg

Ron Powers, a mechanical engineer at Apple, turned a used van into a mobile laundromat and made it available for free to the homeless of Santa Cruz, California. He said he spent many years focused on studying his faith and now spends his nights and weekends living it. "I wanted to restore dignity to people. I wanted to improve health," Powers said of his "Loads of Love" program. 

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<![CDATA[Tech Showcase at SXSW]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:53:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SXSWTech0316_MP4-148975049933200001.jpg Tech companies are taking the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.]]> <![CDATA[Driving on the Roads of the Future Will Be a Real Trip]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:02:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458366538-driving-generic.jpg

In the near future, autonomous cars will be able to communicate movements with each other over short distances and interact with traffic lights, NBC News reported.

To combat distracted driving, cars with dedicated short-range communications technology can transmit their location, direction and speed to other vehicles.

As more companies get on board with developments like this, roads have the potential to get much safer, but buying a car equipped with such technology will do drivers little good at the moment, as it isn't widespread yet. 

"The technology is already stable, but we have a kind of 'chicken-and-egg' problem," Raj Rajkumar, a connected and autonomous vehicle researcher with Carnegie Mellon University, told NBC News. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Xbox One Controller Chargers Recalled Over Burn Hazard]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 07:10:48 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/xbox-one-charger-energizer.jpg

About 121,000 Xbox One video game controller battery chargers are being recalled due to a burn hazard, officials say.

The recall covers Energizer Xbox One 2X Smart Chargers used to charge video game controllers, according to a recall alert issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The chargers are black plastic and have "Energizer" printed on the charger's label.

The recall notice said the chargers could overheat, posing a burn hazard.

The manufacturer, Performance Designed Products LLC, has received 24 U.S. reports of the chargers overheating and deforming its plastic cover and six reports of the chargers emitting a burning odor. No injuries have been reported, according to the alert.

The chargers, manufactured in China, were sold in the U.S. between Feb. 2016 and Feb. 2017 at Best Buy, GameStop and online for about $40, according to the CPSC.

Consumers should stop using the recalled battery chargers and contact Performance Designed Products to return the chargers for a full refund, the CPSC said.



Photo Credit: CPSC]]>
<![CDATA[Pi Day 2017: 3.14 Things to Know About Pi]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 07:51:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-112303538-pi.jpg

Tuesday is Pi Day, a national celebration of the mathematical concept, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter and equals 3.14... Two years ago, 3-14-15, was the only day this century that matched pi, commonly approximated as 3.14159. 

Schools and museums often plan events to celebrate the concept, which has fascinated humans for centuries.

In the spirit of the holiday, here are 3.14 things you may not know about pi:

1. No one is certain who discovered pi as we know it today

But we do have some ideas. It seems that the Egyptians used pi in the construction of the Great Pyramid because when the perimeter is divided by its height, one gets a close approximation to 2π. It’s the same result if one divides the circumference of a circle by its radius.

But the most significant pi research might have come from the astronomer, Archimedes, around 250 B.C.

His mathematical calculation showed that pi was "between three and one seventh and three and 10 seventy firsts,” Steven Strogatz, an applied mathematics professor at Cornell University, told NBC in a 2015 interview. “He approached that putting a six sided figure into a circle, then made it 12 sided, and went all the way up to a 96-sided polygon.”

He proved that pi was found somewhere between these two numbers, which applied to all circles.

2. You can find your identity in pi

One myth is that since pi is a continuation of numbers, people’s identities can be found in the pattern: like social security numbers or birthdays.

This theory, which had circulated around Reddit for years before getting a popularity jolt from a George Takei Facebook post (that post appears to have been taken down), posits that all number combinations can be found within the digits of pi. 

A version of this theory posted on Reddit says of pi: "Converted into a bitmap, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect representation of the first thing you saw on this earth, the last thing you will see before your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous and mundane, that will occur between those two points."

But Professor Strogatz stressed that the meme is misleading.  Even if it is true (which is not yet known), the digits in pi would tell us nothing about a person's life or identity, because along with correct social security numbers and birthdays, there will also be wrong social security numbers and birthdays.

3. Proving pi with matches

You can prove pi exists with matches, toothpicks, a pen, or anything else that is the same length, explained Johnny Ball, the author of “Why Pi? (Big Questions).”

“There’s a wonderful way to find pi for yourself. You find a floor with parallel lines; you find matches, pins, pens, exactly the same length. If you drop a hundred of them at random on the floor, the points touching a line will equal pi,” Ball said.

The matches' length must be equal to the distance of the two parallel lines. After the matches are dropped, you multiply the number of matches thrown down by two and divide it by the total number of matches that touched a line, which will equal pi.

This problem was discovered in the 18th century by French mathematician Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.

Check out this video on Dr. Tony Padilla's YouTube channel Numberphile where he demonstrates Buffon's Needle Problem:

3.14...Legislating against pi

In 1897, Indiana state legislators tried passing a Pi Bill that legally defined pi as 3.2. Edward J. Goodwin, a physician, convinced a well-known mathematical monthly newspaper that he had solved what mathematicians had tried to do for generations: squaring the circle. Simply put, squaring the circle is the impossible task of finding the area of a circle by finding the area of a square around it. Goodwin claimed that pi was 3.2 instead of a continuous number. The bill never became a law thanks to Professor C. A. Waldo who convinced the Indiana Senate that Goodwin’s discovery was not possible.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Is There Such a Thing as an Internet Kill Switch?]]> Sat, 11 Mar 2017 04:34:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Is there a switch you can flick to kill the internet? According to a panel of experts at this year's SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, that universal "kill switch" does not exist — yet.

"When people figure out how to push the right buttons…it just makes us better at realizing that taking the steps to get more resilient are necessary," Christian Dawson, co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition said during a Friday panel.

The idea doesn't seem that far-fetched, especially following two recent incidents that knocked parts of the internet offline: one, a simple typo by Amazon Web Services; the other, a botnet attack on internet company Dyn.

As NBC News reports, a Brookings Institution report released in October found that in the previous year, internet 81 disruptions in 19 countries came at a cost of $2.4 billion total to the economies of those nations.



Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Feel Stressed? Stop Checking Your Phone, Study Says]]> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 20:23:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SmartphoneStress0309a_MP4-148918974502400001.jpg

A recent study finds mobile users who check their phones frequently feel more stressed. According to the American Psychological Association, we are a nation of "constant checkers" and it's taking a toll. Some experts consider this a behavioral addiction.

 
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<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Schemes Target Your E-Mail]]> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 13:58:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019749612_1200x675_894758467610.jpg

NBC10’s Harry Hairston has a warning about a message that could be in your email. File a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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<![CDATA[Optimus Prime Rib: Robots Start Delivering Food in DC]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 11:40:32 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/030717+food+delivery+robot.jpg

It's now possible in D.C. to have a robot deliver a hot meal to your door.

Robots from the delivery company Starship Technologies are rolling along Washington streets as part of a pilot program, a company spokesman said.

News4 spotted one of the robots — which look a little like a black-and-white version of the Pixar character Wall-E — cruising along M Street NW in Georgetown about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"This is the world's first delivery robot," Starship Technologies spokesman Henry Harris-Burland said.

The robots that move as fast as 4 mph were created to deliver takeout food, groceries and packages.

"Anything you can order online, it can deliver," Harris Burland said.

The robots are equipped with sensors designed to prevent them from running into things. They each have a red flag and flashing lights. The only sound they make is the mechanical whirring of their wheels.

Starship Technology is working with Postmates, which lets users have food delivered from restaurants including Ted's Bulletin, &pizza and Fig & Olive.

A limited number of customers in D.C. will receive a text message telling them a robot will deliver their meal. The user will be able to track the route of the robot. Then, a second text message will include a link to click that unlocks the top of the robot so the user can take the food.

The Starship Technologies spokesman recommended that people who want to have a robot serve them sign up for Postmates. They will be notified if robot service becomes available in their area.

"We are very, very early stage," Harris-Burland said.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[New Tech Could Change Food Nutrition Labels ]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:54:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_labels0307_1500x845.jpg

New smart glasses developed by researchers at Colorado State University could change how food labels are printed on boxes and cans in your local grocery store. The FDA is looking to roll out this new tech by 2018.

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<![CDATA[Amplify Philly to Represent at SXSW]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:47:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000019714142_1200x675_893064771558.jpg

For the second year in a row, Amplify Philly is coordinating with Philadelphia’s presence at South by Southwest where top innovators in the technology, media, nonprofit and creative sectors join forces. President and co-founder of Rec Philly, Dave Silver, and executive director of Philly Startup, Yuval Yarden, visited NBC10 before heading south.

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<![CDATA[Comey: 'No Such Thing as Absolute Privacy in America']]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:21:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/COMEY_BOSTON.jpg

FBI Director James Comey spoke at a cybersecurity conference at Boston College Wednesday, addressing current encryption software, the idea of privacy in the modern age and how the FBI can improve its fight against cyberthreats.

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<![CDATA[What Changes to H-1B Visa Rules Mean for Tech]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 17:53:01 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/646440506-Trump-Joint-Session-Congress-Address.jpg

U.S. immigration authorities suspended a program last Friday that expedited visas for skilled workers — a darling class of workers in the tech community.

Despite stoking tension in tech companies, it's a relatively routine decision that's happened under past administrations. But it is missing one key piece of information — a timeline— and that could affect businesses, CNBC reported.

"Premium processing" of H-1B visas, which allowed skilled workers to pay extra to request faster approval to work in the U.S., will no longer be available starting April 3, immigration authorities announced.

That basically means all applicants will have to wait the standard period to see if they have won the "lottery," without the option to pay an extra $1,225 filing fee for guaranteed answer after 15 days. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Rolls Out its Fake News Tool]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 23:31:26 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-85595143-facebook-generic.jpg

In an effort to combat fake or biased news stories, Facebook is introducing a "disputed news" flag to stories disproved by third party groups, NBC News reported.

Once a story is marked, a group of researchers at Facebook sift through the stories and determine which ones should be sent to fact-checking organizations, including Snopes, Politifact and Factcheck.org. Stories determined to be fake will remain on Facebook, but will be flagged as disputed, and will include a link with an explanation.

The tag was originally announced in December, but it's gaining traction in the United States as Facebook continues to roll it out. The tag is part of new tools that allow users to tag any items they consider "disputed."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dan Kitwood]]>
<![CDATA[Forget the Coin: Pa. Lottery Releases Lazier Lottery Ticket]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 15:29:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/206*120/Pennsylvania+Lottery+Hot+Number+Fast+Play+Lotto+Ticket.JPG

Playing the lottery will take less effort -- and no coin -- now in the Keystone State.

The Pennsylvania Lottery launched Tuesday its new "Fast Play" game that doesn’t require players to scratch-off the tickets or wait for a drawing. Instead, the ticket is generated and printed on-demand from sales terminals and kiosks. The player can then immediately scan the ticket or examine it to see if it’s a winner.

"Fast Play launch is a milestone in the evolution of the Pennsylvania Lottery," lottery executive director Drew Svitko said.

The game is the first entirely new type of game for the Pa. Lottery since they introduced scratch-offs in the mid1970s, the lottery said.

"This new type of game has been popular in other states and we expect Pennsylvania Lottery players will enjoy it, as well," Svitko said.

Fast Play tickets come in 41, $2 and $5 tickets and prizes can vary.



Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Lottery]]>
<![CDATA[Del. City Bans Texting While Biking]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:47:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/192*120/Bike+No+Handlebars.JPG

Put that cellphone away if you plan on biking in a Delaware college town.

Newark passed an ordinance banning texting while biking. Anyone caught texting or using an electronic hand-held device while riding a bicycle will get a $25 fine, according to the new law passed by City Council last week.

University of Delaware students who are among those who bike around town are subjected to the law, which is intended to curb distracted cycling, reported Delaware Online. [[415320003, C]]

Newark police urged cyclists (and drivers) to "stay off your phone."

There is an exception to the texting while biking rule: using a phone mounted to handlebars is not a violation. [[415248243, C]]



Photo Credit: NBC10
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<![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Online Car Sale Warning]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 09:46:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/196*120/ebat+car+buy.JPG

NBC10’s Harry Hairston talks to Sayku Kromah, an Upper Darby man who lost thousands of dollars when he tried to buy a car on EBay with gift cards.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Bitcoin Value Surpasses Gold for First Time]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 13:34:39 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/bitcoins.jpg

Bitcoin hit a major milestone on Thursday, surpassing the price of an ounce of gold for the first time in the digital currency's history, NBC News reported.

Some investors are now saying this development solidifies the Bitcoin currency as "digital gold." The price of one Bitcoin was $1,271 by Thursday evening, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. An ounce of gold was priced at $1,235, according to Oklahoma-based precious metals retailer APMEX.

Bitcoin, created in 2009 by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto, is a type of digital currency that computers "mine." Unlike dollars or euros, the currency is not printed. The price of one Bitcoin was just $421.60 this time last year, which means the value has more than tripled in the last 12 months. 

According to the International Business Times, more than 100,000 merchants around the world accept Bitcoins as a form of payment, including Microsoft, Dell and Expedia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Catholic High School Scores $24M With Snap Investment ]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:00:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-647104932.jpg

A Bay Area high school that counts itself among Snap Inc.'s first investors won big on Thursday after a booming initial public offering and first-day trading.

The company behind the popular messaging app Snapchat made its trading debut Thursday after a better-than-expected stock offering. Snap had priced its initial public offering of 200 million shares at $17 each on Wednesday. 

Soon after Thursday's opening bell rang at the New York Stock Exchange, the stock began trading at more than $24 a share – nearly 50 percent higher than its IPO price, CNBC reported. It closed at $24.48, valuing the Los Angeles company at $34 billion.

Saint Francis High School, a private Roman Catholic school in Mountain View, disclosed Thursday that it invested $15,000 of the institution’s endowment fund in Snap’s seed round of financing in 2012. 

"We knew teenagers were using it and this would be something big for social media," said former principal Kevin Makley.

That money translated into more than two million shares for Saint Francis. Of that, the school has sold 1.4 million at $17 a piece, earning nearly $24 million, officials said. 

Saint Francis is holding on to roughly 600,000 shares, knowing that they may end up being even more lucrative. 

"I am absolutely celebrating. This is a tremendous day!" Makley said.

Five years ago, Natalie Eggers, then a student at Saint Francis, alerted her father, a venture capitalist, about the burgeoning social messaging app. She said all her friends were obsessed with it. 

Popular with the young people, Snapchat is best known for disappearing messages and quirky face-filters for jazzing up selfies.

Barry Eggers, a partner of Lightspeed Venture, listened to his daughter and his firm became one of Snap’s first investors with $485,000 in early 2012, the New York Times reported. Lightspeed invested a total of $8.1 million in Snapchat over the years. 

Eggers also persuaded SF Growth Fund, Saint Francis' student-run endowment fund that helps pay for scholarships and subsidized tuition, to get in on Snap, he wrote in a post published on the company's website. 

Makley recalled Eggers' non-traditional investment idea.

"When we started this fund so many years ago, this is what we dreamed about. Now the dream is true!" Makley exclaimed.

Meanwhile, Saint Francis released a statement, part of which read: "Snap’s IPO represents an incredible opportunity to help the school, its students and their greater community for years to come."

The school is still working out exactly how the money will be spent, but officials say the financial aid program is their top priority.

"It’s good news for the school," said parent John Dugan, a "tremendous opportunity."

NBCUniversal, the parent company of this site, invested $500 million in Snap during its IPO as part of a strategic investment and partnership, CNBC reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Where to Buy the Nintendo Switch]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 07:31:23 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/nintendo-switch.jpg The Nintendo Switch hits stores Friday, March 3. For those eager to get their hands on the newest console ASAP, select stores will be launching a midnight release. Here are all the go-to places.

Photo Credit: Nintendo]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Announces Cable-Free TV Subscription Service]]> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:25:56 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_142450164879.jpg

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

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

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



Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP]]>