<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Tech News]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:27:00 -0500 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:27:00 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[What's Next for Twitter?]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:16:16 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/107273938.jpg

Layoffs, management shakeups, Kanye West, and an all-time low for the stock price.

Nothing is coming easy for Twitter lately; even the company Periscoping its quarterly earning call, a brilliant idea, came off as kind of awkward.

After an earning report that showed minimal growth, Wall Street sold off shares of the company’s (TWTR) stock, tumbling well below its IPO price (and down nearly 50 percent since co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as CEO).

On top of that, users are nervous about the company’s plan to alter its timeline.

Once the darling of social media, Twitter is facing some tough questions: Why is its live-streaming feature Periscope growing, but its new “Moments” button being met with a collective shrug?

Why, if absolutely must be instantly tweeted, is user growth flat?

And, if some on its management team say Twitter is too complicated to use, why is the team playing around with how we use it, in ways many say seem even more complex?

It’s the kind of frustration faced by companies like Yahoo and MySpace that are no longer nearly as relevant as they once were:

Why are Facebook, and Netflix, and Snapchat, and Instagram able to grow so fast, but not Twitter?

Feel free to weigh in on (where else?) Twitter. I’m @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Broken' Fitbit Reveals Pregnancy]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05:47:34 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/fitbit-baby-0211.jpg

A Brooklyn man learned a surprising bit of data while trying to troubleshoot what he thought was a problem with his wife’s Fitbit: they were going to be parents.

David Trinidad said he and his wife, Ivonne, had both recently gotten Fitbits with heart rate monitors and were using them to stay in shape. One day his wife mentioned that she thought something was wrong with her device, so he took a look.

Trinidad said his wife’s heart rate was above 100 beats per minute for most of the day and that the device had indicated she had been burning fat for an unusually long 10 hours.

“That’s almost impossible,” he said. “I thought something was wrong with the watch.”

So the 34-year-old went to a Fitbit page on Reddit and outlined his issues, trying to get a fix for the device before sending it back to customer service.

It wasn’t long before one user offered up an explanation, saying maybe his wife was pregnant.

“Has she experienced anything really stressful in the last few days or is it a possibility she is pregnant?” the user said.

The father-to-be said that as soon as he saw the reply, “That’s when the light bulb went off.” He said the pair had been trying to get pregnant for a couple months.

Trinidad said he called his wife and told her to pick up some pregnancy tests on her way home from work. Every test came back positive.

Afterward, they were quick to share the news with their family and on social media, creating @babyfitbit Twitter and Instagram accounts for the little one.

“We’re happy, the grandparents are very happy,” he said. “It’s just been great. Friends and family support us, there’s been tons of support online which has been really unexpected.



Photo Credit: Provided by David Trinidad]]>
<![CDATA[Top Super Bowl 50 Social Media Moments]]> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:09:16 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-508984228.jpg

The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 to win Super Bowl 50 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California, delivering star quarterback Peyton Manning his second championship ring. From Beyoncé's performance of her new song "Formation" at halftime to Betty White's dab before the game, here are the top social media moments on and off the field.

12. Eli Manning's not-so-pleased expression when his brother's team scored a critical touchdown in the fourth quarter lit up social media with hilarious memes.

Peyton Manning tied his younger brother for two Super Bowl rings apiece, leading many to wonder whether sibling rivalry had anything to do with Eli's emotionless face.

11. A disappointed Cam Newton abruptly walked out of the post-Super Bowl press conference after the Panthers quarterback gave reporters short answers about his team's loss.

Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski took to Twitter, scolding Newton for his behavior, but he quickly had to clarify his remarks. 

"You will never last in the NFL with that attitude,” Romanowski wrote. "The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy! #CamNewton

Romanowski deleted that tweet. Later, he tried to clarify his remarks tweeting, "Calm down everyone! I meant he needs to grow up!”

He eventually tweeted an apology: "I apologize for that remark 'boy.' It was not intentional or even trying to disrespect others. Peace everyone!"

Meanwhile, some critics also slammed Newton for having failed to dive for the ball during a fumble, and called it a "business decision." 

10. NBA superstar Kevin Durant shot photos from the sidelines.

9. A stampede of adorable dachshunds dressed in hot dog buns ran toward ketchup and mustard bottles in a Heinz commercial, one of the many memorable Super Bowl ads. 

8. FLOTUS and POTUS prepped for the Super Bowl with their dogs Sunny and Bo. 

7. Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple Martin and Beyonce's daughter Blue Ivy were seen holding hands in Paltrow's Instagram post before the Super Bowl. Apple's father Chris Martin and Beyonce performed together during the halftime show.

6. Jonathan Stewart leapt into the end zone for the Panthers only touchdown.

5. Astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted an aerial view of the Super Bowl from space. Kelly is spending a year in space. 

4. Beyonce slayed in her halftime performance of her new song "Formation." She announced she's embarking on a Formation World Tour during the game. The halftime festivities also boasted performances by Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

3. Betty White dabbed, sending Newton a message prior to the start of the game.

2. Denver Broncos starting quarterback Peyton Manning won his second Super Bowl. 

1. Lady Gaga sported red eyeshadow and delivered a memorable rendition of the national anthem to kick off Super Bowl 50.



Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Twitter Locks Down 125,000 Accounts]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:04:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/twitterGettyImages-494325030.jpg

Twitter announced Friday it will shut down more than 125,000 accounts as part of an effort to crack down on extremist content.

In a news release, the company said it was committed to weeding out content that advocates for terrorism and violence. It said there is no "magic algorithm" for targeting such content, but it will continue to "engage with authorities and other relevant organizations to find solutions to this critical issue."

Since late last year, Twitter has been using "proprietary spam fighting tools" in order to identify accounts that violate their terms of service policy. It also has assigned a dedicated team to examine the accounts. 

The moves come as the White House has been putting more pressure on social media companies to proactively identify potentially dangerous accounts and content.

The Obama administration has sent high-level personnel including F.B.I Director James Comey to California to discuss how the tech giants and government can work together more effectively. 

Twitter said the nature of its product, which it called "an open forum for expression," makes it vulnerable to becoming a communications tool for social media savvy terrorist organizations like ISIS, as NBC News reported. 

Last month, a woman whose husband was killed in Jordan in a terrorist attack sued Twitter in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit claimed Twitter was partially responsible because the ISIS attack was coordinated via the social media platform.

The suit is not expected to get far, as Twitter is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, but it does raise questions about the level of responsibility that social media companies should have regarding the content on their platforms.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Hits Empire State Building]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:41:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/drone+suspect+empire+state+building.jpg

A small drone crashed into the 40th floor of the Empire State Building Thursday night and then fell to a 35th floor landing, authorities said. 

Police said a New Jersey man was flying the drone in an attempt to take pictures and apparently lost control of the aircraft.

Investigators said Sean Nivin Riddle was arrested at the scene and is expected to face criminal charges. He was being questioned by officers at the Midtown South police precinct.

Right after the crash, Riddle apparently wrote on his own Twitter feed: “filming w/ drone, now its stuck on the empire state building....w/security.”

The crash brought a significant police and FBI response to the landmark at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street as a precaution. Investigators said that they do not believe the crash was intentional.

No one was hurt.

Riddle did not immediately respond to requests from NBC 4 New York seeking comment. 



Photo Credit: File.
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<![CDATA[Happy 'Friends Day': Facebook Turns 12 ]]> Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:42:33 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/friends-day-facebook-video.jpg

It's been 12 years since Facebook launched its social media website and to celebrate the milestone the technology company has dubbed their anniversary "Friends Day."

The company wrote in a blog post that its research showed that every person on the site is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people.

Facebook's "degrees of separation" have shrunk as more people have signed on over the years.

To celebrate its anniversary, Facebook has created a Friends Day Video feature which gives the millions of Facebook users a personalized film at the top of their newsfeed. The video depicts a slideshow of Facebook photos unique to each user's account that shows him or her with friends and loved ones, all while set to a playful tune. 

While the company is encouraging Facebook users to share their Friends Day video with the hashtag #friendsday, another hashtag has gained popularity: #beforefacebooki.

Facebook users, as well as those on Twitter and Instagram, have taken to the web to reflect on what their life was like before Facebook existed, giving insight into the way the tech company has changed what it means to be connected. 

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<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Deposes Bezos of Fifth Richest Title]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:24:14 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-464961022.jpg

On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg passed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to become the fifth richest person in the world, less than a week after he claimed the position of sixth wealthiest from Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, NBC News reported.

Zuckerberg is worth $50 billion, Forbes estimates, as of Tuesday's close. According to the same estimates, Bezos is worth approximately $48.9 billion.

This puts the 31-year-old CEO in close proximity to Carlos Slim, the Mexican business magnate who was the richest person in the world from 2010 to 2013.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[GE to Stop Making Fluorescent Light Bulbs]]> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 10:51:30 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/190*120/AP_090610036569.jpg

GE announced Monday that it will stop making its coiled compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) for the U.S. market and switch to LED lamps by the end of 2016.

LED light bulbs are brighter, use less energy and last longer. They do not use dangerous chemicals such as mercury to generate power like CFLs do. However, LEDs are the most expensive type of bulb.

“These LED lightbulbs are starting to replicate what the electrical filament has done for over 100 years — providing that look and warm ambience that people are used to,” GE Lighting chief operating officer John Strainic said in the announcement. “The time for LED is now.”

Compact fluorescents were the first big energy-saving option but they no longer meet government standards for energy efficiency. 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Recalls AC Adapters Over Potential Shock Hazard]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:55:09 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/257*120/Screen-Shot-2016-01-29-at-2.58.02-PM.jpg

Apple issued a voluntary recall this week of certain AC wall plug adapters because they may break and cause electrical shock when touched.

In a statement posted on their site, Apple said it's recalling AC wall plug adapters designed for users in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Continental Europe, New Zealand and South Korea. The recall also affects adapters sold in the United States as part of The Apple World Travel Adapter Kit sold for $29. 

According to Apple, there were 12 incidents globally of defective adapters causing an electrical shock. 

Apple stressed the recall "does not affect any other Apple AC wall plug adapters designed for Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, United States or any Apple USB power adapters."

The two-prong adapters affected by the recall have either four, five, or no characters on an inside slot that connects to the primary power adapter. They shipped with certain Mac and iOS devices between 2003 and 2015. A redesigned and unaffected adapter has a three-letter regional code, like EUR, KOR, AUS, ARG or BRA, instead.

Consumers who purchased the travel kit are urged to visit Apple's website to get it exchanged for a redesigned model. They can also exchange the adapter at a local Apple Store or an authorized Apple service provider.

Although not common for the Cupertino giant, recalls have occurred before. In 2008, Apple launched the Power Adapter Exchange Program for the iPhone 3G power adapter, which also could break and create potential for electrical shock to users.



Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Surpasses Kochs on Bloomberg Billionaire List]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 18:18:18 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tlmd_markzuckerbergok1.png

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has passed billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to become the sixth richest person on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

No, the social media mogul didn't win the Powerball. The boost comes from Facebook reporting record revenue on Wednesday, pegged largely to growth in mobile phone use, according to NBC News.

That beefed up Zuckerberg's net worth by $5.5 billion, leaving him with a grand total of $47 billion — placing him ahead of the Koch brothers, who are currently worth $45.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

But Zuckerberg still has some ground to make up to break into the five, where Bill Gates and Warren Buffett reside.



Photo Credit: File -- Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Warned to Secure Baby Video Monitors: Officials]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 16:34:51 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/BabyMonitor-GettyImages-136714563.jpg

New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs is warning parents to secure Internet-connected video baby monitors, NBC News reported.

Officials say there have been many reports of devices being infiltrated and, in some cases, strangers talking to babies in the middle of the night through hacked monitors.

The department is urging parents to buy secure devices, use strong passwords, register their products and turn the devices off when not in use.
 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Does Philly Need City-Owned Drones?]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 21:34:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/212*120/drone+liscense+and+inspection.JPG

Could remote-controlled aerial drones hold the key to strengthening Philly's public services and infrastructure?

City Controller Alan Butkovitz thinks so, and his latest report suggests aerial drone technology could soon be utilized to to improve public safety. Butkovitz issued the report Wednesday outlining some of the potential advantages that drones could bring toward government services, including visual inspections of dangerous buildings.

“This technology is to enhance workers’ abilities to perform their jobs quicker, easier and in a safe manner," Butkovitz said.

The Controller's Office recently sent a drone through several areas of the city to monitor buildings in disrepair. The drone aided in finding and recording structural damage, evidence of trespassing and other conditions of interest in large structures unsafe for inspectors to venture into.

Butkovitz insists that the efficiency of drone technology would not eliminate the need for professional, licensed city inspectors.

Drones have gained popularity among hobbyists and filmmakers, and Amazon recently unveiled a plan to launch 30-minute drone delivery within the next five years. The City Controller's Office asserts that the technology has potential to enhance infrastructure as well.

Other city departments such as SEPTA, the fire department, and parks and recreation are also exploring applications of drone technology to monitor everything from railroad track conditions to wildlife populations.

The latest review from the city controller follows the trend set by cities such as Somerville, Massachusetts, who utilize drones to monitor dangerous snow-covered roof collapses.

To read “Utilizing Drones to Improve Public Safety in the City of Philadelphia,” from the City Controller's Office, visit here



Photo Credit: Philadelphia City Controller's Office]]>
<![CDATA[FCC Proposes New Competition to Set-Top TV Box Market]]> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:50:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/CableBox-AP_070531053315.jpg

The Federal Communications Commission may open up competition for cable and satellite TV companies, NBC News reported.

The FCC proposed regulation Wednesday to allow consumers to get services through devices like tablets instead of pay-TV boxes.

Americans spent almost $20 billion — an average of $231 a year — a year to lease pay-TV boxes, according to the FCC. Rental fees have jumped 185 percent since 1994, while the price of TVs, computers and cellphones has gone down by 90 percent.

The FCC said a competitive marketplace is required by a 1996 law. The regulation will be voted on Feb. 18. 



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Clickers Beware: 'CrashSafari' Links Will Kill Your iPhone]]> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 18:14:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Apple-Iphone-AP_130974735694.jpg

Pranksters on the social web are sending people to a website that causes smartphones to crash — so you might want to hold off on clicking or tapping random links today, NBC News reported.

Don't worry, it isn't some critical bug that Apple or Google needs to patch — it's just ordinary webpage components used maliciously to overload just about any browser.

The website, crashsafari.com (and crashchrome.com — needless to say, don't visit either), adds numbers to the address bar as fast as it can — crashsafari.com/0, then /01, then /012, /0123, and eventually /0123456789101112131415... and so on. Each time it adds a number, that page is saved to your history — and it adds up fast.

This history and URL overload leads mobile browsers to crash and desktop ones to hang (You should still be able to force-quit the application if it's stalling). "What were you expecting?" reads the only text on the page.

Clicking on the nefarious link could result to a major annoyance — unsaved data could be lost — but it's unlikely to cause any lasting damage to your device.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Viewer Has It Right, Uses NBC10 App to Stay Ahead of Storm]]> Sat, 23 Jan 2016 16:55:57 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000013693245_1200x675_607514691891.jpg He knew what was coming thanks to the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team. Download the NBC10 App]]> <![CDATA[Nearly 300,000 Drones Registered in First 30 Days: FAA]]> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 14:33:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/drones-again.jpg

Nearly 300,000 people have registered their drones in the first 30 days after the Federal Aviation Administration launched its online registration system on Dec. 21, NBC News repotted.

Anyone operating their small, unmanned aircraft before the system went live must register by Feb. 19. The rule applies to small, recreational drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds. The FAA hopes to have a system in place for commercial drone operators by the spring.

The FAA says the new rules are needed to make skies safer from drones flying too close to commercial airplanes or crashing into places they’re not meant to be, like the White House.

Anyone who doesn’t register their drone could face fines and penalties that include three years in prison.  



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dating App Tinder Adds STD Testing Locator]]> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 10:49:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Tinder+Screenshot.png

A feud between dating site Tinder and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation was settled on Thursday after the dating site agreed to add links to sexually transmitted disease testing locations, NBC News reported.

The battle between the Los Angeles based non-profit group and the operator of a popular dating app began last fall leading sexual health advocacy group put up billboards and advertisements in Los Angeles and New York, associating Tinder with sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Tinder sent a "cease and desist" letter to the group after the billboards were erected. Now that Tinder is adding the STD testing locator to its application, the group is removing its billboards and advertisements mentioning the software.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Tinder]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon to Offer Full Refund on Hoverboards: Gov't]]> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:23:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hoverboard+fire+bk.jpg

After telling consumers in the U.K. to dispose of their hoverboards and expect a full refund, Amazon has expanded its reimbursement program to the U.S.

The announcement, made by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye in a press release, comes as the federal regulatory agency is actively investigating a number of companies that make or sell hoverboards.

"For consumers who purchased a hoverboard from Amazon, they can return the product right now for a full refund," Kaye wrote in the press release. 

Kaye commended the online retail giant for "voluntarily stepping up" and "putting consumers safety first," and advised customers who purchased the self-balancing board to contact the company for a refund

The CPSC also cautioned against purchasing hoverboards that are labled Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified. Some fire officials in the U.S. have advised parents to only purchase UL-labeled hoverboards, but Kaye said the global leader in product testing and inspection does not currently provide certification for the smart boards.

"The presence of a UL mark on hoverboards or their packaging should not be an indication to consumers of the product’s safety. In fact, any such mark is at best misleading and may even be a sign of a counterfeit product," Kaye said.

While the agency is also investigating 39 hoverboard fires across 19 states, focusing on the lithium-ion batteries that power the boards and "their interaction with the circuit boards," the CPSC suggests wearing protective gear, staying off roads, charging the boards away from combustible materials, and keeping a fire extinguisher nearby while using and charging the hoverboards.

With no safety standards for the popular boards, several U.S. airlines have already banned them from passenger flights and the U.S. Postal Service stopped shipping hoverboards by air.  

As of Thursday, Amazon continues to sell hoverboards on their site. There was no word from the online retailer on whether it will permanently pull the boards from its shelves. An email request for comment was not answered. 



Photo Credit: FDNY]]>
<![CDATA[Need Power? Plug in, Power Up With Comcast]]> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:53:34 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000013653180_1200x675_606024259614.jpg When winter weather knocks out power, there are dozens of place you can charge your devices for free. Comcast is the parent company of NBC10.]]> <![CDATA[Mannequin Gives Practice Birth]]> Wed, 20 Jan 2016 04:33:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/robot_birth_1200x675_604763715615.jpg

A robotic mannequin that helps doctors practice delivering babies could usher in a new era of health care, some doctors believe.

The technology, dubbed “Victoria,” made an appearance Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in San Diego.

The lifelike robot is shaped like a woman and made with parts simulating a woman’s reproductive system.

Victoria can be programmed to have a normal birth, emergency caesarian section or a breech delivery. The robot simulates labor contractions and even says “My belly hurts.”

Doctors can monitor Victoria’s vital signs and fetal heart tones with real medical equipment.

And if something goes wrong, they can start again.

“You get to do everything wrong, hit the reset and learn how to do it right and you didn't have to affect anybody,” said Dr. Mario de las Cuevas with the society. “You didn't have to look over anybody's shoulder and you get practical experience in a real setting."

Organizers of the event say one third of medical errors by trainees involve obstetrics and gynecology patients, so Victoria, made by Gaumard Scientific, addresses a need to practice deliveries.
 

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<![CDATA[SpaceX Rocket Bursts Into Flames]]> Mon, 18 Jan 2016 10:00:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/spacex-landing-explode.jpg A SpaceX rocket successfully launched a satellite into orbit on Monday, but the rocket's return landing was a rough one.]]> <![CDATA[Netflix Cracks Down on Spoofing for Access Foreign Shows]]> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:25:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-124755248.jpg

Netflix is taking steps to stop users from faking their location to get access to foreign shows and movies, NBC News reported.

Using online tools called proxies or virtual private networks allows users to go around copyright protections, which content providers don’t like.

Netflix’s policy has been laissez-faire, but in a blog post Thursday, the company says technology is now being used to prevent the use of these tools. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Netflix]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Administration Unveils $4B Plan for Self-Driving Cars]]> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:43:07 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/SelfDrivingCar-GettyImages-152766339.jpg

The White House will spend nearly $4 billion over ten years to accelerate the development of self-driving cars, according to a plan unveiled on Thursday, NBC News reported.

The move is part of an initiative President Barack Obama announced during his State of the Union address on Tuesday to build a “21st century transportation system.”

The White House wants to spend $3.9 billion for pilot programs to test “connected vehicle systems” throughout the country. The White House claims self-driving cars could cut down on accidents.

"We know that 83 percent of car accidents are due to human error," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said at the auto show in Detroit. "What happens if human error could be eliminated? That's a powerful possibility, and that's a possibility worth pursuing."  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Americans Don't Want Devices Tracking Them at Home]]> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:24:32 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gadgets-AP_164152250147.jpg

Americans don’t want their gadgets tracking their movements at home, according to a new Pew Research Center poll, NBC News reported.

The poll posed several hypothetical situations to test how much privacy people were willing to give up for convenience and savings.

Fifty-five percent of people polled found a hypothetical “inexpensive thermostat sensor” that would share data on when people are in the house and that would track their movements unacceptable. 

But 52 percent of Americans were more likely to allow their doctor to upload their personal health records. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Suit: Twitter 'Knowingly' Let Terrorists Use Social Network]]> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 02:26:24 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/twitter-isis-lawsuit.jpg

The family of a Florida defense contractor killed in a November terror attack while training security forces in Jordan is suing Twitter, claiming the company has knowingly allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS to use its social network to spread extremist propaganda.

According to court documents filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, Lloyd "Carl" Fields Jr. was killed by a Jordanian police captain he was training at the International Police Training Center in Amman, which is operated and funded in part by the U.S. State Department. ISIS took credit for the attack, which also took the life of another American contractor, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit blames Twitter in part for the attack, claiming it allows extremists to recruit and spread violent ideology on its platform.

"For years, Twitter has knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use its social network as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds and attracting new recruits," the suit says. "...Without Twitter, the explosive growth of ISIS over the last few years into the most feared terrorist group in the world would not have been possible."

According to the lawsuit, ISIS has an estimated 70,000 Twitter accounts, at least 79 of which were "official," and it posted at least 90 tweets every minute.

A Twitter spokesperson issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"While we believe the lawsuit is without merit, we are deeply saddened to hear of this family's terrible loss. Like people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups and their ripple effects on the Internet. Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and, like other social networks, our rules make that clear. We have teams around the world actively investigating reports of rule violations, identifying violating conduct, partnering with organizations countering extremist content online, and working with law enforcement entities when appropriate."

This isn't the first time Twitter has been accused of offering a venue for terrorists. In December, the government of Turkey fined Twitter for refusing to remove content deemed "terrorist propaganda." Twitter responded by filing a lawsuit saying the fine was illegal.

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<![CDATA[German App for Migrants Teaches Info, Language Skills]]> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:49:11 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GermanyMigrants-AP_189095793769.jpg

There’s a new smartphone app that aims to help give basic information, language and customs to migrants and refugees streaming in to Germany from Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and other war-torn countries, NBC News reported.

“Ankommen,” meaning “arrive” or “come across,” is free on Google Play and will be available on the iOS system soon. It’s available in several different including English, Arabic and German.

Basic lessons in German and German culture are provided, with information on the various offices of the government with which migrants will have to interact.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX Plans Drone Ship Rocket Landing for Jan. 17 ]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 19:19:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_211557185896.jpg

SpaceX confirmed it is planning on landing a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea on Jan. 17, NBC News reported.

This launch will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It will carry NASA’s Jason-3 satellite, which holds instruments to monitor the ocean's surface, collecting information about circulation patterns and perhaps rising sea levels.

The company succeeded Dec. 22 in making its first-stage rocket return safely to Earth and land upright at a predetermined location nears its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

A previous attempt in January 2015 to land a Falcon 9 on a "drone ship" almost succeeded, but a last-minute failure saw the rocket topple over and explode.  



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Majority of Parents Monitor Teen's Digital Activity: Study]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:28:06 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/TeensTexting-GettyImages-573200639.jpg

More than 60 percent of parents said they’ve checked up on their teens’ Internet usage, text messages and call records, according to a new study released Thursday, NBC News reported.

The study was conducted by Pew Research Center and surveyed parents of teens aged 13 to 17. The study found that more parents take a hands-on approach to monitoring what their children do by monitoring websites, checking social media platforms, and friending or following their teen on social media platforms.

More than 65 percent of parents resorted to “digitally” grounding their kids by taking away their cellphone or Internet privileges. In addition, almost half of parents — 48 percent — said they knew the password to their teens’ email accounts, while 43 percent said they knew cellphone passwords.

While many parents may be actively snooping on their teens, less than a quarter said they used technology to monitor their children’s behavior.  



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<![CDATA[Twitter Expected to Allow 10,000-Character Tweets]]> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 15:57:29 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-180483176.jpg

Soon, Twitter users may not have to choose their words quite so wisely.

The San Francisco company is expected to alter its fundamental premise by allowing tweets as long as 10,000 characters — more than 78 times longer than the current limit of 140 characters.

The company has not confirmed that the change is coming, but sources familiar with the development have spoken anonymously to the Wall Street Journal and Re/code. The size limit of direct messages jumped to 10,000 characters in July, when co-founder Jack Dorsey rejoined the company as its chief executive officer.

Twitter established the 140-character ceiling from the start in 2006, a response to the 160-character limit that SMS text messages had on mobile phones.



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