<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com en-us Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:58:14 -0500 Wed, 04 Mar 2015 13:58:14 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Texting 911 Now an Option for Some]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:29:26 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Generic+911+smart+phone.jpg Northampton County and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania residents can now text 911, not just call in the case of an emergency.

Photo Credit: Vladimir Koletic, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Yahoo! Turns 20 With a Yodel]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:29:52 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/163*120/AP97030303425_YahooFilo.jpg

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Monday, and the employees — and the Nasdaq bell in New York — are yodeling for joy.

"We're thrilled," CFO Ken Goldman said before the Nasdaq yodeled, not rang, before the opening bell, a first on the New York stock exchange floor, according to Yahoo.

He said the Silicon Valley company has come a long way since being house in a construction trailer on the campus of Stanford University, saying it's now a "global tech company" with more than 1 billion customers.

It was in 1994 that Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford University electrical engineers debuted "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," according to — where else? — but Yahoo News.

In its first iteration, the site was a directory other pages on the web, organized in a hierarchy.

The pair renamed it Yahoo, an acronym for, "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," and on March 2, 1995, it was incorporated. The search engine is no long the leader in search engine capability or email. But it does have a growing news site, and it’s now headed by CEO Marissa Mayer.

To mark the #YodelOn festivites, a customized Yahoo Y20 animation took over the Nasdaq billboard in New York Times Square, and in San Francisco, City Hall will light up in the company's favorite color: purple.

At lunchtime, Yahoo employees will link up online to try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous yodel.

Click here to see what 20 Internet words didn't exist before Yahoo launched.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Technology Helps Sense Water Leaks in Homes]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:08:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Water+leak+pipe+burst+spray+generic.jpg A leaking pipe can cause thousands of dollars in damage and lots of headaches, but a system used by a Jersey Shore municipality strives to sense a leak so officials can cut off the water supply before break gets out of hand. NBC10's Ted Greenberg shows us how it works.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Google Expansion Worries Hometown]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:58:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/google22.jpg

New expansion plans for Google headquarters, known as the Googleplex, has the city of Mountain View in a tough position as city leaders try to accommodate their biggest corporate taxpayer as well as non-Google residents who feel the tech giant is swallowing their town.

“I think most of us in Mountain View are concerned about where are we going to house the employees that work there, the new employees. How will they get to work given the traffic bottlenecks that already exist?” asked Mountain View councilman Lenny Siegel.

Reportedly, the new plans highlight a campus focused on walking or biking to work, which means one thing to Siegel: Mountain View must build new housing.

“We’re expecting as we put housing in north Bayshore and near north Bayshore that we’ll reduce the amount of miles traveled by commuters,” he said.

A mobile home park in the shadow of Google headquarters is also in the cross hairs.

“There is a mobile home park in north Bayshore, about 360 units and a growing number of Google employees are moving in there,” he said. “Now it’s unfortunately displacing some of the residents, they’ve been bought out basically.”

Gregory Legg, who lives in Mountain View said many of his neighbors are Google employees and they’re doing wonders for property values

“It’s actually bringing it up, the property values, which is good. It’s real good,” Legg said. “I mean, before, it was pretty low. And now it’s brought it up quite a bit.”

But with the higher prices, Rosemary Dozie Antoine said she will probably have to move.

“We would like to get out of here because everything’s too expensive for what I do,” she said. “And for what my husband does. So we need to kinda’ need to get out of here.”

The higher real estate is benefiting some, but pushing out others.

“It’s the housing and transportation issues that make me question the value of all this high-tech growth,” she said.

Siegel said opening up Moffett Field for a type of park-and-ride plan that would help alleviate street congestion could be in the works. But his main focus is discussing new housing developments around Google, something the council said no to last year.
 


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<![CDATA[FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:23:47 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009612054_1200x675_405259331615.jpg The Federal Communications Commission ruled internet service providers cannot give faster service based on how much customers are willing to pay. NBC10's Harry Hairston has the details.]]> <![CDATA[FCC's Net Neutrality Regulations]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:03:30 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009612014_1200x675_405253187698.jpg The FCC has agreed to impose strict regulations aimed at enforcing what is called "net neutrality." Internet providers will be prohibited from granting faster access to companies that pay for the privilege. Kevin Werbach, an associate professor of legal studies and business ethnics at the University of Pennsylvania, shares more about what this means.]]> <![CDATA["Spring Forward": Apple Watch Expected at March Event]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:52:31 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/APPLE10.jpg

Could it be time for the Apple Watch's big debut?

In its typical mysterious style, Apple announced on Thursday it will hold a “special event” on March 9, in San Francisco. While the Cupertino company didn't mention the watch - it never publicly identifies the subjects of its much-ballyhooed unveilings - it did use a time pun in its sparsely written invitation, colored in pastels.

"Spring Forward," reads the text for the invitation-only event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, which kicks off at 10 a.m.

Bolstering the watch theory, the company bought 12 pages of ads in Vogue magazine to tout its new Apple Watch, which is set to be released in April. The ad features three versions of the new smartwatch: the leather standard model, the rubber Sport , and the high-end Edition, all in glossy print ads.

And keen industry observers, including TechRadar, MacRumors and the Wall Street Journal predict that soon most everyone who wants one will be walking around with a new Apple wearable on their wrist.



Photo Credit: Apple invitation]]>
<![CDATA[Uber and Starwood Hotels Partner]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/uber-safety.jpg

San Francisco-based ridesharing company Uber is partnering with a hotel rewards program for the first time.

On Tuesday, Uber announced a partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Connecticut.

Now people in Starwood Hotel’s Preferred Guest program can earn hotel “points” at the chain every time they ride with Uber. The Starwood chain is made up of more than 1,100 hotels and nine brands including St. Regis, W, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element.

According to Uber’s blog, 72 percent of the over 290 cities where Uber is available, you can also find a Starwood hotel.

This partnership includes larger promotional events around the world, including a day of special freebies and deals for San Francisco customers on Feb. 28.

While Uber is a popular ridesharing company, it has also been surrounded in controversy both in the Bay Area and around the world.  Uber has come under fire recently for its safety record, executive missteps, and for being embroiled in several lawsuits with local governments.

Riders will have to rack up quite a few Uber trips to earn their free stay. Starwood Hotel guests earn one “Starpoint” for each dollar they spend with Uber. Guests need a minimum of 2,000 of those “Starpoints“ to stay at the least expensive Starwood rooms.
 

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<![CDATA[Google Teams Up with Wireless Carriers]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 23:09:54 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/186*120/google12.jpg

Aiming to undercut Apple's latest hit service, Google is teaming up with three major U.S. wireless carriers to prod more people into using its mobile wallet.

The counterattack announced Monday is just the latest example of how the competition between Google Inc. and Apple Inc. is extending beyond the technology industry's traditional boundaries. Besides payments, Silicon Valley's two richest companies are expanding into fields such as home appliances and cars to increase their power and profits.

Google's latest volley calls for its payment service to be built into Android smartphones sold by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA later this year. Smartphone owners currently have to download the service, called Google Wallet, and install the app on their phone if they want to use it to buy something instead of pulling out cash or a credit card.
 
Apple's rival service, Apple Pay, already comes embedded in the latest versions of the company's mobile software.
 
Besides trying to make it more convenient to use Wallet, Google also is hoping to improve the nearly 4-year-old service. Toward that end, Google Inc. is buying some mobile payment technology and patents from Softcard, a 5-year-old venture owned by the wireless carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Although Google and the wireless carriers got a head start with their digital wallets, the concept hadn't gained much traction until Apple Pay debuted last fall.
 
The service has become more popular than Apple expected, according to a recent presentation by CEO Tim Cook.

Just three months after Apple Pay's November debut, Cook said the service accounted for two out of every three dollars spent across the three major U.S. card networks, when no card was used. About 2,000 banks and credit unions have agreed to offer Apple Pay to its customers. Apple hasn't said how many merchants are set up to handle its mobile payment services.
 
Apple builds on that early momentum, the Cupertino, California, company could become the leader in what is expected to be a booming market. Nearly 16 million U.S. consumers spent about $3.5 billion on tap-and-pay services last year, according to the research firm eMarketer. By 2018, eMarketer predicts those figures will rise to 57 million U.S. consumers spending about $118 billion.

Companies that provide mobile wallets make money by collecting processing fees from merchants and banks.

Samsung Electronics, another major smartphone maker, may be ready to join the fray after buying a mobile payment startup called LoopPay. That deal, announced last week, fueled speculation that Samsung will include a digital wallet on its next phone.

Apple Pay's popularity probably helped forge the unlikely alliance between Google and the wireless carriers. Google traditionally has had a prickly relationship with the carriers, largely because it doesn't believe enough has been done to upgrade wireless networks and make them cheaper so more people can spend more time online. Media reports say Google is considering selling its own wireless plans to consumers.

The pre-installation of the Wallet app is similar to what Google already does with its search engine, Gmail and YouTube on millions of other phones running on Android -- an operating system that Google has been giving away for years to ensure people keep using its products on mobile devices. Google profits from the traffic by showing ads.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brain Stents Give Hope to Stroke Victims: Study]]> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 09:20:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009486326_1200x675_397855299979.jpg Doctors and researchers are encouraged by a recent study that indicates brain stents have a positive impact on certain patients affected by stroke. ]]> <![CDATA[Say "I Love You" With Your Smartphone This Valentine's Day]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:07:37 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/valentines-chocolate-469002943.jpg

Want to make your Valentine feel extra special? Skip the traditional pharmacy greeting card and instead create a one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day message online. These easy-to-use apps offer fun and unique ways to personalize your message from the comfort of your smartphone.


Video Greeting Creator (A1 Brains Infotech)

Create a video message with a Valentine's Day border (10 frames) and choose music from your own music library to go along with your own personal recorded message. More here.

Postagram (Sincerely Inc.)

Use this free app to make your own photo postcard on your phone and then mail it for 99 cents within the United States and $1.99 outside the U.S. Write your own sweet VDay message and include any photo directly from your iPhone or Android device. The postcard is printed on thick, glossy paper. More here.

 Ink (Sincerely Inc.)

Never miss a holiday or other important date with this app, which allows you to customize free eCards with a choice of 2,000 layouts, photos from Facebook, a personal message and a variety of colors. You can order printed paper cards of your creation, too. The app, available for iPhone, iPad or Android, can be used beyond Valentine's Day, too — just link it to your Facebook to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and more. More here.

Someecards (Someecards, Inc.)

The witty (and sometimes raunchy) e-cards freqently get laughs and likes on Facebook, and its Valentine's Day collection is no exception. Those who celebrate Single’s Awareness Day might take a liking to these cards as well. Share through email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. More here.

Love Poems (Mario Guenther-Bruns)

If you are lost for words, this free iPhone app has a collection of romantic writings, from Shakespeare to Edgar Allen Poe. Use the self-described "app to fall in love with" to send your love a poem through Facebook, Twitter or via email. More here.


GoodFor Coupons & IOU Cards (SnipSnap)

If you forgot a Valentine's Day gift in the past, this free iPhone app will keep you out of trouble. Choose from designed backgrounds or a photo from your phone and send your significant other an "IOU a 30 minute massage" or a coupon that's "Good for a night on the town." The chronicly late can make sure a gift arrives on time even if you don't for date night. More here.

A Flower Email (Boo Kim)

Can't afford splurging on sending a bouquet of red roses to your lover's door? With this 99-cent app you can send your Valentine some virtual flowers through email. The iPhone app offers hundreds of different e-arrangements. More here.

Cupid Booth (John Temple Group Pty Ltd.)

Love selfies? This one is for you. This free iPhone app lets you take a photo or select one from your phone and dress it up with speech bubbles, hearts, hats, kisses and your own written messages. Text it or share it on social media for your friends to see. More here.

Talking Panda Mime Love Letters (StartApp)

Send an animated panda "Pandamime" to declare his love for your beloved.

This free iPhone app captures your facial expressions and records a message that plays back via a cartoon panda which you can send through email or Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube. More here.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dating App for Pot Smokers]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 08:49:48 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/High+There+App.jpg

Stoners looking for that special someone, rejoice: There is a new way to light up connections with others who share a love of weed.

High There! is a dating app, similar to Tinder, designed especially for marijuana smokers.

The Denver-based app is available for Android phones in states where use of marijuana is legal, according to its download page in the Google Play store.

High There! doesn't yet have an iPhone app, though several media reports say one is in the works.

Similar to Tinder, High There! lets users create profiles and swipe through potential matches. But the app also lets weed-smokers let others know what they like to do when high. A preview on Google Play shows the options to set your "energy level" to "low" if you like to veg out, or to "high" if you want to go for a run after you partake.

The app also matches people based on their preferences for consuming THC -- vaping vs. smoking, for example.

"High There! solves the problem many cannabis consumers face in connecting with similar people," according to the app's download page. "Whether looking to connect with new friends, current friends, fellow patients, or simply to find that special someone who understands and supports your choice to consume, High There! helps by giving you a safe place to express yourself."

CEO Todd Mitchem told Mashable the app is designed for more than just dating.

"A lot of people say we're the Tinder of weed, but that's only one facet of the whole thing. It's so much bigger," he said.

Mitchem said the app can help users find recommendations for local medical marijuana dispensaries, or just make friends. (Presumably, friends with some weed.)



Photo Credit: High There! Screen Grab from Google Play]]>
<![CDATA[Google Now Calculates Your Mortgage]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 16:22:56 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*121/GoogleMortgageCalculator.JPG

Google now has a mortgage calculator for users who don't want to bother looking up a mortgage site.

Apparently it was created to capture those searching for a mortgage calculator because it shows up in the search results, much as its regular calculator does, according to Search Engine Land. From Google Plus:

Preparing for homeownership just got a bit easier. Starting today you can ask Google things like “How much can I borrow at $200 a month?” or “At 5% APR how much can I borrow over 10 years?” You can even adjust the mortgage amount, interest rate, mortgage period and more to see which financial options fit your needs.

Google's plan is to keep eyeballs on the site, and providing free online tools has been their successful way of doing just that. Its other tools, such as Google's currency converter and Google Translate are also ways to keep people using the search engine and coming back for more.



Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[Google Takes on Uber]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:29:36 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/uber-illustration-451549230.jpg

Uber, Lyft -- and now Google.

With no drivers, to boot.

The Mountain View search engine and advertising giant is reportedly working on an Uber competitor, with Google employees already using an app-hailed ride service, according to Bloomberg Business.

Google is working on multiple ventures, including a driverless, self-driven car. Google is also an Uber investor, after the company sank $258 million in Uber in 2013.

Bloomberg believes that Google's ride-hailing service will be launched "most likely in conjunction" with the "driverless car project."

The project is so real that Uber is close to asking David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer who has sat on Uber's board since 2013, to resign his position, Bloomberg reported.

Multiple companies are working on driverless cars, but Google's emergence as an Uber competitor rather than a partner might spell trouble for the San Francisco-based Uber.



Photo Credit: Illustration/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Super Bowl 2015: Top Moments on Twitter, Facebook]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:11 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/brady-belichick-sb49-win-462644256.jpg

Sunday’s Super Bowl battle between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks was the most-talked about NFL championship ever on Twitter and Facebook, the social media giants said Monday.

There were more than 28.4 million global tweets about the game and halftime show, surpassing last year’s 24.9 million tweets during the Super Bowl, Twitter said.

For Facebook, 65 million people wrote some 265 million Super Bowl-related posts, comments and likes.

Some of the game's highlights generated more buzz than Katy Perry's halftime performance and dozens of commercials.

The most popular moment on Facebook was the Patriots' win (1.36 million people-per-minute). This had the second highest volume on Twitter with 379,000 tweets per minute. Katy Perry’s “Firework” finale at halftime was the second most talked-about moment on Facebook (1.02 million people-per-minute); Perry's halftime show was third on Twitter with 284,000 tweets per minute.

When Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass by Russell Wilson one yard from the goal line with 20 seconds left in the game, Twitter exploded with 395,000 tweets per minute to become the top moment of the night. Butler’s move was the third most popular moment on Facebook, which sparked some 676,000 conversations per-minute.

Women between ages 25 to 34 were the most represented demographic in the conversation about the game on Facebook. The social media platform added that Tom Brady was the most-discussed New England Patriots player, and Marshawn Lynch from the Seahawks.


 



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cutting Class? New App Could Blow Your Cover]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:49:22 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/smart+phone+generic+.jpg

Want to see if your college student is skipping class? There’s an app for that.

For $200 a year, parents, professors and campus administrators can use Class120 to check to see if a student is in class at the scheduled time.

The minds behind the app, which was debuted by start-up Core Principle this month, say the accountability app could help students stay on track with their studies and prepare them for being punctual once they enter the workforce. But some students say it gives parents too much control over the lives of their adult children.

Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of Core Principle, developed the app after a conversation he had with a college professor that left him thinking that if colleges treated all students the way they treat Division 1 athletes, whose attendance in class is closely monitored, then graduation levels would rise.

“If we could get students everywhere to attend at least 90 percent of their classes, over 80 percent would graduate,” Whorley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

The app tracks if the student is in class, and sends an alert to the student’s parent or teacher if they do not show up to class for two days in a row. Core Principle can also call the student directly if a parent or teacher does not feel comfortable contacting the student. The app must be downloaded by the student, and it can only be used to track if a student is in class, not at parties or other activities.

Still, some have criticized the app for being too controlling over students who should be treated like adults.

"I would probably be more annoyed than anything," Natalie Pike told NBC affiliate WTHR. "I would feel like my life is being pried into."

But Whorley argues that in the post-college world, a recent grad will face immediate consequences if they do not show up or even show up late to work. More students, he says, need to be treated with similar consequences by having a teacher or parent point out that they are late and help get back on track before the entire semester goes down the drain.

“We don’t think this app is anti-adult," Whorley said. "It’s an introduction to the real economy.”

The app has made recent headlines, with coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In the last four days alone, the start-up has seen a huge increase in traffic from parents in Europe and Asia looking to track their children who are studying abroad in the U.S., he said. So far the app is available for close to 2,000 college campuses across the country that the company has geomapped.

Whorley hopes that in the future this app can work to take class attendance.

“The future of taking attendance is Wi-Fi or GPS where a professor looks down at a piece of smart technology instead of calling roll," he said.

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<![CDATA[College Students Will Have a Harder Time Cutting Class ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:04:25 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_attendanceapp0129001_1500x845__677564.jpg College students will have a much harder time trying to skip class now that parents and professors can track if they're in class or not. ]]> <![CDATA[Newsweek Criticized for Silicon Valley Cover]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:19:30 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Newsweek+sexism+in+tech+cover.jpg

Newsweek's latest exposé has social media in a frenzy over the choice of cover art.

To illustrate the "What Silicon Valley Thinks Of Women" article, the American news magazine created a cover illustration showing a computer cursor lifting up the skirt of a woman in a red dress.

Billed by Newsweek as a report of the "sordid, shocking and systemic" sexism in the Northern California technology hub home to Apple, Google and Yahoo, the attention-grabbing art has pundits and social media users questioning its appropriateness.

"Clickbait, designed to piss off women while pretending to investigate sexism in tech. Fail--but you know it," tweeted Jennifer Pozner, executive director of the analysis group Women In Media and News.

Newsweek editor Jim Impoco has not directly responded to the outcry but instead tweeted a line of approval taken from an Adweek review of the article, and also retweeted one commenter's reworking of the cover art to show the woman kicking the cursor away and her expletive-filled thought over the incident.


 



Photo Credit: Newsweek
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<![CDATA[Instagram Down for a 2nd Time This Week]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:15:21 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/158539421.jpg

The photo-centric social media site Instagram was down Wednesday night, just two days after it suffered a similar outage.

The website Is It Down Right Now showed the site as being down shortly after 10:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. By 10:40 p.m. ET it said the site was back up and reachable.

The site went down on Tuesday around the same time that Facebook, which owns Instagram, suffered a widespread outage lasting roughly 40 minutes.

Instagram has about 300 million users, compared to Facebook's 1.25 billion.

Users took to social media on Wednesday night to report the problem and the pain of not being able to post their photos.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Local Police Asked to Look Out for Drone Use]]> Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:34:31 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Drone+CBP.PNG

It was around 4 a.m. last Wednesday when Quan Ta’s small, four-propellered drone buzzed over the third base gate at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. Almost as soon as he launched the remote controlled flying machine into the air, ballpark security confronted him.

“I was up for not even a minute and then two security guys came out and they called the police,” the 33-year-old Upper Darby, Pa. wedding photographer told NBC10. He quickly brought the drone back to the ground.

In the encounter, which Ta recorded with the drone’s attached camera, security explained that he wasn’t allowed to fly around the stadium because it’s viewed as a high-profile terrorist target.

“I understand all that, but the stadium is empty. And all of our teams suck so I don’t think it would happen here,” he said adding he chose the deserted complex to hone his piloting skills.

“The cops, they didn’t even give me a problem at all. They said ‘Be careful. The planes were going to be flying overhead soon.’ And then they let me go,” he said.

But drone owners’ future encounters with authorities may be much different.

The Federal Aviation Administration sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the United States earlier this month asking them to do reconnaissance for federal investigators when they see unsafe or illegal drone use. The machines are formally called unmanned aircraft systems by the agency.

Hobbyists are permitted to fly unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds under certain circumstances: they stay below 400 feet, are 3 miles away from an airport and avoid populated areas and high-profile targets like stadiums. Flying for commercial use is banned unless the FAA grants a waiver. Only 16 have been issued as the administration works to draw up rules for safe flight. Those are expected to come later this year.

Philadelphia doesn’t currently have any drone legislation on the books, so police can’t cite pilots. But the FAA would like officers to interview witnesses, collect evidence and try to find the pilot.

“In many cases the cop on the beat is in the best position to assess the situation and potentially find the operator and stop them from causing harm,” FAA spokesman Les Dorr said.

A Philadelphia Police spokeswoman said the department follows all state and federal guidelines to ensure citizen’s safety under the law.

There were nearly 200 drone sightings in or around flight paths across the county during 10 months last year. Eight were in the Philadelphia region. Police spotted a drone flying over Philadelphia City Hall last September. Two months later, a Frontier Airlines jet on approach for a landing spotted an unmanned aircraft flying around 1,500 feet high around Trenton Airport.

“We do have hundreds, probably thousands of smaller aircraft operating in the skies in the Philadelphia area. We’re not sure what would happen if an small unmanned aircraft should hit the windshield or a control instrument or even an engine,” Dorr said.

Of less concern to the FAA, but more so to police and federal law enforcement is the potential security threat a drone can pose.

Over the weekend, the Secret Service investigated a breach at the White House after a DJI Phantom — the same model drone as Quan Ta’s — was discovered on the grounds. It’s owner said the machine was blown into a tree during high winds. Officials in Philadelphia are worried a drone could be used for nefarious purposes during Pope Francis’ visit to the city in September.

City Councilman Jim Kenney hopes to have regulations in place by the pontiff’s arrival to require a permit to fly drones in Philly. He said police brought the issue to his attention.

“With all technology, there are amazing productive uses for these things. But then there are always the perverts who take advantage of it,” he said. The permit would allow drone use for purposes like architectural inspections, photography and map surveys, Kenney said.

“I’m not interested at all in banning them and I want to keep the knuckleheads from using them,” he said. Kenney introduced a bill last year and has pushed for a public hearing to hear citizen’s views. It is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Public Safety.

Lavon Phillips runs the Rotor-E Club, a drone enthusiasts group based out of Camden County, New Jersey. The 60 member strong group teaches people to build and fly the unmanned, remote controlled craft. He said some group members have insurance to fly and that they promote following all government rules.

“If I didn’t have a drone and I was a passenger on an airplane, I would want the FAA and authorities to do everything in that power to make sure some dummy with a 100 pound drone bring down the plane,” he said.

Welcoming regulation, Phillips believes the confusion surrounding flying will eventually sort itself out once laws catch up.

“They’re government. They’re just behind the technology,” Phillips said.

Ta hopes it happens sooner than later since he’s looking to incorporate aerial shots into wedding photography packages.

“I just want to take it to the next level,” he said.


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.



Photo Credit: Quan Ta]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Launches YouTube Channel]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:48:04 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/77248493.jpg

Searching for Super Bowl highlights next week after the big game?

They'll be available, legally, straight from the source.

The NFL has protected its video as fiercely as any league, pushing most users to its website or to its broadcast partners.

On Monday, the league and YouTube announced a partnership between two of the most powerful brands in the marketplace, creating an official NFL channel on the video website. Clips will also be directly viewable through simple Google searches.

Content posted daily to the portal by the league will include game previews, in-game highlights, post-game recaps and clips featuring news, analysis, fantasy football advice and other original programming from NFL Network and NFL.com. Highlight packages from the current postseason were already viewable Sunday, and plenty of Super Bowl programming was scheduled to appear throughout the week and after the game.

Game highlights and other content will also be available through Google's search engine, which will display official NFL videos along with related news and information in a box at the top of the page. Kickoff times and broadcast information for every NFL game will be prominently displayed.

Google acquired YouTube in 2006. The tandem previously formed partnerships with the other three major American sports leagues, MLB, the NBA and the NHL. Google has been trying to mine more revenue from YouTube, which is positioned for further growth as consumers continue to shift toward online and mobile viewing and away from live television.

"We continue to see an insatiable appetite for digital video content, and this partnership further expands fans' ability to discover and access NFL content throughout the year," Hans Schroeder, the NFL's senior vice president of media strategy, business development and sales, said in a statement distributed by the league.

Previously, the NFL videos that popped up in a YouTube search weren't sanctioned. The NFL, like many other entities and organizations, has used a YouTube tool called "Content ID" to be able to block unlicensed videos.

Football fans still flocked to the site, of course. Maybe they pulled up one of those "Bad Lip Reading" montages of silly voice-overs accompanying game clips. Or in the hunt for that favorite highlight — "Odell Beckham Jr. one-handed catch," for instance — they found a bunch of shaky camera-phone videos that some New York Giants fan took of the TV screen.

Now those searches will be more fruitful.

The billion-dollar question, then, is whether this partnership will pave the way for eventual live streaming of games through the YouTube site rather than over the air or on cable. Probably not anytime soon, though. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said "the focus is on non-live highlights." He added that "the agreement will provide tremendous exposure for our broadcast partners."

YouTube spokesman Matt McLernon, pointing to the site's past streaming of live Olympic events, said the opportunity is there and the technology is waiting if the league were to decide to do so.

"We would welcome it with open arms if the NFL or any other league" wanted to show live games on the site, McLernon said.

Terms of the deal were not provided. But it's a safe bet that it's worth a lot of money.

The league, citing Nielsen data, said the 2014 regular season reached 202.3 million unique viewers, representing 80 percent of all television homes and 68 percent of potential viewers in the U.S., and NFL games accounted for the entire top 20 and 45 of the top 50 most-watched television shows last fall.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[123456 - Is Your Password Easy to Hack?]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:11:13 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Fingers_Keyboard_Generic_Internet_Safety_02.jpg Cyber-security provider "Splash-Data" released its list of the 25 worst passwords to use.]]> <![CDATA[Police Cameras Come to Jersey Shore Towns]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:09:39 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000009258822_1200x675_385542211559.jpg Police officers in Middle and Lower Township, New Jersey have begun wearing body cameras.]]> <![CDATA[8 Teens to be Charged in School Sexting Scandal ]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 07:20:17 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/tlmd_sexting_batavia.jpg

Eight students will soon face charges in a sexting scandal that has rocked a Bucks County high school, officials confirmed to NBC10 Thursday night.

The pending charges against the Neshaminy High School students were confirmed following the completion of a nearly 3-month long investigation into sexting claims by Middletown Township Police.

The sexual texts were first reported to school officials by students who saw the inappropriate photos on classmates' phones in the school, said district spokesman Chris Stanley in a statement released on Oct. 31, 2014.

The sexting scandal involved a large number of students across the student body, according to the district.

The district didn’t reveal any details about the shared messages outside of saying they were sexual in nature. It wasn’t clear where the photos originated, according to Stanley.

School officials alerted parents of the sexts and said individual students would be disciplined on a case-by-case basis.

Following the initial sexting reports, Principal Dr. Rob McGee posted a message to the school’s website asking parents to check their children’s phones for the Yik Yak app and giving instruction on how to see what their children posted.

Police are not releasing the names of the students who will face charges.

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<![CDATA[Apple Promotes MLK Day Volunteerism]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:06:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/8-22-2013-MLK-on-MEET-THE-PRESS.jpg

Apple is defending its policy on Martin Luther King Day, which will be observed nationally on Monday Jan. 19, after a Silicon Valley media blog called out the company for not making it a paid holiday.

The suggestion is that Apple is making a misstep, especially as tech companies are striving for greater diversity.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Apple, which confirms, while Monday is not a paid holiday, the company has encouraged employees to volunteer as a way to honor Dr. King. In turn, Apple, through its matching gifts program, is contributing $50 for every employee hour worked.

MLK Day is a federal holiday, which means government workers will have the day off.

In its article, Valleywag notes Bay Area-based companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo all give employees the holiday off.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>