<![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 Fri, 29 May 2015 08:36:36 -0400 Fri, 29 May 2015 08:36:36 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Option to Text 911 Comes to Camden County]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 23:29:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010565528_1200x675_453703235844.jpg The option to text 911 is coming to Camden County after freeholders voted to move forward with a $700,000 upgrade to its 911 system.]]> <![CDATA[Charging Cellphone Sets Bed on Fire]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 14:53:44 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hamden+cellphone+fire.jpg

Fire officials are warning residents to be careful charging their devices after a cellphone ignited a bed and pillow in Hamden, Connecticut, overnight Friday, according to the fire department.

"I saw the flames," said Hamden resident Kimberly Johnson, who said the fire broke out in her 15-year-old son's bedroom. "When I ran upstairs, his entire left side of the bed was on fire."

Residents at 204 Franklin Road in Hamden ventilated the home and the fire was extinguished before emergency crews arrived around 4 a.m., but fire officials say it's a warning to residents about the dangers of charging electronics.

"I was just scared because all I saw was the flames and my son was laying there," Johnson said.

Chargers "need space to breathe" because they generate heat while in use, according to the Hamden Fire Department.

"The cell phone was left on the bed. These devices need areas to be ventilated," said Hamden Fire Chief David Berardesca. "It is recommended that you leave these type of devices on a hard surface so the heat can dissipate. The batteries heat up, they could melt – in some cases, explode – and cause a fire."

Never block the air vents on the back and sides of a laptop or leave charging devices on a bed while sleeping. Bedding and pillows can block airflow, fire officials said.

Check power cords and chargeres regularly for damage, and throw them out if they're frayed. Damaged cords can emit electrical sparks and ignite a fire.

Always unplug chargers that are not in use. They consume electricity even when the device is not charging.

More information is available through the Hamden Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-407-3182.



Photo Credit: Hamden Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[$169 PC For Endless Global Impact]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 19:40:13 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/endlesscomputer.jpg

For many, access to computers and high-speed internet connections has never been more crucial.

We rely on them to complete schoolwork, search for jobs, watch movies, access healthcare information, and find relationships, to name but a few.

While a computer and internet access is nearly ubiquitous in the U.S. — 83.8 percent of U.S. households reported computer ownership in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — nearly five billion people have no computers globally, and sixty percent of the world sits outside the internet's reach.

Endless, a San Fransisco-based start-up, is hoping to close the divide with a user friendly and affordable desktop aimed at emerging markets.

The computer, powered by a smartphone processor, was tailor-made for people in developing markets. Keeping in mind that people in third world countries have limited access to the internet, much like early PCs, Endless is pre-installed with over 100 apps that are accessible offline, ranging from farming to health. It also comes with Wikipedia, Khan Academy, curricula, and educational games.

Starting at $169 for a 32GB computer, the egg-shaped operating system doesn't include a monitor or keyboard. As a way to reduce cost, Endless was designed to be connected to a television set.

"A keyboard isn't expensive and the monitor, well the one thing I did see in travels around India, Brazil, Thailand other places was, without fail, HD-quality televisions in most homes," CEO Matt Dalio told USA Today. "I thought the TV could be used as a monitor and we could rework the smartphone technology to make the computers affordable.”

In April, Endless launched a Kickstarter to raise funds for their international outreach marketing campaign, #EndlessAdventuras. The company amassed $176,538 to help bring awareness of the product to its first markets, Mexico and Guatemala.

Operation #EndlessAdventuras is currently underway in Mexico. Members of the Endless team are traveling through the Latin American country aboard a retrofitted schoolbus that is functioning as an offline cybercafe, stopping in rural communities, and introducing Endless to prospective users for the first time.

 



Photo Credit: Endless
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<![CDATA[Local Students Create High-Tech Prosthetic Hands]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 20:56:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/High-Tech-Hands.jpg A student project in Chester County is about more than getting a good grade. It could change two children's lives! NBC10's Deanna Durante has the latest on the amazing technology used to create these high-tech prosthetic hands.]]> <![CDATA[Angry Gamers Lash Out at Candy Crush Maker ]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 11:25:28 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/candy-crush.jpg

Willowbrook grandmother Jannet Schimmel admits it: she’s addicted to Candy Crush Saga.

"Oh, I’ve done it all day, [for] like four or five hours,” she laughs. "You don’t even realize what time it is."

Schimmel, like an estimated 90 million other consumers, plays the game every day. What she does not do, likely to the game maker’s chagrin, is pay to play. But millions of others do: Candy Crush parent company King.com netted an estimated $2 billion dollars in 2013, much of it from players who make in-app purchases, such as the all-important "lives" that allow them to keep playing after they fail to move up a level in the allotted playing time.

But a lawsuit filed in Chicago in March accuses the maker of the gaming sensation of systematically deleting players’ "lives" in order to spur sales. Game maker King.com and affiliated companies are accused of taking away without warning the key "lives" that allow a player to keep playing the game, even if he or she fails to move up a level. Players who do not have extra "lives" are otherwise locked out of the game for 30 minutes unless they pony up 99 cents to buy five new lives.

"The lives cost 99 cents, and that doesn’t sound like very much until you realize how many people across the country have had this problem,” Chicago attorney Joseph Siprut told NBC 5 Investigates. "Millions of people -- now it starts to add up pretty quickly -- and we’re talking significant damages."

The complaint alleges that due to the addictive nature of the game, King knew players would buy replacement lives. Therefore, King allegedly violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The suit seeks damages on two levels: the value of lost donated lives and the cost of purchasing new ones.

"This case challenges such intentional profiteering at the expense of customers," the complaint reads.

"They [the lives] just disappear. And this is a problem when you couple that with the fact that the game is so addictive. Because they will play the game," attorney Joseph Siprut told NBC Chicago.

For its part, King gave the following statement to NBC5 Investigates:

"We believe the claims are without merit and intend to defend them vigorously. If any of our players run out of their free lives in Candy Crush Saga, more free lives are available (and always have been available) to all our players either by waiting 30 minutes or getting friends to send you lives."



Photo Credit: Flickr / m01229]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Take Down Philly Council Site, Post Pro-Islam Message]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:18:24 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/248*120/tlmd_hackers_compu_620.jpg

The morning after primary elections potentially reshaped Philadelphia’s City Council, hackers with a pro-Islam, anti-American message took down council’s website.

"According to our service provider, PHLCouncil.com was hacked and replaced with new content at 7:03 am today," said council spokeswoman Jane Roh. "Our service provider was temporarily locked out of the website, but was able to get back in and delete the hacked page at 9:09 a.m."

Roh said they had no information about who was behind the hacking. However, hacking group Cyb3r Command0s posted on its Facebook page around 7 a.m. Wednesday that hacker H1d3n Root claimed responsibility for the post on PHLCouncil.com.

The group’s message, which was later taken down read "Hacked By H1d3n Root. I am Muslim & Islam is my way of Life. Cyb3r CommandOS. We are a International Underground Hacking Team. We are Team Cyb3r Commandos. Your Security Is Very Low,Patch Your Security. ..:: Your server Boxed ::.. op USA & Israel. We Are."

The message then contained a group of scrolling online aliases and a contact email.

The group has posted similar messages on other hacked sites including sites for parks, communications firms and even schools, according to the hacking group.

Council’s website, which, according to Nutter Administration spokesman Mark McDonald is hosted by another group than Phila.gov sites that remained secure, remained down later Wednesday morning.

The council site got back online at 10:11 a.m.

"No City information that would be deemed sensitive was ever compromised or accessed," said Roh.

The council site is hosted by BlueHost.com that claims to be one of the "world's largest providers of cloud-based online solutions."

Roh said the council is working with the city Office of Innovation and Technology to prevent future attacks and that Philadelphia Police are aware of the incident.

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<![CDATA[Obama Shatters Guinness' Twitter Record]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 14:00:50 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/obama-blackberry-459365998.jpg

President Obama shattered a Twitterverse record when his new account @POTUS got one million followers in less than five hours, according to Guinness World Records.

The Monday Twitter record beat one previously held by actor Robert Downey Jr. It took him 23 hours and 22 minutes to reach the same milestone in April 2014.

Guinness World Records notes that for his third tweet Obama bantered with former President Bill Clinton about the presidential hopes of Hillary Clinton.

Obama sent the inaugural tweet from @POTUS with his second term halfway through.

The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

Obama's account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 

The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007 and with nearly 60 million followers, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA["Hello, Twitter!" President Obama Gets His Own Account]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 12:43:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/obama-blackberry-459365998.jpg

President Barack Obama has joined the Twitterverse. 

With his second term more than halfway through, the president sent his inaugural tweet from a new @POTUS Twitter account on Monday. 

The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 

The new account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[3D Printers Create Prosthetic Legs]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 15:44:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/179*120/LEG2.JPG

Is it the next Industrial Revolution? 3D printing may one day revolutionize businesses, but it’s already having another effect: changing countless lives.

For some, that means being able to stand on their own two feet. Literally.

Veronica Perez was 16 when she suffered an injury that left her with chronic bone infections in her feet. Tired of the pain, she asked doctors to amputate her left leg.

“There’s a lot of limitations that come with being an amputee,” said Perez. “There’s a lot of things we can’t do.”

Insurance covered the bulk of her primary prosthetic leg, which ranges in cost from $20,000 up to $100,000. Perez said unfortunately, it’s not made for water. This meant countless times of depending on strangers to help her get into the pool, for instance. Something as simple as getting in and out of the shower, without her prosthetic leg, became potentially dangerous.

“I’ve had a few times where I’ve fallen and I’ve slipped getting in and out of the shower,” described Perez. “I’ve hurt myself, it’s scary and I’m worried I may hurt myself more.”

That’s why Jeff Huber, an entrepreneur, decided to start Standard Cyborg. The San Francisco-based start-up creates prosthetic legs that are both water- and wallet-friendly as secondary legs. Think of the legs as different kinds of shoes, made for a wide range of purposes: walking, running, swimming, and going out.

“Your primary leg will cost $20,000 $100,000, if you’re an above the knee amputee,” Huber explained.

While insurance can cover the bulk of the cost, Huber said that doesn’t necessarily apply to any other legs an amputee may want or need. His product is also a fraction of the cost: under $800.

“Nobody else in the world, as far as I know, had created functional 3D printed legs, and definitely no one had ever sold one before,” said Huber.

In six short months from summer of 2014, it grew from pet project to real product, one made by what Huber’s dubbed his “glorified glue gun.”

The leg shape is scanned, the images are finalized on his computer, and those data files are then sent to the three 3D printers sitting in his South of Market shop. The melted plastic is melded into just about anything.

“You can print an object of infinite complexity that many times traditional manufacturing couldn’t even make, and you can do so at a very cheap price because it doesn’t cost a lot,” said Huber.

It’s part of the so-called “Maker Movement” that involves a wave of hands-on inventors and innovators, hackers and do-it-yourself devotees who harness the power of production for people who might otherwise be ignored by mass manufacturers motivated mostly by money.

“I think that that the fact he can use things like 3D printing is really great because we’re such a small group of people who need this,” said Perez. “It’s really great that technology is so accessible like that.”

The field of “personal manufacturing” is still in its nascent stages. Most products have been toys and gadgets, in part because the plastics available for the printing haven’t been strong enough to produce more substantial products. Huber believes that’s quickly changing.

“Even in the next one to two years, you’re going to see some pretty cool things happen I think.”

The industry is exploding. According to San Jose-based leading touch technology and microcontrollers manufacturer, Atmel, there are roughly 125-million adult “makers” in the United States alone, injecting about $29 billion into the economy annually.

Atmel also says the market for 3D printing products and services hit $2.2 billion in 2012, a figure expected to jump to $6 billion within two years and $8.4 billion by 2020 – mostly coming from the aerospace and healthcare fields.

“We’re at the very early stages of this and it will be fascinating to see where it plays out over the next 20 years,” said Huber.

It’s innovation inspired by his very own life. Huber has been an amputee his entire life.

“As an amputee, you’re always worried about using your prosthetics. Say you take it to the beach, you’re worried about losing it, breaking it. This thing costs $20,000 so if you lose or break it, it’s a really big deal.”

After about 10 hours of 3D printing and several days of waiting before they could meet, Perez arrived at Huber’s San Francisco shop to try on her new leg.

It fit. While it’s still a work in progress, Perez said she is both giddy and grateful to have this secondary leg.

“I would never think of something like that and then be able to produce it, and you actually did it,” she said to Huber. “I think it’s so awesome.”

It’s also reassuring. Perez admits having to rely on strangers for help as an amputee has been a struggle.

“I worry about having to depend on others for day-to-day things, and it scares me,” she said. “Honestly, I worry a lot about that and I hope by the time I’m a senior, that there are things out there that are going to help me be more independent.”

For Huber, the ability to give someone that bit of freedom is invaluable.

“It certainly helps when you want to pull your hair out to say, ‘Okay, this is actually going to change somebody’s life, so I should probably go figure it out.’”

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<![CDATA[12-Year-Old Girl: iPhone Caught Fire in My Pocket]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 02:34:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/iPhone+Catch+Fire+Girl+Pocket.PNG

Roselly Rolon got her daughter, Alexis, an Apple iPhone 5C for peace of mind in case of an emergency. But the Northeast Philadelphia mother never expected the smartphone to be the source of trouble.

On Friday morning, however, the family claims just that happened. As the 12-year-old walked to school, she said the popular smartphone caught fire in the pocket of her pants.

"All I saw was smoke coming out and then it was my phone. So I threw it on the ground — my butt was, like, burning," the girl recalled.

Alexis heard a cracking sound coming from the phone before it caught fire, but she didn't realize anything was wrong until the smoke began to rise, she said.

"I took it out ... and I threw it on the ground and started stomping out the fire," she said.

The white phone's case was left disfigured, the metal charred and rippled. The device burned through the back pocket of Alexis' jeans and left the girl with second-degree burns, doctors at Nazareth Hospital determined.

"We depend on these phones. And the same phone that I'm depending on is gonna burn my daughter," Roselly Rolon, the girl's mother, said angrily. "Thank God it wasn't her face."

The girl said the phone had been problem-free before Friday's fire and that she charged it normally Thursday night.

Apple told NBC10 they can't comment because the Rolons haven't contacted them directly about the incident. The family says their attorney is reaching out to the tech giant.

This isn't the first time an iPhone owner claimed their phone combusted. A middle schooler in Maine suffered 2nd degree burns in January 2014 after she said her iPhone 5C caught fire in her pocket. An Arizona man also suffered similar burns after he said an iPhone 6 went up in flames in his pocket last October.

Despite the pain inflicted by the device, Alexis isn't shying away from the smartphone. "I like the iPhone, but I don't want that one anymore. I want a different one," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Simulator Training NJ Officers When to Shoot & When Not to]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 22:12:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010259050_1200x675_440343619746.jpg Camden County Police are using cutting-edge technology for police training. NBC10's Cydney Long gives us an exclusive look inside the virtual simulator helping police make the best judgment call.]]> <![CDATA[Periscope Eyed Over Pacquiao Fight]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 10:24:04 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pacquiao-Mayweather-3.jpg

This weekend’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was hyped as the fight of the century. Now, a new fight begins.

It cost viewers at home about $100 to order the pay per view event, but several hundred people used live streaming video apps like Meerkat and Periscope to broadcast it for free. They simply held the phone up to the TV. Now, those people could face legal action.

“The technology as a whole, I think, is going to be beneficial to consumers and broadcasters,” said attorney Mitch Stoltz.

Stoltz is an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for consumer digital rights.
He believes live streaming companies shouldn't suffer when users rebroadcast licensed material.

“The makers of the technology, whether it's Sony in the case of the VCR, or Periscope with this new technology, isn't going to be responsible unless they were encouraging people to use it in illegal ways,” he said.

Saturday night after the boxing match, the Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted:

“And the winner is…@periscopeco.”

Twitter recently acquired the live-streaming company.

Monday, Periscope issued a statement:

"Periscope operates in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we respect intellectual property rights and are working to ensure there are robust tools in place to respond expeditiously. Unauthorized broadcasts of content that is protected by copyright is a clear violation of our content policy. It’s not the kind of content we want to see in Periscope."

A company spokesperson said of the 66 live streams red flagged by those who own the rights to the fight, Periscope shut down 30 of them within minutes. The remaining broadcasts had already ended and were no longer available.

As for why those broadcasters and advertisers would object? San Jose State University Advertising Professor John Delacruz said it’s not just about the lost money.

“I think the biggest problem that comes from allowing just anybody to broadcast live is that you can be damaging the brand itself," Delacruz said. "You can really leave yourself open to abuse."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Gifts for Mother's Day]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 11:28:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_momgifts0430_1500x845.jpg From tiles that beep and to find your keys to self-contained watering and growing pots for plants, here are some high-tech gifts for Mother's Day.]]> <![CDATA[Slack to Replace Work Email?]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 14:18:28 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/computer+generic1.jpg

Most people may know Stewart Butterfield as one of the founders of Flickr, who sold the company off to Yahoo for $25 million in 2005. Now his new company, Slack, a new team communication platform, is valued at $2.8 billion.

The impetus behind Slack is that email is too clunky, and worker drones need a better way to see what everyone is saying and have archive access. "By organizating people into channels or specific projects, you get an ambient awareness," Butterfield told Press:Here.

Instead of sending a ticket to a company's help desk to fix something, the department could notice a lot of chatter online about a computer problem. Instead of waiting for a fix-it ticket, the tech team could proactively try to fix it -- all because they were able to see what the rest of the company was talking about.

Slack actually came out of another startup by Butterfield, a video gaming site called Glitch, which never really caught on. After a while and $17 million in venture capital funds, Butterfield realized it was never going to be a moneymaker. However, his team realized it  wanted to keep using the same messaging platform they created. This made Butterfield pivot to Slack as a new startup for companies who want a more open communication platform.

Butterfield said the name comes from his attempt to lessen the tension around office communications. "Having slack gives people room to play and explore," he said.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Student Gets New 3-D Printed Hand]]> Sat, 02 May 2015 04:56:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/3-d+hand.jpg

A South Florida graduate student is getting a helping hand, thanks to a fellow classmate and some innovative technology.

Chad Coarsey was born without a left hand — but after a little ingenuity with a 3-D printer, he now has one.

Like many other 25 year olds, Coarsey loves to stay active and play sports.

 

"As I was wrestling in high school I got kind of the nickname, 'The Nub,'" said the Florida Atlantic University graduate student. "It's a big part of my personality, so it's a big part of how people identify who I am," Coarsey said.

Although his parents had offered to buy him a prosthesis many times, Coarsey was okay without one. Then he met his classmate and fellow graduate student, Charles Weinthal.

"I noticed he didn't have a hand," said Weinthal. "So I asked him, 'Chad would you like a hand?' And he looked at me for a moment and just smiled brightly and said 'Yes, I would,'" said Weinthal.

So why now?

"Well probably my curiosity and openness to science and seeing what I can actually make," Coarsey said.

The collaboration for their FAU class project then quickly began. They used FAU High School's high-tech lab and a 3-D printer to make Coarsey's hand.

Here's how 3-D printing works: Guided by a computer model, a plastic filament melts to create the object layer by layer. The 3-D printed prosthetic hand takes less than 24 hours to print.

"This device costs less than $100 to make," Weinthal said.

"When I put it on and started grabbing things and picking up things... for me it was just very surreal," Coarsey said.

It's no surprise these two passed their intro to bioengineering class with flying colors. The next step for "the Hulk hand," as Coarsey jokingly calls it, is for the plastic fingers to move individually.

"I can get another hand and be up to par... but why not push it further and get a hand that's better than what two handed people can do?"

Since this prosthesis has made a difference in Coarsey's life, both men now plan to give a hand to hundreds of amputees in need. They hope this quick and affordable alternative can extend far beyond the walls of their lab.

"It's important that everyone has a hand and that's part of giving. Because you give and get," Weinthal said.

"Despite having a limitation... if there's the motivation you can overcome it yourself," added Coarsey.

The students don't intend on making a business out of the creation. At this time, a foundation is in the works so that they can help thousands of people who may be in need of 3-D printed prosthetics.



Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com]]>
<![CDATA[How Old Do I Look? Website's Photo Guesses Go Viral ]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 13:08:22 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/computer_generic_laptop_5_640x480.jpg

People pondering the age-old query of "how old do I look?" are finally getting an answer, for better or for worse, thanks to a new website that's gone viral. 

Developers at Microsoft launched a website this week that claims to guess a person’s gender and age based on a photo upload.

Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian launched the website, How-Old.net at a tech conference Thursday, not knowing it would go viral.

"We sent email to a group of several hundred people asking them to try the page for a few minutes and give us feedback - optimistically hoping that at least 50 people would give it a shot," they wrote in a blog post.

But within a few hours, they wrote they had already seen hits from more than 35,000 users from across the world. 

While the answers are far from 100 percent accurate, many people are taking to social media to share the "age" guessed by the site. 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Students Using 'Text Talk' in School]]> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:02:02 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Cell+Phone+Generic.jpg Local high school faculty members are seeing some students using words typically used in text messages in assignments.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Watch Hits the Streets]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_applewatch0423001.jpg The first customers to sign up for the new Apple Watch will begin receiving their devices today.]]> <![CDATA[Google Launches Wireless Phone Service]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP125290752356.jpg

Google is offering a wireless phone service designed to pressure major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless into lowering their prices.

The service, called "Project Fi," will cost $20 per month and only charge customers for the amount of cellular data that they use each month instead of a flat rate. Each gigabyte of data will cost $10 per month. That means a customer could sign up for a plan offering three gigabytes of data and get $20 back if only one gigabyte was used in a month.

Most wireless phone carriers allow their customers to roll over unused data into another month of service without refunding any money.

Google's service initially will be available only on the Nexus 6, a Motorola phone made with Google's help.

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<![CDATA[New App Helps Drivers Find Parking in Philly]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:52:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/202*120/AP380968501889.jpg A new app called Spot Park is coming to Philadelphia. It's purpose is to help drivers find a place to park by renting someone's personal parking space as an alternative to feeding the meter or paying to park in a lot.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Discover App Allows You to Freeze Lost Credit Cards]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:04:05 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010080532_1200x675_430816835834.jpg "Freeze It," a new app from Discover, allows you to freeze a lost or stolen card. You can unfreeze it when the card is recovered.]]> <![CDATA[Women in Tech Conference]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 20:26:10 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Women-in-Tech-Event-Renee.jpg NBC10s Renee Chenault Fattah particpated in Saturday's Women in Tech Conference in Center City.]]> <![CDATA[Are Students Addicted to Texting?]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:27:19 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/apptext.jpg Researchers at Penn State University looked at college students' texting habits and found while most participants said they considered texting while taking a shower to be socially inappropriate, 34 percent did it anyway.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[DA Warns Teens About Sexting Dangers]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:44:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Seth-Williams-on-Garner-Fer.jpg District Attorney Seth Wiliams spoke about the dangers of sexting at a Philadelphia school.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com]]>
<![CDATA[Man Tears Tendon Playing "Candy Crush": Medical Journal ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/candy-crush.jpg

Spending too much time playing “Candy Crush Saga” really can have consequences, according to a new case report on a San Diego man who injured his thumb after many weeks of playing the puzzle game on his smartphone.

Dr. Andrew Doan, head of addictions research at Naval Medical Center San Diego, co-authored the case report, “Tendon Rupture Associated with Excessive Smartphone Gaming,” published this week in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal.

According to the report, a 29-year-old San Diego man played “Candy Crush Saga” on his smartphone all day for six to eight weeks. As a result, he suffered chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion.

“He played with his left hand while using his right hand for other tasks, stating that ‘playing was kind of a secondary thing, but it was constantly on,’” the report said.

When doctors examined him and performed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of his thumb, they found he had ruptured the tendon. He had to undergo surgery to repair the damage, Doan said.

According to the report, the patient claimed he felt no pain while playing the video game, and only noticed the injury many weeks later.

Doan told NBC 7 research shows video gaming can cause the release of hormones in the body that help reduce pain perception. That means one could sustain an injury from repeated smartphone use, but not necessarily notice the pain right away.

“Are we experiencing physical injury now because we’re not experiencing pain?” he said. “This case illustrates what we believe video gaming can do.”

Doan said video games are a type of “digital painkiller” with both negative and positive effects on health.

He said clinically, video games can be used to help children undergoing painful medical procedures, including pediatric patients during burn treatments.

The visual distraction and “natural painkiller” effect could help a patient feel less pain, Dr. Doan said. In some cases, Dr. Doan said video games could be used in place of medication.

Though video gaming could aid in a patient’s recovery, the doctor noted it’s important not to overuse video games or smartphones.

Citing a study by Andrew K. Przybylski, PhD, titled “Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment,” Doan said one hour or less per day of video gaming could be beneficial for the psychological adjustment of children between 10 and 15 years old.

Three hours or more, however, could have negative effects on children, according to that study.

“The key is moderation here,” Doan told NBC 7.

He said monitoring overuse of video games is important in both adults and children, but because children are still developing, it’s especially crucial to watch their use.

“When a young child spends too much time in Internet faming on Internet activities, there can be significant problems,” said Doan. “The child needs time, boundaries, and intensive face-to-face attention to program the other areas of the brain that have been neglected.”

In the case of this adult patient, Doan said the man was not diagnosed with an addiction to “Candy Crush,” rather he just played the game as a way to pass the time after leaving the military and being between jobs. He  said this was one of the strangest cases he's seen in his research career.

 

 



Photo Credit: Flickr / m01229]]>
<![CDATA[Prank Targets Lawmaker Trying to Take Down Swatting]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:51:11 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Paul+Moriarty+911+Swatting.jpg

A South Jersey lawmaker said he recently became the victim of a modern-age crime he's trying to fight with tougher penalties.

“Some sick, evil person had reported that there was a shooting at my house,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-District 4).

Moriarty became the victim of swatting. The NBC10 Investigators brought the issue of swatting to the Garden State lawmaker last October and now the problem has come to his front door.

Last Saturday afternoon, Moriarty was relaxing at home when he got a call from Gloucester County police dispatchers.

“I was stunned,” said Moriarty. “The dispatch guy says to me next … ‘we need you to come outside and show yourself and keep your hands where we can see them.”

He walked outside to find about one dozen police officers pointing weapons at him and his house.

“I knew right away, I said, ‘I’ve been swatted,’” said Moriarty.

NBC10 obtained the recording of police dispatch reporting what the prankster told him.

"He just hung up on me stating that he tied his family up, his mother, his father and his 5-year-old sister," the officer says in the recording. "He stated he shot his father with a 12-gauge shotgun. He could not tell me whether his father was conscious or alert. Be advised he says he's gonna shoot any cop that arrives." 

Swatting is a cruel prank where someone makes a phony 911 call that leads to a SWAT team showing up at an unsuspecting house.

“I can’t imagine what goes through the heads of people who think this is funny,” said Moriarty. “My heart was beating pretty quick, let me tell you. It was a scary moment to see what was going on outside my door.”

Moriarty said he was grateful he answered the phone since, if he didn’t, police could have possibly stormed into his home. This was one of two swatting incidents over the weekend in Washington Township.

“They’re very dangerous for the officers and the residents,” said Washington Township Police Chief Rafael Muniz. “I mean, all our officers are treating this as actual incidents.”

Moriarty believes he was targeted because of a bill he's sponsoring that increases the penalties for swatting.

“They need to go to jail, this should be a second-degree crime that would be punishable by 10 to 15 years in jail, $150,000 fine and also make that being be responsible for paying for all the SWAT team coming out to your house,” said the lawmaker.

But getting the people responsible for a swatting incident is easier said than done as swatters often hide behind online personas and phone blockers.

“Many times these numbers bounce from different IP addresses, different phone numbers so it can take some time,” said Muniz.

“Law enforcement has to find a way to find out who’s doing this and right now they don’t seem to have the technology to do the job,” said Moriarty.

Muniz said responding to fake calls means his officers could be out of position to get to real emergencies.

“At times these incidents could take -- even if they’re a prank, they’re swatting incidents -- can take up to half an hour to clear. And so we’re backlogging many calls,” said Muniz.

Despite an increased effort to stop swatting, the practice continues.

“Someone could get seriously injured or killed,” said Moriarty.

Moriarty said his bill should be heard in the next few weeks.



Photo Credit: NBC10, Shutterstock]]>