<![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 Sun, 02 Aug 2015 06:32:53 -0400 Sun, 02 Aug 2015 06:32:53 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[See the New Features in Windows 10]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:37:54 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NC_louisianatheatershootingjonathanarnold_1500x845.jpg Windows 10 is a free upgrade that Microsoft hopes will fix some of the most glaring issues of Windows 8.]]> <![CDATA[Police Use Automatic License Plate Readers]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 06:14:16 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Automatic-License-Plate-Rea.jpg

Police throughout the Delaware Valley are recording and saving tens of millions of unsuspecting drivers’ license plate pictures.  The images allow police to document when and where a driver traveled at various times.  

“Everything we’re passing and going past, it's reading,” Lieutenant James Audette of the Coatesville Police Department said as he used an automatic license plate reader perched on the back of his squad car.

Coatesville Police keep the pictures and information associated with them for 30 days before purging it from computers. Coatesville Police didn’t know how many pictures the department captured since installing the technology in 2014.

In Philadelphia police have captured 29.9 million plate pictures in the last 18 months.

Captain Dan Angelucci said the information is stored in a massive database inside the city’s real time crime center.  He said the data is stored for one year.

“It has strict audit trails,” Angelucci said. “We know exactly who ran the tag and we know when they ran that tag.”

In Camden, police have snapped 1.2 million plate pictures since January 1.  Camden police have been tracking license plates since 2011.  They keep the license plate information for five years – meaning Camden police have every picture their automatic license plate readers have captured.

Coatesville, Philadelphia and Camden Police say the automatic license plate readers help solve crimes.  Philadelphia Police were the only department to provide the NBC 10 Investigators with specific crime data linked to the automatic license plate readers.

Philadelphia Police released the following statistics since January 1, 2014:

  • Total tags read: 29,785,983
  • Stolen Autos Recovered: 521
  • Terror suspects: 106
  • Arrests: 6
“This is an extraordinary amount of government surveillance for what appears to be a very small amount of criminal activity,” Pennsylvania ACLU legal director Mary Catherine Roper said.   “There are things in your life that are simply not public knowledge.” 
Police say the automatic license plate readers allow officers to focus on other police work while on patrol.  The license plate reader watches for stolen cars or tags associated with crimes while an officer keeps his eyes on the road and beat.

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<![CDATA[GoPro Gives Dog Owner 'CharlieVision']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:35:22 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Charlie+Dog+GoPro+Camera.JPG

A local rescue dog is showing us the world from his point of view thanks to a clever camera setup.

Aaron Talasnik adopted Charlie from the Delaware County SPCA in November 2014 and has been sharing the journey – including Charlie's first-ever exposure to snow – on social media ever since. 

"My Instagram feed has been filled with pictures of Charlie since he became a part of my family, but I was curious about what it would look like from his perspective," Charlie's owner said. "Sometimes it is good to get another view on things and I already had the GoPro so figured why not give it a try." 

Charlie has recorded his point of view at Freedom Park in Medford, New Jersey. while swimming, running and playing with other dogs.

The Delco SPCA brought Charlie to the shelter after he was found as a stray in the Atlanta suburbs. Talasnik said it was very important for his dog to come from a shelter.

"I just feel like there are so many dogs out there that need love and attention," he said. "Finding one that fit me from a shelter is something I felt was the right thing to do."

To follow Charlie's POV adventures – a trip to the dog beach is in his future – search #LifeofCharlieDoggy on Instagram.

And to find a friend like Charlie, help NBC10 #CleartheShelters on Aug. 15.



Photo Credit: Aaron Talasnik]]>
<![CDATA[Google Admits That Google+ is 'Confusing']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:22:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Google-Privacy-Update-3-June-2015.jpg

Google has halted its pursuit of making Google+ a rival to Facebook with the search giant even admitting that the social service was a little "confusing" for users, NBC News reported.

The service's intention of unifying Google's sharing models was "a well-intentioned goal, but (we) realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing," Bradley Horowitz, who took over Google+ a few months ago, said in a blog post on Monday.

Google+ has failed to gain traction as a serious contender in the social media space. Analysts said that the service failed to carve out its own distinctive purpose.

Google is not shutting its social media service down completely but said it is becoming "more focused."



Photo Credit: AP/Virginia Mayo]]>
<![CDATA[Simple Hack Could 'Critically Expose' Most Android Phones]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/AP100520138908.jpg

A flaw called "Stagefright" in Google's Android operating system could let hackers take over a phone with a message -- even if the user doesn't open it, NBC News reported.

The flaw could "critically expose" 95 percent of Android devices, according to Zimperium, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability.

Stagefright, which Zimperium called the "mother of all Android vulnerabilities," allows people to send a video containing hidden malware to Android phones via a multimedia message (MMS) application. For the default messenger app on most Android phones, users don't even have to play the video.

"Patches have already been provided to partners that can be applied to any device," a Google spokesperson told NBC News in a statement.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Ram, Jeep Recall Buy-Back]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:50:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011328077_1200x675_492022339952.jpg The biggest action of its kind in U.S. history. Fiat Chrysler forced to buy back hundreds of thousands of Ram pickup trucks and trade-in other vehicles. NBC10's Keith Jones has more.]]> <![CDATA[Squealing Sounds on 911 Calls in Pennsylvania County]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:37:16 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/911-Call-Generic-1.jpg Sprint and Verizon are working to fix an issue where 911 callers in Bucks County are hearing a squealing noise.]]> <![CDATA[High-Tech Car Seat Aims to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:24:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/evenflo.jpg

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of hot car deaths among children. Now, one company is using new technology to help parents avoid tragedy by remembering their little one in the back seat.

The Evenflo Embrace DLX Infant Car Seat features a sensor that attaches across the baby's chest, sounding an alarm after the car ignition is turned off, according to TODAY.

"It seems impossible that you would forget that your baby is in the car, but you're exhausted, the seat's facing the other way, you're sort of going by muscle memory, and you can forget the baby is in the car,'' said Jason Tanz, editor-at-large at Wired Magazine. "So this is a reminder using Wi-Fi, using a sensor to keep your baby safe."

The carseat is currently sold online at Walmart for around $150, and is set to hit store shelves next month.


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<![CDATA[NASA Releases First Photo of Sunlit Earth in 40 Years]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:14:59 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/earth+new+photo.png

While images of Pluto are still coming in from NASA, the organization has released another milestone photo: one of a sunlit Earth.

The last time NASA released a full image of the Earth from space the year was 1972 and the photo, snapped by the Apollo 17 astronauts, was called the "Blue Marble." 

This photo is significantly better in quality than the "Blue Marble" pic because of the resolution (click here for the high resolution version). 

A camera, known as Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite took the historic photo from one million miles away, according to NASA. EPIC is made up of a four megapixel camera and telescope. 

The Earth image, taken on July 6, 2015, was created by combining three different images — taken with red, green, and blue filters — to create one full photo.

The image is meant to show the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules. It showcases North and South America.

Eventually, NASA said on their website it is hoping the camera will harvest regular data and provide daily images of Earth.



Photo Credit: NASA
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<![CDATA[Apple Resolves Problem With Services]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:33:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/apple+services.jpg

Apple services were back up and running on Tuesday after it reported a problem with all store services, including the App Store and Apple Music.

"Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available," a message said on the company's system status page.

Services affected include App Store, Apple Music, Siri, Radio, Photos, Apple TV, iCloud Mail, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, iCloud Contacts, Beats Music, iTunes in the Cloud, OS X Software UpdateiTunes Match, iTunes Store and Mac App Store.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hackers Threaten to Leak Ashley Madison Users' Info]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:51:16 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/ash2.jpg

Hackers have threatened to release the private data of more than 37 million users of the cheating website Ashley Madison, according to Krebs on Security, a cyber security website.

The group, who calls itself The Impact Team, teased some of the compromised data online and threatened to release more, including nude photos, customer names, and credit card details if the dating site, which uses the slogan "Life is short. Have an affair," does not shut down.

The hackers claimed Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison's parent company, lied to its users about deleting their private records including credit card information. The hackers also demanded the shut down of another popular site run by the company called "Established Men."

Krebs on Security reported that in addition to leaked account data, the hackers also obtained sensitive internal company data, including bank accounts and salary information.

In a message to the company, the hackers wrote: "Shutting down AM (Ashley Madison) and EM (Established Men) will cost you, but non-compliance will cost you more."

ALM Chief Executive Noel Biderman confirmed the breach to Krebs, which he called a criminal act, and suggested that the hacker may have had earlier inside access to their technical services.

The company also apologized in a statement.

“At this time, we have been able to secure our sites, and close the unauthorized access points," ALM said. "We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating this criminal act. Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber–terrorism will be held responsible.”

Ashley Madison is in the process of raising millions through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, according to Reuters



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[This Command Can Cause Siri to Call 911]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

If you need to charge your iPhone, it's probably best not to ask Siri.

Some users have discovered that asking Siri to "charge my phone 100 percent" will result in a five second delay before automatically calling 911 services, according to CNBC.

While this could cause problems to users who simply want their phone on full power, others have said the feature may come in handy during times of trouble.

It is unclear whether the function is intentional by Apple or a glitch in the system, according to NBC News.

Update: Apple appears to have fixed the glitch.

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Changes News Feed Settings]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 12:15:14 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/facebooknewsfeed.jpg

Facebook is giving users more control over what they see in their news feed by letting users pick which friends' and brands' updates they want to see first, and even the order in which they'd like to view them. 

"We rank [items in] your news feed with the goal that whether you have five seconds or five minutes, you're seeing the best of what's in your feed," Greg Marra, product manager at Facebook, told NBC News. "We know we don't always get that perfect right now."

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To personalize the news feed, users have to go into "Settings" and select "News Feed Preferences" to choose who they see first when logging in. 

The "see first" feature is already available on iOS and will soon come to Android and desktop.

The social network giant is also introducing a feature that allows users to pick pages they'd like to see at the top of the news feed and is re-designing the existing feature that lets people un-follow other users' posts without un-friending them.

Facebook has recently implemented another change. It has redesigned the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page so that a woman is featured in front of a man. 

[[238427591,C]]



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[WATCH: U.S. Robot Company to Japan Company: Let's Duel]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:34:25 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-9.46.41-PM.jpg

A U.S.-based robotics company has thrown down the metallic gauntlet and goaded a Japanese competitor into a heavy metal battle of mechanical proportions. 

"Suidobashi, we have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen," said co-founder of MegaBots, Inc Matt Oehrlein—along with his partner Gui Cavalcanti both draped in an American flag—in a YouTube video challenging Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas. 

Megabot, the U.S.-based company, is confident in its Mark 2 model: a towering 6-ton metal beast. 

"We just finished tightening the last bolts on the Mark 2—America's first fully functional giant piloted robot," Oehrlein says in the video to the Japenese robotics company.

The massive robot is operated by a team of two people and can shoot three pounds paint balls at from its cannon at 100 miles per hour, according to Oehrlein.

"And because we're American, we added really big guns," co-founder Cavalcanti added with dramatic pause. 

[[312692051, C]]

Suidobashi's CEO responded to MegaBots' gentlemen's duel in his own video: "Come on guys, make it cooler," Kogoro Kurata said, with shots of him wrapping the Japanese flag around his shoulders.

"Just building something huge and sticking guns on it," Kurata continued. "It's super American."

Suidobashi launched The Kurata, named after the CEO and designer, in 2012. At 4.5 tons, it was a little less than Mark 2, a full heads-up display (HUD), and guns controlled by an advanced targeting system. 

No venue or date for the battle of the death metals, but the challenge has been accepted. 


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<![CDATA[Spot the Difference: Facebook Changes Its Friends Icon]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:59:03 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Facebook_Imagen_Vegas.jpg

The latest change to Facebook's look may have gone unnoticed to many, but it's meant to make a major statement. 

A change to the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page is about more than aesthetics — it's about equality, according to one employee. 

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, initially noticed something was off about the icon featuring silhouettes of two users. When she looked at the female icon alone, she noticed a "chip" in the lady's shoulder, "positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her" on the site's page. 

“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration,” she  wrote in a Medium post. “But as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.”

Winner decided to take action. 

[[312513961, C, 620, 184]]

"The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design," she wrote. 

While she originally set out to simply fix the shoulder, Winner soon found herself updating the hairstyles of both sexes, the man icon's shoulder and the positioning of the pair, which she flipped to put the woman in front. 

"As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in," she wrote. 

[[312514411, C, 620, 114]]

Eventually she took a look at the site's "group" icon, which also had a man featured in front with a man and woman behind him. She switched the icons there, too, placing the woman in front.

[[312514971, C, 620, 214]]

Winner said this small personal project, which was soon incorporated into the site design, has changed her perspective on symbolism with other icons.

"I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar," she said. "For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?"


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<![CDATA[Meek Mill's 'Bike Life' App Debuts]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 08:38:17 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Meek+Mill+Smile.jpg

Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill released his second album -- and rolled out his first app -- this week. 

The app, a game called "Meek Mill Presents Bike Life," allows users to "compete against others gathering coins and performing sick tricks as they mock and evade police apprehension," according to the app's official description. 

The game is free to play, but in-app purchases allow players to access premium content.

Philly.com reviewed the game Tuesday. Read the full story here



Photo Credit: Getty Images for GQ]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic New Trailer for "Steve Jobs" Biopic]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:36:06 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/jobs-fassbinder.jpg

A new trailer for the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic reveals dramatic family and business conflicts.

Jobs, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, is seen throughout the trailer dealing with recognizing and building a relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Writer Aaron Sorkin told The Verge that Jobs' daughter, who consulted with him on the script, is the heroine of the film.

The Danny Boyle-directed flim – called simply “Steve Jobs” – is scheduled to debut in theaters on October 9.



Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
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<![CDATA[New Jersey Man Putting Young Students on the Right Track]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:28:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/211*120/Go+Kart+School.JPG

A Trenton-area man is trying to change the lives of children, one go kart at a time.

It’s summertime, kids are out of school and this is one way to keep them busy.

“Keeps me young. Keeps me going,” said Bob Danka of the Living Hope Racing School in Trenton.

Danka teaches a group of kids how to build and race go karts and in turn, he hopes to keep them off the streets and teach them about life.

The idea started in 2008 and all the work happens not in a garage, but inside a church.

Inside the church walls, beyond the seats and the scriptures, are four wheels and curiosity.

Danka has raced go karts for over 40 years, and a few years ago he and a partner, Joe Wisniewski, decided to share their wisdom for an unconventional sport.

"There’s always baseball and football leagues. There’s nothing that we know of that has anything to do with racing,” Danka said.

Living Hope Racing School doesn't use books or lectures, just experience and a little elbow grease to build go karts that can top 100 miles per hour.

"There’s nothing more awesome than winning your first race, and you keep winning,” said 15-year-old Ari Schanz.

For Schanz, he can't think of any other place he would rather be.

“Everyone’s like a giant family and a great group of friends, you learn teamwork here,” Schanz said.

The original idea was to take kids off the streets of Trenton and put them on the right track.

“Since we started in 2008, eight of the participants in the school have gone to college that had no plans of looking at college or tech school,” Danka explained.

Right now, there's about 10 students in the program -- ages 10 through high school age.

Danka says if he could have 50 students at the school, he would find some way to teach all of them.

Danka does it for no pay, just the satisfaction of making a difference.

“It gives them something to think about for their future, what they can accomplish if they set their minds to it.”

Click here for more information on the Living Hope Racing School and how you can help.
 



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Pops In For Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A, Asks About 'Gravity and Other Forces' ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:31:38 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

When Mark Zuckerberg does Townhall Q&As on Facebook to hear from users, he gets thousands of questions.

Sometimes famous people ask questions. On Tuesday, Stephen Hawking asked him a question.

"I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?" the world-famous physicist posted on Facebook through a verified account.

His question received over 6,000 likes.

"I don't think Mark would wanna answer this," one Facebook user joked. "Mr. Hawking wins the best question Q&A award," another quipped. "Epic,  respect, legend," others commented.

Zuckerberg responded within minutes, saying: "That's a pretty good one! I'm most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I'm also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."



Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:43:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.


Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases New Music Streaming Service]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 09:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476371856.jpg

Apple's new music streaming service is finally here: Apple Music.

In an attempt to compete with Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody, Rdio and other streaming-music services, Apple Music combines downloaded music, streaming tunes, radio and some social elements.

“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists,” said record producer and Beats by Dre co-founder, Jimmy Iovine in the company's press release. “Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”

The new services takes songs from the users' own library in addition to a catalog of 30 millions songs available to stream. The 24-hour radio station, Beats 1, is Apple's first live radio station "dedicated entirely to music and music culture," according to the press release. Apple Music Connect will allow artists to share lyrics, backstage photos, videos and song releases directly to fans' iPhones. 

Starting June 30, users are able to use the service for three months before being charged $9.99 per month—a comparable price to other monthly streaming-music applications. For $14.99 per month, up to six family members can use one membership as part of Apple's family plan. 

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app — a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

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<![CDATA[As Crashes Spike, Google Alerting Drivers of Railroad Crossings]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:58:00 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/car+vs+train+railroad+crossing+car+train+crash+generic.jpg

Every railroad crossing in our region will soon be plotted out on Google’s Maps application as federal regulators work to reduce a recent spike in accidents.

The Federal Railroad Administration announced Monday they provided data for the 225,000 crossings nationwide to the tech giant. Google will integrate each location into Maps and provide visual and audio alerts to drivers while using the app’s navigation feature.

“Let’s say it’s dark on an unfamiliar road or just not sure about where you’re going, it will alert you, just like it would alert you to a right turn or a left turn…,” Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator at the Federal Railroad Administration, told NBC10.

“It could just be a game changer for safety for drivers and passengers who may lose situational awareness, who aren’t familiar with where they are, tourists even, or those who are driving at night. This is a huge safety feature,” Feinberg said.

Across the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys, there are 2,188 railroad crossings on public and private land. Nationwide, Feinberg said, railroad crossing crashes have jumped 9 percent over last year — with 267 people killed and 832 injured.

An elderly New Jersey man was nearly killed when his SUV got stuck on tracks at a crossing in Newark, Delaware on June 21. He was pulled to safety by two police officers moments before a freight train ran down the vehicle.

In Pennsylvania, which has the most operating railroads in the nation at nearly five dozen, there were 37 crashes at railroad crossings involving a train in 2014, according to PennDOT. The year before, there were 19.

Drivers are 20 times more likely to be killed in a crash involving a train than another vehicle, rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver found.

“There are a lot of grade crossings where there aren’t gates, there aren’t flashing lights. It may be a private railroad crossing and think about driving at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood … this is one more way for drivers to know where they are at any given moment,” Feinberg said.

Maps will only show railroad crossings. It will not include real-time train data that could alert a driver about a train approaching a crossing. Feinberg said officials aren’t interested in adding in that information as it could promote the idea that a driver could beat a train before it arrives.

Google is working on adding the crossings to its maps now, but it’s unclear when users will start seeing them. Feinberg said the FRA has also been discussing adding the data to applications from Apple, Garmin and Tom Tom.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Lets Users Show Their Pride with Rainbow Filter]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:56:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4786255681.jpg

Facebook is now offering a rainbow filter that anyone can overlay on his or her profile picture, following Friday’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

The site’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg applied the filter to his own picture and posted a graphic showing two maps, one from 2008 and one from 2015, that showed the huge increase in membership in LGBT Facebook groups.

“I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recogized as equal couples under the law,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the Facebook Stories page posted a video profiling Justin Kamimoto, who “started a Facebook group to support LGBT+ youth in California’s Central Valley.”

Six million people in the United States identify as LGBTQ on the site, according to Facebook. The company was one of 379 corporations and employer organizations that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, in a friend-of-the-court brief.

In February 2014, Facebook expanded users’ ability to self-identify with the gender of their choice, adding 56 options to the original “male” and “female” categories.

But Facebook wasn’t the only social media site pumping up the pride on Friday. Twitter, which also supported the ruling, also got in on the celebration, offering two new emojis, #Pride, a rainbow flag, and #LoveWins, a rainbow-flag heart.

Many companies updated their social media to reflect support for the court’s decision, in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Even The Weather Channel got in on the act, tweeting, of course, a rainbow.


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<![CDATA[The Future Has Arrived: Hoverbike in the Works]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:15:31 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/hoverbike1.jpg

A UK aeronautics company that once used Kickstarter to raise funds has a real hoverbike in the works. A prototype for the vehicle is moving forward with the help of the an American engineering company and the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Reuters, Malloy Aeronautics is collaborating with Maryland-based engineering firm SURVICE and the DoD to create manned hoverbikes for the U.S. Army. Malloy's marketing director said hoverbikes will provide safer and more agile and cost-effective alternatives to helicopters. Developers said the vehicle could be used in emergency response tasks including search and rescue operations.

At the Paris Airshow, directors from both Malloy and SURVICE along with Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the opening of a Hoverbike office in the Harford County, Maryland for the U.S. Army, Reuters reported. 

The hoverbike isn't the only hover prototype floating around. Toyota's Lexus division charmed the Internet with a promotional teaser on YouTube. The video shows a sleak skateboard-like device much like the one seen in 'Back to the Future.' Other hoverboard prototypes have been in the works for in recent years.



Photo Credit: Malloy Aeronautics
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