<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Fri, 29 May 2015 11:37:49 -0700 Fri, 29 May 2015 11:37:49 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Charging Cellphone Sets Bed on Fire]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 11:53:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 16:40:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[3D Printers Create Prosthetic Legs]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 12:44:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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.’”

<![CDATA[Girl: My iPhone Caught Fire]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 23:34:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Yelp Might Be For Sale]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 18:05:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Yelp-Reviews-0520.jpg

A new report notes that Yelp is courting potential buyers.

The San Francisco company, founded in 2004, could be worth $3.5 billion if sold, according to The Wall Street Journal. That's half a billion more than what Business Insider called Yelp's current market cap.

Less valuable and included in any sale of Yelp would be its legacy of lawsuits and inquiries. Though ultimately dismissed, the company has faced multiple extortion suits as well as an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

Photo Credit: AP / File]]>
<![CDATA[SF Cabbie Shoots Documentary]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 07:40:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/207*120/hire.JPG

A San Francisco cab driver talks about how the predatory pricing and unregulated services of companies like Uber and Lyft have altered the marketplace for both drivers and passengers in a new self-produced documentary called "Driving for Hire."

John Han, a 13-year veteran of cab driving, serves as a relatively balanced narrator and interviewer of drivers from San Francisco cab companies as well as transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. He traces the local history of cabbies as they went from benefited employees to independent contractors with no benefits. He also admits that the taxi industry suffers from failing to adapt to the service needs of the public and for employing a mix of "bad apples" mixed in with fleets of "amazing drivers."

But he also raises questions about the lack of regulation on TNCs, their relative inability to accommodate disabled passengers, and their effect on the environment.

“I wanted to emphasize some things, particularly around the disability issue," Han told KQED News of his documentary, which took 10 months to make. "And it doesn’t seem like anyone on the regulatory or legislative side is in any hurry to determine the environmental impacts.”

Watch the full "Driving for Hire" documentary below:

<![CDATA[Steve Jobs Business Cards Put Up for Public Auction]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 11:10:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP080115083000_0.jpg

Steve Jobs' business cards from his tenures at Apple, NeXT, and Pixar are now up for public auction.

Business Insider noted that the opening bid for the lot of three cards listed on Biddingforgood.com was $600. The current bid for the three cards is at $6,025; the next accepted bid will need to be $25 higher.

He is listed as Steven P. Jobs on each card. He served as President of NeXT, and Chairman of the Board at Pixar and Apple. All contain phone numbers, but none offered an email address.

Bids will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Periscope Eyed Over Pacquiao Fight]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 07:24:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 08:28:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 11:18:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 01:56:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 10:08:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Love Your Lines: Stretch Marks Go Viral]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:12:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/love-your-lines-stretch-mar.jpg

Karly Vedan was 9 when she first noticed stretch marks popping on her legs.

"I grew pretty tall really fast," she said. "They looked really creepy, like something scratched my knees."

Well, fast forward more than a decade and her lines have lots of company. Before giving birth a year ago to an adorable son, at 35 weeks into her pregnancy, lines had taken over her tummy.

"At first I was just kind of scared," said the 21-year-old Canadian student in Edmonton, Alberta. "It looked so weird, like I had a bunch of spider veins all over my stomach.... I asked my doctor about it and they said those are just stretch marks, don't worry about it."

She heeded that advice and was overjoyed a few months back when she stumbled on an Instagram campaign urging other women to do the same.

The effort that has resonated with Vedan and hundreds of other women was started about seven months ago by moms Alex Elle, a writer, and Erika Layne Salazar, a photographer. Aptly dubbed Love Your Lines, they put up an Instagram account of that name and spread the word for one and all to email them photos of their stretch marks and how they feel about them, especially in relation to today's idealized standards of skinny, unmarred perfection.

Swamped with images, they're still going strong, giving birth to the popular hashtag LoveYourLines used by posters showing off their own marks on Instagram, Tumblr and elsewhere across social media.

Setting the effort apart from other woman power and esteem-boosting campaigns is the fact that Elle and Salazar transform each image into high-art black and white as a way to avoid distraction from the marks themselves and the stories behind them.

"For me, Love Your Lines was a way to make women feel safe about their bodies," said Elle, in Rockville, Maryland. "We wanted a platform where women could be themselves. Initially it was just going to be a fine art photography collection where I would be interviewing the women and Erika would be taking the photos. Then it just kind of went crazy."

With the promise of anonymity to all who want it, women from around the world are pouring out their seemingly sincerest joys, anxieties and despair over their marks, loose postpartum bellies and battle wounds from valiant fights against cancer.

Some, like Vedan, have allowed themselves to be identified by the posting of their traceable Instagram handles. Others, like a recent nameless submission, have spoken of suicide.

"No man will love me or choose me when there are so many beautiful & lovely women out there," wrote one who submitted a close up of her belly and identified herself as a childless 24-year-old. "I will never be at peace with my lines. My body issues consume me at every waking moment."

Nearly 300 people, at the urging of Elle and Salazar in an accompanying comment, have offered her comments of love and encouragement.

"Women are absolutely beautiful the way that they are and they don't have to be airbrushed to be beautiful," Elle said in a recent phone interview with Salazar. "I feel like we're coming into a time where women are starting to accept that they're beautiful, flaws and all. We're so much more alike than we think."

Some of the participants are pictured with their little ones. Others show off the splendor of their pregnant bellies. Most of the photos are in extreme close-up.

"Mother of 2 at the age of 28 and each day I become more in touch with my new body," said a poster celebrating her lines and saggy tummy skin. "Even though it took me years to accept them, I can now say I wear them with pride."

Salazar, who lives near Elle in Silver Spring, Maryland, considers support an important part of the project.

"We're all opening the door for each other," she said.

But it's also more personal for her. Salazar's 4-year-old daughter required open heart surgery at birth. "She has a huge scar down her chest. I never want her to think twice about whether she's beautiful or not."

Arianne Klarisse is an aspiring 17-year-old model in London. She submitted a photo of the stretch marks she has on her bum. She said by phone that her lines began at puberty and she also has them on the backs of her legs, on her hips and on her thighs.

"I've tried a lot of creams, moisturizers, oils," she said. "There's nothing I can do. I just have to live with it."

Rachel Hollis, a mother of three boys in Los Angeles, had not heard of Love Your Lines when she posted a photo of herself on Instagram rocking a bikini on vacation in Cancun, Mexico -- stomach pooch and all.

"I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini," she wrote in part under the March photo on her feed, (at)msrachelhollis. "I have a belly that's permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies and I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy ... (which is something I didn't even know was possible before!!) and I wear a bikini. I wear a bikini because I'm proud of this body and every mark on it."

Her on-the-beach declaration earned her viral status across her social streams, and an outpouring from people of all shapes motivated to share their lined, marked bodies and stories, too.

In an interview, the 32-year-old Hollis said it had been a decade since she had worn a bikini before taking off with her hubby without the kids, ages 8, 6 and 2. She really liked her orange bathing suit top that day and asked him to snap a picture.

"It's crazy. Almost immediately women started posting their own photos in the comment section," said Hollis, who runs a lifestyle blog called Thechicsite.com. "Women just lifting up their shirts and posting their stretch marks. It wasn't just women and it wasn't just moms. It was men who had lost weight. It was veterans who had lost limbs. People who had scars from burns or chemotherapy."

She's even more proud now of her body knowing she has inspired others.

"They took the torch and they ran with it and I'm so humbled," Hollis said. "It's awesome that it was my photo but it makes me think that it's something people want to see: the reality instead of constantly looking at perfection."

Photo Credit: LoveYourLines Instagram photo]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Aerial Views Could Save Lives]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 08:51:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/drone-generic-carlsbad-0926.jpg

Emergency crews see drones as a valuable resource that will help save lives.

The aerial view, for example, would aid a search-and-rescue mission with crews finding victims faster than from the ground, Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman said.

"To look at the type of collapse, to look at conditions of roads where we can bring people in -- these are central things we can do," Schapelhouman said.

But in order for drones to be effective and safe, Schapelhouman said pilots must be part of the rescue team and aware of helicopter operations.

"Working around big pieces of equipment like that and having a drone strike concerns me," he said.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District has a drone, but is not allowed to use it on a fire or rescue response until the Federal Aviation Administration grants permission.

The district, which is pursuing permission from the FAA to use a drone, hopes to make the device part of standard operations on fire and search-and-rescue calls.

Rescue and fire crews are not the only ones looking for the birds eye view drones provide.

USGS Seismologist Walter Mooney said the pictures from above can help scientists identify dangerous conditions created by an earthquake, including where aftershocks might occur.

"Having info from drones about subsidiary faults -- faults that are likely to move in an aftershock could save lives because that would be the zone likely to move in an aftershock," Mooney said.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla, Elon Musk Twitter Accounts Hacked]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:30:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/06-05-2014-tesla-logo-emblem.jpg

The Twitter accounts for Tesla and its founder Elon Musk were hacked Saturday.

The hacker or hackers promised free Teslas. The tweets went out to more than 2.5 million of Tesla's followers. Hacks directed readers to a residence in Oswego, Illinois.

Musk regularly teases news about Tesla or another of his companies, SpaceX, on the hacked account.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Watch Hits the Streets]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 07:47:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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 13:15:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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.

<![CDATA[Man Tears Tendon From Too Much "Candy Crush"]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 06:24:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.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[Apple Watch Draws Almost 1M Pre-Sale Orders in One Day]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Almost one million people pre-ordered an Apple Watch on the first day it became available for purchase.

Apple Watch starts shipping on April 24, with a suggested retail price range of $349 to $1,049. There is also an 18-karat gold "Apple Watch Edition" option that starts at $10,000.

The high price point didn't deter some 957,000 people from placing an order on Friday, reported USA Today, citing data provided by tracking firm Slice Intelligence. What's more, the average customer ordered more than one — at an average price of $503.83.

And the Apple mania doesn't stop there; Slice also found that 43 percent of the 48,000 customers who ordered the latest Macbook on the same day also bought an Apple Watch.

<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook Prefers White Smartwatch]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:38:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/timcooksmartwatch.jpg

Apple's CEO Tim Cook showed up in Palo Alto on Friday to talk all things "smartwatch," the day the company's newest product debuted for pre-order online and to test out in stores.

"It's been incredible," Cook told throngs of adoring fans at the Apple store on University Avenue, many snapping photos and stopping by to shake his hand. He listed off the country names where the smartwatch is being sold - Australia, China, France and the U.K, to name a few.  "Customers are giving us great feedback," Cook said.

And then he told CNBC reporter Josh Lipton the answer to the big question of the day: What color band does he prefer?

"I'm wearing the Apple watch, stainless, with the white fluoroelastomer band," Cook said. "I love it. I exercise in it." Cook added that he's got other band colors at home, too, because he "likes to change them out."

On April 24, consumers will be able to buy it online or by reservation at retail locations including high-end fashion boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo.

The the wearable gadget ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.

Photo Credit: CNBC
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<![CDATA[What Tech Experts Are Saying About the Apple Watch ]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 07:41:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/465696900.jpg

Pre-orders for the highly anticipated Apple Watch start online today, two weeks before the high-tech time piece hits the stores.

But is the wearable gadget worth the price tag, which ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.

Early reviews from some of tech's leading voices praised the smartwatch as a product with potential, but some room for improvement post-launch.

Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent and editor-at-large for Mashable, called it a “breakout star” and a “gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible, expensive and an object of true desire.” Yet he said the app store is an area that “needs the most improvement,” because the apps “took forever to install.”

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times echoed a similar tone in a review about the third-party apps, which he said “are useless right now.” He wrote that “the Apple Watch works like a first-generation device, with all the limitations and flaws you’d expect of brand-new technology.”

CNET.com Senior Edior Scott Stein, who wore the watch for a week, said it’s a “clever invention” that can help you in four areas: communication, fitness, information and time. He used it to order lunch, track daily activities, play his favorite tunes and hail a car from Uber. When it came to the last task,  he said using the app on iPhone offers a better view of cars in the area.

Here's a recap of what reviewers found to be the top features — and drawbacks — of the device:

What’s good about it?

  • Many tech experts, including "Today" show contributor Katie Linendoll, agree that the “comprehensive device” is more functional than fashionable. It allows users to check the weather, calendar appointments, make calls, send text messages and play music.
  • The watch's “Fitness Tracker PLUS” feature monitors your heart rate if you’re jogging or taking a walk.
  • If you're not adapted to the selfie stick, you can use the device to take a selfie even though it doesn't have a camera. Simply sync your phone, tap the watch screen and say "cheese."

What’s bad about it?

  • You need to have an iPhone 5 or a newer version in order make calls, send text messages and check emails using your watch.
  • Some reviewers concluded that the biggest red flag about the gadget is its “bad battery life.” They said it has to be charge every day if it's used often.
  • It only allows you to read or discard emails; you can’t reply.
  • It is not waterproof.

If you’re still unsure about getting a watch, you could rent one for as low as $45 a week to test if it’s worth the investment, through a service offered by the San Francisco-based gadget rental start-up called Lumoid

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Apple's Racially Diverse Emojis]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:05:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Apple-Emojis.jpg

Apple has released its latest iOS update with plenty of new features, including the highly-anticipated racially diverse characters. 

The iOS 8.3's enhanced keyboard comes with 300 new emojis and users can finally choose from six different skin tones.

There's also a larger variety of country flags and emojis to represent different types of families, plus the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch have been added to the catalog.

"Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement in February.

The different skin tones can be changed by holding down and tapping the icon.

iOS 8.3 also brought new languages to Siri, including Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Numerous bug fixes were also included in the update.

The update is available for free in the Settings app or in iTunes.

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<![CDATA[Top Cars at 2015 New York Auto Show]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 12:52:08 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/car+show+new.jpg A collection of photos taken at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Smartphone Livestreaming App]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 06:41:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0402-2015-Periscope.jpg

Add Periscope as the latest company allowing people to broadcast live from their smartphones.

"Our vision for Periscope was it would feel like a teleportation experience where you can just sort of travel the world through someone else's eyes in real time," co-founder Kayvon Beykpour said.

San Francisco-based Twitter acquired the company last month and launched the app this week.

"I think the biggest plus is being able to see what's happening anywhere in the world," said Ben Parr, author of "Captivology."

And, like the web itself, there is no limit to the reach in real time.

"Something like Periscope will take all these people that you know that are in the far reaches of the Twitterverse and shrink all those distances and bring all those connections closer to you," said Jasmine Bina, a Periscope user.

Thanks to apps like Periscope and Meerkat, anyone can follow and stream their every move.

The numbers for Periscope have been especially high these days because the service is under Twitter, which has tens of millions of people broadcasting every minute.

The app's popularity is exploding.

"Ringo Starr was on Periscope yesterday and Aaron Paul the actor from Breaking Bad takes us into his living room for acoustic guitar concerts," Beykpour said. "The creativity of how users have been playing with Periscope has been nothing short of mind-boggling."

But using the app does come with some risk of seeing indecent exposure or bullying.

"I think the big negative is the combination of the trolling and the lack of control," Parr said. "I think you will see something bad happen at some point."

Periscope said if bullying or indecent exposure were to happen, there are measures in place.

"Periscope is not a place for harassment and abuse. It's also not a place for pornography," Beykpour said. "We have tools in place and teams in place to make sure that policy is being adhered to as much as possible."

Beykpour said they are constantly working to improve the apps' uses and options.

For now, he hopes people enjoy the sights and sounds across the world on your phone.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2015 April Fools' Day Pranks: Selfie Car, Twelfie Stick and More]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:29:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/selfie+car.JPG

Celebrities and companies did not disappoint this April Fools’ Day. Some unique pranks surfaced this year that you may not have noticed. Here's a look at some of the most creative.

The Honda Selfie Car

Honda says it prides itself for being on the forefront of the latest automobile technologies. The company "rolled out" its 10 camera-equipped HR-V that is equipped to take selfies. They said the technology uploads photos hands-free to social media sites via HondaLink.

'Twelfie Stick'

Twitter unveiled its "Twelfie Stick" Wednesday, a "highly sophisticated and first-of-its-kind device" that the company says would allow users to tweet out "selfie" pictures directly. Twitter said the device will be available in time for the holiday shopping season for $39.99.

Army Drones to Deliver Pizzas

The U.S. Army proposed using drones to deliver 3-D printed pizzas to men and women on the front lines across the world. Calling this "an expected breakthrough," the Army said the first drone pizza deliveries are to be made by April Fools' Day 2016.

Sam Smith is Straight

The "Stay with Me" singer tweeted that he is straight, which had a female fan asking, "Can you date me now?" One hour later, he posted that is was all a joke.

A Samsung Smart Knife?

Samsung presented its Galaxy BLADE edge, "the world's first smart knife with smart phone capabilities." The phone features a "razor-sharp diamond edge that is tough enough to cut through a lobster tail and sharp enough to slice through tender heirloom tomatoes."

Selfie Shoes

Are selfie sticks too much to handle? Why not get Selfie Shoes from Miz Mooz? The company said the tool adds functionality without sacrificing "comfort our women on-the-go have come to love about our footwear." How does it work? Just insert your phone into the port at the front of any shoe, raise your photo to the perfect angle and click the internal button with a tap of your toe to take a selfie.

Pac-Man Returns?

Google announced in celebration of April Fools' Day that you can now play Pac-Man on Google Maps. How does it work? Open maps in your browser, scroll to the bottom left and click on Pac-Man. Before you know it, you'll have something to eat.

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