<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usThu, 26 May 2016 15:36:05 -0700Thu, 26 May 2016 15:36:05 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Firefighters' Drone Use Grows]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 15:32:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2016-05-25-drone.jpg

As firefighters braved the smoke and flames from the ground and rooftops, a small object soared above their heads Wednesday morning, trying to assist their efforts as a five-alarm fire ripped through a Santa Clara, California, strip mall.

The drone was sent up by the Santa Clara Fire Department volunteers to try to pinpoint how to best fight the blaze, which affected about a dozen small shops and restaurants in the Koreatown mall.

The use of drones by fire departments and police agencies has grown across the country from Connecticut to Spokane, Washington, though there are some controversies and hurdles surrounding their use.

"It's not a perfect application for every fire," Santa Clara Fire Chief Bill Kelly told NBC Bay Area. "But a view from that vantage point helps us figure out tactical methods, like where to put the hose stream."

Kelly said the quality of the hobbyist drone isn't all that great, and the video doesn't provide deep thermal images. "But it was useful today," he said. "It gives you a bird's eye view."

Santa Clara police began using an amateur drone a year ago, and nearby Menlo Park has been using them, too. Coincidentally, Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman announced on Wednesday that his fire agency was the first in Northern California to be authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones. His department will be using three drones: the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, the DJI Inspire One and the DJI Phantom 4 that use thermal imaging, visual tracking of moving objects, collision avoidance and other high-tech features. It took the Menlo Park Fire Department more than two years to be approved through an "onerous" procedural process, Schapelhouman said.

There are basically two types of drones — ones used by hobbyists and ones used by the military, explained CalFire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff. And there are a few types in between, including commercial-style drones used for crop spraying and making movies.

CalFire does not own either of the types, she said. Rather, the state agency borrows U.S. Forest Service-owned, military-grade drones that can fly above 10,000 feet to document how large fires have spread, find hot spots and survey damage. The California National Guard in 2013 operated the MQ-1 "Predator" over the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park to stream real-time video down to the command post.

At this point, CalFire is doing some research into whether a non-military-grade drone, which flies more directly over the scene, would be of practical use, Tolmachoff said, noting their use is gaining in popularity with local departments, such as Santa Clara.

While the images could be helpful, Tolmachoff said, there are challenges with using drones, too. The small aircraft can get in the way of large firefighting helicopters dousing the fires with buckets of water.

For example, a private drone hindered CalFire efforts in June 2014 as firefighters were fighting a fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and a hobby drone prevented CalFire from launching air tankers during the San Bernardino wildfire last July.

Coordinating between the drone and the helicopter — so that they don't crash into each other — would be a large effort. "One of those drones could bring down a chopper," Tolmachoff said.

Any kind of technology has advantages and disadvantages, said DroneLife.com editor-in-chief Frank Schroth, who nevertheless added that he is a staunch drone advocate.

Flying drones takes skill and practice, he said, and shouldn't be taken lightly, just as a driver wouldn't get behind the wheel without lessons and a license.

Schroth compared drones today to smart phones 15 years ago - there is a lot of room for growth and improvement.

"There is plenty of room for abuse," he said. "But as with anything, it has the potential to do a lot of good."

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<![CDATA[New Prosthetic Arm Offers Life-Like Touch]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 16:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_prostheticarm0523_1920x1080.jpg A unique, thought-controlled prosthetic arm developed in part by the Hanger Clinic in Gig Harbor, Washington, uses the the body's nerve signals to control movement.]]> <![CDATA[LinkedIn: Millions May Be Affected by New Data Leak]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:57:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/linkedin+logo.jpg

LinkedIn is aware of a set of over 100 million users' data that may have been released online by a hacker, the social media network said Wednesday.

The password and email data that have apparently been released came to the company's attention Tuesday, Chief Information Security Officer Cory Scott wrote in a blog post. It appears the data was taken during a known security breach in 2012, after which the company required any users they believed were affected to reset their passwords.

"We are taking immediate steps to invalidate the passwords of the accounts impacted, and we will contact those members to reset their passwords," Scott said Wednesday.

The stolen passwords were hashed, a form of encryption, LinkedIn says.

In the wake of its initial 2012 hack, which LinkedIn believed resulted in 6.5 million hashed passwords being leaked, it added an extra layer of protection called "salting."

Motherboard reports that the hacker, who goes by the name "Peace," listed 117 million emails and passwords on a hard-to-access web marketplace for the equivalent of about $2,200. A search engine for paid hacked data also told the news agency that it acquired the data, providing a sample of almost one million credentials and claiming to have hacked nearly all of them.

LinkedIn suggests that users enable two-step verification (which sends a text or email to a person who's logging in from an unrecognized device) and strong passwords.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Space Shuttle Tank to Go on Display]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 16:55:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/05-18-2016-shuttle-tank-et94.JPG

The lone remaining external fuel tank from NASA's space shuttle program arrived early Wednesday in Marina del Rey for the final leg of its journey to the California Science Center.

The rust-colored tank, aka ET-94, was transported on a barge during a month-long sea voyage from a NASA assembly plant in New Orleans. The 15-story, 32 1/2-ton tank was never used and will become part of the Science Center's display that features the retired Endeavour space shuttle — which made its own celebrated trip on Los Angeles' streets to Exposition Park after a spectacular Southern California flyover on the back of a jumbo jet.

ET-94 began its journey to Los Angeles on April 10 when it was pulled out of NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. Two days later, it was tugged into the Gulf of Mexico to begin a sea voyage that took it through the Panama Canal.

The transport crew made headlines during the trip when crew members helped rescue four people who abandoned a sinking sportfishing boat off Baja, California.

A tugboat pulled ET-94 out of San Diego waters Tuesday morning, and the barge floated out of the fog and toward the dock around 6 a.m. Wednesday in Marina Del Rey.

"I think this is awesome, couldn't wait to get down here this morning," said resident Dean Reutter.

The tank will remain at the marina until about midnight Saturday, when it is scheduled to begin a slow, 12-mile journey to the Science Center that will likely continue into Saturday night.

The caravan will travel — at about 5 mph — down Lincoln and Culver boulevards, to Westchester Parkway, then through Inglewood on Arbor Vitae Street to La Brea Avenue, past the Forum, and north on Vermont Avenue to the museum. It will be joined to Endeavour and, eventually, two booster rockets at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

"This will be the only place in the world where a whole space shuttle stack with real hardware will be available," said Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.

The shuttle stack will be available for viewing next week.

The external tanks, which provided the shuttles with the propellants needed to enter space, were designed to detach from the shuttles and disintegrate as they plummeted back to Earth. ET-94 is actually made up of three tanks: one for oxygen, another for hydrogen and a third collar-like intertank that connects the two others.

The external tank also provided structural support for the shuttles and booster rockets when they were upright on the launch pad.

The ET's skin was coated with polyisocyanurate foam, which protected the tank from heat and helped maintain the proper temperature for the propellants it contained. Its job was done about 8 1/2 minutes after launch when it was jettisoned from the shuttle.

Most of the tank disintegrated in the atmosphere; the rest splashed into the ocean.

NASA used three types of external tanks for the space shuttle program: standard weight, more advanced lightweight tanks and super lightweight tanks. ET-94 is considered a lightweight tank, commonly used throughout the 1990s.

ET-94 was delivered to NASA in January 2001 and, although it was never used in flight, investigators looking into the 2003 Columbia disaster examined the tank in search of possible problems that might have led to the re-entry break-up that killed seven crew members. The team dissected foam coating from parts of the tank, which explains why there are pieces of foam missing from ET-94.

The tank will be restored before it joins Endeavour on display.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Exec on Losing Husband]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 11:45:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CAL+GRADUATION+-+14400209.jpg

Commencement speeches usually strike a celebratory tone, but Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg went against the grain Saturday while addressing UC Berkeley grads and spoke publicly for the first time about the tragic death of her husband.

"His death was sudden and unexpected," Sandberg said. "For many months afterward, and at many times since, I was swallowed up in the deep fog of grief — what I think of as the void — an emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, and constricts your ability to think or even to breathe."

Sandberg’s husband, Survey Monkey CEO Dave Goldberg, died of a cardiac arrhythmia while the couple was vacationing in Mexico in May of 2015.

During the speech, the “Lean In” author told students about how the sudden loss affected her, and how she came out of that grief with a stronger sense of self.

"I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss," she said. "But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again."

She said she hopes students will take her words to heart and acknowledged that they too will face immense challenges.

"When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it."

She continued: "It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are," she said. "You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WordPress to Offer .Blog Domain Extensions ]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 13:29:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LaptopTyping-GettyImages-500231363.jpg

Website hosting service WordPress.com will offer .blog domain extensions for Internet users later this year, NBC News reports.

The domains will be up for grabs this year. Anyone interested can sign up to get notified when they’re available to the public. 

"With a top-level domain like .blog, you can get a name that truly matches your identity," WordPress.com said in its statement. 

Registration prices for the .blog domains haven’t been finalized yet, but they will be in “standard range for new top-level domains with some premium pricing for higher-value names,” the company said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images – File]]>
<![CDATA[Yahoo Working With Congress After Ransomware Attacks Reported on House]]> Thu, 12 May 2016 04:10:51 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/YAHOO_AP_1603102305581417.jpg

A recent attack from "ransomware" to the House of Representatives prompted Congress to work with Yahoo on security issues, NBC News reported.

The House Information Security Office advised representatives late last month that it had blocked access to its networks from Yahoo Mail accounts because of the attacks, the business and tech site Fast Company first reported last week.

The attacks used web-based services like Yahoo Mail and Gmail, the IT office said in a memo to members, but "the primary focus appears to be through Yahoo Mail at this time." There was no immediate indication that the attacks extended to the Senate.

According to the memo, the attack uses a social engineering and phishing strategy by generating an email that appears to be from a trusted source. The email includes an attached .ZIP file that, when clicked, injects code that encrypts all files on the recipient's computer — including files shared with other users.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Silent Signal From Your TV Gathering Information Through Mobile Devices]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 12:16:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/52086556.jpg

Some companies may be using your television and your mobile devices to learn a lot more about you.

It's called tech syncing. An undetectable audio beacon is sent through some TV commercials and into your home. That beacon is then picked up by microphones in your smart phones, tablets, and laptops, allowing companies to know what commercials you saw, when you saw them, and where you saw them.

The federal government recently warned a handful of companies about doing this. Experts say it's a matter of time before someone else tries.

Click here to see the complete story.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid]]>
<![CDATA[How San Diego County Could Be Testing Ground for Autonomous Cars]]> Mon, 09 May 2016 06:43:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP360467911099+2.jpg

Self-driving cars. How will they fit into our everyday lives?

Believe it or not San Diego County is ahead of the game and preparing for the future right now. A fact that may surprise you.

Sunday, on "Politically Speaking", we discussed how cities and public agencies will handle the onslaught.

Voice of San Diego transportation writer Maya Srikrishnan found out that according to SANDAG 30 miles of express, carpool and bus lanes could double as testing grounds for driverless cars. But she says it could shake up the status quo.

Chula Vista has long considered itself a “smart city” and recently applied for a federal grant to fund its technology driven proposals.

The city’s Chief Sustainability Officer Dennis Gakunga says we need to look at the big picture and how cities can do more with less.

It’s an interesting discussion of how San Diego is planning for the future by using the emerging technology.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SpaceX Successfully Lands Falcon 9 Rocket at Sea]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 05:22:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_40364550147.jpg

SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket on an ocean platform early Friday, following the launch of a Japanese communications satellite, NBC News reported.

Company representatives weren't optimistic of a successful touchdown before liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, because of the high altitude needed to send SKY Perfect JSAT Corp.'s JCSAT-14 satellite into orbit.

"Given this mission's GTO destination, the first stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely," SpaceX wrote in a mission description.

This is the first successful landing at sea for SpaceX, which hopes to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets that the company's billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, contends would cut spaceflight cost by a factor of 100.

"Woohoo!!" Musk exclaimed in a tweet after Falcon 9 touched down vertically atop a barge in the Atlantic Ocean. 



Photo Credit: SpaceX via AP
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<![CDATA[Experts Urge Password Changes After Massive Cyber Attack]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 16:36:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Cybersecurity professionals are warning anyone with a personal email account to change their passwords after stolen user names and passwords were being offered up for sale on the Internet, NBC News reported. 

Some 272.3 million accounts were stolen - and involve some of the biggest email providers, including Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and Microsoft, according to Alex Holden of Hold Security. 

"We know he's a young man in central Russia who collected this information from multiple sources," Holden told NBC News. "We don't know the way he did it or the reason why he did it."

The user names and passwords were all being sold on the so-called “dark web,” where hackers hock their goods. Hackers use the stolen information to lure users into giving away more information, including credit card numbers and bank account access.

Experts say people should change their passwords regularly. Use abstract combinations of letters, numbers and characters that a criminal's computer program couldn't easily guess.



Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Says Service Back After App Store Problem]]> Thu, 05 May 2016 12:46:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/GettyImages-128349521.jpg

Apple said Thursday morning that "all users" were affected by a problem on its App Store that lasted from about 5 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., CNBC reported.

The service had not been "working as expected," Apple had said on its system status page. It appeared the store's search function was not working as it should.

For example, the first seven results of a search for "Google" did not show apps from the tech giant, CNBC reported.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Pays $10K Reward to Boy for Reporting Glitch]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 13:22:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_351548094733.jpg

Facebook has given a $10,000 reward to a 10-year-old Finnish boy for finding a glitch in its photo-sharing app, Instagram, according to Reuters. 

"I wanted to see if Instagram's comment field could stand malicious code. Turns out it couldn't," Jani, whose last name was not released for privacy reasons, told Finland's Iltalehti newspaper. 

The boy is the youngest ever recipient of Facebook’s “bug bounty,” which is paid to users who find bugs or weaknesses in its platforms. 

"I could have deleted anyone's comments from there. Even Justin Bieber's," he told Iltalehti. 

Facebook said the glitch was fixed in February and the reward paid in March.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tech-Savvy Gang Members]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 04:45:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0502-2016-Smartphone.jpg

The FBI, in its latest national gang report, says the use of technology among gang members is creating "unique challenges for law enforcement."

Tech-savvy gang members staying a step ahead of police is also a concern for law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area. Members of San Jose Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force are not surprised gangs are increasingly using technology and war-time tactics to carry out their crimes.

A former gang member in San Jose also says he is not surprised gang members are using social media platforms and leaning on the "end-to-end" encryption technology to communicate with one another.

"They think ahead. They're innovators. They are inventors," said Pastor Sonny Lara, who runs the Firehouse Community Development Center in San Jose.

Lara, a former gang member, works to get kids off the streets and provides programs to get them back in school.

Gang members are also using old-school, Trojan horse-like methods to attack their enemies, including dressing like them.

"This new trend of wearing the opposing colors and getting closer to the enemy, being able to get to another area, another turf, another barrio without being seen as a red going into a blue territory, or a blue going into red," said Mario Maciel, who directs the San Jose Mayor's Gang Task Force.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Scientists Discover Why Some Sharks Glow]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 02:43:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/UCSD-Catshark-Glow.jpg

San Diego researchers have discovered that some sharks use their fluorescent glow to communicate with other sharks deep under water, and their research has provided some really cool images to show how it works.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, working with experts at the American Museum of Natural History, used a custom-built "shark eye" camera to do the research.

"This study provides the first evidence that sharks can see the fluorescence of their own species," said Dimitri Deheyn, a researcher at Scripps and co-author of the study. "It's not just beautiful but has an ecological purpose."

How does it all work?

Well, people and other land animals live in a full-color environment, but fish live in a world that's mostly blue, because water quickly absorbs most of the visible light spectrum the deeper you go. The research team figured out that many fish absorb that remaining blue light, and then re-emit it in neon colors of greens, reds and oranges.

Then researchers were able to take their findings a step further. They designed a camera that could capture that fluorescent light and they were able to capture a hidden universe.

They focused on two catsharks: chain catsharks and swellsharks.

The scientists went on a number of expeditions at Scripps Canyon in San Diego County. They observed swellsharks in their native habitat, about 100-feet underwater. The team stimulated biofluorescence during night dives with high-intensity blue lights in watertight cases.

The research team recorded the activity (which you can't see with the human eye) using the custom-built underwater camera. The camera had different sets of filters.

"The set of filters we used for the shark-eye had similar effects as if using yellow filters to see fluorescence, as commonly done by divers," Deheyn told NBC7. "The shark eye filter set is just more finely tuned to match the data collected from the eye."

The scientists mathematically modeled the images from the camera, and found that the contrast of the patterns on the biofluorescent sharks increases with depth. That suggests the animals cannot only see the light, but are also probably using it to communicate with one another.

"This is one of the first papers on biofluorescence to show this connection, and a big step toward a functional explanation for fluorescence in fishes," said John Sparks, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Ichthyology and a co-author on the paper.

The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.



Photo Credit: J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone]]>
<![CDATA[SCOTUS Approves Rule Change to Expand FBI Hacking Power]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:01:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USSupremeCourtBuilding-518005430+%281%29.jpg

The U.S. Supreme Court approved a measure on Thursday that would allow judges to issue warrants for computer searches in any jurisdiction. Civil liberties groups say it unnecessarily expands the FBI's hacking capability, while the Justice Department says it is a minor change necessary to modernize the criminal code.

Judges are normally only able to issue warrants within their own jurisdictions, which are typically small and limited to a few counties. A Justice Department spokesperson said the change is necessary due to the "anonymizing" capabilities that criminals use to conceal their identity and location, and that remote searches are the only way to track the suspects down.

Google and civil liberties groups said that the change is an attack on American's privacy and is counter to the U.S. Constitution's protections against illegal searches and seizures.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[#JustDrive Campaign Shames Drivers Who Text]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 07:46:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/JustDrive-PSA-texting-Driving-NHTSA.jpg

Texting and driving can end with sometimes deadly consequences so one federal agency is telling people to #justdrive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a powerful PSA showing the dangers of texting and driving.

They’re also publicly shaming distracted drivers on Twitter.

On their stream you’ll find them responding to people who brag about texting and driving.

One person wrote "I don’t text and drive, no mms that’s dangerous. I just Instagram and drive."

"Yeahhhh about that…that’s not any safer," the NHTSA responded.

 "You shouldn’t text and drive or Tweet and drive," explained NHTSA Communication Director Bryan Thomas. "And if you're bragging online, we want you to know we’re paying attention and were trying to help save lives."

More than 100 people in California were killed by distracted drivers and 11,000 were injured according to NHTSA's most recent numbers from 2014.

Among the injured, former Navy Petty Officer Kenny Freudenvoll.

His spine was broken when someone texting and looking at his cell phone plowed into the Navy veteran's truck, sending it flying from Interstate 8 at Dave and Busters.

NHTSA and its safety partners hoping to heighten awareness during this month of Distracted Driver Awareness.

Every hour Thomas says 500,000 people are on roads using their cell phone while driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Currently, there is a $161 fine for those caught using their phone while driving.

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<![CDATA[Bad Apple: Apple Reports 1st Revenue Drop Since '03]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:37:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/iPhone-GettyImages-519233078.jpg

Apple says quarterly revenue fell for the first time in more than a decade, as iPhone sales fell compared with a year ago. That's putting more pressure on the world's most valuable public company to come up with its next big product.

Apple sold more than 51.2 million iPhones in the first three months of 2016 — while racking up $10.5 billion in quarterly profit. That was more than many analysts expected, but still fewer than the 61 million iPhones sold a year earlier.

The company is battling perceptions that its latest iPhones aren't dramatically different from previous models, as overall smartphone sales are slowing around the world. Apple also sells iPads, Mac computers and other gadgets, but nearly two-thirds of its $50.6 billion in quarterly revenue came from iPhones.

Revenue was down 13 percent from the January-March quarter of 2015. And the company surprised analysts by forecasting another revenue drop of 13 percent or more in the current quarter. The forecast drove Apple's stock price down more than 5 percent in extended trading Tuesday, after closing at $104.35.

Despite the decline, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an interview, "we continue to believe the iPhone business is very strong." But he added that Apple is expanding its other businesses. The January-March quarter includes $6 billion in revenue from online services, apps and other software, which was up 20 percent from a year earlier, but just 10 percent of overall revenue. 

Many were hoping the Apple Watch would be the company's next big hit when it went on sale one year ago. Apple hasn't revealed sales figures for the watch, but most analysts estimate the company has sold 12 million or more, producing well over $5 billion in revenue. That's more than twice the number of iPhones sold in the first year after the company introduced its signature smartphone in 2007.

But even as some owners say they're delighted with the Apple Watch, others have voiced disappointment that it doesn't do more. And critics say it hasn't ignited consumer passions, in the way the iPhone became a "must-have" product.

 "They need to come out with that next great product," Angelo Zino, a financial analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in an interview before Apple released its earnings report Thursday. While he's optimistic about the company's future, Zino added, "Apple absolutely needs to start diversifying their revenue base."



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Snowden Advanced Encryption '7 Years': Spy Chief]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 04:42:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SNOWDEN_AP_334678657241.jpg

Edward Snowden's revelations about the U.S. government's spying activities spurred advanced encryption technologies by "about seven years," National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Monday during a talk hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Commercially available software has become so sophisticated so rapidly, Clapper added, that it is a "major inhibitor" to the government's ability to collect intelligence on terrorists.

"From our standpoint," Clapper said, "it's not a good thing."

But in interviews with NBC News, digital rights and security experts were puzzled over how intelligence officials arrived at the seven-year figure.

"He's speculating on what would have happened if what happened didn't happen," said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy director of Access Now. "I'm not sure what metric he's using."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toxic Old TVs Are Ticking Time Bomb for Environment]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 04:09:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/TV_GettyImages-489056935.jpg

The global slump in commodities, marked by low prices of raw materials like lead and copper, is leading to old electronics being dumped and e-recycling companies improperly disposing of them, NBC News reported.

A Kentucky company was caught last year burying old TVs and other electronics devices in a 10-foot-deep hole in a field. These products contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, beryllium and cadmium

"We want to promote recycling the best we can," James Young, executive director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority in West Virginia, told NBC News. "But when it becomes such a burden, we can't expect municipalities to foot the bill."

Meanwhile, companies that used to recycle televisions for free, including Best Buy, are now charging customers to haul them away.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Solar Plane to Land in Bay Area]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 14:55:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-522899362.jpg

The pilot of a solar-powered airplane on an around-the-world journey said Saturday that stopping in California's Silicon Valley will help link the daring project to the pioneering spirit of the area.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard, who left Hawaii three days ago, said he hopes to fly over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge before landing in Mountain View on Saturday night.

"Can you imagine crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on a solar-powered plane just like ships did in past centuries? But the plane doesn't make noise and doesn't pollute,'' Piccard said a live video feed on the website documenting the journey.

It's a priority to link the project we have with the pioneering spirit in Silicon Valley,'' he added.

The project's website says the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is 2 days and 4 hours into a three-day flight over the Pacific.

The aircraft started its around-the-world journey in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan. It's on the ninth leg of its circumnavigation. 

On Friday, Piccard exchanged pleasantries with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hailed Piccard's pioneering spirit as "inspirational,'' telling him he was making history.

Piccard responded that Ban, too, was making history by having just presided over the signing of a climate agreement supported by representatives of 175 nations.

"What you are doing today in New York, signing the Paris agreement, is more than protecting the environment, it is the launch of the clean technology revolution,'' Piccard said.

The trans-Pacific leg of his journey is the riskiest part of the solar plane's global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

After uncertainty about winds, the plane took off from Hawaii on Thursday morning. The crew that helped it take off was clearing out of its Hawaiian hangar and headed for the mainland for the weekend arrival.

At one point passengers on a Hawaiian Air jet caught a glimpse of the Solar Impulse 2 before the airliner sped past the slow-moving aircraft.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii in July and was forced to stay in the islands after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan 

Piccard's co-pilot Andre Borschberg flew the leg from Japan to Hawaii 

The team was delayed in Asia, as well. When first attempting to fly from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii, the crew had to divert to Japan because of unfavorable weather and a damaged wing.

A month later, when weather conditions were right, the plane departed from Nagoya in central Japan for Hawaii.

The plane's ideal flight speed is about 45 kph, or 28 mph, though that can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a midsize truck.

 The wings of Solar Impulse 2, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Paid More Than $1M for iPhone-Cracking Software]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:24:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/JamesComey-AP_1604052000313874.jpg

The FBI paid more than a million dollars for software to hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, NBC News reported. 

"A lot, more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure,” FBI Director James Comey said during a security conference in London. 

The FBI director is paid about $180,000 a year. So multiplying that by 7.3 years yields a figure of about $1.3 million. FBI officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure.

Apple and the FBI were supposed to head to court in March, until the government said it found a way to get data off Syed Farook’s iPhone without the company’s help. Comey recently said the FBI “purchased” the technique from an unidentified third party.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Intel to Cut 12K Jobs, Reducing Workforce by 11 Percent]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:09:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/184*120/91022387.jpg

Shares of Intel fell nearly 3 percent after the bell Tuesday as it announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce, by 2017, due to restructuring, CNBC reports. 

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, also said Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith would leave that role to lead sales.

The change comes as Intel customers are looking beyond PCs for the "next big experience," from cloud computing to personal assistant robots, CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Fitbit Shows Woman Lied About Sexual Assault]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 11:23:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477622012.jpg

A Pennsylvania woman is now on probation after her fitness tracker's information proved she was awake and walking around at a time she claimed to have been sexually assaulted.

The woman made a false police report saying she was pulled out of bed and sexually assaulted, but her Fitbit showed otherwise, according to NBC's "Today" show.

That evidence "sealed the deal" for prosecutors, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman told "Today."

Law enforcement can use a warrant to obtain information from fitness trackers, many of which include GPS devices.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Theranos CEO 'Devastated' About Blood Test Issues]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:55:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_241410476392.jpg

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of blood-testing company Theranos, said she was "devastated" after an inspection found "critical violations" at her California lab, raising questions about an accuracy of the tests. 

The Silicon Valley company, valued at $9 billion, partners with Walgreens to provide quick, in-store blood tests at a fraction of regular prices. In November, a federal inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the company failed to hire and train qualified staff to work the testing machines, and let unlicensed workers review test results. 

"I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster," Holmes said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Monday.

Holmes said the lab stopped testing and that she is rebuilding the "entire laboratory from scratch," but a letter from regulators in March called her fixes insufficient and threatened to shut down the lab and ban Holmes from the business of blood testing for at least two years.

Holmes said she has hired a new lab director and an expert medical board to prevent any future violations. She is awaiting response from CMS.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Lockheed Martin Launches Virtual 'Mars' Bus]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:10:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/LOCKHEED+BUS.png

In the 1960s, kids flicked on the TV to watch astronauts walk on the moon.

Fifty years later, kids click on YouTube to be whisked away on a virtual field trip to Mars.

On Friday, Lockheed Martin launched "Generation Beyond," a first-of-its-kind, free national educational program to bring space exploration into homes and classrooms.

The highlights? Easy-to-access online curriculum for elementary and middle school teachers to simply download and use for free, and the "Lockheed Martin Mars Experience Bus," a short video that shows students starting off their field trip in a yellow school bus on earth and being transported by "magic" to the red, sweeping rocks of Mars.

There's also a cool Mars app that shows users where Mars is in the sky based on the GPS technology and the current weather on the red planet.

"We have 60,000 scientists that are part of our employee base," Lockheed spokesman Bill Phelps told NBC Bay Area on Monday. "The whole point is to get kids interested in science, math and technology, and lead them on a career path to Mars. Traveling to Mars is a lot closer than they think."

It was unclear Monday just how many teachers signed on to the free curriculum. The Generation Beyond program was announced Friday in Washington, D.C, at the opening ceremony of the Lockheed Martin-sponsored USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest—and only—national STEM event.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 126,000 people worldwide. Lockheed Martin has thousands of employees in Sunnyvale and Palo Alto. The Sunnyvale facility is part of the company's Space Systems division, which makes solar panels, including those that power the International Space Station.



Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin
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<![CDATA[Bids to Buy Troubled Yahoo Due Monday]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:55:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/YAHOO_AP_1603102305581417.jpg

Any company that wants to buy Yahoo, or at least parts of it, should have its bids in Monday.

Dozens of, maybe even as many as 40, companies are said to be interested in the troubled internet company based in Sunnyvale, California, including Verizon Communications, USA Today reported. The telecommunications giant expressed interest in Yahoo's internet business two months before CEO Marissa Mayer and Chairman Maynard Webb made it official that the company would entertain offers for its core businesses including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Finance and Tumblr, the Wall Street Journals reported.

Yahoo's business has declined under Mayer even as advertisers pour more money into digital marketing, with most of it flowing to rivals Google and Facebook.

Shares of Yahoo have fallen about 30 percent since the end of 2014, increasing pressure on Mayer to take more drastic measures.

Most recently, the parent of British national newspaper the Daily Mail, Daily Mail and General Trust, said it had joined the bidding process.

Other companies reportedly interested include AT&T, Alibaba, Google, Softbank and Time Inc., according news outlets including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News.

The potential sale comes after Yahoo abandoned plans for a tax-free spinoff of its stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Yahoo is under intense pressure to revive its revenue growth and activist investor Starboard Value, a big stakeholder, is pushing for a change in leadership.



Photo Credit: AP, file]]>
<![CDATA[Canadian PM Explains Quantum Computing in Viral Video]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:45:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-519414776.jpg

The internet was abuzz with praise for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday after clips showing him schooling a reporter on quantum computing went viral.

During a press briefing at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, a reporter opened his question by joking "I was was going to ask you about quantum computing" but then went on to ask the Prime Minister about Canada's fight against ISIS.

To everyone's surprise, Trudeau decided to answer both, starting with his detailed definition of quantum computing.

"Very simply, normal computers work by ...," he began before he was interrupted by the crowd's laughter and applause.

"No, no, don't interrupt me, when you walk out of here you will know more — well no, some of you will know far less — about quantum computing."



Photo Credit: ALICE CHICHE/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Uber Gave Gov. Agencies Data on Over 12M Users]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:32:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Uber-Generic.jpg

Uber released its first transparency report detailing the information requested by not only United States law enforcement agencies, but also by regulators, Reuters reports.

The ride-sharing company said in the report, released Tuesday, that between July and December 2015 it provided information on more than 12 million riders and drivers to various U.S. regulators and on 469 users to state and federal law agencies.

The privately held company, valued at more than $60 billion, said the agencies requested information on trips, trip requests, pickup and drop-off areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers.

Uber said it got 415 requests from law enforcement agencies, a majority of which came from state governments, and that it was able to provide data in nearly 85 percent of the cases.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>