<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 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 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 08:10:12 -0800 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 08:10:12 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Company Unveils Electronically-Powered Skates]]> Sat, 22 Nov 2014 10:36:43 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1121-2014-RocketSkates.jpg

Forget walking or rollerblading — how about rocket skating?

California-based company Acton has developed electronically-powered skates that can propel the wearer up to 12 miles per hour — no pushing required.

Founders said the idea was inspired by "Iron Man," "Inspector Gadget" and "The Jetsons."

"The idea of just being able to slide around the urban environment is very exciting," said Peter Treadway, co-founder of Acton. "It's kind of like a magic carpet for your feet."

The skates were released this week and sell for $500 a pair.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Drivers Try to Trick Popular Traffic App Waze]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:51:06 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/11-20-14-waze-app.JPG

Westside Los Angeles residents are working to fool Waze — a popular traffic app — into believing the side streets are clogged, so that the app stops diverting traffic into their neighborhoods.

Waze is a driving tool that uses crowd sourcing to tell commuters the best roads to get to where they need to go in the least amount of time.

"The freeways are not enough anymore," said Lawrence Marshall. "It's head on. They are dialed in. I'm avoiding traffic."

The problem: the app is diverting traffic from the freeways to neighborhood side streets.

Some West LA residents have had enough, declaring war against the app.

Waze promises that residents’ plan to trick the app will not work.

"Fake, coordinated traffic reports can't come to fruition because they’ll be negated by the next 50 people that drive down the street passively," Waze said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Mekahlo Medina ]]>
<![CDATA[Canceling Apps Like Uber Not Easy]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:32:08 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/453253488.jpg

It's easy to sign up for online apps like Uber but canceling is another story.

"They want to keep your information at all costs," said Kim Gough with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. "So they're not going to make the process necessarily easy for you to do it."

In Uber's case, finding the cancellation policy requires digging through the fine print on the website. You won't find it in Terms and Conditions, but in a second level down navigation in the Privacy Policy.

"You have to click through several links, you have to read through 10 pages so they could do a better job of disclosing that information right up front," said Evan Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center.

But both Velasquez and Gough say practices like this are not unusual. Many apps, websites, memberships and online contracts inundate readers with blocks of legal language. Yet if someone clicks "I Agree" it's as if you signed paper on a lawyer's desk.

Gough said you need to read the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy of companies before you sign up. But she acknowledges that few people do that.

Also, websites and retail businesses alike often create databases on their customers that include names, emails and credit card information. But that information is often difficult to find.

"It would be safe to say that every time you give that number out, it's being retained," said Velasquez.

And while many consumers are not aware of policies like this, Gough said the companies are most likely doing nothing illegal.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FB Shuttle Drivers “Like” Union Bid]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:11:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/fb16.jpg

Shuttle bus drivers who take Facebook employees to and from Silicon Valley overwhelmingly gave the "thumbs up" to forming a union on Wednesday, after they had complained publicly for months about their low pay, split shifts and health insurance benefits.

Rome Aloise, secretary for the Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, said the vote was 43 in favor of unionizing and 28 opposed. A total of 16 of the 87 drivers who work for Loop Transportation - the shuttle company contracted to drive Facebook employees, did not vote.

"This will now give these drivers at Facebook, and most probably the drivers for all of the companies that use this type of service a chance at a piece of the pie," Aloise said. "This makes it possible for those that make Facebook successful to get to work comfortably, safely and in a timely fashion.  Hopefully the tech companies will step up and pay the "freight" so to speak"

The National Labor Board still needs to certify the election, and then bargaining can begin with Loop for a first-time contract.

In a statement, Loop CEO Jeff Leonoudakis said that the company didn't feel "our drivers' interests are best served by union representation."

But, he added: "Our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process."

Leonoudakis reiterated that the company's drivers earn between $17 and $25 an hour and get full medical benefits valued at up to $714 per month per employee. One of the drivers' complaints is over their split shifts. They pick up Facebook employees about 6 a.m. and have to take them home sometimes 14 or 15 hours later - and are only getting paid for an eight-hour shift.

Leonoudakis said that the drivers can sleep at the Loop Transportation yard, or eat for free at Facebook's campus.

Facebook officials has not formally commented on the labor strife, indicating that the fight is not with their tech company, but with a third party contractor.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Get Ready to Send Messages to Other Cars]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:02:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/googlecar.jpg

Google released its latest APIs so developers can build apps for its Android Auto, according to reports.

The initial apps offer audio enhancement and messaging apps -- a bit like Apple's CarPlay, according to TechCrunch. The apps will be developed by third parties and will appear on screen when a user opens up the system.

The new software is supposed to be "distraction-free" and voice-activated so drivers' eyes stay on the road. The system also means that the software can be routinely updated. Right now Google is essentially garnering apps for when it launches likely sometime next year as it competes head-to-head with Apple's CarPlay.

As for what car manufacturers are using which platform -- it seems that many are open to installing both -- so users can choose between an Android or iOS platform.

Photo Credit: Erika Gonzalez]]>
<![CDATA[Google "Trekkers" Maps Hiking Trail]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:23:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1118-2014-GoogleTrekker1.jpg

Google "trekkers" are helping you map out your next hiking trip and get a feel for being on the trail.

The backpack-type trekker carries 15 cameras and records the hiker's every move with the same technology used in Google Earth and Google Maps.

"The trekker takes an image as the person walks -- every two and a half seconds," said Deanna Yick, a Google Street View manager. "That enables us to get a picture of what a place is like and a feel for being there."

Hannah Lonergan recently went on a hike using a Google trekker.

"It's a lot heavier, you have an antenna, you have to watch out for low-hanging branches," Lonergan said when asked how a trekker compares to a regular camping backpack. She added that the trekker weights about 60 pounds.

The City of Monterey is working with Google to get trekkers on local trails.

"We feel like this is a great way to showcase Monterey County," said Tammy Blount, Monterey City Convention Bureau CEO.

Google officials said trekkers can handle privacy concerns on the spot. For example, if someone is hiking on the trial and doesn't want to be in the picture, the hiker can pause the camera and make sure the hiker's anonymity is preserved.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Butts Heads With Journalists]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:40:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Uber-X-Generic.jpg

Uber's threat to snoop on tech journalist Sarah Lacy might not have been an idle one.

Uber was in damage control mode Tuesday after Buzzfeed broke the news Senior Vice President Emil Michael, also an advisor to the Pentagon, suggested the ride-providing giant ought to "dig up dirt" and "spread details" of the personal life" of journalists including Lacy, the PandoDaily editor who has criticized the company.

Reaction to Buzzfeed's report was swift.

Hundreds of people tweeted that they'll no longer use the car service, especially angry that Michael singled out Lacy, who has written critically about Uber in the past.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted some apologies to the company's customers, shareholders, and to Lacy, who responded by pushing a #DeleteUber campaign on Twitter.

As of midday Tuesday afternoon, Michael remained at his post.

Meanwhile, journalist Ellen Cushing, who wrote a profile of Kalanick and his company for San Francisco Magazine, revealed Monday that she was warned by Uber employees that that company "higher-ups" would likely dig into her rider logs, too.

Cushing wrote she could not confirm whether or not Kalanick or his co-workers were peeking on her.

However, as a former Uber employee reportedly told her via e-mail: The current scandal "doesn't surprise me."

The whole debacle is a bit reminiscent of when Hewlett-Packard, back in 2006, investigated journalists and board members, trying to find the source of a leak.

Attempts by NBC Bay Area to reach Kalanick or Uber for comment were not successful.

Scott Budman contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Tony Hawk Rides Hoverboard]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:28:20 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-17+at+3.26.35+PM.png

The hoverboard is reality, and Tony Hawk has taken a spin on it.

The pro skateboarder tested the $10,000 prototype Hendo Hoverboard after husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson launched a Kickstarter to fund it. 

In the video, Hawk performs a few tricks on the board, which hovers an inch off the ground and uses magnets, though he also ends up falling several times.

Hawk had caught attention for another hoverboard video earlier this year — a fake video made by Funny or Die that featured the skateboarder, musician Moby and others riding boards high into the sky, in a prank for which Hawk eventually apologized.  

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<![CDATA[Website Exploits Passwords to Get Peek Inside Private Lives]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 07:52:19 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/220*120/11-13-14_Surveillance-Hacking-Passwords.JPG

Home surveillance systems are supposed to make residents feel safe.

An Internet search, though, turns up a website that has turned the devices into direct portals for a peek inside people’s private lives.

Private hallways in Reseda, bedrooms in Hollywood, dining rooms in Los Angeles, kitchens in Pasadena and home offices in Burbank all turned up on the site - more than 1,000 across Southern California.

The technology behind the site exploits the likelihood that many homeowners never change their default passwords, set by the manufacturers before the devices are installed. Many people leave the pre-issued usernames like "Admin" combined with standard passwords like "12345."

That makes the home systems vulnerable to a simple hack.

But the website is so new, even LAPD detectives said they were surprised by it.

"It's scary, it's scary," said Detective Dan Fournier. "Yeah, this is incredible. Child’s bedroom here, people sleeping here."

Fournier said the tool isn’t just concerning because it could be a window for burglars to figure out the layout of homes, but also because of the voyeurism component.

"You are thinking you are doing it to monitor your child, some pedophile may be monitoring it for other reasons," he said.

He also said anyone who browses the site may be guilty of committing a crime.

"Basically you are using a camera, to view somebody's bedroom," he said. "You are a peeping Tom."

NBC News reached the operator of the website, which appears to have been registered in Moscow, and which NBC4 is not disclosing, who sent a statement.

In broken English, the statement said "I am glad to point users into a large security problem." The operator said he set up the site to highlight the issue with default passwords.

Nude screenshots of people in their homes that appear to have been taken using the website are being circulated online, though.

Some devices are vulnerable include:

  • AvTech DVRs
  • Foscam cameras
  • Hikvision DVRs
  • Panasonic cameras
  • Linksys cameras
  • IPCamera cameras

Fournier said the best thing for homeowners to do immediately is to change the default settings on their devices.

"Change your password. Right away, because as you can see most passwords when you get the system the default password is 12345," he said. "Just about everybody knows that."

<![CDATA[Pilot Apps Vulnerable to Hacking: Study]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:13:15 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/small+plane+generic1.jpg

Inexpensive wireless devices used by private pilots for GPS, weather information and more are susceptible to hacking or spoofing, which could lead to catastrophic outcomes, a team of researchers recently revealed.

Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego and Johns Hopkins University presented their findings Nov. 5 at a conference in Arizona to increase awareness among pilots who use the devices.

They looked at three combinations of devices and apps most commonly used by private pilots:

  • Appareo Stratus 2 receiver with the ForeFlight app (one of the top grossing apps)
  • Garmin GDL 39 receiver with the Garmin Pilot app
  • SageTech Clarity CL01 with the WingX Pro7 app.

Each combination uses a tablet to display information such as an aircraft’s location, data on nearby aircraft, weather or airspace restrictions, according to the team.

In all three, researchers were able to tamper with the connection between receiver and tablet, effectively giving a hacker full control over safety-critical real-time information shown to the pilot, they said.

In two of the combinations, an attacker would be able to replace completely the firmware, which is home to the programs controlling the devices, according to a UC San Diego news release.

“When you attack these devices, you don’t have control over the aircraft, but you have control over the information the pilot sees,” Kirill Levchenko, a computer scientist at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego said in the university’s news release.

Researchers say the FAA does not regulate the systems because they are not an integral part of the aircraft.

The findings were presented at the 21st ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Scottsdale, Ariz.

NBC 7 reached out to the manufacturers of the apps tested to get their response to the findings and received no response.

Read more on what researchers found and their suggestions for making the systems more secure here.

<![CDATA[Google Engineer Creates Algorithm for Happiness]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:12:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/172819785.jpg

Google engineer Chade-Meng Tan says he's created a three-point plan for happiness.

Tan began his work on creating a happier, stress-free environment by creating a course to teach Google employees "mindfulness skills to enhance emotional intelligence and promote well-being," according to the BBC. He became part of HR and began his mission to create a happier life for Google employees. He created Search Inside Yourself, also the title of his book and the course. 

At SXSW in Austin, Meng's panel, "Make Yourself the Happiest Person on Earth" had three easy steps: 

1. Calm your mind 

Tan advised breathing exercises to calm the brain and "be mindful" of the breathing. “If that’s too hard, then just think about nothing for little bit,” Tan said, according to the BBC. Obviously, this is the first step in meditation which is about calming one's mind and lowering stress. 

2. Log moments of joy 

Basically, when you are having a great time or enjoying yourself, take the time to express your moment of joy. Modern-day people tend to hold onto the negative, so embracing a happy, positive moment is a necessity. It can also get us to believe that, when looking back, the day was a happy one. 

3. Wish other people to be happy 

Tan believes in altruism, including "Kindness is a sustainable source of happiness." Apparently charity work gives people almost as much joy as dancing (I think this also says something about how we need to start dancing.) It also feeds positive thoughts about others which lasts weeks. Basically giving is better than receiving. 

While there's some debate about the science of Tan's formula, there's certainly nothing wrong with implementing the three keys to happiness. And to think you have Google to thank for it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[TED Talks in San Diego]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:28:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ted-Talks-San-Diego-Robot.jpg You may have seen Ted Talks videos go viral but now the conference has popped up in San Diego. An independent version kicked off today showcasing local companies that may change the way you think about the future. ]]> <![CDATA[Local Companies Showcase New Technology at TEDxSanDiego]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 11:14:50 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ted+talk+robot.jpg You may have seen TED Talk videos online, but on Saturday, an independent version of the conference arrived in San Diego. From personal robots to prosthetics, NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala shows us some of the cutting-edge technology being developed right here in San Diego. ]]> <![CDATA[Stanford Profs Test 'Quake Tech That Could Save Homes]]> Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:24:00 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/Capture20.JPG

A Stanford engineering professor has developed a home that's survived over a dozen of the world's most destructive earthquakes.

Professor Greg Deierlein is testing his "seismic isolator" technology through simulated earthquakes at a facility in San Diego. He thinks the small discs he's developed to sit between the structure of a home and its foundation could be the key to a truly earthquake-safe home.

"When you think about large tracts of development, townhouses being built on these isolators, it could totally mitigate one of the large risks we face here in California," Deierling said.

Lots of earthquake research has gone into protecting bridges and high-rise buildings, Deierlein said, but his focus is on single-family homes and apartment buildings.

Using this system, a series of seismic isolators are placed on a steel plate below the structure, above the foundation. They're meant to let house roll over the shaking below.

Deierlein's model home survived unscathed simulated earthquakes, like the 6.8-magnitude 1994 Northridge temblor, even though the home shakes back and forth by up to 15 inches.

"It's just sliding back and forth, but it's not a very violent slide, rather a smoother, slower slide," said Eduardo Miranda, another Stanford engineering professor working on the project.

Tests say the homes can survive the worst earthquakes seen in human history, according to Miranda, a survivor of the deadly 1985 Mexico City earthquake that killed at least 10,000.

The idea of earthquake safety preparation is to save lives and make homes more resilient, according to Dr. Lucy Jones, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and the city of L.A.'s earthquake czar.

"The biggest growth decade in the history of Los Angeles is the decade after the 1906 earthquake, as people abandoned San Francisco and moved south," Jones said.

Photo Credit: Tommy Bravo]]>
<![CDATA[Rocket Launch Aborted Over Boat Just Before Blast-Off]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:59:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/15011952803_64c309615d_o.jpg

The planned launch of a rocket from a NASA launchpad in Virginia was aborted less than 10 minutes before blast-off Monday night, after a sailboat wound up in the restricted launch range area.

Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket , which will carry a capsule stuffed with space gear and science experiments to astronauts at the International Space Station, is now set to launch Tuesday evening.

The rocket had been supposed to launch its space gear-stuffed Cygnus capsule into space at 6:45 p.m. ET on Monday, en route to the International Space Station, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's eastern shore, becoming the biggest rocket to launch from the site.

But although the Monday mission was aborted, skygazers in the Washington, D.C., area were still in for quite a sight, as the International Space Station itself was passing overhead just a few minutes after the rocket had been slated to launch.

Orbital has explained when watchers will be able to see the rocket soar into view with a handy map, showing how many seconds after blast-off they should expect to spot it. 

If you're unsure how to spot a rocket blasting off, the Washington Post advises looking for a glowing trail of light that makes an arc in the sky. Orbital released diagrams of the expected view from major sites and cities on its website.

The launch now slated for Tuesday will kick off the third in a series of eight planned Orbital delivery missions to ferry crucial equipment and food to astronauts.

This one will also carry a trove of science experiments — including the Meteor, the first space-based system to observe meteors, and the Drain Brain, a special neck collar for astronauts to determine how their blood flows down to their hearts without gravity, Discovery News reported. The results could help researchers develop countermeasures for headaches in space, an ISS scientist told Discovery.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
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<![CDATA[Is Photo Math App Bad News for Teachers? ]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:57:12 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/photo+math+app.JPG

An app called Photo Math boasts the ability to solve math problems with the click of a smartphone camera, prompting a new round of an old debate: how much should students use technology in the classroom?

With the app, users can simply hold their phone over a question and wait a few seconds as it makes the calculations. It then produces the answer and shows the steps to get there.

Photo Math offers help for those stuck on a particularly hard question, but it also presents an easy way to cheat.

One educator likened it to the issue of whether to let students use a calculator solve problems.

“When I first heard about (the app), I thought, ‘Oh my goodness.’ And then I thought, it’s always kind of been there, it’s just quicker and easier because of the speed of the internet,” said Dr. Jeffrey Theil, who works with staff and parents on Common Core standards for the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

He told NBC 7 with Common Core, students are asked to show their answers in multiple ways, so one would have to know how to ask the question to get an answer on the internet.

Siri, the virtual voice-controlled assistant on Apple products, can also be used at a math tool but was better with the simple questions, while Photo Math listed all the steps.

However, on Thursday, students in class were asked to do the problems in their heads by rearranging fractions.

While the app could crunch the numbers, it could not understand the intent of the questions, and the intent is what matters.

If students use it as a tool to help them with homework and not a short cut to get the answer, more access and quicker access can be a good thing.

“That number sense and fluency is really important,” said Theil, “and I don’t think you can get that through an app or googling that or whatever because we’re challenging your mind and what your mind can do mathematically.”

If the technology isn’t there yet to interpret the intent and multiple demands of the Common Core math curriculum, it will be.

And just like in the old days when we could look at the back of the textbook for answers, students need to be taught if they only use the internet as a short cut, they’re only cheating themselves.

Student Alexa Zumstein appreciates that concept, telling NBC 7 she likes doing equations mentally.

“Not only does it help me practice doing it in my head, it just feels a sense of accomplishment, like I just did 237 times 26 on my own and I got it right and I feel good,” she said.

<![CDATA[Patent for Smartphone Infrared Thermometer]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:14:01 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sick-flu-BC9098-002.jpg

Just in time to meet the Ebola outbreak demand for detecting fever, San Diego-based Fraden Corp. announced that it received a second U.S. patent to augment any smartphone with an instant, non-contact infrared thermometer.

The company’s new invention is a sub-miniature infrared camera incorporated into a smartphone or its protective case. The device will work together with the phone’s digital camera, which acts as its viewfinder.

“This results in unprecedented convenience of taking temperature by a smartphone (by) just aiming the phone at the person’s head,” said CEO and Co-founder James Fraden in a press release.

The company developed an app that automatically detects the forehead surface, reads the infrared camera output signal, and calculates the internal body temperature with clinical accuracy, Fraden said. Within one second, the result is displayed on the screen of the smartphone.

Read more about Fraden Corp. in the Nov. 3 edition of the San Diego Business Journal.

The Business Journal is the premier business publication in San Diego. Every day online and each Monday in print, the Business Journal reports on how local business operate and why businesses leaders make the decisions they do. Every story is a dose of insight into how to run a better, more efficient, more profitable business.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:47:49 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

A Bay Area tech company has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in back wages after a United States Department of Labor investigation revealed the company paid workers $1.21 an hour.

The Labor Department said about eight employees of Fremont-based Electronics For Imaging were flown in from India and worked 120-hour weeks to help with the installation of computers at the company's headquarters. The employees were paid their regular hourly wage in Indian rupees, which translated to $1.21.

EFI, which posted third-quarter revenue of nearly $200 million, released the following statement on Thursday: "During this process we unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local US standards."

Last year, another company, Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, faced similar charges and was fined for underpaying employees from Mexico an hourly wage of $2.66.

Federal officials said both cases are particularly egregious, given the booming labor market and the wealth in Silicon Valley.

"It is certainly outrageous and unacceptable for employers here in Silicon Valley to bring workers and pay less than the minimum wage," said Alberto Raymond, an assistant district director for the United States Department of Labor.

EFI has been ordered to pay $40,000 in back wages to the employees. In addition, the company was hit with a $3,500 fine.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Court: Don't Tell Him You're Pregnant on Facebook ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:37:48 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/39weekpregnancy.jpg

Facebook is used by a billion people, but it's not enough when notifying a father about his biological child being placed for adoption, a court rules.

The court stems from an Oklahoma woman notifying the biological child via Facebook before placing the child up for adoption, according to the Wall Street Journal. The biological father of a baby girl contested the termination of his parent rights, stating that she had let him know through a Facebook message, court records revealed.

The man, Billy McCall, claimed he never saw the message and the girl was put up for adoption in 2012. McCall claimed he didn't know of the child's existence until a week before she was born and a trial court severed his parental rights in 2013. The court was weighing in on the question of whether a Facebook message satisfies the notification requirement given to "the natural father of a child born out of wedlock."

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that it wasn't enough. From the decision:

Instead of contacting Father directly, Mother left him a message on Facebook, which is an unreliable method of communication if the accountholder does not check it regularly or have it configured in such a way as to provide notification of unread messages by some other means. This Court is unwilling to declare notice via Facebook alone sufficient to meet the requirements of the due process clauses of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions because it is not reasonably certain to inform those affected.

The custody case between McCall and the child's adoptive parents is ongoing.
It's nice to know that legal documents may not be served up on Facebook, sandwiched in between ads and virtually ignored.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[App Uses Facial Recognition to Return Lost Dogs]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:48:40 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/finding+rover+app.jpg

A smartphone app that aims to reunite owners with lost dogs goes a few steps beyond missing posters.

The Finding Rover app uses facial recognition to help the pup find its way home.

San Diegan Ryan Quinlivan hopes it helps him find his dog Coco. She has been missing for more than a week, and he has been doing everything he can to track her down.

“The dog I’ve had my entire adult life, so she means the world to me, and I would give anything to get her back," Quinlivan said. 

In addition to stapling hundreds of posters around town and posting ads on Craigslist, he downloaded Finding Rover.

Here’s how it works: A pet parent can download the free tool, take a picture of their dog and upload it to the app, adding his or her ZIP code. If that pooch runs off, the owner can check the interactive map that shows where dogs have been found and when.

Someone who spots a lost dog can snap a picture and add it to Finding Rover, and the app will run it through the facial recognition system. If the photo matches up with that of a missing pet, the app will send a notification to the finder with information on how to get a hold of the owner. Users will also get a mobile alert every time a dog is lost or found within 10 miles.

For those who may want to plan some doggy dates, Finding Rover also acts as a social network to connect and share dog news.

San Diego is one of the app's biggest markets. In fact, the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services was the first animal sheltering organization to partner with Finding Rover.

According to Animal Services Deputy Director Daniel DeSousa, every dog that comes into the county's shelters is photographed and uploaded into the app. In July, Animal Services reunited its first pet with its owner with the tool's help.

Right now, the app is available only on iOS phones in the iTunes store, but developers hope to release an Android app this year.

More than 10 million pets go missing every year, according to the Humane Society.

If you believe you have found Coco, you can contact Quinlivan at 619-721-4008 or 719-757-9829. He is offering a $5,000 reward.

“It’s nothing in comparison to what I feel about the dog,” he said.

Photo Credit: Finding Rover
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<![CDATA[Apple Event: New iPads Announced]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:11:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/new-ipad-AP903945536056_0.jpg Check out the newest products and programs tech giant Apple announced on Oct. 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Spends 15 Hours in Ravine After Chevy Rolls 500 Feet]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:50:42 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/chopper16.jpg

A woman was rescued in dramatic fashion Tuesday morning from the base of Mount Hamilton, where she had spent 15 hours face down in a ravine after her Chevy careened 500 feet down an embankment.

The 28-year-old woman, identified as Melissa Vasquez by the California Highway Patrol, was in stable condition at Regional Medical Center, according to the hospital's Chief Operating Officer Sandy Yanko.

A tech-savvy police officer is being credited as a hero for figuring out Vasquez's home computer password so he could use her Find My iPhone app to lead crews straight to the flipped-over car.

"It's really remarkable," said Campbell Police Capt. Gary Berg, who said Officer David Cameron logged into her PC in an effort to zero in on her exact location. "I don't think she would be alive today, otherwise."

Vasquez landed face down in the ravine after she was ejected from her 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, according to a CHP report. San Jose Fire Capt. Brad McGibben said she was "awake and talking to us" when she was hoisted to a hospital about 9 a.m.

The situation began about 2 p.m. on Monday when police received an "OnStar" call from the woman's car navigation company. Berg said officers searched for two hours, but couldn't find her. The alert said the tires had "left the ground," and that originally, her Chevy was located near her home, by Camden Avenue and Highway 17.

Then, OnStar alerts gave out a few more locations, including a ping about 4 p.m. in downtown San Jose, Berg said. Still, officers couldn't find her. For its part, OnStar officials said the company was looking into the issue.

At 3 a.m. Tuesday, the young woman's stepmother, with whom she lives, called Campbell police to report that the young woman still wasn't home and it was very unlike her, Berg said.

Cameron, who has been an officer with the department since 1998 and has a mind for computers, tinkered on a computer at Vasquez's home, until he figured out her password.

"Unbelievably, Officer Cameron was able to guess the correct password and log into her account," Berg said.

It took Cameron three tries. "I just tried to make an educated guess," he said, descrbibing himself as a "tech geek."

Once Cameron logged into the Find My iPhone app, he had the location at the base of Mt. Hamilton, which propelled more than a half a dozen rescue agencies to the remote, rugged scene about 5 a.m., Berg said.

NBC Bay Area's chopper flew over the 4,000-foot mountain, which overlooks Silicon Valley, surveying the scene from above.

Just about 7:30 a.m., a rescue crew member from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was lowered down to the ground to an area thick with trees, to find a white Chevy flipped over on its roof. Within 15 minutes, crews carried a stretcher to the scene. The stretcher was then hoisted up into the awaiting emergency helicopter about 8:40 a.m. She was seen being wheeled into Regional Medical Center of San Jose by 9 a.m.

Down below, emergency crews from agencies including the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department and Cal Fire surrounded the flipped-over car. Firefighters cut away brush as the winds made it difficult for the helicopter to land.

Westbound Mt. Hamilton Road was shut down near the Mt. Hamilton Grandview Restaurant, and drivers were advised to take Quimby Road instead.

CHP Officer Ross Lee said investigators didn't know why Vasquez went off the road, but alcohol and drugs are not thought to be factors at this time.

NBC Bay Area's Tim Bollinger, Marianne Favro and Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Uber, Lyft, and Yellow Cab Get Failing Grades from BBB]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:02:09 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Rideshare_lyft_generic.jpg

Californians love to complain about Uber. The Better Business Bureau has awarded the world's leading alternative to taxis an "F" grade, but Uber was not the only ride-provider to get a failing grade.

Lyft and Yellow Cab received failing grades too, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

Uber received 90 complaints, including 43 complaints from customers confused about its surge pricing billing model, and Lyft and the cab company both received five, the newspaper reported.

Uber is not a member of the BBB, the newspaper noted, and the BBB added that Uber was "unresponsive" when approached about the complaints.

Lyft received five complaints, and failed to respond to three of them, the newspaper reported, while Yellow Cab also notched five complaints in the last five years.

<![CDATA[Report Links GoPro to Brain Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:12:17 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

The French commentator whose reported remarks had sparked reports that a GoPro camera may have played a role in Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher's brain injury is now urging everyone to "stop all speculation."

Schumacher, 45, has been immobile and unable to speak after he fell and hit a rock in a skiing accident last year while he was wearing a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet.

European news outlets had reported that racing commentator Jean-Louis Moncet told Europe 1 radio that Schumacher's son Mick told him the placement of the camera contributed to the brain injury — but Moncet denied that Tuesday on Twitter.

"The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the GoPro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain," Eurosport had earlier quoted Moncet as having said.

But Moncet appeared to contradict that suggestion in a tweet Tuesday.
"STOP ALL SPÉCULATION," he tweeted. "Mick could not say something about camera or injury of Michael because we did not speak together."
Following the initial report linking the GoPro to Schumacher's injury, shares of the Bay Area-based company plummeted, losing as much as 10 percent in trading Monday, Business Insider reported.

A GoPro spokesman declined to comment on the report linking the camera to Schumacher's injury but said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Schumacher emerged from a medically-induced coma in June but remains in serious condition.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Snapchat Hacked, Nude Images Put Online]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 06:30:32 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4601103451.jpg

Users of Snapchat who posted images via a third-party app have had their images hacked and posted online, according to reports.

The company itself says its security was never compromised, and released a statement saying that users who used third-party apps to send their snaps violated Snapchat's terms of use, according to the BBC.

After they were posted to a message board on Thursday evening, the hacked images were taken offline, the news agency reported, but hackers "threatened" to post more images.

Hackers claimed to have on hand "13 gigabytes' worth" of Snaps acquired over years, the BBC reported.

Teens doing naughty things like sending nude selfies tend to like to use Snapchat.

This is not the first security headache for Snapchat.

Earlier this year, several million usernames and phone numbers were leaked, the news agency reported.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Develop Brain-Teaser App]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:13:56 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/216*120/impossible+rush+app.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Austin Valleskey doesn't have his drivers license yet...but he already has a worldwide successful app.

A few months ago the suburban Chicago teen was contacted about an idea for an app by Australian Ben Pasternack, who is also 15.

"I thought it was cool," said the Wheaton Academy sophomore. "He asked if I wanted to make it into a game. I said sure, it's a Saturday, I've got a couple of hours."

And a few hours is all it took for Valleskey to create a prototype for Impossible Rush- a brain-teaser game.

"We didn't think much of it. We just wanted people to have fun with it," Valleskey said.

And people did.

The pair contacted a marketer who agreed to buy the app and the game's popularity skyrocketed.

With over 500,000 downloads at its peak, the app was ranked 16th in the U.S., 7th in Sweden and 18th in Australia, according to Business Insider.

Valleskey said he was in disbelief.

"It passed up Skype, Tinder, Netflix, all of these huge companies. It was crazy cool to me!" the teen told NBC Chicago Thursday. "It's a great thrill."

The young teen says he taught himself computer programming just one year ago during a road trip to Florida.

His parents shared his latest excitement.

"It's been just so much fun to see the success he's had with it," said Michael Valleskey. "He's learning so much going through this process."

Valleskey says he's already working on developing another app.

<![CDATA[Tesla to End Speculation Over "The D"]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:12:54 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/209*120/10-09-2014-tesla-model-s-470486031.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is expected to make an announcement Thursday night that should clear up a week of speculation that put "the D" in dramatic and a bump in the electric carmaker's stock price.

The electric car manufacturer appears poised to unveil a new model after Musk's tweet last week that indicated plans to "unveil the D and something else." The tweet featured a graphic with Thursday's date and a partially opened garage door that masked all but the menacing front end of a vehicle with Tesla's logo and signature headlights.

In the days after Musk's mysterious tweet, Tesla's stock price climbed about 6 percent. The stock took a slight dip Wednesday before rising again Thursday ahead of the announcement.

Tesla is likely adding another member to its family of vehicles, which includes the Model S luxury sedan. The company has plans for a Model X SUV and mass-market model called the Model 3.

Thursday's announcement might involve an all-wheel drive vehicle, which would fit nicely into the carmaker's lineup and allow Tesla to match offerings from similarly priced competitors. Electric vehicles allow engineers more flexibility than a traditional front-, rear- or mid-engine vehicle when it comes to how power is distributed to each wheel. For example, instead of transferring power from one engine to four wheels, an electric powertrain might use two electric motors for the front and back wheels or even four electric motors dedicated to each wheel.

But the guesses don't stop there.

A Tesla with greater range or higher level of driver assistance technology, such as lane assist or collision-avoidance braking, are some of the possibilities.

A self-driving vehicle or something that's not a car at all have all been mentioned in response to last week's tweet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NASA Offers Chance to Fly Your Name Into Space]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:34:36 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP290799397921.jpg

NASA is inviting the public to send their names into orbit when the agency's Orion spacecraft launches for a test flight on Dec. 4.

Names will be be included in a dime-sized microchip aboard the spacecraft. NASA said the names will take a 4.5 hour flight around Earth before heading back. After that, the names will fly on future NASA flights to Mars.

Nearly 100,000 people have signed up. The last day to register is Oct. 31. Visit the NASA website to sign up.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New iPad Expected at Apple Event Announced for Oct. 16]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:28:46 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/apple-invite1.jpg

We just got new phones, a peek at new watches, and a new payment system. 

But Apple has, it seems, "one more thing..."

More iPads.

The Cupertino tech giant emailed out invitations to the press Wednesday morning, announcing plans to roll out something on the morning of Oct. 16. Yes, recognizing that we just went through one of these, Apple's typically cryptic message on the invite reads, "It's been way too long."

Apple is expected to update its iPad lineup, maybe following the lead of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with a bigger screen.

The event is likely to be a little (or maybe a lot) smaller than the iPhone/Apple Pay/Apple Watch event featuring U2, as evidenced by the next one being held at the more intimate confines of Apple's Cupertino headquarters.

We'll keep you posted here, and on Twitter: @scottbudman

See you there.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Trails in 14 California State Parks]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:55:45 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GOOGLE-TRAIL-APP.jpg

Google is venturing into vacation territory as it unveils its Street View technology for trails in 14 California state parks.

Tuesday’s initial launch includes imagery of 10 state parks, Point Lobos State Reserve, three state beaches and more than 25 hiking trails.

Google couldn't use its famous satellite technology or Google Cars on the narrow trails, so it outfitted operators with customized Trekker backpacks. The 40-pound units have a 360-degree spinning camera with 15 lenses.

Google employees spent three months hiking the trails, which also included Tomales Bay, Angel Island, and Marina State Beach in Monterey County.

Checkout Google Trekker in:

Photo Credit: Google
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<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Enterpreneur Wins Nobel Prize]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 05:38:51 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/187*120/ShujiNakamura.JPG

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur, along with two other scientists, won the Nobel Prize for physics for creating a blue light emitting diode, or LED lights.

Shuji Nakamura, a founder of the Fremont, Calif.-based Soraa, was one of three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for his work with LED, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 1990, he was paid approximately $180 by his Japanese company, Nichia Corp., for discovering and patenting  blue LED.

"People in the U.S. often asked if I got paid like hundreds of millions of yen or billions of yen," he told the WSJ in an interview. "When I told them my salary, they called me 'Slave Nakamura.'

Nakamura left Japan and moved to the United States in 1999. By 2001, he sued his old company and was awarded 840 million yen, or about $7.8 million using today's conversion rates -- not bad considering the company expected to reach $1 billion in revenue from the invention. 

Nakamura went on to become a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and founded Soraa with two of his colleagues. With Soraa, Nakamura continues his research with LED technology.
"I am very honored to receive the Nobel Prize from he Royal Swedish Academy of Science for my invention of the blue LED," Nakamura said in a statement released by Soraa. "It is very satisfying to see that my dream of LED lighting has become a reality. I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide, and that is why we founded Soraa."

Photo Credit: Soraa]]>
<![CDATA[Vizsafe Used for "Drought Shaming"]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 05:58:31 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vanessa11PMwater_1200x675_338244675536.jpg The smart phone app originally created to increase neighborhood safety is now being used to tattletale on people wasting water. NBC 7's Vanessa Herrera reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Report: Facebook Moving Into Healthcare]]> Sat, 04 Oct 2014 10:15:12 -0800 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/4654813851.jpg

Likes, comments, photos and medical advice? Facebook is making plans to enter the world of healthcare, Reuters is reporting, quoting "three people" who requested anonymity.

The Menlo Park-based social network is thinking about creating online "support communities" that would connect sufferers of various diseases with each other, according to reports, as well as "preventative care" applications.

Plans are in initial phases, Reuters reported. Facebook has been busy meeting with members of the medical industry for the past few months but is still in the process of setting up a new R&D unit to test out the apps.

Meanwhile, Facebook has noticed that its users are health-minded: the 2012 move to allow Facebook users to promote the fact they are organ donors proved popular, and many users do perform searches "for advice" via the network.

And, of course, Dr. Priscilla Chan, whose husband is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a resident pediatrician at UC San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>