<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usTue, 03 May 2016 11:42:33 -0700Tue, 03 May 2016 11:42:33 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gangs Using Tech Present New Challenges for Police]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 04:45:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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 and other technology to communicate with each other.

"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 program 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[Snapchat Could Be Looking for SF Office: Report]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 18:34:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-4567366021.jpg

A report suggests Snapchat, based in Southern California, might be on the hunt for office space in San Francisco.

The company would not confirm as much to Re/code, but multiple sources who were not named said that reps are looking at properties.

It was revealed on Sunday that Snapchat has entered into an agreement with NBC to show highlights from the Olympics this summer. According to Bloomberg, there will be a dedicated Snapchat channel airing behind the scenes clips and other content curated by BuzzFeed, a move to draw in audiences who aren't sitting in front of the television.

“[Young people] are not necessarily glued to their televisions anymore, and Snapchat is something they check in with multiple times a day,” Matthew Henick, head of development for BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, told the publication.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Leases Huge Warehouse in Livermore: Report]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 15:37:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/tesla10.JPG

Tesla Motors just leased a large amount of warehouse space in Livermore about a month after the electric car company announced plans to boost productions of its Model 3, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported Monday.

The company reportedly leased two buildings totaling a little over one million square feet at the Oaks Logistics Center, which is located about 20 miles from Tesla’s Fremont factory the Business Journal reported.

Tesla might be swooping up another 300,000-square-foot building there, sources told the publication.

Tesla has big plans for its Model 3, which starts at $35,000, half the price of its Model S.

The promise of an affordable electric car from Tesla Motors had hundreds of people lining up to reserve one.

Long lines, reminiscent of the crowds at Apple stores for early models of the iPhone, were reported from Hong Kong to Austin, Texas, to Washington.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Solar Impulse 2 Takes Off From Moffett Field For Phoenix]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 06:34:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/solar+impulse1.jpg

The Solar Impulse 2 left Moffett Field in Mountain View early Monday morning before the sun came up following an extended stay in the Bay Area due to weather concerns. 

Now, the solar plane, which is in the midst of a trip around the world, is headed off on a 16-hour flight to Phoenix, Arizona. The plane took off at 5:04 a.m. It travels at about 47 miles per hour. The plane's whereabouts can be tracked live on the SolarImpulse website.

The journey for the 5,100-plane is historic because it's powered by 17,248 solar cells on the winds and is on a mission to be the longest endurance flight - and the first solar-powered one - across the Pacific Ocean.

On Sunday, crewmember Elke Neumann said crosswinds in Phoenix had been too high for the plane's expansive 236-ft wingspan to bear, giving the team cause to stay in the Bay Area a little longer than they had planned. The team was planning on taking off on Friday. 

All told, the plane and its crew spent a week in the Bay Area after making a  three-day flight from Hawaii across the pacific. The pilot, Andre Borschberg, spent a whopping 62 hours straight inside the small cockpit during the journey. 

Solar Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the U.S. before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa. 

Photo Credit: Solar Impulse 2
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Study on Why Some Sharks Glow]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 02:43:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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[Solar Impulse 2 Leaving Bay Area Monday Following Extended Stay]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 17:37:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/avion-solar-3.jpg

The Solar Impulse 2 will be leaving the Bay Area Monday morning following an extended stay in the Bay Area due to weather concerns. 

The solar plane, which is in the midst of a trip around the world, will take off from Moffett field for a 16-hour flight headed to Phoenix, Arizona.

Crewmember Elke Neumann said crosswinds in Phoenix had been too high for the plane's expansive 236-ft wingspan to bear, giving the team cause to stay in the Bay Area a little longer than they had planned. The team was planning on taking off on Friday. 

All told, the plane and its crew spent a week in the Bay Area after making a 3-day flight from Hawaii across the pacific. The pilot, Andre Borschberg, spent a whopping 62 hours straight inside the small cockpit during the journey. 

Solar Impulse 2 will make three more stops in the U.S. before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe or Northern Africa. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Tech Buses' Commit Hundreds of Violations on SF Roadways]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 23:38:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Pic_2_SFMTA+Officer_best_DSC01961+copy.jpg

An employee perk at some of the world’s most well known tech companies is at the center of a heated debate over fairness and convenience.
While the buses aim to take thousands of cars off the road, traffic records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed a growing problem that could put other commuters in danger. 

Each workday, three million people travel across the Bay Area on roadways, railways, bike lanes, and bus lanes.
But for substitute teacher Sue Vaughan, the trip can be a rough ride. On days when she teaches, Vaughan takes Muni to get around San Francisco. But regardless of where she’s headed, Vaughan said it doesn’t take long before she’s blocked by one of the hundreds of “Tech Buses” scattered throughout the city.
“They slow it down. They get in front of [Muni]. They slow it down,” Vaughan said.

Commuter buses shuttle an estimated 8,500 people each day from their homes in San Francisco to their jobs outside the city.
Private transportation companies operate the buses, but they’re hired by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms like Facebook, Apple, and Youtube.
Employees can catch a ride at one of 125 pick-up locations throughout the city, 100 of which also serve as public bus stops originally intended for Muni. It’s an arrangement Vaughan believes allows private corporations to take advantage of public infrastructure.
“Absolutely they are taking advantage of the city. Absolutely,” Vaughan told NBC Bay Area.
Shuttle companies boast they’re part of a solution to get cars off the road. But city records obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit revealed those buses may also be putting other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians at risk.
NBC Bay Area reviewed parking enforcement data and traced the license plates back to 16 of the biggest commuter bus companies operating in the city.
Records show that in 2014 and 2015, those bus operators received more than 800 citations for violations that include obstructing traffic and blocking bus zones and bike lanes.


Bauer Transportation is at the top of the list with 176 citations. It provides transportation for companies like videogame developer Electronic Arts.

Loop Transportation ranks second with 146 citations. Loop drops off riders to companies that include Facebook, Google, and Apple.

Compass (SFO Airporter) received 95 citations. Compass also buses workers to Apple, as well as Yahoo and Genentech.

WeDriveU ranked fourth with 89 citations. It shuttles employees to Google.

In addition to the violations cited by the city, NBC Bay Area cameras captured even more apparent violations.

Those include an SF Minibus shuttle, which transports workers at Adobe, double parked blocking a bike lane and pushing cyclists into the street.

In a statement, the company said they are working to prevent future obstructions by advising drivers to “keep circling around if the stops are not available.”

Cameras captured footage of another bus heading to Google that redirected traffic after the driver stopped in the middle of the road.

NBC Bay Area also observed a private shuttle permitted to use Muni bus stops picking up workers at the curb and forcing a Muni bus to let riders off in the center of the street.

It’s a frequent problem that San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim told NBC Bay Area she’s working to address. Kim believes those with disabilities and the elderly are now being put at risk because of safety hazards created by the private shuttles.

“I think the current program bends over backwards to accommodate these tech companies. I don’t think we have to,” Kim told NBC Bay Area. “Residents keep asking who is the city for, who do you represent? Do you represent all of us, or do you just represent a very small category of employers?”

Kim is now pushing the city’s transportation authority to dramatically reduce the number of allowable bus stops for private shuttles by next year.

The city charges private shuttles $3.67 every time they use a bus stop. In July, that will rise to $7.31 dollars to help pay for more enforcement officers like Alicia Hopkins.

Hopkins is one of ten officers specifically assigned in the morning to monitor the more than 500 private buses that are permitted to pick up passengers across the city. Ten other enforcement officers are assigned to watch over the private buses during the evening commute.

NBC Bay Area shadowed Hopkins on a weekday morning where she gave out 6 tickets in less than 2 hours, including one to a bus heading to Apple for double parking and blocking oncoming traffic. 


NBC Bay Area reached out to the top offenders on our list of violations. While most of the bus companies didn’t return our messages, a representative from WeDriveU said “Citations are reviewed immediately, analyzed for prevention and paid promptly.” Click here for full statement.

The owner of Bauer transportation also responded with a statement saying his company is working to avoid violations by training drivers and providing bonuses to those with the best records. Click here for full statement.

Rufus Jeffiris with the business advocacy group Bay Area Council represents companies like Apple and Google to help organize commuter shuttles throughout the Bay Area. Jeffris believes that despite the citations, the benefits of commuter shuttles far outweigh the negatives.

“The shuttles remove an estimated 2 million car trips a year from city streets, along with avoiding 2,000 metric tons of associated carbon emissions. So in terms of traffic impact, commuter shuttles are providing an enormous benefit,” Jeffiris said. Click here for full statement.

John Ford with Commute.org agrees. As Executive Director of the San Mateo County based government agency, it’s Ford’s job to find solutions to traffic congestion.

“I know it is a challenging issue for the people who were impacted by the bus stops, but I really think that from a regional perspective, this program is one of the extra things that we have that can help all of us reduce congestion in the Bay Area,” Ford said. 

Ford works with hundreds of companies like Google and Facebook, encouraging them to offer alternatives to cars, including incentives for workers who bike, those private buses.

Representatives from Facebook believe their efforts are making a difference. The company said in a statement, "Facebook is committed to easing congestion on Bay Area roadways. We're part of the MTA shuttle program which reduces over 51 million vehicle miles traveled, eliminates 2 million single-passenger car trips and removes 2k metric tons of carbon emissions a year. We're also working with regional government to explore the expansion of rail and ferry services. This is a start on tackling an important issue – we care about our neighbors and our approach is to listen and take action."

Still, Vaughan believes the private bus routes aren't just an inconvenience, they're illegal.

She helped file a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco that argues state law bans private companies from using public bus stops.
The city of San Francisco called that a misinterpretation of the law and on Thursday, a judge dismissed the case. 

“They’re allowed to interfere with our public transportation system and the city is letting them do that. This is going to get worse,” Vaughan said. 

Vaughan and other critics of the private buses hope to fight the ruling.

If you have a tip for the Investigative Unit email TheUnit@nbcbayarea.com or call 888-996-TIPS.Or you can email Bigad.Shaban@nbcuni.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[SCOTUS Approves Rule Change to Expand FBI Hacking Power]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:01:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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[Chinese Tech Company Launches itself into Silicon Valley]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:54:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+CHINESE+ELECTRIC+CARS+PKG+-+00000000.jpg

A new competitor to Apple, Facebook and Google just moved into San Jose, and it’s already making strides to hire hundreds of Bay Area techies.

The company isn’t a start-up, either. It’s a well-established business from China called LeEco (formerly known as LeTV) specializing in, among other things, electric cars. The business has just transplanted itself into a sprawling 80-thousand square foot building on North First Street in San Jose, the site of its new headquarters.

“Obviously, Silicon Valley is a huge place for us to go,” said Shawn Williams, the Chief Administrative Officer. He revealed that the company has plans to expand its workforce by about 200, with a goal of 800 by the end of the year.

Company officials haven’t been quiet about their plans to compete with leading tech companies in Silicon Valley. LeEco’s CEO Jia Yueting said just last week that Apple was “outdated” and said the iPhone maker’s “innovation has become extremely slow.”

Williams indicated that a bit of healthy competition might be good for the Silicon Valley icons.

“(LeEco) is distruptive, in a good sense,” said Kim Walesh, the company’s San Jose Director of Economic Development. “It’s artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, smart devices – and it wants to be the biggest city in the Bay Area.” 

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Employee Found Dead Inside Campus ID'd]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:35:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHOPPER+APPLE+-+09500421.jpg

The Apple employee found dead inside the company's Cupertino headquarters Wednesday has been identified as Edward Thomas Mackowiak, the Santa Clara County Coroner said Thursday.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Andrea Urina said the coroner determined that the 25-year-old Mackowiak shot himself. She said the cause of death is being ruled as a suicide by gun.

Urina would not comment on whether he was depressed. Mackowiak's now-deleted LinkedIn profile states that he worked as a software engineer for Apple.

NBC Bay Area does not usually name those who commit suicide, but Mackowiak's death quickly became a national news story, as many feared there might be a case of possible workplace rampage at such a high-profile company.

Apple released a statement on Thursday saying how "heartbroken" the company was.

"We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of a young and talented coworker," the statement read. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends, including the many people he worked with here at Apple. We are working to support them however we can in this difficult time."

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the campus after receiving a call about 8:35 a.m. about a person down at 1 Infinite Loop.

Dispatch recording obtained from Broadcastify.com indicates that a female employee on the Apple campus was escorted out of a building by security Wednesday morning, and had sustained an injury to the head, possibly from a gun. Two minutes later the dispatcher talks about a dead body found in one of the conference rooms, with a gun nearby. How the woman is related to the man's death is not clear.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its first revenue drop since 2003, sending the company's stock price down more than seven percent in extended trading.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Interns Make a Lot of Money]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:10:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/google25.jpg

Apple and Google offer interns more than a rewarding experience – they also pay really well.

College students hired within the tech hub of Silicon Valley can make up to $8-10K a month, Business Insider reports.

A survey conducted by a Berkeley student shows the facts: Google pays their interns $6,000 a month and Facebook pays $8,000, while Snapchat takes first place with high-paid interns at $10,000 a month.

LinkedIn and Twitter don’t stay behind either. These Silicon Valley-based social media companies also pay really well – averaging up to $8,000.

Assuming a full time summer internship goes for 40 hours a week, an intern working at Facebook can make up to $50 an hour.

That, on top of $3,000 in benefits.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Male Employee Found Dead at Apple HQ: Sheriff]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 23:51:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CHOPPER+APPLE+-+09500421.jpg

A man who worked for Apple was found dead at the tech giant's headquarters in Cupertino Wednesday morning, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff.

LISTEN: Sheriff's Audio Dispatch Describes Body Found on Apple Campus

No suspects are being sought in his death, and no one is in danger, sheriff's officials said, adding that the campus at 1 Infinite Loop is open. Investigators have not confirmed information in apparent police dispatch recordings in which authorities describe the scene.

"Through further investigation, they determined there was no other individuals involved and they believe it was an isolated incident. There was no one else on campus or in the public at risk," Sgt. Andrea Urena with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department said at a press conference at the Apple campus Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the campus after receiving a call about 8:35 a.m. about a person down at 1 Infinite Loop, Urena said. "When they got there, they determined he was deceased," she said. Urena declined to comment on the cause and manner of death.

The county coroner is now in charge of the investigation and will release more information once it is completed. Urena would not comment on whether a weapon was involved or if the death was suicide or natural.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department said crews were called to the scene but were then waved off and never went on campus. The body was reportedly found in a conference room Wednesday morning.

Apple did not respond for comment sent via email.

Dispatch recording obtained from Broadcastify.com indicates that a female employee on the Apple campus was escorted out of a building by security Wednesday morning, and had sustained an injury to the head, possibly from a gun. Two minutes later the dispatcher talks about a dead body found in one of the conference rooms, with a gun nearby. How the woman is related to the man's death is not clear.

Urena would not confirm any of the information in the dispatch audio, or comment on whether the incident stemmed from a disgruntled employee.

NBC Bay Area chopper footage showed at least one sheriff's car on campus before noon.

On Tuesday, Apple announced its first revenue drop since 2003, sending the company's stock price down more than seven percent in extended trading.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[ Lunch With Tim Cook? It’s Going to Cost You (A Lot)]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:46:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/280*120/timcook3.JPG

Turns out Apple CEO Tim Cook is more popular than Taylor Swift and Robert Downey Jr. combined.

Cook is drawing the most interest in an online auction to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization

With only seven days left in the auction - the top bid for a lunch with Cook at Apple headquarters is $201,000. The winning bidder also gets to be Cook’s guest at an Apple keynote event.

Travel and accommodations are not included in this package, and the winning bidder will be subject to a security screening.

We expect all winning bidders and their guests to conduct themselves appropriately when attending an experience won at Charitybuzz,” a message from Charitybuzz says. “Polite manners and respect for the generous donor and adherence to any rules or parameters are a must.”

Tickets and backstage passes to Swift's world tour have raised just over $2,000. A meeting with Downey Jr.? Just over $3,000.

In 2013, someone paid more than half a million dollars to have coffee with him, a Charitybuzz record.

Photo Credit: charitybuzz.com]]>
<![CDATA[Bad Apple: Apple Reports 1st Revenue Drop Since '03]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 15:37:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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.nbcbayarea.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.nbcbayarea.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 Travelling Around the World to Land in Bay Area]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 14:55:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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[Tech Entrepreneur in Court for Probation Revocation Hearing]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 18:54:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/chahal.JPG

A wealthy Internet entrepreneur appeared in San Francisco court Friday for a probation revocation hearing.

Prosecutors want a judge to jail Gurbaksch Chahal for a September 2014 incident in which they said he kicked a woman a dozen times.

The reported victim -- who is now refusing to testify -- told police she met him while she was working at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Several months later, after they had been drinking inside his penthouse, the woman said Chahal got angry over her treatment of his security staff. She told police that the attack left her with two bruises.

After the incident, she said he threatened to report her to immigration if she went to authorities.

The incident came just five months after a judge threw out a video tape prosecutors said showed Chahal hitting another woman more than 100 times.

In that case, the court ruled that the video was not legally seized by police. As a result, Chahal was out on probation for a misdemeanor battery conviction at the time of the penthouse attack.

Before Friday's hearing, members of the Sikh community accused prosecutors of going overboard and called Chahal a prominent leader who has provided jobs to the community.

Bob Dhillon, general secretary of the Sikh Temple, said Chahal should not be punished because the earlier case fell apart due to a legal technicality.

"If something is wrong with our justice system, that justice system has to be the problem (and) not continue to pursue Chahal," Dhillon said.

But domestic violence victim advocates said Chahal must be held accountable

"We understand that they are coming to show their support," said Beverly Upton with the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium. "But so many other Sikh organizations are questioning whether he is accountable."

The judge in the case will be hearing more testimony in coming days before she decides whether there is enough evidence to revoke Chahal's probation.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Students Work to Create Zika-Fighting Drones]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:14:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0421-2016-ZikaDrone.jpg

The mission at Cal State University East Bay: Create a drone to kill Zika-carrying mosquitoes. By doing this, students hope to help protect the more than two billion people around world now considered "at risk."

At the university’s inaugural hack day over the weekend, engineering and biology students came together to build prototypes they hope one day will travel on the ground and through the air to fight the Zika virus.

“The controls are a little difficult. We had some mishaps flying into the tent. But once people got them to hover it was pretty amazing,” said Anthony Salvato.

The biology and biochemistry double major says he was excited to have the opportunity to work with students from other departments.

“[Drones] tend to be confined to the engineering realm, like to carry items from one location to another. But applying it to the real world? That’s really a killer app,” James Tandon said. He and two other CSU professors, Nazzy Pakpour and Reza Akhavian, devised the event.

As mosquito season looms, the race to curb the virus has begun. In Brazil, a company has created a billboard that attracts mosquitoes with the smell of human sweat and carbon dioxide, and then traps and suffocates them.

In Hayward, students are designing different types of drones to spray insecticides, and survey and find mosquito breeding grounds.

“If we can fly over areas and find abandoned pools which can be huge mosquito breeding grounds – a drone can do that a lot more efficiently than a person peeking over a fence,” assistant biology professor Nazzy Pakpour said.

Some students had the idea to design a drone to deploy Trojan horses, and drop sterile male mosquitoes into wetlands to mate with females.

“And because the females live long enough to maybe breed once or twice, they don’t produce any offspring,” Salvato said.

However, there’s one thing they can’t do quite yet.

“The technology is still pretty far away from walking outside your door and seeing drones flying around zapping mosquitoes,” Pakpour said, explaining it could take up to a decade to bring the technology to the mainstream market, mainly due to drone regulations.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook's Sandberg Wants to End Hunger in Bay Area]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 19:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AP460895331667-2.jpg

Sheryl Sandberg is back at Facebook, and back with a new fight.

The Facebook COO is taking on hunger in the Bay Area and will co-chair the Stand Up for Kids campaign at San Jose's Second Harvest Food Bank. Sandberg said the "Lean In" movement is still a big part of her life.

In fact, Sandberg said it can help bring people together for the next battle.

"With Lean In, it was almost explaining that we're not near equality and we need to do more," Sandberg said. "And there's a lot all of us need to do in business, government, individuals and companies to do better."

Technology can also help feed the hungry. Remember when Facebook made it easy to become an organ donor?

Sandberg said she will explore the idea of the social media giant helping her cause to end hunger in the Bay Area.

"I certainly share my passions for this and trying to help explaing the problems of trying to raise money on Facebook," she said.

Sandberg is sending out a challenging, saying her new fight can be won if enough people -- on or off Facebook -- step up to help.

"Please understand that for 50 cents you can provide a meal to a family," she said. "Fifty cents."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[PayPal in Hot Water for Hosting All-Male Gender Equality Panel ]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 17:49:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/paypal-logo.jpg

Paypal is catching flak following the announcement that it will host a discussion on gender equality in the workplace. The problem? An all-male panel is set to lead that discussion. 

The invite, which started circulating on social media Thursday, reads: "Please join us for a discussion with our senior male leaders...about how men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace." 

Many have questioned PayPal's suitability to host such a discussion in the first place, considering the company has an executive board composed of 15 men and only three women. 

Following the criticism, PayPal released a statement from its President of Unity saying that the invite was a missunderstanding, and that the panel is subtitled: "A Conversation with our Male Allies."

But the announcement only drew more ire.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, file
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Paid More Than $1M for iPhone-Cracking Software]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:24:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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[Facebook's Sandberg Aims to End Childhood Hunger]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 17:43:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0420-2016-SherylSandberg.jpg

One of the Bay Area's most famous people has a goal and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg wants you to help.

Facebook's chief operating officer, who co-chairs the Stand Up for Kids campaign, aims to raise $7 million to end childhood hunger.

"We have to get everyone involved," she said. "One in three children is hungry or will be hungry in our area. That's a problem we can solve."

The campaign is huge at San Jose's Second Harvest Food Bank.

Sandberg said she takes the issue seriously and personally.

"My children and I go regularly to distribution and we hand eight bananas to a family of five -- that's for a month," she said. "We know we can do more."

Sandberg is also know for writing a book called "Lean In" and started the non-profit Lean In organizations to help women reach their ambitions.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Non-Profit Internet Archive Gets Back Stolen Delivery Truck]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:56:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/truckmain.jpg

A very recognizable truck belonging to Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library in San Francisco, was stolen and found within 24 hours of its reported missing.

Wendy Hanamura, Director of Partnership, tells us “the only truck that would be more easily traced than ours is the Wienermobile – the truck from Wienershnitzel.”

She explains the truck is used to transport items like books, films, and audio files from their Richmond warehouses to SF.

Internet Archive, the 250th most popular site in the world, offers access to millions of free books, movies, audio files and web pages, Hanamura said.

Photo Credit: Jason Scott/Internet Archive]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Owners Beware: Text Scams Your Data]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:42:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/041916-apple-text-scam.jpg

We text by the second, and many dozens of times a day.

But here's a reason to be careful when you text: A scam, aimed at iPhone owners, trying to get their data. 

It comes in the form of a text message, telling you your Apple ID or iCloud account needs to be updated. Then, according to security expert Slawek Ligier of Barracuda Networks, "they ask for your name, address, even your passport information."

It's a way to try and steal your personal data. Best bet? Watch your texts a little more closely than usual (especially if you have an iPhone). As Ligier says, "this could be really dangerous."

One tip: If a text looks unfamiliar, copy and paste the link to your web browser. If the site it takes you to isn't completely familiar, delete the text.

Scott Budman is on Twitter: @scottbudman.

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Intel to Cut 12K Jobs, Reducing Workforce by 11 Percent]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:09:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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.nbcbayarea.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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Techies': Online Portrait Gallery Captures Minorities In Silicon Valley]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:54:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/rachel-miller-hero.jpg This photography project shares images and stories of dozens of tech employees who are underrepresented in Silicon Valley. Women, people of color, people over 50, disabled and LGBT employees are among those featured. One hundred techies are featured at techiesproject.com.

Photo Credit: Helena Price]]>
<![CDATA[Elizabeth Holmes talks to NBC]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 18:55:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_241410476392.jpg

Elizabeth Holmes hosted the Vice President, and a national magazine called her the "Next Steve Jobs."

Her company, Palo Alto-based Theranos, performed six million blood tests, with the goal of changing healthcare. Cheaper, more transparent testing; even an arrangement with Walgreens. Holmes became a billionaire, with a company worth 9 billion dollars.

Then, trouble hit. The Centers for Medicare and Medicade Services (CMS) found what it called critical violations inside a Theranos lab. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, these included failure to properly hire and train qualified staff to run the blood testing machines, and allowing unlicensed workers to review patient test results.

After a long and baffling period of silence, Holmes spoke to NBC's Today Show, saying, "I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster." After a follow-up letter where CMS called the fixes "insufficient," Holmes tells NBC, "I'm the founder and CEO of the company; anything that happens in this company is my responsibility."

Holmes told NBC's Maria Shriver she "absolutely" thinks her company will survive, and that she plans to re-build the offending lab from scratch. But, after making it the darling of the healthcare industry, will investors stick around?

Scott follows tech and healthcare on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Optical Illusion Puzzles Thousands on Social Media]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 16:07:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

A new optical illusion has set social media ablaze and it has nothing to do with the color of a dress.

A photo posted to Facebook last week has puzzled thousands after a Missouri woman asked her followers if they could see what was in the image.

“I stared at this picture for an hour trying to figure out what it was,” Savannah Root wrote. “Once you figure it out comment below, please don’t ruin it for anyone.” 

The post has since garnered more than 11,000 comments and more than 5,100 shares as confused users post their guesses and others claim victory.

One user wrote she could only see “a penguin fishing,” while some said they saw what was in the image right away.

Others offered advice like “look at it..turn away.. then look back and its [sic] there.”

It’s not the first time social media has debated an optical illusion.

Many might remember the “dress controversy” last year that sent the Internet into a raging debate. A photo had thousands questioning the color of a dress after some thought it was black and blue while others saw white and gold. 

Late last year, a comic artist also had thousands furiously searching through a “Where’s Waldo?”-style photo trying to find a panda in a sea of snowmen.

What do you see in the latest viral image?

Share your guesses in the comment section and scroll down to find out the answer.




Answer: A cowboy.

Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Theranos CEO 'Devastated' About Blood Test Issues]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:55:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Canadian PM Explains Quantum Computing in Viral Video]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 04:45:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Olympic Athletes Using GoPros]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 19:12:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6P+GO+PRO+OLYMPIC+TECH+PKG+-+00003625.jpg

The road to the Rio Olympics is going to be paved with technology. 

A variety of Bay Area-made gadgets and software is being used to help Olympic athletes train, but one of those products is getting more attention than others: The GoPro camera.

The small, wearable piece of tech is making a big difference in how athletes are evaluating their own performances for training purposes.

“Because we measure everything that the athlete does, and [The GoPro] streams it live and records it, we can go back after the fact and tear down the performance, frame by frame by frame,” said Josh Carrasquillo of Coach's Eye. 

So far, the camera has been used in training for BMX competitions, but swimmers are also beginning to sllee the value in recording their every movement. 

“All of these Olympic swimmers that train in the pool, they put in hours and hours of work, and a fraction of a second makes a difference scrubbing frame by frame with a coach’s eye," said David Troup, Xensr's CEO. "That’s what allows them to get better.”

The Olympics will convene in Brazil on Aug. 5. Here's to hoping those athletes post some of the GoPro footage on YouTube for us all to see. 

<![CDATA[Uber Gave Gov. Agencies Data on Over 12M Users]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:32:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.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]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Spokeswoman Takes Swing at Zuckerberg]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:54:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Zuckerberg-AP_626349594659.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is drawing criticism from one of Donald Trump’s spokeswomen after he made a subtle reference to her candidate’s positions, NBC News reports.

"Self-righteousness isn't very proactive: We can talk about taxes, we can talk about jobs and even immigration, but that doesn't really put food on the table and save lives," Katrina Pierson said.

Zuckerberg spoke Tuesday from Facebook’s F8 developer conference against those who want to build physical and digital walls. Trump has regularly spoken about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Ted Cruz says building “a wall that works” is part of his immigration plan.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade, and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the Internet."

Photo Credit: AP]]>