<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:58:10 -0700 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:58:10 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Exiled from SF, MonkeyParking App Appears in LA]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:10:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/07-10-2014-monkey-parking-app.jpg

What better place to buy and sell parking spaces than Los Angeles? After its hasty exit from San Francisco, it is perhaps only natural than MonkeyParking would appear in Los Angeles.

The company that was so roughly removed from San Francisco, where the city attorney declared that buying and selling parking spaces was not something that could be done, is now trying to get a fresh start in Santa Monica, according to LA Weekly.

Though this may be tougher than trying to get to the 101 from the 10 on a Friday afternoon.

MonkeyParking is trying to set up in Santa Monica, but is already running afoul of city leaders like the parking administrator, who is saying that allowing parkers to auction off a space in the public right of way is not only illegal, but "immoral," the newspaper reported.

Spots are sold from anywhere from $5 to $7, the newspaper reported, of which MonkeyParking takes 20 percent.

Can what failed in SF fly in LA? So far, it's not seeming likely.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[WATCH: Man Buys iPhone 6, Drops It on Sidewalk]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:46:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-19+at+11.13.16+AM_edited-1.jpg

It's official: the new iPhone has hit the streets.

Jack Cooksey was reportedly the first person to leave the Apple store in Perth, Australia, with an iPhone 6. The 18-year-old shakily opened the phone's white package, but when the box lid came off, the gadget fell to the pavement. The blunder happened during a live International Business Times UK video broadcast, as a crowd of onlookers gasped and booed.

Luckily, the phone was unscathed.

"It's fine," Cooksey says in the video. His ego may not have fared so well.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: IBT UK]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Users Could Face Battery, Wi-Fi Issues From Latest Update]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:00:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tsiphoneupdatepic.jpg A tech expert advises consumers to wait before downloading the iOS 8 update.]]> <![CDATA[Photos: Apple Fans Line Up for iPhone 6 in Palo Alto]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:46:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple_lines1.jpg Apple Fans Line Up for iPhone 6 in Palo Alto

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tim Cook Greets iPhone Fans in Palo Alto]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:48:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/208*120/iphone16.jpg

If you didn't know any better, you may think that San Francisco's homeless population had skyrocketed on Friday morning, with all the people camping out on the sidewalks.

But no, the bleary eyed consumers were there to actually plunk down about $200 to $300 for the latest and greatest Apple product - the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, released to the public for the first time on Friday.

People admitted to living out on the streets outside Apple stores for days, across the globe.

Thalya Fernandez, a California State University East Bay student, joined her friends outside the Apple store in Palo Alto who had been camped out since Tuesday. School doesn't start until next week, so she said she had nothing else to do, other than wait for the newest high-tech gadget. She was prepared to spend "a grand."

As for what she wanted and liked in the new phone? "Everything," she said.

Maybe no one was happier than one customer from Europe who said he "traveled all the way from Norway for this."  Willy Wonka style, he clutched his newly bought iPhone, showing reporters his golden ticket. "I"m so stoked for my brother."

Slightly before doors opened at 8 a.m., Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in jeans and a blue T-shirt, waving to adoring customers, trying to gauge fan reaction to the new phone. Customer sales told the story: The iPhone 6 Plus sold out at the Palo Alto store by 11 a.m.

And it wasn't just in Silicon Valley that drew out the Apple lovers in droves. In Pasadena, lines wrapped around the block too. Same in New York, South Florida and Boston. Same in Japan. The phone has already seen a record number of orders.

Fanatics of iPhones from far and wide, some bearing Apple-themed cupcakes for sustenance,  flocked to the Pasadena store, and others around the country, to be the first to buy Apple’s newest release.

"We have, um, peanut butter chocolate sprinkled sandwiches," said Brenn Corcoran, 11. "I wanted to stay the whole time from Tuesday, but my mom wouldn't let me do that."

NBC LA's Ted Chen and Katherine Hafner contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Do You Need the iPhone 6?]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:47:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP501921875874.jpg The question that's been buzzing: do you need the new iPhone 6? Tech reporter, Mike Wendland, shows what IOS 8 features are available for older iPhones.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Take the Phone Quiz: iPhone 6 or Android? ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:59:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pile+of+phones1.jpg

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit the shelves at Apple Stores on Friday morning, ending weeks of anticipation by Apple fans.

At some Apple stores, lines have stretched around the corner for days or even weeks. Apple sold more than 4 million phones in online preorders on the very first day they were available. And this weekend, the company is expected to make billions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the phone line accounts for more than half of Apple's $171 billion annual revenue.

But is the phone for everyone? More importantly, is it for you?

We put together this Phone Wizard to help you find out. We examined the key features of eight state-of-the-art phones, looking at things like battery life, size, operating system and camera quality. After you answer a handful of questions about your personality, preferences and habits, we identify the phone that we think is right for you.

Now, don't get carried away: Just because we tell you the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better for you than the iPhone 6 Plus (that 4K HD is just so important to you, right?) doesn't mean you should go and buy one today. At least visit your local retailer to see how it feels in your hand before plopping down a few hundred dollars. But consider this a starting point. 

Photo Credit: Photograph: Alamy]]>
<![CDATA["What Happened to MySpace?" Student Asks Facebook Exec]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:35:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sequioa-zuck.jpg

Students attending a morning assembly at Sequoia High School in Redwood City had the chance Thursday to ask Facebook executives anything. Naturally, they wanted to know about MySpace. As in, what ever happened to it?

After Facebook CIO Tim Campos inspired the auditorium full of teens by telling them they could perhaps become the next generation of Facebook leaders, the students kept him on his toes with their straightforward questions.

One student asked Campos about a former social media giant: “What happened to Myspace?” Campos candidly summarized that the party simply wasn’t bustling at MySpace anymore. “People went elsewhere because that’s where their friends are,” he said.

Another student asked Campos, “How much do you get paid?” Campos responded with a smile. “Technology is a good industry to be in."

Sequoia High student Rosie Valencia, a budding tech all-star with an app making competition and a Facebook internship already under her belt, got to interview Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg one-on-one at the assembly.

Zuckerberg told students that understanding technology and computers “is going to be really critical to having a lot of options and doing what you want.'' The Facebook founder said the jobs of the future will be very different from today's jobs – and young people can use that to their advantage.

"If you start with the assumption that everything in the future is going to be different than it is now, then it's not true that anyone else knows any more than you guys do about what's going to work in the future,'' Zuckerberg said.

Valencia asked the tech mogul what he thinks of the characteristically casual culture of the tech world. Zuckerberg said that he sees the value in more formal workplaces. “There’s this idea that if you’re wearing a tie you’re less likely to break rules, and in some places that’s a good thing.” But Zuckerberg reiterated that in the technology world, the casual atmosphere helps foster creativity.

The Sequoia students listened attentively as the Facebook executives shared insights.

When the conversation turned toward college, Valencia asked Zuckerberg about his decision to drop out. Zuckerberg quickly emphasized that he wouldn't recommend that students drop out of college, like he did, because there is a lot to be gained from completing the full college experience. But he added that, maybe, it would be alright for a student to drop out of college for another opportunity in rare cases, for example if they founded the next Facebook.

Facebook announced it is donating 50 laptops and creating a class to teach students how to create their own mobile apps for smartphones at Sequoia High, a short drive from Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters.

Zuckerberg's appearance was part of Facebook's campaign to encourage more young people, especially girls, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math – so-called STEM fields.

“What we're really trying to do is to create the same types of opportunities for the next Mark Zuckerberg,'' Campos said.

Silicon Valley companies have recently come under criticism for workforces that are mostly young, male, white and Asian.

“I really want more girls to be able to code because when I started none of my friends even knew what I was doing,'' Valencia told the audience.

Jim Wunderman, CEO of the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group, said Facebook and other tech firms are trying to expand the pipeline of local tech talent.

“The more they can find qualified, talented people, the more successful they'll be in developing new products, new ideas and new approaches,'' Wunderman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Alyssa Goard]]>
<![CDATA[California's Richest Man Stepping Down as Oracle CEO]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 07:13:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/larry-ellison.jpg

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, a Silicon Valley icon, is stepping down, effective immediately, the Redwood Shores company announced on Thursday.

Ellison will become executive chairman and continue to work as the company's chief technology officer, but he will be formally replaced by Mark Hurd and Safra Catz. Oracle's Board of Directors announced in a statement it had elected Ellison to the position of Executive Chairman of Oracle's board and appointed him the company's Chief Technology Officer.

"Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy," Dr. Michael Boskin, the current director of Oracle's board, said in the statement.

"Safra and Mark are exceptional executives who have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to lead, manage and grow the company. The directors are thrilled that the best senior executive team in the industry will continue to move the company forward into a bright future," Boskin said.

Before being promoted, Catz and Hurd were Oracle's co-presidents. Ellison founded Oracle Corp. in 1977. In 2014, Forbes listed him as the third-wealthiest man in America and the fifth-wealthiest person in world, with a net worth of $51.3 billion. When he's out of the boardroom, Ellison is known for his love of yachting. He brought the America's Cup race to San Francisco.

"The three of us have been working well together for the last several years, and we plan to continue working together for the foreseeable future. Keeping this management team in place has always been a top priority of mine," Ellison said in the statement.

Tech industry experts said Thursday that Ellison stepping aside, even a little bit, could have serious implications for Silicon Valley.

“There’s an old joke in Silicon Valley -- What’s the difference between God and Larry Ellison? God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison," said Rich Jaroslovsky, chief journalist for SmartNews.

Jaroslovsky then quipped: "But God doesn't retire."

That joke has even become the title of a book, where reporter Mike Wilson described Ellison as the tech world’s Warren Beatty: “racing yachts, buying jets, and romancing beautiful women.”

Ellison, the wealthiest man in California, according to Forbes, is among the “last generation of swashbucklers,” and his departure from Oracle is sure to have “repercussions,” Jaroslovsky said.

Jaroslovsky did not know why he was stepping down, but he did say the 70-year-old Ellison’s intentions might be “admirable.”

“Perhaps he’s one of those founders who wants to exit gracefully,” Jaroslovsky said. “Bill Gates did it. But the list of those greats who leave by their own choice is a list that’s not very long.” 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Closes Silicon Valley Research Lab]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:51:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MIDR_VO_MICROSOFT_JOB_C_KNSD4EGO_1200x675_306895427581.jpg

Microsoft will be laying off 2,100 workers and shuttering its Mountain View research lab, according to reports.

Microsoft's goal is to eliminate 18,000 workers, and the 2,100 will make the company almost 12 percent closer to that goal, according to Reuters. The 18,000 workers would be about 14 percent of Microsoft's global workers.

The Silicon Valley research lab means 50 workers will lose their jobs and Microsoft will consolidate its research and development at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., as well as Boston and New York.

Microsoft will still have 2,500 employees at its Mountain View campus, the report said. California will lose 160 jobs and another 747 will be lost in Seattle. The other jobs will be part of Microsoft's global operations.

Chief executive Satya Nadella set the goal of 18,000 layoffs and already cut 13,000 jobs in July. That means the company has only about 2,900 job to slash before meeting its goal in the next nine months. 
<![CDATA[Audi Gets First Permit to Test Driverless Cars in California]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:34:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/Traffic_Jam_Pilot_California.jpg

Audi beat out other car manufacturers Tuesday to become the first to get a permit from the state of California to test drive autonomous cars on public roads.

New state laws allowing the testing of automated driving also went into effect the same day.

“Audi is a driving force behind the research taking automated driving from science fiction to pre-production readiness,” Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, said in a statement.

According to a press release, Audi has conducted research over tens of thousands of miles in Europe and U.S. states where such testing is permitted to develop a highly-automated Piloted driving system for freeway traffic conditions. Audi hopes to launch the new technology to consumers within five years.

In the past, California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing. The state legislature, led by Sen. Alex Padilla, passed legislation to establish new guidelines for autonomous testing which Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2012.

Regulations Audi will have to abide by include a minimum $5 million surety bond for each driverless car that's tested. Other states that allow automakers to test driverless cars include Michigan, Florida and Nevada.

Calling California “a global technological leader,” Padilla said that “driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives."

"We are living in the era of Moore’s Law where every two years we double our computer processing speeds," Padilla said. "This enables the exponential leaps in advanced technology.”

Google, Audi, BMW, Ford and GM have been developing driverless cars for several years. Google's self-driving cars gave logged more than 700,000 test miles on California's roads so far.

Photo Credit: Audi USA]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix CEO Joins Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley Board]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:48:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Reed-Hastings.jpg

A Silicon Valley community giant has joined forces with a tech giant. The Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley announced Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has joined its Board of Directors.

“This is a breakthrough for our foundation, " said Ron Gonzales, CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. “I think it’s symbolic that the high-tech community is better understanding of the Hispanic community, and we welcome Reed Hastings to our Board and look forward to working with him.”

“The HFSV plays a critical role in helping and inspiring Hispanic families and their children to achieve personal greatness,” Hastings said in a statement. “I’m passionate about great education and leadership training and excited to be working with HFSV, the board and the community to help Hispanic kids in the Valley reach their full potential.”

“Reed Hastings on the Board brings a level of prestige," said tech analyst Tim Bajarin, of Creative Strategies

Bajarin thinks Hastings will be vocal in his new role.

“His leadership role could be very important. He has very strong opinions on education, and he would like to influence it," Bajarin said.

“The high-tech community has acknowledged the fact that they have difficulties recruiting Hispanics to their workforce,” Gonzales said. “We want to be a part of that solution, and we believe Reed Hastings will help us do that.”

<![CDATA[Drag Queens Will "Mobilize" if FB Doesn't Change Policy]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:58:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drag-city-hall.jpg

Some Bay Area drag queens say they are "disappointed" with the lack of progress made at Wednesday's meeting with Facebook over concerns raised about the social networking site's "real names" policy.

Speaking to reporters at San Francisco City Hall, the group said they would boycott Facebook if they could, but the site is "ingrained in their everyday lives."

The meeting came after the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and their supporters vowed to protest messages some users received saying that their account had been "temporarily suspended" because "it looks like you're not using your real name." 

Facebook's stance is that the "real names" policy is designed to "keep the community safe."

But "Lil Miss Hot Mess," who recently had to reluctantly identify herself as Harris David on her Facebook page, said that policy was backfiring.

"Their policy is to provide a safe environment, but we feel that by requiring people to use their legal names it makes people more unsafe by opening them up to attacks," she said.

Lil Miss Hot Mess said that as one of the most important social public forums, Facebook's policy is an issue that affects the transgender and LGBT community, social workers, teachers, victims of domestic violence and people who want anonymity for any number of reasons.

Facebook says it will temporarily reactivate hundreds of recently-disabled accounts but those who had been deactivated will have to use their real names or change their profile to a page.

“Facebook is discriminating by basically not allowing a large part of the community access to a public forum because of this policy,” she said.

"Heklina," a 47-year-old drag queen from San Francisco, said that Wednesday's one-hour meeting didn't result in any decisions, but that the group hopes to keep meeting with Facebook until there is a resolution.

"Facebook's 'real names' policy is unsafe and unfair to performers," she said. "Facebook knows we are mobilized and ready to protest this policy. There are people who work at Facebook who oppose this policy. Facebook has their heart in the right place but their policy is misguided."

Heklina said she would boycott Facebook if she could: “We don’t realize how ingrained Facebook is in our everyday lives. I was shut out of Facebook for 24 hours and felt like I had a limb chopped off.”

Heklina said she got one of those messages last week, after registering on her original Facebook account as "Heklina Heklina." Then she changed her name to "Heklina Grygelko," but was again kicked off Facebook until she registered with her birth name of Steven Heklina Grygelko — a name she doesn't identify with.

Heklina said she doesn't perform under that name and doesn't want to start a new fan page, because all of her followers now use her personal one, which is more interactive than a fan page.

Facebook's "real name" policy stipulates that "people use their real identities" and "provide their real names, so you always know who you're connecting with." Nicknames can be used if they're a variation of your real name, and an alternative can be listed on an account by adding an "alternate name" to your profile. "Pretending to be anything or anyone isn't allowed," the rules state.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Souvall confirmed that Facebook employees, and not an algorithm, began emailing users recently to verify names that didn't appear to be legitimate, and that some users were blocked recently. "We pulled some down last week," Souvall said, adding that the reason is to hold users accountable for their actions, namely nameless bullying in cyberspace.

The unusual gathering — between the social media giant and a group that bills itself as a "leading-edge Order of queer nuns" that aims to protect and promote human rights for "those on the edges" — was organized by San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who last week called on Facebook to meet with the drag queens. One of them started a Change.org petition with more than 18,000 signatures from New York to Georgia. The movement is growing on Twitter with supporters using the hashtag #MyNameIs.

Heklina said Campos would reach out to Facebook to set up more meetings in the future. "Next time we hope to meet with people who can directly influence the policy," she said.

Souvall told NBC Bay Area Wednesday morning, ahead of the discussion at Menlo Park headquarters, that the company is "open to talking with them." "We'll see from there. We're open to hearing their suggestions," he said.

Still, Souvall stopped short of saying Facebook would changes its longstanding rule that people must register with their legal names to open an account.

Souvall didn't comment on whether Facebook would follow Google Plus' move in July, when it ended its "real name" policy. In a blog post, the company said by forcing users to use their real names, "it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it." The company added that it hoped the change would make Google Plus a more "welcoming and inclusive" place.

Facebook's policy on famous people, such as Lady Gaga, allows for "real name" exceptions because the company feels the world knows them by that name.

NBC Bay Area's Bob Redell and Scott Budman contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Fast-Growing Box Leasing Buildings in Redwood City]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:52:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0916-2014-RedwoodCityBox.JPG

The Los Altos-based Box, an online storage firm, has leased 334,000 square feet in downtown Redwood City, according to reports.

Box is renting two buildings in the Peninsula city, the first of which it plans to occupy by next year, with the other in 2017, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The office space is enough to someday house up to 1,700 employees -- enough for a top executive at the commercial realty firm that leased the space to dub Box "the face of Redwood City."

The move to lease space in Redwood City appears to signal more rapid growth at the company. Right now, Box has room for up to 700 workers on El Camino Real. Last year, the company had 250 workers in Los Altos, the newspaper noted.

Box has yet to issue an IPO.

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Airbnb Legalization Effort in SF Stalls]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:08:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/DAVID+CHIU.jpg

Airbnb is a big deal and big business in San Francisco, where the service is still technically illegal.

Efforts to end the gray area and legalize the home-renting service stalled Monday amidst questions as to exactly how San Francisco could impose a fee and prove that Airbnb users actually lived in their homes for at least part of the year, according to reports.

The San Francisco Examiner reported that a Board of Supervisors committee elected to punt on legislation that would have seen Airbnb legalized if a host registered with the city, paid a fee, and actually lived in the unit for nine months out of the year. The law would have applied to multi-unit buildings only.

A vote was delayed for two weeks, when the committee will take up the question again, the newspaper reported.

The major sticking point was enforcement, and how the city could prove an Airbnb host lived in their unit 275 days out of the year, the newspaper reported.

Supervisor Jane Kim was the "most outspoken critic" of the legalization proposal pushed by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the newspaper reported.

There are 5,000 Airbnb listings in San Francisco. The company does not yet pay the 14 percent tax on hotel rooms paid by traditional hoteliers.

That could mean "tens of millions of dollars" in lost tax revenue, some say.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Apple Releases Tool to Remove U2 Album]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:14:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/455053622.jpg

Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple has released a special tool that lets people remove the album from their collections.

U2 played at an Apple event last week that included the unveiling of the iPhone maker's new smartwatch and updated iPhone models. In a surprise move, the Irish rock band performed at the event and put out its 11-song release.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the new album would be given to the company's 500 million iTunes users. The release showed up in users' iTunes music libraries. The company said Monday that 33 million iTunes account holders have accessed the free album.

But some iTunes users took to Twitter to complain and ask how to remove it. While it was already possible to delete the album, Apple's tool makes it possible in one step.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Does Driverless Car Insurance Work?]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:45:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Driverless+Google+Car.jpg

Driverless cars are being tested in the Bay Area, but a dose of reality comes with them--when they get into an accident, how does the insurance work?

Work is being done in Silicon Valley on driverless cars, which will eventually, like current cars, need to be insured. And that might get tricky--can we really get insurance for them?

"Clearly, this technology is not yet ready for mass-deployment, but it's getting there," California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.

Admitting that he is playing catch up to Silicon Valley innovation, Jones said he recently enjoyed his first driverless car ride and has held a public hearing in San Jose about how to protect the cars of the future.

"It holds tremendous potential in terms of reducing human error, accidents and fatalities, but it also raises a lot of questions about what is the appropriate insurance product," Jones said.

It is a question not often asked in Silicon Valley where people like to gawk at what Google rolls out next.

“It has no steering wheel. It has no brakes. It just has a destination panel and a start button,” Sedgwick LLP Attorney Hilary Rowen said.

Insurance experts said there are still lots of questions to answer, like is a driverless car even a car?

”If you program the car to take your 8-year-old to school and it trundles off to school, drops your 8-year-old, and then comes back by itself, it's not clear that it’s acting, in at least our common sense definition of an automobile," Rowen said. "It’s a robot. It's clearly a robot, and the only question would be whether it's a street legal robot.”

Driverless cars may reduce the number of accidents on the road, but for now, it seems there is work to be done before one of these can drive people around. The California DMV is expected to announce new guidelines Tuesday regarding driverless cars.

Among them, a series of license plates to identify cars without drivers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Google to Test Self-Driving Car Without Backup Driver]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 16:28:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Driverless+Google+Car.jpg

Google is getting set to hit the roads with its first ever self-driving car without a backup driver.

The new prototype will be tested on the grounds of Moffett Field.

Because it is federal land, Google cars can drive the network of streets on the 2,000 acre research facility without worrying about breaking any state laws.

NASA is teaming up with Google for its own research purposes.

NASA hopes what they learn from Google will help in the development of unmanned drones.

Testing on Google's new unmanned cars could begin at Moffett Field early next year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Expected to be Haven for iPads, Smartphones]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:59:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/levis_stadium_app.JPG At Candlestick Park, high tech meant escalators, but at Levi’s Stadium, it's a nerd’s paradise--and in a good way. Levi’s Stadium is expected to be a haven for iPads and smartphones. Business and Tech reporter Scott Budman reports from Levi’s Stadium.

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Google Workers Lived in Office Parking Lots]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 10:52:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/googleplex.jpg

A job at Google can also come with a place to live at Google.

In the parking lot.

For almost a decade, a "small band of Google" workers have avoided Silicon Valley rents by living close to work -- as in, at work. As in, in their cars or in campers in the company parking lots, according to reports.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that some Google workers have lived in cars or in campers for up to 60 weeks while putting in long hours at their Google desks.

In one case, former Googler Matthew Weaver was "dared' to live on campus for a year. According to the BBC, the Mountain View campus has everything one would need in order to live: laundry, three free meals a day, and space to work on bicycles.

Some Google employers told the BBC outright that they did this in order to live in Silicon Valley at all -- as in, their Google salaries were insufficient.

Meanwhile, some Peninsula cities like Palo Alto have outlawed living in cars. So maybe Weaver and his parking lot compatriots took advantage of a good thing while they could.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Consumers Share Tips on How to Preorder iPhone 6]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:18:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-455041526.jpg

The presale for the first iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starts at midnight tonight. It's only available online at wireless provider websites and Apple.com. The new phones will be sold in stores on Sept. 19.

Diquan Richard has preordered an iPhone online before and says it's easy to fall behind in the hunt.

"Just make sure you go through all the information," Richard said. "It's easy to misspell something...and sometimes it'll accept it as well as reject it."

Some people are holding off to see if they like the bigger screen.

"To see it in hand, to find out whether 6 or 6 plus, how good it is to handle it," said Dilip Kothari.

Others just can't wait.

"I'm going to attempt to (preorder), just to save the frustration of camping out," said John Bui.

Bui said it's like scoring coveted concert tickets online.

"Me and my buddies have it down to a system. Open multiple browsers, all have it on the same page. Hit F5 (to refresh) at the same time and see which one loads," he said.

Some analysts think this will be the biggest launch for Apple since the original iPhone. They said the first batch could sell out over the weekend. Bui said it's important to be fast during the presale.

"Have everything typed out and you just cut and paste into the appropriate fields. Credit card information, first and last name -- all that good stuff. It saves those precious seconds because things like that go by super quick," Bui said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Google Says Gmail Wasn't Hacked]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:20:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_gmail1jpg_bim.jpg

News of a huge Gmail hack greeted readers Thursday morning, but Google says that the problem is grossly exaggerated.

Apparently hackers dropped about 5 million Gmail usernames and passwords in "a Russian Bitcoin forum" on Tuesday and around 60 percent were estimated to be active, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So that means about 3 million or so usernames and passwords are circulating around, right? However, Google said only about 2 percent of the combinations were working and the whole hullabaloo was unnecessary. From the Google Online Security Blog:

It’s important to note that in this case and in others, the leaked usernames and passwords were not the result of a breach of Google systems. Often, these credentials are obtained through a combination of other sources. 
Google is saying that the "credential dump" was likely culled from other sources likely from sites that use a combination email username and password, not Google. The post also suggests that users create tougher passwords (think really long with lots of different characters) unique to Gmail to prevent their accounts being hacked.

Photo Credit: flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Salesforce.com Dishes Out $5M to SF Public Schools]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:07:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iPad_thefts.jpg

Fifteen-hundred iPads aren't enough. After receiving the shipment of tablets last year, San Francisco public schools are getting even more technology, thanks to top Silicon Valley companies.

The Salesforce.com Foundation is giving San Francisco Unified School District $5 million, on top of a previous $2.7 million donation, to pay for technology in public school classrooms, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

The newspaper notes that "twice" the number of students will now have access to the nifty tablets, learning tools for the next generation. Namely, another 1,200 iPads and 800 Google Chromebooks are coming San Francisco's way.

School district leaders, including Superintendent Richard Carranza, said the bounty of technology will help kids "create new knowledge," the newspaper reported.

The school district is getting more than that from Salesforce.com -- the company's employees will also volunteer in classrooms, the newspaper reported.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

<![CDATA[Gov. Brown Signs "Yelp Bill" Into Effect]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:15:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Yelp-Reviews-0520.jpg

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new law into effect that some are calling a boost to freedom of speech, while others have just dubbed it the "Yelp Bill."

Assembly Bill 2365 was nicknamed the Yelp Bill because it prevents businesses from retaliating against consumers and patrons who write negative reviews -- such as those found at the user-generated review site Yelp, ReadWriteWeb reported. Brown signed the bill into law on Tuesday.

Its author, Assembly Speaker John Perez, said in a statement, "Many (businesses) are resorting to contractual clauses that essentially gag their review-posting customers. In some cases, corporations take the legal position that a consumer can give up their right to an opinion simply by logging onto a commercial site, or 'liking' a business’ Facebook page." Perez said that the bill would make these anti-disparagement clauses unlawful because it infringes on free speech. From the bill:

This bill would prohibit a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services from including a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services. The bill would make it unlawful to threaten or to seek to enforce, a provision made unlawful under the bill, or to otherwise penalize a consumer for making any statement protected under the bill.

Businesses who break the law could face up to $10,000 in fines, not to mention way more negative reviews on Yelp.

Photo Credit: AP / File]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Grows Faster Than Lyft]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:39:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/450434204.jpg

Uber and Lyft are in new American cities everyday -- but somehow, America's favorite taxi alternatives are not adding as many new American customers as they used to.

The story in Beijing and Europe, however, is different.

Uber and Lyft are now growing at about a ten percent rate in America, Forbes reported, down from 25 to 30 percent not long ago.

The difference is this: there are no fuzzy pink mustaches in, say, China and France. But Uber is in 44 foreign countries, Forbes reported today, and it's that higher user volume that's propelling the company "way ahead" of Lyft.

Things are better for Uber at home, too. "Uber is clobbering Lyft in the U.S. right now," Forbes reported, noting that Uber provided seven times as many rides as Lyft, and at a rate 1.6 times as expensive.

More riders for more money mean Uber's valuation is 26 times Lyft's, Forbes noted. So does that mean more money in CEO and founder Travis Kalanick's pockets?

Not necessarily, it turns out. Uber has revenue 12 times Lyft's, Forbes reported, but "in some markets... paid drivers more than they earned." So what is the company's profit margin like? Unknown.

What we do know is that in the struggle for growth, the growth is overseas. And it's overseas that Uber has encountered its stiffest opposition... from government and taxi drivers. Uber just ran into its biggest roadblock yet when it was banned in Germany.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Some iTunes Users Tell Apple To Back Off]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:12:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/AppleU2.jpg

When U2 took the stage at Apple's latest event Tuesday, the crowd cheered.

When Tim Cook and Bono announced that half a billion iTunes users would get the new U2 album for free, the crowd cheered, along with most iTunes users.

But some ... not so much.

"Why has a U2 album turned up on my phone, and how the frick do I get rid of it?!" wrote one poster on Twitter.

"honestly putting this U2 album on my phone without my permission is like force feeding lamb to a vegetarian im pretty angry" wrote another.

Turns out, not everyone wanted the new U2 album in their collection, but there it was. 

Privacy violation? Well, some are steamed, but there's a solution for that. Take your iTunes settings off "Automatic Download." That way, you decide if the free album makes it onto your phone and laptop.

In this era of streaming, it's easy to get what we want right now. But if there's something you don't want, you can keep it out. 

Not so much a privacy issue, but a convenience one.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Uses Solar to Power iPhone 6 Manufacturing]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:26:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

Apple is using an Arizona solar farm to power the factory that will make the iPhone 6's sapphire screens, according to the Guardian.

This makes Apple a "leader" in "controlling its own power supply," the newspaper reported -- and the company's breaking the mold in another way, departing from its usual secretive nature to show off its green efforts.

Apple showed off its data center in North Carolina recently before noting that it is going to install solar as well as geothermal power at the Mesa, Arizona factory where the sapphire glass screens are being made, according to the report.

Apple's North Carolina data center uses enough energy to power 14,000 homes, the newspaper reported.

Google, by contrast, powers about a third of its data centers with clean energy. Facebook is going to have at least one data center that's green by next year, when a wind-powered "Like" factory goes online in Iowa.

All of the above still need to be connected to the grid in some way, though. A backup power supply is required, and there's always the risk of a cloudy day in the case of solar.

Apple's 55,000 solar panels in North Carolina is reported to be the biggest private solar array in the country.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Investigating Threats with Possible Links to ISIS]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:17:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TWITTER-ISIS-THREATS-SOT-TZ---18281826.jpg

Twitter says its security team, along with relevant law enforcement officials, is investigating the veracity of apparent death threats made against its employees by radical Islamists.

The threats reportedly showed up on a Twitter account with ties to the Islamic State rebel group that has beheaded reporters.

Twitter has 800 employees in San Francisco, but none were eager to talk to reporters on Tuesday. The social networking service has been taking down accounts the company believes are platforms for the terrorist group ISIS. It is believed that action is what prompted the threats posted on such an account, which has since been removed.

The original threatening posts were in Arabic and initially translated on the website Vocative. They reportedly said:

“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter’s management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them.”

“Every Twitter employee in San Francisco in the United States should bear in mind and watch over himself because on his doorstep there might be a lone world assassin waiting.”

Steve Weber, a terrorism expert at UC Berkeley, believes the tweets are intended to frighten, but are without substance. “Day-to-day employees there are probably in more danger walking across the street in San Francisco than the likelihood of being hit by a terrorist assassin inside the United States,” he said.

Marc Sandalow, associate director of the University of California’s Washington Center, said he believes ISIS is using the threats and the recent videotaped beheadings of journalists to raise its profile on the world stage, but since President Obama’s initial statements discounting ISIS, the group’s soldiers have taken control of a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Weber says “that has moved the discourse in Washington from ‘Maybe this thing is just going to go away’ to ‘We need to make sure that this thing goes away.’”

The president laid out his strategy for going after ISIS to members of Congress on Tuesday. Wednesday night, he briefs the nation at 6 p.m. PT in an address that will air live on NBC.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Apple Watch: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 04:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-watch-thumb-new.jpg

Rumors of the Apple Watch have been swirling since 2012, and while Apple is not the first to debut a smartwatch, it has arguably designed the most elegant wearable yet.

Why isn't it called iWatch? Apple may have been unable to license the name as it is owned by Swatch.

Name aside, here are the top features to know about the Apple Watch.

Requires an iPhone, Old or New

The watches require an iPhone: either the new 6 and 6 Plus, or the older iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, meaning 200 million people can already use the device, Cook said.

The Handoff iOS 8 feature will let you start composing an email on the Apple Watch and finish it on your phone, iPad or Mac.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. In addition, the newly introduced payment system Apple Pay will work with the watch.

A New User Interface: The Digital Crown

As CEO Tim Cook pointed out, with each new product category Apple created a new UI: the Mac's mouse, the iPod's clickwheel, the iPhone's multi-touch. For the Apple Watch, there is the Digital Crown.

The Digital Crown, a souped-up dial on the right side, provides a way to scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. A wearer can scroll through lists and messages, make selections and more without obstructing the screen.

From CEO Tim Cook: "What we DIDN'T do is shrink down the iPhone interface and put it on your wrist. That'd be a horrible experience!"

Interactivity and Communication

The watch will have Siri, Maps and Photos apps, among others. The Maps app shows the way and guides wearers to go left or right with a tap. From a feature called Friends, wearers can make a call, send a message, customize emojis or a sketch made with their finger.

There's also a feature called "Glances," which you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see stocks, meetings, weather and world time.

Wearers can also send their friends a "gentle tap on the wrist" through haptic feedback (or tiny vibrations), even if they are thousands of miles away. They can also capture and send their heartbeat by pressing two fingers on the screen.

More than a Health Tracking Device

Apple is pushing the watch heavily toward fitness-savy consumers. A "Workout" app will monitor calories burned and miles run, and an "Activity" app will show the same metrics over the course of a day.

The watch measures three aspects of movement inside "rings": Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring gives an overview of how active the wearer is, while the Exercise ring measures brisk activity, and the Stand ring shows how often the wearer has stood up to take a break from sitting.

An accelerometer measures body movement while a custom sensor measures intensity by tracking the wearer's heart rate.

Customizable Faces, Bands

There are three watch collections: the Apple Watch, made with stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport, inside an aluminum casing; and the Apple Watch Edition, made of 18k gold. There is also a smaller-sized watch for smaller wrists.

For the bands, there are six different versions, made of leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel, and each has a mechanism that makes the straps interchangeable.

The screen is made of ultra-durable sapphire, resistant to cracks. Wearers can personalize the capabilities and appearance of the faces.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's New Watch, iPhones]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 11:22:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-iwatch-1.jpg Apple announced two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its new Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino on Sept. 9.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:26:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-lead-455042032.jpg

Apple unveiled a sleek new smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch and two new, bigger iPhones on Tuesday, marking its much-heralded entry into wearable technology and signaling its intentions to keep innovating three years after co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

The event, held at the same Cupertino venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer a generation ago, was capped by a performance by U2, whose new album "Songs of Innocence" would be available for free on iTunes.

Apple's big reveal wasn't without its hitches, as technical problems marred its livestream and frustrated would-be watchers online.

But at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts itself, CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the new watch — "the most personal device we've ever created," he said — was met with a standing ovation from Apple fans.

The smartwatch, with its square display and rectangular bezel and screen, can function, Cook explained, as a fitness monitor, communication device and, of course, timepiece. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

What looks like an ordinary crown on the watch's side is a dial that lets users zoom, scroll and navigate, in a departure from the commands iPhones use. Its touchscreen, with a sapphire crystal, also senses force.

"What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist," Cook said.

The watch, available in two sizes and in 18-karat gold with a variety of straps to choose from, was the crowning new product announced at Tuesday's event, closely watched by Apple fans and industry-watchers, near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Its unveiling came after two new iPhones, iOS 8 and Apple's first game were announced.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boast larger screens, more powerful cameras and a new payment system Apple vowed would prove a radical improvement.
The iPhone 6's screen will measure 4.7 inches, the 6 Plus' 5.5. Both boast a new next-generation retina display, and apps on both can be viewed differently, including in a double-paned display, when the phone is held horizontally, giving it the air of an iPad.

Each model also promises a more powerful camera, with autofocus and face detection that's twice as fast as older models' and that works seamlessly in video, in a move by Apple that seemed designed to preclude users from needing separate cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization, too, to adjust for users' unsteady hands.

Both models also use a new payment system, dubbed Apple Pay, that CEO Tim Cook said was safe, simple and a vast improvement for users' experience.

It will let users use credit cards already on file with iTunes or take a photo of their cards to use them, and to preserve their safety, no credit card information will be stored on their phones.

"We're totally reliant on the exposed numbers and outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface," he said. "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic." 

Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and go up to $399 for 128 GB, while the 6 Plus starts at $299 and goes up to $499. Pre-orders will begin Friday, and the products will begin shipping a week later, on Sept. 19.

Apple also launched its first-ever own game, a battle game called Vain Glory.

That wasn't the only exciting news for gamers: The new iPhone also boasts a new 64-bit chip, the Apple A8, which Apple promises will make for a 20 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics, according to The Verge.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's "iWatch" is Finally Here]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:35:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/223*120/iWatchApple.JPG

Apple finally unveiled its first smartwatch, but declined to call it an iWatch. Instead, the wearable is simply the Apple Watch.

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design, said in a statement.

So what's great about it? Apple seems to think the "Digital Crown" is one of the the best things -- a new way to scroll, zoom and navigate akin to the iPod click wheel -- which basically looks like a little knob on the upper left that used to be for winding up manual watches. Also, the watch is so sensitive it can send someone messages about a user's heartbeat. That heartbeat is going to make another appearance because it's also important for health and fitness apps that Apple has also been suggesting to users, including its new Activity app. Because of this, the watch is divided into three models the Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

The watch also has Siri, a sapphire Retina display, sensitivity to a "tap" and a "press" called Force Touch, and a built-in speaker. It's available in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm and come in everything from black stainless steel to 18-karat rose gold.The bands are just as diverse --- apparently catering to the fashionistas in the crowd. Prices start at $349 in early 2015, but we can tell you that's probably not the 18K version.

The watch can store information on the iPhone and also receive notifications. The watch is compatible with the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S, as well as the latest iPhone 6.

While Apple chief Tim Cook displayed the new induction charger, there was no word on how it works or how long the charge lasts -- a possible negative as we reported yesterday

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[How to Sell Your iPhone for the Most Money]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:06:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_iphone_edited.jpg

Looking to sell your iPhone before the new model is released? The longer you wait can have a dramatic effect on the value of your phone.

Many users are looking to upgrade their phones to get their hands on the latest gadget after Tuesday's announcement of Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Even if you are locked in a contract or not due for a subsidized upgrade from your phone carrier, you can still sell your current iPhone to help pay for the new model.

Many sites offer trade-in deals that will give you a fair amount of cash for your gadget.

Gazelle, an online trade-in store, is offering up to $335 for an iPhone 5S, a price expected to be good until Tuesday. The value is estimated to drop as the iPhone 6 was announced on Tuesday.

Worried about not having a phone? Gazelle is letting users hold on to their current phones until Oct. 10 so they are not phoneless while waiting for the new model. Users must first lock in their deal by Sept. 9 through Gazelle.com.

Through Gazelle, you lock in a price online, and the company will send you a package to ship your phone for free. Once your phone is processed, you can choose to receive a check, gift card or PayPal.

If you are looking to get more bang for your buck, you can try selling your phone privately on eBay. Prices vary depending on the model and storage space of your iPhone. Current listings on eBay as of Monday found iPhone 5S models being sold on eBay for between $300 and $500.

Another option for a user looking to unload their iPhones is Craigslist. You should complete your Craigslist transaction in a public place to be safe. Keep in mind that Craigslist does not offer any “buyer/seller protection” as they are not involved in any transactions.

Apple also has a trade-in program called Apple Reuse and Recycling Program that lets users trade in their phones and receive an Apple Store gift card in exchange. A previously owned iPhone 5 was estimated at a value of $225, while an iPhone 5S is currently not available to trade in through Apple’s site.

Another option to get rid of your phone is through a retailer like Best Buy or Amazon, which both offer competitive pricing onto a store gift card.

The value of a previous iPhone model typically drops when a new model is introduced, so the sooner you sell your phone, the more money you may be able to get.

The price of new iPhone's without a contract typically starts at $649 depending on the model of the phone. If you are due for an upgrade, or start a new contract, prices for new models start at $199.

Check with your carrier to see if you are eligible for an upgrade.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Invites Fashionistas to Sept. 9 Event]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 00:00:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-19-2013-gold-iphone-apple-logo.jpg

Apple invited fashionistas to its Sept. 9 event, causing many to speculate that Apple is launching its so-called iWatch.

The movers and shakers of the fashion world will be at the Tuesday event which is likely to be about wearable technology, according to Reuters. It only makes sense that those in fashion would be more interested in technology adorning the human body.

Fashion editors told Reuters that it was their first time receiving invitations and they believe it was because of the smartwatch that Apple is rumored to be creating.

"I assume it's because they are unveiling a wearable," Lea Goldman, features and special projects director for Marie Claire magazine, a first-time invitee told Reuters. "This suggests Apple is serious about tapping into the fashion world, which often sits on the sidelines."
Apple didn't comment on the subject to Reuters, but other fashion mavens said that Apple appears to be courting the fashion press. Apple has also made inroads into the fashion world by hiring the former vice president of global sales and retail at Tag Heuer and a former chief executive of Burberry. So, clearly Apple has become interested in its devices as accessories and wants the world to see them as such.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Trade-Ins Rise in Anticipation of Apple's Announcement]]> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 23:58:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/tlmd_appleganabatalla.jpg

As the world awaits Apple's announcement on Tuesday, some people are ditching their old iPhones early in anticipation.

"So the frenzy building towards the iPhone 6 launch is starting to happen," said eBay Vice President of Verticals Jeff Somers.

Somers says eBay has seen a 30 percent increase in old iPhone sales in the past week. The average sales for a iPhone 5s 32 GB is about $493.

"You have customers on the older versions of the phones, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, who are looking to trade up to fives," Somers said.

eBay is so confident you'll be able to sell your old device, they guarantee it.

"If you list your phone on eBay and take our pricing guidance and you try to sell your phone on eBay, if for some reason that phone doesn't sell, we'll give you a $100 gift certificate," Somers said.

Palo Alto based Glyde facilitates the sale of cell phones between the seller and buyer. The company has received three times the amount of visitors to its website, than the last iPhone announcement.

California company ecoATM allows you to trade in your phone at a kiosk and receive cash on site. Exchanges are soaring in San Jose, but the big rush is expected later.

"The uptick happens not on the iPhone announcement but it's generally when they start shipping two, three, or four weeks after the announcement," ecoATM co-founder Mark Bowles said.

All the companies say consumers should trade-in now before it's too late.

"As we approach launch, prices will start to come down as more folks are trading in and selling their phones," Somers said.

Sales numbers, that may point to the most anticipated iPhone ever.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[App Gives Stanford Football Fans Chance to Win Free Pizza]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0905-2014-StanfordApp.jpg

Stanford football fans now have another reason to attend home games -- free pizza.

Fans will have an opportunity to win free pizza thanks to an app produced by Menlo Park-based Yiftee. The app lets fans play a game on their mobile devices, such as guessing the kickoff outcome -- touch back, run back or yard line -- to win a free pizza. Stanford calls it the "Pizza My Heart Kickoff Challenge."

"There's gonna be a game run at kickoff at the beginning of the game and at the half," said Lori Laub, Yiftee co-founder. "They'll play the game and hopefully they'll win."

The app had its first trial run last week and about 650 people played. That number is expected to rise as high as 4,000 with the University of Southern California in town on Saturday.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Live from Cupertino: Apple Will Live Stream Sept. 9 Event]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 07:54:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/tim+cook+2.jpg

Is it a phone, a watch, a wallet? All eyes will be on Cupertino Tuesday for Apple's next big announcement. Apple will also be live-streaming the "special event" on Apple.com starting 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Apple website already features a countdown clock counting down to the magic hour.

Announcements on both the iPhone 6 (with apparently a bigger screen) and the iWatch (or iBand?) are expected, reports indicate, but there's also the "what else" aspect.

Reports from both Re/code and Bloomberg indicate that the debut of a wearable device is in the cards. There are also reports that the tech giant might unveil its own mobile-payment system -- possibly an iWallet? Apple is also reportedly working on a new, taller iPad.

Apple's invitation to media last week didn't say much, except for a one-line teaser: "Wish We Could Say More." The company stock reached a new all-time high following the announcement and sent social media abuzz.

Apple opted to switch venues for the event, opting for the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, instead of its usual Moscone West venue in San Francisco.

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to add extra security to iCloud, following a celebrity photo hacking incident last week.

According to Apple, live streaming Tuesday's video from its website will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

Follow NBC Bay Area on Twitter @nbcbayarea for live coverage of the event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SFO Launches Chinese-Language Website]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:56:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_sfo_manosea_mujeres.jpg

It's easier than ever for international travelers to say "ni hao" to San Francisco.

San Francisco International Airport has launched a new Chinese-language Web site, the first American airport to do so, according to USA Today.

At FlySFO.cn, travelers can figure out flight information and things to do during a long layover in the Chinese language.

The airport has been meaning to add more languages to its offerings for some time, a spokesman for SFO said. But having a "purpose-built" website in a foreign tongue, versus mere translations of the existing site, is a new level. 

And there's no chance of travelers in China being denied access to the site: It's hosted behind the firewall in the People's Republic of China, the newspaper reported.

Travel between the U.S. and China is happening more and more frequently, and SFO was a pioneer, befitting its status as the major hub in a region that has many Chinese-speakers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[2 Bitcoin Operators Plead Guilty in Silk Road Case]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:46:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/silk+road+takedown.jpg

The top executive of a New York City-based Bitcoin company and a Florida Bitcoin exchanger have pleaded guilty to enabling money to be funneled to the black market website Silk Road.

Charlie Shrem, of Manhattan, and Robert Faiella entered their pleas in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday. The case grew from the government's shutdown of Silk Road. Shrem was chief executive officer of BitInstant, while Faiella operated an unlicensed money transferring business.

They were accused of letting more than $1 million in Bitcoins reach the website, where they said narcotics were bought and sold.

Authorities have said Silk Road's San Francisco operator generated more than $1 billion in illicit business since 2011 on the website. It used Bitcoin, a tough-to-track digital currency, before being shut down.