<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:13:17 -0700 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:13:17 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Apple's Next Earbuds May Actually Stay in Ears]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:02:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

Apple has patented an earbud design that experts say should actually help keep the product in your ears.

Business Insider discovered that the corporation has been working on this for more than a year, filing a patent in March 2014 for "invertible ear tips for an ear piece."

While a common consumer complaint of the current earbud design is that they tend to fall out easily, especially during exercise, Ubergizmo noted that the patent's description of a new and flexible outer section that conforms to a user's ear will help keep them in place and should provide a more comfortable experience.

There is no current forecast on when the new headphones might come to market.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Conference Talks Drone Safety, Privacy Risks]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:40:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drone-generic-carlsbad-0926.jpg

A conference on how to manage drones was held Tuesday at the NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

Hundreds attended the conference, which aimed at discussing ways to use drones without putting your safety or privacy at risk.

While the unmanned aircraft may not be able to soar higher than a few hundred feet, there are many who said the uses for drones are limitless.

"You're going to see drones reshaping a lot of dangerous jobs like inspecting power lines and cell towers, and flying over farm fields," said Jesse Kallman of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Drones, however, have become an issue on the fire lines.

The most extreme example came just weeks ago when a drone risk grounded air tankers trying to battle a fire on Interstate 15. The blaze swept over the highway, engulfing 20 cars.

Tuesday's conference also discussed who should be allowed to fly drones and where drone flying should be permitted.

Experts said drones are not always a safety threat and can also be used as a safety tool.

"The San Francisco Fire Department can use a drone to see how bad the fire is before they get there or bring in medical supplies to someone you can't reach because of traffic," Kallman said.

Drone research may also lead to improvements in other industries.

"It won't be long before this technology can be used on general aviation air crafts," said Guy Kemmerly of the NASA Langley Research Center.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Google Admits That Google+ is 'Confusing']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:22:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Google-Privacy-Update-3-June-2015.jpg

Google has halted its pursuit of making Google+ a rival to Facebook with the search giant even admitting that the social service was a little "confusing" for users, NBC News reported.

The service's intention of unifying Google's sharing models was "a well-intentioned goal, but (we) realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing," Bradley Horowitz, who took over Google+ a few months ago, said in a blog post on Monday.

Google+ has failed to gain traction as a serious contender in the social media space. Analysts said that the service failed to carve out its own distinctive purpose.

Google is not shutting its social media service down completely but said it is becoming "more focused."

Photo Credit: AP/Virginia Mayo]]>
<![CDATA[Simple Hack Could 'Critically Expose' Most Android Phones]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:13:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AP100520138908.jpg

A flaw called "Stagefright" in Google's Android operating system could let hackers take over a phone with a message -- even if the user doesn't open it, NBC News reported.

The flaw could "critically expose" 95 percent of Android devices, according to Zimperium, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability.

Stagefright, which Zimperium called the "mother of all Android vulnerabilities," allows people to send a video containing hidden malware to Android phones via a multimedia message (MMS) application. For the default messenger app on most Android phones, users don't even have to play the video.

"Patches have already been provided to partners that can be applied to any device," a Google spokesperson told NBC News in a statement.

<![CDATA[Examining Uber's Link Between Technology and Politics]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:47:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-file.jpg Not a week goes by without Uber in the international headlines. San Francisco-based Uber now faces two court cases and potential state legislation. Larry Gerston reports.]]> <![CDATA[Musk, Wozniak, Hawking Speak Out Against Military Robots]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:17:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/mushroom+cloud+nuclear+explosion+nuke.jpg

Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Stephen Hawking are three prominent voices calling for a global ban on the use of autonomous weapons..

The Tesla CEO, technology innovator and physicist joined hundreds of experts in the artificial intelligence and robotics industries in signing a letter proposing the ban that was presented at Monday's International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires.

According to The New York Times, the letter argued that humans should always be in control of weaponry decisions, stating in part, "If any major military power pushes ahead with A.I. weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Square Filing For IPO]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:55:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/squaremain.jpg

Square, the San Francisco-based mobile payment company, is rumored to have filed for an IPO.

According to Bloomberg news, the company started by Twitter co-founder (and current interim CEO) Jack Dorsey has filed to sell stock to the public.

Square is not commenting on the news yet, and the reason we can’t confirm it through other channels is because the filing is said to be private.

Under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, a company will less than $1 billion in revenue can file to go public secretly through the SEC.

We’ll keep checking to confirm the news.

Scott is on Twitter (Jack’s other company): @scottbudman

<![CDATA[Report: Amazon Drive-Thru Grocer Coming to Bay Area]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/amazon-facility.jpg

Amazon might be planning to build a drive-thru grocery store in Sunnyvale, according to a new report.

Silicon Valley Business Journal noted that a real estate developer has submitted plans to the city of Sunnyvale to build an 11,600-square-foot building with grocery pickup area at 777 Sunnyvale Saratoga Road.

While multiple sources told the publication Amazon is mostly likely the company behind this new project, neither Amazon nor Sunnyvale representatives have commented publicly.

Amazon already delivers grocery items to select Bay Area cities via its AmazonFresh service, but there is speculation that customers might one day be able to order groceries online and pick them up at facilities such as the one rumored to be en route to the South Bay.

<![CDATA[High-Tech Car Seat Aims to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 09:24:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/evenflo.jpg

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of hot car deaths among children. Now, one company is using new technology to help parents avoid tragedy by remembering their little one in the back seat.

The Evenflo Embrace DLX Infant Car Seat features a sensor that attaches across the baby's chest, sounding an alarm after the car ignition is turned off, according to TODAY.

"It seems impossible that you would forget that your baby is in the car, but you're exhausted, the seat's facing the other way, you're sort of going by muscle memory, and you can forget the baby is in the car,'' said Jason Tanz, editor-at-large at Wired Magazine. "So this is a reminder using Wi-Fi, using a sensor to keep your baby safe."

The carseat is currently sold online at Walmart for around $150, and is set to hit store shelves next month.

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<![CDATA[NASA Releases First Photo of Sunlit Earth in 40 Years]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:14:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/earth+new+photo.png

While images of Pluto are still coming in from NASA, the organization has released another milestone photo: one of a sunlit Earth.

The last time NASA released a full image of the Earth from space the year was 1972 and the photo, snapped by the Apollo 17 astronauts, was called the "Blue Marble." 

This photo is significantly better in quality than the "Blue Marble" pic because of the resolution (click here for the high resolution version). 

A camera, known as Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite took the historic photo from one million miles away, according to NASA. EPIC is made up of a four megapixel camera and telescope. 

The Earth image, taken on July 6, 2015, was created by combining three different images — taken with red, green, and blue filters — to create one full photo.

The image is meant to show the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules. It showcases North and South America.

Eventually, NASA said on their website it is hoping the camera will harvest regular data and provide daily images of Earth.

Photo Credit: NASA
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<![CDATA[Wiccan Witches, Mystics Provide Tech Support]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:17:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/224*120/joeytalley.jpg

Psychics, mystics and witches are providing Silicon Valley with a supernatural form of tech support.

"Most people want me to protect their computers from viruses and hacks," Reverend Joey Talley, a Wiccan witch based in Marin, told SF Weekly, "so I'll make charms for them. I like to use flora."

But Talley also works with companies to alleviate issues ranging from haunted offices to bugged computer networks.

According to her website, "Issues too unusual or dangerous to take to the straight world of Western helpers are comfortably resolved with Reverend Joey's personalized Wicca help. No problem is too big, too small, or too weird. Resistant conditions and bizarre symptoms are welcome."

Private appointments are $200 per hour and apprenticeships are available.

Photo Credit: Joey Talley]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Cars? Speculation Grows After Hiring of Chrysler Exec]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:24:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP111004191461.jpg

Apple's recent hire of a prominent automobile executive has sparked rumors that the company wants to make its own cars.

Former Fiat Chrysler Senior Vice President of Global Quality Doug Betts declined to comment on his new job at Apple when asked by Wall Street Journal.

But TechCrunch noted that Betts' LinkedIn profile, since deleted, listed his new gig at Apple as being in operations and may have been hired to oversee the quality of an existing product ("something we hear is likely").

With Apple remaining mum for the moment, the idea of the tech giant creating cars is still in the realm of the theoretical.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Resolves Problem With Services]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:33:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple+services.jpg

Apple services were back up and running on Tuesday after it reported a problem with all store services, including the App Store and Apple Music.

"Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available," a message said on the company's system status page.

Services affected include App Store, Apple Music, Siri, Radio, Photos, Apple TV, iCloud Mail, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, iCloud Contacts, Beats Music, iTunes in the Cloud, OS X Software UpdateiTunes Match, iTunes Store and Mac App Store.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Grooveshark Co-Founder Discovered Dead at Gainesville Home]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:06:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/josh-greenberg+%282%29.jpg

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A co-founder of the defunct music streaming service Grooveshark has been found dead at his Florida home.

Gainesville police report that 28-year-old Josh Greenberg appears to have died sometime Sunday.

Greenberg's girlfriend had just returned from a trip to Orlando that evening when she reportedly found him deceased in bed. She said she had last seen him Saturday morning and spoke to him on the phone around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Police say the cause of death wasn't immediately apparent. Spokesman Ben Tobias says investigators have no evidence that Greenberg's death was the result of foul play or suicide.

Greenberg was an undergraduate student at the University of Florida in 2006 when he and two classmates founded Grooveshark. The service shut down in April as part of a settlement with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn.com]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Goes 'Ludicrous' With Model 'S']]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:27:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/MODELS7.jpg

Good news today for speed freaks, and electric SUV fans.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed updates to the company’s line of electric cars; a few dealing with the already on the road Model S, one dealing with the soon-to-be-released Model X.

Topping the list of news that was quickly shot around the world via social media, the new “Ludicrous Mode” for the Model S. Musk, never shy about having fun with his icon image (see the previous “Insane Mode” for the Model S), says “Ludicrous Mode” will give the Model S a 0-60 acceleration time of 2.8 seconds.

That’s astoundingly fast, and will add ten thousand dollars to the cost of the car.

Additional updates to the Model S include a cheaper version, shaving $5,000 off the cost of the entry-model sedan, setting the price at $70,000, and an upgraded battery pack to boost the range of the car. That will cost $3,000.

As for the upcoming cars, Musk says the Model X SUV will begin deliveries “in a couple of months,” while the rumored “affordable” Tesla, the Model 3, won’t be seen for at least two years.

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[This Command Can Cause Siri to Call 911]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 05:08:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

If you need to charge your iPhone, it's probably best not to ask Siri.

Some users have discovered that asking Siri to "charge my phone 100 percent" will result in a five second delay before automatically calling 911 services, according to CNBC.

While this could cause problems to users who simply want their phone on full power, others have said the feature may come in handy during times of trouble.

It is unclear whether the function is intentional by Apple or a glitch in the system, according to NBC News.

Update: Apple appears to have fixed the glitch.


Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested for Charging iPhone on Train]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:55:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iphone-charger.jpg

In an incident that has made international headlines, an artist named Robin Lee was detained for charging his iPhone on a London train's power outlet on July 10, arrested for "suspicion of abstracting electricity," reported CNET.

Lee's arrest would probably not happen in the Bay Area. According to Muni spokesperson Paul Rose, someone would not likely go to jail for repeating this offense in San Francisco.

"This violation does not fall within the transportation code, so we would not recommend an arrest to SFPD or write a citation," Rose told NBC Bay Area.

Even though you won't go to jail for charging your phone on a Muni vehicle, a preferable practice is still to charge up before your journey.

Photo Credit: Nelson Hsu]]>
<![CDATA[Xfinity Offers 2GB Home Internet Speed]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 14:55:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/sfplwikimedia.jpg

There's a new level of speed for people who want faster Internet access at home.

Xfinity has introduced a new Internet package for home users at rates of 2 gigabits per second.

It comes at a price, though: $299.95 per month, to be specific, with additional fees of $500 for installation and $500 for activation.

Internet users can still surf faster at the San Francisco Public Library, which recently installed a 10 GB connection, the fastest of any library in the country. The cost: free.

<![CDATA[Ellen Pao Steps Down From Reddit]]> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 15:49:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-467840278.jpg

Reddit's embattled interim CEO, Ellen Pao, has stepped down from her lead position at the popular social media site, the website announced Friday

"In my eight months as reddit’s CEO, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity," Pao wrote in a post on the site.

"I just want to remind everyone that I am just another human; I have a family, and I have feelings. Everyone attacked on reddit is just another person like you and me. When people make something up to attack me or someone else, it spreads, and we eventually will see it. And we will feel bad, not just about what was said. Also because it undercuts the authenticity of reddit and shakes our faith in humanity."

The announcement was made through a post from Sam Altman, a Reddit board member. Atlman also announced Pao's replacement: Reddit's co-founder and original CEO Steve Huffman.  

"Ellen Pao resigned from reddit today by mutual agreement. I'm delighted to announce that Steve Huffman, founder and the original reddit CEO, is returning as CEO. We are thankful for Ellen’s many contributions to reddit and the technology industry generally. She brought focus to chaos, recruited a world-class team of executives, and drove growth," Sam Altman, a Reddit board member, wrote on a Reddit thread. 

Last week, multiple sections of Reddit were locked down in protest on July 2 after Victoria Taylor was fired. Taylor was Reddit's former director of talent responsible for the sites' popular AMA (Ask Me Anything) series.

Pao became interim CEO of Reddit in November 2014, replacing Yishan Wong. She received push-back from unhappy users in an effort to make the website more inviting, NBC News reported. 

In May, Pao again drew flak for limiting comments that the site perceived as harassment, then shut down some communities that were seen to be harassing people a month later, according to NBC News.

As part of its commitment to gender equality, Reddit doesn't take part in salary negotiations with job candidates, Pao revealed in an April Wall Street Journal interview that drew some criticism.

"She brought a face to reddit that changed perceptions, and is a pioneer for women in the tech industry. She will remain as an advisor to the board through the end of 2015. I look forward to seeing the great things she does beyond that," Altman said in the announcement. 

The former Reddit leader first made headlines in March 2015 when a jury decided that a venture capital firm Pao had worked for did not discriminate or retaliate against a female employee in a case that debated gender imbalance in the workplace. The lawsuit claimed Pao was fired when she complained about discrimination at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. 

"I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it. If I helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,'' Pao said, adding that she will return to her career, family and friends.

<![CDATA[Report: Apple Heading to North San Jose]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 14:46:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple+building+daylight+raw+hd+alan+-+21155415.jpg

Apple might be soon taking a bite of San Jose.

The company, which hasn't had an office in the city since the late 1980s, has reportedly signed a lease for the 300,000-square-foot 101 Tech campus in north San Jose. The building was previously used by Amtel and now owned by Ellis Partners real estate firm.

Apple has not confirmed publicly on the deal or what the space would be used for, but multiple sources have confirmed the signing to Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The publication noted that this deal would be in addition to Apple's current expansion into the South Bay, including the recent leasing of 345,000 square feet of office space in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara. 

Photo Credit: Alan Waples]]>
<![CDATA[Leap's Shuttle Bus Goes Up on eBay]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 15:23:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ebay-bus.jpg

Just four months ago, a privately owned commuter shuttle bus company called Leap looked like it could be poised to offer San Francisco's Muni system some competition among the tech elite.

Now, it appears that the company is unloading its wheels to the highest bidder: SFist spotted an eBay listing showing that one of the buses is up for auction with a starting bid of $17,999.

Leap launched in March with five buses with leather interiors and amenities like onboard WiFi, Blue Bottle coffee and raw juices.

Two months later, Leap was off the road. The company tweeted on May 19 it was "going offline to deal with a regulatory issue."

According to SFGate, a complaint filed with the Department of Justice stated that Leap was in violation of the Americans With Disabilities act by not making buses wheelchair accessible.

Photo Credit: eBay]]>
<![CDATA[Tech CEO Says It's Time to Fight Security Breaches]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 19:12:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0709-2015-CEO.jpg A Silicon Valley CEO says it is time to fight back with an army against security breaches. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Changes News Feed Settings]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 09:15:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/facebooknewsfeed.jpg

Facebook is giving users more control over what they see in their news feed by letting users pick which friends' and brands' updates they want to see first, and even the order in which they'd like to view them. 

"We rank [items in] your news feed with the goal that whether you have five seconds or five minutes, you're seeing the best of what's in your feed," Greg Marra, product manager at Facebook, told NBC News. "We know we don't always get that perfect right now."

To personalize the news feed, users have to go into "Settings" and select "News Feed Preferences" to choose who they see first when logging in. 

The "see first" feature is already available on iOS and will soon come to Android and desktop.

The social network giant is also introducing a feature that allows users to pick pages they'd like to see at the top of the news feed and is re-designing the existing feature that lets people un-follow other users' posts without un-friending them.

Facebook has recently implemented another change. It has redesigned the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page so that a woman is featured in front of a man. 

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Computer System Failures Spark Concerns of Cyber Attack]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 23:37:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nyse+glitch+7+8.jpg Three high profile computer systems failed Wednesday, temporarily crippling the New York Stock Exchange, United Airlines and the Wall Street Journal. Jean Elle reports.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: U.S. Robot Company to Japan Company: Let's Duel]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 07:34:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-9.46.41-PM.jpg

A U.S.-based robotics company has thrown down the metallic gauntlet and goaded a Japanese competitor into a heavy metal battle of mechanical proportions. 

"Suidobashi, we have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen," said co-founder of MegaBots, Inc Matt Oehrlein—along with his partner Gui Cavalcanti both draped in an American flag—in a YouTube video challenging Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas. 

Megabot, the U.S.-based company, is confident in its Mark 2 model: a towering 6-ton metal beast. 

"We just finished tightening the last bolts on the Mark 2—America's first fully functional giant piloted robot," Oehrlein says in the video to the Japenese robotics company.

The massive robot is operated by a team of two people and can shoot three pounds paint balls at from its cannon at 100 miles per hour, according to Oehrlein.

"And because we're American, we added really big guns," co-founder Cavalcanti added with dramatic pause. 

[[312692051, C]]

Suidobashi's CEO responded to MegaBots' gentlemen's duel in his own video: "Come on guys, make it cooler," Kogoro Kurata said, with shots of him wrapping the Japanese flag around his shoulders.

"Just building something huge and sticking guns on it," Kurata continued. "It's super American."

Suidobashi launched The Kurata, named after the CEO and designer, in 2012. At 4.5 tons, it was a little less than Mark 2, a full heads-up display (HUD), and guns controlled by an advanced targeting system. 

No venue or date for the battle of the death metals, but the challenge has been accepted. 

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<![CDATA[Redditors Migrate to Voat, Crash Site]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 06:25:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/reddit2.jpg

Users of the San Francisco-based online community platform Reddit have been migrating to a Swiss site called Voat in the wake of the firing of a popular Reddit executive.

Voat crashed Wednesday under the weight of a surge of traffic, which might be due to a portion of Reddit's 163 million users favoring Voat's policy to not censor or outright ban subgroups, according to a BBC report.

Multiple sections of Reddit were locked down last week in protest of the July 2 firing of Victoria Taylor, Reddit's former director of talent who was responsible for the site's popular AMA (Ask Me Anything) series.

"Our primary concern, and reason for taking the site down temporarily, is that Reddit’s management made critical changes to a very popular website without any apparent care for how those changes might affect their biggest resource: the community and the moderators that help tend the subreddits that constitute the site," Reddit moderators Brian Lynch and Courtnie Swearingen wrote in the New York Times. "Moderators commit their time to the site to foster engaging communities. Ms. Taylor’s sudden termination is just the most recent example of management’s making changes without thinking through what those changes might mean for the people who use the site on a daily basis."

Responding to the continuing tide of disapproval, Reddit's interim CEO Ellen Pao issued an apology on July 6 that promised improved communication and tools for the site.

"We haven’t communicated well, and we have surprised moderators and the community with big changes," Pao wrote in a post titled, "We Screwed Up." "We have apologized and made promises to you, the moderators and the community, over many years, but time and again, we haven’t delivered on them. . . .Today, we acknowledge this long history of mistakes. We are grateful for all you do for Reddit, and the buck stops with me."

Meanwhile, Taylor broke her silence online, Wednesday with a post on Reddit Self section. It marked her first comments since being let go. 

"I’ll never forget my time at reddit. You allowed me to be a part of some of the greatest conversations of our time, and it was an honor to be your ambassador. I just want to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who have reached out. Thank you for everything you’ve given me. From your messages to your artwork, I am deeply moved and grateful beyond words, and your encouragement has meant more than you’ll ever know. I’ve been incredibly humbled and honored to serve this community, and I truly believe all voices matter. Your voices matter. You proved that this weekend. And really, this weekend wasn’t about me. It was about you. And if I know one thing about this community, it’s that you’ll continue making your voices heard. And that's an inspiration. I know many of you may be curious about what’s next for me, and I'm still figuring that out. However, I can assure you, wherever the road leads, I will live up to the faith you’ve had in me. You can take the woman out of reddit, but you can't take the reddit out of the woman. I believe in you. And that's a promise. Thank you."

Photo Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Could Be Tesla's Biggest Driverless Car Customer]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 22:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Uber+GettyImages_451551326.jpg

Uber has possibly expressed informal interest in Tesla's driverless vehicles that are currently in development. 

Interest in acquiring all of them, that is. 

After Forbes reported that Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes to release half a million autonomous automobiles per year by 2020, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may have told the crowd at a Top 10 Tech Trends dinner that his company could be in the position to buy them all by then, according to Yahoo.

Perhaps buoyed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's new study that suggests that driverless "robocabs" could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Uber is banking on a more ecofriendly, if humanless, future.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spot the Difference: Facebook Changes Its Friends Icon]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 08:59:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Facebook_Imagen_Vegas.jpg

The latest change to Facebook's look may have gone unnoticed to many, but it's meant to make a major statement. 

A change to the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page is about more than aesthetics — it's about equality, according to one employee. 

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, initially noticed something was off about the icon featuring silhouettes of two users. When she looked at the female icon alone, she noticed a "chip" in the lady's shoulder, "positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her" on the site's page. 

“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration,” she  wrote in a Medium post. “But as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.”

Winner decided to take action. 

"The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design," she wrote. 

While she originally set out to simply fix the shoulder, Winner soon found herself updating the hairstyles of both sexes, the man icon's shoulder and the positioning of the pair, which she flipped to put the woman in front. 

"As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in," she wrote. 

Eventually she took a look at the site's "group" icon, which also had a man featured in front with a man and woman behind him. She switched the icons there, too, placing the woman in front.

Winner said this small personal project, which was soon incorporated into the site design, has changed her perspective on symbolism with other icons.

"I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar," she said. "For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?"

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<![CDATA['Robocabs' Could Lead to Much Greener Future: Study]]> Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:56:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/google-driverless.jpg

As Google's self-driving cars make their public debut on streets this summer, a new study maps out a future in which driverless "robocabs" could help provide a greener future.

National Geographic noted the study, published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers Jeffrey Greenblatt and Samveg Saxena, concluded that, if robocabs comprised 10 percent of rides, they could help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 94 percent by the year 2030.

Greenblatt said this figure could go even higher if Americans embraced robocabs as a practical alternative to driving. 

"You could be reading a book or texting while driving across town," Greenblatt told NBC News.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a 2012 bill that would allow driverless vehicles on the road and tasked the Department of Motor Vehicles to determine rules for the road by 2015.

Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[Vet24seven App Gives Pet Owners Anytime Access to Veterinarians]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:48:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0703-2015-vetapp.jpg

Pet owners now have anytime access to veterinarians thanks to a new mobile app.

The app, Vet24seven, features 240 veterinarians in the Bay Area.

Dr. Michael Sterns with the Alta View Animal Hospital in Mountain View is one of the veterans providing his services on the app. He said many of his patients have chronic issues, which in the past meant time consuming and sometimes expensive check ups for pet parents.

Now, pet owners can request a conference with Sterns and other vets through the app to ask questions or send information.

In some cases the conference may be a quick exam to schedule the next in-office visit.

Sterns said the tool is not meant to replace check up or emergency visits, but it may give pet owners some peace of mind.

"I think just the ability to do these minor follow ups and relieve anxiety is a huge portion of things," Sterns said.

The app is free to download and vets set their own pricing for consulations. The average cost of a consultation is $50.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SF Public Library Gets Nation's Fastest Internet]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 12:06:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/sfplwikimedia.jpg

Patrons and staff at the San Francisco Public Library now enjoy the fastest WiFi Internet access of any library in the country.

The Main Library has become the first 10 gigabit library in the country, meaning visitors and librarians can use the Internet at a rate of 10 gigs per second.

The upgrade was made possible thanks to a collaboration with the city and county of San Francisco and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). The library's new high speed connection comes via the California Research and Education Network (CalREN), which is operated by CENIC.

According to an announcement from CENIC, seven other branches in the city currently connect to the Main Library's fiber at 1 gigabit and the remaining 20 branches will soon be able to connect at this speed.

“In keeping with our mission of equality and being a 21st century library, this broadband increase allows our patrons to have the very best in access and opportunity,” said City Librarian, Luis Herrera, in the statement.

The most immediate educational and creative benefits of this faster access should manifest at The Mix at SFPL, the Main Library's recently debuted teen center that offers the use of technology including audio/video editing software and 3D printers.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago 'Cloud Tax' Adds Cost to Streaming Services]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:51:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Netflix-Logo.jpg

Chicagoans paying to stream movies, TV shows and music from sites like Netflix or Spotify will now be charged a so-called “Cloud tax” to use the services.

A 9 percent tax will be added to the streaming services in the city under June rulings by the city Finance Department.

The rulings, which took effect July 1, cover an “amusement tax” in the city and a “personal property lease transaction” tax and extend the city’s tax laws to certain online services.

The amusement tax allows for the taxing of charges paid “for the privilege” of watching, listening or playing electronically delivered movies, music or games.

The tax does not apply to the sale or permanent download of shows, movies, videos, music or games, but instead applies to rentals or “temporary” streaming options.

The personal property lease tax covers the use of databases for everything from real estate listings to car prices to stock prices.

The rulings apply to both residents and businesses.

A spokesperson for Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune the rulings “are consistent with the City’s current tax laws and are not an expansion of the laws.” She also said that “in an environment in which technologies and emerging industries evolve quickly” such rulings are often needed to “clarify the application of existing laws.”

The move has sparked debate among some businesses and officials in the city.

“As these two rulings demonstrate, bad times make for bad tax administration,” Michael Wynne, a partner and attorney at the Reed Smith law firm’s Chicago office wrote on the company’s website. “With these two rulings, the Department has expanded the scope of its tax ordinances to their absolute limit, if not further. If any state or local governments were wondering how to tax transactions occurring in the Cloud when legislative authority for such taxation is absent, the Department has just sketched a roadmap.”

Spotify and Netflix could not immediately be reached for comment.  

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>