<![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 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 18:15:43 -0700 Sat, 18 Apr 2015 18:15:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Moore's Law Set to Turn 50]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:47:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0417-2015-Moore.jpg Moore's Law turns 50 years old on Sunday and what was once a theory about how fast technology might someday get has come true in ways its author never imagined. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Comic Con Coming to San Jose]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:51:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/217*120/siliconcomiccon.jpg

Apple founder Steve Wozniak and Marvel Comics' Stan Lee announced Friday that they'll bring a Silicon Valley Comic Con to San Jose next year.

The event will take place on March 19-20 at San Jose McEnery Convention Center and focus on the convergence of pop culture and technology.

"There are lots of fans like me in San Francisco and the Valley, and I’m excited that now we’ll have a Comic Con with our very own flavor," Wozniak said in a memo posted to the event website. "When I was growing up, it was hard to be a geek. It definitely wasn’t cool, and that wasn’t easy. I’m happy things have changed because now people are able to be proud of being geeks and being different. Silicon Valley Comic Con will be an event where fans of all kinds can celebrate the Age of the Geek."

Watch Wozniak and Lee in a teaser video for Silicon Valley Comic Con below:



Photo Credit: Silicon Valley Comic Con]]>
<![CDATA[Tim Cook Hot Commodity in Charity Auction]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:12:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/timcook2.jpg

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

In fact, on Friday, Cook was drawing the most intense interest - and the highest bid totals -  in the New York-based online auction Charitybuzz to benefit a nonprofit focused on human rights, according to spokeswoman Meryl Schrank.

The top bid for lunch in Cupertino at Apple headquarters with Cook and two VIP passes to an Apple Keynote was going for $165,000.  The runner up bid - two ringside tickets for Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight and hotel stay - was going for $115,000.

But even though Cook is the most popular in this year's online charity auction, his current appeal is a far cry from his stardom two years ago.

In 2013, Cook tied for breaking a Charitybuzz record when , someone paid $610,000 to have coffee with him. A Lamborghini Aventador Roadster sold for the same price, also that year, Schrank said.

Tickets and backstage passes to Swift’s world tour raised a little more than $2,000 and a meeting with Downey on the set of an upcoming film was fetching $5,750. That's about the same combined total that Hall of Fame Coach John Madden was drawing on Friday - $7,500 - for viewers who want to watch Sunday football with him and his nine flat screen HD televisions at his San Francisco Bay Area home.

Proceeds from the auction will support the Robert F, Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit organization that works to achieve a "just and peaceful world by partnering with human rights leaders, teaching social justice and advancing corporate responsibility."

The auction closes on May 6.
 



Photo Credit: Charity Buzz]]>
<![CDATA[Google Embraces 'Mobile-Friendly' Sites in Search Shake-Up]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:07:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/New+Image31.JPG

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is about to change the way its influential search engine recommends websites on smartphones and tablets in a shift that's expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat and find information.

The revised formula, scheduled to be released Tuesday, will favor websites that Google defines as "mobile-friendly." Websites that don't fit the description will be demoted in Google's search results on smartphones and tablets while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings — a prized position that can translate into more visitors and money.

Although Google's new formula won't affect searches on desktop and laptop computers, it will have a huge influence on how and where people spend their money, given that more people are relying on their smartphones to compare products in stores and look for restaurants. That's why Google's new rating system is being billed by some search experts as "Mobile-geddon."

"Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices," said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda.
It's probably the most significant change that Google Inc. has ever made to its mobile search rankings, according to Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land, a trade publication that follows every tweak that the company makes to its closely guarded algorithms.

Here are a few things to know about what's happening and why Google is doing it.
___
MAKING MOBILE FRIENDS
To stay in Google's good graces, websites must be designed so they load quickly on mobile devices. Content must also be easily accessible by scrolling up and down — without having to also swipe to the left or right. It also helps if all buttons for making purchases or taking other actions on the website can be easily seen and touched on smaller screens.

If a website has been designed only with PC users in mind, the graphics take longer to load on mobile devices and the columns of text don't all fit on the smaller screens, to the aggravation of someone trying to read it.

Google has been urging websites to cater to mobile device for years, mainly because that is where people are increasingly searching for information.

The number of mobile searches in the U.S. is rising by about 5 percent while inquiries on PCs are dipping slightly, according to research firm comScore Inc. In the final three months of last year, 29 percent of all U.S. search requests — about 18.5 billion — were made on mobile devices, comScore estimated. Google processes the bulk of searches — two-thirds in the U.S. and even more in many other countries.
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BRACING FOR CHANGE
To minimize complaints, the company disclosed its plans nearly two months ago. It also created a step-by-step guide and a tool to test compliance with the new standards.

Google has faced uproar over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital rubbish. Although that goal sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google's changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find.
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STILL CAUGHT OFF GUARD
While most major merchants and big companies already have websites likely to meet Google's mobile standard, the new formula threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven't had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.

"A lot of small sites haven't really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it's not going to be easy for them to make the changes," McGee said.
___
BURYING HELPFUL CONTENT
Google's search formula weighs a variety of factors to determine the rankings of its results. One of the most important considerations has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information sought by a search request.
 

But new pecking order in Google's mobile search may relegate some sites to the back pages of the search results, even if their content is more relevant to a search request than other sites that happen to be easier to access on smartphones.

That will be an unfortunate consequence, but also justifiable because a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said.
 

"Availability is part of relevancy," Andrews said. "A lot of people aren't going to think something is relevant if they can't get it to appear on their iPhone."
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Tears Tendon Playing "Candy Crush": Medical Journal ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 06:24:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/candy-crush.jpg

Spending too much time playing “Candy Crush Saga” really can have consequences, according to a new case report on a San Diego man who injured his thumb after many weeks of playing the puzzle game on his smartphone.

Dr. Andrew Doan, head of addictions research at Naval Medical Center San Diego, co-authored the case report, “Tendon Rupture Associated with Excessive Smartphone Gaming,” published this week in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal.

According to the report, a 29-year-old San Diego man played “Candy Crush Saga” on his smartphone all day for six to eight weeks. As a result, he suffered chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion.

“He played with his left hand while using his right hand for other tasks, stating that ‘playing was kind of a secondary thing, but it was constantly on,’” the report said.

When doctors examined him and performed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of his thumb, they found he had ruptured the tendon. He had to undergo surgery to repair the damage, Doan said.

According to the report, the patient claimed he felt no pain while playing the video game, and only noticed the injury many weeks later.

Doan told NBC 7 research shows video gaming can cause the release of hormones in the body that help reduce pain perception. That means one could sustain an injury from repeated smartphone use, but not necessarily notice the pain right away.

“Are we experiencing physical injury now because we’re not experiencing pain?” he said. “This case illustrates what we believe video gaming can do.”

Doan said video games are a type of “digital painkiller” with both negative and positive effects on health.

He said clinically, video games can be used to help children undergoing painful medical procedures, including pediatric patients during burn treatments.

The visual distraction and “natural painkiller” effect could help a patient feel less pain, Dr. Doan said. In some cases, Dr. Doan said video games could be used in place of medication.

Though video gaming could aid in a patient’s recovery, the doctor noted it’s important not to overuse video games or smartphones.

Citing a study by Andrew K. Przybylski, PhD, titled “Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment,” Doan said one hour or less per day of video gaming could be beneficial for the psychological adjustment of children between 10 and 15 years old.

Three hours or more, however, could have negative effects on children, according to that study.

“The key is moderation here,” Doan told NBC 7.

He said monitoring overuse of video games is important in both adults and children, but because children are still developing, it’s especially crucial to watch their use.

“When a young child spends too much time in Internet faming on Internet activities, there can be significant problems,” said Doan. “The child needs time, boundaries, and intensive face-to-face attention to program the other areas of the brain that have been neglected.”

In the case of this adult patient, Doan said the man was not diagnosed with an addiction to “Candy Crush,” rather he just played the game as a way to pass the time after leaving the military and being between jobs. He  said this was one of the strangest cases he's seen in his research career.

 

 



Photo Credit: Flickr / m01229]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix Stock, Subscribers Soar to an All-Time High]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:35:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Netflix-Logo.jpg

A great day for Netflix.

Stock for the Los Gatos-based company soared to an all-time high Wednesday.

Netflix said it added 4.9 million subscribers in the first three months of the year, better than any other quarter since the company started streaming video eight years ago. All told, Netflix finished March with 62 million subscribers around the world. Traders drove the company's stock up $86.59, or 18 percent, to $562.05, the biggest gain in the S&P 500.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Tops 20,000 Drivers in Bay Area, Set to Open Support Centers]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 23:45:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-safety.jpg

Ride-sharing service Uber announced Tuesday it has reached a significant milestone of exceeding 20,000 Bay Area drivers on the mobile app platform.

The growth has also prompted the company to invest in what it calls walk-in support offices throughout Northern California. Uber's Partner Support Centers will be a one-stop shop for drivers to get any questions answered.

"At Uber we are thrilled to be playing a role in unlocking economic opportunity and empowering entrepreneurs across the Bay Area, and we are even more excited to be able to accomplish this at such a large scale," Uber's Bay Area General Manager Wayne Ting said in a statement.

In addition to its San Francisco location, Uber plans to open more support centers in the Bay Area at Concord and Daly City.

Uber's growth in the Bay Area appears likely to continue.

The Bay Area Council said as more people come to the Bay Area for work, the demand for ride-sharing services will only grow.

"You're seeing record capacity on Muni, BART, Caltrain and on freeways so at this point we need every solution we can get," said Adrian Covert with the Bay Area Council.

The company's growth is also helping the Bay Area economy by providing jobs.

Artist Liza Bender said she makes at least $36 an hour driving for Uber and being an independent contractor works for her current schedule.

"I don't mind how it's set up right now that's worth it for me," Bender said. "The freedom to make my schedule makes up for the perks I'd get."

But with Uber's expansion comes growing pains. Some drivers are suing Uber for benefits, a case still making its way through the courts.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has also raised safety concerns with Uber, saying the company's background checks on drivers should be more thorough.

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<![CDATA[PulsePoint App Helps Save Man's Life]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:49:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0414-2015-PulsePoint.jpg

A 21-year-old Sunnyvale man is being credited for saving a life thanks in part to a mobile app.

Walter Huber responded to the aid of 63-year-old Farid Rashti, who was suffering from a heart attack. Huber was notified of the emergency through PulsePoint, an app developed in the South Bay that alerts people someone nearby is having a cardiac arrest.

The incident occurred two weeks ago at a park near Huber's home.

"I ran up, found a man down on the field suffering from cardiac arrest," Huber said. "I started CPR. People there were on the line with 911 and also trying to help me."

Rashti was saved that day and is now resting at home.

PulsePoint developers said it is the first life saved in Santa Clara County using the app.

"Seeing the life saved because of the app is amazing," said Richard Price, PulsePoint founder. "It's very, very satisfying for our team."

The makers of PulsePoint said they are constantly updating the app, which is also used by fire and police crews to keep up with what other teams are doing in case a crew out in the field needs assistance.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Technology and Politics: Why Social Media is Important to Presidential Candidates]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 04:33:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hillary-clinton-generica01.jpg

For years anyone running for president was focused on getting people to knock on voters' doors, a tactic often called the "ground game." But these days the question is how is your "web game?"

For Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio, it would be the key to their party's nomination.

Social media, and technology as a whole, is something voters -- especially the growing demographic of young voters -- are looking for. Now candidates have to sell themselves on the web as part of the campaign.

Clinton, with 3.3 million Twitter followers, declared her candidacy over social media. Rubio, with more than 700,000 of his own Twitter followers, did the same.

Social media, it seems, is now a big part of any major political campaign.

"The kind of tech tools we have available for advertising any product these days are especially appealing to politicians," said Melinda Jackson, a professor at San Jose State University.

It's true -- Twitter and Facebook are quick, cheap and effective.

In the Bay Area, the political strategy of using the web  has been built in for a while. Examples include California Attorney General Kamala Harris hanging out at Facebook and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom spending time at San Jose's recent "Techmanity" conference.

"And they can also use big data to their advantage because they can actually see what people are clicking on, what people are sharing, what people are re-tweeting," Jackson said. "And that gives them information about how their message is getting out."

It is not just television ads anymore -- this time around the candidates will try to reach you online.

Neither candidate is immune to the rougher side of technology. Clinton, widely criticized for the recent e-mail server scandal and Rubio, a social media meme after reaching for that bottle of water.

To his credit, Rubio jumped on Twitter afterward to poke fun at himself.

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<![CDATA[Apple Watch Draws Almost 1M Pre-Sale Orders in One Day]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:23:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Almost one million people pre-ordered an Apple Watch on the first day it became available for purchase.

Apple Watch starts shipping on April 24, with a suggested retail price range of $349 to $1,049. There is also an 18-karat gold "Apple Watch Edition" option that starts at $10,000.

The high price point didn't deter some 957,000 people from placing an order on Friday, reported USA Today, citing data provided by tracking firm Slice Intelligence. What's more, the average customer ordered more than one — at an average price of $503.83.

And the Apple mania doesn't stop there; Slice also found that 43 percent of the 48,000 customers who ordered the latest Macbook on the same day also bought an Apple Watch.

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<![CDATA[Nerd App Provides Access to Stanford Students' Knowledge ]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:11:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2015-04-10-nerd-app.jpg

An app called Nerd claims to allow users to tap into the brain power of Stanford University students.

Nerd purports to offer help for areas like college advice and tutoring, recruiting and projects, and campus advertising and surveys.

A fee structure is not provided on the site as each project is individually negotiated, but one example posted on the site suggests that they can survey 100 Stanford students for $500.

"It seems like Nerd could have its uses, but I have to admit, it's a little bit undercut by the disclaimer that 'We are not affiliated or endorsed by Stanford University or its affiliates, trustees, officers or employees,'" cautioned SFist.



Photo Credit: textnerdytome.com]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook Prefers White Smartwatch]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:38:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/timcooksmartwatch.jpg

Apple's CEO Tim Cook showed up in Palo Alto on Friday to talk all things "smartwatch," the day the company's newest product debuted for pre-order online and to test out in stores.

"It's been incredible," Cook told throngs of adoring fans at the Apple store on University Avenue, many snapping photos and stopping by to shake his hand. He listed off the country names where the smartwatch is being sold - Australia, China, France and the U.K, to name a few.  "Customers are giving us great feedback," Cook said.

And then he told CNBC reporter Josh Lipton the answer to the big question of the day: What color band does he prefer?

"I'm wearing the Apple watch, stainless, with the white fluoroelastomer band," Cook said. "I love it. I exercise in it." Cook added that he's got other band colors at home, too, because he "likes to change them out."

On April 24, consumers will be able to buy it online or by reservation at retail locations including high-end fashion boutiques in Paris, London and Tokyo.

The the wearable gadget ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.



Photo Credit: CNBC
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<![CDATA[What Tech Experts Are Saying About the Apple Watch ]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 07:41:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/465696900.jpg

Pre-orders for the highly anticipated Apple Watch start online today, two weeks before the high-tech time piece hits the stores.

But is the wearable gadget worth the price tag, which ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.

Early reviews from some of tech's leading voices praised the smartwatch as a product with potential, but some room for improvement post-launch.

Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent and editor-at-large for Mashable, called it a “breakout star” and a “gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible, expensive and an object of true desire.” Yet he said the app store is an area that “needs the most improvement,” because the apps “took forever to install.”

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times echoed a similar tone in a review about the third-party apps, which he said “are useless right now.” He wrote that “the Apple Watch works like a first-generation device, with all the limitations and flaws you’d expect of brand-new technology.”

CNET.com Senior Edior Scott Stein, who wore the watch for a week, said it’s a “clever invention” that can help you in four areas: communication, fitness, information and time. He used it to order lunch, track daily activities, play his favorite tunes and hail a car from Uber. When it came to the last task,  he said using the app on iPhone offers a better view of cars in the area.

Here's a recap of what reviewers found to be the top features — and drawbacks — of the device:

What’s good about it?

  • Many tech experts, including "Today" show contributor Katie Linendoll, agree that the “comprehensive device” is more functional than fashionable. It allows users to check the weather, calendar appointments, make calls, send text messages and play music.
  • The watch's “Fitness Tracker PLUS” feature monitors your heart rate if you’re jogging or taking a walk.
  • If you're not adapted to the selfie stick, you can use the device to take a selfie even though it doesn't have a camera. Simply sync your phone, tap the watch screen and say "cheese."

What’s bad about it?

  • You need to have an iPhone 5 or a newer version in order make calls, send text messages and check emails using your watch.
  • Some reviewers concluded that the biggest red flag about the gadget is its “bad battery life.” They said it has to be charge every day if it's used often.
  • It only allows you to read or discard emails; you can’t reply.
  • It is not waterproof.

If you’re still unsure about getting a watch, you could rent one for as low as $45 a week to test if it’s worth the investment, through a service offered by the San Francisco-based gadget rental start-up called Lumoid
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Apple's Racially Diverse Emojis]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:05:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Apple-Emojis.jpg

Apple has released its latest iOS update with plenty of new features, including the highly-anticipated racially diverse characters. 

The iOS 8.3's enhanced keyboard comes with 300 new emojis and users can finally choose from six different skin tones.

There's also a larger variety of country flags and emojis to represent different types of families, plus the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch have been added to the catalog.

"Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement in February.

The different skin tones can be changed by holding down and tapping the icon.

iOS 8.3 also brought new languages to Siri, including Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Numerous bug fixes were also included in the update.

The update is available for free in the Settings app or in iTunes.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Rescinds Policy Barring Felons As Construction Workers]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:15:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/101513-apple-campus-renderings2.jpg

Apple has rescinded its policy on hiring convicted felons for construction projects on its new campus, the company announced Thursday.

Apple received some heat earlier this week from union workers and advocacy groups after it surfaced that the Cupertino-based tech giant won’t hire construction workers with past felony convictions.A California senator from San Francisco wanted Apple to change its policy.

An Apple spokesperson on Thursday said in a statement to NBC Bay Area that a few applicants were turned away because of their felony convictions due to to a background check process unique to the Apple Campus 2 construction project.

In a statement, Apple said: "We believe in opportunity for everyone, and Apple has never had a blanket ban on hiring people with felony convictions. It recently came to our attention that, as part of a background check process unique to the Apple Campus 2 construction project, a few applicants were turned away because they had been convicted of a felony within the past seven years. We recognize that this may have excluded some people who deserve a second chance. We have now removed that restriction and instructed our contractors on the project to evaluate all applicants equally, on a case by case basis, as we would for any role at Apple.”

Apple fired several workers in January hired to help build its new Campus 2 on One Infinite Loop because of their criminal past, union leaders first told the San Francisco Chronicle. They told the newspaper said it was unusual because other tech companies do not have such policies for construction workers.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said it flies in the face of a lot of hard work to lower California’s recidivism rate.

"There are certain positions where there is some nexus between the crime committed and the position offered. Construction does not appear to be one of those," Leno told Apple Insider. "In this situation, I would strongly suggest that this policy be changed."

Union leaders have sent letters to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, urging him to reconsider. The company had no formal comment. But a source familiar with the policy told the Chronicle it only applies to felony convictions within the past seven years.

Michael Theriault, president of Iron Workers Local Union 377, said he doesn’t “understand the function of the policy. What are they trying to achieve?” He said union workers achieve “quality and safety” whether they have felony convictions or not. He's written a letter asking Apple to reconsider, saying that in many cases, "construction is the only line of work where these folks can find a job."

Attorney General Kamala Harris said her office had reviewed the letters and reached out to Apple. And a Change.org petition has been started to change Apple’s policy.

It's not uncommon for federal construction contracts, or contracts for private companies doing government business, to have stringent requirements, Apple Insider noted. And while felons do have a hard time getting jobs because they have to check the felony conviction job box on applications, there are felons who can and do find work, as evidenced in books such as "Jobs for Felons: How to Find Employment if You Have a Criminal Record."

And according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, excluding job applicants who have criminal records may indeed constitute employment and discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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<![CDATA[Apple Watch Buzz Grows as Release Date Nears]]> Wed, 08 Apr 2015 23:49:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/465696900.jpg

The buzz over the new Apple Watch is picking up steam now that tech reporters from across the country are releasing their reviews after trying the device out for a couple of weeks.

The watch will be available on April 24, but the general public will be able to check out the watches at Apple stores beginning Friday.

"The Apple Watch looks beautiful, looks fancy, but it's not really essential and doesn't enhance anything you do right now," said Brian Tong, a senior editor at CNET.com.

For starters, you have to sync it with your iPhone 5 or newer. It won't work with any other phone.

The basic Apple Watch costs about $350, while a solid gold option will run $17,000.

CNET Tech Reporter Scott Stein wore an Apple Watch for several weeks.

"It's an amazing piece of technology and the best watch out there, but the company has sacrificed affordability as well as battery life," Stein said.

The watch's battery only lasts about a day -- other smart watches last up to seven days.

Reviewers seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the watch.

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times said the watch "became something like a natural extension of my body — a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain."

But Manjoo later on in his review said the watch still has "all the limitations and flaws you'd expect of brand-new technology."

A Bloomberg Business review of the watch called the watch "the most advanced piece of wearable technology you can buy today."

"I really think the Apple Watch is going to be beneficial for women mostly who put their phone in their bag and are shuffling for the phone," Tong said. "They can do these things directly on their wrist."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Expands Gehry-Designed Campus]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/facebook27.JPG

Facebook's brand new Menlo Park campus MPK20, which was designed by Frank Gehry, already has ambitious expansion plans.

Designed by Frank Gehry, the 430,000 square foot LEED gold certified building has a large open floor plan and multi-story windows.

"From the start, Mark wanted a space that was unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective," Gehry said in a statement. "He did not want it overly designed. It also had to be flexible to respond to the ever-changing nature of his business; one that facilitated collaboration and one that did not impose itself on their open and transparent culture. This is the building that we created for him. It is not a grand design statement and it has a toughness and a rawness that reminds me of the work I was doing in the early part of my career. I am very proud of the collaboration and I hope that it facilitates innovation and invention of the highest level."

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, "The building itself is pretty simple and isn't fancy. That's on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much there is to be done in our mission to connect the world."

Zuckerberg may not deem it fancy, but it does have some fancy amenities, including a nine-acre green rooftop park designed by CMG Landscape Architects with more than 400 trees and the work of 15 artists exploring Facebook-relevant themes like systems, networks and communities.

According to San Francisco Business Times, Gehry Partners will design the next phase of the MPK20 campus, which will include two new buildings totaling 985,000 square feet, a 200-room hotel, and a five acre public space. Menlo Park economic development manager Jim Cogan told the publication that these plans are in the early development stage.



Photo Credit: Mark Zuckerberg Via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[San Mateo Entrepreneurial School Gets Reality Show]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 14:59:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/tim-draper-2015-04-03_14-56-32.jpg

San Mateo's Draper University will be the setting for a new program coming to television this summer.

The self-described "ecosystem for innovators," founded by Tim Draper, will be the subject of "Startup U" on the ABC Family network, according to the Chronicle.

Draper is perhaps best known for Six Californias, his ballot initiative to divide the state into six separate regions, which in 2014 failed to draw enough signatures to get it on the 2016 ballot.

"Startup U" is described as an unscripted reality series that follows a class of 40 through Draper's seven-week entrepreneurship program.

The Bay Area is also the latest locale for Bravo's Million Dollar Listing reality franchise about real estate. The new season, featuring San Francisco, premieres on July 8.

Watch Draper's 2014 casting call for "Startup U" below:

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<![CDATA[Top Cars at 2015 New York Auto Show]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 12:52:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/car+show+new.jpg A collection of photos taken at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New App Allows Users to Livestream From Smartphones]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 06:41:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0402-2015-Periscope.jpg

Add Periscope as the latest company allowing people to broadcast live from their smartphones.

"Our vision for Periscope was it would feel like a teleportation experience where you can just sort of travel the world through someone else's eyes in real time," co-founder Kayvon Beykpour said.

San Francisco-based Twitter acquired the company last month and launched the app this week.

"I think the biggest plus is being able to see what's happening anywhere in the world," said Ben Parr, author of "Captivology."

And, like the web itself, there is no limit to the reach in real time.

"Something like Periscope will take all these people that you know that are in the far reaches of the Twitterverse and shrink all those distances and bring all those connections closer to you," said Jasmine Bina, a Periscope user.

Thanks to apps like Periscope and Meerkat, anyone can follow and stream their every move.

The numbers for Periscope have been especially high these days because the service is under Twitter, which has tens of millions of people broadcasting every minute.

The app's popularity is exploding.

"Ringo Starr was on Periscope yesterday and Aaron Paul the actor from Breaking Bad takes us into his living room for acoustic guitar concerts," Beykpour said. "The creativity of how users have been playing with Periscope has been nothing short of mind-boggling."

But using the app does come with some risk of seeing indecent exposure or bullying.

"I think the big negative is the combination of the trolling and the lack of control," Parr said. "I think you will see something bad happen at some point."

Periscope said if bullying or indecent exposure were to happen, there are measures in place.

"Periscope is not a place for harassment and abuse. It's also not a place for pornography," Beykpour said. "We have tools in place and teams in place to make sure that policy is being adhered to as much as possible."

Beykpour said they are constantly working to improve the apps' uses and options.

For now, he hopes people enjoy the sights and sounds across the world on your phone.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Mouse Inventor Inspires Musical Theater Work]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:36:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_inventor_mouse.jpg

Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, has inspired a new musical theater work.

The Demo premieres April 1-2 at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University.

Created by electronic music composer and trumpet player Ben Neill and composer Mikel Rouse, the work centers around a pivotal demonstration Engelbart hosted in late 1968 wherein he introduced the mouse and other technology-forward inventions. The composers incorporate a speech Engelbart gave on the day into their original music.

"He was dealing lightning that day," Rouse told San Jose Mercury News of Engelbart's demo. "Nobody had ever seen anything like that before. They emulated everything the Internet would be, from Skype to Google Chat."

Unfortunately, Engelbart, who worked at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s, is not alive to enjoy this unique honor and presentation; he passed away in 2013 at age 88. 

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<![CDATA[California Heavyweights Investigate Apple Barring Felony Convicts As Construction Workers]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:52:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/101513-apple-campus-renderings2.jpg

A California senator from San Francisco wanted Apple to change one of its hiring policies: The Cupertino-based company won’t hire construction workers with past felony convictions.

Apple fired several workers in January hired to help build its new Campus 2 on One Infinite Loop because of their criminal past, union leaders first told the San Francisco Chronicle. They told the newspaper said it was unusual because other tech companies do not have such policies for construction workers.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said it flies in the face of a lot of hard work to lower California’s recidivism rate.

"There are certain positions where there is some nexus between the crime committed and the position offered. Construction does not appear to be one of those," Leno told Apple Insider. "In this situation, I would strongly suggest that this policy be changed."

Union leaders have sent letters to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, urging him to reconsider. The company had no formal comment. But a source familiar with the policy told the Chronicle it only applies to felony convictions within the past seven years.

Michael Theriault, president of Iron Workers Local Union 377, said he doesn’t “understand the function of the policy. What are they trying to achieve?” He said union workers achieve “quality and safety” whether they have felony convictions or not. He's written a letter asking Apple to reconsider, saying that in many cases, "construction is the only line of work where these folks can find a job."

Attorney General Kamala Harris said her office had reviewed the letters and reached out to Apple. And a Change.org petition has been started to change Apple’s policy.

It's not uncommon for federal construction contracts, or contracts for private companies doing government business, to have stringent requirements, Apple Insider noted. And while felons do have a hard time getting jobs because they have to check the felony conviction job box on applications, there are felons who can and do find work, as evidenced in books such as "Jobs for Felons: How to Find Employment if You Have a Criminal Record."

And according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, excluding job applicants who have criminal records may indeed constitute employment and discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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<![CDATA[2015 April Fools' Day Pranks: Selfie Car, Twelfie Stick and More]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:29:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/selfie+car.JPG

Celebrities and companies did not disappoint this April Fools’ Day. Some unique pranks surfaced this year that you may not have noticed. Here's a look at some of the most creative.

The Honda Selfie Car

Honda says it prides itself for being on the forefront of the latest automobile technologies. The company "rolled out" its 10 camera-equipped HR-V that is equipped to take selfies. They said the technology uploads photos hands-free to social media sites via HondaLink.

'Twelfie Stick'

Twitter unveiled its "Twelfie Stick" Wednesday, a "highly sophisticated and first-of-its-kind device" that the company says would allow users to tweet out "selfie" pictures directly. Twitter said the device will be available in time for the holiday shopping season for $39.99.

Army Drones to Deliver Pizzas

The U.S. Army proposed using drones to deliver 3-D printed pizzas to men and women on the front lines across the world. Calling this "an expected breakthrough," the Army said the first drone pizza deliveries are to be made by April Fools' Day 2016.

Sam Smith is Straight

The "Stay with Me" singer tweeted that he is straight, which had a female fan asking, "Can you date me now?" One hour later, he posted that is was all a joke.

A Samsung Smart Knife?

Samsung presented its Galaxy BLADE edge, "the world's first smart knife with smart phone capabilities." The phone features a "razor-sharp diamond edge that is tough enough to cut through a lobster tail and sharp enough to slice through tender heirloom tomatoes."

Selfie Shoes

Are selfie sticks too much to handle? Why not get Selfie Shoes from Miz Mooz? The company said the tool adds functionality without sacrificing "comfort our women on-the-go have come to love about our footwear." How does it work? Just insert your phone into the port at the front of any shoe, raise your photo to the perfect angle and click the internal button with a tap of your toe to take a selfie.

Pac-Man Returns?

Google announced in celebration of April Fools' Day that you can now play Pac-Man on Google Maps. How does it work? Open maps in your browser, scroll to the bottom left and click on Pac-Man. Before you know it, you'll have something to eat.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Google Takes Over Airship Hangars at Moffett Field]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:15:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/google23.JPG

There was no ceremony, no party, just a quiet transfer. Google is now the custodian of the giant airship hangars at Moffett Field.

The tech company will lease the historic buildings and 1,000 surrounding acres for the next 60 years.

The deal calls for Google to restore the hangers.

Engineers are expected to use them to develop the technology of the future, including drones.

"We’re thrilled to take over operations of Moffett federal airfield effective April 1, and to roll-up our sleeves at the site,” Google said in a statement. “We’re proud to have the opportunity to restore the remarkable hangar one."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Opens Gehry-Designed Campus]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:48:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/facebook27.JPG

Facebook's sprawling new Menlo Park campus MPK20 is now open.

Designed by Frank Gehry, the 430,000 square foot LEED gold certified building has a large open floor plan and multi-story windows.

"From the start, Mark wanted a space that was unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective," Gehry said in a statement. "He did not want it overly designed. It also had to be flexible to respond to the ever-changing nature of his business; one that facilitated collaboration and one that did not impose itself on their open and transparent culture. This is the building that we created for him. It is not a grand design statement and it has a toughness and a rawness that reminds me of the work I was doing in the early part of my career. I am very proud of the collaboration and I hope that it facilitates innovation and invention of the highest level."

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, "The building itself is pretty simple and isn't fancy. That's on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much there is to be done in our mission to connect the world."

Zuckerberg may not deem it fancy, but it does have some fancy amenities, including a nine-acre green rooftop park designed by CMG Landscape Architects with more than 400 trees and the work of 15 artists exploring Facebook-relevant themes like systems, networks and communities.

There are dozens of images of the art and design features of the new Facebook campus viewable on Instagram's hashtags #mpk20 and #mpk20firstlook.

Zuckerberg himself posted about it on Facebook:

Today we moved into our new Facebook building in Menlo Park, California.Our goal was to create the perfect engineering...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, March 30, 2015

 

 

Facebooking on the giant #rooftop #teepee swing. #roofgarden #mpk20 #menlopark #siliconvalley #whereiwork

A photo posted by Connie (@conniec) on

 

 

 



Photo Credit: Mark Zuckerberg Via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Salesforce Charters Dream Boat for Dreamforce]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:05:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/250*120/celebrityinfinitycruiseship.jpg

Looking for love on the open waters of the San Francisco Bay while you attend the next big cloud computing event?

Hotels for Dreamforce are sold out, so Salesforce has chartered the "Dream Boat" as an accommodation option for attendees of the event, which takes place September 15-18 in San Francisco.

"The Dream Boat offers a new housing option for Dreamforce attendees when hotel space is at a premium in San Francisco," Salesforce CMO Lynn Vojvodich said in a statement given to Business Insider.

It's a Celebrity Infinity luxury liner provided by Celebrity Cruises that will dock at Pier 27 in San Francisco. There are six different room types available to book, ranging in price from $250 per night for a 170 square-foot "interior stateroom" to $850 per night for a "premium suite." 



Photo Credit: Celebrity Cruises]]>
<![CDATA[Google Maps Introduces Pac-Man Feature ]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 01:51:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/photoGoogle+Maps+PAC+MAN.jpg

Let the office productivity fall even more.

If March Madness wasn’t enough of a distraction, people can now play Pac-Man from the convenience of their desks.

Google Maps introduced a new online rendition of the classic arcade game on Tuesday in celebration of April Fools' Day. Click on the Pac-Man icon in the lower left corner beside the Earth icon, and use your keyboard arrows to move your little yellow man through the maze.

Not all addresses typed into Google Maps are playable areas. Cities, including New York, N.Y., appear to work best because of the number of roads. Pac-Man can’t play in some rural and suburban areas such as Hoover, Alabama, and Burlington, Massachusetts, because there aren’t enough roads for Pac-Man to get around.

Click here to try your hand at Pac-Man and see how high a score you can earn. Just make sure your boss isn’t looking.

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<![CDATA[Tech Conference Bans "Booth Babes"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:40:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0330-2015-BoothBabes.jpg

A technology conference is taking a stand against so-called "booth babes."

The RSA Security Conference said it will now ban booth babes at its event, which will begin April 20 in San Francisco. Booth babes are known in the tech industry as scantily-clad women trying to lure convention-going techies to check out what a company is showing off.

"I think if you look at the imagery of the women fulfilling these roles at these conventions, they are disturbing," said Ann Skeet of Santa Clara University.

RSA Security Conference officials said the goal of the ban is to make all convention attendees feel comfortable and respected during the show.

"I was approached by a gentleman who asked me, 'Are you a booth babe?'" said Lise Feng with CipherCloud, a company returning to the RSA Security Conference. "That's a little bit uncomfortable, right?"

The conference's decision to ban booth babes also is welcome news to tech-watchers who found the feature sexist.

"When you see images like this, it's not hard to understand why a young woman would say that's not an industry I'm interested in," Skeet said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Branching Out Beyond Cars, Says CEO]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:03:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/elonmuskmarch.jpg

Tesla Motors is about to take a detour from making cars.

CEO Elon Musk tweeted Monday that a major new product line that's not a car would be shown for the first time on April 30 at Tesla's Hawthorne Design Studio. 

The vague missive indirectly invited social media users to guess what Tesla's next creation would be; popular choices to date on both Twitter and Reddit include a motorcycle and a home battery.

A parody Twitter user called BoredElonMusk suggested a product called, "GitHub for tracking where other people in your house put stuff that you now can't find."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jay Z's Tidal Set to Relaunch]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jay-z-454627193.jpg

Watch out, Spotify – there’s a new streaming service in town.

Music streaming service Tidal is set to officially relaunch Monday under new ownership by rapper Jay Z. The company will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. ET where its new owner “will announce a commitment to a new direction for the music industry from both a creative and business perspective.”

Tidal boasts 25 million tracks with “high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial" features. It could give competitors such as Spotify and Beats a reason to be concerned. Its plan of attack also includes getting first releases of tracks by big-name artists before other digital streaming services, according to TechCrunch.

Unlike Spotify, Tidal does not offer a free streaming option. The music streaming service – which Jay Z reportedly acquired for $54 million – costs subscribers $19.99 per month for high quality streaming compared to Spotify’s premium, ad-free price of $9.99 per month.

Tidal subscribers also have the option of “standard definition service” matching Spotify’s premium price of $9.99.

Tidal currently has 35,000 subscribers – a smaller amount than Spotify’s 15 million paying subscribers as of January.

Spotify has run into controversy with big-name artists such as Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean taking their entire catalogs off the service after claiming its failure to fairly compensate musicians. TechCrunch reports that Tidal is offering musicians “payouts of twice as much as its rivals.”

The Jay Z-owned streaming service has already garnered support from big-name musicians including Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

West and Rihanna were just two of the musicians using social media to support Tidal by using the hashtag #TIDALforALL and changing their Twitter profile pictures to the same shade of cyan.

A teaser video featuring musicians supporting the service was released March 30 to coincide with the relaunch.

Tidal currently offers a 30-day free trial for new users.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[StubHub Files Lawsuit Against Ticketmaster]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:40:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stub+hub+all+star.jpg

StubHub is suing Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors, alleging it unfairly required fans looking to resell tickets to use Ticketmaster's resale exchange.

The online ticket marketplace and division of San Jose, California-based eBay Inc. alleges in the lawsuit filed Sunday night that the organizations prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell tickets and artificially drive up ticket prices.

Specifically, StubHub said Ticketmaster and the Warriors cancelled fans' regular-season and playoff-game tickets when those fans used StubHub and other exchanges to resell tickets. In other cases, the complaint says, Ticketmaster and the Warriors' front office broke the law by threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster's resale exchange.

"While we do not comment specifically on pending legal matters, we wanted to provide our fans some of the important reasons for our policies," the Warriors said in a statement.

"The Warriors are committed to providing fans with the opportunity to see our games in person through a safe and secure ticket buying experience. Dozens of fans are denied entry to Oracle Arena each game because they purchased counterfeit tickets. Warriors.com and NBATickets.com are the only sites where tickets are guaranteed to be authentic. Although some third party sites may offer a 'money-back' guarantee, none of them can verify ticket authenticity that would guarantee entry to our games."

The Warriors added that more than 10,500 fans are waiting for the opportunity to purchase season tickets.

"However, each year a significant number of those tickets are purchased by ticket brokers with the sole intent to resell them at a markup. The Warriors recently decided not to renew 2015-16 season tickets held by some ticket brokers, so that we can instead sell those tickets directly to fans on our wait list," the team said. "This approach reflects our commitment to giving our fans the game experience they deserve."

Ticketmaster is a unit of Beverly Hills, California-based Live Nation Entertainment Inc. A representative for the company could not immediately be reached.

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<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook: Anti-Gay Laws Are "Very Dangerous"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:22:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tim-cook-apple-fortuna.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana's new "religious objection" legislation over the weekend, penning a Washington Post piece warning that “there’s something very dangerous happening in America.”

The piece, which was posted late Sunday night, said the openly gay executive, who was raised in a Baptist home in the South, was "deeply disappointed" in the recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration" law in Indiana that shields business owners who turn away customers for religious reasons.

"This isn’t a political issue," he wrote. "It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous."

Cook called this new wave of legislation "very dangerous," noting there are about 100 similar bills under consideration in two dozen states. And he added that they "go against the very principles our nation was founded on" and "have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

“America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

Cook, who was baptized in a Baptist church and grew up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s.  He publicly disclosed that he is gay in October. Last week, Cook announced that he will give his fortune away.



Photo Credit: NBC NEWS]]>
<![CDATA[PlayStation's Spotify-Powered Music Service Starts Today]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 03:54:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/72271665.jpg

Spotify's music service is coming to PlayStation game consoles and replacing Sony's own Music Unlimited.

Spotify hits the PlayStation 3 and 4 on Monday, with a new app adapted for large television screens. Sony says partnering with Spotify brings a music service to more countries, as well as better tools for playlists and music discovery.

Spotify's music app is available on some Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes, but Spotify says it worked closely with Sony to optimize its service for the PlayStation. Among the notable features: the ability to listen to music while playing a game and still listening to sound effects.

The service is free with ads, or costs $10 a month for a premium ad-free version.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Store Employees Learn How to Be Fashion Stylists]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:19:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Apple Watches will come in a variety of styles and prices, and the company's retail division is reportedly being instructed on how to give fashion advice to customers.

9to5Mac published what appears to be a visual training guide for Apple retail employees to help them suggest the right Apple Watch to prospective customers based on fashion, lifestyle and job cues.

Among the tips: "Don't focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good."

The tech media is already casting a side eye.

"The notion that a plainly dressed, modestly paid worker could become a fashion expert is a bit silly, and Apple's example customers don't always make sense," wrote Engadget. "What kind of waiter makes enough money to drop $1,000 on a steel smartwatch without flinching?"           

Apple Watch goes on sale on April 24, with a suggested retail price range of $349 to $1,049. There is also an 18-karat gold "Apple Watch Edition" option that starts at $10,000.

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<![CDATA[Teamsters Push for Bus Driver Unionization]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:56:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/IMG_2449.JPG

Neither the unions nor the shuttle contractors are relenting in their scuffle over tech bus drivers.

Though tensions had eased a little by Monday for the Teamsters at Bauer's Intelligent Transportation headquarters, the unions are still upset with the employers of tech bus drivers.

The Teamsters filed an unfair labor relations complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Bauer, citing Bauer’s surveillance of employees and efforts to prevent employee union elections. That complaint is currently under review. Bauer is one of the eight major shuttle contractors for large, and typically high-tech, Bay Area companies.

When Teamsters began talking to Bauer’s shuttle drivers, the union felt that company management turned hostile. During outreach in the last month, Mark Gleason, principal officer for Teamsters 665, said that management at Bauer followed and confronted the Teamsters who were meeting with drivers in San Francisco. He wouldn't disclose the details of this supposed confrontation.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Bauer several times on Monday, but the company could not be reached for comment.

Bauer’s drivers are not the first in the commuter shuttle industry to consider the possibility of union negotiations. All shuttle drivers for Facebook worked out a contract with the Teamsters this February, raising the average Facebook shuttle driver’s hourly salary from $18 to $24.50. Drivers for Compass Transportation who make up some of the fleets for Ebay, Genentech, Apple, Yahoo, and Zynga recently voted to unionize with Teamsters as well. Gleason says the union has zeroed in on working with shuttle bus drivers because the drivers don’t necessarily reap the financial benefits of working with the tech industry.

Gleason explained, “Unlike the high priced skill set of the workforce in the tech industry, the bus drivers are not well paid.” Gleason estimates that tech bus drivers earn between $30,000 and $35,000 per year.

“Trying to live on $15 to $17 an hour to support yourself let alone a dependent is nearly impossible," Gleason said. " We think this industry should be providing wage and benefit structure that will support (the drivers).” In addition to wage increases, the union is also pushing to encourage compensation for drivers who work extra hours due to split shifts.

 

Shuttle bus drivers' right to unionize will also be up for public discussion Tuesday at a  San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss requiring commuter shuttle operators to demonstrate proof of labor harmony.



Photo Credit: Teamsters Local 665]]>
<![CDATA[White House Science Fair Features Bay Area Students]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:04:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/ruchipandya.jpg

Three Bay Area students got to meet the president on Monday, strutting their scientific know-how.

They’re among just a few dozen students from across the country invited to take part in the White House Science Fair.

Holly Jackson, 14, of San Jose created a device that could help design high performance protective gear like hazmat and space suits with its ability to measure the strength of stitched fabric. Holly's grandmother taught her how to sew when Holly was in fourth grade, piquing her interest in threads and fabrics.

Natalie Ng, 19, of Cupertino discovered a way to improve the diagnosis and treatment breast cancer by better predicting the metastasis of the disease. Ng also competed in the International BioGENEius Challenge in 2013 where she won First Place.

Ruchi Pandya, 18, of San Jose figured out how to use a single drop of blood to test for cardiac biomarkers, which could improve the way doctors diagnose heart health. In her spare time, Pandya is a teaching assistant for her school's STEM-research class, where she tutors ninth and tenth grade students in research and engineering.

Find more information about all of the science fair exhibits here.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Driverless Car Starts Journey from San Francisco to New York]]> Sun, 22 Mar 2015 21:44:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/autonomous-driving-vehicle-turning-into-traffic-for-delphi-drive-cross-country-road-trip.jpg

A driverless car took off from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge for its cross-country trip to New York.

The 10-day, 3,500-mile trip will be the first and longest coast-to-coast drive by an automated vehicle. The Delphi will navigate highways and other roadways with no human hands on the wheel.

But there will be an operator in the driver's seat at all times in case of trouble.



Photo Credit: Delphi]]>