<![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 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:49:16 -0700 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:49:16 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![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]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Executive Discusses Apple Pay]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:53:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP796575013285.jpg Apple Pay is the latest way to shop. Quick and easy. But is it safe? Scott Budman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Law Takes Effect]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:21:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/smartphone+kill+switch+proposal.jpg

Effective Wednesday, newly-purchased smartphones in California will be required to come pre-equipped with theft-deterrent technology.

This technology allows for a “kill switch” to be enabled in consumers’ smartphones unless they intentionally opt out. In the event that the phone gets stolen, cell phone providers have the ability to instantly shut off or “kill” access to the phone.

This smartphone theft law is the first of its kind and could set a precedent for other states to follow. The state district attorney’s office has reported that many industry leaders will not be making California-specific smartphones, meaning that all the smartphones sold by major companies nationwide will have the same theft-deterrent capability.

Technology like this has existed for quite some time, but it has only now become law.

“California has led the nation in protecting consumers against the epidemic of smartphone theft, and our efforts are already paying off,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Recent reports show that smartphone thefts are already on the decline as more new phones come equipped with kill switches. The incentive to steal smartphones, which had become a trigger for violent street crime in many of our largest cities, is rapidly dwindling.”

A study conducted by consumerreports.org found that smartphone theft was down from 3.1 million in 2013 to 2.1 million in 2014. With California’s historic new law in place, that number is likely to decrease at an even more rapid rate while simultaneously increasing public safety.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic New Trailer for "Steve Jobs" Biopic]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:36:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/jobs-fassbinder.jpg

A new trailer for the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic reveals dramatic family and business conflicts.

Jobs, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, is seen throughout the trailer dealing with recognizing and building a relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Writer Aaron Sorkin told The Verge that Jobs' daughter, who consulted with him on the script, is the heroine of the film.

The Danny Boyle-directed flim – called simply “Steve Jobs” – is scheduled to debut in theaters on October 9.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
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<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:43:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.

Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aquaman Tops Intel's "Toxic Superhero" List]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:19:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/AQUAMAN2.PNG

The next time you're tempted to Google "Wonder Woman," think again.

Intel Security has released a list of top "Toxic Superheroes" that have viruses, malware, or other potentially dangerous content named after them that might appear in a search engine. Aquaman is on top, followed by Iron Fist, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, and Doctor Strange.

According to Intel, Aquaman's current popularity is tied into the hero's upcoming silver screen appearances in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" in March 2016 and his own full-length feature in 2018.

Also on the list: Iron Man tied with the Incredible Hulk for seventh place. Fans can congratulate original Hulk Lou Ferrigno when he appears at Wizard World Comic Con, which takes over the San Jose Convention Center on September 4-6.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Asks the Best Question at Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:31:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

When Mark Zuckerberg does Townhall Q&As on Facebook to hear from users, he gets thousands of questions.

Sometimes famous people ask questions. On Tuesday, Stephen Hawking asked him a question.

"I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?" the world-famous physicist posted on Facebook through a verified account.

His question received over 6,000 likes.

"I don't think Mark would wanna answer this," one Facebook user joked. "Mr. Hawking wins the best question Q&A award," another quipped. "Epic,  respect, legend," others commented.

Zuckerberg responded within minutes, saying: "That's a pretty good one! I'm most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I'm also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."

Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Eaze Offers Recommendations by Smartphone]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:04:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/207*120/EazePhotoApril2015.jpg

An on-demand medical marijuana delivery service called Eaze has launched a new service that offers marijuana recommendations by phone.

The Bay Area company first raised $1.4M in November to expand nationwide into territories where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, followed by a $10M round of funding that closed in April.

Now Eaze has started a telemedicine divison called EazeMD that allows people to be evaluated by a doctor by phone and, if qualified, issued an electronic recommendation to use marijuana that can then be immediately used to order the drug from a dispensary. Doctors are on call seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight.

TechCrunch called the Eaze service "Uber for weed" and experienced a delivery within 15 minutes as promised, but found a big flaw in its economic model that makes it unlike Uber or similar apps; Eaze is currently cash only.

Photo Credit: Eaze]]>
<![CDATA[Craigslist Donates $1M Settlement to EFF]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:42:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/571494161.jpg

Craigslist is donating $1 million received in a legal settlement to the nonprofit digital rights defender Electronic Frontier Foundation.

According to TechCrunch, a lawsuit between the popular online marketplace and community hub and data company 3taps over the use of its data that raged for three years has resulted in the monetary award to Craigslist that is now earmarked for the EFF.

Ars Technica reported that 3taps will shut down as a result of the payout.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount donated

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases New Music Streaming Service]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 06:38:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476371856.jpg

Apple's new music streaming service is finally here: Apple Music.

In an attempt to compete with Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody, Rdio and other streaming-music services, Apple Music combines downloaded music, streaming tunes, radio and some social elements.

“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists,” said record producer and Beats by Dre co-founder, Jimmy Iovine in the company's press release. “Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”

The new services takes songs from the users' own library in addition to a catalog of 30 millions songs available to stream. The 24-hour radio station, Beats 1, is Apple's first live radio station "dedicated entirely to music and music culture," according to the press release. Apple Music Connect will allow artists to share lyrics, backstage photos, videos and song releases directly to fans' iPhones. 

Starting June 30, users are able to use the service for three months before being charged $9.99 per month—a comparable price to other monthly streaming-music applications. For $14.99 per month, up to six family members can use one membership as part of Apple's family plan. 

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app — a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

<![CDATA[Facebook Lets Users Show Their Pride with Rainbow Filter]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:56:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4786255681.jpg

Facebook is now offering a rainbow filter that anyone can overlay on his or her profile picture, following Friday’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

The site’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg applied the filter to his own picture and posted a graphic showing two maps, one from 2008 and one from 2015, that showed the huge increase in membership in LGBT Facebook groups.

“I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recogized as equal couples under the law,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the Facebook Stories page posted a video profiling Justin Kamimoto, who “started a Facebook group to support LGBT+ youth in California’s Central Valley.”

Six million people in the United States identify as LGBTQ on the site, according to Facebook. The company was one of 379 corporations and employer organizations that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, in a friend-of-the-court brief.

In February 2014, Facebook expanded users’ ability to self-identify with the gender of their choice, adding 56 options to the original “male” and “female” categories.

But Facebook wasn’t the only social media site pumping up the pride on Friday. Twitter, which also supported the ruling, also got in on the celebration, offering two new emojis, #Pride, a rainbow flag, and #LoveWins, a rainbow-flag heart.

Many companies updated their social media to reflect support for the court’s decision, in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Even The Weather Channel got in on the act, tweeting, of course, a rainbow.

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<![CDATA[The Future Has Arrived: Hoverbike in the Works]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:15:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hoverbike1.jpg

A UK aeronautics company that once used Kickstarter to raise funds has a real hoverbike in the works. A prototype for the vehicle is moving forward with the help of the an American engineering company and the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Reuters, Malloy Aeronautics is collaborating with Maryland-based engineering firm SURVICE and the DoD to create manned hoverbikes for the U.S. Army. Malloy's marketing director said hoverbikes will provide safer and more agile and cost-effective alternatives to helicopters. Developers said the vehicle could be used in emergency response tasks including search and rescue operations.

At the Paris Airshow, directors from both Malloy and SURVICE along with Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the opening of a Hoverbike office in the Harford County, Maryland for the U.S. Army, Reuters reported. 

The hoverbike isn't the only hover prototype floating around. Toyota's Lexus division charmed the Internet with a promotional teaser on YouTube. The video shows a sleak skateboard-like device much like the one seen in 'Back to the Future.' Other hoverboard prototypes have been in the works for in recent years.

Photo Credit: Malloy Aeronautics
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<![CDATA[Grateful Dead Farewell Concerts to Stream on YouTube]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 23:58:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/grateful-dead-2015.jpg

Missed the Grateful Dead train to see the band's last concerts?

You can watch it on your couch: Grateful Dead's final Bay Area "Fare Thee Well" shows at Levi's Stadium on June 27-28 will stream live on YouTube, the band announced in a press release.

Officially, both shows sold out in minutes, although tickets might still be available through resale websites such as StubHub.

According to Radio.com, the YouTube stream will be accessible on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Apple TV, Samsung and Panasonic Smart TVs, Xbox360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and WiiU devices.

Access to YouTube's stream will cost $19.95 per show for the performances in Santa Clara and $29.95 per show for the July 3-5 performances in Chicago, the latter gigs being the last of the final concerts.

There is also a scheduled webcast via MLB.com with the same prices for individual shows, plus an option that allows fans to purchase access to all five shows for $109.95.

The concerts will also be live on pay-per-view television.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Uber's Tracking Policy Draws Complaint from Watchdog Group]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:36:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-file.jpg

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Uber's plan to track user data.

The ride-sharing company said the plan calls for tracking users even if their app is closed and the GPS is turned off.

"I am not a fan of that," said Dale Curtis, who uses the Uber service in San Francisco. "Keep the policy they have right now and I'll keep using them."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center's complaint said Uber's policy far exceeds what customers expect from the company.

Uber on Monday issued the following statement in response:

"There is no basis for this complaint. Our new privacy statements are much simpler to read and set out more clearly the data we collect, as well as how we use it."

Uber also said users can always opt out. The policy change is expected to go into effect in three weeks.

<![CDATA[Google Launches News Lab to Help Journalists]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 18:26:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Google24.jpg

Google on Monday introduced its newest site, News Lab, aimed at helping journalists craft and share their stories using the most relevant media and technology.

Google’s accessibility, global reach and popularity as an internet information source has made it the most used search engine in the world, according to Digital Trends.

With this new program, News Lab has introduced a variety of tools to make sure quality journalism is improved, not lost, in the digital age. As explained in Google’s blog post Monday, this new initiative offers tutorials that teaches journalists how to use online tools such as Google Alerts and Google News. Google Trends is another tool that helps to find trends across the web.

Google News Lab is also focusing on eyewitness citizen journalism through news outlets such as First Draft, YouTube Newswire and WITNESS Media Lab.

In addition to informative tutorials, tools and programs, News Lab is working with groups like the European Journalism Centre and the Center for Investigative Reporting on a series of events like TechRaking and the News Impact Summit.

Event series, summits and other similar events are being organized to create dialogue about the future of journalism, to share creative storytelling ideas and more. Other partnerships include those with startup accelerator Matter. and global organization Hacks/Hackers to support other media entrepreneurs and “change media for good” by developing new ideas and tools for the future .

This new site focuses on creating one destination for journalists to use as an information source for everything from local to world news.

In the digital age, when citizen journalism is more accessible and prominent than ever, tools such as Twitter have been instrumental to stories like Ferguson, MO and the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

While many live pictures and videos taken by citizens on the scene of breaking news events are powerful and informative, not all sources depict the full picture. The eyewitness tools and programs from News Lab like YouTube’s Newswire, aim to provide journalists with valuable content that has been verified.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Startups Need More Office Space]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 19:17:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/sanjose2.jpg

Silicon Valley startups will need 8.6 million more square feet of new office space this year, according to a report by San Francisco research firm Mattermark.

Buzzfeed noted that this is about 1.8 million square feet more than the space inside the two new World Trade Center towers, which are the tallest buildings in the country.

The report included 961 Bay Area startups that are actively in search of bigger offices, as compared to 756 in New York and 420 in Los Angeles.

<![CDATA[Apple Responds to Taylor Swift's Open Letter]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 06:59:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476492963.jpg

Apple says it's bowing to concerns raised by pop superstar Taylor Swift. The giant tech company now plans to pay royalties to artists and record labels during a free, three-month trial of its new streaming music service.

Swift criticized the company in an open letter on Sunday, saying it wasn't fair that artists and labels wouldn't be paid directly for the use of their music during the trial period.

Writing on her Tumblr page in a posting titled "To Apple, Love Taylor," Swift said she would withhold her 2014 album "1989" from Apple Music, which launches June 30. The pop star called Apple's plan not to compensate artists, writers or producers during the three-month trial "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

Eddie Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, responded to Swift late Sunday night in a series of tweets announcing the policy change.

Swift said she was speaking up for the music community at large, not for her own personal gain. Three months, she said, "is a long time to go unpaid." Last November, Swift also pulled "1989" off Spotify.

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<![CDATA[Apple Watch Now Available in Apple Stores]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:10:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Apple Watch has arrived at Apple retail stores.

San Francisco Business Times reported that the tech timepieces arrived in stores on Wednesday.

Almost one million people pre-ordered an Apple Watch on the first day it became available for purchase on April 10.

According to Reuters, the data firm Slice Intelligence has estimated that Apple has sold 2.79 units since mid-June. Slice also found that 20 percent of buyers are purchasing a second watch band as an accessory, including the $49 entry-level sports band that technology research firm IHS estimated to cost the company just $2.05 to make. 

Apple Watch started 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.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Newt Gingrich Takes on New Job: Tech Reviewer]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:38:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gingrich14.jpg

Newt Gingrich's long resume just got longer.The former presidential candidate, House speaker and political consultant is now also a tech reviewer for Mashable.

His first post, a review of the Apple Watch, hit the site today, saying while there are some hiccups with the wearable gadget, it's a step in the right direction and fun for many people.

"At the moment, the Apple Watch seems best suited for busy people who need quick access to information on the go, those who want access to their schedules at a glance and anyone who likes being an early adopter of the newest technology," he wrote. "In many ways, the Apple Watch is like a beta product, but one promising a new direction, much like the first BlackBerrys and first iPhones." 

The idea to have him write for the site arose on Twitter two years ago, after Gingrich tweeted about virtual cars. A then-Mashable employee tweeted back, saying he wished the Republican would review the car for the site. 


While that review never happened, the prolific writer and technology fan later gave the site another reason to ask. In May 2015, he wrote a post for his own website about the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Mashable again took to Twitter to hint at the idea of him writing for the site.

With an excited response from Gingrich, a plan was set: he would be reviewing the Apple Watch. The 1,000-plus word review, which covered use of the watch during a cross-country flight and managing a busy schedule, got more than 1,000 shares within hours of hitting the Web. And the cub Mashable reporter seemed to be enjoying the job, too. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Pixar Co-Director Discusses New Movie "Inside Out"]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:23:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0619-2015-Ronnie.jpg

“Inside Out” co-director Ronnie Del Carmen sat down with NBC Bay Area inside Pixar’s Emeryville headquarters to talk about how the latest technology that was put to use to get the results the filmmakers wanted to see on the big screen.

"Can we make characters that are made out of particles?” Del Carmen said. “I don't know. They go away, they came back, and they show you. I didn't know you guys could do that."

And, after five years of designing and computer rendering, “they” did.

"You don't want that to get in the way of – ‘Oh, God, that looks fantastic. Where are we? What were we talking about?’ You don't want that."

The mix of technology, and storytelling, just might get inside your head.

As one movie comes out, Pixar is putting the finishing touches on another film. That one, featuring dinosaurs, is set for a late November release.

<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Gives $5M to Undocumented Kids' Scholarship Fund]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:59:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mark-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are giving $5 million to a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. 

The Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their donation to TheDream.Us in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"America was founded as a nation of immigrants. We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential," he wrote. "If we help more young immigrants climb the ladder to new opportunities, then our country will make greater progress."

Zuckerberg is among Silicon Valley's most philanthropic people. In 2013, the Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $1 billion, according to reports.

He came out as an advocate for immigration reform in 2013 when he spoke publicly for the first time on the issue.

"Someone did a study and it showed half of tech companies are founded by immigrants," he said. "These are issues that don’t just touch our industry, but really touch the whole country."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Starbucks Mobile Order Service Expands to Bay Area]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:03:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/starbucks11.jpg

Want to order Starbucks in the Bay Area with the touch of a smartphone? There’s an app feature for that.

On Tuesday, Starbucks announced it will expand its “Mobile Order & Pay” service to 3,400 more stores across the U.S. – including locations in California.

The service, available via the Starbucks mobile app, allows customers to place an order in advance and then pick it up at their chosen Starbucks location.

Before Tuesday, the coffee app service was only available in the Pacific Northwest but this latest expansion makes mobile ordering available to a total of 4,000 shops – more than half of all Starbucks locations in the U.S. – including locations in California, Colorado, Texas and Virginia, among many other states.

The company said it plans to complete the program’s national rollout later this year.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to use the Mobile Order & Pay feature:

  • Click on the “Order” option at the top right of the screen
  • Select the food and beverage items to order: Just as in-stores, beverages are customizable, including the option to modify size, number of espresso shots, dairy selections and more.
  • Select the participating store for pick up: Approximate wait times will be viewable on the customer’s phone prior to selecting store location. Directions will also be available if needed.
  • Confirm by clicking “order:” At the time of order, payment is made from the customer’s registered Starbucks Card.
  • Proceed to the selected Starbucks store to pick up food and beverages: Orders are immediately sent to the selected store where Starbucks partners (baristas) will begin preparing the items.

Photo Credit: EFE
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<![CDATA[Startup Using Hoverboard Tech for Earthquake Safety]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 19:31:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0616-2015-ARXPAX.jpg

A South Bay startup aims to improve earthquake safety.

Arx Pax, based in Los Gatos, is known for creating a hoverboard to let people float above the ground. The company now wants to use the same technology to one day lift a building during an earthquake.

"We're able to activate our hover engine, separate from the Earth and allow the Earth to shake, not affecting the structure," Arx Pax CEO Greg Henderson said.

Officials said the technology could work with the United States Geological Survey's shake alert system.

In light of recent quakes in Napa and Nepal, UC Berkeley's seismological laboratory has been looking into the Arx Pax technology.

"This is not some sort of out there science fiction idea," said Dr. Jennifer Strauss, UC Berkeley seismological lab. "This is a reasonable idea that could actually work."

Arx Pax has a patent for what is calls "Levitating Houses." The goal of the system is to allow houses to rise for about 90 seconds -- the average time of an earthquake.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Seeks Journalists for News App]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 13:18:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

Apple is hiring journalists to work a 40-hour week in a News division.

The official job listing for editors at Apple News seeks candidates with at least five years of newsroom experience who can help "News users find the best and most timely coverage of major news events" by presenting content from several partners that are "high-quality publishers."

If the 40-hour work week sounds deceptive or impossible for a job at a company like Apple, well, it just might be; Quartz noted that "most" of Apple's job openings describe the workload as being 40 hours per week.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla Rents Former Solyndra Factory in Fremont: Report]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 13:48:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/AP100524019427.jpg

Tesla has rented the 500,000-square-foot factory in Fremont that was the former home of Solyndra, according to the Mercury news.

Because it is not known what Tesla plans to do with the factory, it is not known how many jobs it will create. But experts think Tesla will bring hundreds, if not thousands, of new jobs to Fremont.

Fremont officials tell the Mercury the city has made up all the manufacturing jobs it lost when the NUMMI vehicle factory and Solyndra closed shop.

<![CDATA[Wireless Companies Sue Berkeley Over Radiation Warning Plan]]> Tue, 09 Jun 2015 11:14:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ts_free_cellphone_security_still_022415.jpg

Representives of companies in the wireless industry have filed a lawsuit against the city of Berkeley to try to stop a new ordinance directing retailers to warn customers about radiation in cellphones.

According to TheHill, wireless industry trade association CTIA filed suit on Monday to stop an ordinance going into effect on June 25 that would require retailers to give cellphone customers information about radio frequency exposure upon purchase.

CTIA's suit said that the ordinance "contradicts the federal government's determination. . . that cellphones approved for sale in the U.S. do not pose a public health risk," reported Re/code.

San Jose Mercury News noted that Berkeley's ordinance, adopted in May, is a first of its kind in the country.

<![CDATA[TIPS: Take Better Vacation Pix on your Smartphone]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 09:44:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/smartphone-better-pxi.jpg More than 10 billion photos are taken each month. 6 billion of those are with smartphones. Accessories and apps can make the photo taking experience that much greater.]]> <![CDATA[Bill Would Make It Easier to Install Cell Phone Antennae]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 23:49:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cell-tower.jpg

A plan to make it easier for wireless providers to install cellular antennae in California neighborhoods is being considered by state lawmakers.

The San Francisco Planning Department says Verizon is about to install more than 60 cellular antennae on wooden poles in Russian Hill, but neighbors here are fighting the plan.

Assembly Bill 57 would make it harder to keep those antennae out of neighborhoods.

San Francisco city leaders say they are joining forces with other cities across the state to defeat AB57.

Photo Credit: Jean Elle]]>