<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:32:40 -0700 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 05:32:40 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Students Operate Space Satellites Through NASA]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:11:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1029-2014-Satellite.jpg

Santa Clara University students are learning how to run space satellites thanks to a program with NASA's Ames Research Center.

The program places students into a mobile laboratory, which spends time on campus, at the research center or anywhere it needs to be to get a signal and communicate with the satellites. Officials said the university is the only school in the country where students operate government satellites.

Jake Hedlund and Nick Xydes, both engineering students at Santa Clara University, are participating in the program. The students are given missions that include gathering science data and sending commands to the satellite to tell it to run an experiment.

"We have living quarters," Xydes said. "We can eat, sleep while we do operations."

The mobile laboratory will be making trips to local schools in the future to show off the technology and try to get younger students interested in science and engineering.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Kittens Delivered Via Uber on "National Cat Day"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:02:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/kitten8.jpg

Get your kittens here.

Just in time for "National Cat Day," which of course is Oct. 29, Uber has resurrected its kittens offering.

The company is allowing customers in San Francisco to place an order for 15 minutes' worth of cute, cuddly kittens Wednesday until 4 p.m.

The taxi alternative has at times provided additional offerings to its usual stock of rides from point A to point B. This has included ice cream, hamburgers, and, of course, baby cats.

For $30, you can order kittens to your door. They'll hang out for 15 minutes or so until they are shuttled, via an Uber, to their next location.

The company says that demand for kittens is likely to be "very high." This means that if you don't get your chance to order cats, all of whom are available for adoption, you're encouraged to go to them at the local SPCA.

Photo Credit: Northeast Animal Shelter]]>
<![CDATA[SF Mayor Signs Bill Regulating Airbnb]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:54:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/airbnb-protesat.jpg

San Francisco is the birthplace of the "sharing economy," according to Mayor Ed Lee, who took action Monday to keep it that way.

The mayor on Monday signed into law legislation that legalizes the renting-out of apartments for short periods of time. That means rentals reserved via Airbnb, which is based in San Francisco, are now legal.

The new rules, which take effect Feb. 1, require anyone renting out rooms to register with the city. They must also pay hotel taxes and carry liability insurance.

The city's rental laws had previously outlawed rentals of less than 30 days.

Regulating "homesharing," as Lee termed the use of Airbnb and other websites to turn one's home into a temporary hotel alternative, helps San Francisco stay "at the forefront of nurturing" the "emerging, more sustainable sharing economy," the mayor said Monday.

Airbnb rentals are now subject to the hotel tax as well as other oversight under legislation written by Board of Supervisors president David Chiu.

Full-time short-term rentals are outlawed, meaning a resident must live in their home at least two-thirds of the time in order to list it on Airbnb.

“This legislation prohibits people from converting units in to full- time hotel rooms,” supervisor Scott Wiener said. “You have to live in the unit. This is for people who are San Francisco residents, who have an extra room, they are trying to make some extra money.”

Not everyone is happy about the new regulations. Protesters laid flowers outside the mayor’s office, saying they are mourning the loss of the city’s neighborhoods.

The protesters say, in a city that is struggling with an affordable housing crisis, the rentals should be used by those who most need it.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Caltrain Upgrades Could Replace Google Bus]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:01:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_caltrain.jpg

Goodbye, Google bus. Hello, better Caltrain?

Google and other big Silicon Valley firms are backing an effort that would improve Caltrain service from San Francisco to the Peninsula, the route to tech campuses taken by tech workers aboard the white shuttles, according to reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Caltrain Commuter Coalition will see corporations working with Caltrain to get more cash to buy more trains and extend tracks.

Caltrain has about 61,000 weekday riders but is stuck at about that and can't add new trains, the newspaper reported.

This new coalition of powerful companies, including HP, the 49ers, and Stanford University, is expected to be able to lobby for more and better train service.

So much service that the need for a tech bus could be a thing of the past, the newspaper reported.

Photo Credit: TELEMUNDO 48]]>
<![CDATA[Rocket Launch Aborted Over Boat Just Before Blast-Off]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:59:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/15011952803_64c309615d_o.jpg

The planned launch of a rocket from a NASA launchpad in Virginia was aborted less than 10 minutes before blast-off Monday night, after a sailboat wound up in the restricted launch range area.

Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket , which will carry a capsule stuffed with space gear and science experiments to astronauts at the International Space Station, is now set to launch Tuesday evening.

The rocket had been supposed to launch its space gear-stuffed Cygnus capsule into space at 6:45 p.m. ET on Monday, en route to the International Space Station, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's eastern shore, becoming the biggest rocket to launch from the site.

But although the Monday mission was aborted, skygazers in the Washington, D.C., area were still in for quite a sight, as the International Space Station itself was passing overhead just a few minutes after the rocket had been slated to launch.

Orbital has explained when watchers will be able to see the rocket soar into view with a handy map, showing how many seconds after blast-off they should expect to spot it. 

If you're unsure how to spot a rocket blasting off, the Washington Post advises looking for a glowing trail of light that makes an arc in the sky. Orbital released diagrams of the expected view from major sites and cities on its website.

The launch now slated for Tuesday will kick off the third in a series of eight planned Orbital delivery missions to ferry crucial equipment and food to astronauts.

This one will also carry a trove of science experiments — including the Meteor, the first space-based system to observe meteors, and the Drain Brain, a special neck collar for astronauts to determine how their blood flows down to their hearts without gravity, Discovery News reported. The results could help researchers develop countermeasures for headaches in space, an ISS scientist told Discovery.

Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Stock Sale Could Make Airbnb Worth $13B]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:15:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/airbnb-stock-image-airbnb-generic.jpg

Airbnb is already more valuable that the big hotel chains with which the online hotelier alternative is competing.

And the company could see its estimated worth balloon by another $3 billion via an employee stock sale, according to reports.

Anonymous sources have told The Wall Street Journal that the company is pitching an employee stock sale to investors.

That would help the company's employees get some cash, the newspaper reported.

Up to $50 million could be raised in the sale.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter to Open "Learning Center" For Homeless]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:04:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10-30-2013-twitter-generic.jpg

Twitter is giving San Francisco a place for the homeless to hone their tech skills.

Beginning next summer, the company will operate "The Neighbor Nest," a $1 million "learning center" where the city's homeless population will be able to learn computer abilities, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Twitter and other tech companies are obligated to give some kind of benefits to the city in return for a six year-long payroll tax exemption. The tax break came attached to "community benefits agreements" signed with the city.

The learning center will likely fulfill future obligations for the community benefits, the newspaper reported.

At the center, nonprofit Compass Family Services will be in charge, but Twitter employees will do some of the teaching.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Special Report: Investing with the Stars]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:48:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2014-10-01-jared-leto.jpg

I’m hustled down a hallway, for a secretive, exclusive one-on-one. No one can see, and the crowds are kept away.  The handler says “You’ll have three minutes.”

This, as you might imagine, rarely happens when we reporters talk to Venture Capitalists.

This is no ordinary VC, though. It’s Jared Leto, heartthrob thespian and winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”), certified rock star (“30 Seconds To Mars”), and tech investor.

Within seconds of talking to him, you can tell that Leto is the real deal. Yeah, sure he’s handsome, famous, etc, etc. He also knows his technology, having invested in rising startups like Zenefits, Surfair, and Wish, while starting his own companies that blend art and technology.

 “Artists deserve a seat at the tech table,” Leto says, to explain why an already stratospherically famous person would seek out tech startups. “I’m looking for creative opportunities, and I see a lot of creativity in technology.”

Leto joins a growing list of well-known entertainers jumping into tech with their wallets. Ashton Kutcher invested in AirBnB. Jada Pinkett-Smith invested in a safety app called bSafe. Andy Samberg, T.I., Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, the list goes on. Clearly, tech is the hot spot for famous people.

They tweet, they show up to board meetings. They’re clearly serious about learning and making money. Kutcher recently spoke at TechCrunch “Disrupt,” telling the crowd that he looks for creative people and good ideas, not “people talking about market cap and social media platforms.”

At a recent Consumer Electronic Show (think: geek paradise) in Las Vegas, I saw no fewer than three rappers talking up headphones. 50 Cent, insisting that sound quality made his ‘phones the best; Ludacris, talking about why his brand is aimed exclusively at the high-end listener; and of course, Dr. Dre, who started Beats Electronics, brought celebrities like Lady GaGa into the fold, and just sold his company to Apple for a cool $3 billion.

So, again, why take the time to invest? Well, according to Forbes, Dr. Dre is now worth $620 million. Who wouldn’t want to play that role?

Scott can be found interviewing famous people on Twitter: @scottbudman

<![CDATA[Fremont Tech Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:47:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

A Bay Area tech company has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in back wages after a United States Department of Labor investigation revealed the company paid workers $1.21 an hour.

The Labor Department said about eight employees of Fremont-based Electronics For Imaging were flown in from India and worked 120-hour weeks to help with the installation of computers at the company's headquarters. The employees were paid their regular hourly wage in Indian rupees, which translated to $1.21.

EFI, which posted third-quarter revenue of nearly $200 million, released the following statement on Thursday: "During this process we unintentionally overlooked laws that require even foreign employees to be paid based on local US standards."

Last year, another company, Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale, faced similar charges and was fined for underpaying employees from Mexico an hourly wage of $2.66.

Federal officials said both cases are particularly egregious, given the booming labor market and the wealth in Silicon Valley.

"It is certainly outrageous and unacceptable for employers here in Silicon Valley to bring workers and pay less than the minimum wage," said Alberto Raymond, an assistant district director for the United States Department of Labor.

EFI has been ordered to pay $40,000 in back wages to the employees. In addition, the company was hit with a $3,500 fine.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA["Tech Couple" to Build Noe Valley "Bunker"]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:18:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/noevalleyhillside.png

What do you get the "tech couple" who has everything, including the most-expensive home ever sold in San Francisco's very comfortable Noe Valley neighborhood? A next-door bunker, of course.

An unnamed couple are the owners of a 6,000-square-foot home on Duncan Street in Noe Valley. And next door to their $7 million purchase, on a previously undeveloped lot they have also purchased, the mysterious homeowners are busy builidng a "modern underground bunker," Socketsite reports.

The result will be a "massive Noe Valley estate" costing well over $10 million, Socketsite estimates.

Who are these seekers of luxury and security? Valleywag has a few guesses: It could be Eventbrite co-founders Kevin and Julia Hartz, investors Ruchi and Aditya Agarwal, or Kevin and Elizabeth Weil.

Whoever they are, the bunker-owners will also enjoy expansive views and "lots of lounge chairs on every level" on top of their fortified compound.

Photo Credit: "Centinel" via Flickr]]>
<![CDATA[Nextdoor Wants to Make Trick-or-Treating More Efficient]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:38:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nextdoor2.jpg

Nextdoor, the Bay Area company that lets neighbors communicate with each other about everything from local schools to local crime, is now turning its focus to Halloween.

The company's new "Treat map" will let users know which house has what candy, and how children can have a safe (and possibly more efficient) trick or treating experience.

As a Nextdoor user, you can let neighbors know that you'll be giving out candy on the 31st - just press a button, and a candy corn icon appears on your house. Along with fighting crime, and advertising the garage sale down the street, "This is just one of many ways we are leveraging the power of technology to bring you closer to the people who live right next door," says Nextdoor's Anne Dreshfield on the company's blog.

So, put on the costume, check the web (or your iPhone), and get that candy.

Scott's treats are on twitter: @scottbudman

<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Company Develops Hoverboard]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:43:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hoverboard-raw-two---00005717.jpg

Lots of companies talk about their "float." For the employees of Los Gatos-based Arx Pax, their product has extra bragging rights. It really does float. It's a working hoverboard. Kind of like what you remember Michael J. Fox riding on in "Back to the Future Part 2." 

NBC Bay Area got a chance to glide around the Arx Pax warehouse in it for a little bit, and watch real surfers take it for a very fast very cool spin. This is the real deal, part of a Kickstarter campaign to get the hover technology into the hands of developers, while possibly keeping us safe from future earthquakes.


"In the event of an earthquake," says company Co-Founder Greg Henderson, "the ground can shake, but the building would stay still." This would happen if the magnetic technology that floats the hoverboard were used underneath your house.

How does it work? A magnetic field pushes the board into the air. Four circular hover engines generate an electromagnetic field over the copper flooring, which creates an opposing field. The two fields then repel one another.

Henderson's co-founder, Jill Avery Henderson (yes, they're married – it's why the hoverboard is called the "Hendo") adds to the long-term mission: "It's not all about hoverboards. It's a wonderful springboard to take it where it really needs to go, a better world."

A world where we might float, instead of shake.

Scott rides the "Hendo" on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[SF, KC Stadiums to Accept Apple Pay During World Series]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:15:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP159460407870%282%29.jpg

Forget Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals bunting their way to a World Series title.

The real action is in the concourse, with tech-savvy fans whipping out Apple's brand new app to pay for Cracker Jacks.

Forbes is reporting the news that Apple Pay, which launched this week, is bringing "contactless acceptance" "to ballpark food and beverage concessions." 

To the average sports fan, this means that your Apple Pay-equipped iPhone 6 is as good as your wallet when loading up on garlic fries and Giants dogs at AT&T Park, or whatever it is they eat in Kansas City.

MLB Advanced Media, Major League Baseball's "digital media company," says that anyone with an iPhone 6 with the Apple Pay app can "simply [wave] your phone" at a vendor to pay for purchases throughout the World Series, according to Forbes.

For the curious nerd: Apple Pay uses EMV cryptography, and when coupled with a passcode or other security features "such as Touch ID," "every payment and tokenization" is approved "via MDES," Forbes reported.

Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium and AT&T Park "will be the first professional sports facilities to accept Apple Pay," Forbes said.

Could a Google Wallet-equipped stadium be next? 

Photo Credit: Invision for Disney Store]]>
<![CDATA[Sean Parker Punishment: Building App for CA]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:14:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/060313-sean-parker-getty.jpg

As penance for his killer Big Sur wedding, Facebook investor and Napster co-founder Sean Parker is building an app that will help normal folks in California access beaches.

Silicon Beat, the San Jose Mercury News's tech offering, says that the app would help visitors located often-hidden beachfronts, which are all public property but sometimes "hard to find amid private property."

The beaches belong to all of us, you see, even if the houses nearby don't.

And sometimes the house-dwellers seek to block access to beaches, as the escapades of venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who unsuccessfully tried to block public access to Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay.

Parker is supposedly working on the project himself, using data from the California Coastal Commission, the news source reported.

Parker and his wife Alexandra also doled out $1.4 million in grants for throwing a wedding in the redwoods that violated the state's Coastal Act.

<![CDATA[Marc Andreessen: "The Skeptics Are Wrong All The Time"]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:04:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/900921.jpg

Believe in tech.

You just might end up an Andreessen.

Being an optimist and believing in the potential of Silicon Valley has served Marc Andreessen well, the Netscape founder and current big-time investor told New York Magazine in a recent interview.

"If you bet on the side of the optimists, generally you're right," he told the magazine. "The skeptics are wrong all the time."

That might not agree with some of the "bubble" talk that's escaped the lips of Peter Thiel and others.

And if the bubble were to burst? It's actually "better" to build a company during an economic downturn, he says, as there's less money funding "marginal companies," he said.

Doubt is something tech has dealt with from the beginning, Andreessen added. "With every single thing that anybody here has ever done, there's always been people saying, 'That sucks. That'll never work. That's stupid.'"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Microsoft CEO Says He Was Wrong in Comment About Women and Technology]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:36:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Satya-Nadella-CEO-Microsoft.jpg It was the comment made at a conference about women in the technology heard around the world. Scott Budman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Apple Pay Launches]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:50:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/457552028_8.jpg Apple's Apple Pay mobile payment system launches at select banks and retail outlets.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Pay Set to Launch on Monday]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:35:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP820563173175_4.jpg NBC Bay Area Business and Tech Reporter Scott Budman got a first look at how Apple Pay works and provides a preview in this video report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Launches "Safety Check" in Natural Disasters]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:21:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/safetycheckmobielcarousel.jpg

Facebook unveiled Safety Check, a new feature to keep loved ones apprised of each other during a natural disaster such as a tsunami, earthquake or hurricane.

The app is simple. It uses push notifications on devices hear affected disaster areas and if a Facebook user is fine, then he or she pokes the "I'm safe" button. It then notifies the News Feed, so all Facebook friends can see, according to the Verge.

However, the app only works if you have used the Nearby Friends feature and it already had GPS coordinates on you. If not, it won't work.

The app came out of the Japanese tsunami in 2011, and Facebook's disaster message aboard later became Safety Check.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Turf War Between Tech Employees, Kids Prompts Policy Change]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:04:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/dropbox.JPG

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department has ended adult paid permits for the Mission Playground after a video showing tech workers arguing with local youth over use of the soccer field went viral, sparking protests.

The incident — which park department officials say took place on Aug. 18 — was posted on YouTube in September and created a buzz on the Internet after getting picked up by the Uptown Almanac last week.

The video shows a group of Dropbox employees with a permit trying to kick some regular pick-up players off the Mission Playground soccer field located at 19th and Valencia streets because they had paid to reserve the slot.

"We paid $27," one of the men arguing in the video can be heard saying.

"You don’t understand — this field has never been booked. How long have you been in the neighborhood, bro?" a young man who was already playing soccer in the field asks one of the tech workers.

"Over a year!" came the response, to which the local players start laughing.

And then the young man asks again: "How long have you been playing here for? Because my whole life — I've been born and raised here for 20 years — we've been playing here."

Neighbors who have seen this video say that it highlights some of the tensions they have seen with this latest tech boom — a snapshot of what gentrification has done to the Mission District. "It's not just about one playground — it certainly represents more like people being uncomfortable about changes that are happening," said Greg Dillon.

Fredy Bolvito, who plays soccer at the Mission Playground, said that the regulars never thought there would be a permit for the field. "We've been playing for more than 10 years without reservations — We never thought that the high-tech guys are going to take away our tradition, which is the Mission," he said.

Others said they can't blame the Dropbox employees because they had paid for the spot and deserved to use it. One of the Dropbox employees in the video eventually apologized on Twitter, saying: "What I said was insensitive and embarrassing to both Dropbox and me. In case it helps, we worked it out that day so everyone got to play."

Nearly a hundred people showed up at City Hall Thursday to protest what they claim is the unfair privatization of parks. "When you have grown adults tossing children out of a playground, it’s wrong, intrinsically wrong — permit or no permit," said Catania Galvan.

Park officials say that it all boils down to a lack of playfields for both youth and adults to play. The city has renovated its athletic fields with turf and lights in recent years, adding nearly 80,000 hours of play for everyone.

Park department officials met with Mission youth and soccer advocates Wednesday to discuss more open play hours and decided to end adult permits until further notice.

"It’s great to have this support — it’s the best feeling," said Hugo Vargas, one of the kids in the video. "We know now that the city has our backs, our community is on our side — I thought we are just teens and no one’s going to listen to us."

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Event: New iPads Announced]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:11:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/new-ipad-AP903945536056_0.jpg Check out the newest products and programs tech giant Apple announced on Oct. 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NASA Ames Hosts Open House on 75th Anniversary]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:03:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ames-aerial-2012_0.jpg

It's not every day a regular Joe can see what an astronaut or a NASA Ames scientist does for a living.

But everyone is invited to the open house at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley on Saturday, to celebrate the agency's 75-anniversary and take the two-mile tour of the sprawling plant. The last time the renowned research center was opened to the public like this was in 1997.

The event is free, but advance tickets are required.

Visitors will get to see the ArcJet Alley, Technology Way and the Ames Rotocraft researchers.

The Ames Research Center is one of 10 NASA field centers in the United States, which employs 2,500 employees. It was established in 1939 and named for Joseph S. Ames, the then-chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. It's located at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale.

According to the center, NASA Ames is the lead agency for the Mars Curiosity rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument and for NASA’s first mission capable of finding Earth-size and smaller planets.

Ames Research scientists also do supercomputing, build sophisticated wind tunnels, create robots to aid humans in space and help to generate $1.3 billion annually for the United States.

The open house is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with ticketed reservation. Click here to make a reservation.

Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook, Apple Pay for Women to Freeze Eggs]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 23:34:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/egg+freezing.JPG Tech giants and Apple and Facebook appear to have become the first major employers to pay for workers to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons. Ian Cull reports.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon to Open SF Pop-Up Store]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:05:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/450831308_10.jpg

Amazon is getting into the non-online retail business. For a little while, anyway.

The online retailer is planning to open temporary "pop-up" stores in San Francisco and Sacramento, according to IGN.com.

San Francisco will likely see an Amazon.com store in the Westfield Centre mall near Powell Street, with the Sacramento-area store to be  in Roseville at the Westfield Galleria.

The pop-up locations will offer customers the opportunity to play with the new Fire TV as well as Amazon's other tangible offerings, all of which can then be purchased online.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Macworld/iWorld in 2015]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:21:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Macworld-20121146.JPG

Just short of its 30th anniversary, IDG World Expo announced it was canceling its tradeshow Macworld/iWorld event for 2015.

From the announcement:

We are announcing today that Macworld/iWorld is going on hiatus, and will not be taking place as planned in 2015. Our MacIT event, the world’s premiere event for deploying Apple in the enterprise, will continue next year with details to be announced in the coming weeks.

IDG World Expo continued the statement saying that it had started Macworld events in 1985, but as devices have changed "so has the marketplace" and that it was "proud" to have been part of it. "We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Apple community for allowing us to host these events and be a part of the incredible story that is the Apple market," the statement said.

IDG World Expo said it would  continue its MacIT event for enterprise and doesn't see that stopping in the foreseeable future.

Apple cut its ties with the event in 2009 which hurt the tradeshow, according to 9to5Mac. The magazine, Macworld, also recently cut staff and is no longer printing issues. 

Photo Credit: Mat Luschek]]>
<![CDATA[Commentator Weighs In on Report Linking GoPro to Schumacher Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:12:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

The French commentator whose reported remarks had sparked reports that a GoPro camera may have played a role in Formula 1 racing legend Michael Schumacher's brain injury is now urging everyone to "stop all speculation."

Schumacher, 45, has been immobile and unable to speak after he fell and hit a rock in a skiing accident last year while he was wearing a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet.

European news outlets had reported that racing commentator Jean-Louis Moncet told Europe 1 radio that Schumacher's son Mick told him the placement of the camera contributed to the brain injury — but Moncet denied that Tuesday on Twitter.

"The problem for Michael was not the hit, but the mounting of the GoPro camera that he had on his helmet that injured his brain," Eurosport had earlier quoted Moncet as having said.

But Moncet appeared to contradict that suggestion in a tweet Tuesday.
"STOP ALL SPÉCULATION," he tweeted. "Mick could not say something about camera or injury of Michael because we did not speak together."
Following the initial report linking the GoPro to Schumacher's injury, shares of the Bay Area-based company plummeted, losing as much as 10 percent in trading Monday, Business Insider reported.

A GoPro spokesman declined to comment on the report linking the camera to Schumacher's injury but said the company was monitoring the situation closely.

Schumacher emerged from a medically-induced coma in June but remains in serious condition.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Snapchat Hacked, Nude Images Put Online]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 07:30:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4601103451.jpg

Users of Snapchat who posted images via a third-party app have had their images hacked and posted online, according to reports.

The company itself says its security was never compromised, and released a statement saying that users who used third-party apps to send their snaps violated Snapchat's terms of use, according to the BBC.

After they were posted to a message board on Thursday evening, the hacked images were taken offline, the news agency reported, but hackers "threatened" to post more images.

Hackers claimed to have on hand "13 gigabytes' worth" of Snaps acquired over years, the BBC reported.

Teens doing naughty things like sending nude selfies tend to like to use Snapchat.

This is not the first security headache for Snapchat.

Earlier this year, several million usernames and phone numbers were leaked, the news agency reported.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Develop Brain-Teaser App]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:13:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/impossible+rush+app.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Austin Valleskey doesn't have his drivers license yet...but he already has a worldwide successful app.

A few months ago the suburban Chicago teen was contacted about an idea for an app by Australian Ben Pasternack, who is also 15.

"I thought it was cool," said the Wheaton Academy sophomore. "He asked if I wanted to make it into a game. I said sure, it's a Saturday, I've got a couple of hours."

And a few hours is all it took for Valleskey to create a prototype for Impossible Rush- a brain-teaser game.

"We didn't think much of it. We just wanted people to have fun with it," Valleskey said.

And people did.

The pair contacted a marketer who agreed to buy the app and the game's popularity skyrocketed.

With over 500,000 downloads at its peak, the app was ranked 16th in the U.S., 7th in Sweden and 18th in Australia, according to Business Insider.

Valleskey said he was in disbelief.

"It passed up Skype, Tinder, Netflix, all of these huge companies. It was crazy cool to me!" the teen told NBC Chicago Thursday. "It's a great thrill."

The young teen says he taught himself computer programming just one year ago during a road trip to Florida.

His parents shared his latest excitement.

"It's been just so much fun to see the success he's had with it," said Michael Valleskey. "He's learning so much going through this process."

Valleskey says he's already working on developing another app.

<![CDATA[Tesla to End Speculation Over "The D"]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:12:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/10-09-2014-tesla-model-s-470486031.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is expected to make an announcement Thursday night that should clear up a week of speculation that put "the D" in dramatic and a bump in the electric carmaker's stock price.

The electric car manufacturer appears poised to unveil a new model after Musk's tweet last week that indicated plans to "unveil the D and something else." The tweet featured a graphic with Thursday's date and a partially opened garage door that masked all but the menacing front end of a vehicle with Tesla's logo and signature headlights.

In the days after Musk's mysterious tweet, Tesla's stock price climbed about 6 percent. The stock took a slight dip Wednesday before rising again Thursday ahead of the announcement.

Tesla is likely adding another member to its family of vehicles, which includes the Model S luxury sedan. The company has plans for a Model X SUV and mass-market model called the Model 3.

Thursday's announcement might involve an all-wheel drive vehicle, which would fit nicely into the carmaker's lineup and allow Tesla to match offerings from similarly priced competitors. Electric vehicles allow engineers more flexibility than a traditional front-, rear- or mid-engine vehicle when it comes to how power is distributed to each wheel. For example, instead of transferring power from one engine to four wheels, an electric powertrain might use two electric motors for the front and back wheels or even four electric motors dedicated to each wheel.

But the guesses don't stop there.

A Tesla with greater range or higher level of driver assistance technology, such as lane assist or collision-avoidance braking, are some of the possibilities.

A self-driving vehicle or something that's not a car at all have all been mentioned in response to last week's tweet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon to Open Physical Store in NYC]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:46:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_20121203amazon.jpg

It's working for Apple.

It's working (to an extent) for Microsoft.

Will Amazon be next to open an actual physical, brick and mortar store?

Reports from New York are hot and heavy with news that Amazon will open a physical store, the first showroom coming to Manhattan.

Even though Amazon is famous for letting us shop online, as Amazon gets more into consumer products (Kindles, phones, etc), it may want to give us consumers a way to touch the products before we buy them.

And, let's not forget that you can touch and buy more than just Apple products inside Apple stores.

People scoffed when Apple announced plans to open physical stores of their own, but that turned out pretty well. Perhaps Amazon is next.

That concern you hear, by the way, is coming from Radio Shack and Best Buy.

Scott can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: ShutterStock]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Video Game Tournament Coming to San Jose]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:54:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/129585850.jpg

The games are on. A major video game tournament – that is, "e-sports" – is coming to SAP Center in downtown San Jose.

SiliconBeat.com brings us word of the Intel Extreme Masters tournament, which comes to the 18,000-seat arena Dec. 6-7.

The games of choice are StarCraft and League of Legends. But can watching the best of the best click and move against each other be enough to draw the masses?

It is in South Korea: A League of Legends tournament is expected to draw as many as 50,000 spectators later this year, the website reported.

Certainly e-gaming is big business: As the Mercury News's tech blog notes, Amazon and Google were in a bidding war to acquire Twitch, a livestreaming site for gamers. Twitch says that the tournament will be streamed live to "4.5 million viewers."

These are big games indeed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber, Airbnb CEOs Top Fortune "40 Under 40" List]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:43:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fortune-under-40.jpg

It's a good time to be young, rich and in the technology industry. Especially if "sharing economy" is your favorite buzz phrase.

Silicon Valley luminaries feature throughout Fortune magazine's annual "40 under 40" list, the run-down of influential people who have their best years ahead of them.

Topping the list are "sharing economy" magnates Travis Kalanick of Uber and Brian Chesky of Airbnb.

The two San Francisco-based companies have disrupted how Americans – and the rest of the world's citizens – get around via hired car and how they reserve places to sleep after they get there, Fortune noted.

"This was the year Kalanick and Chesky became the figureheads for the ongoing clash between the great potential of the Internet economy and the rules and regulations of the old economy," according to Fortune.

Uber is worth about $17 billion, Fortune estimates, and Airbnb may be not far behind.

Oh, and Kalanick likes to think of himself as "The Wolf," as in the Harvey Keitel character from "Pulp Fiction."

Photo Credit: Getty]]>