<![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, 27 Feb 2015 23:04:54 -0800 Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:04:54 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Uber Security Breach May Expose 50,000 Names and License Numbers]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:54:43 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP943907754143.jpg

Uber says a database containing the names and drivers' license numbers of 50,000 of its drivers was breached in May.

The ride-sharing service says it has notified the drivers and hasn't received any reports of the information being misused. Uber says it will offer a one-year membership in Experian's ProtectMyID Alert identity theft protection service to the drivers involved.

The company said Friday the breach affects drivers in multiple states, but involves only a "small percentage" of its current and former drivers.

Uber says it discovered a potential breach in September. It announced the events in a statement posted on its blog and described them as a one-time occurrence. The San Francisco company says it has changed the access protocols for its database to prevent similar breaches.

Uber is the latest company to report a data breach in recent months. Others include retailer Home Depot, health insurer Anthem and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The problems can be costly as well as damaging to consumers' perception of a company.

Uber is privately-held and valued at $40 billion. It lets passengers summon cars through an app in more than 250 cities worldwide, but faces multiples legal and regulatory challenges as it expands in the United States and abroad. The company has been criticized over the thoroughness of the background checks it does on drivers and other safety issues as well as its method of raising prices when demand goes up.

Earlier this month Uber introduced new safety features for riders in India, include a "panic button" on its app that would let riders notify police in an emergency and a "safety net" that would let riders share trip details with others. The features were rolled out after a highly-publicized case where a passenger said she was raped by an Uber driver.

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<![CDATA[Googleplex Expansion Causing Excitement, Worry]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:58:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/google22.jpg

New expansion plans for Google headquarters, known as the Googleplex, has the city of Mountain View in a tough position as city leaders try to accommodate their biggest corporate taxpayer as well as non-Google residents who feel the tech giant is swallowing their town.

“I think most of us in Mountain View are concerned about where are we going to house the employees that work there, the new employees. How will they get to work given the traffic bottlenecks that already exist?” asked Mountain View councilman Lenny Siegel.

Reportedly, the new plans highlight a campus focused on walking or biking to work, which means one thing to Siegel: Mountain View must build new housing.

“We’re expecting as we put housing in north Bayshore and near north Bayshore that we’ll reduce the amount of miles traveled by commuters,” he said.

A mobile home park in the shadow of Google headquarters is also in the cross hairs.

“There is a mobile home park in north Bayshore, about 360 units and a growing number of Google employees are moving in there,” he said. “Now it’s unfortunately displacing some of the residents, they’ve been bought out basically.”

Gregory Legg, who lives in Mountain View said many of his neighbors are Google employees and they’re doing wonders for property values

“It’s actually bringing it up, the property values, which is good. It’s real good,” Legg said. “I mean, before, it was pretty low. And now it’s brought it up quite a bit.”

But with the higher prices, Rosemary Dozie Antoine said she will probably have to move.

“We would like to get out of here because everything’s too expensive for what I do,” she said. “And for what my husband does. So we need to kinda’ need to get out of here.”

The higher real estate is benefiting some, but pushing out others.

“It’s the housing and transportation issues that make me question the value of all this high-tech growth,” she said.

Siegel said opening up Moffett Field for a type of park-and-ride plan that would help alleviate street congestion could be in the works. But his main focus is discussing new housing developments around Google, something the council said no to last year.
 


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<![CDATA[FCC OKs Net Neutrality Rules]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:59:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000010388863_1200x675_405235267760.jpg The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday passed "net neutrality" rules, which allow the agency to prohibit Internet service providers from granting faster access to companies that pay for the privilege. Scott Budman reports.]]> <![CDATA["Spring Forward": Apple's Newest Mystery Unveiling]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 12:52:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/APPLE10.jpg

Could it be time for the Apple Watch's big debut?

In its typical mysterious style, Apple announced on Thursday it will hold a “special event” on March 9, in San Francisco. While the Cupertino company didn't mention the watch - it never publicly identifies the subjects of its much-ballyhooed unveilings - it did use a time pun in its sparsely written invitation, colored in pastels.

"Spring Forward," reads the text for the invitation-only event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, which kicks off at 10 a.m.

Bolstering the watch theory, the company bought 12 pages of ads in Vogue magazine to tout its new Apple Watch, which is set to be released in April. The ad features three versions of the new smartwatch: the leather standard model, the rubber Sport , and the high-end Edition, all in glossy print ads.

And keen industry observers, including TechRadar, MacRumors and the Wall Street Journal predict that soon most everyone who wants one will be walking around with a new Apple wearable on their wrist.



Photo Credit: Apple invitation]]>
<![CDATA[South Bay Passenger Frustrated Over $452 Uber Fare]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 04:59:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0225-2015-UberBill.jpg

A South Bay man is asking ride-sharing service Uber to reduce his fare after he was charged $452 for a 30-minute, 12-mile ride.

Rafael Hernandez, a San Jose, California, resident, used the Uber service Saturday after the San Jose Sharks game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. He said he opted for Uber, knowing surge pricing was in effect, due to the light rail being overcrowded.

"I was in shock," Hernandez said after seeing how much he owed.

Hernandez reached out to Uber asking for a price reduction. A representative suggested to always get a fare estimate and wait for surge pricing to end.

"The Uber app was created to give riders a safe, reliable option to move around town at the tap of a button," the company said in a statement. "Dynamic pricing makes it possible for Uber to meet that same standard for reliability, even during times of high-demand."

Hernandez said Uber may be reliable, but it's not reasonable. He adds that he no longer plans to use the service.

"I would recommend to not use Uber at big event because that's what I did -- and I learned the hard way," Hernandez said.

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<![CDATA[New Conference Brings Together Food and Tech]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 22:36:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/TLMD-23-DEFICIENCIA-MINERALES-VITAMINAS.jpg

A new conference seeks to explore the intersection between responsible food business and technology.

Bon Appétech will be a global meeting of food innovators, entrepreneurs, chefs and restaurant industry professionals with technologists and investors keen to support projects that are responsible, sustainable and widen the access of healthy food. Though international in scope, the conference's roots in San Francisco are particularly appropriate given that food and technology are both growth sectors in the Bay Area.

Eighteen interactive sessions will touch on main themes like food sustainability and distribution, entrepreneurship and investing, health and nutrition and restaurant dining and innovation. Speakers include former Trader Joe's president Doug Rauch, Good Eggs co-founder Greta Caruso, Rise CEO/founder Suneel Gupta and AgFunder CEO/founder Rob Leclerc.

According to a press release, organizers expect about 1500 participants. Registration is open now for the event, which runs from April 10-12 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.



Photo Credit: PIXABAY]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Company Fights Back Against Hackers]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:43:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/248*120/tlmd_hackers_compu_620.jpg They are not just after your credit card info. Hackers want your healthcare data, and the results can be very unhealthy. Scott Budman reports.]]> <![CDATA[Uber and Starwood Hotels Team Up ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:54:09 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/uber-safety.jpg

San Francisco-based ridesharing company Uber is partnering with a hotel rewards program for the first time.

On Tuesday, Uber announced a partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Connecticut.

Now people in Starwood Hotel’s Preferred Guest program can earn hotel “points” at the chain every time they ride with Uber. The Starwood chain is made up of more than 1,100 hotels and nine brands including St. Regis, W, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element.

According to Uber’s blog, 72 percent of the over 290 cities where Uber is available, you can also find a Starwood hotel.

This partnership includes larger promotional events around the world, including a day of special freebies and deals for San Francisco customers on Feb. 28.

While Uber is a popular ridesharing company, it has also been surrounded in controversy both in the Bay Area and around the world.  Uber has come under fire recently for its safety record, executive missteps, and for being embroiled in several lawsuits with local governments.

Riders will have to rack up quite a few Uber trips to earn their free stay. Starwood Hotel guests earn one “Starpoint” for each dollar they spend with Uber. Guests need a minimum of 2,000 of those “Starpoints“ to stay at the least expensive Starwood rooms.
 

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<![CDATA[Tech Workers Struggle with Weight Gain in Free-Everything Environment]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:58:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0224-2015-Tech15-1.jpg

The countdown was on with just weeks until Jessica Ayala’s big day, but she had one problem: the snacks at work.

“I would say I gained about five pounds since joining NerdWallet,” said the public relations specialist.

The company, now in its sixth year, has grown to more than 150 employees. The staffing isn’t the only thing that has expanded: so has the selection of free offerings, from catered lunches to the myriad of snack choices that line the walls of the Market Street office in downtown San Francisco.

“It was really hard because I was months away from getting married. I had my dress already custom-made,” Ayala recalled, laughing. “So there were a lot of choices, hard choices, I had to make.”

Perhaps it doesn’t sound like a real problem, but the balance of trying not to gain weight at a new company has become a bit of a pain for some employees, especially in the tech world. Some have conjured memories of “Freshman 15,” now dubbed “Tech 15.”

Ayala was at NerdWallet when it employed a handful of people. She remembers the first generation of snacks, mostly comprising potato chips and Gatorade. Her CEO, Tim Chen, also remembers his first food choices.

“I think it was when we hit 20 to 30 people, we said, ‘Hey, let’s bring in some exercise classes and snacks in the kitchen,’” Chen said. “I still remember it started off with Costco.”

From Oreos to organic kale chips, chocolate to natural dried fruit, there is an abundance of choices at NerdWallet where lunch is also catered every weekday. Adjacent to the massive open-seating dining room is the company’s brand new bar that boasts an impressive selection of alcohol, as well as beer on tap.

“I think it’s overwhelming. At first you’re like I want to take advantage of everything. We have happy hours on Fridays,” said Taylor Bernal, the social media lead. “We have all these craft cocktails. Our signature cocktail is the ‘Nerd-fashioned’ and ‘Revenge of the Nerds.’”

These “nerds,” as they refer to themselves, said they soon discovered a discipline they didn’t initially realize they had to have.

“I think especially new grads are more prone to weight gain in this environment,” Chen noted.

In the South of Market neighborhood, employees at Tradeshift wait for a bell to get in line for their free, catered lunch. Arrikka Hunter, the office manager at the invoicing platform, is in charge of ringing the lunch bell.

She is also in charge of ordering snacks and the set-up of the meal area. It’s no accident the salad bar is the first thing employees hit.

“So most people will fill up plates by the time they get to other offerings. There’s not much room left to put too much of anything else,” said Hunter.

Even the dishware was thought out.

“You could get ten-inch plates. I didn’t get those,” Hunter added. “We got eight-and-a-half-inch plates so there’s less space for you to fill up.”

For Brad Maloy, who came from the traditional corporate background, the free food, drinks and snacks took some time to get used to.

“It was more of a bring lunch or go out to lunch situation,” described Maloy. “There will definitely be treats here and they’re not the most healthy option, but for the most part there’s fruit and granola bars.”

Varying degrees of free offerings have become fairly standard at many tech startups, including Mountain View-based “Addepar.” The financial tech company hosts breakfast options, and even grows and harvests its own fruits and vegetables.

“At Addepar, we don’t simply just throw random food on a table three times a day and hope for the best,” said Ben Friedland, a company spokesman, in an email. “It takes a significant and coordinated effort, often with several weeks’ worth of advanced planning and menu maneuvering.”

He added that the company’s survey results “repeatedly show overall satisfaction in the 80-percent range.”

Over at Zynga, the social games network in San Francisco, there’s a movement to generate healthful recipes, playing off of the name of one of the company’s most popular games. According to Erin Smith, a company spokesperson, the company’s culinary team created the digital recipe book, “Farmville to Table.”

These free perks don’t end with seemingly endless food options. These tech companies also offer free fitness classes to encourage an overall healthful lifestyle.

For instance, both NerdWallet and Tradeshift offer boot camp and yoga courses.

“We have fully subsidized health, medical, all that stuff,” said Chen, who noted that he has lost roughly 15 pounds since leaving his career in Wall Street. “It’s quite a mindset shift from my days in finance when it was all about hours and the number of Excel spreadsheets you cranked out. We’re really in a more creative role now where we’re redefining a new space.”

Hunter added that employees have turned to creative methods to burn calories and simultaneously have fun.

“You’re constantly working, yeah, you gain weight but at any point there’s an impromptu Nerf gun war, there’s a ping pong table, foosball, yoga. There’s all kind of things,” she said.

Ultimately, according to Chen, it’s not about trying to lure employees to spend more time in the office. It’s how the free meals and snacks lend to fostering relationships among employees, especially those who may not typically interact on a regular basis.

“With lunch, you can either provide a great, nutritional lunch or have everyone leave for an hour a day and not get to meet each other,” said Chen. “We’re such a cross-functional company. Just having people sit together and get to know each other is more valuable than an extra hour a day.”

Bernal agreed.

“It has become a lifestyle and people that work here, they live and breathe NerdWallet,” she said. “We’re always really excited to hang out with each other, it’s kind of crazy!”

Inevitably, they said, there’s a sort of Darwinian realization: better dietary input, better work output.

The culture of free-everything has not escaped the attention of one regulatory agency: the Internal Revenue Service. On its most recent list of top tax priorities released on January 29, under “Employee Benefits,” one bullet point reads “guidance regarding employer-provided meals.”

The question now is whether these free perks are taxable, in particular for the larger companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, which were all early adopters providing free meals.

The IRS rulebook hosts an entire section devoted to meals. Under “De Minimis Meals,” it states that employers can usually exclude meal or meal money if it has insignificant value, including coffee, doughnuts, soft drinks, as well as occasional parties or picnics.

The IRS would not comment on whether it will launch any imminent crackdown in this area.

Even if it did, at least one CEO says there will be no impact to his free food and drinks policy.

“The benefits you get from employees getting to know each other from different teams far outweighs an extra corporate tax on free food,” said Chen. “I doubt that will influence anyone.”



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Google Teams Up with Wireless Carriers]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:09:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/google12.jpg

Aiming to undercut Apple's latest hit service, Google is teaming up with three major U.S. wireless carriers to prod more people into using its mobile wallet.

The counterattack announced Monday is just the latest example of how the competition between Google Inc. and Apple Inc. is extending beyond the technology industry's traditional boundaries. Besides payments, Silicon Valley's two richest companies are expanding into fields such as home appliances and cars to increase their power and profits.

Google's latest volley calls for its payment service to be built into Android smartphones sold by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA later this year. Smartphone owners currently have to download the service, called Google Wallet, and install the app on their phone if they want to use it to buy something instead of pulling out cash or a credit card.
 
Apple's rival service, Apple Pay, already comes embedded in the latest versions of the company's mobile software.
 
Besides trying to make it more convenient to use Wallet, Google also is hoping to improve the nearly 4-year-old service. Toward that end, Google Inc. is buying some mobile payment technology and patents from Softcard, a 5-year-old venture owned by the wireless carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Although Google and the wireless carriers got a head start with their digital wallets, the concept hadn't gained much traction until Apple Pay debuted last fall.
 
The service has become more popular than Apple expected, according to a recent presentation by CEO Tim Cook.

Just three months after Apple Pay's November debut, Cook said the service accounted for two out of every three dollars spent across the three major U.S. card networks, when no card was used. About 2,000 banks and credit unions have agreed to offer Apple Pay to its customers. Apple hasn't said how many merchants are set up to handle its mobile payment services.
 
Apple builds on that early momentum, the Cupertino, California, company could become the leader in what is expected to be a booming market. Nearly 16 million U.S. consumers spent about $3.5 billion on tap-and-pay services last year, according to the research firm eMarketer. By 2018, eMarketer predicts those figures will rise to 57 million U.S. consumers spending about $118 billion.

Companies that provide mobile wallets make money by collecting processing fees from merchants and banks.

Samsung Electronics, another major smartphone maker, may be ready to join the fray after buying a mobile payment startup called LoopPay. That deal, announced last week, fueled speculation that Samsung will include a digital wallet on its next phone.

Apple Pay's popularity probably helped forge the unlikely alliance between Google and the wireless carriers. Google traditionally has had a prickly relationship with the carriers, largely because it doesn't believe enough has been done to upgrade wireless networks and make them cheaper so more people can spend more time online. Media reports say Google is considering selling its own wireless plans to consumers.

The pre-installation of the Wallet app is similar to what Google already does with its search engine, Gmail and YouTube on millions of other phones running on Android -- an operating system that Google has been giving away for years to ensure people keep using its products on mobile devices. Google profits from the traffic by showing ads.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Conference to Focus on Wage Equality]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:16:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/patty-arq-464175060-%281%29.jpg

It was the Oscar speech heard around the world.

Patricia Arquette's call for equal wages for women is resonating with a group of tech workers in Silicon Valley, where the "Lead On" conference for women in technology will start Tuesday.

The conference packs an all star lineup and a focus on how women can close the wage gap.

"What Patricia Arquette said at the Oscars was fabulous," Watermark CEO Marlene Williamson said. "It's an issue that has been around for a long time."

The issue also hits home in Silicon Valley, where women still earn less than their male counterparts and 90 percent of all venture funding goes to companies started by men.

How to get equal pay will be among the keynote topics at the conference held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

"Everybody look in the mirror and ask, "What can you do to raise and elevate the conversation about the economic impact of gender diversity in the workforce?" Williamson said. "We can all make more progress."

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to give the lead keynote at the conference.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Acquitted After Throwing Skateboard at Uber Car]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 11:30:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Uber-Getty.jpg

A homeless man who threw his skateboard into the windshield of an Uber driver who sped toward him in a darkened alley has been acquitted of all charges.

In a statement, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said jurors on Friday found Martin Knaak, 49, not guilty of vandalism and resisting arrest after a three day trial. Knaak faced up to a year in jail if convicted, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Eric Guttschuss.

Knaak’s initial arrest began shortly after 1 a.m. on Dec. 6, 2014, while walking along Moulton Street in the Marina District. A passing Uber driver in a Prius, apparently angry that Knaak had been jaywalking on a nearby street, motioned for him to walk in the crosswalk , then extended his middle finger, according to Adachi’s office.

Moments later, when Knaak crossed in front of the Prius at an intersection, the driver smiled and revved his motor. In response, Knaak spilled his soda onto the car. The Uber driver then chased Knaak, the public defender’s office said, at times traveling down the wrong side of a street and forcing him between two parked cars before following him on foot while videotaping him.

Knaak retreated down a narrow alley, which is when the Uber driver began speeding toward him, according to the public defender’s office. It was then that Knaak threw his skateboard into the oncoming car, smashing the Prius’ windshield, Guttschuss said.

Knaak called 911. The Uber driver told police when they arrived that he suffered an unprovoked attack, and officers arrested Knaak.

“Police made assumptions without ever hearing Mr. Knaak’s side of the story,” Guttschuss said in a statement. “He was the victim of a crime. He needed help.”

The Uber driver also testified, claiming he did not pursue Knaak. However, the driver’s cell phone video contradicted his claims, according to the public defender.

Adachi said the case highlights the need to be unbiased when investigating crimes.

“As a crime victim, Mr. Knaak deserved every bit of the police response and protection that would have been afforded to a wealthy San Franciscan,” Adachi said. “What happened to him is a betrayal of justice. Fortunately, his public defender was able to end his nightmare.”
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Shuttle Drivers Sign Contract]]> Sun, 22 Feb 2015 23:48:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/161*120/113888441.jpg

Facebook shuttle drivers voted for a new union contract promising more pay and benefits for driving around the social network's employees.

The drivers voted Saturday for the new contract which will raise pay from $18 to $24.50 an hour, more benefits and will , according to the Wall Street Journal. Loop Transportation is the contractor for drivers, and a spokesman said the union contract  which the company negotiated with the Teamsters Local 853 hasn't been finalized. 

Drivers from other tech company such as Apple, Yahoo and eBay are also expected to vote on being represented by the Teamsters.  A Teamsters spokesman Rome Aloise said the Loop Transportation contract, raises average pay from about $18 an hour to about $24.50, what he said should be the new pay rate for Silicon Valley shuttle drivers.

Despite the $24.50 hourly wage, the median income for lower-skilled workers in Silicon Valley is about $27,000 a year while high-tech workers average about $119,000 a year. If the new union contracts continue to raise wages for drivers, it could mean less pay inequity for non-tech workers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trial Begins in Silicon Valley Sex Bias Case]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:53:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ELLENPAO.JPG

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A lawyer for a former junior partner suing a venture capital firm in a Silicon Valley sex bias suit contended Tuesday that his client was passed over for promotions because she was a woman and then fired after she complained.

In his opening trial statement, attorney Alan Exelrod described a male-dominated culture at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers — the defendant in the case that has sparked debate over the treatment of women in the high-tech and venture capitalist arenas.

Exelrod said his client, 45-year-old Ellen Pao, had received erotic poetry and sketches of nude women from a senior partner at the firm, and another male employee had interfered with her work when Pao broke off an affair with him.

"Kleiner Perkins used Ellen Pao's many talents for six years, but when it came time to pick who would be the next generation of investing leaders at Kleiner Perkins, Kleiner only picked men,'' the attorney told jurors.

The firm has denied wrongdoing and says Pao was a poor performer who didn't get along with her colleagues.

In addition, defense lawyer Lynne Hermle, citing a study by a Harvard professor, said in her opening statement that the company has been a leader in recruiting and supporting women in technology.

"Ellen Pao did not succeed at Kleiner Perkins as an investing professional because she did not have the necessary skills for that job,'' Hermle said. "She did not come close.''

Pao is seeking $16 million in damages. The firm is seeking to limit any possible damages by arguing that Pao is well-compensated in her current position as interim CEO of the popular social media company Reddit and hasn't suffered financially since leaving Kleiner after filing her lawsuit.

The jury also heard from witness Trae Vassallo, another female employee at Kleiner Perkins. She testified that she was sexually harassed by a male employee and initially passed over for promotion. However, she later advanced to general partner.

Venture capital firms provide much of the startup funds for tech companies and have a reputation as being even more insular and male-dominated than the companies they help launch.

Women hold 15 to 20 percent of the technology jobs at tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo, according to disclosures by the companies.

The firms acknowledge needing to do more to hire female engineers but largely attribute the problem to cultural issues that discourage girls and young women from taking classes needed to pursue careers in computer coding and website design.

Venture capital firms are even more slanted toward men. A study released last year by Babson College in Massachusetts found that women filled just 6 percent of the partner-level positions at 139 venture capital firms in 2013, down from 10 percent in 1999.

Kleiner fired Pao in 2012 _ six months after she filed her lawsuit. She had been hired in 2005 to serve as chief of staff for senior partner John Doerr, who helped direct early investments in Google and Amazon.

Pao left the administrative position with Doerr in 2010 to become a junior partner with full-time investment duties.

Exelrod said she was excluded from a dinner at the home of former Vice President Al Gore — a partner at the firm — after another Kleiner partner told her ``women killed the buzz,'' and also was subjected to a conversation about pornography that a Kleiner partner did not stop, the lawyer said.

Hermle, however, said Pao "repeatedly and consistently seeks to twist facts, circumstances and events.''

She said Pao did not indicate at the time she received the poetry book that she thought it was inappropriate, and the book had been purchased by the partner's wife.

The trial in San Francisco Superior Court in front of a jury of five men and seven women could last four weeks.

Reddit, based in San Francisco, announced a new privacy policy on Tuesday under which it will remove photos, videos and links with explicit content if the person in the image hasn't given permission for it to be posted.

The change came about six months after hackers obtained nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities and posted them to social media sites including Reddit.

Reddit was spun off in 2012 from Conde Nast's Wired Digital.
 



Photo Credit: Via LinkedIn]]>
<![CDATA["Happy Lunar New Year" From FB's Mark Zuckerberg ]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 10:34:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/zuckerberg4.jpg

In honor of the Lunar New Year, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg delivered a message in Mandarin Chinese wishing everyone a happy one, in a video he posted on his own Facebook page.

As of midday Thursday, his video, which appears to be spoken in a pretty good Mandarin dialect in front of a red wall with Chinese lanterns dangling from the ceiling, had over 2 million views and more than 111,000 likes.

He apparently also has decided this is the Year of the Sheep, though others are quibbling that the year is dedicated to the goat or the ram.

"Happy Lunar New Year! 春节快乐!" his post reads."This is a moment of renewal and celebration each year. I hope you have a wonderful time surrounded by friends and family, and I hope that the Year of the Sheep brings you health and happiness."

Zuckerberg is married to Dr. Priscilla Chan, whose father is a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant, according to the Daily Mail, who arrived in America with his family in the '70s after spending time in a refugee camp. He worked in a Chinese restaurant in Boston before moving his family to Palo Alto.

Zuckerberg, self-taught in the Chinese dialect, drew "gasps and laughter" from a crowd in Beijing during a 30-minute Q&A in October 2014 he conducted in Mandarin. Humbly, Zuckerberg said his "Chinese is horrible," according to the Guardian. But told the crowd that he decided to learn the language to communicate with his in-laws.



Photo Credit: Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page
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<![CDATA[High School Teams Turn to Technology on the Court]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 23:54:42 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/MDxw_bHWbuaA_DTSYUMr-2-1245515201000.jpg

SAN JOSE – The Monarchs Women’s Basketball Team from Archbishop Mitty High School starts each practice like any other team. They stretch, run drills, shoot a few shots. The team is led by Coach Sue Phillips, who also coached the U-17 USA basketball team last summer.

But one of its biggest weapons isn't on the practice court. It's in a small room next to the gym where Phillips and the players watch game film differently than years past.

“(Before) I would spend countless hours editing each clip from a turnover to an offensive rebound and it would add a good eight hours a week,” Coach Phillips said.

Now, Krossover does the work for her. It’s a company that breaks down game footage for teams around the country. Coaches send video of their games to the company and within a day or two, they get a complete analysis. The night Phillips allowed NBC Bay Area into the room, she was showing all of the Monarch’s turnovers from the previous game.

Krossover also provides player stats by game, half, even quarter. Phillips can also see the same stats for the opponent. It even shows where the Monarchs made and missed shots, so before they start practicing they know what they need to work on.

"I get to look at not only the mistakes I make but things I can look at to grow upon,” said Senior Forward Taylor Todd.

More Bay Area high schools are starting to use this technology like some of the top professional and college teams. About 30 teams in the Bay Area use it now, up from five teams two years ago.

"You can actually just click on a make or miss and you can filter it by player,” Phillips said. “All the other shots disappear with the exception of that player. When you click on that shot it provides a 5-7 clip of how that shot was made or missed."

Coach Phillips says it’s also easier to provide highlight clips to college coaches recruiting her players.

"For many of these kids who get recruited by colleges, I simply just have to click and send a link to that game footage on their server."

It costs about $1200 per team per season. Phillips says it’s paid off. The Monarchs are the 17th ranked team in the country and shooting for their 11th Nor-Cal Championship.



Photo Credit: Becky Stickney]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Taxi Cabs Add to Growing Trend of Using Dashcams]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 23:43:55 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0217-2015-dashcam2.jpg

Technology has made it nearly impossible to step out of your house with any degree of expectation of privacy, and now a growing trend across the country and in the Bay Area is adding more eyes to the world.

Dashboard cameras, best known as “dashcams,” have been ubiquitous in other countries like Russia, where they’ve caught the streaking light of meteors across the skies multiple times in the last few years. The jolting video of the TransAsia plane crashing down into the Keelung River on February 4 in Taipei, Taiwan stemmed from a dashcam.

That kind of video is being created in the Bay Area every day. The footage is perhaps not quite as shocking, but it can have quite an impact.

For Richard Hybel, that impact was saving money and ultimately, saving his small business. Hybel owns Metro Cabs based in San Francisco. He said the profit on one cab is roughly $10 – not a very large margin with which to make a living. He estimates his company was involved with up to 30 accidents last year, each one costing up to a few-thousand dollars.

“I would typically end up paying for my own damage on my cars,” he said. “There’s not a lot of profit in the taxi business so if you get a $4,000 crash then it takes six months to make that back up.”

Hybel showed NBC Bay Area one such accident captured on the dashcam in one of his drivers’ cabs. There are two views: an exterior out into the street and an interior shot of the backseat. In this video, the driver is taking three passengers, a father, mother and small child, to a San Francisco destination. One second after crossing into an intersection, there’s a loud boom and the car starts to spin. The father, who isn’t wearing a seatbelt, flies to the other side of the car while the mother and child begin to scream and cry.

“It was an unmarked police vehicle, on a call - something about a man with a gun – and went through a red light at a high rate of speed,” Hybel described. “In the report he said he had his siren on, which was proven not to be true, and he said the cab driver was timing the lights so he entered the intersection the instant the light turned green, which also proved not to be true because the video showed we had the green light for over a block.”

Hybel believes his drivers are up against a very negative reputation linked to the industry, especially if the other word comes from someone like a police officer. For him, the footage was integral in saving money and perhaps keeping his insurance.

“It probably would have cost them $300,000 to $400,000 with three people injured in the back, and I’d have a workers’ comp claim for the driver,” Hybel said.

Peter Park is president of JanusCam, the company that manufactures the dashcams used by Metro Cab, along with many other San Francisco taxi cab companies including SF Yellow, the biggest in the county.

He said it was in 2009 when his company approached the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) about updating its regulations on recording devices in cabs.

“[There were] a lot of walls, a lot of barriers because of new technology that we [had] to introduce not only to taxi companies but to regulators and to the city,” Park said.

According to Robert Lyles, deputy spokesman for the SFMTA, San Francisco taxis used recording technology called “Silent Witness” which captured snapshots, not real-time video, all before 2009.

In a statement, Lyles wrote, “The SFMTA reviewed JanusCam equipment and technology and determined their offering was suitable for use.”

The latest local laws require each taxi adopted this new video technology that had to be manufactured after December 31, 2006. Transportation network companies, like Lyft and Uber, remain unregulated by the SFMTA and are not mandated to install these recording devices. Neither company responded to requests for comment by NBC Bay Area.

JanusCam said despite the lack of regulatory oversight of TNCs, it has been approached by drivers for Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The companies are stringent when it comes to passenger satisfaction, so if a drivers’ rating dips below a particular number, they may be let go. The footage helps keep them employed by the TNCs, said Jonathan Park, an account executive.

Peter Park added it’s not just about saving jobs and saving money in civil litigation; the footage can help in what can potentially turn into criminal cases. He showed one clip from 2013 when one cab driver is trying to drop off a passenger in Daly City. In just seconds, the young female passenger brings out what appears to be a steak knife and stabs the driver in the neck. Fortunately, the driver was okay, but Park pointed to what could have happened to the middle-aged, heavy-set man.

“She went home, she was bleeding and told her mom that it was the driver who was trying to rape her and she was defending herself,” Park described. “But the driver was really attacked by the passenger.”

In order to prevent tampering with the clips, there are security measures built in place, according to JanusCam account executive Jonathan Park.

“It’s stored on an SD card, but it’s not just a card where you pop into your camera and easily take it out,” he said. “We have a security bracket that’s locked in so a driver, if he did something wrong, couldn’t pull the footage out. There’s password protection so even if they did get the card, they couldn’t get the footage.”

The popularity has grown nationwide, as well. According to the Dashcam Store based in Austin, Texas, sales across the country shot up 172-percent from the first half of 2014 to the second half.

That’s no surprise to Kyle Shepard, a driver for Metro Cab. He said at first he felt it was an intrusion of privacy but now considers the dashcams a source of peace of mind, especially after what happened just a couple weeks ago.

Shepard said a pair of passengers paid for a 260-dollar fare with what turned out to be a stolen credit card.

“We pulled the chip out of the camera and were able to get a very good still image, and video images, of the two people in the back of the taxi,” Shepard said. “I called police and gave them the images, so there’s a police report, a good look of the people who committed the crime and that’s been helpful.”

For Hybel, who has owned the small cab company for over a decade, the $20,000 investment in the dashcams paid itself off in 10 months.

“It just increases the profit and these days, of course, this business is really struggling so without the cameras it’s possible I wouldn’t be in business today,” Hybel said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Cyber Scam Targets Real Estate Market]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:11:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/107793037.jpg A stunningly elaborate cyber scam nearly cost a South Bay man $18,000. Michelle Roberts reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wi-Fi Barbie Has Conversations With Owner]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 15:55:39 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/HelloBarbie.jpg

Mattel is creating a new Wi-Fi-connected doll called Hello Barbie that can have conversations with its owner and learn her owner's preferences.

The Barbie was created by partnering with San Francisco-based startup ToyTalk and will use the startup's speech-recognition platform, the BBC reported. A prototype of the doll showed up at the New York Toy Fair this weekend.

"The number one request we hear from girls around the world is that they want to have a conversation with Barbie. Now, for the first time ever, Barbie can have a two-way conversation," said a spokeswoman for Mattel.

A microphone, speaker and LED lights will be inside the doll's necklace and rechargeable batteries in its legs, which can be connected to a charger. Hello Barbies will be able to tell stories, jokes and play interactive games. The doll, after listening to its owner's conversation over time, could also reference some of the child's likes. It's expected to retail for $75.

A talking Barbie isn't that interesting, but one that knows who its owner is and what she or he likes, is much more valuable. 



Photo Credit: Mattel]]>
<![CDATA[Tablets Coming to Red Robin Restaurants]]> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:56:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ZIOSK+RED+ROBIN+VO++-+00002510.jpg

Ziosk, the company that makes those tablets they use at Chili’s, says it is expanding into Red Robin, announcing a deal to supply 21,000 tables to the restaurant chain.

The tablets should be installed by the end of the year.

Ziosk says it is not trying to replace food workers, but technology has been a major factor in the debate over wages and employment in the food industry, particularly the fast food industry.



Photo Credit: Ziosk]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Turns Smartphones Into Mobile Health Clinics]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 23:37:58 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0216-2015-MobileClinic2.jpg

SAN JOSE - Silicon Valley companies are creating more mobile health apps and getting more financial backing than ever before. You can now use your phone to help diagnose an ear infection, and even monitor a diabetic child's blood sugar.

"It's the next big thing, no question about it,” Vital Connect CEO Nersi Nazari said of mobile health.

Vital Connect in Campbell just launched the HealthPatch MD. It’s a patch that sticks onto the skin and provides constant heart monitoring and tracks pulse, respiratory rate, and other health metrics. It’s the first device of its kind and available for doctors or loved ones to track someone with a heart condition.

"It does heart rate...also ECG of the same quality that when you go to a checkup,” Nazari said.

Vital Connect is already developing a smaller, faster, all-encompassing patch. Nazari is part of a growing industry that incorporates technology and health care. While his product is a clinical device, and not one consumers can simply buy at home, he says mobile health is the next frontier for Silicon Valley.

"These technologies can bring the cost down. At the same time the patient is more comfortable,” Nazari said. “He doesn't have to go to the doctor if he doesn't have to and is very much instantaneous.”

The market is expanding for consumer health apps too. Apple included a ‘Health’ application when it launched the iPhone 6, allowing people to track health and fitness.

San Francisco based Sproutling is taking parenting to the next level. Developers made an app and device to track your baby's sleep and mood. It’s basically a super charged baby monitor.

Cellscope has found a way to turn your phone into an otoscope to help check your child’s ear for infection. The video recording you take in the app is sent to a doctor.

“The doctor responds within two hours and gives you a diagnosis, a treatment plan, can call in a prescription if necessary,” said Cellscope CEO Erik Douglas.

San Diego based Dexcom has developed an app that allows people to monitor the blood sugar level of a loved one.

Many doctors say you should consult with them before using an app or phone for health reasons. However, many doctors are taking notice of the apps. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows 86 percent of clinicians believe mobile apps will become important to physicians for patient health management over the next 5 years.

Diving deeper into the mobile health apps, Stanford researchers are using phones to try and cure cancer. They are led by Stanford Professor Vijay Pande.

"Think about what supercomputers could do ten years ago, your phone can actually do really well compared to those things,” Pande said.

The project is called Folding@Home. You download the app and they do the rest. Researchers combine the 180,000 phones signed up already to make a digital supercomputer.

While you sleep and your phone is not in use an equation is sent to your phone. The app uses the power of your phone to solve the equation then send it back. Your data will not be affected, and Pande says they cannot access any of the information on your phone.

“In a sense any one phone or computer might not be that powerful, kind of the way one snowflake isn't that powerful. But put enough of them together and you can shut down a city. If you put enough processors together you can really do something significant,” Pande said.

The research team uses that power to make billions of small calculations. The more people on the app the faster they believe they can find a cure.

"If we can figure out what the next big drug would be that would be the difference between life and death. So what we'd like to be able to do is to use our computational methods to predict what the drugs patients should be taking are,” Pande said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Flock to SJ Tech Museum for 3D Print Jam]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 17:38:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0216-2015-SJTechMuseum.jpg NBC Bay Area Business and Tech Reporter Scott Budman shows how the San Jose Tech Museum is showing young people things that will help in future careers.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook's "Real Name" Policy Targets Native Americans]]> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 12:34:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Facebook's "real name" policy appears to be stoking controversy again.

The social media giant has been questioning the authenticity of the names on accounts belonging to Native American people, even going so far as to suspend some accounts, reports Colorlines.

Dana Lone Hill, who is from the Lakota tribe, writes about her recent experience and that of other Native Americans in Last Real Indians. Despite sending Facebook three forms of identification, there was still an internal investigation of whether she is a "real person."

She describes a similar incident with a user named Oglala Lakota Lance Brown Eyes: ". . . when he turned in his proof of identification they changed his name to Lance Brown. After contacting the Better Business Bureau and threatening Facebook with a class action lawsuit, they sent him an apology and let him use his given name again."

Colorlines cites examples of similar incidents with Facebook and Native Americans going back as far as 2009. A petition to allow Native Americans to keep their Native names on Facebook has more than 14,000 signatures at press time.

Facebook's real name policy made headlines in September when employees began emailing drag queen performers to demand they use their birth names on their profiles. Company spokesman Andrew Souvall told NBC Bay Area at the time that the reason for enforcing the rule is to hold users accountable for their actions to help prevent nameless bullying in cyberspace.

Though a meeting later took place with several performers at Facebook headquarters and a public apology was issued to users affected, the company did not change the policy.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple OKs Marijuana Apps – Tokers Rejoice!]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:16:57 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/appstore.jpg

Apple has decided to lift its ban on marijuana-themed apps in its App Store, according to reports.

The marijuana apps, which were likely restricted because they were considered drug-themed, have been lobbying and petitioning Apple to change its policy, according to TechCrunch. The move is likely because of the "relaxing of U.S. laws" regarding cannabis.

The leader of the campaign was social networking app MassRoots, which was admitted into the App Store once it limited its app's geolocation to the 23 states where marijuana use is legal.

Now that apps can limit their scope to the 23 states, it means more marijuana apps can enter the App Store, provided they adhere to Apple standards.

Those Apple rules are changing, including a new rule that requires app developers to not use gun violence in screenshots. Apple has rejected Gunslugs2 for a screenshot that showed "violence against a human being," TechCrunch reported. Apple justified this rule by pointing out its App Store rules, which clearly states screenshots and previews must "adhere to the 4+ age rating" or be rejected.

It seems as if Apple is now enforcing this rule without prejudice.

]]>
<![CDATA[Google Offers Free Drive Space ]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 11:46:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TLMD-google-servicios-movil.jpg

Google says it will give its users 2 gigabytes of cloud storage if they review their computer's security settings.

The extra storage can be used to save content from GMail, Google Drive and Google+.

The offer comes as Google launches a redesigned security check-up tool.

Users can access the tool by logging into Google and going to account settings.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook, AG Harris Talk Privacy in Menlo Park]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 17:17:08 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/safe-internet.jpg

Facebook on Tuesday hosted dozens of Bay Area students to discuss online harassment at the Safer Internet 2015 event.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke to students about the need for a safer Internet, and backed up her talk by bringing Attorney General Kamala Harris to the stage.

Harris kept the young crowd riveted with stories about prosecuting those who use so-called "revenge porn" online.

Sandberg and Harris both discussed the need for a safer Internet experience as the number of people who say they have been bullied or shamed online grows each day.

"We're building very powerful tools," Sandberg said of Silicon Valley. "But, they have to be safe."

The speeches kicked off an afternoon of group activities for the students visiting Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters.

Last year's event was held in Washington, D.C.

Scott is on Facebook, and Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Closes With $700B Market Cap]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 13:24:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1672716031.jpg

Apple became the first U.S. company to close with a market cap above $700 billion on Tuesday.

Apple's market cap hit $710.70 billion after the company announced that it had partnered with renewable energy firm First Solar.

Check CNBC for updates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix is Coming to Cuba]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 15:48:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/04-21-2014-netflix-logo.jpg

Netflix is expanding its streaming service to Cuba, the company announced Monday.

Beginning Monday, Cuban consumers with internet access will be able to access popular movies and TV shows with a paid subscription.

"We are delighted to finally be able to offer Netflix to the people of Cuba, connecting them with stories they will love from all over the world," said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings.

Internet access is expected to improve and credit card and debit cards are expected to become more widely available this year.

In January, the Obama Administration announced an end to America's "outdated approach" to the communist island.

"Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience of over 57 million members," Hastings said.

Netflix subscriptions start at $7.99 a month.



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan]]>
<![CDATA[Etsy Dealer Sells Hitler Valentine's Day Card]]> Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:41:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/v-card-mein.jpg

Needless to say, there's plenty of Nazi-themed stuff on the internet, some serious, some farcical.

This card, being sold on the website Etsy, fits the second category, but it's still stirring things up. Asking "Will Jew Be Mein?" it goes onto the next page, saying "I'll Be Fuhrerious If You Say No."

It's being sold for $3.99 by something called Ruthie's Magical Camera. No comment yet from Ruthie, despite efforts to reach out.

Some bloggers are laughing. Others are calling it insensitive, pointing out that we just marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. 

What's your reaction? Scott Budman is on Twitter at @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Etsy]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook, LinkedIn Join to Help Women in Tech]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:32:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/183*120/AP421009156066.jpg

Facebook and LinkedIn want to boost dwindling numbers of women studying engineering and computer science with a collaborative initiative announced Friday that they hope will eventually fill thousands of lucrative Silicon Valley jobs long dominated by men.

In an exclusive joint interview with The Associated Press, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and LinkedIn CEO Jeffrey Weiner said they're launching mentoring and support programs at colleges to get more women involved in studying technology in general, but also as future employees for their companies.

Fifteen percent of Facebook Inc.'s employees working in tech jobs and 31 percent of all employees are women, according to diversity figures the company released last year. At LinkedIn Corp., women comprise 17 percent of its tech employees and 39 percent of employees overall. Most Silicon Valley companies have similar demographics.

Telle Whitney, president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, which is a partner in the initiative, said diversity brings greater innovation in technology.

"Think about it,'' Whitney said. "If everybody who creates a product looks the same, you know the results won't be nearly as interesting. We want for the sake of our future to have women involved in all the projects that will change our lives.''

Sandberg launched an international conversation about the dearth of women in positions of power with her 2011 book "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.'' She has pressed to bring about change through her nonprofit LeanIn.org, which will provide a platform for the support groups.

"A lot of our consumers, at least half, sometimes more, are women. We build a product that gives people a voice. We know we can't build a product for the world unless our teams reflect the diversity of the people who use the product,'' she said.

But the talent pool is shrinking: The percentage of people enrolled in undergraduate computer science programs who are women peaked at 35 percent in 1985 and is now down to about 17 percent.

Weiner said LinkedIn needs gender equity to better serve users.

"To limit the perspective of the people building our product and services, if that's too narrow, it's going to lead to suboptimal outcomes,'' Weiner said.

The executives would not disclose how much of a financial commitment they are making, but the investment is different in that it's more focused on peer groups and a mentoring process already established through Lean In Circles. They hope it will go global, with groups at public and private universities.

Stanford University computer science student Lea Coligado, 21, said she and her female colleagues could use the support and mentorship.

"There's so few of us, so we definitely stick together,'' she said.

"I think there's a stereotype. It's understated and people don't want to say it out loud, but it's there — the idea that women are just not very good at computer science — and some use that to justify why our numbers are so low. It's flabbergasting.''

Coligado is not only good at programming, she loves it.

"Programming teaches me a very distinct way of thinking,'' she said. "If I have a problem, I break it into chunks and conquer it.''

Paige Rogalski, a senior at Santa Clara University studying computer engineering, said she saw the already scarce number of girls in her program leave in their first year.

"I think it was because of the intimidation factor,'' she said. "Computer science has been a male-dominated field.''

She said that while she's been mentored and largely supported, she also hears sexist comments and jokes, and was once told that her appearance was a factor in why she was hired.

"It still bothers me that as a woman I have to overcome prejudice and the sexualized view of women in order to be taken completely seriously,'' she said. "On the other hand, this comment has pushed me to work harder and have my effort and my work stand out and be what I'm known for.''



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter CEO "Ashamed" of Trolls]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:46:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/129504577.jpg

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo acknowledged that the company has failed at stopping abuse and trolls, according to a leaked memo.

"We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years," Costolo wrote in a company memo obtained by The Verge. "It's no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day."

Costolo was replying to an employee who brought up an article by Lindy West about being targeted by trolls on Twitter.

Costolo then wrote that he was "frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with his issue," and there was "no excuse for it." He then said he took full responsibility for not being "more aggressive."

While Costolo's words are comforting because they come from the chief executive of a social network, we will have to wait and see if Twitter's actions will speak louder.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["High There!" App Sparks Stoner Love]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 05:49:48 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/High+There+App.jpg

Stoners looking for that special someone, rejoice: There is a new way to light up connections with others who share a love of weed.

High There! is a dating app, similar to Tinder, designed especially for marijuana smokers.

The Denver-based app is available for Android phones in states where use of marijuana is legal, according to its download page in the Google Play store.

High There! doesn't yet have an iPhone app, though several media reports say one is in the works.

Similar to Tinder, High There! lets users create profiles and swipe through potential matches. But the app also lets weed-smokers let others know what they like to do when high. A preview on Google Play shows the options to set your "energy level" to "low" if you like to veg out, or to "high" if you want to go for a run after you partake.

The app also matches people based on their preferences for consuming THC -- vaping vs. smoking, for example.

"High There! solves the problem many cannabis consumers face in connecting with similar people," according to the app's download page. "Whether looking to connect with new friends, current friends, fellow patients, or simply to find that special someone who understands and supports your choice to consume, High There! helps by giving you a safe place to express yourself."

CEO Todd Mitchem told Mashable the app is designed for more than just dating.

"A lot of people say we're the Tinder of weed, but that's only one facet of the whole thing. It's so much bigger," he said.

Mitchem said the app can help users find recommendations for local medical marijuana dispensaries, or just make friends. (Presumably, friends with some weed.)



Photo Credit: High There! Screen Grab from Google Play]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Purchases 56 Acres in Menlo Park: Report]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:30:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/facebook19.jpg

Facebook is getting bigger.

The social network is an even larger landholder in Menlo Park following a purchase of a 56-acre industrial park near its current campus, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The buy could be worth as much as $400 million, the newspaper reported.

Facebook is busily expanding: The company is already preparing to move into a new building across the street from its current offices, a building designed by Frank Gehry, no less.

The industrial park was formerly owned by Prologis, the newspaper reported.

Facebook executives told the newspaper that the idea behind the expansion is "integrat[ion] into the community."

Facebook has been in Menlo Park since 2011. In that time it has bought three other parcels of land near its headquarters on Bayfront Expressway, the newspaper reported.

Facebook now has 200 acres of land in Menlo Park.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>