<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usWed, 29 Mar 2017 06:55:42 -0700Wed, 29 Mar 2017 06:55:42 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[PG&E Tests Methane-Sniffing Drones in Livermore]]> Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:53:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Methane-Drone-PHOTO.jpg

They searched for methane on Mars. Now, they’re ready to cruise your neighborhood.

PG&E on Tuesday tested methane-sniffing drones at a training facility in Livermore.

The utility hopes the ultra-light, super-sensitive sensors designed by NASA scientists to detect dangerous chemicals on Mars will have a public safety application here on Earth.

Lance Christensen, a chemist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said his team turned to partners in the utility industry to test out the technology's usefulness in detecting methane gas leaks.

"Because it only weighs 100 grams, it can be deployed on small aerial robots. That means you can develop systems, autonomous systems that monitor natural gas infrastruture, do science in the Arctic," he said. "This adds a whole new level of capability to public safety, to climate science, that just isn't there right now."

The sensor is mounted on a simple off-the-shelf drone without a camera. One person pilots the device while another monitors the sensors with a laptop.

Currently, utility employees use a heavy hand-held gun to find methane leaks.

An aerial device would allow them to scan more quickly and access hard-to-reach places.

The sensors are also thousands of times more sensitive than the standard technology used by utilities to maintain gas infrastructure.

"A cow will generate more methane than the leaks that we are testing here today," said PG&E Research Manager Francois Rongere.

Microbes in the stomachs of cows produce methane. Livestock is the largest source of methane gas emissions worldwide, contributing over 28 percent of total emissions.



Photo Credit: Raquel Maria Dillon/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[5 Millennial Jobs That Parents Just Don't Understand]]> Mon, 27 Mar 2017 04:51:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/millennial-generic.jpg

Millennials tend to have head-scratching job titles that just don't make sense to their parents, NBC News reported.

To be an "influencer" or "app developer" is a relatively new trend that might lead some to believe their millennial friend or family member doesn't have a real job.

Take, for example, the up-and-coming position of social media manager. A social media manager is involved with managing and growing a brand's social media presence. Responsibilities usually include creating content, managing partnerships, strategizing ad campaigns and interacting with customers.

NBC News rounded up four other "millennial jobs" that it turns out are actually pretty important.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Program After Crash]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:24:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16349000708921-Uber-Self-Driving-Cars.jpg

Uber Technologies Inc. suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

As Reuters reports, the accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe.



Photo Credit: Eric Risberg, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[How Can You Keep Your Internet Searches Private?]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 16:08:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/google+%281%29.png

The Senate passed a joint resolution on Thursday, barring the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules passed last year that would ban internet, cable, and mobile providers from selling your data without your consent, NBC News reported.

Robert Siciliano, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com told NBC News the best way to protect yourself is by installing a VPN — that's a virtual private network. This piece of software will encrypt your data on the internet. 

You'll also want to start paying attention to cookies — those little pieces of data sent by a website and stored on your browser.

Kate Tummarello, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said that if enacted, the new rule would be a "crushing loss for online privacy," essentially prioritizing profits over privacy.

NBC News is a division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable provider.



Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[Robot Helps Boy Go to School]]> Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:10:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Max+Robot.jpg

Despite a degenerative disease that makes going to school a life-threatening situation, a three-year-old Maryland boy attends classes every day thanks to technology allowing him to connect with his classmates, make friends and even join them for lunch.

Max Lasko and his mother operate a Beam telepresence robot from home, several miles from school.

“When Max first started, every time Max would beam in on the robot, they would be really excited and yell, ‘It's the robot! It's the robot!’” teacher Allyson Levine said. “But after about a week or two, it became, ‘Max is here.’”

Max was born with spinal muscular atrophy, which makes it difficult for him to move, breathe and eat. He can’t be in a classroom for fear of catching a cold or flu, which could be life-threatening for him.

“We felt that it was really important -- since Max's cognition is fully intact, his social intelligence is fully intact -- we wanted him to be able to interact with his peers but we wanted to do so safely,” said his mother, Kristen Lasko.

Max's mother is a teacher, and his father, Jonathan Lasko, is a computer scientist. They applied for and won a grant to cover the costs of the robot, and they asked the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville to accept Max into class.

“What our role is is just to be accepting of everyone,” said Ora Cohen Rosenfeld, head of the Bender JCC Early Childhood Center. “And I think this is teaching our children to see Max as a child just as they are with the same needs. He’s different and yet he's very much the same.”

Max is on a ventilator, and his mother puts "angel arms" on him so he can move his hands and participate in activities like coloring for a friend’s birthday picture book.

Max vocalizes but lacks strength for articulation. His mother understands everything he says.

Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Max surprised his mother when he replied he wants to be a teacher like she is.

“A teacher?” his mother reacted. “You want to be a teacher? I didn’t know that. Wow.”

“I’m glad he has these teachers as role models,” Jonathan Lasko said. “He's looking ahead and imagining himself in the role of teacher, and just like any of us, he's not going to let his different abilities get in the way of doing what he is passionate about.”



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[First of Three Spacewalks Underway at ISS]]> Fri, 24 Mar 2017 09:38:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_INT_NASASPACEWALK_032417_1-149037083343000001.jpg

Two astronauts left the International Space Station on Friday to prepare the orbiting laboratory for the arrival of commercial space taxis and to tackle some maintenance.

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<![CDATA[SF Startup Offers New Hires $10K De-Location Package]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:49:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/0929water1.jpg

Talk about an astonishing turn of events.

Citing the Bay Area’s astronomical rents, tech startup Zapier is paying new hires $10,000 to move away from here.

No, you didn’t read that wrong.

The company has replaced relocation packages with an experiment aimed at delocation, Zapier’s co-founder Wade Foster wrote in a blog post.

Zapier is behind a tool that enables different web apps to work together automatically, and all of its employees work remotely. Zapier's team includes an estimated 80 people, according to SF Curbed.

But people who live in the Bay Area should not be forced to pick between professional and personal development, reasoned Foster, who as a Missouri native is familiar with the challenges associated with living in what appears, at least on the surface, to be a “thriving tech scene.”

“If you work in tech in a small town, coming to the Bay Area is like coming to the big leagues,” Foster wrote. “You actually encounter people who understand what you do on a day-to-day basis.”

But look closer, and the blemishes appear.

A chronic housing shortage and steep rents are common across the Bay Area. So people, some of whom earn six-figure salaries, are unable to make it more than a pitstop.

“The housing crunch and high cost of living simply price out many families and, despite loving the area, the realities are many of us need to look elsewhere to create the life we want for our families,” Foster said.

But Zapier doesn’t want its employees to have to choose.

To that end, it will help employees looking to move out of the Bay Area with up to $10,000. The fine print of the package says that it will reimburse employees for “moving expenses you incur in the first three months while working at Zapier. We also ask you stick around Zapier for at least a year.”

Foster acknowledged that prohibitive costs of living are common in a number of other U.S. cities. Right now, though, this delocation package is available only to people seeking to leave the Bay Area.

Based on how this test goes, there is a chance the program will be expanded to help Zapier employees in other parts of the country, he said.

NBC Bay Area has reached out to Zapier, but has yet to hear back.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[iCloud Hacked, 200M iPhone Users' Data in Danger: Report]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:56:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/apple-mac-generic.jpg

An extra ounce of digital prevention could save hundreds of millions of iPhone users a ton of worry.

Hackers, calling themselves the Turkish Crime Family, claim to have hacked into Apple’s iCloud, accessing an estimated 200 million accounts. That’s a lot of photos, music files, and other personal data potentially in the wrong hands.

The Family is demanding a ransom from the tech giant in exchange for releasing the purloined iCloud accounts. Parties claiming to be the hackers told NBC Bay Area they are demanding $700,000. (Business Insider reported earlier Wednesday that the ransom was $75,000.)

“This is a wake-up call,” says Asaf Cidon of Silicon Valley security company Barracuda Networks.

Cidon recommends two-factor authentication: Adding an extra layer of security to your password or phone code.

“Extra prevention,” he says, “helps thwart attackers when they do happen to get ahold of your password.”

Meanwhile, the Family says without the ransom, it will eliminate the data on April 7.

Cidon says don’t worry too much, just add a little extra protection to your data.

Apple late Wednesday provided the following statement:

"There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID. The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.

We're actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and are working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved. To protect against these type of attacks, we always recommend that users always use strong passwords, not use those same passwords across sites and turn on two-factor authentication."

Scott’s reports can be found on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: AP, File image]]>
<![CDATA[At Facial Recognition Hearing, Congress Attacks FBI]]> Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:20:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/170321-face-recognition-nsf_c73b4424b103834c97bd0af277c04c4d.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Democrats and Republicans alike hammered the FBI on Wednesday for its use of facial recognition software to identify potential suspects, saying the technology fosters racial bias, leads to arrests of innocent people and trashes Americans' privacy.

More than 400 million pictures of Americans' faces are archived in local, state and federal law enforcement facial recognition networks, according to the federal Government Accountability Office, NBC News reported.

Those pictures include the faces of about half of all U.S. adults, experts estimate.

"I have zero confidence in the FBI and the [Justice Department], frankly, to keep this in check," Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Massachusetts, said at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Regulation.



Photo Credit: National Science Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Wholesale Expands Test of Home Grocery Delivery ]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:52:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with another third-party service, CNBC reported.

Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, said Tuesday it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area. The service is available to consumers using the Shipt app.

Costco already has home grocery delivery service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart, another third-party delivery service.

Costco didn't respond to requests for comment.

In Tuesday's release, Shipt said it plans to offer its services to 50 markets and over 30 million households by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Red iPhone 7s Will Soon Hit Apple Stores]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:10:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iPhone_7_and_iPhone_7_Plus_Product_Red_Hero_Lockup_2_Up_On_White_PR-PRINT.jpg

The palette of colors that iPhones come in is increasing this week, as Apple releases a red special edition of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The new edition will be available to order on Friday in the United States and around the world, and it gets its color to mark the 10th anniversary between Apple and the AIDS-fighting organization (RED), the tech company announced Tuesday. The phones will start shipping by the end of March.

(RED) raises money through the sale of branded proudcts for a group called the Global Fund, which invests funds in local programs to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics around the world. (RED) funding goes to HIV programs in Africa, the organization says.

"Apple is the world's largest corporate donor to the Global Fund, contributing more than $130 million as part of its partnership with (RED),” (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan said in a statement.

iPhones already come in rose gold, gold, silver, black and jet black.

Apple also announced Tuesday that it's dropping the price on its 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display.



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Uber President Jeff Jones Resigns]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 13:17:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-500350466.jpg

Uber President Jeff Jones has resigned just six months after joining its ranks.

"We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best," Uber spokeswoman Sophie Schmidt said in a statement to NBC News confirming Jones' departure.

The No. 2 executive at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company cited differences in "beliefs and approach to leadership," technology news site ReCode reported.

“After we announced our intention to hire a COO, Jeff came to the tough decision that he doesn’t see his future at Uber," CEO Travis Kalanick wrote in an internal email to company employees. "It is unfortunate that this was announced through the press but I thought it was important to send all of you an email before providing comment publicly."

Kalanick praised Jones' contributions to Uber, including the company's "first brand reputation study, which will help set our course in the coming months and year."

Sources with Uber told NBC News the departure is effective immediately.

Jones is the latest in a string of high-level executives to leave the company. Earlier this month, Uber asked engineering executive Amit Singhai to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment during his tenure at Google, NBC News reported. 

Ed Baker, Uber's VP of product and growth, also quit Uber this month, according to Recode. 

In a statement to Recode, Jones offered a harsh review of the company.

“It is now clear, however, that the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride-sharing business."

Jones was Target's chief marketing officer before joining Uber in August 2016. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Target
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<![CDATA[Apple Engineer Converts Used Van Into Mobile Laundromat, Offers Free Loads to Homeless]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:41:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/loads+of+love+4.jpg

Ron Powers, a mechanical engineer at Apple, turned a used van into a mobile laundromat and made it available for free to the homeless of Santa Cruz, California. He said he spent many years focused on studying his faith and now spends his nights and weekends living it. "I wanted to restore dignity to people. I wanted to improve health," Powers said of his "Loads of Love" program. 

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<![CDATA[Tech Showcase at SXSW]]> Fri, 17 Mar 2017 04:53:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SXSWTech0316_MP4-148975049933200001.jpg Tech companies are taking the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.]]> <![CDATA[Driving on the Roads of the Future Will Be a Real Trip]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:02:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458366538-driving-generic.jpg

In the near future, autonomous cars will be able to communicate movements with each other over short distances and interact with traffic lights, NBC News reported.

To combat distracted driving, cars with dedicated short-range communications technology can transmit their location, direction and speed to other vehicles.

As more companies get on board with developments like this, roads have the potential to get much safer, but buying a car equipped with such technology will do drivers little good at the moment, as it isn't widespread yet. 

"The technology is already stable, but we have a kind of 'chicken-and-egg' problem," Raj Rajkumar, a connected and autonomous vehicle researcher with Carnegie Mellon University, told NBC News. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Hack Leaves Accounts Calling Dutch 'Nazi' in Turkish]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 06:04:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/3-15-17-twitter-still.jpg

A rash of Twitter hacks left hundreds of accounts, from media outlets to Justin Bieber's Japanese account, branded with the Turkish flag and sending messages out in Turkish, CNBC reported. Sharon Katsuda reports.

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<![CDATA[Pi Day 2017: 3.14 Things to Know About Pi]]> Tue, 14 Mar 2017 04:51:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-112303538-pi.jpg

Tuesday is Pi Day, a national celebration of the mathematical concept, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter and equals 3.14... Two years ago, 3-14-15, was the only day this century that matched pi, commonly approximated as 3.14159. 

Schools and museums often plan events to celebrate the concept, which has fascinated humans for centuries.

In the spirit of the holiday, here are 3.14 things you may not know about pi:

1. No one is certain who discovered pi as we know it today

But we do have some ideas. It seems that the Egyptians used pi in the construction of the Great Pyramid because when the perimeter is divided by its height, one gets a close approximation to 2π. It’s the same result if one divides the circumference of a circle by its radius.

But the most significant pi research might have come from the astronomer, Archimedes, around 250 B.C.

His mathematical calculation showed that pi was "between three and one seventh and three and 10 seventy firsts,” Steven Strogatz, an applied mathematics professor at Cornell University, told NBC in a 2015 interview. “He approached that putting a six sided figure into a circle, then made it 12 sided, and went all the way up to a 96-sided polygon.”

He proved that pi was found somewhere between these two numbers, which applied to all circles.

2. You can find your identity in pi

One myth is that since pi is a continuation of numbers, people’s identities can be found in the pattern: like social security numbers or birthdays.

This theory, which had circulated around Reddit for years before getting a popularity jolt from a George Takei Facebook post (that post appears to have been taken down), posits that all number combinations can be found within the digits of pi. 

A version of this theory posted on Reddit says of pi: "Converted into a bitmap, somewhere in that infinite string of digits is a pixel-perfect representation of the first thing you saw on this earth, the last thing you will see before your life leaves you, and all the moments, momentous and mundane, that will occur between those two points."

But Professor Strogatz stressed that the meme is misleading.  Even if it is true (which is not yet known), the digits in pi would tell us nothing about a person's life or identity, because along with correct social security numbers and birthdays, there will also be wrong social security numbers and birthdays.

3. Proving pi with matches

You can prove pi exists with matches, toothpicks, a pen, or anything else that is the same length, explained Johnny Ball, the author of “Why Pi? (Big Questions).”

“There’s a wonderful way to find pi for yourself. You find a floor with parallel lines; you find matches, pins, pens, exactly the same length. If you drop a hundred of them at random on the floor, the points touching a line will equal pi,” Ball said.

The matches' length must be equal to the distance of the two parallel lines. After the matches are dropped, you multiply the number of matches thrown down by two and divide it by the total number of matches that touched a line, which will equal pi.

This problem was discovered in the 18th century by French mathematician Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.

Check out this video on Dr. Tony Padilla's YouTube channel Numberphile where he demonstrates Buffon's Needle Problem:

3.14...Legislating against pi

In 1897, Indiana state legislators tried passing a Pi Bill that legally defined pi as 3.2. Edward J. Goodwin, a physician, convinced a well-known mathematical monthly newspaper that he had solved what mathematicians had tried to do for generations: squaring the circle. Simply put, squaring the circle is the impossible task of finding the area of a circle by finding the area of a square around it. Goodwin claimed that pi was 3.2 instead of a continuous number. The bill never became a law thanks to Professor C. A. Waldo who convinced the Indiana Senate that Goodwin’s discovery was not possible.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Faster Food? McDonald's Tests Mobile Order-and-Pay System]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 19:38:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/03-15-2017-mcdonalds.jpg

If McDonald's has its way, fast food could become even faster.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Is There Such a Thing as an Internet Kill Switch?]]> Sat, 11 Mar 2017 01:34:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Is there a switch you can flick to kill the internet? According to a panel of experts at this year's SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, that universal "kill switch" does not exist — yet.

"When people figure out how to push the right buttons…it just makes us better at realizing that taking the steps to get more resilient are necessary," Christian Dawson, co-founder of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition said during a Friday panel.

The idea doesn't seem that far-fetched, especially following two recent incidents that knocked parts of the internet offline: one, a simple typo by Amazon Web Services; the other, a botnet attack on internet company Dyn.

As NBC News reports, a Brookings Institution report released in October found that in the previous year, internet 81 disruptions in 19 countries came at a cost of $2.4 billion total to the economies of those nations.



Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Feel Stressed? Stop Checking Your Phone, Study Says]]> Fri, 10 Mar 2017 17:23:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SmartphoneStress0309a_MP4-148918974502400001.jpg

A recent study finds mobile users who check their phones frequently feel more stressed. According to the American Psychological Association, we are a nation of "constant checkers" and it's taking a toll. Some experts consider this a behavioral addiction.

 
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<![CDATA[Optimus Prime Rib: Robots Start Delivering Food in DC]]> Thu, 09 Mar 2017 08:40:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/030717+food+delivery+robot.jpg

It's now possible in D.C. to have a robot deliver a hot meal to your door.

Robots from the delivery company Starship Technologies are rolling along Washington streets as part of a pilot program, a company spokesman said.

News4 spotted one of the robots — which look a little like a black-and-white version of the Pixar character Wall-E — cruising along M Street NW in Georgetown about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"This is the world's first delivery robot," Starship Technologies spokesman Henry Harris-Burland said.

The robots that move as fast as 4 mph were created to deliver takeout food, groceries and packages.

"Anything you can order online, it can deliver," Harris Burland said.

The robots are equipped with sensors designed to prevent them from running into things. They each have a red flag and flashing lights. The only sound they make is the mechanical whirring of their wheels.

Starship Technology is working with Postmates, which lets users have food delivered from restaurants including Ted's Bulletin, &pizza and Fig & Olive.

A limited number of customers in D.C. will receive a text message telling them a robot will deliver their meal. The user will be able to track the route of the robot. Then, a second text message will include a link to click that unlocks the top of the robot so the user can take the food.

The Starship Technologies spokesman recommended that people who want to have a robot serve them sign up for Postmates. They will be notified if robot service becomes available in their area.

"We are very, very early stage," Harris-Burland said.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[New Tech Could Change Food Nutrition Labels ]]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 13:54:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_labels0307_1500x845.jpg

New smart glasses developed by researchers at Colorado State University could change how food labels are printed on boxes and cans in your local grocery store. The FDA is looking to roll out this new tech by 2018.

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<![CDATA[Comey: 'No Such Thing as Absolute Privacy in America']]> Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:21:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/COMEY_BOSTON.jpg

FBI Director James Comey spoke at a cybersecurity conference at Boston College Wednesday, addressing current encryption software, the idea of privacy in the modern age and how the FBI can improve its fight against cyberthreats.

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<![CDATA[What Changes to H-1B Visa Rules Mean for Tech]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:53:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/646440506-Trump-Joint-Session-Congress-Address.jpg

U.S. immigration authorities suspended a program last Friday that expedited visas for skilled workers — a darling class of workers in the tech community.

Despite stoking tension in tech companies, it's a relatively routine decision that's happened under past administrations. But it is missing one key piece of information — a timeline— and that could affect businesses, CNBC reported.

"Premium processing" of H-1B visas, which allowed skilled workers to pay extra to request faster approval to work in the U.S., will no longer be available starting April 3, immigration authorities announced.

That basically means all applicants will have to wait the standard period to see if they have won the "lottery," without the option to pay an extra $1,225 filing fee for guaranteed answer after 15 days. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Rolls Out its Fake News Tool]]> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 20:31:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-85595143-facebook-generic.jpg

In an effort to combat fake or biased news stories, Facebook is introducing a "disputed news" flag to stories disproved by third party groups, NBC News reported.

Once a story is marked, a group of researchers at Facebook sift through the stories and determine which ones should be sent to fact-checking organizations, including Snopes, Politifact and Factcheck.org. Stories determined to be fake will remain on Facebook, but will be flagged as disputed, and will include a link with an explanation.

The tag was originally announced in December, but it's gaining traction in the United States as Facebook continues to roll it out. The tag is part of new tools that allow users to tag any items they consider "disputed."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dan Kitwood]]>
<![CDATA[Bitcoin Value Surpasses Gold for First Time]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:34:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bitcoins.jpg

Bitcoin hit a major milestone on Thursday, surpassing the price of an ounce of gold for the first time in the digital currency's history, NBC News reported.

Some investors are now saying this development solidifies the Bitcoin currency as "digital gold." The price of one Bitcoin was $1,271 by Thursday evening, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. An ounce of gold was priced at $1,235, according to Oklahoma-based precious metals retailer APMEX.

Bitcoin, created in 2009 by software developer Satoshi Nakamoto, is a type of digital currency that computers "mine." Unlike dollars or euros, the currency is not printed. The price of one Bitcoin was just $421.60 this time last year, which means the value has more than tripled in the last 12 months. 

According to the International Business Times, more than 100,000 merchants around the world accept Bitcoins as a form of payment, including Microsoft, Dell and Expedia.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>