<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:49:10 -0400 Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:49:10 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested After Assault]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:31:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/police-lights-night-shutterstock_54084688.jpg

Police arrested an Uber driver a woman accused of sexually assaulting her earlier this month.

Police charged 31-year-old Reshad Chakari of Alexandria, Virginia, with second-degree sexual abuse.

On July 20, police went to the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW where a 25-year-old woman reported that an Uber driver sexually assaulted her. She had several drinks at a nightclub while celebrating her birthday and passed out in the car, News4's Darcy Spencer reported. According to the police report, the woman said Chakari touched her while she was sleeping in the car.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh said she wants to make sure these drivers are not preying on women. While Uber is required to perform background checks on drivers, that may not be enough, Cheh said. She said installing panic buttons in cars could help.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," said Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber Technologies. "It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation.”

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for more on this developing story.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Phone Chargers and Adapters Recalled]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 17:41:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/recall33.jpg

Two recalls have been issued for chargers that can overheat phones, causing a burn hazard, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The first recall warns about Gemini adapters and chargers that were given away at trade shows between October and April.

The company has received one report of a consumer who was burned on their hand, according to the CPSC. All chargers of this brand should be thrown out. About 31,000 chargers are affected.

The second recalls warns about Lifeguard Press charging kits. Seven models of charging kits with universal serial bus (USB) connectors that are used to recharge Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod devices are affected by the recall, according to CPSC.

They were sold under the brands Ban.do, Jonathan Adler, and Lilly Pulitzer between February and June.

Lifeguard Press has received six reports of the wall chargers emitting smoke and sparking and six reports of prongs detaching from the plug, according to CPSC. No injuries have been reported.

Consumers may contact the company for a refund. About 25,400 are included in the recall.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Kardashian Game Propels App Company]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 15:26:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/KK11.jpg

Kim Kardashian is money.

Glu Mobile knows.

The app-maker is the publisher of "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," a free-to-play game downloadable from Apple's App Store. And Glu Mobile is also enjoying a wave of success after its stock shares jumped 42 percent in recent months thanks to the Kim game, Bloomberg News reported.

San Francisco-based Glu Mobile officials say they're not surprised that Kim's celebrity power could compel hordes of downloads and plenty of in-game purchases, the trick that makes free-to-download games lucrative.

In the game, users try to negotiate their own celebrity landscapes, using advice from Kardashian herself to rise from the "so-called E-list" to the "A-list," the website reported.

Revenue from the game could hit $200 million, an analyst told the website.



Photo Credit: GC Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber: What to Know About Car Service App]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:42:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/451565438.jpg

Summoning a driver at a push of a smartphone button is a lot easier than trying to hail a cab during rush hour, which may explain why Uber, a car service app that connects passengers and car services within minutes, has become so popular.

The San Francisco-based startup, which launched in 2010, is the biggest of the car-hailing apps (others include Lyft, Sidecar and Wingz), operating in 120 cities and 37 countries. Uber relies on a surge-pricing model, which means the fares increase during high-demand periods. The company has come under fire from traditional taxi drivers who say the service is not fair and might even be illegal. This battle between upstart and establishment is likely to continue, and may benefit riders from a cost perspective.

Meantime, here’s what you need to know about Uber:

  • How Does Uber Work?

A customer requests a car using a smartphone app and Uber sends its closest driver to their location, using the phone’s GPS. The fare is charged directly to your credit card. Uber provides five types of services: UberX, the cheapest option which allows for the hiring of livery car drivers with a smartphone; Uber Taxi, which lets you e-hail a yellow cab; Uber Black, a private hire car; Uber SUV, the car seats up to six people and Uber Lux, which features the priciest cars.

  • Who Drives Uber Cars?

UberX drivers are not licensed chauffeurs and they use their own cars. They also use their personal auto insurance policy while driving for Uber and they are not required to get commercial liability insurance. According to the company website, all ride-sharing and livery drivers are thoroughly screened and the company conducts ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records throughout their time with Uber.

The review process may be flawed.  A three-month investigation by NBC4's I-Team found that convicted felons passed Uber background checks across the country. And in an undercover investigation, NBC Chicago hired several UberX drivers and ran their own background checks on them and found numerous tickets for speeding, illegal stops and running lights.

  • Is Uber Safe?

States are warning riders who hail an Uber or another ride-sharing cab that they may not be covered by insurance if the driver gets in an accident. But Uber and other ride-sharing companies say that is not the case.

"There's no insurance gap at all on any trip on the Uber system," Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian told NBC News. She said the company's $1 million policy provides sufficient coverage in case a driver's personal insurance fails to do that.

There are other safery concerns as well. A 32-year-old Uber driver in Los Angeles was arrested in June on suspicion of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room, police said.

And a California couples told NBC4 an Uber driver stole $2,500 in cash and personal items from them after he picked them up from LAX and dropped them off at their West Hollywood condo.

  • How Much Is Uber Worth?

Uber was valued in June at $18.2 billion, less than a year after being valued at $3.5 billion. The valuation was the highest-ever for a venture-backed start-up and experts say Uber is positioned to become one of the most powerful companies in the world.

  • Uber Capping Fares in Emergencies

Uber announced Monday that it will cap fares during emergencies and disasters in all U.S. cities. The company said prices may still rise higher than usual during an emergency, but the increase will be limited. The price will always stay below that of the three highest-priced, non-emergency days of the preceding 2 months, according to Uber's website.

The company was accused of price gouging when it applied surge pricing after Hurricane Sandy, in some cases doubling the normal fares.

  • Uber Slashing Fares in Some Cities

Uber also said Monday that it was temporarily cutting UberX rates by 20 percent in New York City, making its service cheaper than taking a yellow taxi.

An UberX ride from New York’s City’s Grand Central Terminal to the Financial District will now cost about $22, down from about $28. The same ride in a city cab will cost about $24, according to Uber’s blog.

Uber has also reduced fares in Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.

  • Uber Banned in Some Cities

While taxi operators often shell out more than $1 million for a medallion to operate in some cities, Uber drivers don’t. At least six cities (Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Ann Arbor, Michigan; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Miami) as well as the state of Virginia have banned ride-sharing companies. Another seven cities and three states (California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania) are trying to regulate them.

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[30 Md. Cab Companies Suing Uber]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:40:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Uber-Council-102313.jpg

More than 30 Maryland cab companies are suing Uber, saying the company is hampering their ability to do business.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Baltimore Circuit Court, reported the Baltimore Sun. The lawsuit claims Uber's surge-pricing model is similar to price fixing, and the car service is creating an unfair marketplace.

Taxi companies have begun to fight Uber, a popular ride-sharing company that uses an app to summon rides. In D.C., taxis affiliated with the D.C. Taxi Operators Association closed down Pennsylvania Avenue last month in a protest against Uber that gridlocked traffic.

Virginia has barred Uber from operating in the state, and in San Francisco, the head of one of the oldest cab companies in the city has said that traditional taxis may not survive 18 months in the face of competition from Uber.

Maryland has become a new battlefront for the dispute, with cab companies lobbying against proposals to regulate Uber differently than cab companies.

The cab companies claim that services like Uber aren't regulated the same way that taxis are. Uber has countered that the ride-sharing model isn't a taxi service, and pointed to the consumer demand for the product.

Two of the companies that sued in Maryland -- Barwood Tax and Sun Cab -- are based in Montgomery County.

An Uber spokesperson says it's too early to comment on this lawsuit, but the company will defend itself if it has to.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Is Oakland the New Silicon Valley?]]> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 14:35:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/219*120/jacklondonsquare.jpg

Tech companies are now branching out into the East Bay, favoring Oakland after being priced out of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

Erik Collier serves as one of the general managers of Ask.com, a search engine company that moved into Oakland's City Center from Emeryville in 2004.

"We knew it was cool before it was cool," Collier said. "We were looking for more space. Oakland seemed to be a great spot, a central location to transportation."

Other startups and tech companies moving into Oakland point to the cheaper costs of doing business, especially compared to San Francisco or on the Peninsula.

The average price for an apartment in San Francisco is $3,500. Oakland's average rent is about $2,000 a month for an apartment.

"All the young techies want to be in the East Bay," Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney said. "It is so hot. They don't want the sterile environment of those isolated campuses of the old tech."

McElhaney considers old-tech powerhouse companies to be the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple, all of which helped make Silicon Valley famous, simultaneously driving up rents south of the City in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, neither of which have much in the way of rent control.

She is touting Oakland as the next big thing for the tech industry.

"At this point, Silicon Valley is old money," McElhaney said.

The Sears and Roebuck building in Oakland will soon become part of  the city's renaissance. The building has been sold and the new owner plans to turn the building into retail and office space for more start-up companies.

Oakland restaurateur Irfan Joffrey, owner of Camber, said the upswing seems to be gaining momentum.

"A lot of new businesses are moving in," he said, "just because other businesses are coming into town so they can benefit from the economy."

]]>
<![CDATA[SF Parking App Makers Threatened With Fines, Lawsuit]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:32:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/06-23-2014-parking-app.jpg

Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who think they can solve San Francisco’s parking woes – and make some cash at the same time – are busy launching new apps that match drivers in need with much-coveted parking spots in the city.

But these tech companies could fold just as quickly as they started – or face possible fines or lawsuits – if they choose to go through with their business plans. 

On Monday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a cease-and-desist letter to MonkeyParking, claiming the app is illegal because it attempts to lease public, on-street parking spots.

Herrera also sent a similar letter to Apple, asking the Cupertino-based giant to remove the app from its store. Herrera also vowed to send out two more letters to ParkModo and Sweetch, companies with similar business models that charge consumers money to find empty spaces in parking-starved San Francisco.

Herrera’s letter said the companies will face a $2,500 fine, and a lawsuit, if they don’t stop operations by July 11. And his letter brought up issues of safety, logistics and equity regarding the controversial apps in a city where parking is in short supply.

In an email, MoneyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny said he wasn't allowed to say too much because he hadn't yet time to consult with his lawyers. But in general, he said, he believes his company is "providing value to people," where users can "make $10 every time you leave a parking spot" by holding that spot until the next person comes. He said he feels his service should "regulated and not banned."

But, in an interview on Monday, Sweetch founders insisted that they’re not selling public spaces, they’re selling information. And the founders – French students who developed the app while taking an entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley – vigorously defended their business model.

In fact, Sweetch Co-Founder Hamza Ouazzani said his company attorneys told his San Francisco-based team that the app is “perfectly legal.” He explained that Sweetch’s goal mirrors Uber and Lyft, which also attempt to match people through the “sharing economy." Those two companies have been visible players in the ongoing conflict between tech ventures and public entities.

The Sweetch app, which charges users $5 to park, and pays users $4 to sell their spot to someone new, aims to make parking smarter, Ouazzani said, by providing a lower cost option for people who want to decrease the time they spend hunting for a place to park.

Ouazzani said while he’s not worried about Herrera’s threats, his team is now in consultation with attorneys to decide what the next move is for Sweetch.

The next move, at least on the city attorney’s behalf, will be to start fining, or suing, the companies who don’t heed his warnings. Herrera’s office noted, however, that Sweetch’s app, with its set-price model, does not appear to be as egregious as the other two apps, which encourage online bidding wars over parking spots.

City attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said his office isn't buying the app makers' logic. He said companies that claim to be selling “parking information," as opposed to the spot itself, are giving consumers a line that is “patently false.”

Companies like these are “holding on-street parking hostage,” Dorsey said in a phone interview. He added that San Francisco police code clearly bans the buying and selling of public spots to drivers. “It’s like selling off Muni seats,” he said.

Plus, Dorsey is skeptical that the information the companies are selling is even useful.

 “In the Mission District,” he said, “That information isn’t going to be good for very long.”

Herrera’s office is also arguing that drivers using these apps will make the roads more unsafe.

“Presumably, you’re still on your iPhone while you’re driving,” Dorsey said.

And, on a social justice level, Dorsey said the city attorney is concerned that the apps might "fly in the face of San Francisco values," making parking even more difficult for those without parking app access.

“It’s not fair that people with the ability to pay have a better chance to find parking in San Francisco than you or I might,” he said. “It’s already a city with affordability problems.”



Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sweetch]]>
<![CDATA[Daughter's Letter Gets Dad Week Off of Work at Google]]> Tue, 24 Jun 2014 15:15:10 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_07_google_car.jpg

A little girl's summer wish came true, thanks to a letter she wrote to Google.

Katie wanted her dad, who works at Google, to spend more time with her, so she wrote the Mountain View company a letter asking for him to have Wednesday off. 

"Can you please make sure when daddy goes to work, he gets one day off," she wrote in the letter, which is going viral on Twitter.

"P.S. It is daddy's birthday. P.P.S. It is summer, you know," she added.

The letter worked, according to "The Today Show," as Google responded with a letter thanking Katie for the note and giving her dad the first week of July off as vacation time.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

]]>
<![CDATA[Google Doodle Takes on Office Workers Sneaking Peeks at World Cup ]]> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:36:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/worldcupgoogledoodle.jpg

Google outted office workers around the world with a doodle that features the iconic "Google" letters sitting around a conference table watching a World Cup game.

The animated letters are seen switching from the game to a graph presentation when a stern looking letter "B" walks by with a clipboard in hand. Once the B-is-for-Boss is gone, the PowerPoint presentation switches back to what appears to be an exciting match as the Google letters cheer and fist pump.

Users who click on the Doodle were taken to coverage of Monday's Netherlands vs. Chile match.

Researchers have yet to calculate the estimated loss of work productivity during the 2014 World Cup, but the U.S. economy in 2010 took a $121.7 million hit due to the 21 million soccer-loving Americans who watched for 10 work minutes a day during the South Africa games, according to NBC News.

]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Down for the Second Time This Week]]> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:03:08 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP120112075763.jpg

Facebook appeared to be experiencing an outage on Friday afternoon. Users attempting to log on would see either a blank screen or an error message.

This is the second time this week the popular social networking site went off the grid. Facebook suffered its longest and biggest outage in the middle of the night on Thursday as millions of users around the world found themselves unable to access their accounts for about half an hour starting at 4 a.m. ET.

The latest service disruption started at about 1:13 p.m. ET, according to downrightnow.com, a website that monitors web services. Facebook was back up by 6:00 PM ET.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Target Fixes Glitch That Caused Delays at Checkout]]> Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:29:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/target9.JPG

Target says it has fixed a glitch that caused delays at checkout stands at some of its U.S. stores Sunday.

The company said it identified the source, and that it was not a security-related issue.

“We sincerely apologize to anyone inconvenienced by this issue,” said Molly Snyder, a Target spokeswoman.

One customer told NBC4 on Twitter that a Target store in Tustin was unable to process debit cards. The store handed out coupons for $10 off to customers, she said.

Last December, Target announced it was the victim of a cyber attack that resulted in the theft of at least 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tesla to Open Up Its Electric Car Patents]]> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:49:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tesla_models_car_red.jpg

Electric car maker Tesla Motors is sharing its technological brainpower with the world and will open up all of its patents in an effort to boost electric car production.

"Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a blog post announcing the decision Thursday.

Musk said he hopes encouraging other electric car manufacturers to use Tesla's technology will help make cars less reliant on gasoline.

"Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis," Musk wrote in his blog post.

"Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day," he added.

Musk said his new business strategy was based on open source philosophy, which encourages the free and open development of technology, and said sharing Tesla's technology "will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard."

The announcement came the heels of Monday's reveal that Tesla also planned to encourage standardized electric car specifications by opening Tesla's Supercharger system to other auto makers, Engadget first reported. The Supercharger lets Tesla drivers charge half the car's battery life in about 20 minutes.



Photo Credit: Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[TweetDeck Security Issue Gives Hackers Access to Accounts]]> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:27:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*160/tweetdeck18.jpg

Users of Twitter's popular web app TweetDeck are encouraged to log out of their account right away.

Users reported on Wednesday morning that the app was creating pop-up alerts all by itself. The issue seemed to be affecting those who use TweetDeck on Google Chrome, but some reports show that other versions were affected as well, according to the tech blog Gigacom.

Mashable reported that the service has a security flaw that could allow hackers to gain access to user accounts. TweetDeck confirmed on Twitter in the afternoon that the issue has been fixed.

In addition to logging out of and logging back into the app, users are encouraged to remove access to TweetDeck from the Twitter app before using the service again.

]]>
<![CDATA[LAPD Drones Raise Privacy Concerns]]> Sun, 01 Jun 2014 19:58:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/lapd+drone+web+copy.jpg

The Los Angeles Police Department’s recent acquisition of two drones has the ACLU concerned over potential privacy issues.

While the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California applauded the LAPD for being transparent about the department’s acquisition of the Draganflyer X6 drones, the group “questions whether the marginal benefits to SWAT operations justify the serious threat to privacy,” said executive director Hector Villagra.

“They can be used for completely surreptitious surveillance that a helicopter could never perform,” Villagra said in a statement. “Drones equipped with facial recognition software, infrared technology, and speakers capable of monitoring personal conversations would cause real harms to our privacy rights.”

For now, the LAPD has not decided whether or not to use the unmanned vehicles. The drones are being held by a federal law enforcement agency and is pending review by the LAPD and the Board of Police Commissioners, a five-member group that is set in place to serve as the citizen’s voice in police matters.

The drones would be used in narrow cases such as to “prevent imminent bodily harm” or “a hostage situation or barricaded armed suspect,” according to a news release from the LAPD.

The drones were originally purchased by the Seattle Police Department with federal grants and were given to the LAPD free of cost. 



Photo Credit: draganfly.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Business "Lyfts" Off in Miami]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 23:44:41 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Blurry-cars-generic.jpg

Just before sundown Thursday, Lyft took off in South Florida with a party in the street.

Lyft is a smartphone app linking users to drivers for rides in Miami-Dade County and as far as Fort Lauderdale. The service launched in Tampa just a few weeks ago.

"People not only connect on the app, but also in person," said Cybele Safadi, Lyft's first Miami driver.

Her car, like all Lyft vehicles, sports a pink mustache, a signal for passengers that their ride has arrived and it's safe.

"We have this joke here at Lyft that if you're dating a Lyft driver, then you know you're in good hands. They're super, super squeaky clean," Safadi said.

Lyft says it screens riders and drivers through Facebook, and also conducts additional background checks.

"You log in either through Facebook or you submit your phone number and go through a verification process," expalined Lyft spokesperson Alma Aldrich. "You're entering your information, and then, we're tracking the ride through GPS. So, it's an incredibly safe, and again, friendly way to get around town."

The service fees are fixed, and drivers and riders get to rate each other. To some, Lyft may sound like Uber, another app-based car service that tried to enter South Florida.

"The Lyft business model is very different from a lot of other services that exist in the transportation industry. We are a purely peer-to-peer model. So, that means that you or I, once we pass the background check, pass the vehicle inspection, can be drivers with our own vehicles," said Aldrich.

Drivers must be at least 23, drug free, drive late-model cars and be insured. Some local cab operators believe Lyft is skirting the law by transporting passengers for money, without county certifications to provide that service.

And, with Urban Beach Weekend, Memorial Day, and summer around the corner, Lyft is betting on a big launch.

"This is the perfect opportunity for folks in Miami to try out Lyft," Aldrich said.



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![CDATA[International Science Fair Attracts Local Students]]> Tue, 20 May 2014 05:15:54 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/isef.jpg

Go anywhere in the world in scientific circles and mention "ISEF", and immediately, the researchers, teachers, and students will know what you're talking about: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

It is sometimes called the Olympics of science. Anyone who walked into the Los Angeles Convention Center last week would see why. It's an overwhelming maze of scientific research projects, all done by high school students.

"We want kids all over the world to have the chance, not to learn about science, not to memorize facts about science, but to be scientists, try that on for size, see how that fits," said Wendy Hawkins of the Intel Foundation, which sponsors the fair.

This year, seven Miami-Dade high school students and an equal number from Broward County made it to ISEF. That means they all had to win at the local and state levels to compete with the best from all over the world. This year, 1,800 students from 70 nations showed off their research projects.

What's the best thing about spending a week in Los Angeles, discussing science with peers, judges, astronauts, and Nobel Prize winners?

“Definitely meeting new people, it's life-changing,” said Chandler Precht, a student at Westminster Christian School in Miami who did her research on the effects of pollution on coral reefs.

"We got to listen to a whole panel of six Nobel laureates talk about their research and answer questions from the audience and that was really exciting as well," said Nicole Odzer of Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. She studied mutations in Everglades shrimp populations.

The ISEF experience is designed to motivate and inspire kids to continue their scientific pursuits and have fun doing it. The Universal Studios Hollywood theme park was rserved one night just for them to blow off steam. They compete for prize money and scholarship dollars, but just being there at ISEF is already a victory.

"What we really see as the most valuable opportunity is for these kids to meet each other, other scientists from around the world, the chance to talk and argue with real working scientists about the work that they've done," said Hawkins. "They're taken seriously as scientists and they see themselves as scientists, that's life-changing."

Perhaps the biggest eye-opener is rubbing shoulders with, trading pins with, and exchanging ideas with teenagers from every corner of the earth.

"I turned around and I was, like, where are you from? And they were from China, it was so cool," said Swati Narasimhan, a student at Killian High School in Kendall.

“You really feel like the world is bigger than you think it is and you have more things to do. It's not just your small community. You just feel like a part of something much bigger. It's very inspirational," said Yenny Dieguez of Miami Lakes Educational Center. "Definitely not in Hialeah anymore!"

Every discipline of science is represented at ISEF, and it seems like every country you've ever heard of is represented as well. Some of the foreign kids wear their nations' native costumes, which adds a huge dash of cultural flair to a scientific event.

“Just talking to kids who love science as much as you do is really inspirational and it makes you want to pursue research as a career," said Brigitte Blanco of Pine Crest School.

From astrophysics to zoology, the kids absorbed evertyhing and seemed astounded by what they found at the ISEF.

“The amount of curiosity and interest in finding new ways of looking at things and solutions for a lot of problems," points out Vivek Miglani of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland as an example.

Brilliance all around the cavernous exhibition hall. I watched a girl from Indiana and a boy from Kurdistan take a selfie together, dissolving borders and boundaries. ISEF is about social science, too.

]]>
<![CDATA[Top Google Doodles]]> Mon, 09 Jun 2014 18:02:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Google-Doodle-Winner.jpg Since 1998, Google has created over 1000 colorful and imaginative doodles to commemorate important holidays and people. Take a look back at some of the most iconic designs from around the world.]]> <![CDATA[Zuckerberg Sued By Real Estate Developer]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 21:44:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/zuckrberg.JPG

The developer didn't build it -- and help from Mark Zuckerberg never came.

That's what one Palo Alto real estate developer claims.

So the developer, Mircea Voskerician, is suing the Facebook CEO, claiming that Zuckerberg reneged on a promise to send Voskerician business after Voskerician agreed to sell the tech titan a key piece of property, according to reports.

It all began when Zuckerberg set about buying $43 million worth of real estate in a preservation-minded spending spree, the San Jose Mercury News reported

Zuckerberg was troubled by the idea of new homes near his Crescent Park spread in 2012 and 2013, and wanted to buy up the empty lots to keep them empty.

Voskerician agreed to sell to Zuckerberg a Hamilton Avenue property for $1.7 million, agreeing that Zuckerberg would in exchange help steer other real estate business Voskerician's way, according to the lawsuit.

Voskerician says that the $1.7 million bill was a "discount," the newspaper reported, and that Zuckerberg "blew him off'" after the sale was done.

An attorney for the tech mogul says that Zuckerberg had no such deal in place and that the lawsuit is "just meritless."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Report: AT&T Eyeing Merger With DirecTV]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 20:45:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/directv1.jpg

Another major media merger may be in the works. According to Bloomberg News, AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire DirecTV for roughly $100 a share, or approximately $50 billion.

Bloomberg reported the deal would entail DirecTV continuing to operate, but would become a division of AT&T. The telecom giant would combine AT&T’s wireless, phone, and high-speed broadband with a national satellite provider.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the two companies have previously tried to work out a merger, but the talks failed multiple times. DirecTV also attempted to merge with its satellite competitor, Dish Network, but that deal was not allowed by government regulators.

What has changed this time is the announced plans by Comcast to purchase Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. The deal, if approved by government regulators, would create one of the largest cable/Internet service providers in the nation. (Note: Comcast is the parent company of NBC/Universal)

Another appealing element for AT&T, according to Bloomberg, is the planned expansion of DirecTV in Latin America. AT&T would also get access to DirecTV’s exclusive content like the NFL Sunday Ticket and other items like multi-room DVR’s according to Bloomberg.

What’s not known is how a potential merger would impact AT&T’s television service, UVerse. Any potential deal would have to be approved by antitrust regulators and that’s not guaranteed.

]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix Hikes Price $1 More a Month]]> Mon, 12 May 2014 09:26:05 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Netflix-logo-new.jpg

Netflix will raise its monthly subscription rate $1 to $8.99, but current subscribers will get a two-year reprieve, according to reports.

Netflix sent its subscribers an email about the price hike which will  affect new subscribers, according to CNET. After 24 months, current subscribers who now pay $7.99 a month will also have to pay the $8.99 price. Netflix said the price hike is necessary to expand its offerings.

New pricing will also take effect in the United Kingdom where monthly rates will also go up £1 per month, as well as €1 more in the rest of Europe. The lower price for current subscribers is likely to prevent its users from jumping ship. From the Netflix letter, "As a thank you for being a member of Netflix already, we guarantee that your plan and price will not change for two years."

The streaming service has previously created its own content, including the critically-acclaimed  Kevin Spacey vehicle, "House of Cards" and women's prison dramedy "Orange is the New Black.."
The company had talked about raising rates last month, mainly to pay for its new content. 

When Netflix last raised rates in 2011, customers revolted and quit the service. Netflix took a more measured approach in 2014 to not alienate its current customer base..



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Words People Tweet About Their Moms]]> Fri, 09 May 2014 15:10:19 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mother%27sdaypic.jpg

How would you describe your mom?

In honor of Mother’s Day, Twitter published a list on its blog of the top 10 words and phrases people have tweeted this year about their mothers.

"Happy" topped the list, which was ranked by the number of times a word or phrase has been used in a tweet since Jan. 1. Here's the full list:

1. Happy
2. The best
3. My life
4. My everything
5. Beautiful
6. Proud
7. Pretty
8. Amazing
9. My world
10. Strong

Twitter also shared an interactive map to show the popularity of tweets about mothers in countries around the world. The geotagged tweets were based on Mother's Day mentions in 10 languages.

Mother’s Day is Sunday in the U.S. Other countries celebrate their own version of the holiday at different times from February through March.

In other Mother's Day social news, the hashtag #MomQuotes began trending on Twitter on Wednesday after “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon asked viewers to send in tweets of “funny, weird or embarrassing” things that their moms have said.

Check out the best ones that he featured on Thursday's show here.


 



Photo Credit: Ryan McVay/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Hits the App Jackpot and Catches the Eye of Facebook]]> Sat, 03 May 2014 06:55:49 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/zuckerbergpic.jpg

It's called "Four-Snaps" -- a word puzzle game with a social twist; and it’s one of the hottest apps on the market. The brain behind it all is just 17-years-old and is from right here in South Florida and it could land him a job with one of biggest names and companies in social media.

NBC 6 reporter Jamie Guirola spoke exclusively with the app’s designer, Michael Sayman.

When asked to describe coding, Michael Sayman launches right into it. He said, "How do you have that error? Well a method I came up with is something is wrong with errors, ns error, ns object, ns c which is basically an error code type which is pf error internal server"

Did you get all that? Because NBC 6’s Guirola, and most of the rest of us, couldn’t. That's why this teenager is going to work for billionaire and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and we're not.

Michael said, "The people at Facebook found out about me and then eventually Mark Zuckerberg found out about me and I was like, “Whoa! This was way too fast.’"

Michael, a child prodigy has conquered coding, a computer language used to build apps and games. It's landed him much success, money, and a future with Facebook. Zuckerberg interviewed Michael at the social media giant’s headquarters.

Michael said, "I had no idea he was going to be just sitting there and he just turns around and he’s like ‘Hey Michael.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh my God he knows my first name.’ That was all I was thinking about; it was just crazy."

Michael’s digital dreams started when he was 13. Since then he's developed 13 apps. And he eventually designed one that would be the jackpot.

Michael said, "Right now it’s the number one word game on the U.S. App Store and it’s in the top 200 apps in the entire U.S."

Guirola asked, "How old are you? He replied, "17."

Guirola said, "You have a huge smile on your face it must be a great feeling."

Michael said, "It’s a crazy feeling for sure."

Four Snaps is a social picture snapping and guessing game. Even though it’s free, it’s helped net this Miami teenager hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So what did Michael do with his newfound wealth? He helped pay for his parents new home and there’s more. He also helped pay for his sisters tuition.

Michael said, "There’s so many things in my life that they’ve done for me that now, when they need the help, I have the chance to help them out."

And even though Michael knows he’s unique for his age he wishes more teens could be the same.

Michael said, "The sad part is that I wish there were more. I wish there were more 17-year-old kids like me that know how to program."

Until then, he’ll keep coding away until he hits another jackpot.



Photo Credit: Michael Sayman]]>
<![CDATA[South Florida Teen Tries To Change Grades]]> Mon, 05 May 2014 14:30:00 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/computer-keyboard-generic-0.jpg

An 18-year-old would-be computer hacker is facing serious charges after trying to help students get better grades for money.

Sources tell NBC 6 that the teenager, Jose Bautista, is accused of trying to change the grades. The 18-year-old was arrested by Miami-Dade County Schools Police.

Sources said Bautista was trying to change the grades in exchange for money. Sources told NBC 6 that Bautista is a student at Michael Krop Senior High School.

"If it is true, it's definitely not fair to the rest of the students," said senior Brett Curtis. "We have almost 3,000 kids here who come to school every day and work hard for every single grade that they earn."

Curtis, who leads the school's debate team, bristled at the thought of Bautista's alleged crime.

"From our valedictorian to the bottom, we have some amazing kids and this is definitely not representative of Krop as a whole," Curtis said.

Other students shared Curtis' shock.

"Changing people's grades? I mean, it's not really fair to the people who really try," said student Mayan Derhy. "A lot of kids are in AP classes and the try really hard to get the grades that they get. If you're just gonna be lazy and change your grade, that's not what learning is about."

Parents were also surprised, but felt confident the incident was a one-time thing.

"I'm sorry that it happened, but I know that these are super smart kids here and young people are young people. I don't know that child and I'm sorry that he did that."

Bautista has been charged with four counts of intellectual property crimes for modifying a program and four counts of modifying computer user data. All eight crimes are felonies.

In his first court appearance Friday, Bautista was granted bond, but was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and was placed on house arrest.

MIami-Dade Public Schools sent NBC 6 a statement about the crime: "The school district takes incidents like this very seriously. In addition to the arrest and ongoing criminal investigation, the Code of Student Conduct provides for corrective strategies up to and including recommendation for expulsion."

]]>