<![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 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:25:04 -0500 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:25:04 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Doorman" Keeps Online Orders Safe]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 03:42:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1125-2014-Doorman.jpg

A San Francisco start-up wants to make sure you never miss a package again, or have one stolen off your doorstep. Doorman delivers boxes and envelopes to your door, when you are home.

“Shopping behavior online is changing dramatically,” said Co-Founder of Doorman Kapil Israni. “People are getting their toilet paper online. The problem is they're never home to get their package."

Doorman gives its customers an address to use when purchasing online. That package goes to the company’s warehouse, and customers are alerted when it arrives. The user can then respond with what time they’ll be home that night. One of the part-time contracted drivers then takes the package to your front door and texts you when they’re outside. Deliveries are made between 6 p.m. and midnight, seven days a week.

"This is our attempt to modernize the last broken piece of e-commerce,” said Co-Founder Zander Adell.

Packages arrive the same day they would if you ordered directly from a retailer. The cost is $4 per package, or $20 dollars a month. The hope, is you'll never miss a package again.

“There's nothing worse than getting a door tag. I'd rather get a parking ticket,” said customer Michele Mandell.

“If I'm not home, (other delivery companies) just return it. Then I have to take my car to the center and lose 3-4 hours,” said customer Loic Le Meur.

For now, Doorman is only available in San Francisco, but there are other options in the Bay Area.

Amazon has lockers you can ship packages to, and pick them up when you’re available.

If you ship through the Postal Service, you're urged to insure your package and make sure the box or envelope has to be signed for when it arrives. You can also track its progress online.

"One thing people do is have a trusted neighbor keep an eye out for their packages and say, 'hey, I'm expecting something, can you keep an eye out for it, and I'll do the same,” said USPS Spokesperson Augustine Ruiz.

The Postal Service announced its employees will begin delivering seven days a week through the holidays. USPS expects to deliver 12 percent more packages this holiday season than the same time last year. That equals more than 450 million packages.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[3-D Printing Gives Chance to Little Girl Born With Heart Defect ]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:50:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/195*120/11-24-14_Heart-Defect-Surgery-Hensel.JPG

Esther Perez was born with heart defects that could have taken her young life, but thanks to a series of breakthrough procedures at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the now-14-month-old little girl is thriving.

Using a series of conventional MRIs, 3-D MRIs and an incredible printer that reconstructed a model of the girl’s heart, doctors were able to plan her surgery, practice it and reduce her risks and increase her chances of survival.

That was the first miracle for her mother, Martha Perez, who found about her daughter's medical problem while she was still in the womb.

"I stop the pregnancy, or continue. Maybe the baby will be born for just five, 10 minutes, and then the baby maybe will be dying," she recalled, near tears.

Perez credits her faith with helping her to make it through the pregnancy, but when Esther was born, things looked bleak.

Her cardiologist said the baby just wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her body.

An early surgery provided a temporary fix, but as time went on it became clear a second, much more serious operation was needed.

Doctors decided the innovations could help, including creating a life-size model of Esther’s heart.

The paper-and-plastic model was an exact replica of Esther’s heart, so doctors could explore and strategize before the actual surgery.

"As soon as we opened the heart, it was exactly as I had seen before, so making the patch and doing the connections were quite straightforward," said Dr. Richard Kim, the cardiothoracic surgeon who operated on Esther.

Similar heart surgeries were done long before the 3-D technology was available, but doctors said it has helped increase the effectiveness and safety of similar operations.

Dr. Kim said Esther now stands a very good chance of having a healthy, normal life.

Perez said she’s grateful for the chance her daughter has been given.

"It’s a miracle," she said.

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<![CDATA[7 Tech Trends for 2015]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:40:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP836878317132.jpg

Will 2015 be the year of wearable tech?

The long-awaited Apple Watch will be making its debut in early 2015 and consumers will be able to get their hands on newly available 3D printers to make food and collectibles. Smart home devices are also among the hot tech trends in the new year, experts say.

“It’s a world of synced devices that will become mainstream in 2015," said Stacy Glasgow, a Chicago-based consumer trends consultant for market research firm Mintel. "It’s no longer about startups or early adopters. We’re seeing a lot of big retailers giving consumers smart products and devices.”

Glasgow said that in Mintel’s research, the company found that 59 percent of U.S. consumers were interested in using an app or device to control their home. About 22 percent already owned a wearable device already. “We definitely see that number in a position to grow,” she said.

Eric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. technology, media and telecom leader for Deloitte based in San Francisco, said that the wearable technology market is exploding but is probably going to be more important for businesses rather than consumers.

“I think there are huge benefits for the industrial user,” he said.

Coye Cheshire, an associate professor for the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley, said most of the trends we’re seeing have to do with playing with user data.

“It’s called instrumenting the experience,” he said. “It’s all these apps, such as fitness apps or other metrics, capturing user data and returning it back to the consumer.” The hype is exciting, but he said society is not quite sure what it really wants to know. “The assumption is that if there’s more of this data and you turn it back to the people it will equal better experience, but it remains highly unknown if that’s the case.”

Here's a list of seven tech trends for 2015:

TellSpec

The TellSpec is a small spectroscope that uses a beam of infrared light to figure out the composition of food and help users determine exactly how many calories and grams of fat, protein or carbohydrates they are consuming just with a wave of the device. The TellSpec shoots the information to a smartphone (Android or iOS) where users can see not only the vital stats of the food, but also if it contains allergens like eggs or gluten. The company has been busy scanning foods so the spectroscope has a full database and can identify traces of ingredients, according to Faster Company.

Cheshire seemed interested but not optimistic about the scanner. “Will some people carry them around? There are a small amount of people who are responsible for almost all the uptick of all devices,” he said of the new adopters. But will it be popular with the mainstream – that’s another story.

Wearable Technology

The Apple Watch will likely be a must-have for those who want both a status symbol and a stylish timepiece (they come in different colors, from sensible stainless steel to elegant 18K rose gold). Other wearable tech, such as Google Glass, have already made their debut and caused the public to crave more gadgets like it. Samsung is launching a new platform, Samsung Architecture for Multimodal Interactions (also dubbed SAMI), to capitalize on wearables. Expect to see more offerings from Microsoft, Motorola, Jawbone and others, including the Polo Tech Shirt which also offers biometric readings with a designer label.

Gartner Inc. predicts more wearable tech will come on the market because our society is becoming increasingly mobile and wants it available in more environments, including work. Cheshire said that cheaper sensors are making it possible. “This is the early stage of wearable technology and different companies are trying to throw things at the wall and see what sticks,” he said. "If were playing futurist, I wouldn’t bet on many of these things being around in a few years."

Smart Appliances and Smart Homes

“Virtually every large appliance is looking at the ‘Internet of Things,’ from sensor technology to smartphones to home networks,” Openshaw said of today's smart appliances and machines. Both Nest and Apple have devised ways to tell your house to turn on lights, adjust the thermostat or record TV programs via your smartphone, and you can expect to see more in 2015.

According to GigaOm, small startups are also joining the smart home movement by adding Bluetooth so users can control light bulbs, outlets or even receive pictures with their smartphone of who is knocking at your door. Expect all these apps to work with voice integration, so you will literally be talking to your smartphone to start your dryer or start preheating the oven.

Digitized Dining

We’re all familiar with making reservations online with apps such as OpenTable or finding food online via GrubHub, but now more restaurants are letting you order your food online. Already Pizza Hut offers that capability (and receives half of its online orders from mobile devices) as does Panda Express. Some Chili’s and Applebee’s provide tablets for customers to order, while McDonald’s and White Castle are also working on a touch-screen customizing kiosk, which may do away with a cashier altogether.

“I think the trend is rooted to an unprecedented expectation for on-demand convenience,” Glasgow said. “It’s this new immediacy in shopping and food service.” She said to expect more “blurring” between online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Paying With Your Phone

The idea of “click and pay” with a smartphone has been around for the last few years, but perhaps it needed Apple’s new iPhone 6 to bring the mobile payment system to the mainstream. Security professionals say it's a "significant improvement over using a credit card" and Apple said it "doesn't collect your purchase history, so we don't know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it."

But there are still some issues. According to Consumer Reports, a reporter used his wife’s credit card after scanning it into his iPhone without impunity or questions and in October, Bank of America apologized for charging customers twice for purchases they made using the system.

Cheshire said that digital payment isn't enough to the transaction more seamless. “Paying by your phone alone doesn’t make it efficient,” he said, “but if you also make an order and pay for it with the same phone it can be.”

Life360

It may sound a bit creepy, and your teenagers will hate it, but keeping tabs on your entire family at all times is now a reality with this free Life360 app.

“If I had an application for (my kids aged) 11 to 12 so I could know what they’re doing, I would be thrilled,” Openshaw said.

Parents will likely love the “Places” part of the app that is literally a map that shows everyone in the circle coming or going from certain spots and alerts users when members have left or have entered a specific area.

“I think the social implication is that we’re raising our kids to know they can’t be trusted or trust people in general,” Cheshire said. Glasgow disagreed, saying that it may calm parental anxieties. “If I have an application for (my kids aged) 11 to 12 to know what they’re doing, I would be thrilled,” Openshaw said.

3D Printers

How would you like to have a printer that can create a gun or a pizza? Apparently many people are interested. The shipments of 3D printers will double in 2015 and double again in 2016, according to Gartner Inc. Previously the domain of scientific labs or universities, 3D printers have captured the interest of the masses perhaps because it can reduce costs and create facsimiles almost instantly.

“We see another trend that consumers are finding they enjoy making things on their own and I think 3D printing facilitates that,” Glasgow said, mentioning the beauty of 3D printer Mink which can create custom-colored eye shadow or lipstick.

Consumers may also be interested in exploring cuisine with the Foodini, a 3D printer that creates your favorite foods from “sweet to savory” according to CNN. Lynette Kucsma, co-founder of Natural Machines which creates the Foodini, says a consumer version of its product will be out soon and retail for around $1,000.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Company Unveils Electronically-Powered Skates]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:18:37 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1121-2014-RocketSkates.jpg

Forget walking or rollerblading — how about rocket skating?

California-based company Acton has developed electronically-powered skates that can propel the wearer up to 12 miles per hour — no pushing required.

Founders said the idea was inspired by "Iron Man," "Inspector Gadget" and "The Jetsons."

"The idea of just being able to slide around the urban environment is very exciting," said Peter Treadway, co-founder of Acton. "It's kind of like a magic carpet for your feet."

The skates were released this week and sell for $500 a pair.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[FB Shuttle Drivers “Like” Union Bid]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 07:11:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/fb16.jpg

Shuttle bus drivers who take Facebook employees to and from Silicon Valley overwhelmingly gave the "thumbs up" to forming a union on Wednesday, after they had complained publicly for months about their low pay, split shifts and health insurance benefits.

Rome Aloise, secretary for the Teamsters Local 853 in San Leandro, said the vote was 43 in favor of unionizing and 28 opposed. A total of 16 of the 87 drivers who work for Loop Transportation - the shuttle company contracted to drive Facebook employees, did not vote.

"This will now give these drivers at Facebook, and most probably the drivers for all of the companies that use this type of service a chance at a piece of the pie," Aloise said. "This makes it possible for those that make Facebook successful to get to work comfortably, safely and in a timely fashion.  Hopefully the tech companies will step up and pay the "freight" so to speak"

The National Labor Board still needs to certify the election, and then bargaining can begin with Loop for a first-time contract.

In a statement, Loop CEO Jeff Leonoudakis said that the company didn't feel "our drivers' interests are best served by union representation."

But, he added: "Our drivers have spoken and we will now begin the negotiation process."

Leonoudakis reiterated that the company's drivers earn between $17 and $25 an hour and get full medical benefits valued at up to $714 per month per employee. One of the drivers' complaints is over their split shifts. They pick up Facebook employees about 6 a.m. and have to take them home sometimes 14 or 15 hours later - and are only getting paid for an eight-hour shift.

Leonoudakis said that the drivers can sleep at the Loop Transportation yard, or eat for free at Facebook's campus.

Facebook officials has not formally commented on the labor strife, indicating that the fight is not with their tech company, but with a third party contractor.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Google "Trekkers" Maps Hiking Trail]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:23:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1118-2014-GoogleTrekker1.jpg

Google "trekkers" are helping you map out your next hiking trip and get a feel for being on the trail.

The backpack-type trekker carries 15 cameras and records the hiker's every move with the same technology used in Google Earth and Google Maps.

"The trekker takes an image as the person walks -- every two and a half seconds," said Deanna Yick, a Google Street View manager. "That enables us to get a picture of what a place is like and a feel for being there."

Hannah Lonergan recently went on a hike using a Google trekker.

"It's a lot heavier, you have an antenna, you have to watch out for low-hanging branches," Lonergan said when asked how a trekker compares to a regular camping backpack. She added that the trekker weights about 60 pounds.

The City of Monterey is working with Google to get trekkers on local trails.

"We feel like this is a great way to showcase Monterey County," said Tammy Blount, Monterey City Convention Bureau CEO.

Google officials said trekkers can handle privacy concerns on the spot. For example, if someone is hiking on the trial and doesn't want to be in the picture, the hiker can pause the camera and make sure the hiker's anonymity is preserved.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Tony Hawk Rides Hoverboard]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:28:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-11-17+at+3.26.35+PM.png

The hoverboard is reality, and Tony Hawk has taken a spin on it.

The pro skateboarder tested the $10,000 prototype Hendo Hoverboard after husband and wife Greg and Jill Henderson launched a Kickstarter to fund it. 

In the video, Hawk performs a few tricks on the board, which hovers an inch off the ground and uses magnets, though he also ends up falling several times.

Hawk had caught attention for another hoverboard video earlier this year — a fake video made by Funny or Die that featured the skateboarder, musician Moby and others riding boards high into the sky, in a prank for which Hawk eventually apologized.  


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<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Great Tech Toys]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 18:41:51 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CR_Tech_Toys_1200x675_356203075743.jpg

Electronic toys are a favorite gift. But don’t think that children have to just sit glued to a screen. Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine found four great tech toys that are loaded with creativity and will really engage the young ones on your list.

The $40 Leapfrog Leapband features “pets” that give kids activity challenges. It gets them up and moving, really active and engaged.

Crayola’s Virtual Design Pro kit is also $40. It has a colorful array of crayons, markers and stencils and a book full of car or dress designs. When you scan your drawings into a phone or tablet they animate. Models walk the runway and cars race through an obstacle course.

Another crafty device extrudes a thin stream of plastic that dries almost immediately so teens can turn their drawings into 3-D creations. The $100 3Doodler comes with 10 colors. Extra color packs are $10 each.

The $50 kit from MaKey MaKey is loaded with fun. The wired clips connect to a little circuit board and turn anything that conducts a current — everything from cucumber slices to bananas — into computer keys that play music.

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<![CDATA[Rocket Launch Aborted Over Boat Just Before Blast-Off]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:59:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/15011952803_64c309615d_o.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)
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<![CDATA[South Florida Woman Tells Her Airbag Horror Story]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:16:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/air+bag.JPG

 

Claribel Nunez still has a gash on her forehead, three months after she was struck by a piece of metal, which shot through the airbag in her 2001 Honda Civic during an accident.

The South Florida woman is now suing the airbag company that’s the subject of a nation-wide recall as well as the maker of her car, after the airbag went off during what she calls a minor fender-bender in Miami Gardens in July.

“I feel now in shock, sad, a little nervous to drive now,” Nunez said of her accident.

Nunez’s car is one of the eight million that are part of the growing nationwide recall over air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. The inflators can rupture, ejecting shrapnel in a crash. The list of recalled cars includes cars from multiple manufacturers including Honda and General Motors. Safety advocates says as many as 25 million vehicles may be equipped with the faulty air bags in the U.S. alone, according to The Associated Press. There have been recalls in Japan, Europe, China and other areas.

“If it landed two inches below on either side, she could be blind or even worse, killed,” Nunez’s attorney, Jason Turchin, said of the metal part. “What should’ve been a normal everyday car accident turned into something much scarier.”

Takata didn’t respond when NBC 6 requested a comment about the lawsuit. Earlier in the week, Takata said it’s working with the federal government and automakers: “Our joint objective is to do all that is possible to maximize motor vehicle safety.”

Honda didn’t respond to a request for comment via phone, email, or social media.

Nunez said that what happened to her should be a warning to other drivers to get their cars checked as soon as possible. Turchin said he’s already had four other clients who have claimed a similar thing has happened to them during an accident.

Automakers said there are now so many cars on the recall list that parts are starting to run out and it could take months for more parts to be delivered.

The most updated recall list from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration can be seen below:

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
  • 2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
  • 2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
  • 2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles 2003 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500

  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 3500
  • 2006 – 2008 Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008 – Dodge Ram 5500
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Durango
  • 2005 – 2008 Dodge Dakota
  • 2005 – 2008 Chrysler 300
  • 2007 – 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2004 – Ranger
  • 2005 – 2006 GT
  • 2005 – 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2005 Pontiac Vibe
  • 2005 – Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord)
  • 2001 – 2002 Honda Accord
  • 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
  • 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
  • 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
  • 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
  • 2006 – Honda Ridgeline
  • 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
  • 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
  • 2005 – Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2007 Mazda6
  • 2006 – 2007 MazdaSpeed6
  • 2004 – 2008 Mazda RX-8
  • 2004 – 2005 MPV
  • 2004 – B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2004 – 2005 Lancer
  • 2006 – 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2001 – 2003 Nissan Maxima
  • 2001 – 2004 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002 – 2004 Nissan Sentra
  • 2001 – 2004 Infiniti I30/I35
  • 2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
  • 2003 – 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2003 – 2005 Baja
  • 2003 – 2005 Legacy
  • 2003 – 2005 Outback
  • 2004 – 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 877,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

  • 2002 – 2005 Lexus SC
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Corolla
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix
  • 2002 – 2005 Toyota Sequoia
  • 2003 – 2005 Toyota Tundra 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Tablet-Laptop Combos]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 17:58:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CR+Laptops+081114.jpg

Tablets have been one of the fastest growing consumer electronics. But sales are starting to level off. And the laptop market has been declining for some time. Now there’s an emerging class of computers called detachables that combines a laptop and a tablet.

Detachables work like a laptop with more memory, storage, and power than a tablet. Then they can be converted into a tablet when you need something lightweight and easy to carry along. Consumer Reports has been checking out several detachables, and so far its testers haven’t been overly impressed.

The problem is detachables don’t do either task particularly well. As a laptop, they’re not as fast or as powerful as you would like. As a tablet, they tend to be a little bit heavy.

There are other concerns, too. On the Lenovo model, you can’t adjust the viewing angle of the screen like you could on a standard laptop. And on the Asus model, you get only 2GB of memory. Most laptops come with at least 4GB.

The only detachable that Consumer Reports recommends as both a tablet and a laptop is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. It has a great display and great battery life. And at 12 inches, its screen is larger than most other tablets. The Surface Pro 3 comes equipped with a Surface Pen, camera, and memory card reader, and starts at $800. The keyboard is sold separately for $130.

Consumer Reports says that more and more detachables are coming on the market, and it hopes to see lighter, more powerful models soon.



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Company Paid Workers $1.21 An Hour]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:47:49 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/1022-2014-EFI.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Censorgram Looks to Change Social Media]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 19:16:38 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/censorgramapp101614.jpg

The makers of a new app hope it will help some kids block out the dark side of social media, cyber bullying.

“Help stop cyber bullying, spammers, haters and more,” says the narrator of a promotional video for the new app called Censorgram.

The makers of Censorgram said they want to completely change the social media landscape.

“We’ve kind of dubbed it as the new social security,” said Jay Leopardi of Bad Boy Branding, the South Florida company behind Censorgram. “We can’t stop someone from killing themselves. That’s out of anybody’s control. However, we can mitigate the risk.”

The app works by entering key words, phrases, or hashtags that you think someone might use to taunt your child and the app stops any post that contains those keywords or phrases from appearing on your page.

“It eliminates the ability for somebody to cyber bully you or cyber stalk you,” said Leopardi.

Censorgram’s founder is actor Quinton Aaron, who starred in the movie, “The Blind Side,” and was bullied as a child in real life.

“I cannot stand to see someone get bullied,” said Melky Jean.

Jean is a three-time, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Jean said she and her more famous brother, singer Wyclef Jean, were bullied relentlessly as kids growing up in New Jersey because of their Haitian ethnicity.

“When I hear about children committing suicide because of their sexual orientation or because someone made them feel bad about themselves; it’s my job as a woman, as an artist, to do what I can to help them,” Jean said.

Once Jean learned about the app, she said she didn’t hesitate to jump on board.

“When I was 14, I was insecure, or maybe I didn’t feel beautiful, but back then we didn’t have Facebook where someone could go, ‘Melky, your skin’s too dark’ or ‘Melky, you’re chubby’ or ‘you’re fat,’ we didn’t have that back then,” Jean said.

Jean continued, “I remember how hard it was for me without social media. So now, not only can someone say that to your face, they can tweet it, they can put it on Facebook and thousands of people see it within seconds,” said Jean.

The Censorgram app hit the market without any marketing whatsoever. Now that celebrities are getting behind it; Jean is hoping a lot more kids will benefit from it.

“So getting involved with Censorgram,” Jean explained, “is my way of being able to say, you do have a voice, and we have your back.”

Jean says several NBA and NFL players have expressed interest in promoting the app and yes, she says brother Wyclef will be part of the team, too.

It’s available for download on Apple App Store and at the Android Play Store, free to try, and $3.99 for the full version.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Event: New iPads Announced]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:11:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/new-ipad-AP903945536056_0.jpg Check out the newest products and programs tech giant Apple announced on Oct. 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Report Links GoPro to Brain Injury]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:12:17 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP886669197394.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Temple Website Hacked to Show Hate Speech]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:11:16 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/templehacked.jpg

A South Florida synagogue says its website was hacked and plastered with pro-ISIS, anti-Semitic hate speech.

Temple Kol Ami Emmanu-El said the hack was first brought to its attention when concerned congregants began calling the synagogue to complain about what was on the homepage.

“Our website had been taken over, and had been redirected to this page that included hateful speech,” said Rabbi Howard Needlemen.

The hate speech was aimed at Jews, their faith and Israel.

The hack also boasted support of the radical Islamist militant group ISIS, infamous for the beheadings of captured western aid workers and journalists, including Steven Sotloff of Miami.

The synagogue's director believes the hackers are based in the Middle East based on discussions with investigators and the hackers' link to a purported Syrian hacking group. Some commenters on Facebook bragged about taking over the synagogue's site.

The site has been taken down as local and federal authorities are investigating.

“Although we were the first synagogue, I unfortunately do not think we’ll be the last,” said Rabbi Needleman.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Develop Brain-Teaser App]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:13:56 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/impossible+rush+app.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

And people did.

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

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

Valleskey said he was in disbelief.

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

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

His parents shared his latest excitement.

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

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

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<![CDATA[Tesla to End Speculation Over "The D"]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:12:54 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/209*120/10-09-2014-tesla-model-s-470486031.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

But the guesses don't stop there.

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

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Love May "Hinge" on New App]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 22:38:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/hingeapp.jpg

A new app for your smartphone is promising to succeed where many other apps have failed, the dating scene; and it all hinges on your friends.

“Hinge” says it’s about meeting new people through friends. Other apps like Tinder are more random, while Hinge says it will use your friends to help you meet the new person for your life. Hinge said a survey it conducted just before launch in Miami confirmed its approach.

“It turns out that almost everyone who responded to the survey in Miami said they prefer to meet new people through friends,” said Karen Fein of Hinge.

Hinge says the potential connections are from extended social circles and that users can also browse Facebook-validated profiles, photos, and full names. Still, the usage of friends had at least one person NBC 6 spoke to a little nervous.

“It might create some awkwardness with your friends, and saying like, ‘Hey, your friends just trying to get with me,’” said Mikaela Morton. “I would be uncomfortable if that happened to me with one of my friends.”

So if you’re looking to meet people in Miami, what does Hinge say is the best way? The app’s makers said the survey showed a few stereotypes hold true: having a swimsuit body helps, so does being bilingual, and if you like clubbing, you’re in the right place.

All of it might just be enough to help win over some users in South Florida.

“It’s a good idea,” said Morton. “I mean, I don’t know how successful it’ll be in creating something long-term, but it’s exciting.”

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<![CDATA[College Bans App Over Bullying]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:54:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/Yik+Yak+Norwich+University.jpg

Concerns over cyberbullying led Vermont's Norwich University to block users of the school's servers from accessing a social media app.

The app, Yik Yak, allows users to post anonymous blurbs, including rants, gossip, or praise for the best classes or parties. Those messages are visible to other users in close proximity.

"People are talking smack to other people; talking smack about the school and groups on campus and stuff," said student Michael Muradyan, describing content he has seen on Yik Yak at Norwich.

In a prepared statement, Norwich said the policy decision was made effective this past weekend.

"This action was taken in an effort to protect Norwich students and to demonstrate that bullying in any form is not tolerated at Norwich University," the statement read.

Norwich computer systems professor Mich Kabay said that message about cyberbullying is "something we need to get across in society."

Kabay, whose courses including one on cybercrime, told New England Cable News he knows cyberbullying can have extremely serious consequences for victims, including some around the nation who have taken their own lives.

"The more individuals and organizations that take a stand and say, 'No, that's wrong. I don't like that. That's ugly; we don't do that,' then we will see change across generations," Kabay predicted.

Muradyan pointed out to NECN that at Norwich, students can still access Yik Yak through their phones' own data plans-- separate from the school's servers.

"Kids are still finding a way around it," he said.

While there have been no official reports of criminal behavior at Norwich using the app, the school is launching an internal campus investigation into the issues of cyberbullying and the use of Yik Yak. The police are not involved in that internal campus investigation, which is being led by the school's vice president of student life and enrollment management, according to the statement.

In response to an NECN inquiry about its policy regarding alleged instances of cyberbullying, Yik Yak released a statement saying it "recognizes that as with any social app or network today, there is the likelihood for misuse from a small group of users.. It said it has "geo-fenced almost all primary and secondary schools and turned the app to 17+ in stores to ensure the user base is age appropriate and parents can easily block the app on their children's phones."

"Additionally, the app monitors conversations and posts, and any negative or harmful behavior can result in the respective user being blocked, or altogether banned from future use," the statement added. "Yik Yak also finds that as more users sign up and start using the app, communities begin to self-regulate in a positive way."

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<![CDATA[New Station Shakes Up Miami Radio]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 22:35:05 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shakeradiomiami.jpg

If you’re dialing through the radio in Miami, you may stumble across the region’s newest FM radio station, WMIV 107.9, also known as “Shake 108.” But, unlike most radio stations, this one is locally owned and operated by a computer and an antenna in Miami.

“In March of this year, I got a letter saying you’re approved for your station,” said Peter Stebbins, CEO of Shake 108.

Stebbins had been waiting to see those words for more than a decade. He had moved to Miami from Atlanta where he said the radio was less commercialized. He planned to launch his radio station, but ran into lots of red tape.

But then, a few years ago, Congress approved a bill that allowed the government to free up low-frequency airwaves to non-profits. Stebbins saw his opportunity and jumped in line.

“It was a five-day window where you could apply, that’s it,” Stebbins said.

And then about a month ago, Stebbins went on the air with Shake 108. He said he gets by from public donations, money from his own pockets, and support from family and friends. But, he also managed to line up one “voice” you may recognize.

“We’ve heard the same things over and over again, and it’s time for something new,” said singer Lina Gaudenzi.

Gaudenzi was a contestant on “The Voice” last season on NBC and is now lending her voice to Shake 108. There’s a host of other voices courtesy of Stebbins’ family members.

The station can be heard as far north as the Golden Glades and as far south as Coral Gables. When it comes to format, the best description may be anything goes. Stebbins said you can expect everything from bluegrass to Bob Dylan to 2 Live Crew and some other new names.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Man Buys iPhone 6, Drops It on Sidewalk]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 11:27:55 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-19+at+11.13.16+AM_edited-1.jpg

It's official: the new iPhone has hit the streets.

Jack Cooksey was reportedly the first person to leave the Apple store in Perth, Australia, with an iPhone 6. The 18-year-old shakily opened the phone's white package, but when the box lid came off, the gadget fell to the pavement. The blunder happened during a live International Business Times UK video broadcast, as a crowd of onlookers gasped and booed.

Luckily, the phone was unscathed.

"It's fine," Cooksey says in the video. His ego may not have fared so well.



Photo Credit: IBT UK
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Users Could Face Battery, Wi-Fi Issues From Latest Update]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:00:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tsiphoneupdatepic.jpg A tech expert advises consumers to wait before downloading the iOS 8 update.]]> <![CDATA[Do You Need the iPhone 6?]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:47:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/AP501921875874.jpg The question that's been buzzing: do you need the new iPhone 6? Tech reporter, Mike Wendland, shows what IOS 8 features are available for older iPhones.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Take the Phone Quiz: iPhone 6 or Android? ]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:46:44 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pile+of+phones1.jpg

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit the shelves at Apple Stores on Friday morning, ending weeks of anticipation by Apple fans.

At some Apple stores, lines have stretched around the corner for days or even weeks. Apple sold more than 4 million phones in online preorders on the very first day they were available. And this weekend, the company is expected to make billions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the phone line accounts for more than half of Apple's $171 billion annual revenue.

But is the phone for everyone? More importantly, is it for you?

We put together this Phone Wizard to help you find out. We examined the key features of eight state-of-the-art phones, looking at things like battery life, size, operating system and camera quality. After you answer a handful of questions about your personality, preferences and habits, we identify the phone that we think is right for you.

Now, don't get carried away: Just because we tell you the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better for you than the iPhone 6 Plus (that 4K HD is just so important to you, right?) doesn't mean you should go and buy one today. At least visit your local retailer to see how it feels in your hand before plopping down a few hundred dollars. But consider this a starting point. 



Photo Credit: Photograph: Alamy
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases Tool to Remove U2 Album]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/455053622.jpg

Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple has released a special tool that lets people remove the album from their collections.

U2 played at an Apple event last week that included the unveiling of the iPhone maker's new smartwatch and updated iPhone models. In a surprise move, the Irish rock band performed at the event and put out its 11-song release.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the new album would be given to the company's 500 million iTunes users. The release showed up in users' iTunes music libraries. The company said Monday that 33 million iTunes account holders have accessed the free album.

But some iTunes users took to Twitter to complain and ask how to remove it. While it was already possible to delete the album, Apple's tool makes it possible in one step.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[App Helps Sort Thousands of Car Recalls]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:36:51 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/cars_del_phones.jpg

Thousands of recalls are issued by car makers each year, making keeping up with all the recalls for your car quite tedious. That’s where the company Carfax says it can help alert drivers.

Carfax released a new free application for your smartphone or tablet that allows drivers to enter a little bit of information about the car into the system and it will find every recall that has been issued for the car. The app will also help monitor your vehicle’s maintenance, the company said.

Carfax said it gets all of the information through partnerships with dealers, service shops, manufacturers, and about 86,000 data sources.

If you want to know more about the app, click here.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadephia]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Investigating Threats with Possible Links to ISIS]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:17:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/TWITTER-ISIS-THREATS-SOT-TZ---18281826.jpg

Twitter says its security team, along with relevant law enforcement officials, is investigating the veracity of apparent death threats made against its employees by radical Islamists.

The threats reportedly showed up on a Twitter account with ties to the Islamic State rebel group that has beheaded reporters.

Twitter has 800 employees in San Francisco, but none were eager to talk to reporters on Tuesday. The social networking service has been taking down accounts the company believes are platforms for the terrorist group ISIS. It is believed that action is what prompted the threats posted on such an account, which has since been removed.

The original threatening posts were in Arabic and initially translated on the website Vocative. They reportedly said:

“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter’s management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them.”

“Every Twitter employee in San Francisco in the United States should bear in mind and watch over himself because on his doorstep there might be a lone world assassin waiting.”

Steve Weber, a terrorism expert at UC Berkeley, believes the tweets are intended to frighten, but are without substance. “Day-to-day employees there are probably in more danger walking across the street in San Francisco than the likelihood of being hit by a terrorist assassin inside the United States,” he said.

Marc Sandalow, associate director of the University of California’s Washington Center, said he believes ISIS is using the threats and the recent videotaped beheadings of journalists to raise its profile on the world stage, but since President Obama’s initial statements discounting ISIS, the group’s soldiers have taken control of a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Weber says “that has moved the discourse in Washington from ‘Maybe this thing is just going to go away’ to ‘We need to make sure that this thing goes away.’”

The president laid out his strategy for going after ISIS to members of Congress on Tuesday. Wednesday night, he briefs the nation at 6 p.m. PT in an address that will air live on NBC.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>