<![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 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:07:23 -0400 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:07:23 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Man Buys iPhone 6, Drops It on Sidewalk]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:46:17 -0400 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.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: IBT UK]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Users Could Face Battery, Wi-Fi Issues From Latest Update]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:45 -0400 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 11:47:14 -0400 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? ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:57:56 -0400 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]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases Tool to Remove U2 Album]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:14:07 -0400 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 23:36:51 -0400 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 09:17:09 -0400 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]]>
<![CDATA[The Apple Watch: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 07:51:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-watch-thumb-new.jpg

Rumors of the Apple Watch have been swirling since 2012, and while Apple is not the first to debut a smartwatch, it has arguably designed the most elegant wearable yet.

Why isn't it called iWatch? Apple may have been unable to license the name as it is owned by Swatch.

Name aside, here are the top features to know about the Apple Watch.

Requires an iPhone, Old or New

The watches require an iPhone: either the new 6 and 6 Plus, or the older iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, meaning 200 million people can already use the device, Cook said.

The Handoff iOS 8 feature will let you start composing an email on the Apple Watch and finish it on your phone, iPad or Mac.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. In addition, the newly introduced payment system Apple Pay will work with the watch.

A New User Interface: The Digital Crown

As CEO Tim Cook pointed out, with each new product category Apple created a new UI: the Mac's mouse, the iPod's clickwheel, the iPhone's multi-touch. For the Apple Watch, there is the Digital Crown.

The Digital Crown, a souped-up dial on the right side, provides a way to scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. A wearer can scroll through lists and messages, make selections and more without obstructing the screen.

From CEO Tim Cook: "What we DIDN'T do is shrink down the iPhone interface and put it on your wrist. That'd be a horrible experience!"

Interactivity and Communication

The watch will have Siri, Maps and Photos apps, among others. The Maps app shows the way and guides wearers to go left or right with a tap. From a feature called Friends, wearers can make a call, send a message, customize emojis or a sketch made with their finger.

There's also a feature called "Glances," which you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see stocks, meetings, weather and world time.

Wearers can also send their friends a "gentle tap on the wrist" through haptic feedback (or tiny vibrations), even if they are thousands of miles away. They can also capture and send their heartbeat by pressing two fingers on the screen.

More than a Health Tracking Device

Apple is pushing the watch heavily toward fitness-savy consumers. A "Workout" app will monitor calories burned and miles run, and an "Activity" app will show the same metrics over the course of a day.

The watch measures three aspects of movement inside "rings": Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring gives an overview of how active the wearer is, while the Exercise ring measures brisk activity, and the Stand ring shows how often the wearer has stood up to take a break from sitting.

An accelerometer measures body movement while a custom sensor measures intensity by tracking the wearer's heart rate.

Customizable Faces, Bands

There are three watch collections: the Apple Watch, made with stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport, inside an aluminum casing; and the Apple Watch Edition, made of 18k gold. There is also a smaller-sized watch for smaller wrists.

For the bands, there are six different versions, made of leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel, and each has a mechanism that makes the straps interchangeable.

The screen is made of ultra-durable sapphire, resistant to cracks. Wearers can personalize the capabilities and appearance of the faces.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's New Watch, iPhones]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:22:58 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/edt-iwatch-1.jpg Apple announced two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its new Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino on Sept. 9.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 20:26:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-lead-455042032.jpg

Apple unveiled a sleek new smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch and two new, bigger iPhones on Tuesday, marking its much-heralded entry into wearable technology and signaling its intentions to keep innovating three years after co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

The event, held at the same Cupertino venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer a generation ago, was capped by a performance by U2, whose new album "Songs of Innocence" would be available for free on iTunes.

Apple's big reveal wasn't without its hitches, as technical problems marred its livestream and frustrated would-be watchers online.

But at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts itself, CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the new watch — "the most personal device we've ever created," he said — was met with a standing ovation from Apple fans.

The smartwatch, with its square display and rectangular bezel and screen, can function, Cook explained, as a fitness monitor, communication device and, of course, timepiece. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

What looks like an ordinary crown on the watch's side is a dial that lets users zoom, scroll and navigate, in a departure from the commands iPhones use. Its touchscreen, with a sapphire crystal, also senses force.

"What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist," Cook said.

The watch, available in two sizes and in 18-karat gold with a variety of straps to choose from, was the crowning new product announced at Tuesday's event, closely watched by Apple fans and industry-watchers, near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Its unveiling came after two new iPhones, iOS 8 and Apple's first game were announced.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boast larger screens, more powerful cameras and a new payment system Apple vowed would prove a radical improvement.
The iPhone 6's screen will measure 4.7 inches, the 6 Plus' 5.5. Both boast a new next-generation retina display, and apps on both can be viewed differently, including in a double-paned display, when the phone is held horizontally, giving it the air of an iPad.

Each model also promises a more powerful camera, with autofocus and face detection that's twice as fast as older models' and that works seamlessly in video, in a move by Apple that seemed designed to preclude users from needing separate cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization, too, to adjust for users' unsteady hands.

Both models also use a new payment system, dubbed Apple Pay, that CEO Tim Cook said was safe, simple and a vast improvement for users' experience.

It will let users use credit cards already on file with iTunes or take a photo of their cards to use them, and to preserve their safety, no credit card information will be stored on their phones.

"We're totally reliant on the exposed numbers and outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface," he said. "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic." 

Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and go up to $399 for 128 GB, while the 6 Plus starts at $299 and goes up to $499. Pre-orders will begin Friday, and the products will begin shipping a week later, on Sept. 19.

Apple also launched its first-ever own game, a battle game called Vain Glory.

That wasn't the only exciting news for gamers: The new iPhone also boasts a new 64-bit chip, the Apple A8, which Apple promises will make for a 20 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics, according to The Verge.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Sell Your iPhone for the Most Money]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:06:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/tlmd_iphone_edited.jpg

Looking to sell your iPhone before the new model is released? The longer you wait can have a dramatic effect on the value of your phone.

Many users are looking to upgrade their phones to get their hands on the latest gadget after Tuesday's announcement of Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Even if you are locked in a contract or not due for a subsidized upgrade from your phone carrier, you can still sell your current iPhone to help pay for the new model.

Many sites offer trade-in deals that will give you a fair amount of cash for your gadget.

Gazelle, an online trade-in store, is offering up to $335 for an iPhone 5S, a price expected to be good until Tuesday. The value is estimated to drop as the iPhone 6 was announced on Tuesday.

Worried about not having a phone? Gazelle is letting users hold on to their current phones until Oct. 10 so they are not phoneless while waiting for the new model. Users must first lock in their deal by Sept. 9 through Gazelle.com.

Through Gazelle, you lock in a price online, and the company will send you a package to ship your phone for free. Once your phone is processed, you can choose to receive a check, gift card or PayPal.

If you are looking to get more bang for your buck, you can try selling your phone privately on eBay. Prices vary depending on the model and storage space of your iPhone. Current listings on eBay as of Monday found iPhone 5S models being sold on eBay for between $300 and $500.

Another option for a user looking to unload their iPhones is Craigslist. You should complete your Craigslist transaction in a public place to be safe. Keep in mind that Craigslist does not offer any “buyer/seller protection” as they are not involved in any transactions.

Apple also has a trade-in program called Apple Reuse and Recycling Program that lets users trade in their phones and receive an Apple Store gift card in exchange. A previously owned iPhone 5 was estimated at a value of $225, while an iPhone 5S is currently not available to trade in through Apple’s site.

Another option to get rid of your phone is through a retailer like Best Buy or Amazon, which both offer competitive pricing onto a store gift card.

The value of a previous iPhone model typically drops when a new model is introduced, so the sooner you sell your phone, the more money you may be able to get.

The price of new iPhone's without a contract typically starts at $649 depending on the model of the phone. If you are due for an upgrade, or start a new contract, prices for new models start at $199.

Check with your carrier to see if you are eligible for an upgrade.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Live from Cupertino: Apple Will Live Stream Sept. 9 Event]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:54:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/179*120/tim+cook+2.jpg

Is it a phone, a watch, a wallet? All eyes will be on Cupertino Tuesday for Apple's next big announcement. Apple will also be live-streaming the "special event" on Apple.com starting 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Apple website already features a countdown clock counting down to the magic hour.

Announcements on both the iPhone 6 (with apparently a bigger screen) and the iWatch (or iBand?) are expected, reports indicate, but there's also the "what else" aspect.

Reports from both Re/code and Bloomberg indicate that the debut of a wearable device is in the cards. There are also reports that the tech giant might unveil its own mobile-payment system -- possibly an iWallet? Apple is also reportedly working on a new, taller iPad.

Apple's invitation to media last week didn't say much, except for a one-line teaser: "Wish We Could Say More." The company stock reached a new all-time high following the announcement and sent social media abuzz.

Apple opted to switch venues for the event, opting for the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, instead of its usual Moscone West venue in San Francisco.

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to add extra security to iCloud, following a celebrity photo hacking incident last week.

According to Apple, live streaming Tuesday's video from its website will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

Follow NBC Bay Area on Twitter @nbcbayarea for live coverage of the event.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple to Unveil New Products ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:58:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/2014-08-28-apple-invitation-thumbnail.jpg

Apple has made it official: The next gadget event will be September 9th.

The Cupertino company sent out official invitations to the press Thursday morning, with a date (September 9th), time, and place (10am, Cupertino). The invitation also came with a brief message: 'Wish We Could Say More."

The tech press is already saying plenty about the event, speculating that we'll see a new iPhone, a new iPad (both reportedly larger), and maybe even the long-guessed about iWatch. Apple is not saying anything beyond its emailed invitation.

Investors like the drama, though; shares of Apple stock (AAPL), on a tear lately, hit a new all-time high this morning, as the invitations arrived in boxes.

A quick note about the venue: Cupertino's Flint Center is historic in Apple lore. It's the place where Steve Jobs first showed off the Mac computer back in 1984.

Scott will be at the event, with updates on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[HP Recalls Computer Power Cords for Burn Hazard]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:31:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/20140826+PowerCord.jpg

Hewlett-Packard is recalling almost 5.6 million power cords in the U.S. for notebook computers because they can overheat and catch fire.

Two people have reported they suffered burns and 13 people have experienced minor property damage as a result of the overheating cords, HP said. HP has had 29 reports of the cords heating up or catching fire.

The power cords were distributed with HP and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers and docking stations. The power cords are black and have an “LS-15” molded mark on the AC adapter end.

Customers should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement. Consumers can continue to use the computer on battery power.

The recall also covers almost 500,000 cords in Canada.

For more information on the recall, click here.

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<![CDATA[Apple Rolls out iPhone Battery Replacement Program]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:40:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/tlmd_iphone_5_nuevo_12.jpg

If you have an iPhone 5 with a short battery life, you may be eligible for a new, free battery, thanks to Apple’s new iPhone battery replacement program.

Apple released a statement that it has determined a certain number of iPhone 5s purchased between September 2012 and January 2013 “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

Go here if you think your phone meets these requirements and find out how to get a new battery.

Apple also said that if you already replaced your iPhone 5 battery, you could be eligible for a refund.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 22:58:14 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

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<![CDATA[Consumer Reports: Cell Phone Charging Cases]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:49:29 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/ts_cell_phone_still_022414.jpg

Phone batteries always seem to run out when you need them! To the rescue—smart phone cases with a built in battery. The cases promise to protect your phone and add extra battery life. Consumer Reports tested four made for popular phones and found they all work well.

For the iPhone 5 or 5s, the $180 Mophie Space Pack almost doubled battery life. It also adds extra memory. And for Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the $70 uNu Unity case also nearly doubled the phone’s battery life. It is a little awkward to set up but you never have to do it again. The double battery life is there forever.

If you can’t find a case that fits your phone, the Samsung Galaxy Portable Battery Pack can charge any phone that uses a USB cable, as long as you remember to power up the pack ahead of time. It costs $100.

And if you can’t get to an outlet or don’t have electricity, Consumer Reports also tested some gadgets that actually generate power like solar panel Goal Zero Nomad 7 with a USB port. You can unfold it in the sun to restore power to your phone. It costs $80.

Also for $80 is the Goal Zero’s Lighthouse 250 Lantern. Besides being a lantern and an emergency light, it has a large internal battery to charge your phone. When the Lantern’s battery is spent, you can use its hand crank to power up your phone.

To conserve battery life when you’re far from power. First, try lowering your phone’s screen brightness and turn off auto-updates. Use the GPS sparingly. And when there’s no signal, put your phone in airplane mode. That stops it from trying to connect, and turns off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile connections.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida

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<![CDATA["Sketch Factor" Crowdsourcing Town Safety Reports]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:41:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/sketchfactorapp.jpg

A new iPhone app is giving users an eyeful with a map of South Florida like most have never seen before. All across the app, called “Sketch Factor” are furrowed faces representing a crime or other conduct that may be concerning.

Sketch Factor’s developers said they built the new app to give users a heads-up of potentially unsafe or “sketchy” areas. It allows users to post problems, crimes, or other issues, in the crowd-sourced application.

Sketch Factor would also allow users to plug in their travel routes and the app will help them steer clear of so-called “sketchy” areas. The developers said they have more than 60,000 users who have contributed to the maps.

“I would definitely use it, it would be super helpful,” said Chris Gonzalez of Miami.

A user in Miami, near Northwest 103rd Street and 7th Avenue wrote that she was followed by a man at a gas station who later snatched her purse as she got inside of her car.

But critics claim the app also gives posters a space to be cruel and insensitive, even racist. Some point to people not reporting incidents at all, instead, mocking different neighborhoods. A poster in Oakland Park wrote they saw “feral cats urinating in cars due to people who refuse to stop feeding them.” Others zeroed in on homeless people in neighborhoods.

Developers of the app said they would remove offensive posts and warn users about what will be acceptable.

“Any racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise discriminatory posts will be deleted. One exception: if the user is referring to an incident where they were the target of a discriminatory experience, by all means, share the nitty gritty detail,” the website states.

Controversy aside, smartphone users in South Florida said if the app keeps someone safe, it’s worth a download.

“If it’s a crime, you should report it, no matter what crime it is,” Billy Felix of Miami said. “If it’s a car accident or someone got hurt or something, you should report it.”

The developers said they are currently working on a version of the app for Android smartphones.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Gimenez Holds Virtual Town Hall]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 19:47:11 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/gimenezvirtualtownhall.jpg

For one hour Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter became a direct link to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez as he hosted a virtual budget town hall meeting on social media.

Mayor Gimenez was expecting a litany of questions and a wide-range of opinions from voters who wanted to either learn more about the budget or vent their frustrations.

“Oh I am aware,” Mayor Gimenez said while laughing. “Yeah, I know that.”

Among the comments directed at the mayor:
“I’ve never heard so much ‘filler’ in my life.”
“Laying off 400 police and corrections? I will make sure you never get re-elected!!”
“There is a new recall effort being launched against you. How would the county pay for that?”

Mayor Gimenez did address the current contract stalemate between the county and the police union and insisted that employee salaries are not down.

“They “police” are no longer contributing four percent of their salary to healthcare one year and then the next year the other five percent that they contributed, so that’s nine percent right there that went back into their pockets,” Mayor Gimenez said. “County employees still get merit raises. They get longevity bonuses.”

Police union chief John Rivera said he remains completely committed to officers not conceding any salary and healthcare benefits back to the county.

“Every week I say morale can’t get any lower and man, I’m proven on,” Rivera said. “Morale is so bad in our department there’s officers that don’t even want to show up to work.”

The virtual town hall was manned by communications director Mike Hernandez who tried to consolidate the questions to give the mayor more time to expound on his answers.

“A lot of the issues here are very complex,” Mayor Gimenez said. “People have misconceptions about what we can and we can’t do. And you just can’t explain it in 20 seconds why you do a certain thing; why you can do a certain thing. So that particular format (social media) is great.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[App Gives Parents Control Over Kids' Social Media]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 09:47:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/haltappscreenshot.jpg

Kids are all over social media and that gives parents many endless days and nights of worry about what could be happening to or with their children. That got Broward County app builder William Stark thinking about a solution.

“If a kid knew what they were about to post, that the first person who would see it would be their parents, would they actually post it?” Stark said.

That moment of inspiration helped him come up with the “Halt” app.

“This application will only show you what your kid has posted, what their likes are, what their status updates have been, what their friends have tagged them in,” Stark said. “It filters out all that extra stuff so you look at what’s important.”

The app’s purpose is to keep parents in the social media loop. It gives parents final say over what their kids post to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So what happens if Mom or Dad has questions about a post? They can flag it and look at it again later.

“There’s a lot of danger out there and no one knows what’s happening,” said parent Deborah Ramirez, who is planning on using the app. “There’s pedophiles and everything, and we could keep our kids safe.”

“Halt’s” release comes just days after the mother of Becca Sedwick filed a civil suit over her death. The Orlando-area 12-year-old reportedly was taunted and cyber-bullied by two classmates. The family said the pressure drove Sedwick to take her life. Her mother’s attorney said the lawsuit is a wake-up call for parents to track their kids online activity, or else.

“If it doesn’t, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a lawsuit with your personal assets in jeopardy,” said attorney Matt Morgan.

The Halt app is available for the iPhone.



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA['I'm Stuck' App Targets Infrastructure]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:45:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/imstuckapp.jpg

How many times have you been stuck on a public road, on a train, at an airport, and wish you could tell your Congressperson just how upset you are at the lack of solutions?

Well, it’s still to be determined how much it will help, but a new app will let you vent to Congress when you get stuck somewhere, anywhere. All you have to do is take a picture and send it to your Congressperson and they will instantly receive the message.

It’s a way for people stuck in traffic or the tarmac to release their anger over being stuck in a constructive way.

Erik Hansen of the U.S. Travel Association said, "Complaining in your vehicle about traffic is going to do nothing. It may even annoy the other people who are in the car with you. But if your member of Congress hears from you; they actually have the power to do something about it."

The free, bi-partisan app made by Building Americas Future and the US Travel Association allows delayed commuters around the country to directly and immediately email their U.S. Representative or Senator to share their frustration.

Hansen said, "That's the great thing about the app and if members of congress hear from their constituents; they're more likely to act. Constituents are the best lobbyist and this app helps them to that."

According to the app’s makers, the more people who use the app, the more effective it gets. Open the app, tap your situation and let your emotions run through words and images.

Elizabeth Fernandez said, "If you’re stuck in a red light; I don’t think it’s gonna help much. But maybe in a pothole, maybe if you get like 170 something complaints; perhaps they might fill it in."

The overall goal is to improve Americas travel infrastructure. But with an overwhelming number of Americans already disapproving of congress, many travelers and commuters are highly skeptical the app will actually work.

Clervenante Exume said, "I feel like that’s tricky too because how do we know it’s going to the Congressperson? We don't know if it’s actually going to him or if it’s going to one of his secretaries, answering service and again he might get so many it’d probably just get pushed to the side."

The app is available on iPhone and Android.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Parents May Be Biggest Distraction for Teen Drivers]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 21:26:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/texting+while+driving+still.jpg

Parents worry about their children being distracted while driving, but a new study from the American Psychological Association found the biggest distraction may actually be mom and dad.

The APA surveyed more than 400 teen drivers aged 15-18 across 31 states about distracted driving. The consensus was parents expect their kids to answer their calls and texts, so they do, despite knowing the dangers of taking their eyes off the road.

“They want to check up on us more, but when I’m driving, I can’t be distracted,” said teen driver Kyle Saltorini.

The APA survey found that 37 percent of teens between 15 and 17 said they pick up when mom or dad calls. The rate of picked up calls jumps to 50 percent for 18-year-olds. If there is some good news in the survey, when it comes to texting; the rate of response drops.

The APA found that eight percent of drivers 15-17 said they answer a parent’s text, even if they’re driving. However, the rate doubled to 16 percent of 18-year-olds admitting to replying to a parent’s text while driving.

All of the replies to calls and texts paint a grim picture for teen drivers. The numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that at any given daylight moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

In addition, 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. The age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC 6 South Florida



Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida]]>
<![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."

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