<![CDATA[NBC Boston - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcboston.com/news/tech http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC Boston http://www.nbcboston.comen-usMon, 24 Jul 2017 02:47:17 -0400Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:47:17 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pokémon Go Fest Attendees Refunded as Glitches Plague Event]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 12:19:05 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Pokemon+Go+Fest+-+10005609_28152926.png

Thousands of people descended on Chicago Saturday for Pokémon Go Fest – an event that was billed as a celebration of the smartphone game’s first year but instead became a debacle plagued by massive lines and connectivity issues.

Organized by the game’s developer, Niantic, the all-day festival in Grant Park was the company’s first official live event for players of the augmented reality game.

However, upon arrival, the roughly 20,000 attendees were met with hours-long lines to enter the festival, and then technical problems preventing play once inside the event.

Niantic’s chief marketing officer addressed the crowd to boos in the late morning, citing three specific problems that rendered attendees unable to access the game.

“One is a network issue. One of the providers is trying to pump in some more bandwidth so that’s something that we’re working with them closely on,” CMO Mike Quigley said onstage.

“The other two issues are on the Niantic side. There’s a crash bug issue that we’ve identified. I know some of you have had that issue, as well as an authentication issue, so we’ve got it completely pinpointed to those three things.”

Quigley said the company would offer players a refund on the $20 ticket price, as well as $100 in the game credit Pokecoins.

However, even with a refund, many attendees – some of whom traveled to Chicago from around the world – will only receive a fraction of what they actually paid.

Tickets to the festival, which promised rare Pokémon encounters, special challenges and exclusive rewards, sold out in just minutes last month.

Many were then listed for resale on sites like eBay for as high as $400.

Despite the connectivity issues, the festival was scheduled to continue as planned while the engineering team worked on a fix, Quigley said.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[How Would the East Coast Hyperloop Compare to World’s Largest Tunnels?]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:05:23 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_TUNNELS_LONGEST_072117_2-150066193265500001.jpg

Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop from New York to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., would stretch over 250 miles. If built, how would that compare to the world’s largest tunnels?

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<![CDATA[Mom Bitten by Shark Gets High-Tech Prosthetic Arm]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:17:32 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Hand0721_MP4-150064505952500001.jpg

Tiffany Johnson lost her arm to a shark while on vacation in the Bahamas back in June. Only a month later and the mother of three keeps a positive attitude about the incident and continues to make progress with her responsive prosthetic arm.

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<![CDATA[New Concerns About Fidget Spinners Catching Fire]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:51:23 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/214*120/New_Concerns_About_Fidget_Spinners_Catching_Fire.jpg

As fidget spinners have grown in popularity, safety concerns abound.

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<![CDATA[6,000 Pound Mars Rover Concept Vehicle Starts Tour]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:19:36 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_MARS_ROVER_072017_1-150058425058900001.jpg

A Mars rover concept vehicle is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The electric vehicle seats four and maxes out at 6 mph. The vehicle was commissioned by the Kennedy Space Center to inspire the public about space exploration.

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<![CDATA[Elon Musk Claims 'Verbal' OK for NY-Philly-DC Hyperloop]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:50:29 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/hyperloop+one+1.jpg

New York to Washington in 29 minutes? Elon Musk says it's possible and he has the government's approval to do it (though it's anyone's guess how long it would take to build). 

"Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins," the billionaire inventor and entrepreneur tweeted Thursday afternoon.

"City center to city center in each case, with up to a dozen or more entry/exit elevators in each city," he said in another tweet. The Boring Company is Musk's tunneling venture. 

"Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly," Musk said about an hour later. He waited until Friday morning to acknowledge, again via Twitter, that the verbal approval was at the federal level only.

"Still a lot of work before formal, written approval, but this opens door for state & city discussions," he added.

In a statement to News 4 New York on Thursday, a Boring Company spokesperson said the company has had a number of promising conversations with local, state and federal government officials. 

"With few exceptions, feedback has been very positive and we have received verbal support from key government decision-makers for tunneling plans, including a Hyperloop route from New York to Washington," the person said, adding the company hopes to "break ground later this year." 

LEVITATING PODS

Passengers traveling via Hyperloop would board magnetically levitating pods moved by electric propulsion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation referred inquiries about the project to the White House. The Trump administration acknowledged Musk's tweet while not getting into any specifics about a possible project.

"We have had promising conversations to date, are committed to transformative infrastructure projects, and believe our greatest solutions have often come from the ingenuity and drive of the private sector," a White House spokesman said.

[[431541633, C]]

Representatives for both the New York City and Washington, D.C. mayors said they were unaware of approvals for the project. 

"This is news to City Hall," tweeted Eric Phillips, a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"This is the first we’ve heard of it, but we can't wait to hear more," said LaToya Foster, spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

The D.C. Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to an inquiry. The Federal Transit Administration deferred to the Transportation Department.

In February, Musk tweeted photos from a tunnel in D.C., sparking a flurry of speculation. NBC Washington learned he toured the 2 1/2-mile-long Anacostia River Tunnel and saw the tunnel-boring machine that created it. A spokesman for Musk declined to speak at the time about the purpose of the tour.

Baltimore officials, in statements to local media, said they supported the project and would not stand in its way. 

SKEPTICS CHALLENGE

Skeptics wasted no time in challenging Musk on the details of his announcement Thursday, including the BBC's Silicon Valley reporter, who asked whether the CEO was announcing prematurely in a bid to drum up support.

"Support would be much appreciated!" he replied. 

In a later response to an inquisitive follower, Musk did say the work on the New York-to-Washington tunnel would run in parallel to an existing project to build tunnels in Los Angeles.

"Then prob LA-SF and a TX loop," he tweeted. He gave no estimate for how long any of these projects would take or what they might cost. 

He also indicated that adding Boston and Providence to the NY-DC route would be a "natural extension," and said his company had been approached by Chicago officials about an O'Hare-to-downtown tunnel as well. 

Musk is best known for his electric car company Tesla and his space venture SpaceX, as well as co-founding PayPal.

The inventor first proposed the Hyperloop electromagnetic tube system in 2013. Earlier this year the California tech company Hyperloop One unveiled a plan for a NY-to-DC system.

Musk's system appeared to be different from theirs, though.

In April, former D.C. Department of Transportation head Gabe Klein said he thinks Hyperloop will happen.

"I think it's going to become a reality," he said. "I think it may take longer than people think to get through all the right-of-way clearances and the sort of government regulations. But I think we are in for a sea change in terms of long-haul transportation."

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<![CDATA[Preventing Travel Nightmares]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:24:37 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/WEB_Tech_Check_Airlines.jpg

Normally when something goes wrong at the airport you have to go through your airline, but Freebird has a way to relieve that stress.

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<![CDATA[Company Develops Bulletproof Tape]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:52:02 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/NC_bulletprooftape0718_1920x1080.jpg

A company in Maryland has come up with a plastic adhesive that is being used to make regular windows bulletproof.

The company's CEO showed the product off on Monday, literally standing behind his work.

The guy standing behind the glass is Peter Fabian, president and ceo of advanced coatings engineering or ace.

His company makes this paper thin plastic adhesive that can stop just about any weapon in its tracks.

"It's designed in a manner that when a projectile hits the glass, hits the window, be it a bomb blast, shrapnel or bullets, the adhesive absorbs the energy and disperses the energy across the whole surface of the window," said Fabian.

Monday, at a Rockville shooting range, Fabian showed off just how the product works.

"We've been doing this in Iraq, Afghanistan let's bring this technology home for America that's what we're doing," Fabian said.

For years ace has been outfitting military vehicles and now that has shifted to public and private buildings and first responders given the recent murders of law enforcement around the country.

"It could be that courthouse, the post office, the police station it could be the hospital and if you live near there you may be the victim," said Fabin.

It costs about $2,000 a window in a car which is much cheaper than bullet resistant glass.

Seems like a small price to pay to save lives.

"Now that window that was a window of vulnerability becomes a shield of life," said Fabin. 

 



Photo Credit: WBAL]]>
<![CDATA[New iPhone Feature Would Help Users in Distress]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:54:53 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/TLMD-iphone7-iphone-7-sep-2016-GettyImages-599948224.jpg

A new feature from Apple would allow iPhone users to discreetly call emergency services with a fingerprint touch, with the goal of helping people in distress evade potential attackers.

CNBC reports on the patent application published Tuesday for a technology that would sense the “manner” in which a fingerprint hits the iPhone screen to trigger a 911 call. The smartphone could recognize a particular sequence of fingerprints, for instance, or even the particular cadence of taps to the screen, the filing says.

When the user activates this “panic command,” the phone would provide the user’s location to responders. It could also livestream video or audio from the phone, the report says.

Apple, which rarely acknowledges new product features prior to their release, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[World Emoji Day: A Huge Amount Is Shared Daily on Facebook]]> Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:46:01 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/armus-emojis.jpg

About 5 billion emojis are sent each day on Facebook Messenger, the social media giant said on Monday, World Emoji Day.

Many of those emojis might be kissing winky faces, the most popular one on Messenger in the United States, according to statistics released by Facebook to mark the day, which was first proclaimed by Emojipedia in 2014.

On Facebook, which sees just 60 million emojis posted each day, Americans (and Indonesians, too) preferred the rolling on the floor laughing emoji. Facebook users in Brazil and Mexico go gaga for the heart-eyes emoji, while the face throwing a kiss is popular in Italy and Spain. Globally, the tears of joy face was most used.

In the privacy of Messenger, the love seems to come out. Both Americans and Indians use the kissing winky face the most, while various heart emojis are the most popular in the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Brazil and Thailand.

The first World Emoji Day was celebrated three years ago on July 17 because it's the date that appears on the calendar emoji, according to the official website.

This year, Twitter is expected to crowdsource ideas for new emojis, while the Empire State Building will be lit up yellow at night.




Photo Credit: David Becker/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Watch: Fake Video of Obama Looks Exactly Like The Real Thing]]> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 16:59:06 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/obama+la+street.JPG

Identifying "fake news" may have just gotten more difficult.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed an algorithm that can take an audio clip and convert it into an artificial video of someone speaking those words.

This week, the team behind the technology released a video of a synthesized President Obama that they created by pulling audio from his past speeches.

“These type of results have never been shown before,” said one of the researchers, Ira Kemelmacher-Shilzerman, in a statement.

This technology has been around for years, but past attempts yielded more robotic-looking looking results.

“If you don’t render teeth right or the chin moves at the wrong time, people can spot it right away and it’s going to look fake,” Supasorn Suwajanakorn, another researcher on the project, said in a statement.

The team at University of Washington was able to overcome this by inputting hours of footage of Obama into a special computer system called a neural network. The network then tracked what shape his mouth made depending on which sound he made. Those mouth shapes were then superimposed onto an existing video of the President’s face. This combination of tactics resulted in a more authentic simulation that takes into account Obama’s distinct mannerisms.

While the developers behind this method think it could one day be used as a more efficient alternative to video chatting (streaming audio uses less bandwidth than streaming video), critics are concerned that the potential for abuse outweighs any positive outcomes.

“It introduces a new question in viewers’ and voters’ minds as to whether what they’re watching is real or whether it’s created artificially,” said Morley Winograd, a Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy who studies the intersection of politics and technology in the information age. “The last thing we need is more suspicion in our sources of information in our political world these days.”

The researchers claim that a new algorithm to help determine whether a video is real or not could be developed by reversing their method and feeding video rather than audio into the neural network. But whether this would be effective in actually stopping the spread of rumors has yet to be determined.

“There’s no regulatory scheme that I can think of that would be adequate for policing the internet,” said Winograd.

Despite this, the researchers have already taken some precautions to try and ensure their technology will be not be used for sinister purposes.

“We very consciously decided against going down the path of putting other people’s words into someone’s mouth,” researcher Steve Seitz said in a statement. “We’re simply taking real words that someone spoke and turning them into realistic video of that individual.””

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<![CDATA[Tech Check: Fenway Park]]> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 19:27:52 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/WEB_tech_check_fenway.jpg

Fenway Park may the oldest Major League Baseball ballpark in the nation, but make no mistake: Its tech overhaul in recent years makes it one a  modern stadium, too.

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<![CDATA[Amazon, Netflix and More Sound Off for Net Neutrality]]> Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:47:08 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/netneutrality1.jpg

Visit the Netflix and Amazon home pages Wednesday and you'll find more than just TV shows, movies and things to buy. They and other major websites are using space on their home page to draw attention to net neutrality, which some feel is under threat by the Trump administration.

"The internet's less fun when your favorite sites load slowly, isn't it?" reads a message on Reddit's home page that loads letter by letter.

Led by three grassroots organizations — Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund and Demand Progress — more than 100,000 websites, online services and internet users have signed on to Wednesday’s "Battle for the Net," according to a press release from Fight for the Future.

Net neutrality is the idea that everyone should have equal access to a free and open internet, as opposed to one in which people can pay more for faster service. The principal was affirmed by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 when it implemented regulations barring internet service providers from giving faster access to certain websites and blocking or slowing down access for others.

But new FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed reversing those regulations, citing the unnecessary burden they place on providers, and in May, the first step in that process passed.

"We propose to put technologists and engineers, rather than lawyers and accountants, at the center of the online world," Pai said in an address before the commission at the time.

But supporters of net neutrality see it differently. 

"Pai has consistently voted against pro-internet user, pro-competition positions in favor of handing control of the network to a small number of powerful companies,” said Candace Clement, campaign director for the Free Press Action Fund, in a statement.

Sites like Netflix are displaying messages urging users to send their comments in support of net neutrality to the FCC and Congress.

“The FCC needs to listen to the public, not just lobbyists from big cable companies,” Fight for the Future’s campaign director Evan Greer said in a statement. “Today, the Internet is showing its political power.”

This is not the first time a grassroots effort has been put forth to protect online egalitarianism.

In 2014, "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver called on viewers to submit comments to the FCC in opposition to a proposal that would have allowed internet service providers to create internet "fast lanes" for higher-paying users. The FCC's website subsequently crashed.

That same year, the organizers behind "Battle for the Net" as well as advocacy group Engine put together an internet slowdown day. Participants spread awareness by displaying a symbolic loading symbol on their home pages along with a call to action for users to submit comments to the FCC, similar to Wednesday's initiative.

The deadline for open comments to the FCC is July 17.




Photo Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Prime Day 2017 Was Amazon's Biggest Shopping Event Ever]]> Wed, 12 Jul 2017 10:08:26 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/armus-amazon-prime.jpg

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big shopping days on Amazon, but the online retailer's own shopping holiday, Prime Day, has them both beat, the company said Wednesday. 

The July 11 event that saw 3.5 million toys purchased around the world was "the biggest day ever in Amazon history," Amazon said in a news release.

Only Prime members can make purchases as part of the day, and tens of millions did so this year, according to the statement, more than half again as many as the of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017, more than 50 percent higher than the prior year — though Amazon didn't give specific numbers.

Amazon's Echo Dot was the most popular item globally, while the most popular non-Amazon products purchased in the United States were a programmable pressure cooker and the 23andMe DNA test.

Some deliveries came incredibly quickly — in Sunnyvale and Berkeley, California, and Kirkland, Washington, people who ordered snacks, writeable DVD packs and a Samsung hard drive through Prime Now received their purchases in 12 minutes, according to the company.



Photo Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo, File]]>
<![CDATA[Prime Day Tech; Noise-Cancelling Helmet]]> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:30:27 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/BOSTONDMA-ASI-3-48_131442434496340000.jpg

We tale a look at some great Prime Day deals with Amazon, as well as a workplace helmet that can drown out office noises.

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<![CDATA[How and Why Amazon Ships So Many Packages So Quickly]]> Tue, 11 Jul 2017 07:07:43 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/armus-amazon-prime.jpg

Amazon’s Prime Day, a carefully fabricated “retail holiday” meant to take advantage of the company's vast shipping network, takes place in a time of year when the busy holiday shopping season is still a ways off.

“If you had to build a machine that could handle peak operations, and it was idle for 10 months of the year, Prime Day now lets you leverage that machine for profit,” said Marc Wulfraat, the president of supply chain consulting company MWPVL.

Indeed, an Amazon spokesperson told NBC in a statement that the day is “nothing out of the ordinary for a summer sale.”

The company has not released information about last year's sales, but analysts estimated $500 million to $600 million in total, according to CNBC.

For the past five years, Amazon has been busy creating a network of warehouses, trucks — and now, planes — that can handle the surge in orders expected on Prime Day. Wulfraat said the company has made big strides in increasing the "level of control they have over the outbound transportation operations."

"They've made tremendous gains to...get close to the customers,” Wulfraat said.

In addition to its massive distribution hubs, which are known as “fulfillment centers,” Amazon has built at least 58 warehouses specifically for Prime deliveries in dense urban areas.

One of these hubs — each of which is around 50,000 square feet — is inside a corporate tower in midtown Manhattan. Inside, employees called "pickers" weave through mazes of the company’s 10,000 top-selling products, TIME reported.

“We have high-tech algorithms that we have taken from our normal fulfillment centers, and we use them in this smaller building,” Stephenie Landry, Amazon's worldwide director of Prime Now, told TIME. "It takes the picker on the fastest path possible to grab all of the items.”

The much larger fulfillment centers are usually a few hundred miles from cities, but these smaller Prime-only facilities like the one in New York mean that Amazon can deliver products to many of its Prime customers within an hour or two.

Amazon used to rely mostly on FedEx and UPS to transport goods from its warehouses to customers’ doorsteps, but this process was sometimes unreliable and often expensive, Wulfraat said.

Shareholder data shows that between 2010 and 2014, the company spent more on shipping than what it made in shipping revenue, according to Quartz. Taken as a share of product sales, these expenses rose from about 8 percent in 2009 to 17 percent two years ago.

To cut down on shipping costs, Amazon also has been trying to take over more of the actual shipping process — with planes that can fly Prime products from one coast to another — and more warehouses that can pass on packages to postal workers, who are cheaper and more efficient than FedEx might be, Wulfraat said.

This complex system is only filled to capacity during the holidays — when Amazon gets up to 8 times more orders than during the rest of the year — so Prime Day is a chance to operate these systems at full capacity and make some profit.

“Amazon is trying to shift some of the shopping towards the average part of the year in order to leverage all of the investment they’ve made for peak operations during the holidays,” Wulfraat said.



Photo Credit: Mark Lennihan/AP Photo, File]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Prime Day Now Backed by Cargo Plane Fleet]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 21:55:30 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/armus-amazon-airplane.jpg

For this year's Prime Day, Amazon is taking to the skies. 

A fleet of cargo jets will be used in the company's annual day of online deals for the first time in the U.S., it said in a press release Monday.

As anticipation builds for Prime Day shopping deals, background operations look to make sure every order on the company's busiest day of the year arrives on time.

By the end of last year, Amazon had leased about 40 planes from cargo partner Atlas Air and had been flying them between at least 10 airports, Fortune reported

While the company's plans to deliver packages by drone have drawn plenty of attention — and scrutiny — these Amazon planes are the first functional piece of Prime Air operations.



Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo, File]]>
<![CDATA[An Instagram Bug Is Making Users Think Their Accounts Are Deleted]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 20:26:48 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Instagram-Generic1.jpg

Instagram said it is working on a glitch that is causing some users to think their accounts have been deleted. 

Users on Twitter and Facebook expressed concern that their Instagram accounts had been deleted on Thursday. The company tweeted that they were aware of the issue that users are being logged out and are working to resolve it as soon as possible.

Some businesses, public figures and aspiring social media stars rely heavily on their Instagram accounts and said the issue could hurt their presence online. 

It's not clear how long accounts have been experiencing issues, but some users started sending complaints to Instagram via other social media platforms in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Earlier on Thursday, Instagram announced that they've added a new feature to the app that allows users to reply to "stories" with a photo or video.  

Instagram users with a technical problem can follow steps to report a problem here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Qualcomm Seeks to Ban iPhone Imports, Sales]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 17:10:52 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/180*120/iphone6-6plus.jpg

Chipmaker Qualcomm is asking U.S. trade regulators to ban iPhone imports, according to a new lawsuit.

Apple has allegedly infringed on six of Qualcomm's patents that improve iPhone battery life, according to Qualcomm. Now San Diego-based Qualcomm wants Apple to pay damages, CNBC reported.

"Apple continues to use Qualcomm's technology while refusing to pay for it," Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement.

Qualcomm ultimately wants regulators to investigate which phones use cellular processors from Qualcomm's competitors, and halt sales of iPhones that violate the patents.

CNBC was seeking a response from Apple. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Weds Man 3 Years After Twitter Joke About Marrying Him]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:14:56 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/armus-twitter.jpg

Twitter, she married him. It just took a while.

Almost three years after Llia Apostolou sent a joking message on Twitter in search of a blind wedding date, she and the stranger who answered her made it to a different wedding: their own.

Apostolou, a social media manager from London, explained the romantic saga on her blog. She and a friend went to a pub on Valentine's Day in 2014 to "distract ourselves from our singleness" when she saw a photo of Paul Gibson pop into her Twitter feed.


"I can’t explain what happened next, I felt something shift in my heart," Apostolou said on the blog. "Perhaps it was the whiskey, but I wanted to know you."

A few months later, still in search of a date to her sister's wedding the coming weekend, Apostolou sent that joking tweet.

Gibson responded almost immediately, and the two exchanged light-hearted messages about the idea, even joking about getting married themselves.

She writes, "So our conversation moved from tweets, to direct messages, to long and rambling emails about our lives."

And three years later, that Twitter exchange took them to the altar — and Apostolou's callback to the moment when their romance took off has gone viral, getting retweeted more than 15,000 times.

Apostolou said in another Twitter message that she and Gibson are unavailable to speak to the media because they are on their honeymoon.




Photo Credit: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Microsoft Plans to Cut Up to 3K Jobs in Sales Staff Overhaul]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:40:37 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_16300626710205windows.jpg

Microsoft is planning a restructuring Wednesday that will include thousands of layoffs, largely in the sales department, CNBC reported.

Most of the cuts will be in jobs located outside of the United States, and the cuts will amount to less than 10 percent of Microsoft's sales force, according to a statement.

"Today, we are taking steps to notify some employees that their jobs are under consideration or that their positions will be eliminated. Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time-to-time, re-deployment in others," a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC.

Previous reports suggested the move was in the works, and that the tech giant would focus on selling its cloud services product, Azure. That business has been booming, with Azure's sales nearly doubling last quarter.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File]]>
<![CDATA[Drizly Brings Beer to Your Door]]> Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:25:41 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/192*120/Drizly.JPG

Forget to pick up the drinks for your party? This service delivers a variety of beers right to your door.

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<![CDATA[At 10, the iPhone Is Still Changing Everything: Analysis]]> Thu, 29 Jun 2017 15:42:30 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/72955624-Steve-Jobs-iphone.jpg

It's been 10 years since Apple launched the iPhone, puzzling critics with its all-glass screen without a raised keyboard.

Today, the first model seems tiny and and low-powered, NBC News reports, but at the time we didn't know just how right Steve Jobs was when the Apple CEO called it a "truly magical product."

But the iPhone "fundamentally changed the way we thought about phones as well as defining what the industry considered a smartphone," said Tuong Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner.


And the revolution it began — the $1.3 trillion app economy — is still in full swing, giving anyone with coding skills the chance to strike it rich and changing other industries, as Uber and Lyft did transportation.




Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Check: GeoOrbital Wheel]]> Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:14:19 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/WEB_Tech_check_6am.jpg

A new piece of technology can convert your old bike into an electric one in 60 seconds.

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<![CDATA[Happy Birthday, iPhone!]]> Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:08:54 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/NC_iphone0629_1500x845.jpg

Thursday, June 29, marks the 10-year anniversary for the Apple iPhone. Since 2007, Apple has sold over a billion iPhones and changed the way we communicate through features like Facetime and HD cameras.

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<![CDATA[Group Sues Uber Over Lack of Wheelchair Access]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 22:26:54 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/ubergeneric_2016_1200x675.jpg

A Washington, D.C.-based civil rights group has filed a lawsuit against Uber under the American with Disabilities Act —which prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities— alleging that the ride-hailing company has chosen to not to include wheelchair-accessible vehicles in its services.

The Equal Rights Center's executive director Melvina Ford says that Uber "has a legal obligation to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access its transportation services without excessive costs and wait times."

While Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment, its website says that it is piloting models in some cities "to determine which wheelchair accessible vehicle options best meet the needs of our riders" and drivers. Some of those pilot programs direct riders to commercial providers.

A group in Chicago in 2016 also filed a federal lawsuit against Uber for what it said was a failure to provide access to those in wheelchairs in violation of federal law.



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Takes Swipe at Amazon Over 'Internet Taxes']]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 14:11:52 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/jeffbezos_120-0x675.jpg

In a new Twitter tirade, President Donald Trump went after The Washington Post and its owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, after the newspaper published a story about several of Trump's clubs displaying a fake Time magazine cover, CNBC reported. 

The Post reported that the cover, featuring Trump, was hanging in some of the president's golf clubs. A spokeswoman with Time confirmed to the newspaper that the cover was not real.

"The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!" Trump wrote Wednesday. 

On the campaign trail, Trump called Amazon a monopoly with an unfair tax shelter, saying in February 2016, "If I become president, oh [does Amazon] have problems. They're going to have such problems."




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Victims Still Paying Hackers After Ransomware Email Blocked]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 02:51:16 -0400 http://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/laptop1234578.jpg

The email address behind a ransomware attack spreading across the world has been blocked, leaving victims no way to receive unlocking codes for their files even if they pay the hackers, NBC News reported.

The Posteo mail provider said it shut down the email address listed with the "Petya" ransomware hack Tuesday, adding that it is working with the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany.

The virus began spreading Tuesday, locking up computer files and showing a black screen with red text that demanded $300 in bitcoin to unlock the files. As of Tuesday evening, even after the email address had been blocked, the wallet listed in the message had nearly $8,000.

If a user is hacked, a cybersecurity expert said not to restart the computer or pay the ransom. If the computer has already been restarted, the best option is to restore it from a backup.



Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, File]]>