<![CDATA[NBC Boston - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcboston.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC Boston http://www.nbcboston.comen-usFri, 20 Jan 2017 00:41:36 -0500Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:41:36 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Facebook's Zuckerberg Testifies at VR Copyright Trial]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:22:40 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/zuckerberg-trial-dallas.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent much of Tuesday on a Dallas federal court witness stand defending his firm against claims it stole intellectual property for the Oculus virtual reality headset.

Zuckerberg said Facebook invested around $3 billion to buy Oculus as a way of moving rapidly into virtual reality technology, a figure higher than what was reported at the time of the 2014 deal.

He said he was so anxious to see Facebook move into VR that he pushed completion of the deal in just a matter of days over a weekend. But he denied any technology was stolen.

"The idea that Oculus technology is based on someone else's work is just wrong," Zuckerberg said.

ZeniMax Media, which owns id Software, based in Richardson, Texas, filed the lawsuit claiming former employee John Carmack took secrets with him when he joined Oculus. 

A lawyer for ZeniMax confronted Zuckerberg with emails and documents suggesting there were concerns about Oculus technology before the deal, but Zuckerberg said the accusations surfaced later, were not credible and were not pursued by Facebook.

ZeniMax is seeking $2 billion in damages.The trial began Jan. 10 and could last two more weeks.



Photo Credit: Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[IHOP: Our Twitter Was Hacked]]> Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:30:16 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ihop-deleted-tweet-new.jpg

IHOP said that sometime Sunday morning, the company’s Twitter account was hacked when a politically charged retweet appeared that caused some customers to pledge to never eat their golden fluffy pancakes again.

The International House of Pancakes confirmed to NBC4 the retweet in question involved a statement that Hillary Clinton ran a "major garbage campaign."

As soon as the IHOP team saw the retweet, it was deleted and IHOP took necessary precautions to make sure the company wouldn’t be hacked again.

IHOP released the following statement:

"At the core of the IHOP brand is a desire to bring people together and a commitment to creating a warm and welcoming environment for guests and fans everywhere, both in our restaurants and online. After a thorough investigation, we have confirmed that the IHOP Twitter account was hacked this morning. The retweeted post in question was immediately removed, and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure the security and integrity of our social media accounts. We appreciate our fans bringing this to our attention and recognizing that this is not normal content shared by IHOP."

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<![CDATA[Facebook Issues Briefly Affect Some Pages]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:03:36 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Some Facebook pages weren't loading properly Friday for about an hour.

The Facebook platform product dashboard didn't indicate any errors, but people on Twitter started chattering about getting error pages soon after 12 p.m. ET, and the website outage tracking page downdetector.com showed widespread outages in the U.S., Europe and Peru.

Several Facebook pages for NBC owned television stations were unable to completely load, but started returning about 1 p.m. ET.

A representative for Facebook confirmed Friday afternoon that the company was experiencing issues: "Earlier today some people may have had trouble accessing some Facebook services for a short period. We’re back to 100% for everyone, and we’re sorry for any inconvenience."

Downdetector said Facebook started having issues at 12:08 p.m. ET.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Yahoo CEO to Resign After Verizon Takeover, Company Says]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 03:19:55 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/YAHOO_AP_16254012507905.jpg

Yahoo Inc. announced Monday that CEO Marissa Mayer, one of the highest-profile women in the predominantly male tech world, will resign once the company's merger with Verizon Communications Inc. closes, NBC News reported.

When Verizon announced the $4.8 billion deal in July, Mayer said she intended to continue as CEO.

But in a brief filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Yahoo said Mayer and company co-founder David Filo will leave once Verizon takes control of its operating business. Four other board members are leaving with Mayer and Filo, according to document.

However, the Verizon deal has been jeopardized by Yahoo's recent discovery of two separate hacking attacks that stole personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts.



Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[Echo Accidentally Orders Dollhouses]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:40:49 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/amazon-echo1.jpg

Be careful what you say around Alexa.

A San Diego TV station’s report on Friday about an Amazon Echo — and how a young girl in Texas accidentally bought a dollhouse and 4 pounds of cookies through the smart speaker — prompted a slew of dollhouse orders across the region.

Here’s what happened: San Diego CW 6 reported on the Texas story, and one of its news anchors said: “I love that little girl saying, 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse,'” according to the station’s report.

The artificial intelligence assistant “wakes up” when it hears its name and performs the command spoken.

And that’s exactly what happened in this case, as a number of San Diegans reported that their Amazon Echo ordered the toys upon hearing the television anchor's "command."

News anchor Jim Patton told The Verge that he wasn’t sure how many dollhouses were ordered by Alexa, but he didn’t think any of the devices went through with the purchases.

The Echo does have parental controls. You can turn off the ability to shop by voice or require a confirmation code before every order.



Photo Credit: AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Detroit Auto Show Kicks Off With Self-Driving Cars and More]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:29:11 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AutoShowAM0109_MP4-148397187754400001.jpg The North American International Auto Show opens Monday in Detroit. The concept cars are cool, but in an industry coming off an unprecedented seventh year of record sales, the spotlight is on the moneymakers. "There are a lot of cars here that may not be the flashiest of car, but they are the workhorses of the United States," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst for Edmonds.com.]]> <![CDATA[Check Out the Latest Smart Tech at CES 2017]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 09:52:16 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AP_17006057282852-ces.jpg Bendable smartphones, floating speakers and smart cars are only a fraction of the offerings at the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show. Check out other smart tech that may streamline work and home spaces in the near future.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CES 2017 Kicks Off]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 18:00:15 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/630987680-CES-2017-Intel-VR-presentation.jpg

The tech marketplace can be a bumpy ride for those trying to hawk new wares: Products sell or flop, stock prices soar or dive.

But Intel, arguably one of the more sedate companies in Silicon Valley, was apparently so concerned about its virtual reality demo Thursday night at the annual CES convention in Las Vegas, company reps handed out barf bags along with Oculus Rift headsets.

No word if any of the assembled fans actually needed them. (And, by the way, the barf bags are the one detail anyone seems to remember from the speech. Not necessarily a good look for Intel.)

Contrast that with early talks from chip rival Nvidia, which laid out a plan to, among other things, develop a car using artificial intelligence with Audi (they're aiming for 2020), and Faraday Future, a shambolic, all-over-the-place company that also aims to bring AI into its electric cars. FF, as it calls itself, wants to take on Tesla while also using artificial intelligence to self-park its cars.

Once again, CES is reaching for the stars, and promising things that only the future knows if it can deliver. And that's good news. When the economy was slow, CES showed us incremental growth. These days, with the stock market soaring and tech promise seemingly unlimited, CES is taking some wild guesses. Will the industry deliver?

In a year that's about to be filled with all sorts of drama, crazy visionary companies are welcome.

Strap yourself in .. and if you need it, there's a bag below.

Scott roams CES on Twitter & Periscope: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[CES Tech Conference Kicks off in Las Vegas]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:16:52 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CESAM0105_MP4-148362783195600001.jpg The Consumer Electronics Show gets underway Thursday, Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. Thousands of companies from around the world will unveil products and technologies you might use in the near future. From fitness trackers that fit on your finger to robots that will give you directions at the airport, this year's hot buzz phrase is "The Internet of Things" or IOT. ]]> <![CDATA[Cruise Company Carnival Gets Personal With Concierge Tech]]> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 08:28:15 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CarnivalCorp..jpg

What if your room on a cruise ship were to unlock automatically as you approach, or if the wait staff could bring your favorite cocktail before you even ask?

Carnival Corp., the operator of such cruise lines as Princess, Holland America and Carnival, wants to make that happen so it can get cozier with its guests and make cruises even more personalized.

Carnival is using the CES gadget show in Las Vegas on Wednesday to unveil new concierge technology designed to help crew members anticipate and respond to passengers' needs. It will rely on sensors and wearable trackers, and is scheduled to debut on the Regal Princess cruise ship in November.

The leisure-cruise industry is playing catch-up with travel peers like hotels and airlines, which now let you unlock rooms with a smartwatch or fly with a boarding pass on your phone.

Personalization is important as cruise ships get bigger and come across as impersonal, said Mike Driscoll, editor-in-chief of Cruise Week, an industry publication. Personalization can also help cruise companies attract more first-timers, including tech-savvy millennials.

"It's catching up to what life is like on the land," Driscoll said.

Whether anticipating guests' needs will feel useful or creepy remains to be seen. Those who might be spooked don't have to use the medallion or can limit how much they want to participate, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said.

"In the end, the guests will tell us," Donald told The Associated Press. "If it doesn't (resonate), it's back to the drawing board."

The linchpin of the system is a tracking medallion the size of a quarter. Cruise passengers wear it as a pendant, throw it into a purse or place it in a pocket. The medallion uses wireless technologies to communicate with sensors placed around the ship, cruise terminals and even airports, where staff can provide personalized greetings as passengers fly in.

Crew members armed with tablets can respond to any needs nearby. For example, a guest could be having a drink when a crew member comes by to remind him that a yoga class starts in five minutes. Or a waiter working poolside can ask whether a guest wants her usual gin and tonic.

In addition, interactive displays can offer personalized directions to guests' rooms. And the medallion ties into a payment system, so no one has to swipe or sign anything when buying souvenirs or drinks.

Donald said he hopes the service will encourage customers to sign up for repeat cruises while spending more on incidentals.

Different passengers might react quite differently to the service. "With your 83-year-old aunt in Saskatchewan, it might be too much," Driscoll said. But for a passenger in his 50s, such as Driscoll, it could make life on the ship "just easier."

Carnival plans to expand the setup to all other Princess ships in the next several years and eventually to other vessels. Carnival, the world's largest leisure travel company, owns more than 100 ships across 10 brands.

Personalization isn't new to the travel industry. Walt Disney World in Florida has a MagicBand wristband device that doubles as a room key and "FastPass" reservations to popular rides. The MagicBand is also linked to a credit card for speedier payments at restaurants and gift shops.

John Padgett, who was one of the chief architects of the MagicBand before joining Carnival in 2014, said the cruise ship's system goes further in eliminating the need to touch or tap a terminal. Sensors pick up signals automatically.

"There are no wires. There is no charging," Padgett said. "It doesn't require a guest or consumer to do anything specific."

Carnival officials say there will be safeguards against someone walking away with another guest's medallion. Each guest's profile is tied to a security picture, so a crew member can compare a passenger's photo on a portable device. Carnival also says the medallion doesn't contain sensitive information such as the stateroom number, much like a hotel room key. The company added that the system features additional authentication, although it declined to elaborate.

Donald said the technology could be adapted for other industries, too. Imagine a patient entering the hospital and being recognized immediately by a nurse without having to check in or fill out forms.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mark Zuckerberg Says He's No Longer an Atheist]]> Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:07:07 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_49057729444.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg is an atheist no more.

The CEO of the world's largest social media company once had "atheist" in his Facebook profile, but it's been removed, and it appears he believes in a higher power, NBC News reported.

When he wished his followers a merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah from him and his family, one commenters asked, "Aren't you an atheist?"

Zuckerberg wrote back that he's not, and that after questioning things, "now I believe religion is very important."



Photo Credit: Manu Fernandez/AP]]>
<![CDATA[World's First Solar Road Opens in Normandy, France]]> Fri, 23 Dec 2016 04:09:09 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Solar-GettyImages-499584062.jpg

France has just opened what it claims is the first public solar panel road in the world, officials said on Thursday, NBC News reported. 

The French Ministry of the Environment announced the inauguration of the "unprecedented" new road on Thursday, which is covered by solar panels and stretches for more than half mile in the town of Tourouvre-au-Perche in Normandy, France. 

The road, called the Wattway, was officially opened Thursday by French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal and Mayor Guy Monhée, according to a statement from the environmental ministry. 

The stretch of road is covered in photovoltaic panels, which transform solar energy into electricity.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['The Future of Aviation': U. of Maine Offers Class on Drones]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 09:37:47 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/University+of+Maine+Drone+School.JPG

From package delivery, to photography, to search and rescue operations, drones are the future of flight. One New England university is preparing students to be the next generation of pilots.

Students at the University of Maine at Augusta taking a non-credit drone course learn how to fly small stunt drones to get familiar with the remote controller.

"It's the wild, wild west of aviation," said Dan Leclair, the course's professor, an aviation instruction and a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.

The flying is the fun part, but the course work is what's most important. Professor Leclair teaches the students about weather patterns, airport maps and all the rules they need to know to pass the FAA’s test for commercial pilots.

"The course teaches you to be safe, and how to fly the air craft in the national air space system," said Leclair, who teaches the class with retired Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Jolda.

UMA is among the few colleges in the nation to offer a course of this kind.

"The opportunity is wide open," said Tom Abbott, the UMA's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Project Manager.

Abbott came up with the idea for the drone course, realizing that companies are on the brink of incorporating drones into everyday business practices. Amazon, for example, is exploring drone delivery for packages.

"This is the future of aviation," said Abbott. "I said, 'Hey. Why can't we do this?'"

Abbott wants to add more drone classes, so UMA can offer a minor in drone piloting in its aviation degree program.

The class is only in its first semester, but has quickly taken off: 38 students are enrolled, between the ages of 16 to 70.

"I've always been into aviation and photography," said Gabriel Roig, a high school student who decided to take the drone course so he can someday open a small business. "I think it would be cool career path [to fly drones] to survey land for real estate companies."

An older student in the course, Jacob Gerritsen, has a similar plan.

"My son and I are starting a company called Pegasus Visuals," said Gerritsen. "We are open for business to do inspections of dams, wind turbines or real estate."

Gerritsen has been flying for years, and wanted his FAA certification to turn his hobby into a business venture. He said the UMA class helped him pass the FAA test with flying colors.

"I understand aviation a lot more," he said. "I understand the rules. I understand why they have the rules."



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Pulls Self-Driving Cars From California Roads]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 00:30:54 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16349000708921-Uber-Self-Driving-Cars.jpg

The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday revoked the registration for Uber’s 16 self-driving cars over a permit fracas, effectively ending the company’s pilot program in San Francisco.

One week after the test was launched, Uber sent out a statement that said: "We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars. We’re now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules."

At issue: a $150 permit that would allow Uber to legally give people rides in driverless cars. The company has been testing these cars around the city for a while now, and wanted to be able to use them in its ridesharing fleet.

However, the cars need the same special permit as the 20 other companies testing self-driving technology in California, regulators argued.

Uber maintains it does not need a permit because the cars are not sophisticated enough to continuously drive themselves and — although the company promotes them as "self-driving" — will always have an Uber employee behind the wheel.

The DMV said the registrations for the vehicles were improperly issued because they were not properly marked as test vehicles. It invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles could operate legally in California — an offer the company said it did not plan to accept.

So the DMV did not back down. 

"It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles," the DMV wrote in a statement on Wednesday. "Concurrently, the department invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles can operate legally in California."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee expressed his pleasure at the DMV's enforcement.

"I have always been a strong supporter of innovation and autonomous vehicle development and testing, but only under conditions that put human, bicyclist and pedestrian safety first," he said in a statement.

Uber officials on Wednesday were scheduled to hold a closed door meeting with state regulators to hash out whether or not the company can pick up riders in driverless cars. However, all sides remained tight-lipped about all aspects of the meeting, including where and when it was taking place.

On Dec. 14, hours after rolling out its self-driving cars, Uber was bombarded with complaints: California legislators threatened legal action; dash cam footage showed an Uber driverless car running a red light; and Consumer Watchdog began pushing the San Francisco Police Department to impound the renegade cars as well as District Attorney Dennis Herrera to file criminal charges against CEO Travis Kalanick. 

Also, San Francisco also has an active bicycle culture, and some of its leaders have criticized Uber for deploying cars that make right "hook" turns across bike lanes at intersections.

The executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said that on a test ride Uber gave him before the launch, the car twice made such turns. Brian Wiedenmeier said he told Uber officials and they promised to fix it. He said he got reports of other such turns on the pilot project's first day, but not since.

Before the San Francisco launch, the company said it told all employees sitting in the driver's seat to take the wheel for such turns. Meanwhile, it is working to improve the software.

Check back for updates. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Is Now Letting You Flag Fake News]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 01:41:02 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

Facebook is letting its users flag news stories as fake or a hoax and working with fact checkers to vet them, the social media giant announced Thursday, in its first efforts to address fake news since the United States election.

Some news articles that were widely shared on the platform in the run-up to Election Day were obviously and demonstrably false, like the Pope and Denzel Washington endorsing Donald Trump for president — they did not. It's causing widespread confusion, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, and the propagation of a baseless conspiracy theory is being blamed for gunman walking into a Washington, D.C., pizzeria shop and shooting a rifle.

Facebook executives have indicated since the election that they were reviewing what changes to make, if any, to combat fake news, though none have said they believe the false news shared on the platform changed the outcome of the election. Those changes were announced at 1 p.m. ET Thursday.

News that's identified as fake by the fact checking organizations, which must sign on to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles, will be marked as "disputed" and have an explainer accompanying that content, Facebook said. Facebook's algorithm may also have those stories appear lower in users' feeds. Recode reported that ABC News, Politifact, FactCheck and Snopes are the partner news organizations.

Facebook is also trying to reduce the financial incentive for creating and posting fake articles, and is testing a way to see if reading an article leads fewer people to share it indicates the story is misleading and should be ranked lower.

"We believe in giving people a voice and that we cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves, so we’re approaching this problem carefully," News Feed Vice President Adam Mosseri said in a statement. "We've focused our efforts on the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain, and on engaging both our community and third party organizations."

A Pew survey released Thursday found that 64 percent of U.S. adults say fabricated news stories are causing confusion about basic facts in current events, while only 10 percent said they believed it was causing not much or no confusion.

Seventy-one percent of the 1,002 people surveyed between Dec. 1 and 4 said they see fake news online often or sometimes.

Fake news became a massive point of contention in the final days of the election and afterward, with Hillary Clinton calling fake news a "danger that must be addressed" quickly in a speech on Capitol Hill last week.

The fake news seemed to target Clinton more than Trump, according to analyses of the content, including one by Buzzfeed that found top false articles generated more engagement than top election stories posted by 19 major news outlets, like NBC News, The New York Times and others. Only three of the top 20 performing false stories didn't target Clinton or support Trump, it found.

Producing fake news became a cottage industry in one part of Macedonia, where NBC News spoke to a teenager who said he's earned $60,000 in six months off of baseless, incendiary posts that mainly targeted followers of Donald Trump, because "Nothing can beat Trump's supporters when it comes to social media engagement," he said.

Those stories appear to have had real-world effects. Edgar Maddison Welch took an AR-15 rifle and handgun into the popular Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in D.C. in early December, to investigate the a rumored child sex abuse ring purportedly run by a Clinton aide, police said. The store's owner had already been receiving death threats, as the hoax became popular on Reddit and other online forums, before spinning off into fake news stories.

Welch discharged his rifle, but no one was hurt, police said. He later told a New York Times reporter that his "intel on this wasn't 100 percent."

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he doesn't think fake news swayed the election, and Mosseri told The New York Times Thursday he doesn't believe the feed directly caused people to vote for a particular candidate: "the magnitude of fake news across Facebook is one fraction of a percent of the content across the network."

Americans are split on whether fake news should be limited by social media, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll of just over 1,000 adults out Thursday. Fifty-three percent said it should be up to users to determine what information is true, while 41 percent said Facebook and Twitter should be responsible for preventing false information from spreading. 

A higher portion of those surveyed by Pew — 71 percent — said social networking sites and search engines bear a great deal or some responsibility for preventing their spread.

According to that poll, only 15 percent of people are not confident in their ability to spot fabricated news. But many have difficulty differentiating fake news from real, according to a recent Stanford study of students across the country. 



Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Yahoo: Hackers Stole Data From Over 1B Accounts]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2016 23:38:41 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/041613-yahoo-sign-getty.jpg

Yahoo announced Wednesday that more than one billion user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to August 2013, a revalation that may put a recent multi-billion-dollar deal with Verizon in jeopardy.

The Sunnyvale, California, says it believes information, including names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and security questions and answers, may have been stolen in the breach. The company says it believes bank-account information and payment-card data were not affected.

The security breach was discovered after law enforcement officials provided the company with data files that a "third party" claimed was Yahoo user data. After analyzing the information, Yahoo concluded that the data belonged to its users.

Yahoo says it has not been able to identify the source of the hack.

"Yahoo is notifying potentially affected users and has taken steps to secure their accounts, including requiring users to change their passwords. Yahoo has also invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers so that they cannot be used to access an account," the company said in a statement. 

Yahoo is also urging users to avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails, and to be cautious of unsolicited communications that ask for personal information.

The tech giant says it's a different breach from the one it disclosed in September, when it reported that 500 million accounts were exposed. 

Based on the ongoing investigation, the company believes hackers accessed the company's proprietary code to learn how to forge cookies that could allow an intruder to access users' accounts without a password. The company says it has connected some of this activity to the same "state-sponsored actor" believed to be responsible for the data theft the company disclosed on September 22, 2016.

The new hack revelation raises questions about whether Verizon will try to change the terms of its $4.8 billion proposed acquisition of Yahoo.

If the hacks cause a user backlash against Yahoo, the company's services wouldn't be as valuable to Verizon, raising the possibility that the sale price might be re-negotiated or the deal may be called off. The telecom giant wants Yahoo and its many users to help it build a digital ad business.

After the news of the first hack broke, Verizon said it would re-evaluate its Yahoo deal and in a Wednesday statement said it will review the "new development before reaching any final conclusions." Spokesman Bob Varettoni declined to answer further questions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[SpaceX Delays Its First Manned Flight to ISS]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2016 07:18:35 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/spacex11.jpg

Billionaire Elon Musk has hit another setback this year. His company SpaceX has postponed its first manned flight to the International Space Station until 2018, NASA announced on Monday.

SpaceX hopes to return to flight in January, NBC News reported. That's just four months after a rocket explosion damaged its launchpad and destroyed the satellite it had been set to carry into orbit.

The company will first have to wrap an investigation into what went wrong on Sept. 1.

The months following the Falcon 9 explosion have brought many questions and few answers as investigators seek to determine the cause. The wait was too much for one SpaceX customer, Inmarsat, which opted last week to take its business to a European competitor, Arianespace.



Photo Credit: Matt Hartman via AP]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Clinical Lab Hack Exposes Personal Health Info of 34,000]]> Tue, 13 Dec 2016 07:34:47 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Quest+Diagnostics_21789268.jpg

Clinical laboratory services company Quest Diagnostics announced Monday that it is investigating a third-party hack into an internet application on its network. 

The Madison, New Jersey-based Fortune 500 healthcare company said in a press release that on Nov. 26, an unauthorized third party accessed the MyQuest by Care 360 internet application and obtained health information of about 34,000 patients.

In its statement, the company said the data accessed by the third party "included names, dates of birth, lab results and, in some instances, phone numbers."

None of the compromised information included Social Security numbers, credit card, insurance or other financial information, Quest says. The company says it immediately addressed the hack when it was discovered and has notified all affected individuals.

There is an investigation underway, and the company says it is working with a cybersecurity firm to determine the source and cause of the breach.

Anyone with questions on the incident can call Quest Diagnostics at (888) 320-9970 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

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<![CDATA[Killer Update: Samsung to Make All Galaxy Note 7s Unusable]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 14:22:21 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/605913468-Samsung-Galaxy-Note-7.jpg

The next software update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will make it completely useless, the company said Friday, effectively killing off the ill-fated phone. 

The update, scheduled for Dec. 19, 2016, will stop the recalled device from charging or working as a mobile device. About 1.9 million Galaxy Note 7s were recalled in the United States, after 96 batteries overheated and 13 burns were reported, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

But Verizon said it would not push the update to phones on its network, saying it didn't want to make it harder for people to communicate without a device to switch to. 

"We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation," Jeffrey Nelson, vice president for Global Corporate Communications said in a statement Friday.

Samsung said that 93 percent of Galaxy Note 7s have been returned. 

Samsung has instructions for how to replace or refund phones on its website, which was last updated Friday. It continues to advise that anyone who still has one of the phones immediately power it down and return it for an exchange or refund.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook to Invest $20M in Affordable Housing Projects]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 22:15:19 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

Facebook announced Friday a new partnership aimed at solving some of Silicon Valley's most difficult issues, including affordable housing.

The Menlo Park-based company is contributing an initial $20 million to the partnership, which includes community groups and government agencies in the region. Facebook said it hopes to attract more contributions and partners to the cause.

In addition to affordable housing, Facebook is devoting $625,000 to job training in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Facebook also will dedicate $500,000 to an assistance fund to "provide legal support to tenants threatened with displacement from evictions, unsafe living conditions and other forms of landlord abuse."

"Since shortly after Facebook was created, we’ve been part of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The region — this community — is our home," the company said in a press release. "We want the region to remain strong and vibrant and continue a long tradition of helping to build technologies that transform the future and improve the lives of people around the world, and also in our extended neighborhood. We all need to work together to create new opportunities for housing, transportation and employment across the region. We’re committed to join with the community to help."



Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Deep Learning: Teaching Computers to Predict the Future]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:16:02 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/atlas-computer.jpg

Researchers have configured computers to predict the immediate future by examining a photograph, NBC News reported.

A program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed 2 million videos to see how scenes typically progress, and can generate a 1.5-second video clip predicting a scenario based on a photograph.

The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory hopes to generate longer videos with more complexity in the future.

To create the program, the team relied on a scientific technique called deep learning, which uses mathematical structures to pull patterns from massive data sets. It could lead to computers making diagnoses from medical images, customer predictions or even operating vehicles.



Photo Credit: Christian Science Monitor/Getty ]]>
<![CDATA[Taking the Plunge: Michael Phelps Looks to Dip Into Tech ]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:30:06 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mikemikemike.jpg

Michael Phelps wants to dive into Silicon Valley's investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur.

"I would love to get involved, whether it's in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes," Phelps said in an interview during a recent visit to San Jose, California while appearing at an Intuit software conference.

For now, Phelps isn't providing any details about what he is going to do, though he says he has been getting advice from venture capitalists and other experienced investors in Silicon Valley startups.

Getting into tech investing would be a new direction for Phelps, whose business experience to date consists mostly of his own line of swimwear and endorsement deals with the likes of Under Armour, Visa and Wheaties.

These and other big brands have paid him an estimated $75 million during his career. That's far more than the $1.65 million that he received from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Speedo for winning a record 28 medals, including 23 golds, in five Olympics. He's still promoting products; he is currently doing commercials for computer chipmaker Intel in a campaign that began in October.

Whatever he does next, Phelps isn't ready to start his own investment fund, like retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant did earlier this year with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. And if Phelps has ideas for founding a startup of his own, he's keeping them to himself.

Making the leap from pitchman to businessman won't be easy, said David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute. "Athletes come and go and many talk a big game, but they don't follow through," he said. Phelps "is really going to have commit to learning about business and demonstrate his seriousness about it."

Other celebrities have ventured into the tech industry in search of riches, with decidedly mixed results.

Notable successes include rapper and record producer Dr. Dre, who was part of the founding team that sold Beats to Apple for $3 billion 2014. Actor Ashton Kutcher co-founded an investment fund in 2010 that made early investments in startups such as the ride-hailing service Uber, the home rental-service Airbnb and the music streaming service Spotify. The fund's value had soared to $250 million from $30 million, based on a review of its books earlier this year by Forbes magazine.

Among the flops: HJR Capital, a tech-investment firm that collapsed in 2009, a decade after former San Francisco 49er lineman Harris Barton founded it and later enticed ex-teammates Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott to join him. In Rhode Island, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling started a video game company that went bankrupt in 2012.

Phelps is exploring ways to expand his business ventures beyond a line of swimwear and other clothing bearing his "MP" logo. Other products are in the pipeline for next year, though he won't say what. "I am getting my feet wet," Phelps said with a grin. "2017 will be a big year."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: New Drone Video Shows Apple 'Spaceship' Almost Done]]> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:41:10 -0500 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/applespaceship.jpg

A new drone video released over the Thanksgiving weekend shows that Apple's new "Spaceship" building in Cupertino is nearly completed.

David Sexton, who runs Sexton Videography, made a trip from his hometown Chicago to California's Silicon Valley over the holidays. He sent his DJI Phantom 3 Advanced drone into the air over Apple's new campus.

"I'm an Apple fan boy," Sexton told NBC Bay Area by phone on Monday. "I was on vacation and no one was around, so I decided to do a flyover."

Sexton did the same thing last December, and noted how remarkable the construction changes were in a year's time. "It was just a shell," he said. "It's really blossomed."

His video, taken on Thanksgiving and posted on Nov. 25, shows aerials of Apple's 176-acre Campus 2, aka the Spaceship, being built between Homestead Road and Interstate Highway 280. The solar-paneled, space-age, circular building is slated to open in a few months, in early 2017.

The drone video also shows an underground auditorium, a huge research and development building, a tunnel with underground parking and a fitness center for employees.

A representative from Apple's Campus 2 media list did not respond for comment.

For more information on the project, click here.



Photo Credit: David Sexton/ Sexton Videography]]>