<![CDATA[NBC10 Boston - Tech News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcboston.com/news/tech http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC10 Boston https://www.nbcboston.com en-usThu, 15 Nov 2018 04:00:15 -0500Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:00:15 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Robots That Milk Cows]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:12:50 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/milking+cows.jpg

All over Wisconsin cow farmers are starting to use robots to milk the cows.

<![CDATA[Facebook Briefly Goes Down: 'Something Went Wrong']]> Mon, 12 Nov 2018 13:31:37 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/971974510-facebook-generic.jpg

Some Facebook users were reporting that the site was down for them on Monday.

For those experiencing the outage, opening a page on the social media site revealed an error message reading, "Sorry, something went wrong. We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can."

Facebook appeared to go down just 1 p.m. ET. Users started to report that it was back online about 30 mintues later. A Facebook page that tracks the platform's status said it was healthy after having been inaccessible.

The website outage-tracking site Downdetector reported a spike in reports of problems with Facebook starting before 1 p.m. ET. A map showed the outages concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest of the United States.

NBC has reached out to Facebook for comment. The company hasn't issued any tweets.

Refresh this page for more on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung Previews New Foldable Phone]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 07:38:02 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Samsung_Previews_New_Foldable_Phone.jpg

Streaming is the number one reason cable TV’s sales are plummeting, but Comcast will soon be releasing a tool to combat that. About 20 million homes use Amazon Alexas or other smart devices, but they still can’t call 911. Samsung briefly previewed its new foldable phone.

<![CDATA[2016 vs. 2018: Hilarious Memes Reflect Voters' Attitudes]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2018 12:13:11 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Dicaprio+Theron.jpg

Angry, fired up and anxious. This is how some voters feel about voting in this year’s midterm elections. They took to Twitter, comparing how they cast their ballot in 2016 during the presidential election to how they’re doing it in 2018.

One post compared a shirtless Leonardo DiCaprio gleefully holding a water gun to the actor portraying fur trapper Hugh Glass in "The Revenant," trying to survive in the wilderness after he was mauled by a bear. 

Another post compared a little dog enjoying the breeze from an open car to a wolf baring its teeth and ready to pounce. 

The “Me Voting in 2016 vs. Met voting in 2018” memes began trending on Twitter a day before Americans were to vote in the first nationwide elections since Donald Trump became president. The tweets show renewed energy and commitment around the civic duty after two years of intensely partisan politics. 

A record 36 million people voted early in the 2018 midterm elections and it’s a trend that is expected to extend into Election Day. 

Take a look at some of the memes below:

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<![CDATA[Trolls Struggling to Share Disinformation, Secret Chats Show]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2018 08:39:26 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/527099783-Hacker-Silhouette.jpg

A far-right troll told others that he was immediately banned from Twitter for deliberately sharing the wrong election date, according to NBC News, which had a reporter mistakenly added to trolls' private chats online.

"Were they really banning people for saying [vote on] November 7? Lol, whoops," wrote the user, whose name was a racist joke about Native Americans.

Twitter has stepped up its efforts to counter misinformation efforts on the platform that were rampant in 2016, when politically motivated trolls and a Russian influence campaign thrived.

Automatic steps Twitter's taken to enforce troll activity are "the type of proactive behavior we need to see more of" from social media companies, said Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation researcher at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.

Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Microsoft's Mixer Competing with Amazon's Twitch]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2018 08:26:13 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Microsoft_s_Mixer_Competing_with_Amazon_s_Twitch.jpg

Information on Election Day rides, Gab.com and Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Understanding the Law That Protected Google Walk Outs]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2018 11:46:22 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1056086262.jpg

Google employees may find safety in numbers after staging a worldwide walkout on Thursday — but they could be surprised to learn that it’s not the First Amendment that would protect them from corporate discipline.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from abridging the freedom of speech, NBC News reported. Employees of private companies are often “at will,” which means they can be terminated for no cause. A person's free speech rights under the federal and state constitutions are not infringed unless there is state action. Still, this does not mean the Google employees are completely unprotected or that they can be fired for their walkout.

In passing the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA), Congress intended to protect private employees when they organize collectively for their mutual aid and protection in the workplace. The NLRA provides that “[e]mployees shall have the right to ... engage in ... concerted activities for the purpose of … mutual aid or protection.”

The law makes it an unfair labor practice for the employer to interfere with or restrain employees in the exercise of these guaranteed rights. Both union and non-union employees have a right to act for the purpose of "mutual aid or protection." This includes efforts to improve their conditions of employment, even if they use methods outside the immediate employee-employer relationship.

Photo Credit: Mason Trinca/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New App Shows Friends Voter Registration]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 06:16:23 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/New_App_Shows_Friends_Voter_Registration.jpg

An app called VoteWithMe gives users information on elections and issues in their areas, but it also allows them to see their contacts’ voting record. Twitter is testing a new feature that will show users their timelines in chronological order. Scammers are targeting Fortnite players with the game’s in-game currency.They advertise for V-bucks in an attempt to phish for personal information.

<![CDATA[Google Employees to Protest How Company Handled Sexual Misconduct]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 01:06:32 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/google_protest_1031_4779248.JPG

Hundreds of Google employees from the main campus and the Google X lab in Mountain View are expected to walk out Thursday because they’re not happy with the way the company has handled sexual misconduct in the workplace.

The employees say it's a protest and a push for change.

"We’re here. We’re all here together," Google employee Amy Vernetti said. "We can fix this. We’re Google. If we can’t fix this, who can?"

The planned walkout comes after bombshell allegations published in The New York Times last week, accusing Google of protecting certain executives and paying them millions as an exit package after they were accused of sexual misconduct.

"We think there’s a layer of transparency that can go on while protecting privacy," Vernetti said.

In an email to employees after the Times article was published, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company has fired 48 people in the past two years for sexual misconduct.

But Meghna Virick, who has a background in human resources and is San Jose State’s associate dean of the School of Business, told NBC Bay Area it can be tricky to balance employee privacy and transparency.

"We have to protect the privacy not just of the victims but of other people who may be involved," Virick said. "And they have to do it out of respect."

Vernetti and her colleagues think the company can definitely do better.

"Our aspiration is that they will go above and beyond, be as transparent as they possibly can to protect us," she said.

In Pichai's message to employees, he said, "We are dead serious about making sure we provide a safe and inclusive workplace."

The walkout is slated for Thursday morning and could involve other Google offices across the country.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Pittsburgh Accused Shooter Allegedly Used Gab.com]]> Tue, 30 Oct 2018 06:33:27 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Pittsburgh_Accused_Shooter_Allegedly_Used_Gab.jpg

The accused shooter in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre allegedly used gab.com to post anti-semitic messages online. The UK announced a proposal for the world’s first digital tax. Its aim is to tax tech giants. Apple fans are just waiting for Apple to announce its newest iPad and Macbook.

<![CDATA[Beware of Phishing Emails Ahead of Holidays]]> Thu, 25 Oct 2018 06:49:13 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Beware_of_Phishing_Emails_Ahead_of_Holidays.jpg

The holidays are the perfect time for family, charity and of course, scammers. Phishing emails are already on the rise ahead of the holiday season. The trade war tariffs are hurting iRobot, the makers of the Roomba and China is continuing to crack down on video games licenses.

<![CDATA[Twitter Pulls Down Bot Network Pushing Pro-Saudi Messages]]> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 19:01:21 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_18137710760264.jpg

Twitter suspended a network of suspected Twitter bots on Thursday that pushed pro-Saudi Arabia talking points about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the past week.

Twitter became aware of some of the bots on Thursday when NBC News presented the company with a spreadsheet of hundreds of accounts that tweeted and retweeted the same pro-Saudi government tweets at the same time.

The list was compiled by Josh Russell, an Indiana-based information technology professional who has previously identified foreign influence campaigns on Twitter and Reddit.

A Twitter employee, who asked not to be identified because the employee was not authorized to speak publicly, said the company was aware of the influence operation and had already suspended even more pro-Saudi government accounts before they were caught by researchers. The employee said the accounts are being pulled down for violating rules about spam, and referred to it as a routine spam operation takedown.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Claims 'No Possibility' of God in Last Book]]> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 15:31:23 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/hawkingGettyImages-95773900.jpg

In Stephen Hawking's final book "Brief Answers to Big Questions," published Tuesday by Bantam Books, the Cambridge professor begins a series of 10 intergalactic essays by addressing life's oldest and most religiously fraught question of all: Is there a God? 

Hawking's answer — compiled from decades of prior interviews, essays and speeches with the help of his family, colleagues and the Steven Hawking Estate — should come as no surprise to readers who have followed his work, er, religiously, NBC News' MACH reported

"I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science," Hawking, who died in March, wrote. "If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn't take long to ask: What role is there for God?"

In life, Hawking was a vocal champion of the Big Bang theory — the idea that the universe began by exploding suddenly out of an ultradense singularity smaller than an atom. From this speck emerged all the matter, energy and empty space that the universe would ever contain, and all that raw material evolved into the cosmos we perceive today by following a strict set of scientific laws. To Hawking and many like-minded scientists, the combined laws of gravity, relativity, quantum physics and a few other rules could explain everything that ever happened or ever will happen in our known universe.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix Braces for Investigation Into Workplace Culture]]> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:05:50 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Netflix_Logo_DigitalVideo.jpg

Netflix executives have been telling employees to brace for a Wall Street Journal investigation that takes a critical view of the company's corporate culture, people with knowledge of the matter tell NBC News

Executives are expecting the piece to be similar to The New York Times' 2015 investigation into Amazon, which described a hyper-competitive and "bruising" workplace where employees were said to be held to "unreasonably high" standards, said the sources, who spoke on the condition anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly. 

Such a piece threatens to sap morale at a company that has been widely portrayed as the envy of the media industry, given the lucrative six- and seven-figure salaries it offers to employees, to say nothing of the hundreds of millions it offers to showrunners. 

A Netflix spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Photo Credit: Netflix]]>
<![CDATA[Fortnite Suing 2 YouTubers Over Cheat Videos]]> Thu, 18 Oct 2018 06:22:28 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Fortnite_Suing_2_YouTubers_Over_Cheat_Videos.jpg

Fornite is filing a lawsuit as a way to crack down on cheaters. Two YouTubers have been served for posting cheat videos and tutorials on how to access these cheats. A long-running reality show is getting a new life on a new platform. MTV’s “The Real World” will soon be able to be seen on Facebook Watch.

<![CDATA[Exclusive: Reddit CEO Talks Fending Off Russian Interference]]> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:44:18 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/207*120/RedditRussianHacking.jpg

Reddit, the fifth-most visited U.S. website, according to the analytics firm Alexa, has been on the offensive against suspicious accounts linked to Russia, which its CEO Steve Huffman said have attempted to put up more than 1,000 posts in 130 different communities on the website in the past month.

“We have a handful of teams working on this topic here,” Huffman said in an interview with NBC News. “The biggest thing we can do is to ensure the authenticity of the content of Reddit and that the behavior is not manipulative.”

While Reddit says it attracts more than 330 million people every month, the company's staff of 400 is considerably smaller than other tech companies: 30,000 at Facebook and about 3,400 at Twitter, for example.

“They’re not simple issues,” Huffman said. “The behaviors are complex, so it takes a variety of expertise to sort them all out.”

Photo Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images/SOPA Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Releases Data on Russian Foreign Influence Campaigns]]> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 10:44:40 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1001080376.jpg

Twitter on Wednesday released a massive trove of data associated with foreign influence and misinformation campaigns spanning nearly a decade — just three weeks before the U.S. midterm elections, NBC News reported.

The social media company said in a Wednesday blog post that the data comes from 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Russian-backed Internet Research Agency and 770 other accounts potentially originating in Iran.

The data release includes the content of tweets from these accounts and dates back to 2009, providing a richer look at how these accounts operated.

Twitter said the goal of the release was to make the data available for researchers and academics for investigation. As a result of its investigation into Russian interference around the 2016 presidential election, Twitter said in January that it had notified around 1.4 million people that they had directly engaged with Russia-linked accounts during the election or had actively followed those accounts at the time they were suspended.

Photo Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty, File]]>
<![CDATA[YouTube Back Up After Users Report Outage ]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 22:07:29 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/youtube_generic_1200x675.jpg

We can apparently get our YouTube on again.

An outage late Tuesday prompted users worldwide to report on social media the video streaming website was down.

YouTube in a tweet later confirmed that the site was back up and running. 

The outage sparked a flurry of comments on social media, even prompting police to tweet out: "Please don't call 911 - we can't fix it."

Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/AP
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<![CDATA[MIT Invests $1 Billion to Study Computing, AI]]> Tue, 16 Oct 2018 06:49:08 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/MIT_Invests_1_Billion_to_Study_Computing_AI.jpg

One of the biggest names in tech history, Paul Allen, has died. The Microsoft co-founder was 65-years-old. MIT is making a giant investment in the future. The institution announced its $1 billion commitment to studying computing and artificial intelligence. Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos, wants to send a tourist into space next year.

<![CDATA[Spotify Releases Stats for 10th Birthday]]> Thu, 11 Oct 2018 06:18:13 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Spotify_Releases_Stats_for_10th_Birthday.jpg

Spotify is releasing some cool, new statistics in celebration of its tenth birthday. Snapchat says it’s going to produce 12 daily scripted shows. One reason for Snapchat to be so aggressive is because Instagram is helping boost Facebook’s growth as it becomes more dependent on the photo-sharing app.

<![CDATA[Netflix Takes Hollywood to New Mexico]]> Tue, 09 Oct 2018 07:34:25 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Netflix_Takes_Hollywood_to_New_Mexico.jpg

Vacuuming is supposed to get even easier than the Roomba already makes it. Now, it can also clean out its bin. Netflix is expanding after it spent millions to open a production hub in New Mexico, expecting to put out a billion dollars worth of content and creating thousands of new jobs. Reaction is mixed after Facebook introduced its new “Portal” feature.

<![CDATA[500,000 Google+ Accounts Possibly Compromised, Google Says]]> Mon, 08 Oct 2018 12:41:50 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/182*120/New+Image19.JPG

A bug in the Google+ social media service left about 500,000 user accounts open to being compromised, though there is no evidence anyone's personal information was misused, the company said Monday.

Google said it was shutting down the consumer portion of Google+, which it acknowledged had not caught on with the general public. (The company said 90 percent of all user sessions lasted 5 seconds or less.)

"We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused," Google said in a blog post.

The bug was patched last March. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google decided at the time not to disclose it to the public, which the company also addressed in the blog.

"Our Privacy & Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met in this instance," it said. 

As part of a broader security review, Google said it would limits developers' access to certain Gmail data, as well as to call logs and messaging on Android phones.

The news comes less than two weeks after Facebook acknowledged its own breach, potentially exposing data on some 50 million users

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Cloned Accounts Message Is Fake; Don't Spread the Hoax]]> Mon, 08 Oct 2018 09:37:18 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-5861135321.jpg

A hoax that is gaining ground on Facebook has some worried about a new possible hack of the social network. Facebook says to disregard the message. 

The hoax works by targeting a user's inbox on Messenger, with the message making it appear like the user could have a cloned profile. 

Here's how it works: You receive a message from an existing Facebook friend telling you they've received a friend request from you. Then it says to check your account and to forward the message to all your friends. If you do pass the message along to your friends, the hoax spreads like an old school chain email or letter.

The message may look like this: ”Hi....I actually got another friend request from you yesterday...which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears...then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too....I had to do the people individually. Good Luck!”

It's not the first time a cloning hoax has surfaced. A similar scam happened in the summer of 2016.

Facebook told NBC 7 that if you get a message such as this from an existing Facebook friend, just ignore it and don't forward it to anyone.

If you're concerned, you can check to make sure there isn't a duplicate account in your name.

Facebook officials said that despite all the hoax messages, there hasn't been an unusual increase in cloned accounts recently.

If someone is impersonating your account, though, you can report them to Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/help/fakeaccount.

Photo Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Internal Drama at Facebook Over VP Who's Friend of Kavanaugh]]> Fri, 05 Oct 2018 11:47:37 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/961820848-Joel-Kaplan-Facebook.jpg

A Facebook vice president's public support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has set off an internal revolt in the company, sources told NBC News.

Hundreds of employees have complained on message boards and in company emails about Joel Kaplan, vice president for global public policy, making a surprise appearance at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing. The two are longtime friends since they both served in President George W. Bush's White House.

Some employees said it gave the impression Facebook backed Kavanaugh, and it prompted a company town hall to be scheduled for Friday.

It's the latest controversy for the tech giant, which recently revealed the biggest data breach in its history and had the founders of Instagram leave the company amid frustrations with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Photo Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Musk Taunts SEC as 'Shortseller Enrichment Commission']]> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 22:17:58 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Musk-Elon.jpg

Elon Musk on Thursday lashed out at the Securities and Exchange Commission, taking to Twitter to mock the “incredible work” of the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.”

“Just want to [say] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” the Tesla Motors CEO wrote on Twitter.

The jabs were posted just days after the billionaire tech entrepreneur reached a proposed settlement with the SEC over yet another series of tweets Musk sent in August, NBC News reported.

Those August tweets said Musk was considering taking Tesla private and that he had “funding secured” for such a transaction. That caught the attention of the SEC, which last week sued Musk, alleging that the tweet and others Musk sent were false and misleading to investors.

Under the proposed settlement, announced on Saturday, Musk would step down as board chairman at Tesla while remaining CEO, and he and Tesla would each pay $20 million in penalties.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA['Snapcrap' Hopes to Help Clean Up San Francisco Streets]]> Thu, 04 Oct 2018 11:05:43 -0500 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/snapcrap.JPG

No, Snapcrap isn't a weird bathroom parody of Snapchat.

The new app released on Tuesday to iOS users is trying to help clean up the dirty streets of San Francisco, according to its developer Sean Miller, a San Francisco engineer who moved from Vermont to South of Market in 2017 and immediately took notice to the feces, needles and trash cluttering walkways.

Miller says he didn't know anyone when he moved to the city to work for Plivo, so he decided to move into a communal living space, The Negev, on the "somewhat notoriously filthy" 6th Street in SoMa.

That's when he got the idea for Snapcrap.

"A lot of people at the house would joke about the situation because it's obviously a bit comical, but we also realized it's a really serious problem and frankly it's a health hazard," Miller told NBC Bay Area.

The new app lets users snap a photo of the area in San Francisco that needs to be cleaned up, and then sends a report to the city's 311 hotline.

While the city has its own app that allows users to request sidewalk cleaning and report other defects like manhole covers, graffiti and tree maintenance, Miller says the SF311 app isn't a good experience. 

"It takes so many clicks to actually submit a ticket. We wanted to build a simple mobile app that would simplify the process and remove as much friction as possible," Miller said.

A spokesperson for the City of San Francisco's Public Works Department, Rachel Gordon, says the city's SF311 app already has all the key features but the city has taken a look at the Snapcrap app after it was brought to department's attention.

Miller said he put the Snapcrap idea on the back burner for over a year, but he's finally had enough and wanted to help.

NBC Bay Area found that the city’s 311 system received a dramatic increase in the number of complaints concerning a lack of cleanliness across the city. Complaints about trash increased 40 percent, human waste complaints swelled 96 percent, and complaints concerning used drug needles spiked 228 percent.

"A couple months ago I was still getting really frustrated seeing this stuff everyday and hearing people complain about it that I just decided to build the damn thing. I figured that if myself and all of my friends and housemates wanted it there must be a bunch of other people that would find value in it as well," Miller continued.

Miller designed the app to open straight to the camera, allowing users to quickly snap a photo of the area and automatically grab their location and autofills the rest of the 311 ticket form.

"I see poop" is one of the random automated comments that Miller designed to fill out the required comment section on the city's form. He said he wanted to make reporting public health issues fun for the community.

"The app is extremely basic right now, but I plan to add a bunch of other features soon. I think a crap map would be pretty funny," Miller said.

Miller says he also plans to put Snapcrap on Google Play store for Android users in the future.

Snapcrap is not affiliated with Snapchat and NBC Bay Area has reached out to Snapchat for comment due to the similarity in the app design. 

Photo Credit: Snapcrap
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