<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usSun, 20 Aug 2017 12:45:15 -0500Sun, 20 Aug 2017 12:45:15 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Apple, Aetna Meeting to Bring Apple Watch to Aetna: Sources]]> Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:25:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/applewatchcolorful-1200x675.jpg

Apple and Aetna held secret meetings last week to bring Apple's health- and fitness-tracking device, Apple Watch, to Aetna customers, according to three sources who spoke with CNBC. 

Aetna, which covers an estimated 23 million people, is negotiating a deal with Apple to either provide the smartwatch for free or at a discounted rate to its members. 

Recently, Apple has focused on developing new health sensors for people with chronic disease, according to a CNBC report in April.

Apple Watch recently surpassed Fitbit as the top-selling health-tracking device, after shipments reached an estimated 22 million in early 2017. 

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[You'll Soon See Driverless Buses in Arlington]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 19:07:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2017-02-02-11h06m36s76.jpg

Whether you’re heading out to a Rangers game or a concert, Arlington is releasing a new autonomous shuttle service to help you get around.

We first saw the shuttles, called “Milo,” being demonstrated earlier this year after Arlington was selected as an official test site. The shuttles are red, self-driving, electric vehicles from a company based in France.

The shuttles will run along a route that connects AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. They will operate about one hour before and one hour after all games, concerts, and other large events.

About 12 people will be able to fit on the shuttle, and it will go around 10-12 mph.

Arlington city leaders say Milo's unveiling is not only innovative but also a more cost effective mode of transportation.
NBC 5 was granted a unique perspective inside the driveless vehicles. Their purpose is to transport visitors along entertainment district off-street trails during big events like a Rangers or Cowboys game. Officials say the technology is safe and even comes with a collission avoidance system. "It has lidar, radar, sensors, these are state of the art technologies that are constantly reading the world around it, it has a 360 degree view around it and it can assess if there's ever any obstacle that's in the way of the vehicle," said Lauren Isaac with Easy Mile, a driverless technology company. 
Even though these shuttles are driverlelss, officials say there will be a certified operator on board at all times. The two shuttles will officially launch on August 26th, during the Cowboys vs. Raiders preseason game. 

Arlington city leaders say Milo's unveiling is not only innovative but also a more cost effective mode of transportation.

NBC 5 was granted a unique perspective inside the driveless vehicles on Friday. Their purpose is to transport visitors along entertainment district off-street trails during big events like a Rangers or Cowboys game.

Officials say the technology is safe and even comes with a collision avoidance system. "It has lidar, radar, sensors, these are state of the art technologies that are constantly reading the world around it, it has a 360 degree view around it and it can assess if there's ever any obstacle that's in the way of the vehicle," said Lauren Isaac with Easymile, a shared driverless technology company. 

Even though the shuttles are driverless, officials say there will be a certified operator on board at all times. The two shuttles will officially launch on August 26th, during the Cowboys vs. Raiders preseason game. 

<![CDATA[Google Cancels 'Town Hall' on Diversity at Last Minute]]> Fri, 11 Aug 2017 05:57:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-474984752.jpg

Google canceled a company town hall on diversity at the last minute Thursday afternoon out of concerns about people's safety, worrying they may be publicly outed for asking a question, according to a Google spokesperson.

The questions that were planned by "Googlers" appeared externally this afternoon and some employees are being named on "some websites," CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email sent to employees.

The tech giant planned the town hall meeting for Thursday following days of scrutiny over a controversial memo on the company’s diversity initiatives written by engineer James Damore.

Pichai was expected to lead the town hall with other members of the company’s leadership.

After the anti-diversity memo was made public, Pichai released a memo of his own on Tuesday addressing the importance of self-expression in the workplace while being aware of the company’s code of conduct.

"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai said in his memo sent to Google employees.

In the controversial 3,000 word memo written by Damore, the 28-year-old engineer blamed the gender pay gap in the tech industry on biological differences between men and women. He also criticized what he called a politically correct bias in the Google culture.

"People get offended because it goes against the left’s ideology," Damore said during an interview on a conservative talk show on YouTube. “And then they just think, ‘OK, it offends people, therefore it’s wrong and there it’s an opinion."

After the canceled event, Pichai took the opportunity to make a surprise appearance at a women-in-tech awards event later Thursday. He talked directly to dozens of young female engineers from around the world and offered a short but poignant message. 

"There’s a place for you in this industry. There’s a place for you at Google," he said. "Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise."

The event is the culmination of a yearlong global competition for young women to use technology to address a problem. It’s one of several initiatives that Google helps fund in order to diversify its workforce.

It comes as the company conducts damage control over Damore's memo and firing.

"It’s definitely a defining moment for Google, for our culture," said Maggie Johnson, Google vice president of education. "It’s something that we’re working through."

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[How Your Phone Can Detect Card Skimmers]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:39:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/skimmer-gas-pump-tda.jpg

Card skimmers at gas pumps and ATMs are a growing problem, but did you know your cell phone can protect you?

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller made a video explaining a few tips to remember when filling up your gas tank.

First, avoid pumps at the end of gas stations. They're often too far for the store clerk to have a clear view of the pump.

Next, leave your debit card in your wallet. It's all too easy for a thief to skim your debit card's magnetic strip. If they catch your pin number, you can bet your bank account is up for grabs.

Have a look around the pump. Look for tampering, a loose credit card reader or a broken seal on the pump's cabinet.

The best way to check for skimmer devices is using your phone, Miller said. Thieves often use Bluetooth technology to transmit card and pin information. Just turn on Bluetooth and search for a device. If you see a long string of numbers trying to connect, that's a bad sign.

As NBC Responds reported in April, law enforcement across the U.S. have seen a spike in skimming cases this year, and it's expected to keep rising. More credit and debit cards are using chip technology, making it increasingly difficult for thieves to skim your information.

Miller also noted to always print a receipt. You'll need the receipt to file a claim with the gas station's insurance in case you pump bad fuel, or if your identity is stolen.

If it looks like a pump or ATM has been tampered with, move to another pump or pay inside. If you notice suspicious charges on your account, contact your financial institution immediately, the TDA said.

To make a complaint about a fuel pump, contact TDA at 800-TELL-TDA.

Photo Credit: Texas Department of Agriculture
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<![CDATA[Can North Texas Keep Electric Cars Charged?]]> Wed, 09 Aug 2017 07:14:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4-17-17-charging-station-ev.jpg

As more and more electric cars hit the roads in North Texas, does the Metroplex have the infrastructure to support them?

According to the North Central Texas Council of Governments, as of June 2017, there was a total of 10,450 electric cars in Texas. In North Texas alone, there are 4,145 electric cars.

Electric cars can be everything from Tesla, Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and more.

Rick Bollar, the president of Tesla Owners Club of North Texas, said for Tesla drivers like himself, he would like to see more services centers and charging stations to use on the go.

A map provided by PlugInAmerica.org shows all of the charging stations around North Texas.

Bollar said that all electric cars can use J1772, the standard charger. However, there are other chargers that are made specifically for certain electric cars, like Tesla’s Superchargers.

Bollar said there are currently two Superchargers in North Texas, but they plan to roll out four more by the end of the year. He said it can sometimes take up to an hour to charge a Tesla, and he would like to see more Superchargers built near strip centers or malls.

"Having Superchargers like this at shopping centers would be awesome," Bollar said. "You can pull in your car, run your errands, do your grocery shopping, see a movie, and you come back and you're ready to go for another week or so."

National Drive Electric Week is coming up in September. Last year’s event in North Texas was the largest one outside of California, bringing more than 120 electric vehicles to one location.

ONLINE: Map of charging stations

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Disney to Remove All Content on Netflix for Own, New Service]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 15:48:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/207*120/11-11-2015-bob-iger-disney-GettyImages-492431088.jpg

Disney wants to own a piece of the streaming pie.

The company announced during its latest earnings report on Tuesday it intends to pull all its content from Netflix for its own streaming service in 2019, CNBC reported. 

CEO Bob Iger told CNBC's Julia Boorstin Disney had a "good relationship" with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Marvel as well as Disney titles.

It will also be making a "significant investment" in exclusive movies and television series for the new platform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Google Manifesto' Fuels Debate on Gender Bias in Tech World]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 11:17:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/google-campus1.jpg

A 10-page document known as the "Google Manifesto" that criticizes the company's diversity practices and says that women aren't suited for engineering jobs is adding further controversy to the debate around gender bias in Silicon Valley, NBC News reported.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the memo violates the company's code of conduct, but also added that minority viewpoints cannot be discounted. NBC News could not independently confirm reports that the author of the report, said to be a Google engineer, was fired.

"I am just kind of tired of it," said former Google engineer Cate Huston. "These things keep happening and the details change but the substantive portion of it is that women shouldn't be engineers are we aren’t welcome."

While Google and other tech companies are making efforts to hire a more diverse workforce, they are still grappling with how to fix a bro culture after a number of headline-grabbing stories this year. Stories of harassment in the tech investment world have led to resignations and, at Uber, at least 20 firings.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Instagram Posts May Reveal Signs of Depression: Study]]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 20:58:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Instagram-Logo-GettyImages-540936038.jpg

Scientists have created an algorithm that can determine whether an Instagram user is showing signs of depression based on their posts to the app, according to a study published Monday by EPJ Data Science.

Researchers used almost 44,000 pictures from 166 people. Of the sample, 71 participants had a history of depression. The computer algorithm successfully identified markers of depression 70 percent of the time, according to the study.

It was able to spot markers of depression based on Instagram posts even before participants were clinically diagnosed.

The photos were examined based on their colors, the number of faces and the number of likes a post received. Researchers concluded that participants who posted photos with blue, gray or dark light tended to be depressed. Depressed Instagram users were also more likely to post photos with faces, but fewer faces per photo than their less-depressed counterparts. Depressed users also tended to receive fewer likes and were more likely to post photos without a filter. 

However, the co-authors of the study, Andrew Reece and Christopher Danforth, caution that their study was limited by its relatively small sample size. Roughly 43 percent of their initial participants refused to share their Instagram data out of privacy concerns. Reece and Danforth did not immediately return NBC's request for comment. 

The findings cannot be generalized to every Instagram user, but could serve as a "blueprint for effective mental health screening in an increasingly digitalized society."

Reece and Danforth concluded that their algorithm helped prove that mental illness and social media use have a scientifically calculable correlation.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery Solved: Why a Va. Driver Dressed as a Car Seat]]> Tue, 08 Aug 2017 10:38:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/080717+car+with+hidden+driver.jpg

A van that appeared to have no driver made headlines when it was spotted in Arlington, Virginia, last week. But when News4's Adam Tuss saw the van on Monday and looked inside, he saw that it did have a driver: a man dressed in a costume made to look like just a car seat.

From the road, the unmarked gray van eerily looks like it's moving without a driver. The entire front seat looks empty. But when Tuss looked inside, he saw a man wearing a beige and black costume that covered his entire torso.

His arms poked out of the bottom of the costume to steer. His face was completely covered, like that of a sports mascot who can see out, but no one can see in.

"I looked out and I said, 'Oh my God, there's a guy in a seat costume," Tuss said. "How's that possible? Your brain can't get around it for a second."

Tuss went to the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington on Monday to talk with ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck about the vehicle he saw in Clarendon and Courthouse on Thursday night

As Tuss left the ARLnow.com offices, he saw the 2017 Ford Transit Connect himself. He and a News4 photographer followed the vehicle in Clarendon and Ballston for about 20 minutes. 

Tuss went to knock on the window. At first, he thought he saw an empty seat. Then, when he looked below the wheel, he saw a man's hands and legs.

"Brother, who are you? What are you doing? I'm with the news, dude," Tuss said. "Dude, can you pull over and we can talk for a second?"  

But the driver didn't say a word.

After multiple inquiries by News4, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute said Monday afternoon that the van and van driver are part of a study they are conducting on driverless cars. The worker was wearing the uniform he was supposed to wear. 

"The driver's seating area is configured to make the driver less visible within the vehicle, while still allowing him or her the ability to safely monitor and respond to surroundings," a statement from the institute says. 

Virginia Tech declined to make the half car seat, half man -- as Tuss put it -- available for an interview. 

Arlington County officials were involved in the planning for the study, a Virginia Tech spokeswoman said. Arlington was selected because "it is representative of the urban areas for which automated vehicles are currently being considered," she said. 

Go here to learn more about the study

The Virginia Department of Transportation was not aware of the vehicle, a representative said. The Arlington Police Department was "shocked" by news of the van, one representative said.

Several "invisible driver" prank videos can be found on YouTube. The drivers are entirely hidden by costumes that look just like car seats.

CORRECTION (Aug. 8, 2017, 9:30 a.m.): An earlier version of this story said the driver ran a red light, in apparent attempt to evade News4. But a spokeswoman for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says a thorough review of the in-vehicle camera showed the driver passed through a yellow light. 

Photo Credit: NBC Washington
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<![CDATA[UTA Professors Work to Stop Spread of 'Fake News']]> Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:41:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/computerhandstyping_1200x675.jpg

A team of professors from the University of Texas at Arlington is working to create a program that will help stop the spread of fake news.

“What we’re talking about – the President uses that term to refer to media in general – but what we’re talking about are stories that are entirely fictitious or largely fictitious,” said Mark Tremayne, Ph.D., an assistant professor of communications at UT Arlington.

The project to root out fake news on social media is titled, “Bot vs. Bot: Automated Detection of Fake News Bots,” and will eventually result in a computer program that will be designed to alert people when posts they’re seeing, or even comments on social media posts, have likely been generated by automated social media accounts.

The researchers have made assurances that their motivations are not political.

“This is not targeted for or against any one party or any one candidate,” said Christoph Csallner, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. “This project is really about national security. You could imagine some real threats [being spread through ‘fake news’ posts] like another country trying to start confusion among residents, or the military.”

“At some point this could be considered a danger to democracy or a danger to national security if these platforms, Facebook and the other social networks, are being used as propaganda tools,” Dr. Csallner added.

Part of the problem of combating automated efforts to spread ‘fake news’ is that bots can simultaneously share posts that contain deliberate falsehoods in a single instant across multiple platforms that will be seen and potentially shared by millions of real people.

“The stuff can be generated automatically by a program,” Dr. Tremayne said. “So you don’t know as you are scrolling through, especially with the comments, you don’t know which one is an actual person [who] sat there and typed them out and which ones were just spit out by some algorithm. And wouldn’t you like to know?”

The challenge, Dr. Csallner said, will be sorting through the massive amount of content that is published on social media and keying in on indicators that increase the likelihood that any particular post was made by a bot.

The team is in its early stage of development for its program, and expects to have a working result within a year.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Email Prankster Says He Duped White House Officials]]> Wed, 02 Aug 2017 05:49:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/laptop1234578.jpg

An online prankster showed emails to CNN alleging that he was able to trick top White House officials into thinking they were chatting with other members of the administration, NBC News reported.

The U.K.-based man, who goes by @SINON_REBORN on Twitter, tweeted screenshots of some of the correspondence that he claims he had with former communications director Anthony Scaramucci. The prankster said he was pretending to be ousted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Scaramucci did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

CNN also reports that the prankster pretended to be President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner while talking with Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who provided his personal email in the messages.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign to Restore NASA's Mission Control in Houston]]> Tue, 01 Aug 2017 15:32:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/s70-35139.jpg

Houston, we have a problem.

NASA's Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston is in desperate need of a restoration after years of neglect has left the Texas nerve center for the United States space program in disrepair and looted by souvenir-seekers who walked off with pieces of space history.

"This is a place where things happened," former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz, who served during the Gemini and Apollo missions, told NBC's "Today" show.

Kratz is best known for his role in leading the successful Mission Control team efforts to save Apollo 13 astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise. The rescue later became the subject story of the film "Apollo 13," in which he was portrayed by actor Ed Harris.

"Every time I enter this room, I can feel the history of this room and feel the timber of the controller's voices and the energy and passion," Kranz told KPRC Houston.

Forty eight years later, there's a new mission to preserve that energy for future generations, beginning on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

The total cost: $5 million, according to the Space Center Houston nonprofit group, which launched an online crowd-funding campaign.

The Historic Mission Control project would restore the Mission Control room, including rejuvenating flight control consoles and reactivating wall displays with projections that would recreate what Apollo-era engineers would see during missions.

"This is not only important to the U.S., but to humanity and the entire world," William Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, told KPRC. "The men in this room achieved something that no one else had done before."

"We want of give you a sense of what it was like and what the experience was for the men who worked in this room and all the challenges they face during those missions," Harris said.

The city of Webster, a Houston suburb bordering the Johnson Space Center, has already donated $3.5 million of the $5 million needed for the project.

The Mission Control room at the Johnson Space Center is classified as a National Historic Landmark.

ONLINE: Donate HERE to Restore Historic Mission Control

Photo Credit: NASA]]>
<![CDATA[Group Files Complaint Over Google's Tracking of In-Store Purchases]]> Mon, 31 Jul 2017 13:43:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-4862340082.jpg

A watchdog group on Monday is expected to file a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Google over a new program that links customers' web activity to in-store purchases.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is asking for a full investigation into the tech giant's Store Sales Measurement program, which aims to show advertisers that clicks online do lead to purchases at brick-and-mortar stores.

According to EPIC's complaint, Google’s consumer profiling technology can allegedly track 70 percent of all credit and debit card transactions in the U.S. without revealing how they got the information.

The group alleges Google is also putting shoppers' personal information — including product searches, location searches and payment information — at risk of hacks by not revealing what encryption it's using to protect the data from breaches.

Critics worry that the personal information could end up in the wrong hands. But Google argues that the program helps prove the effectiveness of online ads. The Mountain View-based company adds that it does not share or give a third party company access to customers' information and that customers can opt out of the program.

The complaint accuses Google of failing to provide customers with a reasonable way to opt out, calling the process "burdensome, opaque and misleading."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Laptop Explodes 3 Times, Owner Blames Battery]]> Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:30:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/battery-explosion.gif

After seeing his laptop go up in flames, a Dallas man has a warning to anyone who has ever purchased a replacement battery online.

It was anything but a typical day in the office for Erich Neupert. He said it started with a volunteer at his non-profit pulling him out of a meeting.

“Sparks are flying overhead. I'm getting burned. It's coming down over us,” Neupert explained. “You see the videos of computers exploding and everything, but you think it's going to happen to you? No!”

He said three explosions came from this laptop, and battery cells were flying across the room.

Tom Mulkerin, a retired firefighter, witnessed the first two outbreaks.

“I came over, grabbed the fire extinguisher," recalled Mulkerin. "We got that put out and at that point, we have another explosion. It looked like a fountain of sparks just coming up over and over.”

They finally got the situation under control and assessed the damage.

“Immediately it was like, alright, we have a battery issue,” said Neupert.

He ordered the replacement battery from Amazon.com.

Neupert said, based on the description, it appeared to be compatible with his laptop. The price wasn't bad, either.

He said the laptop would get hot from time to time, but he thought that was normal.

“I didn't think a laptop would be the thing to be concerned about,” said Neupert.

Randy Haba, a tech expert, said video of the incident doesn't surprise him. He said improper battery pairing can cause laptops to malfunction, overheat and even explode.

“It's always a mixed experience," Haba explained. "We try to dissuade our clients from purchasing batteries or any other hardware from amazon basically because you don't know if you're going to get new or refurbished."

The NBC 5 Responds team went to Neupert's order history to see if the product was still available on Amazon.com, and it was.

We then asked Amazon if it's received any complaints about this specific battery or the third party seller "E-life."

Amazon said, in part, "safety is among our highest priorities. We monitor the products sold on our website for product safety concerns, and when appropriate, we remove the product from the website, reach out to sellers and manufacturers for additional information or take other actions."

That same day, the product page was taken down.

Neupert said he'll be more careful when buying batteries on Amazon and wants to raise awareness so it never happens again.

“This hopefully a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.

Amazon processed Neupert’s refund the same day the page was taken down.

Tech experts suggest going through the laptop manufacturer for replacement batteries.

• You can also purchase a battery warranty or protection plan.
• If you insist on buying a replacement battery elsewhere, be sure that the battery is compatible with the device. If it doesn't deliver a specific wattage, it could ruin the device, or worse, explode.
• Check the reviews online. Some third party sellers may advertise new batteries, but they could be used or refurbished.

<![CDATA[TSA to Implement New, Stronger Airport Screening]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:55:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_TSA_NEW_MEASURES_072617_1-150109909395300001.jpg

The Transportation Security Administration is rolling out new and stronger screening methods for carry-on baggages at airports across the United States.

<![CDATA[DFW Tech Visionary Anousheh Ansari's Next Big Move]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:22:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ANSARI+PROFILE+FINAL-07-24-2017-17.42.23_2017-07-26-10-02-46.jpg

North Texas technology visionary, Anousheh Ansari, is making headlines again. Her company, Richardson-based Prodea Systems, announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Silicon Valley-based Arrayent Inc., creating the world's first IoT (Internet of Things) services platform.

Both companies specialize in connecting people and their devices to the Internet with the goal of improving quality of life. Prodea estimates the worldwide market for its products and services could be as much as $5 trillion by the year 2021.

The deal is just the latest bold move for Ansari. In 2006, she became the first female private space explorer when she financed her own trip to the International Space Station.

“It makes you feel small,” Ansari said in a recent interview with NBC 5. “At the same time, when you look at Earth, because everything shrunk, the problems also shrunk with it. So you feel empowered. You feel like all these problems we think are impossible, they’re not impossible.”

As CEO of Prodea, Ansari has tackled daunting challenges in some of the world’s poorest places. In remote parts of India, Prodea developed technology that turns conventional TVs into smart screens that can deliver everything from educational to banking and health care services.

“This is huge. They’ve never had access to so much data and information before,” Ansari said.

The acquisition of Arrayent will allow Prodea to further develop and expand similar capabilities to people around the world.

Ansari has also played a key role in jump-starting America’s booming private space industry. She and her family sponsored the $10 million ‘Ansari X-Prize’ for the first private team to fly into space twice within two weeks.

The success of Burt Rutan and ‘Spaceship One’ marked the beginning a new era now led by companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Ansari calls it the best investment she’s ever made.

“We put a few million for a prize and a $100 billion industry was created.”

More recently, Ansari found herself in the debate surrounding President Donald Trump’s travel ban. At this year’s Academy Awards ceremony she accepted an Oscar on behalf of film director Asghar Farhadi, who is from her native Iran.

“I was standing there as a person, as a human being, as someone who had a story to tell about emigrating to the U.S. and living a productive life here, and how the policies that were being discussed at the time could actually put an end to stories like mine,” Ansari told NBC 5.

With Prodea’s acquisition of Arrayent, the story is far from over. Ansari has even expressed an interest in making a return trip to space.

“I’m still trying to keep in shape, and when the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready," Ansari said.

In the meantime, Ansari is focused squarely on improving life on Earth.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg and Musk Spar Over Artificial Intelligence]]> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:17:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/muskzuckerbergnew.jpg

Tech giants Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are feuding on social media on the impact of artificial intelligence.

The Facebook CEO referred to Musk's beliefs on AI as "pretty irresponsible" in a Facebook Live session on Sunday, according to NBC News. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is known for his "doomsday" views and believes that AI could become humanity's "biggest existential threat" if left unchecked.

When asked about Zuckerberg's comment, Musk said he had discussed the subject with the Facebook CEO.

"I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited," Musk wrote on Twitter.

<![CDATA[Microsoft Paint Is 'Here to Stay,' Despite What You Heard]]> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:57:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/microsoftpaintlove.jpg

Despite nostalgic articles and disappointed tweets mourning the end Microsoft Paint, the apparently beloved application is not going anywhere.

The application, which has been featured on every Windows release since 1985, was listed as "Deprecated" in the company’s Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

While Microsoft did not say specifically that MS Paint would be removed, the company defined features and functionalities that are "Deprecated" as those that "are not in active development and might be removed in future releases."

Outcry from users and coverage by news organizations about the loss of the classic image-editing application prompted Microsoft to set the record straight.

"MS Paint is not going away. In addition to the new 3D capabilities, many of the MS Paint features people know and love like photo editing and 2D creation are in Paint 3D - the new app for creativity, available for free with the Windows 10 Creators Update," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

"In the future, we will offer MS Paint in the Windows Store also for free and continue to provide new updates and experiences to Paint 3D so people have the best creative tools all in one place."

On Monday, a blog post shared by Windows Experiences acknowledged the "incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia" around the application.

"MS Paint is here to stay."

Photo Credit: Microsoft]]>
<![CDATA[Duncanville Grandmother Goes Months Without Oven ]]> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 06:56:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/maytag-oven-responds.jpg

Suzanne Pierot doesn't mess around in the kitchen.

“I’m a Southern girl and I love the Southern cooking,” she said.

There are few things in this world she loves more than whipping up a meal for her grandson, Matthew.

“I often tell people there are two people in my life: Jesus Christ and Matthew,” said Pierot. “This is a picture of my daughter Brittany. She was killed in a tragic accident in the year of 2015 and I’m now raising her son."

She'd do anything for him

“I like to cook him anything that he wants. Meatloaf, you name it. Baked chicken, roasted chicken, whatever he wants is what I will fix for him,” Pierot said.

But those meals suddenly stopped. Her Maytag oven wasn't working.

“The digital clock worked. The light on the inside of the oven worked, but it just would not heat at all,” she explained.

She set up a number of appointments with Sears to have technicians take a look at the appliance. She said they all told her the same thing.

“The oven is too old for any of the parts to be found, so more than likely, you will get a new oven because you have the master protection plan. So I said, 'great.'”

But Pierot wanted to confirm that information with a customer service representative.

“They all said the same thing. Let us check. We'll see if the parts are available,” she said.

But five months later, no word about that part for the oven

“Promises and promises and promises were all broken,” said Pierot. “I know that sounds silly but try going without an oven going on six months with a teenage boy in the house. It's very, very inconvenient,”

She got NBC 5 Responds’ Samantha Chatman on the case.

According to Sears, the malfunctioning part was no longer available.

The company said, "At Sears, our top priority is the satisfaction of our members. Our member services team reviewed and resolved Ms. Perot's situation to her satisfaction, providing her with a new Kenmore oven valued at $1,999. As a goodwill gesture, we also waived fees for removing the old oven and installing the new one and provided a complimentary one-year extension on all five appliances covered by her protection agreement."

It's a sight some might take for granted, an appliance this grandmother just can't live without.

“I felt like I had died and gone to heaven,” she said.

If you're struggling with one of your appliances at home, here are Samantha Chatman’s Solutions:

Always leave it to the professionals. Do not try to repair the appliance on your own. We want you to be safe. It also might void the warranty if you have one.

Take pictures and videos of the product.

When the technician arrives, take notes. If he or she spots a problem, write it down.

Check your warranty. Make sure you know what is and isn't covered.

Always ask to speak with a supervisor the moment you feel that you aren't getting results.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Twins Born Conjoined at the Heart]]> Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:55:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Joined_at_the_heart-150093339088500001.jpg

Twin baby girls Paisleigh and Paislyn Martinez were born conjoined at the chest, with their hearts fused together. Doctors from University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital used groundbreaking technology to separate them.

<![CDATA[Pokémon Go Fest Attendees Refunded as Glitches Plague Event]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 11:19:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.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 14:05:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.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?

<![CDATA[Mom Bitten by Shark Gets High-Tech Prosthetic Arm]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 16:17:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.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.

<![CDATA[6,000 Pound Mars Rover Concept Vehicle Starts Tour]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:19:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.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.