<![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, 25 Jun 2017 19:24:37 -0500Sun, 25 Jun 2017 19:24:37 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Glider Pilot Aims for the Edge of Space]]> Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:29:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DIT+AIRGLIDER+THUMB.jpg

A research company is hoping to break several aviation world records and be the first to have an air glider reach the edge of space without a jet engine or rockets. Known as the 'Perlan Project 2,' the air glider will try to reach an altitude of 90,000 feet, which would put it 17 miles above the Earth. The aircraft will be towed up to 10,000 feet and will then try to catch a "mountain wave" off the Andes mountains in Argentina that will give it a burst skyward. Researchers hope to use data collected during the flight to study the Earth's atmosphere and ozone layer. 

<![CDATA[Hot Cars Act Aims to End Accidental Deaths]]> Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:40:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd-hot-car-2.png

Every year, children are killed or severely injured because their parents accidentally leave them in the back seats of hot cars.

Lawmakers are making a new push to make lifesaving technology a requirement for all vehicles.

A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives has introduced the Hot Cars Act of 2017, which requires all vehicles to be equipped with alarms reminding drivers to check their back seats.

"A simple alert could saves lives," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois). "You get a warning when you leave the keys in the car. You should get a warning if you leave a child in the car."

General Motors, which operates a plant in Arlington, is the only automotive manufacturer that uses this "rear seat reminder" in its vehicles.

The censor was introduced with the Acadia before being expanded to other models.

Since 1990, more than 800 children have died in hot cars, according to kidsandcars.org. Twelve deaths have occurred in 2017 so far.

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<![CDATA[Instagram Stories Pass Snapchat in Daily Users]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:17:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-648082600-insta.jpg

Snapchat changed the social media world in 2013 with its creation of a "stories" feature, but the platform no longer leads the pack.

Instagram Stories has surpassed Snapchat Stories in number of daily active users at 250 million, according to CNBC. Instagram added the feature in August 2016, which allows users to post pictures or videos as stories that disappear after 24 hours.

Instagram Stories first passed Snapchat in April, when the platform reached 200 million daily active users. Most recent reports show that Snapchat has 166 million daily active users.

Photo Credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Girlboss]]>
<![CDATA[Greenville School Named for NASA Mathematician]]> Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:47:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Katherine+Johnson+Hidden+Figures.jpg

A new elementary school in Greenville is expected to be named after a woman immortalized in the movie "Hidden Figures." 

Community members voted on the name "Katherine G. Johnson STEM Academy" through an online survey, the Herald Banner reported.

The school board will take a vote on Tuesday to formally decide on the name.

Johnson was NASA mathematician. She worked on calculating trajectories and emergency back-up return paths for space flights.

Other finalists for the school name included Sharon "Christa" McAuliffe, a social studies teacher killed on the Challenger space shuttle, and Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut to fly into space, the report said.

The new K-5th grade school is schedule to open in the fall.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Time Warner Just Handed Snapchat a $100 Million Lifeline]]> Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:26:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/snapchat_1200x675.jpg

Snap, the company behind the social media app Snapchat, saw a spike in its shares on Monday after the announcement of a new deal with Time Warner.

The deal is valued at $100 million, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. The Wall Street Journal, which previously reported the news, said that talent like Ellen DeGeneres and Samantha Bee could be part of the arrangement.

Time Warner will make shows such as scripted dramas and comedies for the ephemeral messaging and augmented reality platform. Snapchat will also get ads from HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. over the next two years, the companies said in a statement.

The number of shows each day on Snapchat will grow from one per day to three per day by the end of this year, the companies said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rape Victim Sues Uber, Says Execs Portrayed Her as a Liar]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 13:33:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/06-05-2017-uber.jpg

A woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India is suing the company for a second time, alleging that Uber executives got her private medical records and made false statements claiming she fabricated the attack.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in a California federal court seeks unspecified damages on behalf of the woman, who is identified only as Jane Doe.

The allegations compound a long string of image problems for the ride-hailing company, whose CEO took a leave of absence earlier this week after an investigation found a dysfunctional culture that allowed sexual harassment. Twenty employees have been fired, and this week a board member was forced to step down after making a sexist remark at an employee meeting.

The new lawsuit says Uber executives falsely portrayed the woman as a liar who made up the 2014 rape in collusion with a competing service seeking to undermine Uber's business. But the driver was convicted of rape and sentenced to life in prison. The first lawsuit was settled in 2015, before the allegations regarding the woman's medical records surfaced last week.

San Francisco-based Uber issued a statement Thursday that didn't deny the allegations. "No one should have to go through a horrific experience like this, and we're truly sorry that she's had to relive it over the last few weeks," the company said.

The new lawsuit alleges that shortly after the rape, Eric Alexander, then Uber's vice president for business in Asia, got the woman's medical records after a meeting with police in New Delhi. Alexander showed them to Emil Michael, then vice president of business, and CEO Travis Kalanick "so that he (Alexander) could attempt to defame and undermine her very serious allegations of sexual assault and rape," the lawsuit says.

Alexander was dismissed from Uber this month after media reports about the medical records, the lawsuit said. Michael left Uber on Monday. Kalanick, who has said he must grow up and needs management help, has taken an indefinite leave. His mother was killed and father was hurt in a May boating accident.

The lawsuit alleges that Kalanick stated publicly after the rape that Uber would support the woman and her family, then put out false conspiracy theories about the woman.

"Rape denial is just another form of the toxic gender discrimination that is endemic at Uber and ingrained in its culture," said Douglas Wigdor, a New York attorney who represents the woman.

At the time of the rape, the woman lived in New Delhi, but now she lives in Texas, according to the lawsuit.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[App for Air Pollution Could Make City Living a Lot Safer]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:50:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/calipollutionx1200x675.jpg

Out of a pollution study an app, that can pinpoint pollution hot spots block by block, is being developed for city dwellers, reported NBC News. 

A study suggests that it might be possible for local authorities to pinpoint air quality that would otherwise go undetected — and help citizens avoid living in or traveling through those areas.

Researchers from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the University of Texas tracked two Google Street View cars rigged with air quality monitoring equipment for levels of black carbon, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide as they drove throughout Oakland, Calif.

The study was published last week in the journal of Environment Science & Technology.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Outages Hit YouTube Friday Morning]]> Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:12:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/youtube_generic_1200x675.jpg

Some YouTube users were seeing error messages on the site Friday morning.

An "internal service error" message that appeared around 9 a.m. ET showed a monkey with a hammer and code.

The website DownDetector, which tracks reports of service errors, received thousands of reports of problems on the site Friday morning around that time.

YouTube hasn't immediately tweeted about the issue. The video streaming site gets the second most traffic of any website on the internet behind Google, according to analytics site Alexa.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File]]>
<![CDATA[Chrysler Recalls Nearly 297K Vehicles Over Air Bags]]> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:42:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_16180463656201.jpg

Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 297,000 vehicles for a wiring issue.

According to Reuters, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it is recalling 297,000 older minivans because of a wiring problem that can lead to an inadvertent air bag deployment.

This recall affects the 2011-2012 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. The automaker says problem has been linked to 13 minor injuries, according to the report.

The recall includes 209,000 vehicles in the United States and nearly 88,000 vehicles in Canada.

Fiat Chrysler said the recall will begin in late July. Dealers will replace the wiring if needed and add protective covering.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marissa Mayer Says Goodbye as Verizon Completes Yahoo Deal]]> Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:40:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/01-09-2017-yahoo-mayer.jpg

Yahoo was officially acquired by Verizon Tuesday, ending an era for the one-time dot com wunderkind, NBC News reported.

And its CEO, Marissa Mayer, who has been one of the most high-profile female executives in Silicon Valley, wrote on her Tumblr that she'll be leaving the company.

"While reaching this moment has certainly been a long road traveled, it marks the end of an era for Yahoo, as well as the beginning of a new chapter — it's an emotional time for all of us," she said. "Given the inherent changes to my role, I'll be leaving the company."

An earlier company filing in the $4.48 billion deal revealed Mayer is receiving a $23 million golden parachute.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Future of Pot Industry: Robotic Security]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:46:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/intellosspinning.gif

The new security guard doesn't need sleep. It doesn't need a bathroom break. It won't be distracted by cellphones. It doesn't get tired.
It's like RoboCop without the gun.
It's autonomous robotic security, and it's going to be used to guard pot farms in California. The first robots are rolling out in the coming months at Southern California marijuana farms in Desert Hot Springs, said Todd Kleperis, the CEO of Hardcar Security, which is leasing the robots to several marijuana farmers in the region.
"It gives a visible, offensive tool to growers," Kleperis said. "When you have something coming up on you at a high speed and it's blaring horns and it's screaming at you and telling you it's calling the police, it's a pretty big deterrent."
Outfitted with two-way communication, a camera system, a siren and GPS, the Sharp INTELLOS Automated Unmanned Ground Vehicle is ready for service. At nearly 5 feet long, 3 feet wide and standing just over 4 feet, it looks like a police bomb squad robot, but it's white and goes just 3 mph. It'll go just about anywhere and it can handle just about any cold-or-hot weather environment, all the while streaming back video to a command center with human security guards who can respond in an emergency.
The belief is that it won't put humans in harm's way in the high-risk marijuana industry that still operates largely with cash because weed remains illegal under federal law. Each unit can cost up to $300,000, but there are leasing options for companies interested in using them.
The idea is the brainchild of Kleperis, a U.S. Army veteran and his partner, Jeffrey Breier, a former cop. Kleperis pitched the idea for robot patrols at pot farms at a meeting with Sharp executives in November. They initially were cool to the idea. But when Kleperis told them the move could put them ahead of the pack in the cannabis industry, they were receptive.
"They loved it," Kleperis said. "I flew one of the executives out to (Desert Hot Springs) and Jeff showed him the area. All 200 parcels had been sold. Only one was up and going, and we asked them to demo it there. They said yes, and the rest is history."
Five marijuana growers have signed on for robots: three in Desert Hot Springs, a fourth in Santa Barbara and a fifth in Calexico.
Greta Carter, who's set to open the indoor pot farm Freedom Flower in Desert Hot Springs this summer, just signed the paperwork and issued deposits for a robot.
"A guard can only be at one spot. After 10 hours it gets a little monotonous," she said. "I like the idea of using equipment that's not going to get tired, experience fatigue or heat and not be subjected to exhaustion and monotony."
The robot can do a lot. But it has limits.
You can't get Wi-Fi everywhere, and you might get 12 hours on full battery charge at most. They're not meant to replace humans.
Human security guard Patrick McCluan, the chief operations officer of Front Sight Security, which employs 146 guards to protect medical marijuana businesses and apartment complexes in the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas and Florida, is cautiously optimistic.

"They're definitely another set of eyes," he said.

Photo Credit: Sharp Electronics]]>
<![CDATA['Beating Heart in a Box' Promises Major Medical Revolution]]> Fri, 09 Jun 2017 13:57:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/182*120/humanheartcopyART_1200x675.jpg

The most current method and technology available for heart transplants is an estimated 50 years old but new technology may revolutionize how heart transplant surgeries may change in the near future, reported NBC News. 

The current method starts by having the organ taken out of the donor then it is flushed with a cold salt solution, which includes preservatives to  keep the organ viable for transplant. It’s then put on ice and sent to a hospital where it is needed. 

But the new technique will allow donated organs to stay healthy outside of a human body for longer periods of time, so they can be sent farther distances to waiting recipients.

Photo Credit: Lester V. Bergman/CORBIS/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trying to Stop Suicides as Social Media Explodes]]> Thu, 08 Jun 2017 06:50:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/facebook-live-suicide-prevention.jpg

When Dese'Rae Stage interviews survivors of suicide attempts for a website she created, she asks herself a question news reporters may not always consider: How much did it hurt?

A survivor herself, she wants to be sure that readers of her website "Live Through This" come away with a real picture of suicide — no romance, no facile explanations and no inducements for others to kill themselves. Stage, 33, is encouraging people to survive.

"Because what we see on TV is, 'Oh I'm just going to take a nap forever and it's going to be peaceful,' and that's not the reality," she said. "And I'm like, 'Tell me what the reality looks like.'"

Mental health professionals have for decades warned that media can drive suicides, with studies pinpointing what kind of coverage can be deadly and journalists urged to follow reporting guidelines. But the influence that newspapers and television newscasts had in the past is being eclipsed by Facebook, YouTube and other popular sites. The enormous reach of social media has left mental health professionals even more worried about copycat suicides — or contagion, as it is called — and determined to confront the online world.

Most troubling today: young people live streaming their suicides.

The phenomenon of imitating well publicized suicides is sometimes called the "Werther effect," named for Goethe's 1774 novel, "The Sorrows of Young Werther," which was banned in some European cities after it was published over fears it triggered an increase in deaths. "My friends….thought that they must transform poetry into reality, imitate a novel like this in real life and, in any case, shoot themselves," Goethe himself wrote about the cases.

"They were found dead with the book," said Madelyn Gould, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

More than 50 studies worldwide have shown that some types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide for vulnerable people. That coverage includes explicit descriptions of the method, graphic headlines or images and repeated reports that glamorize a death, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says.

Young people appear to be particularly susceptible, according to some studies, with one finding that 15- to 19-year-olds exposed to a suicide had a relative risk two to four times higher than others. And celebrity suicides can be especially deadly. Marilyn Monroe's reportedly caused the suicide rate in the United States to jump 12 percent.

A Netflix series, "13 Reasons Why," is the most recent show to be criticized by mental health professionals who worry that it glorifies the suicide of a teenager who had been sexually assaulted and bullied. It tells her story through audio tapes in which she blames specific people for her death.

The National Association of School Psychologists warned in a statement: "Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies."

Netflix added another "viewer warning card" to the show.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those 10 to 35, a toll that has been rising each year since 2007. Gould and others cannot be certain that social media is contributing to the increase. New studies must first measure any effect. But Gould noted social media's influence, its large audience for sensational content and the danger that it could change norms about what is acceptable.

"Is there a possibility given the characteristics of some of the social media reports?" she asked. "Yes, it's certainly consistent that it might."

Researchers who have begun looking at the links between social media and suicide have already found that among middle school children, victims of cyber-bullying were almost two times as likely to attempt suicide than those who have not.

Guidelines for reporting on suicides were drawn up after prevention specialists and public health officials held a national workshop in 1989 to help news reporters and others avoid sparking additional deaths. Now revised, they come with a list of do's and don'ts and suggestions for what information to avoid and what to include. Some studies show a decrease in suicides after guidelines are implemented.

The website reportingonsuicide.org recommends against sensational headlines, prominent placement, photographs or videos of the place or manner of death or grieving friends and memorials. Do not describe a suicide as inexplicable or without warning. Do not refer to epidemics of suicides or skyrocketing numbers. Do not disclose what is in a suicide note. And do not refer to a suicide as "successful" or "unsuccessful."

Journalists are urged instead to present information about the death in a non-sensational way and to report on suicide as a public health issue. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 90 percent of people who died by suicide had shown signs of mental disorders or engaged in substance abuse. Most people exhibit early warning signs. Include those signs and information about what to do.

Most suicide cases involve a fairly short window of decision-making and action, so you want to "avoid giving people an easy and impulsive answer," said Bruce Shapiro, the executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

"If you are establishing barriers, whether physical or informational, you're going to save lives," he said.

New research by Thomas Niederkrotenthaler of the Medical University of Vienna and others suggests that the opposite effect could be true as well: that articles about survival and treatment can reduce the number of suicides. It too has a name drawn from the arts, the Papageno effect, for the character in Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute," who after losing his love, plans to kill himself but is dissuaded by three boys.

"The possible role of media reports in preventing suicide may make it worthwhile for journalists of both traditional and online news platforms to follow media guidelines on the reporting of suicide," Niederkrotenthaler wrote in a 2010 study.

The guidelines sometimes are not heeded. Stage, an advocate, speaker and photographer whose website features profiles of suicide survivors, says she has been interviewed multiple times, and in all cases reporters wanted to know how she had tried to kill herself. Her efforts to dissuade them from including what she thought were too many details failed, she said.

"I don't think the perspective on method is going to change," she said. "I think we're just reporting on this and that is a piece of the story. I think it becomes about how it's reported on."

If someone Stage is interviewing for her website tells her that he or she overdosed on pills, for example, she will include that information, but ask about the pain.

"Letting people know how painful it is is just going to change perspectives and that could maybe help," she said.

Stage remains convinced guidelines can save lives, and recently worked with Ohio's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to develop a set for its website. Journalists can change perspectives, she said.

"Social media makes it more difficult because obviously we're all rubberneckers, and we want the clicks, and so we look for the clicks in those headlines and in the details and the methods," she said. "And that's what people share, so how do we neutralize it?"

The guidelines can present a dilemma to journalists, used to ferreting out information and presenting it in as dramatic way as possible. Deciding how to cover suicides is an ethically challenging issue that vexes every newsroom, from the smallest local newspaper to national news organizations, said Shapiro with Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.

"We don't like it when well intentioned health specialists tell us what we should do," he said. "We want to make our own choices as a profession."

Daniel J. Reidenberg, who wrote the guidelines on reportingonsuicide.org, said that a drawback of earlier versions was the source: exclusively mental health, suicide prevention experts, scientists and researchers. He turned to reporters, editors and news directors for the current version.

Today, social media can easily circumvent traditional media reporting. A news article that might have remained local can now quickly go viral and be seen worldwide. 
Message boards and forums can spread information about how to die by suicide. Unregulated online pharmacies outside of the United States can provide the means.

In recognition of social media's new role, Reidenberg has added a separate website for bloggers, bloggingonsuicide.org, that recommends checking comments regularly, taking action against rude or derogatory comments, avoiding arguments in the comments section and paying attention to suicide threats.

For mental health professionals such as Gould, the focus now is as much on sites like Facebook and YouTube.

When a 12-year-old from Georgia livestreamed her suicide on an app called Live.me, it was shared on YouTube and Facebook. YouTube took the video down but it remained on Facebook for nearly two weeks, even after police officials asked it be removed, according to The Washington Post.

Then in January, a 14-year-old South Florida girl in foster care killed herself on Facebook Live. 

In a statement, Facebook, which has more than 1.8 billion users, said that it was saddened by such deaths and that it was working with organizations around the world to provide help for people in distress.

"Our teams work around the clock to review content that is being reported by users and we have systems in place to ensure that time sensitive content is dealt with quickly," it said.

If someone violates its standards, it wants to interrupt streams as quickly as possible and it will notify law enforcement of a threat that requires an emergency response, it said.

Facebook promoted new suicide prevention tools in March, including making it easier to get help during a Facebook Live video and also via Messenger. Anyone who wants will be able to connect on Messenger with such organizations as the Crisis Text Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Facebook also plans to use artificial intelligence to identify suicidal posts.

And it announced it would hire 3,000 more people to help police harmful posts, among them livestreamed suicides.

"These reviewers will also help us get better at removing things we don't allow on Facebook like hate speech and child exploitation," Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post

For all the potential dangers on social media, Reidenberg and others argue its advantages outweigh its risks. Google has changed its algorithm so that the first site brought up by a search for "suicide" is one offering help, he noted. Young people looking for help can find it online — on Facebook and other sites, in chat rooms and on the Crisis Text Line by typing 741741.

Liz Mitchell, a 39-year-old teacher's aide in Illinois, said the Crisis Text Line allowed her to reach out for help without alerting her family, whom she did not confide in. She found the counselors to be open and willing to listen, understanding, she said.

"That was super helpful," said Mitchell, who said she had tried to kill herself five times, the last in 2014.

Her first hospitalization occurred when she was 11. When she was last hospitalized, she started taking antidepressants. Now after years of struggling-she is doing well and has gotten the help she needed, she said.

"That was the turning point," she said.

"Social media is a wonderful thing," Reidenberg said. "The advancements have helped save people's lives. It doesn't mean that it's not without its challenges but it is where people are interacting and it's where they're spending their lives today."

That was true for Ashley Shoemaker, a 29-year-old who works overnight in the freight department of a grocery store in Portland, Oregon.

She said an online friend became worried after she signed off with a sad post one night and persisted until he was able to reach her at 2 a.m.

"He kept me on the phone for eight hours," she said.

Shoemaker had called a suicide hotline once before. But for Shoemaker and her contemporaries, social media has become the place to seek help, where anonymity can better allow them to admit to feeling suicidal.

"When you're that far down, and you feel that hopeless and sad that you want to die, the last you want to do is hurt the people around you," said Shoemaker, who said she has depression. "You already feel like a big enough burden. To have to look a parent in the eye and say 'I want to die,' no good parent is going to react well to that. They're going to freak."

On social media, she said, "You feel safer reaching out."

Photo Credit: Facebook
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<![CDATA[Mom Seeks Friends: New App Matches Moms]]> Wed, 07 Jun 2017 05:25:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/momswithkids_1200x675.jpg

A new app on the tech scene allows for new moms from different walks of life to connect with each other nearby in a Tinderesque fashion, reported NBC News. 

Peanut, a new app created by mom Michelle Kennedy, looks to solve that by providing a platform where moms can meet other moms in their area.

Moms sign up, build a profile, select up to three categories to describe themselves ("wine time," "bookworm," "single mama," and "spiritual gangsta" are some of the options), and then find potential matches.

"When I became a mom and was looking to [socialize], everything felt very old school. All of a sudden online forums were my only option," Kennedy told NBC News. "I thought, 'I am not the only woman of my generation who has a child and wants to use a cool, sleek, modern product to meet other moms.'"

Kennedy has previously worked at Bumble and Badoo.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Introduces 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' ]]> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 15:09:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-692666088-craigf.jpg

Getting distracted at the wheel by your phone? Apple may be able to help.

A "do not disturb" mode for drivers will be part of the iOS 11 operating system, which is slated for release this fall for both iPhone and iPad.

When activated, "do not disturb" detects when you're on the road and silences all notifications, even blocking you from accessing the homescreen and applications, USA Today reported.

Users can also enable an auto-text response that they are driving or choose specific contacts who can break through the feature in the case of an important message.

Apple executive Craig Federighi made the announcement Monday at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. A similar feature already exists on Google Android phones.

“It's all about keeping your eyes on the road,” Federigihi said at the conference. “When you are driving, you don’t need to be responding to these kind of messages.”

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mass Firings at Uber After Sexual Harassment Probe: Source]]> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 16:24:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ubergeneric_2016_1200x675.jpg

Ride-sharing company Uber has fired at least 20 people after the tech giant investigated claims of sexual harassment within its ranks, the company confirmed Tuesday.

The law firm Perkins Coie investigated 215 claims in its probe into the allegations. One hundred of those resulted in no action, and NBC News reports that 57 of the cases are still under review. An Uber spokesperson said that the complaints "covered a wide spectrum ranging from discrimination, sexual harassment, unprofessional behavior and bullying."

"All reported incidents were investigated, and when corroborated, swift action was taken," a company spokesperson told NBC Bay Area.

It was not immediately known who was among the terminated employees.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been investigating claims of sexual harassment at Uber in a separate probe. The dual investigations began in February after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post called "Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber."

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Talks Empowerment at Apple Conference]]> Tue, 06 Jun 2017 17:22:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MichelleObamaWWDC17.jpg

Former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday stopped by Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference for a "fireside chat" with CEO Tim Cook.

Cook announced the surprise visit Monday at the end of his keynote address to the crowd in San Jose.  

Obama, accompanied by Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, took to the stage to chat with developers about the role technology can play in "empowering people from all walks of life to make the world a better place."

The former first lady talked about life after the White House and delivered some comforting advice on how to deal with fear.

"If we let [fear] consume us, then we don't move," she said.

Attendees walking out of the discussion also noted feeling a sense of inspiration.

"I'm a woman in technology, so she's inspiring in that sense," Leila Navon said. "She keeps telling us to keep working and keep doing what we should do and keep striving to be awesome pillars in our economy and our communities."

During her time as first lady, Obama launched several initiatives that focused on themes of empowerment. Her Let's Move! campaign worked to address childhood obesity, Reach Higher encouraged young people in the U.S. to enroll in higher education and Let Girls Learn helped young girls around the world go to school. 

The conversation with Obama and Jackson began at 9 a.m. PT. The talk was closed to the public and was not be live streamed or broadcast, according to Apple.

During the first day of Apple's conference, the tech giant on Monday unveiled its new "HomePod" speaker, virtual reality technology and software developments for its line of products.

Photo Credit: Mic Capota
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<![CDATA[Google Equips Cars to Measure Air Pollution]]> Mon, 05 Jun 2017 21:30:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/oakland-google-0605.jpg

Google Maps camera cars are a common sight on Bay Area roads, but their functionality has now spread beyond mapping and imaging the region.

Their latest duty: checking the air we breathe.

The internet giant, in a joint effort with sensor company Aclima and the Environmental Defense Fund, deployed four specially equipped Google cars to measure air pollution in the city of Oakland, and the results of those assessments were made public Monday.

A video supplied by Google shows the cars driving through West Oakland, downtown and East Oakland for 150 days last year, the Aclima air sensors picking up and measuring the air from block to block.

Aclima scientist Melissa Lunden, Ph.D, showed off the equipment that pumps the samples into some very expensive instruments that cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.

"It all starts at the front of the car," Lunden said.

The data is analyzed by University of Texas, Austin researcher Joshua Apte, PhD., who found big and consistent differences in air samples captured just within a few hundred yards of one another.

"There are blocks in Oakland where one end of the block can be eight times more polluted than the other end of the block," he said.

The team plans to roll out more cities in the coming months and intends to have hundreds more pollution-analyzing cars within the next couple of years.

Steven Hamburg, PhD., the chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, explained the more you know about where the air pollution is coming from, the easier it is to address it.

"And we need to find the sources of pollution," he said. "Not just the highways but the individual sources, the sub-block, the restaurants, the small factories or the small facilities. We really need to be able to see it and understand it. It’s not an abstraction; it's real, and it’s affecting us."

The pollution map created for Oakland can be found on the Environmental Defense Fund website

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Here's Why Facebook and Google Can’t Protect You From Terror]]> Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:43:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/socialmedia_1200x675.jpg

Tech companies have been criticized for their efforts  disrupting the online terror planning since the most recent attack in London, but one cybersecurity analyst told CNBC there is little they can do.

Security consultant Brian Honan, CEO of BH Consulting, said asking tech companies to provide security services with special access to online communication can't be done without sacrificing the kind of encryption used in everyday business and communication.

"It is not possible mathematically and technically to create a back door or golden key that can only be used by law enforcement to bypass that encryption. What you are doing is weakening the strong property of encryption," Honan said.

In the wake of Saturday's attack, which left seven dead, Prime Minister Theresa May asked big internet firms to do more in the fight on terror and called for wider regulation on companies operating in the sector.

Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Vetoes Fake News Transparency for Investors]]> Fri, 02 Jun 2017 23:15:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cms795.jpg

Some shareholders called for Facebook to produce an annual report detailing what it has been doing to thwart fake news at the company's annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, NBC News reported.

However, the idea was put to a vote that did not pass.

Instead of passing the vote, Zuckerberg -- who controls the majority of voting shares -- pointed to steps Facebook has already taken to stop the spread of fake news.

Facebook has tweaked its algorithm to better understand if a story is disputed, weighting it less in a user's News Feed. The company has also started working with third-party fact checking organizations to help label stories if they are disputed.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[AI Sex Robots Are on Their Way]]> Fri, 02 Jun 2017 15:54:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sexrobots_1200x675.jpg

Robots are becoming smarter and have become a part of our daily lives more than ever, from the work they do in hospitals and restaurants to helping around the house.

But some of these robot personal assistants are going to be more personal than others. Sex doll manufacturers and independent roboticists are now designing and building humanlike robots that people can have sex with, reported NBC News.

One of the early entries into this market is an animatronic head named Harmony that's infused with artificial intelligence to give it a personality and the ability to “learn” about its human partner. Harmony will connect to the silicone body of a RealDoll, a life-sized sex doll that’s been around for 20 years.

Photo Credit: Abyss Creations LLC]]>