<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Tech News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:28:15 -0500 Sun, 21 Sep 2014 07:28:15 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WATCH: Man Buys iPhone 6, Drops It on Sidewalk]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:46:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-19+at+11.13.16+AM_edited-1.jpg

It's official: the new iPhone has hit the streets.

Jack Cooksey was reportedly the first person to leave the Apple store in Perth, Australia, with an iPhone 6. The 18-year-old shakily opened the phone's white package, but when the box lid came off, the gadget fell to the pavement. The blunder happened during a live International Business Times UK video broadcast, as a crowd of onlookers gasped and booed.

Luckily, the phone was unscathed.

"It's fine," Cooksey says in the video. His ego may not have fared so well.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: IBT UK]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone Users Could Face Battery, Wi-Fi Issues From Latest Update]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:00:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tsiphoneupdatepic.jpg A tech expert advises consumers to wait before downloading the iOS 8 update.]]> <![CDATA[Do You Need the iPhone 6?]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:47:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP501921875874.jpg The question that's been buzzing: do you need the new iPhone 6? Tech reporter, Mike Wendland, shows what IOS 8 features are available for older iPhones.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Chicagoans Line Up for New iPhone 6]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:30:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/iphone6_line.jpg

With the line snaked around the corner and down the block, excitement surrounding Apples newest iPhone versions continued to build on Michigan Avenue on Friday morning, first with the raising of window covering, then with a registration of those in line, and finally with the opening of the doors.

Marc Cain was the first Apple lover back out of the retail store with two phones: an iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Two more that he'd pre-ordered were scheduled to be delivered to his office later in the day, he said.

"[I'm] ready to go to sleep," said Cain after emerging from the store. "Two days, two phones. It was worth it." 

Cain and several of his colleagues from Bolder Image, a web and app development company, were the first in line when it began forming at about 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

"We just did it for the fun of it," he said.

Also in line was Fred Brisco, who took an entrepreneurial approach and planned to sell his place in line for $500.

"It's brand new, it's hot and it's awesome. It's an awesome phone," Brisco said.

Reviews of the two new iPhones have been enthusiastic. Both versions have larger screens, extended battery life, a stronger Wi-Fi receiver and higher-quality cameras. The phones also feature Apple Pay, which allows users to pay for items with their phone.

"I think it might be best one yet, from what I've seen," Julian Diggs said.

"They're always the best phones and it's gonna be amazing," John Foley said.

Police said a 19-year-old man was arrested Thursday and would likely face misdemeanor charges following a minor scuffle over spots in the line.

<![CDATA[Take the Phone Quiz: iPhone 6 or Android? ]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:57:56 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/pile+of+phones1.jpg

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit the shelves at Apple Stores on Friday morning, ending weeks of anticipation by Apple fans.

At some Apple stores, lines have stretched around the corner for days or even weeks. Apple sold more than 4 million phones in online preorders on the very first day they were available. And this weekend, the company is expected to make billions. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the phone line accounts for more than half of Apple's $171 billion annual revenue.

But is the phone for everyone? More importantly, is it for you?

We put together this Phone Wizard to help you find out. We examined the key features of eight state-of-the-art phones, looking at things like battery life, size, operating system and camera quality. After you answer a handful of questions about your personality, preferences and habits, we identify the phone that we think is right for you.

Now, don't get carried away: Just because we tell you the Samsung Galaxy S5 is better for you than the iPhone 6 Plus (that 4K HD is just so important to you, right?) doesn't mean you should go and buy one today. At least visit your local retailer to see how it feels in your hand before plopping down a few hundred dollars. But consider this a starting point. 

Photo Credit: Photograph: Alamy]]>
<![CDATA[Free iPhone 6 Scam Pops Up On Facebook]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:11:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Facebook_iPhone_scam.jpg

A free iPhone 6 offer on Facebook has proved too good to be true.

Officials with the Better Business Bureau say scam artists are accessing users' news feeds on the social media site and offering free devices by simply filling out a survey.

But this scam is especially insidious because it appears the offer is coming from one of your friends.

"What we see on this one especially and other Facebook scams, is basically when your friend recommends it, and that's the way they hack into your friend's account or someone else's account, and make it look like it came from Sue, but Sue had nothing to do with it," Chicago BBB president and CEO Steve Bernas said.

"There's not a day that goes by that we don't hear about a scam on Facebook to be quite honest with you."

The scam, uncovered by the Hoax Slayer web site, first asks you to "Like" the ad, then requires you to fill out a survey with personal information like your name, address, email and cell phone number.

Another recent scam asked Facebook users if they wanted to see a video of comic Robin Williams' final words. The problem was, there was no video and the scam left malware on your computer.

Facebook officials say they are aware of the iPhone scam and have already taken down the account, but it was back up and running on Wednesday.


<![CDATA[Apple Releases Tool to Remove U2 Album]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:14:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/455053622.jpg

Some iPhone users are not happy that U2's new album, "Songs of Innocence," was automatically added to their iTunes music library, free of charge. In response, Apple has released a special tool that lets people remove the album from their collections.

U2 played at an Apple event last week that included the unveiling of the iPhone maker's new smartwatch and updated iPhone models. In a surprise move, the Irish rock band performed at the event and put out its 11-song release.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the new album would be given to the company's 500 million iTunes users. The release showed up in users' iTunes music libraries. The company said Monday that 33 million iTunes account holders have accessed the free album.

But some iTunes users took to Twitter to complain and ask how to remove it. While it was already possible to delete the album, Apple's tool makes it possible in one step.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Investigating Threats with Possible Links to ISIS]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:17:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TWITTER-ISIS-THREATS-SOT-TZ---18281826.jpg

Twitter says its security team, along with relevant law enforcement officials, is investigating the veracity of apparent death threats made against its employees by radical Islamists.

The threats reportedly showed up on a Twitter account with ties to the Islamic State rebel group that has beheaded reporters.

Twitter has 800 employees in San Francisco, but none were eager to talk to reporters on Tuesday. The social networking service has been taking down accounts the company believes are platforms for the terrorist group ISIS. It is believed that action is what prompted the threats posted on such an account, which has since been removed.

The original threatening posts were in Arabic and initially translated on the website Vocative. They reportedly said:

“The time has arrived to respond to Twitter’s management by directly attacking their employees and physically assassinating them.”

“Every Twitter employee in San Francisco in the United States should bear in mind and watch over himself because on his doorstep there might be a lone world assassin waiting.”

Steve Weber, a terrorism expert at UC Berkeley, believes the tweets are intended to frighten, but are without substance. “Day-to-day employees there are probably in more danger walking across the street in San Francisco than the likelihood of being hit by a terrorist assassin inside the United States,” he said.

Marc Sandalow, associate director of the University of California’s Washington Center, said he believes ISIS is using the threats and the recent videotaped beheadings of journalists to raise its profile on the world stage, but since President Obama’s initial statements discounting ISIS, the group’s soldiers have taken control of a significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Weber says “that has moved the discourse in Washington from ‘Maybe this thing is just going to go away’ to ‘We need to make sure that this thing goes away.’”

The president laid out his strategy for going after ISIS to members of Congress on Tuesday. Wednesday night, he briefs the nation at 6 p.m. PT in an address that will air live on NBC.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Apple Watch: What You Need to Know]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:51:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-watch-thumb-new.jpg

Rumors of the Apple Watch have been swirling since 2012, and while Apple is not the first to debut a smartwatch, it has arguably designed the most elegant wearable yet.

Why isn't it called iWatch? Apple may have been unable to license the name as it is owned by Swatch.

Name aside, here are the top features to know about the Apple Watch.

Requires an iPhone, Old or New

The watches require an iPhone: either the new 6 and 6 Plus, or the older iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, meaning 200 million people can already use the device, Cook said.

The Handoff iOS 8 feature will let you start composing an email on the Apple Watch and finish it on your phone, iPad or Mac.

The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available in early 2015. In addition, the newly introduced payment system Apple Pay will work with the watch.

A New User Interface: The Digital Crown

As CEO Tim Cook pointed out, with each new product category Apple created a new UI: the Mac's mouse, the iPod's clickwheel, the iPhone's multi-touch. For the Apple Watch, there is the Digital Crown.

The Digital Crown, a souped-up dial on the right side, provides a way to scroll, zoom and navigate the Apple Watch without covering the display. A wearer can scroll through lists and messages, make selections and more without obstructing the screen.

From CEO Tim Cook: "What we DIDN'T do is shrink down the iPhone interface and put it on your wrist. That'd be a horrible experience!"

Interactivity and Communication

The watch will have Siri, Maps and Photos apps, among others. The Maps app shows the way and guides wearers to go left or right with a tap. From a feature called Friends, wearers can make a call, send a message, customize emojis or a sketch made with their finger.

There's also a feature called "Glances," which you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to see stocks, meetings, weather and world time.

Wearers can also send their friends a "gentle tap on the wrist" through haptic feedback (or tiny vibrations), even if they are thousands of miles away. They can also capture and send their heartbeat by pressing two fingers on the screen.

More than a Health Tracking Device

Apple is pushing the watch heavily toward fitness-savy consumers. A "Workout" app will monitor calories burned and miles run, and an "Activity" app will show the same metrics over the course of a day.

The watch measures three aspects of movement inside "rings": Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring gives an overview of how active the wearer is, while the Exercise ring measures brisk activity, and the Stand ring shows how often the wearer has stood up to take a break from sitting.

An accelerometer measures body movement while a custom sensor measures intensity by tracking the wearer's heart rate.

Customizable Faces, Bands

There are three watch collections: the Apple Watch, made with stainless steel; the Apple Watch Sport, inside an aluminum casing; and the Apple Watch Edition, made of 18k gold. There is also a smaller-sized watch for smaller wrists.

For the bands, there are six different versions, made of leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel, and each has a mechanism that makes the straps interchangeable.

The screen is made of ultra-durable sapphire, resistant to cracks. Wearers can personalize the capabilities and appearance of the faces.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's New Watch, iPhones]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:22:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-iwatch-1.jpg Apple announced two new iPhone models, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and its new Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino on Sept. 9.

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Unveils Sleek New Watch]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:26:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/edt-apple-lead-455042032.jpg

Apple unveiled a sleek new smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch and two new, bigger iPhones on Tuesday, marking its much-heralded entry into wearable technology and signaling its intentions to keep innovating three years after co-founder Steve Jobs' death.

The event, held at the same Cupertino venue where Jobs unveiled the industry-shifting Mac computer a generation ago, was capped by a performance by U2, whose new album "Songs of Innocence" would be available for free on iTunes.

Apple's big reveal wasn't without its hitches, as technical problems marred its livestream and frustrated would-be watchers online.

But at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts itself, CEO Tim Cook's announcement of the new watch — "the most personal device we've ever created," he said — was met with a standing ovation from Apple fans.

The smartwatch, with its square display and rectangular bezel and screen, can function, Cook explained, as a fitness monitor, communication device and, of course, timepiece. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

What looks like an ordinary crown on the watch's side is a dial that lets users zoom, scroll and navigate, in a departure from the commands iPhones use. Its touchscreen, with a sapphire crystal, also senses force.

"What we didn't do was take the iPhone and shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist," Cook said.

The watch, available in two sizes and in 18-karat gold with a variety of straps to choose from, was the crowning new product announced at Tuesday's event, closely watched by Apple fans and industry-watchers, near the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Its unveiling came after two new iPhones, iOS 8 and Apple's first game were announced.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus boast larger screens, more powerful cameras and a new payment system Apple vowed would prove a radical improvement.
The iPhone 6's screen will measure 4.7 inches, the 6 Plus' 5.5. Both boast a new next-generation retina display, and apps on both can be viewed differently, including in a double-paned display, when the phone is held horizontally, giving it the air of an iPad.

Each model also promises a more powerful camera, with autofocus and face detection that's twice as fast as older models' and that works seamlessly in video, in a move by Apple that seemed designed to preclude users from needing separate cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus comes with optical image stabilization, too, to adjust for users' unsteady hands.

Both models also use a new payment system, dubbed Apple Pay, that CEO Tim Cook said was safe, simple and a vast improvement for users' experience.

It will let users use credit cards already on file with iTunes or take a photo of their cards to use them, and to preserve their safety, no credit card information will be stored on their phones.

"We're totally reliant on the exposed numbers and outdated and vulnerable magnetic stripe interface," he said. "This whole process is based on this little piece of plastic." 

Prices for the iPhone 6 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and go up to $399 for 128 GB, while the 6 Plus starts at $299 and goes up to $499. Pre-orders will begin Friday, and the products will begin shipping a week later, on Sept. 19.

Apple also launched its first-ever own game, a battle game called Vain Glory.

That wasn't the only exciting news for gamers: The new iPhone also boasts a new 64-bit chip, the Apple A8, which Apple promises will make for a 20 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics, according to The Verge.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Sell Your iPhone for the Most Money]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:06:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_iphone_edited.jpg

Looking to sell your iPhone before the new model is released? The longer you wait can have a dramatic effect on the value of your phone.

Many users are looking to upgrade their phones to get their hands on the latest gadget after Tuesday's announcement of Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Even if you are locked in a contract or not due for a subsidized upgrade from your phone carrier, you can still sell your current iPhone to help pay for the new model.

Many sites offer trade-in deals that will give you a fair amount of cash for your gadget.

Gazelle, an online trade-in store, is offering up to $335 for an iPhone 5S, a price expected to be good until Tuesday. The value is estimated to drop as the iPhone 6 was announced on Tuesday.

Worried about not having a phone? Gazelle is letting users hold on to their current phones until Oct. 10 so they are not phoneless while waiting for the new model. Users must first lock in their deal by Sept. 9 through Gazelle.com.

Through Gazelle, you lock in a price online, and the company will send you a package to ship your phone for free. Once your phone is processed, you can choose to receive a check, gift card or PayPal.

If you are looking to get more bang for your buck, you can try selling your phone privately on eBay. Prices vary depending on the model and storage space of your iPhone. Current listings on eBay as of Monday found iPhone 5S models being sold on eBay for between $300 and $500.

Another option for a user looking to unload their iPhones is Craigslist. You should complete your Craigslist transaction in a public place to be safe. Keep in mind that Craigslist does not offer any “buyer/seller protection” as they are not involved in any transactions.

Apple also has a trade-in program called Apple Reuse and Recycling Program that lets users trade in their phones and receive an Apple Store gift card in exchange. A previously owned iPhone 5 was estimated at a value of $225, while an iPhone 5S is currently not available to trade in through Apple’s site.

Another option to get rid of your phone is through a retailer like Best Buy or Amazon, which both offer competitive pricing onto a store gift card.

The value of a previous iPhone model typically drops when a new model is introduced, so the sooner you sell your phone, the more money you may be able to get.

The price of new iPhone's without a contract typically starts at $649 depending on the model of the phone. If you are due for an upgrade, or start a new contract, prices for new models start at $199.

Check with your carrier to see if you are eligible for an upgrade.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Save Your Data: How to Turn Off Facebook's Auto Play Video]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/215*120/160346736.jpg

Facebook on Sunday revealed that users have been consuming an average of one billion video views on the the platform each day since June.

That's an impressive number, but for those using Facebook's mobile phone applications, the auto-play functionality of those videos could be leading to increased data usage and, in turn, higher cell phone bills.

With a little adjustment in your phone's settings, however, you can browse without risking bill shock.

On iOS devices (iPhone & iPad):

  • Open the Settings application
  • Scroll down and tap "Facebook"
  • Tap "Settings"
  • Below Video tap "Auto-play"

You can adjust whether the auto-play functionality is on, off, or on only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.

On Android:

  • Open the Facebook application
  • Tap the device's "menu" button
  • Tap "Settings"
  • Scroll down and tap "Video Auto-play"
  • Adjust the setting to your preference

Facebook also allows you to adjust the auto-play functionality on your desktop computer.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Live from Cupertino: Apple Will Live Stream Sept. 9 Event]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:54:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/tim+cook+2.jpg

Is it a phone, a watch, a wallet? All eyes will be on Cupertino Tuesday for Apple's next big announcement. Apple will also be live-streaming the "special event" on Apple.com starting 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Apple website already features a countdown clock counting down to the magic hour.

Announcements on both the iPhone 6 (with apparently a bigger screen) and the iWatch (or iBand?) are expected, reports indicate, but there's also the "what else" aspect.

Reports from both Re/code and Bloomberg indicate that the debut of a wearable device is in the cards. There are also reports that the tech giant might unveil its own mobile-payment system -- possibly an iWallet? Apple is also reportedly working on a new, taller iPad.

Apple's invitation to media last week didn't say much, except for a one-line teaser: "Wish We Could Say More." The company stock reached a new all-time high following the announcement and sent social media abuzz.

Apple opted to switch venues for the event, opting for the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, instead of its usual Moscone West venue in San Francisco.

On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced plans to add extra security to iCloud, following a celebrity photo hacking incident last week.

According to Apple, live streaming Tuesday's video from its website will require Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

Follow NBC Bay Area on Twitter @nbcbayarea for live coverage of the event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Motorola Offers Sneak Peek at Wearable Technology]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:10:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/moto-3601.jpg

Chicago-based smartphone maker Motorola Mobility unveiled what it believes will be the next big wave in wearable technology Thursday.

The company is marketing the Moto 360 -- a timepiece that will work with your Android phone and offer voice-based access to information on your wrist.

"Part of what we are doing is allowing people to go through life with their heads up -- a quick glance to see your heart rate, quick glance to see your directions or something allows you to focus on the people and the world around you," Motorola Mobility senior vice president Jim Wicks said.

The watch was designed at the company’s Merchandise Mart global headquarters.

"One of the things we see as a company is that technology is becoming more personal, and whether it is a smartphone or a wearable like this, I think it's important that devices react and respond to consumers," Wicks said.

Designing new wearables is also about challenging Apple for smartphone supremacy. Next week, Apple is expected to unveil its latest iPhone, and possibly its own smart watch.

"Apple has done and will do what consumers expect at the very least, which is make it faster, lighter, thinner, more powerful, better screens, better resolution and more importantly. better software. And all of that will create what I would consider an exceptional experience for those who are in the Apple camp," said Tim Bajarin, Motorola's president of creative strategies.

Samsung also showed off its latest large-screen smartphones Thursday, the Galaxy Note 4 and the Note Edge, which features a wraparound screen and special mini apps.

It's more options for consumers, something Motorola is counting on.

"Our focus is all about giving consumers the power to choose, and we think with this generation of products we are going to emphasize that more and more," Motorola COO Rick Osterloh said.

Photo Credit: Motorola]]>
<![CDATA["Phony Cell Towers" Reported Across U.S. Can Access Your Phone]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 16:49:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/phony+cell+towers.jpg

A security company selling mobile devices with encryption technology claims to have found several “phony cell towers” across the United States, including one in Chicago, that can track phones and eavesdrop on calls.

ESD America, which produces the Cryptophone 500, a cellphone that boasts “completely confidential encrypted telephone calls,” released a map of 19 so-called GSM interceptors.

The interceptors appear to be cell phone towers and “trick” a phone into connecting to them, allowing an attacker to eavesdrop on calls, interfere with communications, or collect data from the phone.

The map was created by Cryptophone cell users and employees whose phones detected signals from the interceptors.

Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America, says the map is likely a small representation of the actual number of interceptors active in the United States.

“This is just the ones that our users detected that month that were active,” he said. “We’re presuming there’s a lot more.”

Goldsmith said the technology for these interceptors is nothing new, but devices like the Cryptophone 500 are now allowing users to determine when their phone is connected to an actual cell tower.

“All we can see is the connection and we can analyze the connection to see whether it’s legitimate or not,” Goldsmith said. “The majority [of interceptors] are in commercial areas. We’ve seen them in business districts, around shopping centers, around residential areas.”

It remains unclear who is behind the towers, but Goldsmith said the more advanced technology used in these towers has the ability to access a user’s email, texts, contacts, photos, internet browsing history and more.

News of the towers comes at a time when concerns over security issues are high.

In the wake of several reported “hacks” and Edward Snowden leaks, the vulnerability for consumers continues to be exposed.

Most recently, several celebrity accounts were the targets of an attack compromising the victims’ usernames, passwords and security questions.

ESD claims that the use of phones like the Cryptophone 500 can help prevent the vulnerability presented by these GSM Interceptors. The phones are reportedly being sold for $3,500, according to MIT Technology Review.

Photo Credit: ESD America]]>
<![CDATA[Is "Vampire Power" Sucking You Dry?]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/generic-electric-meter.jpg 09/02/14: Hidden energy costs can inflate your electricity bill. NBC NEWS' Chris Clackum reports.

Photo Credit: NBCDFW]]>
<![CDATA[How to React to a Bank Hack]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:56:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008588948_1200x675_322887235967.jpg 08/28/14: FBI officials say they're investigating hacking attempts on several U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase. NBC Chicago's Tammy Leitner reports.]]> <![CDATA[Apple to Unveil New Products ]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 05:58:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/2014-08-28-apple-invitation-thumbnail.jpg

Apple has made it official: The next gadget event will be September 9th.

The Cupertino company sent out official invitations to the press Thursday morning, with a date (September 9th), time, and place (10am, Cupertino). The invitation also came with a brief message: 'Wish We Could Say More."

The tech press is already saying plenty about the event, speculating that we'll see a new iPhone, a new iPad (both reportedly larger), and maybe even the long-guessed about iWatch. Apple is not saying anything beyond its emailed invitation.

Investors like the drama, though; shares of Apple stock (AAPL), on a tear lately, hit a new all-time high this morning, as the invitations arrived in boxes.

A quick note about the venue: Cupertino's Flint Center is historic in Apple lore. It's the place where Steve Jobs first showed off the Mac computer back in 1984.

Scott will be at the event, with updates on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Apple]]>
<![CDATA[HP Recalls Computer Power Cords for Burn Hazard]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:31:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/20140826+PowerCord.jpg

Hewlett-Packard is recalling almost 5.6 million power cords in the U.S. for notebook computers because they can overheat and catch fire.

Two people have reported they suffered burns and 13 people have experienced minor property damage as a result of the overheating cords, HP said. HP has had 29 reports of the cords heating up or catching fire.

The power cords were distributed with HP and Compaq notebook and mini notebook computers and docking stations. The power cords are black and have an “LS-15” molded mark on the AC adapter end.

Customers should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled power cords and contact Hewlett-Packard to order a free replacement. Consumers can continue to use the computer on battery power.

The recall also covers almost 500,000 cords in Canada.

For more information on the recall, click here.

<![CDATA[Apple Rolls out iPhone Battery Replacement Program]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:40:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/tlmd_iphone_5_nuevo_12.jpg

If you have an iPhone 5 with a short battery life, you may be eligible for a new, free battery, thanks to Apple’s new iPhone battery replacement program.

Apple released a statement that it has determined a certain number of iPhone 5s purchased between September 2012 and January 2013 “may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently.”

Go here if you think your phone meets these requirements and find out how to get a new battery.

Apple also said that if you already replaced your iPhone 5 battery, you could be eligible for a refund.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quinn Vetoes Uber Bill In a Win for Ride-Share Companies]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:14:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Uber-Car-Rentals.jpg

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a bill targeting Uber and other ride-share companies with stiff state-wide regulations including mandatory commercial insurance and chaffeur's licenses for drivers.

"The principle of home rule is an important one," he said Monday morning in a statement. "I am vetoing this legislation because it would have mandated a one-size-fits-all approach to a service that is best regulated at the local level.”

House Bill 4075 had been sitting on Quinn's desk for weeks amid calls for the re-election-seeking governor not to cave to the taxi industry and instead allow fast-rising start-ups like Uber to plow undisrupted into the Illinois market, especially here in Chicago. Last month, Bruce Rauner -- who's running against Quinn on the Repubican ticket -- professed his love for Uber, declaring: "Pat Quinn shouldn’t sign this bill – it sends another signal that Illinois is closed to innovation."

In announcing the veto Monday, the Quinn Administration scrubbed away any Rauner-esque references to "innovation" as part of an apparent effort to distance the Democrat's decision from his rival's attempts to influence it. The governor instead opted to emphasize a less-government, localized approach to ride-share restriction laws.

"While transportation services are traditionally regulated at the local government level, House Bill 4075 would have limited the ability of home rule units of government to adopt alternative approaches that best fit local needs," said the statement, citing as an example a new ordinance taking effect in Chicago that bars ride-sharing apps from picking up passengers at taxi zones like local airports and McCormick Place.

(The loophole: City transportation brass reserve the power to approve O'Hare and Midway as ride-share territory, thereby permitting Uber to bust into cabbies' monopoly there.)

Quinn also vetoed House Bill 5331, which would tweak the Illinois Vehicle Code to impose further restrictions on Uber and its ilk.

"I want to thank Governor Quinn for his thoughtful approach to regulating an emerging industry so that new transportation options can flourish in Chicago while consumers are ensured a safe and reliable experience," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday in response to Quinn killing that provision. "Beginning next week, the City will implement the commonsense ordinance that passed City Council in May so that rideshare is no longer operating in a regulatory vacuum."

The politics of Illinois and Uber are messy and complicated as lawmakers attempt to toe a tricky line between playing nice with a consumer-friendly business and satisfying labor interests threatened by Uber's global domination goals (which include wiping out traditional taxi companies).

"HB 4075 was intended to limit competition and protect the profits of taxi company owners," Chris Taylor, general manager of Uber's Chicago branch. "It would have done nothing to improve the safety of Illinois’ streets and would have limited the growth of transportation alternatives across the state."

Continued Taylor, "Governor Quinn’s embrace of innovation adds to a growing chorus of leaders who understand the benefits of this new industry: higher incomes for drivers, choices for residents and visitors who need a ride, lower DUI rates, service in neighborhoods that have been ignored by taxi companies for decades, and economic opportunities in cities of all sizes."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:58:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Security Expert Discovers Hole In Satellite Communications]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:35:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Ruben-Santamarta-8_18.jpg

A cyber security expert tells NBC5 Investigates he has found a way to hack into the satellite communications systems used in multiple industries.

"These devices are wide open right now," said Ruben Santamarta, a security consultant based in Madrid, Spain with IOActive.

Pilots, ship captains and military personnel rely on satellite networks to communicate when there are no phone lines or wireless networks available.

"If someone can see the password or that user name it's over," he added. "Those vulnerabilities can be exploited to remotely compromise those devices."

Santamarta said he used something called reverse engineering -- or decoding -- to hack satellite communications equipment used in aerospace, maritime and military industries.

"In the military sector they use satellite terminals for combat units," said Santamarta. "They normally encrypt the radio [transmissions] they send. But we can disrupt the satellite communications channel so we can prevent combat units [from asking] for help if they are being attacked."

And in the maritime sector, satellite communications are used to send and receive vital information that affects the safety of the crew.

"If they are being attacked by terrorists, or they are suffering fire, they can send a distress call," he said. "But we found we can modify the firmware in some of those terminals, so we can prevent a crew from sending a distress call."

Santamarta recently published a 25-page report and went public with his findings at Defcon 22 - the largest hacking conference in the world - held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"For the aerospace sector we can disrupt satellite communications, [and] potentially modify the data that goes through those channels," said Santamarta. "In some cases you need physical access to compromise the devices we analyzed, but in other cases you can use Wi-Fi or the entertainment network to access that device."

His research took place in a lab setting and has not been tested on an actual commercial plane. But his findings have raised concerns in the aviation industry.

"He has uncovered real vulnerabilities in satellite communication systems," said Dr. Phil Polstra, a hardware hacker, security professional and digital forensics professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. "You could use those vulnerabilities to send a bogus message."

Polstra says that while it might be possible to send a fake message - potentially rerouting a plane -- it's unlikely a pilot would act on it.

"You could tell an airplane to reroute or tell them there's bad weather ahead, but what you can't automatically do is take over a new airplane," said Polstra. "There are checks in place and the pilot will verify those messages before acting on them."

As for the claim that it's possible to hack into the satellite communications on a passenger jet through Wi-Fi, aviation experts say that is unlikely.

"If that were even plausible and if someone were able to do that, we monitor the flight's path all the time," said Captain Polly Kadolph, former pilot and aviation professor at University of Dubuque in Iowa. "So if we see the flight path doing something we don't intend or want it to do, in a half second you just click it off and it's ours -- we are just flying it like we have been flying it by hand for thousands of hours

Captain Kadolph says humans, not computers, are the best line of defense against cyber threats.

"One topic that the airline industry is talking about is the over reliance on automation," she said.

As automation in planes increases, the chance of cyber hijacking does as well.

"At this point all those vulnerabilities are really dangerous so they need to change the way they are implementing these devices," said Ruben Santamarta.

But changes may not be happening anytime in the near future. Santamarta says IOActive contacted all of the manufacturers of the satellite communication systems where they found vulnerabilities.

"Some of the vendors state they are not going to budge on anything," said Santamarta. "I think we need time to fix those issues."

<![CDATA[Inside Defcon: What Happens at the Annual Hacker Convention]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:35:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*213/Defcon-poster-p1.jpg

Ruben Santamarta sauntered into our Las Vegas hotel suite looking more like a sleep-deprived 32-year-old than a highly-regarded international security researcher.

He’s not thrilled with the culture in this desert oasis.

“Too hot, too many parties,” Santamarta, who’s here to deliver a speech, told us in broken English.

The Spanish hacker and his press agent Craig Brophy are in high demand at the myriad of parties going on around Black Hat and Defcon, two conferences that make up a week dedicated to the art and science of hacking.

Santamarta hit parties for Facebook, Google, Rapid 7 and IOActive, among others, but he really just wants to give his talks and then vacation with his girlfriend in Los Angeles.

Why the interest? Santamarta recently released cutting-edge research on how he was able to hack into an airplane navigational system via the airplane’s inflight Wi-Fi signal and entertainment system. The Spaniard also published a 25-page report called “A Wake-up Call for SATCOM Security,” that provided details on what he said were multiple vulnerabilities in firmware used in satellite communications, including aviation, military, maritime transportation, energy and even media communications.

We caught up with the Madrid-based IOActive security researcher right after he spoke at Black Hat, a high-end security conference geared toward corporations, security professionals and FBI types. It costs about $3,000 to get in the door. 

The topic of Satellite vulnerabilities alone was enough to raise concern within the security industry and earn adoration within the hacking world.

Santamarta is something of a rock star. He’s got fans and followers. Many of those acolytes descended on Las Vegas for a chance to see him speak at the Black Hat convention.

Thousands more who want to emulate his skills were in town for Defcon – a very different type of security conference that’s held the first week of August in Las Vegas and stands in stark contrast to the high-priced corporate event.

Nearly 16,000 eager hackers of all ages showed up for Defcon 22 at the Rio Hotel. Some of the attendees include white hat hackers (good guys) and black hats (unscrupulous guys). These hackers mingle with National Security Agents (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents and other government guys who listen to the speeches, but really want to recruit talent.

The Defcon conference, which is the ultimate assembly of paranoia, costs $220 in cash. No credit cards. No debit cards. No real names.  These are hackers after all, and nothing electronic is safe from the prying eyes of their sniffer programs – bots whose only purpose is to latch onto your personal data.

We were told to put our IDs, credit cards and other chip-embedded cards in some form of protective RFID shielding case while at the conference.

A fast food restaurant nearby the hotel was hacked while we were there. And one Rio hotel staffer told us that employees there were warned not to bring their cell phones, credit cards or anything else for the four-day conference because they could be breached.

For those looking for a Defcon souvenir that has not been hacked from someone, the chaotic vendor area has it all: artists hawking Defcon T-Shirts, security companies pitching the latest and greatest hacking equipment, how-to books and lockpicking kits. And this year an unexpected participant was Tesla, apparently looking to recruit some computer geniuses.

Participants must go through a rigorous review panel of their peers, before earning a coveted spot to speak at Defcon. And while the speeches are a highlight of the event, there are plenty of other unique and unusual things to do at Defcon.

To be precise, there is a lot of hacking to do.

Organizers of Defcon like to challenge attendees with puzzles – either to hone their skills or perhaps to distract them from infiltrating nearby sandwich shops. The first puzzle comes in the form of the coveted electronic Defcon22 badge.

The Defcon conference badge is a miniature circuit board, which lights up in various sequences and many hackers spend the entire conference trying to “crack” the code on the badge.

The most prestigious challenge to win at Defcon is Capture The Flag (CTF). Attendees call it the World Series of hacking and not everyone can play. Competitors must pre-qualify in order to play.

Teams of hackers try to attack other team’s computers by solving complex codes, while also defending their own computer, each time gaining or losing a flag. Many of these hard-core hackers are known as the superstars in the hacking world. And the game is taken so seriously, that many of these players don’t leave the Capture the Flag Village the entire conference. The winners are awarded no cash but the coveted black badge that allows them free entry to Defcon for life.

One guy that some would argue should have a pass for life: Ruben Santamarta.

The unassuming humble hacker who has no idea that he has groupies and that his fan base includes everyone from university professors to aspiring hackers. 

Photo Credit: Eddie Mize]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Driver Arrested After Assault]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:31:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/police-lights-night-shutterstock_54084688.jpg

Police arrested an Uber driver a woman accused of sexually assaulting her earlier this month.

Police charged 31-year-old Reshad Chakari of Alexandria, Virginia, with second-degree sexual abuse.

On July 20, police went to the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue NW where a 25-year-old woman reported that an Uber driver sexually assaulted her. She had several drinks at a nightclub while celebrating her birthday and passed out in the car, News4's Darcy Spencer reported. According to the police report, the woman said Chakari touched her while she was sleeping in the car.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh said she wants to make sure these drivers are not preying on women. While Uber is required to perform background checks on drivers, that may not be enough, Cheh said. She said installing panic buttons in cars could help.

"Rider safety is Uber's #1 priority. We take reports like this seriously and are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and care," said Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber Technologies. "It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following any serious allegations, which we have done. We stand ready to assist authorities in any investigation.”

Stay with News4 and NBCWashington for more on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend Web: Samsung's Wristwatch Computers]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:45:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/samsung_watches.jpg Charlie Wojciechowski shows us the latest "watch style" computers.. that allow you to answer your phone on our wrist as well as take pictures and so much more. All of the devices Charlie showcased in this story are made by Samsung.]]> <![CDATA[Ideas for Parents: Teen Technology]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 12:34:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008158377_1200x675_312787011981.jpg Technology is finding an increasingly greater role in all of our lives, so family lifestyle expert Donna Bozzo stopped by to share some ideas on how you can make sure kids keep their devices organized and charged... and help you save money and set limits.]]> <![CDATA[Unlock Your Phone with Motorola's "Digital Tattoo"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:34:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/moto+x+tattoo.jpg

Say goodbye to unlocking your phone with a fingerprint, and hello to a digital tattoo.

That’s right—Motorola has unveiled new technology that allows Moto X phone users to unlock their phone using a digital tattoo.

Made of "super thin" and flexible materials, based on eSkinTM technology by VivaLnk, each digital tattoo is designed to unlock a phone by touching it to the device. The nickel-sized, shiny tattoo is designed to last for about five days and can withstand showering, swimming and vigorous activities like jogging, the company said in a release.

The new technology is designed to unlock devices faster than the average 2.3 seconds and eliminates the possibility of forgetting your password.

“Digital tattoos make it faster to safely unlock your phone anywhere without having to enter a password,” the company said in the release.

The tattoos are available in packs of 10 on VivaLnk.com.

Photo Credit: Motorola]]>
<![CDATA[Phone Chargers and Adapters Recalled]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:41:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/recall33.jpg

Two recalls have been issued for chargers that can overheat phones, causing a burn hazard, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The first recall warns about Gemini adapters and chargers that were given away at trade shows between October and April.

The company has received one report of a consumer who was burned on their hand, according to the CPSC. All chargers of this brand should be thrown out. About 31,000 chargers are affected.

The second recalls warns about Lifeguard Press charging kits. Seven models of charging kits with universal serial bus (USB) connectors that are used to recharge Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod devices are affected by the recall, according to CPSC.

They were sold under the brands Ban.do, Jonathan Adler, and Lilly Pulitzer between February and June.

Lifeguard Press has received six reports of the wall chargers emitting smoke and sparking and six reports of prongs detaching from the plug, according to CPSC. No injuries have been reported.

Consumers may contact the company for a refund. About 25,400 are included in the recall.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Kardashian Game Propels App Company]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 14:26:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/KK11.jpg

Kim Kardashian is money.

Glu Mobile knows.

The app-maker is the publisher of "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," a free-to-play game downloadable from Apple's App Store. And Glu Mobile is also enjoying a wave of success after its stock shares jumped 42 percent in recent months thanks to the Kim game, Bloomberg News reported.

San Francisco-based Glu Mobile officials say they're not surprised that Kim's celebrity power could compel hordes of downloads and plenty of in-game purchases, the trick that makes free-to-download games lucrative.

In the game, users try to negotiate their own celebrity landscapes, using advice from Kardashian herself to rise from the "so-called E-list" to the "A-list," the website reported.

Revenue from the game could hit $200 million, an analyst told the website.

Photo Credit: GC Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uber: What to Know About Car Service App]]> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:42:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/451565438.jpg

Summoning a driver at a push of a smartphone button is a lot easier than trying to hail a cab during rush hour, which may explain why Uber, a car service app that connects passengers and car services within minutes, has become so popular.

The San Francisco-based startup, which launched in 2010, is the biggest of the car-hailing apps (others include Lyft, Sidecar and Wingz), operating in 120 cities and 37 countries. Uber relies on a surge-pricing model, which means the fares increase during high-demand periods. The company has come under fire from traditional taxi drivers who say the service is not fair and might even be illegal. This battle between upstart and establishment is likely to continue, and may benefit riders from a cost perspective.

Meantime, here’s what you need to know about Uber:

  • How Does Uber Work?

A customer requests a car using a smartphone app and Uber sends its closest driver to their location, using the phone’s GPS. The fare is charged directly to your credit card. Uber provides five types of services: UberX, the cheapest option which allows for the hiring of livery car drivers with a smartphone; Uber Taxi, which lets you e-hail a yellow cab; Uber Black, a private hire car; Uber SUV, the car seats up to six people and Uber Lux, which features the priciest cars.

  • Who Drives Uber Cars?

UberX drivers are not licensed chauffeurs and they use their own cars. They also use their personal auto insurance policy while driving for Uber and they are not required to get commercial liability insurance. According to the company website, all ride-sharing and livery drivers are thoroughly screened and the company conducts ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records throughout their time with Uber.

The review process may be flawed.  A three-month investigation by NBC4's I-Team found that convicted felons passed Uber background checks across the country. And in an undercover investigation, NBC Chicago hired several UberX drivers and ran their own background checks on them and found numerous tickets for speeding, illegal stops and running lights.

  • Is Uber Safe?

States are warning riders who hail an Uber or another ride-sharing cab that they may not be covered by insurance if the driver gets in an accident. But Uber and other ride-sharing companies say that is not the case.

"There's no insurance gap at all on any trip on the Uber system," Uber spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian told NBC News. She said the company's $1 million policy provides sufficient coverage in case a driver's personal insurance fails to do that.

There are other safery concerns as well. A 32-year-old Uber driver in Los Angeles was arrested in June on suspicion of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room, police said.

And a California couples told NBC4 an Uber driver stole $2,500 in cash and personal items from them after he picked them up from LAX and dropped them off at their West Hollywood condo.

  • How Much Is Uber Worth?

Uber was valued in June at $18.2 billion, less than a year after being valued at $3.5 billion. The valuation was the highest-ever for a venture-backed start-up and experts say Uber is positioned to become one of the most powerful companies in the world.

  • Uber Capping Fares in Emergencies

Uber announced Monday that it will cap fares during emergencies and disasters in all U.S. cities. The company said prices may still rise higher than usual during an emergency, but the increase will be limited. The price will always stay below that of the three highest-priced, non-emergency days of the preceding 2 months, according to Uber's website.

The company was accused of price gouging when it applied surge pricing after Hurricane Sandy, in some cases doubling the normal fares.

  • Uber Slashing Fares in Some Cities

Uber also said Monday that it was temporarily cutting UberX rates by 20 percent in New York City, making its service cheaper than taking a yellow taxi.

An UberX ride from New York’s City’s Grand Central Terminal to the Financial District will now cost about $22, down from about $28. The same ride in a city cab will cost about $24, according to Uber’s blog.

Uber has also reduced fares in Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.

  • Uber Banned in Some Cities

While taxi operators often shell out more than $1 million for a medallion to operate in some cities, Uber drivers don’t. At least six cities (Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Ann Arbor, Michigan; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; and Miami) as well as the state of Virginia have banned ride-sharing companies. Another seven cities and three states (California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania) are trying to regulate them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>