<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usMon, 02 May 2016 01:13:38 -0500Mon, 02 May 2016 01:13:38 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Study on Why Some Sharks Glow]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 21:32:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/UCSD-Catshark-Glow.jpg

San Diego researchers have discovered that some sharks use their flourescent glow to communicate with other sharks deep under water, and their research has provided some really cool images to show how it works.

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, working with experts at the American Museum of Natural History, used a custom-built "shark eye" camera to do the research.

"This study provides the first evidence that sharks can see the fluorescence of their own species," said Dimitri Deheyn, a researcher at Scripps and coauthor of the study. "It's not just beautiful but has an ecological purpose."

How does it all work?

Well, people and other land animals live in a full-color environment, but fish live in a world that's mostly blue, because water quickly absorbs most of the visible light spectrum the deeper you go. The research team figured out that many fish absorb that remaining blue light, and then re-emit it in neon colors of greens, reds and oranges.

Then researchers were able to take their findings a step further. They designed a camera that could capture that flourescent light and they were able to capture a hidden universe.

They focused on two catsharks: chain catsharks and swellsharks.

The scientists went on a number of expeditions at Scripps Canyon in San Diego County. They observed swellsharks in their native habitat, about 100-feet underwater. The team stimulated biofluorescence during night dives with high-intensity blue lights in watertight cases.

The research team recorded the activity (which you can't see with the human eye) using the custom-built underwater camera. The camera had different sets of filters.

"The set of filters we used for the shark-eye had similar effects as if using yellow filters to see fluorescence, as commonly done by divers," Deheyn told NBC7. "The shark eye filter set is just more finely tuned to match the data collected from the eye."

The scientists mathematically modeled the images from the camera, and found that the contrast of the patterns on the biofluorescent sharks increases with depth. That suggests the animals can not only see the light, but are also probably using it to communicate with one another.

"This is one of the first papers on biofluorescence to show this connection, and a big step toward a functional explanation for fluorescence in fishes," said John Sparks, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Department of Ichthyology and a co-author on the paper.

The study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.



Photo Credit: J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone]]>
<![CDATA[SCOTUS Approves Rule Change to Expand FBI Hacking Power]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:01:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/USSupremeCourtBuilding-518005430+%281%29.jpg

The U.S. Supreme Court approved a measure on Thursday that would allow judges to issue warrants for computer searches in any jurisdiction. Civil liberties groups say it unnecessarily expands the FBI's hacking capability, while the Justice Department says it is a minor change necessary to modernize the criminal code.

Judges are normally only able to issue warrants within their own jurisdictions, which are typically small and limited to a few counties. A Justice Department spokesperson said the change is necessary due to the "anonymizing" capabilities that criminals use to conceal their identity and location, and that remote searches are the only way to track the suspects down.

Google and civil liberties groups said that the change is an attack on American's privacy and is counter to the U.S. Constitution's protections against illegal searches and seizures.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bad Apple: Apple Reports 1st Revenue Drop Since '03]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:37:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/iPhone-GettyImages-519233078.jpg

Apple says quarterly revenue fell for the first time in more than a decade, as iPhone sales fell compared with a year ago. That's putting more pressure on the world's most valuable public company to come up with its next big product.

Apple sold more than 51.2 million iPhones in the first three months of 2016 — while racking up $10.5 billion in quarterly profit. That was more than many analysts expected, but still fewer than the 61 million iPhones sold a year earlier.

The company is battling perceptions that its latest iPhones aren't dramatically different from previous models, as overall smartphone sales are slowing around the world. Apple also sells iPads, Mac computers and other gadgets, but nearly two-thirds of its $50.6 billion in quarterly revenue came from iPhones.

Revenue was down 13 percent from the January-March quarter of 2015. And the company surprised analysts by forecasting another revenue drop of 13 percent or more in the current quarter. The forecast drove Apple's stock price down more than 5 percent in extended trading Tuesday, after closing at $104.35.

Despite the decline, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an interview, "we continue to believe the iPhone business is very strong." But he added that Apple is expanding its other businesses. The January-March quarter includes $6 billion in revenue from online services, apps and other software, which was up 20 percent from a year earlier, but just 10 percent of overall revenue. 

Many were hoping the Apple Watch would be the company's next big hit when it went on sale one year ago. Apple hasn't revealed sales figures for the watch, but most analysts estimate the company has sold 12 million or more, producing well over $5 billion in revenue. That's more than twice the number of iPhones sold in the first year after the company introduced its signature smartphone in 2007.

But even as some owners say they're delighted with the Apple Watch, others have voiced disappointment that it doesn't do more. And critics say it hasn't ignited consumer passions, in the way the iPhone became a "must-have" product.

 "They need to come out with that next great product," Angelo Zino, a financial analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in an interview before Apple released its earnings report Thursday. While he's optimistic about the company's future, Zino added, "Apple absolutely needs to start diversifying their revenue base."



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Snowden Advanced Encryption '7 Years': Spy Chief]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 06:42:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/SNOWDEN_AP_334678657241.jpg

Edward Snowden's revelations about the U.S. government's spying activities spurred advanced encryption technologies by "about seven years," National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Monday during a talk hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

Commercially available software has become so sophisticated so rapidly, Clapper added, that it is a "major inhibitor" to the government's ability to collect intelligence on terrorists.

"From our standpoint," Clapper said, "it's not a good thing."

But in interviews with NBC News, digital rights and security experts were puzzled over how intelligence officials arrived at the seven-year figure.

"He's speculating on what would have happened if what happened didn't happen," said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy director of Access Now. "I'm not sure what metric he's using."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Toxic Old TVs Are Ticking Time Bomb for Environment]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 06:09:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TV_GettyImages-489056935.jpg

The global slump in commodities, marked by low prices of raw materials like lead and copper, is leading to old electronics being dumped and e-recycling companies improperly disposing of them, NBC News reported.

A Kentucky company was caught last year burying old TVs and other electronics devices in a 10-foot-deep hole in a field. These products contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, beryllium and cadmium

"We want to promote recycling the best we can," James Young, executive director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority in West Virginia, told NBC News. "But when it becomes such a burden, we can't expect municipalities to foot the bill."

Meanwhile, companies that used to recycle televisions for free, including Best Buy, are now charging customers to haul them away.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Solar Plane to Land in Bay Area]]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 16:55:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-522899362.jpg

The pilot of a solar-powered airplane on an around-the-world journey said Saturday that stopping in California's Silicon Valley will help link the daring project to the pioneering spirit of the area.

Pilot Bertrand Piccard, who left Hawaii three days ago, said he hopes to fly over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge before landing in Mountain View on Saturday night.

"Can you imagine crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on a solar-powered plane just like ships did in past centuries? But the plane doesn't make noise and doesn't pollute,'' Piccard said a live video feed on the website documenting the journey.

It's a priority to link the project we have with the pioneering spirit in Silicon Valley,'' he added.

The project's website says the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is 2 days and 4 hours into a three-day flight over the Pacific.

The aircraft started its around-the-world journey in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and made stops in Oman, Myanmar, China and Japan. It's on the ninth leg of its circumnavigation. 

On Friday, Piccard exchanged pleasantries with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who hailed Piccard's pioneering spirit as "inspirational,'' telling him he was making history.

Piccard responded that Ban, too, was making history by having just presided over the signing of a climate agreement supported by representatives of 175 nations.

"What you are doing today in New York, signing the Paris agreement, is more than protecting the environment, it is the launch of the clean technology revolution,'' Piccard said.

The trans-Pacific leg of his journey is the riskiest part of the solar plane's global travels because of the lack of emergency landing sites.

After uncertainty about winds, the plane took off from Hawaii on Thursday morning. The crew that helped it take off was clearing out of its Hawaiian hangar and headed for the mainland for the weekend arrival.

At one point passengers on a Hawaiian Air jet caught a glimpse of the Solar Impulse 2 before the airliner sped past the slow-moving aircraft.

The Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii in July and was forced to stay in the islands after the plane's battery system sustained heat damage on its trip from Japan 

Piccard's co-pilot Andre Borschberg flew the leg from Japan to Hawaii 

The team was delayed in Asia, as well. When first attempting to fly from Nanjing, China, to Hawaii, the crew had to divert to Japan because of unfavorable weather and a damaged wing.

A month later, when weather conditions were right, the plane departed from Nagoya in central Japan for Hawaii.

The plane's ideal flight speed is about 45 kph, or 28 mph, though that can double during the day when the sun's rays are strongest. The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a midsize truck.

 The wings of Solar Impulse 2, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Paid More Than $1M for iPhone-Cracking Software]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 13:24:18 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/JamesComey-AP_1604052000313874.jpg

The FBI paid more than a million dollars for software to hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, NBC News reported. 

"A lot, more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months, for sure,” FBI Director James Comey said during a security conference in London. 

The FBI director is paid about $180,000 a year. So multiplying that by 7.3 years yields a figure of about $1.3 million. FBI officials were not immediately available to confirm the figure.

Apple and the FBI were supposed to head to court in March, until the government said it found a way to get data off Syed Farook’s iPhone without the company’s help. Comey recently said the FBI “purchased” the technique from an unidentified third party.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Intel to Cut 12K Jobs, Reducing Workforce by 11 Percent]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 16:09:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/184*120/91022387.jpg

Shares of Intel fell nearly 3 percent after the bell Tuesday as it announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce, by 2017, due to restructuring, CNBC reports. 

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, also said Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith would leave that role to lead sales.

The change comes as Intel customers are looking beyond PCs for the "next big experience," from cloud computing to personal assistant robots, CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, file]]>
<![CDATA[Fitbit Shows Woman Lied About Sexual Assault]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 13:23:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477622012.jpg

A Pennsylvania woman is now on probation after her fitness tracker's information proved she was awake and walking around at a time she claimed to have been sexually assaulted.

The woman made a false police report saying she was pulled out of bed and sexually assaulted, but her Fitbit showed otherwise, according to NBC's "Today" show.

That evidence "sealed the deal" for prosecutors, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman told "Today."

Law enforcement can use a warrant to obtain information from fitness trackers, many of which include GPS devices.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Theranos CEO 'Devastated' About Blood Test Issues]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 13:55:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_241410476392.jpg

Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of blood-testing company Theranos, said she was "devastated" after an inspection found "critical violations" at her California lab, raising questions about an accuracy of the tests. 

The Silicon Valley company, valued at $9 billion, partners with Walgreens to provide quick, in-store blood tests at a fraction of regular prices. In November, a federal inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found the company failed to hire and train qualified staff to work the testing machines, and let unlicensed workers review test results. 

"I feel devastated that we did not catch and fix these issues faster," Holmes said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Monday.

Holmes said the lab stopped testing and that she is rebuilding the "entire laboratory from scratch," but a letter from regulators in March called her fixes insufficient and threatened to shut down the lab and ban Holmes from the business of blood testing for at least two years.

Holmes said she has hired a new lab director and an expert medical board to prevent any future violations. She is awaiting response from CMS.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Canadian PM Explains Quantum Computing in Viral Video]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 06:45:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-519414776.jpg

The internet was abuzz with praise for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday after clips showing him schooling a reporter on quantum computing went viral.

During a press briefing at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, a reporter opened his question by joking "I was was going to ask you about quantum computing" but then went on to ask the Prime Minister about Canada's fight against ISIS.

To everyone's surprise, Trudeau decided to answer both, starting with his detailed definition of quantum computing.

"Very simply, normal computers work by ...," he began before he was interrupted by the crowd's laughter and applause.

"No, no, don't interrupt me, when you walk out of here you will know more — well no, some of you will know far less — about quantum computing."



Photo Credit: ALICE CHICHE/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Uber Gave Gov. Agencies Data on Over 12M Users]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 18:32:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Uber-Generic.jpg

Uber released its first transparency report detailing the information requested by not only United States law enforcement agencies, but also by regulators, Reuters reports.

The ride-sharing company said in the report, released Tuesday, that between July and December 2015 it provided information on more than 12 million riders and drivers to various U.S. regulators and on 469 users to state and federal law agencies.

The privately held company, valued at more than $60 billion, said the agencies requested information on trips, trip requests, pickup and drop-off areas, fares, vehicles, and drivers.

Uber said it got 415 requests from law enforcement agencies, a majority of which came from state governments, and that it was able to provide data in nearly 85 percent of the cases.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Spokeswoman Takes Swing at Zuckerberg]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 15:54:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Zuckerberg-AP_626349594659.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is drawing criticism from one of Donald Trump’s spokeswomen after he made a subtle reference to her candidate’s positions, NBC News reports.

"Self-righteousness isn't very proactive: We can talk about taxes, we can talk about jobs and even immigration, but that doesn't really put food on the table and save lives," Katrina Pierson said.

Zuckerberg spoke Tuesday from Facebook’s F8 developer conference against those who want to build physical and digital walls. Trump has regularly spoken about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Ted Cruz says building “a wall that works” is part of his immigration plan.

“I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade, and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the Internet."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NY to Combat Distracted Drivers With 'Textalyzer' ]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 10:35:58 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-93199880.jpg

Police in New York may soon be equipped with a "Textalyzer," a device that will determine if a driver involved in a crash was texting while driving, CNBC reported.

New York Senator Terrence Murphy and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz have partnered with Distracted Operators Risk Casualties, an awareness organization, to propose legislation that would allow authorities to examine cell phones at the scene of an accident.

The Textalyzer purportedly does not provide police with any content on the phone — conversations, contacts, photos, etc.

The roadside technology is being developed by Cellebrite, the Israeli firm that many believe assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in cracking the San Bernardino iPhone at the center of a heated decryption battle with Apple.



Photo Credit: Christian Science Monitor/Getty ]]>
<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Announces Facebook Chatbot Venture]]> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:51:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Facebook announced Tuesday it will let developers build chatbots – interactive, responsive messaging programs – to communicate directly with people, CNBC reports.

The announcement came at its annual F8 global developer conference, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out his vision for the future of the company.

If successful, Facebook could effectively leapfrog the app economy, and create its own thriving digital ecosystem where users can communicate with automated representatives for brands and businesses within Facebook's platforms.

But another high-profile chatbot release was recently ridiculed and quickly pulled from the web. Microsoft released a chatbot on Twitter last month named Tay, but promptly shut her down after she tweeted a flood of racist messages after being prompted by other users.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[NASA's Kepler Probe Powers Down]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 03:42:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/KeplerProbe-AP_370480255804.jpg

A NASA space probe fell into a hibernation-like mode last week leaving scientists wondering why, NBC News reports. 

Mission operations engineers discovered that the Kepler spacecraft went into emergency mode on Thursday, according the missions manager Charlie Sobeck. 

Figuring out what happened will be difficult because Kepler is about 75 million miles from Earth.

Kepler found the most Earth-like planet ever spotted — 1,400 light years from Earth. The probe has discovered more than 1,000 confirmed exoplanets and finished its original mission in 2012. Because of its success, it has been kept on duty studying astronomical objects.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Netflix Hikes Prices for Standard HD Service in May]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 16:48:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Netflix-GettyImages-464215297.jpg

Netflix will raise the price for members streaming its standard HD service by $2 in May, NBC News reported.

Netflix previously announced that a "substantial number" of U.S. subs will see the price hike. They will have the option to continue at $7.99 for a single-stream, standard definition plan, or keep the HD service for $9.99 a month.

"Given these members have been with us at least two years, we expect only slightly elevated churn," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells wrote in a letter to shareholders in January.

About 17 million Netflix subscribers will be affected by the HD plan price hike, according to an analyst.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Adobe Issues Emergency Flash Player Security Update]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:08:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/526453541.jpg

Adobe issued an emergency security update for Flash Player on Thursday after researchers discovered a security flaw that hackers have been exploiting to infect computers with ransomware, Reuters reported.

The software maker urged the more than 1 billion users of Flash on Windows, Mac, Chrome and Linux computers to update the product as quickly as possible. Security researchers said the bug was being leveraged to deliver ransomware in "drive-by" attacks that infect PCs with ransomware when tainted websites are visited.

Ransomware encrypts data, locking up computers, then demands payments that often range from $200 to $600 to unlock each infected PC. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Chief: iPhone Hack Works on 'Narrow Slice of Phones']]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 10:26:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/COMEY_GettyImages-509219390.jpg

The tool used to break into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone will only work on a "narrow slice of phones," and almost certainly does not work on the iPhone 5s or 6, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday, according to NBC News.

Speaking at Kenyon College in Ohio, Comey said the government "purchased" a tool, developed by an unidentified third-party, that allowed them to crack the iPhone 5c running iOS 9 used by Syed Farook.

Comey said the government has not decided whether it will tell Apple what the flaw is, leaving the company with a very public hole in its security.

"That's an interesting conversation, because we tell Apple, they're going to fix it, and then we're back where we started from," Comey said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Humans Aroused When Touching Robots: Study]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 06:12:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-562878269.jpg

Researchers at Stanford University studying the physiological impact of human-on-bot contact found that "touching areas perceived as private made the skin more moist," NBC News reported. 

The team of scientists programmed a two-foot-tall robot — part Michelin Man, part Wall-E — to command four female and six male subjects to touch various parts of its body. Study participants wore finger sensors to measure arousal and reaction time.

When asked to touch a neutral, easily accessible part of the body such as the hand, there was no marked response.

However, when instructed to touch the robot's buttocks, participants not only took longer to respond but showed a "measurable increase" in skin conductance, or high emotional arousal. The researchers found that "physiological arousal was inversely related to accessibility" — meaning that touching bottoms came up tops.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra]]>
<![CDATA[Cybercriminals Work Harder, Longer Hours: Study]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 15:45:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Laptop-GettyImages-585043481.jpg

There are new trends in the world of computer hacking, from longer working hours to an increase in self-promotion, according to a new study, NBC News reported.

The third annual Dell SecureWorks Underground Hacker Markets Report compiles months of data from teams that tracked hackers on various forums across the world. Russian cybercriminals are working 24/7, and many others are advertising themselves as "hardworking" professionals.

Hackers remain focused on identity theft, selling Social Security card scans, driver’s licenses and matching utility bills. Hacking into a corporate gmail account is $500 per mailbox, and only $129 for a private account such as gmail, Hotmail or even Facebook. The market for credit card hacking is still “bustling.” 

The report also offers tips to ward against criminal activity, educating employees on spotting security threats such as phishing emails.  



Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[US Infrastructure Vulnerable to Hackers With Google, Passwords]]> Sun, 03 Apr 2016 19:17:53 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Hacker506944962.jpg

Authorities say the country’s dams, stadiums, traffic controls and power grids can be accessed by anyone with simple passwords or no passwords at all, NBC News reported.

New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the 2013 hack of the by an Iranian computer hack was a "frightening new frontier" of cybercrime that's "scary to think about."

Hamid Firoozi, the Iranian hacker charged earlier this month with breaking into the control system of the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, New York, reportedly used a simple, legal search engine that surfs for and identifies unguarded control systems online. New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the 2013 hack was “scary to think about.”

Authorities believe the threat of more attacks is growing exponentially, and have been warning America's private sector to adapt, but businesses have been slow to respond.

About 6.4 billion devices and control systems will be connected to the Internet in 2016, a 30 percent spike over 2015, according to a new report. By 2020, nearly 21 billion will be online.  



Photo Credit: Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[40 Years of Apple: A Look Back at Apple Product Evolution]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 11:19:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Apple40.jpg Forty years ago, Apple released a personal computer, the Apple 1, designed and built by Steve Wozniak. Since that day in 1976, Apple products have fundamentally changed the way we communicate and live our daily lives. Here's a look back at the evolution of Apple products across four decades, including the Apple 1, the iPod music player, iPad tablet, Apple Watch, and of course, the now-ubiquitous iPhone.

Photo Credit: Rama, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Turns 40]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 06:07:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TLMD-apple-logo-GettyImages-489883062.jpg

Happy Birthday, Apple!

The company that defined Silicon Valley and pushed into a national spotlight is approaching its 40th birthday on Friday.

To commemorate the milestone, a group of employees got together to reminisce about the ups and downs of the past, and look ahead to the future.

Some who showed up to the shindig were there in Apple’s infancy and in the years following its 1976 founding.

“There was this feeling, even back then, that we were doing something that would change the world, and change how people related to their computers," said Bud Tripple, who joined the company in 1980 to work with the original Mac team. "We had big ideas: 

Greg Joswiak, who joined Apple in 1986, remembered when Mac hit hard times in the mid 1990s.

“There was a short time that we lost sight,” he said. “We were really trying to make macs like PCs." He credits the return of Steve Jobs in 1997 with reinvigorating the spirit of innovation that has fueled the company.

The longtimers also have seen many changes to the company headquarters – especially its neighbors.

As the years passed, the Apple veterans had to get used to sharing its Silicon Valley with new generations of tech giants, from those that lived (and died) during the dot com boom, to today’s growing technology infrastructure in the South Bay.

“It is definitely a big company…but the feeling is so much like a startup,” said Divya Nag, who joined on in 2014. 

And now, with customers hungry for new products, Apple is preparing to move into something only they would have designed.

“Apple approaches everything like a product,” said Joswiak with a smile “This new campus is a product.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Condoms, Sodas and Snacks: Amazon Expands Dash Button Program]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:42:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Amazon+Dash+Button.jpg

You can now dash for condoms on Amazon.

One year after the company unveiled its Amazon Dash Buttons, which allow customers to order goods with the push of a physical button, the company announced Thursday it is expanding the number of products available through the program.

Dash Buttons are small, Internet-connected devices that consumers can click to purchase household essentials. When a customer sees supplies running low, they simply press a Dash Button to place an order, never having to worry about running out of coffee, garbage bags or toilet paper.

Initially launched on March 31, 2015, with a handful of companies, many thought the program was a prank because of the proximity to April Fool's Day. But Amazon Dash now has over 100 buttons, representing top-name brands across dozens of retail categories and thousands of products. Whether supply is low on Trojan condoms, your Vichy moisturizer or snacks for the kids, Amazon Dash has a button for that.

Daniel Rausch, Director of Amazon Dash, said in the company's press release that orders for Dash have grown more than 75 percent in the last three months and "customers are using Dash Buttons more than once a minute."

"We’re thrilled with the positive response we’ve seen for Dash Buttons—and we heard loud and clear from customers that they wanted more brands, more categories, and more products in the program," Rausch added.

Dash buttons are available to Amazon Prime members in the U.S. essentially for free. Customers have to pay $4.99 upfront for each one, but that payment is then reimbursed after the first purchase using the button. The products are sent via Prime's free two-day shipping option. 



Photo Credit: Amazon.com]]>
<![CDATA[10-Year-Old Designs Prosthetic Glitter-Shooting Arm]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:00:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GlitterArmProstheticJordanReevesToday.jpg

A 10-year old girl from Columbia, Missouri, got the chance of a lifetime to join a workshop to design her own prosthetic arm, according to Today.com.

Jordan Reeves, who was born without part of her left arm, was invited to join the Superhero Cyborgs workshop in San Francisco in January. Each of the kids involved in the workshop had an upper limb difference and were all challenged to turn themselves into a superhero. Jordan’s concept was to spray out sparkles.

"I thought it was a really, really cool experience," she told Today.com. "I just got to be with people like me and let my feelings be shared and stuff."

Although the workshop is over, Jordan is still working with her design partner, who is mentoring her to design a base to build the glitter cannon.



Photo Credit: Jen Lee Reeves/Born Just Right
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<![CDATA[Study Finds Headlights in One-Third Percent of Midsize Cars Insufficient]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:36:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Headlights0330_MP4-145937314518800001.jpg There may be a reason why people have trouble seeing while driving at night, and it's not their eyesight. A new rating of the headlights of more than 30 midsize cars gave only one model a grade of "good."]]> <![CDATA[Feds Probe Hack Attacks at Major US Law Firms]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:09:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Hacker506944962.jpg

Hackers broke into the computer networks of some big U.S. law firms, including Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Federal investigators are looking to see if confidential information was stolen for insider trading, as these law firms represented Wall Street banks and big companies, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Hackers have threatened more attacks in postings on the Internet, the Journal said.

Cravath Swaine & Moore and Weil Gotshal & Manges were not immediately available for comment. 



Photo Credit: Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images]]>