<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Sun, 30 Aug 2015 01:58:43 -0400 Sun, 30 Aug 2015 01:58:43 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA['Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint': Apple Event Scheduled for Sept. 9]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:51:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/229*120/siri.PNG

"Hey, Siri, give us a hint.”

That’s the cheeky opening Apple gave reporters this morning as part of an event invitation for the latest product update, scheduled for Sept. 9.

But as many reporters and analysts have already found, Siri isn't saying much. Apple tracker Carolina Milanesi of KWP Research, for example, got the response “I’d rather not say, Carolina" when she pressed the voice-activated feature for more clues about the event. 

The tight-lipped approach hasn't stopped the speculation surrounding Apple's plans. An update to the iPhone is due. But given Apple’s habit of updating incrementally, observers don’t expect a full-blown iPhone 7, rather an “S” update to the current phones. Perhaps more storage, a better camera, and some "gee-whiz" features to keep pace with recent Android smartphone updates from the likes of Samsung and 1+.

There’s also talk of an iPad update – perhaps a bigger tablet with more business-type features to try and make inroads into the business market – along with the ever-present rumors of an Apple TV update that includes apps, and maybe even a subscription service to take on the cable companies.

If the invitation’s tease is indeed a hint itself, look for more Siri integration in the latest gadgets.

NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman will provide Apple updates on Twitter: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Too Hip to Be Square: Instagram to Allow Landscape Photos]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:09:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-146168661.jpg

Instagram photographers around the world are pleased that the photo-sharing service has decided to think outside the box.

"You can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram," the online application announced on its website.

Square format images have been a part of Instagram since day one, however, the company realized that square imaging has caused some problems for users.

"We know that is hasn't been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can't capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end-to-end," Instagram's announcement said. 

With the new feature, users now have the option to choose a square, portrait or landscape orientation when posting a video or photo. 

It's been long debated by videographers that cellphone videos should be shot in landscape or "long ways" rather than vertical.

Instagram hopes its new option to post a video in widescreen will make a mobile video be more "cinematic than ever." 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Nevada Man Pleads Guilty to Spamming Facebook Users]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 03:44:52 -0400 > on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, California.]]> > on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, California.]]> http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/204*120/GettyImages-113888441.jpg

A Nevada man pleaded guilty Monday to sending more than 27 million spam messages to Facebook users, federal officials said.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Sanford Wallace, of Las Vegas, admitted in federal court in San Jose, California, to accessing about 500,000 Facebook accounts and sending unsolicited ads disguised as friend posts over a three-month span.

Wallace collected Facebook user account information by sending "phishing" messages that tricked users of the social networking site into providing their passwords, prosecutors said.

He then used that information to log into their accounts and post spam messages on their friends' Facebook walls, according to the indictment. Those who clicked on the link, thinking it came from a friend, were redirected to websites that paid Wallace for the Internet traffic.

In 2009, Palo Alto-based Facebook sued Wallace under federal anti-spam laws known as CAN-SPAM, prompting a judge to issue a temporary restraining order banning him from using the website.

Wallace, 47, acknowledged accessing Facebook's computer network in order to send the spam messages on three occasions between November 2008 and February 2009.

Wallace also admitted that he violated a court order not to access Facebook's computer network. He was charged with fraud and criminal contempt, Haag said.

Wallace is free on bond and scheduled to be sentenced in December. He faces a $250,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

Wallace's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Shuts Down Sites That Collect Deleted Tweets]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:55:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/242*120/politwoopsscreenshot.jpg

When politicians or diplomats delete controversial tweets, should they be allowed to just disappear? Twitter seems to think so.

Though The Guardian reported that the San Francisco company shut down Politwoops, an American website run by Sunlight Foundation, back in May, archival sites were still operating in several other countries until just a few days ago.

According to an announcement posted Sunday to Open State Foundation, publisher of a companion site for diplomats called Diplotwoops, Twitter announced over the weekend that it has blocked access to Diplotwoops as well as Politwoops sites in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Macedonia, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and the Vatican.

Open State Foundation revealed a portion of Twitter's statement to the organization said, "Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice."

"What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record," said Open State Foundation's director Arjan El Fassed. "Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history. These tweets were once posted and later deleted. What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice."



Photo Credit: Politwoops]]>
<![CDATA[Apple to Replace Camera on Some iPhones]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 14:37:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-481503466.jpg

Apple announced a program to fix a camera issue on a batch of iPhone 6 Plus devices sold between September 2014 and January 2015, according to a statement on the company's website.

A component in the phone's camera is causing photos to appear blurry on some of the devices, the company said.

For this reason, Apple asks that anyone experiencing issues with blurry photos on a phone bought between this time to contact contact an authorized service provider, its technical support team, or to make an appointment at a retail store.

Once Apple determines the phone reaches the proper requirements, they will replace the device's iSight free of charge. Wireless carriers are not able to fix this issue. 

An iPhone 6 Plus with a cracked screen or other damage that will impair camera replacement must be fixed prior to service. 

Click here to see if your phone is eligible for the program. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking's Voice Now Available As Open Source Software]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 21:56:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_901166803859.jpg

Stephen Hawking is known for his brilliant theories involving black holes, quantum mechanics ... and One Direction. He is also known for his distinctive voice.

Now Intel is making that voice available to the public for free. The technology -- called the Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) -- was developed over three years by Intel Labs for Hawking, who has suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since he was 21 years old. 

Since then, it has allowed Hawking to share his views on everything from God to artificial intelligence.

"Our hope is that, by open sourcing this configurable platform, developers will continue to expand on this system by adding new user interfaces, new sensing modalities, word prediction and many other features," Sai Prasad, the ACAT project owner, wrote on Intel's website.



Photo Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
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<![CDATA['RoboKiller' App Nets $25K Prize for NJ Hackers ]]> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:00:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-483836276smartphone82015.jpg

Tired of receiving phone calls about nonexistent grand prizes and luxury cruises at odd hours?

Well, the Federal Trade Commission has awarded two New Jersey hackers its top prize for developing an app intended to make those pesky robocallers go away.

The FTC announced the winner of its anti-robocall technology contest, Robocalls: Humanity Strikes Back, on Monday. The winning team, Ethan Garr and Bryan Moyles, received a cash prize of $25,000 for their mobile app, RoboKiller. Garr and Moyles work together at TelTech Systems, in South Amboy, New Jersey. The app relies on call forwarding and works on both landline and mobile phones. Users have greater control over how and when they receive calls by sending robocalls to a SpamBox and using personal filtering lists.

The FTC enlisted tech gurus at DEF CON, an annual hacker conference, as part of its broader campaign to fight illegal robocalls. This year’s conference was held from Aug. 6-9 in Las Vegas. A second-place winner, Hemant Sengar, was also announced. Sengar received a $10,500 cash prize.

The reason robocalls are still such a common problem is that telephone carriers do not have access to the content of calls themselves, said FTC spokeswoman Patty Hsue. "It's very difficult for carriers to really figure out what calls are good calls and bad calls," she said. "Until we figure out ways to differentiate good calls from bad calls, it's going to be a difficult issue to crack."

The FTC also announced the winners of DetectaRobo, a contest that asked participants to develop an algorithm that could predict which calls were likely to be robocalls. Team HaV was dubbed Champion RoboSleuth.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Google Introduces Project Sunroof]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 02:47:44 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/0818-2015-SolarPanel.jpg

As the cost of installing solar panels hits record lows, Google is now offering a tool that allows homeowners to see just how much they could save.

Launched Monday, Project Sunroof  calculates how many sunlight hours your roof receives each year, how much you could save over a 20-year period, and what system would work best for your house just by entering the street address.

Matthew Welch is the owner of Earth Electric, a company that installs solar panels. He thinks Project Sunroof will inspire homeowners to take the leap and go solar.

“It's going to generate a lot of buzz right now," Welch said. "I expect my phone to ring.”

The site offers an estimated savings. Welch says those prices may vary by company and based on whether you have any obstructions on your roof.

“For our quotes … we absolutely must come out to the house and do a site survey,” he said.

Earth Electric visited a homeowner on Tuesday who said the Project Sunroof estimates were spot on.

“We put a lot of research into our decision and [Project Sunroof] confirmed what we had found. It recommended a system very close to the size we got,” homeowner Anne Cowan said.

Project Sunroof is currently only available in the Bay Area, Fresno, Calif., and Boston, Mass.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[You Can Now Review the TSA on Yelp]]> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:02:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Yelp-Reviews-0520.jpg

Not a fan of the TSA? Or have something really nice to say about a TSA field agent who helped you at the security check point?

Now Yelp says you can review the agency – plus landmarks, national parks and other government agencies – on the app, and maybe even get a response.

In a blog post Tuesday, Yelp said it had reached an agreement with the federal government that will allow "federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements."

"We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices, TSA checkpoints, national parks, Social Security Administration offices, landmarks and other places already listed on Yelp if you have good or bad feedback to share about your experiences," the company said in a blog post. "Not only is it helpful to others who are looking for information on these services, but you can actually make an impact by sharing your feedback directly with the source."

“This allows agencies to go in and engage, and dedicate customer service staff to monitoring the feedback,” said Justin Herman, social media manager for GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, told the Washington Post.

Earlier this year, a group of Democrats in Congress had called for a branch of the federal government to work with Yelp on user reviews for government agencies. 

"In order to make government work better, we need to make it easier for people to say what's working – and what isn't," said Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wi) in a July 1 statement

Yelp will also be working with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities, the company said.

The social networking, user review and local search company is also partnering with local governements to display restaurant health scores.

Yelp users have been reviewing various TSA checkpoints on their own for some time now, but Yelp's announcement about the new page makes it official.

Here are some reviews about the TSA at San José and San Francisco international airports from past years:

SJC TSA: "Of course, I think SJC has probably the best TSA because they're usually extremely fast. You're in and out within a few minutes and they have a strong focus on efficiency. I like that at airports where everything else takes forever and everything costs a bazillion dollars."

SFO TSA: "Not sure how I feel about the aggressive enhanced pat-downs they perform here."

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina tweeted today that she gave TSA a one star in her Yelp review:



Photo Credit: AP / File
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<![CDATA[Tinder CEO Leaves After Five Months]]> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 13:09:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/140411-tinder-dating-app-mn-1310_6f284758e68894d5f153e1d324a00965.nbcnews-fp-1360-600.jpg

Tinder's latest CEO Christopher Payne just didn't match with the company.

Payne is leaving the position after just five months on the job. Taking over will be Tinder co-founder and current president Sean Rad, NBC News reported.

"I enjoyed my time at Tinder but we mutually determined that this wasn't going to be optimal and thought that a quick transition served everybody best," Payne said in a statement.

Payne, a former eBay executive, took over Tinder's helm in March.

Rad returns to the top spot after he was accused in a lawsuit of ignoring an employee's complaints about being sexually harassed within the company. Tinder's parent company settled with the accuser, the former vice president of marketing. 

The move comes after Tinder said this week that its social media team had "overreacted" for posting more than two dozen tweets slamming a Vanity Fair article.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Stealing Data on iOS Via Major Security Flaw]]> Thu, 06 Aug 2015 12:38:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_256712263767.jpg

Hackers are taking advantage of vulnerability in Apple's iOS mobile operating system to install malicious software disguised as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other apps to steal personal information, CNBC reported. 

According to a new report by cybersecurity firm FireEye, the installation happens when a user clicks a link that may have been sent to them via email, text message or even a fake advertisement on a website.

The fake app looks like the real version and can steal sensitive information and send it back to a remote server.

So far, the hack has been used on iOS version 8.1.3 and before, FireEye said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[See the New Features in Windows 10]]> Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:37:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_louisianatheatershootingjonathanarnold_1500x845.jpg Windows 10 is a free upgrade that Microsoft hopes will fix some of the most glaring issues of Windows 8.]]> <![CDATA[Google Admits That Google+ is 'Confusing']]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:22:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Google-Privacy-Update-3-June-2015.jpg

Google has halted its pursuit of making Google+ a rival to Facebook with the search giant even admitting that the social service was a little "confusing" for users, NBC News reported.

The service's intention of unifying Google's sharing models was "a well-intentioned goal, but (we) realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing," Bradley Horowitz, who took over Google+ a few months ago, said in a blog post on Monday.

Google+ has failed to gain traction as a serious contender in the social media space. Analysts said that the service failed to carve out its own distinctive purpose.

Google is not shutting its social media service down completely but said it is becoming "more focused."



Photo Credit: AP/Virginia Mayo]]>
<![CDATA[Simple Hack Could 'Critically Expose' Most Android Phones]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 00:13:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/AP100520138908.jpg

A flaw called "Stagefright" in Google's Android operating system could let hackers take over a phone with a message -- even if the user doesn't open it, NBC News reported.

The flaw could "critically expose" 95 percent of Android devices, according to Zimperium, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability.

Stagefright, which Zimperium called the "mother of all Android vulnerabilities," allows people to send a video containing hidden malware to Android phones via a multimedia message (MMS) application. For the default messenger app on most Android phones, users don't even have to play the video.

"Patches have already been provided to partners that can be applied to any device," a Google spokesperson told NBC News in a statement.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[High-Tech Car Seat Aims to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:24:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/evenflo.jpg

As summer temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of hot car deaths among children. Now, one company is using new technology to help parents avoid tragedy by remembering their little one in the back seat.

The Evenflo Embrace DLX Infant Car Seat features a sensor that attaches across the baby's chest, sounding an alarm after the car ignition is turned off, according to TODAY.

"It seems impossible that you would forget that your baby is in the car, but you're exhausted, the seat's facing the other way, you're sort of going by muscle memory, and you can forget the baby is in the car,'' said Jason Tanz, editor-at-large at Wired Magazine. "So this is a reminder using Wi-Fi, using a sensor to keep your baby safe."

The carseat is currently sold online at Walmart for around $150, and is set to hit store shelves next month.


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<![CDATA[NASA Releases First Photo of Sunlit Earth in 40 Years]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:14:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/earth+new+photo.png

While images of Pluto are still coming in from NASA, the organization has released another milestone photo: one of a sunlit Earth.

The last time NASA released a full image of the Earth from space the year was 1972 and the photo, snapped by the Apollo 17 astronauts, was called the "Blue Marble." 

This photo is significantly better in quality than the "Blue Marble" pic because of the resolution (click here for the high resolution version). 

A camera, known as Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) on the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite took the historic photo from one million miles away, according to NASA. EPIC is made up of a four megapixel camera and telescope. 

The Earth image, taken on July 6, 2015, was created by combining three different images — taken with red, green, and blue filters — to create one full photo.

The image is meant to show the effects of sunlight scattered by air molecules. It showcases North and South America.

Eventually, NASA said on their website it is hoping the camera will harvest regular data and provide daily images of Earth.



Photo Credit: NASA
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<![CDATA[Apple Resolves Problem With Services]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:33:15 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/apple+services.jpg

Apple services were back up and running on Tuesday after it reported a problem with all store services, including the App Store and Apple Music.

"Users are experiencing a problem with the services listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available," a message said on the company's system status page.

Services affected include App Store, Apple Music, Siri, Radio, Photos, Apple TV, iCloud Mail, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, iCloud Contacts, Beats Music, iTunes in the Cloud, OS X Software UpdateiTunes Match, iTunes Store and Mac App Store.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[This Command Can Cause Siri to Call 911]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:08:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_111010073653_Siri.jpg

If you need to charge your iPhone, it's probably best not to ask Siri.

Some users have discovered that asking Siri to "charge my phone 100 percent" will result in a five second delay before automatically calling 911 services, according to CNBC.

While this could cause problems to users who simply want their phone on full power, others have said the feature may come in handy during times of trouble.

It is unclear whether the function is intentional by Apple or a glitch in the system, according to NBC News.

Update: Apple appears to have fixed the glitch.

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Changes News Feed Settings]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 12:15:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/facebooknewsfeed.jpg

Facebook is giving users more control over what they see in their news feed by letting users pick which friends' and brands' updates they want to see first, and even the order in which they'd like to view them. 

"We rank [items in] your news feed with the goal that whether you have five seconds or five minutes, you're seeing the best of what's in your feed," Greg Marra, product manager at Facebook, told NBC News. "We know we don't always get that perfect right now."

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To personalize the news feed, users have to go into "Settings" and select "News Feed Preferences" to choose who they see first when logging in. 

The "see first" feature is already available on iOS and will soon come to Android and desktop.

The social network giant is also introducing a feature that allows users to pick pages they'd like to see at the top of the news feed and is re-designing the existing feature that lets people un-follow other users' posts without un-friending them.

Facebook has recently implemented another change. It has redesigned the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page so that a woman is featured in front of a man. 

[[238427591,C]]



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[WATCH: U.S. Robot Company to Japan Company: Let's Duel]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 10:34:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-9.46.41-PM.jpg

A U.S.-based robotics company has thrown down the metallic gauntlet and goaded a Japanese competitor into a heavy metal battle of mechanical proportions. 

"Suidobashi, we have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen," said co-founder of MegaBots, Inc Matt Oehrlein—along with his partner Gui Cavalcanti both draped in an American flag—in a YouTube video challenging Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas. 

Megabot, the U.S.-based company, is confident in its Mark 2 model: a towering 6-ton metal beast. 

"We just finished tightening the last bolts on the Mark 2—America's first fully functional giant piloted robot," Oehrlein says in the video to the Japenese robotics company.

The massive robot is operated by a team of two people and can shoot three pounds paint balls at from its cannon at 100 miles per hour, according to Oehrlein.

"And because we're American, we added really big guns," co-founder Cavalcanti added with dramatic pause. 

[[312692051, C]]

Suidobashi's CEO responded to MegaBots' gentlemen's duel in his own video: "Come on guys, make it cooler," Kogoro Kurata said, with shots of him wrapping the Japanese flag around his shoulders.

"Just building something huge and sticking guns on it," Kurata continued. "It's super American."

Suidobashi launched The Kurata, named after the CEO and designer, in 2012. At 4.5 tons, it was a little less than Mark 2, a full heads-up display (HUD), and guns controlled by an advanced targeting system. 

No venue or date for the battle of the death metals, but the challenge has been accepted. 


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<![CDATA[Spot the Difference: Facebook Changes Its Friends Icon]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:59:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Facebook_Imagen_Vegas.jpg

The latest change to Facebook's look may have gone unnoticed to many, but it's meant to make a major statement. 

A change to the small "friends" icon on the upper right hand corner of the page is about more than aesthetics — it's about equality, according to one employee. 

Caitlin Winner, a design manager at Facebook, initially noticed something was off about the icon featuring silhouettes of two users. When she looked at the female icon alone, she noticed a "chip" in the lady's shoulder, "positioned exactly where the man icon would be placed in front of her" on the site's page. 

“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration,” she  wrote in a Medium post. “But as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.”

Winner decided to take action. 

[[312513961, C, 620, 184]]

"The lady icon needed a shoulder, so I drew it in — and so began my many month descent into the rabbit hole of icon design," she wrote. 

While she originally set out to simply fix the shoulder, Winner soon found herself updating the hairstyles of both sexes, the man icon's shoulder and the positioning of the pair, which she flipped to put the woman in front. 

"As a woman, educated at a women’s college, it was hard not to read into the symbolism of the current icon; the woman was quite literally in the shadow of the man, she was not in a position to lean in," she wrote. 

[[312514411, C, 620, 114]]

Eventually she took a look at the site's "group" icon, which also had a man featured in front with a man and woman behind him. She switched the icons there, too, placing the woman in front.

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Winner said this small personal project, which was soon incorporated into the site design, has changed her perspective on symbolism with other icons.

"I try to question all icons, especially those that feel the most familiar," she said. "For example, is the briefcase the best symbol for ‘work’? Which population carried briefcases and in which era? What are other ways that ‘work’ could be symbolized and what would those icons evoke for the majority of people on Earth?"


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<![CDATA[WATCH: Dramatic New Trailer for "Steve Jobs" Biopic]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:36:06 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/jobs-fassbinder.jpg

A new trailer for the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic reveals dramatic family and business conflicts.

Jobs, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, is seen throughout the trailer dealing with recognizing and building a relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Writer Aaron Sorkin told The Verge that Jobs' daughter, who consulted with him on the script, is the heroine of the film.

The Danny Boyle-directed flim – called simply “Steve Jobs” – is scheduled to debut in theaters on October 9.



Photo Credit: Universal Pictures
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<![CDATA[Stephen Hawking Pops In For Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Q&A, Asks About 'Gravity and Other Forces' ]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:31:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/210*120/zuck-hawking.jpg

When Mark Zuckerberg does Townhall Q&As on Facebook to hear from users, he gets thousands of questions.

Sometimes famous people ask questions. On Tuesday, Stephen Hawking asked him a question.

"I would like to know a unified theory of gravity and the other forces. Which of the big questions in science would you like to know the answer to and why?" the world-famous physicist posted on Facebook through a verified account.

His question received over 6,000 likes.

"I don't think Mark would wanna answer this," one Facebook user joked. "Mr. Hawking wins the best question Q&A award," another quipped. "Epic,  respect, legend," others commented.

Zuckerberg responded within minutes, saying: "That's a pretty good one! I'm most interested in questions about people. What will enable us to live forever? How do we cure all diseases? How does the brain work? How does learning work and how we can empower humans to learn a million times more? I'm also curious about whether there is a fundamental mathematical law underlying human social relationships that governs the balance of who and what we all care about. I bet there is."



Photo Credit: Getty
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<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:43:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.


Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Releases New Music Streaming Service]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 09:38:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476371856.jpg

Apple's new music streaming service is finally here: Apple Music.

In an attempt to compete with Spotify, Tidal, Rhapsody, Rdio and other streaming-music services, Apple Music combines downloaded music, streaming tunes, radio and some social elements.

“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists,” said record producer and Beats by Dre co-founder, Jimmy Iovine in the company's press release. “Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”

The new services takes songs from the users' own library in addition to a catalog of 30 millions songs available to stream. The 24-hour radio station, Beats 1, is Apple's first live radio station "dedicated entirely to music and music culture," according to the press release. Apple Music Connect will allow artists to share lyrics, backstage photos, videos and song releases directly to fans' iPhones. 

Starting June 30, users are able to use the service for three months before being charged $9.99 per month—a comparable price to other monthly streaming-music applications. For $14.99 per month, up to six family members can use one membership as part of Apple's family plan. 

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app — a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

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<![CDATA[Facebook Lets Users Show Their Pride with Rainbow Filter]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 17:56:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-4786255681.jpg

Facebook is now offering a rainbow filter that anyone can overlay on his or her profile picture, following Friday’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

The site’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg applied the filter to his own picture and posted a graphic showing two maps, one from 2008 and one from 2015, that showed the huge increase in membership in LGBT Facebook groups.

“I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recogized as equal couples under the law,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the Facebook Stories page posted a video profiling Justin Kamimoto, who “started a Facebook group to support LGBT+ youth in California’s Central Valley.”

Six million people in the United States identify as LGBTQ on the site, according to Facebook. The company was one of 379 corporations and employer organizations that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage, in a friend-of-the-court brief.

In February 2014, Facebook expanded users’ ability to self-identify with the gender of their choice, adding 56 options to the original “male” and “female” categories.

But Facebook wasn’t the only social media site pumping up the pride on Friday. Twitter, which also supported the ruling, also got in on the celebration, offering two new emojis, #Pride, a rainbow flag, and #LoveWins, a rainbow-flag heart.

Many companies updated their social media to reflect support for the court’s decision, in addition to Facebook and Twitter. Even The Weather Channel got in on the act, tweeting, of course, a rainbow.


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<![CDATA[The Future Has Arrived: Hoverbike in the Works]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:15:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hoverbike1.jpg

A UK aeronautics company that once used Kickstarter to raise funds has a real hoverbike in the works. A prototype for the vehicle is moving forward with the help of the an American engineering company and the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Reuters, Malloy Aeronautics is collaborating with Maryland-based engineering firm SURVICE and the DoD to create manned hoverbikes for the U.S. Army. Malloy's marketing director said hoverbikes will provide safer and more agile and cost-effective alternatives to helicopters. Developers said the vehicle could be used in emergency response tasks including search and rescue operations.

At the Paris Airshow, directors from both Malloy and SURVICE along with Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the opening of a Hoverbike office in the Harford County, Maryland for the U.S. Army, Reuters reported. 

The hoverbike isn't the only hover prototype floating around. Toyota's Lexus division charmed the Internet with a promotional teaser on YouTube. The video shows a sleak skateboard-like device much like the one seen in 'Back to the Future.' Other hoverboard prototypes have been in the works for in recent years.



Photo Credit: Malloy Aeronautics
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<![CDATA[Apple Responds to Taylor Swift's Open Letter]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 09:59:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476492963.jpg

Apple says it's bowing to concerns raised by pop superstar Taylor Swift. The giant tech company now plans to pay royalties to artists and record labels during a free, three-month trial of its new streaming music service.

Swift criticized the company in an open letter on Sunday, saying it wasn't fair that artists and labels wouldn't be paid directly for the use of their music during the trial period.

Writing on her Tumblr page in a posting titled "To Apple, Love Taylor," Swift said she would withhold her 2014 album "1989" from Apple Music, which launches June 30. The pop star called Apple's plan not to compensate artists, writers or producers during the three-month trial "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."

Eddie Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, responded to Swift late Sunday night in a series of tweets announcing the policy change.

Swift said she was speaking up for the music community at large, not for her own personal gain. Three months, she said, "is a long time to go unpaid." Last November, Swift also pulled "1989" off Spotify.


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<![CDATA[Newt Gingrich Takes on New Job: Tech Reviewer]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 11:38:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/gingrich14.jpg

Newt Gingrich's long resume just got longer.The former presidential candidate, House speaker and political consultant is now also a tech reviewer for Mashable.

His first post, a review of the Apple Watch, hit the site today, saying while there are some hiccups with the wearable gadget, it's a step in the right direction and fun for many people.

"At the moment, the Apple Watch seems best suited for busy people who need quick access to information on the go, those who want access to their schedules at a glance and anyone who likes being an early adopter of the newest technology," he wrote. "In many ways, the Apple Watch is like a beta product, but one promising a new direction, much like the first BlackBerrys and first iPhones." 

The idea to have him write for the site arose on Twitter two years ago, after Gingrich tweeted about virtual cars. A then-Mashable employee tweeted back, saying he wished the Republican would review the car for the site. 

 

While that review never happened, the prolific writer and technology fan later gave the site another reason to ask. In May 2015, he wrote a post for his own website about the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Mashable again took to Twitter to hint at the idea of him writing for the site.

With an excited response from Gingrich, a plan was set: he would be reviewing the Apple Watch. The 1,000-plus word review, which covered use of the watch during a cross-country flight and managing a busy schedule, got more than 1,000 shares within hours of hitting the Web. And the cub Mashable reporter seemed to be enjoying the job, too. 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Zuckerberg Gives $5M to Scholarship]]> Wed, 17 Jun 2015 19:59:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/mark-zuckerberg.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are giving $5 million to a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. 

The Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their donation to TheDream.Us in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"America was founded as a nation of immigrants. We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential," he wrote. "If we help more young immigrants climb the ladder to new opportunities, then our country will make greater progress."

Zuckerberg is among Silicon Valley's most philanthropic people. In 2013, the Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan donated $1 billion, according to reports.

He came out as an advocate for immigration reform in 2013 when he spoke publicly for the first time on the issue.

"Someone did a study and it showed half of tech companies are founded by immigrants," he said. "These are issues that don’t just touch our industry, but really touch the whole country."



Photo Credit: AP
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