<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Tech News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 21 Feb 2017 02:53:48 -0500Tue, 21 Feb 2017 02:53:48 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bill Gates Thinks It May Be Time to Tax Robots]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 19:05:44 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/Bill_Gates.jpg

Bill Gates sees an upside to the robots taking jobs from humans: taxes.

Harnessing technology helped make Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, the richest man in the world. Recently, he told the publication Quartz that technology can be harnessed to help maintain the social safety net for the communities that lose jobs to automation.

"Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things," Gates said in the interview. "If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level."

Automation is a hot topic these days, with American jobs a major focus of Donald Trump's presidency. He is pursuing policy that will incentivize companies creating manufacturing jobs in places like the Rust Belt and punish companies that move such jobs overseas.

But some analysts believe that many of the manufacturing jobs that stay in the U.S. will simply be automated. Roughly half the world's jobs could be automated with technology that already exists, accounting for $15 trillion in wages, according to a recent analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute.

In his farewell address, President Barack Obama warned of economic dislocation that comes "from the relentless pace of automation that makes many good, middle-class jobs obsolete."

Gates argues that taxing robots that take the place of American workers would help communities accept that kind of change, since they would benefit from the work the robots do.

"It is really bad if people overall have more fear about what innovation is going to do than they have enthusiasm. That means they won’t shape it for the positive things it can do," Gates told Quartz.

Gates isn't the only major player in the tech world thinking about how to help society adapt to the technology that's so quickly changing the way people interact.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg released a manifesto last week aiming to explain how his company will try to create a "social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us."



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Young Adults More Likely Than Teens to Text and Drive: Study]]> Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:39:44 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-565978511.jpg

A new study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed that millennials can’t seem to put down their cellphones, even when they’re behind the wheel. 

After surveying over 2,500 Americans, AAA concluded that 19- to 24-year-olds are more inclined than any other age group, including teens, to check their phones for texts while in the driver’s seat. Millennial drivers also aren’t as supportive of legislation aimed at stemming distractions while on the road, and they’re more likely to normalize texting and driving than other groups.

In all, 88.4 percent of respondents from ages 19-24 reported engaging in dangerous behaviors like texting, speeding and red-light running. That compared to 79.2 percent for people 25-39 and 69.3 percent for 16- to 18-year-olds.

Phone use is one of many dangers that contribute to almost 100 American deaths every day, on average, because of car wrecks. Another is driving while intoxicated, which almost everyone agreed was a serious threat to their personal safety.

But as the study notes, most American drivers seem to abide by the mantra, “Do as I say, not as I do.” More than one in eight respondents said they had driven after drinking within the past year.

Aggressive driving can also cause wrecks. Though over three-fourths of those polled said they disapproved of speeding on the freeway, nearly half admitted to driving at least 15 miles over the speed limit in the past month.

Because of irresponsible driving, 982,307 Americans have died since 1991. One in five survey respondents had been in a serious accident, and one in three was close with someone who had been injured or killed on the road.

In 2015, there were 35,092 people who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, a 7.2 percent increase from the year before.

"People in the United Sates do value safe travel and desire a greater level of safety than they now experience," the authors of the survey wrote.

Because of dangers associated with driving, many of those questioned said that it’s unacceptable to not wear a seat belt. Still, one in six admitted they hadn't buckled up in the last month.



Photo Credit: Getty/Spaces Images
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<![CDATA[Apple Unveils New 'Planet of the Apps' Show]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:45:40 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16294465474204-iphone-charger.jpg

Apple revealed the first trailer for its upcoming TV reality show "Planet of the Apps," an unscripted series about apps and the talented developers who make them.

The show, a mashup of "Shark Tank" and "The Voice," features an "escalator pitch," a celebrity panel and some of Silicon Valley's heavy hitters.

App developers are given 60 seconds on an escalator to pitch their app idea to a panel of celebrity judges, including Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.i.am.

If their pitch is selected, the developer will partner with one of the judges who will act as an adviser on the project. The celebrity mentors will help the developers prepare for their final pitch to LightSpeed Venture Partners in the hopes of scoring a $10 million investment.

And what good is a show about apps without its own app? Apple, of course, has it covered. The "Planet of the Apps" app allows viewers to swipe left or right to signal whether the developer's idea seems promising, according to Recode.

Recode also notes successful apps will be prominently featured in Apple's App Store.

The show will air exclusively on Apple Music. A launch date has not been released.



Photo Credit: AP, File
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<![CDATA[Keith Morrison Is a New Guest Voice on Waze App]]> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:02:15 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Keith-Morrison.jpg

Keith Morrison and Waze have a special Valentine's Day present for fans of NBC's "Dateline," which is turning 25.

Morrison is a limited-edition voice guide on the traffic navigation app starting Feb. 14, NBC News reported.

He'll guide you around traffic and construction and help you avoid those pesky potholes.

To get Keith's voice, Waze app users should go to Settings in the app, hit Voice Directions and scroll down to Keith Morrison.



Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC
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<![CDATA[Elon Musk Bashes Claim of Unfair Work Conditions at Tesla]]> Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:35:47 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-479833756-Musk.jpg

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied allegations by an employee that his car company overworks and underpays its workers, CNBC reports. 

Jose Moran, who says he works for Tesla’s San Francisco Fremont plant, wrote a scathing blog post about his working conditions, including "excessive mandatory overtime."

Musk responded in a Twitter direct message to tech news site Gizmodo, saying, "Frankly, I find this attack to be morally outrageous." He suggested that Moran had been placed at Tesla by labor union United Auto Workers, which tasked him with agitating for unionization.

UAW called Musk’s claim "fake news" in a statement to CNBC.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Uber Taps NASA Engineer to Boost Flying Car Initiative]]> Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:04:24 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/UberFlyingCars.JPG

Just four months after officially joining the flying car revolution, Uber has added a big name to orchestrate its innovative plans.

Mark Moore, a 30-year veteran of NASA, is ditching the government agency to take on Uber's director of engineering for aviation gig, according to the ride-hailing company. Moore's primary role is to enhance the San Francisco company's flying car strategy coined Uber Elevate, a program originally outlined in a 98-page white paper released in October.

The enticing and futuristic proposal would work like this: Uber users would catch a traditional ride or walk to a neighborhood "vertiport." Riders would then climb aboard a flying car and float to another "vertiports" located near the rider's destination.

Uber won't actually be constructing these vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, gizmos. The ride-hailing service plans to collaborate with other companies leading the charge in the flying car industry.

"Uber continues to see its role as a catalyst to the growing developing VTOL ecosystem," Nikheil Goel, head of product for advanced programs at Uber, wrote in a statement. "We're excited to have (Moore) join us to work with companies and stakeholders as we continue to explore the use case described in our white paper."

Before any flying cars operated by Uber are zooming above clogged commutes, a slew of issues, including noise pollution, battery life, safety and air-traffic concerns, will need to be checked off of the to-do list. Moore's expertise is being tapped to address those concerns.

The San Francisco-based company isn't the only collective thinking about the future of transportation, as reported by Bloomberg. Google co-founder Larry Page is said to have commissioned Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk — two startups in the Silicon Valley — to create flying car capabilities.



Photo Credit: Uber]]>
<![CDATA[Hackers Take Down Thousands of ‘Dark Web’ Sites]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:36:13 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Someone claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous compromised a private web hosting service last week, taking down more than 10,000 sites on the highly encrypted "dark web," security researchers said.

As NBC News reports, the hacker or hackers broke into the hidden web hosting service Freedom Hosting II, claiming to have harvested all of the sites' files and its database, totaling almost 80 gigabytes of material.

"Dark web" is the term used to describe the networks of private sites that exist on the same public internet you use at home and at work but that are accessible only through special software or access configurations. 

Sites on the dark web are often used for legitimate, even laudable, purposes, such as protecting political and social activists' communications from opponents and repressive governments. But such sites are also often used — in back-alley locations that make up what is sometimes called "darknet" — to shield illegal activities from law enforcement, particularly black markets in weapons, drugs and child pornography.



Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[300 Drones Flew as 1 for Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Show]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 16:40:50 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Super-Bowl-LI-Flag.jpg

There’s no question that Lady Gaga was on fire all on her own Sunday night, but the singer's Super Bowl extravaganza was made even more electrifying by 300 "Shooting Star" drones floating above in the Houston sky.

They were run by Santa Clara, California-based Intel, which proudly tweeted about its tech throughout the Big Game.

The fans went wild.

"LOVED the drone art in in the sky," tweeted Karen Allen, one of the many drone fans out there.

Allen was ooh-ing and ah-ing about what Intel said was an unprecedented show of drones at a Super Bowl or televised event. (The drone part of the show was rehearsed and filmed before the game.)

The colorful quadcopter drones, which weigh less than a volleyball and can generate over 4 billion color combinations together, are created for use festivals and other events, the company says, and have the audience's safety in mind.

The Super Bowl was also the highest these drones have flown, according to Intel — the company said it got a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the fleet up to 700 feet.

"Lady Gaga and the Super Bowl creative team wanted to pull off something that had never been done before and we were able to combine Intel drone innovation with her artistry to pull off a truly unique experience," Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's New Technology Group, said in a statement.

This is not Intel's first foray into the world of drones.

Intel sent up the same type of drones at Walt Disney World in December 2016. And the month before that, Intel launched 500 drones in the sky in Germany to break a Guinness World Record for "most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously."

Lest amateurs think they can send up Shooting Stars from their home backyard, the company said the drone meets all Federal Communications Commission technical specifications but has not yet been authorized as required by the rules of the FCC.

As for how they didn't all crash into each other while forming into a waving flag in the Texas sky, Intel said that all 300 machines were controlled by one computer and one drone pilot.


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<![CDATA[Tech Companies File Legal Brief Against Immigration Order]]> Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:18:41 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/632863052-realdonaldtrump-potus-donald-trump-twitter.jpg

Twitter, Uber, Google and Apple were among 97 companies to file a friend-of-the-court brief early Monday with a federal appeals court hearing challenges to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, NBC News reported.

In the filing, the companies call the temporary ban, which keeps refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., unconstitutional, un-American and bad for the economy.

"It hinders the ability of American companies to attract great talent; increases costs imposed on business; makes it more difficult for American firms to compete in the international market- place; and gives global enterprises a new, significant incentive to build operations—and hire new employees—outside the United States,” the brief filed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco read.

The appeals court earlier Sunday rejected the Trump administration's request to reinstate the president's order. A federal district judge in Seattle halted implementation of the order on Friday.



Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Online Privacy Virtually Nonexistent For Users]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 17:03:25 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_techtalker0203_1500x845.jpg Should internet users expect to see personal information online? With something as simple as a name and the click of a mouse, dozens of websites will fork over your personal information for a small fee...or even sometimes for free.]]> <![CDATA[Texas Boy Invents Device to Prevent Hot Car Deaths]]> Fri, 03 Feb 2017 14:17:32 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bishop+curry+v.jpg

The number of children who overheated and died inside cars increased across the country last year, and Texas had the highest number of cases.

Now a 10-year-old boy from McKinney has invented what he hopes is a life-saving tool that every parent could use.

Bishop Curry V says he was inspired to create a device he calls "Oasis" after a baby died in a hot minivan last summer outside a home in Melissa.

The home is near the Curry family's home in McKinney. 

Curry is a fifth grader at Melissa Ridge Intermediate and his father says they drive by the home every day on their way to school.

"I knew exactly where the house was," said Bishop Curry IV.

The tragedy hit close to home for the Curry family because they have a 1-year-old girl of their own.

"Sometimes babies fall asleep and they're really quiet, so if you're rushing home from work or you're rushing to the grocery store, I could see how somebody could forget," said Curry IV, who is an engineer for Toyota in Plano.

Thirty-nine children died of heat stroke in hot car incidents last year, seven in Texas, according to a San Jose State University meteorologist who tracks the data. 

Curry V's device is currently in the design phase. It would attach to a car seat, detect if a child is left inside the vehicle and then blow cool air until parents and authorities are notified.

"It would be a dream to have lots of inventions that would save many lives," Curry V said.

The fifth grader already has a provisional patent on the "Oasis," and Toyota has already taken notice of the invention.

The Currys recently traveled to Michigan to introduce the idea at an auto safety conference.

The family is also raising money on a GoFundMe page to cover costs to develop a product.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities, Tech VIPs Drive ACLU's $24M Weekend Surge]]> Mon, 30 Jan 2017 05:25:17 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GOOGLE_AP_16118529018333.jpg

The American Civil Liberties Union raised more than $24 million over the weekend in a surge of online donations following President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, NBC News reported.

The organization typically raises a total of about $4 million online annually. 

Celebrities including singer Sia and actor Kal Penn appealed for donations on Twitter, while Google created a $4 million crisis fund for the ACLU, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR, USA Today reported. The tech giant set aside $2 million in donations that can be matched in employee donations totaling $4 million.

The ACLU also said its membership had doubled since the election and is now at more than 1 million members.

The group's complaint was one of several over the weekend successful in temporarily blocking deportations under Trump's new national security initiative.


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<![CDATA[In Trump's Twitter Presidency, Experts See Risks and Rewards]]> Fri, 27 Jan 2017 02:11:25 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_16238456041305.jpg

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Former President Barack Obama was the first commander-in-chief to ever send a tweet, but President Donald Trump is pioneering an approach to mass communication that may put Twitter at the center of his strategy, raising legal and security questions, NBC News reported.

In his first week on the job, Trump has used an unsecured Android phone to post tweets from his personal Twitter account, and to delete them. His staff initially used a personal email to arrange his government Twitter account, which was updated to a government email on Thursday.

Experts said these activities, while perfectly legal, create avoidable risks.

Using an unsecured phone, or personal email registration, makes the president more susceptible to hacking.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File]]>
<![CDATA[HP Recalls More Than 100,000 Batteries Due to Overheating]]> Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:24:49 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/battery_1024.jpg

HP is recalling about 101,000 laptop batteries due to risk of overheating and causing fires.

The company has expanded the number of recalled batteries to include those shipped with laptops sold between March 2013 and October 2016. A previous battery issue for the same model led to a recall of 40,000 batteries in June 2016.

The defective lithium-ion batteries containing Panasonic cells that are used in HP notebook computers were sold at Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and authorized dealer dealers nationwide and online at www.hp.com. The batteries were also sold separately for between $50 and $90.

It is compatible with HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario and HP Pavilion laptop computers. The batteries that are part of the recall start with the codes: 6BZLU, 6CGFK, 6CGFQ, 6CZMB, 6DEMA, 6DEMH, 6DGAL and 6EBVA.

HP recommends that customers with the potentially defective batteries stop using them completely, remove them from the laptop and contact HP for a free replacement battery. Until a replacement battery is received, HP recommends consumers should use the notebook computer by plugging it into AC power only.

There has been one report of the battery overheating, melting and charring, leading to about $1,000 in property damage.

Customers can call HP Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET at 888-202-4320 on line at www.HP.com for more information. 

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<![CDATA[Facebook's Zuckerberg Testifies at VR Copyright Trial]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:22:40 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/zuckerberg-trial-dallas.jpg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent much of Tuesday on a Dallas federal court witness stand defending his firm against claims it stole intellectual property for the Oculus virtual reality headset.

Zuckerberg said Facebook invested around $3 billion to buy Oculus as a way of moving rapidly into virtual reality technology, a figure higher than what was reported at the time of the 2014 deal.

He said he was so anxious to see Facebook move into VR that he pushed completion of the deal in just a matter of days over a weekend. But he denied any technology was stolen.

"The idea that Oculus technology is based on someone else's work is just wrong," Zuckerberg said.

ZeniMax Media, which owns id Software, based in Richardson, Texas, filed the lawsuit claiming former employee John Carmack took secrets with him when he joined Oculus. 

A lawyer for ZeniMax confronted Zuckerberg with emails and documents suggesting there were concerns about Oculus technology before the deal, but Zuckerberg said the accusations surfaced later, were not credible and were not pursued by Facebook.

ZeniMax is seeking $2 billion in damages.The trial began Jan. 10 and could last two more weeks.



Photo Credit: Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[IHOP: Our Twitter Was Hacked]]> Sun, 15 Jan 2017 23:30:16 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ihop-deleted-tweet-new.jpg

IHOP said that sometime Sunday morning, the company’s Twitter account was hacked when a politically charged retweet appeared that caused some customers to pledge to never eat their golden fluffy pancakes again.

The International House of Pancakes confirmed to NBC4 the retweet in question involved a statement that Hillary Clinton ran a "major garbage campaign."

As soon as the IHOP team saw the retweet, it was deleted and IHOP took necessary precautions to make sure the company wouldn’t be hacked again.

IHOP released the following statement:

"At the core of the IHOP brand is a desire to bring people together and a commitment to creating a warm and welcoming environment for guests and fans everywhere, both in our restaurants and online. After a thorough investigation, we have confirmed that the IHOP Twitter account was hacked this morning. The retweeted post in question was immediately removed, and we have taken the necessary steps to ensure the security and integrity of our social media accounts. We appreciate our fans bringing this to our attention and recognizing that this is not normal content shared by IHOP."

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<![CDATA[Facebook Issues Briefly Affect Some Pages]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:03:36 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/211*120/Facebook-generic-1.jpg

Some Facebook pages weren't loading properly Friday for about an hour.

The Facebook platform product dashboard didn't indicate any errors, but people on Twitter started chattering about getting error pages soon after 12 p.m. ET, and the website outage tracking page downdetector.com showed widespread outages in the U.S., Europe and Peru.

Several Facebook pages for NBC owned television stations were unable to completely load, but started returning about 1 p.m. ET.

A representative for Facebook confirmed Friday afternoon that the company was experiencing issues: "Earlier today some people may have had trouble accessing some Facebook services for a short period. We’re back to 100% for everyone, and we’re sorry for any inconvenience."

Downdetector said Facebook started having issues at 12:08 p.m. ET.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Yahoo CEO to Resign After Verizon Takeover, Company Says]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 03:19:55 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/YAHOO_AP_16254012507905.jpg

Yahoo Inc. announced Monday that CEO Marissa Mayer, one of the highest-profile women in the predominantly male tech world, will resign once the company's merger with Verizon Communications Inc. closes, NBC News reported.

When Verizon announced the $4.8 billion deal in July, Mayer said she intended to continue as CEO.

But in a brief filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Yahoo said Mayer and company co-founder David Filo will leave once Verizon takes control of its operating business. Four other board members are leaving with Mayer and Filo, according to document.

However, the Verizon deal has been jeopardized by Yahoo's recent discovery of two separate hacking attacks that stole personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts.



Photo Credit: AP ]]>
<![CDATA[Echo Accidentally Orders Dollhouses]]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:40:49 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/amazon-echo1.jpg

Be careful what you say around Alexa.

A San Diego TV station’s report on Friday about an Amazon Echo — and how a young girl in Texas accidentally bought a dollhouse and 4 pounds of cookies through the smart speaker — prompted a slew of dollhouse orders across the region.

Here’s what happened: San Diego CW 6 reported on the Texas story, and one of its news anchors said: “I love that little girl saying, 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse,'” according to the station’s report.

The artificial intelligence assistant “wakes up” when it hears its name and performs the command spoken.

And that’s exactly what happened in this case, as a number of San Diegans reported that their Amazon Echo ordered the toys upon hearing the television anchor's "command."

News anchor Jim Patton told The Verge that he wasn’t sure how many dollhouses were ordered by Alexa, but he didn’t think any of the devices went through with the purchases.

The Echo does have parental controls. You can turn off the ability to shop by voice or require a confirmation code before every order.



Photo Credit: AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Detroit Auto Show Kicks Off With Self-Driving Cars and More]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:29:11 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AutoShowAM0109_MP4-148397187754400001.jpg The North American International Auto Show opens Monday in Detroit. The concept cars are cool, but in an industry coming off an unprecedented seventh year of record sales, the spotlight is on the moneymakers. "There are a lot of cars here that may not be the flashiest of car, but they are the workhorses of the United States," said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst for Edmonds.com.]]> <![CDATA[Check Out the Latest Smart Tech at CES 2017]]> Mon, 09 Jan 2017 09:52:16 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/AP_17006057282852-ces.jpg Bendable smartphones, floating speakers and smart cars are only a fraction of the offerings at the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show. Check out other smart tech that may streamline work and home spaces in the near future.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[CES 2017 Kicks Off]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 18:00:15 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/630987680-CES-2017-Intel-VR-presentation.jpg

The tech marketplace can be a bumpy ride for those trying to hawk new wares: Products sell or flop, stock prices soar or dive.

But Intel, arguably one of the more sedate companies in Silicon Valley, was apparently so concerned about its virtual reality demo Thursday night at the annual CES convention in Las Vegas, company reps handed out barf bags along with Oculus Rift headsets.

No word if any of the assembled fans actually needed them. (And, by the way, the barf bags are the one detail anyone seems to remember from the speech. Not necessarily a good look for Intel.)

Contrast that with early talks from chip rival Nvidia, which laid out a plan to, among other things, develop a car using artificial intelligence with Audi (they're aiming for 2020), and Faraday Future, a shambolic, all-over-the-place company that also aims to bring AI into its electric cars. FF, as it calls itself, wants to take on Tesla while also using artificial intelligence to self-park its cars.

Once again, CES is reaching for the stars, and promising things that only the future knows if it can deliver. And that's good news. When the economy was slow, CES showed us incremental growth. These days, with the stock market soaring and tech promise seemingly unlimited, CES is taking some wild guesses. Will the industry deliver?

In a year that's about to be filled with all sorts of drama, crazy visionary companies are welcome.

Strap yourself in .. and if you need it, there's a bag below.

Scott roams CES on Twitter & Periscope: @scottbudman



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[CES Tech Conference Kicks off in Las Vegas]]> Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:16:52 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CESAM0105_MP4-148362783195600001.jpg The Consumer Electronics Show gets underway Thursday, Jan. 5 in Las Vegas. Thousands of companies from around the world will unveil products and technologies you might use in the near future. From fitness trackers that fit on your finger to robots that will give you directions at the airport, this year's hot buzz phrase is "The Internet of Things" or IOT. ]]> <![CDATA[Cruise Company Carnival Gets Personal With Concierge Tech]]> Wed, 04 Jan 2017 08:28:15 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CarnivalCorp..jpg

What if your room on a cruise ship were to unlock automatically as you approach, or if the wait staff could bring your favorite cocktail before you even ask?

Carnival Corp., the operator of such cruise lines as Princess, Holland America and Carnival, wants to make that happen so it can get cozier with its guests and make cruises even more personalized.

Carnival is using the CES gadget show in Las Vegas on Wednesday to unveil new concierge technology designed to help crew members anticipate and respond to passengers' needs. It will rely on sensors and wearable trackers, and is scheduled to debut on the Regal Princess cruise ship in November.

The leisure-cruise industry is playing catch-up with travel peers like hotels and airlines, which now let you unlock rooms with a smartwatch or fly with a boarding pass on your phone.

Personalization is important as cruise ships get bigger and come across as impersonal, said Mike Driscoll, editor-in-chief of Cruise Week, an industry publication. Personalization can also help cruise companies attract more first-timers, including tech-savvy millennials.

"It's catching up to what life is like on the land," Driscoll said.

Whether anticipating guests' needs will feel useful or creepy remains to be seen. Those who might be spooked don't have to use the medallion or can limit how much they want to participate, Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said.

"In the end, the guests will tell us," Donald told The Associated Press. "If it doesn't (resonate), it's back to the drawing board."

The linchpin of the system is a tracking medallion the size of a quarter. Cruise passengers wear it as a pendant, throw it into a purse or place it in a pocket. The medallion uses wireless technologies to communicate with sensors placed around the ship, cruise terminals and even airports, where staff can provide personalized greetings as passengers fly in.

Crew members armed with tablets can respond to any needs nearby. For example, a guest could be having a drink when a crew member comes by to remind him that a yoga class starts in five minutes. Or a waiter working poolside can ask whether a guest wants her usual gin and tonic.

In addition, interactive displays can offer personalized directions to guests' rooms. And the medallion ties into a payment system, so no one has to swipe or sign anything when buying souvenirs or drinks.

Donald said he hopes the service will encourage customers to sign up for repeat cruises while spending more on incidentals.

Different passengers might react quite differently to the service. "With your 83-year-old aunt in Saskatchewan, it might be too much," Driscoll said. But for a passenger in his 50s, such as Driscoll, it could make life on the ship "just easier."

Carnival plans to expand the setup to all other Princess ships in the next several years and eventually to other vessels. Carnival, the world's largest leisure travel company, owns more than 100 ships across 10 brands.

Personalization isn't new to the travel industry. Walt Disney World in Florida has a MagicBand wristband device that doubles as a room key and "FastPass" reservations to popular rides. The MagicBand is also linked to a credit card for speedier payments at restaurants and gift shops.

John Padgett, who was one of the chief architects of the MagicBand before joining Carnival in 2014, said the cruise ship's system goes further in eliminating the need to touch or tap a terminal. Sensors pick up signals automatically.

"There are no wires. There is no charging," Padgett said. "It doesn't require a guest or consumer to do anything specific."

Carnival officials say there will be safeguards against someone walking away with another guest's medallion. Each guest's profile is tied to a security picture, so a crew member can compare a passenger's photo on a portable device. Carnival also says the medallion doesn't contain sensitive information such as the stateroom number, much like a hotel room key. The company added that the system features additional authentication, although it declined to elaborate.

Donald said the technology could be adapted for other industries, too. Imagine a patient entering the hospital and being recognized immediately by a nurse without having to check in or fill out forms.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mark Zuckerberg Says He's No Longer an Atheist]]> Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:07:07 -0500 //media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_49057729444.jpg

Mark Zuckerberg is an atheist no more.

The CEO of the world's largest social media company once had "atheist" in his Facebook profile, but it's been removed, and it appears he believes in a higher power, NBC News reported.

When he wished his followers a merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah from him and his family, one commenters asked, "Aren't you an atheist?"

Zuckerberg wrote back that he's not, and that after questioning things, "now I believe religion is very important."



Photo Credit: Manu Fernandez/AP]]>