<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 22 May 2015 06:01:05 -0400 Fri, 22 May 2015 06:01:05 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[3D Printers Create Prosthetic Legs]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 15:44:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/LEG2.JPG

Is it the next Industrial Revolution? 3D printing may one day revolutionize businesses, but it’s already having another effect: changing countless lives.

For some, that means being able to stand on their own two feet. Literally.

Veronica Perez was 16 when she suffered an injury that left her with chronic bone infections in her feet. Tired of the pain, she asked doctors to amputate her left leg.

“There’s a lot of limitations that come with being an amputee,” said Perez. “There’s a lot of things we can’t do.”

Insurance covered the bulk of her primary prosthetic leg, which ranges in cost from $20,000 up to $100,000. Perez said unfortunately, it’s not made for water. This meant countless times of depending on strangers to help her get into the pool, for instance. Something as simple as getting in and out of the shower, without her prosthetic leg, became potentially dangerous.

“I’ve had a few times where I’ve fallen and I’ve slipped getting in and out of the shower,” described Perez. “I’ve hurt myself, it’s scary and I’m worried I may hurt myself more.”

That’s why Jeff Huber, an entrepreneur, decided to start Standard Cyborg. The San Francisco-based start-up creates prosthetic legs that are both water- and wallet-friendly as secondary legs. Think of the legs as different kinds of shoes, made for a wide range of purposes: walking, running, swimming, and going out.

“Your primary leg will cost $20,000 $100,000, if you’re an above the knee amputee,” Huber explained.

While insurance can cover the bulk of the cost, Huber said that doesn’t necessarily apply to any other legs an amputee may want or need. His product is also a fraction of the cost: under $800.

“Nobody else in the world, as far as I know, had created functional 3D printed legs, and definitely no one had ever sold one before,” said Huber.

In six short months from summer of 2014, it grew from pet project to real product, one made by what Huber’s dubbed his “glorified glue gun.”

The leg shape is scanned, the images are finalized on his computer, and those data files are then sent to the three 3D printers sitting in his South of Market shop. The melted plastic is melded into just about anything.

“You can print an object of infinite complexity that many times traditional manufacturing couldn’t even make, and you can do so at a very cheap price because it doesn’t cost a lot,” said Huber.

It’s part of the so-called “Maker Movement” that involves a wave of hands-on inventors and innovators, hackers and do-it-yourself devotees who harness the power of production for people who might otherwise be ignored by mass manufacturers motivated mostly by money.

“I think that that the fact he can use things like 3D printing is really great because we’re such a small group of people who need this,” said Perez. “It’s really great that technology is so accessible like that.”

The field of “personal manufacturing” is still in its nascent stages. Most products have been toys and gadgets, in part because the plastics available for the printing haven’t been strong enough to produce more substantial products. Huber believes that’s quickly changing.

“Even in the next one to two years, you’re going to see some pretty cool things happen I think.”

The industry is exploding. According to San Jose-based leading touch technology and microcontrollers manufacturer, Atmel, there are roughly 125-million adult “makers” in the United States alone, injecting about $29 billion into the economy annually.

Atmel also says the market for 3D printing products and services hit $2.2 billion in 2012, a figure expected to jump to $6 billion within two years and $8.4 billion by 2020 – mostly coming from the aerospace and healthcare fields.

“We’re at the very early stages of this and it will be fascinating to see where it plays out over the next 20 years,” said Huber.

It’s innovation inspired by his very own life. Huber has been an amputee his entire life.

“As an amputee, you’re always worried about using your prosthetics. Say you take it to the beach, you’re worried about losing it, breaking it. This thing costs $20,000 so if you lose or break it, it’s a really big deal.”

After about 10 hours of 3D printing and several days of waiting before they could meet, Perez arrived at Huber’s San Francisco shop to try on her new leg.

It fit. While it’s still a work in progress, Perez said she is both giddy and grateful to have this secondary leg.

“I would never think of something like that and then be able to produce it, and you actually did it,” she said to Huber. “I think it’s so awesome.”

It’s also reassuring. Perez admits having to rely on strangers for help as an amputee has been a struggle.

“I worry about having to depend on others for day-to-day things, and it scares me,” she said. “Honestly, I worry a lot about that and I hope by the time I’m a senior, that there are things out there that are going to help me be more independent.”

For Huber, the ability to give someone that bit of freedom is invaluable.

“It certainly helps when you want to pull your hair out to say, ‘Okay, this is actually going to change somebody’s life, so I should probably go figure it out.’”

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<![CDATA[Girl: My iPhone Caught Fire]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 02:34:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/iPhone+Catch+Fire+Girl+Pocket.PNG

Roselly Rolon got her daughter, Alexis, an Apple iPhone 5C for peace of mind in case of an emergency. But the Northeast Philadelphia mother never expected the smartphone to be the source of trouble.

On Friday morning, however, the family claims just that happened. As the 12-year-old walked to school, she said the popular smartphone caught fire in the pocket of her pants.

"All I saw was smoke coming out and then it was my phone. So I threw it on the ground — my butt was, like, burning," the girl recalled.

Alexis heard a cracking sound coming from the phone before it caught fire, but she didn't realize anything was wrong until the smoke began to rise, she said.

"I took it out ... and I threw it on the ground and started stomping out the fire," she said.

The white phone's case was left disfigured, the metal charred and rippled. The device burned through the back pocket of Alexis' jeans and left the girl with second-degree burns, doctors at Nazareth Hospital determined.

"We depend on these phones. And the same phone that I'm depending on is gonna burn my daughter," Roselly Rolon, the girl's mother, said angrily. "Thank God it wasn't her face."

The girl said the phone had been problem-free before Friday's fire and that she charged it normally Thursday night.

Apple told NBC10 they can't comment because the Rolons haven't contacted them directly about the incident. The family says their attorney is reaching out to the tech giant.

This isn't the first time an iPhone owner claimed their phone combusted. A middle schooler in Maine suffered 2nd degree burns in January 2014 after she said her iPhone 5C caught fire in her pocket. An Arizona man also suffered similar burns after he said an iPhone 6 went up in flames in his pocket last October.

Despite the pain inflicted by the device, Alexis isn't shying away from the smartphone. "I like the iPhone, but I don't want that one anymore. I want a different one," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Periscope Eyed Over Pacquiao Fight]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 10:24:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Pacquiao-Mayweather-3.jpg

This weekend’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was hyped as the fight of the century. Now, a new fight begins.

It cost viewers at home about $100 to order the pay per view event, but several hundred people used live streaming video apps like Meerkat and Periscope to broadcast it for free. They simply held the phone up to the TV. Now, those people could face legal action.

“The technology as a whole, I think, is going to be beneficial to consumers and broadcasters,” said attorney Mitch Stoltz.

Stoltz is an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for consumer digital rights.
He believes live streaming companies shouldn't suffer when users rebroadcast licensed material.

“The makers of the technology, whether it's Sony in the case of the VCR, or Periscope with this new technology, isn't going to be responsible unless they were encouraging people to use it in illegal ways,” he said.

Saturday night after the boxing match, the Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tweeted:

“And the winner is…@periscopeco.”

Twitter recently acquired the live-streaming company.

Monday, Periscope issued a statement:

"Periscope operates in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we respect intellectual property rights and are working to ensure there are robust tools in place to respond expeditiously. Unauthorized broadcasts of content that is protected by copyright is a clear violation of our content policy. It’s not the kind of content we want to see in Periscope."

A company spokesperson said of the 66 live streams red flagged by those who own the rights to the fight, Periscope shut down 30 of them within minutes. The remaining broadcasts had already ended and were no longer available.

As for why those broadcasters and advertisers would object? San Jose State University Advertising Professor John Delacruz said it’s not just about the lost money.

“I think the biggest problem that comes from allowing just anybody to broadcast live is that you can be damaging the brand itself," Delacruz said. "You can really leave yourself open to abuse."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tech Gifts for Mother's Day]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 11:28:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_momgifts0430_1500x845.jpg From tiles that beep and to find your keys to self-contained watering and growing pots for plants, here are some high-tech gifts for Mother's Day.]]> <![CDATA[Slack to Replace Work Email?]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 14:18:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/computer+generic1.jpg

Most people may know Stewart Butterfield as one of the founders of Flickr, who sold the company off to Yahoo for $25 million in 2005. Now his new company, Slack, a new team communication platform, is valued at $2.8 billion.

The impetus behind Slack is that email is too clunky, and worker drones need a better way to see what everyone is saying and have archive access. "By organizating people into channels or specific projects, you get an ambient awareness," Butterfield told Press:Here.

Instead of sending a ticket to a company's help desk to fix something, the department could notice a lot of chatter online about a computer problem. Instead of waiting for a fix-it ticket, the tech team could proactively try to fix it -- all because they were able to see what the rest of the company was talking about.

Slack actually came out of another startup by Butterfield, a video gaming site called Glitch, which never really caught on. After a while and $17 million in venture capital funds, Butterfield realized it was never going to be a moneymaker. However, his team realized it  wanted to keep using the same messaging platform they created. This made Butterfield pivot to Slack as a new startup for companies who want a more open communication platform.

Butterfield said the name comes from his attempt to lessen the tension around office communications. "Having slack gives people room to play and explore," he said.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Student Gets New 3-D Printed Hand]]> Sat, 02 May 2015 04:56:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/3-d+hand.jpg

A South Florida graduate student is getting a helping hand, thanks to a fellow classmate and some innovative technology.

Chad Coarsey was born without a left hand — but after a little ingenuity with a 3-D printer, he now has one.

Like many other 25 year olds, Coarsey loves to stay active and play sports.

 

"As I was wrestling in high school I got kind of the nickname, 'The Nub,'" said the Florida Atlantic University graduate student. "It's a big part of my personality, so it's a big part of how people identify who I am," Coarsey said.

Although his parents had offered to buy him a prosthesis many times, Coarsey was okay without one. Then he met his classmate and fellow graduate student, Charles Weinthal.

"I noticed he didn't have a hand," said Weinthal. "So I asked him, 'Chad would you like a hand?' And he looked at me for a moment and just smiled brightly and said 'Yes, I would,'" said Weinthal.

So why now?

"Well probably my curiosity and openness to science and seeing what I can actually make," Coarsey said.

The collaboration for their FAU class project then quickly began. They used FAU High School's high-tech lab and a 3-D printer to make Coarsey's hand.

Here's how 3-D printing works: Guided by a computer model, a plastic filament melts to create the object layer by layer. The 3-D printed prosthetic hand takes less than 24 hours to print.

"This device costs less than $100 to make," Weinthal said.

"When I put it on and started grabbing things and picking up things... for me it was just very surreal," Coarsey said.

It's no surprise these two passed their intro to bioengineering class with flying colors. The next step for "the Hulk hand," as Coarsey jokingly calls it, is for the plastic fingers to move individually.

"I can get another hand and be up to par... but why not push it further and get a hand that's better than what two handed people can do?"

Since this prosthesis has made a difference in Coarsey's life, both men now plan to give a hand to hundreds of amputees in need. They hope this quick and affordable alternative can extend far beyond the walls of their lab.

"It's important that everyone has a hand and that's part of giving. Because you give and get," Weinthal said.

"Despite having a limitation... if there's the motivation you can overcome it yourself," added Coarsey.

The students don't intend on making a business out of the creation. At this time, a foundation is in the works so that they can help thousands of people who may be in need of 3-D printed prosthetics.



Photo Credit: NBCMiami.com]]>
<![CDATA[How Old Do I Look? Website's Photo Guesses Go Viral ]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 13:08:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/computer_generic_laptop_5_640x480.jpg

People pondering the age-old query of "how old do I look?" are finally getting an answer, for better or for worse, thanks to a new website that's gone viral. 

Developers at Microsoft launched a website this week that claims to guess a person’s gender and age based on a photo upload.

Corom Thompson and Santosh Balasubramanian launched the website, How-Old.net at a tech conference Thursday, not knowing it would go viral.

"We sent email to a group of several hundred people asking them to try the page for a few minutes and give us feedback - optimistically hoping that at least 50 people would give it a shot," they wrote in a blog post.

But within a few hours, they wrote they had already seen hits from more than 35,000 users from across the world. 

While the answers are far from 100 percent accurate, many people are taking to social media to share the "age" guessed by the site. 


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Watch Hits the Streets]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_applewatch0423001.jpg The first customers to sign up for the new Apple Watch will begin receiving their devices today.]]> <![CDATA[Google Launches Wireless Phone Service]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:15:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP125290752356.jpg

Google is offering a wireless phone service designed to pressure major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless into lowering their prices.

The service, called "Project Fi," will cost $20 per month and only charge customers for the amount of cellular data that they use each month instead of a flat rate. Each gigabyte of data will cost $10 per month. That means a customer could sign up for a plan offering three gigabytes of data and get $20 back if only one gigabyte was used in a month.

Most wireless phone carriers allow their customers to roll over unused data into another month of service without refunding any money.

Google's service initially will be available only on the Nexus 6, a Motorola phone made with Google's help.

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<![CDATA[Man Tears Tendon Playing "Candy Crush": Medical Journal ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:24:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/candy-crush.jpg

Spending too much time playing “Candy Crush Saga” really can have consequences, according to a new case report on a San Diego man who injured his thumb after many weeks of playing the puzzle game on his smartphone.

Dr. Andrew Doan, head of addictions research at Naval Medical Center San Diego, co-authored the case report, “Tendon Rupture Associated with Excessive Smartphone Gaming,” published this week in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal.

According to the report, a 29-year-old San Diego man played “Candy Crush Saga” on his smartphone all day for six to eight weeks. As a result, he suffered chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion.

“He played with his left hand while using his right hand for other tasks, stating that ‘playing was kind of a secondary thing, but it was constantly on,’” the report said.

When doctors examined him and performed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of his thumb, they found he had ruptured the tendon. He had to undergo surgery to repair the damage, Doan said.

According to the report, the patient claimed he felt no pain while playing the video game, and only noticed the injury many weeks later.

Doan told NBC 7 research shows video gaming can cause the release of hormones in the body that help reduce pain perception. That means one could sustain an injury from repeated smartphone use, but not necessarily notice the pain right away.

“Are we experiencing physical injury now because we’re not experiencing pain?” he said. “This case illustrates what we believe video gaming can do.”

Doan said video games are a type of “digital painkiller” with both negative and positive effects on health.

He said clinically, video games can be used to help children undergoing painful medical procedures, including pediatric patients during burn treatments.

The visual distraction and “natural painkiller” effect could help a patient feel less pain, Dr. Doan said. In some cases, Dr. Doan said video games could be used in place of medication.

Though video gaming could aid in a patient’s recovery, the doctor noted it’s important not to overuse video games or smartphones.

Citing a study by Andrew K. Przybylski, PhD, titled “Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment,” Doan said one hour or less per day of video gaming could be beneficial for the psychological adjustment of children between 10 and 15 years old.

Three hours or more, however, could have negative effects on children, according to that study.

“The key is moderation here,” Doan told NBC 7.

He said monitoring overuse of video games is important in both adults and children, but because children are still developing, it’s especially crucial to watch their use.

“When a young child spends too much time in Internet faming on Internet activities, there can be significant problems,” said Doan. “The child needs time, boundaries, and intensive face-to-face attention to program the other areas of the brain that have been neglected.”

In the case of this adult patient, Doan said the man was not diagnosed with an addiction to “Candy Crush,” rather he just played the game as a way to pass the time after leaving the military and being between jobs. He  said this was one of the strangest cases he's seen in his research career.

 

 



Photo Credit: Flickr / m01229]]>
<![CDATA[What Tech Experts Are Saying About the Apple Watch ]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 10:41:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/465696900.jpg

Pre-orders for the highly anticipated Apple Watch start online today, two weeks before the high-tech time piece hits the stores.

But is the wearable gadget worth the price tag, which ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.

Early reviews from some of tech's leading voices praised the smartwatch as a product with potential, but some room for improvement post-launch.

Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent and editor-at-large for Mashable, called it a “breakout star” and a “gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible, expensive and an object of true desire.” Yet he said the app store is an area that “needs the most improvement,” because the apps “took forever to install.”

Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times echoed a similar tone in a review about the third-party apps, which he said “are useless right now.” He wrote that “the Apple Watch works like a first-generation device, with all the limitations and flaws you’d expect of brand-new technology.”

CNET.com Senior Edior Scott Stein, who wore the watch for a week, said it’s a “clever invention” that can help you in four areas: communication, fitness, information and time. He used it to order lunch, track daily activities, play his favorite tunes and hail a car from Uber. When it came to the last task,  he said using the app on iPhone offers a better view of cars in the area.

Here's a recap of what reviewers found to be the top features — and drawbacks — of the device:

What’s good about it?

  • Many tech experts, including "Today" show contributor Katie Linendoll, agree that the “comprehensive device” is more functional than fashionable. It allows users to check the weather, calendar appointments, make calls, send text messages and play music.
  • The watch's “Fitness Tracker PLUS” feature monitors your heart rate if you’re jogging or taking a walk.
  • If you're not adapted to the selfie stick, you can use the device to take a selfie even though it doesn't have a camera. Simply sync your phone, tap the watch screen and say "cheese."

What’s bad about it?

  • You need to have an iPhone 5 or a newer version in order make calls, send text messages and check emails using your watch.
  • Some reviewers concluded that the biggest red flag about the gadget is its “bad battery life.” They said it has to be charge every day if it's used often.
  • It only allows you to read or discard emails; you can’t reply.
  • It is not waterproof.

If you’re still unsure about getting a watch, you could rent one for as low as $45 a week to test if it’s worth the investment, through a service offered by the San Francisco-based gadget rental start-up called Lumoid
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Apple's Racially Diverse Emojis]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 06:05:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Apple-Emojis.jpg

Apple has released its latest iOS update with plenty of new features, including the highly-anticipated racially diverse characters. 

The iOS 8.3's enhanced keyboard comes with 300 new emojis and users can finally choose from six different skin tones.

There's also a larger variety of country flags and emojis to represent different types of families, plus the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch have been added to the catalog.

"Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement in February.

The different skin tones can be changed by holding down and tapping the icon.

iOS 8.3 also brought new languages to Siri, including Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Numerous bug fixes were also included in the update.

The update is available for free in the Settings app or in iTunes.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Top Cars at 2015 New York Auto Show]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:52:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/car+show+new.jpg A collection of photos taken at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Smartphone Livestreaming App]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 09:41:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/0402-2015-Periscope.jpg

Add Periscope as the latest company allowing people to broadcast live from their smartphones.

"Our vision for Periscope was it would feel like a teleportation experience where you can just sort of travel the world through someone else's eyes in real time," co-founder Kayvon Beykpour said.

San Francisco-based Twitter acquired the company last month and launched the app this week.

"I think the biggest plus is being able to see what's happening anywhere in the world," said Ben Parr, author of "Captivology."

And, like the web itself, there is no limit to the reach in real time.

"Something like Periscope will take all these people that you know that are in the far reaches of the Twitterverse and shrink all those distances and bring all those connections closer to you," said Jasmine Bina, a Periscope user.

Thanks to apps like Periscope and Meerkat, anyone can follow and stream their every move.

The numbers for Periscope have been especially high these days because the service is under Twitter, which has tens of millions of people broadcasting every minute.

The app's popularity is exploding.

"Ringo Starr was on Periscope yesterday and Aaron Paul the actor from Breaking Bad takes us into his living room for acoustic guitar concerts," Beykpour said. "The creativity of how users have been playing with Periscope has been nothing short of mind-boggling."

But using the app does come with some risk of seeing indecent exposure or bullying.

"I think the big negative is the combination of the trolling and the lack of control," Parr said. "I think you will see something bad happen at some point."

Periscope said if bullying or indecent exposure were to happen, there are measures in place.

"Periscope is not a place for harassment and abuse. It's also not a place for pornography," Beykpour said. "We have tools in place and teams in place to make sure that policy is being adhered to as much as possible."

Beykpour said they are constantly working to improve the apps' uses and options.

For now, he hopes people enjoy the sights and sounds across the world on your phone.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2015 April Fools' Day Pranks: Selfie Car, Twelfie Stick and More]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 04:29:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/selfie+car.JPG

Celebrities and companies did not disappoint this April Fools’ Day. Some unique pranks surfaced this year that you may not have noticed. Here's a look at some of the most creative.

The Honda Selfie Car

Honda says it prides itself for being on the forefront of the latest automobile technologies. The company "rolled out" its 10 camera-equipped HR-V that is equipped to take selfies. They said the technology uploads photos hands-free to social media sites via HondaLink.

'Twelfie Stick'

Twitter unveiled its "Twelfie Stick" Wednesday, a "highly sophisticated and first-of-its-kind device" that the company says would allow users to tweet out "selfie" pictures directly. Twitter said the device will be available in time for the holiday shopping season for $39.99.

Army Drones to Deliver Pizzas

The U.S. Army proposed using drones to deliver 3-D printed pizzas to men and women on the front lines across the world. Calling this "an expected breakthrough," the Army said the first drone pizza deliveries are to be made by April Fools' Day 2016.

Sam Smith is Straight

The "Stay with Me" singer tweeted that he is straight, which had a female fan asking, "Can you date me now?" One hour later, he posted that is was all a joke.

A Samsung Smart Knife?

Samsung presented its Galaxy BLADE edge, "the world's first smart knife with smart phone capabilities." The phone features a "razor-sharp diamond edge that is tough enough to cut through a lobster tail and sharp enough to slice through tender heirloom tomatoes."

Selfie Shoes

Are selfie sticks too much to handle? Why not get Selfie Shoes from Miz Mooz? The company said the tool adds functionality without sacrificing "comfort our women on-the-go have come to love about our footwear." How does it work? Just insert your phone into the port at the front of any shoe, raise your photo to the perfect angle and click the internal button with a tap of your toe to take a selfie.

Pac-Man Returns?

Google announced in celebration of April Fools' Day that you can now play Pac-Man on Google Maps. How does it work? Open maps in your browser, scroll to the bottom left and click on Pac-Man. Before you know it, you'll have something to eat.


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<![CDATA[Google Maps Introduces Pac-Man Feature ]]> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 04:51:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/photoGoogle+Maps+PAC+MAN.jpg

Let the office productivity fall even more.

If March Madness wasn’t enough of a distraction, people can now play Pac-Man from the convenience of their desks.

Google Maps introduced a new online rendition of the classic arcade game on Tuesday in celebration of April Fools' Day. Click on the Pac-Man icon in the lower left corner beside the Earth icon, and use your keyboard arrows to move your little yellow man through the maze.

Not all addresses typed into Google Maps are playable areas. Cities, including New York, N.Y., appear to work best because of the number of roads. Pac-Man can’t play in some rural and suburban areas such as Hoover, Alabama, and Burlington, Massachusetts, because there aren’t enough roads for Pac-Man to get around.

Click here to try your hand at Pac-Man and see how high a score you can earn. Just make sure your boss isn’t looking.

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<![CDATA[Tesla Branching Out Beyond Cars, Says CEO]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:03:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/elonmuskmarch.jpg

Tesla Motors is about to take a detour from making cars.

CEO Elon Musk tweeted Monday that a major new product line that's not a car would be shown for the first time on April 30 at Tesla's Hawthorne Design Studio. 

The vague missive indirectly invited social media users to guess what Tesla's next creation would be; popular choices to date on both Twitter and Reddit include a motorcycle and a home battery.

A parody Twitter user called BoredElonMusk suggested a product called, "GitHub for tracking where other people in your house put stuff that you now can't find."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jay Z's Tidal Set to Relaunch]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:00:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jay-z-454627193.jpg

Watch out, Spotify – there’s a new streaming service in town.

Music streaming service Tidal is set to officially relaunch Monday under new ownership by rapper Jay Z. The company will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. ET where its new owner “will announce a commitment to a new direction for the music industry from both a creative and business perspective.”

Tidal boasts 25 million tracks with “high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial" features. It could give competitors such as Spotify and Beats a reason to be concerned. Its plan of attack also includes getting first releases of tracks by big-name artists before other digital streaming services, according to TechCrunch.

Unlike Spotify, Tidal does not offer a free streaming option. The music streaming service – which Jay Z reportedly acquired for $54 million – costs subscribers $19.99 per month for high quality streaming compared to Spotify’s premium, ad-free price of $9.99 per month.

Tidal subscribers also have the option of “standard definition service” matching Spotify’s premium price of $9.99.

Tidal currently has 35,000 subscribers – a smaller amount than Spotify’s 15 million paying subscribers as of January.

Spotify has run into controversy with big-name artists such as Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean taking their entire catalogs off the service after claiming its failure to fairly compensate musicians. TechCrunch reports that Tidal is offering musicians “payouts of twice as much as its rivals.”

The Jay Z-owned streaming service has already garnered support from big-name musicians including Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

West and Rihanna were just two of the musicians using social media to support Tidal by using the hashtag #TIDALforALL and changing their Twitter profile pictures to the same shade of cyan.

A teaser video featuring musicians supporting the service was released March 30 to coincide with the relaunch.

Tidal currently offers a 30-day free trial for new users.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook: "Religious Objection" Laws Are "Very Dangerous"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:22:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim-cook-apple-fortuna.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana's new "religious objection" legislation over the weekend, penning a Washington Post piece warning that “there’s something very dangerous happening in America.”

The piece, which was posted late Sunday night, said the openly gay executive, who was raised in a Baptist home in the South, was "deeply disappointed" in the recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration" law in Indiana that shields business owners who turn away customers for religious reasons.

"This isn’t a political issue," he wrote. "It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous."

Cook called this new wave of legislation "very dangerous," noting there are about 100 similar bills under consideration in two dozen states. And he added that they "go against the very principles our nation was founded on" and "have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

“America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

Cook, who was baptized in a Baptist church and grew up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s.  He publicly disclosed that he is gay in October. Last week, Cook announced that he will give his fortune away.



Photo Credit: NBC NEWS]]>
<![CDATA[PlayStation's Spotify-Powered Music Service Starts Today]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 06:54:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/72271665.jpg

Spotify's music service is coming to PlayStation game consoles and replacing Sony's own Music Unlimited.

Spotify hits the PlayStation 3 and 4 on Monday, with a new app adapted for large television screens. Sony says partnering with Spotify brings a music service to more countries, as well as better tools for playlists and music discovery.

Spotify's music app is available on some Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes, but Spotify says it worked closely with Sony to optimize its service for the PlayStation. Among the notable features: the ability to listen to music while playing a game and still listening to sound effects.

The service is free with ads, or costs $10 a month for a premium ad-free version.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Store Employees Learn How to Be Fashion Stylists]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:19:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Apple Watches will come in a variety of styles and prices, and the company's retail division is reportedly being instructed on how to give fashion advice to customers.

9to5Mac published what appears to be a visual training guide for Apple retail employees to help them suggest the right Apple Watch to prospective customers based on fashion, lifestyle and job cues.

Among the tips: "Don't focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good."

The tech media is already casting a side eye.

"The notion that a plainly dressed, modestly paid worker could become a fashion expert is a bit silly, and Apple's example customers don't always make sense," wrote Engadget. "What kind of waiter makes enough money to drop $1,000 on a steel smartwatch without flinching?"           

Apple Watch goes on sale on April 24, with a suggested retail price range of $349 to $1,049. There is also an 18-karat gold "Apple Watch Edition" option that starts at $10,000.

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<![CDATA[Driverless Car Starts Journey from San Francisco to New York]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:44:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/autonomous-driving-vehicle-turning-into-traffic-for-delphi-drive-cross-country-road-trip.jpg

A driverless car took off from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge for its cross-country trip to New York.

The 10-day, 3,500-mile trip will be the first and longest coast-to-coast drive by an automated vehicle. The Delphi will navigate highways and other roadways with no human hands on the wheel.

But there will be an operator in the driver's seat at all times in case of trouble.



Photo Credit: Delphi]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Launches Money Transfer Tool]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:54:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/payments.png

Facebook is launching a new tool to let users transfer money in its Messenger application, competing with services like Venmo and Paypal.

As seen in the video above, users will be able to tap a dollar sign in the app, select an amount, and then tap send. It will be available across Android, iOS, and desktop.

Although the money transfer happens immediately, Facebook said it can take one to three business days for the funds to become available to use, depending on your bank.

Users will need to link their Visa or MasterCard debit card to Messenger the first time they send or receive money. Once added, users can also create a pin to make transactions more secure.

The company insisted that personal information will be protected in each transaction.

“We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards.” 


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