<![CDATA[NBC New York - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:28:55 -0400 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:28:55 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Apple Watch Hits the Streets]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:47:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.


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<![CDATA[Top Cars at 2015 New York Auto Show]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:52:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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.nbcnewyork.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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<![CDATA[Self-Flying Rideshare Cars?]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:25:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/201*120/aeromobilprototype.jpg

Imagine a car that flies in the air and dispenses passengers to the ground via parachute in case of emergency.

It may be closer to reality than you think: a European company called AeroMobil has created a prototype for a self-flying car and would like to put a taxi service in the air in the next two years.

"The sharing economy is excellent for us," AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik said to Mashable after delivering a keynote at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. "People will have this opportunity to call a 'flying Uber,' which will not just deliver you to the airport, but to your final destination."

With a projected date of 2017 to put them in the air, AeroMobil could land in the Bay Area long before the San Francisco to Los Angeles bullet train, which isn't scheduled to be completed until 2029.



Photo Credit: AeroMobil]]>
<![CDATA["Google Feud" Game Plays on Autocomplete Results]]> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:52:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-03-16+at+12.50.12+PM.png

The Google search bar is well known for displaying autocomplete results you might not have considered. Now, those results have become fodder for an online game called "Google Feud."

"Google Feud" is similar to the popular TV show "Family Feud." The game asks players to complete a number of queries based on what users search for.

How does it work? The game has four categories: culture, people, names and questions.

If you choose people, and the game asks you to complete the phrase 'My best friend is a ...' you might guess "girl, singer, or doctor." If your responses line up with the top 10 popular queries searched by Google visitors, then you earn a point. If not you get a strike. The round is over when you hit three strikes.

Google Feud is not the first online game based on Google autocomplete results. Last year, a board game called Query was launched, Mashable noted

The game's developer has not yet responded to a request for comment. 

Play Google Feud here.

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<![CDATA[Pi Day 2015: 3.14 Things to Know About Pi]]> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 07:15:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pi-97065863.jpg

Saturday is Pi Day, a national celebration of the mathematical concept, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi equals 3.1415... and Saturday, 3-14-15, the only day this century that matches pi.

Schools and museums across the country have planned events to celebrate the concept, which has fascinated humans for centuries. Pi Day is also a good excuse for paying tribute to pies, whether sweet or savory. 

In the spirit of the holiday, here are 3.14 things you may not know about pi:

1. No one is certain who discovered pi as we know it today

But we do have some ideas. It seems that the Egyptians used pi in the construction of the Great Pyramid because when the perimeter is divided by its height, one gets a close approximation to 2π. It’s the same result if one divides the circumference of a circle by its radius.

But the most significant pi research might have come from the astronomer, Archimedes, around 250 B.C.

His mathematical calculation showed that pi was "between three and one seventh and three and 10 seventy firsts,” Steven Strogatz, an applied mathematics professor at Cornell University, told NBC Owned Television Stations. “He approached that putting a six sided figure into a circle, then made it 12 sided, and went all the way up to a 96-sided polygon.”

He proved that pi was found somewhere between these two numbers, which applied to all circles.

2. You can find your identity in pi

One myth is that since pi is a continuation of numbers, people’s identities can be found in the pattern: like social security numbers or birthdays.

This theory became popular when this meme appeared on George Takei’s Facebook:

But Professor Strogatz stressed that the meme is misleading.  Even if it is true (which is not yet known), the digits in pi would tell us nothing about a person's life or identity, because along with correct social security numbers and brithdays, there will also be wrong social security numbers and birthdays.

3. Proving pi with matches

You can prove pi exists with matches, toothpicks, a pen, or anything else that is the same length, explained Johnny Ball, the author of “Why Pi? (Big Questions).”

“There’s a wonderful way to find pi for yourself. You find a floor with parallel lines; you find matches, pins, pens, exactly the same length. If you drop a hundred of them at random on the floor, the points touching a line will equal pi,” Ball said.

The matches' length must be equal to the distance of the two parallel lines. After the matches are dropped, you multiply the number of matches thrown down by two and divide it by the total number of matches that touched a line, which will equal pi.

This problem was discovered in the 18th century by French mathematician Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.

Check out this video on Dr. Tony Padilla's YouTube channel Numberphile where he demostrates Buffon's Needle Problem:

3.14...Legislating against pi

In 1897, Indiana state legislators tried passing a Pi Bill that legally defined pi as 3.2. Edward J. Goodwin, a physician, convinced a well-known mathematical monthly newspaper that he had solved what mathematicians had tried to do for generations: squaring the circle. Simply put, squaring the circle is the impossible task of finding the area of a circle by finding the area of a square around it. Goodwin claimed that pi was 3.2 instead of a continuous number. The bill never became a law thanks to Professor C. A. Waldo who convinced the Indiana Senate that Goodwin’s discovery was not possible.



Photo Credit: Washington Post/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Is Hello Barbie Spying for Mattel? ]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:12:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/187*120/HelloBarbie.jpg

Hello Barbie, Mattel's new wi-fi enhanced doll with a tiny microphone, isn't even available yet, but she's already causing controversy, according to reports.

The latest Barbie features speech recognition software that enables conversations and recall's the owner's preferences. However, now privacy advocates say that the doll is violating children's policy and could be used for "stealth marketing" with toymakers listening in on the conversations or encouraging children to buy accessories.

"If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child's intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analyzed," Angela Campbell, faculty adviser at Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology, said in a statement.

Using a microphone, speaker and LED lights inside the doll's necklace, and rechargeable batteries in its legs, Hello Barbies will be able to tell stories, jokes and play interactive games. After listening to its owner's conversation over time, the $75 doll could also reference some of the child's likes. The doll was created by Mattel and uses San Francisco-based startup ToyTalk for voice-recognition software.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a petition Wednesday asking Mattel to stop the doll, calling it "creepy," according to the Christian Science Monitor. The group and others believe that Hello Barbies treasure trove of information will be usedful to marketers.

Campbell said, "In Mattel's demo, Barbie asks many questions that would elicit a great deal of information about a child, her interests, and her family. This information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children."

Susan Linn, executive director of the Campaign, said that she was leery of Mattel's motives. "It's creepy — and creates a host of dangers for children and families,” she said.

Mattel said there is no controversy because it conformed to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and partner ToyTalk said that any information retrieved from Hello Barbie's owner is "never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity."

Ultimately the decision to buy the $75 doll is up to parents, but the doll won't go on sale until near the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Mattel]]>
<![CDATA[Global Outage Shuts Down Apple's iTunes, App Stores]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 14:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/158329790.jpg

Apple's widely used iTunes and app stores suffered a rare breakdown Wednesday, frustrating millions of music lovers and mobile device owners around the world.

The iPhone and iPad maker confirmed the outages in a post on its status notification page without providing any cause for the problem as of 1 p.m. ET. By then, the both the iTunes and app stores had been inaccessible for several hours to the exasperation of Apple users venting on social media and various online forums.

"We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple," Apple said in a statement to CNBC. "We're working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience."

Besides the iTunes and mobile app stores, Apple's online book store and app store for its Mac computers weren't working either.

The disruption affects some of the world's most widely used — and most profitable services.

About 800 million accounts with credit cards linked to them have been set up on Apple's iTunes store since it opened in 2003 to sell digital music for the company's iPods.

More than 75 billion apps have been downloaded from the store that Apple opened in 2008 for the iPhone and, later, the iPad. Many of those apps charge a fee, or generate revenue from purchases of other services while people are using the program.

Last year, Apple's revenue from its iTunes, app, iBook, Mac app stores and other services totaled $18.5 billion, or an average of $50 million per day. That's still a small fraction of Apple's total revenue of $200 billion during that period.

The outages also will cut into the sale mobile app developers who keep most of the revenue from the programs sold in the app store. Last year alone, Apple distributed $10 billion to mobile app developers, an average of about $27 million per day.

The global outage comes two day after Apple unveiled its latest technology, the Apple Watch.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is hoping to attract even more traffic to its app store next month when the smart watch goes on sale.

The company's stock slipped 60 cents to $123.91 in early afternoon trading Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CIA Sought to Hack Apple Devices: The Intercept]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:21:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/248*120/tlmd_apple_tecnologia_620.jpg

Several CIA-sponsored presentations over a two-year period reportedly described attempts at decrypting security in Apple mobile and laptop devices, according to reports.

Abstracts of the presentations were reported on The Intercept Tuesday, citing documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who now lives in exile in the former U.S.S.R. From the reports, it seems that attempts at hacking Apple products went back as far as 2010 at an annual conference called the Trusted Computing Base Jamboree, which is sponsored by the CIA's information operations center, the Intercept reported.

The same conference continued to talk about ways to bypass security on Apple devices, according to the report.

The government has complained about increased default encryption in mobile devices and the Internet that makes "lawful electronic surveillance impossible," according to Computerworld. Instead, the FBI and others would like encryption that could be bypassed for government requests for data. However, building this "backdoor" could be leaving a security exploit open for hackers.

In short, the government seems like it's been trying to hack into Apple's system without permission. Since the government can simply request information, we don't know why it would have to break into Apple's system to procure information unless the request was denied or deemed unlawful. Apple chief Tim Cook has previously said he doesn't want a government "backdoor" through the system because he doesn't want to invite the government onto Apple's servers. It's probably a wise move, but the U.S. government could find its way there with or without permission.

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<![CDATA[Veteran Technology Blog Gigaom Pulls The Plug]]> Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:05:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/om-malik-462854174-%281%29.jpg

One of San Francisco's earliest technology blogs has suddenly folded.

Nine-year-old Gigaom released a statement on Monday announcing the closure, citing an inability to pay its creditors in full: "All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy."

Company founder Om Malik left Gigaom in 2013 and joined venture capital firm True Ventures as partner, according to The Verge.

"Every founder starts on a path — hopeful and optimistic, full of desire to build something that helps change the world for the better, reshape an industry and hopefully become independent, both metaphorically and financially," Malik wrote about Gigaom on his own website. "Business, much like life, is not a movie and not everyone gets to have a story book ending."

Gigaom's website has not been taken down, but there is no new content as of Tuesday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Reacts to the New Apple Watch ]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:11:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/apple-event-465689046.jpg

The buzz around Apple's announcement of the new Apple watch exploded on Twitter as Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke of the product's features. Reaction to the new watch was mixed and fun. 

Apple called its newest creation the "most advanced timepiece ever created."

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Photos from Apple's "Spring Forward" Event]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:43:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TLMD-portada-apple-watch.jpg See live photos from Apple's "Spring Forward" March 9, 2015 event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[13 Smartwatches Worth Watching]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:34:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/03-pebble-time.jpg Apple, the global computing giant, released its smartwatch in early 2015. Here's a survey of some smartwatches on the market — some available now, some coming soon — to keep an eye on. ]]> <![CDATA[Top Google Doodles]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 07:27:59 -0400 See the doodle here.]]> See the doodle here.]]> http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GoogleDoodleEarthDay.jpg Since 1998, Google has created more than 1000 colorful and imaginative doodles to commemorate important holidays and people. Take a look back at some of the most iconic designs from around the world.

Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[Watch this "Machine Gun" Laser Mosquitos in Slow-Mo]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:30:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_mosquitozapper0304001_1500x845.jpg New high-tech bug zapper identifies certain types of mosquitoes, then shoots them out of the air with low-power lasers.]]> <![CDATA[Tinder Charging Age-Based Fee for New Update]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:58:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/140411-tinder-dating-app-mn-1310_6f284758e68894d5f153e1d324a00965.nbcnews-fp-1360-600.jpg

If you are over 30, finding love on Tinder is going to be more expensive.

The dating app has released a new premium version that includes new features to help people connect, but the cost of the update depends on the user’s age.

Users in America over 30 will pay $19.99 per month, while users under 30 will pay $9.99.

Tinder said in a statement that the fees are not out of the ordinary for subscription services.

"Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example," said spokesperson Rosette Pambakian. "Tinder is no different; during our testing we’ve learned, not surprisingly, that younger users are just as excited about TinderPlus, but are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger."

The premium version also comes with two new features: “Rewind” allows people to undo "left swipes," or rejections of other users, while “Passport” also allows the ability to change geographic locations, meaning you can try to connect with people in different countries.

The update also now limits the number of “likes,” or right swipes a person can make within a certain time frame. 

Tinder wouldn't say how many people use the app, but an unnamed person told the New York Times late last year that it has managed to draw 50 million monthly users.

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