California District Court Certifies Class Action Lawsuit Against Uber

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A California district court on Tuesday certified a class action lawsuit against Uber made up of some of the company’s California drivers.

In the ruling, the court said that all UberBlack, UberX and UberSUV drivers who either signed up to drive for the company before 2014, or who had opted out of Uber’s arbitration clause, could be part of the class action suit. In his 68-page decision, Judge Edward Chen set the stage for a high profile legal battle between the company and its drivers.

The drivers sought certain benefits, such as compensation for gas and other work expenses, health insurance, and workers compensation.

In a post to its website, Uber said it estimates that fewer than 15,000 drivers would qualify for the class, and that that figure could fall even further.

Uber also says it “will likely still appeal because partners use Uber on their own terms, and there really is no typical driver.”

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California District Court Certifies Class Action Lawsuit Against Uber

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A California district court on Tuesday certified a class action lawsuit against Uber made up of some of the company’s California drivers.

In the ruling, the court said that all UberBlack, UberX and UberSUV drivers who either signed up to drive for the company before 2014, or who had opted out of Uber’s arbitration clause, could be part of the class action suit. In his 68-page decision, Judge Edward Chen set the stage for a high profile legal battle between the company and its drivers.

The drivers sought certain benefits, such as compensation for gas and other work expenses, health insurance, and workers compensation.

In a post to its website, Uber said it estimates that fewer than 15,000 drivers would qualify for the class, and that that figure could fall even further.

Uber also says it “will likely still appeal because partners use Uber on their own terms, and there really is no typical driver.”

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Apple’s September Event: Don’t Forget the Operating Systems

Posted on: September 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Apple’s iOS 9 is pictured. Apple(NEW YORK) — While all eyes may be on the potential new iPhones and other hardware to be unveiled next Wednesday at Apple’s special event, it’s also possible users will find out when they can get their hands on hotly anticipated operating system updates.

The star of Apple’s event is widely expected to be the new iPhone 6S — but if history is any indicator, Apple fans should be able to expect some news on when they can download the public versions of three new operating system updates that were shown off at the company’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet about what to expect when it comes to iOS 9, OS X “El Capitan” and watchOS 2.

iOS 9

Intelligence is the driving force in iOS 9, which will include an even smarter and more proactive Siri capable of picking up context throughout your day. The digital personal assistant fields more than one billion requests per week, according to Apple, and will be ready for plenty more work with iOS 9.

With the new update, Siri will be able to pull up results for requests such as “Show me photos from Utah last August” and “Remind me to grab my coffee off the roof of my car when I get in.”

Siri will also know to pull up music when headphones are plugged in or start an audio book a user has been listening to when they’re in their car, among a slew of other context-based features.

OS X ‘El Capitan’

The latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system, OS X “El Capitan,” has a special focus on enhancing performance for power users.

Among the new features are the ability to work across tabs in Mail, pin most visited websites in Safari and work simultaneously in windows positioned side by side. Spotlight will also be able to understand natural language, making it easier for users to find everything from files to weather and sports scores.

watchOS 2

Among the new capabilities are photo faces, including time lapses of city scenes, the ability to see a different photo every time a user glances at their wrist and nightstand mode, turning a charging watch into an alarm clock.

A time travel feature will also let users turn their crown to leap forward and backward in time to see their schedules. Siri will also respond to a voice command to start counting a workout, without a user having to touch their Apple Watch.

Many apps on the watch can run natively with the update, meaning users can expect quicker load times and even more possibilities for how they can be used.

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Dow Falls Again Due to Worries About China

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Following more bad news from China, U.S. stocks had another bad day as investors remain jittery over a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

On Tuesday, the Shanghai Composite Index closed down Tuesday 1.2 percent. American investors fear that an economic slowdown in China will affect U.S. exports to that nation.

The Dow Jones Industrial average, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all ended the day in the red. The Dow briefly dropped more than 500 points and closed down about 2.8 percent, or 469 points at the end of trading in New York. The S&P 500 fell about 2.7 percent and the Nasdaq closed down nearly 3 percent.

A report in China said manufacturing in that country fell to a three-year low last month.

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McDonald’s Announces National Date of All-Day Breakfast

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Credit: McDonalds(OAK BROOK, Ill.) — McDonald’s has set a date for when its customers can begin ordering breakfast at any time of day.

After testing all-day breakfast menus in limited markets in the U.S., McDonald’s has announced it will offer Egg McMuffins and other morning items starting Oct. 6 throughout the day at its more than 14,300 restaurants across the nation.

The company began tweeting Tuesday about its new initiative, using the hashtag #AllDayBreakfast. Many customers have long-asked McDonald’s to offer its breakfast items, such as hotcakes and McGriddle sandwiches later in the day. At most of McDonald’s restaurants, breakfast food items are no longer available around 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m.

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Biggest Illinois Lottery Winners Lose Their Luck Amid State’s Budget Problem

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Danny Chasteen thought he hit the jackpot when he won $250,000 in the Illinois lottery this summer. But a delay in the state’s budget is also delaying his payoff and dampening his celebratory mood.

“Wait a minute. I won this fair and square,” Chasteen, 56, of LaSalle County, said. “I bought a ticket and scratched it off. I don’t get it.”

That’s because until the budget is approved, the state comptroller can’t pay lottery winners with prize money higher than $25,000, state lottery officials said.

“If it was me owing the state money, but I don’t have the budget together, they would take me to court and get my money,” Chasteen said.

Illinois lawmakers have failed to meet their budget deadline of July 1, as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has battled the Democrat-run legislature. Meanwhile, the Illinois State Museum, subsidized child care and other social services are on the chopping block.

When Chasteen, a manufacturing foreman, learned he won the state lottery’s Cool Cash scratch-off game on July 20, he said he was told he would receive the winnings in four to six weeks. But last week, he received a call from lottery officials saying otherwise.

“They said, ‘We cannot pay you out because the state don’t have a budget,'” said Chasteen, who was hoping to pay off his bills with his lottery winnings.

Last Friday, he took out a $3,000 loan to help pay off his bills and those of his girlfriend. Chasteen said he hasn’t spent more money than he usually does since learning he won the lottery. But he said he wouldn’t have taken out the loan if he had received the lottery prize money, as first reported by ABC station WLS in Chicago.

Lottery officials say the prize money exists, but they legally can’t dole it out.

“Due to the ongoing budget situation in Springfield, some lottery winner payments have been delayed,” a statement from the state lottery read. “All winners will be paid in full as soon as the Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller have the legislative authority to do so.”

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Is Expecting Identical Twin Girls

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Marissa Mayer is expecting identical twin girls!

The Yahoo CEO, 40, shared the happy news on her Tumblr Tuesday, writing that the “twins part was quite a surprise, because I have no family history of twins or any other predisposing factors.”

Mayer said she is due in December and it appears she won’t be taking full advantage of Yahoo’s parental leave policy.

“Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout,” she wrote.

Mayer was back to work soon after she gave birth to her son in 2012, the same year she took over as Yahoo’s CEO.

“I’ve shared the news and my plans with Yahoo’s Board of Directors and my executive team, and they are incredibly supportive and happy for me,” she said. “I want to thank them for all of their encouragement as well as their offers of help and continued support.”

The announcement of her pregnancy comes as Yahoo prepares to spin off its stake in Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba into a new entity called Aabaco Holdings. The move is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

While Mayer’s quick maternity leave drew some criticism that she was setting an unrealistic example for many women, she later followed up by extending Yahoo’s parental leave, offering mothers up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, which also applies to adoption, foster child placement and surrogacy, and eight paid weeks for fathers.

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IIHS: Speed Camera Programs Lead to Changes in Driver Behavior

Posted on: September 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

InterestingLight/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that highway speed cameras have “led to long-term changes in driver behavior and substantial reductions in deaths and injuries” in at least one community near Washington, D.C.

Speed cameras were introduced in 2007 in Montgomery County, Maryland, the study notes. As of 2014, the area had 56 fixed cameras, 30 portable cameras and six mobile speed vans. Six months after the installation of the first cameras, the proportion of drivers traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit had dipped, according to the IIHS.

Further, the study found, after seven years, the program continues to work. IIHS says cameras have reduced the likelihood of a driver exceeding the speed limit by over 10 miles per hour by 59 percent compared to similar roads in nearby counties without speed cameras.

The camera program is also credited with a 19 percent reduction in the likelihood of crashes involving a fatality or incapacitating injury.

“We hope this research will help energize the discussion around speed,” IIHS President Adrian Lund said in a statement. “We’re all accustomed to seeing posted limits ignored, but it’s a mistake to think nothing can be done about it.”

The study also argues that speed corridors, in which enforcement is focused on long stretches of road rather than precise locations, are even more effective. “Speed-camera corridors force drivers to watch their speed for the length of the road, instead of slamming on the brakes at a specific location and then speeding up again,” IIHS Senior Vice President for Research Anne McCartt said.

Interestingly, the study also found that cameras are only effective in altering drivers’ behavior if the drivers are aware that they are there. More than three-quarters of drivers in Montgomery County reported reducing their speed due to the speed camera program.

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KeyRaider Malware Targets Jailbroken iPhones

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Login information for as many as 225,000 Apple accounts may have been stolen using a sophisticated malware called KeyRaider that targets jailbroken devices — those that have hardware restrictions removed and are no longer protected by Apple.

Cyber security company Palo Alto Networks, working alongside Chinese technology group WeipTech, published research detailing the breach, which apparently allows hackers to download apps using the person’s account to remotely lock a device and hold it for ransom.

“We believe this to be the largest known Apple account theft caused by malware,” researcher Claud Xiao wrote.

The malware appears to have been spread by being built into jailbreak tweaks, which are software additions not evaluated by Apple, Xiao said. The tweaks have been downloaded more than 20,000 times, leading researchers to believe at least that many people are taking advantage of the 225,000 stolen account credentials.

Some people have reported unusual purchasing history in their App Store accounts while others have had their devices locked for ransom, according to researchers.

Apple advises users to not jailbreak their devices due to security issues.

“Jailbreaking your device eliminates security layers designed to protect your personal information and your iOS device,” Apple’s support website explains. “With this security removed from your iOS device, hackers may steal your personal information, damage your device, attack your network, or introduce malware, spyware or viruses.”

Palo Alto Networks said it provided the stolen account information to Apple on Aug. 26. It was also noted that researchers were only able to recover half of the stolen account information before the hacker fixed the vulnerability.

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Crude Oil Jumps as Wall Street Closes Mostly Down

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s finally the end of the worst month for stocks in several years as Wall Street closes mostly down, but crude oil is up nearly 30 percent in just three days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 114.98 to finish the session at 16528.03.

The Nasdaq also lost 51.82, ending at 4776.51, while the S&P 500 dropped 16.69 to close at 1972.18.

Crude oil rose nearly 8 percent, closing at more than $49 a barrel, the biggest three-day gain since 1990. Business Insider attributes the surge to OPEC, as they stand “ready to talk to all other producers.” 

Still no word on whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, however a Fed official said over the weekend a September interest rate hike was still possible.

Apple and Cisco Systems are working together in a new attempt to try and sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers. It’s an effort to work on Internet networking gear and to allow workers’ office phones to be synced up as well.

Blue Bell ice cream is back in grocery stores, four months after the company shut down production due to a listeria outbreak. Ice cream from the Texas-based company is now available at stores around Houston and Austin and parts of Alabama.

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Fiat Chrysler CEO Urges for Merger with GM

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) — Is a merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors possible? GM has so far rejected any ideas of a merger, but the FCA chief isn’t backing off.

In a recent interview with Automotive Magazine, FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said “it would be unconscionable not to force a partner” when discussing a potential merger.

Marchionne told Automotive Magazine, “Look, the combined entity can make $30 billion a year in cash. Thirty. Just think about that [expletive] number. In steady-state environments, it’ll make me $28 to $30 billion.”

According to Marchionne in the interview, the upsides of the merger would be too great and he refuses to accept “no” as an answer.

Though this might sound “hostile,” Marchionne told Automotive Magazine there is nothing hostile about it.

“There are varying degrees of hugs,” said Marchionne to Automotive Magazine. “I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you. Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact.”

Even though Marchonne is pushing for a merger, he tells Automotive Magazine GM isn’t answering his calls.

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Android Wear Watches Now Work with the iPhone

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Apple Watch just got some competition from Android Wear.

Google announced in a blog post today that newer wearables running the open source platform will also have iPhone compatibility.

Android Wear owners can download a free app to their iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6 or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 or later. After pairing their watch with their phone, users should be all set to take advantage of the watch’s always-on displays, fitness tracking and a savvy assistant to answer questions and give reminders.

There have been reports of the app also working with older Android Wear watches, according to 9to5Google. The official word from Google, however, is the app will work with the LG Watch Urbane and all future editions of the devices released by various companies including Huaiwei, Asus and Motorola.

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Ashley Madison Says Site Continues to Attract New Members After Hack

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Carl Court/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Adultery website Ashley Madison said today it has continued to attract new members, many of whom self-identified as female when signing up for the service.

Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, said in a statement Monday that “hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for the Ashley Madison platform” in the wake of an unprecedented hack that left as many as 37 million members exposed. Of the new Ashley Madison members, the company said 87,596 are women.

“Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated,” a statement from Avid Life Media said. “The company continues its day-to-day operations even as it deals with the theft of its private data by criminal hackers. Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing.”

The latest statement comes three days after Noel Biderman, the CEO of Avid Life Media, announced he was stepping down from his position and handing over control of the company to its senior management team until a new chief executive is selected.

“This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base,” a statement posted on Avid Life Media’s website said. “We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members’ privacy by criminals.”

A 500,000 Canadian dollar reward (approximately $376,000 USD) is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Personal data believed to have been stolen from Ashley Madison was posted on the dark Web a little more than a week ago, apparently exposing names, email addresses and phone numbers for some of the website’s 37 million members, among other information.

The data dump came one month after Avid Life Media confirmed a “criminal intrusion” into its system.

Going by the name “The Impact Team,” the hacker or hackers said the breach was spurred by a disagreement with Avid Life Media’s business practices, specifically a “full delete” feature. For $19, the company allows repentant cheaters to scrub their information from the website.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the Impact Team wrote after the hack last month. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”

Business practices aside, the hacker or hackers also had another message: “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion…Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver.”

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Netflix Drops Epix in Move to Create More Original Content

Posted on: August 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS GATOS, Calif.) — Now’s the time to catch some of the biggest blockbusters on Netflix.

Netflix announced in a statement on Sunday that they will dropping its contract with Epix, the cable network, in pursuit of creating more original content.

Without Epix, the streaming service will not show such films as Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and Transformers: Age of Extinction, anymore after September.

“While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods,” said the statement from Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you.”

Next year, Netflix will serve as “the exclusive US pay TV home” for movies from The Walt Disney Company, which includes Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel movies. The streaming service also has a deal with DreamWorks Animation to develop shows.

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Italian Energy Group Finds Biggest Natural Gas Field

Posted on: August 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

PeterHermesFurian/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Italian energy group Eni claims it has found, what is being called, one of the world’s biggest natural gas fields, according to the BBC.

The field was found off the coast of Egypt and could possibly hold 5.5 billion barrels of oil.

Eni has full rights to the area after signing an energy exploration deal with the Egyptian oil ministry, says BBC News.

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Google’s Driverless Car Heads to Texas

Posted on: August 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google’s driverless cars are heading east.

Google and Austin Mayor Steve Adler have announced that the Texas city will be the first outside of California to test the company’s self-driving cars.

One Lexus SUV has already been spotted on the streets of Austin this summer, with safety drivers along for the ride.

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Jeep Hackers Hired to Work for Uber

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Uber hires two hackers.

After remotely hijacking a Jeep and causing the Fiat Chrysler recall of 1.4 million vehicles, hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are now working for Uber.

“Looking forward to starting Tuesday with the great team at @Uber Advanced Technology Center,” tweeted Miller. “Should be a cool challenge and a lot of fun.”

Uber’s Advanced Technology Center is where the ride-sharing company experiments with autonomous vehicles and robotics.

“Charlie and Chris are joining the team at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, and will also work closely with Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan and Chief Information Security Officer John Flynn to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber,” said an Uber spokesperson in a statement to WIRED.

Uber is no doubt concerned about the security of its vehicles. In February, the ride-sharing company experienced a security breach that may have exposed the names and license identification numbers of potentially 50,000 Uber drivers.

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Scientists Begin Year-Long Stay in Hawaii Dome to Learn About Space Travel

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

This photo released by University of Hawai’i’s press site on July 29, 2015 shows Kim Binsted at HI-SEAS habitat on Hawai’i Island. University of Hawai’i(NEW YORK) — Six scientists began their year-long stay in a solar-powered dome to help researchers learn what space travelers would endure while heading to Mars.

The 365-day experiment started Friday on Mauna Loa, a Hawaiian volcano, according to the University of Hawaii. It’s the fourth and longest mission run by the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS).

The experiment focuses on the crew’s cohesion and performance to help determine the best way to travel to Mars and back, which is an estimated three-year journey, the University of Hawaii said.

“The longer each mission becomes, the better we can understand the risks of space travel,” said Kim Binsted, HI-SEAS principal investigator. “We hope that this upcoming mission will build on our current understanding of the social and psychological factors involved in long duration space exploration.”

The study is funded by NASA.

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Twitter Commits to Increasing Employment of Women

Posted on: August 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

seewhatmitchsee/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Twitter has committed itself to hiring more women in an effort to increase diversity, the company said in a blog post on Friday.

“We want the makeup of our company to reflect the vast range of people who use Twitter,” the post read. “Doing so will help us build a product to better serve people around the world.” The company hopes to increase its employment of women to 35 percent of its workforce, with other specific figures related to specific areas of business.

Data released by the company last year showed that women represented just 30 percent of its workforce and just 10 percent of its tech employees. By the end of 2016, Twitter says it aims to have those figures up to 35 percent and 16 percent respectively.

Data released Friday, however, shows that much of that jump has already been accomplished, and that women now represent 34 percent of the employees at Twitter and 13 percent of tech jobs.

“As we look ahead,” the post continued, “we see opportunity rather than a challenge: an opportunity to build a platform and a company that will better serve the diverse community on Twitter and the increasingly diverse one at Twitter.”

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What Can Happen if You Fly Your Drone Near Aircraft

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Police detained a Los Angeles man this week after he allegedly flew his drone dangerously close to an LAPD helicopter, which was on the hunt for a suspect.

After taking evasive action to avoid the hovering drone, the chopper diverted, tracking the drone operator to a Rite-Aid parking lot, where officers handcuffed him and took him into custody.

“I just got this thing!” the visibly perturbed man told police. “I don’t understand what I did wrong.”

Despite campaigns aimed at educating the public about laws governing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Federal Aviation Administration has recorded more than 760 pilot drone sightings this year — around triple what they recorded in all of 2014.

Many UAV operators are “just going up at their leisure, and they think it’s a game — but every game has consequences,” NYPD aviation unit Lt. Richard Knoeller told ABC News’ David Kerley at a chopper ride-along earlier this month. “It’s a very dangerous, dangerous instrument.”

If a drone smacked into a helicopter’s tail rotor, “it would send us spinning out of control,” said Knoeller.

“You would have to be very foolish to think you’re not putting people and lives in danger by operating a drone thousands of feet in this congested airspace,” he told Kerley. “If it does enough to shred the blade or damage any of the parts to the tail rotor, the results could be catastrophic.”

When pilots spot UAVs in their airspace, they may be forced to take evasive action. Even at high altitudes, pilots aren’t immune: Drones have been spotted as high as 10,000 feet, according to the FAA.

Of course, operating drones near airports and airplanes is illegal. But hunting down operators flying them illegally isn’t always easy.

Spotting a drone from above is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and because drone batteries only last about 15 or 20 minutes, police generally have to work within a tight time window.

Though the FAA has vowed that violators will face “stiff fines and criminal charges, including possible jail time,” arrests are still relatively rare.

“People think it’s the cool thing to do, and it’s just not,” Knoeller said. “It’s life threatening.”

In New York, where Knoeller works, there have been only two arrests this year – and just four in all of 2014.

But NYPD aviation unit officers are using every tool at their disposal — including sensors, infrared cameras, and GPS overlays — to track the drones back to their operator. Airborne officers can then collaborate with teams on the ground to apprehend drone owners.

“It’s almost a matter of time, you know, before something drastic happens,” said Knoeller. “When all else fails, it’s going to be time to prosecute.”

As for the man piloting the drone near the LAPD chopper? He was taken into custody, but not arrested or booked.

“Didn’t have anything to arrest him under,” said LAPD public information officer Nuria Vaneges.

Meanwhile, the LAPD plans to turn over its report to the District Attorney to determine whether they have a case – and officers confiscated his drone as evidence.

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Wall Street Ends a Wild Week with Small Gains and Losses

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Small gains and losses, a calm end for Wall Street after five wild days of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 11.76 to finish the session at 16643.01.

The Nasdaq gained 15.62, ending at 4828.32, while the S&P 500 was up 1.21 to finish the week at 1988.87.

When will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates? That’s been the big question these past few weeks, but now many are wondering “if” the Fed will raise interest rates. Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Stanley Fischer said it was now too early to decide to raise rates, especially after the crazy week for the markets and China’s devaluation of its currency.

According to the University of Michigan, consumer confidence has fallen slightly from 93.1 in July to 91.2 in August. However, the change is still nearly 11.5 percent higher than a year ago. University of Michigan Survey of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin says, “The data suggest that real personal consumption expenditures will expand by a still healthy 2.9 percent in 2015, with the pace of growth rising to 3.0 percent in 2016. Needless to say, consumer sentiment must be carefully monitored in the months ahead.”

World markets had their own issues this week with volatility and sell-offs, but Asia’s markets ended mostly higher with Japan’s Nikkei 225 gaining 2.9 percent and the Shanghai composite index up 4.8 percent. Europe’s were mixed with London’s FTSE 100 up 0.9 percent and Germany’s DAX down 0.2 percent.

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What Customers Can Eat with McDonald’s Customized Menu

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) — Customers at a McDonald’s in Colorado who want to order a Big Mac may be surprised when the restaurant offers them customized options.

A McDonald’s location in Aurora, Colorado, is testing the burger chain’s fast-casual “Create Your Taste” platform. With the test, customers use touch-screen kiosks to customize their orders, including choosing from 25 ingredients on their sandwiches. Choices include guacamole, parmesan, Sriracha mayo, jalapeños, grilled mushrooms and a buttered, toasted ciabatta or artisan roll. The customer’s food is eventually delivered to your table.

Juan Samour, owner-operator of that location and seven others in Colorado, told ABC News that the new menu concept was designed “with the customer experience at the forefront.”

“Right now, we’re switching people. They’re walking in the door, and they want a Big Mac. We have to try to convince them to try this new product,” owner-operator of that location Jeff Heidrick told the Denver Post. “It’s working, but we want to become a destination.”

McDonald’s has said it plans to expand “Create Your Taste” to 2,000 locations.

After a customer orders at the Aurora location, a staff member delivers your open-faced sandwich in a metal basket, “basket designed to showcase each quality ingredient,” Samour said.

Other options for customers’ burgers include Applewood smoked bacon, crisp red onion, caramelized grilled onions, chili lime tortilla strips and crinkle cut pickles, Samour said.

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Apple’s September Event Will Be Available to Stream for Windows 10 Users

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Apple’s special Sept. 9 event will be live-streamed online — and this time, Windows 10 users will also be able to join in the excitement.

A website for the event — where it’s widely expected Apple will show off a new iPhone 6S — says Apple will support live streaming for Windows 10 devices using the new Edge browser, in addition to the usual line-up of Apple devices.

The event is scheduled to start at 1 pm. ET/10 a.m. PT and will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

Apple is remaining tight-lipped about the agenda for the event and in a characteristically coy invitation teased, “Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

For those who take the invitation literally, Apple is even having a little fun with Siri. Ask the virtual personal assistant “Siri, give me a hint,” and she will fire back: “Why don’t you check a rumors blog? That’s what I do.”

Among the biggest updates expected for the possible new iPhone release are an even sharper camera, faster processor and force-touch technology, allowing users to press parts of the screen the same way they would a button, according to reports.

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Facebook Milestones Leading to a Billion Users in a Single Day

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, right, and Dustin Moscovitz, co-founder have their photo taken at Harvard Yard in 2004 in Cambridge, Mass. (Justine Hunt/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room in 2004, his audience was college students.

Eleven years later, the Facebook CEO celebrated a milestone: One billion people — that’s 1 in 7 people on Earth — logged onto the site in a single day this week.

“When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. He said the record moment happened on Monday.

Starting out with an ambitious vision, even Zuckerberg didn’t foresee the force Facebook would become in connecting the world.

“People often ask if I always knew that Facebook would become what it is today. No way,” he reflected on Facebook’s 10th anniversary on Feb. 4, 2014. “I remember getting pizza with my friends one night in college shortly after opening Facebook. I told them I was excited to help connect our school community, but one day someone needed to connect the whole world.”

And he was the one who did. Here’s a look at some of the key moments and milestones that helped Facebook build its user base.

2004: The site was intended as a directory of Harvard students only, but within months, thousands of students from elite colleges across the country had joined the network.

2006: Open registration launches, letting anyone who wants to make a profile join the social network. The newsfeed feature also launched this year, letting people stay more engaged to their friends’ updates — and kept them coming back for more.

2008: The Facebook app makes its debut, giving users even quicker access to checking in on their friends’ updates.

2012: Facebook goes public with a $5 billion IPO.

2015:
Facebook continues to innovate with new ways for people to engage with the world. Among them are video calling in the Messenger app, easy-to-read instant articles and a live-streaming feature giving users a front row seat to the latest happenings from their favorite celebrities and news makers.

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Ashley Madison Hack: CEO Noel Biderman Is Stepping Down

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Carl Court/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Noel Biderman, the CEO of Avid Life Media, is stepping down from the company in the wake of an unprecedented hack that left 37 million customers exposed.

“This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base,” a statement posted on Avid Life Media’s website said. “We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members’ privacy by criminals.”

Avid Life Media plans to continue to operate its dating websites and will be led by its senior management team until a new CEO is appointed, the statement said. The company also reiterated its commitment to protecting its customer base while also working with law enforcement to find the person or group responsible for the massive data breach.

A 500,000 Canadian dollar reward (approximately $376,000) is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Personal data believed to have been stolen from the adultery website Ashley Madison was posted on the dark Web a little more than a week ago, apparently exposing names, email addresses and phone numbers for some of the website’s 37 million members, among other information.

The data dump came one month after Avid Life Media confirmed a “criminal intrusion” into its system.

Going by the name “The Impact Team,” the hacker or hackers said the breach was spurred by a disagreement with Avid Life Media’s business practices, specifically a “full delete” feature. For $19, the company allows repentant cheaters to scrub their information from the website.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the Impact Team wrote after the hack last month. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”

Business practices aside, the hacker or hackers also had another message:

“Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion…Too bad for ALM, you promised secrecy but didn’t deliver.”

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Bimbo Bakeries Recalls Bread Products over Glass Fragments

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Scott Olson/Getty Images(HORSHAM, Pa.) — Bimbo Bakeries is recalling several of its bread products because there may be fragments of glass in them.

The company says a broken light bulb at one of its bakeries may have caused glass to end up on the outside of loaves in 11 states.

So far, Bimbo has received three reports from consumers. No one has been injured.

The company, which sells bread under brand names like Sarah Lee, Kroger and Nature’s Harvest, says affected loaves have a “best by” date of Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL LIST OF RECALLED PRODUCTS ]

Affected products are being taken down from store shelves, Bimbo says. Anyone who purchased a recalled loaf can return it to the store for a full refund.

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Gains for Wall Street as Crude Oil Jumps 10 Percent

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There were mass losses earlier this week? All gains for Wall Street on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average up 369.26 to finish the session at 16654.77. Its biggest two-day gain since December 2008.

The Nasdaq also jumped 115.17, ending at 4812.71, while the S&P 500 climbed 47.15 to 1987.66.

Crude oil also rose 10 percent for its biggest one-day gain since October 2008.

Although there’s hardly a sign of the plunging stock scare earlier this week, the S&P 500 may be headed toward a “Death Cross” according to Business Insider due to the technical damage. This happens when a stock or index’s 50-day moving average “falls below its 200-day moving average and is often seen as a reversal in the prevailing long-term trend for a security,” said Business Insider.

The second quarter estimate of the U.S. GDP beat expectations expanding at 3.7 percent when an estimate last month by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis had it at a 2.3 percent pace. The BEA believes the reason is because of an increase in exports.

McDonald’s and Tyson have cut ties with a Tennessee poultry farm after a video surfaced showing workers stabbing, clubbing, and crushing chickens. The video was released by animal rights group Mercy for Animals and also reveals “disgusting” living conditions of the factory chickens at T&S Farms.

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Keyless Ignitions Led to Carbon Monoxide Deaths and Should Have Been Recalled, Suit Says

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Some of the world’s biggest automakers should have recalled millions of vehicles with keyless ignitions because the cars, which don’t shut off automatically if the driver fails to press the start/stop button, could be a deadly carbon monoxide risk, according to a new lawsuit.

According to the suit, filed in Los Angeles Federal Court on behalf of keyless car drivers Wednesday, there have been at least 13 deaths — and a number of close calls — from carbon monoxide poisoning after consumers failed to manually shut off their engines. The suit claims, “Reasonable drivers mistakenly believe that removing the Keyless Fob from the vehicle turns off the engine.”

Keyless cars allow drivers to start their engines without inserting a key into the ignition switch, but instead pressing a start/stop button. To shut off the car, they must manually press the button again.

The lawsuit claims the defendants — Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Honda, GM, BMW, Volkswagen, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Kia — knew or should have known of these risks. Yet according to the suit, they allegedly sold keyless fobs “without instituting adequate safeguards, warnings, or other safety features,” including a relatively inexpensive auto-off feature that automatically switches the engine off if the car is left unattended.

Some of the cars were equipped with audible alerts, which sounded when drivers exited the vehicle with the engine still on.

The lawsuit claims that, “for years the Automakers have known about the deadly consequences that can result when a driver exits a vehicle with our without the keyless fob and without having depressed the Start/Stop button. Nevertheless, even though an Auto-Off feature can be implemented without significant effort or cost, the Automakers have refused to act.”

Several consumers complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the lack of the auto-off feature, and in 2007, Ford and General Motors even filed patents to address the issue — supposedly demonstrating, according to the lawsuit, that automakers (who read one another’s patents) allegedly “recognized the dangerous consequences associated with keyless fobs.”

Though some of the car companies installed auto-off in later models, they allegedly failed to recall the earlier model cars, or provide reasonable auto-off software updates.

While there have been lawsuits brought by victims of carbon monoxide poisoning (or their families), some of which have settled, the lawyers bringing this lawsuit are seeking class action status to represent all owners of the models of cars with keyless entry named in the lawsuit.

The car makers also allegedly failed to include warnings in car manuals or sales brochures and allegedly “continue to conceal” the safety risk from the public at large. Meanwhile, they profited from sales of keyless fobs, which are often part of a costly upgrade package.

Most car companies declined comment to ABC News, but Ford said, “Ford takes the safety of our customers very seriously; the keyless ignition system has proven to be a safe and reliable innovative feature that has been well-received by customers. Ford vehicles equipped with keyless ignition alert drivers when the driver’s door is open and the vehicle’s engine is running.”

Volkswagen said, “Volkswagen Group of America and its brands consider the safety and satisfaction of its consumers and passengers as a top priority. All brands within the Volkswagen Group are engineered to meet or exceed all government regulations.”

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Facebook’s Answer to Siri and Cortana Is Called ‘M’

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Facebook’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana is a virtual personal assistant called “M” that will be housed inside the company’s Messenger app.

The social network wants users to know this one can do a lot more than answering questions and managing a person’s calendar. M can actually help people complete tasks that other virtual assistants can’t.

While M is artificially intelligent, it is trained and supervised by humans, making the service so smart that Facebook says it can “purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more.”

People lucky enough to be testing the service will be able to send a note to M in messenger, just as they would chat to a friend. M can understand queries such as recommending a restaurant and offering to make reservations.

“This is early in the journey to build M into an at-scale service,” David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook said in a post. “But it’s an exciting step towards enabling people on Messenger to get things done across a variety of things, so they can get more time to focus on what’s important in their lives.”

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Apple Ready for September Event

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Apple(NEW YORK) — It’s official: After plenty of speculation, Apple Thursday confirmed it will hold an event Sept.  9 in San Francisco where it is widely expected the company will show off an iPhone 6S.

The event is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. PT and will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Apple is remaining tight-lipped about the agenda for the event and in a characteristically coy invitation teased, “Hey Siri, give us a hint.”

Among the biggest updates expected for the possible new iPhone release are an even sharper camera, faster processor and force touch technology, allowing users to press parts of the screen the same way they would a button, according to reports.

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