New iPhone feature costs family $2,000

Published: Thursday, January 07, 2016 @ 9:53 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 07, 2016 @ 9:53 AM

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A new iPhone feature led a Denver, Colorado, family to be charged a hefty fee on their cellphone bill.

 Ashton Feingold was in his bedroom on his phone when he got a notification from his cellphone provider about his data usage

“It just said maybe 65 percent of your data has been used,” he told CBS4.

Feingold did not think much of it and continued using his phone as usual.

“(The bill came) and it was over $2,000,” Ashton's father Jeff Feingold said. “Usually it was about $250 a month.”

“I thought my dad was going to kill me,” Ashton Feingold said.

It turns out that Wi-Fi Assist is to blame.

Wi-Fi Assist is a feature that is available on iPhones running operating system 9.1 or higher.

The feature automatically uses data when Wi-Fi signals are weak.

Feingold’s bedroom has a weak Wi-Fi signal. Because the feature is on by default, he was using data when he thought he was using Wi-Fi.Feingold ended up using 144,000 megabytes of data.

CBS spoke with Mike Campbell of Apple Insider, who said, “It comes by default, it’s switched on, that’s part of the reason why there’s kind of an uproar.”

Apple’s support site says users might use more data with this feature, but “for most users, this should only be a small percentage higher than previous usage.”

To turn off Wi-Fi Assist, users can go to their settings app, then cellular and scroll down to Wi-Fi assist, switching it off.

Facebook unveils parent-controlled messenger app just for kids

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 1:38 AM

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Facebook on Monday announced it would be rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the United States, a new parent-controlled app to make it easier for kids to video chat and message with loved ones.

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In a company blog post, Antigone Davis – public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook – wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators.

Davis named some reasons Facebook decided to create Messenger Kids and why they decided to create it right now.

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She cited research that shows some 93 percent of U.S. kids ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones — and 66 percent have their own device, often using apps meant for teens and adults.

In a collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association on a study with more than 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, Facebook found three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both, while 81 percent reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13.

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Kids said they want to use the platforms to have fun and connect with family. But safety is a growing concern among parents.

“My concern is safety, getting friend requests from people you don’t know, chatting with people you don’t know, giving out information to strangers,” one parent participant in the National PTA roundtable said.

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With the guidance of experts at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics among others, Facebook developed a set of principles for Messenger Kids:

  1. Putting kids first
  2. Providing a safe space that fosters joy, humor, play and adventure
  3. Enabling kids to mine their own potential by building for empowerment, creativity and expression
  4. Helping kids build a sense of self and community
  5. Recognizing the relationship between parent and child, and that we take our responsibility and their trust in us seriously.

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“We created Messenger Kids with the belief that parents are ultimately the best judges of their kids’ technology use, and the parents we’ve spoken to have asked for a better way to control the way their children message,” Davis wrote.

Because research on the long-term effects of screen time and technology on children is still limited, Facebook also announced a $1 million research fund to work with experts to explore the growing concerns.

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About the new Messenger Kids app

The Messenger Kids app, aimed at kids ages 6-12, rolled out Monday on iOS in the U.S. An Android version is coming soon.

It’s important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. Instead, parents can download the app on their child’s iPhone or iPad, create their profile and approve friends and family for their kids to chat with directly from the main Messenger app.

Kids will not show up in Facebook search results, so if a kid wants to chat with a friend, the parent will have to work with the friend’s parent to get them both approved. “This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids,” TechCrunch reported.

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Facebook added special proactive detection safety filters to prevent children from sharing sexual content, nudity or violence. A dedicated support team will work 24/7 to address any flagged issues. Parents won’t be able to spy on their kids’ chats.

To ensure an enjoyable experience, the company created a kid-friendly version of the Giphy GIF sharing engine. Kids can also play around with augmented reality masks and stickers, including fidget spinners and dinosaur AR masks.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook will not be directly monetizing the kids app, but hopes they will become dedicated Facebook users in the future.

Apple on track to test self-driving cars in California

Published: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 12:23 PM

The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion concept car, a self-driving, hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid, makes its debut at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show. Apple is set to debut a self-driving car after obtaining permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images
The Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion concept car, a self-driving, hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid, makes its debut at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show. Apple is set to debut a self-driving car after obtaining permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.(Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images)

Apple is on track to begin testing self-driving cars in California. 

The tech giant was added to a long list of companies on the California Department of Motor Vehicles website that hold permits for the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program.

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Apple, traditionally highly secretive about its technology, joins companies like Google, Tesla, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and others, that are testing autonomous driving technology.

Apple’s permit allows it to test three 2015 Lexus SUVs vehicles retrofitted with self-driving technology, and covers six human operators, who must be in the SUV during testing, according to Fox Business.

The company has been highly secretive about its autonomous driving program, called Project Titan, and is not commenting on the new permit.

23andme cleared by FDA to offer genetic health risk tests

Published: Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

FILE - In this Feb. 20 2013 file photo, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki speaks at an announcement for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at Genentech Hall on UCSF's Mission Bay campus in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Jeff Chiu/AP
FILE - In this Feb. 20 2013 file photo, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki speaks at an announcement for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at Genentech Hall on UCSF's Mission Bay campus in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)(Jeff Chiu/AP)

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized 23andme, a personal genomics company, to offer disease-risk predicting tests directly to consumers without a prescription.

The approval comes after a lengthy battle that began in 2013 when the FDA forced 23andme to remove all 254 of its genetic health risk tests from the market, according to Forbes. 23andme uses a consumer's saliva sample to run genetic tests. 

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Since that 2013 ruling, genetic testing results have appeared in respected medical journals, and the concept of genomic risk is more accepted by the scientific community. Critics caution that consumers may take the results too literally, instead of as one piece of their health puzzle, and undergo unnecessary tests or procedures. 

The new FDA ruling allows 23andme to provide 10 genetic health risk tests for conditions ranging from late-onset Alzheimer's disease to celiac disease. The ruling also grants an exemption which could approve further genetic risk tests by 23andme more quickly.

“The FDA has embraced innovation and has empowered people by authorizing direct access to this information,” said 23andMe co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki in a company press release.

The new tests will begin to roll out this month and will be available to new customers immediately. Current customers will be notified of test availability. 

Scientists teleport lemonade via the internet

Published: Thursday, April 06, 2017 @ 6:33 PM



rez-art/Getty Images/iStockphoto
(rez-art/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Lemonade stands may go virtual in the future, if scientists in Singapore can further refine their tasty experiment.

Scientists at Keio-NUS CUTE (Connective Ubiquitous Technology for Embodiments) Center captured the taste and color of lemonade and transmitted it to a remote tumbler filled with water via the internet, according to the CNET report. 

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The "virtual lemonade" experiment uses electrical currents to simulate the lemonade flavor, but the low voltage doesn't cause any discomfort. Scientists were able to change the color and the taste profile, from mild to sour, in the tumbler equipped with metal strips. 

While the concept of digital tastes isn't new, scientists hope this experiment will lead to further iterations that will have real-world usages. For example, scientists hope to create a spoon that carries a salty profile so that hospital patients who need to be on a low-salt diet could virtually flavor their food to their liking.