Technology The latest Technology news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:49:51 +0000 en hourly 1 The Simpler Way to Unsubscribe From Email Lists Wed, 06 Aug 2014 21:42:30 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT google gmail unsubscribe sk 140806 62x15 608 The Simpler Way to Unsubscribe From Email Lists

(Image Credit: Google)

Google unveiled a new link at the top of Gmail messages today that makes it easier for users to unsubscribe from email lists.

There’s nothing worse than having an inbox full of clutter and then having to scroll to the bottom of a message to find a way to unsubscribe .

No matter the mailing list, Google is making it simple by providing a uniform unsubscribe link at the top right of every message.

One click of the button will unsubscribe you right away, depending on the sender, or will take you to the right place to finish removing yourself from the mailing list.

Google said the new option is “easy to find is a win for everyone.”

Marketers win because their emails are more likely to be seen, instead of being directed to the spam folder. Users win because they have an easier way to opt out.

Happy unsubscribing!

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Rosetta to Orbit Comet After 10-Year Space Journey Wed, 06 Aug 2014 00:16:08 +0000 ABC News HT Rosetta Philae mar 140805 16x9 608 Rosetta to Orbit Comet After 10 Year Space Journey
By Clayton Sandell and Gina Sunseri

A 10-year, nearly 4-billion-mile space journey will make history Wednesday when a tiny spacecraft begins the first-ever orbit of a comet that scientists believe may hold clues about the dawn of the solar system and life on Earth.

Since the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta mission in 2004, the craft has been on a cosmic ping-pong trip, using the gravitational forces of Earth and Mars to slingshot across roughly 3,728,227,139 miles of space toward comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

After a few months looking for the right place to land, in November Rosetta will log another first when it deploys a small, 220-pound lander called Philae to touch down on the surface to begin a close-up scientific exam.

If all goes well, Philae will fire a harpoon to anchor itself to the surface of the comet. It will then conduct a number of experiments, beaming results back to Earth.

“The best thing Philae is going to tell us is something that we have no clue what it is yet,” said Phil Plait, an astronomer and author who pens the Bad Astronomy blog for Slate.  ”And that’s the best part of science, when you get that surprise and you go, ‘Oh!’ And it changes the way you think about something.”

Along the way Rosetta has already produced stunning images as it zoomed by Mars and Earth, using the planets’ gravity to help slingshot it toward the comet.

“There are so many things that have never been attempted before,” said Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency.  ”Rendezvousing with a comet, attempting a landing, relying purely on solar batteries at huge distances from the sun.”

In January, after a long hibernation to preserve battery power, Rosetta woke up and phoned home.

A tweet that read “Hello world!” sent from Rosetta’s account got more than 5,000 retweets.

Comet 67P, made up mostly of dust and ice, is gradually waking and will soon begin to form a long trail as it approaches the heat of the sun. As Rosetta has inched closer, it has been sending back increasingly-detailed pictures of 67P.

Comets, scientists believe, are a cosmic mish-mash of materials left over from the beginning of the solar system.

“They’re like a time capsule,” said Plait. “A four-and-a-half-billion-year-old time capsule telling us what conditions were like when the earth itself was just forming. That’s HUGE.”

When they collided with Earth, comets may have even delivered the water and ingredients needed to kickstart life.

“It could be that comets seeded the earth with the building blocks for life,” Plait says. “It’s very interesting to think that when you’re studying a comet, you’re studying something that is ancient and gorgeous and has had an impact on human culture, and may have literally had an impact on the water and life on Earth as well.”

Rosetta is named for the Rosetta Stone, a tablet discovered in 1799 that helped decipher the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt.

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Why NFL Players Will Soon Have a Real Chip on Their Shoulders Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:08:07 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb gty 2005 supeprbowl kb 140604 16x9 608 Why NFL Players Will Soon Have a Real Chip on Their Shoulders

(Image Credit: Albert Dickson/Sporting News via Getty Images)

Some of your favorite NFL players will soon have a chip on their shoulders.

The NFL announced today it is installing Zebra Technologies’ real-time tracking systems in 17 stadiums for the 2014 season.

The quarter-sized chips on players’ uniforms will sync up with radio receivers in the selected stadiums, providing “next gen stats.”

The high-tech approach is a boon for coaches, players and fantasy football fans, who will be be able to find out  data such as a player’s position, speed, acceleration and total distance run, according to the NFL announcement.

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“Zebra’s tracking technology will help teams to evolve training, scouting and evaluation through increased knowledge of player performance, as well as provide ways for our teams and partners to enhance the fan experience,” Vishal Shah, the NFL vice president of media strategy, said in a statement.

The first stadiums to have the technology will be: Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit,  Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis  and Washington.

However, the technology will capture data from all 32 teams when games are played in the outfitted stadiums.

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Facebook Brings Free Internet to Mobile Users in Zambia Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:42:33 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT internet org sk 140731 16x9 608 Facebook Brings Free Internet to Mobile Users in Zambia

(Image Credit: Facebook)

It’s not just owning a smartphone that’s expensive — it’s the data plan.

Facebook introduced an app today that will give mobile users in Zambia free, limited access to the internet.

The app is part of Facebook’s collaborative initiative, which aims to bring internet access to the two out of three people worldwide who aren’t already online.

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Users in the African nation, who are Airtel subscribers, will get free mobile access to a slew of basic services, including AccuWeather, Google, Wikipedia, and of course, Facebook, without incurring any data charges.

“We hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise.” the Facebook announcement said.

According to the social network, 85 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, meaning the lack of infrastructure isn’t a barrier to getting new users online.

At the Mobile World Conference this past February, Zuckerberg said the biggest barrier to getting people online is “the question of why you would want to spend your money.”

“You have never had access to the Internet so you don’t even know why you would want it,” he said. ” In the US we have 911 to get basic services. Similarly, we want to create a basic dial tone for the Internet. Basic messaging, basic Web information, basic social networking.”


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FAA Investigating Drone Incident at Seattle’s Space Needle Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:18:59 +0000 Cecilia Vega

The Federal Aviation Administration told ABC News today that it is looking into reports that a drone recently hovered above the observation deck of Seattle’s famous Space Needle.

While curious tourists waved, the mysterious flying object gave security quite a scare.

Authorities said a man launched the drone out of his hotel room window on Tuesday.

“There was no malcontent or malice,” said Drew Fowler of the Seattle Police Department. “He wasn’t trying to do anything wrong. He was just trying to capture some interesting footage.”

Related: Police probe possible peeping drone outside woman’s home.
Related: Amazon wants to test delivery drones in Seattle.
Related: Growing traffic in US skies as drone almost hits passenger plane.

While recreational drone usage is legal in Washington state, today’s incident was the latest raising questions about whether it’s safe to fly drones above crowded cities.

Last year, a drone buzzed over the busy streets of New York, flying past iconic landmarks like the Chrysler building and then crash-landing, nearly hitting pedestrians during the height of rush hour.

And there have been close calls with planes. A drone last year came within 200 feet of a jumbo jet.

Drones have been exploding in popularity but the rules for how and where they can be used have not caught up. The FAA said it is working on new safety guidelines but it could take two years for them to take effect.

GTY space needle kab 140725 16x9 608 FAA Investigating Drone Incident at Seattles Space Needle

DeAgostini/Getty Images

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Israeli-Gaza Conflict As Seen From Space Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:38:43 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb The death, destruction and chaos from the Israeli-Gaza conflict has been captured in striking photos on the ground, but even astronauts can see the fighting as it unfolds.

Alexander Gerst, a European astronaut working at the International Space Station, captured a photo of rocket fire and explosions apparently being exchanged between Israeli and Gaza as the ISS flew over the region Wednesday night.

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“My saddest photo yet. From #ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over #Gaza & #Israel,” he wrote from hundreds of miles above Earth.


The FAA announced today that it has not lifted its ban against travel to or from Tel Aviv’s airport and will prohibit travel there for an additional 24 hours.

The list of airlines that chose to follow the American air agency’s guidelines extended past the U.S., with Air Canada, Lufthansa, German Wings and Air France canceling their scheduled flights in addition to US Airways, Delta and United.


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Android Wear Handles Everything From Pizzas to Your Love Life Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:55:46 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb

It turns out Android Wear can even help you figure out your love life.

Tinder is among the three dozen and counting apps that are available on the smart watch, which was unveiled last month at the annual Google developer’s conference in San Francisco.

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Android Wear acts as a personal assistant that users can simply sync with their Android phones and wear on their wrists.

Using verbal commands, users can then carry out a variety of tasks, including ordering a pizza or scheduling a car service with Lyft.

With every interaction, Android Wear better understands the context of what you care about, making every interaction even more seamless.

Check out the video above to see it in action.


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Facebook Launches App For Famous People Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:19:38 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT Facebook Celebrity App 01 MT 140717 16x9 608 Facebook Launches App For Famous People

(Image Credit: Facebook)

Facebook wants to put you in touch with your favorite celebrity.

The social network launched a new app today, called “Mentions,” that is available to actors, musicians and other influencers who have verified pages.

More than 800 million of Facebook’s users are connected to celebrities on the website, according to the company, making an app for famous people seem like the next logical step.

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Celebs with verified pages in the United States can request access after downloading the app and administrators of verified pages can request access directly from Facebook.

After they’ve downloaded the app and have permission, your favorite social media savvy celeb can see what you’re saying about them, join the conversation and host live question and answer sessions.

Facebook turned to a star-studded crew to help test the app, including Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Tyrese Gibson and soccer player Alex Morgan.





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Why Weak Passwords Aren’t Always a Bad Idea Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:23:48 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb

It turns out having your dog’s name as your password isn’t such a bad idea after all.

New research from Microsoft says Internet users are better off recycling weak, memorable passwords for accounts of low importance.

Complex passwords, comprised of letters, numbers and symbols, should only be used for accounts that hold sensitive information, such as a person’s bank account, according to the study published by Microsoft Research.

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The logic behind the study indicates that users will more likely be able to remember unique passwords if they’re limited to just their high-value accounts.

“Strategies that rule out password re-use or the use of weak passwords are sub-optimal. Both are valuable tools in balancing the allocation of effort between higher and lower value accounts,” researchers wrote.

While password managers are one viable option for managing online accounts, the study argues that they can create more problems than they’re worth.

Researchers suggest that if a user forgets their password for their password manager, they could be locked out of a their accounts, or by storing everything in one place, users are leaving themselves potentially vulnerable to hackers.

The study recommends writing down passwords the old-fashioned way, if you must.

“Writing passwords down is, if properly done, increasingly accepted as a coping mechanism,” the study says.

GTY fear password sr 140428 16x9 608 Why Weak Passwords Arent Always a Bad Idea

(Image Credit: Getty Images)



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First Instagram Posted 4 Years Ago Today Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:34:07 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb ht first instagram photo kevin jc 140716 16x9 608 First Instagram Posted 4 Years Ago Today

(Kevin Systrom/Instagram)

The honor of being in the first Instagram snap, which was posted four years ago today, went to co-founder Kevin Systrom’s dog.

The pet pooch is so cute that she didn’t even need one of Instagram’s now ubiquitous filters.

At the time, the photo sharing network hadn’t gone public and went by a different moniker: Codename, according to a post on the company’s website from two years ago.

Instagram launched to the public in October 2010 and now boasts more than 200 million active members per month, according to the company.

An average of 60 million photos are uploaded every day, while more than 20 billion snaps — many of which likely include elaborate meals and sunsets — have been shared.

Then there’s the reported $1 billion that Facebook paid for Instagram in 2012.

And to think: It all started with an idea and an adorable dog.


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