Technology » Science The latest Technology news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:16:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Severe Weather Apps Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:16:52 +0000 Caterina Andreano When it comes to severe weather – the watches and warnings are out there – it is your responsibility to make sure you get them. On top of NOAA weather radios and WEA alerts on your phone – there’s an app for that!


Many local government agencies also provide free mobile apps, such as READY GEORGIA.

Compatible with both Android and iPhone

Cost: FREE


Compatible with iPhone only

Cost: FREE

FirstCall Alerts

Compatible with iPhone only

Cost: FREE

iMap Radio 

Compatible with both Android and iPhone

Cost: $4.99


Compatible with both Android and iPhone

Cost: $9.99


Many of our local affiliates have their own storm warning apps. Check your local affiliate’s web page for details.

And if you want more than a weather emergency app and want to follow the radar and warnings in real time – try RadarScope.

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Isis the App to ISIS the Militant Group: You Can Have the Name Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:35:26 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT isis mobile wallet sk 140707 16x9 608 Isis the App to ISIS the Militant Group: You Can Have the Name


Isis, the digital wallet app created by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, said today it is shedding its name to avoid confusion with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group, which is commonly referred to as ISIS. 

“We wanted a name that brought to life our company and our values. Above all, we wanted a brand that captured the simplicity of our mobile wallet experience. We chose Isis,” Michael Abbott, CEO of the app formerly known as Isis, said in a blog post today.

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“However coincidental, we have no interest in sharing a name with a group whose name has become synonymous with violence and our hearts go out to those who are suffering. As a company, we have made the decision to rebrand,” Abbott wrote.

He said the company is “actively working on a new brand,” and would release details “in the coming months.”

The app formerly known as Isis operates on iPhone and Android, allowing users to make payments with their smartphones at supported payment points.

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How to Avoid Being Scammed On Your Phone Bill Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:44:44 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb GTY phone bill mar 140702 16x9 608 How to Avoid Being Scammed On Your Phone Bill

(Image Credit: BJI/Getty Images)

Those little charges on your phone bill can add up — but do you know what they’re for?

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it was suing T-Mobile US. The mobile provider is accused of billing customers for services they never authorized, such as celebrity gossip and horoscope texts.

T-Mobile cast blame on third party vendors for the charges and in a statement said the allegations are “unfounded and without merit,” according to the Associated Press.

The mobile provider said it is already offering refunds.

The practice of billing customers for bogus charges is called cramming and involves tacking on charges both small and large that appear legitimate but aren’t.

The  FTC offers these tips to make sure you’re not being scammed on your phone bill:

  • Don’t enter your mobile phone number on unsecured websites.
  • Unsolicited text messages can be a sign you’re being billed for a service you didn’t opt in to. Look closely at your next bill to make sure there are no new charges.
  • Speaking of which: The most common cramming charge is $9.99, a small amount that is easy to overlook. If you see a charge and don’t know what it’s for, ask your mobile provider.  ”Your carrier should be able to tell you more about the charge, and your statement should tell you how to dispute errors on your bill,” the FTC said.
  • Look out for generic sounding fees. Some common words that may be used include: Min. Use Fee, Activation, Member Fee or Subscription.
  • Some carriers offer a feature that will block third-party services on your phone bill. If you’re worried about bogus charges and don’t plan to use third party services, ask to opt-in to the service. 
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Astronauts Lose World Cup Bet and Get Heads Shaved in Zero Gravity Sun, 29 Jun 2014 23:45:36 +0000 Gillian Mohney HT alexander gerst german astronut shave jt 140629 16x9 608 Astronauts Lose World Cup Bet and Get Heads Shaved in Zero Gravity

Alexander Gerst tweeted "Good to know I can work as a barber after flight!"(@Astro_Alex/Twitter)

World Cup fever is even hitting space.

Two American astronauts bet a German astronaut that if the U.S. lost the World Cup game to Germany, they would both shave their heads.

Unfortunately for Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman, the U.S. team may have survived the group stage but they lost to the Germans 1-0. A video released by NASA shows Swanson and Wisemen getting their head shaved by German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

“Our condolences on your loss today for Steve and Reid,” said a member of the Houston Flight Control. “Flight [control] wanted to point out that baldness is more aerodynamic when flying.”

Looks like the U.S. astronauts didn’t mind too much.

The next day Wiseman tweeted, “It was nice to wake up this morning and not worry about my hair. There isn’t any.”

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‘Patriotic’ Putin Phone Costs $4,300 Thu, 26 Jun 2014 20:31:55 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT putin case mar 140626 16x9 608 Patriotic Putin Phone Costs $4,300

(Courtesy of Perla Penna)

We all show our adoration for people in different ways.

For Vladimir Putin super fans, there’s now a $4,300 gold-plated “Supremo Putin” iPhone 5S they can buy to show off their affection for the Russian leader.

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Putin’s face is engraved in the gold plating of the phone, along with the Russian coat of arms and the first lines from the national anthem, according to a Google translation of the e-boutique listing where the luxury good is for sale.

The Putin phone is the brainchild of Italian luxury brand Perla Penna and comes delivered inside a varnished wood box lined with black velvet, according to the website.

Not included: Putin’s phone number.


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This ‘Smartphone’ Will Zap You Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:33:47 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb ht iphone stun gun split  jc 140626 16x9 608 This Smartphone Will Zap You

(Image Credit: Hinton RCMP)

Careful or this “smartphone” may zap you.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have seized two stun guns disguised as smartphones over the course of 24 hours.

While the gadgets may seem like something out of a spy movie, authorities said they are “prohibited weapons.”

The first device was discovered and confiscated, police said, after they were called with a complaint of a Hinton resident trying to sell the weapon online.

One day later, police said they received a complaint that Angela James, 28, allegedly brandished a “conducted energy weapon” designed to look like a smartphone during an altercation at a bar.

Police said James was arrested on assault with a weapon and possession of a prohibited weapon charges. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance on July 2 in Hinton Provincial Court.

The photos released by Hinton Royal Canadian Mounted Police show how easily the device was able to be passed off as an iPhone smartphone. Apple did not respond to a request for comment by ABC News.

Could you tell the difference?

ht iphone stun gun jc 140626 16x9 608 This Smartphone Will Zap You

(Image Credit: Hinton RCMP)


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Twitter Reportedly Experiments With New Way to Retweet Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:07:34 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb gty twitter phone jc 140624 16x9 608 Twitter Reportedly Experiments With New Way to Retweet

Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images

Twitter is reportedly testing a “retweet with comment” button that would allow users more space to add their two cents. 

The button showcases the original tweet in a card format and allows the person who chose to retweet it all 140 characters to add their comment, according to apparent screen grabs that have been shared on Twitter’s website.

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On a micro blogging platform where messages are limited to 140 characters, users who want to add their two cents to a retweet have to truncate the tweet in quotes, sometimes sacrificing context and clarity.

A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment today on whether a new feature was being tested.

However, in a blog post from September 2013, Alex Roetter, the company’s vice president of engineering, discussed the company’s drive to innovate.

“It’s rare for a day to go by when we’re not releasing at least one experiment,” he wrote.

“You may see some features that your friend doesn’t see, or vice versa. This is all in service of making Twitter the best it can be.”

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App That Just Says ‘Yo’ Has More Than 200,000 Users Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:28:29 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT yo app jtm 140619 16x9 608 App That Just Says Yo Has More Than 200,000 Users

(Image Credit: iTunes App Store)

Saying “Yo” is now a big deal.

A new messaging app called — you guessed it — Yo, has become an overnight sensation, quadrupling its number of users in the past day to 200,000, according to the app’s Twitter account.

The premise is simple.

Choose a user name, type in your mobile number, find friends and you’re ready to “yo.”

According to the app’s creators, the right “Yo,” which happens with just one tap, is all about the recipient and timing.

Sometimes that means sending a good morning “Yo” to a friend.

Thinking about your boyfriend? “Yo” him.

Finished a meeting and ready for a client to come by your office? “Yo,” will do the job.

The app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores for free.

The app keeps tracks of the “Yo’s” you receive from friends.

So what are you waiting for? Get yo-ing!



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System Alerts Drone Haters When to Duck and Cover Thu, 19 Jun 2014 15:11:37 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb HT drone detection kickstarter sk 140619 16x9 608 System Alerts Drone Haters When to Duck and Cover

(Image Credit:  APlus Mobile, Inc.)

Drones are all the buzz right now.

Martha Stewart reportedly has one to survey her farm. They’re even delivering bottle service in Las Vegas. But what if drones are used maliciously?

A new personal drone detection system project  featured on Kickstarter aims to alert privacy-conscious users when the remote-controlled flying devices come within 50 feet.

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The technology consists of a black box that acts as the primary command and control and two detection sensor nodes. The three boxes together create a network that can then triangulate moving transmitters, triggering an alert.

It connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and then sends an alert to the user’s tablet or smartphone when a drone is detected.

The system is currently being tested. Users wanting to try it will have to pony up $499 to get a system, which is expected to be delivered in November.

It’s worth noting that the personal drone detection system is only meant to work on small, personal drones. While it may sound an alarm, letting someone know when their privacy could be infiltrated, it doesn’t try to knock the drone out of the sky.


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Who’s the Subject of Twitter’s First ‘Dronie’? Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:33:35 +0000 Alyssa Newcomb

Selfies are out, dronies are in.

Twitter has unveiled a new account dedicated to taking incredible selfie videos from a drone.

One of the dronie’s first subjects is none other than Patrick Stewart, also know as Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Stewart posed with Joel Lunenfeld, vice president of global brand strategy at Twitter, in Cannes, France, for an aerial selfie that was posted to Twitter’s looping video platform, Vine.


The Dronie is in town for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where Lunenfeld and his team are showing the importance of using the platform for live coverage of events.

Tweeting under the handle @SirPatStew, the actor has been called out recently for some hilarious (and adorable) tweets.

In March, he shared a slew of tourist pictures he took with BFF Ian McKellen.

ht dronie kab 140616 16x9 608 Whos the Subject of Twitters First Dronie?

(Image Credit: @Dronie/Twitter)

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