• Phone companies would like to cut your landline cord for you

    Updated: 19 min ago

    CHICAGO — If you haven’t cut the cord on your landline phone service, pretty soon you may not have a choice. The Illinois Telecommunications Act is up for review this spring, and big phone companies are expected to push to eliminate a legal obligation to provide landlines, which are still the cheapest and most reliable form of phone service. In a measure being pushed by big telecom provider AT&T in states across the nation, consumer advocates say, the phone company wants to eliminate the act’s “obligation to serve” requirement, which gives everyone in the state the right to landline service. That would open the door for phone companies to abandon areas they deem unprofitable. Illinois still is home to ab

  • Still confused by MagicBand? Disney VP explains all

    Updated: 28 min ago

    There’s magic. Then there’s “My Magic+” — the new system at Walt Disney World that consolidates all your vacation information on a MagicBand wristband — with most of the planning done before you ever set foot in the park. Rolled out in waves over the last 18 months, the system may seem intimidating to anyone who hasn’t been to Disney World lately. But with the big winter travel season about to start, visitors shouldn’t worry, says Phil Holmes, Disney’s vice president for the Magic Kingdom and a Dearborn native. My Magic+ is designed to reduce anxiety, not create it: “Everything is here if you so desire,” he says. “It’s your choice.” We sat down with him to learn more.

  • Quadriplegic woman’s brain helps operate robotic arm

    Updated: 28 min ago

    PITTSBURGH — Jan Scheuermann can beat her brother at rock-paper-scissors. It wouldn’t be so impressive were she not a quadriplegic suffering from spinocerebellar degeneration for more than a decade. Playing (and winning) that game and much more were possible when researchers connected electrodes in her brain to a robotic arm in a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine project. Findings were published recently in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

  • SKorea holds N-plant drills against cyber threats

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company said it began drills Monday against possible cyberattacks after online threats of attack against its plants. State-owned Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said the two-day drills are meant to prepare workers in the event of hacking attacks aimed at disabling the plants' controlling systems. The company and the energy ministry said that even though the controlling system is safe from hacking, they are holding the exercises to assure public safety. Last week, documents including layouts of nuclear facilities and personal information of nuclear workers were published online.

  • Pro-con: Should cellphone use while driving be outlawed?

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    Distracted driving is nothing new, but technology has changed the discussion. So far, 38 Texas cities have passed their own ordinances outlawing texting and driving, with some going as far as banning all cellphone use on their roads. Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig said he's already looked at the wording for a city ordinance banning texting and driving to present to the City Council if the state's bill does not pass during the upcoming state legislative session. Although the police department doesn't collect specific data, Craig said, he estimates distracted driving contributes to about 50 percent of all wrecks in Victoria. Several state bills filed before the 84th legislative session focus on distracted driving.

  • Skiers have reservations over airbag safety system

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) — Some skiers are concerned they will turn into the puffy "Michelin Man" when they are not supposed to. Others are afraid they will lose precious hundredths of a second due to slightly more wind resistance. And still more believe that their movements will be restricted. Whatever the reasons, few — if any — skiers are expected to use a radical new airbag safety system in January when it will be cleared for use in World Cup downhill races. "January could still be early. But not because we have problems but because the athletes are not confident," said Marco Pastore, the sponsoring manager for Italian manufacturer Dainese, which developed the system with the International Ski Federation

  • State creates mobile app for Indiana travelers

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state has created a free mobile app aimed to helping people traveling through Indiana avoid trouble spots. State officials say the app will let include notifications about weather, flooding, hazardous materials spills and other events that could affect travel. Gov. Mike Pence says an online county-by-county travel advisory map has been one of the most popular pages on the state of Indiana website, particularly during times of inclement weather. He says the Indiana Department of Homeland Security county travel status map had nearly 5 million unique visitors between Dec. 1, 2013, and March 31. Pence says the app will make the information more convenient. The app allows users to set alerts for any

  • BC-AP Service Guide

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    The AP Service Guide is a summary of how the AP news report is organized. This guide will be repeated daily so it is always available to you. Please direct questions or suggestions on the guide to your AP chief of bureau. DIGESTS: AP digests are tables of contents for the most important parts of the news report. To help editors size up the report, the digests list what AP editors deem the top stories and multimedia. In addition to the main news stories, digests highlight features that are especially compelling or offbeat. Digests do not list every story, photo, graphic or interactive the AP offers. All content listed on digests can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.

  • US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says the United States is reviewing whether to put North Korea back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism as Washington decides how to respond to what he calls an "act of cybervandalism," not one of war, against a movie company. North Korea has reacted angrily to Obama's comments blaming it for the hacking of Sony, warning of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and "the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism." Such rhetoric is routine from North Korea's propaganda machine during times of high tension with Washington.

  • Austin, San Antonio drivers prepare for phone bans

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Two of the biggest cities in Texas are reminding drivers of bans on handheld devices behind the wheel that take effect in Austin and San Antonio come January. Police in both cities won't start issuing fines until February. Talking on a handheld phone while driving is banned in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and all but a handful of states have made texting while driving illegal. Texas is among the states without a statewide texting while driving ban, though many cities have their own ordinances. "This is really an addiction problem," San Antonio City Councilman Mike Gallagher said. "It has become so pervasive that it is now a larger distraction than any of the other distractions that are ou

  • Entrepreneur builds a sleek ship, but will anyone buy it?

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    KITTERY, Maine (AP) — Even on land, the Ghost looks futuristic and fast. The angular vessel looks like a waterborne stealth fighter. It rides atop underwater torpedo-shaped tubes powered by a pair of 2,000-horsepower gas turbine engines. Gyroscopes keep the ride smooth. Sadly, Ghost is all revved up with no place to go. The brainchild of a wealthy inventor and entrepreneur, Ghost might never be a familiar household name like Humvee, Apache and Abrams — even if it works as advertised — because its creator built a warship the military isn't convinced it needs. "It's a revolutionary program," said Gregory Sancoff, founder and CEO of Juliet Marine Systems. "Nothing like this has ever been built by anybody, not even th

  • California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles are safe. It's a rare case of the law getting ahead of an emerging technology and reflects regulators' struggle to balance consumer protection with innovation. Safety is a chief selling point, since self-driving cars — thanks to an array of sensors — promise to have much greater road awareness and quicker reaction time than people. Plus, they won't text, drink or doze off.

  • NYC subways slowly upgrading from 1930s-era technology

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The more than 6 million riders who take New York City's subways each day ride trains that still depend largely on a signal system that dates back to the 1930s. Antiquated electro-mechanics with thousands of moving parts are still critical to operations. Dispatchers still control it all from 24-hour underground "towers." And they still use pencil and paper to track trains. That eight-decade-old system is slowly being replaced by 21st-century digital technology that allows up to twice as many trains to safely travel closer together. But only one line, the L linking Manhattan and Brooklyn, currently operates on new, computerized, automated signals.

  • Shumlin team to push less ambitious health changes

    Updated: 19 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — After Gov. Peter Shumlin dropped his long-sought goal of a universal, publicly funded health care system this past week, key members of his health care team immediately got back to work picking up less ambitious pieces of the plan. Appearing Wednesday before reporters and two boards that had advised him, the second-term Democrat said there were steps the state can still take in a bid to reduce health care costs.

  • Woman sentenced for using someone's personal data

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota woman accused of using someone else's name and Social Security number to open bank accounts and receive debit and cash cards from two banks has been sentenced. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says 59-year-old Glenda Suhr has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for her conviction on an access device fraud charge. She has also been ordered to spend three years on supervised release and pay more than $54,000 in restitution. Prosecutors say Suhr also obtained social security benefits, housing assistance and food stamps using the other person's personal information between the late 1980s and 2013. The Nisland woman is now under the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Service.

  • Letters to Santa Claus 2014

    Updated: 20 hr ago

    Editor’s Note:?We asked students in Mrs. Hoffman’s third-grade class at St. John’s Episcopal School in Odessa to write letters to Santa. These are their responses: For Christmas, I would like a Surface Pro 3. And I was just wondering if you could work a little Christmas miracle? Please bring back Mimi’s dog, Gunner. He was a good dog and we all miss him. Bailey Wight I want a phone for Christmas. My mom and dad said it was okay because of cheer. So I can call when I get hurt or something happens. I also want on iPhone 5C pink. I like the brightness of the pink. I would like you to get me a phone case, too.

  • URI gets more than $400,000 in technology grants

    Updated: 21 hr ago

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The University of Rhode Island has been awarded three grants totaling more than $400,000 to buy state-of-the-art technology to support teaching and research. The university announced the three grants from the Champlin Foundations. The money will pay for new teaching and research tools for in-vitro testing of pharmaceuticals, advanced characterization of powders and imaging of nanoscale materials and processes. URI Foundation President Mike Smith says these projects will help expand opportunities for students and position the university as a leading institution. The Champlin Foundations have donated more than $13 million to the university since 1986.

  • Guest opinion: Keeping our community connected


    In McAlester, connections truly matter. Close ties between neighbors, friends and family make McAlester an amazing place to live and work. In the 21st century, technologies such as broadband Internet, HD TV and digital phone service are also important connections, because they link McAlester to the rest of America — and the world. Vyve Broadband is proud to provide McAlester with technologies that inform, connect and entertain our customers. But despite the enhancements we’re making locally — including increased Internet speeds and expanded, all-digital HD TV service — one thing threatens our ability to provide these connections in an effective and affordable way: unfair and exorbitant re-transmission fees.

  • Bio Matters: Kentucky farm roots run deep in OMRF scientist

    By Jim Stafford, For The Oklahoman | Updated: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Jim Stafford: During a 38-year career at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation , 72 primary and then follow-on patents have been filed in Robert Floyd’s name.

  • Dallas startups join forces for the better

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    When Nick Kennedy wanted to offer some special products to his private plane members, he turned to a fellow startup company in Dallas. Kennedy’s Rise, which plans to start scheduled flights from Dallas Love Field on Jan. 12, recently teamed up with Need, a year-old curated shopping website. Need will provide co-branded coffee, magazines and other exclusive products for Rise to give its members. “It gives us more ways to provide our members with a better travel experience,” Kennedy said. Rise initially will fly weekdays to Houston and weekend “Fun Flights” to Las Vegas and Vail, Colo., but it plans to expand to other regional cities. Leaders of local startup centers say they often see young companies helping ea