• Arkansas attorney general says reaches cramming deal

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' attorney general says the state will receive more than $230,000 after reaching a settlement involving "mobile cramming" allegations against mobile communications provider T-Mobile. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Monday he and 50 other attorneys general along with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission had reached the settlement with R-Mobile. "Cramming" is when a company places charges for third-party services on mobile phone bills that were not authorized by the consumer. The settlement includes at least $90 million in payments to affected consumers. T-Mobile customers have complained about charges, typically $9.

  • Why parents should crack open kids’ tech gifts first

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    If tech devices will be under the tree on Christmas morning, parents would be wise to crack them open before the kids do. “A lot of tech toys say ‘plug-and-play,’ but you might have to log in and establish a user name and password or configure the Wi-Fi and charge them,” said Caroline Knorr, parenting editor at Common Sense Media (commonsense.org), a not-for-profit that advises parents on media and technology. “It’s no fun to do that on Christmas morning or Hanukkah evening. Do it before.” Here are five more pre-emptive maneuvers to consider with technology gifts for kids. Enable/disable features: “You get a chance to familiarize yourself with those and decide whether you want to hand that (capability) o

  • FAA drone approvals bedeviled by warnings, conflict, Internal e-mails show

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    The Federal Aviation Administration proclaimed a new era in aviation in September when it granted permission to six Hollywood filmmakers to fly drones on movie sets, a decision that opened the door to commercial drone flights in the United States, according to The Washington Post. “These companies are blazing a trail,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the time. “We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground,” added Michael Huerta, the chief of the FAA. What the FAA did not reveal, however, was that senior officials had overruled objections from some of its safety inspectors, who had warned after a formal review that the filmmakers’ plans were too risky and should be prohibited, according to documents and e-mails obtained by The Washington Post.

  • Body cameras another tool for Bedford officers

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    BEDFORD, Ind. (AP) — No one in Lawrence County had heard of Michael Brown or Eric Garner when the Bedford Police Department first strapped body cameras on its officers and made the tools a part of each officer's uniform. Now, after those police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, the use of body cameras has turned into a hot debate throughout the nation, with President Barack Obama proposing an expenditure of $75 million to outfit 50,000 officers with body cameras. "This isn't new for us," said Bedford Police Chief Dennis Parsley. "But it has been a great tool. They've been a positive factor many times, because a video camera doesn't lie." The city of Bedford purchased the cameras for its police officer

  • Facebook in 2015: Drones, messaging and virtual reality, oh my!

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    As Facebook has matured into a social media platform unrivaled in size and reach in recent years, the persistent question hanging over the company in 2014 has been: what's next? To properly answer that question it's best to look into the company's recent past to glean a hint at what might be in store for Facebook in 2015, Mashable reports.

  • WATCH: Kangaroo takes on drone and wins with knock-out blow

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Kangaroos are feisty beasts. If they aren't kickboxing their brother in suburban Australian streets, they are taking on anything that moves. In a video uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 19, a roo shows the world what he thinks of the drone plague of 2014. In the fight for privacy, this guy decided to take matters into his own hands, Mashable reports.

  • Cumberland Academy buys land to build new high school

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    A new Tyler high school is planning to open its doors next school year. On Friday, Cumberland Academy, a Tyler charter school that currently serves kindergarten through eighth-graders, finalized the purchase of 31 acres west of the intersection of Paluxy Drive and Jeff Davis Drive for a new high school that will eventually serve 1,000 students, said Dr. Jim Cotton, school board president and cofounder. "I think this is truly the exclamation point on what we have been trying to do for the last 18 years," Cotton said. "To be at the point to actually be able to a have high school and to set these young people out into the world with a great education, and have the opportunity to do that from kindergarten to 12th (grade) is truly

  • NY Fracking Ban Divides Experts on Climate Impacts

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    A lot of shale gas is going to stay locked under New York State, maybe as much as 9 trillion cubic feet of the stuff. That’s because New York just became the first energy-rich state to ban the method of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to extract natural gas found in underground shale formations. The ban came at about the same time that the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick officials said they’d prevent shale gas development, too. Those regions banned fracking solely for health reasons. But experts agree one of the broader ramifications of this week’s actions may be on the climate. Those experts, however, are divided on what the implications of the ban are. Natural gas produced from

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

    Updated: 13 hr 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: 13 hr 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: 13 hr 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: 15 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: 16 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.

  • State creates mobile app for Indiana travelers

    Updated: 18 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: 20 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: 22 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


    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?


    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


    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


    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.