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The most rampant robocall scams are linked to health insurance, Amazon and student loans

PHILADELPHIA -- There's a good chance the next caller on your cell phone will try to take your money or steal your identity.

This grim statistic comes from First Orion, an Arkansas-based call management company that estimates nearly 30 percent of all cell-phone calls came from scammers this year. The firm predicts nearly half of all mobile ...Read more

Who lives with you? Facebook seeks to patent software to figure out profiles of households

Facebook Inc. is applying to patent software that it could use to create profiles of users' households by making educated guesses about how many people live in the household, what their relationships to each other are, what interests they share and what electronic devices they use.

The system would draw on the wealth of information Facebook ...Read more

Who would think we needed an app for lawn care? This guy.

After interviewing enough tech startups in San Diego, a pattern has emerged around the male founder archetype. He is usually the graduate of a prestigious university, a confident and charismatic speaker and a devoted networker.

Jeremy Yamaguchi, the founder of fast-growing tech startup Lawn Love, is an exception. Self-educated and a bit of a ...Read more

For $799 and a jump in the electric bill, anyone can mine cryptocurrency

When there's a gold rush, sell picks and shovels.

When there's a cryptocurrency rush, the same wisdom may well hold.

That's the thinking behind a Los Angeles startup that's trying to make mining for cryptocurrency as easy as plugging in a PlayStation.

Coinmine's first device, which went on sale this week for $799, is a consumer-friendly ...Read more

Commentary: An innovative idea for California's economy: a tech dividend

Silicon Valley is the uncontested global driver of innovation. It is the birthplace of products and services that have changed our lives, like the iPhone and Google.

But Silicon Valley has a dirty little secret: As synonymous with California as Hollywood, Silicon Valley rewards its star actors -- and overlooks the bit players. A recent study ...Read more

Apple analysts ask if iPhone is getting too expensive

Concerns about the prospects for Apple grew Wednesday, as some analysts doubted whether increases in iPhone prices will be enough to counter anticipated declines in unit sales of the company's largest source of revenue.

The questions involving the iPhone led Guggenheim Partners analyst Robert Cihra to cut his rating on Apple's stock to neutral ...Read more

Around a nearby star, astronomers find a cold planet three times the size of Earth

An international team of astronomers has detected evidence of a cold planet at least three times the size of Earth orbiting an ancient red dwarf star, right in our stellar neighborhood.

If you were traveling at the speed of light, it would take you just six years to reach it.

In the context of the universe, that's basically right next door.

...Read more

Sound Advice: Hifiman Sundara headphones have clear, crisp sound

Q. I planned on buying the $699 Oppo planar-magnetic headphones you recommended and have been saving up for them. Now that I am finally ready, I see Oppo is no longer producing headphones. What would you recommend as the next best thing?

-- L.R., Milwaukee

A. Your timing is actually perfect because now you can get better headphones while ...Read more

Tech Q&A: What to do if you're stuck in a photo viewer bubble

Q: I've used different programs to view JPEG photos on my Windows 10 PC. To do that, I periodically changed which program I wanted to be the default photo viewer, switching from Microsoft Office 2010 to Adobe Photoshop Elements to Microsoft Paint. Now I want to switch back to Office 2010, but Windows 10 won't let me so I'm stuck using Paint. ...Read more

Helpware: New Das Keyboard isn't my type

I'm no stranger to Das Keyboards. The company, despite its Germanic-sounding name, is based in Austin, Texas. No matter, they make far and away the best keyboards I've ever used. I've owned three of the loud, clicky models that remind me of the first IBM keyboards. Your neighbors three houses away will know that you're working on your computer ...Read more

Is Apple seeing an iPhone sales drop?

Maybe there is more to Apple's decision that, starting with its next quarterly report, it will no longer give sales-unit figures for the iPhone?

On Monday, Apple shares fell 5 percent to $194.17 after Lumentum, a California company that makes facial recognition technology that is used in Apple's iPhones, said it was cutting its sales forecast ...Read more

Snap's content chief is leaving as executive shakeup continues

Snap Inc. is losing another high-ranking executive: Its vice president of content, Nick Bell, is on his way out the door.

Bell's exit plan -- announced in an email sent to employees Monday -- comes just weeks after the Santa Monica company hired former Huffington Post Chief Executive Jared Grusd to serve as a chief strategy officer and oversee ...Read more

Cloud-focused Microsoft keeps its feet on the ground with evolving Surface hardware line

In the dim light of a New York event space, a video announcing the newest version of the Microsoft Surface laptop was playing loudly, projected on a huge screen to a crowd of analysts and media. Surface chief Panos Panay was hardly paying attention, instead roaming through the audience, inspecting the various Surface devices being used by ...Read more

To burn the most calories, it helps to heed the clock

Next time you stagger into a Waffle House in the wee hours of the morning and order the Texas sausage egg & cheese melt (1,040 calories), consider this new research finding: At roughly that hour, the most basic operations of the human body throttle back their caloric needs by about 10 percent compared to the rate at which they will burn calories...Read more

Will new tech taxes in Mountain View, San Francisco, East Palo Alto be contagious?

Both sides in the debate over whether Bay Area businesses should pay more taxes to help solve the region's housing, traffic and affordability problems predict that cities will increasingly turn to squeezing Big Tech after voters in three cities approved new levies aimed at tech companies.

Mountain View said yes to an employee "head tax" that ...Read more

Bay Area voters decide tech industry should pay its dues

The technology industry has turned the Bay Area into an economic powerhouse that many of the world's most valuable companies call home. But the influx of well-paid tech workers has also clogged the region's infrastructure and sent housing prices soaring, exacerbating a homelessness crisis on the streets of San Francisco.

In two ballot measures ...Read more

Riot Games is sued by female employees over alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment

LOS ANGELES -- Riot Games has been under scrutiny since employees went public this year with allegations detailing a workplace rife with sexism and harassment.

Now, the Los Angeles company behind the hugely popular "League of Legends" video game is being sued by one former and one current employee for alleged violations of the California Equal ...Read more

Judge rules that Qualcomm must license essential patents to chip competitors

Qualcomm suffered a setback in its legal battle with U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the San Diego company is obligated to offer patent licenses to competitors.

The decision could have wide-ranging implications for Qualcomm's patent licensing business model -- which today collects patent royalties based ...Read more

Helpware: A heart-wrenching tale of two EKG devices

A reader responding to my column about Kardia Mobile, an EKG device that fits in a shirt pocket, suggested that for people who don't have smartphones the Emay ECG device is a better choice. So, I bought one for $79 -- the Kardia costs $100 -- and tested both. Neither device is 100 percent accurate or anywhere near it.

As I cautioned in my ...Read more

A cavernous hangar for Google's huge ambitions

LOS ANGELES -- Google has moved a step closer to transforming the historic Spruce Goose hangar in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles into a state-of-the-art office and production facility, the latest sign of how tech giants are expanding their presence in Hollywood's backyard.

Google employees recently moved into a new office inside ...Read more