TIME legal

Why Keeping Drones Out of No-Fly Zones Is Harder Than You Think

Preview Of The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show
A DJI Innovations Phantom remote-controlled drone hovers above attendees during the CES Unveiled press event prior to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

One drone maker is taking new steps after a White House incursion

Two days after a small drone crash-landed on the White House lawn Monday, its manufacturer, DJI, vowed to erect an electronic fence around downtown Washington, D.C. Any DJI drone that gets a new software update, the company says, won’t be able to enter this new no-fly zone.

But DJI’s so-called “geofencing” technology isn’t new. The company began developing the feature as early as 2012, when drone fever flared out from hardcore hobbyists to a growing number of more casual users. Market research firm CEA Research estimates shoppers will purchase 400,000 small drones this year. That means there are lots of new flyers out there unfamiliar with the rules of the sky.

“It’s moving from a more niche space to a consumer product where you have a lot of people who may not necessarily know what the rules are,” says DJI spokesman Michael Perry.

So rather than send drone hobbyists a packet of federal aviation regulations, DJI set off to build a few basic rules into its software. Airports, for instance, have a 5-mile Federal Aviation Administration flight restriction, so DJI nabbed a list of more than 10,000 of them and began building digital fences around their coordinates. When DJI erects its fence around Washington, D.C. in the coming days, it will roll out similar barriers around those airports, too.

For DJI, the move might help prevent one of its drones from being involved in something unsafe or outright catastrophic. “We are pushing this out a bit earlier to lead in encouraging responsible flight,” Perry said.

But that still leaves a raft of aviation regulations out of the picture. Flights over military bases, national parks, international borders and crowded stadiums are all verboten. Then there’s the FAA’s constantly-changing list of temporary no-fly zones around stuff like passing presidential motorcades. Drone flyers in Corpus Christi, Texas, for instance, may not have gotten Wednesday’s memo about a flight-restricted swath of their city. And even outside of these FAA rules, there are tort laws governing privacy and personal injury issues. A flight by a camera-equipped drone outside a neighbor’s bedroom window could be legally murky airspace, for instance. This list of moving and abstract targets makes it nearly impossible for drone makers to hard-wire a fool-proof flight path for their customers.

“There really is not a good comprehensive source of places where the FAA is saying not to fly,” says Brendan M. Schulman, a special counsel who specializes in drone casework for law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.

That’s problematic for drone pilots, too. Getting acquainted with all the dos and don’ts of flying, Schulman says, “is really asking a lot of people who are really just flying toys in their backyard.”

Even an obvious rule, such as steering clear of airports, may not be so apparent to amateur flyers. “You can just go on YouTube and see that they’re flying into areas where there’d be a restriction,” says Colin Snow, CEO of trade blog Drone Analyst. One enthusiast flying a drone through downtown San Jose, Snow says, clearly didn’t realize the San Jose airport was less than a 3-mile cruise away.

In other words, there’s no quick, technological fix for wayward drones, short of education and common sense. Schulman is quick to point out that for the most part, the recreational drone community seems to be a responsible lot, a few headline grabbing cases notwithstanding. He says among hundreds of thousands of flyers, he’s aware of only a handful of pending cases by the FAA.

Aviation enthusiast groups, such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics, are also working to teach their swelling ranks how to fly their new drones safely. Richard Hanson, the AMA’s government and regulatory affairs director, praises geofencing, but he also worries too many flyers might think they’re just fine sticking to autopilot: “[Geofencing] sets a mindset within the user that says, ‘I don’t have to worry about that because the manufacturer has taken care of that.”

TIME Companies

Half a Billion Facebook Users Only Visit on Mobile Devices

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

And Facebook's mobile ad revenue is skyrocketing

Facebook’s efforts on smaller screens are paying off big.

More than half a billion Facebook users access the site only from mobile devices, Facebook revealed as part of an earnings presentation Wednesday. The social network has 1.19 billion total mobile monthly active users, as of the end of 2014, up 26% year-over-year.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.40.54 PM

All that mobile traffic has meant a big advertising windfall for Facebook. The company made $3.59 billion from advertising overall in the fourth quarter of 2014, and 69% of that came from mobile ads rather than their desktop cousins. That means Facebook made nearly $2.5 billion on mobile ads in three months—a 53% improvement year-over-year. It was also the first quarter Facebook’s mobile ad revenue beat the $2 billion mark.

Strong mobile numbers like these are vital for Facebook and other companies with ad-based business models. Internet users are increasingly flocking from browsing on PCs, where banner ads have long reigned, to using mobile browsers and apps, where traditional online ads haven’t worked as well.

Facebook and companies like it have been working hard to figure out how to adjust and make mobile ads that will actually click. The latest of Facebook’s mobile experiments is a platform launched in October that lets brands tap into the social giant’s vast troves of user data to advertise to Facebook users while they’re in other apps.

As an example, a Facebook user playing Candy Crush might get served up an in-game ad for toothpaste based on the user’s Facebook activity. Advertisers benefit from getting access to Facebook’s data, while Facebook increases its ad revenue without putting more ads on its own products. While Facebook’s fourth-quarter numbers are clearly evidence the company’s own mobile app is doing just fine, they’re also a sign this new network is off to a speedy start.

TIME Security

Feds Want Super Bowl to Be a ‘No Drone Zone’

"Don't spoil the game, leave your drone at home."

The Federal Aviation Administration ordering this Sunday’s Super Bowl game a “no drone zone” in a YouTube video that urges recreational drone users within flying distance of the Glendale, Arizona stadium to “leave your drone at home.”

The FAA posted the public service announcement on YouTube Wednesday, kicking off a social media campaign under the Twitter handle #NoDroneZone

The FAA highlighted an existing ban on flying drones over professional and college level sporting events that take place in stadiums with more than 30,000 seats.

“Besides possibly landing a violator in jail, flying an unmanned aircraft over a crowded stadium could result in an FAA civil penalty for ‘careless and reckless’ operation of an aircraft,” the FAA warned in a public statement.

The announcement comes only two days after a wayward drone crashed in a secure area outside of the White House, raising questions about the government’s preparedness to prevent drones from trespassing over sensitive areas.

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Rolls Out Football-Only Feed Ahead of Super Bowl

Chicago Bears v New England Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on October 26, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash—Getty Images

Offering live game updates and posts from teams and players

What’s more popular among Americans than football and social media? A Super Bowl feature on Facebook, maybe.

Facebook is introducing a new Super Bowl feature that acts as a kind of football-only newsfeed, posting all your coveted sportsball news in one consolidated place on the web. The page features updates from friends and groups, posts by the Patriots and the Seahawks, as well as star players like Tom Brady and Richard Sherman.

The trending box on the upper right corner is entirely football-saturated and news stories on the feed are all-football, all the time.

It’s a clever move for Facebook to increase its eyeballs—and ad revenue—ahead of the biggest sporting event of the year. And it doesn’t seem like a bad place to keep updated on game day.

TIME Autos

Watch People Freak Out Over Tesla’s New ‘Insane Mode’

The new Tesla's crazy acceleration elicits stomach dropouts, flying iPhones and screams

Tesla’s all-wheel drive Model S P85D was designed as a sports car for the electric age. To convince car buyers that electric vehicles could be quick and powerful, Tesla designed the P85D to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and reach top speeds of 155 mph.

If Tesla founder Elon Musk’s goal was to wow people, he seems to have succeeded. In a video uploaded by Dragtimes, riders experience the car’s rapid acceleration for the first time. It elicits screams, curses, shock, and facial expressions that might be better suited to one of Musk’s SpaceX rocket takeoffs.

The car, which sells new for $104,500, has 691 horsepower (221 hp front, 470 hp in the rear) and features an autopilot mode that uses cameras and ultrasonic sensors to read speed limits, monitor other cars on the road and park automatically.

In the video, driver Brooks Weisblat refers to an “insane” mode button on the car’s display—that’s the name of the option drivers have for a super acceleration. It’s that, or a decelerated “sport” mode. Both sound pretty good.


Feds Tell Hotels They Can’t Block Your Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Arrives In Stores
An new iPad owner syncs the device with his laptop computer while visiting a Starbucks Coffee location April 3, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. Tom Pennington—Getty Images

After some hotels start jamming personal hotspots

The Federal Communications Commission is cracking down on hotels that try to ban customers from using their personal hotspots.

The agency issued an enforcement advisory Tuesday explicitly prohibiting hotels from interfering with Wi-Fi hotspots that customers may set up using their mobile phones and data plans. The ban also extends to convention centers and other commercial establishments.

“The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises,” the FCC wrote. “As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.”

The issue came to a head thanks to consumer complaints at a Marriott-owned hotel in Nashville, where people’s personal hotspots were being blocked in the hotel’s conference rooms. The FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for the act in October, though Marriott claimed it shut down the hotspots for security reasons. With the new decree, it seems that line of reasoning wasn’t good enough for the FCC.

TIME Drones

Drone Maker Disables Flights Over Washington DC After White House Crash

Staff from aerial imaging company DJI, demonstrate a remote control aircraft during a press conference by the Small UAV Coalition January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

DJI will disable all of its devices within a 15.5-mile radius of the capital's downtown area

Drone manufacturer DJI will disable all of its devices within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington D.C., following the crash landing of one its drones in the White House compound on Monday.

The company said it would release what it called a mandatory update for its drone operating system in the coming days. The update would automatically disable drone flights over Washington D.C. and fence off no-fly zones around than 10,000 airports across the country. However, owners of most DJI drones won’t be forced to download the update — those who choose not to install it would just miss out on new features down the road.

“We are pushing this out a bit earlier to lead in encouraging responsible flight,” said DJI spokesperson Michael Perry. “With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly.”

A Secret Service officer “heard and observed” a drone believed to be a DJI Phantom flying at a low altitude early Monday morning, before it crashed on the southeast side of the White House. The pilot, a government employee, had reportedly been drinking.

TIME Companies

The 5 Craziest Numbers From Apple’s Earnings Report

Apple Introduces Two New iPhone Models At Product Launch
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple product announcement at the Apple campus on September 10, 2013 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Apple had a record-setting quarter in more ways than one

Apple posted record earnings Tuesday afternoon, sending its stock skyrocketing more than 9% in after-hours trading. Here’s a quick look at the five craziest figures from Apple’s first quarter earnings report:

1. Apple made $18.04 billion in profit and $74.6 billion in revenue for the quarter. Those are both records for Apple alone, but there’s more: The numbers mean Apple just had the most profitable quarter of any company ever, beating out Russia’s Gazprom by a neat $1.8 billion.

2. Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones last quarter. Company CEO Tim Cook said on average, Apple sold 34,000 iPhones every hour, 24 hours a day, each day over the three-month quarter. That’s just over 9 iPhones sold every second.

3. Apple has shipped 1 billion iOS devices to date, including iPhones and iPads. Cook told investors on a conference call the billionth device was a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus, which the company is keeping at its Cupertino headquarters as a trophy.

4. Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus lineup convinced the highest-ever number of Android users to switch to the iPhone, Cook said, though he didn’t give precise figures.

5. Apple made $16.1 billion in revenue from “greater China,” a category that includes mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. That’s up 70% year-over-year and a big reason why the company had a record-setting quarter overall.

(Read more: Apple shines with record earnings on huge iPhone sales)


TIME Video Games

These Will Be the Hottest 3DS Games of 2015

Check out the biggest Nintendo-exclusive games coming to 3DS in 2015

Here’s a look at the year’s 10 most anticipated games for Nintendo’s 3DS gaming handheld, including Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Xenoblade Chronicles.

  • Story of Seasons

    A Harvest Moon-like (developer Marvelous Entertainment is known for its work on the long-running Harvest Moon series), Story of Seasons lets players raise ye olde crops and livestock, but in this case you can peddle your wares in an online market composed of various “countries,” each with unique trade-related demands.

    March 10

  • Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

    It’s a new turn-based strategy game from studio Intelligent Systems (Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, Paper Mario), and that’s enough to make this list, but Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. adds a steampunk setting, third-person gunnery and a use-or-hedge resource system to heighten its novelty.

    March 13

  • Fossil Fighters: Frontier

    Pokémon meets Jurassic Park–here you dig up fossils that morph into dinosaurs (called “Vivosaurs”)–in the latest Fossil Fighters game, where players sleuth for fossils while cruising around in buggies, carefully cleaning unearthed samples using the 3DS’s touchpad and ultimately squaring off in 3 vs. 3 online battles.

    March 20

  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon

    The dungeon-exploring Etrian Odyssey series meets the roguelike Mystery Dungeon games. It’s not clear yet how that mashup’s going to distinguish itself, but it presumably involves random-generated dungeons, three-dimensional environments and chess-like (I go, you go) combat.

    April 7

  • Fire Emblem

    The newest Fire Emblem game by the team behind Fire Emblem: Awakening (the most celebrated in the turn-based strategy Fire Emblem series) promises to marry global movement and local battle maps, while making your narrative choices more impactful.

    TBD 2015

TIME Gadgets

10 Tech-Savvy Ways To Fight This Brutal Flu Season

Flu Defender

Share these, not germs, with everyone you come in contact with

As we speak, the flu is marauding across America like the deadly virus in Stephen King’s The Stand. That’s not intended to sound alarmist, it’s just the truth: influenza is currently widespread in more than 40 states.

There are time-tested ways of fending off infections, like washing your hands regularly, but in addition the vaccine and other time-tested prevention measures, why not try some newfangled approaches? These ten tech-savvy approaches could be just what the doctor ordered:

CVS Caremark: If you get bit by the flu bug, there’s not much you can do besides getting rest and drinking clear fluids. But there are anti-viral medications that can help, especially if you’re particularly susceptible to getting sick, like the elderly. The free CVS Caremark iPhone app has a great drug interaction database that will make sure any these medications won’t conflict with any of your regular prescriptions, either by counteracting them or causing more serious complications.

CDC FluView: If you want the official take on the flu’s spread, look no further than the good doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond being major players in every zombie apocalypse movie in recent memory, the government agency protects the U.S. from health and safety threats — and causing 56 pediatric deaths so far this season, you can bet the flu is one such peril. Their free iPhone app lets users follow the previous weeks’ flu trends and look at activity levels across the country, basing its data on outpatient visits across all 50 states.

CDC Influenza: If you’re the type who likes to curl up on the couch in alternating fits of shivering and sweating with a deeply informative database of illness information, this is the app for you. Pulling from the CDC’s vast cache of expertise, this free iPhone app is geared towards clinicians and healthcare workers, but could help patients, too. A deep dive into the various strains, vaccines, and medications, it’s good information to have at the tip of your fingers — especially when you can’t get off the couch.

Google Flu Trends: If you thought Google existed to help you understand the world, you obviously don’t know anything about the impending robot uprising — Google is designed to study people! In this case, the search engine has been programmed to catalog flu-related search queries, tracking their spread on a map of the U.S. to reveal the sickest state. If you’re interested in a more historical perspective, surf over to Google Earth, where you can get a 3-D rendering of the outbreak that stretches back to 2009.

Flu Defender: From medication to information, presentation is everything, which is why the user-friendly format of this free iPhone app may be better suited for people looking for flu info. With clearly marked categories such as “Prevention Strategies” and “Symptom Identifier,” Flu Defender lets you cut to the chase and find actionable strategies for staying healthy. Or tap the “Flu Smart” button, and be fed a steady diet of flu facts. Here’s a fun one: “The influenza virus can live for 2–8 hours on surfaces.” You know, like the chair you’re sitting in at a coffee shop right now, or on your smartphone, after you pick it up off the table.

Everyday Health: Influenza is highly contagious, but to know if you’re really in danger of getting it, you’re best off with local information. The Everyday Health Flu Map website calculates its data on the county level, taking into account not only the CDC’s data, but also social media and online search information, and weather patterns. The result is a quick peek at the current, previous, and next week’s flu likelihod, as well as what to do to keep your susceptibility low, like hitting a local spot for a flu shot.

Sickweather: Billing itself as “the world’s first Doppler radar for sickness,” this free iPhone app uses heat mapping to show where the flu biggest hotspots are. A five-day simulated radar shows an animation of how the illness has recently spread, giving you an idea of how the area’s general health has progressed over the past week. And with maps for respiratory (like the flu), gastrointestinal, environmental, and childhood illnesses, this app is for more than just influenza. With programmable alerts, it’s something you should keep in your phone all year round.

Urgent Care 24/7 Medical Help: It seems like 95% of the time you need your doctor when you’re ill, it’s outside of doctor’s hours. This app will set you up with medical professionals on demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to discuss symptoms and treatment. Just send a request through the app, and a doctor or nurse will call you back in around 15 minutes. That sure beats heading to the local clinic.

Zoc Doc: Sometimes, no matter how many heating pads or cold compresses you apply, nothing will do but a doctor’s care. Zoc Doc is a web-based service that connects patients with local area physicians, booking the appointments through the app, and even letting you set up your insurance information to make the end billing as easy as can be. If you’re crunched for time, you can search by availability, or if you’re looking for certain specialties, you can explore their full profile, complete with reviews. Find the right one, and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.

Cue: Not ready for the current flu season (but then again, neither was the flu shot), this futuristic lab in a box could have a big impact on how illnesses are diagnosed as early as next year. The idea is that users would dip a test stick into their mouth, and then insert it into a Bluetooth-connected gadget that interfaces with an app. By tracking the body on a daily basis, Cue can then determine many things about your current state, like if you’re lacking in vitamins, are high or lacking in testosterone, or are ill, for example. The device, which is rumored to sell for $199, has been backed by early Uber investors, Obama election staffers, and even Leonardo DiCaprio.

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