BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey town has increased security at schools, while a “flood of leads” has failed to turn up an inmate who escaped from prison.
Barnegat Mayor John Novak said Thursday his town will continue searching for 38-year-old Arthur Buckel unless it gets confirmed information he is no longer there.
Surveillance video captured Buckel shopping at a CVS on Wednesday, a day after the minimum security inmate was found missing when guards did a count at Bayside State Prison in Hammonton.
Novak says police officers are stationed at the town’s schools and that state police will escort buses Thursday afternoon.
Buckel had been serving a sentence for aggravated assault and was scheduled to be considered for parole this month. He previously served 14 years for aggravated manslaughter of a baby.
This story has been revised to correct the surname of Barnegat’s mayor to Novak, not Novack.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hulu is expanding its Internet TV programming with a subscription service offering a mix of live cable and broadcast options that will include news and sports.
The move will pit 8-year-old Hulu, a streaming service created by TV networks to counter the threat posed by Google’s YouTube, against similar cable-like bundles already being offered over the Internet by Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.
Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed his service’s foray into live programming at a Wednesday presentation in New York. But he didn’t providing many specifics, including how much a monthly subscription will cost or how many channels will be available.
“Very soon, fans will be able to enjoy favorite shows and cheer for favorite teams, all on Hulu,” in a “deeply personalized experience,” he said.
Hulu has connections in Hollywood because it is co-owned by three of the major players in cable and broadcast programming — 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. and Comcast’s NBC Universal.
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said he believes programmers are testing the economics of live-TV subscriptions over the Internet with smaller platforms before they commit to major technology companies such as Apple and YouTube, which have both expressed interest in selling similar viewing alternatives.
Hulu expects to have 12 million subscribers by June, but YouTube’s free website already attracts an audience of more than 1 billion people and Apple has built a fiercely loyal following among the customers who own its iPhones, iPads, Macs and TV-streaming boxes.
“No one is going to hand the keys of the content kingdom over to Apple or YouTube until they understand how this all works with the lesser players,” McQuivey said.
Streaming services are trying to create alternatives to traditional pay-TV packages in an attempt to appeal to a growing number of Americans who are canceling or refusing to sign up for the networks bundled together by cable and satellite providers.
This audience of so-called “cord cutters” instead is gravitating to Internet video services from Netflix, HBO and Amazon.com that cost $8 to $15 per month and allow viewers to watch a TV show or movie whenever they want on a variety of Internet-connected devices. Hulu itself sells a commercial-free package of previously broadcast TV shows.
Now, the race is on to create subscription bundles of channels that can be watched live over the Internet.
Apple has publicly acknowledged its interest in offering a subscription package of Internet TV channels, but has reportedly been stymied in its attempts to reach licensing agreements with programmers.
YouTube also is also hoping to introduce an Internet subscription package featuring cable and broadcast channels by next year, according to a Bloomberg News report published Wednesday.
The service will be called “Unplugged,” according to Bloomberg, which cited unidentified people familiar with its plan. YouTube, though hasn’t yet signed any deals with programmers.
YouTube declined to comment Wednesday.
Separately, Hulu, which launched a virtual-reality app in March, said it will partner with event company Live Nation Entertainment Inc. to create a VR concert series later this year.
Liedtke reported from San Francisco.
The Audi A4 luxury sedan has been revamped from top to bottom for 2017 with a more powerful engine, new transmission and more room and technology inside.
It also is one of the more technologically advanced compact sedans on the market with a new, optional feature called Traffic Jam Assist, which takes the burden off a driver in stop-and-go traffic, applying slight acceleration, braking and steering guidance when the car is stuck in traffic and speeds are less than 38 mph. Another optional feature is a video-game-like virtual cockpit that can replace the usual instrument panel gauges.
When it comes to standard equipment, there’s a new automatic forward collision system that can warn a driver and activate brakes automatically to avoid a crash with a vehicle or a pedestrian. In many other cars, this kind of system is optional.
The 2017 A4 is a solid compact car with agile and responsive handling, and available with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system for improved traction over front-wheel drive A4s. Consumer Reports predicts reliability of the new A4 to be much better than average, and the federal government said the new model earned five out of five stars in frontal and side crash testing.
It’s worth noting, though, that the new A4 looks a lot like the old A4 on the outside, despite a new underlying platform. Subtle styling changes such as new grille and headlights don’t make a big impression, and the overall look, while attractive, remains tailored and serious.
The A4’s prices have risen, and drivers don’t have the choice of manual transmission or continuously variable transmission (CVT) anymore. The base, front-wheel drive A4 Premium model has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $38,250. This includes the more powerful, 2-liter, turbocharged TFSI gasoline four cylinder and the new, seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission that is designed to shift faster and be more responsive than the CVT. The starting retail price for a base, 2017 A4 sedan with quattro is $40,350.
But prices go a lot higher: The test vehicle — an all-wheel drive, top-of-the-line Prestige model — carried a price tag of more than $54,000. Still, it was difficult to find fault with the car as it rode comfortably in both leisurely and aggressive travel, and had plenty of amenities, including sunroof, ambient LED lighting, three-zone automatic climate control and leather-trimmed seats that come standard on every A4.
Every A4 also lets drivers select the kind of ride they want, including comfort or dynamic mode, and the test car excelled at managing road bumps to minimize jolts and vibrations to passengers.
The engine was especially pleasing, especially during a quick merge in traffic. There was little turbo lag, and the increased power — 32 more horsepower this year for a total of 252 and 15 more foot-pounds of torque for a total of 273 coming on at 1,600 rpm — moved the car briskly.
With all the zippy performance, the A4 test vehicle still averaged a commendable 26 miles per gallon in combined city/highway travel, which allowed for a nearly 400-mile range on a single 15.3-gallon tank of gas. Audi does recommend premium unleaded fuel, rather than regular, so the engine can deliver peak power.
Other things of note: Brakes worked well in the A4 test vehicle to slow and stop the car in a progressive, strong manner; seats in the tester were supportive; and the large display screen atop the center of the dashboard was easy to read. Space has grown too, both for front-seat head and shoulder room, as well as legroom in the back seat.
NEW YORK (AP) — Spring cleaning isn’t just about tossing old furniture and torn clothing: It’s a great time to clear out your digital clutter and make sure you’re protected against hackers.
That means evaluating all your passwords — and changing them if you haven’t in a while. You’ll also want to update your software and take stock of your personal information on devices and online.
A little “cyber hygiene” can go a long way in guarding yourself from identity theft or other Internet attacks. Earlier, we shared some tips on securing your smartphone and protecting yourself against phishing attacks . Now, you can keep the rest of your digital life clean.
CHECK (AND CHANGE) YOUR PASSWORDS
The more complicated and lengthy a password is, the harder it will be for hackers to guess. Long and random combinations of letters, numbers and other characters work best. Don’t include your kids’ names, birthdays or references to any other personal details that people might find on social media. Hackers routinely troll Facebook and Twitter looking for clues to passwords like these.
Obvious and default passwords such as “Password123” are also bad, though experts say it’s surprising how often they get used.
Regardless of how tough your password is to crack, it’s important to change it at least every few months. And don’t be tempted to recycle an old one. The longer a password sits around, the more likely it is to fall into the wrong hands. You should also avoid using the same password for multiple sites, so that a break of your school’s PTA site wouldn’t lead hackers to your online banking account.
Multi-factor identification — which asks users to enter a second form of identification, such as a code texted to their phone — will provide additional protections at services that offer it.
Think that’s too hard? Many experts recommend password-manager services such as LastPass or DashLane. They remember complex passwords for you — but you have to trust them. Last June, LastPass disclosed “suspicious activity” and told users to change their master passwords.
BACK IT UP
There’s a growing threat of ransomware, where a hacker locks down a computer and threatens to wipe the data if the owner doesn’t pay up. The attacks often stem from malicious software, which can result from clicking on a link in a phishing email or fake online ads.
Because you have little recourse when this happen, it’s more important than ever to back up your data.
You can automate this. Services such as Carbonite let you continuously back up your files to the Internet for a monthly fee. Mac and Windows PCs come with tools for backing up to external drives. It’s called Time Machine on Macs. On Windows 10, look under “Update & security” in the settings. On Windows 7, try “System and Security” or “System and Maintenance.” Make sure you unplug the drive after each backup, so that malware doesn’t creep into those copies as well.
KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UP TO DATE
Whether it’s a new iPhone or an ancient PC, software updates are critical, as they fix flaws that could otherwise give hackers a way into your device. This applies not just to operating systems but to common apps like browsers and media players. Better yet, turn on the auto-updating feature that most software now comes with. Dump software that you no longer use or that’s no longer updated. That includes Apple’s QuickTime player for Windows, as Apple no longer supports it.
Don’t forget about your wireless router and your assorted “Internet of things” devices such as smart TVs and thermostats. While some devices may automatically do this or let you do so through a phone app, consult your manufacturer’s website for older devices.
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE, LIKE IT OR NOT
Lock down your social media accounts by restricting your posts to just your actual friends. You can adjust that in the settings. Nonetheless, assume that everyone everywhere can see what you’re posting — even if you restrict your audience.
As mentioned before, personal tidbits can help hackers crack easy passwords. They also can be used to answer supposedly personal questions to reset passwords for many services.
Beyond security, Facebook and Twitter are among the first places employers look when researching a job candidate. You don’t want anything embarrassing to pop up.
Woe to those who attended college after the advent of social media. Bet you’re regretting all those keg-stand selfies now.
AP video: https://youtu.be/v7LKcl1FlPw
AP’s tips on securing smartphones: http://apne.ws/1RWxo5o
AP’s tips on avoiding phishing: http://goo.gl/NZTldV
Follow Bree Fowler at https://twitter.com/APBreeFowler . Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/author/bree-fowler .
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — Apparently this was one alligator determined to meet the neighbors.
An alligator wandered through a subdivision in Moncks Corner near Charleston this week and at one point wandered onto the front porch of a house and climbed up the front door. It appeared to reach for the doorbell.
The Monday visit was captured on video by Gary Rogers, whose daughter Danielle Barkley lives nearby.
Barkley tells local media that alligators have visited the neighborhood before and last year she saw one on the front porch of another neighbor’s house. But she says this is the first time one seemed to reach for the doorbell.
The alligator, which was several feet long, hung around for about an hour before it wandered back into the woods on its own.
HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — Decked out in high-tech goggles, pilot Steve Zoumas dives low and sees the final gate zooming toward him: a 20-foot-tall metal-framed box ringed with neon. Boom! His sight goes black. The crowd lets out a collective “Whoa!” as pieces of his aircraft, which has just smashed into a concrete barrier, go flying.
Zoumas is just fine, though; it’s his drone that’s toast. The pilot takes off his goggles and crosses to the pilots’ lounge for the replay. Once again his quadcopter drone, a buzzing machine roughly the size of a loaf of bread, zooms daringly around obstacles and through hairpin turns; once again, it meets its demise.
“I was pushing it that lap,” says Zoumas, a 31-year-old construction company owner. “I just wanted to put on a show for the crowd.”
Welcome to drone racing, a would-be sport in which men, and a few women, fly remote-controlled drones against competitors at up to 80 miles per hour along looping courses with hairpin curves and drops. Many races take place in open fields, but here, racers and spectators have gathered in an abandoned, rubble-strewn mall set up with course-marking gates across two floors.
Fans sit on bleachers behind protective mesh, passing around antenna-equipped goggles to see the pilot’s view. Big-screen TVs show off unique camera angles while glowing copters whizz by, emitting the high-pitched hum of weed whackers on steroids.
Racing is a labor of love for many pilots. Many are born tinkerers, and spend hours customizing their drones with new parts or building them from scratch. Some say they’ve spent more than $10,000 on frames, motors, batteries, propellers and camera mounts.
Fred Loo, a 31-year-old pilot known as “Flying Bear,” says he and his wife even put off having kids so he can spend more time racing. He says he’d give up his high-paying Silicon Valley job in a heartbeat if he could figure out how to fly drones for a living.
Of course, that’s the sticking point. Drone racing is still something of a guerrilla sport, even though ESPN has agreed to air a drone special on its ESPN3 channel this fall. Money is tight, and most pilots have to keep their day jobs. While high-profile races such as the World Drone Prix, held in Dubai last March, pay out as much as $250,000 to the winning pilot, such affluence feels very distant here in the shell of the Hawthorne Plaza mall.
That could change if drone racing hits it big, attracting a mass audience and the sponsors who want to sell them stuff. Serial entrepreneur Nick Horbaczewski, who founded the Drone Racing League last year, thinks he knows how to pull that off.
The trick, he says, is making the audience feel the same thrill as the pilots. That’s why his league lights up each quadcopter and its pilot’s goggles with matching colored LEDs, which help spectators track the tiny speeding drones. It’s also why pilots wear T-shirts emblazoned with nicknames like “KittyCopter,” ”Rekrek” and “Zoomas.” Pilot backstories and slick editing build up the drama for videos put online.
The fast-talking 35-year-old helped turn “Tough Mudders,” a quirky half marathon in which people pay to slog through artificial quagmires, into a $100-million-plus business as its chief revenue officer. He sank his own money into the drone league last year, though he also raised $8 million from the likes of Miami Dolphins’ owner Steve Ross, the talent business Creative Artists Agency and media giant Hearst.
But there’s plenty of turbulence ahead. Similarly promising quasi-athletic leagues have crashed and burned before. Take professional paintball, which seemed like a sure-fire winner at its peak in 2005. A sport in which combatants shoot at one another across an obstacle-strewn field promised a built-in audience of gun enthusiasts and video-gamers.
Paintball thrived for several years, airing its own show on ESPN3 and drawing sponsors like Budweiser, Monster energy drinks and the U.S. Army. Then manufacturers of paintball equipment consolidated and cut back on ad spending. Interest in the sport dwindled, and its main league folded in 2014.
Further complicating things, multiple drone-racing leagues are vying for attention. Horbaczewski’s major competition is the International Drone Racing Association, which last month announced it’ll have a special on ESPN3 in the fall. There are a handful of other big leagues around the world, and grassroots races pop up all the time.
The hodgepodge of organizations has bewildered would-be sponsors, frustrating some who found the experience of backing a race a sinkhole for time and money. Multirotor Superstore, a Santa Cruz, California-based online retailer of drone parts, already sponsors pilots like Loo with discounts and access to new gear at grassroots events.
But owner Michael Silviera says he spent $20,000 sponsoring the IDRA’s U.S. National Drone Racing Championships last year, to disappointing results. His company’s logos weren’t displayed as agreed at an after-party he helped pay for, he says. That would have stung more had promised crowds actually turned up for the event. Attendance was less than 100, although he’d been told to expect 10,000 fans.
“That hurt quite a bit,” Silviera says. “Now we’re a little hesitant about doing things.”
AP Video Journalist Terry Chea in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Follow AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima at https://twitter.com/rnakashi . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/ryan-nakashima