Smart phone kill switch coming? New documentaries

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – On a second attempt, California lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require electronics manufacturers to install a shut-off function in all smartphones as a way to deter what one senator called a crime wave of thefts.

The legislation by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco passed the Senate 26-8 Thursday.

It requires companies to produce smartphones with technology that makes them inoperable if the owner loses possession. SB962 now goes to the Assembly.

It stalled two weeks ago, but Leno says amendments since then removed opposition from Apple and Microsoft. The wireless industry remains opposed.

SB962 now applies to smartphones manufactured and sold after July 2015 and no longer includes tablets.

Netflix pusing into documentaries

Netflix is making a push into documentaries, with the subscription service announcing deals on Thursday to premiere four new films in the next few months.

Netflix has always made non-fiction films available to subscribers, but until recently they have been projects initially made for theatrical release or on television networks. Netflix said it now wants filmmakers to make their work specifically for the service, or use Netflix to offer the first wide distribution.

The first of the four new films to be released will be “Battered Bastards of Baseball,” about a defunct minor league baseball team. It will premiere on Netflix on July 11.

“Mission Blue,” a documentary about marine biologist Sylvia Earle and her campaign to create a network of protected marine sanctuaries, is set for Aug. 15. Later this year the service will premiere “E-Team,” a film about human rights workers from the makers of the Oscar-winning documentary “Born Into Brothels,” and “Print the Legend,” about 3-D printing.

Lisa Nishimura, head of Netflix’s documentary unit, said the service is intentionally trying to present films on a wide variety of topics.