All posts by Louis Gabriel

Google Daydream View (2017) review

Got a Samsung Galaxy Note 8? LG V30? Pixel 2 XL? Interested in virtual reality? Google’s Daydream View (2017) headset lets you quickly jump right in to play games, watch 360-degree content, and more. It costs a little more, but boasts considerably better build quality than its predecessor.

The post Google Daydream View (2017) review appeared first on Digital Trends.

All together now! How to use Movies Anywhere to consolidate your digital films

 

Back in 2014, Disney launched the Disney Movies Anywhere program, a service that allows fans to collect all their digital films in one place for easy access — so long as those films were made by Disney or one of its many studios, which now include Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel.

Ultraviolet originally implemented the idea en masse — and, indeed, did a fine job bringing it to life — but without the inclusion of Apple (iTunes) and Amazon, two of the most prevalent purveyors of movies on the internet, digital “vaults” still felt somewhat half-baked. In October, however, Disney Movies Anywhere got a serious upgrade thanks to a collaboration between Disney, online retailers, and several other big-name movie studios.

Now called simply Movies Anywhere, the program gives you the opportunity to consolidate your digital library all in one place, and to access that library on a vast network of supported devices. Moving everything to one place can be complicated, though, so we’re here to help. Below is a detailed list so you can use Movies Anywhere to bring all your movies together and create the ultimate (and legal) streaming library.

What is Movies Anywhere?

Hey, good question! Like Ultraviolet, Movies Anywhere is a system which allows you to access your movie purchases from any of the participating studios and retailers (and associated apps) and organize them into one app.

For example, say you already own Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (having bought it years ago on iTunes), and you recently purchased Rogue One: A Star Wars Story via Amazon. Previously, to watch these movies on your smartphone or other device, you would have needed both the iTunes app and the Amazon Video app — and if you recently switched to an Android device, you would have had to employ some shady workaround to even watch Episode III.

With Movies Anywhere, both films will appear in both libraries, as well as within the official Movies Anywhere app and website. The same goes for, say, Avatar — a property of 20th Century Fox, which is part of Movies Anywhere — or all the Spider-Man movies, from Sony Pictures. So, if you’ve spent years amassing a vast collection of digital films spread across several marketplaces, it’s now much simpler and easier to watch them where you want, when you want.

An aside: The original Disney Movies Anywhere website and apps are still available for now, but the new service is intended to replace these, so they’ll be disappearing shortly.

Which movies are included?

Movies Anywhere currently includes films from an impressive collection of prominent film studios, including Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. In total, the number of movies supported exceeded 7,300 at time of publication, and that number will grow with each new release put forth by one of the aforementioned studios and their subsidiaries (like Sony’s Columbia Pictures).

Right now, Paramount and Lionsgate are the two most prominent exceptions; sources suggest Lionsgate could throw its hat in the ring sooner than later, while Paramount is reportedly holding out due to financial disagreements. If these two studios end up on board, Movies Anywhere would represent an unprecedented level of collaboration in an age with a surplus of competing VOD streaming services.

Which retailers are involved?

Not only is Movies Anywhere the first collaboration of its kind to combine multiple movie studios, it’s also a remarkable partnership between digital retailers, including Apple (iTunes), Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Video. Once you’ve signed up, any films purchased from one of these retailers will appear in your library via the Movies Anywhere website and apps, and barring any logistical issues (there are always a few), those films should also show up in the libraries of all of these retailers.

How to use Movies Anywhere

Note: Movies Anywhere is currently only available in the United States. Sorry, everyone else.

Getting set up

To get started, you’ll need a Movies Anywhere account. Head to the website and click Get Started (a blue button in the center of the page). You can sign in using your Google or Facebook account, or you can simply do it the “old-fashioned” way and use an email address.

Next, after checking some boxes (if you want to opt out of data sharing later, click here), you’ll be prompted to link up your accounts with Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon Video.

Movies Anywhere manage retailers

Link up one of these accounts, and you’ll automatically receive Ice Age and Ghostbusters (2016) for free, per the 5 Movies On Us promotion; add another account, and you’ll get Big Hero 6, Jason Bourne, and The Lego Movie. Though these aren’t all Oscar-worthy flicks, they’re a nice reward for less than five minutes of work.

Once you’ve linked all your accounts, you’ll find all compatible movies in your Movies Anywhere library. To add accounts, click on your name in the upper right corner and select Manage Retailers from the dropdown menu.

How to watch

Now that your accounts are linked, your digital collections have been synced. This means that, no matter which of the associated retailers you used to by a movie (or even if you entered a digital download code from a physical DVD or Blu-ray disc), it’ll show up in all of your libraries. So, if you’ve got a sizable smattering of films on Vudu, but you much prefer to watch via iTunes, that’s no longer a problem.

Movies Anywhere Amazon library

If you’re wondering about the best route for actually watching your content, well … there’s no real “right” answer. You can always download the new Movies Anywhere app (or use the website, if you’re on a computer), or use any of the dedicated apps/devices for the respective retailers. See the table below.

Retailer/App

Compatible Devices

Amazon Prime Video iOS devices
Android devices
Amazon Kindle Fire & Fire TV devices
Roku streamers
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Windows 7+ (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Opera)
MacOS 10.7+ (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari)
Linux/UNIX (Chrome)
Select smart TVs
Google Play Movies & TV

iOS devices
Android devices
Android TV
Chromecast
Roku streamers
Select smart TVs

Movies Anywhere iOS devices
Apple TV
Android devices
Amazon Kindle Fire & Fire TV devices
Chromecast
Roku streamers
Windows (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge)
MacOS (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
Vudu iOS devices
Apple TV
Android devices
Android TV
Chromecast
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Select smart TVs and Blu-ray players
 TV app (Apple) iOS devices
Apple TV

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

So, these aren’t technically FAQs — at least, not yet, since Movies Anywhere hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to ask us about it. That said, these are questions we anticipate users may have about the service.

Does Movies Anywhere support 4K and/or HDR playback?

Yes and no. You won’t be able to watch anything in 4K (or 3D, or HDR) on the Movies Anywhere app or website, even if you purchased a movie in one of those formats. If you own movies in these formats, however, you can watch them in 4K (or HDR, or 3D if you’ve got the right television) via compatible apps and devices.

Note: If you’ve linked your iTunes account to Movies Anywhere, iTunes will automatically upgrade some of your compatible movies to 4K, free of charge (depending upon the studio and the retailer where you purchased it).

Can I redeem digital copy codes in Movies Anywhere?

Yes! Head to this page to redeem digital codes from physical DVD and Blu-ray discs. If you’re confused about the concept, head here. Once redeemed, the movie will show up in the libraries of all your connected retailers. This includes Ultraviolet codes.

Can I download movies to watch offline?

Yes. You can download movies in SD (default) or HD via the Movies Anywhere app, so long as you’ve got enough space on your chosen device. You can also do this via Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, or the TV app for iOS if you prefer any of those options.

How many streams can I watch at once?

You can use your Movies Anywhere account on four different devices simultaneously. For whatever reason, if you want to watch the same movie on multiple different devices, you’re limited to two.

Does Movies Anywhere include any special content or features?

Any film in your Movies Anywhere collection will read as “purchased” in iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play. This means features like Amazon X-Ray and iTunes Extras are freely available — even if you didn’t buy the movie via those specific retailers. The Movies Anywhere website and app also offers some additional content, which varies by title.

Can I set up a separate account for my child, with parental restrictions?

Yes. While logged into the Movies Anywhere website, head to Manage Profiles. From there, you can add new profiles and restrict viewing by MPAA ratings, from G to R.

I just bought a movie, and it isn’t showing up across all my libraries. What gives?

According to Movies Anywhere, it can take up to eight hours for movies to appear.

Does Movies Anywhere work for rentals?

No. Next question.

What about TV shows?

No. Hence the name.

For any other questions, concerns, or troubleshooting, check out the official help page here. 

 

4 ways to escape the daily grind and make summer last just a little bit longer

It’s possible to cram a lot into these waning days of warm weather, without having to go very far. A quick look at fitness-related staycation options in and around SoCal to jump on before temperatures dip:

Ahhhh. Free yoga with a Pacific view

Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes is hosting a free yoga class on its 16,000-square-foot outdoor lawns overlooking the ocean on Sept. 24. The annual Seaside Yoga Gathering, held partly to commemorate National Yoga Awareness Month, is expected to bring in about 300 people to browse through an outdoor wellness marketplace, chat with the resort’s fitness experts and then launch into a sequence of asanas for the next hour as the sun sets. The class is designed for all levels.

Info: 4 p.m. Sept. 24 for wellness marketplace, 5 p.m. for yoga. Free, but show up early to get a spot. And bring a mat. 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes. terranea.com.

Surf or SUP in Laguna Beach

Check in at the Inn at Laguna Beach or the Laguna Beach House and see if hotel owner John Grossman — who splits his time between these and his Carmel properties under his Classic Hotels & Resorts group — can take you on a personal surf or stand-up paddle-boarding session.

The “Surf or SUP with the owner” program at the hotels allows visitors to choose their marine activity, and have Grossman — a former World Surf Kayaking champion who surfs daily — take them out to San Onofre State Beach or Emerald Bay.

“It’s an amazing way to be outdoors, see the sea life, canyons and coves,” Grossman said. Beginners are welcome for their first foray out, as long as they are “happy and comfortable in the open ocean,” he said.

Info: The sessions — which include transportation and snacks — are included in a guest’s room rate; equipment rentals are extra. Rates start at $197 at Laguna Beach House, and $249 at the Inn at Laguna Beach. classichotels.com

John Grossman, owner of The Inn at Laguna Beach and the Laguna Beach House, takes personal service to a new level. (Erin Feinblatt)

You need a digital detox in Catalina

Fun, fitness and camaraderie are at the heart of Camp Xanadu, a summer camp-styled three-day event in Catalina. The Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 getaway is for people “seeking creative inspiration, a digital detox, looking for their tribe or have a nice weekend of adventure,” co-founder Ryan Blackstock said. Attendees at the adults-only camp stay in cabins or can rent a private tent, are fed fresh, seasonal foods and can opt in and out of events such as morning yoga and meditation, a 90-minute boot camp, kayaking, hiking, astronomy classes and sessions on relationships.

“It’s geared for people who are looking for professional and personal growth and development,” co-founder Heidi Hong said. “There’s so much therapy being in nature, surrounded by the ocean.”

Info: $645 includes the camp, transportation to Catalina via private boat, and all meals and activities. Boat leaves from Long Beach Harbor at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 and returns Sunday evening, Oct. 1. campxanadu.org

(Camp Xanadu)

Chill time at some of L.A.’s swankest pools

And if you’d rather stay really close to home, there’s always Day Axe, a service that offers day access to the pools, spas and other facilities at a clutch of local luxury hotels. These include the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica, the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, the Intercontinental in Century City and the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey.

Each hotel has different offerings, but amenities in the pass can include the pool and sun loungers, showers, changing rooms and hot tubs, and discounts at the hotel’s bars and restaurants. Cabanas cost extra. Day Axe also offers the passes at hotels in Palm Springs, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.

Info: Prices can vary but run from $20 per person at the Fairmont Miramar to $50 at the Beverly Hilton. dayaxe.com

(Fairmont Miramar)

Mazda says the rotary is coming back (again), but it’s not for a sports car

Why it matters to you

Mazda shows time-tested technology can be repurposed to complement new, state-of-the-art features like electric drivetrains.

We’ve been getting some mixed messages from Mazda lately about its iconic rotary engine. Though Mazda guarantees its working on new rotary technology, it says it isn’t building an RX-7 successor with such an engine.

That would be fine, yet Mazda keeps building rotary-powered sports car concepts. First, there was the RX-Vision, and a new rotary-powered concept — the next evolution of the RX-Vision — is coming to October’s Tokyo Motor Show. Despite these teases, Mazda’s rotary will likely serve a more pedestrian purpose when it spins its way back into production. Mitsuo Hitomi, the brand’s global powertrain chief, recently told Automotive News the rotary will return in 2019 as a range extender for electric vehicles.

On paper, the rotary engine would perform the same function as the 600cc two-cylinder available at an extra cost on the BMW i3. It wouldn’t directly drive the wheels, but it would generate enough electricity to charge the battery pack on-the-go. An electric car equipped with a gasoline-burning range extender inevitably emits a little bit of CO2, but it’s able to drive much further on a single charge.

A few drawbacks have prevented the Wankel engine from truly rivaling the piston engine. Notably, it uses more fuel and it typically produces less torque than a comparable four-cylinder. But, its advantages are well-suited to range-extending duties. It’s compact, which clears up more space for passengers, cargo, and in this application batteries, it’s light, quiet, and vibration-free. Mazda is even developing an advanced start-stop system to keep fuel economy in check, according to patent applications uncovered by Autoblog.

Mazda experimented with using a rotary engine in an electric car four years ago when it introduced the experimental Mazda2 RE concept. It never reached production, but engineers are using the data gathered over the course of the project to develop a series-produced electric vehicle.

Those drooling over the idea of an RX-7 successor have some hope, though. Hitomi confirmed Mazda is developing a larger rotary engine that could power a sports car, but the brand hasn’t settled on its application just yet. Mazda is a small outfit compared to most automakers, so slotting in another performance vehicle alongside the MX-5 is a task that cannot be rushed.

Either way, stay tuned for an update as soon as Mazda lifts the sheet on its new concept. If the RX-Vision is any indicator, there’s a handsome car awaiting us.

Update: Added that Mazda plans to utilize rotary engines as range extenders for electric vehicles .

 

Here’s why you’re about to see actress Judith Light everywhere, talking about flu shots

There are celebrities who speak out against vaccines. And some in the yoga community do too. But yoga practitioner and actress Judith Light is different. She’s encouraging you to get your flu shot. Now.

Light, who stars in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama “Transparent,” now in its fourth season, has long been a fan of physical activity as part of her approach to health and longevity.

“I’ve been doing yoga for close to 20 years,” Light, 68, said. She practices Kundalini yoga, saying: “It’s a great breadth of core work, which is why I like it so much. It keeps my body working properly and functioning at a high level.”

Light lauded the breathing techniques taught to practitioners of Kundalini and when working in the theater will practice yoga immediately before going on stage to enhance her diaphragmatic control. “It’s a very strenuous workout,” Light said.

Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

Beyond that, her fitness is achieved by walking the streets of New York. “The city is my gym,” she said.

But exercise can do only so much to keep a person well. That’s why Light has become such an outspoken advocate of people getting an annual flu vaccination. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 60% of children get the flu shot annually, and barely more than 40% of adults do.

“I’ve had the flu,” she said. “It’s just awful.” In the past, Light was intermittent in getting the flu shot, but now she is resolute about getting it every year. But it’s not just not wanting to get sick that has made her such an advocate of the vaccine.

Light, who is working with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (you can watch her public service announcement at www.nfid.org/flualert) to promote flu vaccination, said, “Every four minutes in the U.S., someone over 65 is hospitalized with the flu. And every 12 minutes someone over 65 dies from it. I’m over 65. Those are powerful statistics for me.”

But it’s not just self-interest motivating her message.

“My manager, who died last year, had emphysema. I was concerned about his health and how the flu would affect him. Not putting other people at risk is a big part of why I advocate for the flu shot,” she said. Light explained that working in theater means lots of contact: “You greet supporters and fans and everyone is hugging and kissing and posing for photos. You want to be responsible by not infecting other people.” The more people who get the flu shot, the greater the herd immunity protects those at greater risk.

When asked about people turning to “Dr. Google” for information on vaccines, Light had this to say: “Everyone who is smart knows that you talk to your doctor. There are a lot of people out there with a lot of opinions, and I understand that. All I’m saying is, talk to your doctor.”

And most doctors, along with Light, the CDC, and the NFID, recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months, barring a contraindicated medical condition, get the flu shot every year.

“People don’t make it a priority,” Light said. “Getting the annual flu shot needs greater focus. Take the family. Make it an outing.”

Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of bodyforwife.com.

Hike Vasquez Rocks, famous from ‘Westworld’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’

 

People all over the world know Vasquez Rocks because it’s been a featured location for decades in movies such as “Planet of the Apes” and “Blazing Saddles” and TV shows like “Westworld” and “Star Trek.”

But I’m always surprised by how few Los Angeles residents have seen the strange lunar landscape in person. This moderately demanding walk near Aqua Dulce Canyon Road and the Antelope Valley Freeway northeast of Santa Clarita makes a great introduction to the hideout of legendary California outlaw Tiburcio Vásquez and even includes a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail.

1. Begin this walk at the Interpretive Center, off the main parking lot, by the entrance to Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park. Leave the parking lot the way you came in, turn left and follow a brown rail fence to find the beginning of the Nature-Heritage Trail.

Find more great L.A. Walks — maps included >»

2. Notice as you go the signs naming the native plants and indicating various indigenous dwellings and pictographs. Stay straight on the the trail as it crosses the Horse Trail.

3. With the sharp rock outcroppings rising to your left, pass a yellow gate and walk across a wide dirt parking lot.

4. Pass another yellow gate and walk straight ahead, aiming for a tall pepper tree.

5. Bear left, just in front of the pepper tree, and pick up a marked section of the Pacific Crest Trail, the walking single track that spans the West Coast from Mexico to Canada.

6. Stay on the Pacific Coast Trail as it hugs close to the rocks and begins to climb. Notice signs for native plants like bladderpod, matchweed, buckwheat and Our Lord’s Candle.

7. As the trail narrows among some boulders, you will see signs saying you’re on the Geology Trail. When this hits the dirt road, turn right and return to the parking lot.

The stats

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: 3 on a scale of 1 to 5

Duration: 1 hour

Details: Bicycles and dogs on leash welcome. Free parking. Currently open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Park closes at 5 p.m. starting Nov. 5, for the winter months.

Fleming is the author of “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles” and “Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles.” Each month, he leads a free walk at one of his favorite spots in Southern California. Find out more at his Facebook page, Secret Stairs. He can also be reached at charles.fleming@latimes.com.

Twitter: @misterfleming

MORE L.A. WALKS

This short, steep hike takes you high above Burbank

Strolling around the lakes in El Dorado Park in Long Beach

This hike takes you to an (allegedly) haunted mansion: The Cobb Estate in Altadena

Any app can show recipes. Chef Tyler Florence’s teaches you how to cook

 

In Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat promises that after reading her cookbook, you’ll use recipes like professional chefs do: “for the inspiration, context, and professional guidance they offer, rather than by following them to the letter.” By relying on instincts and our senses, she believes everyone can become competent and confident in the kitchen. She’s not alone in thinking traditional recipes help home cooks get from A to B without giving them the tools to map their own routes.

Food Network star Tyler Florence agrees, and has recently paired with Innit, a company that wants to digitize food and get home cooks the instinctive tools they need to be successful in the kitchen.

“The technique is where it’s all at.”

“We really started to come back to this same point over and over again, that recipes are beyond broken, that recipes don’t really work,” Florence told Digital Trends at the Smart Kitchen Summit, held this week in Seattle.

As someone who’s created thousands of recipes, Florence thinks they’re akin to using a paper map instead of GPS. The cooking app he’s working on with Innit will not only take into account your dietary preferences and the amount of time you have to make a meal on a Tuesday night, but will also give you some instruction on how to make your dinner come out the right way. The app is scheduled to be released later this year.

How will the Innit app differ from traditional recipe apps  that also include video accompaniment? Florence says the team at Innit has been filming “micro-cooking content” for the past six months. With thousands of videos, users can select each aspect of the meal, and the algorithm will arrange them into a unique video with all the steps in appropriate order. There will be familiar categories, like entrees, light and healthy, and burgers. If you opt for burgers, you’ll get to choose each aspect — the bun, the patty, toppings, and what Florence calls the “over-the-top” feature, a fried egg, brown-sugar, or rosemary bacon. Your video will look different based on whether you’re making a beef or turkey burger. Though it won’t be a feature at launch, users will eventually be able to create their own recipes in the app as well.

“A lot of recipes feel kind of scary,” Florence said. “The mountain is scary, but if you break it up into smaller particles, you can walk through anything. You can understand what it means to sear and broil and roast and bake. The technique is where it’s all at.”

Once you have broiling down, he thinks you’ll have the confidence to apply it to other meals, too. The app can grow with you, taking the training wheels off as you master the fundamentals.

“We talked about limiting what you can associate with what,” said Innit Chief Operating Officer Josh Sigel. “Maybe in a beginner mode, we guardrail it so we only let you pick the right types of ingredients or meal combinations.”

The app experience will vary in other ways, too.

“For novices there’s a terrific, rich video path,” Chief Marketing Officer Susan Doherty said. “You don’t know anything? It’s going to show you. If you’re super advanced and you don’t need to know how to cut an onion, there’s a path for you too, and you’ll still reach the same result.”

Having step-by-step videos that show you exactly how to do basic kitchen tasks isn’t new. The Tasty app, for example, has lots of its trademark “hands and pans” videos for many parts of its recipes. However, you can’t pause or rewind these videos, though they do play on a loop. Hestan Cue ’s app — the smart induction burner and pan combo — also has a video for every step, one that is controllable. (The sound never seems to work for us for some reason.) Neither seems to offer what Innit is promising though: the ability to mix and match bite-sized snippets that fit themselves into just the right sequence. Whether or not you can learn to flip an omelet from a video as easily as you can learn to julienne a carrot remains to be seen.

Innit doesn’t just want to be an instructor, though. It wants its app to know everything about you. The “digitized food” piece isn’t quite in place yet, but eventually  all aspects of meal planning will be possible from its app.

“This is built for that smart-kitchen relationship, because as soon as you pick your own custom meal track — what you want to make tonight — you can hit another button and your oven will turn on, and hit another button and your smart cooktop will hold the perfect temperature, and you can hit another button and have the groceries delivered to your house,” Florence said.

innit pairs with tyler florence for a micro cooking recipe app interview 2

Innit plans to do all this through partnerships, so you could get your groceries from Amazon or via meal kit and the cooktop could be a Hestan Cue. The platform should be compatible with Alexa and Google Home, too. Where the company is in terms of these partnerships isn’t clear, though. Innit and Whirlpool were once partnered up, but have since parted ways.

Many smart kitchen device makers say their goal is to remove uncertainty, not creativity. Florence feels the same way about the app.

“I think when people feel really confident, from a technique standpoint, they can switch gears and pivot based on what they really have,” he said. “I think it’s going to unleash the power of creative cooks, where their ambition is at one place and their ability is at another, and I think it’s going to create equilibrium between them both.”

 

San Diego is struggling with a huge hepatitis A outbreak. Is it coming to L.A.?

 

Health officials in San Diego have scrambled for months to contain an outbreak of hepatitis A — vaccinating more than 19,000 people, putting up posters at bus stations and distributing hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes.

Despite those efforts, 16 people have died of the highly contagious virus in San Diego County and hundreds have become ill in what officials say is the nation’s second-largest outbreak of hepatitis A in decades.

Earlier this month, San Diego officials declared a public health emergency.

Though Los Angeles has so far escaped an outbreak, public health officials are hoping to head off a similar emergency. They say the virus could easily spread to Los Angeles because of its proximity to San Diego and the region’s large homeless population.

San Diego opens downtown restrooms amid hepatitis A crisis »

“We know it’s getting worse in San Diego, so we’re really ramping up,” said Cristin Mondy, the county’s area health officer for a region that includes downtown Los Angeles.

In their efforts to get their outbreak under control, San Diego health officials have adopted a technique from L.A. that they hope will stop cases from spreading locally: washing the streets with bleach.

“They didn’t have any outbreaks. We did. So we were like, ‘What’s going on there?’ ” said San Diego County public health officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. “That’s what we wanted to replicate here.”

Several hundred infected in San Diego

Hepatitis A is transmitted through feces, either through close contact, often sexual, with an infected person or by eating contaminated foods. The virus can cause liver damage or even death, especially for people who already have other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C.

San Diego health officials first identified an outbreak in March but traced the first case back to November.

Since November, 421 people in San Diego County have been infected with the virus, including the 16 who died, health officials said. Typically there are only two or three cases of hepatitis A per month in the county. The majority of those infected in the ongoing outbreak were either homeless or illicit-drug users, with cases concentrated in downtown San Diego and the cities of El Cajon, Santee and La Mesa, Wooten said.

A related outbreak began in Santa Cruz County as well this year, where 69 people have been infected by the same strain of hepatitis A so far, she said. Though hepatitis A is often contracted through contaminated food, the strain circulating in San Diego and Santa Cruz isn’t associated with food, but instead seems to be spreading from person to person, she said.

“We know that the numbers are going to increase, and they’ve been increasing since we first identified the outbreak,” Wooten said.

Since the spring, San Diego officials have put together a command center that meets once a week to map strategy. They investigate every case to find out who else might have been exposed and give them medicines. They sent out an alert Friday to try to locate anyone who might have caught the virus from an infected patient at a restaurant in Pacific Beach.

Workers have also visited homeless encampments and riverbeds to vaccinate thousands of people. Earlier this month they installed 40 hand-washing stations in areas of the city of San Diego with high homeless populations.

Unsanitary conditions make it more likely for hepatitis A to spread. A common way for the virus to be transmitted is when an infected person uses the bathroom and doesn’t wash their hands, experts say.

Wooten said that over the summer she looked into ways that other health departments manage disease risk, especially those with big homeless populations. That’s when she learned that L.A. not only washes streets with water, but sanitizes them with bleach.

On Monday, San Diego crews began cleaning streets with a bleach solution, she said.

“We know that individuals here are ill, they’re on the streets, and there’s fecal material on the streets,” Wooten said. “Sanitation is going to help that.”

County health officials and city leaders will visit L.A. next week to see the practice firsthand, she said.

Gonzalo Barriga of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works said the protocol, known as Operation Healthy Streets, began after the city was cited in 2012 for multiple health hazards on skid row.

Now, city workers regularly clean sections of sidewalk in the neighborhood, with each street getting washed every two weeks, he said. Inspectors ask homeless people to remove their belongings from an area. Then they spray a bleach solution on any biohazards or waste on the street, such as feces or syringes, and dispose of them, said Barriga, who oversees the inspectors.

Then they wash the streets with water, followed by misting with a liquid that’s about 10% bleach, he said.

Los Angeles could be the next region hit

Cleaning the streets is especially important because health workers have been struggling to get people vaccinated against hepatitis A, Mondy said. Typically only children and people at high risk are vaccinated for hepatitis A, but the county is now recommending vaccines for all homeless people as well as illicit-drug users.

Cases of hepatitis in the United States have hit historic lows since a vaccine was introduced in 1995. Since then, there’s been only one outbreak bigger than San Diego’s, in which more than 900 people were infected after eating contaminated green onions served at a restaurant in Pennsylvania in 2003.

In Los Angeles County, 55 people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A since November, which is in line with the average case numbers for previous years, according to data from the health department. Five of the people infected lived in either San Diego or Santa Cruz counties when they were exposed, officials say.

Mondy said many people she approaches about getting a hepatitis shot don’t feel a sense of urgency because there’s no outbreak in L.A. So far county health officials have given out 1,000 vaccines, but they’re considering offering restaurant gift cards as an incentive to get more people to get inoculated.

Mondy said officials are targeting soup kitchens and clinics near Union Station and the downtown Greyhound bus station, because that’s where people are likely to arrive from San Diego.

“We’re trying our best to prevent this outbreak from happening,” she said. “We can see that there’s potential based on what’s going on in San Diego and Santa Cruz, so we’re making sure that our population is protected.”

A worker tapes signage telling people to get vaccinated to protect themselves against Hepatitis A in downtown San Diego. (Eduardo Contreras / AP)

soumya.karlamangla@latimes.com

Twitter: @skarlamangla

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Sorry, pumpkin spice latte. You’re not the only way to indulge this holiday season

Pumpkins are for more than carving or scooping out of a can and into a pie crust. The seeds of the bright orange squash, and the spices associated with it, are showing up in handy, pantry-friendly products, lending a festive nutritional punch to everything from nut butter to popcorn.

“Pumpkin has a wealth of vitamins A and C, magnesium and fiber,” said Maggie Michalczyk, a registered dietitian in Chicago whose blog — Once Upon a Pumpkin — extols the health virtues of the squash currently enjoying its seasonal spotlight. “It contains beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A in the body, that supports a vision, especially night vision.”

Here are a few tasty ways to get your squash on:

Kick off the day with Pumpkin Flax from Sweet Home Farm, a mildly sweetened crunchy granola liberally sprinkled with pumpkin seeds. The addition of molasses and cinnamon bark accentuates the flavors of fall. The cereal comes in space-efficient milk carton-shaped packaging and is not so crumbly that you can’t pour some into a baggie to munch on in the car.

Info: $8.59.Available at sweethomefarm.com or Albertsons, Bristol Farms and Wal-Mart.

There are just three ingredients in Living Intentions’ Activated Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds — pumpkin seeds, Himalayan crystal salt and cold-pressed olive oil. The act of sprouting the seeds makes them easier to digest and retains the essential nutrients of the seeds, like zinc and amino acids, according to Living Intentions.

Info: $7.99. Available at livingintentions.com, Whole Foods, Sprouts and other natural grocery stores.

Nut butters are increasingly popular as a healthy and flavorful protein source, and the Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter from Sprouts makes one of these staples anything but basic. Creamy almonds are swirled together with pumpkin pie spices — a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice. The product does have some cane sugar, but a little goes a long way.

Info: $6.99 at Sprouts,

It contains popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds and walnuts, but the limited edition Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn from the five-generation old G.H Cretors brand should ideally be savored like a special treat. The flavorful corn and nut chunks are coated with cane sugar, brown sugar, and brown rice syrup. Still, the liberal sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, as well as the fortifying ground spices, will leave you feeling at least a little virtuous.

Info: $3.99 to $4.79 at Whole Foods, Target and other retailers. ghcretors.com