Kieren McCarthy

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Network Solutions' 30-day refund has a catch: It'll keep up to 30%

Network Solutions has been scolded by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for misleading consumers over a "30-day money back guarantee" that wasn't quite what it seemed. The domain flogger and web hosting company has offered the "guarantee" since 2008 on its hosting deals, which range from $120 to $350 per year. But on a …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Jun 2015

Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

It's been 33 years since the United Kingdom went to war with Argentina and won back the Falkland Islands, but the battle still continues – including online. On Thursday, there was a meeting at the United Nations about the islands that resolved the UK and Argentina should get together and negotiate a solution to the ongoing …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 Jun 2015

ICANN's leaving the nest, so when will it grow up?

Comment ICANN is 17 years old. It's about to be given the keys to its dad's car. And we are all going to have to take a ride with it every day. On June 30, 2016, ICANN, which oversees the global domain name service (DNS), will take over the IANA contract on a semi-permanent basis from the US government. The IANA contract means very …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2015
Photo by Heather Sorenson / sxc.hu

Hey devs. Forget Siri – Amazon's Alexa will show you a $100m good time

Amazon is reaching out to developers in an effort to build a rival to voice assistant services like Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. The online retail giant has released APIs and a software development kit (SDK) in an effort to build up its new Alexa voice service, which is built into its Echo smart speaker. It has also …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jun 2015

Privacy advocates descend on proposed domain name change

A proposal to force domain name owners to reveals their true identity and address if their website is deemed "commercial" has set off a privacy storm. Under the proposal put forward by domain name overseer ICANN, any "registrants of websites engaged in active commerce" would not be entitled to use proxy services, which replace …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jun 2015

Tesla says Model 3 is still on schedule, despite being delayed again

The planned Tesla model for plebs – the Model 3 – has been delayed to 2018 from an original planned shipping date of early 2017. According to slides put out this week by JB Straubel, Tesla's CTO, the $35,000 entry-level electric car is "planned for 2018." When the Model 3 was first announced, it was scheduled to be shown in …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jun 2015

What is this river nonsense? Give .amazon to Bezos, says US Congress

The US Congress has had a second stab at trying to get Amazon its own internet extension in a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The Congressional Trademark Caucus has written to the domain name overseer's CEO and chair complaining about the decision to deny the online retailer its …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jun 2015

Another CEO goes overboard from Jay Z's Tidal music website

The troubled celebrity-backed music-streaming website Tidal has lost another CEO: Norwegian Peter Tonstad has quit after just three months in the job. Tonstad had replaced his former boss Andy Chen in April. One month before that, Tidal's parent company, Aspiro, was bought by a consortium of musicians fronted by rapper Jay Z for …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jun 2015

June 30, 2016: The day the US will hand over control of the internet

It is going to take until the end of June next year for the US government to formally hand over control of the top level of the internet. That’s according to the CEO of the organization that runs the IANA functions that keep the 'net glued together, and which is expected to take over the job on a more permanent basis. Speaking …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2015

Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

So in order to test out the Ecobee3 - as its names suggests, the third iteration of the product - it was necessary to pull the Nest smart thermostat off the wall and put it away. That this act seemed somehow wrong and even came with a twinge of guilt is an indication of just how entrancing the product that has become the face of …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jun 2015

OK, forget DNS for a sec. Why not shift IP addresses and protocols away from Uncle Sam?

The director general of regional internet registry APNIC, Paul Wilson, has called for a staggered transition of the critical IANA contract away from the US government. Rather than be forced to wait until the controversial and complex issue of domain names is decided, Wilson proposes that the two other key elements of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Jun 2015

FCC hosts Reagan-off as it enters 21st century

FCC commissioners embarked on a Reagan-quoting political bake-off today as the regulator sought to expand its discount telephone service for flat-broke families. A proposal to extend a $9.25-a-month telephone service called Lifeline to include broadband internet access is now out for public comment. The Lifeline service is aimed …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jun 2015

US govt: Am I the only one around here who cares about DNS security and stability?

The US government has signaled its concern yet again over plans to give ICANN full control of the vital mechanisms that keep the internet held together. In a blog post, published just days before a meeting of domain-name overseer ICANN in Buenos Aires, Uncle Sam's assistant commerce secretary Larry Strickling repeated his …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Jun 2015

Google-owned smart-gumble-maker Nest snubs Google's smart-gumble OS Brillo

Pics Smart-tech poster child Nest has revamped two of its three products and updated its app to better integrate all three. At a launch event on Wednesday in San Francisco, CEO Tony Fadell said his company's products would be "doing more together than they can independently." A slimmer, better Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jun 2015

United Nations sends peacekeeping forces to Internet of Things war

The United Nations is joining the melee for a single "internet of things" (IoT) standard. The UN-run International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has created a new "study group" that will develop international standards for the technology to enable low-power communications between machines and sensor networks. Study Group 20 …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jun 2015

British Library publishes Digital Magna Carta – written-by-web-vote because it's 2015

It's the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta: the document that King John was forced to sign by English barons in 1215, and which has served as the cornerstone for many of the world's judicial systems ever since. And to commemorate it, the British Library has published its crowdsourced version for the digital world. The Digital …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Jun 2015

When your ISP flouts net neutrality rules, here's who you should contact

America's broadband watchdog the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has named its first net neutrality ombudsperson – and she'll be your first point of call when your ISP breaks the new rules. Parul Desai has been the FCC's director of consumer engagement for the past eight months, and before that she worked in the FCC's …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Jun 2015

Silicon Valley season closer: Would you like fried servers with that?

Recap The final episode of season two of Silicon Valley was a blast: almost literally. The HBO show has already been picked up for a third season, but right up to the last second, this fun and fast-paced episode had you wondering whether the whole thing was going down to melt down into nothing but hot metal and charred Ethernet cables …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2015

Canada to ICANN in dot-sucks dot-rumble: Take off, you hoser!

The Canadian government has responded to a request from domain-name overseer ICANN about the .sucks top-level domain – by shaking its head and sending a form letter. Two months ago, prodded heavily by intellectual property lawyers infuriated that the dot-sucks registry was charging trademark holders $2,500 for .sucks domains and …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Jun 2015

Google wants you to buy Nest CCTV, turn your home into a Brillo pad

Pic Google is expanding its smart-home tech offerings with a networked security camera that could be the first hardware to run its cutdown Android OS, Brillo. The search giant's Nest arm – famous for its smart thermostat – will unveil a new version of the wireless camera Dropcam called the Nest Cam next week. The new camera will …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Jun 2015

Screw you, ISPs: Net neutrality switches on THIS FRIDAY – US court

The US Court of Appeals for the DC circuits has denied a motion to halt the FCC's radical net neutrality rules, meaning they will officially kick in tomorrow. "Petitioners have not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review," the three-judge panel noted. The decision is a win for those who believe that …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jun 2015

Time to face the Apple Music: Spotify looks worried, and rightly so

Analysis Spotify has pulled in extra investment and put out figures showing a jump in paying customers - effectively puffing out its chest as hype-magnet Apple enters the music streaming market. In addition to the $350m in pulled in last month, the company has raised an additional $115m from TeliaSonera, valuing it at $8.5bn. Somewhat …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jun 2015

Net neutrality starts this Friday! Kinda! Sorta! It's a little complicated ...

Rules to protect the internet's neutrality in America will go into effect this Friday, causing a flurry of efforts of undermine it and some suspicious activity on the part of the cable companies. The regulations passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) at the end of February were formally published in mid-April …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jun 2015

US Congress oils up, jumps over ropes into DNS wrestling match

Updated The US Congress is trying to insert itself into the transition of the IANA contract from the Department of Commerce to domain-name overseer ICANN. In an amendment that will be put before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, the legislative branch of the US government will give itself 30 days to …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jun 2015

Silicon Valley, episode 9: Too sexy for this headline, too sexy...

Recap "I haven't had a girlfriend in, like, three years." "Boyfriend?" "No, I'm not gay. Just… busy." This week's episode of Silicon Valley – the penultimate one of season two – decided the lackluster sex lives of coders was the perfect foil with which to repeatedly stab the floundering Pied Piper as it tries to recovers from yet …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Jun 2015

Apple's HomeKit: So, you know, it exists and all that. Oookay ...

WWDC 2015 Apple didn't so much launch as absent-mindedly punt its HomeKit smart home tech this week at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). In a near two-hour keynote presentation, the Internet of Things hub that Apple hopes will put it in the forefront of the smart house got less than 30 seconds – and a pretty uninteresting …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Jun 2015

Apple brews new News news to peruse - screws news dudes

WWDC 2015 Apple has burned its Newsstand app to the ground, and tried again with a new News application – one that tries to work with all publishers rather than a chosen few. Speaking today at the iOS giant's annual developers conference in San Francisco, Susan Prescott, app product development veep, said News will be added to people's …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks

Wikileaks publishes TiSA: A secret trade pact between US, Europe and others for big biz pals

Fresh from offering $100,000 to anyone that leaks the still-secret parts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Wikileaks has published large chunks of the related Trade In Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA is one of a triumvirate of trade treaties being negotiated across the world, except this one does not include the so-called …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Jun 2015

Dodgy colon bug is a total pain in the butt for Skype users today

Adding a single colon to a web link is enough to kill Skype on your PC, Android and iOS device. Sending the characters http://: in a chat conversation via the software will cause the application to crash, and bomb all over again when restarted as the application will process the chat characters again before you get a chance to …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Jun 2015

Wall Street watchdog publishes its ultimate rules on Bitcoin biz

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) — the financial regulator for Wall Street — has released its final regulations for Bitcoins. The BitLicense Framework will regulate the use of digital currency in New York and tries to strike a balance between preventing fraud while staying open to innovation in a rapidly …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Jun 2015

Gamers! Yes, gamers – they'll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

Amazon is hoping to crack the streaming media market with a new gaming app that lets you play many of the latest titles for $6.99 a month. GameFly Streaming is available today as an app on the retail giant's Fire TV and lets you rent bundles of games at a time. For example, the "Action Pack" contains seven titles including F.E.A …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 Jun 2015

Oi ICANN, you want the keys to the internet throne room? Open up to Freedom of Info law

A revised version of the Defending Internet Freedom Act has been introduced to US Congress – and its contents are surprising. Last year, Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) put forward legislation under the same name to cover the proposed transition of the critical IANA contract from the hands of the US government to an as-yet …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Jun 2015

Siri, dim the lights and warm us up: First gizmos for Apple HomeKit love-in emerge

The first smart-home products compatible with Apple's HomeKit remote-control software have been announced – and some are even available to buy. Most are smart-home gizmos already on the market but tweaked to be compatible with HomeKit, which allows iOS 8 iPhones, iPads and iPods to control stuff around the house wirelessly. …
Kieren McCarthy, 02 Jun 2015

Chlorine gas horror leak at Apple data center puts five in hospital

A chlorine gas leak at an Apple data center has landed five people in hospital. Emergency crews received a call about 2pm local time from the Apple facility on Startown Road, in Maiden, North Carolina. Local news helicopters captured footage of people being given medical attention and oxygen masks outside the facility. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jun 2015

Silicon Valley, episode 8: Larping, mogging and losing its way

Recap The first season of HBO's sharp, satirical Silicon Valley had just eight episodes. By the measure of last night's show, they should have stuck to that for season two rather than try to punch in an extra two episodes. White Hat/Black Hat felt like the episode pulled together from rejected ideas. And there weren't that many, so we …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Jun 2015

'The Internet of Things is like the Cloud 8 years ago' ... Boss of Dell's new IoT biz spills beans

Dell has created a new "Internet of Things" division, and launched its first product: a $500 gateway designed for industry. "The Internet of Things is like the Cloud was eight years ago," the division's executive director Andy Rhodes told El Reg. What, overhyped? Ambiguous? An obscene cash bandwagon? "There is a lot of buzz," he …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 May 2015

.sucks-gate: How about listening to us the first two times, exasperated FTC tells ICANN

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has responded to questions over the legality of .sucks domain pricing with a three-page "I told you so" letter to domain name overseer ICANN. ICANN is upset that Vox Populi – the company in charge of .sucks – is charging people $2,500 (£1,700) to defensively register dot-sucks domains before …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 May 2015

This $199 home air-quality gizmo will tell you to VOC right off

Pic "Air. It's all around you. Where you live. Where you work. Where you sleep. But what's really in it?" So begins the video outlining an exciting new product, the Awair, that against all probability is actually a real thing, rather than a brilliantly executed spoof. Pronounced "aware" but with the word "air" at the end, this …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2015

Nest rival: Smartmobes will decide who survives the Internet of Stuff war

Interview It's almost impossible to talk to anyone about the internet of things right now without them drawing some kind of connection to the Nest smart thermostat. When we spoke to the CEO of August Smart Lock, he talked about integrating with Nest. The general manager of Sengled USA – a company making smart lightbulbs – likewise. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2015

AT&T, Verizon and pals eat own head in effort to kill off net neutrality

Lobbying group USTelecom – AT&T, Verizon etc – has filed a petition against itself in an effort to prevent new net neutrality rules from taking effect. Demonstrating that when it comes to net neutrality, the telco industry loves nothing more than some self-serving hypocrisy, the group wrote in its petition [PDF]: "Unlike all of …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 May 2015

Record labels back indie muso's bid to snatch .music from web giants

In what could prove to be an extraordinary David versus Goliath story, an independent musician may walk away with the highly coveted .music top-level domain, beating off competition from Google, Amazon, and the music industry itself. Constantine Roussos' DotMusic Limited, based in Cyprus, has received the formal backing of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2015

Let it go, let it go: How global DNS could survive in the frozen lands outside US control

The plan to move control of the top-level of the internet from the US government to California non-profit ICANN has received broad approval following a month-long public comment period. The group responsible for guiding the fate of the "names" aspect of the critical IANA contract – the bit that oversees the global DNS – has …
Kieren McCarthy, 26 May 2015

Nominet new CEO opens giant can of worms, sticks head in

Despite having claimed the scalp of his predecessor and a former chair – and almost forced a government takeover of the company – the new CEO of .UK registry Nominet, Russell Haworth, will look into how his organization is structured. In just-released minutes [PDF] from a board meeting held last week, Nominet has decided to …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 May 2015

Is your career lacking growth? Become a porn inspector! Hint: It sucks

As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said about pornography: "I know it when I see it." What he may not have envisioned was that 50 years later, people would make a living from doing just that. China maintains a pretty stiff censorship regime through its Great Wall of China. But far from using just algorithms to …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 May 2015

City of birth? Why password questions are a terrible idea

Using secret questions to give people access to their passwords is a terrible idea, according to a new paper from Google. A white paper [PDF] called "Secrets, Lies, and Account Recovery: Lessons from the Use of Personal Knowledge Questions at Google" dug into the data of millions of users interactions with a range of password- …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 May 2015
Resignation_videogame_02

404 Boss not found — Bye bye ICANN CEO Chehade

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has surprised the internet community by announcing he will step down from the job after just three years in the post. In an announcement on the domain name overlord's website, the organization said that Chehade has "informed the Board he will be concluding his tenure in March 2016 to move into a new career …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 May 2015
Game of Thrones

The Internet of Things becomes the Game of Thrones in standards war

There is an "internet of things" standards war coming and Z-Wave will emerge triumphant, at least according to two of its leading advocates. Despite a number of high-profile setbacks in recent weeks, interim chair of the Z-Wave Alliance Raoul Wijgergangs and Alliance Board member Avi Rosenthal are (as you'd expect) confident …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 May 2015

Google, Twitter search deal: Did micro-blabbing site gag racy tweets to satisfy ad giant?

Comment Google will start displaying real-time tweets on its search pages after a deal was struck with Twitter. The change is currently only in the US and, at the moment at least, only on mobile devices. But in order to have access to its real-time feed Google is seemingly paying Twitter a standard flat licensing fee. If you search on …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 May 2015

Are we looking at the first domain name meme? Neigh

There have been widely varying views over the value of introducing thousands of new internet extensions: some feel it is a long-needed reflection of the actual internet; others that it is a money-grabbing scheme with little real value. But one thing that even the domain name industry has agreed on is that some of the new dot- …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 May 2015

Google sells .car, walks away from generic domain names

Google has sold its rights to all internet addresses ending in ".car" to a joint partnership of two other registry operators. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, confirms what many in the industry have suspected for some time: that the search giant is concentrating on its brand names and is offloading generic names, despite having …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2015