Kieren McCarthy

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Reach for the popcorn: Obama opens personal presidential Twitter account

Hold on to your hats, Barack Obama has arrived on Twitter in his formal position of President of the United States. The @POTUS account - run by "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States" - tweeted earlier this morning and has, so far, managed over half a million followers in an hour or so. Obama follows 65 other …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 May 2015

Roku 3: Probably the best streaming player on the market ... for now, at least

Review Ok, so let's get this out the way quickly: this updated Roku 3 is the best streaming player on the market right now. And it will most likely remain the best on the market until the Roku 4 arrives toward the end of the year. And yes, that includes the Apple TV fourth generation that everyone expects to be this 2015's pant-wetting …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 May 2015

Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

IoT World 2015 There was a lot of clunky technology, standards fretting, evangelizing and platform promotion going on at the Internet of Things World 2015 conference in San Francisco this week, but a few bright ideas. Sengled is a Chinese lightbulb manufacturer based in Shanghai with offices in Europe and the US and it has traditionally sold …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 May 2015

Polygraph.com owner pleads guilty to helping others beat lie detector

A former cop and owner of the website Polygraph.com has pleaded guilty to five charges of obstruction of justice and mail fraud for teaching people how to cheat lie detector tests. Douglas Williams, 69, of Norman, Oklahoma, faces up to 20 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for selling polygraph-evasion training to two …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 May 2015

The Internet of Things: a jumbled mess or a jumbled mess?

IoT World 2015 Everyone is excited about the "internet of things" – and by excited, we mean seemingly unable to focus on one thing, not thinking very clearly, and talking excitedly about the same topics over and over again. A panel discussion called "Delivering Smart Buildings in the Home" at the IoT World conference this week helped put some …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 May 2015

Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

IoT World 2015 There's a peculiar thing going on at the Internet of Things World 2015 conference this week. As the buzz around this nebulous concept has reached fever pitch, it seems that dozens of tinkering dads across the US have looked up from their newspaper, exclaimed "my time has come!" rushed down to the basement, and pulled out the box …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 May 2015
Drought

Samsung offers $90,000 if you can fix California's epic drought with tech

IoT World 2015 Samsung is offering prizes of up to US$90,000 to device devs who come up with good ways to tackle the record-setting drought in California – and who are willing to use the its brand-new Artik Internet of Things (IoT) platform to do so. In announcing the competition at IoT World in San Francisco on Tuesday, Samsung chief strategy …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2015
epson moverio

Epson joins Microsoft in underwhelming 3D glasses

IoT World 2015 You may be really looking forward to 3D glasses but based on the latest tech giant's efforts, it may be some time. Today we tried out Epsom Moverio BT-200 smart glasses at IoT World in San Francisco and were left… underwhelmed. Not for the first time either: earlier this month, we tried out Microsoft's Hololens and the earth …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 May 2015

Door keys are an option. It's just a matter of time

IoT World 2015 "In order for any internet of things hardware manufacturer to survive, we can't sell hundreds of thousands of units, we have to sell millions," says Jason Johnson, CEO of smart-lock manufacturer August. After years of talking about the "internet of things", this year CES decided 2015 was actually the year of the internet of …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 May 2015

Ding-dong, the cloud calling: The Ring Video Doorbell

Review If you have ever missed a FedEx delivery and had to drive over to the depot, if you have had someone break into your house, or if you are often a long way from your front door when someone knocks, then you should really consider the Ring doorbell. For $200, it packs a lot in: an HD camera, a high-quality intercom, a motion …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 May 2015

The next Nest? We talk to Ring, the doorbell-come-security system

"You've come here at the absolute worst time," Jamie Siminoff tells us as we enter Ring's headquarters in Santa Monica. On the left are three people unpacking boxes of the company's video doorbell, scanning their MAC addresses as fast as possible, and packing them back up individually to send to customers. The boxes stretch back …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 May 2015

US government asks internet community how long it should extend IANA contract

The US government has asked the internet community how long they think it will take to decide on and implement changes to the top level of the internet, and so how long it will need to extend the current IANA contract. In letters sent to the chairs of the two different groups working on transitioning the critical internet …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 May 2015

A loud, confusing, exciting jumble of the great and the gregarious

Collision 2015 We may have been a few miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip and all the noise and splendor, but there was no shortage of hubbub in the two giant, aircraft-hangar-like pavilions that hosted the Collision techbiz conference this week. It was loud. Loud and busy. Probably too loud and busy. The big stages were shrouded in giant …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 May 2015
Bitcoin is the future of money CC 2.0 by Jonathan Waller https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitez/

The United States' first official BitCoin exchange goes live

The first government-approved BitCoin exchange in the US has gone live. As we predicted last week, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYFDS) has given itBit Trust Company the first charter to be a virtual currency in the world's financial center. NYFDS superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said of the decision: "We …
Kieren McCarthy, 07 May 2015

You've just woken from a 3-year coma. Cloud is everywhere. So how are you gonna make your millions and retire?

Collision 2015 It wasn't that long ago that when you wanted decent software you went to a retail store like Staples and bought a cardboard box with a CD inside. Then slowly we moved to downloading software and now it's hard to imagine anyone carrying a box to a counter when they can sit in their office or at home with a computer and a …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 May 2015

Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Collision 2015 We should rent our Nest thermostats, Sonos speakers and August smartlocks, according to Jason Johnson, the CEO of internet-of-doorlocks upstart August. Speaking at the Collision conference in Las Vegas earlier today, Johnson bemoaned how difficult it was to get smart tech into the home and challenged the industry to come up with …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 May 2015

Why MakerBot failed – but 3D printing is far from dead

Collision 2015 3D printing posterchild MakerBot moved too fast with untested technology and that's why it was forced to cut 20 per cent of its staff, abolish three divisions and closed three shops. That's according to another 3D printing company whose CEO we spoke to at the Collision conference in Las Vegas this week. Matthew Fiedler of re:3D …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 May 2015

Apathy continues to overwhelm effort to create an internet ungoverned by America

The effort to create a new global internet governance body has been dealt another blow after just 30 people responded to a critical month-long comment period, a third of which were hostile to the program. In total, there were 72 comments to the NetMundial Initiative's proposed "terms of reference" with one third (24) openly …
Kieren McCarthy, 03 May 2015
Spotify

Goldman Sachs gives Spotify its mixtape. And by mixtape, we mean a suitcase with $350m in it

Spotify has reportedly raised $350m in a new round of funding that puts an $8bn valuation on the Swedish company. The bulk of the money, according to CNBC citing "people familiar with the matter," came from clients of Goldman Sachs; the financial giant was hired to find sugar daddies for the website. The valuation puts the music …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 May 2015

How ICANN pressures 'net engineers to give it behind-the-scenes control of the web

Behind-the-scenes efforts by ICANN's lawyers to force the internet community to grant it perpetual control of critical internet functions have been exposed. Citing a cultural default of openness and transparency, negotiation teams from both the regional internet registries (RIRs) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 May 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Who thinks Microsoft Edge SUCKS? Erm, Microsoft

Microsoft relaunched Internet Explorer this week as "Edge" – and the software behemoth appears already prepared to accept that its super new browser may absolutely suck. At the same time as the new name was announced at its Build conference in San Francisco, the Redmond biz instructed brand protection company MarkMonitor to …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Apr 2015

Confidential information exposed over 300 times in ICANN security snafu

Two months after claiming there was "no indication" that confidential information was exposed in a security cock-up, domain name overseer ICANN has admitted it happened on at least 330 occasions. Following an audit of its main customer portal, the organization confirmed what we reported at the start of March: that misconfigured …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Apr 2015

ICANN's bill for clawing global DNS from Uncle Sam: $7m and counting

Domain-name overseer ICANN is failing in two fundamental tasks, according to the US government, while spending millions of dollars of internet users' money trying to take control of the critical IANA technical contract. In a letter sent earlier this month from the Senate's Judiciary Committee to the White House new “IP Czar” …
Kieren McCarthy, 30 Apr 2015

US Congress promises death to patent trolls in bipartisan law scribbling

A new bill that will bring about the end of patent trolls will be introduced to US Congress today (Wednesday). Its backers are confident it will be signed into law "in six months or less." At a press conference launching the Patent Act earlier today, senior leaders from both parties spoke strongly in favor of introducing new …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2015

SECRET PROTOTYPE iPAD 'stolen from RANDY Apple employee'

A "test model" iPad was stolen this month from a lonely-heart in his 20s, who is thought to be an Apple worker. The unnamed man had responded to a sex ad online – and got more than he bargained for. The poor bloke answered an advert from Katherine Stump, 20, and later met up with her and her pal Alexander Nejat, 24, two blocks …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2015
Bitcoin is the future of money CC 2.0 by Jonathan Waller https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitez/

The world's first proper Bitcoin exchange will be live in a month

Bitcoin will officially enter the mainstream financial world next month when New York State's Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) publishes a regulatory framework for the virtual currency, allowing virtual currency exchange itBit to become the first-ever legitimate Bitcoin bank. The NYDFS will publish its final "BitLicense …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2015

Why the US government reckons it should keep phone network kill-switches a secret

Analysis The US government has argued that the rules around how and when it is allowed to shutdown phone networks must remain secret because the disclosure could endanger lives. In a court filing [PDF] this week, lawyers from the Department of Justice argued that public disclosure of Standard Operating Procedure 303 (SOP 303) "would …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Apr 2015

ICANN wants total control of DNS while breaking its own bylaws to block .africa probe

ICANN broke its own bylaws – and acted in a way "fundamentally inconsistent" with its role as the world's DNS overlord – while restricting efforts to make itself more accountable to netizens. That striking judgment [PDF] comes this month from an independent review team at the International Centre For Dispute Resolution (ICDR). …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Apr 2015

Today, the US govt must explain why its rules on shutting down whole cell networks are a secret

The US government will be forced to explain why its cell network kill-switch plans should be kept secret today. Under Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303, the US government – in particular the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – is allowed to shutdown cellphone service anywhere in the country, and even across an entire …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Apr 2015

Business plans, good ideas, and 8 other myths about startups – by Indiegogo's CEO

"We have the ability to be an entrepreneur beaten out of us," explained the CEO of funding site Indiegogo Slava Rubin, in front of a big picture of a kettle. Rubin was giving the closing keynote at this week's Vator Splash in Oakland – his backyard, he told us. "I turned down South by Southwest, but Oakland? Yes to Oakland." …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2015

Internet kingmakers drop ego, devise future of DNS, IP addys etc

Five months after the release of a bloated, ego–driven mess of a plan to shift control of the top level of the internet from the US government to the internet community, a greatly improved version 2.0 has been offered for public comment. The 90–page Response to the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group Request for …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Apr 2015

Sick of tech bro Silicon Valley? Oakland is building a better tech world – say Oaklanders

It's rare that the politician is the most blunt person in the room, but Oakland's Mayor Libby Schaaf pulled it off on Thursday afternoon at the Vator Splash tech conference in the city. Taking the stage to discuss "when will tech look like America?" the mayor shared her thoughts on how to increase diversity in the tech industry …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Apr 2015

Dissing the Valley and ignoring unicorns: The tech boom Oakland style

Analysis "Last year, people were surprised that Vator Splash came to Oakland, this year they're thinking 'yeah, that's about right'." So claimed Libby Schaaf, the new mayor of the Bay Area's hippest place to be, the new "Brooklyn by the Bay" – yes, we're talking about Oakland. Schaaf was opening 2015's Vator Splash conference this …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Apr 2015

'Aaron's Law' back on the table to bring sanity to US hacking laws

The so-called "Aaron's Law," named after the late activist Aaron Swartz, is back before US Congress having been reintroduced on Wednesday in both houses. Silicon Valley rep Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and tech-savvy senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have put the legislation on the table a second time after it was effectively ignored last session …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Apr 2015
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Half a BILLION dollars later and, PHEW, we're all done buying up dot-word domain rights

The auctioning of rights to new dot-word top-level domains has finally come to a close with the sale of .stream to portfolio company Famous Four. In the past week, four other gTLDs - .map, .living, .search and .fun - has also been resolved, with two of them going to Google. Over the past year, domain-name overseer ICANN has run …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Apr 2015

GoDaddy buys 200,000 domains for $28.1m – that's $140 a piece

GoDaddy has bought the entire domain-name portfolio of mobile advertising company Marchex for $28.1m (£18.67m). With 200,000 domain names in the deal, more than three-quarters of them dot-coms, that equates to $140 (£93) per name. GoDaddy intends to put them all up for sale on its NameFind website, and examples include: Analyzed …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Apr 2015

Japan showcases really, really fast … whoa, WTF was that?!

For the second time in a week, Japan has smashed speed records, showcasing a really, really fast train outside Tokyo on Tuesday. The maglev monster managed to hit 603KPH (375MPH) on a test track close to Mount Fuji, beating a record it set just days earlier with a run reaching 581km/h. The seven-car Lo Series carried 49 …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Apr 2015

Top US Democrats cry death to Comcast-Time Warner hyper-gobble

Six leading Democrats in the US have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) asking them to reject the proposed $45.2bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast. Senators Franken, Sanders, Markey, Wyden, Warren, and Blumenthal, warn that allowing the deal to go through would …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2015

BEND OVER, boy! Twitter lockdown to give trolls and bullies a good LICKING

Twitter has gone into full headmaster mode in an effort to cut down on trolling and harassment among its users, generally acknowledged to be rife. A day after it announced that anyone can send you direct messages if you opt in, thus opening the door to harassment, Twitter has come up with several "upgrades" to its system. "We …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2015

Australia mulls dumping the .com from .com.au – so you can bake URLs like chocolate.gate.au

Australia may ditch the .com in .com.au and offer citizens straight .au domain names following increased competition from the explosion of dot-word addresses. A discussion paper [PDF] published by the .AU Domain Administration (AuDA) puts forward the case for making the aforementioned change. It notes that while it has …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Apr 2015

Tale of 2 cyber-confabs: Govts, nerds on one side. Shock hotel room searches on the other

Analysis Last week, the fourth annual global conference on cybersecurity (GCCS) was held in The Hague in the Netherlands. The two-day conference is put on by a different government each year, starting with the first in London in 2011. It is billed as a place for "representatives from governments, private sector and civil society" to meet …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Apr 2015

Who runs this world? Sony Pictures CEO jokes about getting UK culture minister fired

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton mulled pulling strings to get UK culture minister Ed Vaizey fired to replace him with the grandson of former prime minister Harold MacMillan. Vaizey, a democratically elected Tory moderniser, oversaw "digital industries" for Britain's Coalition government – from broadband to copyright …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Apr 2015

FCC hit with SEVENTH net neutrality lawsuit

CenturyLink has become the seventh organization to sue the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to dismantle its radical new net neutrality rules. The broadband provider filed a lawsuit against the US regulator in the Washington DC Court of Appeals, and used almost exactly the same language as the first lawsuit to land last …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015

Mega fatcat Kim Dotcom in deportation drama over SPEEDING ticket

Mega.co.nz kingpin Kim Dotcom may soon be booted out of New Zealand – because of a speeding ticket. The resilient and colorful entrepreneur is living on the Pacific island having gained residency rights in 2010. But he is also wanted by the US authorities for running the Megaupload file-sharing website, a service Dotcom …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015

ICANN banked $60m from dot-word auctions. Just what exactly is it going to spend it all on?

The chairman of ICANN has finally been pushed into revealing his plans for the $60m the domain-name overseer has banked from auctioning off the rights to dot-words. The $60m (£40m) – or $58,819,832 to be precise – was raised from organizations competing to set up registries for new generic top-level domains like .ping ($1.5m), . …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015
Bullshit graffiti on side of van in San Francisco

Google drives a tenth of news traffic? That's bull-doodie, to use the technical term

Comment Google has been forced to retract a claim that it only delivers 10 per cent of traffic to news sites after one of those cited – The Guardian – said the figure was "nonsense." The 10 per cent figure was supposed to act as a counter-argument to the European Commission's decision to formally accuse Google of illegally abusing its …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Apr 2015

Yahoo! chief! Marissa! Mayer! stings! Bing! in! ad! bling! fling! win!

Yahoo! is rubbing its hands at the thought of juicing more ad revenue from people using its Bing-powered search engine – after tweaking its 10-year deal with Microsoft. Back in 2009, Yahoo! agreed to use Microsoft's Bing for its web search, allowing the Redmond giant to place ads on results pages. Under the terms of the a …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Apr 2015

Hey, you wanna help run the internet? This power restructure is for YOU

Infogasm The organization that oversees the top level of the internet, ICANN, will be restructured into a true membership-controlled organization under plans drafted this week. That's important because ICANN, right now, has the keys to the web, and the more that can be done to hold it to account, the better. A blueprint for that process …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Apr 2015

Internet kingmakers cry mercy over mad dash to fill global DNS throne

The internet's backstage community is crying for mercy over the work schedule for deciding the fate of IANA – the crucial body that allocates IP addresses and runs the world's DNS for domain-name overseer ICANN. Despite a week-long meeting in Istanbul last month, volunteers designing improvements to the top level of 'net have …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Apr 2015

This open-source personal crypto-key vault wants two things: To make the web safer ... and your donations

An open-source hardware project aimed at making the internet "a little bit safer" needs an influx of cash to continue its work. The Cryptech effort was created following revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the US government and its pals are exploiting standards and weak crypto algorithms to gain access to …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Apr 2015