Iain Thomson

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Microsoft Band

Microsoft updates Band semi-smartwatch for fitness fanatics

While Microsoft has been bigging up its Surface tablet/laptop rollout, Lumia phones, and HoloLens suite, there was still room for a few add-ons, notably its Band fitness tracker. The Band 2.0 has been redesigned with a curvier screen to fit around the wrist more comfortably, and a repositioned battery. In version 1 the battery …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015
Lumia 950 XL

Worker drones don't need PCs says Microsoft, give 'em phones instead

Windows Phone has had a very rocky history, but Microsoft thinks it may have found a winning strategy to get its handsets into the business market – let them be PCs. Youtube Video At a press conference in New York, Microsoft unveiled the Lumia 950 (5.2-inch screen) and 950XL (5.7-inch screen). The phones are designed to work …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015
Surface Book

Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

As expected, Microsoft has updated its Surface Pro fondleslab with a new model powered by Intel's latest silicon. But unexpectedly, it has also produced a laptop version of the platform that is going to make Apple sick. The Surface family had a rocky start, some might even say unsuccessful, with small marketshare gains – but …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015
Project X-ray for HoloLens

Microsoft's HoloLens: Here by 2016, mere three THOUSAND dollar price

Microsoft has been showing off its latest toys at a New York press conference – and HoloLens is looking likely to be out by the end of next year. Redmond announced that the HoloLens developer kit is available for preorder from today, with delivery in the first quarter of 2016. It's not cheap, $3,000 per kit, but it looks as …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2015

Microsoft's big Tuesday reveal: New mobiles and slabs? Win 10 shock?

Microsoft has scheduled one of its biggest press conferences of the year on Tuesday in New York, and The Register will be there for the show. But leaks ahead of time suggest we'll be seeing a lot of new hardware and possibly a few software tricks as well. Firstly, it's almost certain that Redmond will be unveiling at least two …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2015

Startup promises to cancel your hated Comcast subscription for you for just $5

Free marketeers would be proud; a startup in the US has just started up to deal with one of the toughest and most frustrating corporate trials – cancelling a Comcast subscription. Airpaper, which appears to be a two-man San Francisco upstart, will take up the torturous process of navigating the corporate ins and outs of …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2015

Mold whine: Soylent superfood shipments stopped by spore scare

Soylent, which produces liquid food for techies who hate chewing, has stopped shipping its gloop after some of it was contaminated with mold. The firm started flogging version 2.0 of its formula in August, and has produced 400,000 bottles of the strange substance. It has since learned that 11 of the bottles had mold inside or …
Iain Thomson, 03 Oct 2015
Moon Express MX-1

Moon miners book Kiwi rockets for 2017 lunar landing

Moon Express, one of the teams competing for the $30m Google Lunar X-Prize, has booked five rockets that will be ready for a 2017 attempt to get to the Moon. The deal with New Zealand firm Rocket Labs will see Moon Express' MX-1 lander make an attempt at the first commercial lunar landing for the Google Lunar X-Prize. To win …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2015

Five million people exposed in Scottrade brokerage hack

If you've bought shares using retail broker Scottrade in the last few years, you may want to get in touch with the biz because its servers have been plundered by hackers unknown. The firm only found out about the data breach when the Feds got in contact to let it know. It now appears that 4.6 million customer accounts have …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2015
asteroid impact

Boffins: We know what KILLED the DINOS – and it wasn't just an asteroid

For decades, scientists have been arguing over what killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago – an asteroid or geological activity. Now it turns out both sides may be right. In 1981, scientist Luis Walter Alvarez proposed that a massive asteroid slammed into the Earth, causing large-scale damage and clouds of toxic chemicals …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2015
Cheat by https://www.flickr.com/photos/sohelparvezhaque/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Are Samsung TVs doing a Volkswagen in energy tests? Koreans hit back

Samsung has responded quickly to claims that its televisions were designed to cheat in official power consumption tests. Independent European testing lab ComplianTV has claimed that some of Samsung's televisions degrade their performance and lower the brightness of the screen during standard IEC testing, and then return to …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2015
Mars Attacks!

Mars water discovery is a liberal-muslim plot, cry moist conspiracy theorists

The announcement by NASA on Monday that Mars has flowing liquids on its surface was welcomed as tremendously exciting scientific news by intelligent and rational people. For others, it is obvious proof that the space agency is misleading the American people. Leading the pack of doubters is waning US shock jock Rush Limbaugh, …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2015

FBI: We unmasked and collared child porn creep on Tor with spy tool

Dark-web deadbeats may not be as anonymous as they think. A bloke in the US was charged on Friday after FBI spyware caught him downloading child sex abuse material. Luis Escobosa, of Staten Island, admitted to Feds he broke federal child pornography laws by viewing depraved photos on a hidden Tor service. Unknown to Escobosa, …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2015

SaaS biz 'made up 99% of sales and defrauded investors of millions'

If you bought internet services from Illinois-based ContinuityX Services, the US Securities and Exchange Commission would like a word, since you may be part of a very, very small group – far smaller than the company itself represented. "We allege that Godwin and Roth cheated investors out of millions of dollars, depicting …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2015
Tesla Model X

Elon Musk unmasks Tesla's Model X – the $132k anti-bioweapon SUV for the 1%

Pics and video Elon Musk finally got to unveil Tesla's Model X luxury electric sports utility vehicle, and showed off some literally ludicrous features the car has to offer. Youtube Video The delayed Model X is a four-door SUV that uses the power unit and drive system of Tesla's Model S sedan and produces nearly as good performance, albeit …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2015

Google literally dangles its new dongle in front of gasping TV audiences

Pics Google has redesigned its $35 Chromecast TV dongle, and come up with the Chromecast Audio – a new gizmo that streams music over Wi-Fi to speakers. Chromecast Small dangle dongle for streaming Two years ago, Google launched the Chromecast, which looks like a fat USB stick, plugs directly into a TV's HDMI socket, and streams …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2015
Google's Pixel C

Pixel C: Google has a crack at the fondleslab-with-keyboard game

First Microsoft mated a tablet with a keyboard, then Apple came late to the party. Now Google has done the same. From an engineering perspective, Google's new Pixel C slab looks to have left them both in the dust. The central problem with trying to use a tablet with a detachable keyboard is the difficulty in using the devices …
Iain Thomson, 29 Sep 2015
Android Marshmallow

Hands on with Google's Nexus 5X, 6P Android Marshmallow mobes

Pics and video Google has updated its Nexus smartphone range with two new handsets powered by the latest build of Android, codenamed Marshmallow. "Nexus is for Android because we've designed it," Google's newish CEO Sundar Pichai told the press at Tuesday's launch in San Francisco, meaning that the new phones have been designed to squeeze …
Iain Thomson, 29 Sep 2015
Comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko on August 12th

Rosetta comet boffins: We can explain why there's a rubber ducky IN SPAAACE

Pics Findings from the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe solved the riddle of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's unusual shape. They have proof that the comet is in fact two planetary bodies joined at the hip. ESA's Rosetta probe took ten years to reach its target last July and, when it did, the science team had a bit of a shock …
Iain Thomson, 28 Sep 2015

Audi, Seat, Skoda admit they've been fiddling car pollution tests as well

The fallout from Volkswagen's use of software to cheat on emissions tests is spreading: Audi and Skoda (both of which are owned by VW) admit that some of their cars carry the dodgy code. In all, Audi says 2.1 million of its vehicles are using the dodgy system – the vast majority of those are in Europe. The car maker told El …
Iain Thomson, 28 Sep 2015
Gullies on the surface of Mars

WATER SURPRISE: Liquid found on Mars, says NASA

Pics NASA has had the space community on tenterhooks for the last week, and on Monday made its big reveal – there is liquid water on Mars. "Liquid water has been found on Mars," said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters at a press conference on Monday. The research, published in Nature Geoscience, analyzed …
Iain Thomson, 28 Sep 2015

'Steve Jobs filmmakers opportunistic? Apple, you've got a factory of children making phones'

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has issued a verbal blast to Apple CEO Tim Cook over his criticism of the forthcoming film biopic of dead Steve Jobs. Earlier this month, Cook was interviewed by Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, and discussed the succession of films (and even an opera) that have been made about …
Iain Thomson, 26 Sep 2015
VW Scirocco logo

US eco watchdog's shock warning: Fresh engine pollution cheatware tests coming

Car makers have been warned by regulators that all light vehicle models in the US will be inspected to make sure no manufacturers are gaming air pollutions tests, Volkswagen-style. A week ago the The US Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Volkswagen had used engine management software to detect when a motor was …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015

US, China manage to keep a straight face while promising to not hack each other's corps

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have announced an cyber-peace deal in which neither side will engage in commercial spying online. "We have agreed that neither the US nor the Chinese government will conduct, or knowingly support, cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property – including trade secrets …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015

Blighty's Bloodhound 1,000mph rocket car unveiled ahead of record attempt

The Bloodhound Super-Sonic Car (SSC) has been shown off to the public for the first time, ahead of its attempt to break the world land-speed record next year. Bloodhound SSC cover off Lifting the hood on Bloodhound SSC The 13.5m-long vehicle will use a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015

Smartphone passcodes protected by the Fifth Amendment – US court

The Feds can't make suspects give up their company-issued smartphone passcodes because doing so violates the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution. So ruled Judge Mark Kearney of the federal court in East Pennsylvania in the case of Securities and Exchange Commission v Huang, an insider-trading case brought against two ex- …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2015

Global productivity explodes as Facebook's service takes a dive

As US West Coast workers sat down at their desks for the day's work, the most popular form of slacking off was unavailable as Facebook went offline for a bit. Uh oh. #FacebookDown for you as well? pic.twitter.com/vFLrqCdF45 — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) September 24, 2015 Facebook corporate hasn't responded to requests for …
Iain Thomson, 24 Sep 2015
Black hole

Mysterious cosmic dustball fires up Milky Way's black hole

The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy has become a lot more active in the last year, and now the scientists think they've worked out why. The black hole, dubbed Sagittarius A*, has been monitored by space telescopes for the last 15 years. It usually emits a bright X-ray flare – generated about every ten days …
Iain Thomson, 24 Sep 2015
Vladimir Putin

Russian Tor network-wrecking effort takes bizarre turn

The Russian government's plan to unmask citizens who use the anonymizing network Tor has hit a snag: the company hired to do the job is trying to wriggle out of its contract. In July 2014, the Russian Interior Ministry advertised for a firm to "study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users (user …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2015

SIX MILLION fingerprints of US govt workers nicked in cyber-heist

The fingerprints of nearly six million US government workers were copied by hackers who raided Uncle Sam's Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it emerged today. Back in June, it was feared that crooks had made off with four million highly sensitive personal records on government employees from the OPM's systems, although …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2015

POLAR DINOSAURS prowled ARCTIC NIGHT, cast doubt on COLD BLOOD theory

Everybody knows that the dinosaurs were cold-blooded, right? Lizards, cold blood, there you go. But maybe not. A new species of dino, lately discovered among fossils found in chilly Alaska, has confirmed that the mighty lizardoids of the remote past could actually survive in much colder regions than had been thought - and this …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2015
Stacks of bitcoin CC2.0 attribution by FD Comite https://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/

Texan hotshot coughs to $4.5 million Bitcoin Ponzi scheme

The owner of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCS&T) has admitted running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded people of millions of dollars in the crypto-currency. Texas resident Trendon Shavers, 33, has, in a deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in a Manhattan federal court. He was cuffed and charged in …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2015
Volkswagen Beetle

11 MILLION VW cars used Dieselgate cheatware – what the clutch, Volkswagen?

Volkswagen is getting hammered on world stock exchanges after it was revealed the number of VW cars using software to cheat on pollution tests is far greater than first thought. On Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the German car firm had been using engine management software that detected when …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2015

Shock: Smartphone app to protect kids online does quite the opposite

In April, the South Korean government insisted that smartphones owned by children must have software that protects the innocent little snowflakes from looking at stuff online that might harm them or steal their personal information. Now it seems sloppy programming means the cure is even more of a threat. Canadian internet …
Iain Thomson, 21 Sep 2015

India to cripple its tech sector with proposed encryption crackdown

The Indian government has published a draft of its latest plans for encryption. The proposals spell bad news for domestic software developers and will make other companies looking to do business in the subcontinent very nervous indeed. The new National Encryption Policy [PDF] proposed by the nation's Department of Electronics …
Iain Thomson, 21 Sep 2015

Prof Hawking cracks riddle of black holes – which may be portals to other universes

Professor Stephen Hawking thinks he has solved the 40-year-old information paradox – a conundrum of what happens to matter in black holes. Matter that gets sucked into a black hole was thought to be destroyed by the immense forces involved, as per the theory of general relativity. However, that's a problem from a quantum …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2015
Lava pit

Fiery old geysers FOUND ON MOON: Volcanic past explained

The night sky on Earth in its early years was very different, with our Moon glowing red with fire in the sky. Now scientists think they've worked out why. Back when the Moon was forming, the surface was alive with fiery geysers that spurted molten rock high in the low-gravity skies as the orbiting mass cooled and crusted over …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2015
MultiFab products

Still 3D printing with one material? We can use TEN, say MIT eggheads

Video Designers at MIT have used off-the-shelf components and some nifty software to build a cheap combination 3D printer and scanner unit that can use ten different materials at a time. Youtube Video Multi-material 3D printers aren't new, of course, just very, very expensive – typically costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2015

Court rules FTC can prosecute companies over lax online security

The Third Circuit US Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission does have the right to prosecute firms who mishandle their customers' data. Between 2008 and 2009, hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide – which runs hotels under the Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8, and Travelodge brands – …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2015

Manhattan-sized iceberg splits from glacier – and spotted FROM SPACE

Pic One of Earth's biggest icebergs ever seen has been discovered by orbiting satellites. The huge freeze-blob was just carved out from Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier, and slid into the ocean. Greenland iceberg That's enough ice for a lot of gin and tonics The iceberg was formed between August 14 and 16, and was caught on …
Iain Thomson, 24 Aug 2015

More deaths linked to Ashley Madison hack as scammers move in

The Ashley Madison leak may have driven another two people to suicide, police in Toronto, Canada, fear. And scammers are harassing anyone named in the databases, which were swiped from the website by hackers and published online. Word of the two Ashley Madison-linked deaths in Canada came after a government worker in San …
Iain Thomson, 24 Aug 2015

US military says it will discipline Ashley Madison users

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said the military will investigate email addresses signed up to the Ashley Madison website to determine if improper conduct has taken place. Military.com reports Carter saying "Yes, the services are looking into it, as well they should be. Of course it's an issue because conduct is very …
Iain Thomson, 21 Aug 2015
Microsoft monopoly

Microsoft sues InterDigital for 'monopoly power' over mobile patents

Microsoft has sued for relief from patent demands made by InterDigital ahead of a decision in August by the US International Trade Commission that could see Lumia phones barred from crossing America's borders. InterDigital holds several patents for technologies that must be included in standards-compliant 3G and 4G comms …
Iain Thomson, 21 Aug 2015

And it begins: Ashley Madison bonk-seekers urged to lawyer up

It's been barely 48 hours since the Ashley Madison database of millions of fling-seekers was leaked online, and already the lawsuits are flying. Canadian legal eagles* working at Charney Lawyers and fellow practice Sutts, Strosberg LLP will sue fellow Canuck company Ashley Madison over the security and privacy breach. For the …
Iain Thomson, 21 Aug 2015

Ex-Prez Bush, Cheney sued for email, phone spying during Olympics

Ex-US president George W Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and senior law enforcement officials have been named in a class-action lawsuit for authorizing blanket phone, email, and text message surveillance of Utah citizens during the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2013 the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and NSA had …
Iain Thomson, 20 Aug 2015

Now Ashley Madison hackers reveal 'CEO's emails and source code'

Updated Another load of internal files swiped by hackers from Ashley Madison have been leaked online – and they apparently feature the CEO's emails and the website's source code. The 18.5GB leak includes, it is claimed, archives of internal company emails, including one folder labeled Noel Biderman – the chief exec of Avid Life Media …
Iain Thomson, 20 Aug 2015
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

Comment2 It has been a depressing and enlightening day at El Reg's San Francisco office as we've been churning through the Ashley Madison databases, and a recurrent theme echoing around the room is: "How could people be so stupid?" It's not the cheating per se – let's not get started on the morals of it all – but it's clear that many …
Iain Thomson, 20 Aug 2015
Radar O'Reilly

Software update borked radar, delayed hundreds of flights, says US FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration has blamed a software upgrade to its next-generation radar system for the hundreds of delayed and cancelled flights from Washington DC airports on Saturday. "The FAA identified a recent software upgrade at the Leesburg, VA high-altitude radar facility as the source of Saturday's automation …
Iain Thomson, 19 Aug 2015
Pinky and the Brain

Boffins raise five-week-old fetal human brain in the lab for experimentation

A scientific team in Ohio has managed to raise the most complete human brain yet, and plan to use it for testing drugs and trying to understand autism. The brain is at the same stage of development as a five-week-old fetus and contains 99 per cent of the same cells that you'd find in an in-utero equivalent. It's about the size …
Iain Thomson, 19 Aug 2015

Adulterers antsy as 'entire' Ashley Madison databases leak online

Hackers at the Impact Team have apparently carried out their threat to publish the customer databases of Ashley Madison – a hookup website designed for those who want to cheat on their partners. In July, the hackers announced that they had successfully scraped the servers of Ashley Madison, and its sister site Established Men …
Iain Thomson, 18 Aug 2015