Iain Thomson

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SpaceX explosion

Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could

Analysis The perfect delivery record of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket ended on Sunday 139 seconds into flight, but there are good reasons why Elon's Musketeers will be back on schedule far faster than many are predicting. The accident itself was a disaster, and a very unfortunate birthday present for Elon Musk, who turned 44 that day. It had …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks docs show NSA's 10-year economic espionage campaign against France

Franco-American relations have taken a further hammering on Monday after WikiLeaks revealed new documents showing that the NSA has been collecting the details of commercial deals in the Land of Brie for over a decade and sharing them with its allies. "The United States has been conducting economic espionage against France for …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jun 2015
Bounce tactical

US police to throw big balls in criminals' faces

Video Next month, 100 US police departments will start deploying a new, ball-shaped camera that can be thrown into dangerous areas to scout out life-threatening situations. Youtube Video The system, dubbed Explorer Tactical, is a camera contained in a rubberized ball the size of a grapefruit, with six recessed lenses feeding data …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jun 2015
Retro ThinkPad

Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

After Lenovo bought IBM's ThinkPad business, the Chinese giant has slowly but surely changed the iconic laptop design to look a bit more modern – but now that may be about to change. In a blog post Lenovo design veep David Hill speculated about taking the old-style ThinkPad form-factor, and cramming it full of the latest and …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2015

Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

Samsung has promised to release a patch for its computers so that they no longer kill off automatic Windows updates from Microsoft. On Wednesday, reverse-engineering specialist Patrick Barker blogged* about a program suspiciously called Disable_Windowsupdate.exe that is bundled on Sammy machines and shuts down automatic Windows …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015
SpaceX CRS7

Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before

Vid Weather permitting, SpaceX will imminently fire off its seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station, and NASA has detailed some of the science experiments the Dragon capsule will be carrying in its hold. The rocket will loft nearly 4,000lbs (1,814kg) of supplies and science kit when it takes off at 1021 ET (1521 …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015
HoloLens testing on the vomit comet

SpaceX to blast Microsoft's HoloLens visors into SPAAAAACE

A pair of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality goggles will be beamed up to the International Space Station on Sunday as part of the cargo in SpaceX's resupply mission. Youtube Video Astronauts will use the HoloLens kit to communicate with ground control and help with complex space station repairs. The two units on this trip …
Iain Thomson, 26 Jun 2015

Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

At the annual Yahoo! shareholder's meeting, CEO Marissa Mayer unveiled her new strategy for making the struggling web portal popular again by buying its way into Oracle's Java upgrade software. Begining with the next Java update, Yahoo! will replace the current invitation to make Ask your default search engine. Instead, you'll …
Iain Thomson, 25 Jun 2015
Office for Android Phone

Microsoft releases free Office apps for half of all Android phones

Redmond's plan to get its code running everywhere took another step forward on Wednesday when it released free versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Android phones. Ever since Satya Nadella took the top job at Microsoft he's been banging on about getting its software on every platform. iOS got it first, then …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2015
Facepalm

Samsung caught disabling Windows Update to run its own bloatware

Updated Samsung computer users could find themselves wide open to attack because the software the Korean giant bundles on its systems disables Windows Update. The problem was spotted by independent security researcher Patrick Barker after a Windows user complained that the Windows Update function, which automatically downloads patches …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks spaffs files showing NSA spied on French presidents

A diplomatic storm is brewing in France after WikiLeaks published evidence that the NSA has spied on at least three French presidents and their senior staff for the last nine years. "The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally," said WikiLeaks …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2015
Google Play Music

Google's new free music service is classic Google: Take someone's idea and slap ads on it

A week before Apple launches its streaming music service, Google has sneaked out a free-to-use rival. Youtube Video Google's new advert-crammed streaming service won’t cost you a penny to tune into. Be aware, though, that you won’t be able to pick artists directly; instead, you have to stream from playlists (or "stations") with …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

The European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe will continue to study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko until September 2016 – after which the craft will be sent crashing into the mysterious rock. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko The latest image of the comet from Rosetta The Rosetta mission is at least a decade-old, and it …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2015

It begins: Time Warner Cable first ISP accused of breaking America's net neutrality rules

The rules on net neutrality in the US are only ten days old, and the first accusation that a telco is breaking them has already been filed. The complainant is streaming company Commercial Network Services (CNS), which is claiming that Time Warner Cable (TWC) is violating the "no paid prioritization" and "no throttling" aspects …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jun 2015

Uber app will soon maybe track you 24/7, cry privacy warriors

Uber's smartphone app will soon track and report back the whereabouts of its users even when they're not using the software, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) now fears. The campaign group is also upset that the app may send copies of people's address books to Uber, and has filed a formal complaint to US watchdog …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2015
New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto

Pluto plastered in what looks like 1970s orange wallpaper – proof

Pics The first color photos of Pluto and its moon Charon have been received from NASA's New Horizons probe. And the dwarf planet is beige-orange just like a bad 1970s kitchen. "It's exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color," said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jun 2015
Assange

Assange™ celebrates third year in Ecuadorian embassy broom closet

It's now been three years since Julian Assange slipped into the Ecuadorian embassy claiming political asylum, and now the president of the Ecuador has said he's welcome to stay for the rest of his life if need be. Ecuador's president Rafael Correa said Assange hadn't overstayed his welcome, but that the situation could easily be …
Iain Thomson, 20 Jun 2015
Divorce

Parting is such sweet sorrow: eBay sells fat stake in Shakespeare-crazed Craigslist

Web tat bazaar eBay is selling its 28.4 per cent stake in Craigslist, and is dropping its legal action against the classified ads site. eBay bought its stake in Craigslist back in 2004 for $32m. It was an odd move – Craigslist is a very strange company by eBay's standards, deliberately keeping revenues low due to the personal …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Sun like it hot: Philae comet probe wakes up, phones home again

The Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been in contact again, the European Space Agency has confirmed – and the lander is getting more than enough sunshine on its solar panels to power itself continuously. Battery warm & solar panels getting energy. Anxious to explore, comet day & night! More about # …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2015

Are ALIENS hiding on Jupiter's Europa? Let's find out, cry NASA bods

Pic NASA has finished sketching out plans to send a probe to Europa, Jupiter's most curious moon, and is ready to put the operation into action. "Today we're taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission …
Iain Thomson, 19 Jun 2015
graphene

Graphene sheaths could boost processor signal speeds by 30 per cent

Scientists at Stanford have found a new use for graphene that will significantly increase the speed of standard computer processors. Most chips use copper interconnects to route signals around their semiconductor circuits, and these are typically insulated with a coating of tantalum nitride. The Stanford team instead used an …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2015
Statue of Liberty

Verizon promised to wire up NYC with fiber... and failed miserably – audit

New York City authorities have thumped Verizon for apparently reneging on its promises to wire up the Big Apple with super-fast fiber internet. In 2008, the city signed a deal with Verizon in which the telco promised to give every resident access to a fiber-optic broadband connection by July 2014. In return, the city reduced the …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2015
Michael Hayden

'No evidence' Snowden was working for foreign power says ex-NSA boss

Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden this week told a conference about how little fallout the NSA has suffered after the Snowden leaks, and detailed how his former agency would hack other governments. He said to his audience at the Wall Street Journal's chief financial officer conference: If somebody would …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2015

US Air Force drone pilots in mass burn out, robo-flights canceled

The US Air Force has reduced the number of drones it keeps in the air because their stressed-out pilots are quitting in large numbers. In February, the Air Force said it was planning to increase the number of daily drone flights over the Middle East and Asia to 65 a day, possibly rising to 70 a day dependent on need. But Colonel …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2015
CR7 galaxy

Version 0.1 super-stars built the universe – and they lived all the way over there, boffins point

Pic Astronomers have recorded the brightest galaxy yet seen in the universe. It was formed 800 million years after the Big Bang, and has evidence of an until-now theoretical type of star. The galaxy, dubbed Cosmos Redshift 7 aka CR7, is three times brighter than anything astronomers have seen so far, but the distances involved mean …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2015
oneweb

Airbus to build 900 mini-satellites for OneWeb's orbital internet system

Global internet provider wannabe OneWeb has announced a deal with Airbus Defence and Space to build 900 small satellites aimed at providing more 10 terabits per second of new communications capacity to the whole world. OneWeb was set up by former Googler Greg Wyler to bring satellite internet to the globe, and the venture has …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2015

Hacked US OPM boss: We'll fix our IT security – just give us $21 million

The boss of the US government's thoroughly ransacked Office of Personnel Management has – rightly – come in for a rough ride from members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Politicians on both sides of the trenches tore strips off the lamentable state of security in the agency, which was raided by hackers …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2015
St Louis Cardinals

FBI to 'aggressively' probe St Louis Cardinals in baseball 'hack' storm

The St Louis Cardinals – the perennial good guys of pro baseball – are being investigated by the FBI after someone allegedly gatecrashed computer systems belonging to the Cardinals' former rivals, the Houston Astros. Office staff at the Cardinals may have gained unauthorized access to the Astros' internal databases using nothing …
Iain Thomson, 16 Jun 2015
Ask toolbar

Vintage Ask toolbar is malware – and we'll kill Jeeves, says Microsoft

Older versions of the Ask toolbar, the bane of many a computer user over the years, has been declared persona non grata by Microsoft, and Redmond says its security software will now kill it on sight. In a June 11 update to its Malware Protection Center site, Microsoft states that older versions of the toolbar, which set itself …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jun 2015
Uranus

Moon blocks Uranus for stargazers Down Under

Inhabitants of Australasia who enjoy peering into Uranus are going to be denied on June 12 as the strange globe slides behind the Moon. It's not often that planets get occulted by the Moon, and losing Uranus isn't that common an occurrence, and this one is something only people in the southern hemisphere can indulge in. Those of …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift noggin-bucket ... heyyy, errr ... have we all got them on already?

Pics+Vid Oculus, on Thursday, showed off its Rift virtual reality digi-goggs that it will sell to world+dog in 2016. The upstart company also announced a new partnership with Microsoft: the Redmond software giant will bundle an Xbox wireless controller with every headset. "We're finally ready to deliver on the dream of VR," Brendan Iribe …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015

If hackers can spy on you all then so should we – US Senator logic

Following the cyber-attack during which dossiers on four million US government employees were stolen from Uncle Sam's servers, staggering out of the smoldering blast crater is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). And he's not happy. In his soot-covered hand is a copy of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), and this week, he …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
Gorn

Google's super-AI boffin, Bilderberg nobs, and a secret Austrian confab

Google is going to have more staffers than any other company at the annual Bilderberg Group meeting of US and European leaders, which begins on Thursday in the resort town of Telfs-Buchen in Austria. Eric Schmidt, a longtime member of the Bilderberg set, will be attending this year's shindig, where the cream of society (and …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jun 2015
A400M Atlas - RIAT 2013 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/24874528@N04/ cc 2.0 attribution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Config file wipe blunder caused deadly Airbus A400M crash – claim

A dodgy software installation that deleted vital files caused last month's Airbus 400M transport plane crash in which four people died, it is claimed. On May 9, a test flight of the A400M, intended to replace the aging Hercules as a mainstay of NATO's air mobility fleet, crashed in Spain, killing four of the six crew. According …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jun 2015
LDSD

FLYING SAUCER crashes into Pacific off Hawaii - NASA

Sailors in waters to the west of the Hawaiian island of Kauai will have just seen a curious sight indeed: a flying saucer screaming out of the sky and smashing into the Pacific. The craft was NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), a 15-foot-wide saucer-shaped machine hooked up to a huge parachute to test methods for …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jun 2015
Samsung S6 active

Screw you, Apple! We're still making phones no one wants – Samsung

Sales of Samsung's smartphones have slipped of late in comparison to the iPhone, but the chaebol is trying to steal some of the thunder from Apple's WWDC announcements by announcing a new device of its own. The new handset, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, isn't much in the way of an evolution. Basically it's a S6 that's been …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2015
LightSail

Bill Nye's bonkers LightSail spaceship unfurls solar sails at last

Pic The Planetary Society says its LightSail spacecraft has finally deployed its 32 sq metre solar sails. The Earth-orbiting craft is now harvesting energy from the momentum of the Sun's photons, we're told. Motor is running! Sail is Deploying!!! 39 Years after Prof. Sagan spoke of it! — Bill Nye (@BillNye) June 7, 2015 It's been …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jun 2015

The weapons pact threatening IT security research

Analysis The US government has rewritten chunks of an obscure weapons trade pact between itself, Europe, Russia, and other nations – a pact that is now casting its shadow over today's computer security tools. Dubbed the Wassenaar Agreement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the treaty limits who …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jun 2015
Google car

Google: Our self-driving cars would be tip-top if you meatheads didn’t crash into them

Google's self-driving car engineers have released their first progress report, and they said they will publish monthly updates from now on. "We’ve made a lot of progress with our self-driving technology over the past six years, and we’re still learning," the report [PDF] stated. "Every day we head out onto public streets so we …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jun 2015
ISIS fighters

ISIS command post obliterated after 'moron' jihadi snaps a selfie, says US Air Force

Medieval butcher bastards ISIS are adept at using the web to lure Western followers to their warped cause – but the internet can turn around and bite back. Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, head of US Air Combat Command, told a conference that analysts at the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group spotted a …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jun 2015
ISIS fighters

FBI: Apple and Google are helping ISIS by offering strong crypto

Apple and Google are helping terrorism by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI official has told the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress, and US law enforcement needs to stop them from doing it. Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, told Congress that ISIS and …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jun 2015
America

Latest Snowden leak: NSA can snoop internet to catch 'hackers' – no warrants needed

The latest documents to be released from the Snowden archive show that the NSA was secretly authorized to carry out warrantless surveillance on US internet traffic in the name of cybersecurity. Two memos released by ProPublica in cooperation with The New York Times show that in May 2012, the US Justice Department authorized the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
Terminator

DARPA unTerminators gather for Robotics Challenge finals in Hell*

Schwarzenegger-sized robots that can break through walls are the staple of Hollywood, but the real thing is coming to California. The US military's secret-squirrel super-science-project unit DARPA is preparing to hold the finals of its Robotics Challenge contest in Los Angeles this weekend. 25 teams are flying in to take part …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
Pluto's moon NIx

Hubble spots Pluto's moons are a chaotic mess of tumbling rock

Astronomy fans are still split over whether it was right to declassify Pluto as a planet in 2006 and call it a dwarf. Now the latest data from the Hubble Space telescope shows that the distant rock-ball is far weirder than we first thought. Pluto has one large moon, dubbed Charon after its discovery in 1978, and the two orbit …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks offers $100k for copies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – big biz's secret govt pact

For the last ten years, politicians and business leaders have been hammering out the largest trade deal in US history. Very few people have actually seen what's in it, and WikiLeaks wants to change that. Youtube Video The document-leaking website, run by Julian AssangeTM, is offering a $100,000 (£65k) reward for the text of the …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jun 2015
Mitch McConnell

US Senate passes USA Freedom Act – a long lip service to NSA reforms

+Comment The US Senate has passed the USA Freedom Act that adds mild limits to Uncle Sam's intelligence agencies' activities on American soil. It was passed with a 67-32 vote. Glad the Senate finally passed the USA Freedom Act. It protects civil liberties and our national security. I'll sign it as soon as I get it. — President Obama (@ …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jun 2015
LDSD

NASA shock: Flying saucer predicted over Hawaii on Wednesday

Pic On Wednesday, inhabitants of the Hawaiian island of Kauai will see a flying saucer rise up into the air, fire its rocket motors, and head into space – as NASA tests its Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). The LDSD is a circular spacecraft resembling the UFOs of old. It is 15ft (4.5m) across and weighs 6,808 pounds (3, …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015
Cessna

Forget black helicopters, FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What's that?

The FBI has confirmed it is using shell companies to fly surveillance aircraft with cellphone scanners and video cameras over US cities on a daily basis – and without the need for warrants. The aircraft were spotted over Baltimore last month monitoring the protests and riots in that city. An AP investigation has confirmed that …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015
Spy cat Zhuzha. Pic: Mark Vegas

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

Analysis For the last 36 hours the NSA hasn't been able to collect the metadata on every American's mobile phone calls, and yet the Republic still stands, despite warnings of dire consequences. "A small group of senators is standing in the way. And, unfortunately, some folks are trying to use this debate to score political points," said …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jun 2015

Facebook flings PGP-encrypted email at world+dog. Don't lose your private key

Hands-on Facebook can now powerfully encrypt notification emails sent to its users with PGP – keeping potentially sensitive messages out of the hands of hackers and other snoopers. The social network has also added a spot for people to share their public PGP keys via the HTTPS-protected website. "We are gradually rolling out an …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jun 2015