Iain Thomson

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Dutch govt ordered to use open standards for comms from 2017

Government bodies in the Netherlands will have to use open technology standards for communications after next year, following a vote by the nation's parliament. The requirement for open document standards has already been adopted by the Netherlands Senate, but a motion by Member of Parliament Astrid Oosenbrug has now unified …
Iain Thomson, 14 Oct 2016
Photo by Kgbo

Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi you, you're fired: Apple sacks staff secretly snapping shoppers

Apple fired staff from one of its Australian stores this week after they secretly snapped and shared photos of fellow workers and customers. The Brisbane Courier-Mail [paywalled] reports that employees at the city's Carindale mall Apple store were using iGizmos to take pictures of women and sharing the images among themselves …
Iain Thomson, 14 Oct 2016

Wi-Fi baby heart monitor may have the worst IoT security of 2016

Not long ago, top computer security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski was blessed with a new baby and did what a lot of parents do – spent money on gizmos to keep an eye on it. One of the devices was an Owlet – a sensor that babies wear in a sock that monitors their heartbeat and relays that data wirelessly to a nearby hub. This …
Iain Thomson, 13 Oct 2016
Man holds white flag while sitting alongside empty beer bottles next to a toilet bowl. Pic by Shutterstock

Soylent bars farting recall

Future food firm Soylent has issued a total recall on its food bars after reports that they were giving some consumers upset stomachs. The food bars, launched last month and designed to give 12.5 per cent of the total nutrients needed for a day, have now been withdrawn from sale and the company is offering a full refund. "A …
Iain Thomson, 13 Oct 2016

GlobalSign screw-up cancels top websites' HTTPS certificates

Final update GlobalSign's efforts as a root certificate authority have gone TITSUP this afternoon – that's a total inability to support usual protocols. The result is that many websites big and small have had their HTTPS certificates incorrectly scrapped, meaning that for some people their browsers no longer trust websites and refuse or …
Android Nougat

Google sets the date for first sniff at Android 7.1

Developers can get their hands on Android 7.1 by the end of the month, Google has said. And almost all Nexus owners will have it implanted in their gadgets by the end of the year, albeit with some reservations. The next chewy chunk of Nougat includes support for better storage management and telephony software, App shortcut …
Iain Thomson, 12 Oct 2016
Man shouting through a mega phone with abstract communication icons in the background

Mars by the 2030s: Obama

President Obama has pledged to get citizens of the Stars and Stripes onto Mars within about two decades using a mix of commercial and NASA technology. He noted that during his tenure in office, commercial space companies have taken a third of the satellite launch market. Over 1,000 companies in nearly 50 states now work in the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Oct 2016

FCC slams Comcast with largest-ever fine for a cable company

Updated The US Federal Communications Commission is trumpeting the “largest civil penalty assessed from a cable operator” after it fined Comcast $2.3m for charging its customers for services they didn’t ask for and equipment they didn’t need. The government regulator said Comcast had shown a pattern of “negative option billing,” where …
Iain Thomson, 11 Oct 2016

Killer Hurricane Matthew threatens to wreck Kennedy Space Center

Hurricane Matthew, the category four storm that has already claimed more than 100 lives in the Caribbean, is bearing down on the coast of Florida – and NASA's Kennedy Space Center looks likely to take an absolute hammering. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida, and the state's governor Rick Scott has …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2016

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Spotify serving malware, no escape from reality

Spotify has apologized to its subscribers after it served up malicious adverts that attempted to infect listeners' computers. The problem occurred with Spotify Free, which lets people to stream music gratis in exchange for being played and shown adverts. One advertiser sneakily embedded nasty software code into its Spotify ads …

Reseller offered $$$ for old tech gear – then stiffed thousands with suddenly lower quotes

US trade watchdog the FTC has terminated second-hand electronics reseller Laptop & Desktop Repair in Sparks, Nevada – after the biz shafted people out of millions of dollars. The company, operating under such names as cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com and sell-your-cell.com, offered …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2016

Samsung gobbles Siri maker

Samsung has announced that it's buying AI startup Viv Labs, the company responsible for building Apple's digital assistant Siri. "Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind," said Injong Rhee, CTO of the mobile communications business at Samsung. "This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2016

Amazon supremo Bezos' Blue Origin blows its top over Texas desert

Vid + pic The fifth flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket saw a successful blast-off for the crew capsule, as the company simulated an emergency escape for future crews. That is one hell of a booster. #InFlightEscape #GradatimFerociter https://t.co/7ZRRe2HnMO — Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) October 5, 2016 The rocket rose up over the …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016

Eight Kerbal devs jump ship

Squad, the company behind the popular Kerbal Space Program game, has lost eight of its key developers after they handed in their notice simultaneously. "All good things must come to an end, and so it is for us. It is time for each of us to move on from Squad," the team said in a Reddit post. "Kerbal Space Program is an …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016

'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

A replacement – and supposedly non-exploding – Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a crowded aircraft today, we're told. Passengers on Southwest Airlines Flight 994 headed for the exits after a Galaxy Note 7 went into meltdown minutes before takeoff. The handset, owned by Brian Green of New Albany, Indiana, caught fire and …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016

Yahoo! tries!, fails! to! shoot! down! email! backdoor! claim!

Updated Almost 24 hours after refusing to deny allegations that it allowed US intelligence free rein on its email systems, Yahoo! has issued a carefully worded non-denial. "The article is misleading," the statement reads, referring to yesterday's Reuters report. "We narrowly interpret every government request for user data to minimize …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016

Google says it would have a two-word answer for Feds seeking Yahoo!-style email backdoor

Since word spread that Yahoo! backdoored its own email servers for US intelligence services, we've heard from rival webmail providers denying they have put in place similar arrangements. That Yahoo! has a cosy relationship with the Feds is not surprising, especially given what we know about PRISM and Section 702 of the Foreign …
Iain Thomson, 05 Oct 2016
Moxie Markinspike

Feds get sweet FA from Whisper Systems Signal subpoena

Open Whisper Systems – the secure messaging firm set up by respected crypto anarchist Moxie Marlinspike – has published the results of a federal subpoena and shown that the Feds got very little for their trouble. OWS builds Signal, the secure messaging and phone service that builds in end-to-end encryption and a host of other …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016

After baffling Falcon 9 rocket explosion, SpaceX screams: Hands off our probe!

The quest to discover exactly why a SpaceX rocket exploded on the pad last month is getting complicated – with politicians fighting over who will control the investigation. On Thursday, a group of ten Republican congresscritters sent a letter [PDF] to NASA administrator Charles Boden, Federal Aviation Administration boss …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016
Mac candle

New Mac candle smell

If you love the smell of unboxing a new Mac gizmo but can't afford to do it for hours at a time, a US firm has just the thing for you. Apple accessory maker Twelve South is now selling a candle that purports to smell exactly like a new Mac coming out of the box – albeit one that has also been scented with the essences of Mint …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016

SpaceX searches for its 'grassy knoll' of possible Falcon rocket sabotage

In its search for the reason behind last month's explosion that destroyed its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX has vowed to leave no stone unturned. Now one of its staffers may be taking things a little too far. The doomed Falcon 9 suffered a catastrophic failure while being fueled for a static firing test. It is believed a failure in …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016
rage meme

4chan is going /b/roke

The owner of 4chan – the infamous image-based bulletin board – has warned that the website is in financial trouble and will have to change its operations. "We had tried to keep 4chan as is. But I failed. I am sincerely sorry," Hiroyuki Nishimura told his flock on Sunday. "Some notice there are no more middle ads and bottom ads …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2016
Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

In the name of love, don't scalp your U2 aka Dreamfest tickets, warns Salesforce

For the second time in three weeks, delegates are flooding into San Francisco for a big conference – last month it was Oracle OpenWorld and now the Salesforce Dreamforce conference kicks off on Tuesday. Dreamforce sold out early this year, with the $1,799 tickets getting snapped up more quickly than expected. As with anything …
Iain Thomson, 03 Oct 2016
Nexus 5X

A year living with the Nexus 5X – the good, the bad, and the Nougat

Comment It has been nearly a year since the Nexus 5X smartphone was launched. On Tuesday, October 4, Google is expected to announce new smartphones – and possibly more – at an event in San Francisco. The new handsets won't be branded Nexus and won't have the clean, stripped-down version of Android that Nexii owners have come to expect …
Iain Thomson, 03 Oct 2016

Criticize Donald Trump, get your site smashed offline from Russia

It has been an odd day for Newsweek – its main site was taken offline after it published a story claiming a company owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump broke an embargo against doing deals with Cuba. The magazine first thought that the sheer volume of interest in its scoop was the cause for the outage, but …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2016