Iain Thomson

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Jen-Hsun Huang

Nvidia unveils credit card-sized 'supercomputer' for portable AI

Older readers may think of Nvidia as a graphics firm but, according to CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, the firm is now all-in on accelerating computing and machine learning. "I've been in the computer industry for 30-some years and this has got to be one of the most exciting things that's happening: The ability for computers to learn, the …
Iain Thomson, 11 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Building

Cops gain access to phone location data

Police in some states can now access your phone location data without a warrant, following a Supreme Court decision not to hear the appeal of an armed robber. Quartavious Davis, 23, was convicted of taking part in a string of robberies in the Miami area after police used cell tower data to link him to the sites where and when …
Iain Thomson, 10 Nov 2015

Einstein's brain to be picked by satellites

The European Space Agency is to make the most of two satellite misfires by using them to test Einstein's theory of relativity. Last August, the fifth and sixth Galileo satellites were launched as part of a plan to create a Euro-run GPS system, but the launch didn't go according to plan. A failure in the fourth stage of the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Nov 2015

Google open sources machine learning software

Video Google is helping bring HAL to life by open sourcing its machine learning software. The software, called TensorFlow, is the successor to the DistBelief system that the online giant used for the past five years to make sense of the vast amounts of data it has access to. DistBelief has sifted email for spam, scanned YouTube …
Iain Thomson, 09 Nov 2015

One Bitcoin or lose your data, hacked Linux sysadmins told

Linux sysadmins are being specifically targeted by hackers demanding one Bitcoin to gain access to their own data. Usually, it's Windows systems that get hit by ransomware, but a new strain targets Linux systems to extort cash. "Judging from the directories in which the Trojan encrypts files, one can draw a conclusion that …
Iain Thomson, 09 Nov 2015
NASA images of Antares explosion

NASA photo gallery: How to blow $200m of rocket in seconds

Pics Last November, Orbital Sciences lost one of its Antares rockets in an almighty explosion seconds after takeoff. When it become clear the stack was falling back to Earth rather than soaring toward the heavens, a launch controller detonated the scuttling charges on the craft. It was supposed to clear supplies and equipment to the …
Iain Thomson, 07 Nov 2015
Georgia investigates possible electronic voting tampering

Voting machine memory stick drama in Georgia sparks scandal, probe

The US state of Georgia is delving into a claim that a misplaced electronic ballot box may have swung a key vote. On November 3, in the county of DeKalb just east of Atlanta, LaVista Hills held a vote on whether to become a city. In a closely run race, the motion was defeated by 136 votes – less than one per cent of the …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2015

ProtonMail pays ransom to end web tsunami – still gets washed offline

After a crushing distributed denial-of-service attack against its servers and ISPs, secure email service ProtonMail has paid the ransom demanded by its attackers. The Swiss firm was promptly smashed offline again. "We were placed under a lot of pressure by third parties to just pay the ransom, which we grudgingly agreed to do …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2015

OmniRAT malware scurrying into Android, PC, Mac, Linux systems

As police across Europe crack down on the use of the DroidJack malware, a similar software nasty has emerged that can control not just Android, but also Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and is being sold openly at a fraction of the cost. The remote-control tool, detected by security firm Avast, is called OmniRAT and appears to …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2015

Google engineer names and shames dodgy USB Type-C cable makers

A Google engineer says some discount USB Type-C converter cables are substandard and could cause damage by drawing too much juice. One of the big advantages of the USB Type-C design is never again having to guess which way up the plug has to be to fit in its hole; the other advantage is power transmission. A Type-C 1.1 laptop …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2015
Mars and the solar winds

Sun of a b... Solar winds blamed for ripping away Mars' atmosphere

Video NASA thinks it now understands why Mars has lost so much of its atmosphere: the Sun stripped it virtually clean. About four billion years ago, solar winds blasting the Red Planet managed to turn it from a warm, moist world to the cold dry desert we see today, we're told. "To quote Bob Dylan, the answer is blowin' in the wind …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2015

DDoS, botnet, and fiber cut fail to stop Twitchers crowd-installing Linux

The Twitch in the Shell project has successfully installed Arch Linux using hundreds of people simultaneously hammering keys in a terminal. One of the organizers has explained to The Reg how it was done. The project, broadcast by video-streaming site Twitch, managed the feat in around five hours. And this despite the best …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2015

Biggest problem with virtual reality: It can be a little too real for people

ICGS The biggest brake now on virtual reality isn't the hardware or the software, but the wetware, a panel of experts told the Intel Capital Global Summit this week. All the panelists agreed that 2016 will be the year virtual reality takes off, thanks to a combination of affordable hardware from the likes of Oculus and software …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2015

You're right to fear a second dot-com crash, says Intel VC boss

ICGS Fears of another technology startup bubble bursting are "legitimate," says the outgoing head of Intel's venture capital arm. As a result, the chip biz is playing it safe in "overheated sectors" of the market, and looking overseas for the next big thing. It's not widely known but Intel Capital is one of the largest venture …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2015
Nikola Tesla's fake lightning, Recuerdos de Pandora on Flickr CC2.0 license

End in sight for wireless power standards war as field shrinks to two

ICGS The battle for wireless power supremacy is now a straight fight between two groups following the merger of the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) into the Airfuel Alliance. "AirFuel technology is the next step in fast-tracking the commercialization of wirelessly charged products," said Ron …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2015
Intel's Kirk Skaugen at IDF 2014

PC sales will rise again, predicts Intel, but tablets are toast

ICGS The last few years haven't been good for the PC market as the old upgrade cycle died and buyers piled into tablets and smartphones. But Intel is convinced the PC will rise again, thanks to new hardware and form factors. "I honestly feel this is a once in a decade moment," enthused Kirk Skaugen, GM of Intel's client computing …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2015

Hi, um, hello, US tech giants. Mind, um, mind adding backdoors to that crypto? – UK govt

Analysis The UK government is apparently going to ask Apple, Google, and other American tech giants to give it the skeleton keys to their encryption systems. Based on our experience here in the US, the response is going to be a firm: "Fsck off." On Monday, the Daily Telegraph (a reliable friend of the ruling Conservative government) …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2015

Now VW air-pollution cheatware 'found in Audis and Porsches'

More Volkswagen cars have been found fitted with devices that cheat on air-pollution standards tests: the US Environmental Protection Agency says similar gadgets are installed in some Audi and Porsche models. Diesel engine hardware programmed to conform to emission limits only within lab tests have been spotted in the 3-litre …
Iain Thomson, 02 Nov 2015
Left 4 Dead 2 on Linux

World's most frustrating televised Linux install just got more frustrating

Vid Hundreds of people are trying to install Arch Linux on a machine at the same time in the same terminal, using a voting system to decide the next keypress. It's horrifically frustrating watching an attempt to run makefs hijacked with a slowly typed rm -rf / command; the filesystem-wiping order thwarted at the last moment by …
Iain Thomson, 02 Nov 2015
Windows 10 nag screen

Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

Comment Microsoft's decision to push out Windows 10 upgrades as automatic Windows Update downloads is one of those ideas that sounded great in a Redmond meeting room, but will cause more problems than it solves. Right from the get-go Microsoft has made it clear that it is looking for a very fast rollout of Windows 10. The new …
Iain Thomson, 31 Oct 2015
Spit take

Microsoft scares the bejesus out of Skype users with x12 price hike

Several Reg readers were stunned by an email from Skype on Friday, which told them they were going to be paying a lot, lot more for their paid-for VoIP subscriptions. "We're writing to let you know about an upcoming change to the price of your Skype Number subscription. The new price for your Skype Number will be 19.14 GBP …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2015
Toilet roll printed with fake US $100 bills

Buy a slice of the next Facebook with just your credit card and browser

America's financial watchdog says anyone with spare cash will be able to buy a slice of a startup online without having to fill out mountains of paperwork. Until now, if you fancied plowing your some of savings into a fledging biz – say a trendy but privately held San Francisco tech upstart – there are all sorts of …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2015

What upgrade cycle? Tablet sales crater for fourth straight quarter

Global shipments of tablets have fallen for the fourth successive quarter, according to data from analyst house IDC. In the third quarter of 2015, manufacturers shipped 48.7 million fondleslabs worldwide, down 12.6 per cent year on year. IDC estimates that there are 581.9 million tablets in the world, but that sales growth is …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015

Fuming Google tears Symantec a new one over rogue SSL certs

Google has read the riot act to Symantec, scolding the security biz for its slapdash handling of highly sensitive SSL certificates. In September it emerged that Symantec's subsidiary Thawte generated a number of SSL certs for internal testing purposes. One of these certificates masqueraded as a legit cert for Google.com, …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015
Dr Strangelove bomb

Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

The US Department of Defense has announced that Northrup Grumman will be supplying its next generation of Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) to replace the aging B-52 and B-2 fleets. Youtube video "Over the past century, no nation has used air power to accomplish its global reach -- to compress time and space -- like the United …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015
John Fowler

Oracle hardwires encryption and SQL hastening algorithms into Sparc M7 silicon

OpenWorld Oracle execs used the final keynote of this week's OpenWorld to praise their Sparc M7 processor's ability to accelerate encryption and some SQL queries in hardware. On Wednesday, John Fowler, veep of systems at Oracle, said the M7 microprocessor and its builtin coprocessors that speed up crypto algorithms and database requests …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015

DEFCON 1 to DEFCON GONE: One of NORAD's spy blimps goes missing

A US government surveillance airship broke free of its moorings and headed to Pennsylvania, carrying its load of very sensitive and super-secret hardware. The blimp is part of Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS), which is a radar and surveillance system designed to spot vehicles, …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2015

New DMCA rules mean you can fiddle with your tablets, routers, cars (as if you weren't anyway)

The Librarian of Congress in America has updated the list of technologies that hackers can tinker with without breaking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Under the terms of the DMCA, the Librarian must revise the list of devices and technologies that can be investigated and altered by people using them. In the past this …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2015

US Senate approves CISA cyber-spy-law, axes privacy safeguards

The US Senate has passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) by 74 to 21 votes, with five abstentions. "This landmark bill finally better secures Americans' private information from foreign hackers," said Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), one of the bill's sponsors. "This legislation gives the government and US …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2015

On Planet Oracle, Big Red wasn't a decade late to cloud ... Amazon was just years too early

OpenWorld Earlier this month, Amazon tweaked Oracle's nose at its re:Invent conference. On Tuesday this week, Oracle fired back with a raft of cloud announcements. During the morning's keynote presentation, Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president of product, outlined the new offerings in cloud infrastructure-as-a-service, including an Elastic …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2015
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

Europe seeks a few good geeks for hacking cars and homes

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) responsible for researching computing threats to the continent has widened its remit to include checking out car and smart building hacking. ENISA has decided on its 2016 work schedule and, as well as its continuing job looking for security holes and best …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2015

If Amazon can have delivery drones, we want them too, says Walmart

Mega-retailer Walmart has reportedly asked America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to test out the use of drones for picking up and dropping off goods. The chain, as American as apple pie and union busting, has been testing drone delivery systems indoors but now wants permission to try the hovering …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2015
Oracle OpenWorld cloud

Oracle's Hurd mentality: We (and one other) will own all of cloud by 2025

Two companies will own 80 per cent of the software-as-a-service market by 2025 and one of them will be Oracle, the firm's co-CEO Mark Hurd has predicted. Speaking at his keynote on the second day of Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco, Hurd said that Oracle has spent the last five years rewriting its code base with the cloud in …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2015

Intel and Oracle push into big data, label IBM and SAP cloud clowns

Larry Ellison has dismissed his two historic competitors, IBM and SAP as "nowhere in the cloud," and used Sunday night's OpenWorld keynote to show off products and services designed to bury Big Blue and the HANA heroes. "We compete with Amazon in cloud infrastructure and never, ever see IBM - this is how much our world has …
Iain Thomson, 26 Oct 2015
Comet Lovejoy

Boffins: Comet Lovejoy is a cosmic booze cruise spewing alcohol across the Solar System

Pic Alcohol is pretty essential to life here on Earth, but for the first time, scientists have found the blessed fluid venting in huge amounts from a comet flying through our Solar System. Comet Lovejoy swung around our sun for the first time in 8,000 years back in January. Astronomers kept a close eye on it because the sunlight …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2015
New Horizons

New Horizons: Pluto? Been there, done that – now for something 6.4 billion km away

The Pluto-gawping New Horizons space probe is back in action and heading for a new target far out on the edges of the Solar System. New Horizons path To infinity and beyond! On Thursday the spacecraft's hydrazine-fueled thrusters were fired for 16 minutes at 1050 PT (1850 UTC) in the first of four maneuvers that will aim …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2015

Someone's lost the plod: Use crappy HTTP for shopping, banking, say Brit cops

Police in Essex, UK, have had a rough day of it after mischievous hackers broke into their Twitter account – and broadcast bogus security tips. Essex Police The dodgy tweet, recommending people use insecure HTTP rather than encrypted HTTPS for online shopping and banking, has since been removed. El Reg readers will know it's …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2015
Satya Nadella

Sales down, profit up, 1,000 bods chopped: Your one-minute guide to Planet Microsoft

Microsoft has published its figures for the first quarter of the 2016 financial year (its accounting department shuns calendars) and reports that profits are up, even though revenues fell. "We are making strong progress across each of our three ambitions by delivering innovation people love," said CEO Satya Nadella in a canned …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2015
Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen enlarges emissions scandal probe: 'Millions' more cars may have cheated

Volkswagen has warned that the figure of 11 million cars that cheated in air-pollution tests may be larger than first thought. The automaker is under fire for using diesel engines that deliberately lowered their output of nitrogen oxides during lab testing to pass strict emissions standards. In real-world use, the cars pumped …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2015
Rand Paul

CISA latest: Law urging tech giants to share your info with the Feds shows no sign of stopping

On Thursday morning the proposed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) moved a step closer to reality when the US Senate voted 83 to 14 to end debate on a package of amendments. The CISA legislation invites internet giants and other companies to quietly give people's private and personal information to the federal …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2015
Dianne Feinstein

CISA blowup: 'Web giants sharing private info isn't about security – it's state surveillance'

There were sharp words on the floor of the US Senate on Wednesday as lawmakers debated the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) and its amendments. The bill, proposed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would allow internet giants and other companies to share people's personal …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2015
John Brennan

WikiLeaks leaks CIA director's private emails – including his nat sec clearance dossier

Days after a teenage stoner hacked the AOL email account of CIA director John Brennan, WikiLeaks has published highly sensitive files from the spymaster's inbox. The documents include Brennan's application for national security clearance, with address, phone number, passport details, and the names and addresses of associates …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Windows 10 out, users happy, PCs upgraded, my work here is done – says Microsoft OS chief

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's head of operating systems, is going to take a year-long leave of absence from the biz once Windows 10 has rolled out. By November, Microsoft should have finished emitting Windows 10 to smartphones, completing the play Redmond is making for a single operating system to cover all possible computers and …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015
Boats storm girl photo via Nikolina Mrakovic Shutterstock.com

Microsoft's top lawyer: I have a cunning plan ... to rescue sunk safe harbor agreement

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith has presented a new safe harbor pact to replace the agreement struck down earlier this month by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The ECJ ruled that transferring Europeans' private information in and out of America is no longer allowed because America's privacy laws …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015

Made you jump! Space to give Earth an asteroid Halloween scare

Halloween is traditionally a time for scares and the universe hasn't disappointed, sending a fast-moving asteroid down our way for a close encounter on October 31 at 1712 UTC (1012 PDT). The asteroid, dubbed 2015 TB145, was only spotted 10 days ago by astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS I telescope in Hawaii and is thought to …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2015

Western Digital's hard drive encryption is useless. Totally useless

The encryption systems used in Western Digital's portable hard drives are pretty pointless, according to new research. It appears anyone getting hold of the vulnerable devices can easily decrypt them. WD's My Passport boxes automatically encrypt data as it is written to disk and decrypt the data as it is read back to the …
Iain Thomson, 20 Oct 2015
2001: A Space Odyssey

Our intuitive AI outperforms (most) puny humans, claims MIT

Traditionally computers are great at crunching numbers, but lousy at understanding what they mean. But a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks it's cracking that problem. A new paper, to be presented at next week's IEEE International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics, details …
Iain Thomson, 20 Oct 2015

CIA boss uses AOL email – and I hacked it, claims stoner teen

A teenager claims to have hacked the CIA director's AOL email account and laid his hands on sensitive government files within. The kid bragged he managed to trick staff at AOL parent Verizon into reseting the password to CIA boss John Brennan's personal account, allowing the youngster to hijack it. After apparently rifling …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2015

BBC shuts off iPlayer to UK VPNs, cutting access to overseas fans

The BBC is trying to block access to iPlayer from UK VPNs, crushing the spirits of those overseas hoping to get a fix of Doctor Who and other British telly. Auntie said it instituted the blockade to deter pirates from ripping off its dramas, comedies, documentaries and other programs, which are funded by TV license-fee payers …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2015
Nexus 5X

New Nexus 5X, 6P smarties: Google draws a line in the sand

Review Google’s latest Nexus smartphones, the 5X and the 6P, were announced last month, and while there's a lot to be said for the upgrades, there's some unfortunate omissions. It has been five years since the first Nexus smartphone was unveiled, and since then the Chocolate Factory (and assorted hardware partners) has used the brand …
Iain Thomson, 19 Oct 2015