Iain Thomson

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Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

Updated Adobe's Digital Editions 4 ebook reader software collects detailed information about the reading habits of its users – and sends it back to the company in a format that's easy for others to slurp. An investigation by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog showed that ADE 4 was collecting telemetry on which pages of ebooks …
Iain Thomson, 07 Oct 2014

Trio share 2014 Nobel Prize for cracking internal GPS of the brain

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to three neurologists for their work in helping to understand how the brain can remember where we are – and finding out which nerve cells are responsible. Half of the prize was awarded to American-born John O'Keefe, who is a naturalized Brit and has spent his career …
Iain Thomson, 07 Oct 2014
Brute force

Holey? COWL! Boffins build boxes to hold sketchy JavaScript libs

Researchers have developed what they say is a new web privacy system for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox: we're told it blocks dodgy JavaScript code from funneling sensitive information to crooks. The Confinement with Origin Web Labels (COWL) system tries to protect websites that rely on JavaScript libraries written by third …
Iain Thomson, 07 Oct 2014
Marissa Mayer working from home?

Yahoo servers? SHELLSHOCKED? by Bash?

Updated Yahoo! said "a handful" of its servers fell to hackers who may have been trying to exploit the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash. The miscreants took control of the web servers to build a botnet out of them, it is claimed. "As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began patching our systems and have been closely monitoring …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2014

Why US Feds and g-men kick up a stink about a growing smartphone encryption trend

Analysis Over the last few weeks law enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic have been kicking up a fuss over Apple and Google deciding to include effective encryption on their smartphones. On Thursday, the Europol assistant director and head of European Cybercrime Centre issued a warning about the technology, and here in the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2014

Sprint starting mass layoffs to 'improve operational efficiencies' in mobile network

Workers at third-ranked US mobile network Sprint will have a nervous month as large numbers of them are going to be getting the call to "Come into the HR office please, and bring your key card." On Friday, the company made a regulatory filing in which it said it would be setting aside $160m to cover the cost of the layoffs, …
Iain Thomson, 04 Oct 2014
Princeton team finding the Majorana fermion

Particle that behaves like matter AND antimatter found: Majorana fermion

Scientists at Princeton are reporting the observation of Majorana fermion, a particle first predicted over 70 years ago that behaves like matter and antimatter at the same time. Majorana fermion Finding the Majorana fermion only took 77 years and a shedload of high-tech hardware The existence of such a particle was first …
Iain Thomson, 03 Oct 2014

EFF: Cops' spyware for parents is insecure – and a fat waste of money

Spyware distributed by US police to parents so they can check their precious little snowflakes aren't getting up to no good online is worse than useless, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The Windows and OS X software, dubbed ComputerCOP, has been purchased by 245 or so police departments in …
Iain Thomson, 03 Oct 2014
Tesla's Elon Musk

I'll show you the D next week – billionaire space baron Elon Musk

Elon Musk has been having some fun on Twitter: he posted a cryptic teaser about something new that will emerge from Tesla on October 9 at the firm's design studio in Hawthorne, California. About time to unveil the D and something else pic.twitter.com/qp23yi59i6 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2014 So now the interwebs are …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2014
Ayn Rand

Atlas snubbed! Ad blocker says it can kill Facebook's stalker tech

Facebook's new Atlas people-tracking system isn't popular, at least according to some of our readers, and now Adblock says it has found a way to block it. "While Adblock Plus applauds innovation that improves the advertising experience for the user, we firmly believe that the user should have the choice whether or not they want …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2014

So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

On Tuesday, with no fanfare, IBM closed the last chapter in the life of one of the most iconic early computer programs, Lotus 1-2-3, when it withdrew support for the final build of the software. IBM Lotus 123 Millennium Edition, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x, and Organizer have now officially all passed their end of life support date …
Iain Thomson, 02 Oct 2014

Facebook apologizes for binning accounts of drag queens

Facebook has backed down and apologized to a section of the social networking community for shutting down their accounts on the grounds that they weren't using their proper names. "I want to apologize to the affected community of drag queens, drag kings, transgender, and extensive community of our friends, neighbors, and members …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2014
Magneto

X-Men boffins demo nanomagnets to replace transistors

A team of scientists in Germany and the US have developed a new kind of logic gate that could crack the size problems haunting the processor industry. The problem is that the conventional CMOS method of producing chips requires ever-smaller transistors, but once you get to working in measurements of single-figure nanometers, the …
Iain Thomson, 01 Oct 2014
Windows 10 Start Button

Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really

Vid+Pics Microsoft has shown off Windows 10, and described it as a blend of Windows 7 and 8. Redmond thinks the new operating system is so revolutionary, it skipped over version 9 and went straight to double digits. "We will carry forward all that is good in Windows," Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the operating systems …
Iain Thomson, 30 Sep 2014
ello

Ello, 'ello, what's all this then? We take a spin on the new social network driving everyone loopy

Pics The history of social networks is littered with failures. Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, all have fallen by the wayside. Now Ello wants to add Facebook to that list: the invitation-only network has been growing by leaps and bounds of late. Google Play redesign Invitation-only at present and Ello warns there's a line ahead ( …
Iain Thomson, 27 Sep 2014
putin topless

Putin tells Google, Twitter, Facebook: Have a vodka and censorship on the rocks

The Russian authorities have told Google, Facebook, and Twitter that they face prosecution if they do not comply with the country's crackdown on free speech. Under a new Russian law, the three US firms must register as "organizers of information distribution," and store all data on Russian users in data centers on Russian soil. …
Iain Thomson, 26 Sep 2014
Golf HECKLER! screenshot

Alien gimp gag or cosmic golf ball? NASA tackles question everyone's asking

Pic Mars watchers have spotted another weird object on the surface of the Red Planet: images uploaded from the Curiosity rover feature a small, nearly perfect sphere that was photographed by the machine's MastCam. Mars ball Mars has a tiny ball (click to enlarge) The photo, which was snapped on September 11 and posted on NASA …
Iain Thomson, 26 Sep 2014
Marc Andreessen

Bubble 2.0? Moneybags VC Andreessen warns profit-free startups: 'You will be VAPORIZED'

When it comes to the internet age, Marc Andreessen was in there right from the start. Now, when he talks, people listen. So when the geek-turned-venture-capitalist today warned there'll soon be a bloodbath unless startups start making bank, we imagine there were a few spilled soy lattes in the Valley. Andreessen took to Twitter …
Iain Thomson, 26 Sep 2014
FBI badge and gun

FBI boss: Apple's iPhone, iPad encryption puts people 'ABOVE THE LAW'

FBI Director James Comey has complained that Apple and Google's use of stronger encryption in smartphones and tablets makes it impossible for cops and g-men to collar criminals. "There will come a day – well it comes every day in this business – when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014
Sun open sources Java

Sun of a beach! Java biz founder loses battle to keep his shore private

Vinod Khosla, cofounder of Sun Microsystems and billionaire venture capitalist, has lost his battle for his own private beach after surfers successfully sued him for access. In 2008 Khosla spent $37.5m on a 53-acre property on the San Mateo coast overlooking Martin's Beach, a 200-acre stretch of sand that is much beloved by the …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014
The Moon

Man's future in space ... Barack Obama: Mars. Narendra Modi: Mars. Vladimir Putin: Er, Moon

As India's boffins manage to put a probe in orbit of Mars on a shoestring budget, Russia has reiterated that it will boldly go ... as far as the Moon. The head of President Putin's space agency has confirmed it will build a new rocket to reach Earth's natural satellite – first occupied by the US in 1969 – and set up permanent …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014
Uncle Sam recruiting poster

Feds: Cheeky scammers are impersonating us in criminal capers

The FBI-backed Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an advisory warning that email scammers are impersonating it to extort money from gullible punters. The cyber-cop squad said several victims had been in contact after they received emails spoofed to look as though they are coming from IC3 itself. The emails state …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014
Sorry we're closed

Adobe axes R&D lab in China, insiders blame mandarins and pirates

Adobe is closing the doors of its research and development facility in China – and some within the biz are reportedly blaming the recalcitrant attitude of the Chinese government for the move. "The overall climate in China against Western enterprises has been quite negative and that's one of the major reasons," the anonymous …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2014
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

Titan falls! Blizzard cancels World of Warcraft successor

Games developer Blizzard has confirmed it is cancelling its massively multiplayer online (MMO) game Titan because after spending seven years and an estimated $50m or more developing the title, it just wasn't working out. "We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs. So we set out …
Iain Thomson, 24 Sep 2014
Alain Crozier microsoft

Le whoops! Microsoft France boss blows lid off 'Windows 9' event

When Microsoft sent out invitations to a secret press event for September 30 in San Francisco, rumors spread that it would mark the next major release of Windows. Now the president of Microsoft France has blown apart Microsoft's attempt at Applesque PR – by letting slip that "Windows 9" is indeed coming. "Last year we had …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2014
emma watson

Emma Watson urges UN to back feminism – trolls threaten to leak her 'nude selfies'

At the weekend, actress Emma Watson gave a well-argued and reasoned speech to the UN calling for better relations between the sexes. And lo, internet trolls appear to have set up a website threatening to release nude photographs of the Harry Potter star. The site, www.emmayouarenext.com, features a 4chan logo, a badly rendered …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2014

SpaceX breaks ground on first commercial spaceport in Texas

SpaceX founder Elon Musk and the Governor of Texas Rick Perry have officially broken the first ground for the rocketry firm's first commercial spaceport. The ceremony was held near Boca Chica Beach in the south of the state. Musk said the first rockets could blast off from the site by 2016. Once the port is up and running, …
Iain Thomson, 23 Sep 2014

GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

Data from the European Space Agency's Planck satellite has cast doubt over the claimed discovery of a gravitational wave tsunami sweeping the universe from the Big Bang. In March, a team of astrophysicists running the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (BICEP2) observatory shocked the scientific …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2014
DisplayPort

What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

The new Type C USB connector is causing a lot of excitement, thanks in part to its reversibility (you can plug it in either way up) and high rates of data and power transfer. But there's now another reason to buy into in: DisplayPort support. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) on Monday finalized DisplayPort …
Iain Thomson, 22 Sep 2014
By Veni Markovski - licensed under creative commons (attribution unported)

ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has never been one to hide his opinions. Now the father of the World Wide Web is up in arms about the state of net neutrality in the United States. In a chat with the Washington Post Sir Tim railed against the telecommunications companies' push to introduce differential pricing for internet content – such as …
Iain Thomson, 20 Sep 2014

Apple's warrant canary riddle: Cock-up, conspiracy, or anti-Google point-scoring

Analysis The internet was in a tizzy this week following the disappearance of what's assumed to be a warrant canary in Apple's latest report on governments demanding users' private data. The mere presence of the canary paragraph is supposed to signal that no information has been extracted. Thus, if it vanishes, it's assumed records have …
Iain Thomson, 20 Sep 2014

Microsoft staff brace for next round of layoffs – expected Thursday

The coffee machines at Microsoft will be taking a hammering from nervous workers after a report that the company will lay off another tranche of staff on Thursday. Back in July Microsoft announced it will lay off 18,000 employees in a reorganization lasting six months; 12,500 have since been shown the door, with the vast …
Iain Thomson, 17 Sep 2014
ICBM simulating rocket

SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

NASA has named SpaceX and Boeing as its official partners to deliver cargo and crew to the International Space Station, and says both should be ready to deliver within three years. Boeing CST100 capsule Space old-timer Boeing will charge $4.2bn for its delivery service "President Obama has made it clear that the greatest …
Iain Thomson, 16 Sep 2014
Scrooge McDuck

Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

Social networks for the rich and famous are nothing new: the first one started about ten years ago. But, this week, a new site called Netropolitan has emerged, and thinks it's cracked the reason why so many of them fail – they just weren't charging enough dosh. "No one has ever thought of charging a substantial fee for social …
Iain Thomson, 16 Sep 2014
That 419 shirt artwork in full

Bank IT bod accused of stealing $40 MEEELLION from employer

If you get an email from a hapless Nigerian prince who needs a hand shifting a few million dollars, the message will no doubt wing its way into your spam folder. But should you get a plea for help from a Nigerian sysadmin, you may want to take a second look: the Nigerian government's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( …
Iain Thomson, 16 Sep 2014
MIT robot cheetah

MIT boffins cry havoc and let slip the ROBOT CHEETAHS of Whoa

Vid MIT roboticists in the US have exhibited a robo-cheetah that will run and bound across the landscape without the need for a power cord. Youtube video The big cat bot is of particular interest to robotics scientists since it's the fastest quadruped found in nature. The US government's secret-squirrel science nerve-center DARPA ( …
Iain Thomson, 15 Sep 2014
Tor

Comcast exec: No, we haven't banned Tor. I use it. You're probably using it

Comcast has denied claims that it will cut off subscribers for using the Tor project's anonymizing web browser. "Comcast is not asking customers to stop using Tor, or any other browser for that matter," said Jason Livingood, VP of internet & communications engineering at Comcast in a blog post titled "Setting the record straight …
Iain Thomson, 15 Sep 2014
Rutger Hauer

Super Cali goes ballistic, Uber Pool is bogus: Ride sharing biz is illegal in the state, says regulator

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has warned Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber that their ride-sharing services are technically illegal under the state's licensing laws. All three companies are piloting schemes whereby users can sign up to share a ride to a location and get charged a reduced fee by the driver. But the CPUC …
Iain Thomson, 13 Sep 2014
twitchpokemon

Beware geeks bearing gifts: Steam-draining nasty spreads via Twitch

Infosec bods are warning of new malware spreading through game-streaming web hit Twitch: the software nasty subverts Steam accounts to drain player's wallets, and could take away all their precious weaponry. eskimo I've got 99 problems but a Twitch ain't one The malware spreads by bombarding users of Twitch's chat feature …
Iain Thomson, 12 Sep 2014
New Micro SD raspberry pi

SanDisk's record-busting 512GB SD CARD will fit perfectly in your empty wallet

Barely a decade after releasing its first 512MB SD card, SanDisk has unveiled a card capable of storing 512GB of digital material. The Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I memory card can write at 90MB/s and read at 95MB/s; not the speediest if you need to shift half a terabyte in a hurry, but enough it seems for recording 4K video straight …
Iain Thomson, 12 Sep 2014

US! govt! ordered! Yahoo! to! hand! over! user! data! or! pay! $250k! fine! PER! DAY!

Yahoo! has tried to explain why it buckled under pressure from Uncle Sam to hand over its users' data to the US government - by promising to publish the court documents which ordered the snooping. Said filings will, we're told, show Uncle Sam threatened to make Yahoo! pay a $250,000 fine for every day it refused to hand over …
Iain Thomson, 12 Sep 2014
Spinosaurus aegyptiacus

DUCKCROCZILLA 'alien' dinosaur could emerge from THE SEA

Pic Paleontologists have published the first pictures of a gigantic half-crocodile, half-duck dinosaur that evolved to swim – and was bigger than the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water ... "Working on this animal was like studying an alien from outer space …
Iain Thomson, 11 Sep 2014
Curiosity self-portrait at Rocknest in the Gale Crater

NASA on Curiosity bot: Mission accomplished (for now at least)

Pics NASA and JPL scientists have declared the first stage of Curiosity's ongoing mission to explore strange new places on Mars a success, after the laser-equipped space tank reached the foothills of Mount Sharp. The road ahead for Curiosity The winding road ahead for Curiosity (click to enlarge) "Curiosity now will begin a …
Iain Thomson, 11 Sep 2014
iCloud

Apple iCloud storage prices now ONLY double Dropbox, Google et al

While the world+dog was focused on Apple's new iPhones and shiny new smart(ish)watch, the firm quietly cut the price it charges for the iCloud storage system. The revised price plan on the iCloud website shows that Cupertino is still offering the first 5GB for free, but the next 20GB will now cost US$0.99 a month, 200GB will set …
Iain Thomson, 11 Sep 2014
GPS_coin_01

Sensors, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS... put a SoC in it, Broadcom. Oh, you have

Fabless chip designer Broadcom has unveiled a new system-on-chip (SoC) that combines ultra-low power consumption with GPS capabilities for the first time. The Broadcom BCM4773 chip includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), GPS, and micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) support on a single die, and the firm is pitching it for …
Iain Thomson, 10 Sep 2014
Rosetta selfie

'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet

Pic The European Space Agency has maneuvered its Rosetta probe into the perfect position for a selfie with its target – comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta selfie "Breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck" (click to enlarge) The image was taken on September 7 using cameras on Rosetta's Philae lander that will …
Iain Thomson, 10 Sep 2014
xfinity wifi

Comcast using JavaScript to inject advertising from Wi-Fi hotspots

Comcast has begun injecting adverts onto the computers of users who sign up for its public Wi-Fi network, although the company prefers to use the term "watermark" to describe its efforts. The ISP operates over 3.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the USA and people who sign up for home or work internet can choose to add them into …
Iain Thomson, 10 Sep 2014
Moto 360 battery

Moto 360 wristputer batt boob, elderly internals revealed in teardown

iFixit's teardown of Motorola's Moto 360 smartwatch has raised eyebrows after revealing a seemingly smaller-than-advertised battery and some very aged components. Moto 360 battery Can't fit 320mHa on there? Er, use a smaller font, maybe? The team took apart the new Android-powered smartwatch and found that the battery, which …
Iain Thomson, 10 Sep 2014
Rukwatitan bisepultus

Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS

Pic Paleontologists at Ohio Uni have unearthed the partial skeleton of an entirely new species of titanosaur – the massive herbivores that were the largest animals ever to walk on the planet which is nowadays ours. Rukwatitan bisepultus "Looks like Derek ate a bad shrub. You OK, mate?" The new specimen, Rukwatitan bisepultus, was …
Iain Thomson, 09 Sep 2014
Oliver Twist

Europe's Google wrangle: PLEASE, DOMINANT Mr Schmidt? More?

The European Commission apparently wants Google to make even more changes to its web search results, beyond those that Brussels has already requested. Brussels and Google are trying to reach a settlement following claims the advertising giant unfairly dominates the search market in Europe. The US goliath's rivals allege that …
Iain Thomson, 09 Sep 2014