Iain Thomson

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Giuliani

Donald Trump will take cybersecurity advice from, um, Rudy Giuliani

The transition team for US president-elect Donald Trump has announced that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani will advise the incoming administration on how to secure America's digital infrastructure. We're told that the Donald may hold meetings with senior private industry executives with experience in online security. …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017

Thanks, Obama: NSA to stream raw intelligence into FBI, DEA and pals

A last-minute rule change signed off by the outgoing Obama administration has made it much easier for the NSA to share raw surveillance data with more than a dozen government agencies. The changes [PDF] are tacked onto executive order 12333, which was enacted by then-President Ronald Reagan to allow intelligence agencies to …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017
gyroid

MIT brainiacs wrangle 2D graphene into super-strong 3D art homework

Video Graphene is said to be the wonder material of our age, but it’s largely a 2D affair. Now scientists have made 3D structures out of the stuff that will be an engineer’s dream. Since the first atom-thick strips of graphene were produced, the substance has shown remarkable properties, including extraordinary strength and …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017
Assange

Weaky-leaks: Furious fans roast Assange in web interview from hell

Video WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was blasted by fans during a live online Q&A – after he, for once in his life, refused to disclose information. The nearly five-year resident of the Ecuadorian embassy in London hopped onto Reddit's Ask Me Anything discussion board where netizens pose questions and the most popular ones rise to …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2017

Dieselgate: VW pleads guilty, will cough up $4.3bn, throws 6 staff under its cheatware bus

In one of the toughest smackdowns in recent US corporate history, Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to Dieselgate fraud charges, and will cop a massive fine. Meanwhile, six staffers have been charged regarding the engine cheatware scandal and are facing the business end of a trial. According to the US Department of Justice on …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jan 2017

Anti-smut law dubs PCs, phones 'pornographic vendor machines', demands internet filters

Over to North Dakota, US, now and a new front in the war against cyber-smut has opened up. A proposed law will force porno-blocking filters onto computers and smartphones sold in the conservative state – with a charge to remove the censorship. Bill 1185 [PDF] will require laptops, cellphones and other internet-capable devices …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jan 2017
Cygnus

Binary star bash-up should add new light to Northern Cross in 2022

Pics and video The stars of the Northern Cross – one of the most recognisable features in the night sky that has been used as a marker for the seasons for thousands of years – should be getting a bright new addition. binary star KIC 9832227 is a stellar peanut 1,800 light years away lies the stellar system of KIC 9832227, two stars …
Iain Thomson, 11 Jan 2017

This'll be the next thing Trump crows about: Apple assembling servers on American soil

Apple boss Tim Cook and US president-elect Donald Trump aren’t exactly best buds. However, the iPhone maker could soon land the honor of a congratulatory tweet from the jumped-up telly celeb – after it revealed it is expanding its manufacturing in America. Two years ago, Apple announced it would build a $2bn data center in …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2017
Windows 10

Microsoft's Blue Screen of Death dead in latest Windows 10 preview

Redmond has released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15002 – one of the biggest updates to its cloudy operating system – ahead of the release of the Creators Update later this year. There's a whole host of upgrades and additions in the new build, but one that will be immediately noticeable to developers is the axing of the …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2017

Is! Yahoo! dead?! Why! web! biz! will! rename! to! Altaba! – the! truth!

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of perennial drain-circler Yahoo!, will step down from its board of directors, along with five other members, after Verizon finishes gobbling up most of the internet portal. And once the acquisition is over, the remaining carcass of Yahoo! will change its name to Altaba Inc. In an SEC filing today, …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2017
F18

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Seamen spread over California

Video In October, three F/A-18 Super Hornet jets dropped an unusual payload into the air over the US Navy's China Lake weapons testing facility in California – more than 100 semi-autonomous drones. The Perdix drones, 6- by 12-inch propeller-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), were fired out of the flare dispensers of the …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jan 2017

CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

Pics It's that time of year again, when over 100,000 people cram into the Las Vegas Convention Center to show off the latest in consumer electronics gizmos, make deals, and exchange interesting viruses to get the inevitable conference cough. This year's CE has been about par for the course – dull keynotes, some interesting gadgets …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jan 2017
silence

FBI let alleged pedo walk free rather than explain how they snared him

In a surprising and worrying move, the FBI has dropped its case against a man accused of downloading child sex abuse images, rather than reveal details about how they caught him. Jay Michaud, a middle school teacher in Vancouver, Washington, was arrested in July last year after visiting the Playpen, a dark web meeting place …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2017
Elon Musk

Elon's SpaceX gets permission to blow up another satellite or two

America's Federal Aviation Administration has cleared SpaceX to launch satellites into Earth's orbit using the science upstart's rockets. This comes after the watchdog scrutinized the cause of last year's dramatic explosion on a SpaceX launchpad: on September 1, a refueling cockup strongly encouraged a Falcon 9 rocket, along …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2017

Forget aircraft – now cretins are laser-blinding ferry boat crewmen

The Washington State Ferry service, on the US west coast, appears to have some high-tech enemies: a series of laser attacks have been fired at pilots on the craft that serve Seattle's Elliott Bay and the surrounding locales. On New Year's Eve the captain and the first mate of the ferry Tacoma were temporarily unsighted when …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2017
Wages

Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand over its OWN staff personal info

The US Department of Labor is suing Google for details of its staff's wages – though the Chocolate Factory claims it's bending over backwards to comply with the bureaucrats' demands. This is the same advertising giant that loves keeping tabs on hundreds of millions of netizens, and coughs up people's private information to …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2017
asteroid mission

NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

Vid NASA has OKed two new missions to study some of the most interesting asteroids in our solar system, as part of its ongoing Discovery mission program. The first mission, named Lucy, will launch in October 2021 and will head off to the gas giant of Jupiter to explore its Trojan zones. These are two points on either side of the …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2017
Faraday Future

Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

CES 2017 While the crowds at CES in Las Vegas are all agog at the Faraday Future FF91 supercar, you can stop saving your pennies. Half Life 3 will be released before these allegedly self-driving vehicles roll out in volume. Faraday Future, based in Gardena, California, claims the FF91 is the fastest accelerating car in the world, with …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jan 2017
smartphone driver

Apple sued by parents of girl killed by driver 'distracted by FaceTime'

A family is suing Apple after their five-year-old daughter was killed by a driver allegedly distracted at the wheel with a FaceTime call on his iPhone. On Christmas Eve, 2014, the Modisette family was driving down Interstate 35W in Texas when a car accident up ahead brought traffic to a standstill. They stopped, but behind …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jan 2017

Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

CES 2017 The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush. A comb through the technical specs of the Kérastase Hair Coach, a snip at around $200, reveals the high-tech hairbrush has sensors that …
Iain Thomson, 04 Jan 2017
passport

Xmas software update knackered US Customs computer systems

If you were trying to enter the US on Monday, queues were much longer than usual. That's because a Christmas software update borked the main computer systems used by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). On Monday, the main passenger checking system used by CBP to check for undesirables trying to get into the Land of the …
Iain Thomson, 03 Jan 2017
Failing

Spotty battery life costs Apple's MacBook Pro its gold-star rating

Updated Geeks at Consumer Reports have, for the first time, declined to award a "recommended" status to an Apple laptop – after the latest MacBook Pro proved unreliable during testing. The testers tried out the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBooks with the Touch Bar, and the 13-inch without Ive's new big idea in laptop design. The results …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2016
Apology

Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Microsoft's marketing boss Chris Capossela has confessed the infamous your-Windows-10-upgrade-is-ready pop-up that tricked so many people into installing the thing was a step "too far." Speaking on this week's Windows Weekly podcast on Twit.tv, Capossela was asked to list his low points of the year for Redmond (it's 17 minutes …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2016

Virgin America mid-flight panic after moron sets phone Wi-Fi hotspot to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'

Updated A Virgin America flight from San Francisco to Boston was nearly diverted after someone onboard named their phone's Wi-Fi hotspot 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7'. A passenger on Flight 358, Mapboix software developer Lucas Wojciechowski, was scanning the plane for in-flight Wi-Fi when he noticed a hotspot active that appeared to be …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2016
Made in China

We've been Trumped! China's Alibaba is a 'notorious' knock-offs souk, says US watchdog

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has put Alibaba's Taobao, the Chinese internet giant's online auction site, on its "notorious markets list" of sites that regularly deal in counterfeit goods. In a bulletin this week [PDF] the USTR noted that Taobao, which is the world's largest online shopping destination by gross …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2016