Iain Thomson

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Concept art of a hypothetical HTC Facebook phone

Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair

Facebook has papered over its terms of use with a supposedly plain-English version, so that its users won't have to worry their pretty heads about being sold off to advertisers. Facebook Privacy Rights Yeah, right You can find the new "privacy basics" site here, or if you're not a child, the less insulting "data policy" site …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google

Google is gradually handing out the fifth major iteration of its Android OS, codenamed Lollipop, to some fortunate devices – and has made the firmware available for folk to download and install. #AndroidLollipop rollout has started and will soon be available on most #Nexus devices. Dessert is served. pic.twitter.com/XVFX2tEbHv …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014
Samsung Simband

Samsung: Every breath you take, every step you make, we'll be watching

Developer conference Samsung really wants to be a key player in the much ballyhooed internet-of-things, but admits it can't do the job alone. It needs software developers to come up with ways to draw people into IoT – and has been showing off hardware it hopes someone will write some apps for. During the opening keynote of the Samsung Developers …
Iain Thomson, 13 Nov 2014

FCC makes up its mind about net neutrality: Er, we'll decide in 2015

US watchdog the FCC has decided to ponder a little more on the fate of net neutrality – and delayed a crucial vote on the issue until next year. The regulator is in the middle of rewriting its rules to guarantee an "open internet" for all, after Verizon decided it didn't like the original rules and sued the agency. And won. FCC …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
Massive storm on Uranus

'Scope boffins get INSIDE URANUS after snapping mystery spots

Pics Uranus is one of the darkest places in our Solar System, so it's hard to spot from Earth. However, astronomers have caught the gas giant lighting up as unexplained storms ripped away its atmospheric cover. Massive storm on Uranus Something is rumbling deep within Uranus Using the W. M. Keck II Telescope on Hawaii, astronomers …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
Nexus 6

LARGE, ROUND and FEELS SO GOOD in your hand: Yes! It's a Nexus 6

Review We've been running the new Google-mungous big Nexus 6 smartphone and Android 5.0 through our hands-on real-world testing – and here are the results. Nexus 6 The Nexus range is Google's attempt to show the world exactly what an Android phone should be. As we've seen with past models, that usually means a stripped-down handset …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014

Alibaba reports China's Singles Day is the world's biggest orgy of shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the orgy of shopping that takes place after the US Thanksgiving holiday, has lost its crown as the biggest shopping event of the year to China's Singles Day, after Middle Kingdom buyers splurged over US$9bn consoling themselves for being sad and alone. Singles Day, so named because of the date 11. …
Iain Thomson, 12 Nov 2014
iPhone proposal in China

Chinese coder's got 99 problems and getting hitched is one: Huge iPhone woo plot FAILS

A Chinese software developer learned the hard way that money can't buy you love, even if you invest it in iPhones – or 99 of the things, to be precise. iPhone proposal in China "Will you do me the honor of.." No!" The unnamed technology worker from Guangzhou spent over RMB 500,000 (around $82,000) buying up 99 iPhone 6 …
Iain Thomson, 11 Nov 2014
Beware of the dog

Names, ages, addresses, SSNs of US postal staff slurped in 'mega-hack'

The US Postal Service has called in the FBI after hackers apparently grabbed names, addresses, social security numbers and other sensitive records from its staff database. It's feared miscreants got into USPS corporate servers, and swiped data that will be a lucrative haul for identity thieves and other fraudsters. USPS employs …
Iain Thomson, 10 Nov 2014
Overwatch

Blizzard shows off Overwatch – yet another guardians of Earth FPS

Vids Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled its first new games franchise in over a decade at the BlizzCon jamboree in California. Youtube Video Overwatch is a classic first-person shooter that looks very like Team Fortress and Unreal in gameplay. Teams of six players per team fight it out in a variety of country-specific gaming zones …
Iain Thomson, 08 Nov 2014
rockstar games bully/canis canem edit

Twitter turns to women's group to sort out its cyberbullying issues

The recent Gamergate kerfuffle is just the latest example of how Twitter has failed to control the worst elements of its user base. Now, rather than dealing with the problem of gender-based bullying itself, Twitter has partnered with the group Women, Action, & Media group (WAM!) to take care of it. "We’re thrilled to be working …
Iain Thomson, 08 Nov 2014

At last! Now you can STIFLE dull chums you can't really unfriend on Facebook

Facebook will soon let people edit and block stuff from appearing in their News Feeds after users complained of being bombarded with boring posts. Facebook new News Feed All the news that's unfit to print "We love your feedback about what you want to see in News Feed so we can work to get the experience you want," said Greg …
Iain Thomson, 07 Nov 2014
Love

Dating website for damaged-stiffy sufferers suffers stiff damage: £10m bill for leak

PositiveSingles, a dating website for people with sexually transmitted diseases, is facing a $16.5m (£10.4m) bill – after breaking a promise to keep its users' sensitive info confidential. The site is part of an online network for lonely hearts run by Canadian firm SuccessfulMatch. It promised users that the site was "100% …
Iain Thomson, 07 Nov 2014

If you're suing the UK govt, Brit spies will snoop on your briefs

British agents spy on lawyers and their clients who are suing the UK government – and then pass their confidential conversations onto the government's legal team, it's claimed. Evidence of dirty tricks surfaced amid a court case brought against the British government by two Libyan families, who were kidnapped and sent back to …
Iain Thomson, 07 Nov 2014
chalk outline of  human body at crime scene

Murder suspect charged after pics of strangle victim posted on 4chan

A man suspected of killing his girlfriend – and believed to have posted pictures of the victim on the 4chan chat board – has turned himself in to the police. Amber Coplin was murdered. Her 13 yo son found her, called his dad and 911. He's with other relatives now. pic.twitter.com/MmAY4BYj0Z — Alison Grande (@AlisonKIRO7) …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2014
Cloud security

Big Blue brandishes Big Brother bundle, bars big biz byte blab blunders

IBM has been buying up a load of computer security firms over the past three years to strengthen its chops in the area – and now it has decided to take that gobbled tech to the cloud, and dubbed it Dynamic Cloud Security (DCS). During the past year, more than 200 IBM engineers have been working on glueing together the bought-up …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2014
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

EFF: VPNs will crumble Verizon's creepy supercookie stalkers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says Verizon's silent supercookies, which always follow subscribers around the internet, are being abused by creepy advertisers to push targeted ads. The EFF says people should start using encrypted VPNs by default to claw back their privacy, because opting out of the system is not enough. Two …
Iain Thomson, 06 Nov 2014
Fail and You

Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD STANDS

Last month Microsoft announced a partnership with CNN for its mid-term election night coverage, with Redmond providing tech for the news anchors to use. Unfortunately, the anchors used their shiny Surface tablet to prop up or hide their Apple iPads. CNN commentators using Microsoft @surface tablets as iPad stand. Facepalm. pic …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2014

RBS faces BIGGEST ever fine for THAT huge IT meltdown – leak

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is reportedly preparing to levy its biggest fine yet against Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group over the bank's almighty computer meltdown two years ago. Sources at the FCA told Sky News that the fine would be "several tens of millions of pounds," although the state-backed banking group …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2014
grab_that_cash

Who wants to be A MILLIONAIRE? Not so fast, Visa tells wannabe pay-by-bonk thieves

Visa Europe has downplayed a new attack that could steal hundreds of thousands in foreign currency over the air from contactless credit cards. The electronic robbery was devised by researchers at Newcastle University in the UK, but the banking giant claims the techniques used aren't feasible in the real world. The researchers' …
Iain Thomson, 05 Nov 2014
Partnership

Microsoft, Dropbox execs go public with their Office hookup

Microsoft and Dropbox have inked a deal to integrate their cloud-hosted stuff: mobile users of Office 365 will be able to automatically save files to their Dropbox account from within Redmond's software. And Dropbox users will also be able to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files within the Dropbox and share them within the …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2014
Joust

Brighten your November morning: 900 in-browser arcade classics added to the Internet Archive

For all the conflict between console gamers and their PC brethren, kids today have never had it so good. In our day we had to gather in darkened shops to play video games housed in wooden cabinets that mercilessly gobbled quarters. This archaic form of gaming is almost lost to humanity, but survives thanks to a few retro stores …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2014

New GCHQ spymaster: US tech giants are 'command and control networks for TERROR'

The new head of Britain's equivalent to the NSA – Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – has used his first day on the job to lambaste US technology companies for daring to improve the security of their products. "However much they may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for …
Iain Thomson, 04 Nov 2014
putin topless

Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Updated An iPhone-shaped monument in Russia has been torn down by homophobes after learning Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay. Business leaders in the Putin-led nation took down the erection after claiming Cook had "called for sodomy." Citing "gay propaganda" law, Russia dismantles memorial to Steve Jobs after Tim Cook comes out http://t.co/ …
Iain Thomson, 03 Nov 2014
SpaceShipTwo launch

Virgin Galactic vows to continue space program after 'serious anomaly'

Both Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have vowed to continue the private exploration of space after Friday's crash that destroyed SpaceShipTwo, claimed the life of one pilot, and severely wounded another. SpaceShipTwo SpaceShipTwo at takeoff this morning "Space is hard, and today was a tough day. We are going to be …
Iain Thomson, 01 Nov 2014
SpaceShipTwo crash

Virgin's SpaceShipTwo crashes in Mojave Desert during test flight

Updated Richard Branson's commercial space company Virgin Galactic suffered a serious setback on Friday when a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo aircraft crashed during the testing of its rocket motor. SpaceShipTwo crash This doesn't look good "Virgin Galactic’s partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo …
Iain Thomson, 31 Oct 2014
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg

Danish court finds Pirate Bay cofounder guilty of hacking CSC servers

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, cofounder of the Pirate Bay, has been found guilty of hacking charges by a court in Denmark, which ruled that he and a 21-year-old accomplice had hacked US technology company CSC to gain access to Danish government servers. "We welcome the decision of the court, and the trial clearly demonstrated the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014

Lenovo completes Motorola purchase for $2.9bn – $10bn less than Google paid for it

Three years ago, Google splashed out $12.5bn for struggling mobe manufacturer Motorola, and on Thursday the Chocolate Factory completed its sale of Motorola's physical assets to Lenovo for just $2.91bn. Not all of the money will be going into Google's coffers right away, however. Lenovo is paying $660m in cash plus $750m in …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014

Big Retail: We don't hate Apple, we hate the credit card companies

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) went on a PR offensive on Wednesday to explain what happened in the hacking attack that saw its testers' emails exposed, why its member retailers banned Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and what makes its CurrentC mobile payment system so great. Dekkers Davidson, CEO of MCX, which represents 50 …
Iain Thomson, 30 Oct 2014
Nude gamers

No nudity, please, we're GAMING: Twitch asks players to cover up

Twitch, the streaming site where users show off their gaming prowess to the public, has altered its terms and conditions to ban users from being cheeky by playing in the buff. "Nerds are sexy, and you're all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let's try and keep this about the games, shall we?" the firm's updated rules of …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Fail and You

Big Retail's Apple Pay killer CurrentC HACKED, tester info nicked

CurrentC, the mobile payments system being pushed by some of the biggest retailers in the US, has been hacked – before the system is even fully up and running. "Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Antares rocket fails

BONFIRE of the MEGA-BUCKS: $200m+ BURNED in SECONDS in Antares launch blast

Vid Reps from NASA and Orbital Sciences have been furiously explaining themselves at a press conference in the wake of the destruction of Orbital's Antares rocket – and possibly the partial loss of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Youtube Video "It's a really tough business," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
Antares rocket fails

KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

Pics+Vid Orbital Sciences just can't seem to catch a break. Monday's launch of its Antares rocket was scrubbed by a rogue sailboat and on Tuesday the rocket exploded just seconds after launching from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Antares rocket fails There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2014
traffic lights

You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds

The US Federal Trade Commission has begun legal action against AT&T over its unlimited data plans, claiming the telco didn't tell customers that their data services would in fact be throttled. The lawsuit claims that in 2007, AT&T started selling the iPhone with a $20 per month "unlimited" data plan. But by 2011, the demands on …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2014
Sorry we're closed

Apple, Google take on Main Street in BONKING-FOR-CASH struggle

When Apple honcho Tim Cook took to the stage to introduce Apple Pay, he promised it would simplify the way people pay for goods and services, but the road to that goal has not been smooth since. Last week came the news that some Apple Pay users were getting charged twice for the same purchases. Teething pains are to be expected …
Iain Thomson, 28 Oct 2014
Supernova RCW 86

Boffins snap first pics of hot white dwarf nova bursting out of its shell

Astronomers have caught the first pictures of a star in the early stages of going nova after a Japanese amateur skywatcher alerted the community to a new star showing up in the heavens. On August 14 of last year, Koichi Itagaki reported discovering a new star in the sky called Nova Delphinus 2013 around 14,800 light years from …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2014
Sundar Pichai

Google boss Larry Page gives Sundar Pichai keys to the kingdom

Ten years after joining Google and with running Android, Chrome, and Google Apps already on his plate, Sundar Pichai's star has now risen even higher, gaining a new tranche of responsibilities in the process. On Friday, Google CEO Larry Page sent out a memo, seen by Re/code, advising employees that in addition to his current …
Iain Thomson, 25 Oct 2014
Alan Eustace

Breaking records: Google exec in terrifying SKY PLUNGE DRAMA

A top Google exec has broken the record for the highest free fall to Earth – in a largely self-funded stunt to explore the stratosphere. Alan Eustace Must not fart in there ... must not fart in there On Friday morning, Pacific time, Google's senior veep of Knowledge Alan Eustace rode a helium-filled balloon to more than 135, …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014
Scrooge McDuck

Silicon Valley scrooges paid staff $1.21 an hour in a 122-hour week

A successful Silicon Valley firm has admitted paying staff $1.21 an hour and working them for more than 120 hours a week. State officials got involved when an anonymous tipster alerted them to the activities of Electronics For Imaging, an international business based in the Bay Area that specializes in printing technology. The …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014
Image of HAL eye from 2001 movie with Chrome logo in eye

Google absorbs Oxford Uni boffins in artificial intelligence boost quest

Google has hired seven academics from Oxford University and signed partnerships with the engineering and computer science facilities to help it develop its DeepMind artificial intelligence system. "We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014

COMET 67P is basically TRAILING a HORRIFIC STENCH through space

The Rosetta probe that is orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is mainly preoccupied with firming up its plans for landing on the surface: however, there's still science to be done – and boffins have been taking a sniff at how the space snowball smells. For the last two months, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral …
Iain Thomson, 24 Oct 2014

Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL

Adobe has tweaked its Digital Editions 4 desktop ebook reader to now encrypt the data it secretly sends back to headquarters – data that details a user's reading habits. Previously, information on every single tome accessed by Digital Editions 4 was phoned home unencrypted, allowing anyone eavesdropping on a network to intercept …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2014
Neanderthal display in museum

RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

Boffins in Germany have extracted the oldest human DNA yet discovered – from a 45,000-year-old thigh bone found in Siberia. And after studying the genetic goop, the researchers have concluded that humans started interbreeding with their Neanderthal cousins about 60,000 years ago. 45,000 year old human bone 'What a slut' A …
Iain Thomson, 23 Oct 2014

Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email

Vid Email has been around for better than 40 years – but Google thinks you just can't handle its fiendish complexity. And lo, the web king has developed an application dubbed Inbox to make an easy job easier. Google Inbox Inbox from Google, for when plain email just isn't enough "We get more email now than ever, important …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014

Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

A survey into what Americans fear most has shown that fears of identity theft and being unsafe online outweigh the fear of being shot. The poll of 1,500 Americans conducted by Chapman University in Orange, California, found that walking alone down a dark street is the situation that has Americans most fearful – beating the fear …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all

Windows doesn't have the best reputation for security, but Microsoft has been outlining a series of improvements in the new operating system that it believes will stymie hackers and leave corporate data more secure. "We're no longer facing an evolution in security threats but a revolution," Chris Hallum, senior product manager …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014
hoverboard

Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes

The internet is aflutter over the Kickstarter campaign for the "Hendo Hoverboard", a magnetically levitating toy that the firm alleges will be available on October 21, 2015 – the same day that Michael J Fox programmed into the De Lorean for the second Back to the Future film. hoverboard As a consumer device it looks a little …
Iain Thomson, 22 Oct 2014

How to get $542m from Google: Dress as a SPACEMAN with dayglo dancers – Magic Leap

Vid Google and A-list venture capitalists have given more than half a billion dollars to Magic Leap, a mysterious startup that aims to "make computing more natural". Magic Leap Magic Leap ... your guess is as good as ours Magic Leap is based down in Florida, and has no products, revenue, or public business plan, as far as we can …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014
Orionid meteor shower

Watch live! NASA video streams Orionid meteor shower – or go outside and look yourself

Vid If you're in a position to see the constellation of Orion tonight then it's time to enjoy the annual Orionid meteor shower – as the Earth slams into the debris left by Halley's Comet's 1986 visit at about 148,000 MPH. orionids Look to the East for nature's fireworks display. Credit Dr. Tony Phillips "The Orionid meteor shower …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014
Protesters outside FCC headquarters

US Senate's net neutrality warrior to Comcast: Remind us how much you hate web fast lanes

US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has urged Comcast to publicly swear it will not pave fast lanes across the internet for wealthy websites. Leahy, writing in an open letter, also wants the American telco to use its market and lobbying muscle to support net neutrality. Leahy noted that the amount of public comment on the issue has …
Iain Thomson, 21 Oct 2014