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Iain Thomson

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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

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

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

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)

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

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

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

Salesforce: Oh no! Dyre RATs are thirsty for our customers' logins

Salesforce has warned that miscreants are trying to infect its customers with a remote access trojan (RAT) dubbed Dyre that siphons off Salesforce.com login data. "On September 3, 2014, one of our security partners identified that the Dyre malware (also known as Dyreza), which typically targets customers of large, well-known …
Iain Thomson, 08 Sep 2014
Nicaraguan meteorite investigated by soldier

NASA said a 60ft space alien menacing Earth wouldn't harm us: Tell THAT to Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan government reckons a meteorite that created a huge hole in the ground just outside its capital's main airport may have been part of the 2014 RC asteroid that skimmed past Earth at the weekend. Some NASA experts aren't so sure, however. In fact, they've practically ruled it out. Nicaraguan meteorite Nicaraguan …
Iain Thomson, 08 Sep 2014
"Armageddon" image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures/Touchstone Pictures

Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

A 60-foot-wide asteroid only discovered last week will have a close encounter with the Earth on Sunday, sliding past our planet a scant 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) from the surface. The asteroid, dubbed 2014 RC, was only discovered on August 31 by the US Catalina Sky Survey. It was confirmed by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on …
Iain Thomson, 06 Sep 2014
Planet Labs' Doves in their coop

Look out, world! Space Station satellite cannon has A MIND OF ITS OWN

A satellite launcher deployed on the International Space Station has surprised astronauts by firing off its payload without human intervention. The CubeSat Deployer, manufactured by Texas firm NanoRacks, is designed to emit its miniature satellites on a strict schedule – but the spacemen noticed that the cannon appeared to be …
Iain Thomson, 05 Sep 2014
Tesla's Elon Musk

Elon Musk says Tesla's stock price is too high ... welp, NOT ANY MORE

Elon Musk's mouth has cost him a pretty penny after he told the press that he thinks his electric car company is a tad overvalued at the moment. "I think our stock price is kind of high right now," Musk told CNBC. "If you care about the long term, Tesla, I think the stock is a good price. If you look at the short term, it is …
Iain Thomson, 05 Sep 2014

Cyber-hoodlum tripped, fell, landed in Obama's Healthcare.gov server

Officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have today confirmed that one of the Healthcare.gov servers was hacked. The system was compromised in July, when an as-yet unidentified miscreant managed to worm his or her way in and install malware. The security breach was spotted and the machine – which was …
Iain Thomson, 05 Sep 2014

FCC boss Wheeler: Lack of broadband choice is screwing Americans

US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has issued his most damning indictment of America's broadband infrastructure to date – claiming more than half of citizens have only one ISP in their area offering 25Mbps or faster connections, and that competition has been crippled by a telecoms duopoly. "The simple …
Iain Thomson, 04 Sep 2014
Screaming kid

If your kid blew $$$s on in-app tat, Google has a slice of $19m+ for you

Google has promised to return at least $19m (£11.6m) to parents who were unexpectedly billed for in-app purchases made by their kids. The web giant today agreed to the payout in a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission. According to the watchdog, children could to go on spending sprees with mummy or daddy's credit card …
Iain Thomson, 04 Sep 2014
Dreadnoughtus schrani

DREADNOUGHTUS: The 65-TON DINO that could crumple up a T-Rex like a paper cup

Paleontologists report that they have discovered the remains of a new type of dinosaur - dubbed Dreadnoughtus schrani - that tipped the scales at 65 tons, was 85 feet long ... and was still growing fast when it died. Dreadnoughtus schrani Dreadnoughtus schrani - our weightiest dinosaur to date Kenneth Lacovara, associate …
Iain Thomson, 04 Sep 2014
Steve Jobs, credit Apple site, screengrab

Silicon Valley tech titans beg for more mediation time in wage-fix lawsuit

Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley have filed a court motion asking for more time in mediation before going to court to fight former employees who claim they were put on secret no-hire blacklists by their bosses. The class action suit claims that from 2005 the bosses of Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, …
Iain Thomson, 04 Sep 2014

Verizon hit with $7.4 MEEELLION fine for slurping users' privates

Verizon has agreed to pay the US Treasury $7.4m to settle an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission into its failure to tell customers that it was using their personal information for marketing purposes. "In today's increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform …
Iain Thomson, 03 Sep 2014
Made in Space 3D printer

NASA clears zero-G 3D printer for mission to SPAAAAACE

A special 3D printer designed to work in zero-gravity conditions has received flight certification from NASA and will shortly be sent up to the International Space Station for astronauts to try out. The space stations forthcoming 3D printer Astronauts will soon be able to build their own plastic gewgaws The snappily named 3-D …
Iain Thomson, 03 Sep 2014
Hacker baseball cap

Claimed Home Depot credit card hack could be biggest retail breach yet

One of the US's largest home improvement chains is investigating whether its systems have been cracked by hackers, as one security researcher has claimed. "I can confirm that we’re looking into some unusual activity and we are working with our banking partners and law enforcement to investigate," the company told El Reg in a …
Iain Thomson, 02 Sep 2014
Google UK office logos

'Enterprise' ends ten-year mission: Choc Factory's biz services now Google for Work

Google has celebrated ten years of selling services to businesses by dumping the name Google Enterprise in favor of the touchier, feelier Google for Work. "We never set out to create a traditional 'enterprise' business – we wanted to create a new way of doing work," said Google chairman Eric Schmidt in a blog post. "So the …
Iain Thomson, 02 Sep 2014
Artist's image of asteroids and Mars

NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away

IT administrators at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are preparing to perform an interplanetary remote wipe and reboot on its Martian Opportunity rover after the decade-old explorer began to get a bit senile. The latest view from Mars sent by Opportunity The latest view from Mars sent by Opportunity Opportunity's computer …
Iain Thomson, 30 Aug 2014
Eugene Kaspersky in Sydney

Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather

Russian security software vendor Kaspersky has yanked an article from its website arguing that netizens shouldn't fear state surveillance unless they had done something wrong in the first place. "Remember if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide," the cached version of the unsigned article states. "There is …
Iain Thomson, 29 Aug 2014
Intel Core i7-5960X

Intel unleashed octo-core speed demon for the power-crazed crowd

Intel has released its first eight-core desktop chip, the Intel Core i7-5960X processor Extreme Edition, formerly known as Haswell-E, along with two other slightly slower chips. Intel Core i7-5960X Chipzilla's latest speed demon "We're thrilled to unveil the next phase in our 'reinvention of the desktop' we outlined earlier …
Iain Thomson, 29 Aug 2014
Winnie-the-Pooh honey

Feds salute plucky human ROBOT-FIGHTERS

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced over US$12,000 in prizes in its “Zapping Rachel” robocall contest, which was held at this year's DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas. The FTC has been on something of a crusade against the curse of the robocall, both because they are illegal and also because it …
Iain Thomson, 29 Aug 2014
IT Crowd. Source: Channel 4 / 2entertain

Gamma's not a goner! UK ISP sorts out major outage

British ISP Gamma Partners is blaming BT for a 13-hour break in its data and communications services but says the problem has now been fixed. We have now restored service to all our users. Root cause investigations continue and a further update will be issued tomorrrow — Gamma Support (@GammaSvcSupport) August 28, 2014 The …
Iain Thomson, 29 Aug 2014

Want to buy T-Mobile US? Yours for $35 per share – report

The parent company of US mobile telco bad boy T-Mobile has reportedly decided it will sell the firm, after two failed bids, and has set its price at $35 per share. According to a person with knowledge of the matter, senior managers at the German firm met for a strategy meeting in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the recently failed …
Iain Thomson, 28 Aug 2014
Suspected thigh bone on Mars spotted by Curiosity

Rickety rock deemed unworthy of Curiosity's drill

NASA's plans to conduct its fourth major drilling project have been called off after the proposed target, dubbed Bonanza King, proved unstable. Bonanza King on Mars Site proves a bit too shaky for scanning Last week the rover found the drilling site after detouring through the northeastern end of “Hidden Valley,” on its way …
Iain Thomson, 28 Aug 2014
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Dropbox cuts cloud storage prices $10 per terabyte, matching Google and Microsoft

Dropbox has become the latest company to slash its cloud storage costs as the price war in the sector heats up, leaving consumers to reap the cost benefits. "We don’t want you to worry about choosing the right plan or having enough space," the company wrote in a blog post. "So today, we’re simplifying Dropbox Pro to a single …
Iain Thomson, 27 Aug 2014
Windows XP BSOD

Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch

Microsoft has reissued a security patch for Windows that previously caused PCs to suffer blue screens of death. The new release comes 10 days after Redmond advised people to uninstall the dodgy update. "This month we had our first roll out with additional non-security updates. A small number of customers experienced problems …
Iain Thomson, 27 Aug 2014

Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case

A top government cybersecurity official who secretly joined an online pedophile network to swap child sex abuse material and rape fantasies has been convicted. Timothy DeFoggi, 56, is described by the US Department of Justice as being the former acting director of cyber security at Uncle Sam's Department of Health and Human …
Iain Thomson, 27 Aug 2014
flames_fire_destruction

Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables

HP has recalled more than six million power leads after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission warned the kit was starting fires. HP AC power cord recall Melty cords a danger to HP users "HP has received 29 reports of power cords overheating and melting or charring resulting in two claims of minor burns and 13 claims of …
Iain Thomson, 26 Aug 2014
Star Trek Into Darkness

Next blockbuster you watch could be rendered on Google: Star Trek fx biz Zync gobbled

Google has confirmed its gobble of Zync, a cloud-based special effects rendering service. "Creating amazing special effects requires a skilled team of visual artists and designers, backed by a highly powerful infrastructure to render scenes. Many studios, however, don’t have the resources or desire to create an in-house …
Iain Thomson, 26 Aug 2014