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Iain Thomson

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Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs

SpaceX boss Elon Musk has been showing off steerable wings on his company's Falcon rocket booster – and a floating landing pad to catch the reusable craft out at sea. Musk revealed the tech in a series of tweets over the weekend. He said future builds of the Falcon rocket system would carry stabilizing tabs – dubbed "X-wings" – …
Iain Thomson, 24 Nov 2014
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Judge OKs $450m deal to end ebook price-hike row. But Apple just won't let it die

A Manhattan judge has finally approved Apple's settlement in its long-running ebook price-fixing lawsuit: $400m will go to readers who paid over the odds, and $50m will go to the lawyers suing the iTunes Giant. The out-of-court deal was drawn up in June and was granted preliminary approval by District Court Judge Denise Cote in …
Iain Thomson, 22 Nov 2014
The European flag

Europe may ask Herr Google: Would you, er, snap off your search engine? Pretty please

The European Parliament will reportedly consider pressuring, say, ad giant Google to snap off its search engine and move it away from its biz operations. A draft motion, seen by the Financial Times, calls for the "unbundling [of] search engines from other commercial services." The motion has the support of the two main blocs in …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014
Pigeon crapping on statue

That's all folks! US TV streaming upstart Aereo files for bankrupcy

It's the end of the line for the TV streaming biz Aereo: it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and appointed a chief restructuring officer to extract some remaining value from its assets. "Our engineering team created the first cloud-based, individual antenna and DVR that enabled you to record and watch live …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

Hey, it's ... Gecko man, Gecko man, does almost whatever a GECKO can

A graduate student at Stanford has successfully climbed a 3.7-metre glass wall using a pair of super-sticky gloves modeled on the feet of gecko lizards. Youtube Video The kit was developed at the California university with funding from Uncle Sam's boffinry headquarters DARPA. The gloves are covered with 24 little sticky pads – …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014

Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

Toy giant Mattel has withdrawn from sale its painfully sexist Barbie book I Can Be A Computer Engineer after a storm of protest. It apologized for making the anatomically-impossible doll incapable of fixing a PC without two lads' help – let alone program any software for one. "The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story …
Iain Thomson, 21 Nov 2014

You'll go APE for our new Gorilla Glass 4, Corning reckons

Corning has unveiled the fourth iteration of its Gorilla Glass – and claims the new see-through substance is twice as damage resistant as its previous version. It's also much better at surviving drops onto hard surfaces, apparently. Gorilla Glass version is used in the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lines, plus shedloads of …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies

After USA FREEDOM Act's failure, what's next for mass surveillance?

This week the US Senate failed to get the required 60 votes to beat a Republican filibuster on the USA FREEDOM Act, which would have instituted mild controls on the bulk collection of communications data on American citizens. The vote was largely along party lines, although Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) voted with the Democrats to try …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Satellite

Slapnav: Looking for KINKY dark matter? Switch on the GPS!

Although our ancestors would have been amazed by GPS technology for the current generation it's pretty old hat. Nevertheless, scientists have come up with a new idea for using the network of positioning satellites that encircle our globe – the quest to find dark matter. In a paper published in the latest issue of Nature Physics …
Iain Thomson, 20 Nov 2014
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

A British couple is fuming after a hotel reportedly charged them an extra £100 for leaving a damning TripAdvisor review. Tony and Jan Jenkinson spent one night at the Broadway Hotel in stunning Blackpool, were distinctly unimpressed with the experience, and wrote about it on travel reviews website TripAdvisor. But they had …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014

NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators

A law bill to reform some of the NSA's mass surveillance of innocent Americans died in the US Senate this evening. Democrats pushing through the proposed overhaul were two votes short of the 60 needed to break a Republican filibuster. While the bill would not have completely dismantled the NSA's spying operations, privacy …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014
Apple Watch

Get your CLOCK out, you coders: Apple emits Watch dev kit

Apple hasn't yet even set a date for the sale of its smart watch: but it's keen to have a full suite of apps ready at the launch – and it would like it if other people developed these at their own expense. hence it has put out an SDK. The SDK, dubbed WatchKit, is available now, and it includes a Watch emulator to run software on …
Iain Thomson, 19 Nov 2014
Spitting Image God

LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball

Scientists at the ESA claim that "organic" molecules - the so-called building blocks of life itself - have been found on the icy surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the sadly now defunct Philae lander probot. Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cometary Sampling and Composition instrument (COSAC), told BBC …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
Bitcoins

Feds to auction off second tranche of Silk Road Bitcoins worth $19 MEEELLION

The US Marshals Service (USMS) is looking forward to another funding bonanza after holding another auction of Bitcoins seized from the Silk Road online bazaar that was allegedly run by Ross Ulbricht under the handle the Dread Pirate Roberts. The auction is for 50,000 Bitcoins, worth $19,241,924 at current market rates, and the …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
French fries

Samsung, Apple soap opera drama: Korean giant WILL churn out chips for iPhones, iPads

Apple and Samsung have fought bitterly in the courtroom when it came to patents, but the two firms are still prepared to do business: namely the buying and selling of chips. Earlier this year, Apple reportedly decided to drop Samsung as its manufacturer of A-Series system-on-chip processors used in iPads and iPhones. Instead, …
Iain Thomson, 18 Nov 2014
leonids

It's space WAR: Comet launches fireballs at space-invading EARTH

Early-bird skywatchers in the US are in for a treat this week: the annual Leonid meteor shower starts just after midnight and will peak just before dawn on Tuesday. leonids If you wish upon a star... "We're predicting 10 to 15 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space …
Iain Thomson, 17 Nov 2014
Dr Matt Taylor

I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm

A tearful Rosetta comet probe boffin has apologized after he appeared on camera wearing a shirt emblazoned with half-naked buxom women. Brit scientist Dr Matt Taylor wore the kinky attire during a live web video interview on Wednesday – as the world held its breath waiting for confirmation the Philae lander had made it to Comet …
Iain Thomson, 15 Nov 2014

AT&T mothballs creepy customer web stalking system (until everyone's forgotten about it)

AT&T has stopped stamping unique ID numbers on its customers, which allowed websites and ad networks to track them across the web. The telco promised to offer an opt-out switch if the system returns. "We have completed testing of the numeric code that would be part of any new mobile Relevant Advertising program we may launch," …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
E Fun Nextbook

Walmart's $99 crap-let will make people hate Windows 8.1 even more

Walmart, that well-known purveyor of the finest America has to offer, will flog a $99 Windows 8 tablet for this year's Black Friday. Youtube Video As you'd expect at that price, the E Fun Nextbook is an utter dog: it has a 1.8GHz Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM – the bare minimum for Windows 8.1 to function. The tablet …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014

US Marshals commit DIRTBOX INTRUSION on Americans, says report

US marshals have reportedly fitted mini mobile phone cells, nicknamed dirtboxes, inside aircraft so that they can locate mobes from the sky. Or, in other words, another one of Uncle Sam's agencies has found another way to secretly track citizens. The g-men, who work for the courts and track down fugitives, have a fleet of light …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
How Philae lands on the comet

Dark side of the DUNE: Probot snaps shadowy comet surface selfie

The fate of the ESA's Philae comet lander may be adding grey to boffins' hair, but the craft is still functioning – and has sent back its first panoramic selfie from Comet 67P's surface. Philae panorama Light! I need light! Click to enlarge Thanks to the space rock's low gravity, the probe bounced at least a kilometre over …
Iain Thomson, 14 Nov 2014
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

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

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

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

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

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

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