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Neil McAllister

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Systems meltdown plunges US immigration courts into pen-and-paper stone age

A massive computer failure at the US Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is reportedly wreaking havoc on US immigration courts, with application outages continuing well into their second week. The agency issued an alert on April 14 warning immigration lawyers that certain key systems were down, but the New York Post …
Neil McAllister, 22 Apr 2014
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor

The Windows rumor mill is buzzing yet again, with word that Microsoft is planning yet another update to Windows 8.1 that will ship in the fall, possibly to be followed by a new, cloud-centric version of Windows that will be available free of charge. This latest scuttlebutt once again arrives care of Russian pirate group "WZor," …
Neil McAllister, 22 Apr 2014
OpenBSD logo

OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork

In the wake of the Heartbleed bug fiasco, members of the OpenBSD project have forked the popular OpenSSL library with the aim of creating a new version that they say will be more trustworthy. Even though OpenSSL is open source software, for a full two years its entire development community managed to overlook the crucial bug …
Neil McAllister, 22 Apr 2014
Screenshot of Crimea as seen on Google Maps Russia

Rejoice, Russians! The annexation of Crimea is complete and legitimate – Google Maps proves it

Google appears to have sided with Vladimir Putin in the current sovereignty dispute over the Crimean Peninsula – at least as far as residents of Russia are concerned. The online ad giant has made an update to its Google Maps of the region that denotes the border between Crimea and Ukraine as a bold, black line – seemingly …
Neil McAllister, 22 Apr 2014

Microsoft signs Motorola to Android patent pact – no, not THAT Motorola

Motorola Solutions has become the latest maker of Android and Chrome OS devices to license related patents from Microsoft, joining dozens of other companies that have entered into similar agreements with Redmond. Note, however, that we're not talking about Motorola Mobility, the Android smartphone maker that Google bought in …
Neil McAllister, 21 Apr 2014
Fake photo of Satya Nadella shaking hands with Stephen Elop

It's a done deal! Microsoft-Nokia merger to close on Friday

Microsoft has finally cleared all of the international regulatory hurdles that it needed to overcome for it to close its acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business. "The transaction will be completed this Friday, April 25, when we'll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft …
Neil McAllister, 21 Apr 2014
Zombies, credit: Wikimedia from Night of The Living Dead

Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial

Google has won a victory in its battle against patent troll Rockstar, with a US District Court judge having denied Rockstar's request to try the case in the troll-friendly Eastern District of Texas, rather than in California. Google, which is headquartered in Mountain View, California, filed suit against Rockstar in December and …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014
Photo of Google Glass version 2

Google lets wannabe Glass Explorers ADMIRE THEMSELVES in their own mirrors

Interested in Google Glass but worried that you'll look like a dork wearing it? The Chocolate Factory is testing out a new pilot program to help ease your mind. Reddit user "clide" says he was recently selected to participate in an at-home trial in which he was allowed to try on a few different styles of the high-tech specs …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014

Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has written an op-ed column in the Guardian justifying his decision to go on live TV to question Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country's policies on mass surveillance. "It was not the president's suspiciously narrow answer that was criticised by many pundits," Snowden complained …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014

Netcraft adds Heartbleed sniffing to site-scanning browser tool

Internet stats clearinghouse Netcraft has released a new tool aimed at letting consumers know when the sites they visit might have been compromised by the Heartbleed encryption bug. There are lots of tools available that can scan servers to determine whether they're affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability right now, albeit of …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014
Twitter Storm, credit Wikimedia

Nokia halts sales of Lumia 2520 Win RT tablet over zap-happy charger

Nokia's Lumia 2520 is one of the few tablets to ship with Windows RT besides Microsoft's own Surface line, but the Finnish firm has now suspended sales of its ARM-based Windows fondleslab in Europe due to issues with its charger. In a product advisory published on Thursday, Nokia said that quality-assurance testing had revealed …
Neil McAllister, 17 Apr 2014

Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has no mass telephone and internet surveillance programs to compare with those in the United States. The Russian President made the claim in his annual Q&A session on live TV on Thursday, when the topic was raised in a call-in question in English by NSA-leaker Edward Snowden. "Does Russia …
Neil McAllister, 17 Apr 2014

Samsung claims it still plans to ship Tizen phones in Q2

Hope springs eternal for wannabe Android competitor Tizen, with Samsung saying it plans to ship the first smartphones based on the open source OS in the second quarter of 2014 – carriers' cold feet be damned. In an interview with Reuters, Samsung senior VP of product strategy Yoon Han-kil said the Korean firm plans to release " …
Neil McAllister, 17 Apr 2014
Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

Google's latest mega-earnings fail to impress shareholders

It's hard to be disappointed about quarterly revenues of $15.42bn – unless you're Google, that is, and the analysts expected you to bring in even more. The online ad-slinger underperformed in both revenue and earnings per share during the first quarter of its fiscal 2014, based on the average estimate gathered by Yahoo! Finance …
Neil McAllister, 16 Apr 2014
Windows 8.1 Update Start Screen

Microsoft reissues Windows 8.1 Update for enterprise customers

Microsoft has patched a bug that prevented enterprise customers from receiving software fixes after they installed the Windows 8.1 Update, meaning all customers should now receive the update as Redmond's new "servicing baseline." Earlier this month, Microsoft suspended distribution of the update to business customers who use …
Neil McAllister, 16 Apr 2014

Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech

Red Hat has announced that a release candidate (RC) of the next version of its flagship enterprise Linux OS has already been distributed to its strategic partners and will be made available to the general public next week. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 has been in beta since December 2013. With this new testing release, …
Neil McAllister, 16 Apr 2014

Facebook wants to Zuck up your cash into its mobile payment service

Facebook is planning to launch a mobile payments service that would allow its European users to store and exchange funds via the social network, sources claim. According to a report in the Financial Times, Facebook has filed an application with the central bank of Ireland to become an "e-money" institution under EU regulations …
Neil McAllister, 14 Apr 2014
Windows Phone 8

Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare

Developers can now be among the first to experience Windows Phone 8.1 on real-world devices, provided they opt into Microsoft's preview program – and they're willing to risk wrecking their phones. The software giant made the latest version of its smartphone OS available for download on Monday for registered Windows Phone …
Neil McAllister, 14 Apr 2014
Image of the Moon floating over a Russian flag

Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'

Barely six weeks after rolling troops into the Crimean Peninsula, an official from Vladimir Putin's Russia has announced the country's next expansion target: the Moon. As reported by the Voice of Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that establishing a permanent Moon …
Neil McAllister, 12 Apr 2014

FTC gets judicial thumbs-up to SUE firms over data breaches

In a ruling this week, a US federal judge affirmed the Federal Trade Commission's authority to file lawsuits against companies for failing to take "reasonable and appropriate" data security measures, rejecting a claim that the agency lacks that power. District Judge Esther Salas of the US District Court of New Jersey denied …
Neil McAllister, 12 Apr 2014

US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support

The April 15 deadline for Americans to pay their federal income taxes is fast approaching, but the US Internal Revenue Service has already missed an important deadline of its own – namely, Microsoft's end-of-support date for Windows XP. Speaking at a budget meeting before the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General …
Neil McAllister, 11 Apr 2014

Wanna build a module for Google's Project Ara mix-and-match phone? Here are your specs

Just days before its first Project Ara Developer Conference is scheduled to begin, Google has released the device's Module Developers Kit (MDK), a set of plans and documentation designed to get hardware hackers started building modules for the componentized, mix-and-match experimental smartphone. Google first unveiled Project …
Neil McAllister, 11 Apr 2014
Un Frog

France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

A new agreement between employer organizations and labor unions in France has made it illegal for French managers to contact their employees about work-related matters outside of normal business hours. The agreement [PDF], which amends an existing pact signed in 1999, specifies that employees must have "the opportunity to …
Neil McAllister, 10 Apr 2014
Photo of Jonathan Ive

Greg Christie to leave Apple as Jonathan Ive seizes design reins

Apple design boss Jony Ive appears to be consolidating his power within the fruity firm, with longtime software UI chief Greg Christie reportedly leaving the company. Cupertino confirmed Christie's exit in a statement to the Financial Times, saying, "Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple …
Neil McAllister, 10 Apr 2014
bug on keyboard

Uh oh! Here comes the first bug in the Windows 8.1 Update

Microsoft has suspended distribution of April's Windows 8.1 Update to some enterprise customers after a bug was discovered that could bork affected machines' ability to receive future updates. The issue affects businesses that distribute software updates via Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 Service Pack 2, which shipped …
Neil McAllister, 09 Apr 2014

Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network

Google apparently isn't the only company thinking about getting into the wireless networking game. Cable TV and internet giant Comcast has hinted that it's interested luring away some of the mobile carriers' business, too. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange commission on Tuesday, Comcast said that it plans to …
Neil McAllister, 09 Apr 2014

Microsoft: We've got HUNDREDS of patents on Android tech

Microsoft has been hush-hush about specifics of the patent licensing deals it has been signing with Android device makers, but a new blog post suggests Redmond might be wielding a larger intellectual-property club against the open source smartphone OS than had previously been thought. Buried in Tuesday's announcement that China' …
Neil McAllister, 08 Apr 2014

Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott

Dating website OkCupid says it's "satisfied" that Brendan Eich has stepped down as CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, but not everyone agrees, and Eich's decision hasn't spared the Firefox maker from calls for a boycott. Last week, OkCupid posted a message to its homepage urging Firefox users to switch to a different browser in …
Neil McAllister, 08 Apr 2014
Sorry we're closed

Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month

Domain-name service provider Dyn has announced that it will discontinue its last remaining free services, effective May 7. "For the last 15 years, all of us at Dyn have taken pride in offering a free version of our Dynamic DNS Pro product," Dyn CEO Jermey Hitchcock wrote in a Monday blog post. "What was originally a product …
Neil McAllister, 07 Apr 2014

Mad Raspberry Pi boffins ripped out its BRAINS and SHRANK them for your pleasure

The makers of the micro-sized Raspberry Pi teaching computer have come up with an even smaller version of the device, this time aimed at hardware hobbyists and device builders who want to create their own printed circuit boards (PCBs). The forthcoming product, dubbed the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, forgoes the various ports and …
Neil McAllister, 07 Apr 2014
What Linus Torvalds thinks of NVIDIA

Torvalds rails at Linux developer: 'I'm f*cking tired of your code'

Never one to mince words, Linux kernel chief Linus Torvalds has once again handed a verbal smackdown to a Linux developer, this time for failing to address a serious bug that could prevent systems from booting. The target of Torvald's latest tirade was Kay Sievers, one of the key developers of systemd, a system-management daemon …
Neil McAllister, 05 Apr 2014
Dark Blue Window - detail of Windows Server logo

One Win 8 to rule them all: Microsoft talks up 'universal apps' for PCs, slabs and mobes

Eight months after launching its pushbutton App Studio GUI development kit for Windows Phone, Microsoft has extended the tool to include support for building apps for Windows 8, too. The latest beta version of the web-based tool formerly known as Windows Phone App Studio, announced at Microsoft's Build developer conference on …
Neil McAllister, 04 Apr 2014
Windows 8.1 Start screen

Microsoft: Hey, small biz devs – Windows Store apps are for you, too

We reckon there haven't been many line-of-business apps built for Windows 8's Modern UI so far, but Microsoft has now made it easier for companies that want to do so. Most Windows 8 Apps are downloaded and installed from the Windows Store – which is why Microsoft has taken to calling them "Windows Store Apps" following the …
Neil McAllister, 04 Apr 2014
Microsoft campus

Microsoft in OPEN-SOURCE .Net love-in with new foundation

Microsoft has opened its .Net programming framework to the developer community by releasing the code for a broad range of .Net-related software as open-source projects under the stewardship of a new, dedicated foundation. The surprise announcement came during the Thursday keynote at Redmond's annual Build developer conference, …
Neil McAllister, 04 Apr 2014

I QUIT: Mozilla's anti-gay-marriage Brendan Eich leaps out of door

Brendan Eich has stepped down as CEO of Firefox-maker Mozilla Corporation – after it emerged he controversially backed a ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California. In a blog post on Thursday, Mozilla cofounder and executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote that Eich's decision was voluntary and that he made it …
Neil McAllister, 03 Apr 2014

Nokia: ALL our Windows Phone 8 Lumias will get a cool 8.1 boost

Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Nokia's handset business still has yet to pass regulatory scrutiny in Asia, but that didn't stop former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop from making an appearance at Redmond's annual Build conference on Wednesday to tout the two companies' strong ties and to debut three new phones. "In just hopefully a …
Neil McAllister, 03 Apr 2014
Photo of a future Windows 8.x desktop

Is this photo PROOF a Windows 7 Start Menu is coming back?

Microsoft seems willing to try almost anything to increase the use of Windows 8 these days – including rolling back some of the software's least-loved features, and even giving it away for free in some cases. The latest batch of tweaks to Redmond's latest OS comes in the form of the Windows 8.1 Update, which shipped to MSDN …
Neil McAllister, 03 Apr 2014

Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana

Windows Phone took center stage at the opening keynote of Microsoft's Build developer conference on Wednesday, with the main spotlight falling on Cortana – a new personal digital assistant designed to compete head-to-head with Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now. Redmond has been promising a major revision to its smartphone …
Neil McAllister, 02 Apr 2014
Ross Ulbricht

Money? What money? Lawyer for accused Silk Road boss claims you can't launder Bitcoin

An attorney for Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of masterminding the online drugs marketplace Silk Road, has asked that the money-laundering charges against his client be dropped on the basis that Bitcoin, Silk Road's preferred medium of exchange, doesn't count as money. Ulbricht was arrested in San Francisco in October after a …
Neil McAllister, 01 Apr 2014
gavel_judgment_channel

Hotmail-gate: Windows 8 code leaker pleads guilty to theft of trade secrets

A former Microsoft employee accused of leaking prerelease Windows 8 software has pleaded guilty to stealing the company's trade secrets. Alex Kibkalo, a Russian national who spent seven years as a Microsoft employee in Russia and Lebanon, was arrested in Seattle, US, in March on charges that he shared proprietary Microsoft code …
Neil McAllister, 01 Apr 2014

OkCupid falls out of love with 'anti-gay' Firefox, tells people to see other browsers

Dating website OkCupid has urged lonely hearts to stop using the Firefox browser following the controversial appointment of Brendan Eich as Mozilla's new CEO. Eich, a Mozilla co-founder and the creator of the JavaScript programming language, reportedly donated $1,000 to a campaign in support of Proposition 8, a 2008 California …
Neil McAllister, 01 Apr 2014

Mozilla takes Windows 8-friendly Firefox out back ... two shots heard

Mozilla has bad news for Firefox users who are fans of Windows 8 and its new, touch-centric UI – all 1,000 of you, worldwide. On Friday, Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale revealed that he had made the decision to "take the Windows Metro version of Firefox off the trains" – Mozilla-speak meaning he's canceled it. "Mozilla builds …
Neil McAllister, 15 Mar 2014

Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has taken to the web to address the entire state of New Jersey about what he claims was a "backroom deal" to defeat his company's business model. Earlier this week, New Jersey became the third US state – after Arizona and Texas – to enact a rule banning auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014
Windows XP boot screen

Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

If you're wondering who is still running Windows XP in this day and age, given that support for the OS is ending soon, the answer is it might be YOU! Or at least, so Microsoft suspects. But fear not: Redmond has stepped up its outreach program with a new website that's designed to get to the bottom of this mystery, once and for …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014
Barnes and Noble Microsoft deal, credit: Microsoft

Barnes & Noble's Nook freed from Windows, WinPhone apps pledge

Barnes & Noble's struggling Nook e-book division can breathe a little easier, now that Microsoft has let the bookseller off the hook on its promise to offer e-reader apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Redmond pumped $300m into Nook back in 2012, in a deal that gave it a 17.5 per cent stake in B&N's underperforming e-book …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014
Photo of an espresso

Is Microsoft hinting at a fully fondleslab-friendly future for Office 365?

Microsoft will soon debut a new formulation of its Office 365 subscription service aimed at individual consumers, the company said on Thursday, and in the process it hinted that new, touch-centric Office apps may be coming soon. "We recognize that there are households of all shapes and sizes and we're committed to delivering the …
Neil McAllister, 13 Mar 2014
Blade Runner screenshot

Backdoor snoops can access files on your Samsung phone via the cell network – claim

The developers of Replicant, a pure free-software version of Android, claim to have discovered a security hole in certain Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets – one so serious that it could potentially grant an attacker remote access to the device's file system. Among the devices said to be vulnerable are the Nexus S, Galaxy S, …
Neil McAllister, 13 Mar 2014
Ubuntu smartphones

Dying for an Ubuntu Linux phone? Here's how much it'll cost you

Just because Ubuntu Mobile is based on Linux doesn't mean Ubuntu handsets will be really cheap, like phones running some other open-source mobile operating systems. Speaking at the CeBIT conference in Hanover, Germany on Tuesday, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said we should expect the first Ubuntu phones to be "mid-high …
Neil McAllister, 12 Mar 2014
Tools

Google opens Docs and Sheets to tinkerers with new add-on APIs

In a bid to make its online productivity software more competitive with Microsoft Office, Google has announced that Google Docs and Sheets users can now install add-ons that bring new capabilities to their documents and spreadsheets. The online ad-giant launched the experimental new feature alongside a handful of preview add-ons …
Neil McAllister, 12 Mar 2014
Photo of boxes of Microsoft Office for Mac

YES, new Office for OS X is COMING, says German Microsoft bod

A Microsoft manager has said that Redmond plans to release a new version of Office for Mac this year, giving new hope to Apple loyalists stuck using the aging OS X version of Microsoft Office. In a brief interview with German tech pub Computerwoche at the CeBIT conference in Hanover, Germany, Microsoft's new German Office boss …
Neil McAllister, 11 Mar 2014