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Neil McAllister

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The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler

Winklevoss twins say their Bitcoins will take them to SPAAAAACE

Venture capitalists Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are the latest thrill-seekers to sign up for seats on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, and true to form, they have paid for their tickets in Bitcoins. "Since their inceptions, Bitcoin and Virgin Galactic have been writing the next chapter in our history books," Tyler …
Neil McAllister, 06 Mar 2014

Facebook, Instagram give dodgy online gun sales the BULLET

Bowing to public pressure, Facebook and Instagram have announced new policies aimed at curbing the sale of firearms and other legally questionable items via their online services. "People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial," Facebook policy head Monika Bickert acknowledged on …
Neil McAllister, 05 Mar 2014
A person measuring her waistline

Your 'funny' cat pics are weighing down the web, so here's a better JPEG encoder from Mozilla

Mozilla has announced a new open-source JPEG encoding library, which it says could significantly reduce the amount of network traffic used by the web. Dubbed "mozjpeg," the library incorporates image-shrinking algorithms from the public domain JPEG-optimizing utility jpgcrush into the encoder itself, resulting in images that are …
Neil McAllister, 05 Mar 2014
John Chen

Would you work for BlackBerry boss Chen? He says his biz has 50:50 chance of success

Will BlackBerry be able to recover from its recent woes and once again become a profitable company? To hear BlackBerry CEO John Chen tell it, the chances of his turnaround strategy succeeding are about as good as a coin toss. In a newly published interview with the Financial Times that was conducted during the Mobile World …
Neil McAllister, 05 Mar 2014
Steve Ballmer as Doctor Evil

Steve Ballmer: Thanks to me, Microsoft screwed up a decade in phones

Steve Ballmer's greatest regret from his time at Microsoft is that he flubbed his company's attempts at smartphones and mobile computing. That's what he said on Tuesday during his first public appearance since stepping down as CEO of the software goliath. Speaking before an audience of graduate students, business owners, and the …
Neil McAllister, 04 Mar 2014
Disney's Beagle Boys

US gov claims it spent TOO MUCH on wiretaps – and blames SPRINT

The Barack Obama administration has filed a civil lawsuit against US wireless operator Sprint, alleging that the carrier intentionally overcharged law enforcement agencies for services related to American government wiretapping programs. Under current US law, telecommunications carriers are required to assist law enforcement …
Neil McAllister, 04 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Confirmed: New Microsoft strategy boss advised President Clinton, ex-UK PM Blair

Microsoft has confirmed the latest rumors of an executive shuffle at Microsoft, in the form of an internal email from brand new CEO Satya Nadella that was made public on Monday. Whispers that certain execs were on their way out while others would be taking more prominent roles first leaked to the media over the weekend. On …
Neil McAllister, 03 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

Chicago man lobs class-action sueball at MtGox

Friday's bankruptcy filing wasn't the only time the name "MtGox" was heard in a courtroom this week. Predictably, the cash-strapped Bitcoin exchange is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the US alleging negligence and fraud on the part of MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles and his staff. "Mt. Gox intentionally and knowingly …
Neil McAllister, 01 Mar 2014
Broadcom

Get Quake III running on Raspberry Pi using Broadcom's open-source GPU drivers, earn $10K

Broadcom has released open-source drivers and documentation for the graphics processor that's used in the Raspberry Pi microcomputer, among other devices. "To date, there's been a dearth of documentation and vendor-developed open source drivers for the graphics subsystems of mobile systems-on-a-chip (SoC)," Eben Upton, a …
Neil McAllister, 28 Feb 2014
San Francisco cable car

Google coughs up $6.8m for FREE BUSING for San Francisco youth

Google, which has drawn criticism in San Francisco for using public bus stops to pick up passengers for its private employee buses, will donate $6.8m to fund a program that offers low-income youth free rides on the city's Muni public transport system. The Free Muni for Low Income Youth program is open to youth ages 5 through 17 …
Neil McAllister, 28 Feb 2014
Microsoft chair John Thompson

Microsoft chairman John Thompson: Redmond looks 'like IBM in 1990'

Microsoft's new chairman, ex-IBM vice president John Thompson, has said that he believes Microsoft's corporate culture needs to change if it is to remain competitive. "I would argue that there are some attributes to Microsoft today that do look vaguely like IBM circa 1990," Thompson said in an interview with Fortune published …
Neil McAllister, 28 Feb 2014
Project Ara

Mix-and-match mobiles: Google unveils Project Ara dev conference

Google says it is planning a series of three online developer conferences this year in support of Project Ara, the modular mobile phone design being developed by its Motorola Mobility division. Announced last year, Ara is a unique concept that will allow users to build their own devices from a collection of snap-together parts. …
Neil McAllister, 27 Feb 2014

Woman claims she was assaulted in Google Glass 'HATE CRIME'

A California woman claims to have been the victim of a "hate crime" after allegedly being attacked in a San Francisco bar because she was wearing Google Glass. "OMG so you'll never believe this but... I got verbally and physically asaulted [sic] and robbed last night in the city, had things thrown at me because of some wanker …
Neil McAllister, 27 Feb 2014
padlock

Boeing going ... GONE: Black phone will SELF-DESTRUCT in 30 secs

Who makes the most secure smartphones on the planet? Is it Apple? Samsung? BlackBerry? Boeing is betting the US government's answer is "none of the above." A filing with the US Federal Communications Commission first spotted by storage community site MyCE sheds new light on the aerospace giant's plans to market a smartphone that …
Neil McAllister, 26 Feb 2014
TypeScript

Microsoft's JavaScript challenger nears 1.0, wins Visual Studio love

Microsoft's TypeScript web development language is almost ready for prime time, and by the time the next update for Visual Studio 2013 arrives, TypeScript 1.0 will be treated as a first-class language by Microsoft's IDE. So sayeth S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate VP of Microsoft's developer division, who announced a new community …
Neil McAllister, 26 Feb 2014

Microsoft's Office 2013 Service Pack 1 slips out with fixes, features

Microsoft has shipped Office 2013 Service Pack 1, the first major update roll-up for the latest iteration of its desktop productivity software. The release applies only to traditional, perpetual-license versions of Office that were installed from media or by downloading a standard Windows MSI installer. Versions of Office that …
Neil McAllister, 25 Feb 2014
Ford Sync

Ford to dump Microsoft's 'aggravating' in-car tech for ... BlackBerry?

Ford Motor Company will part ways with Microsoft for the next generation of its Sync in-car infotainment system in favor of technology from Canadian rival BlackBerry, sources claim. According to a report by Bloomberg, switching from Windows Embedded Automotive to BlackBerry's QNX real-time OS will both save Ford money and …
Neil McAllister, 25 Feb 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

MtGox MELTDOWN: Quits Bitcoin Foundation board, deletes Twitter

Embattled Bitcoin exchange MtGox has taken steps to withdraw itself from the wider Bitcoin community, having resigned its seat on the Bitcoin Foundation board and reduced its presence in social media. "Effective immediately, Mt. Gox has submitted their resignation from the board of directors," the Bitcoin Foundation's Jon …
Neil McAllister, 25 Feb 2014

Tizen devices are HERE.... Hello, Samsung Gear 2 smartwatches

The next generation of Samsung's Gear smartwatches is based on its homegrown Tizen mobile OS, rather than Android, the Korean chaebol has revealed. Samsung unveiled two new Tizen-powered watch models – the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo – at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona over the weekend. Like their predecessor, the new …
Neil McAllister, 24 Feb 2014
Firefox OS RHS teaser

Mozilla takes wraps off 25 DOLLAR Firefox OS smartphone

Ever in search of the next few billion people who will access the internet for the first time in the coming years, Mozilla has unveiled a reference design of a smartphone that it says could sell for as low as $25 (£15). The entry-level prototype running Mozilla's Linux-and-HTML-based Firefox OS was unveiled at the Mobile World …
Neil McAllister, 24 Feb 2014
NHS Files on a desk

Microsoft asks pals to help KILL UK gov's Open Document Format dream

The UK Cabinet Office is close to adopting Open Document Format (ODF) as the official standard for government documents, but it hasn't happened yet – and it won't, if Microsoft has anything to say about it. The software giant has issued an open letter to its partners in the UK, urging them to submit comments on the Cabinet …
Neil McAllister, 22 Feb 2014
Sailfish OS

Jolla announces Sailfish OS 1.0, says Android love-fest soon to come

Just a few months after the launch of its first handsets, Finnish smartphone startup Jolla has announced that Sailfish OS, the Linux-derived operating system that powers its devices, has reached version 1.0. What's more, the company says that Android users will soon be able to try out Sailfish OS on a wide range of devices. …
Neil McAllister, 21 Feb 2014
2001: A Space Odyssey

How many mobile apps collect data on users? Oh ... nearly all of them

Could the apps you have installed on your mobile phone be snooping on you? Based on the latest data from app security analytics firm Appthority, it's not merely possible; it's actually more than likely, particularly if you downloaded those apps for free. According to Appthority's Winter 2014 App Reputation Report, released this …
Neil McAllister, 21 Feb 2014
Windows Phone 8

Microsoft slaps fresh paint on code-free Windows Phone dev tool

Microsoft has given a significant overhaul to Windows Phone App Studio Beta, its web-based tool for building simple apps for Windows Phone 8. Redmond has pitched the tool as a way for "hobbyists, enthusiasts and new developers" to build apps without programming. Specifically, it suggests App Studio is good for making "content- …
Neil McAllister, 20 Feb 2014
Phoenix

Office Online rises from ashes of 'confusing' Office Web Apps

One day after rebranding its cloud storage service as OneDrive, Microsoft has relaunched the web-based versions of its Office productivity applications under the new, friendlier moniker of Office Online. Redmond was forced to rename its SkyDrive service as OneDrive on Wednesday after losing a trademark dispute with British Sky …
Neil McAllister, 20 Feb 2014

SkyDrive is dead! All hail Microsoft OneDrive! Happy now, Uncle Rupe?

Microsoft has completed the transition of its SkyDrive cloud storage service to its new branding, henceforth to be known as OneDrive. Beginning on Wednesday, users who navigate to the URL of the former SkyDrive website are redirected to the newly rebadged OneDrive site. The new site has a user interface that's virtually …
Neil McAllister, 20 Feb 2014

Facebook gobbles WhatsApp for SIXTEEN BILLION DOLLARS

Facebook has announced that it will acquire mobile messaging service WhatsApp in a deal valued at $16bn. The merger was revealed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission published on Wednesday. According to the paperwork, WhatsApp will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook in exchange for $4bn in cash, …
Neil McAllister, 19 Feb 2014
Ubuntu smartphones

You'll NEVER guess who's building the first Ubuntu phones in 2014

The first smartphones running Ubuntu will ship this year, Canonical now says – although the Linux vendor's hardware partners are hardly the first companies you might guess. In January, Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon said that getting major carriers on board with the upstart mobile OS was "longer-term," and that the first …
Neil McAllister, 19 Feb 2014
Fight Night Champion

FIGHT! BlackBerry,T-Mobile US CEOs clash in 'inappropriate' ad spat

Wireless carrier T-Mobile US would like to see its BlackBerry customers switch over to Apple's camp – and die-hard BlackBerry users are none too happy about it, to say nothing of BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The brouhaha began last week, when T-Mobile US reportedly sent emails to some of its customers offering them financing on new …
Neil McAllister, 19 Feb 2014
Glasshole

Google warns Glass wearers: Quit being 'CREEPY GLASSHOLES'

Google has updated its information website for its Glass Explorer programme to include a list of "dos and don'ts" for its head-mounted computers, including one rather unexpected admonition. "[Don't] be creepy or rude," the last item on the list cautions, "(aka, a 'Glasshole')." It's a surprising turn of phrase, coming from …
Neil McAllister, 18 Feb 2014
Bitcoins

MtGox claims to have a fix ready for Bitcoin withdrawal woes

Bitcoin exchange MtGox says its customers should soon be able to withdraw Bitcoins from their accounts again, although the company is still not sure just how long the process of restoring access will take. MtGox suspended withdrawals last Monday after claiming it was hampered by a security flaw related to "transaction …
Neil McAllister, 17 Feb 2014

Angela Merkel: Let US spies keep their internet. The EU will build its own

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lent her support to the idea of building out new European data networks to help keep Europeans' email and other data out of the hands of US spies. In the latest edition of her weekly podcast on Saturday, Merkel said she planned to raise the issue among other topics in a meeting with French …
Neil McAllister, 17 Feb 2014

Wanna use Bitcoin on your site? BitPay's open-source library wants to help

Bitcoin payment processor BitPay has released the source code to a library aimed at making it easier for developers to build applications that use the virtual currency. "Bitcore is an open source JavaScript library for doing anything you can imagine with the Bitcoin protocol," the company said in a blog post introducing the tool …
Neil McAllister, 15 Feb 2014
Rayman Revolution

Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM'

Norwegian convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has threatened a hunger strike if prison authorities don't upgrade his video game system to a PlayStation 3, among other demands. "You've put me in hell," Breivik wrote to officials in November in a letter obtained by Agence France-Presse, "and I won't manage to survive …
Neil McAllister, 14 Feb 2014
Windows 7

PSST! New PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled are out there – and will be into 2015, at least

It seems businesses will be able to order new PCs with Windows 7 preinstalled, rather than Windows 8, for a bit longer than we previously thought – although we don't yet know for just how long. According to an update to Microsoft's lifecycle policy first spotted by Redmond-watcher Mary Jo Foley on Friday, the date when OEMs must …
Neil McAllister, 14 Feb 2014
Chrome browser

Google's revamped JavaScript engine cures Chrome's stutters

Google has begun testing a new version of its V8 JavaScript engine for the Chrome browser that improves application performance by executing and compiling JavaScript code at the same time. "Concurrent code compilation is another step towards reducing latency in Chrome and is part of various ongoing efforts to deliver more …
Neil McAllister, 14 Feb 2014
Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop

The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

Microsoft claims it has now sold more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses, in the first update to public sales claims it has offered since last May. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Microsoft executive VP of marketing Tami Reller described the sales growth as "pretty …
Neil McAllister, 13 Feb 2014

Rand Paul launches class-action lawsuit to end NSA phone spying

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed a lawsuit against President Obama and three top national security officials, seeking an end to what the suit describes as the US government's "mass, suspicionless, non-particularized" collection of data on US residents' phone calls. "The Bill of Rights protects all citizens from general …
Neil McAllister, 13 Feb 2014
Photo of the White House at dusk

OK, Mr. President, those cybersecurity guidelines you ordered are HERE

The Obama administration has taken wraps off the Cybersecurity Framework, a new set of voluntary guidelines outlining ways that organizations involved in energy, water, transportation, and other critical infrastructure can shore up their digital security. The guide is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the National …
Neil McAllister, 13 Feb 2014
Handshake

With $100m+ buyout deal, Klout is suddenly popular again

Klout, the startup that claims to be able to measure users' influence on social media sites, has just gained a whole lot more influence of its own – at least $100m worth. Re/Code reports that Klout has been acquired by "social customer experience" company Lithium Technologies in a cash-and-stock deal valued "in the low nine …
Neil McAllister, 11 Feb 2014
Smartphones

¡Viva la Revolution! Geeksphone's new mobe to go on sale this month

Smartphone startup Geeksphone has announced complete specs, pricing, and a selling date for Revolution, its Intel-powered, OS-agnostic handset. The Spanish firm said the device will go on sale in its online store on February 20 with a list price of €239, but "for a limited time" – exact dates unspecified – it will be discounted …
Neil McAllister, 11 Feb 2014
g_cloud_uk_gov

Microsoft throws open Excel-based biz data tools to world+dog

Following a trial program with select customers that lasted nearly half a year, Microsoft has announced general availability of Power BI for Office 365, its Excel-based business intelligence toolkit. "Today business intelligence is only used by a fraction of the people that could derive value from it," Microsoft corporate veep …
Neil McAllister, 11 Feb 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

'The Sims' takes reins of BlackBerry Messenger as old chief Bocking departs

The executive formerly in charge of BlackBerry's BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) division has left the company, casting uncertainty on the Canadian firm's plans for its mobile messaging service. As first reported by tech website BGR, Andrew Bocking, a longtime BlackBerry veteran who had served as executive VP in charge of BBM, has …
Neil McAllister, 10 Feb 2014

Nokia to launch low-cost Android phone this month – report

Nokia is preparing to release its first-ever smartphone running Google's Android OS, sources claim. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Finnish firm plans to unveil the device at this year's Mobile World Congress conference, which takes place in Barcelona on February 24-27. The move comes as Microsoft inches …
Neil McAllister, 10 Feb 2014
Firefox ad 2nd St SF 2011

Mozilla takes a page from Google with sync-friendly Firefox Accounts

The Mozilla Foundation has taken a further step into the world of online services with the introduction of Firefox Accounts. "While we've worked to offer services that deliver value and put users and developers in control of their Web experiences, we've never had a simple way for you to sign up and sign in to access these …
Neil McAllister, 08 Feb 2014
jolla

Jolla entices hardware hackers with free device development kit

Upstart Finnish smartphone company Jolla has released a developer kit that enables independent tinkerers to create devices for The Other Half (TOH), Jolla's exclusive, snap-on peripheral system. TOH devices look like phone covers, and they snap onto the back of Jolla handsets like covers, but they contain electronics that allow …
Neil McAllister, 07 Feb 2014

Bitcoin value plunges as Mt.Gox halts withdrawals and Russia says 'nyet'

The value of Bitcoins dropped sharply on Friday after leading Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox suspended all withdrawals and the Russian Federation declared virtual currencies illegal. The exact reasons why Mt.Gox isn't letting customers withdraw their Bitcoins remain murky. According to a statement released on Friday, the exchange had …
Neil McAllister, 07 Feb 2014

Firefox's touchy-feeling Windows 8 makeover now in beta

After a long development process, a beta version of the Firefox web browser that offers support for Windows 8's touch-centric UI mode is now available. "This touch-friendly, tile-based Firefox is optimized for Microsoft's Windows 8 Modern UI and designed to ensure users get the best Firefox browsing experience possible on their …
Neil McAllister, 07 Feb 2014
Marvel Comics

KA-BLAM!! Marvel Comics opens super-powered data API to web devs

Comic-book giant Marvel Entertainment has built a huge database stuffed with information about its characters, comics, and creative talent throughout its more than 70-year publishing history, and now it wants to see what independent developers can do with it. The company behind Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Hulk, and …
Neil McAllister, 07 Feb 2014
Sony PRS-505

Sony to close North American ebook store, punt customers to Kobo

Struggling Sony has announced that it is quitting the ebook-selling business in the US and Canada and will instead rely on Kobo to supply content for its ereader devices in North America from now on. "Sony's Reader Store customers and their current eBook libraries will transfer to the Kobo ecosystem starting in late March," the …
Neil McAllister, 06 Feb 2014