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Neil McAllister

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Prez Obama slaps sanctions on Norks in payback for Sony hack

The Obama administration has imposed new economic sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for its alleged, and frankly barely believable, involvement in the Sony Pictures mega-hack. Citing the Norks' "destructive and destabilizing conduct," US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement on Friday that the Treasury …
Neil McAllister, 02 Jan 2015
Data breach image

Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

More than 78 per cent of all PHP installations are running with at least one known security vulnerability, a researcher has found. Google developer advocate Anthony Ferrara reached this unpleasant conclusion by correlating statistics from web survey site W3Techs with lists of known vulnerabilities in various versions of PHP. …
Neil McAllister, 31 Dec 2014
Zombie rising from the grave

World, face Palm: PDA brand to RISE FROM THE GRAVE

Remember Palm? The company that made the PDA a must-have item in the 1990s may be long gone, but it looks like the Palm brand may be due for a resurgence this year. The eagle-eyed fanatics at webOSNation.com were the first to notice that the palm.com website – and indeed any subdomain of palm.com – now redirects to a site with …
Neil McAllister, 31 Dec 2014

Survey: Tech has FREED modern workers – to work longer hours

Americans think technology has made them more productive at work, but it also has many of them working longer hours, according to a new report. The study, which was conducted by the nonprofit Pew Research Center using data gathered from 535 people in September 2014, reveals that 46 per cent of US workers believe that the …
Neil McAllister, 31 Dec 2014
Megaphone

Kim Dotcom vows to KILL SKYPE with encrypted MegaChat

Megaupload maestro Kim Dotcom says he will soon unveil an encrypted video calling and chat service that he claims will mark "the end of NSA mass surveillance." In a series of tweets, Dotcom said the service, to be called MegaChat, will also doom Skype, the current king of online calling, which is thought to have been cooperating …
Neil McAllister, 30 Dec 2014
Web browsers

Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

Microsoft has been working on a new scheme to strip away some of the legacy bloat that has burdened its Internet Explorer web browser, sources claimed. According to the prolific Redmond rumormongers at Neowin, the software giant has forked the code for IE's Trident rendering engine into a new, leaner version that should consume …
Neil McAllister, 29 Dec 2014

Sony releases Nork flick The Interview straight to DVD (digital video download)

In a shining example of how high culture* will always defeat the jackboot tactics of oppressive states like North Korea, the Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview is now available for viewing via multiple online streaming services. Google and Microsoft both announced that the flick – which surely cannot be any more farcical …
Neil McAllister, 24 Dec 2014
Samsung UE55ES8000 Series 8 SMART LED TV

Wanna play PlayStation games but don't have a console? Samsung's got a TV for that

Buyers of select Samsung Smart TVs in the first half of 2015 will be able to play Sony PlayStation games without buying a separate console. The TVs will ship with an app that can access Sony's PlayStation Now game streaming service, which offers a library of more than 200 PlayStation 3 titles that can be played over the internet …
Neil McAllister, 24 Dec 2014
Kim Dotcom at the NZ parliamentary hearing

New Zealand Supreme Court says Kim Dotcom search warrants were legal

File-sharing kingpin and self-described pauper Kim Dotcom will need to cough up another NZ$35,000 ($26,900) after losing the latest round of his long-running legal battle before the country's Supreme Court. The sum will go to cover the New Zealand government's costs to defend warrants that were issued for searches of properties …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014

Apple and Microsoft backed Rockstar flogs zombie Nortel patents for $900m

Rockstar Consortium, the trolling outfit that snapped up the patent portfolio of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel, has agreed to sell the bulk of that technology to a company that claims to be dedicated to reducing patent litigation. RPX Clearinghouse will buy the 4,000 zombie Nortel patents from the consortium for $900m, Reuters …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
KDDI's Fx0 handset running Firefox OS

Japan to get blinged-out Firefox OS phone draped in GOLD

KDDI will be the first Japanese mobile carrier to bring Firefox OS to Japan – but its first Firefox OS phone will arrive at an unusual price point for Mozilla's open-source OS: 50,000 yen, or around $415. While most Firefox OS partners have been shipping devices with humble specs at rock-bottom prices, KDDI's entry, dubbed the …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
putin topless

Facebook slammed for blocking protest event page at Russia's request

Russian political dissidents voiced their displeasure with Facebook on Monday after the social network blocked an event page promoting a demonstration on behalf of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. The page in question was reportedly blocked at the request of Roskomnadzor, Russia's state internet policing body. "We were …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
Samsung's Jong-Deok Choi

Stop Xiaomi, oh stop Xiaomi: Samsung to debut Tizen mobe in India in January

Hope springs eternal for Samsung and its Linux-based Tizen OS, which reportedly will find its way onto a smartphone early next year, despite repeated delays. According to the Korea Economic Daily, Sammy will release its first Tizen handset – dubbed the Samsung Z1 – in India on January 18, 2015 at a price of "less than 100,000 …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
Jeff Bezos shows off the Amazon Fire Phone

If at first you don't succeed ... Fire, FIRE again: Amazon mulls smartphone sequel

Amazon hasn't learned its lesson from the thundering belly flop of its Fire Phone, and according to some accounts it's apparently beavering away at a second version. The giant retailer launched the Fire Phone in June to much fanfare after a hush-hush development cycle. But despite the handset's novel "3D" display and baked-in …
Neil McAllister, 20 Dec 2014
Batteries

Super Cali's futuristic Tesla batt swap focus – even though car tech test is an expected bonus

Tesla Motors has a Christmas present for a few owners of its Model S all-electric cars, in the form of a pilot program for its new battery-swapping technology beginning in California next week. Tesla founder Elon Musk showed off the tech at an event last year, where he demoed how a drained Model S battery could be replaced with …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
BlackBerry

BlackBerry CEO Chen says to expect profits ... in 2016

In a conference call with financial analysts on Friday, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the firm kept costs under control and even eked out a meager profit in the third quarter of its fiscal 2015, but he couldn't hide that the ailing mobe-maker's revenues continued their steady decline. BlackBerry brought in revenues of $793m for …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
Android for cars

Forget Google's robot cars, now it's on to ANDROID cars

Google is planning a big push into in-car infotainment systems with an upcoming version of Android, sources claim. "Android M" – the version to come after the current Android 5.0 "Lollipop" – will be available in a formulation designed specifically to run cars' built-in screens, Reuters reports, citing anonymous insiders with …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat CFO reaches for eject cord after Street-beating performance

Red Hat chief financial officer Charlie Peters announced on Wednesday that he's stepping down from the company, even as it reported another quarter of strong earnings that beat even its own guidance. The Linux kingpin reported $455.9m in total revenues for the third quarter of its fiscal 2015, which outperformed Wall Street's …
Neil McAllister, 19 Dec 2014
management regulation1

Android gives Google a search monopoly? Not so fast, says judge

A US District Court judge has cast doubt on an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google, describing the damages sought as "speculative." The class-action suit filed earlier this year alleges that Google engages in illegal anti-competitive behavior by requiring makers of Android smartphones to bundle its search app on their devices …
Neil McAllister, 18 Dec 2014

Oracle, the King of Cloud? Maybe in Ellison's world

Analysis Oracle's executive team spent most of its second-quarter earnings conference call on Wednesday talking about its cloud business – which made sense, since that was the only part of the business that showed significant growth. As in last quarter's call, the trio of Safra Catz, Larry Ellison, and Mark Hurd chirped away about the …
Neil McAllister, 18 Dec 2014
Mark Hurd and Safra Catz

Hurd'n'Catz leading Oracle to the cloud, but core biz still lags

Oracle beat analysts' estimates for once for the second quarter of its fiscal 2015, with an earnings report that otherwise showed only modest results. The database giant's total revenues of $9.6bn for the three months that ended on November 30 were better than expected, but still only amounted to 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth …
Neil McAllister, 18 Dec 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

Microsoft says to expect AWESOME things of Windows 10 in January

Microsoft says Windows Insider program members shouldn't be upset that no more Windows 10 Preview builds are coming this year, because the build that's expected to arrive in late January will be awesome – literally. According to a blog post by Microsoft engineering manager Gabe Aul, Redmond devs are so excited about that …
Neil McAllister, 17 Dec 2014
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

FCC to smack Sprint with $105m fine over 'cramming' – report

US mobile carrier Sprint should expect a hefty fine from the Federal Communications Commission for overbilling its customers, say sources with knowledge of the agency's plans. As first reported by the National Review, the FCC is preparing to vote on action to be taken against Sprint over its role in "cramming" – the practice of …
Neil McAllister, 17 Dec 2014
cloud

Back dat app up: Microsoft opens Azure Backup to Windows PCs

Microsoft's Azure Backup cloud service could start getting a lot more traffic soon, with the introduction of backup services for Windows client operating systems. Azure Backup was released to general availability in 2013 as a backup and restore service for machines running Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Sever 2012, and Windows …
Neil McAllister, 17 Dec 2014
Snap, snap, snap ...

Google Cloud gets 'snappy' with Ubuntu Core support

Canonical's "snappy" new formulation of Ubuntu has gained the support of another major public cloud vendor, with Google making the lightweight Linux available for customers of its Compute Engine IaaS offering. Announced earlier this month, Ubuntu Core is a stripped-down version of the OS designed specifically for large-scale …
Neil McAllister, 16 Dec 2014
Smartphones

Watch out, Samsung! 3 of top 5 smartphone makers are now Chinese

It was more bad news for Samsung in the third quarter of 2014, as the Korean smartphone maker saw its global market share shrink by nearly 8 per cent, year on year, with most of it going to Chinese rivals. According to the latest figures from Gartner, Samsung remains the worldwide smartphone king, but its market share was just …
Neil McAllister, 16 Dec 2014
Babel Fish

Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Microsoft has rolled out a public preview of Skype Translator, its long-ballyhooed service that provides Star Trek–style real-time translation for voice calls and online chats. "We've invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they're emerging as …
Neil McAllister, 15 Dec 2014
A sinking ship

Pirate Bay admins 'couldn't care less' about police raid

Copyright infringement clearinghouse site The Pirate Bay may or may not return, but its admins aren't the slightest bit concerned about the police raid that downed it or the ensuing extended hiatus, according to one anonymous spokesperson. "We couldn't care less really," a Pirate Bay affiliate identified only as "Mr 10100100000 …
Neil McAllister, 15 Dec 2014
Earth

Google vows: Earth will VANISH in 2015

Developers who have built web apps that take advantage of the Google Earth geospatial imaging service have just 12 more months to make the most of them, because the online ad-slinger plans to shut down the Google Earth API next year. According to a Friday blog post, Google will continue to fully support the Google Earth API …
Neil McAllister, 13 Dec 2014
Web browsers

Yahoo! Says! Chrome, IE Users! Should! 'Upgrade'! To! FIREFOX!

Yahoo! has started urging visitors to its homepage to "upgrade to the new Firefox" – even when they aren't using the Mozilla browser in the first place. The message, along with a Firefox logo, has begun appearing for some users in the purple band along the top of Yahoo!'s portal pages. It's displayed when the visitor is using …
Neil McAllister, 12 Dec 2014
Container meltdown

Batten down the patches: New vuln found in Docker container tech

More security woes plagued users of the Docker application containerization tech for Linux this week, after an earlier security patch was found to have introduced a brand-new critical vulnerability in the software. The Docker 1.3.2 update, which was released in November to address critical bugs that could be exploited by an …
Neil McAllister, 12 Dec 2014
BPG compression demo

QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

Noted software wizard Fabrice Bellard has devised a new raster image format that he says offers superior quality to JPEG at similar file sizes. Bellard – who is known for creating the QEMU virtualization hypervisor and the FFMPEG multimedia libraries, among other achievements – says the new format, called Better Portable …
Neil McAllister, 12 Dec 2014
eBay

eBay planning massive job cuts following PayPal split – report

Holiday good cheer may be short-lived for eBay employees this year, many of whom could reportedly lose their jobs not long after the Christmas shopping season. According to The Wall Street Journal, the online tat bazaar is considering cutting as much as 10 per cent of its workforce in the New Year, with most of the 3,000 layoffs …
Neil McAllister, 11 Dec 2014
Road closed

Alleged Silk Road boss's lawyers want murder-for-hire evidence blocked from trial

Attorneys representing Ross Ulbricht – the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road online drugs souk – have asked a New York court to bar evidence that Ulbricht sought to have six people killed, claiming it would unfairly prejudice the jury in his upcoming narcotics trafficking trial. Prosecutors have alleged that Ulbricht, …
Neil McAllister, 11 Dec 2014
Train wreck

Microsoft's dodgy new Exchange 2010 update breaks Outlook clients

If you were thinking of installing the latest update roll-up for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP3, don't. That's the word from Microsoft, which withdrew the update on Wednesday following reports that customers couldn't connect to the server with their Outlook clients once the patch was applied. Exchange Server 2010 Roll-Up 8 …
Neil McAllister, 10 Dec 2014
A sinking ship

The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

Torrent search engine and copyright-infringement poster child The Pirate Bay fell offline worldwide on Tuesday – reportedly after cops raided a data center in Stockholm, Sweden. The site remained unavailable for much of the day, only reemerging in the late hours with a new URL using the top-level domain for Costa Rica. It's …
Neil McAllister, 10 Dec 2014

Microsoft opens Azure cloud to US govt for vid surveillance, etc

At its Cloud for Government Summit in Washington DC on Tuesday, Microsoft declared its cloud good enough for government work, announcing general availability of Microsoft Azure Government. Specifically, its target customers are in the US public sector, with Redmond pitching its cloudy offerings to federal, state, and local …
Neil McAllister, 09 Dec 2014
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

Vendor lock-in is truly a TERRIBLE idea ... says, er, Microsoft

Comment When it comes to building applications for the cloud, John Gossman thinks agility and portability are essential. "You don't want to get locked in too much to a particular vendor, strategy, technology, whatever," he says. Gossman's advice should shock nobody. What might surprise you, though, is that he works for Microsoft. Ten …
Neil McAllister, 06 Dec 2014
Containers

Docker: Here, take the wheel – now YOU can run your own containers

DockerCon EU Docker is all the rage among hip startups and early adopters, but Docker the company would like to get its tech into enterprises, too – which is why it's working on adapting its hosted Docker Hub service into a product specifically targeting large business customers. The forthcoming offering, unsurprisingly named Docker Hub …
Neil McAllister, 05 Dec 2014
Orchestration

Docker grabs conductor's baton, jumps into cluster orchestration

DockerCon EU Linux container wrangler Docker rounded out the first day of its DockerCon EU conference on Thursday by unveiling three new services that represent the next steps in Docker's transition from toolset to full-fledged platform. "We're incubating a series of projects separately from the core runtime," Docker cofounder and CTO …
Neil McAllister, 04 Dec 2014
Red rocket toy

CoreOS's Docker-rival Rocket: We drill into new container contender

Analysis CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi certainly got the attention of the Docker community on Monday when he announced Rocket, his company's alternative to the Docker container file format and runtime. But just what is Rocket and what does it offer that Docker doesn't? Simply put, the answer for now is a resounding "not much." In fact, as …
Neil McAllister, 03 Dec 2014
Broke - empty pockets

Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'

Windows Phone has never paid off for Microsoft's hardware partners, Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has claimed. "We didn't make any money in Windows Phone," Huawei head of international media affairs Joe Kelly told the Seattle Times in a recent interview. "Nobody made any money in Windows Phone." This isn't the first time …
Neil McAllister, 02 Dec 2014
Container meltdown

CONTAINER WARS: CoreOS blasts Rocket rival at Docker

CoreOS, the lightweight Linux distro based around Linux containers and Docker, will develop its own application container tech to compete against Docker. On Monday, CoreOS unveiled a prototype version of Rocket, a command-line tool for working with App Container, the company's home-brewed container image format, runtime, and …
Neil McAllister, 01 Dec 2014

Chromecast video on UK, Euro TVs hertz so badly it makes us judder – but Google 'won't fix'

Google disappointed fans of its priced-like-a-pizza Chromecast TV dongle this week, when it said it won't be fixing an annoying video quirk that has some European customers' eyes twitching. The Chromecast, which lets users stream online content to their TVs while using their PCs and mobile devices as controllers, first went on …
Neil McAllister, 27 Nov 2014
A bald Carly Fiorina superimposed over the Capitol building in DC

Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'

Carly Fiorina – the former HP chief executive who presided over the firm's $24.2bn merger with Compaq – is mulling a run for the US presidency in 2016, Washington insiders claim. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Fiorina has been recruiting campaign staffers and holding private meetings with potential donors, and …
Neil McAllister, 26 Nov 2014
Can you figure out the mystery company?

Guess which US tech giant was just hit with a $137m tax bill in China?

The Chinese government doesn't want to embarrass whichever US multinational it just slapped with a US$140m bill in back taxes – but let's just say it's large and its name begins with the letter "M." OK, it's Microsoft. But neither China nor the software giant are coming right out and admitting it. According to a story from the …
Neil McAllister, 26 Nov 2014
sea_hp_sink

HP biz split latest: 'I'm excited!' says CEO as investors exchange nervous looks

HP performed about as well as the analysts expected for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2014, which is to say it was another difficult quarter that put the cap on what has been a trying year for the tarnished tech titan. Revenues for the quarter were down 2.5 per cent from the year-ago period, at $28.4bn. That sum missed Wall …
Neil McAllister, 26 Nov 2014

NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online

The NSA has decided to let the public have a peek at what it's been up to, for a change, by promising to release some of its data analysis tools under an open-source license. On Tuesday, intelligence-gobbling agency said it hopes to make the code to NiFi – a project previously known internally as Niagarafiles – available as an …
Neil McAllister, 25 Nov 2014

How secure is Docker? If you're not running version 1.3.2, NOT VERY

A nasty vulnerability has been discovered in the Docker application containerization software for Linux that could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges and execute code remotely on affected systems. The bug, which has been corrected in Docker 1.3.2, affects all previous versions of the software. "No remediation is …
Neil McAllister, 25 Nov 2014

Google's Chrome to pull plug on plugins next September

Google is moving ahead with its plan to end support for Netscape plugins in its Chrome browser – and has set next September as the date for when they will stop working altogether. The Chocolate Factory announced its intention to drop the venerable Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) tech in September 2013. At the same time, it urged …
Neil McAllister, 24 Nov 2014