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Iain Thomson

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Wall St's DROOLING as Twitter GULPS DOWN analytics firm Gnip

Twitter has bought its long-time collaborator Gnip, a analytics firm that should help the social media firm turn its red balance sheets black. Gnip specializes in taking social media feeds and studying them to extract financially useful information. It's one of four companies with access to Twitter's firehose of feeds, and also …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2014
sponge

KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline

The nearest most of us get to a sponge is when it's sitting on the bathroom shelf, but scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have found four new species of carnivorous sponge that are chomping their way through undersea life off the coast of California. Most sponges filter particles of food from …
Iain Thomson, 16 Apr 2014
Nadella

Microsoft's Nadella: SQL Server 2014 means we're all about data

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella made his third trip in as many weeks to San Francisco to announce the third piece in the puzzle that's Microsoft's future strategy: it's all going to be about data, he said. Nadella It's all about the data "The era of ambient intelligence has begun, and we are delivering a platform that …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2014
Blood Moon

Skygazers prepare for 'blood Moon' caused by Earth eclipse

North American night owls will be in prime position to catch their best view of a lunar eclipse at around 1am EDT Tuesday as our natural satellite is overshadowed by Earth. The Earth's shadow will start to cover the Moon's surface at 12:54am EDT and the cover the lunar surface completely between 3:07am and 4:25am, causing a …
Iain Thomson, 15 Apr 2014
The Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral

Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run

Elon Musk's rocketeers at SpaceX have called off Monday's launch of their CRS-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station after a problem with its main Falcon rocket. "Today's launch has been scrubbed due to a Helium leak on Falcon 9's first stage. A fix will be implemented by the next launch opportunity on Friday …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2014
Mozilla's new CEO Chris Beard

Firefox biz Mozilla makes Beard new interim chief executive

Mozilla has appointed ex-long-time employee Chris Beard to head the collective as interim CEO after the old boss Brendan Eich was forced out for donating to a group opposing gay marriage. Mozilla's new CEO Chris Beard Beard is likely to keep his views on gay marriage to himself "Mozilla needs to act quickly and decisively," …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2014

Feds indict nine for making millions from Zeus malware

The FBI and the US Department of Justice have unsealed charges against nine people accused of racketeering, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and multiple counts of bank fraud related to their use of the Zeus malware against victims in the state of Nebraska. "The 'Zeus' malware is one of the most damaging pieces of …
Iain Thomson, 14 Apr 2014
Robonaut shakes hands with with his human counterpart. Pic: NASA

ROBONAUT to find feet after Monday ISS supply mission

On Monday, SpaceX is scheduled to fire off its third resupply mission to the International Space Station, and among the nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies will be a pair of robotic legs for the station's mechanical inhabitant. Robonaut 2 (R2) is a humanoid robot torso with arms designed and built by the NASA Johnson Space Center …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2014
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS

The tech world is aflutter over the Heartbleed encryption flaw in OpenSSL, but it seems that the bug was no surprise to the analysts of the NSA, since they have reportedly been using it for two years to spy on data traffic. Two sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that NSA staff picked up on the fatal flaw shortly …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2014

Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper

If you're one of the few people who bought a Sony VAIO Fit 11A laptop/tablet convertible unit in the last few months, you need to unplug it immediately and step away from the system, Sony has warned. "It has come to our attention that some of the internal, non-removable battery packs provided to us by a third party supplier and …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2014
NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image of the Moon

Astronomers spot hint of first EXOMOON, possibly

Thanks to the work of the Kepler space telescope and Earth-bound observations, we have now caught sight of nearly 2,000 exoplanets: planetary bodies orbiting distant stars. But now astronomers think they've caught the first sighting of an exomoon orbiting one of these distant planets. Planetary moons are relatively common in our …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2014
Reg man wears Google Glass

Google to open up Glass program to anyone with $1,500 to spare

Google has announced that anyone will soon be able to buy one of its Glass headsets for a limited time, provided they live in the US and have $1,500 (plus tax) to pay for them. Up until now, access to the Glass Explorer program has been restricted. Around 2,000 units were sold to developers who paid up at Google's 2012 I/O …
Iain Thomson, 10 Apr 2014

Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

Scientists say they have reconstructed an asteroid impact on Earth that was at least three times as massive as the strike that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs and the new monster had effects that are still being felt today. Asteroid impact A massive headache for Earth (click to enlarge) The research, published …
Iain Thomson, 10 Apr 2014
New USB SuperSpeed Type C cable

USB reversible cables could become standard sooner than you think

There's usually a significant delay between a new technology hardware standard being finalized and seeing it in commercial systems, but the latest update to the USB spec looks like it's going to be rolled out much faster than people think. Google Play redesign One cable to rule them all (click to enlarge) Last week, the …
Iain Thomson, 09 Apr 2014
Solar Impulse 2

Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

After 12 years of research and testing, the Swiss engineering team Solar Impulse has unveiled the craft that will take a round-the-world- trip powered solely by photovoltaic power cells. Solar Impulse 2 Coming soon to a skyline near you "A vision counts for nothing unless it is backed up by action," said Bertrand Piccard, …
Iain Thomson, 09 Apr 2014
SGI supercomputer with liquid cooling

Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist

Intel and SGI have built a new supercomputer using an advanced coolant from 3M flowing directly over the hardware to slash the running costs of such systems, and possibly to boost performance. SGI supercomputer with liquid cooling Don't try this with water The SGI ICE X system uses Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors for grunt, and …
Iain Thomson, 09 Apr 2014
Reg man wears Google Glass

Google woos enterprise developers with 'Glass at Work' program

Google is making a push to get its Glass headsets into the workplace with a new program, "Glass at Work", to entice coders to build enterprise applications for companies wanting to get into the wearable computing platform. "Today, there are thousands of consumers out there enjoying Glass in ways that are both practical and …
Iain Thomson, 08 Apr 2014

UFO, cosmic ray or flasher? NASA rules on Curiosity curiosity

The internet has been all aflutter after a picture taken by NASA's Curiosity rover appeared to show a beam of light emanating from the Red Planet's horizon. Mars light snapped by Curiosity Martian garden lights "This is not a glare from the sun, nor is it an artifact of the photo process," claimed the image's discoverer, …
Iain Thomson, 08 Apr 2014

US Supreme Court declines to hear NSA mass phone-slurp case

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a case brought against the NSA by Verizon customers over the agency's mass collection of mobile phone call data. Lawyer Larry Klayman won the first round of the case against America's top online spying agency in December, when District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon found in favor of the …
Iain Thomson, 08 Apr 2014
Life of Brian

Internet is a TOOL OF SATAN that destroys belief, study claims

A US computer scientist has released a study claiming to have found out why so many Americans are abandoning their religious faith and says it's the internet's fault. "Internet use decreases the chance of religious affiliation," reports Allen Downey, professor of computer science at Olin school of engineering. Downey analyzed …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2014
iPhone Battery

Samsung slurps up full charge in 30 seconds with bio-battery

A two-year-old Israeli startup, StoreDot, thinks it has cracked the problems of limited battery life with a smartphone battery made of biological structures that can recharge in around 30 seconds. StoreDot sprang from research into Alzheimer's at Tel Aviv University which identified naturally occurring crystals two nanometers in …
Iain Thomson, 07 Apr 2014
Flower clock

Time is on their side: NIST's new atomic clock accurate for 300 MEEELLION years

Some people are nuts about knowing the correct time, but the boffins at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken such habits further than anyone else with a new atomic clock that's accurate to 10 trillionths of a second per day. The clock, snappily dubbed NIST-F2, uses the frequency of a particular …
Iain Thomson, 05 Apr 2014

Five-year-old discovers Xbox password bug, hacks dad's Live account

A five-year-old boy has found and exploited a password flaw in his Xbox to hack into his father's Xbox Live account. Still of Kristoffer playing on the Xbox Look out, Mitnick ... Kristoffer Von Hassel on his Xbox (Credit: ABC 10 / KGTV) The parents of Kristoffer Von Hassel, from Ocean Beach in San Diego, California, noticed …
Iain Thomson, 04 Apr 2014
LLCD laser space broadband

NASA's LADEE: A Great Gig in the Sky, now on a death dive to the Dark Side of the Moon

NASA has confirmed it will crash its Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) probe into the Moon's surface on April 21 after the successful completion of its missions. LADEE has been operating around the Moon since November, analyzing its scant atmosphere to solve one of the odder mysteries of our natural …
Iain Thomson, 04 Apr 2014
The USB 3.1 Logo

BEHOLD the HOLY GRAIL of TECH: The REVERSIBLE USB plug

Intel has been showing off the next generation of USB connectors which will be the first to fit into ports whichever way up they are – thus avoid the Schrödinger's USB stick problem. The chip giant says the final specification will be locked down by July by the USB Implementers Forum, of which Intel is a member. In a …
Iain Thomson, 04 Apr 2014
The El Gordo galaxy

Does my mass look big in this? Roly-poly galaxy El Gordo more porky than first feared

The latest data from the Hubble space telescope has shown that the furthest fattest galaxy yet spotted is 43 per cent more massive than first thought and was formed by two huge galaxies colliding. The El Gordo galaxy Galaxy with a weight problem, for astronomers at least Galactic cluster ACT-CL J0102-4915 – nicknamed El Gordo …
Iain Thomson, 03 Apr 2014
Bounty hunters

How much is a security bug report worth to Facebook? About $2,100

Facebook wasn't the first to offer security researchers bounties for reporting vulnerabilities – but the social network reports it paid out $1.5m in 2013 for bug reports, and says it is increasing the amount of cash on offer in the coming year. According to the advertising giant, it received 14,763 reports of suspected flaws …
Iain Thomson, 03 Apr 2014
money trap conceptual illustration

Your files held hostage by CryptoDefense? Don't pay up! The decryption key is on your hard drive

A basic rookie programming error has crippled an otherwise advanced piece of ransomware dubbed CryptoDefense – but the crap coders are still pulling in more than $30,000 a month from unwary punters. Symantec reports that the malware, once it infects a Windows PC, encrypts the victim's files using a 2,048-bit RSA public key, …
Iain Thomson, 03 Apr 2014

Amazon sets FIRE to your living room in bid to shake up TV streaming

After months of speculation, Amazon has finally released a $99 set-top box that'll tout TV programs, music, and games to subscribers. Amazon Fire TV and controller 0.7-in thick and a rather dull design ... same price as the Apple TV without the gloss “Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price -people are going …
Iain Thomson, 02 Apr 2014
Google bus protests in San Francisco

Puking! protester! forces! Yahoo! 'techie! scum!' to! ride! vile! bile! barf! bus! to! work!

Gangs of protesters halted Silicon Valley commuter buses in Oakland, California, this morning – with one group calling itself The Red Son swarming over a Yahoo! coach and one member throwing up over the windscreen. The protest was staged outside the MacArthur Bay Area Rapid Transport station. It's claimed about 50 people …
Iain Thomson, 02 Apr 2014

Extended Random: The PHANTOM NSA-RSA backdoor that never was

Over the last day or so the security press has been touting stories of a second NSA-induced backdoor in RSA's encryption software BSafe. But it appears to be more sound and fury than substance. The brouhaha was kicked off by a Reuters report into an as-yet-unpublished academic study examining the cryptographically crap Dual …
Iain Thomson, 02 Apr 2014
yawn

Page through Page's page page-views: Google+ shows how many saw your profile

Google has added a new feature to its Google+ kinda-social network that identifies how many people have looked at your profile page, blog and photos on Google+. "Starting today you’ll see a new number on your Google+ profile or page: total content views," said Eddie Kessler, a Google engineering manager. "This number is the sum …
Iain Thomson, 01 Apr 2014
World Cup kicking exoskeleton

Soccer's dull? A MIND-CONTROLLED robo-suit will be used to take first World Cup 2014 kick

When the football (soccer for our American readers) World Cup 2014 kicks off in June, the first person to put boot to ball will be a Brazilian paraplegic person using a robotic exoskeleton controlled by an electronic skull cap. World Cup kicking exoskeleton MOre intelligent than Wayne Rooney? The robotic exoskeleton, …
Iain Thomson, 01 Apr 2014

Dropbox nukes bloke's file share in DMCA brouhaha – then admits it made a 'HASH OF IT'

A Dropbox user sparked outrage after he revealed he was blocked from sharing a file he'd deposited in the online storage locker – because it was the target of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anti-piracy takedown notice. The trouble started when designer Darrell Whitelaw found he couldn't share a file in a personal …
Iain Thomson, 31 Mar 2014
3D printed skull

Dutch doctors replace woman's skull with 3D-printed plastic copy

Doctors at the University Medical Center in Utrecht have saved a woman's life – by carrying out the first skull transplant using plastic parts built in a 3D printer. The unnamed 22-year-old patient was suffering from a rare condition that caused the inside of her skull to grow extra bone, which squeezed her brain. The growth was …
Iain Thomson, 29 Mar 2014

Microsoft: Let's be clear, WE won't read your email – but the cops will

Microsoft has today performed a second volte-face in the Hotmail scanning scandal, and this time it looks serious. There was uproar after the software giant revealed it had rummaged through a blogger's Hotmail inbox to snare an employee who had allegedly leaked pre-release Windows 8 software. Microsoft runs Hotmail as part of …
Iain Thomson, 28 Mar 2014
Tesla fire

Tesla firms hot bottoms: TITANIUM armor now bolted to Model S e-cars

Tesla is adding a three-level shield of aluminum and titanium to the underside of its Model S e-car to eliminate the possibility of battery blazes and placate US safety authorities. In separate accidents, two of the electric rides burst into flames shortly after running over debris in the road: in each case, whatever they hit …
Iain Thomson, 28 Mar 2014

First pics: Comet-chaser Rosetta hurtles towards icy prey, camera in hand

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has sent back the first two aligned images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet it has been chasing for ten years and nearly 800 million kilometres. Rosetta comet picture - wide angle Wide angle, tiny target ... that spec is what the ESA is trying to land on The Rosetta mission …
Iain Thomson, 28 Mar 2014

LenovOUCH! Thinkpad's overheating batteries spark recall alert

Lenovo has recalled a slew of ThinkPad batteries after two customers reported overheating problems. "On March 27, 2014, Lenovo voluntarily recalled certain lithium-ion batteries. These batteries were manufactured for use with ThinkPad notebook computers that shipped worldwide between October 2010 and April 2011," the company …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2014
Nadella

FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Microsoft has, after years of speculation, released some of its Office applications for Apple iPad owners – but you'll need an Office 365 subscription to use them in anything other than a lobotomized form. Nadella Nadella holds his first press conference since taking former CEO Steve Ballmer's crown The Apple App Store now …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2014
The orbit of dwarf planet VP113, or Biden, and Sedna

ECCENTRIC, PINK DWARF dubbed 'Biden' by saucy astronomers

A new dwarf planet has been discovered in the Inner Oort cloud that encircles our Solar System some 12 billion miles from Sol. The planet is a frozen shrimp of a thing – an estimated 450 kilometres across with a surface temperature of -432 degrees Fahrenheit and is presumed to be largely made up of ice that gives it a reddish …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2014

AMD teases workstation pros with 16GB FirePro W9100 graphics card

AMD has been showing off a new monster graphics card that it hopes will be one in the eye for Nvidia – and secure its fortunes in the face of a dwindling PC market. AMD W9100 AMD's new power card for the 4K set (click to enlarge) The new W9100 carries whopping 16GB of DDR5 memory with a bandwidth of about 320GB/s, and can …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014
TWIT billboard

You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

A Facebook exec is so sick of drivers texting behind the wheel that he now photographs them and puts the images on billboards to shame them. "I've been blown away by the number of people texting while in traffic, on the freeway," Brian Singer, manager of communication design at Facebook, told Gizmodo. "For every nose picker, …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014
Obama outlines NSA reforms

Hold on, everyone ... Prez Obama thinks he's cracked this NSA super-snooping problem

After nine months of revelations about the extent of US government surveillance, the Obama administration is floating a plan that will curtail mass snooping by its intelligence agencies and reform the way individuals are investigated. "I said several months ago that I was assigning our intelligence community to bring me new …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014
FBcoldstoragearray

Facebook flashes its One Tool To Rule Them All in security threat analysis

Facebook has bragged about a new internal tool that combines all sorts of live data on internet security threats – such as any new malware doing the rounds and known dodgy URLS. The social network's engineers said the utility, imaginatively dubbed ThreatData, collects software nasties shared by researchers and also throws in …
Iain Thomson, 26 Mar 2014
Microsoft Word

As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Retro-computing fans got a treat on Tuesday when Microsoft donated the source code of MS DOS 1.1 and 2 to the Computer History Museum (CHM), along with the first version of Word for Windows. "Version 1.1 fits an entire operating system – limited as it was – into only 12KB of memory, which is tiny compared to today's software," …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2014

Forget black hats – the best hackers are going grey and getting legit

A report from the Rand Corporation suggests the increasing market for software vulnerabilities that can be sold legitimately is tempting the most 1337 hackers and crackers to go legit, rather than suffer the vagaries of the black market in code and credentials. "There's an economic seesaw in the market," Michael Callahan, VP of …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2014
blackmail

Extortion racket borks Basecamp servers with 20Gbps web bombing

Users of Basecamp's project management software experienced an outage this morning, with more possible in the future, after the company was blown off the internet in a distributed denial-of-service attack when it refused to pay off crooks. The attack hit at 0846 Central Time (1346 UTC) on Monday and knocked the company's servers …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2014
TerminatorGoogle

Google pulls SCHAFT out of military honeypot, sprays gold at bot team

The team behind SCHAFT, the best-built bot so far in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, will stop dipping into the $1m prize pot it was awarded by the US military – and will instead rely on funds from its new owner, Google. "The decision by Team SCHAFT to self-fund allows DARPA to expand the competition and further develop disaster …
Iain Thomson, 24 Mar 2014

AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

Friday is the deadline for public comment on US comms watchdog the FCC's forthcoming net neutrality regulations. And, as the deadline approaches, two of the major protagonists have got into a (sometimes bitchy) online spat. On Thursday Netflix CEO Reed Hastings published a pugnacious blog post saying that the FCC needs to …
Iain Thomson, 22 Mar 2014