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Neil McAllister

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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
Confused computer keyboard

How many keys can one keyboard have? Do I hear 200? 300? More?

Are you frustrated with Photoshop's hard-to-remember key commands? You're not alone, and an international group of professional photographers and designers has launched a Kickstarter campaign to do something about it. Romanian Sorin Neica says the group needs just $185,280 to begin production of Shortcut-S, a new computer …
Neil McAllister, 06 Feb 2014
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Android users running old OS versions? Not anymore, say latest stats

One of the most consistent gripes about Android is that its ecosystem is fragmented, forcing developers to support too many different versions of the OS at the same time. But that may be changing, according to the latest stats from Google. In the Chocolate Factory's most recent poll of Android devices, published on Wednesday, …
Neil McAllister, 06 Feb 2014
TwitterIPO

Twitter shares plummet as first-ever earnings show weak growth

Twitter has reported its quarterly earnings for the first time since its initial public offering in November, but the results hardly came as birdsong to investors' ears. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo described the period ending on December 31 – Twitter's fourth fiscal quarter – as "our strongest financial quarter to date," and …
Neil McAllister, 05 Feb 2014

New Microsoft CEO Nadella could earn FOURTEEN TIMES what Ballmer banked in 2013

Newly minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's salary nearly doubled on his first day in the corner office, giving him a pay package even larger than that of outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Nadella will earn an even $1.2m in his first year on the job, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday …
Neil McAllister, 05 Feb 2014

Oi, Android devs! Facebook wants your apps to be more secure

Facebook has released the source code of a software library that's designed to make it easier for developers to implement fast, secure cryptography in their Android apps. Dubbed Conceal, the library was developed for a limited range of tasks with the specific needs of Android developers in mind, allowing app makers to include …
Neil McAllister, 04 Feb 2014
Asus Chromebox, front view

Asus unveils dirt-cheap Chromebox desktops with Haswell chips

Plenty of vendors offer Chromebooks, but if mobility isn't your bag, Asus has announced a compact Chrome OS desktop at a price that's hard to beat. Asus isn't the first company to offer Chrome OS in a desktop form factor. That would be Samsung, which launched the original Chromebox in 2012. But vendors have shied away from the …
Neil McAllister, 04 Feb 2014
Photo of Kim Jong-un using an archaic computer

Dead Kim Jong-il's OS makeover takes a page from Dead Steve Jobs

The latest version of North Korea's official operating system has been given a makeover that lends it an all-too-familiar look and feel. The Norks have maintained a state-sponsored Linux distro – RedStar Linux – since 2010. The earliest version looked like a fairly stock KDE desktop Linux, for its time. But with the new version …
Neil McAllister, 04 Feb 2014

Bill Gates to pull a Steve Jobs and SAVE MICROSOFT – report

Microsoft founder Bill Gates may be planning a return to a more hands-on role at the company, according to the latest rumors from the software giant's ongoing search for a new chief executive. Last week, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and others reported that veteran Microsoft exec Satya Nadella had emerged as the …
Neil McAllister, 03 Feb 2014

Google waves its Chromecast dongle in front of developers

Google has released the final version of the Google Cast Software Development Kit (SDK), paving the way for broader support for its $35 Chromecast media-streaming dongle. The first version of the SDK shipped when the device was unveiled last July, but the Chocolate Factory cautioned developers that it was only a preview and that …
Neil McAllister, 03 Feb 2014
Firing squad

Microsoft takes InfoPath behind the shed, says successor will be better

Microsoft has announced that it has axed its Office InfoPath forms-entry software, in favor of a new, yet-to-be-announced technology that will be revealed later this year. "In an effort to streamline our investments and deliver a more integrated Office forms user experience, we're retiring InfoPath and investing in new forms …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jan 2014

Sprint to buy T-Mobile US? Not so fast, says antitrust official

Rumors persist that US mobile carrier Sprint may be looking to snap up smaller rival T-Mobile US, but a top antitrust enforcer has warned that any such deal would be very unlikely to meet regulatory approval. "It's going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jan 2014
Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

Google's ad-slinging juggernaut gobbles more BEEELLIONS in revenue

Google turned in another impressive earnings report on Thursday, with the giant ad-slinger's revenues reaching record highs both for the fourth quarter and for fiscal 2013. Total revenues for the three months ending on December 31 were $16.86bn, a 17 per cent hike from the year-ago period. And ignoring the impact of the Motorola …
Neil McAllister, 30 Jan 2014

FCC says US telcos can start moving to IP-based calling, but in baby steps

The Federal Communications Commission has given the official go-ahead for US telcos to experiment with scrapping their traditional, analog phone networks in favor of internet-based alternatives. Thursday's announcement made clear that the technology trials will be entirely voluntary and that customers will be able to opt out. …
Neil McAllister, 30 Jan 2014
balaclava_thief_burglar

Developer's rare $50,000 Twitter account @N stolen in web shakedown

A programmer in Palo Alto, California, claims to have been extorted out of a rare, single-letter Twitter handle – after an unknown assailant gained access to his accounts on other online services and held them hostage. In a blog post detailing the incident, Naoki Hiroshima said he had owned the @N Twitter account since 2007, but …
Neil McAllister, 30 Jan 2014

Apple stores? Samsung says two can play at that game

Samsung has fired another shot across Apple's bow, having announced that it plans to open a chain of own-branded retail stores across Europe. It won't do it all on its own, though. Instead, the Korean giant plans to crack the European market with the help of local "preferred partner" Carphone Warehouse. The UK-based mobile …
Neil McAllister, 29 Jan 2014
troll

Judge: Google owes patent troll a 1.36% cut of AdWords' BEELLIONS

Patent-holding company Vringo has won a legal victory against Google that could net it hundreds of millions of dollars per year in ongoing royalties from the Chocolate Factory's AdWords online advertising system. According to court documents [PDF] obtained by The Register, Judge Raymond Jackson of the US District Court of the …
Neil McAllister, 29 Jan 2014
Cthulu springs from HP desktop printer

Yes, HP will still sue you if you make cartridges for its inkjet printers

HP is trumpeting new victories in its longstanding war against makers of ink cartridges that work in its inkjet printers, having scored recent legal wins in Germany and Poland. The dead-tree-coloring king said on Tuesday that it had closed two separate lawsuits with German firm BestUse, which failed to mount any kind of defense …
Neil McAllister, 29 Jan 2014
Photo demonstration of a wireless hotel door lock

Bonk to enter: Starwood Hotels testing keyless check-in via mobe

Today you can place calls with your smartphone, you can take photos with it, and you can make payments with it. And if a new pilot program being launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts pans out, one day you may even be able to use it to open your hotel room door. Two locations of Starwood's boutique Aloft hotel chain will soon …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jan 2014

Accused fraudster Charles Shrem quits Bitcoin Foundation board

Charlie Shrem, the 24-year-old Bitcoin entrepreneur who was arrested on Monday on money-laundering charges, has resigned from his position as vice chairman of the board of the Bitcoin Foundation. Authorities scooped up Shrem at New York City's JFK Airport on claims that he and accomplice Robert Faiella were involved in …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jan 2014
Donuts

Here they come: Dot-word warehouse Donuts to launch new top-level domains this week

Upstart domain registry Donuts has announced that its first seven new global top-level domains (gTLDs) will be made available to the public on Wednesday, with more to come throughout the year. "This is a unique opportunity for businesses, brands, organizations, and individuals to find an online identity that speaks precisely to …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jan 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Internet giants, US gov agree to loosen secrecy of private info slurps

The US Department of Justice has agreed to allow internet companies to be more candid about what information they disclose to the government, albeit only slightly. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are among several companies that have been urging the feds to loosen the secrecy surrounding their data collection …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jan 2014

Prince sues 22 music file-sharers for ONE MEEELLION dollars each

Prince Rogers Nelson – the artist currently known as Prince – has filed lawsuits against 22 people for $1m in damages apiece, alleging that each posted links to bootleg recordings of his concerts on file-sharing networks. According to court documents [PDF] obtained by The Register, the Purple One has named Dan Chodera, Karina …
Neil McAllister, 27 Jan 2014
Rupert Murdoch @ Davos 2009 credit: World Economic Forum

Murdoch's BSkyB stares down Microsoft: Redmond renames SkyDrive to OneDrive

After six months of deliberation, Microsoft has announced the new name for its trademark-disputed SkyDrive cloud storage service: OneDrive. The SkyDrive brand, which has been a cornerstone of Microsoft's latest Windows marketing, was called into dispute in 2011 when British Sky Broadcasting Group – the European satellite …
Neil McAllister, 27 Jan 2014

Apple now spends more on chips than top three PC makers combined

In case you were wondering whether the PC industry is still in a slump, the numbers are in on semiconductor purchasing in 2013 – and once again, the biggest spenders weren't PC vendors. According to the latest figures from market research firm IHS iSuppli, Apple and Samsung again topped the list of the biggest semiconductor …
Neil McAllister, 25 Jan 2014
from http://www.linux.org.ru

Valve showers Debian Linux devs with FREE Steam games

Games vendor Valve has offered a surprise present to the Debian Linux community, in the form of subscriptions that give Debian project members free, unlimited access to all Valve game titles – past, present, and future – forever. According to a message posted to a Debian mailing list on Thursday, the offer is open to all Debian …
Neil McAllister, 24 Jan 2014
Microsoft Surface bomb

Microsoft loses cash on each Surface slab – but core biz strong as ever

Microsoft again reported solid earnings for the second quarter of its fiscal 2014 on Thursday, beating analyst estimates with figures that in some cases exceeded its own expectations. Sales were up for Redmond's Devices & Consumer and Commercial divisions alike, for total revenues of $24.5bn (£14.73bn) for the three months …
Neil McAllister, 24 Jan 2014

Nokia waves goodbye to device biz as phone sales continue to spiral

Nokia's fourth quarter earnings report for its fiscal 2013 shows a company that's striving to reinvent itself – as it prepares to complete the sale of its struggling mobile phone business to Microsoft. The Finnish firm is already reporting its Devices & Services business unit as "discontinued operations," even though the deal …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jan 2014
Chrome browser

Chrome lets websites secretly record you?! Google says no, but...

A design flaw in the Chrome browser allows malicious websites to use your computer's microphone to eavesdrop on you, one developer has claimed, although Google denies this is the case. "Even while not using your computer – conversations, meetings and phone calls next to your computer may be recorded and compromised," Israeli …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jan 2014
Windows 8.1 Start screen

Windows 8.1 update 'screenshots' leak: Metro apps popped into classic desktop taskbar

A set of screenshots leaked to the web purports to show how Microsoft is working to better integrate Metro-style apps with the classic desktop in a forthcoming update to Windows 8.1. The screenshots, which were posted online by Russian serial leaker "WZor," were allegedly taken from a prerelease testing build of Windows 8.1 …
Neil McAllister, 22 Jan 2014
Frodo and the Ring

IBM trudges onward despite hardware weight around its neck

IBM reported fourth-quarter earnings that were a mixed bag on Tuesday, with hardware remaining the chief thorn in Big Blue's side – as has been the case throughout its fiscal 2013. Total revenues shrank for both the quarter and the year, with Q4 sales down 5.5 per cent to $27.7bn and annual sales down 4.6 per cent to $99.8bn. …
Neil McAllister, 22 Jan 2014

Chin up, BlackBerry. We know who still loves you: The cuddly Pentagon

Ailing BlackBerry has received a new vote of confidence from the US Department of Defense, which has reaffirmed its commitment to the Canadian firm's platform for a major mobile communications initiative due to launch this year. According to a press release issued by the DoD's Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) last week …
Neil McAllister, 21 Jan 2014
Visual Studio

Microsoft empties a can of BUG SPRAY on Visual Studio 2013, hands sticky result to devs

In keeping with its new rapid-cadence philosophy, Microsoft has shipped the first update to Visual Studio 2013, a bug fix collection that adds no significant new features. "This is a targeted update, addressing some key areas of customer feedback since the Visual Studio 2013 release," wrote Redmond's developer division corporate …
Neil McAllister, 21 Jan 2014
Smartphones

NTT DoCoMo says two mobe OSes are enough, so sayonara to Tizen

The open-source Tizen mobile OS has suffered another setback, with Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo announcing that it has put off plans to launch a smartphone powered by the system this year. The carrier had earlier said that it would launch a Tizen device in March. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday …
Neil McAllister, 18 Jan 2014

Do cops need a warrant to search your phone? US Supreme Court will rule

The US Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a pair of cases to determine whether police need a warrant to search the mobile phones of people they have arrested. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution forbids "unreasonable" search and seizure, but in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that conducting a full search of an arrestee …
Neil McAllister, 17 Jan 2014

Dart 1.1 bullseyes JavaScript performance in latest benchmarks

Just two months after shipping the first production-ready version of Dart, its JavaScript competitor, Google has offered up a new version that it claims can output code that runs as fast or faster than the equivalent routines written in JavaScript. Dart has always been fast when running in a native VM. In fact, Dart benchmarks …
Neil McAllister, 17 Jan 2014

Java, Android were THE wide-open barn doors of security in 2013 - report

While it was another tough year for network security all around, 2013 was particularly hard on users of Java and Android, new research from Cisco has found. According to the networking giant's latest Annual Security Report, Java flaws were responsible for 91 per cent of all web-based exploits in 2013. Meanwhile, fully 99 per …
Neil McAllister, 17 Jan 2014

Canada says Google broke law by snooping health info to serve ads

An investigation into Google's online advertising practices by Canadian regulators has found that the Chocolate Factory served ads based on users' sensitive health-related information, in violation of the country's privacy laws. "Most Canadians consider health information to be extremely sensitive," Chantal Bernier, Canada's …
Neil McAllister, 16 Jan 2014

Let Google's tentacles fondle your mobile's web downloads and Chrome will put the data on a diet

The latest version of Google's Chrome browser for handheld devices includes a data-compression feature that's designed to save customers money on their mobile bills, among other new bells and whistles. The compression comes disabled by default on Android and iOS, but can be activated by flipping a single switch in the browser's …
Neil McAllister, 16 Jan 2014
Windows XP

Fine! We'll keep updating WinXP's malware sniffer after April, says Microsoft

Microsoft has capitulated to the legions of users who are still running Windows XP once again, by extending support for its antimalware software for the aging OS into 2015. In the past, Redmond has warned that it would discontinue support for Microsoft Security Essentials, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection …
Neil McAllister, 16 Jan 2014
Ubuntu smartphones

Rarin' to buy an Ubuntu phone? Maybe not until 2015, Canonical man says

Commercial smartphones running the mobile version of the Ubuntu Linux distro probably won't be available through carriers until 2015 at the earliest, a Canonical spokesman has revealed. When Canonical CEO Jane Silber first announced plans to port Ubuntu to phones last year, she said the goal was to ship the first handsets with …
Neil McAllister, 16 Jan 2014
Chrome browser

Latest Chrome adds Chrome OS flavor to Windows 8 'Metro' mode

Google on Tuesday delivered a new stable version of Chrome that offers a few features previously only available in beta versions, as well as giving a major overhaul to the UI of the browser's Windows 8 mode. The new version is the first mainstream release to include a feature that allows users to quickly locate tabs that are …
Neil McAllister, 15 Jan 2014
Coinye logo

'You win, Kanye': Coinye creators throw in towel after rapper sues

The short and turbulent life of Coinye, the digital cryptocurrency named after rapper Kanye West, has come to an end. The virtual currency, which launched earlier this month under the name Coinye West, has closed up shop, apparently as a result of legal pressure from the vainglorious rapper. "We're really not sure how Kanye is …
Neil McAllister, 15 Jan 2014
management regulation2

Top patent troll sues US regulators for interfering with its business

MPHJ Technology, one of the most notorious patent trolls in America, has filed a lawsuit against the US Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the agency's attempts to interfere with its business are in violation of its constitutional rights. The obscurely named MPHJ is a patent-assertion entity (that's troll to you and me) …
Neil McAllister, 14 Jan 2014

Vulnerability leaves Cisco small biz routers wide open to attack

A number of Cisco networking products for small businesses contain critical vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to gain root access to the equipment, the networking giant has warned. The affected products include the WAP4410N Wireless-N Access Point, the WRVS4400N Wireless-N Gigabit Security Router, and the RVS4000 4-port …
Neil McAllister, 14 Jan 2014

Mozilla CTO Eich: If your browser isn't open source (ahem, ahem, IE, Chrome, Safari), DON'T TRUST IT

Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich has cautioned netizens not to blindly trust software vendors, arguing that only open-source software can be assured to be free from government-mandated surveillance code. "Every major browser today is distributed by an organization within reach of surveillance laws," Eich wrote in a joint blog post with …
Neil McAllister, 14 Jan 2014

Ex-Oracle manager claims he was fired for asking to give Indian staff equal pay

A former Oracle sales manager has filed a lawsuit against the database giant alleging that he was fired after refusing to offer an Indian job candidate a lower salary than would ordinarily be extended to candidates from the US. In a filing with the US District Court in Northern California, Ian Spandow claimed he lost his job …
Neil McAllister, 13 Jan 2014
Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo

Virgin Galactic's supersonic space ship in 71,000-ft record smash

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo reusable space vehicle completed its third supersonic test flight on Friday, successfully reaching its highest altitude yet. The craft was first lifted to a height of about 46,000 feet (14,021m) by Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. Once aloft, its rocket motor was fired for 20 …
Neil McAllister, 11 Jan 2014