Shaun Nichols

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Zuck's flying internet death star

LOOK UP, Brits – is that one of Zuckerberg's LASER-gun drones above you? LIKELY

F8 2015 Facebook is still banging on about fleets of solar-powered, laser-firing drones that beam a glimpse of the internet to far-flung corners of the globe. In a post on his Facebook blog on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said one of his social network's unmanned "Aquila" craft has undertaken its first successful test flight. The …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2015
Booth babe banhammer

Bye bye, booth babes. IT security catwalk RSA nixes sexy outfits

The organizers of this year's RSA security conference have made at least one thing clear to exhibitors: no booth babes. The industry shindig has sent out a new dress code banning scantily clad models, regardless of gender, from wandering the show floor. The rules dictate that exhibitors cannot wear shorts, tank tops and halter …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Win some, lose some: Motorola 1, patent troll 1

Motorola Mobility got some bad news and good news on Wednesday when a US jury found it ripped off an Intellectual Ventures-owned technology patent although denied a second infringement claim. The panel of peers, sitting in a federal court in Delaware, ruled that a range of Moto smartphones in 2011 infringed US patent 7,810,144 …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Does your broadband feel faster? Akamai says it went up 20 per cent*

Broadband speeds around the world increased by 20 per cent, year on year, according to internet tentacle monster Akamai. The website-caching giant claims in its latest State of the Internet report that, during the past three months to now, connections to ISPs peaked at 26.9Mbps, on average, dropping to 4.5Mbps the rest of the …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Wannabe a nano-bot-manufacturing giant? Better cozy up to Apple

Apple's demand for minute mechanical gizmos in its iThings is more or less dictating who wins and who loses among MEMS manufacturers, analysts reckon. Supply-chain researchers at IHS said the Cupertino idiot-tax operation's use of Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) and sensors in iPhones and iPods draws so much business that …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015
Chattanooga

Tennessee sues FCC: Giving cities free rein to provide their own broadband is 'unlawful'

The US state of Tennessee is suing the FCC after the regulator declared that cities should be free to build their own municipal-owned broadband networks. The Volunteer State wants to overturn that ruling, made in February, arguing the decision goes against heavy restrictions placed on government-owned organizations that compete …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2015
Bitcoin bloodbath

Ransomware holds schools hostage: 'Now give us Bitcoin worth $129k, er, $124k, wait ...'

A New Jersey school district in the US has been held hostage by ransomware that has apparently demanded hundreds of Bitcoins to end the situation. Teachers, staff and kids in Swedesboro-Woolwich school district have been unable to access their computer files in classrooms as a result of a network-wide security compromise, The …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2015
Google Fiber

Utah faints: Google Fiber to lay cable in thrilling Salt Lake City

Google has confirmed it will roll out its Fiber broadband service in the Mormon heartland of Salt Lake City. The powerful California advertising giant said the Utah capital will join its neighbor Provo in offering gigabit internet connections to citizens. We assume AT&T and Comcast are already on their way over to offer a rival …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015
Steve Wozniak

Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

Old-school computer whiz Steve Wozniak is afraid an emergence of an artificial super-intelligence will be very bad news for the human race. The former HP engineer, who today lives in Australia and works as adjunct professor in Sydney, agrees with SpaceX supremo Elon Musk and physics ace Prof Stephen Hawking that computers in the …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015

US watchdog seeks techies, interns to sink gums into Google et al

The US Federal Trade Commission has put up the "help wanted" sign for a new office tasked with investigating American technology giants. El Reg hopes the new team has more backbone that the officials unwilling to pick a fight with Silicon Valley's out-of-control goliaths. The FTC said its Office of Technology Research and …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015
Obama at the White House science fair

Prez Obama cares about STEM so much he just threw $240m of other people's money at it

Some $240m from the private sector will be spent on boosting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in America, President Obama said on Monday. The President said the spending will hopefully increase diversity in STEM fields and improve educational programs in underrepresented communities. Of that nine-figure …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015

Twitch stitch-up: Gaming vid streamers in data breach hack alert

Gameplay-streaming upstart Twitch thinks hackers may have harvested its user accounts for private information – and has reset people's passwords as a precaution. The San Francisco-based startup, which lets people stream videos of themselves playing games to online spectators – said it has also voided all stream keys, and …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Mar 2015
Windows 10 for phone

Microsoft sniffs around Xiaomi Mi 4 smarties with Windows 10

Chinese mobe giant Xiaomi confirmed it is helping Microsoft port Windows 10 to its Mi 4 smartphones. Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said Redmond has managed to build its OS for phones that normally run Android as part of a test program, but people shouldn't get their hopes up for a larger partnership or dual-boot devices any …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
Office Space

Apple: Those security holes we fixed last week? You're going to need to repatch

Apple has released a follow-up to last week's security update after finding a pair of flaws that are still vulnerable on patched systems. The Cupertino giant said that the 2015-003 update would address two flaws; a man-in-the-middle vulnerability and type confusion error in OS X Yosemite (10.10.2). Both of the flaws, CVE-2015- …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
The monopoly box

FTC: All-powerful Google ABUSED rivals. So we did NOTHING

Google was far closer to being dragged into court by US watchdog the FTC than anyone previously believed, documents have revealed. The Wall Street Journal has obtained and published an internal FTC report that accuses Google of wrongdoing, following a 2012 antitrust probe by the regulator into the company's dominance online. …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
Broken CD

Cloud music streams outpace CD sales for the first time, says recording industry ass. of America

Streaming music is now more popular than CDs, according to the Record Industry Ass. of America (RIAA). The RIAA reported (PDF) that in the US last year, streaming music sales accounted for $1.87bn in retail revenues, compared to $1.85 in total revenues for disc-based digital media. Physical media as a whole managed to stave off …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
FCC logo

FCC to Verizon: Blocking 911 calls? That's a $3.4m paddlin'

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extracted a $3.4m fee from Verizon for its failure to provide customers with emergency phone service last year. The FCC said that it had agreed to the fee with the US telecoms giant after an April 2014 outage that left 11 million people without phone coverage, including for the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
Glasshole

Analyst dons Tim Cook mask, thinks: Glass went well for Google. Let's do that, too

Apple is possibly looking to develop its own augmented reality headset. Industry analyst Gene Munster speculates that Cupertino is brewing up its own device to compete with the likes of Google Glass. "Based on conversations with industry contacts within the virtual and augmented reality spaces, we believe Apple has a small team …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
Illegal drugs

Shock development: Darkweb drug n' gun dealers are untrustworthy

In a turn of events that should shock nobody, the operators of one of the largest darknet drug markets have apparently run off with user funds. The Evolution underground market, which sold guns, drugs, and a cornucopia of illicit merchandise, went dark. A self-described administrator said on Reddit that the site's owners have …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015

Let's get patchin' now, everybody's watchin' how, baby fix Safari with me

Apple has pushed out an largish update for security flaws in its Safari browser. The Cupertino giant said that the Safari 8.0.4, 7.1.4 and 6.2.4 patch would address 17 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in the browser. The collective update, which patches the newest version of Safari along with older copies on legacy OS X versions, …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015
Sony's new PlayStation 4

Wanna stream live TV to your Playstation? Get a Vue of Sony's new stuff

Sony has formally launched its subscription-based service that streams TV channels to Playstation consoles. The Japanese entertainment giant said its Playstation Vue package (teased late last year) is now online in a limited rollout to viewers in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The $50-$70 monthly service brings …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015

Google Glass DIED from TOO MUCH ATTENTION, Captain Moonshot admits

Speaking at the South by Southwest music and tech conference in Austin, Texas, Google X boss Astro Teller - who glories in the title Captain of Moonshots - said the smart glasses project could have benefited from a bit of restraint. "We allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program," Teller was quoted …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015
Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe: Flash, pah. Look, we're doing just fine in the cloud, thank you

Adobe has reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter of 2015 ahead of what it called are strong financial figures. The Silicon Valley stalwart reported haul of $1.11bn in revenues and earnings per share of $0.44, well ahead of analysts' $0.39 estimates. Over the quarter customers downloaded 30m apps and piled …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Apple TV

Apple about to make Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY - report

Apple TV users might be getting new channels, and Cupertino some more money, according to insiders in the firm. The Cupertino giant is in talks to put out a subscription television service with Fox, CBS and the Discovery Networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple is currently part of a conglomerate that includes ABC, …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Pinterest iPad

What are your links worth to Pinterest? $11 BEEELLION!

Social link-sharing site Pinterest has taken in a new round of funding that gives the firm at a hefty US$11bn valuation. The company said in an SEC filing that it had already agreed to sell off $367,099,927 in equity and hopes to move another $210,816,979 (for a total of around $577.9m) in venture capitol investments. That sale …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Keyboard where return key is marked communication and to its left is a key with the Cuban flag. Copyright: xtock, Photo via Shutterstock

Cubans 'get' 'free community' 'Wi-Fi'

Cuba says it is further loosening its grip on the nation's internet access with the launch of its first public Wi-Fi hotspot. According to a report from The Associated Press, a community center in the capital city of Havana will serve as the only hotspot in the nation to be authorized to operate by the state-run Etecsa telco …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015

'What don't we want? Robots. When don't we want them? Ever.' Anti-droid hipsters hit SXSW

Updated Visitors to the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) tech jamboree have been having a rough old time of it, with what appears to be protests from the locals and a sneaky spam problem on Tinder. On Sunday a group of hipsters took to the streets of Austin, Texas, to protest what they see as reckless and potentially dangerous advances …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Mar 2015

Disney CEO: Dead Steve Jobs choc-blocked me!

Disney CEO Bob Iger would be helping to guide Google these days, were it not for one Steven P. Jobs. The mouseketeer-in-chief said Apple cofounder Steve Jobs convinced him not to take a spot on Google's board a few years ago, citing the ongoing conflict between Apple and the Chocolate Factory. In the new biography Becoming …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2015
Torn down MacBook Pro

Want that awesome new Apple TrackPad? Don't get a MacBook Pro

The trackpad in the new version of Apple's MacBook Pro may not be the new-fangled technological marvel that CEO Tim Cook said it would be, say analysts. The teardown specialists at iFixIt say that according to their initial examination, the trackpad featured in the new MacBook Pro is an array of magnets and strain gauges, which …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2015
iOS 8

Want to check out iOS 8.3? Apple just might let you (but make a backup)

Just days after releasing iOS 8.2 to the masses, Apple is allowing some users to check out the early builds of iOS 8.3. The Cupertino idiot-tax operation has begun a limited public beta rollout for iOS 8.3 beta 3. Availability appears to be happening in phases, as some users report being able to access the beta and others ( …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2015

Patch Flash now: Google Project Zero, Intel and pals school Adobe on security 101

Hot on the heels of Microsoft's Patch Tuesday release, Adobe has published security fixes for its Flash Player browser plugin. The March 12 update for the internet's screen door addresses 11 CVE-listed vulnerabilities. Adobe is listing the patch as a top deployment priority for Windows, OS X and Linux systems. Among the flaws …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Mar 2015

Revenge porn forbidden: Twitter bans hobby of bitter ex-boyfriends

Twitter has formally banned its users from posting intimate photos of people without their permission. It's a move that will hopefully rid the site of "revenge porn," which are typically sexy snaps leaked online by bitter ex-partners, usually spiteful former boyfriends. The 140-character chatterbox site has updated its rules of …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Mar 2015
Scarface

LUST for APPLE WATCH drove me to crime, says alleged meth dealer

A man accused of arranging a crystal meth deal in China has reportedly claimed he only did because he really wanted an Apple Watch. A translated article from the government-run Guangzhou Daily newspaper says a 21-year-old man from the city was arrested for arranging the illegal trade with the hope of using the profits to buy …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Mar 2015

FTC to DirecTV: No more lies! Tell viewers what you really charge

US watchdog the FTC is taking DirecTV direct to court, alleging the satellite TV biz fooled Americans over the true cost of its service. The commission claims California-based DirecTV did not clearly explain to subscribers that it raised the prices on its two-year package after the first twelve months. "DirecTV misled consumers …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2015
Sad Mac

iTunes snafu: DNS fail borked Apple's app & iTunes stores for 10 HOURS

Updated Apple has blamed a server configuration blunder for a 10-hour-long outage of its highly lucrative App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store yesterday. The iPhone giant said in a statement to the media that today's downtime was caused by problems with its DNS setup. Apple's system status page confirms various …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2015
Apple signs for auction

Thought Apple was kidding about diversity? Here's 50 MEEELLION reasons you're wrong

Apple has announced a $50m donation to help improve diversity in the science and technology fields. The company revealed on Tuesday that it would be pledging the cash to a group of charities aiming to train women, minorities, and military veterans for careers in the information technology sector. "We wanted to create …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2015
southampton water in Minecraft

Ban Minecraft? That's jive, Turkey!

The wildly popular sandbox game Minecraft is facing a possible ban in Turkey. English-language Hurriyet Daily News reports that the nation's Family Ministry will soon file a legal complaint seeking to halt sales of the game and ban its playing in Turkey. According to the report, officials are worried that the combat elements of …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Mar 2015

Redmond's Patch Tuesday to kill off the Windows FREAK show

Microsoft has issued 14 security bulletins to protect against a total of 44 different CVE-listed security vulnerabilities in its monthly Patch Tuesday release. The patch bundle includes Microsoft's solution for the now-infamous FREAK security vulnerability and some major fixes for Internet Explorer. Five of the patches are …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Mar 2015

Apple slips out security patches while world goes gaga over watches

While everyone was losing their mind over expensive watches, Apple sneaked out security fixes for iOS phones and tablets, and OS X computers. Both the OS X Security Update 2015-002 and iOS 8.2 address critical flaws. Leading the charge is a patch to squish the FREAK bug in the two operating systems' SSL/TLS code. Disclosed last …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Mar 2015
Apple TV HBO

Apple Watch: Wait a minute! This puny wrist-puter costs 17 GRAND?!

Apple boss Tim Cook appeared at an art center in San Francisco on Monday to confirm when the much-hyped and super-expensive Apple Watch will go on sale. In short, you can order one from April 10, and it'll hit store shelves on April 24. Cook also revealed other bits and pieces, such as a new slim MacBook going on sale soon. As …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Mar 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

'If cloud existed decades ago, backups wouldn't have been developed'

QuoTW This week saw the industry freak out over an SSL bug, while Canada's border patrol cuffed a man who wouldn't allow his phone to be searched and Mars was found to be well and truly soaked. Here are some of the best quotes from the past week: Microsoft, which just so happens to be running a massive cloud operation, wanted to make …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Mar 2015

Litecoin-mining code found in BitTorrent app, freeloaders hit the roof

μTorrent users are furious after discovering their favorite file-sharing app is quietly bundled with a Litecoin mining program. The alt-coin miner is developed by distributed computing biz Epic Scale, and is bundled in some installations of μTorrent, which is a Windows BitTorrent client. Some peeps are really annoyed that Epic' …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Mar 2015

Bite my shiny metal Ask: Java for OS X crapware storm brewing

Mac fans now have one more thing in common with their Windows-using bosses: their Oracle Java updates now try to smuggle in Ask's browser toolbar. The upgrade, version 8u40 of Java for OS X, tragically tries to install the plugin, which hijacks the user's default web search engine and homepage to Ask.com. Windows users of the …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2015

US Senators hope to crack down on the trade of private information

Four US senators are introducing legislation aimed at turning the screws on businesses that gather up and sell citizens' personal information. Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Al Franken (D-MN) have teamed up to introduce the Data-broker Accountability and Transparency Act ( …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2015
Keep out sign with deleted expletive

US watchdog: Anthem snubbed our security audits before and after enormous hack attack

A year or so before American health insurer Anthem admitted it had been ruthlessly ransacked by hackers, a US federal watchdog had offered to audit the giant's computer security – but was rebuffed. And, after miscreants looted Anthem's servers and accessed up to 88.8 million private records, the watchdog again offered to audit …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Mar 2015

Office for Mac 2016 Preview: This letter will self-destruct in 60 days

Microsoft has released the first preview build of Office for Mac 2016, its next edition of the software for Apple PCs. The Word, Excel et al suite can now be downloaded and tested out by the anyone with an OS X Yosemite or later machine. "Office 2016 for Mac shares an unmistakably Office experience – but it is also thoughtfully …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Mar 2015

Apple: We could expose our WHOPPING 12 INCH iPad - but it's not real

Apple has reportedly delayed the manufacturing of its much speculated-upon - yet never confirmed - 12.9in iPad. A Bloomberg report cites anonymous sources claiming that the enormo-slab won't emerge from factories until September. Apple was rumored to put the tab into production by June. A shortage of display panels is said to …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Mar 2015

Snowden, NSA spying, hard drive malware ... what we need is a UN privacy watchdog!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks the United Nations needs to get its arse in gear and safeguard people's privacy from government snoops. The activist group (EFF) said an independent expert should be appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council (HRC) to tackle blanket surveillance and the gathering of people's private and …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2015
Shield controller

Nvidia waves 4King big Android Shield at games console warzone

Pic Nvidia is tossing its hat into the already crowded home console market with an Android-powered gaming device - the Shield. The GPU giant said its new Shield box can stream telly online and games from Nv's Grid service, or play downloaded titles. The console will ship in May with a starting price tag of $199, we're told, and 50 …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2015
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Google Chrome suffers brain freeze on Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Google says Chrome 42 will be the last version for phones, tabs and other things running Android 4.0 to 4.0.4, aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). People using ICS will just get security updates for Chrome after version 42 is released. Users running Android 4.1, aka Jelly Bean, and later will continue to get major new versions of the …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2015