Shaun Nichols

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iPhones clock-blocked and crocked by setting date to Jan 1, 1970

Watch out: setting the time and date on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod to January 1, 1970, may brick the thing. In a Reddit discussion today, folks described how setting their device's clock back to that point in history resulted in a crash after which their iThing was unable to boot or be restored via iTunes. The bug affects …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
Money falling, image via Shutterstock

If you're going to protect people's privacy, protect our profits, too – US broadband biz to FCC

Groups representing telcos, cable operators, and wireless carriers are pressing the FCC on its plans for privacy protections in the US. In an open letter [PDF] to the regulator's boss Tom Wheeler, the groups ask that the FCC consider "balancing" the business considerations of service providers with user privacy rights. "If …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
Louisville Kentucky

Louisville says yes to Google Fiber. Funny story: AT&T, TWC didn't want that to happen

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has approved a plan to bring Google Fiber service to residents and businesses. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports the US city's Metro Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance granting Google and other high-speed carriers access to city-owned utility poles. The move provides …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
graveyard_648

Verizon is on cloud none: Comms giant will axe two public services

Verizon will shut down two of its cloud services in two months' time. Customers have until April 12 to migrate their virtual servers away from Verizon's Public Cloud and Reserved Performance Cloud services; after that date, all hosted virtual machine instances will be lost. The Verizon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service will …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Feb 2016
Flying cars in The Fifth Element

Used a cell phone in NYC? The cops probably tracked you

Police in New York City used stingray mobile phone trackers on more than one thousand occasions since 2008. So says the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), which obtained records from NYPD detailing their use of the devices while investigating cases. According to the NYCLU report, between 2008 and May of 2015 police used …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Feb 2016
Abandoned building

Time acquires Myspace, creates 2004's most fearsome media giant

Time Inc. said it has acquired what's left of social networking ghost town Myspace. The media giant will take on ownership of Myspace as part of a larger acquisition of parent company Viant, an advertising and data analytic firm. Viant acquired Myspace from News Corp in 2011. Time said that it plans to integrate Viant into …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Feb 2016
Ada Lovelace

Women devs – want your pull requests accepted? Just don't tell anyone you're a girl

A new study has found that women are more likely than men to have their open-source software contributions accepted – but only when their gender is hidden from project leaders. The study from North Carolina State University and Cal Poly examined code committed by more than 1.4 million GitHub users and their contributions to …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Feb 2016
The Kremlin in Moscow. Pic: Pavel Kazachkov

Putin's internet guru says 'nyet' to Windows, 'da' to desktop Linux

The Russian government says it is looking to dump Microsoft and adopt Linux as the operating system for agency PCs. In an interview with Bloomberg, Russian internet advisor German Klimenko said the state will consider moving all of its networks off the Microsoft platform and onto an unspecified Linux build instead. Citing …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Feb 2016
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Japanese boffins fire up 100Gbps wireless broadband connection

A group of university researchers in Japan say they have achieved wireless data connections of up to 100Gbps with a new transmitter operating at the submillimetre terahertz frequency range. The team operating out of Hiroshima University, Panasonic Corporation, and the National Institute of Information and Communications …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Feb 2016
A Coachella School District bus

How one of the poorest districts in the US pipes Wi-Fi to families – using school buses

America's second-poorest school district is also home to a surprising IT program that has won it national acclaim. The Coachella Valley Unified School District, located east of Los Angeles in California's Riverside County, encompasses around 1,250 square miles of largely rural areas. It includes 20,000 students, most from hard …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Feb 2016

Dumping chapter and verse on someone's private life online may be outlawed in Utah

Legislators in Utah have proposed a law that would bring serious criminal penalties for those who post others' private information online with the intent to harass. HB 225 would amend the state's existing cybercrime laws to add provisions against the distribution of personal information. The bill, floated by state …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Feb 2016

Don't touch that PDF or webpage until your Windows PC is patched

Microsoft has patched 41 CVE-listed security vulnerabilities in its software this month. The second Patch Tuesday monthly update of the year brings with it fixes for security flaws in both Internet Explorer and Edge that could allow remote-code-execution attacks simply by visiting a webpage. Also fixed are remote-code- …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Feb 2016
Netflix

Want blazing fast Netflix streams? Book a flight to Northern Europe

Northern Europe and Scandinavia enjoy the fastest streaming speeds for Netflix. This according to the video streaming giant's latest ISP speed index, where Luxembourg (4.12Mbps), Norway (4.07) and Belgium (4.02) claimed the top spots. Rounding out the top five were Denmark (3.97) and the Netherlands (3.96). The US, meanwhile …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Feb 2016
Usborne intro to programming

Ready for a nostalgia kick? Usborne has put its old computer books on the web for free

UK publishing house Usborne is giving out its iconic 1980s programming books as free downloads. The books, which are available for free as PDF files, include Usborne's introductions to programming series, adventure games, computer games listings and first computer series. The series was particularly popular in the UK, where …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Feb 2016

Did a hacker really pwn the FBI, US Homeland Security and the DoJ?

Water cooler My Twitter feed's blowing up! My dad's calling about it because even the New York Times is writing about it. The FBI, the US Dept of Homeland Security and the Dept of Justice all got hacked over the weekend? What the hell, man? Uh-huh. On Sunday, a mystery hacker claimed to have details on more than 29,000 employees of the …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Feb 2016

AdBlock Plus, websites draft peace deal so ads can bypass blockade

The developer of AdBlock Plus is in talks with website owners to seal a deal that would allow more adverts to bypass the ad-blocker and appear in people's browsers. Eyeo, makers of the open-source utility, is drafting a pact with a group of publishers to settle the ongoing battle between ad-blockers and websites that rely on …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Feb 2016

FTC: Duo bought rights to Android game – then turned it into ad-slinging junkware in an update

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled its case against a pair of developers accused of purchasing an Android game and turning it into an adware faucet. The FTC said Ali Moiz and Murtaza Hussain, proprietors of software company Vulcun, have agreed to requirements that include gaining explicit user permission before …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Feb 2016
Abandoned building

BlackBerry axes 200 jobs – including a third of its HQ staff

One-time smartphone giant BlackBerry has laid off 200 of its remaining employees in a pair of cuts. The Canadian biz will eliminate 75 jobs from a manufacturing facility in Sunrise, Florida, US, and approximately 125 from its corporate headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It was earlier rumored that the company was …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Feb 2016
Sad iPhone

Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

An iPhone owner says his handset bricked itself after it was repaired and updated to the latest version of iOS. Freelance journalist Antonio Olmos reports that after having his iPhone repaired by a shop in Macedonia, his handset was working fine until he recently attempted to update the iPhone's software. The update triggered …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Feb 2016

You, FCC. Do something about these overpriced cable boxes, yells Bernie Sanders and pals

Six US Senators are taking aim at the excessive fees cable and internet providers charge for modem and set-top hardware. In an open letter [PDF] to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT and presidential hopeful), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Jeffrey …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Feb 2016
Apple iPhone 6s

FaceTime, WhatsApp UDP streams AWOL on iOS 9 beta with T-Mo US

A problem with the handling of UDP network packets is leaving T‑Mobile US customers unable to make FaceTime or WhatsApp calls with the latest Apple iOS beta. Various netizens say they are unable to make video calls on their T‑Mo handsets when running the latest iOS beta build. WhatsApp calls are also reportedly dropped. Other …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Feb 2016

Bill for half a billion quid lands on Apple's desk in Facetime patent scrap

A notorious US patent court has ordered Apple to pay out more than half a billion dollars for infringing two patents related to its messaging software. A jury in the US Eastern District Court of Texas awarded $625m (£428m) to VirnetX, a patent-holding company that has long claimed that Apple's Facetime and iMessage offerings …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Feb 2016
UC Berkeley campus

College kids sue Google for 'spying' on them with Apps for Education

A group of four current and former University of California, Berkeley students are suing Google, claiming its Apps for Education service illegally spied on them. In a suit [PDF] filed in the US Northern California district court, the group says Google used its education bundles to intercept student emails without their …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Feb 2016

Google to pump free gigabit Fiber into homes of hard-up families

People living in public housing in Kansas City, Missouri, will soon be getting free gigabit internet connections. Google said that it would be rolling out its fiber service to nine public housing facilities in the area, providing gigabit downstream bandwidth to about 1,300 households. The strapped-for-cash residents will also …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Feb 2016
Mr Creosote prepares to gobble

World's annual mobile data intake to hit 367 exabytes by 2020

Continued growth of mobile broadband, connected devices and economic development will have data consumption rising by 53 per cent yearly from now to 2020. So says Cisco, who reports in its annual Visual Networking Index (VNI) that as the next decade dawns, 4G use will finally eclipse 3G and 11.6 billion mobile devices will be …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Feb 2016

Layoffs! Lawsuits! Losses! ... Yahoo! is! in! an! L! of! a! mess!

Yahoo! is seeing matters go from bad to worse this week as the Purple Palace says it will be cutting 15 per cent of its staff and looking at possible sell-offs, all while writing off $4.4bn of business value. The former Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web said that it would be axing staff and dropping products as …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Feb 2016
Costa WiFi 2

Intel, Qualcomm set up their WiGig 802.11ad devices on blind dates

Intel and Qualcomm say they have gotten their respective 802.11ad (WiGig) chips and antennas to successfully link up. The two chipmakers announced on Tuesday they are now confident that (under the right conditions) devices with Intel WiGig hardware can link up to Qualcomm-powered base stations at the full 4.6Ghz connection …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Feb 2016
The 1966 model

Original USS Enterprise model set to boldly go… on display

Researchers at the Smithsonian Institute are preparing to show off every Trekkie's dream: the original model of the USS Enterprise. The model is the original version of the fabled Starfleet craft, last painted in 1991 for a taping of Star Trek The Next Generation The museum said it will be returning the ship back to it's …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Jan 2016
troll

Patent Troll Unit set up by Virginia government to slay lawsuits

Suing a company for patent infringement just got a lot tougher in the state of Virginia. The state (technically a commonwealth) has created a new legal office focused entirely on patent litigation. Specifically, the state's Patent Troll Unit will look to extract penalties and legal fees from companies who make unjust patent …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jan 2016
Github octodex

GitHub: We're sorry (again) about (another) outage

GitHub has issued a mea culpa for the latest outage that left users unable to access the code-sharing site. The company said that a power outage was to blame for Thursday's downtime. The issue did not go unnoticed. Yikes. GitHub is down. Since my boss doesn't understand git, this is a clear opportunity to play Xbox. I mean, " …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jan 2016

Zuck's bucks are now the world's 6th-largest cash pile

A stellar financial year from Facebook has made founder Mark Zuckerberg the sixth-richest person in the world. This according to Bloomberg, who now estimates that Zuckerberg is worth more than the Koch brothers, but slightly less than Mexican telco boss Carlos Slim. According to the latest rankings, Zuckerberg is now worth $ …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Jan 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Investors furious that Amazon only made $482m last quarter

Amazon is taking a beating on Wall Street as the retail and cloud giant posted numbers that, although strong, were short of analyst expectations. The house of Bezos saw its stock price fall 13 per cent after the release of its quarterly and full-year financials. However, Amazon noted large gains in key areas, including the AWS …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jan 2016
Hacked US CENTCOM Twitter account

Alleged ISIL hacker faces US terror charges for doxing soldiers

A former computer science student accused of supporting the ISIL terrorist group has arrived in the US to face charges. 20-year-old Ardit Ferizi is charged with hacking crimes and providing support to a terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 35 years in federal prison. The US Department of Justice and FBI …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jan 2016

Apple yanks international travel plugs over shock worries

Apple is asking people to return their Mac and iOS travel adapters after multiple reports of the two-prong plugs electrocuting users. The Cupertino maker of iStuffs said that for more than a decade it has been selling adapters that can break and, when touched, give an electrical shock. The problem affects two-prong adapters …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jan 2016

TalkTalk CuffCuffs 'ScamScam CrimCrims'

UK ISP TalkTalk is considering cutting ties with its Indian call center provider after three employees at the site were arrested for allegedly scamming customers. The budget telco said police in Kolkata have nabbed a trio of Wipro call center workers as part of an investigation into security practices. Wipro runs the customer …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Jan 2016
Starry Station router

Aereo TV boss is back ... pitching gigabit internet and a $350 Wi-Fi router

The man who started the ill-fated Aereo TV service is back, and this time he wants to start an ISP. Chet Kanojia said that his Starry Internet service would allow home users to access gigabit internet service by installing wireless broadband antennas in their home routers. Promising to use short-wave radio frequencies to …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jan 2016
Photo by Raido Kaldma

Lyft to drivers: Here's $12.25m, now shut up about employee rights

Lyft has agreed to pay out a $12.25m out-of-court settlement to end the class-action battle between itself and its drivers. The proposed settlement [PDF], awaiting approval from Judge Vince Chhabria of the California Northern US District Court, would end the legal battle between the ride-sharing company and California drivers …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jan 2016
A Go Board

Google DeepMind cyber-brain cracks tough AI challenge: Beating a top Go board-game player

A Google-designed artificial intelligence system has for the first time beaten a top human player at the board game Go. A team of researchers from Google DeepMind said in a Nature article [PDF] that their AlphaGo program is not only able to beat 99 per cent of all previous Go-playing systems, but has also beaten Fan Hui – …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Jan 2016

Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

Apple has once again set a high watermark for quarterly revenues and profits, though only by a smidgen – its meteoric rise has otherwise completely stalled. The Cupertino consumer electronics behemoth said that from October through December – Q1 of its fiscal 2016 – it pulled in US$75.9bn in revenues [PDF], leading to an US$18 …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2016
Sony PlayStation 4 in white

Sony balls up PlayStation businesses, tosses outfit over to California

Sony is consolidating its games business into a single office that will be tasked with running all PlayStation operations. The Japanese electronics giant said that San Mateo, California will be the new headquarters for Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), a branch that will handle both the PlayStation console development and …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2016
Ciscoblood

Arista slaps Cisco with countersuit in network hardware row

Arista Networks has countersued Cisco, accusing the network giant of unfair competition practices. On Monday, Arista submitted paperwork with the US Northern California District Court alleging that Cisco unfairly stifles competition by wielding copyright claims against rivals and coercing customers to only use Cisco hardware …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jan 2016
Kentucky's proposed network

Kentucky to build 3,400-mile state-owned broadband network – and a fight is brewing

Yet another US state is weighing up the idea of laying thousands of miles of cable to create its own broadband network. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a group of telcos are pushing back against a proposed $324m network involving 3,400 miles of cabling, which would cover 120 counties in the state. The construction …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jan 2016

Scandal-smashed OPM will no longer do govt's background checks – for obvious reasons

The US government is creating a new agency to process background checks for federal employees and contractors seeking security clearance. The Obama administration said it will instruct the Department of Defense (DoD) to oversee the establishments of the National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB). The new agency will take …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jan 2016
storm_warning_648

Data centers dig in as monster storm strikes America's East Coast

With a major snowstorm set to hit the East Coast of the US tonight, datacenter facilities in the hardest hit areas are hunkering down for what looks to be a rough weekend. According to the National Weather Service, the storm is expected to bring as much as two feet of snow over the weekend to a major portion of the Eastern …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jan 2016

West Virginia mulls mother of all muni networks – effectively a state-wide, state-run ISP

The US state of West Virginia is debating whether it should get into the ISP business, thanks to a new bill calling for a state-run fiber broadband network. SB 315 calls for the state to lay down its own internet backbone and provide service throughout the state for all residents. The bill would have the state pay for the …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jan 2016
Banana Wifi setup

Squeeze the banana to log into this office Wi-Fi

In some offices, you have to ask around for the Wi-Fi password, or find it written down on a bit of paper. In others, you do it by poking a banana. Danish network engineer Stefan Milo constructed his fruity authentication system by wiring a piece of fruit to a Makey Makey board and a Raspberry Pi mounted on acrylic glass. The …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jan 2016

Hey Mac users, want to be unpaid guinea pigs for Microsoft? Sure you do

Microsoft is extending the Office Insider early build program to users running Office for Mac. The Redmond software giant said that under the Insider program, Office 2016 for Mac users with Office 365 consumer subscriptions will be able to opt in and receive automatic updates of the test builds of Office. Users running Insider …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jan 2016

Why does herbal cough syrup work so well? It may be full of morphine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is sounding alarms after an herbal cough remedy sold throughout the US was found to contain morphine. The FDA said that bottles of Licorice Coughing Liquid made by Chinese-based Ma Ying Long Pharmaceutical Group and distributed by Master Herbs, Inc contain a "camphor compound" whose …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2016
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM, Ustream-BM, we can't believe Ustream is now owned by IBM

IBM has acquired internet telly station Ustream in hopes of boosting its cloud lineup. Big Blue said that the video-streaming service would be added to its cloud lineup and, when combined with its other analytics and developer tools, it will give IBM customers a way to develop and use streaming video in their own applications …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2016
broken hard drive

IRS 'inadvertently' wiped hard drive Microsoft demanded in audit row

The IRS has declined to produce data in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle between itself and Microsoft – because the taxmen deleted the information after receiving the information request. In a filing [PDF] to the US District Court of Western Washington this month, Uncle Sam's Internal Revenue Service said it would be …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2016