Shaun Nichols

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Fish Fossil

Hardcore creationist finds 60-million-year-old fossils in backyard ... 'No, it hasn’t changed my mind about the Bible'

Pic An ardent believer in creationism has dug up fish fossils that boffins say are 60 million years old. That's somewhat further back in time than the genesis of life described in the Good Book. If God does exist, he or she has a wicked sense of humor, it seems. Experts at the University of Calgary in Canada say that the bones – or …
Shaun Nichols, 29 May 2015
Siri logo

Siri, please, please save my iPhone from the TEXTS OF DEATH

Apple has come up with a temporary workaround for iPhones plagued by incoming text messages that cause the gadgets to crash and restart – and it involves asking Siri for help. A specially crafted sequence of unicode triggers a fatal bug in a core component of iOS and OS X. If the data is sent in a text message, it will crash an …
Shaun Nichols, 29 May 2015

Fumbling Feds lose control of seized MegaUpload domains – to saucy vid slingers

Some of MegaUpload's file-sharing websites, once seized by the Feds, are now serving up porn and allegedly malware – after Uncle Sam's finest failed to renew one of its own domains. Netizens surfing to two of the five ex-MegaUpload sites are greeted with a page containing multiple links to malware downloads, a fake BBC article …
Shaun Nichols, 29 May 2015

Twitch.tv: Clean your streams of titillating titty titles off our screens

Gameplay broadcaster Twitch has banned users from streaming racy live video from "adult only" games. An update to the Amazon-owned site's rules of conduct states titles with a US rating of "Adults Only" (AO) are no longer permitted for streaming. Games rated "Mature" and cleaned-up ports of AO games are still permitted, so …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2015
Rotary phone

FCC boss sketches out bargain broadband for hard-up Americans

Tom Wheeler, chairman of US internet watchdog the FCC, has asked the regulator's commissioners to offer broadband to poor Americans via the Lifeline program. The net-neutrality crusader has put forward a list of proposed updates to Lifeline, including the addition of broadband to what is right now just a phone-only program. …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2015
Swatch

Who's the big Swiss bunch that wants to take Sir Jony's lunch? It's... SWATCH!

1980s fashion icon Swatch has confirmed it is working on a smartwatch. The Swiss biz on Thursday said it will produce a wrist-puter that will include electronics for NFC payments. CEO Nick Hayek told shareholders the new model is set for an August launch in Switzerland and "one big country" that has yet to be named. Other …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2015

Insurer tells hospitals: You let hackers in, we're not bailing you out

When hackers swiped 32,500 patient records from Cottage Healthcare System, it was sued by its own customers for $4.1m – a bill that was settled by its insurers. Now the insurance company, Columbia Casualty Company, has claimed Cottage's computers were hopelessly insecure, and it wants its money back. Columbia claims the …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2015
The Day the Earth Stood Still

FCC to crack down on robocall spammers' beloved loophole

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put forward rules to close a loophole used by robocallers and text-message spammers. The proposed regulations, if approved, will ban robocallers from harassing citizens when they take over a previously used number. Even if the previous owner of the number was OK with the calls, …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2015
The Big Bang Theory

CBS boss says he'll show off his crown jewels on Apple TV – for a large enough check

The head of US TV giant CBS said he is open to a deal that would put the network's programming on Apple's TV boxes – if the price is right. Les Moonves, whose TV empire includes CSI and The Big Bang Theory, said Apple's foray into internet telly will need a television network to create the entertainment. He said Apple will have …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2015
hacker

THE TRUTH: IRS 'cyber-hack' exposes 100,000 people whose identities were already stolen

The US Internal Revenue Service said on Tuesday that info including tax returns and income forms for some 100,000 people were illegally accessed this year. The US tax agency believes a group collected a trove of information on the victims and then used that data to fill out the authentication forms for the IRS's online "Get …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2015
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

'iPhone 6S' to push fanbois around with 'Force Touch display'

The latest crop of iPhones will reportedly come equipped with touch-sensing haptic displays that push back on your fingertips. A report from 9to5Mac cites sources familiar with the matter saying that the force-sensing technology featured in the screen of the Apple Watch or the trackpad of the MacBook Pro. will be crammed into a …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2015
Periscope for Android

Live web vid spaff app Periscope shoved up Android mobes

Popular live video-broadcasting app Periscope has been released as an Android app via the Google Play store. A trio of Periscope engineers announced the release on a Medium post Tuesday morning. Periscope, Twitter's answer to fellow mobile broadcasting app Meerkat, allows users to record and broadcast live video streams from …
Shaun Nichols, 26 May 2015
No Sale

Salesforce snubbed Microsoft's $55bn biz gobble offer – report

Microsoft wanted to buy cloud giant Salesforce.com for $55bn, it is reported. CNBC, citing anonymous sources, today claims the Windows goliath offered the 11-figure sum to Salesforce, but boss Marc Benioff wanted $70bn – a whopping price tag that ultimately sunk the deal. Salesforce has a market cap of $48.48bn. The talks …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015

What are cellphone networks blabbing about you to the Feds? A US senator wants to know

US Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) wants America's mobile networks to reveal the types of customer information they share with Uncle Sam. The carriers publish "transparency" reports detailing how many demands for sensitive information they receive from the governments, and how many they comply with – but this is not enough for …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015
Chromebook pixel1

School's in for Chromebooks, Google's the top swot in class

Chromebooks will be shipping to the tune of 7.3 million units this year, thanks mostly to educational sales. Research house Gartner estimates that the 2015 calendar year will bring banner sales for the operating system as more schools and home users seek out Chromebooks. Should Chromebook reach the 7.3 million unit mark, the …
Shaun Nichols, 22 May 2015

Want to be the hottest thing since Melrose Place? Get these Lycos patents

Dial-up era icon Lycos has finally gotten around to selling off its patents. The erstwhile search engine of the Clinton administration has embarked on a campaign to sell off its intellectual property holdings in an attempt to generate some revenue. The company has hired a consulting firm called Propeller(y) to help flog its …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
Grand Theft Auto Lindsay Lohan lookalike

Grand Theft Auto maker lobs sueball at BBC over biopic

A spat between the creators of Grand Theft Auto and the BBC has spilled over into a legal feud. Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar Games, has filed suit against the UK broadcasting company over allegations of trademark infringement for its decision to cast a biopic about the games developer's history. According to …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
Alix Tichelman has plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges

Call girl gets six years for Googler's drug death

A former call girl has plead guilty to felony charges in the death of a senior Google executive from a heroin overdose. Alix Tichelman received a six year sentence for charges of involuntary manslaughter and drugs possession. She is expected to serve around three years behind bars, given her time served in jail already. "Alix …
Shaun Nichols, 21 May 2015
FTC building

Robocalling Americans? That'll cost you $1.7 MEEELLION

A pair of US companies have been fined $1.7m by the FTC for violating federal laws on robocalling. The US trade watchdog said that Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin and HES Merchant Services Company would have to split a $1,734,972 bill for their role in a robocall scheme advertising credit card interest rate reductions …
Shaun Nichols, 20 May 2015
The US White House. Pic: Roman Boed

Google Maps gets hit with racist White House listing

Google is once again scrambling to clean up bad behavior by Maps users after a couple of mortifying pieces of online graffiti were found. An unknown user has tagged the listing for The White House with a racial slur, causing the presidential residence to show up when the phrase "N****** House" is searched. A second remark tagged …
Shaun Nichols, 20 May 2015

Uncle Sam spanks PayPal for credit scheme cockup

Updated PayPal is going to surrender $25m to settle charges it enrolled consumers into its credit platform without their knowledge or consent. The US government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) alleges the online payment house used its "Bill Me Later" feature to lure consumers into its credit operation illegally. The …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015
China

We caught Chinese technology spies RED-HANDED, claims US government

Six Chinese nationals acting as university professors and graduate students have been arrested on charges of stealing wireless technology from US firms and exporting it to the Middle Kingdom. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged the group with attempting to lift intellectual property from two Silicon Valley companies: …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015
27in iMac

Get another loan, fanbois, the new MacBook Pro and iMac are here

Apple has updated its MacBook Pro and iMac lines with improved hardware specs and sharper displays, and the usual four-figure price tag. "The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, and …
Shaun Nichols, 19 May 2015

Google Google GOOGLE! Cloud cloud CLOUD! These prices are INNNSAAAANE!

Google is cutting prices on its Cloud hosted computing service. The Mountain View Ad server said it would be offering lower prices on cloud compute instances and virtual machines. Under the new pricing model, cloud compute instances will be cut anywhere from 5 per cent (high CPU instances) to 30 per cent (micro CPU instances) …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015
Cow skull

FTC to scavengers: Radio Shack corpse doesn't include customer data

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an official warning to the companies taking over the assets of North American electronics retailer Radio Shack — namely, don't touch customer data. "We understand that RadioShack’s customer information constitutes a potentially valuable asset," FTC Consumer Protection boss Jessica …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015

You can't put a price on LOVE, says Apple after court's Samsung payout slash

Apple suffered a big legal setback today when a US court reversed part of its patent case against rival Samsung - losing a third of its $930m settlement against the huge Korean chaebol. The US Appeals Court (PDF) found that most of Apple's original infringement claims can stand, but the claim related to the overall look and feel …
Shaun Nichols, 18 May 2015
hacker

Penn State University network sacked by China malware blitz

Penn State University has had to take networks in its school of engineering offline after falling victim to a malware attack traced partially to China. Acting on an FBI tip, the school found that PCs on the network of its College of Engineering were infected with malware that appeared to be trying to harvest research data and …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
Sony ICF-7600D radio

Pandora ordered to pay up extra royalties in BMI row

Pandora has lost a legal decision that will see the company fork out more money to performing rights clearing house group BMI to pay for its content. A court in New York found the streaming music giant to be liable for additional royalties, bumping the fees it owes to BMI up from 1.7 per cent to 2.5 per cent of revenues. The …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
rage meme

Reddit: Gonna SCRUB these TROLLS right outa my hair

Vast forum site Reddit has added new policies that it hopes will help rein in harassment of its users by its other, not-so-nice, users. The meme-trading portal said it would crack down on online harassment of individuals with the goal of ending it, for the good of the site. "The number one reason Redditors do not recommend the …
Shaun Nichols, 15 May 2015
Apple Watch Sport

Stolen an Apple watch? Want to pawn it off? Good news!

Apple's $17,000 watch is shockingly easy to re-use when stolen – so much so that it's sure to be an even more attractive target to thieves than iPhones. Multiple reports show that the Cupertinian arm candy lacks any sort of remote wipe or locking ability. What's more, they can easily be wiped and paired with a new phone without …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015

Dying to make time lapse videos? No? Well, Microsoft is doing it anyway!

Microsoft has released a tool to let users produce timelapse videos, provided they're not Apple fanbois. Redmond posted the Hyperlapse tool for Windows and Android devices to let users shrink long videos down to shorter timelapse version. "Want to show your friends what you saw on that 12-mile hike you took last weekend or let …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015
Nintendo Championships

Nintendo to revive long-dead 'World Championships' contest

Nintendo is planning to hold a new World Championships gaming contest in 2015, marking the first time it has staged such an event in 25 years. Preliminary rounds of the contest will be held around the US on May 30 at various Best Buy retail stores in major cities. Nintendo has not yet posted location or registration info. The …
Shaun Nichols, 14 May 2015
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

USA Freedom Act moves forward as House prepares for vote

Updated The USA Freedom Act is currently being debated by the House of Representatives and could come up for a vote in hours that would move the surveillance bill one step closer to becoming law. The bill, which failed last year but has since picked up a wave of bipartisan support, passed out of committee earlier this month. Supporters …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
DirecTV

FCC leaning towards approving AT&T/DirecTV gobble – report

The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly ready to approve US telecom giant AT&T's proposed $49bn acquisition of DirecTV, despite concerns voiced by Netflix and other online media outfits. The FCC is nearly finished with its review and will likely sign off on the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing the fabled …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
smokestack

Amazon, eBay and Oracle in dirty power SHAME

Greenpeace has released a report naming the tech companies who make the best (and worst) use of renewable energy. The 2015 Clicking Green report (PDF) named which companies were relying heavily on renewable resources and which were powering their datacenters with coal and other non-renewable materials. The report grades …
Shaun Nichols, 13 May 2015
Microsoft patch

Enjoying the Spring? Microsoft has 13 ways to fix that

Microsoft has put out 13 bulletins to address a total of 48 CVE-listen vulnerabilities in various products. The May edition of Patch Tuesday includes fixes for Internet Explorer, Office, Windows and Silverlight. Three of the bulletins were rated 'critical', with the rest earning Microsoft's second-highest designation of ' …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2015

Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 MILLION over bogus 'cramming' fees

US mobile operators Sprint and Verizon will pay out a combined $158m after the Feds ruled that they allowed advertisers to tack unwanted premium charges onto customers' bills. According to the FCC, the carriers looked the other way when dodgy companies signed customers up for services without warning them that would be billed …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2015
Shenzhen downtown

Apple storms to top spot in stagnant Chinese phones market

Apple is now the top smartphone seller in China, topping foreign and domestic competitors alike in the Middle Kingdom, but overall Chinese handset sales fell for the first time in six years. A report from IDC citing sales in the first quarter of 2015 found that the Cupertino idiot tax operation has taken over the top spot on the …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

With WWDC looming, Apple kicks out third iOS 8.4 beta

Apple has posted a new beta build for the iOS 8.4 mobile platform. The third beta arrives just weeks before Apple is expected to showcase iOS 8.4 for developers at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), due to take place June 8-12 in San Francisco. The Cupertino idiot tax operation has typically used its WWDC keynotes to …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015

FCC: Thanks for the concern, telcos, but we're not delaying Open Internet rules

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it will implement its net neutrality provisions despite objections from telcos. The FCC issued a ruling on Friday denying a motion from trade groups USTelecom and CTIA, among others, to stay the FCC's Open Internet proceedings pending legal challenges to the FCC order. The …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015
DirecTV

AT&T takes issue with Netflix on DirecTV gobble

AT&T has fired a fresh salvo in its exchange with Netflix over the proposed acquisition of DirecTV. The US telecoms giant issued a filing with the FCC disputing the claims made by Netflix that its would-be merger is an antitrust concern. "Before it began pressing for deal conditions in support of its own business agenda, …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
MaxiPad

No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

Rumors of the much-fabled 12.9-inch iPad have surfaced once again, via a new analyst report. Supply chain specialists IHS now say they believe the Reg-deemed "MaxiPad" is set to enter production in the latter part of 2015. "This product has been in the planning stage for several years but looks to now be solid for a 2015 launch …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
Throttling

With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

AT&T has apparently had a rethink regarding its policy of limiting data transfer speeds for heavy users who subscribe to its so-called unlimited data plans. The US telco giant now says it will only throttle mobile data gluttons when they are in areas with heavy traffic. The reworded policy, which AT&T customers first began …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Patent for a saluting hat

Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling on the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to overhaul its rules on licensing intellectual property. In an open letter [PDF] to the PTO, the FTC called on its fellow organization to simplify patent law. "Clearer patent notice can encourage market participants to collaborate, …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
BlackBerry Classic QWERTY key smartphone

T-Mobile prods at corpse of BlackBerry, says 'me too!'

T-Mobile has taken up the cause of BlackBerry, agreeing to offer the fading firm's products in its mobile lineup, nearly two years after it dropped the Canadian's hardware from retail stores. John Legere, head of T-Mobile US, stayed true to his 'uncarrier' credo by caving to isolated user demand for new models from the Canadian …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Phablets

Bought a phone last quarter? There's a one in five chance it was a phablet

Sales of phablets went through the roof during the first quarter of 2015, say researchers with Kantar Worldpanel. The analyst outfit estimated that over the three months ending in March, 21 per cent of all US smartphones sold had screens with diagonals larger than five inches. During the same period in 2014, phablets accounted …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Google PageSpeed Service is worm food

Running Google PageSpeed Service? Come August 3rd your site is knackered

Google has announced the impending retirement of its PageSpeed Service web optimization tool, and potentially causing headaches for sites that don't account for the move. The Mountain View advertising firm said that effective August 3rd, PageSpeed Service will be given the axe, though plugins and third-party implementations will …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015
DNA Helix

Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

Apple is set to enable DNA handling in iOS apps, allowing the applications to feed data from DNA labs to genetic researchers via iPhones or iPads. A report from the MIT Technology Review claims two US hospitals are running trial programs to collect DNA from people, and then transmit details of their genetic blueprints to their …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015

Netflix wipes blood of Comcast/TWC from its blade, charges toward AT&T/DirecTV

Netflix is lobbying US watchdog the FCC to reject the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. The over-the-top vid streamer said that should AT&T be allowed to scoop DirecTV for $49bn, the resulting broadcast behemoth would be able to throw its weight around and extract premium fees from streaming upstarts like Netflix. To …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015

Now Smartflash wants $1.6bn for its iTunes patents. Apple: You'll get nothing and like it!

Not content with a $533m payday, patent troll Smartflash is asking a US federal court to triple the infringement verdict it won against Apple and iTunes earlier this year. In a 49-page filing [PDF] with the Texas Eastern District court, Smartflash argued that February's jury award was insufficient and should be tripled to nearly …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015