Shaun Nichols

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Score one for the patent trolls: US appeals court says it's OK to shop for patent-friendly judges

US appeal judges have shot down a bid to end the practice of so-called venue shopping in patent battles. That's where companies alleging infringement pick judges who typically back those bringing a case, which puts defendants at an immediate disadvantage. On Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected [ …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2016
shutterstock_236128771

FCC 126MHz 5G auction

The FCC says that it will be able to offer 126MHz of spectrum space to US cell networks in its upcoming auction. The American comms regulator set the target with a planned May 31 start date for the auction, in which wireless carriers will bid on spectrum space previously used by TV stations for over-the-air broadcasts. The …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
Fitbit Aria scale

It's 2016 and now your internet-connected bathroom scales can be hacked

Owners of Fitbit's Aria internet-connected smart scales are being advised to install a firmware patch following the discovery of critical security flaws. Tavis Ormandy of Google's Project Zero was credited with finding the vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi cyber-scales. While Fitbit isn't providing specific details on the nature of …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
Virgin Media Tivo

TiVo sells for $1.1bn

DVR service TiVo has been acquired by Rovi for $1.1bn. Rovi, a company specializing in TV guide and analytics services, said it would be paying $10.70 per share to acquire TiVo. It hopes that the combination of Rovi and TiVo services will lead to the creation of both OTT video and TV services for consumers as well as TV …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016

Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Nobody likes having to deal with cold calls to the office. But when you're manning the IT help desk, you have no choice but to pick up the phone – even when it's a pushy sales pitch. So what to do about those annoying calls from over-enthusiastic sales staff itching to shift their technology wares? One spectacularly …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
Cable maze image via Shutterstock

FCC floats new rules for data lines that bind America's networks

The FCC has put forward a new set of rules governing the data network connections that glue our modern lives together. The proposed red-tape sets out a framework for regulations on specialized business data lines that, for example, hook up ATM networks and wired lines between mobile phone towers. The FCC estimates that such …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
happy_woman_at_desk

Comcast Com-templates Com-trashing Com-crap Com-pact Com-caps

Comcast has decided that rather than slap a 300GB-a-month download cap on some of its broadband customers, it will instead give them a 1TB limit. The US cable kingpin says it has begun tests in trial markets in 12 US states that gives users an allowance of 1,000GB monthly. That's up from the 300GB cap it slapped on subscribers …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
arm_op

SOS: No AT&T SMS in US

AT&T appears to be experiencing a widespread outage for SMS messaging in the US midwest. Reg readers report being unable to send or receive texts in the region, while folks on social networks report similar problems. Monitoring site DownDetector is showing a knackered service stretching from Pennsylvania to the Great Lakes …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2016
HP and Shrek 2

Comcast eats Dreamworks

Comcast says it will acquire Kung Fu Panda and Shrek maker Dreamworks Animation for $3.8bn. The US telecoms giant will pay $41 per share to bring in the digital cartoon film studio that isn't Pixar. Comcast did not say exactly what its plans are for Dreamworks Animation, though it did say the biz will become part of its …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2016
Sony Xperia Go rugged Android smartphone

Q. What's the difference between smartphones and that fad diet you all got bored of? A. Nothing

For those wondering if we've reached Peak Smartphone: global smartphone shipments saw their first ever quarterly drop, say analysts. Research house Strategy Analytics says that shipments in the first quarter of 2016 declined by three per cent over the same period in 2015. This marks the first time analysts have recorded …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2016
Zuckerberg

Back up the trucks for Zuck's bucks: Facebook revenues up 52 per cent

Facebook says skyrocketing advertising bucks are behind a huge jump in revenues and income this year. For the first quarter of its fiscal 2016 year, the House of Zuck reported: Revenues of $5.4bn were up 52 per cent from last year's $3.5bn. Net income of $1.5bn was a 195 per cent increase from a reported $512m in last year' …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Kids racking up huge in-app bills on Kindles, Android is all your fault, Amazon – US court

A US federal court has ruled against Amazon in its case with the FTC over youngsters breaking the bank with in-app purchases. The Seattle US Western District Court found the retail giant liable for charges children had racked up making in-game purchases on their parents' mobile devices without requiring the proper …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016

Apple man found dead at Cupertino HQ, gun discovered nearby

An Apple employee was found dead in a conference room at the iPhone giant's HQ in Cupertino, California, this morning. A gun was discovered nearby. Cops were called to the One Infinite Loop campus at about 8.35am. Sgt Andrea Urena of Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office described the death as "isolated incident," adding "nobody …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016
DirecTV

AT&T credits DirecTV gobble for $41bn quarter

AT&T says its recent purchase of satellite provider DirecTV helped drive a 24 per cent jump in revenues. The US telco giant said that the $49bn merger was already beginning to pay dividends with its 2016 Q1 [PDF] period. "We're seeing good momentum with our initial integrated wireless, video and broadband offers," said AT&T …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2016
Tim Cook

Shares down?! But, but, but ... Apple just made $50bn – that's the way the Cookie grumbles

Apple has confirmed analysts' fears of a drab quarter, reporting its first year-over-year sales decline in more than a decade. Its share price is down 8.2 per cent to $95.76 in after-hours trading – dipping below the magic hundred-buck mark. The Mac maker said that in the three months to March 31 – the second quarter of its …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2016
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Nokia gobbles Withings

Nokia has acquired fitness gadget biz Withings for €170m (£131m). Withings specializes in making wearables and connected health monitoring devices, including scales, blood pressure monitors, and health trackers. The jump into wearables comes after Nokia rid itself of its mobile handset business. Instead, the Finnish firm says …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2016
Higher Education and Further Education

US tech CEOs demand Congress programs US kids to be tech workers

A who's-who list of tech industry executives has urged US Congress to pump computer science training into the brains of American kids. The open letter, signed by more than 40 CEOs, board chairs, and company founders, asks all members of the Senate and the House to direct funding and support for programs that would create …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2016
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Dell kills CRT suit

Dell has dropped an eight-year-long price-fixing lawsuit against LG. The two sides have filed in a Northern California District Court to end the case, in which Dell accused LG of illegally conspiring with other CRT monitor makers to hike up prices in the late 1990s. Each side will pay their own costs for the case. LG had been …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2016
Apple iPod touch

Brace for Apple crash

Apple will report a rare drop in revenues for its first quarter of 2016, it is feared. Wall Street analysts suggest the Cupertino maker of iStuff will tell investors tomorrow that both sales and profits will be lower than figures from the year-ago period. If such a drop does come to pass, it will be the first time since 2003 …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016
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Qualcomm in USB-C row

Qualcomm has dismissed concerns that its Quick Charge USB chargers could damage hardware. The US chip designer has issued a response to concerns voiced in November by Google's Benson Leung that the chargers would not be compatible with USB-C, and would potentially be dangerous. Qualcomm told The Register: Qualcomm Quick …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016

Charter can gobble TWC for $78.7bn ... if it bins monthly download caps

FCC boss Tom Wheeler has put out the terms for his watchdog's approval of Charter Communications' $78bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Wheeler said Monday that he has passed along a proposed approval order and conditions for the other four FCC commissioners to vote on. "As proposed, the order outlines a number of …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016

If you're appy and you know it, say five Hail Marys – cyber-Pope

Pope Francis is pushing young Catholics to put down their phones in order to find peace of mind. Speaking at an event in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, the pontiff told a crowd of around 100,000 people that happiness can not be found with their smartphones. "[Happiness is] not an app that you can download on your phones, …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2016
Toshiba 47-inch 47L7453DB

Will Comcast's set-box killer murder your data caps? The truth revealed

Earlier this week, Comcast announced the Xfinity Partner Program, a service that will pipe TV directly into a subscriber's smart TV or streaming box without the need for a cable set-top box. The service would run through an app built on HTML5. This led some readers to question whether the TV content would be counted against …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Apr 2016
Great Hall of the People, seat of Communist party government in Beijing, China. Photo by Shutterstock

China leaves Apple books, movies on the cutting room floor

Apple has reportedly been banned from offering movies and books through its iTunes and iBooks portals in China. The New York Times cited anonymous sources in reporting that Beijing has decided that the Cupertino giant will no longer be able to offer the movie and book download services on the mainland. The reason for the …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016
Doom

The web is DOOM'd: Average page now as big as id's DOS classic

The average web page is now roughly the same size as the full install image for the classic DOS game Doom, apparently. This is according to Ronan Cremin, a lead engineer with Afilias Technologies and dotMobi's representative for the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Cremin points to data from the HTTP Archive showing that, at …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016
A broken cable box

Verizon is big on IoT 'cos its wireline biz is dying on the vine

Verizon says that it will focus on "developing new markets," as the telco giant was just able to keep revenues on the uptick. The US carrier said that it would be shifting a focus over towards the internet of things (IoT) and its content market in the coming months, as it looks to bolster sagging revenues in other parts of its …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2016
Google_skull

When is making $20bn in three months not enough? When your name is Google

Google parent company Alphabet is feeling the heat after it failed to reach earnings targets this past quarter. The Chocolate Factory took a beating on Wall Street after it reported non-GAAP earnings of $7.50 per share in its 2016 Q1 period, which ended in March. Analysts had expected earnings of at least 7.96 per share. Here' …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016
Poster for the movie Cable Guy. Copyright:  Columbia Pictures Corporation,

Comcast stabs set-top boxes in the back, pipes directly into smart TVs

Comcast appears to be suddenly in the mood for murdering set-top boxes. Dubbed the Xfinity TV Partner Program, the campaign allows Comcast to offer its regular cable service through an app that runs on smart TVs or connected devices such as streaming video players. The app streams Comcast TV service, including broadcasts, …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016

Come get your free Opera VPN (and bring along something to read)

Opera has built a free virtual private network (VPN) service into the latest version of its browser for Windows and OS X. The other other other browser will allow users running the most recent developer build to knock their connections through the SurfEasy VPN free of charge. The VPN option can be enabled under the Privacy and …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016
Still from the Star Trek original series episode "arena" of enterprise using photon torpedo.  Pic copyright:  Paramount Pictures, CBS Studios

FBI's Tor pedo torpedoes torpedoed by United States judge

A ruling by a US federal judge could unravel as many as 1,200 criminal prosecutions of alleged pedophiles by the FBI. Massachusetts District Court Judge William Young today declared that the magistrate judge who issued a warrant authorizing the FBI to infect suspects' PCs with tracking malware lacked the proper authority to do …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2016
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Apple delays Q2 earnings

We'll have to wait an extra day to find out how rich Apple is. Cook & Co have pushed back their scheduled earnings call a day, telling investors that Apple's Q2 2016 report will take place on April 26 at 2pm PDT, rather than the originally scheduled April 25. The delay is reportedly being made to observe a scheduled memorial …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016
android_money_648

Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is calling on the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to follow the European Union's lead and bring antitrust charges against Google Android. The group said that following the European Commission's statement of objections this week against the Chocolate Factory, it would like to see the FTC put …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016

US government sued by activists looking for backdoor smoking gun

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the US government to reveal just how it compels tech companies to help agents spy on people. The activist group has hit the Department of Justice (DoJ) with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the US Northern California District Court requesting details on whether …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016
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Lexmark sold for $3.6bn

Lexmark has been sold to an Asian consortium for $3.6bn. China's Apex Technology and Legend Capital, along with Hong Kong-based PAG Asia Capital will pay $40.50 per share to acquire Lexmark and form a consortium. Lexmark will continue to operate out of US headquarters in Kentucky. It has about 12,000 employees and was spawned …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2016
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Apple ends Siri patent suit

Apple will pay $25m to settle a lawsuit over its Siri assistant. The iOS personal assistant was accused of violating a patent licensed by Dynamic Advances. Under the terms of the deal, Apple will pay Dynamic Advances (and the patent holder, Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute) $25m in licensing fees, in exchange for the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
Faceplant

Yahoo! shows! off! for! suitors! by! diving! into! red! ink!

Yahoo! seems resigned to its fate, and says it is "pleased" with taking a $98m loss on the quarter. The Purple Palace on Tuesday recorded yet another drop in revenues and acknowledged it was making "significant progress" towards the sale of its core business. For the Q1 2016 period, ended March 31: Revenue was $1.09bn, down …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
Man writing a letter

Snafu! BT funnels all customers' sent email into one poor sod's inbox

The UK's biggest broadband provider BT redirected its customers' outgoing emails to a single account for three hours on Tuesday. The telco said the flooded inbox was an internal account it uses for test purposes and not a random unlucky subscriber. While BT did not provide details on the reason for the disruption, it appears …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
Woman frustrated while trying to make mobile phone call... Photo via Shutterstock

Peak Cable looms: One in five US homes now mobile-only for internet

The number of American households relying solely on mobile networks for internet access has doubled over the past two years. This is according to Uncle Sam's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who says that its 2015 internet usage numbers show that 20 per cent households use mobile networks …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
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AWS bumps S3 speeds

Amazon Web Services says it has sped up data uploads into its cloud. By "making use of optimized network protocols and the AWS edge infrastructure," Amazon says S3 transfer speeds have been improved "in the range of 50% to 500% for cross-country transfer of larger objects, but can go ever higher under certain conditions." This …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
Train wreck

IBM shuffles units, axes staff, sees profit shrink

IBM's attempts to re-organize its businesses and focus on its Watson cloud-AI-offering-thing did not prevent Big Blue from tumbling to its sixteenth consecutive quarter of falling revenue. The enterprise giant said on Monday that its new "reporting structures" will show how it is focusing on growth markets like cloud services …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Apr 2016
John Chen

Translated: BlackBerry CEO John Chen on cops-snooping-on-BBM

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has responded to last week's reheated news that police can pull text messages from BlackBerry handsets. The chief exec's blog post can be found here, and our FAQ on the matter is right here. Basically, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) chats sent via BIS (the BlackBerry Internet Service) are encrypted and …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Apr 2016
Sony's Xperia Z5

Killer Japan quake jolts Sony factories to a halt

Sony says that it will be resuming production at several of its largest Japan manufacturing facilities following a series of devastating earthquakes in the region, though some other factories remain offline. The Japanese electronics giant said that its Kumamoto Technology Center semiconductor manufacturing plant has been …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Apr 2016

SV boss Bill Campbell dies

Long-time Silicon Valley management icon Bill Campbell has died. Campbell, who was 75, left a job coaching sports at Columbia University to go into marketing, leading Intuit and serving as an adviser to Apple and Google. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Campbell spent time with Kodak and Apple before becoming the CEO of …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Apr 2016
Soaring costs in San Fran. from www.shutterstock.com

Drive for Lyft or Uber in SF? Your wallet is about to get lighter

The City of San Francisco will soon be requiring people who drive for ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber to have a business license. The city's Treasury Office said that it has begun notifying via mail drivers of transportation network companies (such as Uber and Lyft) that they have 30 days to obtain a license from the city …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016
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Verizon bribes customers

Verizon says it will give users free data if they sign up for Android Pay. The US telco giant says that users who choose to activate Pay on their phones will get an extra gigabyte of data added onto their monthly allowance the first time they pay with their phones. The third time they use the NFC app, another gigabyte would be …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016
Scrooge McDuck

Apple pulled 2,204lbs of gold out of old tech gear

Apple says its recycling efforts have recovered thousands of pounds of rare metals from discarded electronics. The Cupertino slinger of iStuff said in its annual Environmental Responsibility Report [PDF] that it pays about 160 recyclers worldwide to recover and reuse huge stocks of gold, silver and other metals from trashed …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016

AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

Chalk one up for the grumpy old complainers as AMC Theaters says it will not let people text during movies after all. The theater chain said on Friday morning that it was not going to make good on CEO Adam Aron's suggestion that the theater chain could allow people to text during film showings. Aron made the comments while …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016
Studio shot of LEGO minifigure Batman and Superman standing by a water cooler with drinks. Copyright: cjmacer Editorial Credit: cjmacer / Shutterstock.com Editorial Use Only.

What's this about Canada reading your BlackBerry texts?

Reg Water Cooler – What's this about the Canadian Mounties hacking millions of BlackBerry messages or some crazy moose doodie like that? It's been reported today that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (aka Mounties, aka Poutine Po-Po) obtained a global decryption key for BlackBerry phones in 2010, and that they used the key to read intercepted …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2016
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Feds OK to stalk phones

A court in Cincinnati, Ohio, has ruled that federal agents do not need to get a warrant before collecting people's whereabouts using their smartphones. The US Six Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FBI was not in the wrong when in 2011 agents pulled the locational records of two men in a robbery investigation. Their …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016
Week #25 - Pet Peeves SMS by https://www.flickr.com/photos/rwdave/  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Cinema boss gives up making kids turn off phones: 'That's not how they live their life'

The CEO of AMC Theaters says his company will consider allowing people to text during movies. In an interview with showbiz mag Variety, Adam Aron said that it wasn't tablets and streaming video services that were keeping millennials out of movie theaters (or for our younger readers, "the place where your parents go to watch …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Apr 2016