Shaun Nichols

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Net Neut: Verizon flips the bird to FCC on peering deal crackdown

Verizon reckons the FCC's net neutrality proposals can not lawfully stop ISPs charging websites big bucks to increase streaming speeds to subscribers. In a letter to FCC secretary Marlene Dortch, the US telecoms giant said the FCC's Open Internet policies must not regulate peering agreements – because doing so would ruin the web …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
Snowdonia on the new GB Minecraft 2 map

Finally kicked that Minecraft habit? Story time!

Minecraft's maker says it's working on a new "narrative-driven" follow up to the ultra-addictive world-building game. Microsoft-owned software house Mojang along with Telltale Games have kicked off work on Minecraft: Story Mode. The two developers said the title will be based in the Minecraft universe, but will give gamers a …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
Microsoft-themed Monopoly board

Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window

Fresh Windows PCs in Europe will no longer offer to install Google Chrome and other web browsers rivaling Internet Explorer. That change, quietly announced on a Microsoft support website, marks the end of a European Commission-mandated period during which users had to be offered a choice in web browser when they installed …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014
Steve Jobs

Judge bars dead Steve Jobs from appearing on TV news FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

A US judge has stricken a request to release a video of Steve Jobs recorded just months before the Apple cofounder and CEO died in 2011. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers has denied [PDF] a motion filed by three US news organizations that would have compelled the court to make a video deposition from Jobs available to the public. …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Bill cram woes piling up for Sprint: Campaigners lob in a sueball

Yet another group has filed suit against Sprint, alleging the US telco unfairly profited from phone bill cramming. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it wants to extract a pound of flesh from the carrier for allowing murky traders to sneak extra charges onto customers' bills, a portion of which was paid to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014

Sony looks at unpopular Google Glass, shouts 'ME TOO!'

Sony has unveiled a headset display that snaps on to a pair of glasses a la Google Glass. The entertainment giant said its Single-Lens Display Module projects images and information into the wearer's vision on one side of the specs. The hardware will sport a 640 x 400-pixel color display with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and will …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Dec 2014

Screwball ruble closes Apple's Russia store, whole kit and caboodle

Apple has temporarily halted online sales in Russia while the country remains in an economic free-fall. The iPhone giant said "extreme" fluctuations in the value of the ruble forced it to shut its shopping website in the Putin-led country. Apple said it will review its pricing before reopening the site for sales. The ruble saw …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Dec 2014

Apple WINS iPod antitrust fight, jury nixes BILLION-dollar payout bid

Apple has prevailed in an almost decade-long antitrust legal battle over the way its iPod gadgets handled music not obtained through iTunes. A federal jury in Oakland, California, took just four hours to clear the iThings maker of wrongdoing – and tossed out calls for a $351m compensation package for eight million owners of late …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014

Boggling bum babe Kim fails to 'break the internet' – Robin Williams instead tops Google charts

Legendary comedian Robin Williams has, we're told, topped 2014's chart of the most searched for thing or person on Google. Apparently, porn doesn't count because people are always searching for it, whereas Google is interested in stuff that "trends" – pops out of nowhere and soars in popularity before fading away, in other words …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014

France says NON! to UberPop: New law to kill off amateur cabs

Uber has once again found itself running afoul of a government, this time in a form of a ban on the company's UberPop service in France. The New York Times reported that the Euro nation has moved to kill off the controversial Uber ride-sharing service in France following pressure from professional taxi drivers and their industry …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014
The components of the Deep Flight Challenger. Image: Deep Flight

Branson sinks sub dream: Plan to explore Earth's bottom scrapped

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has halted plans to build submarines for deep-sea tourism. The Telegraph confirmed what Branson himself hinted at months ago: that the beardy Brit billionaire will has put on hold the Virgin Oceanic project. Branson had planned to construct a craft that would undertake a series of five dives to …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014

Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

A US Senator is urging Congress to pass laws forbidding Uncle Sam's spies from forcing software and hardware makers to build backdoors. In an op-ed posted in the LA Times, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said that there was no safe way to build backdoors into phones, tablets, computers and software without exposing them to hackers to …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Dec 2014
Jersey cow

FCC says taxpayer-bankrolled bumpkin broadband must be at least 10Mbps

Good news, hayseeds: the FCC has ruled that rural broadband should be held to the same standard as that of connections in built-up cities and towns. The stateside regulator has issued a new order, which states that in the US countryside, providers must maintain at least a 10Mbit/s downlink speed for subscribers if they want to …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Dec 2014
Uber - living the dream

How was your week? Was it as bad as Uber's? Here's what happened

You ever have one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right? Maybe the train runs late in the rain. Or the lace on your boot breaks as you're walking out the door. Or maybe four major cities across the planet line up to sue you. Yeah, Uber just had a week like that – just days after it was injected with $1.2bn of funding, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Dec 2014
Mark Zuckerberg

Chum's house burnt down? Facebook mulls 'DISLIKE' button for that

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is “considering” the addition of a "dislike" button on his free content ad network. The company's co-founder said during a public Q&A session that his engineers are looking at the idea of adding new buttons that users can press to express their feelings about stuff they see. Answering a question …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Dec 2014
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Canadian watchdog goes to court to probe Apple's iPhone deals with mobe networks

Watchdogs in Canada are investigating Apple over concerns the iPhone giant violated antitrust laws in its dealings with Canadian telcos. A spokesperson for Canada's Competition Bureau confirmed the Cupertino goliath is the subject of a probe into possible violations of the nation's Competition Act. "I can confirm that the …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, photo by Paul Clarke

Web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Back off Putin, I'm no CIA stooge

The internet is a basic human right – and most certainly not the work of CIA agents – says the man who brought about the World Wide Web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called out Russian President Vladimir Putin over his claims the internet is run by the CIA as a US intelligence operation. "It was the academic community who wired up …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2014
Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff's coders jailed for role in $65bn ponzi scheme fiasco

Two software developers who helped notorious crook Bernie Madoff pull off an $18bn fraud will each spend up to the next two and a half years behind bars. At a hearing in New York on Wednesday, US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced George Perez, 48, for his role in Madoff's infamous ponzi scheme – arguably the largest …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Dec 2014
iPhone forensics beaten image

Security holes in iOS? We've heard of them, says Apple (as it fixes vanishing ringtones)

Apple has released an update for iOS that addresses some rather annoying performance bugs, but leaves major security holes open. The company said the iOS 8.1.2 over-the-air update will address performance issues with the Apple mobile platform, including a flaw which had caused ringtones to disappear from handhelds. "This …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2014

Hipsters snap up iPod Classics for $$$s after Apple kills rusty gadget

Apple quietly withdrew its iconic iPod Classic from sale this year – and now the hard-drive-packing music players are fetching handsome piles of cash on Amazon. An unused sixth-generation silver 160GB model will set you back $1,500 from one tech hawker using the web souk to flog old gear. If that's a bit too steep for you, don't …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2014
Steve Jobs and Air

Apple lawyers fight to silence dead Steve Jobs: 'No right' to hear him from beyond the grave

Apple's lawyers are trying to suppress video footage of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, shown as evidence in an ongoing iTunes antitrust battle. Bloomberg, CNN and the Associated Press have asked a court in Oakland, California, to publicly release the deposition, which was recorded six months before the iThing supremo lost his fight …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2014

Mom and daughter SUE Comcast for 'smuggling' public Wi-Fi hotspot into their home

A mother and daughter are suing Comcast claiming the cable giant's router in their home was offering public Wi-Fi without their permission. Comcast-supplied routers broadcast an encrypted, private wireless network for people at home, plus a non-encrypted network called XfinityWiFi that can be used by nearby subscribers. So if …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Dec 2014

It's nearly 2015 – and your Windows PC can still be owned by a Visual Basic script

Microsoft has patched 25 software vulnerabilities – including bugs that allow hackers to hijack PCs via Internet Explorer, Word and Excel files, and Visual Basic scripts. Everyone is urged to install the fixes, as well as a batch of updates from Adobe: a flaw in the Flash plugin is already being exploited by hackers to take over …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Grooveshark to sink its teeth again into Pandora (legally this time)

Embattled Grooveshark is promising to launch a music-streaming service next year that will, for a change, be fully legit and safe from copyright lawsuits. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, CEO Sam Tarantino said that next year his biz will launch a paid-for service designed to compete with Pandora. The service, …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2014

Portland lobs fair-trade gluten-free artisan SUEBALL at Uber

The US city of Portland, Oregon, is suing taxi-booking app maker Uber for operating unlicensed cabs. Officials with the city's Board of Transportation said on Monday that it was going to court in order to enforce its regulations on for-hire car companies: for one thing, it's claimed Uber needs a license to run a taxi company in …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Dec 2014
Ralph Baer 1922-2014

RIP Ralph Baer: Father of the games console dies aged 92

Obit Ralph Baer, the engineer and inventor of the first home games console, has died. He was 92. Few modern gamers know of Baer, but all owe him a debt of gratitude for ushering in the first generation of home systems in the 1970s and helping to inspire the arcade and home console explosions in subsequent decades. Baer in the early …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Dec 2014
Ciscoblood

Cisco tears off gloves, throws copyright and patent punches at Arista

Cisco has filed suit against rival Arista Networks, accusing it of ripping off Cisco's intellectual property. The networking goliath said it will lodge patent and copyright infringement claims against Arista, arguing the upstart has based its business on ideas and technologies copied from Cisco. The claim includes allegations …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Dec 2014
iTunes Store 'Purchased' screenshot

Wheels fall off bid to sue Apple over iTunes anti-piracy shenanigans

The status of the class-action lawsuit against Apple over its iTunes store is in doubt, after it appeared that the plaintiffs were not actually eligible to sue. On Friday, Apple filed a motion [PDF] to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs listed didn't actually own an iPod during the period for which they are …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Dec 2014

Taiwan: Top tech giants must stop playing fast and loose with privacy

A Taiwanese watchdog claims 12 of the world's largest makers of cellphones have broken laws safeguarding privacy. The state's National Communications Commission, which has probed several tech giants, wouldn't name all of the accused – but officials at the regulator mentioned Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung, Sony and HTC, according to the …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2014
Scrooge McDuck

VCs say Uber is worth $41bn... but don't worry, we're not in a bubble

Uber has snapped up a new round of funding that values the company at a staggering US$41bn. The company said that it had generated $1.2bn in a private equity round of fundraising which reportedly valued the firm at $41bn. The massive valuation would put Uber among some of the largest names in Silicon Valley, companies such as …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Dec 2014
iPod Touch 3G

Apple deliberately wiped rivals' music from iPods – iTunes court claim

Apples software forced people to delete music from their iPods if it was downloaded from an iTunes store rival, a court has heard. During a class-action antitrust hearing in California on Thursday, lawyers argued that Apple purposely made its iTunes application instruct users to reset their iPods – removing any tracks obtained …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2014
Data breach image

Deloitte's files on bean counters swept up in Sony hack stash – report

Bean-counting giant Deloitte has been pulled into Sony Pictures' ongoing nightmare – the one in which the movie giant was comprehensively hacked and gigabytes of sensitive files leaked online. Unreleased films, draft scripts, criminal record checks on staff, doctors' notes, passwords, encryption certificates, social security …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2014

Developers offering Mozilla-like experience will work on Firefox-like experience for iThings

A software house offering a Mozilla-like experience has confirmed it will end its years-long standoff with Apple – and bring a Firefox-like browser to iPhones and iPads. "At Mozilla, we put our users first and want to provide an independent choice for them on any platform. We are in the early stages of experimenting with …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Dec 2014

FCC puts AT&T and Comcast gobbles back on the table

The FCC has restarted the approval process for a pair of high-profile proposed mergers – Comcast-Time Warner Cable, and AT&T-DirecTV. The US watchdog said it has officially set two deadlines for folks sending in their views on the biz gobbles. In the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable (TWC) tie-up, citizens will have until …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 2014
iPad iBooks app

Top Apple exec: 'I knew [ebook] prices were going to go up – hell, the whole world knew'

The head of Apple's software and services has hit out at a court ruling against the iTunes giant in a lawsuit over ebook price-fixing. Speaking in an interview with Fortune, senior vice-president Eddy Cue said Apple will fight to overturn its conviction for conspiring with publishers to inflate the price of digital titles. The …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Tenacious Twitter tries to topple terrible trolls

Twitter is tweeting about how much easier it'll be for tweeters to report abusive twits. Stick that in your 140 characters. The microblogging website says it will soon simplify the process of reporting offensive tweets and accounts, and it's promised to respond to allegations of trolling much faster than before. Crucially, …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Dec 2014

FCC bigwig grills Netflix: If internet fast lanes are so bad, why did YOU build them?

An FCC commissioner has asked Netflix to explain an apparent contradiction in its demand for net neutrality: on the one hand, Netflix wants an open and neutral internet for all – and on the other hand, it's making deals with ISPs to speed up its video streams. Netflix pays Comcast and Verizon to install servers within their …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2014
Apple Watch

No wristjob, please, we're Apple fans: Just 10% would buy the Apple Watch

Apple's new Watch device is going to sell itself on the basis of appealing to 10 per cent of the fanboi population, according to analysts. Research firm UBS claims that one in ten Apple iPhone owners would be willing to pony up for the fruity wristthing. According to the UBS report, some 10 per cent of iPhone owners were …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2014

Never fear, Glassholes – Intel to the rescue! 'New CPU' for tech-specs

New models of the painfully nerdy Google Glass goggles will use Intel processors, rather than Texas Instrument chips, it's reported. Today, the expensive headgear is powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core Cortex-A9 system-on-chip, which is clocked at 1.2GHz and runs 32-bit ARMv7 code. It also includes PowerVR 2D and …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Dec 2014
iPad Videos app

LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

A technology-for-schools deal touted as a huge win for Apple will become a head-to-head competition with arch-rival Google. The web ad giant has won the rights to sell Chromebooks to schools as an alternative to iPads, The LA Times reports, citing the Los Angeles Unified School District. This will turn around what had been a …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Dec 2014
GoPro HD 2 sports camcorder

A DRONE OF THEIR OWN: GoPro tabbed for cameracopter launch

Action camera company GoPro is reportedly planning to develop and sell its own line of camera-equipped drones. A report from The Wall Street Journal cites sources familiar with the plans in reporting that the company will develop "multirotor helicopters" with built-in HD cameras. According to the report, the company would begin …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Nov 2014
Gesture six

AT&T to FTC: I'd like to see YOU install 1Gbps fiber across the US. Which we're still doing

AT&T has told the FCC to mind its own business after the US watchdog started poking around the ISP's threat to halt its fiber broadband rollout. The phone giant, in a strop over proposed net neutrality regulations, announced it was freezing its program of high-speed internet expansion in America. Execs at the company said it was …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Nov 2014
BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry will pay you $$$s to be its friend and dump that iPhone

Sales-challenged BlackBerry is hoping to bribe iPhone users away from Apple with a cash offer starting next month. The Canadian mobe maker says it will pay up to $550 to fanbois who swap their iPhones for BlackBerry Passports instead. The offer will run from December 1 to February 13 in the US and Canada, and cover the iPhone …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Nov 2014
Samsung Eyecan

Hey, here's some face-tracking tech from Samsung you probably won't find creepy at all

Samsung says it'll release the source code to software that allows physically disabled people to move a mouse pointer with their eyes. The South Korean tech giant promised to publish hardware blueprints and code for its Eyecan+ box so others can develop it further and sell as a thing.Samsung said it won't turn the tech into a …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Nov 2014

UK cops: Give us ONE journo's phone records. Vodafone: Take the WHOLE damn database!

Blundering Vodafone leaked the phone records of 1,760 Brit journalists and their colleagues to London's Met Police, a UK watchdog confirmed on Tuesday. The cops had used surveillance laws to demand information on one particular journo's calls. But after realizing Vodafone had handed over records on hundreds of journalists, the …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Nov 2014
Adobe security

Second time's a charm: Adobe has another go at killing Flash hijack flaw

Ready to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday? Can't wait to open your advent calendar? Not so fast – there's one more patch to install before the month is over. Adobe has posted an update for its Flash plugin, version 15.0.0.239, to address a critical remote-code-execution vulnerability. This will be the Photoshop giant's second …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2014
Angry woman on mobile

No more lies, T-Mobile US: Download speed caps magically vanished on speed test websites

T-Mobile USA has agreed to stop twiddling with subscribers' mobile broadband speeds to hide the fact they were being capped. The telco was caught switching off download and upload bandwidth limits when people visited internet speed test websites. In other words, if you visited a website that tested your mobile connection's speed …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2014
troll

Anti-download biz sued for 'abusive' robo-call demands for money

Internet piracy hunter Rightscorp, which shakes down alleged copyright infringers for damages, has been accused of harassment, abuse and illegal debt collection. A class-action lawsuit [PDF] filed in California claims the business broke a load of US laws while making automated robo-calls accusing people of illegally downloading …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2014

Telcos spaff $36bn on gobbling Uncle Sam's radio frequencies for beefier cell coverage

US watchdog the FCC has raised at least US$36bn from telcos by auctioning off a load of radio frequencies for improving wireless broadband. That's more than three times the $10.1bn it expected – remember that next time your cellphone bill goes up. While Uncle Sam banks the massive windfall, cell networks can use their newly …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Nov 2014
Max Headroom

Amazon warming up 'cheapo web video' cannon to SINK Netflix

Amazon is preparing an online video-streaming service that will be stuffed with ads – and undercut rivals Netflix and Hulu Plus, it has been reported. The New York Post cited unnamed sources in reporting that Jeff Bezos' behemoth is readying a cheap version of the web telly service you get with a $99-a-year Amazon Prime account …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Nov 2014