Shaun Nichols

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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
Tom Wheeler, Chair of FCC. Image by DonkeyHotey

Privacy warriors plead with FCC to wield sword of net neutrality against snooping ISPs

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been urged to put in place stronger protections for broadband subscribers' privacy. A letter [PDF] written by a coalition of 59 activist groups from across America demands that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler fast-tracks proposed rules that would restrict the ways broadband service …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jan 2016
Comcast outage the morning of January 20

It's not just you: Massive Comcast outage blows Bay Area offline

Comcast subscribers across the San Francisco Bay Area reported problems with their broadband connections Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. People tweeted updates beginning yesterday evening that their service in the area was out, with no word from Comcast regarding the cause. @JohnLegere @TMobile #BingeOn is a …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jan 2016

IBM still on a (downward) roll with 15th consecutive quarterly revenue drop

IBM continues to take a beating as it struggles to transition its business to a focus on cloud and analytics products. The fourth quarter of 2015 brought the following returns: Revenue was $22.1 billion, down 9 per cent from the previous year's quarter. Net income was $4.5bn on the quarter, down 19 per cent. Earnings per …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jan 2016
Apple iPad Mini 2013

Afraid of getting your iThing pwned? Get yourself iOS 9.2.1

Apple has posted an update for iOS, including patches for 13 CVE-listed security flaws. The Cupertino giant said that the iOS 9.2.1 update bundles the security fixes with a patch for a bug in the Apple Mobile Device manager that had prevented some iOS devices from installing apps. Note that this update will not fix the weird …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jan 2016
Samsung Galaxy S3

Crummy Samsung gear no one wants, now no one can get – well done, Apple

A US district court has formally banned the sale of nine Samsung devices, found to have infringed on Apple's patents, in America. Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern California District San Jose court signed off on the long-sought Apple order [PDF] blocking the sale of Samsung devices released in 2011 and 2012. The full list of …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jan 2016

You've heard of Rollercoaster Tycoon – but we can't wait for Server Tycoon

Kickstarter-funded developers are trying to create of a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the world of data centers. Yes, data centers. Server Tycoon will place the player in charge of a small server farm with the goal to build their facility into a massive compute center, competing against other players in the …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Jan 2016
container_ship_hamburg_shutterstock_648

Forget the drones, Amazon preps its own cargo container ship operation out of China

Amazon may well launch a maritime shipping operation that will allow the retail giant to ferry tons of cargo. Ryan Peterson, CEO of freight forwarding company Flexport, dug up a filing with the US Federal Maritime Commission listing Amazon, through its China subsidiary, as a registered freight provider. The registration, says …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jan 2016

Eight-billion-dollar Irish tax bill looms over Apple

An upcoming European Commission ruling on tax laws could result in Apple having to pay as much as $8bn (€7.33bn, £5.6bn) in back taxes. This according to Matt Larsen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence who expects the Cupertino maker of iStuffs will be found to have incorrectly reported its financial figures in Ireland and, …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jan 2016
Hotel staff

Hyatt says hackers took card data from 250 of its hotels

Hyatt Hotels says a total of 250 of its resorts were hit last year in a massive malware infection that stole customer payment card information. The luxury resort chain said that locations in 50 countries were impacted by malware that collected payment card information from sales terminals at Hyatt restaurants, spas, golf shops …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Jan 2016
airplane just kidding shot

JetBlue blames Verizon after data center outage cripples flights

US discount airline JetBlue is warning of delays and cancellations to flights after a number of its systems were knocked offline Thursday. The airline blamed the logistics nightmare on a Verizon data center outage, claiming the disruption had cut service to its website and online check-in and booking systems, as well as the …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jan 2016
The One Laptop Per Child project: kids at the Kagugu Primary School, Kigali, Rwanda, get to grips with new computers

World Bank: What do the poor need – clean water, or email ... take a guess

Efforts to expand IT and internet connectivity in developing countries are producing results that are "far less than expected," according to the World Bank. The 2016 Digital Dividends report [PDF] said that when it comes to quality of life and economic development, campaigns to bring poorer nations online have failed to meet …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jan 2016

Investor to AT&T – give us a peek at your NSA data dealings

An activist investor is pressing AT&T for more details about how it handles government data requests. Arjuna Capital said it will ask at the next shareholder meeting for investors to vote on a proposal [PDF] requiring AT&T to issue detailed reports of the company's policy on providing customer information to the NSA in light …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Jan 2016
Dread Pirate Roberts

Ross Ulbricht lodges (another) appeal of Silk Road verdict and sentence

Convicted Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht has launched a fresh appeal to have his case heard once more. In a filing [PDF] to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Ulbricht's lawyers argue that Ulbricht did not receive a fair trial, as key evidence from the case was omitted, and that Ulbricht was wrongly framed as the …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jan 2016
Bob and Doug McKenzie of Canada

Petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid: AWS to open data center in Montreal

Amazon Web Services will open its first data center in Canada later this year, allowing folks to use AWS's cloud services in North America but not necessarily in the US. The new region will go live in Montreal, Quebec, and will compete against nearby rivals, such as OVH. AWS also offers locations in Northern Virginia (US East …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jan 2016

Kentucky spies stricken: Ban on web snaps of horror accidents mulled

The US state of Kentucky is considering a law that would prohibit posting live photos from accident and disaster scenes. Kentucky House Bill 170 [PDF], if passed, will ban people from snapping and uploading photos from the scene of an accident or any event that "could reasonably result in a serious injury" for at least one …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Jan 2016
Windows 10 Aero

Windows 10 shattered Remote Desktop's security defaults – so get patching

Microsoft has issued its January batch of security updates – including what will be the final round of patches for many versions of Internet Explorer. The first Patch Tuesday monthly security release of the year includes fixes for 25 CVE-listed flaws in Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Office. Among the patched bugs are …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Jan 2016