Shaun Nichols

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Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

Google is apparently going to "fold" Chrome OS into Android, potentially killing the development of a secure, lightweight desktop OS in the process. The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, claims engineers at the Mountain View giant have spent the past two years merging Chrome OS into Android. The end result will …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Oct 2015

US govt drafts Google, Walmart, Amazon, BestBuy execs for drone registration system

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has named the 25 people who will draft the blueprints for a nationwide database of drone owners. As promised by the FAA and US Department of Transportation (DOT), the task force consists of individuals from companies and organizations that make and sell drones, as well as pilots, …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Oct 2015
Milhouse Van Houten

Your 30-second guide to why Samsung is acting all Smugsun today

Samsung is getting a nod of approval from investors and analysts as the electronics giant has revealed gains in its mobile, semiconductor, and consumer electronics operations. The South Korean firm said its Android phone business managed to grow its sales figures in its third quarter of 2015, raising hopes that further gains …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Oct 2015

ID theft alert biz LifeLock coughs up $96m to FTC in false ad claim deal

Identity-protection company LifeLock will shell out $96m in a settlement to end claims it broke a promise over false advertising. The Arizona biz, which tries to alert citizens to possible identity theft, said the payout is part of a settlement deal with US trade watchdog the FTC and several state attorneys general. "The …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Oct 2015

Get James Bond in here: 13 million account passwords plundered from 000webhost

Hackers have made off with the names, email addresses, and unencrypted passwords of 13 million accounts at 000webhost, a free web hosting biz. If anyone hit by the raid has reused a 000webhost password on another website, now's the time to change it. Troy Hunt of HaveIBeenPwned fame said he has added the email addresses of …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Oct 2015
Broken piggy bank with coins surrounding it. Image via Shutterstock

Flickering screens turn Microsoft Surface Books into Microsoft Surface paperweights

Video People who bought the first batch of Microsoft's Surface Book slab-tops are furious that a glitch causes the screens to flicker. Microsoft's support forums and the Surface subreddit are filled with folks claiming their displays erratically wink completely on and off. This happens, we're told, whether the tablet is running on …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Oct 2015

Apple: We're going to sell $77bn worth of iStuff this holiday season

Apple says it hopes to haul in anywhere from $75bn to $77bn (£48bn to £50bn) over the upcoming holiday shopping season. The Cupertino seller of iThings said the upcoming quarter is on pace to be its best ever, as the company predicts it will edge out last year's $74.6bn Q1 total with an estimated $75-77bn revenue haul for its …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Oct 2015

Top watchdog probes IBM over 'transactions in US, UK, Ireland'

IBM's stock price has taken a hit after the tech titan revealed it is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Big Blue said in its latest 10-Q filing that for the past two months, the financial watchdog has been looking into its accounting practices. "In August 2015, IBM learned that the SEC is …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2015

FCC under fire over TV, mobile broadband signal interference fears

Staff at the FCC, America's communications watchdog, have been accused of not doing enough to prevent TV broadcasts from interfering with mobile broadband signals. This comes as television stations in the US prepare to auction off some of their radio frequencies, which can then be used by cellphone networks to extend their …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2015
The Kremlin in Moscow. Pic: Pavel Kazachkov

Trio nailed in US for smuggling $30m of microchips into Russia

Two men and a woman have been found guilty in the US of illegally peddling electronics to Russian military and spies. The trio worked at Arc Electronics in Houston, Texas, which was a front for an operation that moved more than $30m in microchips overseas against Uncle Sam's export and arms laws. Arc masqueraded as a traffic …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2015
Mosaic of pics from the Cassini spacecraft show Saturn's moon Enceladus

No, seriously, NASA will fly a probe through Saturn's moon plumes

Vid NASA is just days away from a flyby in which its Cassini space probe will fly through liquid plumes on Saturn's moon Enceladus. The agency's scientists said on Wednesday, October 28, its craft would fly down within 30 miles of the surface of the icy moon and attempt to pass through the plumes erupting from its south pole in …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Oct 2015

'iOS 9 ate my mobile broadband plan'

Apple is being sued over an iOS 9 feature that allegedly gobbled its way through people's monthly mobile data plans. The class-action legal challenge [PDF], filed on Friday in the US District Court in San Jose, California, alleges that Apple enabled by default a connection-boosting feature called Wi-Fi Assist that resulted in …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Oct 2015
Three slices of American bacon

'Cancer-causing bacon would put a real dampner on processed pig sales'

QuoTW This week, it was all about a CIA hack, a stock handout at Twitter and a tale of laid-off worker outrage. Now, let's have a look at the quotes of the week: The fatty sheen has been taken off the bacon sarnie with new research that tells us processed meats could be a cancer risk. In its report, the World Health Organisation …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Oct 2015

American robocallers to be shamed in public lists

US phone watchdog the FCC will publish a weekly updated list of annoying robocalling companies. The regulator's Consumer Help Center will reveal the telephone numbers of all robocaller operations, and organizations that flout do-not-call rules. The tables can be used by phone filtering software to block cold callers. The FCC …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Oct 2015
cisco asa 5505

Patch Cisco ASA ASAP: DNS, DHCPv6, UDP packets will crash them

Cisco has issued a firmware update to address four security flaws in its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) that open up the gear to denial-of-service attacks. By exploiting these bugs, six models in the ASA family can be forced to repeatedly reset, rendering the hardware useless. Vulnerable products include the Cisco ASA …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Oct 2015

Google stock buy-back: You'll groan when you realize where that $5,099,019,513.59 figure came from

Internet advertising giant Google is still banking boatloads of ad cash, and plans to buy back billions in stock. The Mountain View goliath said its mobile advertising revenues were particularly strong over the previous three months, as it saw gains in the number of clicks on banners. Here are the top GAAP stats and facts …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Oct 2015
Malaysia Airlines plane

Hackers hit NATO, White House – then aimed at MH17 air disaster probe

The Pawn Storm hackers who tried to infiltrate NATO and White House networks have been spotted bothering another sensitive target: the team investigating the downed Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight. Researchers at Trend Micro found suspicious SFTP, VPN, and Outlook Web Access servers configured to collect usernames and passwords …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Oct 2015

California enormo-quake prediction: Cracks form between US boffins

NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS) experts are arguing over the likelihood of a major earthquake hitting southern California in the near future. The debate began earlier this week when eggheads at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) posted a study suggesting that the chances of an earthquake magnitude five or greater …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Oct 2015
Stanford's MARTY car

Wait a minute, Doc! Are you telling me that you built a self-driving car ... out of a DeLorean!?

Vid Stanford University researchers have built an electric-powered self-driving DeLorean just in time for Back to the Future II day. Dubbed Multiple Actuator Research Testbed for Yaw control, or MARTY for short, the tricked-out 1981 sportscar has been upgraded by the mechanical engineering department at the Silicon Valley feeder …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Oct 2015
Mac malware

Got an Apple Mac, iThing? Update it right now – there's a shedload of security holes fixed

Apple has posted security updates and feature improvements for its desktop, mobile, and developer gear. The Cupertino giant today issued updates for iOS, OS X, and watchOS, plus iTunes on Windows, Safari on OS X, and Mac firmware. The OS X El Capitan update also "improves compatibility with Microsoft Office 2016," so if you' …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Oct 2015

IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts

The new 802.11ah Wi-Fi standard has yet to hit the market in full, and some fear it never will. Analysts at ABI Research predict that by 2020, four years after the first devices are scheduled to arrive, 802.11ah support will only ship in about 11 million devices annually. This slow growth means manufacturers will either have …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Oct 2015

Sony finds some loose change, flings most of it at lawyers ... the rest at staff hit by 'North Korea'

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has agreed to pay up to $8m (£5.18m) to settle a lawsuit stemming from its 2014 IT security meltdown. The movie studio will pay out damages after the personal details of 47,000 current and former employees leaked onto the internet following a network breach said to have stemmed from its …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Oct 2015
Dyson DC58 Animal

Bosch, you suck! Dyson says VW pal cheated in vacuum cleaner tests

Brit vacuum-cleaner maker Dyson is taking legal action against Bosch and Siemens, accusing the pair of cheating in energy efficiency tests. According to Dyson, the Siemens Q8.0 and Bosch GL80/In'Genius ProPerform vacuum cleaners conveniently operate at a lower power level in lab tests, and dramatically increase their power …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2015

AT&T, Verizon probed: 'No escape from biz broadband packages'

The FCC is probing AT&T and Verizon over claims the telcos are locking companies into expensive business broadband contracts. The US regulator confirmed in an investigation order [PDF] that officials are examining the two carriers, plus CenturyLink and Frontier Communications, for unlawful business practices. "We conclude …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Oct 2015
The US White House. Pic: Roman Boed

White House to Feds: Stop buying new PCs, laptops right now

The Obama Administration has ordered US federal agencies to hold off on purchasing new PCs in hopes of patching up a broken ordering system. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has put a hold on new desktops and notebooks while it sorts through what it says are "thousands" of new system orders every year. …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2015

Temperature of Hell drops a few degrees – Microsoft emits SSH-for-Windows source code

Microsoft has published early source code for its OpenSSH-for-Windows port for developers to pick apart and improve. In a blog post on Monday, Steve Lee – the PowerShell team's principal software engineer manager – said Redmond has finished early work on a Windows port of OpenSSH 7.1, built in a joint-effort with remote-access …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2015

Get ready to register your drones in the US – or else

The US Department of Transportation (DoT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are drawing up rules requiring people to register their drones. The DoT and FAA said in a joint statement Monday that they will be forming a task force to write registration guidelines, with a deadline of November 20. The 25-30 person …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2015

Apple ordered to write a $234m check to uni in A7 chip patent spat

A jury has today awarded the University of Wisconsin a $234m payday from Apple after the iGiant ripped off the college's processor design patent. Earlier this week, a district court in Madison, Wisconsin, said Apple's A7 system-on-chip in its iPhones and iPads infringed a patent belonging to the university's Wisconsin Alumni …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2015

Job alert: Is this the toughest sysadmin role on Earth? And are you badass enough to do it?

For some people, landing a job in IT means going to the ends of the Earth. In this case, quite literally. Scientists in Antarctica hope to hire two tip-top techies to fill system administrator roles – one at the McMurdo research station and the other in a similar base at the South Pole. You must be a US citizen (for security …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2015

How to get 10Gbit/s home broadband in the US: Step 1. Move to Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga, Tennessee: a Bible Belt city with a population of 170,000, ish. Winner of the All-America City Award in 1962. The birthplace of the tow truck and Moon Pies (that's Wagon Wheels to Brits). The Glenn Miller Orchestra even made a record in honor of the place. Speaking of records, the city is now offering 10Gbps …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2015
Bookshelf in the British Library basement

Google wins book scan battle. Again. Can post pages online. Again

A US appeals court has today ruled that Google Books does not infringe on US copyright. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a 2013 verdict from a district court that Google's scan-every-book-possible project is protected as "fair use." The Authors Guild had charged that Google was violating its copyrights when …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2015

Ad networks promise to do something about the awful adverts you're all blocking, like, real soon

The Interactive Advertising Bureau – a powerful association of ad networks and marketing types that shift the vast majority of online adverts in the US – has finally noticed all the hate aimed at web advertising. After months and months of malware-laden ads that exploit Adobe's screen-door-of-the-internet Flash, and the …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Oct 2015
An angry mob

Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Updated Have you noticed Microsoft being a little too eager in pushing its Windows 10 upgrade lately? You're not alone. The Reg news tip inbox has been awash the past few days with readers reporting that the newest version of Windows has been forcing itself onto computers amid other operating system updates, and sometimes even …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Oct 2015

UK's Lloyds Banking Group scrambles to patch account-snooping security hole

Lloyds Banking Group – a major financial outfit in the UK – has closed a security flaw that potentially exposed banking records on tens of thousands of Brits. The vulnerability would have allowed criminals to open an account using only a person's name, address, and date of birth, and then view other accounts that person had …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Oct 2015
Vint Cerf

Internet daddy Vint Cerf blasts FCC's plan to ban Wi-Fi router code mods

Vinton Cerf has added his name to a campaign begging the FCC to scrap plans to ban custom firmware on Wi-Fi routers and other wireless devices. The internet pioneer is among 260 signatories on an open letter urging the US watchdog not to pass a proposed package of rules [PDF], formally known as Docket 15-170. The suggested …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Oct 2015
Mr Creosote prepares to gobble

AT&T, Dish have a problem with Charter-TWC merger – surprise!

US telecom giants AT&T and Dish Network are asking the FCC to hold off on approving the $78.7bn merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable (TWC). In separate filings with the US communications regulator, the two companies claimed the proposed tie-up could damage competition in the US. Both companies alleged that …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Oct 2015

Apple may face $900m bill after A7 CPU in iPhones, iPads ripped off university's patent

Apple's A7 processors in iPhones and iPads infringe a patent held by the University of Wisconsin, a court has ruled. A jury, sitting in a US district court in Madison, Wisconsin, found Apple guilty of patent infringement late yesterday afternoon. While the damages in the case have yet to be determined, Judge William Conley …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Oct 2015
Apple iBooks

ebook price-fixing saga: Apple rids self of court-appointed watchdog

The watchdog assigned to keep close tabs on Apple after it inflated ebook prices has been told to go home by a US court. In 2013, Apple was found to have conspired with publishers to fix the prices of digital books. The Cupertino goliath was ordered by a court to allow an independent monitor into its hallowed halls and inspect …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Oct 2015

Mm, what's that smell, Microsoft SQL Server 2005? Yes, it's death

Microsoft is once again warning administrators that the end-of-life date for SQL Server 2005 is now just six months away. Redmond on Tuesday sent out a reminder to companies that its 2005 database server edition will officially be considered out of support on April 12, 2016. This means SQL Server 2005 systems will no longer be …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Oct 2015

In 2015, your Windows PC can be owned by opening a spreadsheet

Microsoft and Adobe have pushed out their scheduled monthly security updates, with familiar names like IE and Flash once again getting critical fixes. For Redmond, the October update brings fixes for 33 CVE-listed security vulnerabilities. The updates include a cumulative fix for Internet Explorer and patches to address …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Oct 2015

Top VW exec blames car pollution cheatware scandal on 'a couple of software engineers'

Volkswagen America CEO Michael Horn has played the "rogue employee" card to explain how and why his cars' engine software cheated in pollution tests. While being grilled by the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Thursday, Horn said he only learned of the existence of the so-called emissions-hoodwinking "defeat device …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Oct 2015

Furious LastPass fans fear password wrangler's fate amid LogMeIn's gobble

LastPass has been acquired by LogMeIn, and people are deeply unhappy about the deal. The password manager announced on Friday that it was being gobbled up by the remote-desktop software biz LogMeIn for $125m. It's expected that the deal will close over the next several weeks. LogMeIn didn't provide details about what it would …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015
Elon Musk

Who gets Teslas made and throws Apple shade? It's… MUSK!

Billionaire business mogul Elon Musk is taking some time away from his electric car and space exploration ventures to slag off Apple. Speaking in an interview with Germany's Handelsblatt Global Edition, the Tesla founder said that employees who left the automaker to take up positions in Apple were anything but important pieces …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015

Cops must get a warrant before raiding phones, email, etc (in California)

California has passed a law requiring police to obtain a warrant before searching phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, and accounts in cloud services, too. This even includes Stingray devices, which are cellphone masts that officers set up to track and monitor people by their mobiles. Governor Jerry Brown on …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015

TRANSISTOR-GATE-GATE: Apple admits some iPhone 6Ses crappier than others

Apple has confessed that some iPhone 6Ses have worse battery life than others because their processors are made by two different chip bakers. The Cupertino giant said in a statement on Thursday that the handsets using TSMC-built 16nm A9 processors will have a slightly longer battery life than those powered by Samsung-built …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Oct 2015
Amazon Web Services

AWS throws the lever on monster 2TB X1 for in-memory databases

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unleashed a handful of new service options on the second day of its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Among the announcements are additions to both the high and low ends of the EC2 cloud compute service. For companies looking to run in-memory databases on AWS, EC2 will now offer the X1 instance …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015

America's top courts may have to prove how truly dull they are by law

Four members of the US Congress will unveil a law bill on Thursday that would ensure hearings in the nation's highest courts are streamed online. Dubbed the Eyes on the Courts Act [PDF], the bill asks that both the US Supreme Court and Circuit Courts of Appeal allow their proceedings to be recorded and shown online. The bill …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015
AWS Snowball appliance

Disk boxes, security tools, etc: What Amazon announced at its AWS shindig on Wednesday

Amazon Web Services (AWS) kicked off its annual re:Invent conference on Wednesday with the introduction of a handful of new additions to its cloud computing service. The rollout includes a tool to test apps for security flaws, plus a business intelligence (BI) service, and a new way to physically toss data into Amazon's cloud …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Oct 2015
AOL logos

Verizon now owns AOL, so AOL now owns your web browsing habits, other personal info

US telco giant Verizon has given notice it will be providing information on its subscribers to AOL for targeted advertising. A notice in Verizon's privacy policy warns users that beginning next month, information such as device information, addresses and whereabouts, and browsing habits, will be given to AOL so it can sling …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2015

Shutterbug drone biz fined $1.9m for buzzing New York City, Chicago

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has slapped a record fine on a photography company accused of conducting more than five dozen unauthorized drone flights. The FAA said it wants to dock SkyPan International $1.9m for flying drones over the skies of New York City and Chicago without permission. The fine will be the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2015