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Shaun Nichols

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FTC: Do SSL properly or we'll shove a microscope up you for decades

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has forged settlement deals with a pair of companies accused of botching their SSL encryption and leaving people vulnerable to identity thieves. According to the watchdog, Fandango and Credit Karma failed to implement basic safeguards when sending highly sensitive personal information over …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Mar 2014
iFixit iPad 3 disassembly

iFixit boss: Apple has 'done everything it can to put repair guys out of business'

Fixing and upgrading iOS devices can be a rewarding business opportunity, so long as you don't mind having to fight Apple every step of the way. So says the founder of iFixit, who spoke at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco on Thursday. The repair outfit's CEO Kyle Wiens said there is little or no official public information for …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Mar 2014
Texting by TarahDawdy

Sick of walking into things while gawping at your iPhone? Apple has a patent app. for that

Apple has applied for a patent for technology that will warn of oncoming dangers to users distracted by their text messages. An application submitted by the company to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (rooted out by AppleInsider) describes a user interface that displays transparent text messages over a live video feed …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Mar 2014

Microsoft frisks yet another Android gear maker for patent dosh

Microsoft and Dell have inked a licensing deal for each other's patents that cover the technology found in Android, Chrome OS, and the Xbox. Android handsets and tablets don't spring to mind when you think of Dell, but the Texan biz does offer the Wyse Cloud Connect HDMI stick, which is powered by Android code, for instance. …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2014
Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush King sees IPO go sour as stock price heads south

Mobile games firm King Digital failed to take the stock market by storm Wednesday as the firm's initial public offering (IPO) saw its stock price decline by more than 15 per cent at close of trading. The company made famous for its Candy Crush mobile game had been seeking a valuation of roughly $7bn wen it offered its shares on …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2014

What price justice? 73 CENTS in book price-gouging case

Amazon has begun offering customers store credit on behalf of publishers who recently settled a price-fixing case. The credit is being distributed to customers as part of a refund program under the terms of a US settlement agreed to by five major e-books publishers. Amazon noted that it was not part of the suit, but was merely …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2014

Revealed: What the US taxman really thinks of crypto-cash Bitcoin

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has laid out a formal set of policies for how it will handle Bitcoin and other virtual currencies for tax purposes. In a guide (PDF) released Tuesday, the IRS said that it would be considering cryptocurrencies to be property, and as such would be subject to US laws regarding the transfer and …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2014
Apple iPad 2

Apple says sayonara to Samsung's ninjas: iPad, iPhone don't infringe comms patents – report

Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S and iPad 2 products do not violate Samsung-owned patents, a judge in Tokyo ruled today, according to reports. The South Korean giant had taken its rival to court in Japan and demanded damages for alleged patent infringement, and is now considering lodging an appeal, we understand. The ruling, as reported …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2014
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

Facebook snubbed Google's Silicon Valley wage-strangle pact, Sheryl Sandberg claims

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has claimed her company rebuffed Google's attempt to form a pact that would have suppressed engineers' salaries. According to her written testimony to a US court, obtained and published today by CNBC, Sandberg said she met Google executives who were – it is claimed – keen to stop …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2014
wall_street

Box shock stock doc clocks 250 million bucks

Box has filed its hotly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) paperwork to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The upstart's S-1 document was published this afternoon, US West Coast time, putting in motion its stock market debut. Box, which provides online file-sharing for businesses, wants to raise $250m from …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2014
Firefox crop circle

JavaScript mastermind Brendan Eich leaps into the Mozilla CEO seat

JavaScript inventor Brendan Eich will take over as CEO of Mozilla Corporation – which is part of the Mozilla project he co-founded 15 or so years ago. The Firefox-maker and Eich announced in blog postings that he will shift from the Moz chief technology officer chair to the chief exec's throne; acting-CEO Jay Sullivan will …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2014

IBM PCjr STRIPPED BARE: We tear down the machine Big Blue would rather you forgot

The year 1984 was a watershed for the personal computing market, a year which saw Apple introduce the Macintosh and forever change the way people looked at desktops. On the 30th anniversary of that January release, there was no shortage of coverage looking at the historic launch of the Mac and its impact on the industry and …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Mar 2014
Windows XP boot screen

This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

In an attempt to lure people off its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system, Microsoft will pay $100 to XP users who upgrade to a new Windows 8 PC. The promotion, run via the Microsoft Store website, is open to users who ditch their Windows XP systems and buy new machines. The money-off offer applies to PCs costing $699 or …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Mar 2014
Lenovo K800

Restless PC biz Lenovo blows $100m to gobble 2,500 mobe tech patents

Lenovo has inked a patent deal which looks to expand the company's reach into the mobile computing world. Wireless intellectual property broker Unwired Planet said it will take $100m in cash from the Chinese electronics giant in exchange for about 2,500 "issued and pending US and foreign patents" covering wireless broadband and …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2014

Tor Project claims 'fake' Tor Browser sat in iOS App Store for months

Following months of protests, Apple has apparently removed from its App Store software that claimed to be a Tor-friendly web browser yet was allegedly loaded with adware and spyware. For the uninitiated, the official Tor Browser is a package containing Firefox that uses the Tor network to bounce connections to websites around …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2014
Apple's Newton MessagePad 100. Source: Wikimedia

Proof Apple is GOING BACKWARDS: It's trying to patent a Newton-ish touchscreen stylus

Apple has applied for a patent in the US that describes a stylus with a changeable tip for touchscreen gadgets. The filing, submitted this week to Uncle Sam's Patent and Trademark Office, shows a pointy stick that works with an iOS device, and sports a head that can be switched from a conventional pen-tip to other attachments, …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Mar 2014

Crap flap-app flap chap yaps: Yes, FLAPPY BIRD is comin' back

The reluctant app mogul behind the viral hit Flappy Bird has given a clear "yes" to bringing the infuriating game back from the dead. In a tweet posted this week, developer Dong Nguyen said his game will be returning to Apple's App Store, albeit not right now. @painfullpacman Yes. But not soon. — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) March …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2014

We're being royalty screwed! Pandora blames price rise on musos wanting money

Streaming music biz Pandora will raise the price of its One subscription service, blaming a jump in royalties it has to pay out to record labels. The company on Wednesday said that it will raise the cost of its online service from $3.99 per month to $4.99 for new users. Pandora said that current users will not be subject to the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014

Virtual-reality Dev Kit 2 game goggles by Oculus – now with less vomit!

Virtual reality gaming-goggles maker Oculus has released a new model of its Rift headset for software developers. The company said its Dev Kit 2 unit does a better job of smoothly rendering scenes when the wearer's head is moving around, an improvement that's key to reducing the motion sickness suffered by some users of early …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014
wall_street

Oracle takes an arrow to the EPS: It's that darned strong dollar... again

Oracle is claiming a $9.3bn haul of revenues, up 4 per cent year-on-year, in its third quarter of fiscal 2014 – but that fell short of Wall Street analyst earnings expectations. The company said that on the quarter it saw GAAP earnings per share of $.56, up 8 per cent and just short of the projected 10 per cent increase. Overall …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014

WOW! Google invents the DIGITAL WATCH: What a time to be alive

Google has driven the world bonkers with glimpses of Android-powered smartwatches – the first gadgets to use the web giant's new Android Wear operating system for wearable computers. The ad kingpin did not reveal specific release dates for the devices today, but it has apparently lined up hardware makers Asus, LG, HTC, Samsung …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
Uber logo

Seattle pops a cap in Uber and Lyft: Rideshare bizs get 150-driver limit

Seattle city council has agreed to put in place a controversial cap on Uber, Lyft and other informal taxi booking services. On Monday the authority voted to rubber-stamp a measure that caps each unlicensed cab service to 150 drivers on the road at any one time – normally the companies organize hundreds at a time. For the …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
FCC logo

What kid uses wires? FCC supremo angry that US classrooms are filled with unused RJ45 ports

The head of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on US lawmakers to change the way internet connectivity is funded and deployed in schools. Speaking at a legislative conference, Tom Wheeler – chairman of the watchdog – said the E-Rate program that supplies communications gear to schools and libraries in …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2014
Photo of Apple iPhone 5C in a range of colors

Is Apple about unleash a cheaper 8GB iPhone 5C? O2 'leak' suggests: Yes

An Apple iPhone 5C with 8GB of storage is rumored to emerge this week, according to reports and a leaked photo. A German-language blog obtained an internal email to staff at mobile network O2 in the Euro nation to support the claims: the leaked memo describes a new addition to the iPhone 5C family, specifically a handset …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2014

Watch the MIT MER-BOT – half droid, half soft 'fish' – swim by itself

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have constructed a fish-like robot which they say will be more durable and safe for everyday use. Based on "soft" robotics technologies, the unit combines a computational system and power supply with a movement system based on a compressed gas pump and a series of tubes …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Mar 2014

US govt: You, ICANN. YOU can run the internet. We quit

The US Department of Commerce is ready to leave the keys to the internet's worldwide DNS system in the hands of non-profit net overseer ICANN. The department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is charged with stewarding the administration of the internet and managing the authoritative root zone …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Mar 2014

This city's smog is so TERRIBLE, people are told to stay indoors. Beijing? No – PARIS

Residents in romantic Paris are advised to take public transit and avoid cars as the city was today shrouded with a heavy cloud of pollution. City officials have made public transportation free in the French capital through the weekend as the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned of "unusually high" pollution levels across …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Mar 2014
Sign outside the National Security Agency HQ

Reporters without Borders confirms, yes, lots of nations are spying on their citizens

Revelations of domestic and international phone and web surveillance operations by US and UK spies have earned the two countries a dubious distinction on the Reporters Without Borders' "Enemies of the Internet" list. The press freedom and privacy activist group said the two nations earned a place on the 2014 edition of the list …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Mar 2014
bug on keyboard

Didn't you know? Today's Patch Thursday! Adobe splats hijack bug in Shockwave Player

Adobe has updated its Shockwave Player to close a security hole that could allow hackers to hijack vulnerable Windows and OS X computers. The Photoshop giant said version 12.1.150 will address a flaw that enables an attacker to potentially remotely control a targeted system: a malicious file opened by Shockwave could exploit a …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2014

Battery vendors push ultracapacitor wrappers to give Li-ions more bite

A pair of battery vendors are hoping that a new design which incorporates the use of an ultracapacitor material will help to improve and extend the life of lithium-ion battery packs. Paper Battery Company and TWS say they have developed a system which wraps a conventional lithium-ion battery pack in a sheet of ultracapacitor …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Mar 2014
The original Tetris of 1984

Who DOESN'T want to play world's tallest game of Tetris – all 437ft of it

A bunch of academics hope to play the world's tallest game of Tetris next month – on the side of a Philadelphia high-rise. Drexel University computer science professor Frank Lee and his team will turn an array of LED panels on the outside of the 29-story Cira Centre into a display screen that'll be used to play the puzzle game …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

MtGox gets its sorry assets frozen amid US class-action lawsuit

Embattled Bitcoin exchange MtGox has experienced a setback in its efforts to gain bankruptcy protections in the US, their opponents' legal team tells us, as the company has been hit with a temporary restraining order freezing its assets. The order, attorney Christopher Dore of Edelson PC tells The Reg, was obtained by plaintiffs …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2014

It's 2014 and Microsoft Windows PCs can still be owned by a JPEG

Microsoft has fixed security bugs in Internet Explorer and Windows that allow hackers to remotely execute code on victims' vulnerable machines – one bug a result of poor JPEG handling. Redmond said the March edition of Patch Tuesday – out today, natch – tackles programming errors in the software giant's web browser, operating …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2014
Audi S3

AT&T waves its magic wand, turns that $30,000 Audi into a Wi-Fi hotspot

AT&T will provide high-speed mobile internet to Audi's LTE-equipped A3 line of cars in the US. The network operator will offer a pair of contracts: a six-month plan carrying 5GB of data over that period, and a 30-month plan with a 30GB cap. Customers will get a free six-month trial of the service upon purchasing an 2015 A3 – …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2014

Sony can't wait to flash you its enormous disc ... a 1TB Blu-ray spinner

Sony has laid out plans to ramp up the capacity of its Blu-ray disc format in the coming years. The company said that its joint effort with Panasonic, first outlined in July of last year, was on track to boost capacity of the optical storage discs from 30GB to 300GB by 2015, though no specific plans for new appliances were …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

MtGox, that bastion of unregulated e-currency Bitcoin, turns to Texas judge for protection

The embattled MtGox Bitcoin exchange has been thrown a lifeline by a US bankruptcy court in the northern district of Texas – which has shielded the company from litigation. Judge Harlan Hale granted a motion [PDF] to place the company under Chapter 15 bankruptcy, a classification that will help it fend off, for the time being, …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Twitter blew $36m on patents to avoid death by lethal injunction

Twitter spent about $36m buying nearly 1,000 patents from IBM to avoid a perilous legal fight, official paperwork has revealed. The micro-blogging site's annual 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) includes a note about the patent acquisition, which was part of a $38.5m expense the company logged as " …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Mar 2014
Samsung 60nm 1Gb DDR 2 DRAM chip and DIMM

The long war on 'DRAM price fixing' is over: Claim YOUR spoils now (It's worth a few beers)

Remember getting hosed on those 128MB DIMM RAM sticks back in Y2K? Well, it's time to exact your revenge: with a $10 payout. A group of US Attorneys General have agreed to a $310m settlement package with memory chip makers, which is to be distributed among the public, following allegations of price gouging by vendors between the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Mar 2014

I NEVER DONE BITCOIN, says bloke fingered by new Newsweek

A father of six living in Los Angeles County has denied he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto following a Newsweek cover story that claimed otherwise. After a bizarre series of events that included a car chase and a pack of reporters staking out the chap's house, Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, 64, exclusively told the …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Mar 2014

Sony US PlayStation supremo Jack Tretton ejects after 19 years

Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) is parting ways with its longtime chief executive Jack Tretton: he will step down from his post and leave the company at the end of the month. The company said Tretton has been with Sony since the launch of SCEA nearly two decades ago, and added that the departure was by "mutual …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Mar 2014
9.7-inch Apple iPad 2 (left) and 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab (right)

US judge Koh won't ban old Samsung gear, tells Apple: Your patents aren't that amazing

A US judge has struck down Apple's request for an injunction banning the import of Samsung gadgets that had infringed its patents. California District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on Thursday that the iPhone giant had not shown it would suffer from the import and sales of nearly two dozen of Sammy's older Galaxy mobile products – …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2014
Roughly 150kg of gold

Europe floats DIRTY ORE plan, rights groups scoff: It's VOLUNTARY?

The European Commission has released a draft for a programme to regulate the use of conflict materials. The EC said that its plan includes measures which would seek to restrict groups from trading in valuable minerals in order to fund armed conflicts. The package would bring a certification which would require importers in the …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2014
Osborne 1

Happy 75th birthday, Adam Osborne

Dig through enough archives, old texts, magazine ads or historical archives and you're bound to see one: a bulky plastic oddity that looks vaguely like a portable sewing machine, save for a detachable keyboard and miniscule display sticking out of the front. This clumsy, unwieldy behemoth is the Osborne I, and the story of its …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2014

Bitcoin ban row latest: 'Unstable, loved by criminals' Yup, that's the US dollar – Colorado rep

A US Congressman has proposed a ban on the American dollar to mock colleagues who are campaigning against Bitcoin. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) said the American dollar bill, much like the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, was "unregulated and unstable," and had been used for illicit criminal activity. Polis, a former web entrepreneur …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Mar 2014

Roku flashes $50 HDMI TV web dongle at anyone sick of Google's stick

Gadget maker Roku is touting a Streaming Stick video-playing dongle that plugs directly into HDMI televisions. Previous sticks plugged into an MHL socket in Roku-compatible telly sets. Designed to function solely as an internet streaming TV device, the HDMI stick can plug directly into the back of a TV and draw power from …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Mar 2014
Measuring up Apple

Apple CFO's departure signals changing of guard

Apple will soon find itself having to replace the man who oversaw the company's finances through its most prosperous years. Peter Oppenheimer has announced his intent to step down from the company by September, vacating his role as Chief Financial Officer to Luca Maestri and riding off into the sunset to take a board position at …
Shaun Nichols, 05 Mar 2014

Bitcoin bank Flexcoin pulls plug after cyber-robbers nick $610,000

Yet another Bitcoin institution has had its coffers drained by hackers and will be forced to shut down as a result. Self-termed "Bitcoin bank" Flexcoin has told its customers that the theft of its Bitcoins, valued at $610,000 (£366,000), has driven the company over a cliff. Effective immediately, the site said it will be …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

ROBOCOP statue, Minecraft film, revived Sinclair ZX Spectrum...

Crowd-funding broker Kickstarter has surpassed the $1bn mark for funding on its projects, which include a RoboCop which just stands there in the cash-strapped Michigan city of Detroit and a calendar featuring cats dressed up as magical creatures. The company on Monday said that its projects have amassed more than billion dollars …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2014

Chicago cabs embroiled in debit-card breach claim mystery as bank tells folks: Pay by cash

Illinois' First American Bank is advising folks in Chicago to pay their taxi fares in cash rather than by card – amid allegations of a computer security breach in the payment processing chain used by cabbies. It is not clear exactly where or how debit or credit card details are allegedly being copied and siphoned off to crooks. …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2014
Apple iPhone 4 (left) and Samsung Galaxy S 4G (right)

Oscars backer Samsung can't catch a break: Host Ellen snaps stars on iOS

High fives all round, no doubt, at Oscars sponsor Samsung after the awards-night host Ellen Degeneres repeatedly mentioned the chaebol on stage and used a Galaxy S5 during the show to tweet the world's most popular selfie. But The Reg wonders how the South Korean electronics giant reacted when it realized the comedian was …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Mar 2014