Shaun Nichols

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US watchdog boss pencils in net neutrality February showdown – report

US broadband watchdog the FCC is reportedly planning to hold a vote next month on how it will, or won't, eventually enforce net neutrality. The Washington Post cited an unnamed source within the regulator in reporting that chairman Tom Wheeler wants his fellow commissioners to approve his proposed "Open Internet" rules. Wheeler …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Jan 2015
Sony PS4

Sony grovels, offers freebies after PlayStation network spent Xmas TITSUP

Sony has offered free membership and discounts to its console gamers after the PlayStation Network fell off the interwebs for several days over Christmas. The troubled entertainment giant said it would offer those whose free trial of PlayStation Plus was interrupted by the outages five more free days, while all PlayStation …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Jan 2015
Apple iPhone 4s, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus

Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Apple is being sued by fans upset about how much storage space iOS takes up on their iPhones, iPads and iPods. A class-action lawsuit (PDF), filed in California by Paul Orshan and Christopher Endara, alleged the OS uses so much flash memory that the advertised device capacity is misleading. The sueball was lobbed at Cupertino …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Jan 2015
Apple Stylus patent filiing

Apple in 2007: Who wants a stylus? Apple in 2010: We want a stylus!

Apple is breaking with the beliefs of founder Steve Jobs when it comes to the stylus, if a recently-granted patent is any indication. The company on Tuesday was revealed to have been granted a patent for a stylus-like pen device that could be used with a mobile device or desktop PC. According to the US Patent and Trademark …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Dec 2014
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Analysts claim itty bitty iPhone Mini to land next year

The next Apple iPhone won't be a larger handset, but rather a budget-priced miniature model, according to industry analysts. A note from Zacks Equity Research suggests that the Cupertino giant is readying a lower-priced, 4-inch version of the iPhone 6 for release next year. Target sales for such a phone, Zacks reckons, are a …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Dec 2014
Sony PS4

PlayStation outage: Sony asks 'have you tried turning it off and on again?'

Sony's PlayStation Network (PSN) continues to give users headaches, as many are still unable to access the service with their consoles. Sony blamed a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack for a the protracted outage that plagued its service on Christmas Day, but by Saturday it seemed to indicate that the worst of it was …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Dec 2014
iTunes 10: iTunes Music Store

Euro iTunes customers get 14 DAY refund option

Apple iTunes customers in the European Union have received a small gift from the fruity firm this holiday season - a new policy that allows up to 14 days for users to cancel their purchases. The company has issued the new policy for customers in the 28-member-state bloc. The change, not announced by Apple, was spotted by German- …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Dec 2014
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Metrics house hails Apple DOMINANCE of X-Mas phone 'n' slab sales

Apple was by far the most popular brand of phones and tablets this Christmas, according to market researchers. A report from mobile app and ad analytics firm Flurry found that more than half of all phones and tablets activated worldwide from December 19 through December 25 were made by the Cupertino giant. Apple's 51.3 per cent …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Dec 2014
snowden SXSW

Makers of Snowden movie Citizenfour sued by ex-oil exec

The makers of Citizenfour are being sued by a man who claims the Edward Snowden film constitutes a violation of US law and national security. Horace B. Edwards is the sole named complainant in the filing (PDF) against the makers of the film and Snowden himself for alleged damages committed against the American people. "No …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

Shock! Nork-grating flick The Interview WILL be in cinemas – Sony

After days of ridicule for caving into ludicrous anonymous threats against moviegoers, Sony Pictures and US cinemas will show The Interview this Christmas, after all. According to the likes of Associated Press, BBC News and Variety, the Seth Rogan comedy flick about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014

Apple scuttles NTP flaw in OS X – with 'first ever' silent auto update

Apple has slipped out an update to address the Network Time Protocol (NTP) vulnerability in its OS X operating system. And it seems the patch will be applied automatically and silently to vulnerable machines. Apple said the fix will protect Macs from the recently publicized flaw in the handling of NTP connections. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014

FCC hits pause on Comcast-TWC gobble AGAIN

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case. The commission said on Monday that it is extending the deadline for its planned review period on the deal, this time due to a …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
The Child Catcher

Edu-apps may be STALKING YOUR KIDS, feds warn

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning parents after the discovery of possible user-tracking activity by educational software for children. The commission said that some children's education software, such as that marketed by China-based BabyBus, appears to be collecting locational data from users and possibly tracking …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Dec 2014

Heads up! If Tor VANISHES over the weekend, this is why

The Tor Project is warning that its network – used by netizens to mask their identities on the internet – may be knocked offline in the coming days. In a Tor blog post, project leader Roger "Arma" Dingledine said an unnamed group may seize Tor's directory authority servers before the end of next week. These servers distribute …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Dec 2014

Staples comes clean: 1+ million bank cards at risk after hack

Staples says malware that infected its registers in 115 stores had access to bank card numbers from 1.16 MILLION customers. The US chain today confirmed that hundreds of thousands of Americans are at risk of fraud after spyware compromised tills between August 10 and September 16 of this year, and as far back as July 20 for two …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014

T-Mobile US to refund $90m for bogus charges: Un-Carrier to Un-Crammer

T-Mobile US will pay out $90m to settle cramming allegations raised by the US trade watchdog. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the telco will dish out the money as refunds to all customers who were pinned with hidden mobile cramming charges since 2010. The company – which portrays itself as the do-no-wrong Un-Carrier – …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014

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
Uber - living the dream

France says "non" to UberPop

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 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