Shaun Nichols

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Terminator head

Oh, hi there, SKYNET: US military wants self-enhancing software that will outlive its creators

The US military's nerve-center of secret-squirrel boffinry DARPA wants to write software capable of running for a full century without becoming obsolete. Dubbed "Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems" (BRASS), the project [PDF] will look into the creation of a new software stack that can automatically make use of hardware …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Apr 2015

Fsck those new emojis! Install iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3 NOW to squash all these security bugs

Apple has released software updates to add features to and fix many bugs in its OS X and iOS operating systems. The iOS 8.3 overhaul will correct dozens of programming blunders, including glitches and dropouts with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Users reported problems with establishing and maintaining connections to wireless networks and …
Shaun Nichols, 09 Apr 2015

In the time it takes you to watch The Hangover, AT&T will pay a $25m fine for privacy scandal

AT&T will pay a $25m fine after crooked staff leaked subscribers' personal records to criminals flogging stolen cellphones. About 40 of telco's employees in its international call centers leafed through the accounts of 280,000 people without permission, pulling up their names, telephone numbers, and at least the last four digits …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Apr 2015

Marvell: We don't want to pay this $1.5bn patent bill because, cripes, it's way too much

Chip biz Marvell is still trying to wriggle out of paying a whopping $1.5bn to Carnegie Mellon University after infringing the college's patents. The design firm has now warned the penalty could have "sweeping consequences" – to its existence, we presume. Marvell, based in Santa Clara, California, was found guilty in 2012 of …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Apr 2015
Statue of Liberty

Non-American nerds jam immigration pleading for right to live in the US

Just one week after announcing it is once again accepting H-1B visa applications, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has slammed the floodgates shut. H-1B visas are like Willy Wonka's golden tickets: they are granted to skilled foreigners – such as software engineers and other techies – allowing them to live and …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Apr 2015

FTC: Hey, Network Solutions, time we had a chat about 'refunds'

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement deal with web hosting provider Network Solutions over the latter's handling of customer refunds. The FTC had filed a complaint against Network Solutions arguing that the biz had been stiffing users on refunds given under its "30 Day Money Back Guarantee." The …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Apr 2015

Mobile 4G spectrum investors actually spent $12.4m on walkie-talkie frequencies – US SEC

Americans were duped into buying duff radio frequencies for $12.4m that they had hoped to sell to cellphone networks for double-digit returns, a US financial watchdog has claimed. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused [PDF] Arizona-based Janus Spectrum of tricking investors into thinking they were acquiring …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Apr 2015
al franken

Al Franken to FBI: We need MORE revenge smut arrests

Prominent US Senator Al Franken is calling on the FBI to do more to fight "revenge porn" sites. Franken (D-MN), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an open letter (PDF) to FBI director James Comey that he wants authorities to do more to track down and prosecute those who share imtimate photos without the subject' …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Apr 2015
Bender the robot from Futurama bends an unbendable girder

Tests show HTC, Sammy phablets BEND just like iPhone 6 Plus

Vid The bending epidemic that beset Apple's latest iPhone models is not isolated to Cupertinian kit, according to testers. A video posted on YouTube suggests that the Samsung Galaxy S6 could be even more prone to bending and breaking than the iPhone 6 Plus. A stress test found that not only would Sammy's phone bend, it could even …
Shaun Nichols, 03 Apr 2015
Dianne Feinstein

Light the torches! NSA's BFF Senator Feinstein calls for e-book burning

Senator Dianne Feinstein is calling for a pair of controversial instructionals to be banned from the internet. Feinstein (D-CA) did not say exactly how she plans to scrub The Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire magazine from every server, desktop and notebook on the planet, but none the less she wants both titles pulled from …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Apr 2015
Beats Music The Sentence

Take a deep breath, Apple: Europe snaps on gloves for vigorous iTunes stream pat-down

Apple is once again in the headlights of oncoming government regulators, this time over its forthcoming iTunes music-streaming service. Reports from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal cite well-placed sources claiming the Cupertino idiot-tax operation is being scrutinized by the European Commission over its dealings with …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Apr 2015
Fiber optics

Comcast: Google, we'll see your 1Gbps fiber and DOUBLE IT

So soon after Google promised Atlanta, Georgia, gigabit broadband, Comcast has said it will offer 2Gbps internet to homes in the city in May – and millions more Americans by 2016. The US cable colossus announced Thursday that its 2Gb/s Gigabit Pro service will debut in Atlanta, reaching 18 million homes across the US by the end …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Apr 2015
Xbox One

Teen pleads guilty in Microsoft and Valve hacking case

A man from Indiana has pleaded guilty for his role in a hacking ring that targeted major games developers. Austin Alcala, 19, from the town of McCordsville, admitted guilt (PDF) to charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and criminal copyright infringement. Alcala will be sentenced on a July 29 hearing, where he could …
Shaun Nichols, 02 Apr 2015
PlayStation Vita

PlayStation Vita owners – Sony owes you $25 cash or $50 credit

Sony and the FTC have agreed on a settlement deal that will include payouts to PlayStation Vita owners. The US watchdog gave final approval to a settlement deal with the US arm of the Japanese electronics giant and its advertising agency Deutsch LA. The deal, first proposed in November will allow users who purchased a …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Apr 2015
FTC building

Yes, AT&T, you do have to go to court with the FTC

AT&T will be forced to go to court with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its handling of unlimited data plans. Judge Edward Chen has struck down (PDF) AT&T's motion to have the FTC complaint dismissed, an order that will force the US telco giant to face charges of violating the Federal Trade Commission Act. Last …
Shaun Nichols, 01 Apr 2015
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

Verizon: FINE OK, you can now rid your life of our stalker supercookies

Verizon has finally got around to giving its subscribers the option to opt out of its controversial supercookie tracking program. Customers can find the switch in their My Verizon account settings, or by calling the toll-free number (866) 211-0874. "Verizon Wireless provides customers the ability to opt-out of our advertising …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015
Atmel SAM L21

Atmel stoops to an 'all-time low' in Internet of Things battle

Atmel reckons it has crafted the world's lowest-power ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers, a family of chips that can go for "decades" on the same batteries. The SAM-L21 family is aimed at "fire alarms, healthcare, medical, wearable, and devices placed in rural, agriculture, offshore and other remote areas." Atmel says samples of SAM- …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

Silicon Valley gets its first 1Gbps home bro– oh, there's a big catch

Silicon Valley, or rather a small patch of it, finally has gigabit home broadband – and it's not Google Fiber. And there are two catches. We often rag on AT&T for following Mountain View's advertising giant into markets, but in this case it seems the telco has beaten Google in its own backyard. The phone giant said it will …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

How much did T-Mobile US make from that failed AT&T buyout? How about $7.7bn

A failed 2011 merger with AT&T is paying off in a big way for T-Mobile US. Analysts at New Street Research (via The Wall Street Journal) estimate that a $1bn spectrum package T-Mobile US received in the wake of the ill-fated acquisition has ballooned in value to $4.7bn. The frequencies were part of a $4bn breakup package AT&T …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015
China censorship

Day FOUR of the GitHub web assault: Activists point fingers at 'China's global censorship'

With the GitHub distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack nearing its fifth day of bombardment, the code-sharing upstart said it is holding up well under fire. The site said as of Monday afternoon, Pacific Time, it is still operating at 100 per cent, despite a continuing flow of malicious traffic to its servers. GitHub said …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Mar 2015

Feds cuffed for allegedly PILFERING Silk Road drug souk's Bitcoins

The US Department of Justice has accused two federal agents of stealing more than a million dollars in Bitcoins during the Silk Road investigation. Former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Carl Force and former Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges have been charged with theft of government property; wire fraud; money …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Mar 2015
Still from the movie Zoolander: Derek and a fellow model try to get the 'files' out of the Mac by smashing it to pieces. copyright Paramount Pictures

'If people can encrypt their cell phones, what's stopping them encrypting their PCs?'

QuoTW This week NASA showed off its plans to lasso an asteroid, researchers mourned over a bug-riddled Chrome browser, and RSA banned buxom booth babes. Here are some, er, titillating quotes from the week: Fadi Chehade, president and CEO of ICANN, did not mince his words when discussing the committee behind the IANA body. He had this …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Mar 2015
Slack

Flak for Slack chaps in yak app hack flap: User database whacked

Workplace chat app Slack, popular among West Coast startup hipsters and others, has been hacked, its makers said on Friday. Slack policy and compliance strategy veep Anne Toth – who previously worked at Google and Yahoo! – has explained how over a four-day period in February, attackers were able to access a database containing …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2015
Great Wall of China

GitHub jammed by injected JavaScript, servers whacked by DDoS

GitHub's servers are being hammered by web traffic from an army of unwitting cyber-foot-soldiers. It appears when thousands of people visit websites that serve ads and tracking code from Baidu – China's answer to Google – from outside the Middle Kingdom, network gateways on the Chinese border silently inject a JavaScript …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2015
Zuck's flying internet death star

LOOK OUT, Brits – is that a Facebook LASER-GUN drone above us?

F8 2015 Facebook is still banging on about fleets of solar-powered, laser-firing drones that beam a glimpse of the internet to far-flung corners of the globe. In a post on his Facebook blog on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said one of his social network's unmanned "Aquila" craft has undertaken its first successful test flight. The …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2015
Booth babe banhammer

Bye bye, booth babes. IT security catwalk RSA nixes sexy outfits

The organizers of this year's RSA security conference have made at least one thing clear to exhibitors: no booth babes. The industry shindig has sent out a new dress code banning scantily clad models, regardless of gender, from wandering the show floor. The rules dictate that exhibitors cannot wear shorts, tank tops and halter …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Win some, lose some: Motorola 1, patent troll 1

Motorola Mobility got some bad news and good news on Wednesday when a US jury found it ripped off an Intellectual Ventures-owned technology patent although denied a second infringement claim. The panel of peers, sitting in a federal court in Delaware, ruled that a range of Moto smartphones in 2011 infringed US patent 7,810,144 …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Does your broadband feel faster? Akamai says it went up 20 per cent*

Broadband speeds around the world increased by 20 per cent, year on year, according to internet tentacle monster Akamai. The website-caching giant claims in its latest State of the Internet report that, during the past three months to now, connections to ISPs peaked at 26.9Mbps, on average, dropping to 4.5Mbps the rest of the …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015

Wannabe a nano-bot-manufacturing giant? Better cozy up to Apple

Apple's demand for minute mechanical gizmos in its iThings is more or less dictating who wins and who loses among MEMS manufacturers, analysts reckon. Supply-chain researchers at IHS said the Cupertino idiot-tax operation's use of Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) and sensors in iPhones and iPods draws so much business that …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Mar 2015
Chattanooga

Tennessee sues FCC: Giving cities free rein to provide their own broadband is 'unlawful'

The US state of Tennessee is suing the FCC after the regulator declared that cities should be free to build their own municipal-owned broadband networks. The Volunteer State wants to overturn that ruling, made in February, arguing the decision goes against heavy restrictions placed on government-owned organizations that compete …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2015
Bitcoin bloodbath

Ransomware holds schools hostage: 'Now give us Bitcoin worth $129k, er, $124k, wait ...'

A New Jersey school district in the US has been held hostage by ransomware that has apparently demanded hundreds of Bitcoins to end the situation. Teachers, staff and kids in Swedesboro-Woolwich school district have been unable to access their computer files in classrooms as a result of a network-wide security compromise, The …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Mar 2015
Google Fiber

Utah faints: Google Fiber to lay cable in thrilling Salt Lake City

Google has confirmed it will roll out its Fiber broadband service in the Mormon heartland of Salt Lake City. The powerful California advertising giant said the Utah capital will join its neighbor Provo in offering gigabit internet connections to citizens. We assume AT&T and Comcast are already on their way over to offer a rival …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015
Steve Wozniak

Hey, Woz. You've got $150m. You're kicking back in Australia. What's on your mind? Killer AI

Old-school computer whiz Steve Wozniak is afraid an emergence of an artificial super-intelligence will be very bad news for the human race. The former HP engineer, who today lives in Australia and works as adjunct professor in Sydney, agrees with SpaceX supremo Elon Musk and physics ace Prof Stephen Hawking that computers in the …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015

US watchdog seeks techies, interns to sink gums into Google et al

The US Federal Trade Commission has put up the "help wanted" sign for a new office tasked with investigating American technology giants. El Reg hopes the new team has more backbone that the officials unwilling to pick a fight with Silicon Valley's out-of-control goliaths. The FTC said its Office of Technology Research and …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015
Obama at the White House science fair

Prez Obama cares about STEM so much he just threw $240m of other people's money at it

Some $240m from the private sector will be spent on boosting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in America, President Obama said on Monday. The President said the spending will hopefully increase diversity in STEM fields and improve educational programs in underrepresented communities. Of that nine-figure …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Mar 2015

Twitch stitch-up: Gaming vid streamers in data breach hack alert

Gameplay-streaming upstart Twitch thinks hackers may have harvested its user accounts for private information – and has reset people's passwords as a precaution. The San Francisco-based startup, which lets people stream videos of themselves playing games to online spectators – said it has also voided all stream keys, and …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Mar 2015
Windows 10 for phone

Microsoft sniffs around Xiaomi Mi 4 smarties with Windows 10

Chinese mobe giant Xiaomi confirmed it is helping Microsoft port Windows 10 to its Mi 4 smartphones. Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra said Redmond has managed to build its OS for phones that normally run Android as part of a test program, but people shouldn't get their hopes up for a larger partnership or dual-boot devices any …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
Office Space

Apple: Those security holes we fixed last week? You're going to need to repatch

Apple has released a follow-up to last week's security update after finding a pair of flaws that are still vulnerable on patched systems. The Cupertino giant said that the 2015-003 update would address two flaws; a man-in-the-middle vulnerability and type confusion error in OS X Yosemite (10.10.2). Both of the flaws, CVE-2015- …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
The monopoly box

FTC: All-powerful Google ABUSED rivals. So we did NOTHING

Google was far closer to being dragged into court by US watchdog the FTC than anyone previously believed, documents have revealed. The Wall Street Journal has obtained and published an internal FTC report that accuses Google of wrongdoing, following a 2012 antitrust probe by the regulator into the company's dominance online. …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Mar 2015
Broken CD

Cloud music streams outpace CD sales for the first time, says recording industry ass. of America

Streaming music is now more popular than CDs, according to the Record Industry Ass. of America (RIAA). The RIAA reported (PDF) that in the US last year, streaming music sales accounted for $1.87bn in retail revenues, compared to $1.85 in total revenues for disc-based digital media. Physical media as a whole managed to stave off …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
FCC logo

FCC to Verizon: Blocking 911 calls? That's a $3.4m paddlin'

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extracted a $3.4m fee from Verizon for its failure to provide customers with emergency phone service last year. The FCC said that it had agreed to the fee with the US telecoms giant after an April 2014 outage that left 11 million people without phone coverage, including for the …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
Glasshole

Analyst dons Tim Cook mask, thinks: Glass went well for Google. Let's do that, too

Apple is possibly looking to develop its own augmented reality headset. Industry analyst Gene Munster speculates that Cupertino is brewing up its own device to compete with the likes of Google Glass. "Based on conversations with industry contacts within the virtual and augmented reality spaces, we believe Apple has a small team …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015
Illegal drugs

Shock development: Darkweb drug n' gun dealers are untrustworthy

In a turn of events that should shock nobody, the operators of one of the largest darknet drug markets have apparently run off with user funds. The Evolution underground market, which sold guns, drugs, and a cornucopia of illicit merchandise, went dark. A self-described administrator said on Reddit that the site's owners have …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2015

Let's get patchin' now, everybody's watchin' how, baby fix Safari with me

Apple has pushed out an largish update for security flaws in its Safari browser. The Cupertino giant said that the Safari 8.0.4, 7.1.4 and 6.2.4 patch would address 17 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in the browser. The collective update, which patches the newest version of Safari along with older copies on legacy OS X versions, …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015
Sony's new PlayStation 4

Wanna stream live TV to your Playstation? Get a Vue of Sony's new stuff

Sony has formally launched its subscription-based service that streams TV channels to Playstation consoles. The Japanese entertainment giant said its Playstation Vue package (teased late last year) is now online in a limited rollout to viewers in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The $50-$70 monthly service brings …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015

Google Glass DIED from TOO MUCH ATTENTION, Captain Moonshot admits

Speaking at the South by Southwest music and tech conference in Austin, Texas, Google X boss Astro Teller - who glories in the title Captain of Moonshots - said the smart glasses project could have benefited from a bit of restraint. "We allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program," Teller was quoted …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Mar 2015
Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe: Flash, pah. Look, we're doing just fine in the cloud, thank you

Adobe has reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter of 2015 ahead of what it called are strong financial figures. The Silicon Valley stalwart reported haul of $1.11bn in revenues and earnings per share of $0.44, well ahead of analysts' $0.39 estimates. Over the quarter customers downloaded 30m apps and piled …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Apple TV

Apple about to make Apple TV WAY LESS SUCKY - report

Apple TV users might be getting new channels, and Cupertino some more money, according to insiders in the firm. The Cupertino giant is in talks to put out a subscription television service with Fox, CBS and the Discovery Networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple is currently part of a conglomerate that includes ABC, …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Pinterest iPad

What are your links worth to Pinterest? $11 BEEELLION!

Social link-sharing site Pinterest has taken in a new round of funding that gives the firm at a hefty US$11bn valuation. The company said in an SEC filing that it had already agreed to sell off $367,099,927 in equity and hopes to move another $210,816,979 (for a total of around $577.9m) in venture capitol investments. That sale …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015
Keyboard where return key is marked communication and to its left is a key with the Cuban flag. Copyright: xtock, Photo via Shutterstock

Cubans 'get' 'free community' 'Wi-Fi'

Cuba says it is further loosening its grip on the nation's internet access with the launch of its first public Wi-Fi hotspot. According to a report from The Associated Press, a community center in the capital city of Havana will serve as the only hotspot in the nation to be authorized to operate by the state-run Etecsa telco …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Mar 2015