Shaun Nichols

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Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

With WWDC looming, Apple kicks out third iOS 8.4 beta

Apple has posted a new beta build for the iOS 8.4 mobile platform. The third beta arrives just weeks before Apple is expected to showcase iOS 8.4 for developers at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), due to take place June 8-12 in San Francisco. The Cupertino idiot tax operation has typically used its WWDC keynotes to …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015

FCC: Thanks for the concern, telcos, but we're not delaying Open Internet rules

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it will implement its net neutrality provisions despite objections from telcos. The FCC issued a ruling on Friday denying a motion from trade groups USTelecom and CTIA, among others, to stay the FCC's Open Internet proceedings pending legal challenges to the FCC order. The …
Shaun Nichols, 11 May 2015
DirecTV

AT&T takes issue with Netflix on DirecTV gobble

AT&T has fired a fresh salvo in its exchange with Netflix over the proposed acquisition of DirecTV. The US telecoms giant issued a filing with the FCC disputing the claims made by Netflix that its would-be merger is an antitrust concern. "Before it began pressing for deal conditions in support of its own business agenda, …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
MaxiPad

No, really, that 12.9-inch MaxiPad is totally on the way now

Rumors of the much-fabled 12.9-inch iPad have surfaced once again, via a new analyst report. Supply chain specialists IHS now say they believe the Reg-deemed "MaxiPad" is set to enter production in the latter part of 2015. "This product has been in the planning stage for several years but looks to now be solid for a 2015 launch …
Shaun Nichols, 08 May 2015
Throttling

With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

AT&T has apparently had a rethink regarding its policy of limiting data transfer speeds for heavy users who subscribe to its so-called unlimited data plans. The US telco giant now says it will only throttle mobile data gluttons when they are in areas with heavy traffic. The reworded policy, which AT&T customers first began …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Patent for a saluting hat

Even Uncle Sam admits: US patent law is whack

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling on the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to overhaul its rules on licensing intellectual property. In an open letter [PDF] to the PTO, the FTC called on its fellow organization to simplify patent law. "Clearer patent notice can encourage market participants to collaborate, …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
BlackBerry Classic QWERTY key smartphone

T-Mobile prods at corpse of BlackBerry, says 'me too!'

T-Mobile has taken up the cause of BlackBerry, agreeing to offer the fading firm's products in its mobile lineup, nearly two years after it dropped the Canadian's hardware from retail stores. John Legere, head of T-Mobile US, stayed true to his 'uncarrier' credo by caving to isolated user demand for new models from the Canadian …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Phablets

Bought a phone last quarter? There's a one in five chance it was a phablet

Sales of phablets went through the roof during the first quarter of 2015, say researchers with Kantar Worldpanel. The analyst outfit estimated that over the three months ending in March, 21 per cent of all US smartphones sold had screens with diagonals larger than five inches. During the same period in 2014, phablets accounted …
Shaun Nichols, 07 May 2015
Google PageSpeed Service is worm food

Running Google PageSpeed Service? Come August 3rd your site is knackered

Google has announced the impending retirement of its PageSpeed Service web optimization tool, and potentially causing headaches for sites that don't account for the move. The Mountain View advertising firm said that effective August 3rd, PageSpeed Service will be given the axe, though plugins and third-party implementations will …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015
DNA Helix

Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

Apple is set to enable DNA handling in iOS apps, allowing the applications to feed data from DNA labs to genetic researchers via iPhones or iPads. A report from the MIT Technology Review claims two US hospitals are running trial programs to collect DNA from people, and then transmit details of their genetic blueprints to their …
Shaun Nichols, 06 May 2015

Netflix wipes blood of Comcast/TWC from its blade, charges toward AT&T/DirecTV

Netflix is lobbying US watchdog the FCC to reject the proposed merger between AT&T and DirecTV. The over-the-top vid streamer said that should AT&T be allowed to scoop DirecTV for $49bn, the resulting broadcast behemoth would be able to throw its weight around and extract premium fees from streaming upstarts like Netflix. To …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015

Now Smartflash wants $1.6bn for its iTunes patents. Apple: You'll get nothing and like it!

Not content with a $533m payday, patent troll Smartflash is asking a US federal court to triple the infringement verdict it won against Apple and iTunes earlier this year. In a 49-page filing [PDF] with the Texas Eastern District court, Smartflash argued that February's jury award was insufficient and should be tripled to nearly …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Fiorina

HP wag has last laugh at US prez wannabe with carlyfiorina.org snatch

Carly Fiorina, once the boss of HP and today a US Presidential candidate, just learned the hard way that you can never be too thorough when it comes to hoarding domains, particularly when you're planning to run for public office. An unknown wag was able to snap up the carlyfiorina.org domain and use it to host a rather …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Sad Android

Android tool catches apps silently pumping hundreds of ad, tracking servers red-handed

Security researchers have developed an Android application that's capable of alerting when other apps on a phone or tablet are covertly tracking users and connecting to ad networks. The team at France's Eurecom and Technicolor Research – explained in a paper published in the Cornell University Library archive that their …
Shaun Nichols, 05 May 2015
Reliance free internet from Internet.org

Zuck'ed up: Facebook opens up free internet in India – but bans HTTPS

Facebook's Internet.org has loosened the stranglehold on its free internet service in India and other countries. Now potentially any website can be accessed for free via the service as long as the site ditches HTTPS, JavaScript, and other things. The social network offers free mobile internet access to people in India, Tanzania …
Shaun Nichols, 04 May 2015

Intellectual property laws in China, India are flawed, claims US govt without irony

The US government is looking to shame China and India for their lax attitudes toward intellectual property law enforcement. The office of US Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman said in its annual Special 301 report [PDF] that the two Asian nations were among the worst at snuffing out counterfeit goods. The two …
Shaun Nichols, 02 May 2015
The Valley - code

Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of code theft … again

An ex-Goldman Sachs programmer has for the second time been found guilty of stealing code from the vampiric financial giant. A New York jury found Sergey Aleynikov guilty on one count of data theft. He faces as much as four years behind bars. Aleynikov was arrested in 2009 after leaving Goldman for another company with a copy …
Shaun Nichols, 02 May 2015
Redditor guinne55fan's arm tattoo

Apple in rinky-dink ink stink wristjob admission: Watch IS affected by TATTOOS

Apple has confirmed that, yes indeed, its Watch gizmo does not work well on tattooed skin. The Cupertino goliath published a support page acknowledging that dark ink can prevent the pulse reader and other sensors on the watch from gathering data. This knackers health and fitness apps, and can cause the expensive wristslab to …
Shaun Nichols, 01 May 2015
U2 on your iStuffs

Not pro-Bono: Russian MP wants Apple to face stiff action for cramming 'gay' U2 into iCrevices

Russian prosecutors have been asked to probe Apple to see if the American giant broke Russia's "gay propaganda" laws by forcibly thrusting ludicrous boy band U2's album Songs of Innocence into iThings. Alexander Starovoytov, a member of the Russian parliament, was quoted this week in broadsheet Izvestia demanding an …
Shaun Nichols, 01 May 2015
Apple Watch Sport

What is Apple's idiot tax on Watch these days? 'About $265 or 80%'

A teardown of the Apple Watch has found that Sir Jony's arm candy costs a grand total of $83.70 to build, apparently. Research house IHS estimates that the total bill of materials for each California wristjob is about a fifth of the $399 starting retail price: the team found that the hardware in the latest iThing carries a cost …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Woman on phone. Pic: Carolyn Coles

AT&T fined for gouging Uncle Sam on phone plans for poor folk

AT&T has been fined $10.9m by US regulator the FCC for overcharging the government on phone plans for poor people. The watchdog said the telco over-billed the US government between 2012 and 2013 while providing the Lifeline service to hard-up citizens. Lifeline works like this: the cell networks offer discounted or free phone …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Newspapers

Whither the PC? Mobes, slabs drive majority of traffic for top news sites

Most of the top news websites get more traffic from handheld gadgets than desktop computers – a not-so-shocking result that serves to underline the soaring sales of phones, and possibly the emergence of today's clickbaity 30-second-attention-span media. The figures come from Pew Research and ComScore, and apparently show that …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Apr 2015
Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Pic: Techcrunch

Someone is trying to buy Salesforce – but who could it be?

Salesforce.com is being eyed up for an acquisition – and has hired financial experts to guide it through the biz gobble, it's claimed. "Salesforce does not comment on rumors or speculation," the San Francisco-headquartered cloud giant told The Register this afternoon in response to whispers. There has been no formal offer for …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2015
LG G4

LG glances at red-stained bank account, crosses fingers for G4

South Korean electronics giant LG is putting on its best face after its bottom line plunged by two thirds. LG said that the drop in currencies was the main reason its net income for the first quarter of 2015, ended March 31 [PDF], stood at 38bn Korean Won (US$35m) compared to 98bn (US$91.5m) from the year-ago period – a 61 per …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Apr 2015
Apple Watch Sport

Apple to devs: Watch out, don't make the Watch into a, well, a watch

Apple has banned Watch apps that tell the time from the App Store, thus forbidding them from fanbois' wrists. The terms and conditions of the store explicitly state that timepiece software is a no-go. You'll just have to use the watch faces provided by the Cupertino idiot-tax operation. It's not the first time Apple has clamped …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2015
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Money-for-mods-gate: Valve gives masterclass in how to lose gamers and alienate people

A week ago, gaming darling Valve set up an online store allowing designers to sell game mods. Now, after a backlash from gamers, the Half-Life biz has shut it down. The Steam giant wanted to give small-time developers a chance to flog paid-for Skyrim mods – think of mods as expansion packs that bring in new graphics, weapons, …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2015
Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

MONSTROUS iPhone sales are CANNIBALIZING iPads, gabbles Apple CEO

Apple countered soaring iPhone and Mac sales with yet another doleful quarter for the iPad in its second quarter of fiscal year 2015. The Cupertino giant logged Q2 revenues of US$58bn (£38bn, AU$73.9bn), up 27 per cent over US$45.6bn in the same period last year. Earnings per share (non-GAAP diluted) of US$2.33 beat analyst …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2015
Verizon's FiOS promo shot

ESPN sues Verizon: People picking their own TV channels? NOOoo!

Sports TV giant ESPN is suing Verizon after the telco invited its FiOS home subscribers to pick and choose their TV channels. ESPN has filed a lawsuit in New York State alleging breach of contract, and is seeking damages. ESPN reckons Verizon is "unfairly depriving" it of money by allowing people to drop unwanted channels, …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2015

We'll buy patents for cash, says Google – just don't feed the trolls

Google is offering to buy patents from inventors in a race against patent trolls. The California giant wants to snatch the blueprints before they can be used in infringement lawsuits against it. The Mountain View web goliath is giving patent-holders two weeks to come forward and show off their wares: the Patent Purchase …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Apr 2015
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

Bloke, 22, in knockoff Microsoft Xbox ring gets 18 months in the cooler

A 22-year-old member of a games-hacking ring that sold counterfeit Microsoft's Xbox One consoles could spend the next year and a half behind bars in America. A US court sentenced Canadian David Pokora to 18 months in the slammer for his involvement in a group accused of stealing an estimated $100m to 200m worth of source code …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015

Comcast flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable

Comcast has admitted it has given up on its $45bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). Comcast, America's biggest cable giant, announced in the past few hours that it will end the pursuit of its largest rival amid stiff opposition from government watchdogs and other telcos. "Today, we move on," declared Comcast CEO Brian …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015
Shopping trolley. Pic: Mikey, Flickr

Looking for laxatives, miss? Shoppers stalked via smartphone Wi-Fi

The FTC has now settled with a New York startup that stealthily tracks the movements of Americans around stores using their smartphones' Wi-Fi signals. The regulator alleged [PDF] in late 2013 that Nomi Technologies broke the FTC Act by not being totally upfront with shoppers. Nomi's Listen service is used by retail chains to …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015
Close-up of the flu virus (artist's impression) - Shutterstock

US judge lobs antivirus patents back to Hell

A US district court has torn the heart out of two patents wielded by Intellectual Ventures against two antivirus makers. In a judgment [PDF] this week, Chief Judge Leonard Stark ruled that Intellectual Ventures' US patents 6,460,050 and 6,073,142 were "ineligible," meaning they are too vague and the technologies they described …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Apr 2015

Comcast 'flees $45bn monster-merger with Time Warner Cable'

Comcast is walking away from its proposed $45bn merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC), insiders claim. Comcast will announce as early as Friday its intent to scrap its plans for the mega-acquisition, according to well-placed sources speaking to Bloomberg. Comcast did not take up The Register's offer to deny the claims. The …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Apr 2015
Facebook Hello

Facebook invents Caller ID ... say Hello to today's staggering technology

Facebook has released a smartphone app called Hello that matches the numbers of incoming calls to friends and businesses on the social network, and displays them on-screen, giving you a slightly better idea of who's calling if you can't recognize the digits. It's otherwise known as Caller ID, and the tech fashion press is going …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015
Hackers

FBI alert: Get these motherf'king hackers off this motherf'king plane

The FBI is warning airlines to keep an eye out for miscreants hacking airplane computer networks mid-flight. The alert – privately circulated today by the FBI's InfraGard program – claims hackers may or may not be able to take over a plane's navigational system via the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system or public Wi-Fi network …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015
Photo by Mike Mozart

Comcast accused of torpedoing Hulu sale to rivals with weapon of mass transactions

Comcast allegedly talked its fellow Hulu investors out of selling the TV streaming upstart to DirecTV or AT&T by insisting it could steer the web biz to financial triumph. That's a serious accusation because Comcast had agreed with the FCC and US Department of Justice to keep its hands off the management of Hulu. In the end, …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015
Cow skull

TV networks peck at sun-bleached skeleton of Aereo, come away with $950,000

The skeletal remains of ill-fated TV streaming startup Aereo will pay out $950,000 in a copyright infringement settlement, putting to rest a lawsuit filed by US broadcasters that has already sent it into bankruptcy. For a couple of years, Aereo operated an online video service that captured live television broadcasts, recorded …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Apr 2015

OS X Yosemite still open to Rootpipe hijacking, says ex-NSA bod

Apple's attempt to fix a serious security weakness in OS X has fallen short, leaving users still vulnerable to malware seizing their Macs, it is claimed. Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack, reckons Cupertino has not been able to fully kill off the so-called "Rootpipe" backdoor that was supposed to be eradicated in …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2015
Tim Cook

Dead Steve Jobs' wage-fixing pact in Silicon Valley was news to us, claim Apple directors

Apple insists its top execs were not aware of the employee wage-fixing pact Steve Jobs apparently had between his Silicon Valley rivals. Apple stockholder R. Andre Klein is suing the iPhone giant's CEO Tim Cook, a handful of its directors and the Jobs' estate, on behalf of the company's shareholders, claiming the top brass must …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2015

Lawyer: Cops dropped robbery case rather than detail FBI's StingRay phone snoop gizmo

Prosecutors in St Louis, Missouri, have dropped a criminal robbery case to avoid revealing details of a controversial mobile phone surveillance program, a defense attorney has claimed. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the state dropped more than a dozen charges against three defendants just one day before police were …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Apr 2015

That's right: FBI agents can't pretend to be ISP repairmen to search homes without a warrant

Evidence gathered by FBI agents who posed as broadband repairmen to enter a suspect's villa without a warrant has been thrown out by a US judge. The District Court of Nevada has decided [PDF] that the g-men violated the Fourth Amendment rights of poker ace Wei Seng Phua when they searched his Las Vegas bolthole while disguised …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2015
Photo by Mike Mozart

Comcast, Time Warner Cable in crunch talks with FCC, DoJ over $42bn mega-merger

The proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) is on the rocks, it appears. Sources close to the two companies have told The Wall Street Journal that the US Department of Justice and the FCC are not happy with the proposed business gobble, and both want to hold face-to-face talks to discuss the ins and outs of the …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Apr 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Budge up, Navy boys, I've got some broadband spectrum to flog – FCC

US watchdog the FCC hopes to offer more airwaves to telcos in hope they'll be used to grow mobile broadband coverage in America. The commission announced on Friday that it wants to add 100MHz to the 50MHz of spectrum in the 3550MHz to 3700MHz band already available for commercial use. The US Department of Defense operates a few …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015
Michael Bromwich

Ebook price-fix saga: Official Apple peeler says probe is fruitless

A US court-appointed watchdog tasked with ensuring Apple sticks to its e-book price-fixing settlement promises says the iThing giant is not playing ball. In a report [PDF] submitted to the New York Southern District Court, external compliance monitor Michael Bromwich claims Apple has not cooperated with his efforts to examine …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015
Google Play Store

'Hackers racked up $$$$s via the Android Play Store, and Google won't pay me back'

A California woman is suing Google, alleging hackers exploited the ad giant's inadequate security to run up thousands of dollars in charges on her Play Store account. Susan Harvey, of Orange County, also accuses Google of refusing to reimburse her, and then after backing down and agreeing to refund the missing money, has not …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015
AVSWinvote box

Default admin password, weak Wi-Fi, open USB ports ... no wonder these electronic voting boxes are now BANNED

The US state of Virginia is decommissioning a long-serving electronic voting system after learning of its gaping security holes. The state's Board of Elections was urged to decertify the Wi-Fi-connected Advanced Voting Systems WINVote system after the boxes were found to lack basic security measures against physical and …
Shaun Nichols, 17 Apr 2015

Yelp can protect critics in rough reviews row: Virginia yanks rug from under furious carpet biz

Top judges in Virginia have ruled that Yelp can keep the identities of its anonymous reviewers a secret from Hadeed Carpet Cleaning Inc – a cleaning business that wanted to sue the armchair critics for defamation. In a majority opinion [PDF] handed down today, the state's supreme court overturned a 2014 appeals court verdict …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Apr 2015
MacBook Pro Retina torn down

Revealed: The AMAZING technology behind Apple's $1299 Retina MacBooks – a lot of glue

Pics Apple really doesn't want its customers to be able to repair or upgrade their own computers. The Cupertino giant has done just about everything in its power to render the new Retina MacBooks impossible to open and fix. This is according to DIY site iFixIt, which has published an extensive teardown report on the latest OS X …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Apr 2015
ChambersCiscoLive2014

Cisco boss Chambers: It's our fault H-1B visa shakeup is struggling

Cisco CEO John Chambers says the tech world has to win over the American public if it wants the US government to issue thousands more H-1B work visas to foreign nerds. H-1B visas are like Willy Wonka's golden tickets: about 85,000 a year are granted to skilled foreigners – such as software engineers and other techies – allowing …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Apr 2015