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Lessig quits presidential race to spend more time with his idiotic ideas

Law professor Lawrence Lessig has quit the US presidential race. The author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and the driving force behind Creative Commons announced the decision on Monday, after it became clear he wouldn't make it into the second Democratic candidate debate. In a video explaining the decision, Lessig …
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The only GOOD DRONE is a DEAD DRONE. Y'hear me, scumbags?!

Something for the Weekend, Sir? There’s nothing worse in journalism than a big-mouthed writer who can’t take what he gives. So I would like to thank all those readers who emailed me personally to offer their opinions on last week’s column in which I cast doubt on Hollywood’s portrayal of computer hackers as sharp-witted and articulate with washboard abs rather …
Alistair Dabbs, 31 Oct 2015
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Verisign, .xyz and the ABCs of a cutthroat domain-name industry

A lawsuit against upstart internet registry .xyz has been dismissed just a few days before it was due to go to trial. The case was brought by industry giant and .com registry operator Verisign and alleged .xyz had infringed Verisign's trademark and committed false advertising. However, the lawsuit was widely seen by the …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Oct 2015
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Yamaha unleashes motorcycling robot

Multiple MotoGP world champ Valentino "The Doctor" Rossi had better watch his back, because Yamaha has just unleashed a motorcycling robot which was "created to surpass you", as a rather creepy video explains. Yamaha unveiled the "Motobot" at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday. According to the company, it's an "autonomous …
Lester Haines, 29 Oct 2015
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Northrop wins $55bn contract for next-gen bomber – as America says bye-bye to B-52

The US Department of Defense has announced that Northrup Grumman will be supplying its next generation of Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) to replace the aging B-52 and B-2 fleets. Youtube video "Over the past century, no nation has used air power to accomplish its global reach -- to compress time and space -- like the United …
Iain Thomson, 29 Oct 2015
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We're getting kick-ass at seeing through walls using just Wi-Fi – MIT

Eggheads at MIT are getting better and better at using Wi-Fi signals to see through walls, capturing motion accurate to within a few centimetres. Using the same signals sent out by your wireless router, the team built a device it has called RF-Capture, and placed it behind an ordinary lab building wall. It was able to pick up …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Oct 2015
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Yahoo! crypto! queen! turns! security! code! into! evil! tracker!

Yahoo! crypto ace Yan Zhu has found twin attacks that allow websites to learn the web histories of visitors users by targeting HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS). The timing attack, which works regardless of cookie clearing, was demonstrated on Firefox and Chrome last Sunday at the Toorcon security conference. The attack …
Darren Pauli, 28 Oct 2015
Expanded polystyrene particles ranging from 0.6 to 3.1 mm diameter are levitated above single-sided arrays. The acoustic transducers (10 mm diameter) are driven at 16 Vpp and 40 kHz. (a–c) The particles can be translated along 3D paths at up to 25 cm s−1 using different arrangements and without moving the array. (c–e) The traps are strong enough to hold the spheres and counteract gravity from any direction. (f) Asymmetric objects, such as ellipsoidal particles, can be controllably rotated at up to 128 r.p.m. Scale bars represent 2 mm for the particle in a and 20 mm for the rest. video img

Brit boffins build 'tractor beam' out of sound

Researchers from Spain and the British city of Bristol have found a way to move objects using sound. In their Nature Communications paper, the six researchers explain that “Sound can levitate objects of different sizes and materials through air, water and tissue ... This allows us to manipulate cells, liquids, compounds or …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Oct 2015
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China tells local cloud storage vaults to name suspected pirates

China's has issued strong advice to local cloud storage operators that they need to stop hosting copyrighted material. The National Copyright Administration has told local companies they must not just follow copyright laws, but implement technological and human-operated processes to identify and remove copyrighted works and …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Oct 2015
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OpenStack bandwagon rolls into Japan. We cross live to our Tokyo correspondent – Chris?

The OpenStack roadshow landed in Tokyo this week, hoping to show that it too is bathed in the rays of a rising sun. Enough vendors queued up to announce that their software now supports the latest OpenStack something to keep the bandwagon moving forwards at a fast lick. Here are a few of the announcements: Falconstor – …
Chris Mellor, 27 Oct 2015
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Balloon-lofted space podule hits 30,000m

US space flight outfit World View has successfully test flown a 1/10 scale model of its balloon-lofted passenger podule, and reckons it'll be ready to welcome paying customers aboard the full-fat version in 2017. The gondola hit 30,624 metres (100,475ft) before detaching from the mighty helium-filled orb, after which it …
Lester Haines, 27 Oct 2015
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TalkTalk incident management: A timeline

Timeline Contradictory statements issued by TalkTalk regarding the third data breach the company has experienced this year have provided inadequate information to the telco's customers about their data, while effectively insulating the company from questions regarding its security practices with insubstantive, and at times incoherent, PR …
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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
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The iPhone 6 doused in bromine - an incendiary mix or not?

Vid In case you've been wondering, like you do, just what happens if you pour bromine on an iPhone 6S, the Daily Telegraph reports on a vid which shows the Jesus mobe "bursting into flames" when doused in the malodorous element. Don't Ever Pour Bromine on an iPhone 6S! Well, we don't want to rain on this fiery spectacle, but it's …
Lester Haines, 26 Oct 2015
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El Reg revisits Battle of Agincourt on 600th anniversary

Today is St Crispin's Day, and the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. On 25 October 1415, the scant forces of Henry V administered a righteous shoeing to a numerically superior French army, in the process securing immortality in the annals of British military legend. Disagreeably, some historians have attempted to …
Lester Haines, 25 Oct 2015
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If MR ROBOT was realistic, he’d be in an Iron Maiden t-shirt and SMELL of WEE

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have an urge to dress up in unconventional clothing, don a wig and parade myself around east London. You may be relieved to learn, without indicating prejudice, that this will not involve women’s clothing. I am neither a master potter nor am I on the game. Sorry to disappoint. I had better explain. MCM London Comic Con …
Alistair Dabbs, 24 Oct 2015
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So what's the internet community doing about the NSA cracking VPN, HTTPS encryption?

Now that the cat is firmly out the bag, and it's clear that the NSA has cracked the encryption behind, potentially, a huge amount of internet traffic, the question inevitably turns to: what are internet engineers going to do about it? Clearly the experts at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have pondered the same …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Oct 2015
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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
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'10-second' theoretical hack could jog Fitbits into malware-spreading mode

Updated A vulnerability in FitBit fitness trackers first reported to the vendor in March could still be exploited by the person you sit next to on a park bench while catching your breath. The athletic-achievement-accumulating wearables are wide open on their Bluetooth ports, according to research by Fortinet. The attack is quick, and …
Darren Pauli, 21 Oct 2015
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BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

BlackBerry's has offered more glimpses of its first Android phone, Priv, and the device's specs have also leaked into public gaze. The Priv is unique in that nobody else is pitching a security-hardened Android at businesses that boasts top-end consumer specs. The device, glimpsed for a few seconds in March, features a slide …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2015
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Connected kettles boil over, spill Wi-Fi passwords over London

A security man has mapped and hacked insecure connected kettles across London, proving they can leak WiFi passwords. The iKettle is designed to save users precious seconds spent waiting for water to boil by allowing the kitchen staple to be turned on using a smartphone app. Pen Test Partners bod Ken Munro says hackers can …
Darren Pauli, 19 Oct 2015
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Self-driving vehicles might be autonomous but insurance pay-outs probably won't be

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I enjoy travel but I do not fly well – especially if the aeroplane’s wings are rusted, the tail has been attached with vinegar and brown paper, and the undercarriage is still sitting in the ditch it fell into at the end of the departure airport’s runway some 300 miles away. As you might have guessed, I am a big fan of the TV …
Alistair Dabbs, 17 Oct 2015
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Radio wave gun zaps drones out of the sky – and it's perfectly legal*

US biz Battelle boasts it has found a way to rid our skies of annoying drones without breaking the flying machines' hardware. And here's the solution: DroneDefender, a shoulder-mounted weapon that sends pulses of radio waves to disrupt communications between the drone and its operator. The electro-magnetic cannon, which has a …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2015
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After Burner: Sega’s jet-fighting, puke-inducing arcade marvel

Antique Code Show It was 1986, and the world went bonkers for Top Gun: that film about pleasant young chaps learning the flight ropes of F-14 Tomcats. New-wave synth poppers Berlin sang Take My Breath Away while straddling decommissioned aircraft; Tom Cruise apparently began a longstanding attempt to disguise his diminutive stature; and …
Giles Hill, 15 Oct 2015
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Shocker: Net anarchist builds sneaky 220v USB stick that fries laptops

Vid An internet mischief maker has built a USB stick that delivers dangerous 220-volt shocks to PCs, destroying them in the process. The USB Killer is the second iteration of a laptop-wrecking device crafted by a Linux and infosec techie nicknamed Dark Purple. The first version of the PC-zapping hardware emerged in March, and …
Darren Pauli, 14 Oct 2015
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Drunk driver live-streams her slow journey home

Video US woman Whitney Beall has been arrested by Florida police after live-streaming herself drunk driving. The City of Lakeland Police department says that on Saturday it “... began receiving 911 calls from viewers of Periscope about a possible drunk driver using the social media APP Periscope to broadcast herself.” Officers …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Oct 2015
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Interview: Why evolution isn't enough to future-proof your systems

Regcast follow-up After our recent Regcast on the future of your data centre, we locked the studio door before HP’s Craig Partridge and Intel’s Chris Feltham could bolt. In our Regcast they claimed that IT departments will have to behave differently in a hyperconverged world, and so in our after-hours conversation we wanted to know more about …
David Gordon, 13 Oct 2015
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Hackers can steal your BRAIN WAVES

BruCon: Behold the future: attackers can already get between brain-waves and hospital kit, and it's just going to get worse according to IOActive senior consultant Alejandro Hernández. Hernández says the ability to steal, manipulate, and replay brain waves used in electroencephalography (EEG) is already emerging, with consumer …
Darren Pauli, 13 Oct 2015
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Meaningful gesture: Thalmic Labs Myo motion sensing armband

Review For years, the way we interact with computers hasn't much changed. Keyboards and mice have been the mainstay of computing for decades. Of course, there have been experiments, like clunky VR gloves, and more successful gizmos like Kinect. Leap Motion, for example, tried to bring gesture control to your PC in 2013, where it …
Nigel Whitfield, 12 Oct 2015
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Pitchforks, torches, and awful quotes – we read what Cisco's CEO said

Sysadmin blog Cisco's new CEO Chuck Robbins has caused a lot of introspection with me. This week he said a number of things that frighten and confuse me. Let's start with the quote. This thing ricocheted around Twitter, caused a minor stir in the article comments, and was generally responsible for nerdly mirth and merriment for the length …
Trevor Pott, 11 Oct 2015
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The Emissionary Position: screwing the motorist the European way

Feature Everyone has heard about the diesel emissions scandal surrounding Volkswagen, but finding out what really went wrong and who is to blame is not so clear cut. John Watkinson considers the culprits: mechanical, political and virtual. Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Sleeper Wait! Don't give your filthy VW the push, the trail …
John Watkinson, 11 Oct 2015
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A thousand mile Atom merci mission: Driving from Monaco to London in an open-topped motor

Vulture at the Wheel Eagle eyed Reg readers who read our review of the Rolls-Royce Wraith will have spotted that there was an Ariel Atom parked next to the Rolls-Royce in Monaco and ahead of us near Rouen. Only the smartest cars get to park here This is not a coincidence. The trip to the South of France had a purpose: A friend had an Atom in St …
Simon Rockman, 10 Oct 2015
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PHONE me if you feel DIRTY: Yanks and 'Nadians wave bye-bye to magstripe

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Whenever I dump my load, I don’t feel the need to swipe. Swiping is far too dirty for me. I’d rather just lightly touch, lift up my trousers and walk away. Having slipped the touch-and-go debit card back into my wallet and collected my load of clothes shopping that I had dumped at the till – why, what did you think I was …
Alistair Dabbs, 10 Oct 2015
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Singapore Post tests drone delivery services

Video Singapore's postal service has trialled delivery-by-drone. In an arrangement that will come as no surprise to observers of the tightly-governed city state, the effort was a joint venture between Singapore Post and the nation's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). The pair used the Pixhawk Steadidrone drone to send a letter …
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Tiny Robot Smartphone: Invasion Earth 2016 – prepare to be facially recognised humans

Japanese electronics firm Sharp has presented a prototype smartphone which is also a functioning tiny robot. The robomobo is 19cm tall and weighs in at 390g (compare with the iPhone 6 at 129g). Dubbed RoBoHoN, it will be commercially available during the first half of 2016, according to Tuesday's CEATEC preview event. A …
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Forget Ben Affleck – US, Euro boffins to SMASH spaceship into asteroid

NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working out how to use spacecraft to stop asteroids smashing into planets – Earth in particular. Youtube Video The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is composed of two separate spacecraft: ESA's Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) and NASA-led Double Asteroid …
Iain Thomson, 7 Oct 2015
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Worker drones don't need PCs says Microsoft, give 'em phones instead

Windows Phone has had a very rocky history, but Microsoft thinks it may have found a winning strategy to get its handsets into the business market – let them be PCs. Youtube Video At a press conference in New York, Microsoft unveiled the Lumia 950 (5.2-inch screen) and 950XL (5.7-inch screen). The phones are designed to work …
Iain Thomson, 6 Oct 2015
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Surface Book: Microsoft to turn unsuccessful tab into unsuccessful laptop

As expected, Microsoft has updated its Surface Pro fondleslab with a new model powered by Intel's latest silicon. But unexpectedly, it has also produced a laptop version of the platform that is going to make Apple sick. The Surface family had a rocky start, some might even say unsuccessful, with small marketshare gains – but …
Iain Thomson, 6 Oct 2015
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HPC cluster-wrestling challenge: Come on students, light my PyFR

Reconfigure This! Here’s some more content from last summer’s blockbuster International Super computing Conference (ISC) 2015 student cluster competition, which has the youngsters battling to build a small cluster of their own design on the exhibit floor and race to demonstrate the greatest performance across a series of benchmarks and …
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Ten years on: Ronnie Barker, Pismonouncers Unanimous founder, remembered

Feature It’s ten years ago today that much-loved comedian, writer and actor Ronnie Barker passed away. By then, despite having retired way back in 1987, he had already won four BAFTAs, a Royal Television Society award for Outstanding Creative Achievement and been made an OBE. Ronnie Barker – Mispronunciation Sketch He’d also produced …
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Only a CNUT would hold back the waves of the sharing economy

Something for the Weekend, Sir? The Turtle-Necked Twats are having their bluff called at last. Taxi-hailing app developer Uber has been invited to rejoin the real world and the TNTs are in uproar. London’s transport authority, TfL, has launched a public consultation into private-hire taxi services in England’s capital. As usual, Uber’s TNTs are convinced …
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Aircon biz fined $1.3m after boss set up attack websites slamming critical punters

No one likes getting negative reviews online, and it's no secret that many business owners try to fudge the system by posting positive reviews of themselves under pseudonyms. But Mechanic's Heating and Air Conditioning – based in Marietta just outside Atlanta, Georgia, in the US – has taken it to a whole new level. The …