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Suitcase bulging with cash

Google spent record cash lobbying Congress in 2014 – report

Google poured a record amount of cash into lobbying the US Federal Government last year, outspending its tech rivals and even the major telecommunications companies, a nonprofit group has found. According to advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, Google spent US$16.83m on lobbying in 2014, a 20 per cent year-on-year increase and the …
Neil McAllister, 22 Jan 2015
traffic light hacking

Australian traffic lights need better security says auditor-general

The Auditor-General of the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW) and the state's roads bureaucrats are at loggerheads over whether or not traffic signal infrastructure is vulnerable to attacks over the Internet. In a report on critical infrastructure security, the audit office asserts that “systems in place to manage traffic …
The F-35B in the hover. Credit: Lockheed

US military finds F-35 software is a buggy mess

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) remains the problem child of the US military, with some operational tests abandoned in 2014, and buggy software proving a headache. The US military's Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) has released its latest annual report, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter chapter …
Crop of doctor with pen and clipboard

Turn your head and cough (up your details), HealthCare.Gov has sprung a leak!

Researchers have spotted a security lapse on the healthcare.gov site that leaves users vulnerable to data harvesting. The Associated Press and the EFF report that the site is providing some personal information about visitors to third-party advertisors. According to the researchers, the healthcare.gov site provides advertising …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Jan 2015

Net neutrality bunfight heads to Congress, with predictable results

Not one but two Congressional hearings over net neutrality have taken place this week, sparking a wave of letters, commentary, and advocacy but precious little resolution. Many of the arguments that have been rehearsed over the past few months were given another airing. But what is new is an effort by Congress to develop and …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Jan 2015
Windows 10

Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

Analysis The old adage that you never install a Microsoft product until version three appears to be holding true in operating systems with Windows 10. Windows 8 was a disaster, Windows 8.1 a waystation, but Windows 10 is looking like a very solid system. "We want people to love Windows on a daily basis," said CEO Satya Nadella at …
Iain Thomson, 22 Jan 2015
Gun and dollars

Oracle opens Uncle Larry's cut-price bit barn emporium

Oracle has pledged to be the planet's lowest-cost provider of core data centre equipment. Executive Chair Larry Ellison today announced a refresh of the company's Engineered Systems range – they're now called X5 – and a new strategy to offer the industry's lowest purchase prices. Ellison's rationale for the low-price play is …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015
Edward Snowden

Snowden SLAMS iPhone, claims 'special software' tracks users

Word out of Russia is that whistleblower Edward Snowden refuses to use an Apple iPhone over fears that the handsets are built to remotely track and transmit data about users. The famed engineer-turned-leaker's attorney apparently told Russian state media that Snowden believes the Apple handset contains remote management and …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2015

Judge to Dish Network: your Hopper's hip, it ain't no Aereo

A US judge has shot down a motion to ban Dish Network's Hopper TV streaming service under the Supreme Court's recent ruling that shut down streaming startup Aereo. In a judgment made public on Wednesday, Judge Dolly Gee of the US District Court of the Central District of California found that the Hopper service was not subject …
Shaun Nichols, 21 Jan 2015
Hololens

SCREW you, GLASSHOLES! Microsoft unveils HoloLens

Windows 10 will include full support for a new piece of Microsoft hardware – the HoloLens – Microsoft's first foray into augmenting reality with holograms. The HoloLens headset includes its own CPU and GPU, along with a third, "holographic" processor. The device has transparent eyepieces onto which can be displayed hologram …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jan 2015
Bart Simpson

Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

Microsoft is planning a big push for Windows 10 and will be giving away the new operating system to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8 users in the first year of release. "With Windows 10, we think of the operating system as 'Windows as a service'," said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of operating systems. "In next few …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jan 2015
Evernote iPad app

Evernote says goodbye to Hello, shuts lid on Peek

Evernote, which makes a useful free form database with over 100 million users, has taken an axe to some little used services and platforms, while extending its new chat service to iDevices. The contact manager Evernote Hello is getting the chop – the company explains its functions, which include business-card scanning, have been …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2015
Homer Simpson wearing a Glass headset to bed

Speaking in Tech: Google takes Glass out to the wood shed

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise This episode of El Reg's talkative techcast is hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. Tuck in. This week the team is back beating up on Google, and gloating over the end of Google Glass, or rather its "graduation" (“a bullet to the ****ing head”). It looks …
Team Register, 21 Jan 2015
Dunce

Microsoft: Flunked our test? Fear not, techies...

Microsoft knows all about second chances – just look at Windows 8.1 – and now it is giving techies who failed the Certified Professional exam the first time around another bite of the cherry. The company this month has awarded an exclusive contract to testing centre Pearson Vue; it had previously worked exclusively with …
Paul Kunert, 21 Jan 2015
management social5

Pure Storage confirms EMEA veep Rose has left the building

It is a strange world when the EMEA* organisation of a business boasts about meteoric growth and then parts with the boss of that region – but this is exactly what Pure Storage has done. The flash storage business has waved bye-bye to industry vet Steven Rose, who less than a year ago joined as veep and is now looking for his …
Paul Kunert, 21 Jan 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining

Analysis It's always jam mañana for Windows Phone owners. In 2011, the "Apollo" update (which became Windows Phone 8.0) would bring new riches. Then it was 8.1. Now it's mid-year before Windows Phone 10 devices can storm the market. So at the enthusiast end of the market, they're not a happy lot. There hasn't been a headline-grabbing, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2015

Copycat drug souk Silk Road 2.0: Another man cuffed

A Washington man accused of helping in the management of the copycat site Silk Road 2.0 has been charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. According to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Seattle, Brian Richard Farrell, 26, is alleged to have used the handle “DoctorClu”, and to …
Kat Hall, 21 Jan 2015

Eurovision tellybods: Yes, you heard right – net neutrality

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the annual Eurovision musical telly glitterfest, has rounded up a group of “civil society” pressure groups to send a letter to EU leaders demanding net neutrality. The letter, published on Tuesday, urges the EU Council of Ministers “to support strong and clear net neutrality rules …
Jennifer Baker, 21 Jan 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Windows 10, day ZERO ... Will Nadella be the HERO?

Remember 21 January, 2015: it will go down in history either as the date that made Microsoft or the reason why victory in mobile was put on hold for another two years. Today, the world’s largest software firm will officially reveal what it is calling the “next chapter” in Windows: Windows 10. Microsoft is expected to release …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Jan 2015
Mars Attacks!

Facebook: Yo 'people'! Zap fake news on our giant ad farm, would'ja?

Facebook has asked its users (sorry, people) to flag up posts on the free-content ad network that they think are hoaxes masquerading as news items. However, the Mark Zuckerberg-run company claimed that links to satirical stories would not be culled from Facebook as a side-effect of the crackdown on fake stuff. But asking its …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Jan 2015
War of the Worlds

Elon Musk SNOWED UNDER with Googley DOLLARS for Space Internet

SpaceX has confirmed a meaty injection of cash from Google and Fidelity, after it was reported that the ad giant was closing in on an investment deal of up to $1bn with Elon Musk's firm. It means that Google and Fidelity now "collectively own just under 10 per cent of the company," SpaceX said in a brief statement, without …
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Jan 2015

'Success'? Verify FAILED for 40% in self-assess tax trial

As many as 40 per cent of online self assessment tax users were unable to identify themselves in a trial of the government's gaffe-prone Verify identity assurance system by HMRC. In a blog post, the Government Digital Service claimed the trial, where just "60 per cent" managed to fully verify their identities, had been a " …
Kat Hall, 21 Jan 2015
Press photo Credit: E. Brun

SECRETS of the LOST SCROLLS unlocked by key to HEALTHY BOOBS

Carbonised scrolls from a Roman library destroyed in a volcanic eruption are being read using a cunning X-ray technique more commonly employed in medical screening for breast cancer, boffins have announced. The scrolls in question are the famous Herculaneum library ones. Herculaneum was a Roman resort located on the Bay of …
Lewis Page, 21 Jan 2015
Artist's impression of Dawn flying past the dwarf-planet Ceres

NASA probe snaps increasingly detailed shots of MOIST DWARF goddess

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has transmitted a series of images of the dwarf planet Ceres - part of its first ever mission to the biggest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. New images of Ceres from the Dawn vehicle Dawn will transmit increasingly sharp images of Ceres - named for the Roman goddess of agriculture and …
Kat Hall, 21 Jan 2015

Mega-firm Carphone Dixons toasts £375m profit forecast

Dixons Carphone Warehouse has raised its profit expectation for its first financial year 2014/15 to £355m-£375m, following a bumper Christmas trading period. The firm owns Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse and was formed by of a £3.7bn merger between Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse in May last year. In the nine weeks …
Kat Hall, 21 Jan 2015
Genie

Will fondleslab's fickle finger of fate help Windows 10?

Just two and half years ago Microsoft dropped Windows 8 on the world, playing Redmond’s card in the touch-tablet game against Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android. Windows 8 was remarkable for three reasons: the touch-inspired Metro interface, the fact Microsoft built its own-branded tablet running Windows, and it put Windows on …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Jan 2015
Tek Gear Twiddler III remote handheld keyboard

Come and Twiddle Tek Gear's one handed keyboard

Review Over the years a plethora of keyboard alternatives have crossed the El Reg hardware desk, but none has had the utility, or longevity, of the Handykey Twiddler. This third incarnation has been a decade in the making, and arrived a year late, but with small hands and a willingness to learn it could make wearable computing …
Bill Ray, 21 Jan 2015
Pretty woman looks miffed. Copyright: Danil Nevsky via Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=149618984&src=id

Cheer up UK mobile grumblers. It's about to get even pricier

You may not think being a mobile phone customer in Britain is much fun, what with rural Not Spots, the world's most irritating advertising campaigns*, and LTE arriving later (and rolling out slower) than anywhere else. Readers are quick to complain. But you actually get a better deal than you think. So enjoy it while you can, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2015
The final page of that Facebook storyboard

Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Worstall on Wednesday As an esteemed editor said, one not a million miles away from here, the fact that Facebook has commissioned a report showing what vast amounts of wonderful, beneficial economic activity it is responsible for indicates that the company in fact contributes nothing. Stands to reason, that does. And even once one allows for a …
Tim Worstall, 21 Jan 2015
black and white pic of alan turing

Alan Turing's LOST NOTEBOOK goes under the hammer

Auction house Bonhams says it has a lost Alan Turing notebook for sale. The auctioneer says the notebook “dates from 1942 when he was working at Bletchley Park to break the German Enigma Code.” The 56 hand-written pages reportedly includes “... works on the foundations of mathematical notation and computer science”. The …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015

It's 2015 and default creds can brick SOHO routers

A hacker has detailed a series of tricks that can silently reboot or brick routers or activate admins functions. Many routers including Netgear and Surfboard models look to be affected, with most attacks requiring just victims' default universal credentials to be applied. Applications security bod Joseph Giron detailed how …
Darren Pauli, 21 Jan 2015

GDS builds UNICORN HERDER, plays with Puppets

The United Kingdom's Government Digital Service (GDS) has built a Unicorn Herder, plays with puppets and is messing about with pretend (virtual) computers. The herder popped up on GitHub last week: it's a tool to manage daemonized unicorns. That's unicorns as in the HTTP server. GDS likes Unicorn and its related Gunicorn, but …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015

Wizard of Oz OFFICIALLY 'most significant movie' EVER, says PNAS

Researchers have used an interesting yardstick to determine that The Wizard of Oz is the most "significant" US movie ever, pipping Star Wars and Psycho into second and third spots in the significance league table. Forget the critics' opinion, audience figures or box office take: what really sets a film apart is the number of …
Lester Haines, 21 Jan 2015
Obama outlines NSA reforms

Obama makes net neutrality pledge in State of the Union

US President Barack Obama has mentioned net neutrality in the State of the Union address, and identified online security as a key future challenge. On net neutrality, the president had this to say: “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015

Network virty comes to VMware's cloud

VMware's made some tweaks to its vCloud Air public cloud. The biggie is the addition of network virtualisation. VMware looks to have baked just about all of its NSX network virtualisation platform into its cloud, so users get very fine-grained control over how data flows among virtual machines. Presumably this spans private …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015

SoShabby GoDaddy flings patch at domain hijack hole

Domain goliaths GoDaddy has rushed to plug a vulnerability that allowed attackers to hijack registered sites. Pen tester Dylan Saccomanni dropped the Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) bug on his blog after the company said there was no timeline for a fix. GoDaddy applied a fix less than 24 hours after the blog was published. " …
Darren Pauli, 21 Jan 2015
Photo of rapper Hammer and crew performing at Dreamforce 2012

It's a very freaky cloud, the kind you don't take home to mother

Imagine for a moment you're a sysadmin that's embraced VMware for server virtualisation, so you have a fleet of well-used servers and the ability to dial them up and down as required. But you haven't gone all-in with the vCloud Suite, perhaps because of cost concerns or perhaps you don't have the chops to handle it. If that's …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jan 2015

Prosecutors have 'EVISCERATED' my defense, cries Silk Road lawyer

An attorney for accused and/or alleged Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht complained that his defense of his client was "completely eviscerated" on Tuesday after the judge in Ulbricht's ongoing trial for drugs and conspiracy offenses negated much of the evidence presented last week. On Friday, attorney Joshua Dratel stunned a …
Neil McAllister, 21 Jan 2015
The Mouse-Box - a PC in a mouse

Polish chap builds computer into a mouse

The specs aren't going to excite gamers, but Polish developer Przemysław Strzelczyk and his team have built a decent working computer into a Mouse. The Mouse-Box, currently at working prototype stage, packs a 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM CPU, a micro-HDMI port, WiFi up to 802.11n, accelerometer, gyroscope, two USB 3.0 ports and 128 GB …

Data centre hunger gives Ethernet switch market a boost

Market research outfit Infonetics reckons the data centre Ethernet market is set for a shake-up as 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps drive the migration from 10 Gbps products. Reporting on third quarter sales from 2014, the company's Data Center Network Equipment report says with Broadcom set to ship its 25G and 50G silicon, it's vendors are …
Graphic depicting the Cluster satellite constellation in action. Credit: ESA

Tap sat app gap, yaps Inmarsat chap: Orbiting bird API opened to devs

Satellite communications oldie Inmarsat is to open up its systems to third-party developers – and wants them to create new ways to use its communications grid to link ships, aircraft, and machine-to-machine data traffic. "We have been providing global mobile connectivity for decades and want to leverage this position to …
Iain Thomson, 21 Jan 2015

Ailing AMD battered by goodwill, inventory charges

AMD emerged from a bloody fourth quarter of its fiscal 2014 on Tuesday, reporting revenues down and profits sapped by painful one-time accounting charges. The chipmaker's total revenues for the three months ending on December 27, 2014 were US$1.24bn, a 22 per cent year-on-year decline. And the figure for the full year was better …
Neil McAllister, 21 Jan 2015