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Badger, badger, badger

Watch out, Yahoo! EFF looses BADGER on sites that ignore Do Not Track

In the wake of Yahoo!'s decision to stop honoring browsers' Do Not Track signals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a new blacklisting tool that will automatically block tracking cookies from sites that refuse to support DNT. Dubbed Privacy Badger, the tool is available as a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox …
Broken CD with wrench

Early! Do! Not! Track! Adopter! Yahoo! Says! It's! Rubbish, Bins! It!

Yahoo! has done an about-face on its stance toward the controversial Do Not Track browser privacy standard, announcing that it will no longer recognize users' DNT settings across any of its online properties. "As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to …
Snapchat logo

Snapchat updates fap-snap sharing app ... now with more Chat

Self-destructing photo sharing service Snapchat has added real-time messaging and video chat to the latest versions of its mobile apps, in a move seemingly designed to make it more competitive with the likes of BBM and WhatsApp. Snapchat began life as a way for smartphone users to send each other saucy selfies that automatically …
big brother is shopping for you

Twitter's got a new UK public policy wonk... 'You are the product' Big Brother Watch bloke!

Twitter has hired a well-known privacy campaigner to head up the UK wing of its public policy team. Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles is moving over to what some might consider to be the dark side by taking such a job, having been a vocal critic of US tech companies' privacy practices in the past. In February 2012, for …
Team Register, 1 May 2014

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Firefox 29 has left beta to become the latest stable release for desktop PCs and Android devices. The new version sports a long-promised user interface overhaul, new customization options, and an improved data sync feature. In a blog post on her personal site on Monday, Mozilla senior user experience designer Jennifer Morrow …
Neil McAllister, 29 Apr 2014
 photo by kudomomo http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudumomo/

Facebook preps ad network to TARGET YOU WHERE YOU LIVE

Competition for mobile advertising dollars is set to intensify as Facebook joins Google, Apple and Twitter by launching a mobile ad network that generates revenue when users access apps outside its domain. At the same time Facebook is also planning to expand into location-based mobile advertising after preparing the ground with …
Faultline, 28 Apr 2014

Microsoft's naughty Cortana NOT ALLOWED NEAR CHILDREN

Microsoft's new Cortana personal assistant platform carries privacy concerns that prevent it from being used by children – but Redmond appears to not be alone in its pre-pubescent banishment. Redmond said that the voice-activated search tool in its mobile platform currently carries a minimum age requirement of 13 years, which is …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2014
Broke - empty pockets

Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

The more Surfaces slabs Microsoft sells, the more the Redmond giant has to shell out. Microsoft Thursday trumpeted $494m in revenue made from sales of Surface during its third fiscal quarter. But Microsoft also notched up $539m in costs associated with selling Surface, thereby cancelling out any profits and forcing it to post a …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Apr 2014
Sina Weibo logo

Beijing's anti-smut crackdown catches 'Chinese Twitter' Weibo red-handed

Sina, the company that owns China’s über-popular Twitter-like service Weibo, has had two key licences withdrawn by Beijing in retaliation for allegedly allowing the publication of articles and videos containing pornographic content. A missive from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications seen by Xinhua …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Apr 2014

Netcraft adds Heartbleed sniffing to site-scanning browser tool

Internet stats clearinghouse Netcraft has released a new tool aimed at letting consumers know when the sites they visit might have been compromised by the Heartbleed encryption bug. There are lots of tools available that can scan servers to determine whether they're affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability right now, albeit of …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014

New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates

Facebook is adding a new application that alerts smartphone users when their chums are nearby, but thankfully the feature is optional. Nearby friends Want to get closer to your friends? "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," the …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed

It's 1996 and Mission:Impossible has just arrived on the cinema screens. RAM is $10 per megabyte and falling. Against this backdrop, Microsoft has quietly commenced its own seemingly impossible mission, a complete re-write of a little known database which will be released two years into the future, and will be known as SQL …
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices

Microsoft has introduced a new subscription model for Office 365 and this time it's literally personal: the new “Office 365 Personal” makes the productivity suite available for just two devices – one PC or Mac and one tablet – for $US69.99 a year. That's a small discount on the $83.88 it would cost to pay the $6.99-a-month …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2014

Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS

You would be forgiven for thinking that Twitter users don't know when to shut up, but in fact the opposite is actually true. New data has revealed that some 44 per cent of the world's 974 million Twitter accounts have never even sent a tweet. The figures come from Twopcharts, which tracks activity on the microblogging service, …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Apr 2014
Flinders map of Australia as published in 1814

Microsoft crows about 149k-seat Office 365 deal that costs it MILLIONS

The Australian State of Queensland does not observe daylight saving and an old joke about the state says that air travellers entering the region have in the past been advised to “turn your watch back one hour and 50 years.” How then, to consider the State's decision to head for the cloud with a 149,000-seat deal for Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2014
Red Hat Shadowman logo

Speaking in Tech: Red Hat, Cisco sitting in a tree, m-e-r-g-i-n-g?

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise It's El Reg's tech news podcast with hosts Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, the whole crew is together with special guest Aaron Delp of SolidFire. This week we discuss… Eddie's roller coaster (0:55) Cloudcast and the Krispy Kreme Challenge (2:00) …
Team Register, 9 Apr 2014
Fawlty Towers

TripAdvisor for the disabled: Euan's Guide quietly launches

A social network with a difference launched last week. The website, Euan's Guide, is a kind of TripAdvisor for the disabled and was created by a motor neurone disease sufferer. It fills a gap in the market because information on disabled access is either poorly presented or not available at all, which means family and carers …
Dark Blue Window - detail of Windows Server logo

One Win 8 to rule them all: Microsoft talks up 'universal apps' for PCs, slabs and mobes

Build 2014 Eight months after launching its pushbutton App Studio GUI development kit for Windows Phone, Microsoft has extended the tool to include support for building apps for Windows 8, too. The latest beta version of the web-based tool formerly known as Windows Phone App Studio, announced at Microsoft's Build developer conference on …
Windows XP BSOD

Final Windows XP Patch Tuesday will plug Word RTF vuln

The final Patch Tuesday for Windows XP will bring four bulletins, including a critical fix for a zero-day Word vulnerability uncovered last week. The critical 0-day vulnerability - already the object of targeted attacks - opens the door to remote code execution nasties if a user opens a RTF file in Word 2010 or in Outlook while …
John Leyden, 4 Apr 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Right, Turkey – elections are over. You can use Twitter again

The Turkish government has finally lifted its ban on Twitter after a largely unsuccessful attempt at state-sponsored censorship in the run-up to key local elections held last Sunday. Prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s administration blocked the popular microblogging platform a fortnight ago after complaining of a smear campaign …
Video

Twitter scoops up Brit telly analytics outfit SecondSync

Twitter has bought British company SecondSync as it continues to ramp up its efforts to elbow its way into the lucrative television market by keeping conversations about the box buzzing on the micro-blogging site. The three-year-old firm specialises in social analytics products. Terms of the acquisition were kept secret. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 2 Apr 2014

Oracle shoves IBM out of world's No 2 software seller spot – Gartner

Oracle sold more software than IBM last year for the first time ever, making Larry Ellison’s database giant second only to Microsoft, at least according to analyst Gartner. Oracle made $29.6bn during 2013, growing 3.4 per cent over the previous year and elevating it from world’s third largest to second-largest software vendor. …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Apr 2014

Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'

Video Google's Maps team has made an early entry into this year's April Fools' crop of pranks with the introduction of Pokemon to the mobile application. The company said in a video that it would be adding the Pokemon-tracking functionality as part of a campaign to hire a new "Pokemon Master" position within the company. Those who can …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Apr 2014

That's it, we're all really OLD: Google's Gmail is 10 ALREADY

Gmail shook up the world of free web email in the mid-2000s, but 10 years after going public in 2004, Google’s service offers much more than simply firing emails around the world. When Google unveiled Gmail on 1 April, 2004, the company’s co-founders reckoned the service was just its way of making email better. Gmail was, we …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Apr 2014
French fries

Amazon Workspaces: A dish best served later

Review Amazon Workspaces, the etailer-cloud-service-provider's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure service based on a “Windows 7 desktop experience”, has been uncorked. Actually, it's Windows Server 2008 R2 with the desktop experience enabled – possibly for licensing as much as for technical reasons. Microsoft is awkward about licensing …
Tim Anderson, 28 Mar 2014

ICO plugs XSS vuln in its website. Only took watchdog FIVE YEARS

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has finally fixed a security bug on its website - five years after it was first notified to the data privacy watchdog. IT consultant Paul Moore first warned the ICO about a cross site scripting (XSS) problem on its website in 2009. The flaw meant it was possible to introduce arbitrary …
John Leyden, 28 Mar 2014
Oculus Rift VR system prototype

'I will not work with Facebook... they seem creepy to me'

Quotw This was the week when Facebook continued to splash the cash, spanking $2bn on Oculus VR just a short while after splaffing $19bn on messaging app WhatsApp. To justify his latest billion-dollar purchase, chief Mark Zuckerberg gushed: Oculus' mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the …
Nadella

FINALLY Microsoft releases Office for iPad – but wait there's a CATCH

Microsoft has, after years of speculation, released some of its Office applications for Apple iPad owners – but you'll need an Office 365 subscription to use them in anything other than a lobotomized form. Nadella Nadella holds his first press conference since taking former CEO Steve Ballmer's crown The Apple App Store now …
Iain Thomson, 27 Mar 2014
A garden gnome depicted stretched out across picnic table... with a pipe in one hand while the other props him up. Has a confrontational look in his eye...

GNOME 3.12: Pixel perfect ... but homeless

Review When the GNOME 3.x desktop arrived it was, frankly, unusable. It wasn't so much the radical departure from past desktop environments, as the fact that essential things did not work properly or, more frustratingly, had been deemed unnecessary. Fast-forward three years and while GNOME 3.12 – released Wednesday – still isn't the …
The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Rule of law: Turkish court nixes government Twitter ban ... for now

A court in Turkey's capital has ordered the lifting of the government ban on Twitter in the restless nation. The administrative court in Ankara overturned the week-long ban on Wednesday in response to complaints by journalists’ unions and the country's Bar Association, representing its lawyers, that blocking Twitter contravened …
John Leyden, 27 Mar 2014

Life support turned off: NHS Direct dies silent, undignified death

NHS Direct is dead and England's health service was hoping few people would notice that it had moved the kill date forward five days for its "financially unsustainable" advice website. The 15-year-old service was supposed to limp on until the end of this month, but the NHS pulled the plug early. As of Wednesday morning, anyone …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Mar 2014

Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

A judge has thrown out a potential class action lawsuit against Facebook over its use of photos of minors in targeted ads, ruling that the users gave their consent when they signed up for the social network. The suit accused the firm of "commercial misappropriation" of the names and pics of minors who were using the social …
Pink Floyd: The Wall

Facebook Oculus VR buyout: IT WANTS your EYEBALLS

Comment Mark Zuckerberg made his boldest and certainly most physical play for eyeballs yet on Tuesday when Facebook announced plans to acquire virtual reality startup Oculus VR - the outfit behind Rift headsets - for $2bn. It's the latest in a series of brash moves from the free content ad network. Oculus VR now joins the ranks of …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Mar 2014
A shiny new cash point

Forget sledgehammers – crooks can CRACK ATMs with a TEXT

Mexican cybercrooks are targeting bank ATMs with malware that can be activated by a SMS message that forces compromised cash machines to spew out cash. The attack is a refinement on previous assaults using the Ploutus backdoor strain of malware that makes robbing cash machines even easier for local banditos, according to net …
John Leyden, 26 Mar 2014
First official pic of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs

Zuckerberg, Musk and Fake Steve Jobs invest in secretive AI firm

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have become some of the latest investors in secretive artificial intelligence software firm Vicarious. The SpaceX billionaire and the Facebook founder took part in a $40m funding round, the second major cash-raising from the firm in the last two years, the Wall Street Journal reported. The actor who …
Various devices including phone, laptop and tablet

What does people-centric IT mean, anyway?

People-centric visions of IT need to be broad-ranging, says Danny Bradbury. Now, don't bother him while he's trying to play Call of Duty: Ghosts. Satya Nadella has news for IT users: it's all about you. Microsoft's new CEO is touting a concept that he calls "people-centric IT". He wants to create an environment where "the end …
Danny Bradbury, 24 Mar 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Brace for extra patches, Oracle tells Australian users

Oracle has warned its Australian customers to brace for extra patches. Before you imagine some exclusively antipodean security SNAFU is behind the bulletin advising Australian users of their fate, consider that the nation offers software-makers one federal and eight State and Territory jurisdictions. Each of those nine …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Sorry Dick: 3 reasons why Twitter will NEVER be unblocked in China

Comment Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in China this week visiting the country but rumours of the microblogging platform’s resurrection there have been greatly exaggerated. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the Middle Kingdom since 2009, when the government claimed they had been used by protesters to organise ahead of deadly anti- …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella's first act may be to launch Office for iPad

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is reportedly about to reveal Office for the iPad. Invitations to an event at which Nadella will appear on March 27th have started to land on reporters' desks around the USA, and favoured outlets like the WSJ-refugee-founded Re|Code and Reuters appear to be receiving pre-event whispers to the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
oneNote

Spend zero notes to take all notes with OneNote: Microsoft makes app free, builds it for OS X

Microsoft is making its Office OneNote application free for all users, creating a version for Apple's OS X, and opening up key parts of the API so developers can hook it into online cloud services. "Today is a huge step forward for OneNote. We’ve made it easier to use OneNote no matter what platform you’re on, and easier than …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2014

Mozilla takes Windows 8-friendly Firefox out back ... two shots heard

Mozilla has bad news for Firefox users who are fans of Windows 8 and its new, touch-centric UI – all 1,000 of you, worldwide. On Friday, Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale revealed that he had made the decision to "take the Windows Metro version of Firefox off the trains" – Mozilla-speak meaning he's canceled it. "Mozilla builds …
Neil McAllister, 15 Mar 2014
Barnes and Noble Microsoft deal, credit: Microsoft

Barnes & Noble's Nook freed from Windows, WinPhone apps pledge

Barnes & Noble's struggling Nook e-book division can breathe a little easier, now that Microsoft has let the bookseller off the hook on its promise to offer e-reader apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Redmond pumped $300m into Nook back in 2012, in a deal that gave it a 17.5 per cent stake in B&N's underperforming e-book …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014