Kieren McCarthy

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Wielding the magic wand. Photo by Shutterstock

Review: Magic Leap and Fantasy Funding Fiasco

Comment Performance art company Magic Leap has astonished and wowed critics with its latest outing: a $500m funding round. Having built a tremendous amount of buzz by teasing the tech world with a gloriously satirical video in which the company's founder Rony Abovitz used global soft focus and "inspiring voiceover" to talk about the …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Oct 2017

Now German companies are beating the drum over poor patent quality

The issue of falling patent quality at the European Patent Office (EPO) has again reared its head, this time thanks to German intellectual property lawyers. Following a testy exchange last week at an official meeting of the EPO's Administrative Council where staff aired their grievances and were attacked by EPO president …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Oct 2017

The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

Review At first, it wasn't entirely clear whether it would be worthwhile doing a review of the new Google Home Mini. The new, cut-down version of the digital assistant could probably have been summed up in a tweet. Something like: "Home Mini: smaller, cheaper, sound worse but still fine." But then, and it's not entirely clear how or …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Oct 2017

Remember how you said it was cool if your mobe network sold your name, number and location?

US mobile phone companies appear to be selling their customers' private data – including their full name, phone number, contract details, home zip code and current location to third parties – all in the name of security. Security researcher Philip Neustrom found and linked to demo sites run by two mobile authentication …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Oct 2017

FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at America's broadcast watchdog the FCC, has criticized a proposed set of TV standards as a "household tax," due to its lack of backwards compatibility. Addressing a conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington DC this week (we have no idea why either), Rosenworcel complained [PDF] that the …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2017

Facebook, Twitter slammed for deleting evidence of Russia's US election mischief

Facebook and Twitter have come under attack for deleting tens of thousands of posts that may provide vital clues to how and to what extent the Russian government was able to able to influence the US presidential elections. Facebook has removed thousands of Facebook posts – and the related data around them such as "likes" and …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Oct 2017

Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

Analysis Twitter was today accused of censorship after it froze the account of actress Rose McGowan – who had just publicly slammed alleged sex fiend Harvey Weinstein. McGowan was surprised to find herself locked out of her @rosemcgowan profile on Wednesday night, and posted on Instagram a screengrab of a telling-off she received from …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Oct 2017

Crappy upload speeds a thing of the past in fresh broadband 'net spec

It's become so common that it virtually defines current internet usage: fast download speeds and relatively slow uploads. That model in which we all consume other people's content but only occasionally put something back has been increasingly under pressure with the explosion of social media and video sharing websites, not to …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Oct 2017

European Patent Office's document churning snatches Germany's attention: 'We are concerned about quality'

A row has broken out at the European Patent Office over the quality of its work. The international organization's big annual meeting in Munich this week has been overshadowed by a war of words between staff and the EPO's president, Benoit Battistelli. Staff are warning that quality is falling in response to an aggressive …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Oct 2017
Police search

Judge says US govt has 'no right to rummage' through anti-Trump protest website logs

A Washington DC judge has told the US Department of Justice (DoJ) it "does not have the right to rummage" through the files of an anti-Trump protest website – and has ordered the dot-org site's hosting company to protect the identities of its users. Chief Judge Robert E. Morin issued the revised order [PDF] Tuesday following a …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Oct 2017

European Patent Office staff rep blames prez for 'slipping quality'

Fed up with years of willful ignorance, staff at the European Patent Office publicly called out their president in front of the organization's overseeing body. Meeting at the EPO's headquarters in Munich this week, the organization's Administrative Council – made up of officials from 38 European nations – heard briefly from …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Oct 2017
Bear

Google: This may shock you, but we also banked thousands of dollars to run Russian propaganda

Joining Facebook and Twitter, Google has now been sucked into an investigation into how Russia influenced the US presidential elections last year. The search engine giant has informed US Congressfolk digging into the issue that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars across its products – from video site YouTube …
Kieren McCarthy, 10 Oct 2017

Let's go live now to Magic Leap and... Ah, still making millions from made-up tech

Comment It's been nearly a year since augmented reality upstart Magic Leap was called out for the fact that its revolutionary technology didn't actually exist. Despite having put out several videos that the startup claimed showed its 3D graphics tech in action – exciting images of whales leaping out of gym floors, and killer robots …

Is that a bulge in your pocket or... do you have an iPhone 8+? Apple's batteries look swell

Apple has said it is looking into claims that the batteries in its new iPhone 8 Plus phones are swelling and cracking their cases. A number of fans from across the world have reported problems with their shiny handsets, with some posting images on Twitter. The first reported swelling came from a Taiwanese owner who posted …

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

Analysis The US Senate Judiciary Committee has unveiled its answer to a controversial spying program run by the NSA and used by the FBI to fish for crime leads. Unsurprisingly, the proposed legislation [PDF] reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – which allows American snoops to scour …

Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

Billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has finally backed down in his efforts to stop Californians from accessing a beach via a road on lands he owns. The Sun cofounder has been in a protracted legal battle over the beach since 2009, and despite losing time and time again, he has stubbornly refused to open a gate blocking …

Facebook, Google, Twitter are the shady bouncers of the web. They should be fired

Analysis Social media giants Twitter and Facebook remain at the end of severe criticism from US Congress and elsewhere as investigations into Russia's interference in America's presidential elections highlight the depth to which the tech giants' platforms continue to be abused. On Wednesday, both companies said they had agreed to send …
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Web uni says it will get you a tech job or your money back. So our man Kieren signed up...

Special report An online college focused on the tech industry is promising to find you a job in six months or it will refund your course fees in full. OpenClassrooms has also marked its launch in the United States today by offering to supply its basic courses for free to anyone caught up in the decision by the Trump administration to shut …

Roku tweaks Apple's nose with telly-friendly vid-streaming boxes

Roku today responded to Apple with a new range of streaming boxes and an updated operating system that tightly integrates broadcast TV. The company is still leading the streaming media box market, in large part because it is simply better and offers more than its main competitors in AppleTV, Amazon's Fire TV, and Google's …

Smart burglar alarms: Look who just tossed their hat into the ring ... It's, er, Ring

The smart home battleground has moved to security systems, with smart doorbell biz Ring announcing this week a new product just days before Nest dove into the same market. The Ring Protect is very similar to Nest's Secure system launched last month in that it aims to be a simpler, friendlier version of traditional beige boxes …

Cost of Africa's internet shutdowns? $1m a day – quarter of a billion total

A new report estimates the cost to African countries routinely pulling the plug on their citizens' internet access is around $1m a day. In the past two years, 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have imposed a range of internet shutdowns from full national blackouts of connectivity, to regional takedowns, to social media …

Tarmac for America's self-driving car future is being laid right now

A law proposed in the US Senate would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of autonomous vehicles on America's streets in the next few years. The AV START Act [PDF] was introduced Thursday by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Gary Peters (D-MI), and not only represents a bipartisan effort but also reflects much of the contents …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2017

FCC big cheese given Congressional roasting in reconfirmation bid

For a man who repeatedly criticized his predecessor at the Federal Communications Commission for dragging the US watchdog in a bi-partisan direction, in his eight months as FCC chairman Ajit Pai has done more than anyone to infect it with Washington politics. That unpleasant reality was drawn out in a Congressional hearing on …
Kieren McCarthy, 29 Sep 2017

Internet-wide security update put on hold over fears 60 million people would be kicked offline

A multi-year effort to update the internet's overall security has been put on hold just days before it was due to be introduced, over fears that as many as 60 million people could be forced offline. DNS overseer ICANN announced on Thursday it had postponed the rollout of a new root zone "key signing key" (KSK) used to secure …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Sep 2017

At last, someone's taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips

Updated FCC boss Ajit Pai has publicly criticized Apple for not turning on the FM radio receivers in every iPhone – calling it a public safety issue. "In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States," the US comms …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Sep 2017

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