The Register Columnists

Andrew Smith

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
The Register breaking news

Ofcom's ISP code of practice: why it is necessary

First Person For two years PlusNet resisted the broadband industry's voluntary code of practice designed to protect consumers from unscrupulous service providers. Now, with Ofcom regulations forcing hold-out ISPs to fall in line with the rest of the industry, PlusNet claims to have followed the voluntary code all along. Central to the …
Andrew Smith, 27 Feb 2007
The Register breaking news

Orange agrees to resolve router snafu

Orange has said it will resolve the case of a customer forced to honour a 12-month broadband contract, despite being downgraded to dial-up after a software update crippled her wireless router. The saga began in May when the customer was knocked offline during the roll-out of a firmware update to her Livebox router. The …
Andrew Smith, 10 Jul 2006
The Register breaking news

Sky charges for repairs to non-faulty digiboxes

Exclusive British Sky Broadcasting has denied accusations that the company tried to profit from a known software fault in its digital video recorders, after customers were charged £65 for engineers to visit their homes. A recurring fault in the Sky+ system software causes recordings to fail for no apparent reason. The bug eats up space …
Andrew Smith, 06 Jan 2005
The Register breaking news

BBC hijacks TiVo recorders

Users of the TiVo digital video recorder have reacted angrily to a new sponsorship feature that automatically records certain programmes, adverts and other promotional material. One of TiVo's more innovative features is its ability to recommend programmes based on viewing habits, such as watching every episode of a soap opera …
Andrew Smith, 24 May 2002
The Register breaking news

Sky falls down on digital TV recorder

Software bugs in the Sky Plus digital recorder have become so severe that customers who complain are having their monthly subscription fee refunded. Launched last September, the £300 rival to TiVo allows Sky Digital viewers to pause live television and record without video tapes. It is integrated into Sky's on-screen listings …
Andrew Smith, 20 May 2002
The Register breaking news

You cannot record this program

There is confusion today after British Sky Broadcasting first confirmed, and then denied that the company's digital recorders have built-in support for recording restrictions. Launched last September, the key features of the Sky+ system are its twin decoders and disk-based digital recorder. Viewers pay £300 for the actual …
Andrew Smith, 11 Feb 2002
The Register breaking news

Help! I can't cancel my sex site subs (Part 2)

Troubled billing processor iBill has again been forced to take its customer database offline, risking excess credit card charges for subscribers to thousands of adult web sites. The latest meltdown, blamed circuitously on a "hardware failure on a non-redundant database", led to iBill's private and public customer service sites …
Andrew Smith, 14 Jan 2002
The Register breaking news

Help! I can't cancel my sex site subs

Subscribers to thousands of web sites may face excess credit card charges due to technical difficulties at iBill, the online sex industry's favourite billing company. Problems last week took iBill's client database offline for two days, leaving site owners without access to customer records and account administration. The …
Andrew Smith, 15 Oct 2001
The Register breaking news

Poor foreigners can play Everquest too

Massively multiplayer games such as the latest EverQuest expanasion pack, and the eagerly anticipated PlanetSide and Star Wars Galaxies, will benefit from increased global support, according to announcements last week from publisher Sony Online Entertainment. Currently, Sony's monthly subscription games require a credit card …
Andrew Smith, 28 May 2001
The Register breaking news

Innovation in gaming – where did it go?

Games developers need to rethink their programming strategies and focus more on originality than fancy technology. That's the message from outspoken 3D Realms programmer Brandon Reinhart, writing about his experience at this year's E3 trade show. Innovation in gameplay seemed to be sorely lacking all over E3," he observed. "On …
Andrew Smith, 21 May 2001
The Register breaking news

Punters scare the BeJaysus out of ASUS

omponent manufacturer ASUS will not include controversial cheat options in future releases of its video card drivers, according to Belgian news site deCURSOR. Current drivers, which have been available for several months, offered game players the much-hyped, but limited ability to see through walls, giving users of ASUS cards …
Andrew Smith, 21 May 2001
The Register breaking news

ASUS releases games cheat drivers (Boo! Hiss!)

ASUS, the Taiwanese components maker, has released its much-criticised video card drivers that allow online game players to cheat. The drivers, which allow players to see through walls, were first announced in July last year and were immediately condemned by players and gaming organisations. At the time, ASUS boasted: "There …
Andrew Smith, 10 May 2001
The Register breaking news

3D Realms fences in Foxing fans

Game developer 3D Realms last week shut down an unauthorised update of their 1996 hit title Duke Nukem 3D. Duke It Out In Quake was an add-on project for Id Software's Quake III Arena. It used copies of levels and graphics from the original Nukem game, and from an expansion pack created by Sunstorm Interactive. Although the …
Andrew Smith, 12 Feb 2001
The Register breaking news

Whatever happened to the Everquest auction suit?

The class action law suit against Sony, Verant and eBay has been put on hold, according to the mysterious Web site set up last month to announce the legal move. The identity of the wannabe class action co-ordinator(s) is unknown, although Dennis Flanders of Gravity Spot, the Seattle Web design company that hosts the site, is …
Andrew Smith, 12 Feb 2001
The Register breaking news

FBI goes Bonsai Kitten hunting

The FBI is reported to be investigating BonsaiKitten.com, the spoof Web site which has got animal lovers and anti-cruelty campaigners in uproar. The site was started last December by a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was soon booted off MIT's servers and then moved from host to host, with protesters …
Andrew Smith, 10 Feb 2001
The Register breaking news

Bruce Springsteen loses cybersquatting dispute

Bruce Springsteen has lost his domain name dispute after a WIPO panel ruled 2-1 in favour of notorious domain hoarder Jeff Burgar. The ruling, on an apparently clear case of domain squatting, gives more ammunition to WIPO's critics. One panelist complained of factual errors and said that official guidelines had not been …
Andrew Smith, 09 Feb 2001
The Register breaking news

CNET shuts Gamecenter

CNET will call time on Gamecenter at the end of this week, blaming the closure after four and a half years on a drop in advertising revenue. The move is part of a streamlining plan announced today that will see around 190 people, 10 per cent of CNET's workforce, lose their jobs. Other CNET ventures which are unprofitable or …
Andrew Smith, 07 Feb 2001
The Register breaking news

Bonsai Kitten craze sweeps online world

Hardly a week goes by without computer games being blamed for turning people into psychopathic killers, so it was strangely reassuring to see some of these dangerous maniacs up in arms over the spoof Bonsai Kitten web site. After being included as a novelty 'link of the day' on Blue's News, a popular indie site almost as old as …
Andrew Smith, 26 Jan 2001