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John Lettice

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Felix Dennis, MD of Dennis Publishing

Farewell Felix Dennis, deal-maker supreme of tech publishing

There's quite a bit that comes to mind when you think about Felix Dennis: the Oz mag obscenity trial, Maxim, drugs, women and dodgy poetry… But we're not going to do these here - at least, not yet. Felix Dennis, who died last weekend aged 67, was a pivotal figure in tech publishing: a super-smart dealmaker whose judgment and …
John Lettice, 26 Jun 2014

Doctor Who Episode One: Through a glass. Darkly

Today, the world of 1963 seems extraordinarily remote - and narrow. The “Beatles” name was still a jarring pun, and Telstar live transatlantic TV was just a little over a year old. I remember seeing JFK via Telstar when it kicked off, and then again that November in Dallas in 1963. There were no supermarkets, no plastic bags, …
John Lettice, 21 Nov 2013

Ed Iacobucci: Brains behind OS/2 and Citrix, nicest guy in tech

About a year before air taxi DayJet was scheduled to launch, Ed Iacobucci, who died last week, called me up to make sure I was thoroughly briefed on what he was doing and how it worked. We spent over an hour on the phone, no PowerPoints, no marketing pitch, just Ed explaining, making sure I got it. It’s not normal for CEOs to do …
John Lettice, 24 Jun 2013

Gaping hole in Google service exposes thousands to ID theft

A security flaw accessible via Google's UK motor insurance aggregator Google Compare has potentially exposed vast numbers of drivers to identity theft. The vulnerability, the existence of which has been verified by The Register, made it possible for comprehensive personal details - including names, addresses, phone numbers and …
John Lettice, 08 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

Tru unveils iPad local rate data-pricing for UK, US and Oz

Multi-country "local anywhere" mobile operator Tru is launching a £20-a-month iPad bundle that currently provides local rate broadband in the UK, US and Australia. A similar package will be available in the US "shortly", according to the company, which also intends to add Spain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands to its roster of …
John Lettice, 01 Jun 2011
The Register breaking news

The Register and Australia-New Zealand

As some of you have already noticed, in the last few weeks The Reg has been running more locally-sourced stories in Australia-New Zealand. Our plans here are still in soft launch mode, but we think it's appropriate (possibly even overdue) that we give local readers a head up about them now. For quite a few years now The Register …
John Lettice, 28 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

MS tacks Mozilla 'Do Not Track' header onto W3C submission

In a move that melds sneaky with shrewd, Microsoft has added Mozilla's Do Not Track browser header to the submission of its Tracking Protection proposal to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This potentially leaves Google – the third of the three contenders for privacy-enhanced browsing – isolated in a self-regulatory alliance …
John Lettice, 25 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

Murdoch, The Daily, and life without the web

News Corp doesn't get a whole lot of love on the web, nor does it seek it. Just over a year ago company chairman Rupert Murdoch described news aggregation as "almost wholesale misappropriation of our stories… it's theft", and shortly afterwards the paywalls went up at the Times and Sunday Times. Web readership plummeted, …
John Lettice, 02 Feb 2011
The Register breaking news

ID card astroturf - No2ID beats the truth out of IPS

A cackling Phil Booth, No2ID National Coordinator, writes to tell us that six months after he first pestered the Identity & Passport Service about its quotes from ID card-toting happy campers in its publicity material, it has confessed - um yes, all but one of those quoted worked for the government. "We can confirm that eight of …
John Lettice, 29 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

French regulator orders Google to reinstate Gatso-buster's account

Google has "a dominant position in search advertising", said France's antitrust authority today as it gave the company four months to open up about its cancellation of the AdWords account of Navx, a vendor of speed camera warning devices. Ominously for Google, the regulator also noted the company's 90 per cent share of the …
John Lettice, 30 Jun 2010

Did the iPad just save Wired, and Conde-Nast?

Saving the whole of the newspaper industry is a big ask, even for a "magical and revolutionary" device, but there might just be hope for the magazine business. The rapaciously-priced ($4.99 for this month's issue) iPad edition of Wired has comfortably outsold the somewhat cheaper print edition, and it's not even ad-free. On the …
John Lettice, 16 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Apple adds 'make the web go away' button to Safari 5

Steve Jobs didn't get around to mentioning Safari 5 in his WWDC keynote last night, but it rolled out anyway shortly after he finished up, and today publishers throughout the world are surely beginning to wonder, 'hang on, what's this Reader thing?' Safari 5 has a nice little button next to the URL that effectively kills the …
John Lettice, 08 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Prisoner of iTunes - the iPad file transfer horror

First the good news - it's light, compact, reasonably capable for typing, and it has enough battery life for you not to be forever worrying about where your next power socket's coming from. These advantages alone are sufficient for me to take the iPad seriously for note-taking and for document viewing and manipulation, and to …
John Lettice, 07 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Apple opens international iPad store ahead of rollout

Apple has opened the iPad section of the iTunes app store for business outside the United States - kinda, sorta. Previously, iPads not being on sale yet anywhere other than the US, the iPad just wouldn't let you log into the app store directly unless you had a US iTunes account. Now it will, although in various respects the non- …
John Lettice, 20 May 2010
The Register breaking news

The commercial cuckoo hiding in the BBC's global mission

Check the calendar dates and a possible cunning plan emerges. On Thursday 6th May, there was a strong possibility that the UK would elect a Tory government, one that would be eyeing BBC funding suspiciously. On Tuesday 11th of May, BBC director general Mark Thompson gave a speech at Chatham House on "Nation Speaking Peace unto …
John Lettice, 19 May 2010
The Register breaking news

The iPad, news saviour? Murdoch may have something here

Rupert Murdoch, in the face of widespread scepticism, thinks he can charge for news on the internet - but what if he's right? And the dead tree publishers, the derided MSM who initially welcomed the iPad as a potential saviour - what if they were right, too? Even if only a little bit? After time spent playing with the iPad I …
John Lettice, 18 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Identity & Passport Service in suicide bid?

All is not well - as we suggested might be the case this morning - at the Identity and Passport Service. Matter of fact, it may have just killed itself. A sad little note posted today by IPS reads: "Both Parties that now form the new Government stated in their manifestos that they will cancel Identity Cards and the National …
John Lettice, 12 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Biometric passport 2.0 scrapped alongside ID cards, NIR

Second-generation biometric passports will be scrapped alongside ID cards and the National Identity Register by the new Tory-LibDem government, probably as part of a merger between the LibDem Freedom Bill, and the Great Repeal Bill advocated by some sections of the Tory party. It isn't as yet entirely clear what will be in this …
John Lettice, 12 May 2010
The Register breaking news

Lost iPhone 4G vendor loaner outed

The man who found Apple's lost iPhone 4G and gave it to Gizmodo for $5,000 has been outed by Wired, the Dick Rowe of hot hardware. Wired identified Brian J Hogan of Redwood City, California via clues on social networking sites, having apparently failed to respond when they were emailed about the phone at the end of March. …
John Lettice, 30 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

Apple, the iPhone 4G, the cops and the click-tart

Impressive. A not insignificant section of the intertubes is holding Apple entirely responsible for a brutal, paramilitary-style dawn raid by heavily-armed cops (we exaggerate, before they do) on the lovely home of peaceful citizen and Gizmodo editor Jason Chen. And all we actually know that Apple has done is first, ask Gizmodo …
John Lettice, 28 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

Cops raid Gizmodo editor in pursuit of iPhone 4G 'felony'

Gizmodo editor Jason Chen has been raided by Silicon Valley's computer crime force in hot pursuit of the case of the missing iPhone prototype. According to a bulletin published by Gizmodo today, they broke down the front door to gain entry, and departed some hours later with a truck containing Chen's computer equipment. The …
John Lettice, 26 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

UK Gov, and privacy invasion without a safety net

It’s scarcely unusual. You’re preparing an email, you start typing an email address, autocomplete fills one in from you, and then you may or may not notice as the email speeds off that it’s going to someone entirely different from the intended recipient. If the email includes personal details of 10,000 people and the person you’ …
John Lettice, 18 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

Guy Kewney, pioneer, guru, friend - RIP

When I first met Guy Kewney, who died early this morning after a long struggle with cancer, he was already firmly established as star columnist at Personal Computer World - then, and for years to come, the UK's flagship IT publication. Until he started working for The Register a couple of years back, that was one of the few …
John Lettice, 08 Apr 2010
The Register breaking news

IPS turns to asylum for help with ID scheme database

Plans to use the Department of Work & Pensions' giant Customer Information Systems database for the UK's identity scheme have been officially abandoned, in favour of an enhancement of the UK Border Agency's biometric database for asylum seekers. First they came for the foreigners, as they say... According to the Identity & …
John Lettice, 23 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Blunkett: 'The dog howls when I whip out my ID card!'

"Even the dog howls when I bring it home," claimed former Home Secretary and Big Brother Awards Lifetime Menace as he waved his ID card at Privacy International's 20th birthday party last night. Speaking to a not wholly sympathetic crowd, the Menace himself claimed to have been "at least partially converted" to the cause of …
John Lettice, 19 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Home Office planning to brick version 1 ID cards in 2012?

The current generation of UK ID card is, apparently, the wrong kind of ID card, and is likely to be upgraded to incorporate new features by 2012. These are likely to include chip and pin for online transactions and ID verification, both of which have been spoken of in the past by ID minister Meg Hillier. The upgrade, however, …
John Lettice, 19 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Minister: Banks should give ID cards to people with no money

Home Office Identical Minister Meg Hillier has hit on a brilliant wheeze that could solve all her social exclusion problems. Banks need proof of ID when you open an account, right? Banks give people free stuff when they open an account, right? Sooooo... banks could give people free ID cards when they open accounts! This cunning …
John Lettice, 18 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Manchester's on fire for ID cards, claims ID minister

Home Office Identity Minister Meg Hillier is now pitching ID cards as a weapon against social exclusion, and has mysteriously truffled-up nearly 6,000 extra ID card enthusiasts, meaning enrolments will hit 10,000 next week. Was it not just last week she said they'd only had 4,307 applications? Yes it was. Furthermore, says …
John Lettice, 16 Mar 2010
DVD it in many colours

Android - the winning formula for tablets and netbooks?

What might the iPad have been? Apple announced it as a Magical and Revolutionary Device, defining "an entirely new category". But it actually only addresses a small part of the yawning gap between mobile handsets and notebook computers, where there's still a lot of defining to be done. There's space there for dramatically …
John Lettice, 09 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

FT shock discovery: EU Google probe has MS link

Top sleuths from the Financial Times have uncovered the shock information that Foundem, the minnow that filed a complaint against Google with the European Commission two weeks ago, is in league with Microsoft-funded Brussels lobbying outfit ICOMP, and known Microsoft lobbyist Burson-Marsteller. Heavens! They must have had to …
John Lettice, 05 Mar 2010
The Register breaking news

Antitrust incoming? Google hit by EU complaint, FCC filing

Shopping comparison site Foundem this week fired the opening shots in the coming Google antitrust battle, with a complaint to the European Commission and a filing with the US Federal Communications Commission accusing Google of posing "an immediate threat to competition and innovation." The US filing is in response to the FCC's …
John Lettice, 24 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

Where does Mozilla go when the monopoly witch is dead?

So what would Mozilla do if it ever won? The question, which The Register asked of Mozilla Foundation head Mitchell Baker a couple of weeks ago, may be slightly premature, but Mozilla most certainly isn't losing, and The Beast, while still gripping hold of a goodly chunk of the browser market, is bloodied and reeling. Scarcely a …
John Lettice, 15 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

With MS funding, No2ID gains entry to EU eID group

ID card campaign group No2ID has - with a little financial backing from Microsoft - won admission to the industry working group of Project STORK, the EU programme for devising interoperability standards for electronic ID systems across Europe. Representing "civil society interests", No2ID will be able to attend and report on …
John Lettice, 12 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

Navigon adds Twitter, Facebook to satnav iPhone app

A Twittering satnav - what could possibly go wrong? The next version of Navigon's MobileNavigator iPhone app, 1.5.0, will feature both Twitter and Facebook integration, allowing you to alert you friends, family and millions of fans with your whereabouts, destination and estimated time of arrival. This might be helpful for the …
John Lettice, 11 Feb 2010
The Register breaking news

'You own the road!': Google gets spanking from media giant

Google chief legal officer David Drummond was on the receiving end of an unexpected mugging yesterday, as the CEO of Burda Media - one of Germany's largest and most successful publishing companies - tore into the Jolly G Giant, accusing it of controlling the market, lack of transparency and, effectively, running off with the …
John Lettice, 26 Jan 2010
Orange

Orange chief engulfed by Apple Tablet feeding frenzy

Is this a record? With just four innocuous words at the tail end of a French TV interview yesterday morning, France Telecom number two Stephane Richard triggered a blogosphere-fanboi Apple Tablet feeding frenzy. He had said the launch of the beast was imminent, claimed an excitable French source, while Techcrunch, confirming the …
John Lettice, 12 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

IPS in cunning 'get an ID card, get crucified' scheme

The Identity and Passport Service's hilariously triste efforts to make ID cards cuddly has passed another millstone (shurely 'milestone?' - Ed). As a follow-up to plastering its propaganda with happy fingerprints, IPS now has a flash animation of them as well - derived, weirdly, from a movie you might be familiar with. With a …
John Lettice, 08 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

You and what Android? The Google iPhone killer that isn't

So is it the Google phone or not? In the Nexus One, Google has produced something rather like an iPhone, something that in some senses may seem better than an iPhone, but something that in hardware terms is an iteration rather than a game-changer. But does Google, the company that wasn't going to do hardware, now do hardware? …
John Lettice, 06 Jan 2010
The Register breaking news

My hospital HAL - Google man moots syringe that says no

Google VP Jonathan Rosenberg's windy sermon on 'Open' has been widely panned, but his interesting intervention on identity, health records and medical procedures has been little remarked, so far. Which is a pity, considering how close Google's High Command is to the High Command of the party likely to win next year's election, …
John Lettice, 23 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Traffic reports for the wrong country? There's an iPhone app for that

It's central London and it's time to go home. So you just fire up Navigon MobileNavigator before you go, to check Traffic Live for potential bottlenecks. Hmm, looks like there's congestion around the port of Dunkerque, so we'd best rule out that short cut to Hackney via Dover and Lille. But on the other hand, there are no …
John Lettice, 22 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

MS kills 'Bing buys the news' furore, but Google could still lose it

Microsoft has firmly ruled out the notion of paying news publishers to de-index their content from Google. But you knew that already. Speaking at the unveiling of new Bing features in San Francisco yesterday, senior online services VP Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was not focused on getting exclusive content, and that "there …
John Lettice, 03 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Google moves tanks onto property market's lawns

Google's latest target for freeing to death is, says the Financial Times, the UK property market. According to the paper, the company intends to launch a service offering estate agents free property listings early next year, and to bankroll it through advertising. Currently UK online property listings are conducted via portals …
John Lettice, 03 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Google shrinks its door to free WSJ stories, slightly

In a possibly meaningless response to Rupert Murdoch's War on Free, Google is to allow publishers to limit the number of free pages users of Google News can read on their sites. Up to now Google News has provided a mechanism for users to get access to content that is otherwise subscription-only (in, say, the Wall Street Journal …
John Lettice, 02 Dec 2009
The Register breaking news

Google and Murdoch - a divorce made in heaven?

Microsoft is known for its robust methods, but the widespread belief that it is attempting to 'buy' the news, offering to pay Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to de-index its news sites from Google speaks of extreme brutality, even by the Borg's standards. And think, people - if Microsoft really is offering to bribe major publishers …
John Lettice, 27 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

When algorithms attack, does Google hear you scream?

One day in June 2006, search startup Foundem vanished from Google. Foundem is the developer of a "universal vertical search" technology, and currently offers comparison shopping across a range of consumer and travel categories by drilling down into vendor sites and returning details of actual flights and products. But on 26 June …
John Lettice, 19 Nov 2009
The Register breaking news

Comparison shopping sites not wicked after all, says Google

Google is adding "AdWords Comparison Ads" to its armoury of weapons designed to squeeze even more money out of advertisers "make ads more relevant and useful". The ads will list prices and features for multiple products from paying advertisers on a single page, thus making it easier for shoppers to find the best deal without …
John Lettice, 30 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

The Twitter storm that saved freedom of speech

So was it Twitter what won it? Yesterday, in the wake of a flurry of Twitter and blogosphere outrage, the 'super-injunction' banning the Guardian (and, we should note, everybody else) from reporting details of a parliamentary question effectively collapsed. "A few tweets and freedom of speech is restored," the Graun itself said …
John Lettice, 14 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Phorm takes a bullet for the advertising industry

The unlikely image of Phorm boss Kent Ertugrul as some kind of John the Baptist of behavioural targeting was conjured yesterday as advertising industry leaders pondered the future of online advertising. "I think from a media owner perspective it was good that Phorm drew the sting for everybody else," Microsoft Advertising sales …
John Lettice, 09 Oct 2009
The Register breaking news

Apple and Snow Leopard take-downs - just say no

On Tuesday evening UK time The Register received a take-down notice from San Francisco lawyers acting on behalf of Apple. Our hosting company, Rackspace, received a similar notice, Apple's beef being that The Register had posted "confidential trade secrets" in our First Look at Snow Leopard. You will notice that we have not …
John Lettice, 27 Aug 2009
The Register breaking news

The Internet's most evil company?

Information wants to be free? Au contraire, information wants to tell you all about itself, where, how and if you can use it, and it reserves the right to sue the crap out of you if you don't pay attention. Or at least, that seems to be the way a growing number of traditional publishing organisations view it - the internet has …
John Lettice, 31 Jul 2009