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The Register breaking news

Australia imposes parental lock for digital TVs

The Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) has searched for several months for a "technical standard to make parental lock a required feature of digital television receivers" sold in Australia. The fruits of its labours are published this week as The Broadcasting and Datacasting Services (Parental Lock) Technical …
Drew Cullen, 05 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Is it a phone? Is it a Taser? No, it's a cattle prod!

A Queensland man yesterday pleaded guilty to possession of a Taser disguised as a mobile phone. In his defence, Carl Townroe claimed the device was a cattle prod and not in disguise. Mind you, he also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, so the weed may have got to him. Tasers are nasty things and we can think of no …
Drew Cullen, 04 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

Labor raids IT piggybank to grease election promises

Labor will cut Australia's IT budget to pay for election pledges. This is how it will work. The Gillard government expects to save more than $1bn over four years through better procurement practices introduced by the IT efficiency expert Peter Gershon in 2008. The savings were to be "quarantined" to fund new IT projects. But …
Drew Cullen, 04 Aug 2010
The Register breaking news

RIM lights a candle for the BlackBerry Torch

RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone makes its debut today, initially as an AT&T exclusive, and it takes the company squarely into iPhone territory. BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone This makes the 9800 very big deal for RIM, the Canadian master of smartphones for the enterprise which somehow, picked up a big consumer …
Drew Cullen, 03 Aug 2010

Apple as a religion: How the iPhone became divine

Apple lovers vs. Apple haters is a common theme on the tech forums. Some think that there is a consumer psychology dynamic at play, that turns us into Brand Evangelists or Brand Talibans. Two American academics, admittedly new media academics, Heidi Campbell and Antonio La Pastina, take a different tack in comparing Apple to …
Drew Cullen, 03 Aug 2010
iPhone 4

Voda NZ answers iPhone 4 complaint - with a song

We have written quite enough about Vodafone New Zealand's chaotic iPhone 4 launch last week, although Reg reader and Kiwi blogger Ahmad disagrees. He tells us that Voda NZ's iPhone 4 customers who set up FaceTime video calling are sent an SMS from the UK for a one-time fee of 20c. This is a paltry sum, but it is also a hidden …
Drew Cullen, 02 Aug 2010
iiNet

Hollywood claims Aussie ISP promoted BitTorrent use

In February, the Australia Federal Court ruled that iiNet, the country's third biggest ISP, was not liable for copyright infringements committed by customers. The plaintiff, the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT), which represents the film industry, vowed to appeal and the two sides were arguing the toss in …
Drew Cullen, 02 Aug 2010
Flag Australia

Satnav leaves family stranded in Outback for three days

We bring you today's GPS navigation mishap hilarity news from Australia, where a family of four were trapped in their car for three days after ignoring road signs. The family were travelling across Australia from Brisbane to Perth followed the instructions of their GPS and entered the Darling River Road in New South Wales's …
Drew Cullen, 02 Aug 2010
Ethernet cables

Aussie broadband is slower than a slow thing in a slow town

So Australia is building a superfast fibre to the home (FTTH) national broadband network and not a minute too soon. Last week's survey from Akamai, a company that charges clients hefty sums for making their websites run faster, shows the country ranked a dismal 50th place in the global broadband speed league with an average …
Drew Cullen, 31 Jul 2010
Talk Talk

TalkTalk talks up SIM only mobile deals

TalkTalk is to launch its own mobile phone service, thanks to a deal with Vodafone UK. The company is launching a range of SIM only voice and data tariffs later in the summer. Given its track record with home broadband and landlines, we anticipate highly competitive pricing. In cellco parlance, this tie-in makes TalkTalk an …
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2010
iPhone 4

Chaos surrounds New Zealand iPhone 4 day

Apple's iPhone 4 went on sale today in New Zealand. But Vodafone NZ's handling of the launch left much to be desired, with hundreds of customers left in the lurch. Many had queued up overnight outside Vodafone NZ stores to told by staff that "no iPhones coming in today and they didn't know when they were coming in," Jacob Creech …
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2010
Starcraft II

Beware the blizzard of torrents of Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 was released this week and at the hefty RRP of £45. Many games sites are hopping mad at this, although typically retailers are selling Blizzard's strategy game at £10 less than RRP. The price is of little consequence to gamers who download pirate versions of SC2 from the torrents. But beware, says Andrew Brandt of …
Drew Cullen, 30 Jul 2010
Lovefilm

Lovefilm calls in the DRM brigade for media player push

Lovefilm is the UK's answer to Netflix. And like Netflix it has a pressing problem. No, not Blockbuster. It has reams of customers, 1.4 million all told, for its DVD-by-mail rental service. But for how long? Downloads and streaming is the way forward, baby - onto TV, phone and computer - the three screens strategy, as Virgin has …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
Sky teaser 75

Sky bags UK HBO exclusive

Never saw The Wire, but I am told it is rather good. I won't be seeing it in a hurry either, now that Sky has slurped up HBO's entire library in a UK exclusive. The deal - worth £150m over five years, according to various reports - will see iconic American TV shows such as The Wire, The Sopranos , Sex and The City, True Blood, …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
Virgin

Virgin hitches MTV to media player loveliness

World+dog must have a media player to call its own. Not to be outdone Virgin is in on the act as of today with the launch of Virgin Media Player, for mobile and computer use. The cableco has lined up "hundreds of hours" of content, including various youthie MTV network shows, which already appear on its on-demand TV service. …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
Sky teaser 75

Sky turns 3D on Oct 1

Sky is launching a 3D TV channel, Europe's first, on October 1. To see it you have to be a Sky HD subscriber with a 3D-ready TV. No set-top box adjustments or additional fees necessary. The satellite TV broadcaster says the channel works with active and passive 3D formats and is compatible with "all of the TVs" being introduced …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

iPads for hospitals: is this a good idea?

Next year, 500 doctors and nurses in Victoria hospitals will trial the use of iPads. Graduate doctors, rather than crusty consultants, will get the devices, as the "younger group of students and graduates of the health professions have grown up with technology all around them," Daniel Andrews, Victoria's health minister, said. …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Opposition to can Aus $1.3bn school laptops program

Australia's general election is in full swing and disputes over tech funding and tech policy continue to intrude on today centre stage. In today's spat, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said he would scrap the government's "wasteful" computers for schools initiative if the centre right Coalition wins. That would mean Year 9 pupils …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
Nintendo 3DS

Call of Duty: Black Ops squeezes on to Nintendo DS

Call of Duty: Black Ops is to get a standalone "companion" for the Nintendo DS. Its little sister puts gamers "into the boots of CIA-backed operatives" who have lots of weapons to play with, including an attack helicopter and a stealth fighter jet. Call of Duty: Black Ops for the Nintendo DS has six-player online multiplayer …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
Kindle_DX_SM

Amazon takes Kindle to the UK

Amazon UK's front page is dominated today by a letter to its customers, introducing the "third generation of Kindles". In other words, Brits can buy Kindle e-Readers direct from Amazon UK, instead of the American mothership. That means UK prices - £149 for the 3G-Wi-Fi version and £109 for the Wi-Fi only version. This is …
Drew Cullen, 29 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Valve unbans 12,000 Steam 'cheaters'

Valve "erroneously" banned 12,000 gamers for cheating playing Modern Warfare 2 on Steam. In an email today, Gabe Newell, President of Valve, apologised to the banned and confirmed that their accounts were restored. To make amends, the company has given all affected two free copies of Left 4 Dead 2, one to own and one to give to …
Drew Cullen, 27 Jul 2010
Daily Star

Daily Star is sorry for Grand Theft Auto Raoul Moat blunder

Last week the Daily Star published the sensational scoop that Rockstar Games was prepping Grand Theft Auto Rothbury, inspired by the murderer Raoul Moat. It was a hoax of course, but it would be much too kind to describe the Star as a victim. The paper compounded its error by mocking up a fake cover (see here) and by soliciting …
Drew Cullen, 26 Jul 2010
HMV

HMV takes on mighty iTunes with 40p promo

HMV has a new music download site and lots of offers to tempt punters away from iTunes. The UK music retailer kicks off hmvdigital today by selling any song in the top 40 for 40p a pop. Chart albums are retailing for as little as £4.99. The service has some 10 million DRM-free MP3 songs in its catalogue - and users can download …
Drew Cullen, 26 Jul 2010
iPhone 4

Judas Phone: more Photoshop tomfoolery

Some sites call for Photoshop submissions [Fark and B3ta.com]. And some reject them, as Reg reader Bill discovered today. His "bored Friday stuff" was knocked back by the estimable site Judasphone.com, so he sent them to us instead. We thought you would like to see these: Fake iPhone 4 ad Fake iPhone 4 ad - pi Thanks, Bill …
Drew Cullen, 23 Jul 2010
Nokia Wank

Forget the Jesus Phone, here's the Rude Phone

It costs $78, it is available in black, red or white and it is called the WANK E5. No, not an personalised number plate, but the name of a Nokia handset on sale at SoloMobi, a Chinese retailer. Going Solo? That sounds about right. We guess the name will change soon enough; and before sniggering too hard, we happily acknowledge …
Drew Cullen, 23 Jul 2010
Sumo Lounge Sway Couple Beanbag Chair

Possibly the world's most pointless review

Each week we receive dozens of link-to-article requests from tech websites. Much as we want to oblige, we rarely have time to read the articles, let alone link to them. Sumo Lounge Couple Sway Bean Bag with one person, a young woman, sitting on it We make an exception for this, from BigBruin.com and its review of the Sumo …
Drew Cullen, 23 Jul 2010
iPood/Pocket Trowel

What's the difference between an iPod and an iPood?

The iPood, a small spade used by Aussie campers to bury their shit, has a new name following an intervention by Apple lawyers. In a letter to the iPood makers, Apple's legal eagles said: "iPood is clearly similar to Apple's iPod, there being merely a single letter difference." That could have been worded better, don't you …
Drew Cullen, 22 Jul 2010
ToneCheck

HEY ARSEHOLE: STOP SENDING ME ANGRY EMAILS

Been a while since I received an ANGRY EMAIL – and been never since I sent one in return. I do my SHOUTING in person. My advice to ANGRY EMAILERS is this: don’t write drunk, arsehole. But if you must, and you lack all self control, check out this anger-o-meter. It may save you from shame, lost friends, lost jobs and found …
Drew Cullen, 21 Jul 2010
DMC LX5

Panasonic updates Lumix line with five models

Five Panasonic cameras make their debut today - the links to all the specs are below. But the pick of the bunch for enthusiasts is probably the DMC LX5, a so called creative, or premium, compact. DMC LX5 Getting creative with compacts Any roads, this is the one that Panasonic is pushing hard and this is what the specialist …
Drew Cullen, 21 Jul 2010
Xbox Kinect

Microsoft prices up cheapo Xbox 360, Kinect bundle

Microsoft today announced the Xbox 360 4GB console, along with Wii-type pricing to tempt new punters to buy the Kinect hands-free motion sensor. Xbox 4GB Bundle group shot Going a bundle The two products are bundled along with Kinect Adventures, a games show case for Kinect's capabilities, for £249.99 and they go on sale on …
Drew Cullen, 21 Jul 2010
Xbox 360 250GB

UK retailers want more XBox 360 stock. Now!

Looks like UK launch day for the Xbox 360 S on Friday was a commercial hit, with retailers selling out shipments within hours of opening. Now they are reporting difficulties in re-stocking the redesigned console, according to the games site Electronic Theatre. So either they got the estimates of demand wrong, or much less …
Drew Cullen, 19 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

3D is headache for six million Brits

Six Million Brits suffer from poor binocular vision - which gives them headaches and achey eyes when watching 3D films. So says The Eyecare Trust, which tells us that 3D relies on our eyes's abilities to work as a "co-ordinated team to achieve an accurate perception of depth". But if you have poor binocular vision, your brain …
Drew Cullen, 14 Jul 2010
RIAA logo

P2P judge trims student's fine by 90 per cent

Last year, a Boston University grad student was whacked with a court order to pay $675,000 damages for downloading 30 songs illegally and sharing them on a P2P network. This week, a US District Court agreed with defendant Joel Tenenbaum's claim that the amount determined by the jury was "unconstitutionally excessive" and slashed …
Drew Cullen, 10 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Blizzard climbs down on real names for WoW forums

Blizzard has made a speedy u-turn on its decision to force members of the World of Warcraft forums to reveal their real names, following a hailstorm of criticism. World of Warcraft logo Earlier in the week, the games publisher announced the move, aimed at stamping out abusive behaviour. More than 20,000 complaints on the …
Drew Cullen, 10 Jul 2010
Eee PC Girl

Women: keep computer games short and sweet

One in three UK women say they are gamers, according to the 2010 European gaming attitudes survey. Another survey into gaming gender differences surfaced this week, which reveals that women: Play fewer hours (8) a week than men (17 hours) and are turned off by games that are too complicated. They give up if game is not easy to …
Drew Cullen, 08 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Blizzard exposes real names on WoW forums

World of Warcraft forums are "where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild", says Blizzard, the publisher of the mega-online game. And it thinks it knows how to get everyone to behave more nicely. With the next iteration of its Battle.net forum, the company is to publish users' real names in full on official …
Drew Cullen, 07 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Unused 'free' minutes cost Brits £800m a year

My wife never uses up her mobile minutes. I know we can save £5 a month if she swaps to a cheaper contract - but have we done it? Of course not. In common with 55 per cent of mobile phone users on monthly contracts who never use up their free minutes, we are paying too much. The average too much is £62 a year. Add all those too …
Drew Cullen, 05 Jul 2010
Dollar

XBox Live: Why should Microsoft get all the money?

Activision has"heard" that its Call of Duty mega-franchise is the main reason for 60 per cent of subscribers to pay for Xbox Live - so why should Microsoft get all the money? In an interview today with the FT Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said: “We don’t really participate financially in that income stream. We would …
Drew Cullen, 05 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Amazon hails 'beautiful' new Kindle DX screen

Amazon has improved the Kindle DX screen with a 50 per cent boost in contrast and darker fonts to make for easier reading. Amazon Kindle DX At the same time the company is slashing the price to $379, down from $489. By most accounts, the Kindle DX with its 9.7in screen is the best e-reader around - the screen upgrade will …
Drew Cullen, 01 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

One third of Brits are gamers

Blame Farmville, blame iPhone apps, blame mini-shockwave games, but we are all gamers now. Or to be a precise, a third of us - those British men (34 per cent) and women (31 per cent) who say they are gamers. This is the finding of the 2010 survey into European gaming attitudes, compiled by the ISFE and ELSPA, two trade bodies. …
Drew Cullen, 01 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Sony turns a profit on PS3, so why cut prices?

Sony is no longer "bleeding" on the Playstation 3, and is making a small profit for the first time on sales of the console. The company is keen to defend a $299 retail price point and as PS3 stocks are low, and demand is high, it has no need to drop prices just yet. That's what Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide …
Drew Cullen, 01 Jul 2010
The Register breaking news

Unix beardies vs. clean shaven DBAs

Two Reg readers David Wood and Simon Painter, a commentard who goes by the handle THE VOCIFEROUS TIME WASTER - want you to join their latest charity stunt for Barnardos. Yes, it's the Great Beard Debate. Click on this link and join in. Dave and Simon have "long disagreed on the merits of Dave's ginger face fuzz and have decided …
Drew Cullen, 24 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Android phones invade the world

Google is activating 160,000 Android-OS phones a day - up from 100,000 a day in the third week of May. Android apps are also growing at a lick, with about 65,000 available, compared with 50,000 a month ago. The figures come from Google chief exec Eric Schmidt, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian. How long before …
Drew Cullen, 24 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Apple, Google, Microsoft – are you a Brand Taliban or Brand Evangelist?

Day in, day out commenters do battle on Reg forums behalf or against companies. It used to be Microsoft, and then Google, but lately our readers are most polarized when discussing Apple. Why the passion, the animus? As some commentards note, we are talking about a phone here, a way of doing things there, and a software-based …
Drew Cullen, 23 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Brits are bored with mobile broadband

UK mobile broadband sales are tumbling as consumers have figured out that the technology does not live up to its billing. So says Broadband Expert, which notes a 57 per cent drop in the number of people signing up for mobile broadband via the price comparison site. Sales sank from 3000-ish in May 2009 to 1,300 in May 2010. The …
Drew Cullen, 22 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

TomTom slashes LIVE subs

TomTom is offering new TomTom LIVE sign-ups free services for a year - and is halving annual subscription costs to £47.50. Existing subscribers for the traffic information service automatically get the new price and will stay on the new rates if they renew, TomTom says. New customers get the year’s free subscription when they …
Drew Cullen, 16 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Kinect - Microsoft's official name for Project Natal

Microsoft hired Cirque du Soleil to demo games running Project Natal yesterday in Los Angeles, the day before E3 opens. At the same time the company revealed the official name of the controller free gaming device: "Kinect for Xbox 360". Kinect controller in front of Xbox 360 Kinect is said by some to be the future of gaming. …
Drew Cullen, 14 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Sea turtle steals camera, swims 1770km and takes pictures en route

Dick de Bruin dropped his waterproof video camera when diving off the Caribbean island of Aruba. He thought he would never see it again. But the Dutchman has been reunited with his property after a sea turtle picked up the camera and swam 1770km before abandoning it off the coast of Florida. In its efforts to disentangle itself …
Drew Cullen, 11 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Orange to 'dump unlimited data tariffs'

Orange UK is to scrap unlimited data plans for new and upgrading customers in the summer, according to reports. You'd better look after your phone then, if you are a heavy data user. Orange is saying nothing in public yet, but the trade paper Mobile "understands" that the cello is to follow the example of 02, which canned …
Drew Cullen, 11 Jun 2010
The Register breaking news

Is this the world's biggest USB cable?

Google Earth comes up trumps again, this time unearthing the world's biggest USB cable.... Google_Maps_screenshot_of_Waubra, Victoria. Houses and roads look like giant USB cables Looks like some well connected Australians out there in Waubra Or maybe it's just a screenshot of Waubra, Victoria. Check it out yourself at: http …
Drew Cullen, 11 Jun 2010