Andrew Orlowski

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BlackBerry DTEK60: An elegant flagship for grown-ups

Hands-on Review Available for order this week, BlackBerry’s penultimate own-brand phone is a luxurious but light big sibling to its DTEK50. That was the first to marry a reference design, from TCL, to BlackBerry’s own “hardened” Android. The DTEK60 – not a name that rolls off the tongue – also uses BlackBerry’s Android, but aims for the …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Oct 2016
1960s edition of the country house murder mystery game Cluedo or Clue - Patented in the UK by John Waddington Games in 1947 - illustrative. By SamJonah, via shutterstock. editorial use only

Murder in the Library of Congress

The US Copyright Office has been given a brutal Silicon Valley-style sacking, the first time the Copyright Register has been dismissed in 119 years. Maria A Pallante was locked out of her computer on Friday, according to Billboard, on the instructions of her boss, a new Obama appointee, Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016

Paid Wikipedia-fiddling on wheels

It isn’t just feral estate agents who drape their cars with adverts. Reader James sent us this photo, which you may want to examine more closely if you’re an enthusiastic Wikipedian. The “London Biography Company” purports to boost your reputation on Wikipedia. On its website it claims clients are “FTSE100 CEOs, senior …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016

Is Google using YouTube to put one over on Samsung?

A curious story appeared overnight, one that made Samsung look very foolish. According to anti-copyright activist and blogger Mike Masnick, Google's YouTube had received a copyright takedown notice from Samsung requesting that game videos featuring the Samsung Note 7 as a weapon be removed. A few hours later the video was …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016

Lessons from the Mini: Before revamping or rebooting anything, please read this

If you're considering doing a relaunch, a "reboot", or a revamp of any kind, there's a lot to learn from the story of the Mini. The original Mini had been in production for 41 years by October 2000, when the last one rolled off the line at Longbridge – but the design had never really been updated. For the last two decades of …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2016

Cheapest Apple iPhone 7's flash memory is waaaaay slower than pricier model

Apple is silently stiffing customers who don't spend enough on the latest iPhones. For the past few years, the cheapest new iPhone model had a storage capacity of 8GB, then 16GB, which in practice meant just over 12GB available if you include the bundled software. This meant there was insufficient space to perform an update …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016
Nerd fail photo via Shutterstock

Is this the worst Blockchain idea you've ever heard?

Poll The music industry has been a petri dish for some fairly atrocious digital ideas, but few can be as desperate as Blockchain. Is this the worst Blockchain idea you’ve ever heard? We thought the business had scraped rock bottom with blockchain .bc “format”. This got oodles of press, as Imogen Heap was fronting the publicity for …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016

Dynamic IP addresses are your personal property, CJEU rules

The CJEU has affirmed personal property rights over dynamically allocated IP addresses, a move which brings European data protection laws into play. The case was brought by German Pirate Party politician Patrice Breyer, who first brought an action restraining the German Federal Government from storing IP addresses, allocated …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2016

Here's how much HP's 3-in-1 PC replacement will cost you

HP Inc has disclosed pricing for HP Workspace, the Windows app-streaming service that allows its new Elite x3 business phone to fully replace a PC. Although Universal apps on Windows 10 mobile apps can adapt to run fullscreen with a keyboard and mouse, Workspace is needed to run legacy Win32 apps, which don’t run natively on …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2016

DARPA unveils robot co-pilot

Good news. DARPA’s ambitious project to recreate Otto, the autopilot from Airplane, is finally bearing fruit. ALIAS, The Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System program, was announced in 2014. Autopilots are almost as old as the aeroplane – with Sperry demonstrating automatic flight control in 1912. But unlike its …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2016

Who killed Cyanogen?

Analysis Does European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager's team pay close attention to the tech news? If not, perhaps they should. Last week there was barely a murmur after Cyanogen Inc scaled back its ambitions. “Throwing in the towel” may be harsh – but the Android software company said it would henceforth be trying to …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Oct 2016

Spinal Tap’s bass player sues former French sewer

Actor, writer and director Harry Shearer, who played Derek Smalls in the band Spinal Tap, is suing the owners of the movie This Is Spinal Tap over royalties. The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time. The band was formed in 1978, and was lampooning TV the following year. In his lawsuit, Shearer claims the …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Oct 2016

LG’s V20 may be the phone of the year. So why the fsck can’t you buy it?

For beleaguered Android phone makers, you might think a juicy prize has just appeared. For some of them, it could be a life-saver. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was expected to ship around 20 million units over its lifetime. A flammable battery emphatically put paid to that - with the potential loss of tens of millions of more sales …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Oct 2016
Robot drives a car. Conceptual illustration from Shutterstock

Apple's car is driving nowhere

Is Silicon Valley “disrupting” the car industry – or is the car “disrupting” Silicon Valley? It might be the latter; after Google’s car struggles comes further news of Apple’s ailing auto project. Apple has lost “hundreds” of staff from Project Titan, its car initiative, Bloomberg reports in a scathing update on the work. It’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2016

Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy

Analysis I remember when I first noticed “factivism”. It was more than 10 years ago. In 2003, Californian internet evangelists were still bruised by the implosion when the United States invaded Iraq on a bogus pretext, WMDs. The web evangelicals thought: wait a minute. The Internet (PBUI) is a Good Thing. The Internet delivers …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2016

So. What's North Korea really like?

First hand accounts from The People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) are very rare - only around a hundred outsiders get to see it each year week. Simon Buckby spent two weeks exploring the secretive state, and have reported back with a fascinating, 8,000 word account which is by far the most detailed you’ll have ever read. ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2016

Open Sorcerers: Can you rid us of Emperor Zuck?

OX Summit Back in the dot com heyday, around 1999 and 2000, Linux and open source conferences were huge events: they were packed and brimming with excitement. There was optimism, new initiatives in every conceivable direction, and anything seemed possible. Move over, Grandad: everything traditional was going to be up-ended by open source …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2016

Euro politicians are hyping the terror threat to steal your privacy

OX Summit European politicians are using a bogus terror threat to coerce their populations, says Open-Xchange founder Rafael Laguna. It’s a year since we caught up with the always-quotable CEO, and he hasn’t mellowed. “Privacy Shield is a band aid on a wound that won’t heal,” he said. "It's just a Band Aid on a wound - the wound is …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2016

Hypernormalisation: Adam Curtis on chatbots, AI and Colonel Gaddafi

Interview Hypernormalisation, the new film by English documentary-maker Adam Curtis, dives deeper into technology than any of his previous films for the BBC. It goes up on the Beeb's iPlayer on Sunday (at 9pm in the UK) and “it’s a bit of a monster”, he admits. The film is pushing three hours long. I had to watch it over two nights – a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2016

US investment 'heroes' are the people you love to hate

Which corporations invest most in the USA? A ranking by the favourite think-tank of the Democratic Party leadership might leave the Party's net roots choking on their muesli. The Progressive Policy Institute has ranked US corporations by the amount they invest in the country, and excluded financial companies from the list. It’ …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016

Smell burning? Samsung’s 'Death Note 7' could still cause a contagion

Analysis Samsung’s rivals in the cut-throat flagship phone market shouldn’t pop open the champagne just yet. While in the short term, Sony, HTC and Google could see some upside from Samsung’s now-deceased “Death Note”, in the long term the market and the consumer benefit from a high margin leader. But it would be a dead cat bounce: a …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016

RIP Samsung 'Death Note' 7

Samsung has confirmed it's killing off its troubled Galaxy Note 7 product altogether. In August, reports of fires caused by Note 7s in Korea caused Samsung to delay global shipments, but Samsung pressed ahead. The company issued a full recall in mid-September. But reports of replacement Note phones catching fire led to Samsung …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016
Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 . From vodafone uk website

There are some really crap budget phones out there. Vodafone's Smart Ultra 7 isn't

Review Not so long ago, the idea of buying an operator-branded phone would have filled most people with horror. For years these were typically budget feature phones for skint punters, too time-poor to do their own homework. Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 . From vodafone uk website But then a couple of years ago, EE introduced its Kestrel, …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Oct 2016
Lumia 215

Nokia crawls towards comeback with new phones announcement

The “new Nokia” appears going for volume rather than margins as it makes a comeback into phones. A new venture called HMD Global has licensed the rights to the Nokia brand for use in phones, which will be made by Foxconn. Three or four new Nokia-branded devices will be launched, Nokia’s China chief suggested in August [ …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Oct 2016

CEO of shady ad site Backpage and owners arrested on human trafficking suspicions

Special report The CEO of the notorious online classified site Backpage, Carl Ferrer, has been arrested in Texas on allegations of sex trafficking, after a joint investigation by California and Texas. Earlier this year the US Senate, investigating human trafficking, voted to hold Ferrer in contempt after he refused to co-operate. It was the …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Oct 2016