Andrew Orlowski

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Russia vows to shame big biz that advertises on pirate sites, and save the internet

Russia has vowed to do what Obama and the EU dare not – and we don't mean bomb ISIS. The President Putin-led nation has promised to go after big business and the pirate websites they support. The Russian government has vowed to crack down on the top 100 copyright-infringing sites, in order to shame the Top 100 brands into …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Oct 2015

Five things that doomed the big and brilliant BlackBerry 10

Listicle Clickbait Special BlackBerry wants you to know that the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) isn't dead. But beyond receiving essential maintenance, it simply isn't a priority for BlackBerry, which boasts that it now has over 50 per cent of its staff in software and sales jobs. "We have two confirmed new releases, 10.3.3 and 10.3.4, on the roadmap. These …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Oct 2015

Microsoft sabotages own Lumia smartmobe flagship launch

Microsoft has ensured that its unwanted Lumia phone division won’t upstage its Surface team next week, by posting details of the phones to its own UK Store website. It’s the latest in a series of “accidental” leaks, meaning the new Lumia flagship will be rather familiar by the time it is officially unveiled in New York at the …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Oct 2015

Mobile first? Microsoft decides to kneecap its Android users instead

Comment Microsoft can often resemble a heavily armed octopus trying to shoot itself in the head. But even after 25 years of watching Redmond's finest, it still has the capacity to astonish us with the imaginative ways it can screw things up. It gave us another example last week. Mobile platforms are vital to Microsoft, but it doesn't …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2015

BlackBerry's tactical capitulation to Google buys time – and possibly a future

Analysis BlackBerry loyalists may despair – but for the first time in a very long time, BlackBerry has been showered with praise for a new device. While Reddit is no bellwether of mainstream opinion, the Android-based Priv (which rhymes with "spiv," not "reprieve") officially announced on Friday has received far more enthusiasm than …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Sep 2015

'Disruptive Innovation'? Take this theory and stuff it: MIT Profs

Comment "Disruption" – Silicon Valley's favourite buzzword for intimidating other, profit-making parts of the economy – has taken a knock. Founder Clayton Christensen, a Harvard business Prof, spawned a consultancy and investment company off the back of his 1998 business bestseller, The Innovator's Dilemma. The buzzwords "disruptive …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Sep 2015

BlackBerry emits Android mobe as biz goes down the Priv

BlackBerry officially confirmed the release of its first ever Android phone today, and it shall be known as "Priv". It also promised to maintain its BB10 platform with security updates, with a further release 10.3.3 in March next year. The Oxford Dictionary defines a "Privy" as "[noun] a toilet located in a small shed outside …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Sep 2015
OnePlus 2 backs

OnePlus 2: Disappointing Second Album syndrome strikes again

Review Nothing excites young male phone nerds like a phone you can’t buy. It excites them more than the (remote) prospect of sex. Neither is obtainable, but how they want it so. They’ll queue in the sun for hours just to look at something they won’t be able to buy for months. OnePlus, an offshoot of Chinese giant OPO, tried this …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Sep 2015

The BBC's Space: A short history of 21st Century indoor relief

Special Report It was Open London last weekend, where for two days we got to see inside buildings normally closed to the public. With Doctor Who’s Tardis being unavailable, my kids found themselves on the Dazzle Ship moored in the Thames*. They were at once accosted by someone showing them an app. Take a photo, slap it on your own Dazzle …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2015

PETA monkey selfie lawsuit threatens wildlife photography, warns snapper at heart of row

In the inverted morality of the obsessive copyright hater, criminals are folk heroes, and the innocent must be punished. The latest internet victim-shaming is directed against British wildlife photographer David Slater, who snapped a grinning macaque in the Indonesian jungle. US animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2015

More BlackBerry layoffs: 200 Venice devs binned amid Android shift

BlackBerry’s phone ambitions are diminishing more than ever as the former smartphone giant prepares to launch its first pure Android phone. Reuters reports that around 200 hardware and design staff have been laid off, following the completion of work on an Android device codenamed "Venice". It’s the latest in a succession of “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Sep 2015
Google faces antitrust charges in the European Union

Google shouldn’t worry while EU commissars fight over policing tech giants

Comment Try getting through a day without using Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal or a music service. Even if you heroically avoid stepping on any of their properties, it’s likely that your activity will have been tracked and recorded. Few things affect your online life more than “platforms”. They’re almost impossible to avoid, and the …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Sep 2015

UK lords aim probe into Silicon Valley oligarchs

The UK's Parliament has launched a probe into Silicon Valley's giant internet plantations platforms – and wants to know if they're treating suppliers fairly. It also wants to know whether you're happy that you can switch from one platform to another, or whether they're trying to lock you in. The term "platform" is broad enough …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Sep 2015

Why the 'Dancing Baby' copyright case is just hi-tech victim shaming

Analysis Silicon Valley's great triumph has been persuading people to give up their rights, and be happy to do so. And tech oligarchs aren't worried about fighting dirty to make it happen: victim shaming is now part of the arsenal. Modern technology – and in particular the miracle of the internet – has allowed billions of people to …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Sep 2015

'To read this page, please turn off your ad blocker...'

The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post has become the largest newspaper to refuse to serve readers who filter out advertisments. The Post described it as “a short test” to gauge what users who use blocked blockers will do next. “Often, we run tests like this not in reaction to a problem, but to learn,” said the paper in a …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Sep 2015

Should take down mean stay down? EU’s Big Internet quiz leaks

Brussels wants to know if you think Silicon Valley’s giant internet plantations do business fairly in Europe – and is inviting views on Big Internet’s biggest legal loophole. A leak of the European Commission’s imminent platforms consultation, seen by The Register – it’s one of several – wants Europeans' views on whether “take …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

WinPhone community descends into CANNIBALISM and WOE

Analysis Windows Phone fanbois are turning on each other in an online orgy of recrimination. So says Daniel Rubino of unabashed fan site Windows Central – formerly Windows Phone Central. Rubino made the observation in a candid post entitled: “The Windows Phone community is imploding”. “The tone today from many is dire,” he laments. “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Sep 2015

Apple's big secret: It's an insurance firm (now with added finance)

Analysis Remember "Peak Apple"? It looked vaguely plausible a couple of years ago. For years, the media had stoked consumer expectations of Apple continuing to launch blockbuster, category-defining, market-making new products at regular intervals. Jobs’ biographer had disclosed that his "secret legacy" was “four years of new products …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Sep 2015

Jolla chief quits: Fawning Putin lickspittles to take over?

Jolla co-founder, COO and figurehead Marc Dillon has quit the Finnish phone outfit. Jolla was created as Sailfish and escaped from the burning platforms of Nokia to develop the MeeGo (formerly Maemo) Linux OS for phones. Nokia abandoned that, taking key developers to the startup. This year, it sidelined hardware design to …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2015

Hi. Ofcom? My mobe's call quality is crap – but you said it was fine

Consumers will soon get proper information on how well their phone makes calls. Regulator Ofcom is to use an independent lab to test and rate phones for how well they actually make calls, and will release the information to the public. Too good to be true? Not according to the Telegraph. Ofcom reportedly told the paper that …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2015

Tech, telcos, and digital crusties gang up against the EU's Digital Single Market

It’s normal to hear copyright industry lobbyists complain about the European Commission’s hasty reform agenda – but not people who the commission might have presumed would be its supporters. Out-of-touch Brussels Eurocrats were blasted by tech industry groups, telcos, and even a digital rights group for, they said, trying to …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2015

‘Dumb pipe’ Twitter should sell up and quit, says tech banking chap

Billions have been made in Silicon Valley by wrapping HTML angle brackets around 1980s protocols and calling it “innovation”. IRC became instant message, email became Facebook, and SMS became WhatsApp and Twitter. But the latter, having failed to add anything interesting for years, should cut its losses and find a buyer. So …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Sep 2015
Tony Hall, BBC Director General. Pic: BBC

Grinning BBC boss blows raspberry at, eyes up buffet

The BBC has blown a raspberry at both the Minister of Fun and the Chancellor, who want a smaller and more focused BBC, by setting out plans to embiggen itself. The media giant’s new strategy, which has a pre-election feel to it, sees the Corporation expanding furiously in all directions while threatening to close down iconic …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Sep 2015

The S, Huawei’s new best Mate: Compact and premium – but not cheap

Hands On The Mate has had a place in Huawei’s range lineup as a cheapskate’s alternative to Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablets: it's cheap, cheerful and durable. The display wasn’t the best, but a massive battery kept the phone chugging along for ages. Slightly confusingly, the Mate S is a quite different kettle of fish, however. It …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Sep 2015
Huawei Watch

They’re FAT. They’re ROUND. They’re worth almost a POUND. Smart waaatch, smart waaatch

IFA 2015 Samsung teased its Gear S2 smartwatch at IFA on Thursday night. Like others I’ve seen here, it looks really handsome: expensive, well made, and well designed. Makers now realise they have to look like luxury goods to justify the price. But the Gear S2 is no exception to the fundamental challenge they all face. They’re all, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Sep 2015

Sparks and recreation: TomTom's stealth wearable success

IFA 2015 Last year, TomTom shipped half a million fitness and sports watches, more than any Wear smartwatch vendor can boast – but short of the 10 million fitness bands Fitbit shifted. Today at IFA it launched a new range of sporty watches. The Spark range has more in common with Pebble – low cost, durability, longevity – than the …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2015

Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy

IFA Sketch While the business side of the Internet of Things looks in good nick, and isn’t actually anything new, the consumer prospects look remote. Samsung is one of the few global companies that’s able to project a vision of consumer IoT: it does technology as well as consumer electronics and white goods. And it tried to give us a “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2015

Wikipedia’s biggest scandal: Industrial-scale blackmail

Analysis “It’s the wisdom of the crowd that gives you the best results in the long-term.” Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC No media mogul in history has ever matched the power of Wikipedia, which is capable of damaging reputations on an industrial scale. But with no checks in place to identify contributors, it was only a matter of time before …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2015

Mate S: Huawei 'beats' Apple to force-touch phone launch

IFA2015 Apple introduced “force touch” in its MacBook earlier this year, and it is expected to appear on iPhones very soon. But Huawei has stolen some of Apple’s thunder by announcing a flagship with the variable pressure feature at Berlin’s IFA consumer show today. The Mate phone can “guess the weight” of an object placed on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Sep 2015
Meme of a dog "typing" at a computer, with the large font phrase "I have no idea what I'm doing' above him.

Europe yawns at EU robo-commish Ansip's digital plans

Eurocrats' proposals to change how Europe's independent TV and film makers do business aren't needed – according to the EU's own research, released on one of the quietest Fridays of the year. The European Commission wants to force the producers to outlaw territorial licensing as part of its "digital single market" strategy. …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015

Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches

We recently mused, half seriously, whether the entire point of the Windows 10 upgrade was to harvest your personal information. With Microsoft suffering from a serious case of Google envy, perhaps it felt it had some catching up to do. Now Microsoft is revamping the user-tracking tools in Windows 7 and 8 to harvest more data, …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015

No more jaw-jaw, as PRS sues SoundCloud over music streaming

Analysis UK performing rights society the PRS* has told its 111,000 members that it is now reluctantly suing SoundCloud after five years of fruitless negotiations, for refusing to properly compensate its members after streaming their works. “Unfortunately, [SoundCloud] continues to deny it needs a PRS licence for its existing service …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015

Turn-by-turn directions coming to Ordnance Survey Maps

Hands On Satnav-style turn-by-turn directions are coming to the Ordnance Survey's stealth-mode Maps app. The ambitious next-generation map app won't get a formal splashy launch until 2016 – but I checked in to see how it's getting on, since we gave you an exclusive peek here. OS Maps is a major multi-year project to create a kind of " …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015
Honor 7 browsing and fingering the swipe button

The Honor's a defo gamechanger, but good luck buying one

Analysis China has been threatening to up-end the phone business for a while, without coming up with a convincing end product. Finally, though, it has, and I expect to see a rapid shakeout of top tier handset manufacturers, already reeling from years of losses. The doomsday scenario for established vendors was that the Chinese would do …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Aug 2015
Honor 7 Android smartphone

Honor 7 – heir apparent to the mid-range Android crown

Review With a starting price of £249, the Honor 7 is a quality phone that offers astonishing value for money: and it could be a genuine game-changer for how people buy phones. Not only is it (comfortably) the standout product in its price range, it also has the kind of features associated with much more expensive models, and a few …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Aug 2015

First pics of flagship Lumias for 18 months released … or maybe not

Images of the first flagship Lumia phones for 18 months have popped up on Twitter ... or have they? Renowned technology "leaker" Evan Blass posted two images of models described as the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. It needs to be remembered that marketing teams are experts at planting images of forthcoming devices with bloggers …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Aug 2015

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Analysis Arts and humanities graduates are schooled for years in metaphor and analogy - and these are very useful skills for understanding the world. But what happens when an approach based on metaphor and analogy meets hard science and engineering reality? And what happens when the chosen metaphor doesn't fit? While you can choose …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Aug 2015

Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

Analysis Yesterday's review by Public Health England on vaping made front-page news, shaming much of the professional health clerisy and the mainstream media, both of whom have campaigned to discourage use of the nicotine delivery tech. But the newspapers splashed with something Public Health England didn't recommend – e-cigs on …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Aug 2015
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

Wikiland turns to Shapps and says ‘those emails you wanted, we deleted them, sorry’

Wikimedia UK, the national charity supporting Wikipedia and its sister projects, has told the MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps he can't see internal emails he has requested under the Data Protection Act ... because it has deleted them. One of the charity's own staff was censured after being involved in …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Aug 2015

Android apps are flooding on to jailbroken Win10 phones

The addition of Android compatibility for Windows phones was called a "suicide note" back in April, and now somebody's composing the first draft. Intrepid tinkerers have opened up previews of Windows 10 for phones to allow a wide range of Android apps run without modification. Reports suggest that at this stage, far more Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2015

Choke on it! Brit police squeeze pirate site advertising money trail

The intercepting of advertisements served on dodgy pirate sites has begun to choke their revenue by 70 per cent, according to the City of London police, vindicating the policy of following the “money trail”, rather than an individual infringer, said the police and trade groups. Tactics include harassing the seedy ad networks …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Aug 2015
Microsoft 'Scroogled' mug

Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit

Opinion A funny thing happened while I was reinstalling Windows 8 over Windows 10 yesterday morning. There in front of me, halfway through the installation process, were two full, clear pages of privacy toggles. Every toggle was set to not send private information to Microsoft, or anyone else. In addition, Windows 8 created a local …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Aug 2015
Motorola Moto G 3rd generation

Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Review It's been relatively easy recommending a SIM-free phone for under £200 for the past couple of years. The decision tree looked like this: If you wanted those specific apps, you’d want to consider the Moto G. But if you didn’t, then the Lumia range gave you a better phone at any sub-£200 price point. Windows Phone was intended …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Aug 2015
BlackBerry Passport

Reclothed BlackBerry Passport launched as Silver Edition

BlackBerry has revamped the design of its Passport, putting its monster QWERTY phablet in a new upmarket frame. The “Silver Edition” Passport contains the same guts as the original, launched last autumn, but now sports rounded bottom corners, a tweaked keyboard and new camera housing, as well as a grippier back. The phone, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2015

Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes

Microsoft had one job to do with Windows 10 – but it looks like it's failed to get even that right. Start Menu replacements for Windows 10 are moving almost as fast as they did for Windows 8, which didn't have a Start menu at all, according to Brad Wardell, whose company makes the most popular commercial drop-in Start menu. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2015

OnePlus phone fanbois flock for a shiny phondle

Pics It looked just like the queues you get outside Apple stores. But we were in South Of The River – in deepest Southwark – where Apple doesn't set foot. What was going on? The answer was that OnePlus, a Shenzhen-based phone "startup" – read on for an explanation of the scare quotes – was offering fanbois a glimpse at its new …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Aug 2015

UK's first 'DIY DAB' multiplex goes live in Brighton

Britain’s first home-brewed open source-based DAB multiplex has gone live this morning. Six services will be operating on the new mux in Brighton for nine months. It’s less than three years since Small Scale DAB – which was conceived in a shed and generates its signal using low cost Raspberry Pi computers – was first tested, …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2015
'Broken Copyright'

Open source Copyright Hub unveiled with '90+ projects' in the pipeline

The web has grown up without letting people own and control their own stuff, but a British-backed initiative might change all that, offering a glimpse of how the internet can work in the future. Their work will all be open sourced early next year. Britain's much-anticipated Copyright Hub was given ministerial blessing when it …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2015

'Fix these Windows 10 Horrors': Readers turn their guns on Redmond

Mailbag “Clearly the first year of ‘free’ is really beta testing – what should a sensible IT manager do?” asks one Reg reader Down Under. I’ve heard this from a few of you and collected your thoughts. You’ve no doubt already read Tim Anderson’s review and Trevor Pott's sysadmin’s view. There are plenty of other concerns and questions …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2015

Let's all binge on Blake’s 7 and help save the BBC ... from itself

Analysis BBC please take note: Sky’s decision to play Netflix at its own game seems to be paying off. Sky decided to “unbundle” itself two years ago, offering access to its content to anyone with an internet connection and a credit card via NOW TV, an OTT (over-the-top) offering. It previously bundled content with access and …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2015