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Andrew Orlowski

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Proper boffins make your company succeed, even if you're not very technical

Good news for British techies. A wide-ranging innovation study recommends that firms should hire more staff who can solve complex technical problems, even if they’re not tech companies or the techies aren’t employed in a narrowly technical function. So says a report on Innovation and Growth prepared for the Department of …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Mar 2014
Child labourers

Is the World Wide Web for luvvies and VCs – or for all of us?

The Web turns 25 years old today, and its inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has written yet another declaration of rights – a "Magna Carta" – to mark the occasion. These incessant anniversaries are proof that journalists and media luvvies love looking backwards rather than reporting what's in front of them - warts and all. But …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Mar 2014
Homer Simpson

Universal Music mulls 'all you can eat' buffet of song downloads

Universal Music Group (UMG) is developing an online service that offers unlimited music downloads for a monthly subscription. That news comes from The LA Times, which was treated to a PowerPoint presentation by the record giant's execs. The end result of that briefing was this profile of Universal Music's British boss Lucian …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Mar 2014
BBC iPlayer

Netflix needling you? BBC pimps up iPlayer ahead of BBC3 move

The BBC unveiled a much-needed front-end makeover for its sprawling iPlayer service today – while dodging the inevitable questions about subscriptions. The corporation has updated iPlayer to take on commercial subscription rivals like Netflix, with shows available for longer – 30 days, subject to Trust approval. The details of …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2014
Julie Larson-Green Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows Experience

Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 – with pain relief for those suffering from “customer satisfaction issues” – is widely expected to be released in early April. It'll probably coincide with the Build developer conference starting on 2 April. This spring update has already gone to computer manufacturers to install on their new …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Mar 2014

PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies

Prime Minister David Cameron thinks he has spotted the "Second Industrial Revolution" – and it’s the Internet of Things. Speaking at the start of the CeBIT show in Hannover, Cameron foresaw British software and services companies working up with German engineering and manufacturing companies to turn IoT from a “slogan to a fact …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Mar 2014

Global Warming IS REAL, argues sceptic mathematician - it just isn't THERMAGEDDON

The "certainty" that underpins European and UK climate policy may be wildly misplaced, as the models that the climate science establishment presents to politicians as evidence run far too hot. That's according to a report released yesterday by UK think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation. And this is very good news, says …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Mar 2014

Getty offers 35 MILLION images for free – if you jump (em)bed with it

Photo giant Getty Images has announced it will allow 35 million of its images to be embedded on non-commercial sites such as blogs, message boards and social networks. It's via a new Embed tool, similar to Twitter or YouTube's iframe HTML, which allows the image to be pasted onto a web page, and allows Getty to track usage. …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Mar 2014

MWC: The good, the bad ... and the Galaxy S5

Well, we're back from Barcelona - in various states of disrepair. Here's my highlights of MWC 2014 ahead of our web chat later this week. 1. Innovation is alive and well. You only have to look beyond the shiny Youtube Video It's a shame that some pundits who declared MWC a low-"innovation" event couldn't see past the phones. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Mar 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

WhatsApp no threat to BBM: Blackberry bod says pretender's buyout will HELP ailing firm

You could forgive BlackBerry for being grumpy after Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $16bn. After all, WhatsApp is a very obvious knock-off of BlackBerry's BBM. But for years BlackBerry kept BBM locked inside BlackBerry phones - and only last year opened it up as a real cross platform OTT messaging app. Did BlackBerry kick itself …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Feb 2014

Nokia to Devs: PLEASE DON'T make Nokiadroid apps look like WinPho

Nokia is telling developers not to make their Nokia Android apps look like Windows Phone apps. Nokia has been explaining how much work is needed to port Android apps to its new Nokia X range, which uses the AOSP Android open source base. The Finns reckons 75 per cent of apps need no modification at all, but 25 per cent will …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014
BlackBerry logo

BlackBerry brings back call, end keys, touchpad to Q20 keyboard cutie

BlackBerry has admitted that its made its some of its traditional users who stayed loyal to the company very fed up when it dropped some of its best-loved features. At Mobile World Congress today, the company formerly known as RIM said it would bring back the classic trackpad as well as Call ("Send"), End and Menu keys to a …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014

Say WHAT? Qualcomm, MediaTek scrap over who has best 'marketing gimmick' octocore

Qualcomm launched its first 8-core processors at Mobile World Congress this week, after last year describing octocore chips as "a marketing gimmick". “You can’t take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari," Qualcomm's senior VP Anand Chandrasekher said last year. "We don’t do …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014

Samsung and Apple BEWARE: Huawei is coming to eat your lunch

Richard Yu, Huawei's consumer boss, was one of the highlights of the presentations at Mobile World Congress. This is not because he's easy to understand; like a French president travelling overseas, he makes no concessions to his pronunciation advisors. It's because he thinks everyone else is rubbish. Huawei's new range …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Feb 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

Microsoft was aware of Nokia's plans to release a range of Android phones, the man in charge of the new range told us today. And the new Nokiadroids - of which there are more than anyone predicted - will be coming to the UK - possibly sooner than anyone realises. Timo Toikkanen, Executive Vice President of Nokia Mobile Phones …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014

Nokia launches Android range: X marks the growing low-cost spot

Three years after it announced a switch to Windows Phone, Nokia launched a family of Android-based phones today at Mobile World Congress 2014. Nokia's new X family of mobes... The first three devices revealed today at Mobile World Congress adopt the same strategy Amazon has with Android: use the open-source base and develop …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Feb 2014
Nokia Lumia Windows Phone Update

Microsoft courts mobe-makers, tweaks Windows 8 for WIMPs

In a pre-show presentation in Barcelona, where Mobile World Congress starts this week, Microsoft has confirmed some new features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 update coming this (northern) spring and assured phone makers it won't hang them out to dry. Redmond has let it be know that Windows desktop/tablet and …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Feb 2014

Years of AWOL Windows Phone features finally show up in video leaks

The first major update to Windows Phone since November 2012 is expected to be revealed in April, but details have already started to emerge. Sleuths combing through the new SDK for Windows Phone which developers released privately a week ago have published long lists of new features – and there's a purported video of the long- …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Feb 2014

TV scraper Aereo pulled off air in six US states after tellyco court injunction victory

TV retransmitter Aereo, which created its business hoping to weasel around a loophole in the law, has been banned in six US states after a judge granted a preliminary injunction that bans it from operating in them. Aereo provided each subscriber with access to a tiny antenna in the cloud, deploying thousands of these antennas to …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014
Mobile phone stolen by pickpocket

Facebook pays $19bn for WhatsApp. Yep. $45 for YOUR phone book

Putting a man on the Moon cost less than what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, a generic chat app. So why is Facebook paying $45 per user to gain functionality it already has? The silly numbers look even sillier when you consider Facebook's own Messenger only lags narrowly behind WhatsApp in terms of usage. Facebook Messenger …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Feb 2014

Official: British music punter still loves plastic

The UK recorded music industry grew 1.9 per cent last year according to the BPI, despite falls in revenue from sales of CDs and music videos. Amazingly, CD revenue fell only 6.4 per cent in 2013 year on year - and still forms the backbone of the industry. A full £365.4m out of the total of £716.8m comes from CDs and videos. …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Feb 2014
Saul Klein, venture capitalist

A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

The government's "Year of Code" scheme, chaired by former Tory advisor Rohan Silva, has generated more comments from you than anything else this week. Here's a bite-sized timeline to put the whole story in context. February 2007: Saul Klein joins London VC firm Index Ventures. In May, he sets up Seedcamp in Europe. It's a pick …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Feb 2014
Doctor Who and Sarah

SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

It was as good as anything on the telly. Four past BBC chiefs were giving MPs their opinions at Westminster. The Commons media select committee is running an enquiry into the future of the BBC, looking at how it should be governed, and as technology and habits change, whether should there even be a per-household fee levied on …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Google's SECRET contracts: Android lock-in REVEALED!

Details of secret contracts that Google signs with phone manufacturers have become public for the first time, revealing the extent of the restrictions Google puts on Android smartphones. In an email in 2011, a Google Android program manager injudiciously described the OS as a "club" to make phone makers "do what we want". But …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014

Object to #YearOfCode? You're a misogynist and a snob, says the BBC

Critics of the Government's "Year of Code" scheme are misogynists or snobs, according to the BBC's tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones. Rory's frustration is that while billions of pounds are splurged on IT, children are passively taught PowerPoint procedures. That's the limit of the state's ambitions for children. This a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Feb 2014
Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview DVR

BBC, ITV gang up on YouView with 'FreeView Connect'

The BBC and ITV look set to cut YouView adrift, backing a new TV distribution platform they've developed called FreeView Connect. This has long been rumoured in the UK industry, and now Digital UK – which is backed by the two channels together with Channel 4 and Arqiva – has confirmed they're looking at it. According to …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

The government's "Year Of Code" scheme to bring computer programming into schools for children as young as five has degenerated into a political bunfight. "The word 'coding' has been hijacked and abused by politicians and media who don't understand stuff,” the Raspberry Pi foundation’s director of educational development and a …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2014

MEP: Google's SECRET deal will cause crisis of trust for Europe

Google's secret backroom deal with the EU's competition chief can only worsen the crisis of trust in the European institutions, one MEP tells us. This week the Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia said he would advise the Commission to reject complaints made about Google's business practices, thus allowing the search giant …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Opera CEO Jon Von Tetzchner

Opera founder von Tetzchner: It's all gone to crap since I quit

"It's really sad, it's lost now," says Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner, reflecting on the fate of the company he left in 2011. Opera had made serious inroads in the Noughties embedding a browser into consumer products, where it was a pioneer, and had a sizeable following on both desktop and mobile. Its high performance …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Feb 2014
Vodafone on Piccadilly

Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

Vodafone's latest results make grim reading for the company's investors, with revenues in established markets falling and subscribers drifting away despite the firm's 4G investments. The British mobe operator's service revenues fell in Europe by 9.6 per cent and was only partially offset by gains in India and Turkey. The group …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014
Jean Michel Jarre performs (green lasers in background). Photo by Daniele Dalledonne

Jean Michel Jarre: Je voudrais un MUSIC TAX sur VOTRE MOBE

Smartphone owners should pay hundreds of dollars to the music industry, wrinkly French synth twiddler Jean Michel Jarre has said. Without the ability to play music, Jarre argued, the gadget wouldn't be worth as much as it currently is. “We should never forget that in the smartphone, the smart part is us creators,” Jarre told …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014

Nudge Unit flies into Nesta's arms: Is the hype justified?

No 10's controversial "nudge unit" has been spun out into a company - but it hasn't fallen far from the nest. The 16-strong Behavioural Insights Team (as it's known) will become a private entity and will be able to tap into cash originally set aside for fledgling inventors. It will then sell its services back to the government …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014

Facebook turns 10: Big Brother isn't Mark Zuckerberg. It's YOU

Facebook turns 10 this month, which means a bombardment of anniversary pieces lauding the social network. This blabbergasm will stress how Facebook “changed everything” and speculate on how “unimaginable" life might be without Facebook. But Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest achievement isn't financial or technical. Facebook has turned …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Feb 2014
The Hindenburg, on fire and doomed above Lakehurst

Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

MPs begged scientists to tell them what to do at Westminster this week. "I like the idea science tells us something, and we have to agree," said John Robertson (Lab, Glasgow North West) - surely a candidate for Quote of the Year in any year. As we shall discover, the MPs of Parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee were …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jan 2014
Delia Derbyshire tweaks a Jason oscillator

BBC Trust: 'LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING' to this DMI mega-tech FAIL

The BBC failed to heed warnings given as early as 2010 that its Digital Media Initiative uber-project was vague and getting nowhere - according to the National Audit Office, which published its investigation into the disaster today. Executives at the Beeb's finance committee, its executive committee and the BBC Trust all …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jan 2014

BlackBerry makes its devilish Android trickery official in OS update

BlackBerry has started to roll out the latest version of its eponymous Operating System. The tiny incremental increase in version numbering (from 10.2.0 to 10.2.1) belies its importance - for this version runs Android apps at full-tilt, thanks to trickery we described back in November and previewed earlier this month. BlackBerry …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jan 2014

Stephen Fry rewrites computer history again: This time it's serious

What are we to do with Stephen Fry? Britain's go-to guy for advertisement voice-overs has had another attempt at explaining computing history, in his own unique way. But he's got it wrong, and at the same time sullied the memory of one of the industry's true pioneers. Writing on his blog and at The Daily Telegraph, Fry - …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jan 2014

Feds indict four over alleged Android app copyright infringement

The US Department of Justice has taken a break from handing Amazon an ebook monopoly and instead indicted four operators of Android warez sites. The four charged with criminal copyright infringement operated the sites Snappzmarket and Appbucket, whose domains were seized by the FBI in August 2012. Authorities allege that the …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jan 2014

What can Microsoft learn from 'discontinued operations' at Nokia?

"Nokia has commenced reporting substantially all of its Devices & Services business as discontinued operations", the company noted dryly in its earnings report last week. The numbers didn't paint a picture Microsoft would have wanted. Lumia sales fell back after four consecutive quarters of growth, having doubled in the past …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jan 2014

A BBC-by-subscription 'would be richer', MPs told

Could the BBC be better off if it raised money through subscriptions? Last week Westminster heard that the BBC had modelled precisely this scenario and found that it would be richer than it is today. It just didn't want to tell you. And in a strange alignment of interests, the BBC's pay-for rivals don't want you to know either …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jan 2014
Derisive laugh

'Netflix bitch': CEO of vid-streaming site taunts HBO chief over results

Over-the-top video streamer Netflix finished the year with over 43 million subscribers, almost all of whom pay, the company reported yesterday. Netflix recorded revenue of $1.1bn in Q4 2013, including its legacy DVD-by-post business, and a slender net income of $48m. It's still going for growth, though, with 10.93 million …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2014

Bored with patent trolls? Small fry - prepare for the Design Trolls

Changes to UK patent and design law affecting thousands of British businesses have been criticised by industry and Labour's front bench business team. The Intellectual Property Bill contains changes to design and patent law proposed in the so-called Google Review, better known as "The Independent Review of IP and Growth” by …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2014

Nokia's Android? It's not for the likes of us…

Images of a Nokia phone running a forked branch of Android have been circulating since November - when the project was still very much alive - with many more tumbling out of leak sites last week. For its Kindle HD range, Amazon took the Android code base and ported over its own services, and it looks as if Nokia has done the …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jan 2014

So Dr Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor walk into a bar

Today finally sees the launch of the much-delayed and much-hyped anticipated Beats Music service in the USA. Its parentage alone assures the service plenty of attention: the lead UI designer is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and it's a venture from the headphone manufacturer owned by producers Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine. The CEO …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jan 2014

Almost everyone read the Verizon v FCC net neutrality verdict WRONG

Doomsday arrived this week – or is about to. That's if you've been reading the tech blogosphere. "We are the Folk Song Army. Everyone of us cares. We all hate poverty, war, and injustice, Unlike the rest of you squares." - Tom Lehrer A US appeals court ruled on Tuesday that America's communications watchdog the FCC didn't …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Jan 2014

Cocky Spotify drops time limits on free listening, skint music-lovers cheer

As it promised to do before Christmas, Spotify has dropped restrictions on free listening with the celestial jukebox - but it's also removed restrictions on free desktop listening, too. Previously the service capped the number of hours you could listen to music without a subscription. That listening contained advertisments, of …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014

Microsoft buries Sinofsky Era... then jumps on the coffin lid

The path to redemption in 2014 lies not through baptism, but blogging. Former Merrill Lynch dotcom analyst Henry "what a POS*" Blodget agreed to a lifetime ban from the finance industry – but bounced back with a blog. And perhaps one-man wrecking crew Steve Sinofsky, former President of the Windows Division at Microsoft, can …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jan 2014

Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Anyone who doubts the impact of Google's power - it's currently the subject of an antitrust complaint to the European Commission by vertical search companies - needs to read this. The complaints to the Competition Commission maintain that Google's arbitrary promotion of its own material harms the market. But in this case, the …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jan 2014
Microsoft Nokia logo

Blasphemy! Finns trample over Windows Phone home screen

Nokia's phone division has released an app that might upset the high priests at the Temple of Windows Phone Design – who will shortly become its new masters. The app allows users to add folders to the Windows Phone Home Screen – thereby desecrating the hallowed ground which by almighty decree, Must Never Change. It's part of a …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

UK 'copyright czar' Edmund Quilty quits as Blighty's Director of Copyright Enforcement

Britain's unofficial "copyright czar", Edmund Quilty, is moving on. Probably the most influential civil servant you've never heard of, Quilty has served as the Director of Copyright Enforcement and Policy at the UK patent office for six years, far longer than the typical stint for a career bureaucrat of two years. "We can …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jan 2014