Andrew Orlowski

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Voter registration site collapse proves genius of GDS, says minister

Sketch The high profile collapse of the UK Government Digital Service’s voter registration site last week only shows how brilliant the Government Digital Service is, says the minister responsible* for it. Matthew Hancock MP, minister for the Cabinet Office, ran through all the latest TED talk buzzwords (he's an Oxford PPE graduate) …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jun 2016
Newsroom

Third OnePlus flagship: £309

OnePlus has unveiled its third flagship, its first to be generally available without rationing at launch. The 5.5inch AMOLED full HD device packs 6GB of RAM, 64GB in storage, a 16MP main shooter and an ample but smaller (3,000mAh) battery than before. It’s also 17g lighter than the OnePlus Two. The price is the main attraction …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jun 2016

Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button

Publicly owned open spaces in Wales now feature a Red Button that panic-stricken citizens can smack in fury when they spot a vaper on the premises. The button triggers an anonymous pre-recorded PA announcement – read out by a child. The system, which has been introduced at four hospitals, is designed to curb smoking. But this …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jun 2016

This is how the EU's supreme court is stripping EU citizens of copyright protections

Special Report An upcoming EU court decision could strip half a billion EU citizens of their copyright protection, and all because of an accidental translation error. In practice, it means that a link to your stolen family photos (which would never happen because the cloud is so secure, right?) would be free to circulate and there’s nothing …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jun 2016

Microsoft's paid $60 per LinkedIn user – and it's a bargain, because we're mugs

Analysis How can you explain the $25.4bn price tag for Microsoft's acquisition of widely-loathed social network LinkedIn? It's easy. It's all about your personal data, of course. But the price Microsoft puts on your personal data is of particular interest here. Two years ago, Facebook splurged $18.4bn for the over-the-top IM app …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jun 2016
Pretty woman looks miffed. Copyright: Danil Nevsky via Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=149618984&src=id

Google doesn’t care who makes Android phones. Or who it pisses off

Analysis Google could use defeat in the Oracle case to take Android proprietary, reckons analyst Richard Windsor, who thinks development for this watershed event is already well underway, as we reported last week. Google would then be able to bring the ecosystem up to date much more quickly than it does today. Last year’s Marshmallow …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jun 2016

Google snubs 'dark money' questions at AGM. Shareholder power? Yeah, right

Alphabet shareholders demanding greater shareholder scrutiny and more transparency over its lobbying network were snubbed by Google executives at its AGM yesterday. To drive the point home, Google amended its incorporation documents so that Alphabet, its sole owner, doesn’t need to convene a vote of Alphabet shareholders for …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2016
Laptop leaning against a stack of news papers in front of a world map illustration

Apple to kill off Mac OS X?

More hints that Apple will retire its “Mac OS X” brand have surfaced ahead of its annual developer conference. Support documents published by 9to5Mac indicated the platform will be rebranded macOS, the name of the Mac’s original OS when it launched in 1984, one of four Apple platforms. The others are watchOS, tvOS and iOS. …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2016

If The Register made reality music TV, this is what it would look like

Competition Spotify is spending a lot of money on original music-related video content. Some of it is dull and worthy, but some of it has the surreal desperation of Alan Partridge attempting to revive his career. Inspired by this, we invited readers to come up with their own candidates for new music TV shows – and you didn't disappoint. …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jun 2016
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Wikimedia boss scoops $100,000 payrise – after stepping down

The former head of the charity that collects and dispenses cash from Wikipedia’s fundraising secured a pay rise worth almost 50 per cent – after she stepped down as chief executive. The details only emerged after the US-headquartered Wikimedia Foundation released its 990 tax form for 2014-15. Gardner joined the WMF in …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Jun 2016

Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Google is preparing to seize control of Android with its own proprietary closed-source version of the mobile operating system, an analyst claims. Technology analyst Richard Windsor says that a highly confidential internal project is underway to rewrite the ART runtime, removing any lingering dependencies from the freely …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Jun 2016

Microsoft clones Trello, smuggles it into Office

Remember the days when you could accurately predict what would appear in next year’s version of Office or Windows by looking at CNet’s Top 10 download chart this year? Well, happy days are here again. Redmond has unveiled a card-based collaboration tool that will be bundled with enterprise editions of Office. Microsoft Planner …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Jun 2016

Digital ad biz is fraudulent by design, complain big brands

Global trade body the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has produced a useful guide to the digital ad industry's toxic sludge. The WFA represents the biggest spenders on digital advertising, such as Unilever and MasterCard, and they're not happy. Advertisers lose out from ad fraud, and firms need to clean up their own act …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jun 2016

So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

Wilson: Who's Harvey? Miss Kelly: A white rabbit, six feet tall Wilson: Six feet? Elwood P. Dowd: Six feet three and a half inches. Now let's stick to the facts A shock survey that nobody could possibly have anticipated reveals that people don’t want to talk to an invisible rabbit robot when they’re out in public. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jun 2016

Comeback mobe comes back

BlackBerry’s “comeback” phone – the Android-based Priv – keeps coming back to AT&T, a carrier executive has admitted. "We've seen more returns than we would like," the unnamed exec told CNet, saying the Priv was “struggling”. AT&T snared the US exclusive for the Priv’s launch in early November. It’s ominous for BlackBerry …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jun 2016

England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

The head of the wind industry’s trade body in the UK has admitted England isn’t windy enough for any more wind farms. “We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it,” Hugh McNeal, head of Renewable UK told the …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jun 2016

US Supremes won't halt class-action legal battle against Google Adwords

Google has failed to convince the US Supreme Court to derail a long-running ad-fraud class-action lawsuit. Proceedings will therefore continue against the advertising goliath. Look under "certiorari denied" in Monday's Supreme Court listings [PDF] and you'll find Google, Inc. v. Pulaski & Middleman, et al, meaning the supremes …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jun 2016

Google's tentacles stretch into the EU as well as the US

Google can provide a lucrative career option for EU policy advisors, with the UK hosting the busiest revolving door, according to new research. The US-based Campaign for Accountability has identified at least 16 Googlers joining the taxpayer’s payroll, with 64 advisors taking the more lucrative path the other way by joining …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jun 2016
Huawei HQ

Fact: Huawei now outspends Apple on R&D

Two years ago, Huawei was to premium smartphones what Datsun was to family cars in the late 1970s. Cheap and cheerful, and sometimes not all that cheerful. The idea (promoted here) that Huawei would be able to challenge Apple and Samsung was considered ridiculous. “Samsung should be very concerned at what Huawei might be …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2016
Warwick Hospital accident and emergency

Who's to blame for the NHS drug prices ripoff?

The NHS has been hit by a new scandal – overpaying for generic drugs. It’s a cracking story, and all credit to The Times for breaking it. The Thunderer reports how the NHS buyers continued to acquire drugs at eye-gouging prices, using prices set by the marketing middleman, when much cheaper alternatives could have been …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jun 2016

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

Comment Oracle will ultimately prevail in its Java copyright lawsuit against Google. And if you're a free software developer or supporter, you should be cheering them all the way to the wire. Blogger John Gruber last week observed that virtually no one is rooting for Big Red. This is really quite astonishing. That's because Google has …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2016
cable

OnePlus: No more rationing

Budget phone star OnePlus is discarding the rationing system that has infuriated wannabe buyers for two years. Creating scarcity in a world of ubiquity originally helped put OnePlus on the map. But the Shenzhen outfit's third flagship OnePlus mobile phone launches on June 14, with immediate availability, and no invitation is …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2016
Mickey Mouse watch. Pic: Joe Haupt

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Comment If you work in software, I’ll bet you worked on a project like this. It’s where dozens, or even hundreds of people are involved in the spec process, and what tumbles out is a monster that nobody ever wanted. The IA-432 processor, Intel’s first pre-Itanic disaster, was a classic example. It was a tabula rasa, and every …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2016
Kraftwerk concert 2012

Kraftwerk versus a cheesy copycat: How did the copycat win?

Analysis Have you noticed that with copyright, the people who complain loudest and longest about how unfair it all is often the least talented? Grumbly bass players. Science fiction "novelists". Otherwise-unemployable "academics". It's a union of the bitter and grudgeful, with a distinct talent deficit. It doesn't take much to …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Jun 2016
European flag with sad face

Google is the EU Remain campaign's secret weapon

Google has demoted the site EU Referendum to “below the fold” in searches for the term “EU referendum”, where it isn’t visible to most web surfers unless they scroll down. The political site, which was founded by author and researcher Richard A.E. North in 2004, was the top search result for the topical expression across all …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 May 2016