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IT boss jailed for plundering Scottish library

The technology boss of the National Library of Scotland has been jailed for two years for embezzling money. David Dinham, a 33-year-old Australian, was chief information officer for the library and in charge of a £1.8m budget to digitise the collection. After making a small purchase on his company credit card, Dinham realised …
John Oates, 26 Jul 2011
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Hague promises Foreign Office cyber confab in London

Foreign Secretary Wee Willie Hague is hosting a cybersecurity conference later this year. The two-day event will be held on 1 and 2 November and more than 80 organisations have been invited to attend. Hague said international cooperation was vital to ensure that cyberspace "remains a safe and trusted environment in which to …
John Oates, 26 Jul 2011
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Google grabs facial-recognition 'ware firm

Google has bought a facial recognition company called pittpatt. pittpatt Pittpatt was spun off from the University of Carnegie Mellon in 2004 following 10 years of research by Dr Henry Schneiderman, now the company's president and CEO. The company specialises in "reliable facial recognition software for images and video". …
John Oates, 25 Jul 2011
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Moonpig gobbled by PhotoBox

Online greeting card maker Moonpig.com is merging with photo printer PhotoBox. The deal values Moonpig at £120m. Its shareholders will see their stakes rolled over to the new group holding. Equity will be raised from existing shareholders and private investment from Insight Ventures, Quilvest Ventures and Greenspring Associates …
John Oates, 25 Jul 2011
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Angry Birds, other iPhone games shotgunned by Lodsys

Rovio, makers of crack-like mobile game Angry Birds, is facing a patent claim from Lodsys – the patent-holder suing* Apple – and its third-party developers for alleged infringements. The Finnish firm is not replying to our emails, but told the BBC it had yet to hear from Lodsys. Part of the Lodsys' claims against Apple and …
John Oates, 22 Jul 2011
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Biggest ever jump in web, non-store retail sales for June

The Office for National Statistics said non-store retailing jumped 24.4 per cent in June – the biggest such leap it has ever recorded. Comparing June 2011 with the same month last year, value of all retail sales went up 4 per cent and the volume of sales went up 0.4 per cent. Food sales fell 4.2 per cent – the largest fall …
John Oates, 21 Jul 2011
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OS X Lion roars, coughs on appearance in App Store

Apple has stuck the Lion operating system on its Mac App Store. APPLEWHEEL The update can be yours for just £20.99 ($29.99), although we're getting reports of problems using the site. Despite being a supposedly soft launch, it is likely that fanbois are already queuing up to grab the first major operating system upgrade. …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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Google+ hits the iPhone

Apple has approved Google+, the ad giant's social networking app, for the iPhone. The app was sent to Cupertino for approval earlier this month. There was some debate as to whether Apple would ban the application, but given that it doesn't threaten any Apple product, or annoy its telco partners, we're not sure why. Google+ …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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Yahoo! loses! revenue!

Yahoo!'s revenue fell slightly compared to last year, thanks to rubbish sales of US display adverts. The portal failed to see much joy from its search agreement with Microsoft. Total revenue was $1.07bn for the three months ended 30 June 2011, a 5 per cent drop on the $1.12bn it made in the same quarter of 2010. Income from …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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STUDENTS EXPOSED in university IT blunder

The Information Commissioner's Office has reprimanded the University of York for stuffing up its IT systems so that student records were accessible to anyone. The ICO blamed a staff member who "failed to realise they had made an error while carrying out work on the University's IT system". The screw-up resulted in student …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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Jobs: Apple succession plans are 'hogwash'

Steve Jobs took to email to deny a story that Apple's board of directors are talking about a succession plan. Given his medical history, it would be weird if no such discussions had taken place. But Jobs emailed the Wall Street Journal to dismiss the story as hogwash. The Wally reckons that informal discussions with headhunters …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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UK gov 'Spads' hefty salaries released/buried

The Coalition government has released the names of all its special advisers who are paid more than £58,200. David Cameron has two men on salaries just under the ceiling for the posts. Craig Oliver and Andrew Cooper each trouser £140,000 a year and another adviser, Edward Llewellyn, gets £125,000. Seventeen other Spads to the PM …
John Oates, 20 Jul 2011
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DARPA project seeks immortality, suspended animation

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering money to researchers looking at identifying and controlling timing mechanisms in cells, including those of the human body. The blue sky gazing loon-collective notes that no single "master switch" has been found to control genes' activities. But it hopes that the …
John Oates, 19 Jul 2011
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Baidu inks deal with 'Big Music'

Chinese search giant Baidu has done a deal with three of the biggest Western music labels. It has signed an agreement with One-Stop China, a company owned by Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music. The deal covers MP3 downloads and streaming of Chinese and international tracks. Baidu will pay per track played or …
John Oates, 19 Jul 2011
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UK dodgy-political-donor watch database canned

A New Labour database designed to ferret out corrupt contributions to political parties has been canned. The Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) was meant to make it easier for parties to spot contributions from non-resident donors as well as to run the database and deal with queries. The Coalition government claims …
John Oates, 18 Jul 2011
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Everything Everywhere boss jacks it in

Tom Alexander, the boss of Everything Everywhere, has left the company for personal reasons. Staff were told this morning – at the same time that a press release was sent out. CEO Tom Alexander leaves on 31 August and Olaf Swantee takes over on 1 September. Swantee currently runs France Telecom's European operations, excluding …
John Oates, 18 Jul 2011
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Tosh admits customer accounts pillaged

Toshiba says that unidentified hackers have stolen customer records belonging to 7,500 of its customers. Credit cards details were not compromised, but emails, addresses, passwords and phone numbers all went missing. The company said the hackers gained access to a US server. The hack came to light on 11 July and customers have …
John Oates, 18 Jul 2011
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Segway death blamed on good manners

Jim Heselden, the Segway owner who died late last year after toppling from one of the scooters, likely fell from the cliff because he was getting out of the way of a man walking his dog. He fell more than 40 feet from a footpath above a river near Boston Spa, close to his home. Sean Christie was out walking his dog. He told …
John Oates, 15 Jul 2011
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OFT probes dodgy sites that charge for free gov services

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating dodgy websites that charge punters for government services which are available for free. Given the crapness of government websites, it often takes some amount of digging before you find what you want. Enterprising conpersons are getting their sites further up the Google rankings and …
John Oates, 15 Jul 2011
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Yuri Gagarin, legendary 'naut, makes London debut

A statue of Yuri Gagarin has been unveiled by the cosmonaut's daughter, Elena Gagarina, in London. YURIGAGARINSTATUETHEMALL The legendary cosmonaut was the first human being to orbit the planet Earth, back in 1961. He died only 7 years later in an accident during a routine flight in a MiG-15 fighter jet. The statue stands …
John Oates, 14 Jul 2011
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Steelie Neelie: 'Help us form Brussels data breach policy'

The European Commission is asking for feedback on practical rules to ensure that anyone in Europe who has their private data breached will be told. New rules across Europe mean that telcos are meant to tell you if they lose your data. But what is needed now is feedback on how the rules are working and how, in practical terms, …
John Oates, 14 Jul 2011
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Console gaming giant goes into handjobs

Game giant Electronic Arts is spending over a billion dollars on phone and iPad gaming company PopCap – the maker of Bejeweled and Plants vs Zombies. EA is handing over $650m in cash plus $100m in EA shares to some PopCap shareholders. Additionally PopCap can earn another $550m if it hits sales targets for the next two years. …
John Oates, 13 Jul 2011
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Triceratops horn find supports meteor extinction theory

A team of boffins from Yale University look likely to have uncovered the world's youngest dinosaur and in the process provided support for the Alvarez hypothesis – that the dinosaurs were wiped out as a result of a massive meteor strike some 65 million years ago. Since the early 1990s, it has been generally accepted that an …
John Oates, 13 Jul 2011
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Coalition renames GCHQ internet spook-tech plans

Home Secretary Theresa May said the Labour government's Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) is coming back to life. In a speech to Parliament outlining a new counter-terror strategy, or at least its re-branding, May said the government's Counter Terrorism Strategy (aka CONTEST) will include a resurrected Interception …
John Oates, 13 Jul 2011
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Yell and Microsoft ink SMB deal

Yell and Microsoft have signed a "broad strategic alliance" aimed at small and medium businesses. The directory company, which claims 1.3 million SMB customers, will flog MS products that include Office 365 and small business comms packages. Microsoft will help with Yell's move to the cloud and will include its results on the …
John Oates, 13 Jul 2011
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Brussels acts to ensure arrival of new, unknown legal highs

The European Commission is promising tighter rules on 'legal highs' despite surveys indicating that most people think such action should be based on medical evidence. Synthetic drugs - the most infamous was labelled meow-meow by the tabloids - mimic the effects of illegal substances like ecstasy and speed. Sold online or through …
John Oates, 12 Jul 2011
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Sweaties decode ultimate mystery of chips

Scottish boffins have decoded the full genome for the humble potato, opening the door for a new world of Scottish cuisine. The discovery could slash the time taken to breed new types of potato, if they can just get genetically modified crop-planting made legal. However, the information obtained could also be used to aid …
John Oates, 11 Jul 2011
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Chambers of Commerce say UK recovery is weak

The UK's economic recovery remains weak and the Coalition has failed to tackle the underlying reasons. The British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 6,600 of its members and found efforts to move the economy towards increasing exports has failed. Although manufacturers are having more luck with exports than with domestic sales, the …
John Oates, 11 Jul 2011
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Yahoo! reads! your! emails!

Yahoo! is being criticised for the new Ts & Cs for its webmail service, which give it the right to scan your emails as well as making you responsible for telling anyone who might be emailing you, but the ICO has no problem with the changes. Such scanning has been common for some time; Google was the first to scan all messages. …
John Oates, 11 Jul 2011
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Coulson arrested

The former official spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron – and the former editor of the the News of the World – has been arrested. However, Andy Coulson has not been named by the Metropolitan Police statement, which refers to a "43-year-old man arrested on charges of suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications". …
John Oates, 08 Jul 2011
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News of the World TO CLOSE

This Sunday's News of the World will be the last ever. The massive-circulation newspaper is deeply embroiled in phone hacking and police bribery allegations. It has been printed for over 150 years. Despite its recent reputation for shag-n-tell stories about footballers it has a past history of decent investigative journalism. …
John Oates, 07 Jul 2011
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Apple fails to get US 'App Store' trademark injunction

Apple's claim that it owns the trademark "app store" has been dismissed by a US court. The computer giant was seeking a preliminary injunction to stop Amazon calling its "app store" the "Appstore". Apple claimed that "App Store" was a distinctive mark, even though the words app and store are well-known and well-understood. …
John Oates, 07 Jul 2011
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Feds cuff programmer in alleged trading-ware theft

Chunlai Yang, a 49-year old Chinese-born American, has been charged with stealing proprietary software code. Yang worked for CME Group – which makes trading platforms for commodity derivative markets – as a programmer. CME has been monitoring his computer use since May. He has worked for the company since 2000. He appeared in …
John Oates, 07 Jul 2011
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Internet fraud laundryman gets two years in cooler

An internet fraudster was sentenced to two years prison yesterday for his part in a gang which pocketed hundreds of thousands of pounds from various web-based scams. Michael Ugboaja, 48, of Beckton, was sentenced for his part in laundering £470,000. The gang targeted a Canadian doctor on a dating site and persuaded her to hand …
John Oates, 07 Jul 2011
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ICO: Volunteer to be audited by us, we might not bust you

The Information Commissioner's Office said more companies should offer themselves up for voluntary audits. According to the quango's annual report, a third of organisations offered the chance to be audited by the ICO accepted. Of the 603 breaches last year, 186 came from private companies. But only 19 per cent of these firms …
John Oates, 07 Jul 2011
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Lights go out at Telecity in London data outage

Anyone relying on Telecity for hosting, backup or email services will know this already: a power failure at one of its London centres has left dozens of businesses offline. The company's PRs are currently in a meeting so we have no official response. But several Reg readers emailed us to say power had gone for about an hour …
John Oates, 06 Jul 2011
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iPhone 4, iPad mole faces 30 years' federal porridge

A former Flextronics exec is facing up to 30 years in prison for leaking details of Apple's iPhone 4 development as part of an insider trading scam. Walter Shimoon, 39, of San Diego, California, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges. He was arrested in December. Shimoon is accused of using his position at …
John Oates, 06 Jul 2011
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Stieg Larsson: Oxfam's number one best seller

The author Brits are most likely to hand to charity store Oxfam is Dan Brown - the man responsible for turgid Vatican romp the Da Vinci Code. The charity's annual list puts Dan Brown in the top spot for the third year running. Climbing from eighth place to number three isTop Gear presenter and curly-haired clown Jeremy Clarkson …
John Oates, 04 Jul 2011
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Nissan backs off from Goodwood reverse-race car stunt

Organisers of the Goodwood Festival of Speed have stopped Nissan's attempt to drive one of its jalopies up the Hill Climb course backwards. The Japanese manufacturer did manage to send a stuntman in a Nissan up the track on two wheels. But organisers put the kybosh on the reverse attempt on safety grounds. The idea – which …
John Oates, 04 Jul 2011
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Apple v Samsung: Jobs strikes back

Last week Samsung went to the International Trade Commission to try to ban the import of Apple's phones into the US. In response Apple has now tried to stop the sale of four specified Samsung handsets on claims that they infringe Apple patents. Jobs's boys went to court on Friday to seek an injunction to stop sales of Infuse 4G …
John Oates, 04 Jul 2011
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Plucky Czechs force Street View changes

Google's Street View cars will soon be back on the streets of the Czech Republic after the data protection registrar forced changes on the search and advertising giant. Google was forced to suspend the creepy fleet of picture-taking, Wi-Fi slurping vehicles because of objections from the Office for Personal Data Protection. …
John Oates, 04 Jul 2011
hands waving dollar bills in the air

DiData buys itself a hunk of cloud

Dimension Data, the South African services giant, has bought a US-based enterprise cloud hosting and storage company called OpSource. The company is creating a central Cloud Solutions Business Unit to house OpSource. It will report directly to chief executive Brett Dawson. OpSource has 150 staff. It is headquartered in Santa …
John Oates, 01 Jul 2011
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NHS bitchslapped by ICO on data security

The Information Commissioner's Office is working with Connecting for Health to try to get the NHS to take data security seriously. The news comes as another five NHS bodies sign undertakings with the regulator to improve processes. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: "The health service holds some of the most …
John Oates, 01 Jul 2011
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Twitter dealings with 3rd-party apps probed by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating how Twitter deals with companies which make clients for people to access the service on smartphones and other devices. Various companies make applications which depend on Twitter but the issue came to a head in February when Twitter blocked users of two clients – UberTwitter and …
John Oates, 01 Jul 2011
Cat 5 cable

Big Blue offers staff Apples

IBMers used to be famous for filing lots of patents and for uniforms of dark blue suits and white shirts, but an internal email seen by the Reg suggests black turtle-necks, faded jeans and berets might be more in order now. Admittedly IBM flogged off its PC business to Lenovo some time ago, but we didn't expect them to so …
John Oates, 30 Jun 2011
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Feds shut down poker site

One of the world's most successful poker sites, FullTiltPoker.com, has been shut down by the FBI. Back in April, the Feds arrested 11 people for falling foul of US internet gambling laws, including the three founders of the web's biggest such sites. The site itself has now been shut. Viewing from the UK shows a simple system …
John Oates, 30 Jun 2011
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Strike hits police, ICO and the Rev

The Information Commissioner's Office has had to shut its helpline today because of industrial action. Nine out of ten Metropolitan Police workers who deal with public enquiries are also out on strike. Police officers are covering the service, the Met said. A spokeswoman for the ICO said the helpline normally deals with between …
John Oates, 30 Jun 2011
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German vulture detective hits turbulence

German police in Lower Saxony hoping to train a vulture to seek out dead bodies are having issues with the bird's training. Sherlock is one of team of three turkey vultures whom police had hoped to turn into a flying CSI unit. The plan was that they'd be fitted with GPS trackers so police could follow him when he swooped into …
John Oates, 30 Jun 2011
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Lloyds aims 15,000 job cuts at IT and back office

LloydsTSB is cutting another 15,000 jobs but will not be shutting branches as part of its strategic review. The main targets will be back office staff, a press officer confirmed but was unable to give further details. It is not shutting branches except as part of Project Verde – the EU-mandated scheme to sell off 632 branches, …
John Oates, 30 Jun 2011
server room

Sony bomby-batteries pre-fingered

The US Department of Justice is considering a full-blown investigation into Sony's rechargeable batteries. Sony told Bloomberg that it had received a request for information on 3 May but declined further comment. Such a request is normally part of early DoJ probing - short of formal and public investigation. Presumably the DoJ …
John Oates, 29 Jun 2011