Simon Rockman

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The former editor of Amstrad User, Amiga Computing, Personal Computer World, What Mobile and a number of other blast-from-the-past titles, Simon has worked for Motorola, Sony Ericsson and the GSMA. He has great contacts in the mobile industry, where his specialities are phones for seniors and mobile payments. He also covers Bitcoin and 3D printing. Simon regularly reviews the latest and most interesting cars for The Register as the Vulture behind the wheel.
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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

This week’s caption competition used a picture from the Intel, announcing it had built a bra as the latest in wearable technology. used for caption comp Predictable but good was justincranford: Biting the hand that feeds T-IT, and we chortled at John H Woods' This could be dangerous in the wrong hands, let's keep it away …
Simon Rockman, 25 Sep 2015
Fibre Optic by Barta IV https://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Ex-BT boffin Cochrane blasts telco's 'wholly inadequate' broadband vision

Professor Peter Cochrane OBE, the former head of R&D at BT, has dismissed the former incumbent telco's trumpeted “vision for Britain’s digital future” as woefully inadequate. Current BT CEO Gavin Patterson spoke to a conference in London recently promising a number of improvements, arguing BT would tackle slow speeds in hard- …
Simon Rockman, 23 Sep 2015
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Ofcom approves Qualcomm’s spectrum sale to Vodafone, Three

As expected, Ofcom has now rubber-stamped the L-band deal which saw Qualcomm sell a portion of its spectrum to Vodafone and Three, publishing a statement on the matter. Vodafone has bought the 1452-1472MHz frequencies, and (the soon-to-be-merged-with-O2) Three's spectrum at 1472-1492MHz. Spectrum is a touchy subject, but this …
Simon Rockman, 23 Sep 2015
iOS 6 and 7

iOS 9 update set to bork 'hundreds of thousands of EU businesses'

Mobile merchant terminal company iZettle has warned its users that the Bluetooth issues within Apple's operating system could seriously affect payment processes, and has strongly warned merchants using its kit not to upgrade to iOS9 until it says so. iZettle provides its users with card readers allowing them to take payments …
Simon Rockman, 22 Sep 2015
NEMA 5 plug socket

Qualcomm’s first charger with Quick Charge 3.0 breaks cover

How would you like to charge your phone much faster? That’s the promise of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and the first charger has been caught in the wild. Chinese website Chongdiantou has shown pictures of the device, which supports charging at up to 3 amps. Quick charge only works with phones which have Snapdragon 820, 620, 618 …
Simon Rockman, 21 Sep 2015
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DRIVERLESS cars: Apple ups the ante with meeting in California

The “is Apple building a car?” rumour mill has received added grist with the news that Apple execs have been meeting Californian legislators responsible for self-driving cars. The Apple car project is believed to be called “Project Titan”. The Guardian reports that Apple’s legal eagle Mike Maletic had an hour long meeting …
Simon Rockman, 21 Sep 2015
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2

Hutchison will float O2 … as soon as the Three merger is done

CK Hutchison - once known as Hutchison Whampoa* - will float O2 when it merges with Three, pushing the company back into public ownership. The merger is still awaiting regulatory approval, but is expected to go ahead. The fallout will see the number of mobile operators in the UK dropping from four to three, although given the …
Simon Rockman, 21 Sep 2015
Smart cars abound at Salon Privé

Salon Privé: The UK's billionaire-friendly answer to Pebble Beach

Vulture at the Wheel Electric cars are coming, but not in the way you would expect. The lawns of Salon Privé suggest a direction that will have the lentil-munchers puzzled. Salon Privé is the UK’s automotive equivalent to Pebble Beach. A car show for the wealthy and titled: those that actually buy Astons and Zondas. You might have to queue for …
Simon Rockman, 20 Sep 2015
Intel and Chromat make a bra which breathes

WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

We're on a roll with the caption competition and this week’s picture of a snake reading The Reg showed some great wit. Readers entered the vivarium for a chance to win a Western Digital Black, 6TB hard disk. Regular competition entrant i steal your leccy offered This is not the python tutorial i wanted!, while Ol'Peculier:The …
Simon Rockman, 18 Sep 2015
hand holdin retro telephone

Google accuses SEO biz Local Lighthouse of false claims, robo-calls

Google has taken exception to SEO outfit Local Lighthouse that apparently wrongly implied it has an affiliation with The Chocolate Factory. The American web goliath has taken legal action against the smaller biz in the northern district of California, alleging Local Lighthouse uses nuisance calls to sell its services. Google …
Simon Rockman, 17 Sep 2015
Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

Tremble, Vodafone! The UN ain't happy about your phone-hacking

A former Vodafone Australia employee's spying on Fairfax journalist Natalie O'Brien, and the global mobile operator's subsequent conduct, has aroused the interest of the United Nations. David Kaye, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression, has waded in to the fray, arguing the affair shows a shoddy handling of a …
Simon Rockman, 17 Sep 2015
John von Neumann and the IAS computer

Long-memoried boffins re-invent 1950s ferroelectric tech

A new memory technology which harks back to the 1950s is to be launched by the Ferroelectric Memory Company (FMC), a commercial venture being spun out of the Technical University of Dresden’s nano and micro-laboratory (NaMLab). NaMLab specialises in dielectric materials for semiconductor devices and focuses on the application …
Simon Rockman, 17 Sep 2015
Spy on the pope with your Jesus phone

US Catholic Church launches app for Jesus-phone

Devout followers of the non-holy trinity of Cook, Ive and the holy ghost of Jobs will be delighted to learn that the US branch of the global franchise known as the Catholic Church has introduced its first mobile app ... and also available on Android devices. USA Catholic Church gives latest news on where the Pope is, what he’s …
Simon Rockman, 16 Sep 2015
Intel and Chromat make a bra which breathes

Chipzilla has its knockers … and now they’re cool in this venting sports bra

Chipzilla’s latest move into wearable tech embraces fashion, with a partnership that sees the company jumping into bed with sportswear brand Chromat. The companies have produced a sports bra which opens vents when it senses a certain level of heat and sweat. Chromat said its designs are based on “Becca McCharen’s theoretical …
Simon Rockman, 16 Sep 2015
Qualcomm

Qualcomm goes freestyle: Snapdragon 820 will support unlicensed spectrum

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 820 will support carrier aggregation with unlicensed spectrum – LTE-U, part of the new X12 LTE modem – which allows operators to combine unrestricted spectrum with their own licensed holdings to get more bandwidth. While the Snapdragon 820 isn’t expected to ship until the middle of next year, it is …
Simon Rockman, 15 Sep 2015
VoLTE compatible: LG Revolution

Three VoLTEs to victory as it jumps into UK 4G voice offering

Mobe network Three is the first to offer UK 4G voice services, with the service going live Tuesday, taking advantage of the 800MHz spectrum which Three bought in the 2013 auction. The “low” 800MHz frequency gives much better coverage than existing services through other frequencies. Three claims its customers "will be able to …
Simon Rockman, 15 Sep 2015
Stays stable on the nose

Hey, glassholes: Google patents movement-sensing, shape-shifting specs

Keeping your glasses on the bridge of your nose as you move around is a problem for which Google has a solution. The Chocolate Factory has filed a patent for glasses which mechanically alter their shape. Much like peril-sensitive sunglasses, they monitor what you are doing and react. Unfortunately this isn't a reaction to …
Simon Rockman, 15 Sep 2015
Xiaomi Mi4 LTE Android smartphone

Flash sale pioneer Xiaomi opens old-school, bricks-and-mortar shop

Mobile phone industry disruptor Xiaomi has gone all traditional and opened up a shop. Xiaomi made its name by undercutting other smartphone makers and doing flash sales on the internet, offering time-limited, knock-down deals that saw thousands of phones sold every second. The idea that you might have just walked into a shop, …
Simon Rockman, 14 Sep 2015
Three cows image via Shutterstock

What should we do with this chunk of dead air? Ofcom wants to know

VHF isn’t just for voice. Ofcom is seeking advice on how to get things connected in the spectrum space between 30MHz and 300MHz. The regulator argues that lots of spectrum is underused, or not used for the most productive things. In its consultation (PDF), Ofcom says: This document aims to encourage investment and innovation …
Simon Rockman, 14 Sep 2015
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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

We're into week three of the Western Digital caption competition – so we tested your sense of mirth with a cute critter. Of course there were the references to the meerkats who sell insurance, but lots of people looked at the creature’s hands along the lines of Andy Non: “Hey, who swiped my keyboard?” He also entered “But, …
Simon Rockman, 11 Sep 2015
Amstrad PCW 8256 running locoscrip

'A word processor so simple my PA could use it': Joyce turns 30

Archaeologic The Amstrad PCW8256 turns 30 this month. In eighteen months it did for the typewriter what the car took thirty years to do for the pony and trap. Alan Sugar’s specification was simple – “A word processor so simple Joyce could use it”. Joyce Caley was his formidable PA and "Joyce" became the codename for the project – and the …
Simon Rockman, 09 Sep 2015
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Tech tycoon TV star Doug Richard charged with child sex offences

Ex-Dragons' Den dragon, and founder of a number of Cambridge startups Doug Richard has been charged with child sex offences. The charges include three counts of sexual activity with a child and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. Caroline Hughes, a Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer from …
Simon Rockman, 07 Sep 2015
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Ofcom issues stern warning over fake caller number ID scam

Telecoms regulator Ofcom is warning customers of the dangers of CLI spoofing – the process which allows incoming calls to display fake originating numbers on recipients' phones. The organisation has pointed out that there are valid reasons for spoofing – “for example, a caller who wishes to leave an 0800 number for you to call …
Simon Rockman, 07 Sep 2015
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You shouldn't be paying for mobile ads (please buy our software)

Israeli ad-blocking company Shine has climbed on to the moral high ground, taking out an advertisement in the Financial Times calling on the mobile industry to block mobile ads. Roi Carthy, Shine’s chief marketing officer told El Reg: “Any rational person can agree that we should not be subsidising Google, Facebook and so on …
Simon Rockman, 07 Sep 2015
The Volvo S60 is a mile muncher

No boxy Volvo: Chilling in the S60 D3 Manual R-Design Lux Nav

Vulture at the Wheel Volvo has always been the marque you bought if you didn’t want to buy German. That didn’t change when Ford bought the brand and hasn’t now that it’s owned by the Chinese company Geely. This little number is a rival to a BMW 3 series or Mercedes C Class. Volvo puts as much emphasis on the trim level as on the engines and this …
Simon Rockman, 06 Sep 2015