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Gareth Corfield

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EU Space Agency's Galileo satellites stricken by mystery clock failures

The European Union’s GPS-alike system Galileo is suffering a number of unexplained clock failures on its satellites, the EU Space Agency has admitted. Each of the 18 Galileo satellites currently in orbit carries four maser*-based atomic clocks. Two clocks are hydrogen-based, while the other pair use rubidium. The ESA says the …
Gareth Corfield, 18 Jan 2017
Toilet with smiling loo paper

Japan's terrifying techno-toilets will be made foreigner friendly, vow makers

Japan’s electronic toilet-makers have vowed to clean up the baffling symbols on their techno-khazis so anyone can crimp one off in the Land of the Rising Sun “with peace of mind”. Kitamura Yen of the Japan Rest Room Industry Association said, in a statement on that august organisation’s website, that the industry had decided …
Gareth Corfield, 18 Jan 2017

Jersey Telecom wheels out LoRa IoT network, says it's 'not ruling out' other techs

Interview Jersey Telecom recently rolled out a LoRa network covering the entire island. The telco’s wholesale director, Tom Noel, spoke to The Register to elaborate a little on what it hopes to achieve. The Tier One telco, based on the eponymous Channel Island, prefers to be known as JT. It has a surprisingly large global footprint, …
Gareth Corfield, 18 Jan 2017

Ex-Nokia IoT bods Cumulocity join hands with Teleena

Dutch Internet of Things wrangler Teleena has teamed up with Nokia-born IoT software spinoff Cumulocity to offer an end-to-end IoT service. The deal allows Cumulocity's customers to access Teleena's IoT Suite product. Cumulocity's speciality is IoT device management, while Teleena offers a full-service configuration and device …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Jan 2017

Laser beam sky mirage cannon can spy on enemies and generate Star Trek-style shields

British defence contractor BAE Systems says it has developed a laser-powered "mirage on demand" which can be used to bend the very fabric of the skies to military commanders' whims. The Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens, developed at BAE's Warton factory in Lancashire, works by "changing the Earth's atmosphere into lens-like …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
Judge with gun

Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality

Comment A bright-eyed MIT undergraduate implausibly branded "the Mark Zuckerberg of guns" has recycled an age-old solution looking for a problem – the smart gun. Kai Kloepfer, the undergrad lad in question, received a $50,000 grant from the American Smart Tech Challenges Foundation in 2014 to develop his idea of a Beretta pistol …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
shutterstock_300234617-signal

Amazon asks for spectrum to try out IoT networking gear

Amazon has filed an application with the US Federal Communications Commission to conduct what looks like Internet of Things wireless networking tech trials. Described in Jeff Bezos’ boys and girls’ application to the FCC (PDF, 4 pages), Amazon wants to carry out testing of a “temporary radio base station” at its HQ in Seattle …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
SpaceX

SpaceX makes successful rocket launch

Elon Musk's SpaceX, space cargo contractor and purveyor of space rockets for the well-heeled masses, successfully launched a two-stage rocket into orbit on Saturday. The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54am local time, carrying a satellite payload on behalf of Iridium Communications. Ten …
Gareth Corfield, 16 Jan 2017
Panasonic Toughbook CF-54

Oh ALIS, don't keep us waiting: F-35 jet's software 'delayed'

Key software for the troubled F-35 fighter jet has been repeatedly delayed, causing problems for the British armed forces as they wait for Americans to iron out the bugs. The F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) is the heart of the support offering bundled with the F-35 by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Jan 2017
Hornet_Carrier_takeoff

US Navy runs into snags with aircraft carrier's electric plane-slingshot

The US Navy is having difficulties with its latest aircraft carrier's Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) – the same system which the UK mooted fitting to its new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The US Department of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOTE) revealed yesterday, in its end-of-year report [PDF] for …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Jan 2017

PlayStation 4 probs: Gamers struggle with PSVR headset blackouts

PlayStation 4 gamers are growing increasingly irritated with Sony after a rising tide of complaints over audio and video blackouts in the PS4 Pro console’s PSVR headset. Reg reader John told us that strange things were happening with his PSVR, adding that Sony tech support were not very helpful when he contacted them to ask …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Jan 2017
typewriter_wtf_648

You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Reader appeal The government is about to commence a piece of legislation that will seriously affect The Register’s ability to Bite The Hand That Feeds IT. You have until 5pm today to tell the government it should be stopped. Most British readers will have seen news coverage about Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This is a …
Gareth Corfield, 10 Jan 2017
Bored cat on computer, photo via Shutterstock

Pharma hate figure Martin Shkreli suspended from Twitter

One-time pharmaceutical exec and distasteful windup merchant Martin Shkreli has had his Twitter account suspended after a Twitter spokesman alleged he had harassed a female journalist on the site. Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist who writes for Teen Vogue and a host of left-wing American media outlets, including Vice, The …
Gareth Corfield, 09 Jan 2017
A group of hipster teens excludes the onlooker. Photo by shutterstock

Top cop: Strap Wi-Fi jammers to teen web crims as punishment

+Comment The president of top cops’ trade union the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) has suggested that teens convicted of computer-based crimes should be fitted with ankle-mounted Wi-Fi jammers. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph over the weekend, Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas said: “If you have got a 16-year-old who has …
Gareth Corfield, 09 Jan 2017

IBM filed another 8,000 patents in 2016

IBM’s lawyers were busy little bees last year, getting a shade more than 8,000 patent applications granted for Big Blue’s American brainboxes. IBM claims its inventors were granted an average of 22 patents per day in 2016, scoring a total of 8,088 patents. Of those patents, 2,700 were related to AI, cognitive computing and …
Gareth Corfield, 09 Jan 2017
LEGO BOOST robot photo LEGO

BOOST! LEGO's computing future and its ground-breaking past

CES 2017 Smart Wi-Fi-enabled hairbrush? Virtual reality shoes? Some visions of the future at this week's CES trade show simply won’t materialise. But what about building a 'bot made of LEGO? Toymaker LEGO unveiled its Boost line this week at CES – a set of 840 programmable bricks for your kids to control self-made robots with. Boost …
Gareth Corfield, 06 Jan 2017

5G? Pff, don't bother, says one-time Ofcom man's new book

Book review All the hype around 5G is hiding the simple fact that we don’t actually need a new mobile specification. That is the central thrust of Professor William Webb’s new book, The 5G Myth: And why consistent connectivity is a better future. Prof Webb’s readable and engaging volume sets out in 140 pages what the 5G myth is and why we …
Gareth Corfield, 06 Jan 2017
ISIS fighters

Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

A former soldier from Wales has pleaded guilty to a terrorism offence after failing to reveal his mobile phone PIN to police. Robert Clarke, a 23-year-old former Royal Artillery soldier from Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty to obstructing a search under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, according to the Press Association ( …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Jan 2017

British military laser death ray cannon contract still awarded, MoD confirms

The Ministry of Defence has today re-announced for the third time that it has awarded a £30m contract to build a great big feck-off laser cannon for zapping the Queen's enemies. Originally awarded in July 2016 to the Dragonfire consortium, the Laser Directed Energy Weapons (LDEW) contract immediately stalled after a challenge …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Jan 2017

Dotdot. Who's there? Yet another IoT app layer

Internet of Things bods at the Zigbee Alliance have unveiled what they are calling a “universal language” for IoT, dotdot. A rebrand and potential expansion of the group's existing application layer, Zigbee Cluster Library (ZCL), dotdot is now being touted by the alliance as the one true solution for getting different IoT …
Gareth Corfield, 04 Jan 2017
A quadcopter drone seized by the Metropolitan Police

Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds UK.gov 'public dialogue'

The general public is keen on drones of all shapes and sizes but wants their operators to be registered and trained, according to a study carried out by the UK Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. A joint exercise between the two government departments to encourage "public dialogue on drone use in the UK" …
Gareth Corfield, 04 Jan 2017

Army social media psyops bods struggling to attract fresh blood

Army social media psyops unit 77 Brigade is struggling to reel in new government cyber-warriors in spite of a recruitment publicity blitz last year, according to the Ministry of Defence. The "brigade" – in reality a unit slightly smaller than an infantry battalion, with a target manning strength of 448 people – is under …
Gareth Corfield, 03 Jan 2017
A British Army Watchkeeper drone lands at Parc Aberporth. Crown copyright

Poor software design led to second £1m Army spy drone crash

An Army Watchkeeper drone flown by the Royal Artillery crashed on landing after its crew selected the self-flying craft’s “master override” function, according to the official report into the accident. Thales Watchkeeper drone WK006 flopped into the runway at Boscombe Down airfield in November 2015 when its two-man crew, …
Gareth Corfield, 15 Dec 2016
Rupert Murdoch pictured in 2014. Pic: Shutterstock

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agrees £18.5bn Sky takeover deal

British broadcaster and phone service provider Sky is to be bought by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox for £18.5bn, according to reports. The price reflects a valuation of £10.75 per share, according to Reuters, who, along with the BBC, claimed that some investors were unhappy with the valuation but did not go into specifics …
Gareth Corfield, 15 Dec 2016
Image by Mark Bennetts http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-2389319p1.html

Cambridge Wireless picked for UK.gov's 'Help the IoT' drive

Networking folk Cambridge Wireless (CW) have been picked to deliver the Cambridge arm of IoTUK Boost, a government plan to pour taxpayers’ cash into Internet of Things startups. The scheme focuses on entrepreneurs and SMEs using low power, wide area networks (LPWANs) for connecting remote IoT sensors. Cambridge itself already …
Gareth Corfield, 15 Dec 2016