Feeds
The Register Columnists

Robin Lettice

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
The Register breaking news

Children fight back against RIAA, take over Mensa

Comments Science, smarts and children seem to dominate this week. We hope you all had the smarts to avoid the following occupations. Noted science red-top Popular Science has published a list of the ten worst jobs in science. "Microsoft Security Grunt" made number five, but you had your own suggestions: I wonder where body recovery …
Robin Lettice, 29 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Unplugged life supports and padlocked manhoods abound

Comments Happy Friday, everyone! It's time for another round of comments. Anxious for sleep in an intensive care ward, a German teenager unplugged the funny, beeping machine that his immediate neighbour didn't seem to be using for much. It was a pity that it happened to be the patient's life support system, but heroic hospital staff …
Robin Lettice, 22 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Rufus, Mok and Lai urinate on mean customers' baggage

Comments Another Friday, and another batch of comments, some of which almost have an IT angle. Let's get stuck in. A Lancashire lad got into trouble with plod for doing 140mph on the M65. Kids today, eh? Most of you did not approve: Lets hope the little prick gets a jail sentence. The speed is one thing, but I'm surprised he didn't …
Robin Lettice, 15 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Naked builders hate ugly logos, but don't frequent Google Maps

Friday again, folks, and you, our very own chattering masses, have been pressing enter like crazy. We'll start with an issue that seemed to unite us all for a few days. The London 2012 Olympics logo was launched on Monday to universal derision. Opinions were divided over what it was meant to be and what it actually looks like, …
Robin Lettice, 08 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Dr Who saves Thailand from evil canine unmentionables

Comments It's Friday again, and time for another batch of comments. Your televisions are quite dear to you, as evidenced by how worked up some of you got over our first bit of news. Doctor Who is to get the axe at the end of this series. Or not. Maybe. Anyway, The Sun reported it, so it must be true. You were divided, but those who …
Robin Lettice, 01 Jun 2007
The Register breaking news

Linux fans go nuclear over Microsoft's patent teasing

Comments A week has passed and we're back with another Best of Comments feature. You've been busy, and as a consequence, so have we. So let's get started. Microsoft announced that Linux violates 235 of its patents, and then declined to reveal which patents this covered. The reason? The paperwork. You didn't buy it: "I could be wrong …
Robin Lettice, 25 May 2007
The Register breaking news

Paris and Lara share a cell with rude speeder

Comments We recently rolled out comments pages to most stories on the site, and it seems we opened a bit of a floodgate. You guys just won't shut up. And in the best traditions of appeasement we are announcing a new regular feature: a Best of Comments article. We may just be crazy. First up, a speeding motorist made a rude gesture at a …
Robin Lettice, 18 May 2007
The Register breaking news

Teen eBay fraudster sentenced to 12 months

A teenager who conned eBay customers out of £45,000 has been sentenced to one year's detention today. Philip Shortman, now 18, of Chester Close, New Inn, Pontypool, South Wales, admitted 21 counts of obtaining property by deception in October of last year, and has asked that another 64 offences be taken into account. Cardiff …
Robin Lettice, 04 May 2005
The Register breaking news

IBM wins $125m car black box deal with UAE

IBM has won a $125m deal with the government of the United Arab Emirates to install tracking devices into tens of thousands of cars by the end of next year. The four-year deal is believed to be the largest in the telematics sector to date. IBM will equip cars and trucks in the state with a telematics device and global …
Robin Lettice, 15 Apr 2005
The Register breaking news

Cloned kitten sold for $50,000

Califoria-based biotech firm Genetic Savings & Clone (GSC) has made its first sale: a cloned male kitten, for $50,000. Little Nicky, bought by a Texas woman identified only as 'Julie' because of fears that she would be targeted by anti-cloning groups, is genetically identical to the owner's previous cat, 'Nicky', a 17-year-old …
Robin Lettice, 24 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Boffins decode Chromosome 16

Scientists at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) have finished analysing and sequencing Chromosome 16. This completes the US share of the Human Genome Project, JGI said yesterday. The research, published in today's issue of the science journal Nature, analysed the 880 genes, together consisting of 78m …
Robin Lettice, 23 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Sony ships Vaio Pocket MP3 support update

Sony has at last posted a firmware update which brings native MP3 support to its Vaio Pocket music player. The update, which was announced on the Japanese giant's Vaio support site earlier this month, is accompanied by updated versions Sony's music transfer applications, SonicStage and Vaio Transfer. Until now, both apps …
Robin Lettice, 22 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Mobile phones 'alter human DNA'

Mobile phone users have been advised to use a landline whenever possible after researchers claimed that mobiles can damage DNA. In a four-year study, German researchers exposed human tissue to low-power microwaves, which are emitted by mobile phones, and found that the radiation caused damage to the DNA within the cells, which …
Robin Lettice, 22 Dec 2004

WD ups Caviar HDD capacity, lowers thermals

Western digital announced this week that its Caviar family of hard drives now runs at significantly lower temperatures and uses less power - not only than the company's own drives but less than all of its rivals' products, the company claimed. The new models, which spin at 7200rpm, also run cooler than many slower, 5400rpm …
Robin Lettice, 22 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Property tycoon buys fantasy island

A 22 year-old Australian gamer has bought a virtual island for $26,500 in the largest Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) purchase ever. Treasure Island exists only in the MMORPG Project Entropia (website: www.project-entropia.com), and was auctioned off for 265,000 Project Entropia Dollars, equivalent to $26, …
Robin Lettice, 17 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

'Horoscopes' is AOL's most searched word

America Online today released its most popular search terms, which showed that Britney Spears has reclaimed the title of most searched person of 2004 from rapper 50 Cent. Platinum recording artist and teen movie star Hilary Duff was the most searched person by children and teenagers, while Usher was the most searched male. …
Robin Lettice, 14 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

iTunes now accepts PayPal

Apple and PayPal announced on Friday that the iTunes Music Store in the US now accepts payment via PayPal's Virtual Wallet. "We are thrilled that PayPal users can now buy their music on the world's number one online music store," said Todd Pearson, general manager of PayPal's Merchant Services. PayPal allows customers to pay …
Robin Lettice, 13 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Southpaws thrash righties: study

Researchers have suggested that left-handed people are better at surviving fights to the death. Charlotte Faurie and Michel Raymond of the University of Montpellier in France found that the greater the homicide rate in unindustrialised cultures, the higher the proportion of left handed people. Industrialised cultures were …
Robin Lettice, 10 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

HP launches low-end PC for China

HP, the world's second largest producer of PCs, has begun selling a 3,999 yuan ($483) computer in China. The announcement comes as major players in the PC industry start to produce low-end PCs targetted at people living in small towns and the countryside of China. Most of China's 1.3bn people live in these areas. The model, …
Robin Lettice, 10 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

EC presses for safer internet

The EU Telecommunications Council today today launched Safer Internet Plus, a scheme to help parents and teachers control what children view online. An EU-wide survey on internet use has found that almost 60 per cent of parents do not know where to report illegal content. In response, Safer Internet Plus will set up hotlines …
Robin Lettice, 09 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

SMS shorthand is annoying: official

Nearly half of mobile phone users want a guide on 'text etiquette', a study by research company YouGov has found. The study, carried out for predictive text software provider Tegic Communications, shows that of the 2,680 mobile phone users polled 44 per cent would approve of a guide to 'text etiquette'. Text shorthand is not …
Robin Lettice, 09 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

UK failing CO2 targets

The UK will miss its targets for carbon dioxide emissions reduction, unless it pulls its socks up, The Department of the Environment said today. The Government wants to cut CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 20 per cent by 2010. but this goal, will not be reached, as things stand. Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett is …
Robin Lettice, 08 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

GM cocaine 'grown in Colombia'

Colombian coca plant farmers have developed genetically modified strains of the plant, the Financial Times claims. Anti-drug officers in the remote Sierra Nevada region of northern Colombia have discovered a new variety of coca plant that can grow up to 2.7m (9ft) tall - double the normal size - and produce four times as much …
Robin Lettice, 08 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Rat brain flies jet

Florida scientists have grown a brain in a petri dish and taught it to fly a fighter plane. Scientists at the university of Florida taught the 'brain', which was grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a rat embryo, to pilot an F-22 jet simulator. It was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength …
Robin Lettice, 07 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Jambo OpenOffice released

Jambo OpenOffice, the Swahili version of OpenOffice, has been released, the Open Swahili Localization Project (Kilinux), announced on Saturday. According to the press release, "Swahili is the most spoken of the Bantu languages and conservative estimates indicate that is the first language spoken by more than 70m people, chiefly …
Robin Lettice, 07 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Southampton uni honours Berners-Lee with professorship

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is to take up a Chair of Computer Science at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science. He will hold this position alongside his current appointments as Senior Research Scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory …
Robin Lettice, 03 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

MSN Spaces debuts

MSN yesterday introduced a beta version of MSN Spaces, a new web logging service. It also released a beta version of MSN Messenger 7.0 and updates to MSN Hotmail. These services will be integrated, the company says. MSN Spaces offers three levels of control over who may access their Space. It allows users to display their …
Robin Lettice, 02 Dec 2004
The Register breaking news

Cassini probe snaps Mimas

The Cassini space probe has taken a stunning image of Saturn's moon Mimas against the blue-grey backdrop of Saturn's rings. The image (source: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute), taken on 7 November at a distance of 3.7m km (2.3m miles) from Saturn, shows several of Saturn's rings as well as the moon. Saturn's moon Mimas The …
Robin Lettice, 30 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

DTI punts lean, mean science programme

The Department of Trade and Industry today published a paper detailing how the seventh EU Research and Development Framework Programme will operate. The publication recommends establishment of a European Research Council responsible for allocating grants for basic research, and a focus on the latter plus industrial research and …
Robin Lettice, 30 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Brain scans show difference between truth and lies

Brain scans show significant differences in cranial activity when a person is lying compared to telling the truth, US researchers said yesterday. Six volunteers were told to shoot a toy gun and then lie, saying that they hadn't done so, while three more volunteers told the truth about firing the gun. One person dropped out of …
Robin Lettice, 30 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

New lab to study mobile mast risks

A new electromagnetics and health laboratory will open today at the University of Essex. The lab will house a system, designed by Cellular Design Services (CDS), that will be used to study the effects of mobile phone masts on human health. The Department of Health awarded Sussex-based CDS a £100,000 contract to design and …
Robin Lettice, 29 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Families fight over PCs shock

Computers have become such an integral part of family life that they are causing rows over who gets to use them. Ninety per cent of British families with computers experience arguments over who gets to use the household computer and for how long, according to a survey of UK children and their parents' use of computers and the …
Robin Lettice, 26 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Exeter uni cans chemistry department

In a move that has been dubbed as 'disastrous' by the Royal Society of Chemistry, Exeter University is to drop the teaching of chemistry as a subject. 130 staff are to be made redundant after the university said that the department was losing £3m a year. The university's music and Italian departments will also be closed. The …
Robin Lettice, 25 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Biofuels key to UK farming future

Biofuels could provide a major income for Britain's arable farmers - but success will depend on the level of government support. The independent Cereal Industry Review, published yesterday, also pressed for the grains industry to promote alternative fuel sources. "Without doubt, biofuels will be a key priority area for grains …
Robin Lettice, 23 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

MS predicts stampede for Hotmail.co.uk

MSN Hotmail today announced the lauch of Hotmail.co.uk, which will for the the first time allow hotmail addresses ending with '.co.uk'. The new email addresses will be compatible with Microsoft's MSN Messenger, and Microsoft expects demand to be huge. Jason Keane of MSN Hotmail enthused: "People have wanted a Hotmail.co.uk …
Robin Lettice, 19 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

eBayer punts Virgin Mary in grilled cheese sandwich

Ever had one of those momemts when a crucifix was not enough? When a christingle couldn't cut it? When you wanted to show your faith in a tangible, unequivocally ecumenical way? Well, the answer is at hand! Prove your piety by purchasing the world's tastiest holy relic, the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese, currently at the low …
Robin Lettice, 17 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

UK.gov launches technology five-year plan

Tony Blair and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Patricia Hewitt will today announce the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) five-year programme, 'Creating Wealth from Knowledge'. The programme - which is intended to make scientific research in the UK more attractive in response to growing competition from such …
Robin Lettice, 17 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Half Life 2 released

Half-Life 2, the much hyped sequel to Half-Life, which won over 50 game of the year awards and was named 'best PC game ever' by PC Gamer Magazine, was released today. Developed by Valve, this first-person shooter is one of the most widely anticipated games of all time. It has been repeatedly delayed beyond the projected release …
Robin Lettice, 16 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

European online sales to outpace US

European online sales during the holiday season are set to reach €13bn, according to Forrester Research released. This is €3bn more than the US, at €10bn ($13bn). Sales in the UK, totalling €4.3bn, make up 36 per cent of the total. Germany will account for 29 per cent of the total, at €3.8bn. France will take a nine per cent …
Robin Lettice, 15 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Mars Express sends postcard from Phobos

Photographs taken by ESA's Mars Express spacecraft show the surface of Mars moon Phobos in greater detail than ever before. The images offer for the first time an unblurred continuous view of the moon's surface at the highest resolution. The 10 images, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the spacecraft, …
Robin Lettice, 12 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

MS launches third annual Imagine Cup

Microsoft today announced the start of the third annual Imagine Cup in Reading, UK. The challenge involves teams of students from around the world competing against each other to win a share of the $215,000 total prize fund and the chance to kick-start careers in various fields including software design, film-making, business …
Robin Lettice, 11 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Saudi ministers urge removal of camera phone ban

Four Saudi ministers have appealed to to lift the ban on camera phones in the Kingdom. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Ministry of Finance all separately requested that mobile phones with cameras be allowed. In …
Robin Lettice, 10 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Boy (11) sues mum for not buying him PC

An 11 year-old in Xingzheng, Henan province has taken his mother to court for refusing to give him a PC. The schoolboy's mother promised him a computer if he got more than 94 per cent for his school work. He got 97 per cent: but his mother refused to fulfil her side of the bargain. Her excuse? Lack of money. The boy then took …
Robin Lettice, 09 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

California backs stem cell research

Californian voters on Tuesday approved a measure providing funding for stem cell research, thus circumventing President Bush's cuts to funding in the field. Known as Proposition 71, the measure will provide a $3bn state bond over 10 years to set up an Institute for Regenerative Medicine and fund research. It will also outlaw …
Robin Lettice, 04 Nov 2004
The Register breaking news

Monkey mindpower manipulates robotic arm

US scientists have taught a monkey to operate a robotic arm to feed itself using only the power of its thoughts. The experiment was revealed Tuesday at a meeting of neuroscientists in San Diego, The Guardian reports, and involves interception of signals from the brain by electrode probes. The signals are interpreted through an …
Robin Lettice, 28 Oct 2004
The Register breaking news

Annan lines up against US-inspired human cloning ban

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorsed therapeutic cloning on Thursday, adding his weight to the UN member countries opposing the US-led campaign to ban all human cloning. A treaty which would ban the cloning of human being has been in the works since 2001, but arguments over extending this to include therapeutic cloning have …
Robin Lettice, 23 Oct 2004
The Register breaking news

Web design challenge for kids

Arts minister Estelle Morris yesterday launched a web design competition for students aged 11-14 and studying at school in England. The Web Design challenge is a joint project by the Hansard Society and the Design Museum, and is commissioned and funded by Culture Online, part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. …
Robin Lettice, 20 Oct 2004
The Register breaking news

Robbie Williams: crooning soon on a phone near you

Record label EMI will release Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits on mobe and PDA-compatible Multimedia Memory Card (MMC) memory card from next month. Pundits say it's the first time that music has been made available in this format. The album will come with video content and will be on sale at 600 Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK …
Robin Lettice, 19 Oct 2004
The Register breaking news

Electronic underwear warns of heart attack

Electronic underwear sensitive to fluctuations in the wearer's heart rate has been developed by the Philips Research facility in Aachen, Germany. The garment will automatically call emergency services when necessary, for example if the wearer suffers a cardiac arrest. This represents a considerable advance on the mobile phones …
Robin Lettice, 15 Oct 2004
The Register breaking news

EC falls out with UK over nuclear waste

The European Commission yesterday accused the UK government of failing to tell Brussels how it disposes nuclear waste. And it is threatening legal proceedings unless it gets a satisfactory reply from London. Member states of the Euratom Treaty must provide general data relating to the disposal of radioactive waste. The European …
Robin Lettice, 14 Oct 2004