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Andrew Orlowski

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UK.gov rushes out broken 'Orphan Works' system as EU Directive comes in

The Government has rushed out its controversial “Orphan Works” licencing scheme – but it’s broken on arrival, and if it doesn't start working almost at once it probably won't get the chance. The rushed release is no coincidence. It means, perhaps, that the UK can technically claim that it had a “pre-existing Orphan Works scheme …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Oct 2014
Apple first-generation iPod

Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY

Apple CEO Tim Cook has explained why the iPod classic had to die: Apple couldn’t get the parts any more. Cook explained to the WSJ.D Live conference in California that “the engineering work” required to sustain the spinning-platters jukebox “was massive, and the number of people who wanted it very small. I felt there were …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2014

Hey, YouTube lovers! How about you pay us, we start paying for STUFF? - Google

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has confirmed that the Google vid service is open to introducing subscriptions. This is not exactly news – one of the most controversial sagas to rage this year concerns complaints from independent music companies over YouTube’s yet-to-be launched subscription music service. Indies requested emergency …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2014
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon hopes FIRE STICK will light up its video service

Amazon hopes a new dongle will revive its flagging video ambitions. The Fire TV stick is essentially the same as Google’s Chromecast concept: a low cost HDMI dongle bundled with a taster of Amazon’s own entertainment service – and a miniature version of the Fire TV box 'n’ remote that it revealed in April. Both old box and new …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2014
European Union Flag

Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

Cable giant Netflix and other big firms are using calls for greater net neutrality to drive down the prices they pay, according to recently published research. Referring specifically to the Dutch internet market, late last week John Strand of Strand Consulting said: “Net neutrality law (which limits operators’ ability to manage …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Oct 2014

Does the Googler tapped to run the US Patent Office still believe in patent reform?

The nomination of former Google lawyer Michelle Lee to run the US Patent and Trademark Office has been hailed as a victory for Silicon Valley. In 2007 Lee said the patent system was "out-of-balance" and needed "to be remedied". But does she still think that? Lee was appointed deputy director of the USPTO last year, having served …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Oct 2014

Lumia 830: Microsoft hopes to seduce with slim 'affordable' model

The Lumia 830, which is already available in the UK, is another midrange Lumia (from Microsoft, but it retains the Nokia brand) fighting for your attention. It squeaks in at under £300 SIM-free (it's £279 on PAYG at EE) or is free on contracts at around £25/month. I must admit, before the device arrived, the omens weren't good …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Oct 2014

Microsoft discovers long-lost phone division down back of sofa

Nokia phones generated $2.6bn in revenue for Microsoft as the division arrested its decline. Redmond sold 9.3m Lumia devices in the quarter, the most ever. In the quarter a year ago, Nokia (then the owner) shifted 8.8m Lumias. In June only 5.8m Lumias moved. The company had failed to refresh its product line as it, and other …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2014

Meet Mr Gamification: He's got a NUDGE or two for you

Do you ever get invited to talk and wish that Steve Bong was there instead of you? That’s what happened to me last weekend. The subject was "gamification" at the Battle of Ideas. Things got really strange, really quickly – I think you’ll find what is coming up to be quite eye-opening - but I’m sure Steve would have taken it all …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2014

Nokia STORMS back into profit, FREE from phones and Windows

Nokia reported solid results on Thursday even after giving long-suffering shareholders a dividend and taking the hit of a one-time charge. Profits (non-International Financial Reporting Standards*) rose to €353m on earnings of €3.3bn, up from €2.9bn a year ago. With the Windows Phone albatross thrown to a reluctant new owner, …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Oct 2014
OnePlus One Android smartphone

OnePlus One cut-price Android phone on sale to all... for 1 HOUR

Word-of-mouth sensation the OnePlus One smartphone finally goes on general sale to the public next week – six months after the phone was launched, and after a number of not-always successful promotional gimmicks. But only in 16 territories. And you only have an hour on Monday to check out. OnePlus One Android smartphone Like …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Oct 2014

ISPs handbagged: BLOCK knock-off sites, rules beak

The UK's biggest ISPs must block websites that flog knock-off goods, after a successful High Court case brought by luxury goods firm Richemonte, the first time trademark pirates have been blocked in the EU. Richemonte, Swiss-based holding company for brands including Cartier (watches), Alfred Dunhill, and Montblanc wanted six …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2014

The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?

The idea that computer programming should be compulsory in schools is hugely popular with metropolitan media luvvies and quango-hoppers - but serious questions were raised by people who do it and teach it this weekend. Some argued that the current overemphasis of the field, rather than encouraging an enquiring technical mind, …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Oct 2014
medical_doctor_health_channel

GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’

The government is preparing to resume its GP patient data-sharing plan, even though its chief scientific advisor admits it can’t guarantee your privacy. The care.data initiative was put on hold in February – but it will shortly resume with two exciting new Orwellian additions to our vocabulary. In theory the GP data is …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2014

EU Competition chief: So what if I didn't tame Google? You're all 'irrational' anyway

Europe’s unelected competition czar has signed off with a sour burp aimed at his elected critics in Parliament. "I don't think antitrust investigations should be part of the conventional political debates," Joaquín Almunia complains in the Wall Street Journal. He was quizzed on his failure to deal with Google, a case which …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2014
Smaller tatoo

Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD

Well, Tim Cook has cried "havoc" and let slip the SIM dogs of war. For several years Apple has sought to replace the hardware SIM card, and hand itself ultimate control over which mobile network the consumer can choose. With the latest iPads, it has finally implemented the strategy. Coming soon to a device near you It’s a …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2014

'Dancing Jesus' file-sharer found guilty

A man who shared thousands of links to songs on a music leaks site has pleaded guilty to illegal distribution of copyrighted works at Newcastle Crown Court. The "Dancing Jesus" forum (it’s a Simpsons reference) was operated from North Shields by Kane Robinson, with servers in Dallas, and specialised in links to pre-release …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Oct 2014
Sky Anytime+

Sky's tech bets pay off: Pay TV firm unveils blazing growth for Q1

Sky posted record numbers as its tech bets continue to pay off. BskyB’s ARPU (average revenue per customer) reached £576, up £32 from two years ago, with triple-pay punters accounting for 37 per cent of its 15.5 million customer base. Just over 11.5 million of those are retail customers, and just over 4 million wholesale. The …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Oct 2014

Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho has talked of her discomfort that the internet is made by humans who have a penis. The former Martha Lane Fox, CBE, told the Radio Academy's Radio Festival in Salford that she felt uneasy "that something that is now fundamental, like the water, for everybody’s daily life has been entirely produced by …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Oct 2014

Julian Assange discovers Google's given MONEY to EFF

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are an essential part of both the US state’s data-processing operation and a barely controllable element in American foreign policy, says WikiLeaks fugitive Julian Assange in his latest interview. Talking to Pando Daily (from the Ecuadorian embassy in London), Assange dubs Google, Facebook and …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2014

Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

The UK government is supporting a push by broadcasters — including, notably, the BBC — to put DAB into new smartphones. Communications Minister Ed Vaizey will back the Universal Smartphone Radio Project initiative, also known as RadioDNS or Hybrid Radio, in a speech today, the Telegraph reports. Much of the initiative is …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Oct 2014
Internet of Things

Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

Is the Internet of Things a nightmare, a glorious utopia, or might it just never happen? Last week I was asked to offer a few thoughts in a panel discussion for over 200 PriceWaterhouseCoopers staff, ranging from hackers to business geeks. I’ve only touched on IoT briefly, when David Cameron at CeBIT announced he was throwing a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2014

Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author

Operation Elop, a new book on Nokia, got plenty of attention last week, with its suggestion that Nokia’s former CEO was the “worst CEO in history”. After I ridiculed the idea that Elop alone was solely responsible for Nokia’s crash, co-author Pekka Nykänen got in touch to say that isn’t quite fair. So we invited him to talk …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2014

Was Nokia's Elop history's worst CEO?

Stephen Elop's decision to bet the farm on Windows Phone makes him the world's worst CEO, according to a new book published this week. Operation Elop by Pekka Nykänen and Merina Salminen interviews former Nokia staff and arrives at its judgement based on the decline in Nokia's market value from 2010 to 2013: from €29.5bn to € …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Oct 2014
BlackBerry Passport

Vulture takes BlackBerry's Passport through customs

Absent for almost a year, BlackBerry has returned to the fray with the striking Passport, an updated OS and Blend – a secure desktop companion for the phone. BlackBerry Passport Daring to be different: BlackBerry's Passport There are two distinguishing features in this device: first, its display is square and very wide. …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Oct 2014

EE TV: Network snubs 'Auntie's antique' for mobe-happy set-top box

EE is launching a multi-device TV catchup rival to BT, TalkTalk and BSkyB. But it's snubbing both YouView, a BBC-originated TV platform designed for UK catchup-over-broadband operators, and Freeview Connect, the would-be YouView killer. The new service will be free to EE fixed broadband customers – but will cost £9.99 for mobile …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Oct 2014

How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

We’ve known for years that Microsoft makes more money from Google’s Android than Google does itself – but now we have a better idea of how much hidden “tax” is included in the price of an Android handset. That’s because Samsung and Microsoft have fallen out, and Redmond’s lawsuit sheds light on the secretive world of patent …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Oct 2014
Nokia Lumia 735 Windows Phone

Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

Occasionally a phonemaker hits one out of the park, getting almost everything right, and bringing it together in one satisfying package. Motorola did that with the Moto G, and Microsoft's (formerly Nokia) phones division has done the same with its Lumia 730 and 735 models. Nokia Lumia 735 Windows Phone A glimpse of perfection? …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Oct 2014
LP stylus

Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

Amazingly, 12 per cent of British people watching TV are listening to music from another source as they watch. Or maybe that isn’t so amazing. Maybe you need to play Napalm Death while watching The X Factor - and who could blame you? Tech-mad Brits also spend more on music per head than the G7 average - but which drives which? …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Oct 2014
Taxi Driver

Wide Open Data: NYC taxi dump catches strip club Johns

Open Data zealots rarely give an individual’s privacy a thought – it’s just another obstacle to be driven over in their desire to provoke a data-powered revolution. But a gigantic dump of journeys made by licensed New York City taxis gives a vivid reminder of the dangers of careless data drops. Earlier this year a Freedom of …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Oct 2014

That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

“Who would have predicted, 20 years ago, that you’d get free stock quotes, free maps and a free encyclopaedia?” WiReD magazine’s “Senior Disruptor” Kevin Kelly* told a London conference last week. But new consumer research for telecoms multinational Orange indicates that even at a price of free, the punter is being ripped off. …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Oct 2014
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxbraun/5252873582/ Max Braun licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

The UK confirmed its global leadership in the burgeoning Innovation Consultancy industry with the opening of a "Digital Catapult Centre" in King’s Cross, London. The Digital Catapult at King's Cross The taxpayer-funded venue cost £4m, we’re told, and aims to “unlock four major challenges in the data value chain, helping small …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2014

EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else

Frustrated Brussels regulators have ordered mobe-makers to spill the beans on Google’s secret Android contracts – or face a fine. The European Commission’s competition authority, the Director-General for Competition (DG-COMP) is concerned by several aspects of phone makers' relationships with Google, and wrote to them in the …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2014

WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Too cheap or perhaps simply not bothered enough to manufacture its own selfies, the Sunday Mirror newspaper stole photos to entrap a Tory MP on Twitter. Now the owners of the photos might get the last laugh. The tabloid had spent the summer fishing for a Tory scalp – sending flattering tweets to several MPs from a fake account …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2014

Labour outsources digital policy, Tories turn up to finish it

Do tax avoidance, monopolistic business practices or your right to determine your digital identity bother you? Well don’t look for help in the new "digital manifesto" that the Labour Party launched this week. The audience for the crowdsourced "mashup" policy document is VCs, the media, and nervous unions – not you. The People’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Sep 2014
BlackBerry Passport

BlackBerry slowly pulls out of power dive into toilet

BlackBerry, which began its comeback in earnest this week with a bizarre new square smartphone, posted narrower losses on slightly lower revenue in the quarter ending 30 August. Its hardware division was back in the black after five quarters of losses. To see how far and how fast BlackBerry fell, see our analysis from earlier in …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2014
Google UK office logos

Stanford Uni: Google cash leaves us entirely impartial and unbiased

A court document drafted by a recipient of Google's generosity appears to show that the latter comes with strings attached, prohibiting university researchers from investigating its controversial data slurping practices. The donation went to the Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, which drafted the filing. The part that …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2014

Good grief! Have you SEEN BlackBerry's SQUARE smartphone?

Unveiled on Wednesday and already shipping, BlackBerry’s square-shaped Passport is a Marmite device – people will either love it or hate it. It’s quite uncompromisingly the most unusual smartphone in modern times. BlackBerry may as well have called it the “WTF”. Trackpad-cum-keyboard on square phone – you'll love it or you just …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2014

Huawei prez: A one-speed internet is bad for everyone

Western regulations like the mooted US changes enforcing “net neutrality” will hold back internet development for consumers, Huawei President and board member Ryan Ding told us today. Ding said it was absurd to have a put up with one-speed slow, dumb networks when different consumers and applications had different requirements …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Sep 2014
BlackBerry Passport

Man, its smartphones are SQUARE. But will BlackBerry make a comeback with them?

BlackBerry, which recently suffered one of the most sudden and catastrophic crashes of any technology company, begins its comeback on Wednesday. For John Chen's firm, it marks the end of almost 18 months in the wilderness and out of the public eye. But the Canadian mobile firm is still going, and just about breaking even – it's …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Sep 2014
ipod u2 edition

Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed

U2 singer Paul Hewson (aka Bono) has hinted that Apple is working on a new music format that will make buying music “irresistible” all over again. With Bono – who is a director of a VC fund with an interest in interactive media - it’s hard to tell to what extent he may be hyping his own interests, or how much he’s hyping Apple’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Sep 2014
HTC Anatomy of an Android Update

iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

Today's long overdue update to Apple's iPhone line - which had been moribund for years - look set to squeeze some rival manufacturers to death. New iPhones at last means that Android, Google's smartphone middleware, will soon look attractive only for budget vendors selling into fast-growing emerging markets. The problem, in a …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Sep 2014
Disney's Beagle Boys

Copyright thieves' cyberlockers slurp MILLIONS from honest creators, study finds

An economic study of direct download locker sites has found most are used for copyright infringement – and calculates that they're highly profitable. The study looked at download sites like Mega, Rapidgator and Depositfiles, and streaming lockers like Movshare.net, Flashx.tv and Streamcloud.eu. The study, carried out by NetNames …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Sep 2014

Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U

"Their marketing seemed to be aimed at the more erm ... chav infested end of the market", wrote one Reg reader on the demise of Phones4U, which went into administration on Sunday. But the drinking classes needs phones too, and why shouldn't they have them? Phones4U catered to this need very astutely, and with more care than any …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Sep 2014
Houses of Parliament in night-time

Give us a digi-Czar and more bureaucrats, begs UK tech-services biz

New policy proposals published by tech services trade group Tech UK (formerly Intellect) today seek to grapple with its members being marginalised by recent Government fads. Many of the proposals are familiar - ring-fencing the science budget, making the hiring of skilled foreign tech workers easier, and urging Government to …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Sep 2014
Smartphones

Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars

David Wood, one of the founder executives of Symbian - and the one who saw it through to the bitter end - has written a book. A very big book. Smartphones and beyond: Lessons from the remarkable rise and fall of Symbian tells the entire story from Symbian's conception, to world domination, to its rapid demise, and it must be one …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Sep 2014
Eve in the Garden of Eden talking to a rather angry God on Snapchat

Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume

It isn't just Apple that looks a little less miraculous today – the entire consumer electronics industry is looking a bit tragic and battered. Ever since the iPod became a hit, the media has looked to Apple for divine miracles, for revolutionary market-making products that "restore a sense of childlike wonder", as Fake Steve …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Sep 2014
Doctor Who meme

BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

The Government's choice for BBC chairman defended the licence fee, criminal penalties for non-payers, and digital "education" initiatives before MPs today. BBC executives will have been delighted by what former Pearson director Rona Fairhead told the DCMS Select Committee (if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Sep 2014

Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

Youtube Video I used to have wearable connected technology, back in the day, and it was actually very handy. You wore it around the neck on a lanyard. It would beep when there was an incoming message or phone call or diary appointment, and it could go two to three days or more between charges. You could also make calls by …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Sep 2014
Nokia Lumia 830, showing removable battery

New Lumia mobes nudge Microkia ever closer to biz customers

It was strange to see Lumia Windows Phones announced yesterday with Stephen Elop absent – the Canadian was nowhere to be found, for the first time. We spent a bit of time with Not-Nokia’s new Nokias, and the 2014 strategy for Microsoft’s huge new hardware division is a bit clearer. In all, Nokia launched eleven Windows Phone 8.0 …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Sep 2014