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Andrew Orlowski

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Einstürzende Neubauten's haunting World War I tribute

Music Review “We must have the only recording studio with a compressed air supply,” says Blixa Bargeld as he tunes up his band, Einstürzende Neubauten. Three compressed air hoses hiss into life. String quartet and chains Here in Utrecht the middle-aged band, plus accompanying string quartet, are performing their World War One concert …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Nov 2014

Sharing Economy sharks need love, cuddles and SUBSIDIES – UK.gov

Analysis The government’s controversial “Independent Review” of so-called “sharing economy” companies – such as Uber – has concluded that they should be encouraged to self-regulate while receive government nurturing and love – and your money. To lead the review, the government appointed Debbie Wosskow, the CEO and founder of LoveHomeSwap …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2014
An obese belly, dangling freely. Pic: Tony Alter

Software firms are over-valued, says Huawei

Inflated valuations for software companies are discouraging possible acquirers, says Chinese giant Huawei. The Chinese giant’s global IT chief Yelai Zheng told us the high prices software companies asked made them less attractive to Huawei. “Communications companies are not expensive but IT and software companies are,” said …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2014
The BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry's turnaround relies on a secret weapon: Its own network

Analysis Last year we invited you, as a thought experiment, to value BlackBerry as an oddball cluster of startups – and now it seems the company has taken our advice to heart. It forms the heart of its strategy: the once tightly coupled divisions are free to compete – even if it means taking business off each other. It also means playing …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Nov 2014
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddiedangerous/ licensed under creative commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ please attribute

Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix

Musicians and composers have launched a High Court legal challenge to a change the government has made to UK copyright law. British bureaucrats insisted on introducing a long-overdue private copying exception without compensation - the only European state to do so. The exception "legalises" the making of a copy of legitimately …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Nov 2014

Whistling Google: PLEASE! Brussels can only hurt Europe, not us

+Analysis A few days ago President Obama wrote a cheque he knew he couldn’t cash - and this week the European Parliament will write another. Reports suggest that the Parliament is drafting a motion calling for the break-up of Google and its ilk. Much like Obama’s net neutrality pledge, it’s meaningless, but even so, it’s still hugely …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Nov 2014

Two driverless cars stuffed with passengers are ABOUT TO CRASH - who should take the hit?

Comment Data analysts don’t need philosophers to help them with ethical decisions - the “science” can figure that out, a top boffin said this week. Asked about the ethics of big data, the head of Imperial College’s new Big Data dept said: “We treat [ethical issues] not philosophically, but scientifically”. It’s a startling assertion. …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2014

Huawei: KRYDER STORAGE CRISIS is REAL and 'we’re working on it'

Huawei’s chief storage boffin says the company has looked at the looming crisis in storage technology with concern. Until 2010, the cost of storage per dollar had dropped exponentially. The decline has been dubbed the Kryder rate, or “Kryder’s Law”, a reference to an article in a 2005 issue of Scientific American of the same …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Nov 2014

NOKIA - Not FINNished yet! BEHOLD the somewhat DULL MYSTERY DEVICE!

Nokia is back in consumer electronics with an iPad rival, the new N1 tablet, just six months after Microsoft snorked up its phone division. The Finnish firm has said that many more devices will follow. Youtube Video The Atom-powered, Android-based, mini-sized N1 enters a crowded marketplace with a price tag of just $250. It's …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Nov 2014
Taxi Driver

Now Uber can take EVERYONE for a ride

+Comment Casual car hire company Uber is teaming up with Spotify, ensuring neither your favourite musicians nor your driver get paid very much. "Uber users who link their Spotify account to their Uber account can push a button, get a ride and get in to the car their Spotify station is playing,” explained Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO. …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2014

Players gonna play (play, play): Google confirms YouTube Music 'access all areas' key

The year's most controversial new music service has arrived - with a sense of anticlimax. Google's YouTube music streaming subscription service has finally been confirmed - with indie labels on board. "Google YouTube Music Key" (yes, it's really called that) feels provisional, a cog in a bigger picture. As the comments under the …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2014

BlackBerry comeback: BES12 server revealed – it will manage ALL THE THINGS

Turnaround artiste John Chen marked one year as BlackBerry boss with an avalanche of enterprise software news related to the firm's new BES12 server, which can manage enterprise mobe devices running Android, iOS, Windows Phone – and of course, BB's own mobile OS. BlackBerry wants to manage absolutely everything: PCs, Macs, …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Nov 2014
City Lifeline cable guys get busy outside

'Net Neut' activists: Are you just POSEURS, or do you want to Get Something Done?

Analysis On Monday, President Obama wrote out a cheque he knew he couldn't cash. The President is signalling to activists and his Silicon Valley backers that although, yes, he may spend much of the time playing golf, he actually truly and deeply does care. He "gets it". City Lifeline cable guys get busy outside You want cable? It's like …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Nov 2014

FCC to Obama on net neutrality: We work for CONGRESS, SIR, not YOU

US watchdog the FCC has politely told President Obama to get stuffed, gently pointing out that the agency reports to Congress – not the White House. President Obama excited his supporters yesterday, following a drubbing in the mid-term elections, by going nuclear on internet regulation. The White House said it backed the …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2014

Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes

Microsoft is finally putting its own brand on the phones it makes and sells itself. The Windows giant's latest Lumia 535 drops the Nokia branding completely – as expected – and will instead sport a proud "Microsoft" front and rear. The device itself is unremarkable except for a very aggressive price: it's a mere €110 (£86) …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Nov 2014
Swiss alps

Has Switzerland cracked the net neutrality riddle?

Analysis Broadband providers in Switzerland – a country synonymous with neutrality – have formulated new rules for ISPs that may save regulators and lawmakers from fruitless battles over "net neutrality". The code of conduct formulated by Swisscom, Sunrise, UPC Cablecom and Orange pledges to allow all subscribers "to use the content, …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2014
Barney Rubble driving with Fred Flinstone

Forget 5G, UK.gov is making 2G fit for the 21st century!

Analysis The government flagged up the biggest shake-up in mobile regulation for 25 years yesterday. Tories who ridiculed Ed Miliband’s intervention in the energy market might need to remove the large wooden beam from their field of vision first. Four major policy options are suggested in the Ministry of Fun’s rural mobile consultation …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Nov 2014

Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks

Analysis Dropped calls between President Obama to Prime Minister David Cameron on the Vodafone network over Christmas led to the government getting bossy with the mobile networks, according to industry sources. Shoulda used a landline, Dave... The PM was in rural Oxfordshire over Christmas and decided that “something must be done” …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Nov 2014

Pop starlet Taylor Swift DUMPS Spotify: It’s not me, it’s you

Taylor Swift's record company has removed her entire catalogue from Spotify, becoming by far the most popular artist to snub the streaming service. Spotify rarely responds to artist snubs, but snapped back with a cringeworthy blog post begging her to return. It's acutely painful timing for Spotify: the company's IPO is likely to …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Nov 2014

The Great Smartphone Massacre: Android bloodbath gathers pace

Analysis The bloodbath continues for smartphone vendors, results from the leading Android vendors have confirmed in the past week. While it’s a great time to be a buyer, in saturated Western markets, only LG can show black ink on its earnings statements. Sony, Samsung and HTC also reported and the pages were awash with minus signs, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Nov 2014

That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

A “tech free” phone has raised over $18,000 on Kickstarter. The electronics-free "NoPhone" provides “a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment” – according to its makers. The NoPhone Backers receive a 3D-printed model of the dummy, which is itself a …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Nov 2014

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

+Comment 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 head honcho 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 …
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

+Comment 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?

Analysis 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

Battle of Ideas 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?

Battle of Ideas 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

Analysis 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

Analysis 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?!?

Comment 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

+Comment 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

Opinion 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

Interview 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?

Review 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

Review 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

Updated 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?

Analysis 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

Review 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