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Andrew Orlowski

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Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy

IFA Sketch While the business side of the Internet of Things looks in good nick, and isn’t actually anything new, the consumer prospects look remote. Samsung is one of the few global companies that’s able to project a vision of consumer IoT: it does technology as well as consumer electronics and white goods. And it tried to give us a “ …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2015
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Wikipedia’s biggest scandal: Industrial-scale blackmail

Analysis “It’s the wisdom of the crowd that gives you the best results in the long-term.” Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC No media mogul in history has ever matched the power of Wikipedia, which is capable of damaging reputations on an industrial scale. But with no checks in place to identify contributors, it was only a matter of time before …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Sep 2015
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Mate S: Huawei 'beats' Apple to force-touch phone launch

IFA2015 Apple introduced “force touch” in its MacBook earlier this year, and it is expected to appear on iPhones very soon. But Huawei has stolen some of Apple’s thunder by announcing a flagship with the variable pressure feature at Berlin’s IFA consumer show today. The Mate phone can “guess the weight” of an object placed on the …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Sep 2015
Meme of a dog "typing" at a computer, with the large font phrase "I have no idea what I'm doing' above him.

Europe yawns at EU robo-commish Ansip's digital plans

Eurocrats' proposals to change how Europe's independent TV and film makers do business aren't needed – according to the EU's own research, released on one of the quietest Fridays of the year. The European Commission wants to force the producers to outlaw territorial licensing as part of its "digital single market" strategy. …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015
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Microsoft backports data slurp to Windows 7 and 8 via patches

We recently mused, half seriously, whether the entire point of the Windows 10 upgrade was to harvest your personal information. With Microsoft suffering from a serious case of Google envy, perhaps it felt it had some catching up to do. Now Microsoft is revamping the user-tracking tools in Windows 7 and 8 to harvest more data, …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015
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No more jaw-jaw, as PRS sues SoundCloud over music streaming

Analysis UK performing rights society the PRS* has told its 111,000 members that it is now reluctantly suing SoundCloud after five years of fruitless negotiations, for refusing to properly compensate its members after streaming their works. “Unfortunately, [SoundCloud] continues to deny it needs a PRS licence for its existing service …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015

Turn-by-turn directions coming to Ordnance Survey Maps

Hands On Satnav-style turn-by-turn directions are coming to the Ordnance Survey's stealth-mode Maps app. The ambitious next-generation map app won't get a formal splashy launch until 2016 – but I checked in to see how it's getting on, since we gave you an exclusive peek here. OS Maps is a major multi-year project to create a kind of " …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Sep 2015
Honor 7 browsing and fingering the swipe button

The Honor's a defo gamechanger, but good luck buying one

Analysis China has been threatening to up-end the phone business for a while, without coming up with a convincing end product. Finally, though, it has, and I expect to see a rapid shakeout of top tier handset manufacturers, already reeling from years of losses. The doomsday scenario for established vendors was that the Chinese would do …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Aug 2015
Honor 7 Android smartphone

Honor 7 – heir apparent to the mid-range Android crown

Review With a starting price of £249, the Honor 7 is a quality phone that offers astonishing value for money: and it could be a genuine game-changer for how people buy phones. Not only is it (comfortably) the standout product in its price range, it also has the kind of features associated with much more expensive models, and a few …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Aug 2015
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First pics of flagship Lumias for 18 months released … or maybe not

Images of the first flagship Lumia phones for 18 months have popped up on Twitter ... or have they? Renowned technology "leaker" Evan Blass posted two images of models described as the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. It needs to be remembered that marketing teams are experts at planting images of forthcoming devices with bloggers …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Aug 2015

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Analysis Arts and humanities graduates are schooled for years in metaphor and analogy - and these are very useful skills for understanding the world. But what happens when an approach based on metaphor and analogy meets hard science and engineering reality? And what happens when the chosen metaphor doesn't fit? While you can choose …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Aug 2015

Enjoy vaping while you still can, warns Public Health England

Analysis Yesterday's review by Public Health England on vaping made front-page news, shaming much of the professional health clerisy and the mainstream media, both of whom have campaigned to discourage use of the nicotine delivery tech. But the newspapers splashed with something Public Health England didn't recommend – e-cigs on …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Aug 2015
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

Wikiland turns to Shapps and says ‘those emails you wanted, we deleted them, sorry’

Wikimedia UK, the national charity supporting Wikipedia and its sister projects, has told the MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps he can't see internal emails he has requested under the Data Protection Act ... because it has deleted them. One of the charity's own staff was censured after being involved in …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Aug 2015

Android apps are flooding on to jailbroken Win10 phones

The addition of Android compatibility for Windows phones was called a "suicide note" back in April, and now somebody's composing the first draft. Intrepid tinkerers have opened up previews of Windows 10 for phones to allow a wide range of Android apps run without modification. Reports suggest that at this stage, far more Android …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2015

Choke on it! Brit police squeeze pirate site advertising money trail

The intercepting of advertisements served on dodgy pirate sites has begun to choke their revenue by 70 per cent, according to the City of London police, vindicating the policy of following the “money trail”, rather than an individual infringer, said the police and trade groups. Tactics include harassing the seedy ad networks …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Aug 2015
Microsoft 'Scroogled' mug

Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit

Opinion A funny thing happened while I was reinstalling Windows 8 over Windows 10 yesterday morning. There in front of me, halfway through the installation process, were two full, clear pages of privacy toggles. Every toggle was set to not send private information to Microsoft, or anyone else. In addition, Windows 8 created a local …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Aug 2015
Motorola Moto G 3rd generation

Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Review It's been relatively easy recommending a SIM-free phone for under £200 for the past couple of years. The decision tree looked like this: If you wanted those specific apps, you’d want to consider the Moto G. But if you didn’t, then the Lumia range gave you a better phone at any sub-£200 price point. Windows Phone was intended …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Aug 2015
BlackBerry Passport

Reclothed BlackBerry Passport launched as Silver Edition

BlackBerry has revamped the design of its Passport, putting its monster QWERTY phablet in a new upmarket frame. The “Silver Edition” Passport contains the same guts as the original, launched last autumn, but now sports rounded bottom corners, a tweaked keyboard and new camera housing, as well as a grippier back. The phone, …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2015

Windows 10 Start menu replacements shifting like hot cakes

Microsoft had one job to do with Windows 10 – but it looks like it's failed to get even that right. Start Menu replacements for Windows 10 are moving almost as fast as they did for Windows 8, which didn't have a Start menu at all, according to Brad Wardell, whose company makes the most popular commercial drop-in Start menu. …
Andrew Orlowski, 04 Aug 2015

OnePlus phone fanbois flock for a shiny phondle

Pics It looked just like the queues you get outside Apple stores. But we were in South Of The River – in deepest Southwark – where Apple doesn't set foot. What was going on? The answer was that OnePlus, a Shenzen-based phone "startup" – read on for an explanation of the scare quotes – was offering fanbois a glimpse at its new phone …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Aug 2015
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UK's first 'DIY DAB' multiplex goes live in Brighton

Britain’s first home-brewed open source-based DAB multiplex has gone live this morning. Six services will be operating on the new mux in Brighton for nine months. It’s less than three years since Small Scale DAB – which was conceived in a shed and generates its signal using low cost Raspberry Pi computers – was first tested, …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2015
'Broken Copyright' StockMonkeys.com

Open source Copyright Hub unveiled with '90+ projects' in the pipeline

The web has grown up without letting people own and control their own stuff, but a British-backed initiative might change all that, offering a glimpse of how the internet can work in the future. Their work will all be open sourced early next year. Britain's much-anticipated Copyright Hub was given ministerial blessing when it …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2015
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'Fix these Windows 10 Horrors': Readers turn their guns on Redmond

Mailbag “Clearly the first year of ‘free’ is really beta testing – what should a sensible IT manager do?” asks one Reg reader Down Under. I’ve heard this from a few of you and collected your thoughts. You’ve no doubt already read Tim Anderson’s review and Trevor Pott's sysadmin’s view. There are plenty of other concerns and questions …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jul 2015

Let's all binge on Blake’s 7 and help save the BBC ... from itself

Analysis BBC please take note: Sky’s decision to play Netflix at its own game seems to be paying off. Sky decided to “unbundle” itself two years ago, offering access to its content to anyone with an internet connection and a credit card via NOW TV, an OTT (over-the-top) offering. It previously bundled content with access and …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2015

Flippin' heck, meet the Internet of Things wallpaper

British inventor Andrew Fentem has come up with a way of cheaply turning fabric into large active displays. Fentem, who pioneered multitouch input technology 15 years ago, only to see a UK quango squander the innovation and Apple reap the reward, calls the new display “organic pixels”. He’s invented an ulta-thin magnetic …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Jul 2015

Moto fires BROADSIDE into the flagship phone's waterline with X Play and Style

Hands On The traditional flagship Android smartphone concept, as offered for instance by Samsung, may be feeling a little wobblier today after Motorola shelled it fore and aft with its new, actual-value X handsets. Apple is currently hoovering up 92 per cent of the profits to be made in the smartphone business, by some counts, and what …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Jul 2015
Suits you

Don't suit up: Microsoft drops dress code for Android visitors

Windows will run Android binaries "unchanged", according to a Microsoft job posting. "Project Astoria" is one of several ambitious ventures announced at Microsoft's annual developer conference Build 2015, intended to lure iOS, Android, and web developers to Windows 10. All were intended to make porting to Windows easy. New …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Jul 2015
hard step by https://www.flickr.com/photos/shemsu_hor/  cc2.0 attribution no derivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

BlackBerry vows to make even fewer phones

It isn’t just Microsoft that’s going on a drastic phone diet. BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen today indicated that the Canadian enterprise vendor would cut its device portfolio from the four devices previously promised for 2015 to “two or one” a year. “We are reducing jobs, but it is not so much as reducing; we are shifting it, so …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jul 2015

BlackBerry pecks up crisis squawker AtHoc to add sauce to BBM

BlackBerry shed some light on its latest acquisition target, AtHoc, today. It looks an improbable fit at first: AtHoc does crisis comms for emergency services and campuses, and its big customers include the military, the Department of Homeland Security and the DoD. Speaking at BlackBerry’s annual security summit in New York, …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2015
Pebble Time

Neat but narky at times: Pebble Time colour e-paper watch

Review I love what Eric Migovsky has done with the Pebble by creating an antidote to modern smartwatches. The two generations of Pebble so far have been useful, durable and practical – qualities which elude the over-specced and costly Apple and Android kit. Pebble Time Pebble Time: Fit for purpose With its early mover advantage, …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2015

Windows 10 on Mobile under the scope: Flaws, confusion, and going nowhere fast

In Depth After five years, the radical design experiment of Windows Phone is to end; Windows on phones is being subsumed into Windows 10, and alas, this means Windows phones will not only be less distinctive and inherit many of the flaws, but they’ll acquires some flaws no mobile platform today suffers. That’s my conclusion after …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Jul 2015

UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

The UK's inability to introduce a private copying copyright exception legally and fairly means home taping, ripping CDs and so on will remain technically illegal in the UK. The obstacle to sorting out British law in this regard is the government's insistence that it can fix the quirk without offering any sort of compensation …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Jul 2015
Monty Python TV viewer

Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

Analysis A subscription-access BBC isn’t a new idea, and for its advocates, it’s a natural evolution that ensures the survival of the Corporation in the modern world. Yet Minister for Fun John Whittingdale kicked the idea down the road yesterday. Whittingdale explained that for "conditional access" to work, non-subscribers would have …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2015

Minister for Fun opens consultation on future of the BBC

The Government has opened up a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the BBC, whose ten-year duration Royal Charter expires in 2017. Inside the BBC Micro From this ... Coincidentally a Government review of the criminalisation of license fee evasion, was also published today, the Perry Review, which has decided to …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Jul 2015
smokestack

Everything I see is Windows 10, says Microsoft's SatNad

Satya Nadella has been hitting the road to undo the damage to perceptions of Microsoft's mobile strategy caused last week by, um… Satya Nadella. When the Great Communicator "clarified" Microsoft's plans last week, he was so effective that many reporters and analysts assumed Microsoft was giving up on its own mobile platforms, …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2015
Old Bailey Lady Justice

Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

Ordinary people value their online reputations, and are the main users of the so-called "right to be forgotten" European ruling, Google data has revealed. Google has portrayed its obligation to follow European privacy law, affirmed by the Gonzalez vs Google Spain ruling at the European Court of Justice last year, as a rogue's …
Andrew Orlowski, 15 Jul 2015
Nokia 2110

Nokia will indeed be back 'making' phones – and it's far from a foolish move

Analysis Yes, Nokia will probably make Nokia-brand phones again. And other people will make them for Nokia. The company has just re-reaffirmed the strategy it announced at its Capital Markets Day last November - when nobody seemed to be paying close attention. In fact Nokia said so again in April - as we reported here. Quite why it …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Jul 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

Shapps launches probe into Wikimedia UK over self-pluggery allegs

Exclusive Former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, who lost his Cabinet seat after allegations sourced from Wikimedia UK were widely publicised during the 2015 General Election campaign, has filed a request under the Data Protection Act to find out what the organisation knows and wrote about him. While the BBC has (sort of) …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2015
Facepalm by Ron Mander

EU squashes bogus copyright scare as red-faced Guardian slaps down Wiki's Wales

The European Parliament's largest grouping of MEPs, the European People's Party group, has snuffed out a bogus copyright crusade. The centre-right EPP, which has 214 MEPs, slammed inaccurate media reports for suggesting that new copyright laws would "break the internet". "There is no such EU law on the table and it is highly …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2015
Pinocchio CC 2.0 Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/

Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

It's been a great week for the BBC. The Corporation has expanded the Telly Tax onto computers and, on top of that, gained a guarantee of annual inflation-rate increases in the television licence fee. These cancel out the new requirement that the BBC funds free TV for the over-75s, which it must do in full from 2020. As a bonus …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jul 2015

SatNad's purple haze could see Lumia 'killed'. Way to go, chief!

Microsoft's CEO has attempted to explain the future of its mobile platform in a latest public statement addressed to staff. But, this being Satya Nadella, such is the verbal haze that it's hard to make out what on Earth's going on. Nadella's language is becoming a real problem for Microsoft, creating uncertainty where clarity …
Andrew Orlowski, 09 Jul 2015

HTC in crisis: How did it get to this point? How did it get this bad?

Analysis HTC's financial figures for its second quarter of 2015 look horrific. HTC says it lost 24 cents (or pence) for every dollar (or pound) of revenue it received. After four quarters of slender profits, the business just fell off a cliff. The Taiwanese giant's share price has halved from £146.5 ($224.63) to £68.50 ($105.03). If …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Jul 2015

BB10 AND Android? How BlackBerry can have its cake and eat it

Analysis New BlackBerry handsets are coming with unrecognized part numbers, which were spotted on an Indian import database. Three weeks ago, Reuters reported that new models from the company would run Android – raising question marks over BlackBerry's own proprietary BlackBerry OS 10 (BB10) platform. In the absence of a rapid …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2015
SHUT UP!

We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the horror

In depth Every time I've looked at Windows 10, it hasn't been long before I've run away screaming. As recently as May the ISO was nowhere near ready for prime time. Testing Windows 10 seemed to me like volunteering to be an unpaid drug trial guinea pig – it would be painful and could potentially give you horrible side effects, and you …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Jul 2015
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BPI fiddles with music consumption figures while revenues burn

The BPI reckons music consumption rose four per cent in the first half of 2015, thanks to a string of best-selling albums. But how do you measure an album's sales when a lot of your audience is streaming, or has YouTube on in the background? The music industry has started to use a new metric it calls Album Equivalent Sale ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Jul 2015

Wikipedia: YES! we’ve SAVED the INTERNET again!

Just as we predicted only yesterday, Wikipedia has proclaimed a famous “victory” over something that was never going to happen. The site launched a high-profile campaign to “Save the Freedom of Panorama”, after an amendment was tacked onto a European Parliament report produced by the Parliament’s only Pirate MEP. The amendment …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015

UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al, says Ofcom

If you thought that British TV drama was getting cheaper and there was less of it, Ofcom has just confirmed your hunch. Ofcom's first (since 1998) review of Public Service Broadcasters, or PSBs, the regulated terrestrial TV dinosaurs, has found three things you already knew. Namely, that British TV companies now spend less …
Andrew Orlowski, 03 Jul 2015
Panic button

Wikipedia jumps aboard the bogus 'freedom of panorama' bandwagon

Wikipedia has launched another anti-copyright campaign – but it's one that experts say is bogus and misleading. Thousands of pages on the site are now plastered with an appeal to "Save the Freedom of Panorama", a crusade minted by copyright activist and Europe's only Pirate Party MEP, Julia Reda. But Wikipedia users should …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Mississippi River Lock and Dam number 7 with the I-90 Mississippi River bridge downstream. Image: Public Domain

40 states line up with Mississippi in Google Adwords pharma scrap

Attorneys General representing 40 US states have filed an amicus brief backing Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood's investigation into Google. In December, the giant multinational sued the state of Mississippi after it had opened an investigation into Google's business practices (claiming Hood’s complaints did not come under …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jul 2015
Grant Shapps, Conservative Party chairman. Pic: Sportsfile Web Summit

BBC (sort of) sorry for Grant Shapps Wikipedia smear reportage

The BBC has apologised to MP and former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps for the way it reported allegations regarding Shapps and Wikipedia, which were based on a single anonymous source. Shapps lost the position of party chairman and left the Cabinet, despite running a successful general election campaign. He is …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Jun 2015