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How ATM fraud nearly brought down British banking

This is the story of how the UK banking system could have collapsed in the early 1990s, but for the forbearance of a junior barrister who also happened to be an expert in computer law - and who discovered that at that time the computing department of one of the banks issuing ATM cards had "gone rogue", cracking PINs and taking …
Charles Arthur, 21 Oct 2005
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Video iPod plus Front Row: Media Center killer, or shoulder-shrug?

OK, we've got a lot of things to get through today, so let's get started. As Steve Jobs usually says, introducing another load of, um, stuff. So on Wednesday he unveiled a desktop computer with a remote control; iPods that can play video; and an updated iTunes Music Store that will sell you videos, and if you live in the US, TV …
Charles Arthur, 13 Oct 2005
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Apple finally kills Gil Amelio's legacy by numbers

Apple Computer has finally laid to rest the ghost of former chief exec Gil Amelio, yesterday unveiling gross revenues of $13.93bn and a net profit of $1.335bn, following its best-ever fourth (or any) quarter with revenues of $3.658bn and profit of $430m. At last, the folks at Cupertino won't have to compare themselves to the …
Charles Arthur, 12 Oct 2005
The Register breaking news

iPod Nano vs washing machine: who wins?

With surprising regularity, Britain's Daily Mail, a mid-market tabloid, runs a heartwarming story about a puppy or kitten that has survived some awful domestic appliance encounter (trapped in the washing machine/freezer/breadmaker) and is photographed, bedraggled, in the aftermath. Everyone go "Awwww!" And now we bring you El …
Charles Arthur, 04 Oct 2005
The Register breaking news

Mobiles challenge iPod hegemony

"Hello, yes, I'm on the train. We're just about to go into a tunnel... hello? Hello?" Now that we've sorted out whether anyone will want to download music onto their mobile while travelling, let's move on to the meatier issue: are people going to use them in the manner of iPods to listen to music, and thus replace that and …
Charles Arthur, 30 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple coughs to iPod Nano screen flaws

The people have spoken, and Apple has heard them. Sort of. On Tuesday night the computer and music player company admitted that there are problems with the screen of the new iPod Nano, just three working days after The Register broke the story. Correction: a problem with one manufacturing batch, affecting "less than one-tenth …
Charles Arthur, 28 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple's iPod Nano screen woes deepen

OK, let's see if we can find some good news about the iPod Nano. Hey, here's some: Jim Allchin, head of Microsoft's Windows division, bought one the day it came out. Talk about sleeping with the enemy! Umm...oh. He says it stopped working after a day. "They have moisture issues," he said. (You're really not supposed to take it …
Charles Arthur, 27 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

iPod Nano owners in screen scratch trauma

People slavering to get Apple's "impossibly small" iPod Nano into their sticky hands may want to pause a moment: those ahead of them in the queue have discovered that it's also unbelievably easy to scratch the screen, nixing its photo-displaying abilities. Apple's discussion forums are already host to a 188-post thread on the …
Charles Arthur, 23 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple share of MP3 player market to shrink... sort of

Prepare yourself now for some triumphant headlines in the coming months from rivals of Apple's iPod - along the lines of 'Apple MP3 player market share drops'. And you know what? Apple half-expects them too. Why? Because its new iPod Nano is going to be so hugely successful, taking over as the world's most popular MP3 player …
Charles Arthur, 15 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

iPod infestation almost dooms New Zealand

The iPod's global popularity has been revealed as an agent of environmental destruction in which the entire country of New Zealand was only saved by a quick-thinking owner and his freezer cabinet. A report on the Pestnet discussion forum, where people in the Pacific region gather to discuss, well, pests, reveals that an …
Charles Arthur, 02 Sep 2005
The Register breaking news

Ringtone shoplifters nab £75m worth of choons

The music and ringtone business is being ripped off to the tune of £75m per year, as people grab free previews of ringtones via PCs and transfer them to their phones, says software company QPass. The company studied 100 "leading" download sites - 42 mobile carrier portals, and 58 "online entertainment" and music stores offering …
Charles Arthur, 21 Jul 2005
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Dell: why Customer Care had to die

We notice that you were very interested by the news that Dell has closed its customer support boards (on the US site). We had asked the company itself to explain why; and within just two days of our urgent request, it managed to unburden itself of the following response, which we quote in full. "Effective Friday, July 8, 2005 …
Charles Arthur, 14 Jul 2005
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Want to complain about Dell? Forget it

Want to complain on Dell's website about its customer service? Too late - the Customer Support Forums, operational until last Friday, have been shut down, apparently to try to quell bad publicity there about Dell products and especially after-care service. While all the other equipment forums are still working - last time we …
Charles Arthur, 11 Jul 2005
The Register breaking news

Nuclear fusion: power to the people?

It's G8 week, and climate change is high on the agenda. And now that even George Bush has acknowledged that climate change is (a) happening and (b) is at least partly due to humans but insisted it (c) should be tackled through technology, why not focus again on a technology that's (1) happening and (2) partly controlled by …
Charles Arthur, 06 Jul 2005
The Register breaking news

BPI sues MCPS in music biz blue-on-blue

Another day, another lawsuit from the record labels. Except this time - what's this? They're suing a different part of the music business. Yes, the BPI on Thursday announced that it is taking the MCPS (the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) to the Copyright Tribunal, complaining that the MCPS is charging too much for …
Charles Arthur, 01 Jul 2005
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Of Microsoft, RSS and Longhorn

We thought we'd let the dust settle before examining Microsoft's announcement that it will incorporate RSS support in Longhorn, and the upcoming IE7 release (in a service pack for XP). Why? Because the haze cast by the conflicting claims and counter-claims means that you're not going to get much sense of what's really happening …
Charles Arthur, 28 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple pushes Podcasts through iTunes

"Podcasting goes mainstream", announced Apple on Tuesday, with the launch of version 4.9 of its iTunes music jukebox software - at the same time as upgrading and simplifying its iPod (but not iPod mini) line by giving them all colour screens and the ability to show album cover artwork or photos. The "white iPods" now come in …
Charles Arthur, 28 Jun 2005
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Storage vendors suffer vertical vertigo

Los Angeles! New York! Paris, France! Berlin! London! Like the leaders of a pair of heavy metal rock bands pimping their new album, the big names from Seagate and Hitachi have been touring the world these past couple of weeks, touting their latest wonder - the Defeat of Superparamagnetism. (Be honest, you can imagine a vinyl LP …
Charles Arthur, 24 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

Make music industry poverty history

Set yourself a challenge when next you're in Paraguay: see if you can buy a non-pirated CD. According to latest figures on CD piracy released by the IFPI, the record companies' global organisation, 99 per cent of CDs there come from people saying "Arr-harr!". Worldwide, 1.2bn pirated discs were sold in 2004, making 34 per cent …
Charles Arthur, 23 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

BitTorrent inventor lambasts Avalanche 'vaporware'

Bram Cohen, inventor of the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol, has launched a stinging attack on Microsoft's "Avalanche" peer-to-peer system unveiled (sort of) last week by its Cambridge (UK) researchers. In a posting on his blog, Cohen - whose protocol is (over?)estimated to be responsible for one-third of the world's internet …
Charles Arthur, 23 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

Bird flu: we're all going to die

The theme of the person awaking from a deep sleep or coma to find a world utterly changed is a popular one in science fiction. From John Wyndham's book The Day of The Triffids through The Omega Man to the recent film 28 Days Later, the trope of the man arising from his hospital bed to find that nothing is as it was has become …
Charles Arthur, 02 Jun 2005
The Register breaking news

Steve Jobs: smoke and mirrors or iCon?

Steve Jobs knows a thing or two about publicity. He gave a fantastic dollop to the latest unauthorised biography about him - "iCon: Steve Jobs - The Greatest Second Act in The History of Business", by Jeffrey S. Young and William L. Simon - by pulling all copies of all books by the publisher, John Wiley, from Apple's retail …
Charles Arthur, 20 May 2005
The Register breaking news

How to avoid VAT on email

Never underestimate the resourcefulness, or perhaps parsimoniousness, of Register readers. After last week's article pointing out how emailed data is liable to VAT, quite a few people responded along the lines of "Durr - why not just burn a CD and put it in the post? Won't that escape VAT?" And the answer? Yes, it will avoid …
Charles Arthur, 09 May 2005
The Register breaking news

Sending data by email: a govt licence to print money

Now here's a nice wrinkle of the laws governing this place that Tony Blair wanted to be "the best place for ecommerce anywhere in the world". If you send commercial data by email or over the Web, it's liable for VAT (17.5 per cent value-added tax, imposed in the UK on services) on the value of the data. Which of course with …
Charles Arthur, 05 May 2005
The Register breaking news

New wave of lawsuits to hit 'illegal song-swappers'

The record industry is targeting nearly 1,000 people in a new wave of lawsuits against alleged "illegal song-swappers" in actions in 11 countries in Europe and Asia. Following its first year of legal actions in Europe, which resulted in 248 people paying fines or facing "sanctions", the International Federation of the …
Charles Arthur, 12 Apr 2005
The Register breaking news

IFPI drafts 'code of conduct' for ISPs

Not content with creating a continent-spanning lawsuit-sharing network using special P2P (person to perpetrator) technology, the record companies' consortium, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) now wants your ISP to sign up to a new "code of conduct" that it has helpfully drafted with the help of the …
Charles Arthur, 12 Apr 2005
The Register breaking news

Fiona Apple saga shows Sony's core dilemma

You think that record companies are all geared up for the 21st century, and that the fact that online downloads will count towards the Official Chart Countdown means that they're au fait with the online future - right? That they realise that you can make a profit by continually selling a small number of digital copies of songs, …
Charles Arthur, 11 Apr 2005
The Register breaking news

Mitnick sequel fails to hack it

Sequels are hard. Just ask John Travolta, currently being panned by the critics for his efforts in Be Cool, the would-be follow-up to the tremendously successful film Get Shorty. In books, as in films and music, following instant success is often harder than achieving it, because the former may be the labour of years but the …
Charles Arthur, 29 Mar 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple 15in PowerBook G4

Ten months is a long time to go without a hardware refresh in the PC industry. For Apple, whose top-end PowerBook notebooks pretty much defined the genre, it's an eternity. The introduction this month of new, speed-bumped PowerBooks thus felt enormously overdue - the delay had led many to expect the fabled PowerBook G5. Apple …
Charles Arthur, 24 Feb 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple iPod Shuffle

Many people listen to their digital music in no particular order at all: album tracklists are becoming a thing of the past, 'shuffle' play (making random selections from a huge collection of hundreds or thousands of songs) is the norm, and to hell with imposed order. Apple, with the iPod Shuffle, says that's how life should be …
Charles Arthur, 11 Feb 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple Mac Mini

Is it a sandwich box? Is it a modern light fitting? No, it's Apple's attempt to ship a consumer-oriented computer without the usual array of stylishly designed mouse, keyboard and display. No wonder it comes in at a very affordable £339. Apple Mac Mini The Mini certainly hits a sweet spot of price against capability. There's a …
Charles Arthur, 09 Feb 2005
The Register breaking news

Revealed: the tech consumer as prawn

"I wouldn't eat prawns," said Julie Walters, portraying a prissy housewife in one of Victoria Wood's comedy sketch shows. "You know how they are. They spend all day treading water at sewage outlets with their mouths open." Somehow one gets the impression more and more that the bigger companies - both hardware and software - …
Charles Arthur, 07 Feb 2005
The Register breaking news

Interview with a link spammer

Sam - let's call our interviewee Sam, it's suitably anonymous - lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in London, drives a vintage Jaguar and runs his own company. But "it's not not all rock and roll and big money", says Sam. What isn't? Spamming websites and blogs with text to pump up the search engine rankings of sites …
Charles Arthur, 31 Jan 2005
The Register breaking news

Apple: iPod domination - or just another fad?

"I got drunk and ended up with a hooker," said Conan O'Brien, the sardonically witty talk-show host as he compered Bill Gates's CES speech last week. "Bill got drunk and ended up in bed with an Apple computer." Cue picture of horrified billg. However it's not that prospect which should be giving Bill the nightmares. It's …
Charles Arthur, 13 Jan 2005
The Register breaking news

Mac rumour sites get it completely right

The rumour sites got it completely right. Steve Jobs on Tuesday morning unveiled both a stripped-down Macintosh, the Mac mini, for $499 (£339 in the UK) - sans display, keyboard, mouse - and a Flash-based iPod, the iPod shuffle, with 512MB or 1GB of storage, priced at $99 and $149 (£69 and £99 inc VAT). He also unveiled new …
Charles Arthur, 12 Jan 2005