The Register Columnists

Gareth Corfield

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
A Parrot Bebop 2 drone. File picture

Essex drone snapper dealt with by police for steamy train photos

A drone photographer who took pictures of the Tornado steam engine has been given a community punishment by Essex Police in the UK – after Network Rail complained his craft was being flown too close to a railway line. The force said in a statement that the 28-year-old man from Kirby Cross, who it declined to name, "was dealt …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Oct 2017

Beardy Branson chucks cash at His Muskiness' Hyperloop idea

Richard Branson, the billionaire behind the Virgin brand, has reportedly invested an undisclosed sum in Elon Musk’s barmy Hyperloop supersonic tube train project, seemingly competing with the billionaire ideas man's own firm. Beardy gets to join the Hyperloop One board, according to the Beeb, and the firm will also add its …
Gareth Corfield, 13 Oct 2017
A DJI Phantom 4 with camera detail. Pic: Shutterstock

Whose drone is that? DJI unveils UAV traffic tracking system

DJI, the Chinese drone firm, is launching its own Wi-Fi based drone identification and tracking system, Aeroscope, aimed at placating regulators who want to put limits on small drone flights. The move is to pre-emptively appease regulators such as the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, the EU’s EASA and US’s FAA as they look at …
Gareth Corfield, 12 Oct 2017

Give us cash and think about the kids, UK tells Facebook and Twitter

The British government is now proposing a direct tax on social media companies while inviting everyone else to hush and think of the children. The Green Paper on Internet Safety, published today, specifically gives Apple and Google a free pass from the real targets of British governmental anger, Facebook and Twitter. It comes …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Oct 2017
image byemo http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-2659924p1.html

Sniffing substations will solve 'leccy car charging woes, reckons upstart

A power consumption monitoring startup reckons its substation monitoring technology can be used to help the spread of electric car charging points. The OpenLV project aims to deploy a “low cost substation intelligence platform” that monitors local low voltage* substations and meshes them together to supply extra current as …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Oct 2017
A Land Rover Discovery. Pic: Shutterstock

Q: How do you test future driverless car tech? A: Slurp a ton of real-world driving data

A group of council delivery drivers in East London are riding new £28,000 Land Rover Discovery Sport vehicles. A bit extravagant? Yes, deliberately so: these cars are testbeds for the Move UK autonomous car tech data-gathering project. Central to the project is gathering data on how autonomous cars will operate in the future. …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Oct 2017
The Typhoon in Battle of Britain colours

1,000 jobs on the line at BAE Systems' Lancashire plants – reports

BAE Systems, maker of military machinery, is to slash more than 1,000 jobs, according to reports, with most roles affected at its Warton plant in Lancashire, England – the main factory that builds the Eurofighter Typhoon. While nominally a multinational aircraft, the Typhoon is effectively a BAE design from top to bottom and …
Roadworks: fibre optic cable being laid

BT fined £25,000 over second unsafe London roadworks this year

BT has been fined £25,000 after being found guilty of carrying out unsafe roadworks in the UK capital, following a prosecution by Transport for London. The offence was committed on March 1 at roadworks being carried out by BT on London's Streatham Hill, at the junction of Leigham Court Road. "BT failed to properly sign and …
elon musk

What does Elon Musk really need? A personal theme tune, of course!

Weezer's former bassist has written a "theme tune" for Elon Musk. Why? He was feeling miserable, apparently. Matt Sharp, erstwhile plucker of fat strings for the pop-punk pack, penned the "mournful ode" to the Tesla gros fromage but then said it was "not a tribute to Musk", according to glossy Wired. "I was trying to get off …
ViaSat2

Foiled again! Brit military minds splash cash on killing satellites with... food wrapping?

Blighty's defence boffins are now spending £10m per year on space research, including a satellite mission set for blast-off in 2019. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is spending a total of £50m over the next five years on space "innovation", in particular for two space-related projects. One of these is the …
Harrods. Pic: Shutterstock

Ex-Harrods IT man cleared of stealing company issued laptop

The former Harrods IT worker accused of stealing a laptop from the luxury department store in the UK capital has been cleared of theft – but was fined for trying to remove it from the department store's domain. Pardeep Parmar, of Grove Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, previously pleaded guilty to causing a computer to perform a …
Tony Sale, one of the founders of the National Museum of Computing. Pic: TNMOC

World's first dedicated computer centre declared 'irreplaceable' by Historic England

Block H has been declared one of England's "irreplaceable places", the National Museum of Computing has joyously announced. For those wondering why on earth TNMOC is preserving the women's prison block from the 1990s Aussie telly series Prisoner: Cell Block H, it actually refers to one of the most historic buildings on the …
Facepalm

ISIS and Jack Daniel's: One of these things is not like the other

A man was reportedly asked if he was an Islamic State sympathiser after his neighbours mistook a Jack Daniel's flag for the black-and-white terrorist insignia. The unnamed Italian hung the whiskey distillery flag outside his home in Regensdorf, Zürich, only to receive an anonymous letter from "concerned neighbours". "Should …
Boeing 777--2H6/ER 9M-MRI, an aircraft very similar to the one that operated Flight MH370. Pic: Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock

MH370 final report: Aussies still don’t know where it crashed or why

Australian air authorities have published their final report into the MH370 mystery, concluding that they’re no wiser about what happened or why than when the Malaysian Airlines flight vanished three years ago. Australia’s Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) took a leading role in the investigation at the invitation of …
Tony Hall, BBC Director General. Pic: BBC

BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Parliament has rescheduled its debate on the BBC TV Tax, after it was quietly canned thanks to the UK's snap general election earlier this year. A public petition against the BBC TV Licence fee was launched after The Register revealed that notorious outsourcing firm Capita, whose door-to-door salesmen collect the tax, took 71 …

Six weeks later, drone biz DJI deploys control app 'flight mode'

Chinese drone-maker DJI has re-announced its "local data mode" for phone-home UAVs, around six weeks after first promising to introduce it following the US Army banning use of its products. Back in August the US Army imposed a blanket ban on the use of all DJI products across the entire service, following unspecified “cyber …

Man with 74 convictions refused permission to fling sueball at Google

A sex offender with 74 convictions who changed his name to escape his past has been refused permission to sue Google by a judge in Northern Ireland. Callum Townsend, 25, who was previously called Stuart Townsend, had his effort to prohibit Google from publishing search results about him squashed by Lord Justice Stephens, …
prison

Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

The UK's Ministry of Justice is offering up to £50,000 for bright ideas to stop drones and mobile phones from getting into prisons. "The aim of this competition is to develop novel detection techniques to identify these and other contraband items," according to the funding notice. Top priority for the MoJ is detecting and …
Sunset in Niger, a tree silhouetted against a sunset in the Sahara desert. Photo via Shutterstock

Guntree v Gumtree: Nominet orders gun ads site must lose domain

Gumtree has taken ownership of the Guntree web domain after dot-UK registry Nominet ruled that the classified ads webite for guns and ammunition was similar enough to Gumtree to constitute an “abusive registration”. Guntree, as its name strongly suggests, is a classified ads website that allows users to place adverts for …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Sep 2017
Broken light bulb

WTH is my domain? OpenSRS and Hover DOWN and OUT

Updated The domain name server "OpenSRS" crashed and burned during the dead of night following a network failure, taking down scores of customers' portals with it. Normal service has yet to resume. OpenSRS is owned by the operating service Tucows, and according to builtwith.com, there are about 690,000 active websites using it. …
gun

EU tells Facebook and Twitter: Obey us or we'll start regulating

The EU Commission has fired a shot across Facebook and Twitter's bows, having issued a proclamation decreeing that "social media platforms" must do more to remove "illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism online". Although what is said in the EU proclamation is nothing new – indeed, in the UK, the measures …
Gareth Corfield, 28 Sep 2017
Boeing 737 Max

The UK isn't ditching Boeing defence kit any time soon

Analysis The British government is publicly threatening to stop giving defence contracts to American aerospace firm Boeing – even though this is laughably unrealistic. Both the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary have, over the last couple of days, warned Boeing that it is undermining its relationship with the UK, in financial …
Gareth Corfield, 28 Sep 2017
Bouncy castle. pic: Shutterstock

MoD brainbox repo opens up IP treasure chest for world+dog

British military boffins are letting world+dog use bright ideas they devised for, among other things, compact antennas, military bouncy castles and a dog-training programme. The Defence and Science Technology Laboratory holds the Ministry of Defence's IP portfolio. The agency announced earlier this week that it is extending …
Gareth Corfield, 28 Sep 2017
Easyjet photo, via Shutterstock

EasyJet: We'll have electric airliners within the next decade

EasyJet has given its blessing to a mildly bonkers plan to replace airliners with electrically propelled aircraft on short-haul flights. The low-cost airline is supporting American startup Wright Electric, which, judging by the picture on its homepage, wants to insert a large number of ducted fans into the wing-root area of …
Gareth Corfield, 27 Sep 2017
arrest

Gov contractor nicked on suspicion of Official Secrets Act breach

The Metropolitan Police has announced the arrest of a UK government contractor after a tip-off. According to the police force, the unnamed 65-year-old woman was arrested in north London, England, by constables “acting upon intelligence received”. A search of the location where she was arrested is ongoing. The arrest was on …
Gareth Corfield, 27 Sep 2017

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017