The Week in Summary

The "Buffalo" Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. Credit: US Army
6

Online armour: Duncan Campbell's tech chief on super-duper crypto

Crypto toolbox, Part II In the first article in this two-parter on building your own crypto toolbox I covered older tools that have been around for a relatively long time now: Truecrypt and OpenPGP. Here, I will go in a different direction and look at ways of protecting instant messaging, general web-browsing, and how to trust the operating system where we run these tools.
Matt Fowler, 26 Dec 2014
Gözde Kansu in the offending dress
4

Mobe not-spots 'landmark deal'? We ain't thick, Javid

The “landmark agreement” between the government and the mobile phone operators has been reported as a coup, something worthy, and a step forward. However, scratch the surface and it’s merely a face-saving exercise.
Simon Rockman, 26 Dec 2014
8

White hats do an NSA, figure out LIVE PHONE TRACKING via protocol vuln

Security vulnerabilities in the SS7 phone-call routing protocol that allow mobile call and text message tracking will be revealed this weekend.
7

Festive post-pub noshtastic neckfiller: HEARTY HOG MAW

We're now well into the season of festive excess, and doubtless readers will already be sustaining a severe pummelling to livers and credit cards in equal measure.
Lester Haines, 26 Dec 2014
Lego_star_wars

'I've got a brick feeling about this' - El Reg's guide to the best Lego films + TV

Using toys to re-enact beloved movies is pretty much one of every nerdy kid's favorite playtime activities and Lego makes this easy, by providing minifigs of many of celluloid's leading characters. It's safe to say I had far more fun with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego down the pub than I did watching Michael Bay's film.
Lucy Orr, 26 Dec 2014
LG HS6 and sub-woofer

LG Flow punches Sonos right in its portable battery speaker hole

Aiming to compete more strongly with Sonos, LG Electronics is updating its streaming Wi-Fi loudspeaker/music-player product line with something that Sonos users have (so far fruitlessly) requested; a portable, battery-powered job.
Chris Mellor, 26 Dec 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence
5

Christmas Eve email asked Oz telcos for metadata retention costs by Jan 9th

Australian telecommunications companies and internet service providers were given until January 9th, 2015 to offer an estimate of what it will cost them to comply with data retention laws, and appear to have been told of that deadline on Christmas Eve.
Simon Sharwood, 25 Dec 2014
Who trio, photo: BBC

Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas

TV Review Readers please note: THIS IS A POST-UK-BROADCAST REVIEW – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
Team Register, 25 Dec 2014
Boring Christmas

Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

We love our gadgets and phones and suchlike. Gadgets can also make great gifts, so long as you get the "right one".
Stuart Burns, 25 Dec 2014
Mamod steam traction engine

Ghosts of Christmas Past: The long-ago geek gifts that made us what we are

Product Roundup It's fairly well accepted that events and things from our past help to make us the twisted, misanthropic people we are today. Or perhaps that's just Team Register. It being the season of festive excess, we wondered if there were perhaps some geeky gifts that, as a kid, helped you explore science, tech, and similar areas, and turned you into the dashing, sophisticated reader of IT news that you are today.
Nigel Whitfield, 25 Dec 2014
Sold under the Au brand by Japanese network KFFI
7

SEXY GOLD FireFOXY LADY hits Japan in transparent kimono today

Japan's Au mobile network has launched a transparent-cased Firefox OS phone, in an unusual move for the free software community into an already well-established market.
Simon Rockman, 25 Dec 2014
Facebook privacy image

Judge kills Facebook's bid to dismiss private message sniffing case

A California judge has turned down Facebook's motion to dismiss a class-action suit against the company from users who are aggrieved that the social network was truffling through their private messages for advertising purposes.
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014

Sony releases Nork flick The Interview straight to DVD (digital video download)

In a shining example of how high culture* will always defeat the jackboot tactics of oppressive states like North Korea, the Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview is now available for viewing via multiple online streaming services.
Neil McAllister, 24 Dec 2014
Samsung UE55ES8000 Series 8 SMART LED TV

Wanna play PlayStation games but don't have a console? Samsung's got a TV for that

Buyers of select Samsung Smart TVs in the first half of 2015 will be able to play Sony PlayStation games without buying a separate console.
Neil McAllister, 24 Dec 2014

Ireland: Hey, you. America. Hands off Microsoft's email cloud servers

The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world.
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
5

Internet governance group pushes on without, er, internet organizations

The controversial internet governance group NetMundial has rejected calls to delay the creation of its "coordination council" – and launched without the support of the technical community nor the International Chamber of Commerce.
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Dec 2014
Sidewalk mobile phone lane in China

Xiaomi: It really ISN'T a biz-miracle idiot tax like Apple

Worstall on Wednesday The lads over at Business Insider seem to be getting a little over-excited about Xiaomi's latest fund raising exercise, claiming in their headline that it's the Apple of China. Well, no, not really, Apple is the Apple of China. Making cute kit and selling it in volume isn't the definitive point about Apple itself so a company that does merely that doesn't an Apple make.
Tim Worstall, 24 Dec 2014
Q*Bert

Q*bert: The Escher-inspired platform puzzler from 1982

Antique Code Show Given the choice, which 80s videogame star would you choose to have a friendly seasonal pint and chin-wag with? Pacman’s obviously got a personality defect, Mario’s breath probably stinks, and that bloke from Jet Set Willy is no doubt a pervert. But Q*bert? Well he’s one interesting individual – full of mumbled swear-word utterances, true, but also brimming with interesting tales born out of the constraints of that era’s technology. Just ignore the fact that he drinks through his nose.
Giles Hill, 24 Dec 2014
Excel on Android

Microsoft promises open plan mobile Office. Who sits by the Windows?

Microsoft has revealed more information on its plans for Office on mobile devices: iOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets.
Tim Anderson, 24 Dec 2014

Vid: Reg lecture launches readers from Clerkenwell to outer space

Register Events If you’re at all concerned that the UK is falling behind in the race to space, Dr Geraint Jones’ Reg Christmas Lecture should put your mind at ease.
Joe Fay, 24 Dec 2014
International Space Station

Mysterious STAR set to appear on Christmas Eve above Blighty: The ISS

NASA's International Space Station is expected to be shining brightly above Britain's skies tonight.
Team Register, 24 Dec 2014
Zony Xperia Z3

Grab a SLIM MODEL for Xmas cheer: Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

Review With small tablets getting bigger it came as quite a surprise to me when one of the main Android tablet wallah’s newest devices turned out to also be its smallest. Prior to the launch of the 8-inch Z3 Tablet Compact (sic) Sony’s smallest fondleslab packed a 9.4-inch screen.
Alun Taylor, 24 Dec 2014
Core memory

We can change a bit from 0 to 1 WITHOUT CURRENT, say boffins

There could be some iron in the non-volatile soul. A team of Cornell university boffins using bismuth ferrite have discovered a way to store bits on magnets without needing electric current-based switching.
Chris Mellor, 24 Dec 2014
The Elements Phone

Pond, rocks or quicksand in your 1km garden? Get a rugged DECT phone

BT has launched a new cordless phone, named Elements, designed for challenging environments - notably your garden or a forecourt of some kind - and incorporating a range of 1km, or 0.625 of a mile, if you prefer.
Simon Rockman, 24 Dec 2014
Rear_view_mirror
1

2014 AD: A year in storage. STILL not enough nails for the disk coffin lid

Beard Stroke Spending some of the festive season in San Francisco has given me a chance to look back at the wonderful world of storage and to ponder which may have been the biggest overall storage stories over the past twelve months or so.
Chris Mellor, 24 Dec 2014
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - IANA - logo
2

Internet community split on who should run IANA

The internet community is split when it comes to who should be given the right to run the critical IANA functions.
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Dec 2014
Hybrid aircraft

Cambridge boffins and Boeing fly first hybrid airplane over British skies

Video The first hydrocarbon/electric aircraft has taken to the skies over Southern England as part of trials to find out if such combo systems have a place in aviation's future.
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
Nokia Black Lumia Windows Phone Update
9

Windows Phone bumping along the bottom

Microsoft has revealed a new batch of data about Windows Phone's fortunes, and it seems Redmond's mobile efforts are doing best at the low end of the market.
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2014
Festo's "mechanical roo"

Privacy-loving BOXING KANGAROO BIFFS DRONE out of the sky

Footage has emerged of a kangaroo boxing a drone out of the sky.
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2014
snowden SXSW

Makers of Snowden movie Citizenfour sued by ex-oil exec

The makers of Citizenfour are being sued by a man who claims the Edward Snowden film constitutes a violation of US law and national security.
Shaun Nichols, 24 Dec 2014
Hairy Dalek's Lego ZX81
6

2014: The condensed conference keynotes

Reg hacks travel the world and then ignore the local sights in order to attend giant, dark auditoria and listen to "industry champions" deliver "thought leadership". After a trans-continental telepathy session, here's our collective distillation of this year's C-level wisdom, as delivered from our industry's biggest stages. - Ed.
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2014
Devuan's new logo

Devuan rebels hope to deliver Debian fork in 2015

Devuan, the Debian spin-off that will not include systemd has posted its first progress report.
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2014
3

Rackspace restored after DDOS takes out DNS

Rackspace says it has recovered from a nasty distributed denial of service attack that it says may have seen “a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure … inadvertently blocked.”
Simon Sharwood, 24 Dec 2014

ICANN's technical competence queried by Verisign report

EXCLUSIVE A review of the globe's DNS security, stability and resiliency by dot-com registry and root server operator Verisign has called into question the technical competence of domain name overseer ICANN.
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Dec 2014

POS malware crooks hack IP cams to validate targets

Carders operating the BackOff point of sales malware are hacking IP cameras to make sure their targets are worth attacking, says researcher Rotem Kerner says.
Darren Pauli, 24 Dec 2014

Hack flings bootkits from Macs' Thunderbolts

Researcher Trammel Hudson has developed a means to foist a new class of bootkits onto Macs, using Thunderbolt devices using a form of USB 'evil maid' attacks.
Darren Pauli, 24 Dec 2014
Uber apologises for Sydney siege surge pricing SNAFU

Uber apologises for Sydney siege surge pricing SNAFU

Uber has apologised to Sydneysiders for maintaining surge pricing during the siege of a cafe in the city's central business district last week.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014
Facepalm by Ron Mander

FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system.
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Kim Dotcom at the NZ parliamentary hearing

New Zealand Supreme Court says Kim Dotcom search warrants were legal

File-sharing kingpin and self-described pauper Kim Dotcom will need to cough up another NZ$35,000 ($26,900) after losing the latest round of his long-running legal battle before the country's Supreme Court.
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
5

Australia's future tech news headlines ... for 2016!

Today's the last day The Reg's Australian crew will bother showing up for work until the new year, making it the ideal opportunity to offer some insights into the future of the nation's IT industries and policies. We did it last year and reckon the results weren't horrid, so let's have another go, shall we?
7

Apple and Microsoft backed Rockstar flogs zombie Nortel patents for $900m

Rockstar Consortium, the trolling outfit that snapped up the patent portfolio of bankrupt telecoms firm Nortel, has agreed to sell the bulk of that technology to a company that claims to be dedicated to reducing patent litigation.
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
Starbucks free Wi-Fi UK

Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Top hotel chains want permission in the US to disrupt guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – a move that would force people to use expensive hotel wireless instead.
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

Shock! Nork-grating flick The Interview WILL be in cinemas – Sony

After days of ridicule for caving into ludicrous anonymous threats against moviegoers, Sony Pictures and US cinemas will show The Interview this Christmas, after all.
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
Brueghel_Leapfrog
4

CLOUD-to-CLOUD backup: A chasm-Spanning leap

Comment Cloud storage company Spanning's story is simple enough; you back up your apps and on-premises data, don't you? (everyone say "yes"...) You should back up your public cloud apps and their in-cloud data, shouldn't you? (let me hear you say "yeah!") Your existing backup software won't work there, will it? (everyone look down and quietly say "no"). Ours will, and it runs in the cloud, too.
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014
Shot of a lady with a "Nice Rack" t-shirt
4

Revealed: This year's STUDENT RACK WARS winner

HPC blog While I had posted detailed results of the ISC’14 Summer Cluster Slam (here and here), I just realized that I had neglected to put out the final standings and analysis. This makes me an idiot. (Well, not only this, there are a lot of other things that contribute to that assessment as well.)
JP Morgan HQ at Canary Wharf

JPMorgan Chase mega-hack was a simple two-factor auth fail

Hackers broke into JPMorgan's network through a giant security hole left open by a failure to switch on two-factor authentication on an overlooked server.
John Leyden, 23 Dec 2014
Google UK office logos

Blind justice: Google lawsuit silences elected state prosecutor

Comment Google's success in "assassinating" a democratically-elected legal opponent last week raises troubling questions about corporate power and accountability. The feisty attorney for the USA's poorest state is now trying to make peace, after being on the receiving end of a highly unusual lawsuit from Google.
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Dec 2014
IBM's Hursley partner centre: A shop window for datacentres
5

Outsourcer Capita snaps up Solid State Solutions for undisclosed wonga

Outsourcing giant Capita has gobbled up Basingstoke storage company Solid State Solutions (S3) for an undisclosed sum.
Kat Hall, 23 Dec 2014
Al Pacino as Scarface

GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

The Snowden revelations harmed GCHQ’s ability to monitor the communications of crime lords, leading to some vanishing off the grid and the abandonment of other surveillance operations, sources have told a British newspaper.
John Leyden, 23 Dec 2014
4

Oracle snaps up Facebook data slurper Datalogix

Oracle has snapped up data slurping company Datalogix - an oufit best known for collecting info from retailers and sharing it with the likes of Facebook.
Kat Hall, 23 Dec 2014
5

Google rams Landfill Android into Indian Ocean folks' faces

Three new emerging nations have been added to the list of places getting Google's budget phone version of Android.
Simon Rockman, 23 Dec 2014
Pro Laser III speed gun
4

Nimble lives up to name after eating flashy DIMM brekkie

Analysis FlashDIMMs can turn Nimble Storage arrays into supercharged systems, shortening IO latencies and speeding overall IO.
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014
snowden insider theft security
6

Google it! Ruskie gov user data slurps jumped 25% last year

Google user data access requests from the Russian government jumped a whopping 25 per cent in the last six months of 2013, Mountain View has revealed in a rejigged version of its "Transparency Report".
Team Register, 23 Dec 2014
Decaying red telephone boxes

BT takes broadband to NEW PLACES. That's right: CITIES

BT is trumpeting a new test which will see it install broadband in some really hard-to-reach locations: the middle of cities. Well, provided it can get into the building in the first place.
Simon Rockman, 23 Dec 2014
assange attack tools
4

Doh! WikiLeaks' PDF viewer springs XSS vuln

Wikileaks' Flash-powered PDF reader has sprung a vulnerability or two.
John Leyden, 23 Dec 2014
The Oatmeal Grizzly Burn

HOLD IT! Last minute gifts for one's nerd minions

Sysadmin blog It's that time of year again. You have to go forth and buy things for your gaggle of nerdly minions, but you've no idea what they want. In the rare instances they emerge from their caves they mostly spend the time alternating between heartfelt invocations about "the burning painball in the sky" and a lack of caffeine. Social custom says you should probably get them something, but what?
Trevor Pott, 23 Dec 2014
3

Elasticsearch tells us all about its weighty Big Data tool

Blink and you'll miss it. Big Data analytics is a huge focus of startup activity with young and new companies getting a green light from blue-chip customers and VCs almost all the time.
Chris Mellor, 23 Dec 2014
padlock
3

EU flings €1m at open source security audit wheeze

EU institutions have finally got the memo about it being a good idea to pinpoint and fix security vulnerabilities.
Jennifer Baker, 23 Dec 2014
7

China fingered for Afghan Govt attacks

Chinese hackers have targeted nearly all major Afghanistan Government websites by hacking an official content delivery network (CDN) and gaining a foothold to attack western governments.
Darren Pauli, 23 Dec 2014
Cupid Wings iPhone stand
6

Easy Tinder prank hack lets you play stupid cupid

Software engineer Robert Heaton has detailed simple tricks to fondle your mates' Tinder and Facebook accounts over the festive season.
Darren Pauli, 23 Dec 2014
Non-sleeper

Who wants SLEEP DEPRIVATION for Christmas?

If you've popped an iPad under the tree, thanks for your generosity: you've given the gift of poor sleep, disrupted circadian rhythms and an increased chance of cancer later in life.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014
Triumph's solar power brassiere

Solar-powered bra maker suffers 20,000 TITSUPs all at once

Solar-powered bra manufacturer Triumph International has been forced to recall 20,000 solar-powered brassieres.
Kat Hall, 23 Dec 2014
The Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre

Reg Oz chaps plot deep desert comms upgrade

It's been a while since The Reg travelled to the remote Australian community of Willowra to perform a Windows XP upgrade, and longer still since we updated readers on our plan to improve the internet connection in the town's adult learning centre.
Telstra logo
1

Telstra goes for Chinese takeaway with Pacnet buy

As foreshadowed last week, Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, will acquire Pacnet.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014
Elite

Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'

Frustration with Frontier Developments' less-than-pleasing response to fans miffed that Elite:Dangerous doesn't feature a single-player mode has sparked a new game titled “Refund Quest”.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014

Microsoft patch mashes Office forms and macros

Microsoft's December patching palaver keeps getting worse, with news that one of this month's brood is breaking Excel macros.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014

Sucker for punishment? Join Sony's security team

Sony is seeking a steely-willed vulnerability management director in the wake of its thorough hosing by unknown attackers.
Darren Pauli, 23 Dec 2014
putin topless

Facebook slammed for blocking protest event page at Russia's request

Russian political dissidents voiced their displeasure with Facebook on Monday after the social network blocked an event page promoting a demonstration on behalf of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
NuStar's view of the Sun

NASA's 'crazy' plan yields dramatic pictures of our X-ray Sun

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was designed to probe the distant galaxy looking for black holes, but NASA has recently been aiming the orbiting instrument at the Sun to get a close-up view of our star's atmosphere.
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
7

Apple scuttles NTP flaw in OS X – with 'first ever' silent auto update

Apple has slipped out an update to address the Network Time Protocol (NTP) vulnerability in its OS X operating system. And it seems the patch will be applied automatically and silently to vulnerable machines.
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
5

FCC hits pause on Comcast-TWC gobble AGAIN

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case.
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
Australia.gov.au beta
5

Australia's IT industries were repeatedly humiliated in 2014

Last week's hearing of Australia's Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, which convened in part to discuss Australia's planned communications metadata retention laws, produced high farce.
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014
Samsung's Jong-Deok Choi

Stop Xiaomi, oh stop Xiaomi: Samsung to debut Tizen mobe in India in January

Hope springs eternal for Samsung and its Linux-based Tizen OS, which reportedly will find its way onto a smartphone early next year, despite repeated delays.
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
Kim Jong-un

Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

If the North Koreans really do have an elite hacking squad, it'll be twiddling its thumbs at the moment, as all internet activity in the country has gone dark in an outage that bears the hallmarks of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
The Child Catcher

Edu-apps may be STALKING YOUR KIDS, feds warn

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning parents after the discovery of possible user-tracking activity by educational software for children.
Shaun Nichols, 22 Dec 2014
2

Split could force NetMundial Initiative back to the drawing board

The controversial NetMundial Initiative (NMI) may be heading back to the drawing board following a meeting of the internet's big cheeses in Washington last week.
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2014
Google car

Google's first stab at control-free ROBOT car rolls off the line

The engineering wizards in Google's workshops have unveiled the Chocolate Factory's first attempt at a completely control-free robot car, where passengers entrust themselves entirely to the machine.
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Fancy a .trust domain? How's $150,000 sound?

The NCC Group has revealed how much it expects to sell new .trust domains for: $150,000. And that's just the wholesale price.
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2014
Openstack log
2

Symantec becomes Gold OpenStack member - while suing it

Symantec has been announced as the newest Gold member of OpenStack, a status the open source effort says means it “pledge[s] strategic alignment to the OpenStack mission.”
Lewis Page, 22 Dec 2014
Nuclear bomb image

NUKE HACK fears prompt S Korea cyber-war exercise

The firm running South Korea's nuclear plants has decided to run cyber-war drills following the leak of sensitive data and threats from unidentified hackers.
John Leyden, 22 Dec 2014

EU breaks 'legally binding' lobbying register promise

Civil rights groups are claiming the EU Commission has already broken its promises on lobby and reporting transparency, with a framework for lobbyists containing no legally binding elements now set to be implemented.
Jennifer Baker, 22 Dec 2014
Bitcoins

Bitcoin exec gets two years over illegal Silk Road funny money trading

Former Bitcoin Foundation exec Charlie Shrem has been jailed for two years for his part in helping people illegally swap cash for bitcoins on black market site Silk Road.
Kat Hall, 22 Dec 2014
Toshiba p-BiCS technology
3

Flash breaks free from the storage flat earth society

NAND used to be the sole prerogative of a two-dimensional flat earth society obsessed with shrinkage, but that approach is running into a technological dead end.
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014
Denon Envaya

Sound and battery: 20 portable Bluetooth speakers

Product Roundup The arrival of Bluetooth 4, with its reduced hunger for power and support for audio codecs like aptX and A2DP means that there has been an explosion in the availability of Bluetooth speakers which connect to computers, tablets and smartphones, and are often small enough to be chucked in a bag and taken to the park or beach.
Kenny Hemphill, 22 Dec 2014
Crime in Russia
8

Sneaky Russian hackers slurped $15 MILLION from banks

Millions of dollars, credit cards and intellectual property have been stolen by a newly discovered group of cyber criminals.
John Leyden, 22 Dec 2014
Funny money from south of the river

BONK for CASH in Brixton and help us EAT the RICH

The Brixton Pound (B£), the private currency for denizens of the slightly more affordable bit of earth next to Clapham, is to adopt near field communications, or NFC, payments.
Simon Rockman, 22 Dec 2014
medical_doctor_health_channel

Care.data's a good thing? Tell us WHY, thunders watchdog

Patient concerns over the delayed NHS Care.data scheme must be addressed if the controversial plan to share GP records is to proceed, an independent watchdog has warned.
Kat Hall, 22 Dec 2014
Connected headset

Careful - your helmet might get squashed by a VOLVO

Volvos will soon be capable of squawking their presence to cyclists wearing a helmet from cycling brand POC, letting the Lycra louts get out of the way of the four-wheeled Scandinavian middle lane hoggers.
Simon Rockman, 22 Dec 2014
David Gerard and Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia UK "Bootstrap Meeting"
9

What's Jimmy Wales going to do with $500k from the UAE?

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales says he'll "start a foundation" to process a large amount of money he has received from the United Arab Emirates' regime.
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Dec 2014
5

Irish data cops will be ROLLING in CASH for 2015

Christmas has come early for Ireland’s data protection watchdog as the country’s Data Protection Minister, Dara Murphy, announced that the office will get a budget of €3.65m for 2015 - just under twice the allocation of €1.89m for 2014.
Jennifer Baker, 22 Dec 2014
Dragster
7

Big Blue stuffs data into backup at GIGABYTES/sec

IBM's TSM backup product goes super-fast when backing up to the Elastic Storage parallel file system, according to company trials. TSM stands for Tivoli Storage Manager, with Elastic Storage being the re-branded GPFS.
Chris Mellor, 22 Dec 2014

YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

It's nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date.

Hackers pop German steel mill, wreck furnace

Talented hackers have caused "serious damage" after breaching a German steel mill and wrecking one of its blast furnaces.
Darren Pauli, 22 Dec 2014
Elite

Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

Elite: Dangerous, the re-boot of the hit eighties space combat and trading game Elite, launched last week, but the biggest buzz in the wake of its arrival is from disgruntled fans who want a refund.
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2014

Working over Christmas? Government tech suppliers will be

The government’s tech procurement arm is asking suppliers to burn candles brightly over the festive season by filling in a 700-question Network Services tender after redrafting it.
Paul Kunert, 22 Dec 2014

STAY AWAY: Popular Tor exit relays look raided

As foreshadowed last week, Tor network exit nodes have gone down after what appear to be raids by law enforcement authorities.
Darren Pauli, 22 Dec 2014
Cher pointing, Cher point, Sharepoint

Microsoft shutters Office 365's free web site service

Microsoft is terminating its SharePoint Online Public Website service, effective January 2015.
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2014

Dangerous NTP hole ruins your Chrissy lunch

Critical holes have been reported in the implementation of the network time protocol (NTP) that could allow unsophisticated attackers root access on servers.
Darren Pauli, 22 Dec 2014
The Pirate Bay's new IsoHunt logo

IsoHunt releases roll-your-own Pirate Bay

Torrent site ISOhunt has created a roll-your-own, open source, version of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air
5

One third of servers, storage and switches are sold to clouds

Analyst firm IDC reckons that cloud operations – private and public - now account for “almost a third” of the world's spending on servers, storage and ethernet switches.
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2014
Welcome to Batam sign

The electronics island where COPS shoot ARMY and workers are rioting

Where your kit gets made On November 20th, I visited the Indonesian island of Batam. And about an hour after I left, a protest by local workers over the minimum wage just about turned into a riot.
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2014
VMware VSAN
1

VMware says anyone - not just EMC - can play with its best bits

Ever since VMware launched the virtual storage appliance back in 2011, observers have wondered if the company’s storage efforts hurt its parent EMC’s business.
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2014

Now Obama seeks China's help to halt alleged Nork HACK ATTACKS

US president Barak Obama has looked to an unlikely source of help to stop further alleged cyber attacks from North Korea: his administration has reportedly asked China to take action against the perpetrators.
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Dec 2014

Purple glistening plasma, you say? Orion plummets back to Earth

Vid NASA has released video images of its Orion spaceship as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere earlier this month.
Kelly Fiveash, 21 Dec 2014
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
7

Brit thesp Kate Winslet eyes lead female role in Steve Jobs biopic – report

British actor Kate Winslet has reportedly entered talks with Universal to play the lead female role in the biopic of Apple supremo Steve Jobs, who died in 2011.
Team Register, 21 Dec 2014
Vinyl grooves

Pick a superior Christmas No. 1 from El Reg's computer crooning compilation

Poll With December 25th bearing down upon us, we're mere days away from anointing a festive chart-topper as Christmas Number One.
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

'Google catches us in an invisible web of our personal data without telling us'

QuoTW The Sony Pictures hack dragged on and on this week, as the studio was forced to pull the release of North Korea comedy The Interview following hacker threats against the film while cyber attackers continued to dump files stolen from Sony online.
Grindr

Lonely this Xmas? Nerds, n00bs and no-hopers' guide to dating apps, Pt.1

Feature Missed out on a date at the Christmas party? So did we ... but as the joke in the cracker said, "Why is a smartphone like a milkshake? Because it brings all the boys to the yard."
Nigel Whitfield, 21 Dec 2014
Triumph Spitfire, photo Mark Whitehorn

Car hacker secrets revealed: Clutching up a tank engine in a classic motor

+Diagrams Several people were kind enough to comment favourably on this article and asked for more information, pictures and video. We are delighted to oblige. Technically no one asked for poorly drawn diagrams, but I’ve included some of these as well.
Mark Whitehorn, 21 Dec 2014

Bring back big gov, right? If only the economics, STUPID, could tell us more

Worstall @ the Weekend The economy's not growing as fast as it used to when we had big government and big unions, so we'd better bring them back, right? Or maybe we just don't have enough economic data to tell?
Tim Worstall, 21 Dec 2014
Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers

Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Product Roundup There’s nothing cooler than board games at the moment, whether they are being referenced by the Marsh family in South Park, or popularised by one of the pop-up gaming bars in East London. Board games are now selling in droves. Often produced by independent companies, they can be intellectually rigorous and visually stunning.
Lucy Orr, 21 Dec 2014

No Santa, no Irish boozers and no regrets: life in Qatar

THE EXPAT FILES In this week's eXpat File, we meet Irishman Russell Clark, who's settled in Qatar.
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2014
management regulation1
5

HP's shareholder settlement deal over Autonomy merger DENIED – again

A US district judge has thrown out a proposed settlement deal of a sueball lobbed at HP by some of the company's shareholders, after it bought Blighty software outfit Autonomy for $10.7bn in 2011.
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

Norks: FBI's Sony Pictures' hacking allegations are 'groundless slander'

"Grave consequences" have been threatened by North Korea, after the FBI alleged on Friday that Norks were behind the savage hack of struggling film studio Sony Pictures.
Kelly Fiveash, 20 Dec 2014

FURY erupts on streets of Brussels over greedy USA's data-slurping appetite

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Friday to express anger about secret trade talks between the EU, US and others that they believe would damage the 28-member-state bloc's data protection rights.
Jennifer Baker, 20 Dec 2014
Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor

TRAGEDY STRIKES Vulture News Central but details remain scrambled

A sad day as Vulture News Central loses its lead anchor, Regina Eggbert, in a horrific misunderstanding ... no, I can't go on. I simply can't describe it. You'll have to see for yourself! ®
Rotten apple

Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

Comment We've had another instalment in the campaign to blame Apple for all that goes wrong in poor countries, and this time it was the BBC's Panorama that scolded the iFruit for buying tin in Indonesia.
Tim Worstall, 20 Dec 2014
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Why the chemistry between Hollywood, physics and maths is so hot right now

Interview Folks in the scientific know like to pick apart movies about science and science fiction, pointing out all the ways in which they don’t embrace real facts and theories. They also love to complain about how nerds are so often portrayed on film the same way, as socially inept weirdos, sweet maybe, but not really taken seriously. And yet, the most likely criticism to be levelled at the two Oscar-worthy movies about scientists this year, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, is that they’re not scientific enough.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde: Fun, but not for all

Vulture at the Wheel The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a car with far too much power. The 240hp from the 1750cc turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine overwhelms the fat tyres, so it struggles for grip and torque steers.
Simon Rockman, 20 Dec 2014
Amy Adams in Big Eyes
6

Big Eyes falls short on the big question of popular art

Film review The ingredients are all there for an Oscar-winning film in Big Eyes. Multiple Academy Award nominee Amy Adams and one-time winner Christoph Waltz play Walter and Margaret Keane in a flick based on a true story about pop culture and high art in the 1960s.
Nunslinger: The Complete Series
9

Nunslinger, Yosemite For Dummies and Life Inside The Fall

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston is joined by Andrew Orlowski to review the pick of publishing this week. A compilation of works from mysterious Stark Houghton tells tall tales of the wild west. Mac users can brush up their skills or get a break from hapless relatives with the latest from Bob LeVitus. And music lovers get a down to earth view of the indie scene from The Fall's bass player Steve Hanley.
Angry old man

You have a 'SIMPLE QUESTION'? Well, the answer is NO

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Old Man by Neil Young
Alistair Dabbs, 20 Dec 2014
6

Europe: Hold my wine glass, I've got an internet govt to build

The European Commission has signed a contract to create a system that will gather up the world's policies on governing the internet, and put 'em all under one roof. That way, people can look over them and work out how to best run the 'net.
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Dec 2014
Artist's concept of Kepler 22b

Kepler's STILL GOT IT! Space telescope spots SUPER-EARTH 180 light years away

The Kepler space telescope might be damaged goods, but the clever hacks created by NASA's boffins have kept it running and it has spotted a new – if distant – planet that could harbor water, just like Earth.
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014

Heads up! If Tor VANISHES over the weekend, this is why

The Tor Project is warning that its network – used by netizens to mask their identities on the internet – may be knocked offline in the coming days.
Shaun Nichols, 20 Dec 2014
Jeff Bezos shows off the Amazon Fire Phone

If at first you don't succeed ... Fire, FIRE again: Amazon mulls smartphone sequel

Amazon hasn't learned its lesson from the thundering belly flop of its Fire Phone, and according to some accounts it's apparently beavering away at a second version.
Neil McAllister, 20 Dec 2014
Google UK office logos

Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'

Google is taking legal action against the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging he exceeded his authority in suing the ad giant over piracy – and taking his cues from the Motion Picture Ass. of America.
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014