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Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names

Drag queens are protesting against Facebook's real name policy, after the free content ad network forced them to use their legal names on the service. A number of performers have complained about Facebook's actions after drag queen Sister Roma, who lives in San Francisco and is a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Sep 2014

Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress

This week's internet slowdown protest has been, as one might expect, declared a roaring success by its organizers, after US watchdog the FCC was once again forced to change its comment policy under a deluge of opinions. Organizing group BattleForTheNet said 2,039,500 people took part in the September 10th day-long campaign, …
Shaun Nichols, 13 Sep 2014
Rutger Hauer

Super Cali goes ballistic, Uber Pool is bogus: Ride sharing biz is illegal in the state, says regulator

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has warned Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber that their ride-sharing services are technically illegal under the state's licensing laws. All three companies are piloting schemes whereby users can sign up to share a ride to a location and get charged a reduced fee by the driver. But the CPUC …
Iain Thomson, 13 Sep 2014
ipod u2 edition

Not pro Bono: Apple's audio junk mail made spammers' lives easier

Comment Apple's decision to push a new album by Irish boy band U2 into the iCloud libraries of millions isn't just egregious. It arguably plays into the hands of scammers. Without warning, the iPhone maker emitted Songs of Innocence with all the haste of a critical security update after the group's appearance at its Apple Watch and …
John Leyden, 13 Sep 2014
Admiral Ackbar

Google to startup kids: Pssst, try our CLOUD ... the first $100K is FREE

Google is offering startups a cool $100,000 in credit if they're willing to power their apps using the Chocolate Factory's cloud services, rather than the competition's. The online advertising giant launched the new program, dubbed Google Cloud Platform for Startups, at its Google for Entrepreneurs Partner Summit in Mountain …
Neil McAllister, 12 Sep 2014
Windows 8.1 Update Start Screen

Italy's High Court orders HP to refund punter for putting Windows on PC

Don’t want that preinstalled Microsoft Windows on your new Italian laptop? You’re entitled to your money back, according to Italy’s High Court. In a ruling on Thursday, judges described the practice of only selling PCs with a non-free operating system as “a commercial policy of forced distribution”. They said bundling forces …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Sep 2014
heart.mexico

Mexicans! accuse! Yahoo! of! using! corrupt! judge! to! dodge! $2.7bn! payout!

Yahoo! and its law firm have been sued by two Mexican companies that are accusing them of conspiring to dodge the shock $2.7bn award handed out to them in a 2012 Mexican court case. Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas claim that the Purple Palace and law firm Baker & McKenzie got a senior Mexican judge on their side and …
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

Slough isn't fit for humans now, says Amazon. We're going to Shoreditch

Amazon has decided to say goodbye to the dismal satellite town Slough and moved its British HQ to the heart of trendy Shoreditch. The giant etailer decided to leave the Slough of Despond after signing a deal with the developer Brookfield which will see it become the major tenant in the £500million Principal Place building, which …
Jasper Hamill, 12 Sep 2014
Larry Page's new yacht, 'Senses'

Hey, HP shareholders! Mike Lynch is set to buy a 180-foot superyacht with his Autonomy loot

Exclusive Mike Lynch, the man whose sale of software biz Autonomy to HP resulted in an $8.8bn writedown at the US titan and ongoing probes by the Serious Fraud Office, the US Justice Department and the SEC, is set to splash out some of his gains on an enormous yacht. Sources tell The Register that Lynch is engaged in purchasing a …
Paul Kunert, 12 Sep 2014
management regulation1

European Court of Justice allows digitisation of library books

The Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice has ruled that libraries can scan books, even if publishers deny them permission to do so, but that subsequent reading can only take place on “dedicated terminals”. The ruling came in the case of Technische Universität Darmstadt v Eugen Ulmer KG, decided on Thursday. The facts …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
dropbox privacy security eye

FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist

Dropbox has released its transparency report for the first half of 2014 and says it's handled 120 search warrants, a pair of court orders, 109 subpoenas, between zero and 249 national-security-related requests and 37 requests from governments other than that of the USA. None of the requests pertained to business accounts. …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
Google People and Pages

Google purchases petite pollster Polar, purloined ppl punted Plus-wards

Poll Google will gobble up Polar, a business that specializes in polling software for phones and things. The upstart announced on its website that it had agreed to shut itself down and join the Chocolate Factory's Google+ team. Polar's tools help websites and app-makers manage polls to be shown on desktop computers, tablets and …
Shaun Nichols, 12 Sep 2014
Kim Jong-un

NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

North Korea has sent a stern request to foreign embassies, asking them to stop using WiFi and satellite internet services within their walls. NKNews.org reports that the hermit kingdom's State Radio Regulatory Department has written to diplomatic missions to remind them that licences are required to operate radio equipment. …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
EMC federation logo

EMC has nothing to say on VMware sale plan

EMC has reportedly refused to say whether or not it intends to sell a stake in VMware, after being reported as entertaining just such a sale. Confused? Here's how this is playing out. Back in July, activist investor Elliot Management picked up a stake in EMC. Someone then whispered in The Wall Street Journal's ear that Elliot …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014

US! govt! ordered! Yahoo! to! hand! over! user! data! or! pay! $250k! fine! PER! DAY!

Yahoo! has tried to explain why it buckled under pressure from Uncle Sam to hand over its users' data to the US government - by promising to publish the court documents which ordered the snooping. Said filings will, we're told, show Uncle Sam threatened to make Yahoo! pay a $250,000 fine for every day it refused to hand over …
Iain Thomson, 12 Sep 2014
Gun and dollars

Ex-Autonomy execs: HP's latest wad blows apart fraud allegations

Another week, another round in the ongoing bunfight between HP and the former management team of Autonomy. This time, the ex-Autonomy bods have claimed that new court documents filed by HP prove the latter has misrepresented the reasons why it had to write down $8.8bn in its botched acquisition of Autonomy in 2011. In a lengthy …
Neil McAllister, 12 Sep 2014
Two mobiles man

Movirt-who? BlackBerry gobbles maker of multi-line smartphone tech

In a bid to firm up its pitch to enterprise customers, troubled mobile biz BlackBerry has bought Movirtu, a maker of tech that allows a smartphone to have multiple phone numbers active at the same time using a single SIM. Movirtu says its Virtual SIM Platform is based on "standard network technology," rather than VoIP, and it …
Neil McAllister, 11 Sep 2014

Google swallows SMARTSPOON manufacturer Lift Labs

Google has made an investment in a truly shaky business with the purchase of a company which makes smartspoons for Parkinson's sufferers. Mountain View has slurped Lift Labs, which makes a "tremor-cancelling" spoon called Liftware. This device looks like an ordinary spoon, but contains microchips and sensors to work out the …
Jasper Hamill, 11 Sep 2014
ISIS Islamists in Iraq

Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes

The worst thing you'll find on most chaps' laptops is a bit of porn and perhaps a pirated copy of Microsoft Office. But, according to a recent report, if you peer inside the hard drive of a rabid ISIS zealot, you'll find recipes for bubonic plague, instructions on extracting ricin from castor beans and – most terrifyingly of all …
Jasper Hamill, 11 Sep 2014
(c) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. TM Danjaq, LLC. All Rights Reserved

James Bond's metal-toothed nemesis Richard Kiel dies at 74

Obituary Richard Kiel, the actor who played imposing metal-toothed henchman Jaws in two James Bond films, has died aged 74. Kiel appeared in the Roger Moore maritime and space capers The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977 and Moonraker, two years later. His character joined a very short list of competent adversaries to grapple with and give HM’s …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Sep 2014
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond debate Scottish independence

Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Scots may vote to leave the United Kingdom, ending a union lasting 307 years, on 18 September. Until a few weeks ago, the referendum on independence looked like an easy win for those wanting to stay in the union - or to use the parlance of the campaign, "no" voters. But a surge in support has put those planning to vote "yes" to …
SA Mathieson, 11 Sep 2014
Twitter for Mac Old

Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion

Twitter is planning to raise up to $1.5bn in its first debt offering since the company went public in November last year. Twitter said that some of the cash from the debt offering would go towards paying for these hedge transactions and the rest would be used for very vague “general corporate purposes”. The microblogging …
European Union Flag

Welcome your new digital.. commissioners? Likely pair could fill Steelie Neelie's shoes

It’s going to take two men to do one woman’s job at the new European Commission. The new line-up was announced on Wednesday following weeks of speculation and horse-trading of the sort that usually accompanies football transfers. President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker has decided to create two Digital roles to replace the current …
Jennifer Baker, 11 Sep 2014

Trustmarque sold to biz process outsourcing specialist Liberata

Business Process Outsourcing biz Liberata has swallowed troubled Microsoft enterprise partner Trustmarque for an undisclosed sum. The solvent sale was concluded late last night, avoiding the need for the York-headquartered reseller to call in the administrators, something that seemed liked a possibility 10 days ago when issues …
Paul Kunert, 11 Sep 2014
Apple iPhone 6

iPhone 6, Watch: Hate it or really hate it, Apple's now a $604.77bn biz

As Apple unveiled its iPhone 6 and "the Watch" on Tuesday, its stock price went on a rollercoaster ride to $102.92 a share, then plummeted to $96.71, and now – after just one day of trading – it has settled on $101. That means, on Wednesday, Apple closed trading up $3.01 on the start of the day, a gain of 3.07 per cent. It was …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Sep 2014
Sorry we're closed

Get thee to YouTube, Turnbull tells community TV broadcasters

Australia's federal government has announced the outcome of its consultation into community broadcasters, and its decision is: give back the spectrum and learn how to post on YouTube. While upper bands of TV spectrum are in demand among mobile carriers (something bound to increase as consumers shift to higher-capacity 4G …
Uber logo

Uber alles-holes, claims lawsuit: Taxi biz sued by blind passengers

Taxi hire biz Uber is being sued in northern California for allegedly violating the civil rights of blind people. A complaint filed by the National Federation of the Blind alleges that blind passengers who ordered Uber X taxi rides in the US state were illegally discriminated against or mistreated by the firm's drivers. …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Sep 2014
Ford Focus embedded into Edinburgh basement

ACCC gives thumbs up to TPG's NBN fibre-to-the-basement raids

Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has to do nothing about junior telco TPG's plans to compete with the nation's government-mandated monopoly telephony network provider NBN Co, but is still pondering whether other telecoms retailers should be allowed to resell services running on TPG's infrastructure. TPG plans …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014

FTC: We didn't robocall you and thousands of others asking for bank details. IT'S A TRAP!

The FTC says it has shut down a massive robocall operation that gathered personal information and bank account details on thousands of people. The US watchdog claims a company operating under the name The Cuban Exchange used a combination of calls and fake websites to pose as an "FTC refund" site in order to harvest account …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Sep 2014
Snapchat logo

Snapchat admits disappearing selfie app was actually lawsuit flinger's idea

Snapchat has settled its Facebook-like row with Reggie Brown, accepting his role in setting up the internet startup. Brown had sued founders CEO Evan Spiegel and CTO Bobby Murphy last year, claiming that Snapchat had been his idea when he was their roommate at Stanford and they forced him out of the burgeoning firm before the …
lacie safe biometric hard drive

Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS

Tech firms are set to experience a biometric bonanza - as long as they can persuade ordinary folk to give up worrying about their privacy. That's the claim in a briefing note from “growth consulting firm” Frost & Sullivan, which suggested the number of smartphones equipped with biometric gubbins will soar from 43 million to 471 …
Jasper Hamill, 10 Sep 2014
British Gas smart meter

Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Smart meters are only going to save people around two per cent on their bills, but will cost each home or business £215 over five years to roll out, MPs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee said that the cost of installing 53 million smart meters would be paid for by customers in their energy bills, but they would only be …

Ex Red Hat CTO installs self as Google Cloud boss

Red Hat’s former technology chief Brian Stevens has floated over to Google to run its cloud operations. Stevens suddenly left the Linux distro maker and aspiring OpenStack cloud fluffer after 12 years as executive vice president and chief technology officer. As of this month, Stevens has become Google’s vice president of cloud …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Sep 2014
management project5

Flexible IT governance in a changing world

Live webcast Register now for this webcast about flexible IT governance: more services, more choices, more than one way to get it right. Watch this live event on October 2 at 11:00 BST (6:00 EST) - if you can't make it, just sign up and we will email you when the recording is available. Handy synopsis for you We want flexibility but, if we …
David Gordon, 10 Sep 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?

Worstall on Wednesday Given that I'm writing this before the great unveil and you'll be reading it afterwards, there's much that could go wrong with my prognostications. Tim Cook could stand up this afternoon and announce the iBurger and claim that the days of Maccy D's are over. True, that's unlikely, but in an infinite universe everything will …
Tim Worstall, 10 Sep 2014
management research

Brit giant Daisy Group extends deadline for buyers to make a mark

Daisy Group has granted a consortium led by CEO Matthew Riley extra time to make a bid to take the LSE-listed mid-market comms and tech outfit private. The exec, along with Daisy’s largest shareholder Toscafund Asset Management LLP and private equity house Penta Capital, last month made an approach to buy the business, tendering …
Paul Kunert, 10 Sep 2014
GCHQ as seen on Google Earth

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

Privacy International has taken the “Five-Eyes” spying issue to court, filing a demand that the agreements between participant countries – the US, the (currently) UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – be made public. As its filing states, the court action follows a freedom of information (FOI) request for information about the …

Australian whistleblower laws weaker than China's, report finds

Australia's private sector whistleblower laws are weaker than those in most G20 countries including Turkey, China, and Indonesia, according to researchers at Melbourne and Griffith universities. The report Whistleblower Protection Rules in G20 Countries: The Next Action Plan found while in roads had been made to improve whistle …
Darren Pauli, 10 Sep 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

Far from being an “unrepresentative” document based on bad data, the NBN Co internal presentation which leaked last week was the outcome of five months' work, instigated to create a benchmark for future fibre rollout areas. The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle – began with the leak of an …

Net neutrality protestors slam the brakes on their OWN websites

Those who log into their favourite websites today may notice that things seem a bit... slow. It's not a service outage or a shoddy connection, but a coordinated protest in support of net neutrality provisions in the US. A group called Battleforthenet is organizing the campaign in which participating sites plaster their pages …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Sep 2014
gavel_judgment_channel

Microsoft tells judge: Hold us in contempt of court, we're NOT giving user emails to US govt

At Microsoft's own request, a judge has held the software giant in contempt of court for failing to comply with an order to give US authorities access to customer emails housed in a data center in Dublin, Ireland. Redmond's request was made jointly with government prosecutors, with the aim of expediting its appeal of the July 31 …
Neil McAllister, 10 Sep 2014
Denmark Minecraft map

What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

New Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has set his sights on Minecraft maker Mojang as his first major acquisition, according to whispers. The move is probably worth the rumoured $2bn price tag in “woah” value alone, since it's practically the only thing that could have diverted attention away from Apple's iStuff launch on Tuesday. …