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Star Trek film theory: 50 years, 13 films, odds good, evens bad? Horta puckey!

Star Trek @ 50 So how many Star Trek fans does it take to change a lightbulb? As long as there are two, four, six or eight of them, it doesn’t matter. But you can forget about decent illumination if there are one, three, five, seven or nine of them. Thirteen episodes in - and 50 years ago on Thursday after the original series that spawned …
Tony Smith, 7 Sep 2016

CIA-backed big data firm Palantir says secrets pinched by investor

Palantir Technologies says an advisor to the company stole its trade secrets and then tried to use them to claim trademarks and patents. Privately-held Palantir says it makes “data fusion platforms for integrating, managing, and securing any kind of data, at massive scale.” The company is known to number United States …
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Union: Telstra seeking 120 redundancies in network ops team

Telstra's 2015 miss on major National Broadband Network (NBN) construction contracts is biting the carrier's networks delivery operation, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) says there are to be 120 redundancies as a result. The union says it's been notified by Telstra that the redundancies will be voluntary. However, …
Michael Dell, photo: Dell

What's Dell brewing the day before its EMC mega-slurp? A latte money? Oh, a flat white

Dell has reported near-flat revenues for its second quarter of the year, up just 1 per cent from its position 12 months ago. The company pulled in revenues of $13.1bn in the three months to July 29, compared to just under $13bn this time last year. This generated an operating income of $63m, up from a loss of $103m 12 months …
Iain Thomson, 6 Sep 2016
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Australia boards the slow boat to Brexit

Australia reckons it can be the first to secure a free trade deal with what's left of the UK post-Brexit, with the two countries to create a trade working group next year. The process is certain to be comically slow: as readers of The Register has already reported, merely negotiating Brexit is going to be a long, slow process …
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

US tech college ITT is not pining for the fjords. It is no more. It has gone and met its maker

For-profit US-wide college ITT will shut down in the wake of a government decision to bar it from accepting federal student aid money. The technical training school said Monday that effective immediately, it will be ceasing all operations and terminating most of its staff. "The actions of and sanctions from the US Department …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Sep 2016

FCC goes over the top again to battle America's cable-box rip-off

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to take another crack at breaking the multi-billion-dollar consumer rip-off that is cable set-top boxes by setting the regulator up as a copyright office. FCC staff were briefing organizations late last week on the revised plan, prompting an angry letter from the cable industry …

Dude, you got a Dell lawyer: HPE sues high-flying ex-exec after defection to EMC

HPE is suing a former senior executive who absconded to Dell with a head allegedly full of trade secrets. In a complaint [PDF] filed to the Delaware State Chancery Court, HPE alleges that KC Choi, the departed Vice President of Global Solutions Architecture, violated a 12-month non-compete agreement when he fled to EMC just …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Sep 2016

Regulators, take note: Tencent is now Asia's biggest company

WeChat maker Tencent became Asia's highest-valued company today; not bad going for an app that launched long after well-established instant-messenger brands moved to mobile. Tencent reached a valuation of $256bn on the Hong Kong stock exchange, surpassing the market valuation of China Mobile. Samsung Electronics is valued at $ …
makerbot

GE runs off $1.4bn, hands it to two 3D printing firms

GE, the US industrial jack-of-all-trades, has pledged to invest a whopping $1.4bn in two 3D printing suppliers to boost materials science and improve manufacturing capabilities. Arcam AB and SLM Solutions Group both specialise in metal-based 3D printing with applications ranging from aerospace to the healthcare industry. Both …

Sick of Southern Rail? There's a crowdfunding site for that

Frustrated Southern Rail passengers – like there’s any other kind these days – have launched a crowdfunding page to pay for a judicial review against the UK Department for Transport (DfT) over its handling of the franchise. The Association of British Commuters (ABC) is “seeking legal advice” from Devonshires Solicitors LLP and …
Paul Kunert, 6 Sep 2016

Meet Deliveroo's ‘bold and impactful’ new logo. No, really

Logowatch Fresh ripples of excitement reach us from the world of rebranding, after Deliveroo parked its bike against the walls of the Strategy Boutique. The three year old startup didn’t come back empty handed. It’s got a new logo, Design Week reports in a must-read account, and riders have a new uniform. The trade mag tells us that …
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Intel adds vision to its AI vision with computer vision firm buyout

Intel is not just content to build the silicon brains that will power the Rise of the Machines – it is bidding to own their eyes too, with the acquisition of computer vision developer Movidius. Movidius is 11 years old, having been founded in Dublin and transplanted to San Mateo. No price was disclosed, but the 140-strong firm …
Joe Fay, 6 Sep 2016
The first RAF F-35B Lightning II to land in the UK. Crown copyright

Publishing military officers' names 'creates Islamic State hitlist'

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of creating an Islamic State hitlist by publishing the names and ranks of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force officers. Made available to the public since the 18th century, the Army and Navy Lists contain the names, service numbers, ranks and date of seniority of every serving officer …
Sheaf of £50 notes poised on the rim of a toilet bowl as toilet is flushed. Collage of two photos sourced from Shutterstock

Universal Credit: 'One dole to rule 'em all' on verge of recovery – report

The disastrous £16bn one-dole-to-rule-them-all Universal Credit programme in the UK may be turning a corner, according to a report by think-tank the Institute for Government. The woes of the programme have been long-documented, with the National Audit Office three years ago revealing that the entire multi-billion programme had …
Kat Hall, 6 Sep 2016

NHS 'paperless roadmap': Fewer dead trees, more data control

NHS Digital, the body formerly known as HSCIC, has released a roadmap for the government's long in the tooth paperless health service plan. Contained in its board minute papers was an overview of its paperless plans for 2020, include a map of its portfolio of "key outcomes and ministerial commitments." Part of the strategy …
Kat Hall, 6 Sep 2016
lottery

Spinning that Brexit wheel: Regulation lotto for tech startups

The reality of running a new business or doing something innovative is that you're hunting for cracks and niches that others have not yet filled – spaces too small for the big girls and boys already in the market. And many of those niches are fragile, formed in part by chance, opportunistic spaces in the current markets and …

Lose a satellite? Us? China silent on fate of Gaofen civilian/spy sat

It wasn't just a bad week for SpaceX: China's is mourning the loss of an Earth observation satellite launched on September 1. As US space blog NASA Spaceflight notes, there's no official statement on the fate of the Long March mission that was supposed to lift Gaofen (“high resolution”) 10 into orbit. That's a hint that not …
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ACCC mulls regulating roaming charges

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sparked a Telstra-Optus love-in by looking into whether mobile roaming should be a regulated service. The regulator has announced a “declaration inquiry” into roaming. If the inquiry led to a declaration, it would mean domestic roaming charges (that is, when a user …

HSBC: How will we verify business banking customers? Selfies!

UK bank HSBC will allow business customers to open new bank accounts using selfies as part of plans to simplify its application process. The bank will use facial recognition software to verify self-portrait photos taken by customers using their smartphones. A headshot selfie is then assessed against an ID document uploaded by …
John Leyden, 5 Sep 2016

These are not just job cuts, these are M&S job cuts

Marks & Spencer is to ship 400 IT and logistics roles out of London, part of a structural shake-up which will also see the retailer axe 525 roles. M&S said that it will be entering into consultation with its employees with regards to proposals to "make significant changes to its UK Head Office structure". The aspirational- …
Kat Hall, 5 Sep 2016
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Nul points: PM May's post-Brexit EU immigration options

Comment After a summer of vagueness, prime minister Theresa May is starting to define Brexit, with controlling immigration at the top of her list. That is likely to mean ending the freedom of European nationals* to work in Britain on the same basis as the locals – which will have a major impact on the many British IT employers who draw …
SA Mathieson, 5 Sep 2016
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Japan's Brexit warning casts shadow over Softbank ARM promises

Japan fired a shot across Britain's bows at the G20 yesterday, publishing a “message to the United Kingdom” warning that Japanese companies might relocate their head offices out of the UK if Brexit trade negotiations with the EU don't favour them. The 15-page document, couched in the clipped yet polite prose of international …
Rubber duck (classic, yellow) floats on water. Photo by shutterstock

O2: Float or flog. What's it going to be, Telefonica?

Spanish telco Telefonica has indicated it could soon hold an IPO of O2 in order to raise funds to pay off debt. Telefonica has previously made noises about exiting the UK market after the EU Competition Commission over the proposed sale of O2 to Three for £10.3bn earlier this year. It had hoped the sale would help reduce its …
Kat Hall, 5 Sep 2016
editorial only image of Whitehall. Pic Daniel Gale/Shutterstock

UK Parliament's back for Snoopers' Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

IPBill The UK Parliament has returned from recess for a fortnight ahead of the conference season. That's just long enough to squeeze in the House of Lords’ committee stage examination of the Investigatory Powers Bill, which resumes this afternoon. The upper chamber had been waiting for the publication of a review of the bill’s bulk …
DATA RETENTION Guidelines for Service Providers

Telstra wins AU$39 million for data retention costs as grants revealed

Australia's attorney-general The Hon Senator George Brandis has announcedAU$128m in grants to telcos to fund their data retention efforts. The announcement says “One hundred and eighty service providers will receive support through the programme.” “Most providers will receive a grant of 80% of their implementation costs,” …

Brexit must not break the cloud, Japan tells UK and EU

Japan's foreign ministry has taken the unusual step of publishing a very public Message to the United Kingdom and the European Union (PDF) in which it outlines how it wants Brexit to happen in order to protect the substantial investments its businesses have made in Europe and especially in the United Kingdom. The document …

McAfee-the-man wants McAfee-the-brand, Chipzilla says no

John McAfee wants to put his name on a business again, and that's got Intel hot under the collar, so it's off to court they go. Documents filed (PDF) in the Manhattan federal court over the weekend tell us that in June, Intel wrote to McAfee-the-man's investmentvehicle, MGT Capital Investments, telling it not to try changing …

'Hey, Elon? You broke it, you bought it' says owner of SpaceX's satellite cinder

Battered by the loss of its satellite in last week's SpaceX earth-shattering kaboom, Israeli company Spacecom wants Elon Musk's launch company to part with cash or a free flight. The Amos-6 satellite fried in the disaster was intended to provide broadband coverage of Africa, with Facebook and Eutelsat among its intended …
Australian $20 burning

Australia's mobile black spot program was a partisan money hole

One in five new mobile phone towers built with Australian government money did more for telcos than for coverage-craving folk living in regional areas. That's the conclusion of the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), which has assessed the government's Mobile Black Spot Program. Funded to the tune of AU$385 million ( …
Green light

Australian telecoms regulator watching over Telstra HFC/NBN deal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has flagged Telstra's deal to build and maintain plenty of the hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) parts of the National Broadband Network (NBN) as something it needs to watch. The concern is that Telstra's AU$1.6 billion deal to fix the copper and help nbnTM rollout HFC services …

When Irish eyes are filing: Ireland to appeal Europe's $15bn Apple tax claw-back

The Irish government formally decided to appeal the European Commission's $14.5 billion back-tax demand on Friday. "There are some very important principles at stake in this case," said the country's finance minister Michael Noonan. "A robust legal challenge before the courts is essential to defend Ireland's interests." "The …

EMC-Pure Storage patent sueball circus sent back to square one

EMC's $14m patent award against Pure Storage has been set aside by a judge who has ordered a new trial. The judge in the Delaware District federal court case ruled that the jury didn't consider the notion that EMC's patent, number 7,434,015 dealing with deduplication, is invalid due to an earlier patent issued to Sun …
Chris Mellor, 2 Sep 2016

We want GCHQ-style spy powers to hack cybercrims, say police

Traditional law enforcement techniques are incapable of tackling the rise of cybercrime, according to a panel of experts gathered to discuss the issue at the Chartered Institute of IT. Last night more than a hundred IT professionals and academics, including representatives of the National Crime Agency and Sir David Omand, the …
Very colourful For Sale sign (limited offer etc). Photo by Shutterstock

Hewlett Packard Enterprise in talks to offload software, asking for '$8bn to $10bn'

The breakup of Hewlett Packard Enterprise is set to continue with execs locked in talks to offload the software division to private equity biz Thomas Bravo. The asking price is said to be $8bn to $10bn. The sale, reported first by Reuters, would close the curtain on one of HPE’s most embarrassing episodes, namely the …
Paul Kunert, 2 Sep 2016
Grand Theft Auto Lindsay Lohan lookalike

Lindsay Lohan's Grand Theft Auto V cartoon case kicked out of court

Hellraiser Lindsay Lohan has had her case against Grand Theft Auto developers Rockstar Games, for allegedly basing a character on her image, thrown out by a New York court. The actress claimed that her image was used as the basis of one of the game's characters, Lacey Jonas. The Jonas character allowed players to rescue her …
Kat Hall, 2 Sep 2016

A plumber with a blowtorch is the enemy of the data centre

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular week-ender in which readers share their tales of possibly-career-ending errors. This week, reader “Harry” tells us he's done support for the same global company for the last thirteen years and in one role found himself doing network support. One cold, cold winter's day, that gig took him …
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Census fail to get Oz Senate probe; NDIS fix promised this year

Australia's Senate has voted to establish a committee to look into the Australian Bureau of Statistics' August Census IT collapse. The news comes as the government promises to fix another slow-motion train wreck by the end of 2016 – the online portal for the country's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Senate …
Big bill

Surge pricing? How about surge fines: Pennsylvania orders Uber to cough up $11.4m

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has upheld an $11,364,736 fine, the largest in its history, against Uber for running an unlicensed taxi operation and obstructing attempts to investigate the firm. The PUC issued the fine in May after finding that Uber had provided 122,998 trips to paying customers without receiving …
Iain Thomson, 1 Sep 2016

Cooky crumbles: Apple mulls yanking profits out of Europe and into US

Apple CEO Tim Cook may pull billions of dollars in profit out of Europe and bring them home to the US, less than a month after he vowed he wouldn't. In the aftermath of the massive €13 billion ($14.5 billion) back tax claim that the European Commission landed on the electronics giant and the Irish tax authorities, Cook has …
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Deal delays and exchange rate woes batter Salesforce

Salesforce has blamed currency fluctuations and deferred deals in the US for hitting its business. The cloudy CRM provider on Wednesday reported revenue growth of 25 per cent year on year to $2.04bn for Q2, turning a year-ago $852m loss into a $229m profit. Income per dilute share was $0.33, compared to $0.00. Deferred …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Sep 2016

Tim Cook: EU lied about Apple taxes. Watch out Ireland, this is a coup!

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has claimed that the European Commission made up its claims about the business’ tax payments in Ireland. Earlier this week EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that Ireland failing to collect taxes from Apple at the standard rate of 12.5 per cent amounted to “state aid” and thus …