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U2? 81 million Apple iThing-strokers know a place where the Beats have no shame

Some might say that being on the cover of Vogue is pretty cool. But when Apple foisted U2's latest album on 81 million innocent people? Quite the opposite. Apple has told the music bible Billboard that some 81 million people took the chance to "experience" Songs Of Innocence, with 26 million downloading the thing in its entirety …
Jasper Hamill, 10 Oct 2014
Oculus Rift VR system prototype

Audio playground: How does an Oculus Rift with surround sound sound?

Wi-Fi music streaming and virtual reality both just received audio boosts, with news from Bose, DTS and Oculus. Bose has done a music streaming supply deal, like Sonos, with Deezer, but for Deezer's Premium Plus service, not the higher-rated lossless Elite service Sonos is involved with. It's a US region-specific deal and marks …
Chris Mellor, 9 Oct 2014
Costumed pirate

Economics prof denies digital pirates plundered €20bn from EU coffers

A European academic has rubbished claims by the Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) group that digital piracy cost the EU more than €20bn between 2008 and 2011. Making the assumption that the creative and service sectors performed at the same level, a grand total of around one million jobs and €47bn of …

EE TV: Network snubs 'Auntie's antique' for mobe-happy set-top box

Updated EE is launching a multi-device TV catchup rival to BT, TalkTalk and BSkyB. But it's snubbing both YouView, a BBC-originated TV platform designed for UK catchup-over-broadband operators, and Freeview Connect, the would-be YouView killer. The new service will be free to EE fixed broadband customers – but will cost £9.99 for mobile …

Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

Adobe confirmed its Digital Editions software insecurely phones home your ebook reading history to Adobe – to thwart piracy. And the company insisted the secret snooping is covered in its terms and conditions. Version 4 of the application makes a note of every page read, and when, in the digital tomes it accesses, and then …
Iain Thomson, 8 Oct 2014

Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

Updated Adobe's Digital Editions 4 ebook reader software collects detailed information about the reading habits of its users – and sends it back to the company in a format that's easy for others to slurp. An investigation by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog showed that ADE 4 was collecting telemetry on which pages of ebooks …
Iain Thomson, 7 Oct 2014

Revenge smut bullies who send 'grossly offensive' messages WILL be prosecuted

Prosecutors in England and Wales now have access to revised legal guidelines to help them tackle the online bullying stunt popularly dubbed "revenge porn". An update to existing advice on communications sent on social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, was announced by the Crown Prosecution Service on Monday. Current …
Kelly Fiveash, 7 Oct 2014

EU's super-commish for tech: Geo-blocks on cat vids, music – NOT FAIR

Andrus Ansip, the new EU super-commissioner for all things digital, says he will work to completely abolish geo-blocking of media in Europe – and urged telcos to get on with pushing out high-speed mobile broadband. What started out as a relatively boring and predictable hearing before the European Parliament on Monday took a …

'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

Thousands of innocent Brits have reportedly been mistakenly snooped on by UK police and public bodies. That claim, which involved nearly 3,000 citizens, was made in a Times report (£) on Saturday. It was alleged that "Authorities routinely use sweeping legal powers to collect phone and internet records secretly". And there are …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Oct 2014

Steve Jobs makes world a better place FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

Apple chief Tim Cook sent an email to staffers on Friday, in which he reminded them all of the greatness of Steve Jobs – who has been dead three years today. It comes after Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt took a swipe at the fruity führer on Thursday for supposedly getting it wrong about the ad and search giant's …
Team Register, 5 Oct 2014
Video

Verizon punches RED button on Redbox Instant video-streaming service

Verizon will shut down its Netflix competitor Redbox Instant on Tuesday, a mere year and a half after the firm first launched the video-streaming service in the USA. It's set to shut down permanently in a little over 48 hours from now, Verizon told subscribers. Redbox Instant said in a post on its website: Information on …
Kelly Fiveash, 5 Oct 2014
An artist's conception of Kepler-34b which orbits a double-star system

The elegant, strange and fascinating world of Three Body comes to English readers

Page File Three Body, as it’s known in China, is prominent sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s trilogy of an alien invasion of Earth, one of the most enduring sci-fi tales since the birth of the genre. With The Three Body Problem, the English translation of the first book, Liu’s wildly popular trilogy comes to the English-speaking world for the …
Photo of the Starship Enterprise's sick bay

Doctor Zuck, I'm so poorly right now! Facebook examines healthcare biz: report

Facebook is reportedly mulling over plans to step into the healthcare business – a move that would hardly be surprising given Google and Apple's interest in that market. According to Reuters, which cited three unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Mark Zuckerberg-run free content ad network is looking at setting up " …
Kelly Fiveash, 4 Oct 2014
Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor

Windows! Icahn! Taxes! It's all on Vulture Central's news round-up

Vid Youtube Video Get the week's top tech news delivered in eggspert-style by Vulture's news anchor Regina Eggbert. You can get more on the stories, including the lowdown on Windows 10, the EU's Apple tax probe and Carl Icahn's eBay victory, here, here and here. ® Regina Egbert, El Reg's virtual news anchor
Spoiling for a fight

The Maze Runner – a merry teenage dystopian adventure that doesn't make you cringe

Film Review Well it’s another teen dystopia novel turned into a film – which is fast turning into a reason not to see a movie instead of a reason to see a movie as studio heads hope – but what’s this? No love triangle? No whining? Teenagers with a modicum of self-respect? A decent storyline? It’s all gone strangely right for the makers of …
Gee Vaucher artwork – Feeding of the 5000 by Crass

Weekend reads: Consumed, The Graphic Art of the Underground and The Skeleton Road

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest literary lures. Movie mogul David Cronenberg goes for the novel experience but does it play as well as his films? Ian Lowey and Suzy Prince explore 60 years of underground art in its myriad forms but, how is the genre looking today? And has revered thriller writer Val McDermid …
Mark Diston, 4 Oct 2014
Deep Breath episode Doctor Who

Our Vultures peck at new Doctor Who: Exterminate or, er ... carrion?

TV review Brid-Aine says: Ever since Doctor Who arrived back on Auntie Beeb screens, there has been a great divide in this country. The Caretaker episode Doctor Who Who you gonna call? Clara and Doctor Who in The Caretaker On the one hand, those who knew and loved the old Doctors, their serious and gentlemanly deportment when faced …

Facebook: Ha! Like we'd STOP trickcyclists messing with your MIND

Facebook has attempted to reassure users upset by the fact that it allows organisations to experiment on them by promising stricter guidelines for researchers. The social network will still let organisations experiment on its users – it’s just going to make them go through an “enhanced review process” to do so. Facebook CTO …
H.264 image scaling

HEVC patent prices are out. Look who's NOT at the codec party: Microsoft and Google

Analysis The MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG LA) has released pricing for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) that is almost certainly low enough to claim the market overnight. HEVC is the successor to the tech used to encode video stored on Blu-ray Discs and streamed in high-definition digital TV transmissions the world over. The …
Faultline, 3 Oct 2014
Beats Music The Sentence

Apple pitches record labels on cheaper music service

Apple is reportedly asking record labels to agree on a deal that will allow the iGiant to sell a cheaper streaming music service. According to a report by Re/Code citing company sources, the Cupertino iFlinger wants to lower the US$10/month price of the Beats Music service. To do so, and still turn a profit, Apple reportedly …
Shaun Nichols, 3 Oct 2014

NAKED CELEBRITY PICS LAW BOMB dropped on ad giant Google

A Los Angeles attorney is threatening to sue Google's top execs, after accusing them of failing to remove stolen naked photos of female celebrities from its search results. But Mountain View has insisted it tore down "tens of thousands of pictures within hours." Lawyer Martin Singer, writing in a letter to Google cofounders …
Shaun Nichols, 2 Oct 2014
Ayn Rand

Atlas snubbed! Ad blocker says it can kill Facebook's stalker tech

Facebook's new Atlas people-tracking system isn't popular, at least according to some of our readers, and now Adblock says it has found a way to block it. "While Adblock Plus applauds innovation that improves the advertising experience for the user, we firmly believe that the user should have the choice whether or not they want …
Iain Thomson, 2 Oct 2014
LP stylus

Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

Amazingly, 12 per cent of British people watching TV are listening to music from another source as they watch. Or maybe that isn’t so amazing. Maybe you need to play Napalm Death while watching The X Factor - and who could blame you? Tech-mad Brits also spend more on music per head than the G7 average - but which drives which? …
Ofcom chief Ed Richards

Ofcom chief exec Ed Richards to step down in December

Ofcom’s board has announced that Ed Richards is standing down as chief executive from the end of December this year. Richards gave no reason in the official statement for his decision, saying only that the time had come. "It has been a privilege to lead Ofcom during such an exciting and dynamic period in the evolution of the UK …
Tetris on all platforms? It must be true as there's even a version for BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone

Coming to a theater near you: the TETRIS MOVIE

A US film studio has confirmed it is planning to make a movie based on the video game Tetris. Threshold Entertainment has been named as the developer for the feature length film, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The company said that the film would not actually be about arranging blocks to form lines, but rather would …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Oct 2014

Cable guy, Games of Thrones chap team up to make Reg 'best sci-fi film never made' reject

It wasn't quite good enough for you lot, but it looks like Kim Stanley Robinson's award-winning Mars Trilogy is set for TV adaptation. Fans of Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars (insert RGB joke here...) can look forward to a forthcoming adaptation of the series, after the announcement by cable TV channel Spike TV that it's …

Icahn and I DID: eBay volte-faces, spins PayPal into separate biz

eBay has spun off its PayPal subsidiary after months of telling “noisy” activist investor Carl Icahn to shut up about it because it would never happen. With absolutely no sense of irony or tip of the hat to Icahn whatsoever, the online tat bazaar’s chief John Donahoe said in a statement today that a strategic review of the board …
Monster Beats Pro

Apple sues Steven Lamar over Beats co-founder claims

Apple is suing Steven Lamar, the man who is currently suing Beats for allegedly cutting him out of its Apple deal, alleging that he had falsely claimed to be a co-founder of the electronics firm. Lamar and his earlier firm, Jibe Audio, filed a claim against Beats, and by extension new owner Apple, earlier this year, alleging …
Facebook logo

Atlas plugged: Facebook hooks ads to profiles, smears 'em over the web

Facebook has relaunched its Atlas advertising network to take on ad-slinger-in-chief Google. The social network said its revamped platform will allow companies to monitor how their ads are turning – or not turning – into actual sales across devices. Normally, Facebook tracks logged-in people across the web by detecting when and …
Shaun Nichols, 30 Sep 2014

WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Too cheap or perhaps simply not bothered enough to manufacture its own selfies, the Sunday Mirror newspaper stole photos to entrap a Tory MP on Twitter. Now the owners of the photos might get the last laugh. The tabloid had spent the summer fishing for a Tory scalp – sending flattering tweets to several MPs from a fake account …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2014
netflix

Netflix bullish after six-country European INVASION

By any measure, Netflix’s European expansion – adding six more countries – could not have gone better, although this still does not mean the operator will achieve its bullish forecast of penetrating one-third of all homes within seven years of launching in every market. That almost hubristic forecast will depend on factors yet …
Faultline, 29 Sep 2014
Michael Pitt and Brit Marling in I Origins

Hollywood's made an INTELLIGENT science vs religion film?!

Film Review There’s nothing like the power of love to screw up a good movie about science. Whether it’s miracle medical cures for the mentally ill who just needed to find “the one” (Silver Linings Playbook) or the old chestnut that feelings about people and nature are just better than science and progress (Avatar), there’s nothing Hollywood …
HGTTG Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Weekend reads: Douglas Adams' bio in The Frood, The Bone Clocks and Harry Partch, Hobo Composer

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest rivetting reads. David Mitchell, no not that one, beguiles with yet another world of magic and mystery, while Jem Roberts tries not to panic as he explores the life and works of Douglas Adams. Ever wondered where the stranger ideas of American music came from? S. Andrew Granade says …
Mark Diston, 27 Sep 2014

CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Oh bloody hell, grandma, what have you done this time? “I thought that was obvious. It’s your birthday. I bought you a CD.” A CD? That’s so uncool. So unhip. Are you, like, square? “I remembered you used to like music when you were a student. Have you gone off it?” You no’ down wit’ da word, daddio. Grannio. CD is old. Is all …
Alistair Dabbs, 27 Sep 2014
ello

Ello, 'ello, what's all this then? We take a spin on the new social network driving everyone loopy

Pics The history of social networks is littered with failures. Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, all have fallen by the wayside. Now Ello wants to add Facebook to that list: the invitation-only network has been growing by leaps and bounds of late. Google Play redesign Invitation-only at present and Ello warns there's a line ahead ( …
Iain Thomson, 27 Sep 2014

How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

Can people hear the difference between lossy MP3 digital music files and lossless ones? Opinions differ strongly, with much obfuscation around audio cables, mastering and hi-fi componentry muddying the waters. This article was prompted by commentard critiques of Sonos streaming Wi-Fi speaker/player reviews and audiophiles saying …
Chris Mellor, 26 Sep 2014
Collmotdrones

FAA clears SWARM of MOVIE DRONES for take-off

The US aviation authority has taken the first step on the road to the (potential) over-run of the skies with commercial drones – granting six video and photo production firms an exemption to fly drones for movie-making and picture snapping. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also said that it was considering 40 other …
Rupert Murdoch @ Davos 2009 credit: World Economic Forum

Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims

Google has penned a response to News Corp’s accusations that the web firm is a “platform for piracy” and its exhortation to Europe to crack down on on the search firm even further. In a post on the Choc Factory’s official blog, Rachel Whetstone, head of global comms, rebutted News Corp’s points one by one while taking a few …
Google UK office logos

Stanford Uni: Google cash leaves us entirely impartial and unbiased

A court document drafted by a recipient of Google's generosity appears to show that the latter comes with strings attached, prohibiting university researchers from investigating its controversial data slurping practices. The donation went to the Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, which drafted the filing. The part that …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2014

Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS

Comcast has branded Netflix, Discovery and others extortionists after they opposed the ISP's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable In a dossier to US watchdog the FCC [PDF], Comcast claimed companies lobbying against its merger are hoping to force it into making concessions that benefit them. Specifically, Comcast alleges …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Sep 2014
emma watson

4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM

The Emma Watson nude photo leak scandal has been exposed as a spoof - by a gang of spoofers. A mysterious "marketing firm" calling itself Rantic has been fingered as the architect of a fake threat to leak nude images of the Harry Potter starlet. The internet was set alight this week by rumours that 4chan nutjobs were planning …
Jasper Hamill, 24 Sep 2014

EU dangles $6bn threat over Google in endless search abuse probe

Formal charges will be meted out to Google if its latest offer to tweak its search engine in Europe fails to satisfy regulators, Brussels stressed today. The American web giant is accused of abusing its dominance position in search – for example, allegedly unfairly burying its rivals way down in its web search results. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Sep 2014