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Conrad Schnitzler

I'm sooooo green: The Beginner's Guide to Krautrock

Feature At this time of year, most of us will have heard more than a few bars of Stille Nacht (aka Silent Night), perhaps sipped some glühwein (mulled wine) and chomped on some stollen. So how about a Teutonic taster of a different sort to last the whole year round? Focusing on the the pioneering electronic musicians of the late 20th …
Mark Diston, 3 Jan 2015
Raphael's School of Athens

The Just City: A brilliant, if puzzling, philosophical dialogue

Page File At first glance, Jo Walton’s novel The Just City doesn’t seem to fit into the category of science fiction at all. We open with the god Apollo, who is confused about why Daphne the nymph chose to pray to the gods to be turned into a tree rather than sleep with him. Pleading with the goddess Athene for understanding, she …
Swiss Cow

Magic streaming beans? Sure, have my cow - music biz

"Why do people keep buying CDs?" we asked in 2009, after a decade of declining plastic sales. And the year after. Yet no matter how many times it was pronounced dead, the CD just wouldn't die. Figures from industry group BPI show the plastic relic remains a market favourite – and surprisingly is proving more resilient than …

Let it go, let it go ... Sales of games, video and music up for second year

Blighty sales of video, games and music rose 2.2 per cent to £5.66bn in 2014, with games sales alone up 7.5 per cent to £2.45bn, compared with the previous year. Sales were evenly split between physical and digital purchases, according to preliminary figures released by trade group Entertainment Retailers Association. This …
Kat Hall, 2 Jan 2015
The Child Catcher

Universal Pictures told off for scaring kids with nasty vid

Universal Pictures has had its hand slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for scaring kiddies by featuring a 15-rated horror film clip before Youtube videos of Minecraft characters. The complaint was made after an eight-year-old boy saw a Youtube ad for the film As Above, So Below and became distressed by it. Scenes …
Kat Hall, 31 Dec 2014
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, aged 81, of the United Kingdom. Photo taken during a visit in NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Greenbelt, Maryland, USA

No wind-up: Second New Year's honour for Baylis music box

Former co-founder of Lastminute.com Brent Hoberman and inventor of the wind-up radio Trevor Baylis were two names in just a handful of science and tech folk to be handed gongs in the 2015 New Year's honours list. Both were awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the second shiny medal for Baylis after receiving an …
Kat Hall, 31 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

Toffee, Apple? U.S. fanbois get their sticky fingers on Nork-teasing flick The Interview

Apple has begun offering the controversial Sony Pictures' movie The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, for rent and sale on its Stateside and Canada iTunes stores. Fanbois who are willing to shell out $14.99 can purchase a high-definition version of the Nork-ribbing flick from Apple's online shop. It comes days …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 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! Brid-Aine says: I don’t usually have much time for schmaltz and sentimentality, but I make an exception for Christmas. I can take a certain amount of it at this time of year, the season of goodwill and all that. But the sight of the new and …
Team Register, 25 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. Google and Microsoft both announced that the flick – which surely cannot be any more farcical …
Neil McAllister, 24 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. According to the likes of Associated Press, BBC News and Variety, the Seth Rogan comedy flick about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
snowden insider theft security

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". The ad giant said it had tweaked the way it presented the information requested by governments around the world to try to "make …
Team Register, 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. The page in question was reportedly blocked at the request of Roskomnadzor, Russia's state internet policing body. "We were …
Neil McAllister, 23 Dec 2014
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

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. According to Variety magazine, Oscar winner Winslet, who is perhaps best known for her performance in epic, watery-doom flick Titanic, was likely attracted to the film …
Team Register, 21 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. The Kim Jong Un-led country demanded a joint investigation with the US to further probe the incident. North Korea has denied responsibility for the massive …
Kelly Fiveash, 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. In October 2013, Hood filed a subpoena against Google, accusing the web ad giant of encouraging online piracy, …
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014

Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Apple has refuted claims made by the BBC’s Panorama programme that it is not working hard enough to protect the rights of workers. The programme Apple's Broken Promises claimed that Pegatron - a contractor making the iPhone 6 - was abusing rules on working hours, keeping workers' ID cards, and using underage workers. Employers …
Simon Rockman, 19 Dec 2014
SOURCE:  http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1412135

Couch potatoes relax: Netflix scores big STREAMING TV PATENT win

Netflix has scored a big win in its ongoing patent infringement battle with video-on-demand software provider OpenTV. The District Court of the Hague on Wednesday ruled that Netflix does not infringe OpenTV’s patent in the Netherlands, saying that the latter’s claim did not meet the criteria of “novelty and inventiveness”. In …
Jennifer Baker, 18 Dec 2014
Steve Jobs

Judge bars dead Steve Jobs from appearing on TV news FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

A US judge has stricken a request to release a video of Steve Jobs recorded just months before the Apple cofounder and CEO died in 2011. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers has denied [PDF] a motion filed by three US news organizations that would have compelled the court to make a video deposition from Jobs available to the public. …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014

Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Sony Pictures has confirmed the inevitable and cancelled the December 25 launch of The Interview after most major theater chains refused to run it. "The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners," said the National Association of …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014
Woman slaps man. Pic: Shutterstock

ASA slaps Ebuyer AGAIN - this time for ignoring regulator

Toothless ad regulator the Advertising Standards Authority has put online souk Ebuyer on the naughty step again for using misleading advertising – the seventh complaint upheld against the company roughly three years. However, it seems Ebuyer is so bored of the gummy watchdog it has simply ceased responding to its enquiries. …
Kat Hall, 17 Dec 2014
James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

NY premiere of The Interview cancelled after hackers' terrorist threats

The New York premiere of Sony Pictures’ movie about a fictional assassination attempt on Kim Jong-Un has been cancelled in the wake of hacker threats invoking 9/11. The Interview was due to debut on Thursday at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in Manhattan, but a spokesperson confirmed to Variety that the screening was off late on …

Profit-shy Instagram adds 5 new filters for hipster-photo types

Instagram has added five more filters to the Facebook-owned, profit-shy photo app. Unsurprisingly, the names of the new filters will appeal to bearded hipster types around the planet who want their facial hair to be tinged with an autumnal hue to, y'know, make them look even edgier when gurning at friends in moronic selfies …
Kelly Fiveash, 17 Dec 2014

Apple WINS iPod antitrust fight, jury nixes BILLION-dollar payout bid

Apple has prevailed in an almost decade-long antitrust legal battle over the way its iPod gadgets handled music not obtained through iTunes. A federal jury in Oakland, California, took just four hours to clear the iThings maker of wrongdoing – and tossed out calls for a $351m compensation package for eight million owners of late …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Dec 2014
Parcels

Amazon workers in Germany stage CHRISTMAS STRIKE

Amazon workers are striking yet again in Germany, hoping to put pressure on the etailer over the Christmas shopping period. Trade union Verdi called on employees last week to start a three-day strike at warehouses in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben, Rheinberg and Werne, starting yesterday. Yet the union has now added a sixth …
Sony Pictures

Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

The Guardians of Peace, the hackers who plundered Sony Pictures' servers, has leaked more data swiped from the movie studio – and threatened a bigger document dump in the run up to Christmas in a set of sinister messages. It comes amid claims the Sony subsidiary's bosses knew its systems had been hacked, and sensitive …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014
A sinking ship

Pirate Bay admins 'couldn't care less' about police raid

Copyright infringement clearinghouse site The Pirate Bay may or may not return, but its admins aren't the slightest bit concerned about the police raid that downed it or the ensuing extended hiatus, according to one anonymous spokesperson. "We couldn't care less really," a Pirate Bay affiliate identified only as "Mr 10100100000 …
Neil McAllister, 15 Dec 2014

Heyyy, you seem to be trying to post a DRUNK PICTURE. You know your boss looks at this?

Facebook engineers have apparently began building a virtual assistant that might one day warn inebriated netizens against uploading embarrassing photos on the free-content ads platform. The company's one-year-old Artificial Intelligence research lab has been working on the project, according to WiReD magazine. Facebook's Yann …
Team Register, 15 Dec 2014
EE TV Freeview PVR

Four tuner frenzy: The all-you-can-EEat TV Freeview PVR

Review Television's a lot smarter than it used to be, and there's an ever-increasing number of ways that the basic experience can be enhanced, whether it's by providing extra Over-The-Top (OTT) content with services such as Netflix, or convenient features, such as the ability to set recordings when you're out and about, using text …
Nigel Whitfield, 15 Dec 2014
Credit: Sony/Eon/MGM

Sony hackers PINCH early version of James Bond Spectre script

An early screenplay of the upcoming James Bond movie Spectre was stolen by hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures Entertainment's computer system, the film's producers confirmed on Saturday. Eon productions said in a statement on the official 007 website that a script had been leaked, after Sony's network suffered a massive …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014

Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Anti-Google lobby group the AEDE, which represents publishers in Spain, has asked the country's government to prevent the ad giant from shuttering its news-scraping service. The volte-face comes after Mountain View threatened on Thursday to kill Google News in Spain, because it argued that a clumsy, new intellectual property law …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Dec 2014
Water World at Universal Studios Los Angeles Credit: Universal Studios

Tides of Maritinia: The spy who jumped into a sci-fi water world

Page File When Tides of Maritinia first kicks off, it’s a bumbling-Brit-abroad, Evelyn Waugh-style tale of a stuffed-shirt bureaucrat literally moulded into a secret agent, but it evolves into quite a tragic story of the misdeeds of war and one man’s struggle to find his moral compass. Jakob Bryce is the lead for Warren Hammond’s first …
Hobbit

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Film review Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth to eke out the last of his money-making franchise over the space of 144 minutes. Sadly, it's a shameless cash-in. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Lord of the Rings films, but the decision to extend The Hobbit out over three instalments always smacked of profiteering. Sadly this last film …
Kat Hall, 13 Dec 2014
Picard Facepalm

Sony Pictures email hack: The bitter 'piracy war' between Google and Hollywood laid bare

Emails obtained after the Sony Pictures hacking attack have revealed just how badly the Motion Picture Ass. of America has been cocking up its fight against piracy. One set of leaked conversations, spotted by TorrentFreak, occurred between Sony studio executives talking about the problem of Google searches showing links to …
Iain Thomson, 13 Dec 2014

Want disruption? We got disruption: Race protest halts VC Thiel's Q&A

Pics Billionaire VC Peter Thiel loves disruption: bankrolling startups that shake up markets is what he does. But on Thursday night, he got a little more disruption that he bargained for – when protesters rushed the stage and ended his Q&A session with students. The PayPal founder and early Facebook investor was ironically about to …
Kieren McCarthy, 12 Dec 2014

Sony Pictures hit by 'fightback on filesharers' DDoS claims – report

Sony Pictures is alleged to have conducted a retaliatory DDoS attack against websites currently holding its leaked information for public download, according to a media report. The unconfirmed strike-back follows the two weeks of relentless attacks on Sony networks, punctuated by extortion demands, as well as the theft and …
John Leyden, 12 Dec 2014
denmark

Denmark BANNED from viewing UK furniture website in copyright spat

Save the Egg! A court in Denmark has ordered a British furniture company to block users with Danish IP addresses from visiting its website. In most of Europe, including Denmark, furniture designs are protected by copyright for 70 years from the death of the designer. However, in the UK, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014

Finland ditches copyright levy on digital kit, pays artists directly

Finland has decided to ditch copyright levies on digital devices... and let the taxpayer foot the bill. Instead a special government fund will be set up to compensate artists for private copying of music and movies. Following the national Parliament vote, Finnish MEP Henna Virkkunen said the new system would be “fairer to …
Jennifer Baker, 12 Dec 2014
Philips HTL5140

Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Product round-up As much as we love our flatscreens, there’s no getting away from the fact that 99 per cent of them sound atrocious. The good news is there are plenty of ways to liven up living room TV audio, from soundbars with wireless subwoofers to pedestal-style soundbases. We've had a good look and listen to what's out there and the prices …
Steve May, 12 Dec 2014
Google_skull

Spanish scraper scrapped: Google axes Google News

+Comment Google will close its Google News service in Spain next week, rather than pay newspapers for news excerpts. Spain recently revamped its copyright law and the changes take effect (PDF, Spanish) on 1 January. Law-makers threw newspapers a bone: the right to be remunerated by news aggregators. According to academic Eleonora Rosati …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Dec 2014
How the bronze statue of Assange, Snowden and Manning would look

Assange's WikiLeaks: Give generously this Xmas – for STATUE of our DEAR LEADER

Julian Assange has alerted Wikileakers to an important Kickstarter campaign that aims to create a bronze statue of the snowy-haired founder, billed as a “monument to courage”. How the bronze statue of Assange, Snowden and Manning would look How the statue will look if they can get another £80,000 The proposed artwork, which …
BBC Testcard

The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

+Comment The BBC's director general Tony Hall hailed a great digital future for the little-watched terrestrial channel BBC3 today. The BBC wants to move it to the internet to save money, and has submitted the proposals for rubber-stamping by the BBC Trust. The channel's budget has been cut from £55m to £30m, but TV programme expenditure …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Dec 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Amazon comes over all eBay with new ‘make an offer’ facility

Amazon is making a bid to steal customers from online marketplaces such as eBay with a new option to “make an offer” on items. The firm is introducing the option on Amazon.com for folks to offer a lower price for products in the fine arts and collectibles sections initially, and will then be expanding the service to other items …