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Lonely Pirate cheers on Big Copyright-bashing EU commissars

The EU's sole Pirate Party MEP has welcomed rumours that the European Commission is to get tough with big Hollywood firms’ geo-blocking activities. According to a Bloomberg report the EU's competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, is set to send a so-called “statement of objections” to US movie studios 20th Century Fox, Warner …

Dodgy colon bug is a total pain in the butt for Skype users today

Adding a single colon to a web link is enough to kill Skype on your PC, Android and iOS device. Sending the characters http://: in a chat conversation via the software will cause the application to crash, and bomb all over again when restarted as the application will process the chat characters again before you get a chance to …

Gamers! Yes, gamers – they'll rescue our streaming Fire TV box, hopes Amazon

Amazon is hoping to crack the streaming media market with a new gaming app that lets you play many of the latest titles for $6.99 a month. GameFly Streaming is available today as an app on the retail giant's Fire TV and lets you rent bundles of games at a time. For example, the "Action Pack" contains seven titles including F.E.A …
Mist and condensation, image via Shutterstock

Hybrid cloud: Define what it is, then decide what you want

First, there was software as a service, infrastructure and then platform as a service, then public and private cloud, and today hybrid cloud — but is the latter vendor-driven cloud washing or something more? Lending credence to the latter is the fact EMC last week spent a juicy $1.2bn buying Virtustream to increase its presence …
Great Wall of China

China cracks down further on VPNs as censorship intensifies

China's government is cracking down further on the use of virtual private networks to circumnavigate its Great Firewall, as part of the ongoing game of whack-a-mole between censors and an increasingly tech-savvy population. Charlie Smith, co-founder of the censorship in China monitoring site GreatFire.org, said there has been a …
Kat Hall, 3 Jun 2015
HP execs Mike Nefkens, Antonio Neri, and Robert Youngjohns

Life after HP cracks off into two: Execs spill the beans – tiny little beans

HP Discover The theme of the opening keynote at the HP Discover conference on Tuesday was "Winning in the New Style of Business," but what the audience in Las Vegas really wanted to know was whether HP can really win by splitting into two companies. That transition is expected to complete by the beginning of HP's fiscal 2016, which starts …
Flats, image via Shutterstock

Forget the density, just unlock your cloud's power sweet spot

Talk to a friend or colleague in IT, and pretty soon you’ll get on the topic of big data, the data explosions, and mega data centres. Bar stool logic — and prevailing wisdom — suggests there is no end to our collective hunger for data, and so this must be fed by ever-larger, ever-denser data centres designed, powered and chilled …
Dave Wilby, 2 Jun 2015

Time Warner CFO Artie Minson quits to join babble-filled upstart

Time Warner Cable's chief financial officer, Arthur Minson, is stepping down just a few days after after Charter Communications agreed to merge with his employers for $78.7bn in cash and shares. "Artie" Minson will join WeWork, a start-up platform which describes itself as "the platform for creators. We provide everything you …
Spy cat Zhuzha. Pic: Mark Vegas

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

Analysis For the last 36 hours the NSA hasn't been able to collect the metadata on every American's mobile phone calls, and yet the Republic still stands, despite warnings of dire consequences. "A small group of senators is standing in the way. And, unfortunately, some folks are trying to use this debate to score political points," said …
Iain Thomson, 2 Jun 2015
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore, speaking at Build 2015

Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Opinion What happens when your data sample isn’t representative of the public? We already know, for 2015 is turning out to be the year of the dodgy opinion poll. And it isn’t just politicians who are being stung. In Windows 10, Microsoft says it will hide running apps from the task bar, breaking a twenty-year-old convention which …
GCHQ Benhall doughnut aerial view

GCHQ gros fromage stays schtum on Snowden and snooping

Infosec 2015 A top GCHQ official opened the Infosecurity Europe trade show in London with an on-message keynote that focused on promoting best practice rather than dealing with Edward Snowden and the ongoing controversy over the so-called Snoopers’ Charter. Ciaran Martin, director general of cyber-security at GCHQ, gave a broad overview of …
John Leyden, 2 Jun 2015
The new Pirate Bay logo

Third Pirate Bay founder freed from clink, vows to fight domain seizure

Pirate Bay cofounder Fredrik Neij has reportedly been released from a Swedish prison after serving the mandatory two-thirds of his ten-month sentence for copyright violation. BitTorrent news site TorrentFreak reports that Neij, 37, was released on Monday and has already rejoined family and friends. Neij, who fled Sweden to …
Apple Beats headphones

Will Apple reveal a $10-a-month Spotify rival next week? Yeah, yeah, probably

Apple is gearing up to stream music online for $10 a month, a service that will rival Spotify, it is rumored. Apparently, the cloud-hosted jukebox will be separate from the iTunes Store, and will be revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) – which kicks off on June 8 in San Francisco. Apple is expected to …
Shaun Nichols, 1 Jun 2015

Facebook flings PGP-encrypted email at world+dog. Don't lose your private key

Hands-on Facebook can now powerfully encrypt notification emails sent to its users with PGP – keeping potentially sensitive messages out of the hands of hackers and other snoopers. The social network has also added a spot for people to share their public PGP keys via the HTTPS-protected website. "We are gradually rolling out an …
Iain Thomson, 1 Jun 2015
Nicole Kidman (Christine Lucas) in Before I Go To Sleep

OK Google, how much of my life do you observe and disturb?

Google would like netizens to believe that the vast multinational has bolstered "privacy" controls on its services today. But you'd be wrong to swallow that line. In fact, no changes have been made to the company's data-slurping and scraping policies. Instead – in a move reflecting Facebook's somewhat disingenuous claims to be …
Kelly Fiveash, 1 Jun 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

It's FREE WINDOWS 10 time: 29 July is D-Day, yells Microsoft

Windows 10 will be coughed up by Microsoft on July 29, the company said on Monday morning – and Windows 7 and 8.1 users can reserve their free upgrade right now. Gratis upgrades to Windows 10 are pegged to last for 12 months, as previously announced by Microsoft. That gives you until the end of July 2016 to claim them. Also, on …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Jun 2015
Cloud foundry login screen

Cloud Foundry takes first steps into Azure

Microsoft's promise to make Azure Cloud Foundry-friendly has become concrete. A bit. The company's announced a “public preview of open source Cloud Foundry for Microsoft Azure”. Cloud Foundry's availability on Azure is a medium-sized deal, as it means those who chose to develop on the newly open-sourced platform can now deploy …
Week #25 - Pet Peeves SMS by https://www.flickr.com/photos/rwdave/  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Google to axe TXT reminders for Calendar events

Google has emailed users of its Calendar service to advise them that “Starting on June 27th, 2015, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be sent.” The Chocolate Factory's reasoning for the cessation of TXT reminders is that “SMS notifications launched before smartphones were available. Now, in a world with …
Fedora 22 with Firefox

Fedora 22: Don't be glum about the demise of Yum – this is a welcome update

Review The big news with Fedora 22, just delivered, is the Fedora project actually managed to stick pretty close to its proposed schedule. Fedora 22 arrived just one week later than scheduled – but what's a week after the month-long delays of the last few release cycles? It would seem that the recent top-down restructuring of the …
TOR Logo

Unmasking hidden Tor service users is too easy, say infosec bods

Updated Security researchers speaking at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam this week have demonstrated that users of hidden services on Tor are putting themselves at risk of being identified – if an attacker is willing to put in the time and resources. The discovery is significant, because browsing hidden services had been …
Iain Thomson, 30 May 2015
Google Photo

Google spins up 'FREE, unlimited' cloud photo storage 4 years before ad giant nixes it

Google I/O Google has wheeled out a cloud-hosted photo storage service that, it hopes, will mean that embarrassing images from your past can be organized by computers so you don't have to. Youtube video The photo album software, available on Android and iOS from Thursday, slurps up all the photos on your mobile, and uploads them to a …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015
Google I/O 2015

Thar she blows! Actual DEV TOOLS spotted at Google's dev event

Google I/O For a developer event, this year's Google I/O conference in San Francisco sure spent a lot of time focusing on such consumer-oriented toys as personal assistants, photo apps, and budget VR. But there were actually a few legitimate developer tools on display, too. Google senior director Jason Titus was given just a few minutes to …
Neil McAllister, 29 May 2015

And then the Google lad says: Of course you can use Android Wear without a smartphone

Google I/O Apple may be winning the PR war with its Watch, but Google thinks an open platform, and some nifty Android Wear software, can give it the edge in the smartwatch world. At its annual Google I/O developers shindig in San Francisco, the Chocolate Factory said in the first year of Android Wear the operating system has been updated …
Iain Thomson, 29 May 2015
Microsoft Clippy

Android M's Now on Tap cyber-secretary is like Clippy on Class A drugs

Google I/O Google today showed off the latest build of Android, version M, at its annual developer conference Google I/O in San Francisco. "Version L was a major release so with M we've gone back to basics," Sundar Pichai, Google's senior veep and heir presumptive to the advertising giant's throne. "The focus is on polish and quality and …
Iain Thomson, 28 May 2015

Insurer tells hospitals: You let hackers in, we're not bailing you out

When hackers swiped 32,500 patient records from Cottage Healthcare System, it was sued by its own customers for $4.1m – a bill that was settled by its insurers. Now the insurance company, Columbia Casualty Company, has claimed Cottage's computers were hopelessly insecure, and it wants its money back. Columbia claims the …
Shaun Nichols, 28 May 2015
Three cows image via Shutterstock

Hey biz types: You don't grok Big Data. But you can use Salesforce, right?

Having sidled into the cash-rich analytics party seven months back, Salesforce is now out and proud on the hype-heavy big data field. The CRM-as-a-Service provider on Thursday announced Salesforce Wave for Big Data. It also announced that the big-data trio Google, Cloudera and Hortonworks plus Informatica - plus analytics …
Gavin Clarke, 28 May 2015

Zuck-Up as Facebook Messenger app tracks you everywhere forever

The ZuckerBorg collects so much data on its users that even visiting the site tags your ineffable soul for eternal tracking. But now a Harvard student's browser extension can now exploit the default location sharing setting to literally plot Facebook Messenger app users' movements on a map. Aran Khanna, a CompSci student at …

It's the Internet of Feet: Lenovo shows smart shoes, projector keyboard phone

Chinese tech giant Lenovo has been showing things it’s making and things it wants to make at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing. Cool gizmos include a display technology for smart watches that produces a virtual screen bigger than the watch. The company calls it “Magic View”. It’s a small screen below the main watch screen that looks …
Simon Rockman, 28 May 2015

What scares you most about ‘the cloud’?

Tech Panel Cloud computing has gone mainstream. While a hard-core of naysayers still exists, the black-and-white negative viewpoint is a lot less common today than it was a year or two ago. Our research at Freeform Dynamics, including via The Register, says it’s now less about ‘whether’ to use cloud, and more a question of where to adopt …
Dale Vile, 28 May 2015
Wristbands at Google I/O 2015

Google I/O FORTRESS: Sold-out dev conference is in LOCKDOWN

Google I/O This year's Google I/O conference hasn't even formally kicked off, but attendees who arrived early to pick up their badges on Wednesday got their first look at the peculiarly formidable security at this year's event. For reasons unknown, security at I/O 2015 is tighter than at any other conference this Reg hack has seen at San …
Neil McAllister, 28 May 2015
One Microsoft Way by https://www.flickr.com/photos/36182550@N08/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ cropped to 648-432

Redmond whips sheet off first SQL Server 2016 public preview

Microsoft's given itself a busy day, releasing the first technology preview of SQL Server 2016 and also letting us all know about updates to its StorSimple NAS boxen and Azure Media services. Here's what Microsoft says are the good bits of “Community Technology Preview (CTP2) for SQL Server 2016”: Encryption, all the time, …
Simon Sharwood, 28 May 2015
Landfill. Pic: Bill McChesney

Microsoft to TAKE OUT THE TRASH in the Windows Store

Ahead of the Windows 10 launch this summer, Microsoft has decided it's time for a little spring cleaning in the Windows Store, and it's tightening up its submission policies to make sure its store doesn't get into the same sorry state again. "We will identify apps that are not following the policies, informing developers of …
Neil McAllister, 28 May 2015

WTF is going on with the zombie NSA-friendly Patriot Act? Let us help

President Obama has told the US Senate to get its act together over the spy-friendly Patriot Act, key provisions of which are due to expire at midnight on Sunday. The three provisions that will lapse include Section 215, which the NSA uses as legal cover for its blanket slurping of citizens' mobile phone records, and which a US …
Iain Thomson, 27 May 2015
Optus Logo

Optus plans to skim the cream off the cloud

Margins in the cloud are rubbish: when you're selling servers for cents, there's precious little left for the bottom line. But Australia's second-largest telco Optus looks to be smart enough to have figured that out and devise a strategy that instead lets it go for the richest, most-monied parts of the cloud. The strategy was …
Simon Sharwood, 27 May 2015

Yahoo! must! face! class-action! suit! over! email! snooping! – judge

A US judge has given the green light to a class-action lawsuit that accuses Yahoo! of illegally violating email users' privacy by scanning the contents of their messages to deliver targeted advertising. The nationwide suit alleges that the Purple Palace intercepted and parsed the content of emails sent to Yahoo! Mail accounts …
Neil McAllister, 27 May 2015
The Big Bang Theory

CBS boss says he'll show off his crown jewels on Apple TV – for a large enough check

The head of US TV giant CBS said he is open to a deal that would put the network's programming on Apple's TV boxes – if the price is right. Les Moonves, whose TV empire includes CSI and The Big Bang Theory, said Apple's foray into internet telly will need a television network to create the entertainment. He said Apple will have …
Shaun Nichols, 27 May 2015

That EVIL TEXT that will CRASH your iPhone: We pop the hood

Analysis Cads and/or bounders can crash and reboot iPhones from afar by sending them specially crafted texts, thanks to a new vulnerability in iOS. A 75-byte sequence of unicode characters triggers the glitch, and can be smuggled into text messages, causing iThings to crash if they appear in the victim's notification screen. Texting the …
Iain Thomson, 27 May 2015
Microsoft on Android

Microsoft tosses Office, Skype portball to 20 Android makers

LG and Sony have joined 18 other device makers in the latest phase of Microsoft’s strategy to get Office and Skype as portable as possible. The global and regional Android device makers will inject Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on forthcoming fondle pads. A new LG tablet and Sony Xperia Z4 will debut with …
Gavin Clarke, 27 May 2015
Disney's Beagle Boys

ID-stealing scammers had a bumper start to the year, reveals report

Incidences of identity fraud in the UK rose by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, a new report has revealed. In total, 34,151 confirmed instances of identity fraud were recorded in the first quarter of 2015, a 27 per cent increase from Q1 2014. Identity fraud is when criminals abuse personal data to impersonate …
John Leyden, 27 May 2015

Mozilla: We don't give a damn about cheap smartphones

Browser-turned-OS-institution Mozilla has acknowledged that its $25 phone has failed. Firefox OS was launched with a strategy of not being Google or Apple, into the warm bosom of Telefonica and seventeen other operators at Mobile World Congress in 2013. At the time, we predicted that it would go the way of Symbian, SavaJe and …
Simon Rockman, 27 May 2015

Stranded Brussels airport passengers told to check Facebook

An “electrical fault” wiped out Belgium's air traffic control systems nationwide this morning, according to Belgocontrol, which is responsible for air navigation above Belgium and Luxembourg. A power surge knocked out the air traffic control system, as well as back-up power generators. An investigation into what caused the surge …
Jennifer Baker, 27 May 2015
Axe, image via Shutterstock

Shuttleworth delivers death blow in Umbongoland dispute

A storm of accusations, claims, and furious counterclaims has hit the Ubuntu penguins, with a community cleaved of its head following allegations of unsavory behavior. Long-time Kubuntu dev Jonathan Riddell has been dismissed as head of Kubuntu and removed from all positions of responsibility within the Ubuntu community. The …
Gavin Clarke, 27 May 2015