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Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

The eXpat Files Last time we chatted to an expat in Thailand, our secretive subject stayed schtum about his identity because he was working illegally. This time around, Eddie Croasdell had all his paperwork in order, but after spending a decade in the country has decided the political climate was getting a bit hot so recently came home to …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jan 2015

Uber isn't limited by the taxi market: It's limited by the Electronic Thumb market

Worstall @ the Weekend We've had a look before at that valuation of Uber at $40k bar** and mulled over whether it makes any sense or not. And there's a little snippet of news out that shows that there might be more substance to it than most of us tend to think there is. It could, of course it could, still be just an absurdly over-hyped product of …
Tim Worstall, 25 Jan 2015
Hand precision grip

SUPERHANDS! Fossils of early human ancestors reveal a GRIPPING development

Ancestors of humans who lived around three to two million years ago appear to have had the ability to use their hands in a very similar way to how we grip tools today, according to a new study from anthropologists. Power "squeeze" gripping and forceful precision employed by humans were understood to relate to a reduction in tree …
Team Register, 24 Jan 2015
Daniel Craig in Casino Royale

Sly peers attempt to thrust hated Snoopers' Charter into counter-terror and security bill

Britain's ISPs have attacked sneaky, proposed amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that were tabled by four peers in Parliament this week – as they mounted an attempt to resurrect the Snoopers' Charter. Home Secretary Theresa May's draft Communications Data Bill was rejected by politicos in 2012, however, the …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Jan 2015
Sag aloo mixed with our chickpea stew

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chickpea stew à la Bureau des Projets Spéciaux

As winter tightens its frosty grip across the land, and a chill wind bites hard to the quick, the moment has arrived to contemplate a hearty post-pub dish designed to fill bellies on a budget and warm the cockles of the heart. So hereforth, mes amis, we present for your dining pleasure our very own Special Projects Bureau …
Lester Haines, 24 Jan 2015
School run car

Chunky Swedish ice maiden: Volvo XC60 D4 Manual EE Lux Nav

Vulture at the Wheel Why did the nice man from Volvo find me peering at the dashboard with a torch when he came to collect the XC60 I was testing? It was because I was looking very hard at the lights, which show when the left and right turn indicators are flashing. The dashboard is a collection of LCD screens, and I was trying to decide if someone …
Simon Rockman, 24 Jan 2015
What Linus Torvalds thinks of NVIDIA

'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

CoTW Pirates on copyright, state surveillance and Linux – another joyous week of your comments below the line. Yup, it's Comment of the Week time. An Anonymous Coward decided to have a go at the Linux in-crowd this week, hurling a hefty brick at Linus Torvalds after the Linux daddy said "I'm not a nice person and I don't care about …
Gareth Corfield, 24 Jan 2015
Charles Bronson and Lorraine Etherington, Broadmoor, My Journey Into Hell book cover

Broadmoor: My Journey Into Hell, The Chimes and Cowboys and Indies

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston peruses the pick of publishing this week with a début novel from Anna Smaill whose musicality abounds in the post-apocalyptic tale. Back in the real world, one man apocalypse Charles Bronson tells more tales of life inside, and finally Gareth Murphy tracks the history of the music industry. The Chimes …
Mark Diston, 24 Jan 2015

YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

Something for the Weekend, Sir? A friend of mine had his wife stolen three times this week. The first two times, they gave her back within hours. On the third occasion, however, they seemed determined to hold on to her for a month. This is the risk you take if you insist on uploading your wife to YouTube. I’d better explain. Be prepared for a sorry tale of …
Alistair Dabbs, 24 Jan 2015

Hibernating NetMundial rattles internet governance world at Davos

The controversial effort by ICANN and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to devise a new internet governance body may have gone into hibernation but it is still causing ructions. The NetMundial Initiative ended 2014 on a torrid note, publicly rejected by what it hoped would be its biggest supporters. Before heading into the New Year …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jan 2015
X-wings extended on the Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX makes nice with U.S. Air Force, gets shot at black ops launches

Private rocket firm SpaceX has settled its feud with the US Air Force over the rights to launch national security payloads. The company said that it would be able to compete with United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the ability to launch spy satellites. "Going forward, the Air Force will conduct competitions consistent with the …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jan 2015
Artist's conception of a watery asteroid being torn apart white dwarf GD 61

ATTACK of the FLYING MOUNTAIN: 2004 BL86 goes by like a BULLET

NASA has warned skywatchers that a huge asteroid will pass over European and North American skies on Monday and that it will be the biggest space rock to do a fly-by of our planet until 2027. Most asteroids that pass us are smallish, between 50 and 100 meters wide. This latest visitor, asteroid 2004 BL86, is half a kilometer (0. …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jan 2015
Containers

Google offers cloudy port for Docker container images

Google has expanded its support for Docker-based Linux containers on its Cloud Platform, with the addition of a new, cloud-based hosting service for private container registries. The Chocolate Factory certainly isn't the first firm to offer hosted private Docker registries. Docker itself does, for one, as does CoreOS via its …
Neil McAllister, 24 Jan 2015

Dot-com is dead. Long live dot-com

As you probably know, the internet's domain names are dominated by a single three-letter ending: "com". What you probably don't know is the sheer scale of dot-com's dominance. There are roughly 116.5m domains ending in ".com" – more than all of the 25 next largest registries combined. When the industry draws bar charts of …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Jan 2015
Eiffel Tower Shenzhen day

China 'upgrades' Great Firewall. Oh SNAP! There goes VPN access

China's notorious "Great Firewall" is being blamed for widespread reports of virtual private network (VPN) outages in that country. China's Global Times – an English-language subsidiary of the state-run People's Daily – reports that customers of several prominent VPN services based outside the Middle Kingdom have complained that …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Jan 2015
Nokia Lumia 830 group

Planning to upgrade your Lumia to Windows 10? NOT SO FAST

The latest word from Microsoft is that owners of Windows Phone 8 handsets won't necessarily be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 10 after all, in an apparent retreat from what the software giant has said previously. "Our goal is for the majority of the Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 to join the Windows ecosystem …
Neil McAllister, 24 Jan 2015
Ship your enemies glitter

Bloke claims someone paid him 85,000 for a web glitter bomb factory

We are all in the wrong business, it seems. An Australian man is bragging that he just bagged $85,000 by selling a new website that claims to send out packets of glitter to people. Mathew Carpenter, 22, says he sold off ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com to an anonymous buyer, who won it in an auction on Flippa.com. As its name would …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jan 2015
windows 10 microsoft one windows

SURPRISE! Microsoft pops open Windows 10 Preview build early

Microsoft has released the next preview build of Windows 10 to members of its Windows Insider program, slightly ahead of schedule. At the big promo event in Redmond on Wednesday, Microsoft said the new build would be available "in the next two weeks," but it seems the software giant has decided its code is ready for prime time …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jan 2015
Atlas

Atlas unplugged! DARPA's unTerminator robot cuts the power cable

Atlas, the 6ft 2in (1.88m), 345lb (156kg) humanoid machine being used in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), has had an extensive upgrade and is now free to roam on battery power alone, the defense research group has said. Youtube Video The original Atlas, designed by Boston Dynamics (now owned by Google) in 2013, was an all- …
Iain Thomson, 23 Jan 2015
management regulation1

ICANN orders re-evaluation of dot-gay

ICANN has ordered that the application for the dot-gay top-level domain be re-evaluated after 54 letters in support of it "inadvertently" fell through the cracks. Controversially, the application was rejected last year for not being gay enough. The independent evaluators argued, peculiarly, that since a large number of gay …
Kieren McCarthy, 23 Jan 2015
Beats Music The Sentence

Apple's Beats, Google, and Sony hammered with unpaid royalty claim

New Apple toy Beats Electronics, along with Sony and Google, are among the targets of a lawsuit over claims of unpaid royalties. A New York publisher is suing the companies for failing to pay it royalties on songs published before 1972, the year US copyright law was updated to cover sound recordings. Zenbu Magazines claims that …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Jan 2015
Close-up of a YouTube logo as viewed on a computer screen in close up...

YouTube: Nobody needs to get hurt Zoe, just sign the Ts&Cs

+Comment Google has revived its "our way or the highway" contracts with independent artists and labels, according to popular cellist Zoe Keating. On her Tumblr blog, Keating recounts a series of demands she says were made this week by YouTube, the ubiquitous video-sharing site bought by Google for $1.65bn. Either Keating signed the new T …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2015
Money

Why so tax-shy, big tech firms? – Bank of England governor

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has singled out technology companies as being among the worst offenders for tax avoidance. Speaking at a panel session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Carney said: "It should be recognised that some of the biggest firms to take the most advantage of …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

Analysis Telefonica has sold O2 to Three big-daddy Hutchison Whampoa for £10bn - and it pretty much had to. Here's why. Telefonica had shown its hand in trying to flog its O2 biz to BT, revealing that it wasn’t interested keeping the brand; Telefonica smacks of never really having its heart in the venture. With BT buying EE, and …
Simon Rockman, 23 Jan 2015

Microsoft: We bought Skype. We make mobiles.. Oh, HANG ON!

Analysis Microsoft has given us a glimpse of Windows progress this week – and it was generally well received – particularly the one-year "grace period" allowing Windows 7 holdouts to climb on board for free. While price won't induce Enterprise customers to upgrade, lower retraining costs will –and the majority will wait to see what the …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jan 2015
Doomsday clock

Doomsday Clock says 3 MINUTES to MIDNIGHT. Again

+Comment The famous Doomsday Clock, which has been showing anywhere between 17 and two minutes to midnight since 1947, has advanced to three-minutes-to for the third time – on this occasion due to a perceived increase in the menace from human-driven climate change. The organisation which runs the Clock, the Bulletin of the Atomic …
Lewis Page, 23 Jan 2015
Ransom note saying "Pay Up" in blackmail type

Panicked teen hanged himself after receiving ransomware scam email

An autistic 17-year-old college student has hanged himself after receiving a ransomware scam. Joseph Edwards was alarmed after receiving an email that falsely claimed he'd been spotted browsing illegal websites and needed to pay £100 (payable in Ukash electronic money) or face being prosecuted. The email pushing the well-known …
John Leyden, 23 Jan 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

Kaminario swallows $15m – ONE MONTH after last cash gulp

Comment Not content with raising $53m in a E-round of funding at the end of November, flash array performance king Kaminario raised another $15m at the end of December. The startup’s K2 all-flash array business has now raised a total of $143m, getting close to Solidfire’s $150m but a long way behind Pure Storage’s $470m. King K got the …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015
management regulation1

All-flash case rehash: Modus vs Nimbus lawyers off to DC

Modus, a customer of all-flash array startup Nimbus Data, has failed to have Nimbus’ suit against it for breach of contract dismissed. The case is being heard in California’s Northern District court and concerns, Nimbus alleges, Modus buying a flash array from Nimbus and not paying the full balance for the equipment. A filed …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015
Privacy image

Snoopy Fujitsu tech KNOWS you'll click that link – before YOU do

The next time you hover over a suspicious link a little too long, or download from a questionable site, you might get a nudge from Fujitsu. The Japanese tech giant has, from the back of a 2000-head study, developed a tool capable of determining if a user was likely to be scammed and delivering a custom warning. Together with a …
Darren Pauli, 23 Jan 2015
Suitcase bulging with cash

What was Tim Cook worth to Apple in 2014? $9 MILLION, apparently

Apple more than doubled chief exec Tim Cook's remuneration for 2014, handing him a bulging package worth $9.22m – including his $1.75m (£1.25m) base salary and a $6.7m (£4.5m) bonus. The compensation reflects the company's "extraordinary year in 2014", it said in its annual report (PDF). Sales at Apple rose seven per cent by $ …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2015

Developers, developers, developers! But WILL they support Windows 10?

Analysis Microsoft has revealed more of its plans for Windows 10, with full release expected towards the end of 2015. The press event focused on eye-catching features like HoloLens, a virtual reality and augmented reality headset, but what really counts is this: will Windows 10 attract developers back to the Windows platform? Windows …
Tim Anderson, 23 Jan 2015

Leaked doc: Europe's justice chiefs forming plans to cosy up to ISPs

Europe’s justice ministers appear to be forming plans to make it easier to access ISPs' data, as part of a series of proposals intended to limit the spread of online radicalising material. The proposals were revealed when an internal document for discussion at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Riga (on 29, 30 January) was …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015

UK Scouts database 'flaws' raise concerns

Updated Serious concerns have been raised over the security of the Scout Association's database, which holds the contact details of 450,000 young people and volunteer adults, The Register can reveal. A Scout leader contacted the Register to express grave concerns that the association's Compass database is not secure, despite the …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2015
Downing Street road sign

Gov.UK inhaled G-Cloud, spat out framework – ex-lead claims

Whitehall is coming under fire for subsuming the G-Cloud into its coding house GDS (government digital service) at the expense of encouraging uptake of the framework. Mark Craddock, former G-cloud lead, said: "GDS is obsessed with what I call pub-prietary software – the public sector building everything in-house and putting …
Kat Hall, 23 Jan 2015
Kim Jong-un

Sony blames NORK The Interview cyber strike for delayed Q3 report

Sony plans to delay its third-quarter financial results and has blamed North Korea’s crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment’s business systems. The media giant has asked Japan’s Financial Services Agency to extend its deadline by a month so it can compile the period’s results. Sony needs the extension so its film …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Jan 2015
Fight sticker

Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

A top US law enforcement commissioner has claimed European data protection authorities are too worried about helping consumers instead of robustly enforcing privacy laws. Speaking at CPDP2015 in Brussels, Julie Brill, privacy commissioner for the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defended the US approach to protecting privacy …
Jennifer Baker, 23 Jan 2015

Telefónica to offload O2 to Three daddy Hutchison for £10.25bn

Telefónica confirmed this morning it has entered into an “exclusivity agreement” with Hutchison Whampoa that could see it offload subsidiary O2 for up to £10.25bn in cash. Talks between the pair surfaced last weekend and if signed and sealed will further consolidate the mobe carrier space, coming weeks after BT turned its back …
Paul Kunert, 23 Jan 2015
WD RE4 Enterprise disk drive

Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

Online backup bods Backblaze have found Seagate hard disks fail much more than other suppliers, although recent improvements have redressed the situation. In a blog the Backblaze blogger Brian Beach says: “As of December 31, 2014, we had 41,213 disk drives spinning in our data centre, storing all of the data for our unlimited …
Chris Mellor, 23 Jan 2015

Symantec data centre security software has security holes

Security bod Stefan Viehböck has detailed holes in Symantec's data centre security platforms that the company plugged this week because they allowed hackers to gain privilege access to management servers. The patches fix holes in the management server for Symantec Critical System Protection (SCSP) 5.2.9 and its predecessor Data …
Darren Pauli, 23 Jan 2015
The Office

Never mind those touch apps, full Office 2016 is coming this year

Microsoft let slip a few more details of its plans for the company's Office productivity suite on Thursday, including hints about when we can expect the next major version of its desktop suite to land. Most of the Office talk at Wednesday's Windows 10 preview event in Redmond focused on the touch-centric Office for Windows 10 …
Neil McAllister, 23 Jan 2015
Comet 67P closeup

SPACE the FINAL FRONTIER: These are the images of COMET PROBE ROSETTA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released details of the first bushel of studies derived from the Rosetta spacecraft's visit to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The journal Science has devoted a special issue to seven studies of the comet, but let's do a summary here. For starters, boffins have decided that 67P is fluffy, or …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2015