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Tesla powerwall

Tesla Powerwall: not much cheaper and also a bit wimpier than existing batteries

It's pretty and batteries are ugly – but Tesla's Powerwall is more like an incremental change than a radical disruption. Given that the hype over Elon Musk's Tesla Powerwall announcement has reached all the way from The Verge calling the colours “lickable” (no, not likeable) and tossing in a hypegasm over Musk's “best keynote …
GEC PABX 3 switchboard and operator

Are you ready to ditch the switchboard and move to IP telephony?

When I was growing up it was something of a novelty to have a phone in the house. And when I started working in IT in 1989 my company was still encouraging staff to wait to make calls until after 1pm, when peak time ended. There was something unusual about the new phone system we deployed that year: the Philips Sopho-S was a …
Dave Cartwright, 17 Feb 2015
Fear Of Landing Tiger Moth review

Tiger Moth: Old school flying without all those pesky flaps, brakes and instruments

Vulture in the Air Stepping up from our usual car reviews, we’ve got an aeroplane this weekend. The guest pilot is Sylvia Spruck Wrigley, who runs the Fear of Landing website. What’s it like flying a Tiger Moth? Absolutely AMAZING! I don’t think I can do the experience justice, but I have to try. You can imagine my excitement when Into the Blue …
Android icon desktop toys

BITE that APPLE if you want to escape the Android garden, Microsoft

Analysis Microsoft has made Office on Android available on tablets at the exact moment its fortunes with Apple and Samsung are in flux. If Redmond's going to win, it needs to bet on Apple. Redmond removed the preview label from Office for Android apps on Thursday, making Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote available from Google’s Play …
Gavin Clarke, 29 Jan 2015

Powering the Internet of Stuff – by sucking electricity from TREES

Feature Despite regular headlines about self-powered gadgets and a deluge of stories claiming that any day now we should expect our smart phones to start gathering power from the environment around us, the promise of harvested energy always seems just out of reach. Or is it? We may not be charging our gadgets in our Wellington boots any …
Bill Ray, 29 Jan 2015
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Feature For a huge number of Brits, mobiles have become our primary way of communicating, even when we're at home. When a call comes in, we know it's ours. We can reply with a text, or use apps like WhatsApp to communicate with friends abroad. Increasingly, we don't rely on our landline phones and, thanks to lax policing of the …
Nigel Whitfield, 25 Jan 2015
Hololens

Why Microsoft's 3D HoloLens goggles aren't for Google Glassholes

A pair of 3D ski glasses eclipsed Windows 10 at Microsoft’s next-generation event on Wednesday. Headline writers and geeks cooed over HoloLens, a set of virtual reality eyewear, and accompanying 3D HoloLens software. It was easy to get distracted from something as boring as a new Windows client. With free pricing and the return …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Jan 2015
CES 1980: telly it like it is

2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Breaking Fad The dust may have settled on the latest International CES, but we’ll be suffering aftershocks from the show for years to come. As an event, this year’s trade show was about the next and the new, rather than the here and the now – and there was plenty of consternation to be heard amid the bluster. CES 1980: telly it like it is …
Steve May, 22 Jan 2015
Apple patent

Sorry, Qualcomm, Apple – your patents don't scare us

Analysis Patent royalties make up a higher proportion of cellular device costs than in most other markets, so the IPR game has been a hard-fought and sometimes vicious one. At the start of 2015, various developments suggest that the playground bullies of the past will lose a lot of their power. Qualcomm is on the defensive in China, …
Wireless Watch, 20 Jan 2015
Samsung 48-inch UE48HU7500T 4K TV

It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

CES 2015 With CES in full swing, the industry’s favourite buzzword is cropping up all over the show floor and in the headlines. But the surveys and reports that are emerging still aren’t painting a picture of 4K’s success on the sales floor, as two datasets show that 4K has still yet to take off. Both Futuresource Consulting and the CEA …
Faultline, 12 Jan 2015

Renault Captur: Nobody who knows about cars will buy this

Vulture at the Wheel The Renault Captur (Dynamique MediaNav dCi 90, to give it its full name) is the kind of car people who buy them describe as “easy to drive”. These are the same people who when you ask what car is that, they say “a red one”. I once reviewed the IBM PS/1 and was more than a little disappointed. The only thing IBM and I agreed …
Simon Rockman, 4 Jan 2015
Android icon desktop toys

El Reg's Giant Mobile Industry Roundup of 2014

Part 1 It has been a crowded year in mobile. Apple breathed life into its iPhone brand, Google tried to take control of Android, while Microsoft fell asleep at the wheel. The Chinese handset tide began to reach Europe. Nokia waved goodbye to its phone division and jumped back in with a tablet – and an unusual business proposition. …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Dec 2014
Lego_star_wars

'I've got a brick feeling about this' - El Reg's guide to the best Lego films + TV

Using toys to re-enact beloved movies is pretty much one of every nerdy kid's favorite playtime activities and Lego makes this easy, by providing minifigs of many of celluloid's leading characters. It's safe to say I had far more fun with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Lego down the pub than I did watching Michael Bay's film. …
Lucy Orr, 26 Dec 2014
Boring Christmas

Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

We love our gadgets and phones and suchlike. Gadgets can also make great gifts, so long as you get the "right one". Some this Christmas season - like me - will no doubt have thought what a great idea it would have been to buy their partners (or some other significant loved one in the family) a new laptop, device, or tablet as a …
Stuart Burns, 25 Dec 2014

Banish the fear of Big Brother when you bring in BYOD

As I have said before, bring your own device (BYOD) can be a difficult concept to sell. After all, you are basically saying to users: “We want you to supply your own IT equipment but we want to be able to control the corporate data and applications that go on it.” Yes, you can sweeten the pill by offering a financial incentive …
Dave Cartwright, 18 Dec 2014
Pebble Steel

Pebble: The brilliant stealth wearable Apple's Watch doesn't see coming

Interview The wearables bandwagon rolled into town this year – heralding the arrival of glossy and expensive new wearable timepieces. Android Wear and Apple’s Watch have grabbed most the headlines, but I suspect that come Christmas morning, more people will be unwrapping a Pebble than the glitzier rivals. We caught up with Pebble’s …
Pile of mobiles

Will security concerns scupper your BYOD policy?

Analysis Almost everyone involved in IT fears BYOD to some extent. That’s largely because they are terrified of careless colleagues costing the business a shed load of money. But small to medium sized businesses who lack the budget and resources to do security well fear BYOD more than most. Just this week, Hugh Boyes from the Institution …
Tom Brewster, 29 Nov 2014
Finished product, photo: Mark Whitehorn

Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

Most car marques – Lagonda, Ford, Morgan and so on – have a proud history and the respective car clubs often worship the original form; if you present a car for judging, it had better be exactly as per factory spec. Or else. There are notable exceptions and perhaps the most surprising, given the value of some of the cars, is the …
Mark Whitehorn, 26 Nov 2014
Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

Apple surges in on the BYOD wave

This article was produced in association with Jamf Software Apple has wowed consumers with its phone and tablet devices but this is not the only market to embrace its products. Enterprises are snapping up iPhones and iPads in ever increasing numbers. Last year, IDC said that the iPhone held 59 per cent of the US enterprise …
Danny Bradbury, 24 Nov 2014
PlayStation Vita

Sony SPILLS GUTS on OTT service, so far for PlayStations only

Analysis Sony has unveiled its widely expected PlayStation Vue OTT TV service, telling us everything we need to know except the most important part: the price. At present it is just a US phenomenon, which makes sense – if it can make it there it can make it anywhere. It is referred to as a cloud-based TV service and claims to reinvent …
Faultline, 17 Nov 2014
Monty Python dead parrot sketch

BAD SANTA: Don't get ripped off this Christmas

Feature The season of horror and expense will soon be upon us, and with it lots of gift guides telling you what you should be forking out for. But before we get stuck into that, how you should buy it is just as important. Youtube Video As the recent collapse of Phones4U showed, even something as simple as choosing the wrong way to pay …
Nigel Whitfield, 16 Nov 2014
Zoeller at the Samsung forum

Samsung slams door on OLED TVs, makes QUANTUM dot LEAP

Analysis Samsung has said that it intends to focus on UHD TVs using LCD panels augmented by quantum dot technology, instead of pushing OLED as a commercial replacement for LCD. This is the kind of decision that might mean that OLED never takes off in the larger form factors. Kim Hyun-Seok, the head of Samsung’s TV business, told …
Faultline, 10 Nov 2014
Measurement train NETWORK RAIL

This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

+Vid & Pics The men – and woman – in orange explained to me that the Network Rail “New Measurement Train” isn’t new. It’s a converted Intercity High Speed Train which has been in operation for more than ten years in this form, and it is used for running new tests for checking the condition of the track. Measurement train NETWORK RAIL The …
Simon Rockman, 10 Nov 2014
Koubachi plant monitor

Be Your Own Big Brother: Going to pot

Feature A lot of the tech we've looked at so far in this series has been for safety – like monitoring seniors – or curiosity, like pet tracking. Another very useful area is productivity... and we don't mean the sort that involves management jargon. We're talking horticulture. With the right tech, even the least green-fingered of us …
Barney Rubble driving with Fred Flinstone

Forget 5G, UK.gov is making 2G fit for the 21st century!

Analysis The government flagged up the biggest shake-up in mobile regulation for 25 years yesterday. Tories who ridiculed Ed Miliband’s intervention in the energy market might need to remove the large wooden beam from their field of vision first. Four major policy options are suggested in the Ministry of Fun’s rural mobile consultation …
Nokia Lumia 930

Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

We have all seen them: people who wander around with a phone glued to their ear as if their entire world depended on it. And we have all worked with people for whom eye contact means sitting with head stooped peering at texts, emails or, occasionally, videos of real people. This got us wondering: can normal people actually run …

The Great Smartphone Massacre: Android bloodbath gathers pace

Analysis The bloodbath continues for smartphone vendors, results from the leading Android vendors have confirmed in the past week. While it’s a great time to be a buyer, in saturated Western markets, only LG can show black ink on its earnings statements. Sony, Samsung and HTC also reported and the pages were awash with minus signs, …
Microsoft Surface bomb

Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Analysis This weekend marks two years since Windows 8 and Surface were launched at a press event at Pier 57 on the Hudson River in New York. The invitation for the Windows 8 launch in October 2012 “It is today that with great pride we unveil this new generation of Windows. Starting at 4.01am worldwide, the next era of Windows …
Tim Anderson, 24 Oct 2014

Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know

She’s a huge advocate of drones — quite a surprising position to take for a first class fighter pilot. Mary "Missy" Cummings was one of the US Navy’s first female fighter pilots, taking to the air after the service lifted its ban on women in combat, and flying from 1988 to 1999. She piloted F18 Hornets and became one of the Navy …
Jaguar XJS modified for fuel efficiency

Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how

Crawling from the Wreckage Cars are mass-produced consumer products sold to users who mostly know very little about them. They are optimised to make a profit for the manufacturer, so low build cost is paramount for most manufacturers – which automatically excludes many design and engineering ideas that would raise efficiency. John Watkinson has been busy …
John Watkinson, 19 Oct 2014
Cat on computer

Be Your Own Big Brother: Peeking at pussy

Feature Last year, the BBC's Horizon programme treated the cats of a Surrey village to individual cameras, and their own prime-time spot on TV to share the results. And now the Beeb is at it again with Cat Watch 2014, hoping to find out a little more about what our feline companions get up to. Youtube Video Whether you're a dog or a …
Nigel Whitfield, 12 Oct 2014
Digital Voice Recorders

Look ma, no hands! The machines are speaking our language

From Hal, the malfunctioning computer in Stanley Kubrick’s ground-breaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey, through to last year’s Spike Jonze film Her, in which a man falls in love with a computer voiced by Scarlett Johansson, film makers and sci-fi writers have long been imagining a future where speech recognition is commonplace. …
Eira Hayward, 10 Oct 2014
Fixed toy octopus

ARM spreads tentacles up and down the stack

Signs of slowdown in mobile device growth have driven ARM to expand aggressively into new areas for its processor IP – from servers to home equipment to the internet of things (IoT). Its IoT strategy has been evolving over a couple of years, but in the past few weeks, the scale and ambition of that strategy has become clear. …
Alf Garnett and Else

Be your own Big Brother: Keeping an eye on Mum and Dad

Feature Time was, when relatives started to get old, they'd move into the spare bedroom. My grandmother's generation seemed to do a lot of that, with assorted great aunts taking up residence. But it's much less common now. Else and Alf Garnett, Mike and Rita Fancy an alternative to regular visits to Mum and Dad? Source: BBC, Till …
Nigel Whitfield, 27 Sep 2014
DTS interactive audio

Fake tape detectors, 'from the stands' footie and UGH! Internet of Things in my set-top box

IBC 2014 At this time of year, the tech press is often focused on IFA, the massive electronics show in Berlin where many companies unveil their latest products, including smartphones, flatter, curvier TVs than ever before, and all manner of other things. Taking place a week later in Amsterdam, IBC, the International Broadcasting …
Nigel Whitfield, 24 Sep 2014
Withings Home camera

Be your own Big Brother: Monitoring your manor, the easy way

Feature If you've ever had the misfortune to be burgled, you'll know how nervous it can make you feel. After my own experience some twenty years ago, it took a long time before I could leave the flat without fretting, and perhaps using my new-fangled mobile phone to call the home computer and check that it was still there to answer the …
Nigel Whitfield, 14 Sep 2014
Apple iPhone 6

iPhone 6: Advanced features? Pah! Nexus 4 had most of them in 2012

Analysis Apple unsurprisingly revealed a new iPhone that'll come in two sizes for the first time: the regular iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch 1334x750p screen, while the Plus version boasts a 5.5-inch 1080p screen. Both models now feature the Retina marketing tag, but while the hardware might not be revolutionary, Apple’s new iOS 8, …
Faultline, 12 Sep 2014

Moto 360: Neat gizmo – if you're a rich nerd

Youtube Video I used to have wearable connected technology, back in the day, and it was actually very handy. You wore it around the neck on a lanyard. It would beep when there was an incoming message or phone call or diary appointment, and it could go two to three days or more between charges. You could also make calls by …
Apple iPad 3 aka new iPad

Larger iPad could target big biz, save Apple from low-end scrum

Analysis As has been increasingly the case with smartphones, the tablet market is shifting away from an Apple/Samsung head-to-head, and becoming a free-for-all. While the two major suppliers still lead the sector, their sales declined in the second quarter, even though overall shipments were up. Apple may look to address the challenge in …
Wireless Watch, 29 Aug 2014
Eve in the Garden of Eden talking to a rather angry God on Snapchat

So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL

Opinion It’s that time of year again, when Apple’s annual iPhone launch is looming and the mobile chattersphere becomes entirely dominated again by one handset maker. In 2007 and 2008, that was completely justified. Since then, there have been progressively fewer reasons to define the whole smartphone sector by Apple. New models have …
Wireless Watch, 25 Aug 2014
Netflix on TiVo

TV transport tech, part 2: From sofa to server at the touch of a button

Feature These days telly addicts are spoilt for choice with a wealth of services on offer, but what’s behind it all? To find out, The Register was given exclusive access to Virgin Media’s Central Headend – the mothership of its TV services across the UK. Part one covered receiving and redistributing content from disparate sources to …
Bob Dormon, 22 Aug 2014

Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

Analysis HTC gave Microsoft a huge PR coup yesterday during the New York unveiling of the most stylish Windows Phone ever made. Redmond could certainly use some good news right now. Windows Phone shipments fell 9.4 per cent in Q2, as Microsoft's languid timetable, along with a less-than-clockwork rollout of Windows Phone 8.1, finally …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Aug 2014