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OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away

+Comment An obscure court case in India appears to have dented hopes of the mobile industry weaning itself off Google dependency - and has raised questions about the goals of Cyanogen and its backer, a Silicon Valley VC firm with close ties to Google. In the cosy world of Menlo Park VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz (or "A16Z") is as close …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Dec 2014
Great Wall of China

Google's Gmail staggers to feet in China as access partially restored

Access to Gmail in China appears to have at least been partially restored, after Google's web addresses were blocked over the weekend. The People's Republic has consistently denied having deliberately blocked Google's services as part of its "Great Firewall" effort. According to the Google transparency report, which displays …
Kat Hall, 30 Dec 2014
Twitter for Mac Old

Titsup Twitter: We've swatted the bug that caused the outage

Twitter reported a partial outage yesterday, which it said had been due to a bug in its "front end code". Many users took to Reddit to complain they could not log into the micro blogging site. Users reported problems on Twitter apps for Android and iPhone smartphones, with tweets via TweetDeck showing up as having been posted a …
Kat Hall, 29 Dec 2014
xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi router

'Apple of China' Xiaomi: Yep, we HAVE just bagged $1.1 BEELLION

Top Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi has confirmed reports that it has raised $1.1bn to fund its plans for world domination. In a Facebook Post, president and co-founder Bin Lin said: We just completed the latest round of funding last week, raising US$1.1 billion at valuation of US$45 billion. Investors include All- …
Simon Rockman, 29 Dec 2014

PlayStation clambers back online days after DDoS attack PARALYSED network

Updated Sony's PlayStation network is slowly returning to normal service roughly 48 hours after it was hit by another major distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Christmas Day. Members of the Lizard Squad gang, which has previously targeted Sony's PSN, claimed responsibility for the assault. Microsoft's Xbox similarly went …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Dec 2014

Lizard Squad gang moves from PlayStation, Xbox Live attacks to Tor

The developers of Tor, the software that tries to mask netizens' identities on the internet, have downplayed the arrival of 3,000 new relays – which are courtesy of a gang of mischief-makers. Tor Project members say the flood of nodes will largely be ignored by the network. The relays were seemingly introduced by Lizard Squad …
Chris Williams, 27 Dec 2014
Gözde Kansu in the offending dress

Mobe not-spots 'landmark deal'? We ain't thick, Javid

The “landmark agreement” between the government and the mobile phone operators has been reported as a coup, something worthy, and a step forward. However, scratch the surface and it’s merely a face-saving exercise. It’s more than a little difficult to work out what the agreement actually says, but we here at the offices of El …
Simon Rockman, 26 Dec 2014
Internet Assigned Numbers Authority - IANA - logo

Internet community split on who should run IANA

The internet community is split when it comes to who should be given the right to run the critical IANA functions. Under an official proposal put out to public comment and which closed on Monday, the current contract owned by the US government will be handed over to a new shell company that would then award it to ICANN. The …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Dec 2014

ICANN's technical competence queried by Verisign report

EXCLUSIVE A review of the globe's DNS security, stability and resiliency by dot-com registry and root server operator Verisign has called into question the technical competence of domain name overseer ICANN. The 33-page document, seen by The Register and due to be published soon, comes just days after the news emerged that ICANN's staff …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Dec 2014
Facepalm by Ron Mander

FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system. Four million missives were submitted via the FCC's website and in emails to staff; comments could be submitted in PDF, CSV, or plain text formats, and were converted into …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Starbucks free Wi-Fi UK

Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Top hotel chains want permission in the US to disrupt guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – a move that would force people to use expensive hotel wireless instead. The hoteliers, including Hilton and Marriott, have urged US watchdog the FCC to allow them to cripple mobile hotspots because, they claim, such devices interfere with …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Decaying red telephone boxes

BT takes broadband to NEW PLACES. That's right: CITIES

BT is trumpeting a new test which will see it install broadband in some really hard-to-reach locations: the middle of cities. Well, provided it can get into the building in the first place. It seems there are some places where it’s impossible to put a cabinet in the street, and that means slow broadband for domestic and small …
Simon Rockman, 23 Dec 2014
Telstra logo

Telstra goes for Chinese takeaway with Pacnet buy

As foreshadowed last week, Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, will acquire Pacnet. Pacnet is perhaps easiest to understand as a mini-Equinix that also owns its own submarine cables, so offers carriage services and interconnection between bit barns. Those assets have led it to create a sofwtare-defined (wide-ish-area) …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2014

FCC hits pause on Comcast-TWC gobble AGAIN

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has once again put a hold on Comcast's controversial proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying it needs more time to review documents in the case. The commission said on Monday that it is extending the deadline for its planned review period on the deal, this time due to a …
Shaun Nichols, 23 Dec 2014
Kim Jong-un

Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

If the North Koreans really do have an elite hacking squad, it'll be twiddling its thumbs at the moment, as all internet activity in the country has gone dark in an outage that bears the hallmarks of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. "In the last 24 hours the signal has been getting worse and worse and today it went …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014

Split could force NetMundial Initiative back to the drawing board

The controversial NetMundial Initiative (NMI) may be heading back to the drawing board following a meeting of the internet's big cheeses in Washington last week. Following a "very constructive, frank, and candid discussion" between ICANN, the Internet Society (ISoc), Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and Internet Engineering …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Dec 2014
Funny money from south of the river

BONK for CASH in Brixton and help us EAT the RICH

The Brixton Pound (B£), the private currency for denizens of the slightly more affordable bit of earth next to Clapham, is to adopt near field communications, or NFC, payments. The area – which has become so painfully fashionable the locals are fighting back against poshos buying all the houses – has had its own currency for …
Simon Rockman, 22 Dec 2014
The Pirate Bay's new IsoHunt logo

IsoHunt releases roll-your-own Pirate Bay

Torrent site ISOhunt has created a roll-your-own, open source, version of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. IsoHunt's motive for the release seems to be a belief that big targets like The Pirate Bay will inevitably be picked off by law enforcement agencies. Lots of sites, however, present a tougher target. Open-sourcing …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2014

T-Mobile US to refund $90m for bogus charges: Un-Carrier to Un-Crammer

T-Mobile US will pay out $90m to settle cramming allegations raised by the US trade watchdog. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the telco will dish out the money as refunds to all customers who were pinned with hidden mobile cramming charges since 2010. The company – which portrays itself as the do-no-wrong Un-Carrier – …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
Swiss alps

Iliad owner coughs €2.3bn for Orange Switzerland

Xavier Niel, the owner of French ISP and mobile phone company Iliad, is buying Orange Switzerland for CHF2.8bn (€2.3bn) from VC Apax Partners. Iliad, under its Free Mobile brand, is a 3G and 4G operator but grew its mobile business through a 2G roaming deal with Orange and used aggressive pricing to grow its market share. Niel’ …
Simon Rockman, 19 Dec 2014

Movie industry's evil plan to destroy the internet is going precisely nowhere

As well as finding out that Jennifer Lawrence earns less than her male counterparts, Hollywood studio execs are self-important a-holes and Sony Pictures has a password policy that a baby could break ... it turns out movie giants are also seeking to DESTROY THE INTERNET with a ten-page legal memo. The memo [PDF], written by …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Dec 2014
Photo of a vintage analog modem with an acoustic coupler

NBN Co reveals product roadmap and Telstra planning deal

NBN Co has updated its product roadmap and Telstra has revealed it will help the company to plan future deployments. The highlights of the new roadmap (PDF) are: A guesstimate that trials of a broadband service delivered over hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) cable (Pay TV cables) will start in Q4 of 2015; A second guesstimate that a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014

Net Neut: Verizon flips the bird to FCC on peering deal crackdown

Verizon reckons the FCC's net neutrality proposals can not lawfully stop ISPs charging websites big bucks to increase streaming speeds to subscribers. In a letter to FCC secretary Marlene Dortch, the US telecoms giant said the FCC's Open Internet policies must not regulate peering agreements – because doing so would ruin the web …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Dec 2014
Mobile phone no service

UK.gov binds mobe operators to £5bn not-spot deal

Blighty’s government has announced a new deal with the top four mobe operators in the country to improve the state of so-called mobile roaming "not-spots". Culture secretary Sajid Javid announced a binding agreement with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, meaning they will tackle poor signal issues in certain areas by investing £5bn, …
Angry woman on mobile

Bill cram woes piling up for Sprint: Campaigners lob in a sueball

Yet another group has filed suit against Sprint, alleging the US telco unfairly profited from phone bill cramming. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it wants to extract a pound of flesh from the carrier for allowing murky traders to sneak extra charges onto customers' bills, a portion of which was paid to …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Dec 2014
Columns of coins in the cloud

Could Cisco's Intercloud give it another chokehold on the Internet?

Interview When companies around the world are still running $40bn worth of your networking kit that is officially classified as past end-of-life, you might have to learn a few new tricks to keep the revenue coming in. Or even better, dream up a whole new strategy. So, let’s think this through. We’ll probably need a few buzzwords. Cloud is …
Joe Fay, 17 Dec 2014
Dom Joly

If 4G isn’t working, why stick to the same approach for 5G?

Analysis The start of 2015 is sure to bring an even greater intensity of interest in what "5G" might be. After all, some operators are saying they will start commercial deployments in 2020, and a five-year time-scale is short enough to induce panic attacks. LTE has set a strong precedent here. The specifications that became LTE were …
Wireless Watch, 17 Dec 2014
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC – http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Leonardini

FCC to smack Sprint with $105m fine over 'cramming' – report

US mobile carrier Sprint should expect a hefty fine from the Federal Communications Commission for overbilling its customers, say sources with knowledge of the agency's plans. As first reported by the National Review, the FCC is preparing to vote on action to be taken against Sprint over its role in "cramming" – the practice of …
Neil McAllister, 17 Dec 2014
cable

Gigabit-over-TV-cable spec DOCSIS 3.1 passes interop test

DOCSIS 3.1, a standard designed to deliver downloads at up to 10Gbps on existing hybrid fibre-coax cable television networks, has passed an interoperability test. The Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) standard is overseen by Cable Labs, a not-for-profit outfit that conducts research for the cable companies …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014
The only problem with an earing is that it will trigger the NFC app everytime you answer the phone

Unlock your mobe by STROKING it with your PEARL

Jewellery firm Galatea has released an app which plays audio when one of the company's pearls is touched to the back of a phone. That's not a euphemism. It is usually believed that pearls are formed when a bit of grit gets into an oyster. This is, however, not the case. Oysters are filter feeders and quite adept at dealing with …
Simon Rockman, 16 Dec 2014
EE 4G banner

BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

+Comment BT is in talks to acquire EE for £12.5bn. BT had been eying up taking O2 from Telefonica. The former national telco said on Monday that it expects "significant synergies" from absorbing EE, mainly through cuts "network and IT rationalisation, back-office consolidation and savings on procurement, marketing and sales costs". BT …
Kat Hall, 15 Dec 2014
TalkTalk YouView set top box launch

TalkTalk customers demand opt-out fix for telco's DNS ad-jacking tactics

Budget ISP TalkTalk has been accused of forcing customers to remain opted into a so-called Error Replacement Service that swaps NXDomain DNS results with an IP address. The option to turn off the system has been busted for months now, but subscribers are still waiting for TalkTalk to fix the error with the Error Replacement …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014

We are never getting back to... Samsung's baking Apple's 14nm 'A9' chips?

A new generation of smaller, faster Apple processors is now under production by Samsung, including at Sammy's Texan facility, according to reports. While Apple and Samsung have a rather fraught relationship (mainly conducted through lawyers) Samsung’s components division is a major supplier to Cupertino. It’s not known what …
Simon Rockman, 15 Dec 2014
Vittorio Colao (CEO)

Vodafone poised to ink chumship pact with T-Mobile and get back into US enterprise

Vodafone is poised to piggyback on T-Mobile US's network to get back into the American business market. The MVNO deal is aimed at offering US enterprises global coverage from Voda: the mobile telco has about 400 America-based multinationals as customers, and 500 companies headquartered outside the States but which have a large …
Simon Rockman, 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
Monty Python Wafer Thin Mints

Secretive Chinese smartmobe colossus Xiaomi is on WAFER thin margins

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi is operating on the thinnest of margins to keep its handset prices low, according to a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The Chinese phone-maker, that’s creeping up on Western manufacturers, made a profit of $56.2m on $4.3bn in revenue last year. That gives the firm operating margins of …
Spam

Plusnet could face DATA BREACH probe over SPAM HELL gripes

Exclusive BT-owned Plusnet faces a possible data breach investigation by Britain's Information Commissioner's Office, after complaints from the ISP's customers about their email accounts being swamped by spam were dismissed. As The Register reported last week, an unknown number of subscribers expressed concern that their email accounts …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Dec 2014
Smartphone user on Tube

BYOD: How to keep your data safe on their mobile devices

This article was produced in association with JAMF Software Bring your own device (BYOD) is a novel concept that perturbs cynics. And in some ways I can't really blame them. You appear to be saying to your users: “We are not going to give you a computer to work with. Instead we expect you to bring your own, and we will give you …
Dave Cartwright, 14 Dec 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

French space agency teams with Google for broadband balloons

France's space agency, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will team with Google to advance the Project Loon broadband balloons project. As CNES points out, France has been messing around with balloons since the 1960s. Today the CNES has 60 staff working with balloons, the world's second-largest such program after the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014
David Thodey, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow sign NBN agreements

NBN Co, Turnbull, issue contradictory broadband speed promises

NBN Co has signed definitive agreements to acquire Telstra's copper network, plus the hybrid fibre-coax networks belonging to both Telstra and Optus, but just what the deals will deliver is uncertain after communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and NBN Co issued conflicting advice on the speeds the network will deliver. The …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014
Santa Claus on his laptop

HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

UK businesses that rely on a third party pricing system on Amazon were hit by an hour-long software glitch on Friday night, with items being sold for just 1p. Some retailers complained that RepricerExpress's technical cockup, which happened between 7pm and 8pm on 12 December, could leave them bankrupt. A number of small …
Team Register, 14 Dec 2014

Searching to destroy ... Bing? Facebook JILTS Microsoft

Facebook has killed a search deal it had in place with Microsoft's Bing. The move is unsurprising. In fact, your correspondent noted in early 2013 that the Mark Zuckerberg-run company was clearly shifting away from its dependence on the software giant when he unveiled Facebook's Graph Search product. At the time, we asked Zuck …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Dec 2014