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Google clamps down on rogue Chrome plugins and extensions

Updated Google is tightening security on its Chrome web browser by making it harder to install plugins and extensions that could contain malicious code. The web ad-slinger said in a blog post on Tuesday that it has begun strictly enforcing a policy, first announced in November, that Chrome extensions can only be installed from Google's …
Neil McAllister, 27 May 2014

Microsoft Cortana EULA contains the Greatest Disclaimer of ALL TIME

Nobody ever reads click-through licences. Especially not on phones, where the legalese can run to hundreds of pages. But oh, what gems can be found in there. We found this by accident in the click-through licence to use the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. It refers to the new "intelligent assistant", Cortana. We think you' …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 May 2014
hand with thumb up

Watch this! A webinar about Mobile BI

Video Youtube Video In this 90 minutes training session, QA's Mark Fitzgerald, examines business intelligence software from Microsoft and the opportunities that are available for self-built and packages mobile BI applications.® The Register is broadcasting a bunch of online sessions recorded at QA's Tech Week in April 2014. No …
David Gordon, 26 May 2014

Google tells indie labels to take its YouTube deal or face OBLIVION

Google has threatened to "censor" YouTube music videos from the world's independent labels if the indies don't agree to its terms for the forthcoming YouTube subscription music streaming service. Indie label association WIN says YouTube has threatened to remove the videos it already hosts. WIN called foul last night after the …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 May 2014
TX4 Black Cab

NOT APPY: Black cab drivers enraged by Hailo as taxi tech wars rage on

The London-based taxi app Hailo, which formerly worked only with black licensed cabs, has found itself at the eye of the storm after black cabbies launched a series of attacks against its vehicles and premises following its move to work with private hire minicabs. Hailo's vehicle office in Bermondsey was at the centre of an …
Jasper Hamill, 23 May 2014
 Dummy hand grenades are used by the Marines from the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, for practice before throwing the M-67 Fragment Grenades at the firing range.jpg

Microsoft boffins: Now even LAWYERS can grok Bing code's privacy compliance

Boffins at Microsoft Research have devised a way to automatically check code for compliance with privacy laws – and, according to Redmond, it's so simple that even non-techies can use it successfully. Microsoft Research (MSR) has developed a programming language called Legalease, to be used together with its data inventory …
Gavin Clarke, 23 May 2014

Creepy Facebook urges users to pester friends about their SEX LIVES

Facebook users are now encouraged to ask fellow Facebookers to reveal details about their relationships if they haven't already dished the dirt on their love lives. In other words, by clearing the way for stalker types to ask acquaintances creepy questions, Facebook's data mining just got lazier. Yes, please do ask me about my …
Kelly Fiveash, 20 May 2014
Tools in Office Touch

'Microsoft Research slides' show touch-enabled Office - report

Leaked screenshots have been posted online purportedly showing the UI for Office Touch for Windows 8. The slides are part of a presentation posted by Microsoft Research that is now no longer available. Versions of slides were still on mirror sites at time of writing. The presentation was caught by Winsupersite’s Paul Thurrott. …
Gavin Clarke, 20 May 2014

OpenStreetMap declared ready for paid use after satnav app debut

Back in 2012, location-based social network Foursquare decided spatial data from the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project was better than the comparable data from Google. Now the crowdsourced mapping project can point to another success: its first inclusion in a commercial satellite navigation app. That app is Telenav's Scout for iOS, a …
Simon Sharwood, 20 May 2014

Google Maps can now tell cyclists how HIGH they will get

Google has added elevation information for cyclists into its online Google Maps offering, a boon for those biking in unfamiliar areas, as well as for those who – like your humble Reg reporter – are well past their prime. The feature is accessed simply by clicking on the bicycle icon in the map's info box after you input two …
Rik Myslewski, 16 May 2014
iTunes App Store Hall of Fame

In-app redemption codes spotted in iOS App Store

Apple is now allowing some developers to offer redemption codes for in-app purchases on its iOS platform. Editor Jeff Scott spotted the offer in a promotion from Electronic Arts for its Real Racing 3 title. The company is allowing users the opportunity to receive free in-game currency by way of a code delivered via email. Here …
Shaun Nichols, 16 May 2014
Broken CD with wrench

FSF slams Mozilla for 'shocking' Firefox DRM ankle-grab

The Free Software Foundation says it is "deeply disappointed" in Mozilla's decision to support digital rights management (DRM) software in future versions of its Firefox browser and has published an open letter condemning the move. Mozilla announced on Wednesday that it will work with Adobe to ensure that Firefox supports …
Neil McAllister, 16 May 2014
 An officer of the U.S. Navy uses a sextant to determine his position.

Honey, the satnav app says you're to leave at 6am... Yup. I'll have that coffee off you

For all the cleverness of location-based services, which will tell you the best places to eat and sleep when you arrive somewhere strange, most people just do the same job and complete the same journey every day. The bread-and-butter for navigation app maker CoPilot GPS is providing routes to people who go to a lot of different …
Simon Rockman, 15 May 2014

Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Mozilla has announced that it will add Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) for digital rights management into a future build of Firefox, even if the organization disagrees with the technology on principle. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to add EME into the specifications for HTML5 at the behest of Microsoft, Google, and …
Iain Thomson, 14 May 2014

How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Big Data's Big 5 Yes, we've been hit over the head enough times with the phrase "big data" to be aware of its presence, even though we've been up to our armpits in streams of huge unstructured datasets for years. Those of you who are analysts or data scientists will have already picked up a set of tools that help you find hidden information …
Mark Whitehorn, 14 May 2014

Botched SAP billing system helps Npower reach No 1 on gripes list

Failure to fix problems with an SAP-based customer billing system has seen UK energy giant Npower earn the most complaints for a power supplier during 2013. One in every 326 customers lodged a complaint against Npower, putting it top of a UK energy supplier league table released today by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice …
Gavin Clarke, 13 May 2014
Azure icon

Virtually yours: Microsoft unveils Windows-as-a-service

Microsoft has uncanned its desktop-a-service, giving mobile users a preview edition of Windows apps on the go. The software giant yesterday announced the pilot of Azure RemoteApp, previously codenamed Mohoro. It was announced in a slew of news from at the company's TechEd North America conference in Houston, Texas. The Azure …
Gavin Clarke, 13 May 2014

Twitter muffles loudmouth users with mute option

Twitter has introduced a "Mute" option that allows users to turn off tweets from contacts without the need to unfollow or block those users. The company said that the option to mute users has been enabled for Twitter's iOS and Android clients, and that support for the option on the Twitter.com site itself is set to be introduced …
Shaun Nichols, 12 May 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Google: Mmm. Tab-free Gmail desktop client? We won't DENY it

Google is working on a radical new redesign of the desktop version of its webmail service Gmail, it has been speculated. This comes after screenshots surfaced detailing various features Google is allegedly testing out. When quizzed about the gossip, Google declined to confirm or deny that a makeover was planned. A spokesperson …
Team Register, 12 May 2014
Firefox ad 2nd St SF 2011

Mozilla axes HATED Firefox-ad-tab plan ... but will try again

Mozilla has scrapped its plan to show in-browser adverts to new users of Firefox. Back in February, Moz talked up “Directory Tiles” that “suggest pre-packaged content for first-time users” of the open-source web browser. Some of the suggestions would be paid-for – ads in other words. The organisation now says the idea “didn’t …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2014

Goodbye HANA daddy, assorted cloud bods: SAP gets corporate

Analysis The cloud “talent” is leaving SAP and the suits are taking over. Is it time to panic for SAP? The mastermind of SAP’s Hana in-memory architecture has gone and so has yet another cloud hire. Vishal Sikka, executive board member of products and innovation, has left the giant immediately for "personal reasons". Sikka’s legacy is …
Gavin Clarke, 9 May 2014
TX4 Black Cab

London cabbies to offer EVEN WORSE service in protest against Uber

As if London didn't have enough traffic on its streets, the capital's cabbies have vowed to bring the city to a standstill in a protest against the taxi-booking phone app Uber. The big smoke's grumpiest drivers are furious that minicabs are now using Uber to calculate fares and tout for business. Union bosses claimed the use of …
Jasper Hamill, 9 May 2014

Speaking in Tech: 'I get told to wear makeup by other women'

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Greg Knieriemen and Ed Saipetch are away, leaving podcast co-host Sarah Vela with a "hostile takeover" on her hands. Rocking the mic this week with Sarah are special guests Sarah Novotny, program chairwoman for OSCON and technical evangelist and community leader at NGINX; …
Team Register, 7 May 2014
Google sign outside Mountain View headquarters

Google updates Maps app for iOS, Android, adds Uber support

Google has issued a major update to its Maps app for iOS and Android, including integration with the Uber private taxi app and an improved local business search that spells bad news for Yelp. The Chocolate Factory has put a lot of work into using Maps offline. You've been able to save maps for offline use for a while, but it's …
Iain Thomson, 7 May 2014
Badger, badger, badger

Watch out, Yahoo! EFF looses BADGER on sites that ignore Do Not Track

In the wake of Yahoo!'s decision to stop honoring browsers' Do Not Track signals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a new blacklisting tool that will automatically block tracking cookies from sites that refuse to support DNT. Dubbed Privacy Badger, the tool is available as a browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox …
Broken CD with wrench

Early! Do! Not! Track! Adopter! Yahoo! Says! It's! Rubbish, Bins! It!

Yahoo! has done an about-face on its stance toward the controversial Do Not Track browser privacy standard, announcing that it will no longer recognize users' DNT settings across any of its online properties. "As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to …
Snapchat logo

Snapchat updates fap-snap sharing app ... now with more Chat

Self-destructing photo sharing service Snapchat has added real-time messaging and video chat to the latest versions of its mobile apps, in a move seemingly designed to make it more competitive with the likes of BBM and WhatsApp. Snapchat began life as a way for smartphone users to send each other saucy selfies that automatically …
big brother is shopping for you

Twitter's got a new UK public policy wonk... 'You are the product' Big Brother Watch bloke!

Twitter has hired a well-known privacy campaigner to head up the UK wing of its public policy team. Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles is moving over to what some might consider to be the dark side by taking such a job, having been a vocal critic of US tech companies' privacy practices in the past. In February 2012, for …
Team Register, 1 May 2014

Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Firefox 29 has left beta to become the latest stable release for desktop PCs and Android devices. The new version sports a long-promised user interface overhaul, new customization options, and an improved data sync feature. In a blog post on her personal site on Monday, Mozilla senior user experience designer Jennifer Morrow …
Neil McAllister, 29 Apr 2014
 photo by kudomomo http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudumomo/

Facebook preps ad network to TARGET YOU WHERE YOU LIVE

Competition for mobile advertising dollars is set to intensify as Facebook joins Google, Apple and Twitter by launching a mobile ad network that generates revenue when users access apps outside its domain. At the same time Facebook is also planning to expand into location-based mobile advertising after preparing the ground with …
Faultline, 28 Apr 2014

Microsoft's naughty Cortana NOT ALLOWED NEAR CHILDREN

Microsoft's new Cortana personal assistant platform carries privacy concerns that prevent it from being used by children – but Redmond appears to not be alone in its pre-pubescent banishment. Redmond said that the voice-activated search tool in its mobile platform currently carries a minimum age requirement of 13 years, which is …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Apr 2014
Broke - empty pockets

Microsoft: The MORE Surfaces it sells, the MORE money it loses

The more Surfaces slabs Microsoft sells, the more the Redmond giant has to shell out. Microsoft Thursday trumpeted $494m in revenue made from sales of Surface during its third fiscal quarter. But Microsoft also notched up $539m in costs associated with selling Surface, thereby cancelling out any profits and forcing it to post a …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Apr 2014
Sina Weibo logo

Beijing's anti-smut crackdown catches 'Chinese Twitter' Weibo red-handed

Sina, the company that owns China’s über-popular Twitter-like service Weibo, has had two key licences withdrawn by Beijing in retaliation for allegedly allowing the publication of articles and videos containing pornographic content. A missive from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications seen by Xinhua …
Phil Muncaster, 25 Apr 2014

Netcraft adds Heartbleed sniffing to site-scanning browser tool

Internet stats clearinghouse Netcraft has released a new tool aimed at letting consumers know when the sites they visit might have been compromised by the Heartbleed encryption bug. There are lots of tools available that can scan servers to determine whether they're affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability right now, albeit of …
Neil McAllister, 18 Apr 2014

New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates

Facebook is adding a new application that alerts smartphone users when their chums are nearby, but thankfully the feature is optional. Nearby friends Want to get closer to your friends? "If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up," the …
Iain Thomson, 17 Apr 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed

It's 1996 and Mission:Impossible has just arrived on the cinema screens. RAM is $10 per megabyte and falling. Against this backdrop, Microsoft has quietly commenced its own seemingly impossible mission, a complete re-write of a little known database which will be released two years into the future, and will be known as SQL …
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices

Microsoft has introduced a new subscription model for Office 365 and this time it's literally personal: the new “Office 365 Personal” makes the productivity suite available for just two devices – one PC or Mac and one tablet – for $US69.99 a year. That's a small discount on the $83.88 it would cost to pay the $6.99-a-month …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2014

Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS

You would be forgiven for thinking that Twitter users don't know when to shut up, but in fact the opposite is actually true. New data has revealed that some 44 per cent of the world's 974 million Twitter accounts have never even sent a tweet. The figures come from Twopcharts, which tracks activity on the microblogging service, …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Apr 2014
Flinders map of Australia as published in 1814

Microsoft crows about 149k-seat Office 365 deal that costs it MILLIONS

The Australian State of Queensland does not observe daylight saving and an old joke about the state says that air travellers entering the region have in the past been advised to “turn your watch back one hour and 50 years.” How then, to consider the State's decision to head for the cloud with a 149,000-seat deal for Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2014
Red Hat Shadowman logo

Speaking in Tech: Red Hat, Cisco sitting in a tree, m-e-r-g-i-n-g?

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise It's El Reg's tech news podcast with hosts Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, the whole crew is together with special guest Aaron Delp of SolidFire. This week we discuss… Eddie's roller coaster (0:55) Cloudcast and the Krispy Kreme Challenge (2:00) …
Team Register, 9 Apr 2014
Fawlty Towers

TripAdvisor for the disabled: Euan's Guide quietly launches

A social network with a difference launched last week. The website, Euan's Guide, is a kind of TripAdvisor for the disabled and was created by a motor neurone disease sufferer. It fills a gap in the market because information on disabled access is either poorly presented or not available at all, which means family and carers …
Dark Blue Window - detail of Windows Server logo

One Win 8 to rule them all: Microsoft talks up 'universal apps' for PCs, slabs and mobes

Build 2014 Eight months after launching its pushbutton App Studio GUI development kit for Windows Phone, Microsoft has extended the tool to include support for building apps for Windows 8, too. The latest beta version of the web-based tool formerly known as Windows Phone App Studio, announced at Microsoft's Build developer conference on …