RSS feed
Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent

Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

Welcome to dot.Rory - these are my thoughts about how technology is changing the world and shaping our lives

Facebook - lessons from the panic

Facebook screen saying "Sorry, something went wrong"

The call came at 06:59 as I turned the corner into my street on the way home from walking the dog.

It was a colleague from the Today Programme and his voice was urgent, with an undercurrent of fear. "We need you on the programme in 15 minutes," he said.

"Sure," I replied calmly, and rushed through the door to set up my home broadcasting equipment. Within minutes I was on air, telling the world the terrible news - Facebook was down. Not only that, Instagram and even the dating app Tinder were offline too. And the prime suspects? Lizard Squad, the devilishly clever hacking collective.

Well, I hope by now that you've detected just a smidgeon of irony in my opening paragraphs. But there are perhaps some more serious lessons to be drawn from the 40 minutes of global panic that accompanied the disappearance of these much loved networks.

First of all, we all need to be more cautious about claims of hacking. I will admit that I - along with many others - was too quick to zero in on the Lizard Squad. The group which had chalked up attacks on Sony's Playstation network and Xbox Live before Christmas, had tweeted this some time between 06:00 and 07:00:

Read full article Facebook - lessons from the panic

Future of News: Seven insane ways tech will change news

Small drone with camera

The BBC, like many media organisations, is having a major head-scratching session about the whole future of news.

As part of this exercise, I've been asked to write about the way technology could change the news business over the next decade.

Read full article Future of News: Seven insane ways tech will change news

Should schools gorge on gadgets?

Child with tablet

Want to see how equipping every child with a tablet can transform the way they learn? Want to meet leading tech firms which promise that their products are the key to your school's future? Then come to BETT, the educational technology fair in the vast Excel complex in East London.

But here's another thought - what if all of this is a huge waste of money which would be better spent on employing more teachers?

Read full article Should schools gorge on gadgets?

Shazam - a billion dollar London success

Shazam on a mobile phone

It's not often we get news of a UK tech firm that's a global success story and still owned in Britain. All the more reason then to celebrate this morning's announcement from Shazam.

The music discovery app has unveiled nearly £20m of new backing - but the key fact is that it is at a valuation of more than £660m ($1bn). That is quite a milestone, and the firm believes it is the first UK mobile app to break the billion dollar barrier.

Read full article Shazam - a billion dollar London success

Centcom - a PR disaster, not cyberwar

Dark picture of hands at computer keyboard

The timing was exquisite.

Just as President Obama was outlining plans to strengthen cyber-security in the US, the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US military command for the Middle East and Asia were both being used as platforms for IS propaganda. But let's not get too hysterical about this incident - the hacking was a PR disaster, but not a major breach of America's cyber defences.

Read full article Centcom - a PR disaster, not cyberwar

The Thing About Vegas

Keynote address by President of the Foundation on Economic Trends Jeremy Rifkin

Things - they're the next big thing in Las Vegas. Everyone is saying it at CES - Samsung thinks things are the next paradigm in technology, plenty of other companies are telling us that things are going to provide a huge opportunity for them and their customers.

I'm talking about what has fast become the biggest cliche in tech, the Internet of Things.

Read full article The Thing About Vegas

Consumers and tech - does Las Vegas know what you want?

Belty - 2015 CES
Want to lose weight? Belty, which monitors the wearers waistline might help

It's a monument to excessive consumption - the burgers are bigger, the neon lights flash brighter, and they've just unveiled the biggest big wheel in the world. And in the first week of January Las Vegas also becomes home to the excessive ambitions of an industry that believes it really knows what consumers want.

So what do the firms preparing to show off their new products at the Consumer Electronics Show believe that consumers desire from the advance of technology? Before flying to Las Vegas, I sifted through the mountain of email which accumulates in the inbox of every journalist who signs up for CES in search of hints.

Read full article Consumers and tech - does Las Vegas know what you want?

The 12 tech months of 2014

Technology has taken some giant leaps forward this year - and also a few steps back.

It's been the year when wearable technology, driverless cars and drones all took the imagination. But we've also seen a wave of security scares, hack attacks and all sorts of cybernastiness which have made us question just how positive a force the internet has been in our lives.

Read full article The 12 tech months of 2014

Instant translation – no longer sci-fi

The idea that you could speak into a device in one language and it would emerge in another has long been a sci-fi fantasy. But this week that kind of automated translation came a step closer to reality when Skype launched the beta version of its Translator service.

For now it's an invitation-only trial and the only languages that it can handle are English and Spanish. I tried it out, talking to Maria Romero Garcia, a Spanish professor in Seville, who works with Skype.

Read full article Instant translation – no longer sci-fi

As schools grapple with coding revolution many may get left out

School children computing

This morning the Prime Minister puts his weight behind a new drive to give children in schools across England a better set of technology skills.

He is announcing the formation of a National College for Digital Skills, a new GCSE in Computer Science and an investment in the recruitment of 2,500 new maths and physics teachers along with the retraining of 15,000 existing teachers. As he makes these announcements, he'll join 50 schoolchildren in an Hour of Code event being held in Downing Street.

Read full article As schools grapple with coding revolution many may get left out

Latest Tweets

More Correspondents

  • Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent Jonathan Amos Science correspondent

    UK and European space and the latest major science stories

  • David Shukman David Shukman Science editor

    My perspective on the science issues of the day

About Rory

Rory has been watching the technology scene like a hawk for the last 15 years.

From the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s to the rise of Google and Facebook, from the Psion organiser to the iPad, he's covered all the big gadget and business stories, and interviewed just about everyone who's played a part in the story of the web.

Dot.Rory, his previous blog, was named among the Top 100 blogs by the Sunday Times.

He aims to look at the impact of the internet and digital technology on our lives and businesses. Rory has been described as "the non-geek's geek", and freely admits that he came late to technology - but he aims to explain its significance to anyone with an interest in the subject.

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.