Richard Chirgwin

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LLCD laser space broadband

Interplanetary Internet about as useful as flying pigs says Vint Cerf

Boffins that want to see Internet protocols extend to outer space – the so-called “Interplanetary Internet” – need to prove they're offering something useful, according to one of the father-figures of the Earth-bound Internet. Vint Cerf, who has taken an interest in beyond-Earth applications for the Internet protocol stack since …
DARPA logo

JPL joins DARPA's Memex project

DARPA's Memex “deep Web” search research has a new high-profile supporter: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is looking for new ways to catalogue the flood of data arriving from spacecraft. Memex, which DARPA announced early in 2014, is designed to get around what the agency sees as the shortcomings with traditional Web …
Magnus at Pawsey

Western Australian government funds Pawsey supercomputing centre until 2021

Scientific HPC fans in Australia will be breathing a sigh of relief that the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre has secured state government funding through to 2020-21. The Western Australian government has announced the AU$21.6 million allocation in its 2015-16 budget, which will help keep Pawsey's supers sufficiently super for …

HP to buy ConteXtream for SDN/NFV top-up

HP is looking to beef up its service provider software-defined networking (SDN) footprint, with the acquisition of Comcast and Verizon-backed ConteXtream. With SDN looking increasingly bedded down in the data centre, the carrier market is becoming the next battleground, with everyone from startups to big names looking for places …
Snail photo Jurgen Schoner CC wikimedia

nbn has made ZERO fibre-to-the-node and cable connections

Australia's national broadband network continues apace with nbnTM announcing that it's adding more than 12,000 premises per week to its serviceable footprint. Over the 12 months to March 2015, the network more-than-doubled the number of premises connected to its fibre network, to nearly 390,000 (compared to just under 167,000 at …
Tesla Coil, Steve Beger (Flickr), Creative Commons 2.0

Qualcomm, Daimler in wireless comms, charging tie-up

Qualcomm's won a deal with Daimler (whose Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team it sponsors) to push wireless tech into the latter's luxury cars. The two also reckon they'll try and crack the tough nut of charging electric vehicles without cables. Under a deal announced on the weekend, the two companies say they are “assessing the …

Bluetooth privacy is mostly ignored, so you're beaming yourself to the world

The popular Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon protocol isn't just a privacy risk up close – it can spaff your phone's or wearable's movements and information from a decent distance, and make you trackable. BLE best practice is to provide at last a minimal amount of user ID masking – not too much or iBeacons would be useless to …
BT Openreach van

BT boss to Oz: we're wonderful and so is copper

BT's boss has taken the opportunity during a visit to Australia to heap praise on his company's domestic broadband rollout, and antipodeans are lapping it up, with the local network builder promising to share information about how to build “superfast broadband”. In a drop to the Murdoch organ The Australian, nbnTM boss Bill …

Unicode wonks are bringing home the BACON, as an emoji

Want a bacon, avocado and cucumber salad? Next year, you'll be able to order it with emoji. In among the po-faced work of setting standards, the Unicode Consortium is considering adding those three emoji to the character set – along with pregnancy, crossed fingers, a nauseated face, a clown and a cowboy, and a bunch of others. …
Snail photo Jurgen Schoner CC wikimedia

Web tracking puts lead in your saddlebags, finds Mozilla study

You already know that too many tracking cookies will slow Web page loading down to a crawl. Now, a study by Mozilla and Columbia University quantifies the problem. According to Columbia's Georgios Kontaxis and Mozilla's Monica Chew, spiking the excessive load of extraneous connections on the Alexa top 200 news sites can improve …
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

Openreach to trial G.fast in Swansea

Businesses and researchers around Swansea are going to get the chance to fool around with what will probably be copper's last hurrah, the VDSL-successor G.fast. BT has told an innovation summit in the Welsh city that it's been added to the list of trial sites, in addition to previously-announced field trials in Huntingdon and …

Amazon sighs, may slip hands into trousers to pay some UK corp tax

The economy of Luxembourg is about to shrink by a few billion pounds, with Amazon bowing to UK pressure and announcing it'll book UK sales through its British branch. The Wall Street Journal reports the change began on May 1. The Guardian says Amazon is moving in response to the UK government's diverted profits tax, which slaps …
india

India to Russia: 'Sod you, Vlad, we're going to the moon ALONE'

Russia couldn't promise the moon, it seems, so India has lost interest in a joint probe project scheduled for 2022. The delays that have plagued Russia's Luna-27 lander project – originally planned for this decade but currently scheduled for a 2022 launch – have frustrated India, according to the New Indian Express. That report …
John Nash's PhD paper

World loses John Nash, the 'Beautiful Mind'

A car accident in New Jersey has claimed the life of Nobel Prize-winning mathematician and subject of the book and movie A Beautiful Mind, John Forbes Nash. The 86-year-old Nash was travelling with wife Alicia, 82, in a taxi that struck a guardrail on the New Jersey Turnpike. The couple were not wearing seat belts, according to …
Cellular antenna. Source: Vxla/Flickr

Australia plans spectrum management revamp

Australia's government is moving ahead with its planned revamp of spectrum management, in the hope of replacing today's fragmented management of the RF spectrum with a single regime. Its March-dated spectrum review - PDF here – is now open for comment. Its key recommendations are for simpler outcomes-focussed legislation, more …
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Delphix offers a mask for your data

Data virtualisation outfit Delphix is looking to the acquisition of Axis Technology Software to let enterprise developers work with real data, while protecting the personal information that data represents. Announcing the acquisition, the data-as-a-service (DaaS) outfit notes that the “data masking” technology it'll get from …

Andreessen tips spare change into sensor startup Samsara

The founders of Cisco-acquired Meraki have resurfaced with their next venture, an Internet of Things sensor outfit called Samsara. Accompanied by the usual rapturous applause from the financial press, the outfit, set up by Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket after they sent Meraki off to the Borg for US$1.2 billion, has funding from …
Cash on scales. Pic: Images Money, Flickr

HP looks set to ditch 3Com-spawn H3C Tech

H3C, a networking business that started life as a joint venture between 3Com and Huawei but is now owned by HP, is to become a majority-owned subsidiary of the state-controlled Tsinghua Unigroup. A remnant of what was once a titan of the networking business, H3C Tech was created in 2003. It was originally a badge-engineering …
A large hand flicks an icon of a little red man. Image via shutterstock (Lasse Kristensen)

Extreme Networks restructures again, promises SDN pivot

The indifferent revenue growth and ongoing losses announced earlier this month are having the usual effect on vendor Extreme Networks: it's announced a restructure. On May 6 the sixth CEO to pass through Extreme's C-level rotating door in nine years, Ed Meyercord, called the latest quarter's results “disappointing”, a pretty …
Huawei HQ

Huawei announces tiny 10 KB IoT kernel

Huawei has offered up a good look at its Internet of Things strategy, using its Network Congress 2015 to show off a microkernel that will be the bedrock of its future efforts in the field. LiteOS certainly is “micro”: the kernel is 10 kilobytes but nonetheless able to support “zero configuration, auto-discovery, and auto- …
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

Alca-Lu pitches carrier SDN from Layer 3 to optical

There's still too many disparate systems for carriers to easily go down the software-defined network (SDN) path, Alcatel-Lucent reckons, and it's pitching a network services platform (NSP) to change that. The company's VP of product marketing for IP routing and transport, Manish Gulyani, spoke to The Register's networking desk …
Compressed version of Log Jam

'Logjam' crypto bug could be how the NSA cracked VPNs

Updated A team led by Johns Hopkins crypto researcher Matthew Green* thinks they might have an explanation for how the NSA attacked VPN services: flaws in how TLS implements Diffie-Hellman crytography. In what's bound to be the next big branded bug, Green says servers that support 512-key “export-grade” Diffie-Hellman (DH) can be forced …
Google car

Driverless cars deal DEATH to Detroit, says Barclays

Shared driverless cars will kill off the multi-car household, and a Barclays analyst reckons that points to a calamitous future for Detroit. The bank's Brian Johnson reckons the driverless world will drive down US auto sales by 40 per cent over the next 25 years, and will force GM and Ford to slash their output, he reckons. …
AMD's HBM architecture - on-substrate memory

AMD promises 100 gigabyte/second memory

Lower power, higher capacity, less PCB real estate: that's the list of wins being touted by AMD for its coming High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) architecture. The previously-sketchy details of HBM have been filled out in this AMD white paper. The architecture is slated to roll in some of the Radeon 300 series cards when they land, …
Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders and the A400M Programme Manager at the OCCAR organisation for the management of European defence programmes, Bruno Delannoy, participate in a parachute jump from an A400M. Credit: Airbus Military

Airbus warns of software bug in A400M transport planes

A software bug may have cause the May 9 crash that grounded Airbus' troubled A400M military transport aircraft. Airbus has sent an alert to customers instructing them to conduct “specific checks of the Electronic Control Units (ECU) on each of the aircraft's engines”. Spiegel reports that the bug caused three of the transport's …
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, speaking at the 2015 F8 conference

I say Zuck off, YOU say Zuck off, we ALL say Zuck off

Mark Zuckerberg's Internet-for-all-via-Facebook, Internet.org, has attracted yet more unwanted attention, with 67 digital rights groups signing an open letter accusing the outfit of violating 'net neutrality. One signatory, activist collective Access Now, has published the letter – perhaps ironically on Facebook. The letter …
Three Telstra vans restore one line

Verizon: fibre is MUCH cheaper than copper, we're going all-FTTP

Verizon has put the latest numbers on its fibre-versus-copper experience, and found that glass beats metal on all counts. Without giving a timeframe, the company has told a conference in Orlando that its experience across seven central offices (CO, or for Australians, telephone exchanges) areas is so compelling it's going to …
Google's Cardboard VR headset

Google wraps search designer in Cardboard

Google luminary Jon Wiley has taken a sideways jump that's seen as signalling a serious move on the virtual reality market. The change was noticed when Wiley updated his Twitter profile. Previously head of user experience in Google's search business, his profile now describes him as “Principal Designer, Google Cardboard and VR …
Ricoh's "electrifying rubber"

Ricoh rolls out electrifyingly exciting RUBBER!

It'll be good if they can pull it off: Ricoh has come up with a way to brush up on electricity generation with nothing more than a piece of rubber. Instead of all the gadgetry associated with the Pornhub Wankband, Ricoh's research output is a simple sheet of rubber that generates electricity if rubbed or vibrated. Being a …
Photo of an insulin pump made by Medtronic

IEEE's prescription for med-tech crowd: preventing hacks is better than a cure

Medical devices shouldn't be hackable, so the IEEE has published the first steps towards laying down decent security practise for the sector. From the late Barnaby Jack's work on insulin pumps through to this month's "hackable infusion pump", this decade has seen growing interest in medical device vulns. Working with the IEEE's …
Navteq vehicle in Oxford

Baidu now backing Uber's bid for Nokia maps

Less than two weeks after Uber kicked off the bidding war for Nokia's HERE maps unit, the price has escalated and the rumoured alliances have shifted. When the car-hire-app company's interest first emerged via the New York Times, the industry's deep throats reckoned Chinese Web outfit Baidu was bidding with the big three of …
Padlocks by Simon Cocks Flickr CC2 license

Redmond promises even MORE cloudy crypto

Get ready for the spooks to howl: Microsoft Research has developed another layer of security to lock up customer data in the cloud. What the Redmond boffins dub "VC3" – Verifiable Confidential Cloud Computing – takes advantage of Intel's SGX command set to create a “lockbox” for customers running MapReduce computations in the …
NBN Logo

Arianespace: NBN sats will orbit this year – PROMISE*

The delayed national broadband network (NBN) satellite launch will happen in 2015, Arianespace reckons. The launch outfit has told multiple outlets there's little prospect of further delays to the launch, which will fill in the rural and remote black-spots on the NBN's coverage map, and will alleviate the capacity constraints …
Fluffy grey ragdoll cat relaxes next to laptop.

PANIC! RSA keys are compromised!

Just as quickly as a panic emerged about vulnerable 4096-bit RSA keys, it's been defused. The discussion started with this brief post at Loper-OS, with the headline claim that: “I am pleased to announce that we have now broken a 4096-bit RSA key, as well as its factor-sharing counterpart (yet to be determined, but won’t wait for …

Arista revenue rises to US$179 million in March quarter

Arista Networks has reported continuing growth, taking its revenue to US$179 million, but at the cost of a slimming of its margins to 65.8 per cent (down from 69.4 per cent a year ago). The revenue growth was strong at nearly 53 per cent higher than a year ago, but it slowed at the end of the period and was only 3.2 per cent up …
Qualcomm

AllJoyn your whitegoods, says Qualcomm

Qualcomm is giving its AllJoyn protocol another shove with new Internet of Stuff silicon targeting the home appliance market. As well as integrating the Allseen Alliance AllJoyne framework, the company's QCA401x and QCA4531 chips put WiFi together with a microcontroller and various interfaces. The aim, the company says, is to …
Dark matter map

Australian dark matter hunter wins AU$1.75 million funding

In among the continuing bad-news stories for science funding in Australia, the federal government has at least found some spare coins for dark matter research. It did, at least, find money in the budget to sling AU$1.75 million towards the planned Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory. The lab would convert a played-out mine …
Mosquito by Enrique Dans on Flickr, CC2 License

Viagra makes it HARD for malaria, bug-boffins discover

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has been buying Viagra, in a good cause: it seems to help beat one of the common malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum. The mechanism is even analogous to Viagra's better-known effect: it makes infected red blood cells stiffer, which marks them down to be cleaned out by the spleen. As the …
Eavesdroppping Hound by Good Eye Might on Flickr under CC2

Border Force bureaucrats become super-spooks

Australia's long sleepwalk into a surveillance state continued last week, with the largely-uncontested passage of the suite of bills creating the Australian Border Force (ABF). As well as telecommunications metadata access, the legislation wrapped the Australian Border Force (ABF) in a protective coating of spook-power. Last …

Metadata scope creep sees Border Force ask for access

The federal government's promise to restrict who could access personal information collected under Australia's data retention regime lasted just six weeks. With Australia distracted by the federal budget and Johnny Depp's dogs*, it's escaped the media's notice that the government wants to add The Border Force to the list of …
LightSail's solar sail

PHOTON SPACE SAIL successfully Kickstarted into orbit

NASA might have canned its Sunjammer project, but that doesn't mean lightsail research is dead: a Planetary Society Kickstarter fronted by famous American “Science Guy” Bill Nye has hit its target and will go ahead. The 32 square metre (it sounds better as 344 square feet) LightSail, which overshot its US$200,000 crowdfunding …
Nuage's VSAP architecture

Nuage Networks tacks SDN to underlay

Software defined network (SDN) visibility is the new black, it seems: Nuage Networks has become the second vendor this week to play connect-the-dots between the physical layer and the overlay. Like Big Switch Networks, which on Tuesday made its VMware NSX visibility play for Big Fabric Controller (BFC), Nuage reckons …
Skull image

Time to patch your Cisco TelePresence systems

Cisco TelePresence kit and software need patching after the company turned up vulnerabilities that open them up to remote command injection and denial of service attacks. TelePresence TC and TE software has two vulnerabilities: an authentication bypass that gives attackers root access to devices running the software, while the …
Batteries

BRAIN-SLURP case: Battery maker and Apple reach agreement

A123 Systems and fruitchomp goliath Apple are close to finalising a settlement over the battery-maker's accusation that Cupertino poached its engineers. Back in February, A123 filed against Apple, accusing it of slurping staff that were working on what it described as a new battery technology. It said Apple started robbing its …
Computer with dead bug, Stacy Brunner CC2 license

SAP crypto offers customers choice of remote code execution or denial of service

Yet another proprietary implementation of a popular protocol has turned up unexpected vulnerabilities, with SAP's data compression software open to remote code execution and denial-of-service exploits. The implementation in question is SAP's code running the popular LZC and LZH compression algorithms. As outlined over at Full …
Cisco CEO John Chambers speaking at Cisco Live! 2014

Cisco CEO John Chambers' parting gift: a better-than-expected Q3

Outgoing Cisco boss John Chambers is smiling after delivering an April quarter that's 5.1 per cent up over the April 2014 quarter in turnover and 11.7 per cent up in profit. The result would have been even better, but for ongoing weakness in the service provider market (down 7 per cent). The enterprise, public sector and …
Tesla powerwall

Oz battery bossmen: Fingers will be burned in the Tesla goldrush

Interview If Elon Musk does spark a market shakeup in home power storage, one of the battlegrounds will be between mature and emerging technologies. With that in mind, The Register spoke to Stuart Smith, CEO of Redflow, and Bruce Ebzery, vice president of business development). Yes, Redflow is a battery company, which means it has its …
The Japanese pulsar-snooping balloon

Japanese astro-boffins race to recover pulsar-spotting balloon basket

For the second time this month, boffins will be scrambling towards the deserts in the middle of the Australian State of Queensland to recover the payload from a giant stratospheric balloon. This time, the arrival was deliberate: a team from Japan's Nagoya and Kobe universities launched the balloon to carry a payload of …

Big Switch adds NSX-v support to fabric controller

Big Switch Networks (BSN) is getting cosier with VMware by adding virtzilla's NSX virtualisation to its Big Cloud Fabric. NSX virtualises the network into a vSwitch-based SDN overlay, but sysadmins still have to deal with the underlying physical network, and that's where Big Switch reckons it can help. The new release of Big …
Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's ministry of malware served slops AGAIN

Celebrity chef, food activist and supermarket promoter Jamie Oliver's website has been compromised for the third time this year. As with the previous two attacks, the WordPress site is serving up a password stealer, according to Malwarebytes, which hat-tipped Twitter account @hasherezade for the information. Malwarebytes says …