Richard Chirgwin

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IARPA: Come, quantum computing boffins. We've got cash for you

Nay-sayers may nay-say, but America's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) reckons research into quantum computing is advanced enough to warrant a five-year program to kick things along. It's kicked off what it the Logical Qubits (LogiQ) program here, and it's looking to fund work building current science …

SPUD – The IETF protocol Snowden loves but will never be used

It's not often that someone crafts a protocol expecting to destroy it, but that's what Cisco distinguished engineer Joe Hildebrand and a bunch of other Internet architecture boffins are doing right now. When Edward Snowden offered his endorsement of a protocol called SPUD – Substrate Protocol for UDP Datagrams – it piqued the …
Arizona State U's white laser schematic

Boffins get the inside dope, craft white laser

Arizona State University researchers have crafted a white laser – a neat trick since “white” isn't a colour, but a mix of colours. To create a white LED lamp, for example, today's technologies need multiple colour LEDs blended together. Trying to fabricate a single light source that looks white is difficult, however, since …
China's FAST radio telescope

China announces petascale super for FAST radiotelescope

China is planning another petaflop supercomputer, this time to support what will by next year become the world's largest radiotelescope. The telescope itself, a 500 metre monster that's scooped into a hilltop in Guizhou, has been under construction since 2011. This week, engineers began installing the 4,450 panels that will …

Cisco IOS-XE update time: Squash that DoS bug

Bad error message handling has opened up Cisco's IOS-XE versions prior to 3.13S to a remote denial-of-service (DoS) attack. The company's threat advisory hints that the exploit was brought to Cisco's attention by an independent researcher, since it states that "functional exploit code exists; however, the code is not known to …
DATA RETENTION Guidelines for Service Providers

Telcos given a breather to meet Oz metadata retention laws

Australian telcos' complaints about the government's rushed data retention implementation schedule have borne fruit, with the Attorney General's Department offering a deadline extension. Communications Day reports that the offer of a maximum 18-month extension for full compliance was made in a letter sent to members of the …
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A hybrid upstart trying to sink its fangs into Docker: Apcera

Interview With Apcera's new chief architect for security Jim Reno, formerly of CA Technologies, bedded down in his role, the company's taking aim at one of Docker's in-room elephants. The Register talks to CEO Derek Collison about how IT shops can trust what's in Docker containers. Collison told The Register's networking desk that while …
Gartner network hype cycle 2015

SDN hits rock bottom and FCoE is obsolete, say Gartner mages

Fibre channel over Ethernet is obsolete and software-defined networking is making users grumpy rather than delivering promised benefits, according to the new networking version of Gartner's Hype Cycle. The document reckons Wi-Fi's next variant, 802.11ac Wave 2, is just half-way up Gartner's famed hype curve, but Wave 1 and 802 …
Duke University's quantum 90GHz light emitter

Just a quickie, then: Boffins' 11 picosecond spontaneous emission

Boffins from Duke University reckon they've cracked one of the problems that holds back optical computing, with a tiny and very low-powered high-speed-switchable light source. Silicon photonics is making strides to replace copper for communications between chips – both Intel and IBM are on the bandwagon. However, within the …
Arrow screenshot

Microsoft's Arrow brings pane to Androids

For reasons El Reg doesn't quite understand, Microsoft has decided that the one thing missing from the Android user's life is the Windows phone app launcher experience. Seeking to save Android users from themselves, Redmond has accordingly posted this “garage” project (ie, after-hours coding or "get your staff to create test- …
Silhouette of spy discerning password from code uses a command on graphic user interface

Australian Cyber Security Centre uses discredited data to quantify infosec threats

The cost of “cyber attacks” in Australia appears to be stabilising and the country has never been subject to an attack at the national scale, but the government's Cyber ForceTM (not its real name) is still pitching the growth of the threat. Along the way, an old and somewhat exaggerated estimate of the cost of cyber incidents …
FASTER cable route

60Tbps internet cable from Asia to America will plug into Telx barn

US data center outfit Telx, target of a takeover bid by Digital Realty, has gone offshore for the first time, joining the Google-backed FASTER submarine cable consortium. Telx's Hillsboro server barn in Oregon, US, will be the termination point for an undersea cable that will link the Pacific Northwest to Asia. The fiber-optic …

Puppet draws back the curtain on devops magic with funky gfx and UI

“Less magic, more visibility” is what Puppet Labs reckons devops devotees need. Announcing the company's Puppet Enterprise 2015.2, the company's director of marketing communications Tim Zonca told The Register the rapid turnaround ideal of the devops world has a trust problem that the new code is trying to address. Someone …
NASA's Wi-Fi reflection chip

Wi-Fi 'reflector' hooks you up at 0.1 per cent of current power budget

By using absorption and reflection to indicate data states, NASA reckons it's created a Wi-Fi device for the wearable market that uses just 0.1 per cent of the power of ordinary transceivers. Working with Frank Chang at Caltech UCLA, the JPL boffin Adrian Tang is keen on ways to let devices with relatively low communications …
Honeywell Tuxedo Touch

SOHOpeless: Security stains on Honeywell's Tuxedo home automator

Honeywell has issued an urgent firmware update for its three-year-old Tuxedo Touch home automation controller to patch vulnerabilities that could, among other things, let an attacker unlock users' deadlocks. This CERT advisory explains that without the firmware upgrade, all users are vulnerable to authentication bypass and …
brontosaurus

Buy a Tesla for the good of Australia, say country's dino-burners

Australia's energy industry, overwhelmingly dominated by the burning of dinosaurs, has decided the country needs more electric vehicles (EVs). Facing something of a crisis in demand, with renewables (particularly solar power) severely denting the lavish margins wholesalers formerly expected during daytime peaks, the Energy …
Selection of Australian banknotes

Software spec slip denies Westpac chance at a MILLION A DAY

Some of Australia's major banks' databases don't distinguish between loans to housing investors and owner-occupiers, meaning they're missing out on the chance to charge differential interest rates. Along the way, they're providing an object lesson to businesses that depend on IT: if you don't ask for a capability, you won't …
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Gamers Steaming over dumb Valve password vuln

Over the weekend, game publisher Valve patched a vulnerability that let user accounts have their passwords reset without proper validation. UK gamer Elm Hoe demonstrated the simple attack in the YouTube video below. Youtube Video In case you don't have time to watch it, the coding error was simplicity in itself. After the …

AT&T: Sorry vendors, SDN is eating your lunch

In news that will chill purveyors of big networking iron, AT&T last week told its earnings call it reckons its software-defined network (SDN) rollout will cut its capital expenditure. While reports last week focussed on the company's revenue (US$33 billion for the second quarter), margins (36.3 per cent), and operating income …
White boxes

Software-defined what? Look at our glorious ASICs says Cisco

Cisco's taking up arms against a sea of white-box vendors, touting US$150 million worth of silicon in the form of an ASIC. What's interesting, however, is that the pitch – in this blog post – isn't about what's coming this year or next. The slab of silicon, which the Borg is calling the “Unified Access Dataplane” (UADP), …
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Australia to tax ALL international online purchases

Australia's treasurer Joe Hockey has hinted that the mooted changes to the way the country's Goods and Services Tax (GST) is collected may apply to anything purchased from overseas, regardless of value. After much lobbying from Australia's retail sector, the federal government last week reached agreement with the states that …
A Handful of Giant Weta by Mike Locke

Ubuntu defibrillates 14.10 for one LAST patch

Ubuntu has changed its mind on an end-of-life announcement, giving Version 14.10 one last kernel patch to cover off some big vulns. Usually, end-of-life means what it says: a version isn't going to get any more updates, and that was the status of Ubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” (guys, it's time to rethink your naming conventions …
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Oz opposition spraying perfume on metadata dead cat

The Australian Labor Party, which first conceived what ultimately became Australia's telecommunications data retention legislation and then, from opposition, waved the laws through, is having second third forth thoughts a pang of regret. Not that the opposition wants to overturn anything – nor could it, unless and until it …
You can't shut me up, Jennifer Moo, Flickr, CC 2.0

Optus tells Department of Comms to sit down and shut up

The relationship between the Australian government and the telco sector continues to deteriorate, with more carriers pushing back against Canberra's micro-management of their operations, with both industry regulation and security reforms as ongoing battlegrounds. Optus is the latest to raise its voice against the Department of …
Exit sign. Pic:  Lukas Kästner

Cisco exits set-top box biz, sheds US$1.8bn of revenue

Cisco's Connected Devices Division, a purveyor of set top boxen for service providers, is off to Europe having been acquired for €550 million / US$600 million by Technicolor. The French company, formerly Thomson (as most of its customer premises equipment/set-top boxes are branded), will take on the division first created by …

Cloudy VMs leak ID details that could allow attacks, says researcher

Research published by a US masters student reaches the somewhat unsettling conclusion that current cloud technologies don't separate virtual machines (VMs) as well as they could. By spying on shared resources at a low level, the research suggests, an attacker's VM can retrieve data written by another (like crypto keys), and …
Customer RCSAndroid upgrade e-mail

Hacking Team had RATted on Android: Trend Micro

The next piece of weaponised malware to emerge out of the Hacking Team leak has arrived: a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) for Android. Trend Micro researchers trawling the 400 GB of leaked files apparently have the honour of first discovery: RCSAndroid, it says, is “one of the most professionally developed and sophisticated” …

Jeep hackers broke DMCA, says EFF, and that's stupid

It's pretty obvious really: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has pointed out that the researchers responsible for the now-infamous “Jeep hack” broke America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Similarly obvious, they say, is that such research should be legal if Detroit wants to avoid creating the cyber-Pinto. …
Pair of pliers cutting wire

Regulator okays Optus exit from HFC network

The deal between nbnTM and Optus has taken another step towards regulatory approval, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issuing a draft decision to let the deal go ahead. The two carriers have been waiting since December 2014 for the rubber-stamp. The deal will progressively transfer elements of …
Sony drone

Sony eyes enterprise drone biz as next big little thing

Sony has found a bottle of Jeff Bezos' Kool-Aid lying around, drunk it, and signed a deal with Japanese UAV outfit ZMP. To be fair, the new venture isn't predicated on delivering books by drone. Rather, Sony wants to get some of its key technologies airborne. Under the joint venture, Sony will contribute “camera, sensing, …

Microsoft joins attack on 'non-consensual pornography'

Microsoft has joined the online drive against so-called "revenge porn" in which people's naked or otherwise embarrassing/erotic pictures are posted widely online. In June, The Chocolate Factory announced an initiative to let individuals report images and videos for removal. Microsoft's now done likewise, with chief online …
Halo 5 Guardians

Beaten blokes HATE the women who frag them in online games

Trick-cyclists from the University of NSW and Miami University have probably got themselves onto the “gamer-gate” hate list with a study that finds men who get fragged in online games really despise losing to a woman. The study, by UNSW's Michael Kasumovic and Miami uni's Jeffrey Kuznekoff, ploughed through recordings of 163 …
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining

Yahoo! reverses! reversal! FLIPS! profit! into! loss!

Yahoo! has reported a $22m loss for its second quarter, as CEO Marissa Mayer tries to buy market share off Google and Facebook. For the same period last year, the ad business booked a $270m profit, so the quarter represents a slump of nearly $300m. The loss, which Reuters briefly described as a “lower-than-expected profit” …
Cat from Cisco TV ad

Cisco re-orgs marketing to hide the brand, EMPTY YOUR WALLET

Given a relatively flat few years, it's probably no surprise that Cisco has told the warm bodies in its marketing departments to become cold-blooded revenue-making machines. Along the way, get ready for The Borg to try to out-Google Google in its data collection. In a blog post, head of digital transformation and analytics …
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Microsoft open-sources Sora software-defined radio

Microsoft has decided to open-source its six-year-old Sora software radio project. As Redmond's Jane Ma explained at Technet, Sora has been designed to replicate the behaviour of specialised ASICs on a PC. Its focus is on the PHY and MAC layers. ASIC design is expensive and inflexible, so software platforms are attractive to …

Australian carriers try to head off government telco security bill

Australian attorney-general George Brandis' plans to turn his department into a national telco chief security officer are to be carpet-bombed by a coalition of industry groups opposing the proposed laws. In a submission leaked to the ABC and The Australian Financial Review and since sighted by The Register, a bunch of industry …
Facepalm by Ron Mander

Pirates also buy content legally, Australian gov study finds

As Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull releases a survey designed to help justify the government's Internet not-a- filter legislation, the nation's opposition is showing signs of morning-after regret for waving the laws through parliament. The law, passed in June, gives content owners a court process by which …
Driverless car

Whitehall maps out Blighty's driverless future

The UK's Department for Transport – with £20m of R&D taxpayer money on the table (the first tranche of a total £100m) – has published a code of conduct for driverless car testing. Whitehall hopes to push British motor makers ahead of the game in getting driverless cars on the road, the DfT said. The code follows on from a …

Bureau of Meteorology picks Cray-zy fast 1.6 petaflop supercomputer

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM's) plan to buy what will be, at least for a while, Australia's biggest iron has taken a big step forward, with Cray named as the lucky vendor. The BoM's tender originally went out in 2013, and in 2014 the federal government allocated around AU$50m to the project. Another $27m will …
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More mobile misery at Cisco: Intucell set for cuts?

A week after Channel Register heard of Cisco's woes in the small cell business, reports are emerging that another recent acquisition is also troubled. On the back of last week's report that half the staff of Ubiquisys's Swindon operation might be de-assimilated, Lightreading reckoned there were now nervous flutters in The Borg …
NRL's STM image of molecular transistor

Much more Moore's Law, as boffins assemble atom-level transistor

The end times for Moore's Law aren't quite at hand, but we now know what the silicon-killer might look like: single-molecule transistors that can switch at the single electron level. That's what a multinational team of boffins working with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) say they've created. The transistor consists of …
eBay

eBay's new plan: sell the shirt off your back

Having spent much of 2015 shedding non-core businesses like PayPal, its Craigslist stake and its enterprise services unit, eBay has announced a back-to-the-roots acquisition of Twice. The San Francisco startup gives the company second-hand women's clothing sales, something that's sure to delight eBay sellers who specialise in …
Dunce's cap graffiti by https://www.flickr.com/photos/lord-jim/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

When is a market not a market? When it's SDN or NFV, says Gartner

Gartner is sick of being asked to craft magic quadrants for software-defined network (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV), and isn't going to do so, even if enthusiasts hold their breath and turn blue. The reason? According to distinguished analyst (our emphasis) Joe Skorupa, it's simple: SDN and NFV aren't markets …
Huawei HQ

Huawei claims 30 per cent growth for H1 2015/16

Huawei's core smartphone and network infrastructure units have driven the Chinese behemoth's revenue past $28bn for the first half of financial year 2015-2016. In a result that will chill the likes of Cisco, Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, the company's revenues hopped on an elevator to grow 30 per cent year-on-year, and …
shutterstock_170724905-Fibre

BT's Openreach plots G.fast end-user trials

BT's Openreach has taken another step in the introduction of G.fast services, and late last week briefed Brit ISPs on how to join customer trials. The talks, held on Friday 17 July, were staged to get providers on board for what it has dubbed “NGA2” (Next Generation Access). The G.Fast trial will be run in conjunction with a …
Quenching Coma Galaxies

STARS SNUFFED in massive galactic whodunit

It's generally accepted by astronomers that dark matter makes up roughly 27 per cent of the known Universe – but in a galactic cluster 300 million light years away, that proportion is all skewiff. Simulations carried out by ICRAR (International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research) doctoral student Cameron Yozin using big iron …
Marshall's London smartphone

Marshall wants to turn your phone UP TO ELEVEN

Fans of the Marshall look and sound can now carry it around in a smartphone. The iconic guitar amplifier outfit''s headphones division managed something that Apple hasn't: it's developed a smartphone without having it leaked to a fan-site. So the launch of the London smartphone managed to catch the world somewhat by surprise …

America helps ease Ericsson's pain

Ericsson boss Hans Vestberg is breathing a sigh of relief, with America's demand for mobile broadband stabilising enough to help it beat forecasts for the second quarter. The company announced on Friday that the North American territory had finally stabilised after declining for three quarters, helping both sales and profit …
NBN Logo

Australian Government hopes to untangle NBN migration mess

Australia's government is looking for industry input into National Broadband Network (NBN) migration policy, and wants submissions by August 20. Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull's statement says the new round of consultation seeks a migration framework that is both industry-led and focussed on the end user. The …

Hacking Team hackers questioned over Hacking Team hack

Reports have emerged that ex-staff of hacked spookware-spaffer Hacking Team have been questioned by police in Milan. According to Reuters, Italian police have questioned six ex-employees of the company, adding that the unnamed staff in question were already suspected of leaking the company's secrets. Spookeware boss David …