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Richard Chirgwin

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Verizon, Ericsson, Qualcomm plot spectrum-sharing test

Verizon, along with vendors Qualcomm and Ericsson, hopes to soon conduct field trials sharing spectrum currently owned by the US government as a means of expanding its wireless network capacity. Wireless carriers around the world face the problem of finding extra spectrum to support a huge population of new users expecting …
Somali pirates storm the box

BitTorrent not to blame for movie revenues, says economist

An economist known for sticking pins in big content's dire warnings about file sharing has produced a new study suggesting that BitTorrent's impact on movie revenues is small and sometimes even positive. Koleman Strumpf, who has taken the adding machine to RIAA and MPAA claims of monetary loss since the heyday of Kazaa, has …

French telco vendors line up with government on 5G

A group of French telcos is warning that Europe could fall behind Asia in the race towards 5G, and has launched a joint effort to stave off the threat. “Club France”, reports Paris financial outlet Les Echos, is an Alcatel-Lucent-led effort whose members include Orange, Thales, LTE chip-maker Sequans Communications, and base …
eyeofSauron

Data retention saves Australia from TERROR says Labor MP

Former chair of Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (JCIS), Labor MP Anthony Byrne, has urged the nation's federal government to implement data retention legislation to prevent what he calls “imminent” terrorist attacks. In a speech to parliament on Monday July 14, Byrne said the government …
DJI Phantom Quadcopter

Drones face privacy regulation under Oz government plan

A parliamentary report into regulation surrounding the use of drones has recommended that Australia consider creating a tort of privacy invasion – something ruled out by the country's attorney-general George Brandis as recently as April. In an example of the strange bedfellows politics can make, privacy activists and farming …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Murdoch calls for ISPs to be liable for users' activities

News Corporation Australia has used an inquiry by the nation's Senate into a proposed Australia/South Korea free trade agreement to suggest internet service providers become copyright enforcers. In its submission to the inquiry (number 56 in the list that starts here), News backs proposals in the treaty to criminalise 'net …
RFID_snail

NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015

NBN Co executives have defended the slow progress of the organisation's fibre-to-the-node rollout, telling a Senate committee it would be “unlikely” for any telco to have a product ready for launch within a year of receiving new policy directions. The statement was made by NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon. Under …

Apache patch: Cisco catches up with ANCIENT Struts2 vuln

Cisco has issued a patch for a four-year-old Apache Struts2 vulnerability. The original issue, CVE-2010-1870, was originally reported in July 2010. The vulnerability arises out of how Apache Struts2 handles commands passed to the Object-Graph Navigation Language. As the Apache notification states, “The vulnerability allows a …

No need to worry: US blows $174m on new Cray to simulate nukes

Cray is going to help the US watch over its arsenal of nukes, having won a US$174 million contract to supply a new supercomputer to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The Cray XC super to be provided under the contract will be hooked up to the company's Sonexion storage. Dubbed “Trinity”, the system is …
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

China Mobile to quit WiFi rollout

After spending 17 billion yuan on WiFi hotspots – more than $US2.75 billion at the current exchange rate – China Mobile has quit on the rollout and will redirect its spend to LTE. The reason for the decision, reported in Sohu IT (original in Chinese, here), is simple: the hotspots don't make money. Sohu IT says the hotspots are …
Total Recall

Cranial RAM cram plan aims to restore memory

Brain implant chips – beloved of conspiracy theorists and science fiction writers alike for decades – have finally made it onto the US government's research list, courtesy of DARPA. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency, home to research into humanoid robots, guided bullets, Spider-Man-style climbing pads, suspended …
Metaswitch Project Calico Logo

Metaswitch opens NFV code as Project Calico

UK-based network function virtualisation outfit Metaswitch has slung a chunk of its software into the open source world with the launch of Project Calico. The company says Project Calico, here, aims to take SDN principles to Layer 3 instead of Layer 2. The reason for this? Metaswitch claims that Layer 2-based OpenStack …
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Secret Senate software stoush: Greens intervene

The ongoing saga of the Australian Senate's vote-counting software has taken an unexpected turn, with the country's Senate passing a motion to require the release of the code. As Vulture South readers will recall, an individual, Michael Cordover, lodged an FOI request for the release of the code after Australia's 2013 election …
troll

Tech giants link arms with startups against patent trolls

A group of big names in tech is trying again to stem the ravages of patent trolls by forming a mutual non-aggression pact. Google, Canon, SAP, Dropbox, Newegg, Pure Storage and Asana are the foundation members of Lotnet – the License on Transfer Network – and they hope to attract other tech players to the fold. While it's only …

'Dread Pirate Roberts' suspect's bid for freedom fails

Ross Ulbricht has lost his bid to have money-laundering and other charges dismissed. According to Reuters, the man accused of being Silk Road's “Dread Pirate Roberts” tried to slip from under the money-laundering charge on the basis that Bitcoin isn't money, but property. That argument didn't impress US District Judge Katherine …
Artist's impression of an exoplanet orbiting a star in the cluster Messier 67

Give an exoplanet a new name: Fill in this form and hope these astro-boffins pick your $input

You won't be able to give a planet an insulting name to denigrate a politician, but if you're part of the amateur astronomy world, you can help bestow names on exoplanets. The International Astronomical Union has opened up 305 exoplanets for public input into naming, with public astronomical organisations, or “non-profit …
Picard Facepalm

We've just unboxed our Google Android Wear. We're not appy

Google is already rifling through bug reports on its new product after an unpleasantly short amount of time: just two days after fandroids performed the great unboxening. Android Wear owners are now reporting that the devices won't install paid apps. The money-saving feature bug turned up at Android Police, which theorises that …
Smallpox virus

Dead letter office: ancient smallpox sample turns up in old US lab

It's a scene reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark's climax: something very dangerous is put in storage by a government agency, and forgotten. America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to hose down fears about its control of stockpiles, following the startling discovery of 1950s-era smallpox samples in a …
Rosetta Flash diagram

Weaponised Flash flaw can pinch just about anything from anywhere

Get cracking with the latest Flash upgrade, because the vulnerability it patches is a peach, allowing a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack for stealing user credentials. According to the Switzerland-based Google engineer that turned up the vulnerability, Michele Spagnuolo, sites that are/were vulnerable to the attack …
Printed GHz diode

Printed diode can slurp power from phone signals

A group of Swedish researchers has created a printed diode that can use the radio output of a smartphone for power – and along the way has answered a long-standing question about how printed diodes work. In this paper at PNAS, the researchers demonstrate a device created by printing a niobium silicide layer over a silicon paste …
Tools

What's that? The Bureau of Stats has an API and nobody TOLD you?

Australia's national data-collector, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has quietly published an API to its data sets. While it won't replace most peoples' preferred (or at least tolerated) means to get ABS data - the spreadsheets and CSVs the ABS provides for easy database ingestion - the API will allow others to embed ABS …

AdaptiveMobile joins Chipzilla's SDN club

Dublin-based AdaptiveMobile has joined Intel's Network Builders software defined networks-network function virtualisation (SDN/NFV) program. The company says its participation in the program will deliver “NFV-ready service assurance”. AdaptiveMobile's announcement notes that its software was already designed to run on generic …
Airbus A380 lift-off. Picture courtesy of Airbus

Airbus to send 1,200 TFlops of HPC goodness down the runway

Airbus is going to expand the modular data centre strategy it initiated with HP in 2011, with a 1,200 TFlop target capacity. The HP PODs will be added in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. Airbus first started parking HP PODs – Performance Optimsed Datacenters – in a contract announced in September 2011. However, HP says …

IEEE expands malware initiatives

Standards body the IEEE has launched two new anti-malware initiatives designed to help software and security vendors spot malware that's been inserted into other software, and improve the performance of malware detection by cutting down on false positives. The organisation's Anti-Malware Support Service (AMSS) is designed to …
Bitcoin bloodbath

Gendarmes grab French Bitcoin exchange in €200k sting

The operators of an illegal French Bitcoin exchange have been collared by the gendarmes and their Bitcoin holdings confiscated. A sketchy story out of Reuters says that the raid netted €200,000 worth of the crypto-currency, but doesn't outline what specific laws the exchange is accused of breaking. The Reuters story merely …
Contraceptive pill

Wireless-controlled contraception implant is coming, says MIT

MIT's decade-plus pitch to embed microchip-based drug-dispensaries in humans has been re-framed as a microprocessor-based, wireless-controlled, fully Internet-of-Things-compliant, implantable contraceptive. Since 1999, MIT's Robert Langer et al have been pitching the idea of using microchips to deliver medicines. The idea, way …
SwissInfo.org blocked

Kiwi ISP 'Slingshot' stones geo-blocked content

New Zealanders will once again get offered “global by default” Internet access that lets them past the geo-blocking of international services like Netflix, the BBC's iPlayer, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Kiwi ISP FYX announced a similar service in 2012, but it only lasted two days. Now another New Zealand ISP, Slingshot, has decided …
Suitcase bulging with cash

Atmel buys more IoT capability

Atmel, best known as a maker of microcontrollers and capacitive touchscreens, is expanding its Internet of Things footprint with the acquisition of low-power wireless chip designer Newport Media. Newport Media started out life shipping TV system-on-a-chip (SOC) devices, and during 2012 and 2013 branched out into 802.11n, 802.11b …
ESA's "Dropship" drone

European Space Agency demos MARS LANDINGS BY DRONE

The European Space Agency has used an off-the-shelf quadcopter to demonstrate the latest output of its StarTiger rapid-development program: precision guidance and safe delivery of a rover-like vehicle onto a simulated Mars surface. Getting to Mars is one thing, but as the ESA knows only too well, executing a successful landing …

Standby consumes MORE POWER THAN CANADA: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is worried that the world's addiction to gadgets that sip electricity in standby mode use more power than is necessary or sensible, and wants manufacturers to try harder to cut power consumption. The agency says inefficient “network standby” modes are common: consumers think a device has …
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

Help us out readers: How would you sniff and store network traffic?

Having successfully averted the XP-ocalypse at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote Australian desert community of Willowra, Vulture South's operatives felt pleased with themselves. As regular readers will know, our encounter with the facility, run by the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, led to …

Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

The European Banking Authority, which has previously warned consumers that they're unprotected if they get themselves into the crypto-currency game, has followed up with a don't-touch warning to banks. In this announcement, issued on Friday July 4, the EBA says it's identified “more than 70 risks” that apply to users, banks, …
Artist's concept: NASA's Space Launcher System

Boeing to start work on most powerful rocket ... EVER!

NASA and Boeing have inked a key contract that should see agency's Space Launch System take to the skies in 2017. Under the $US2.8 billion contract, the aerospace giant will be building the core stage of the space giant: the Space Launch System will stand 212 feet (more than 64 metres) tall, and will be powered by a combination …
HummingBoard SBC from SolidRun

SolidRun pitches upgradeable SBC into the IoT fray

Another single-board contender has emerged to challenge the Raspberry Pi's title as lightweight champion of the world, with a pitch that it supports processor and memory upgrades in a single-board-computer form factor. SolidRun is offering a 1 GHz ARM v7 processor as the base level CPU on a new HummingBoard board, which it says …
NSA parody T-shirt

NSA dragnet mostly slurped innocents' traffic

NSA babbler Edward Snowden's latest drop alleges something that's been suspected ever since he went public during 2013: that spy agencies reach far beyond “persons-of-interest”, with data on ordinary internet users far outstripping that held over formal “targets”. According to The Washington Post, the latest set of documents – …
Communicating using the magnetometer

Phone motion sensors can receive data

Boffins from the University of Oulu in Finland and Huazhong University in China have put together a prototype that uses an Android smartphone's magnetometer as a short-range one-way communications channel. The applications for such a system are limited, of course: magnetic fields decay very quickly, so the system has a range of …
Namibia's HESS-II radio telescope

HESS-II scope spots its first pulsar

Namibia's HESS-II telescope has shown off two-years' worth of software upgrades, identifying gamma rays at 30 GeV emanating from the Vela pulsar. Vela is a well-known object, having been associated with the supernova remnant of the same name in 1968, and is visible in the radio, optical, X-ray and gamma spectra. HESS-II's …
qubit

Boffins cage qubits inside superconducting silicon

Boffins at the University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute think they're on the verge of creating qubits (quantum bits) that could be fabricated using technologies close to today's silicon techniques. The JQI group wants to create a blend of superconductor-style qubits and semiconductor qubits: superconducting wires and …

Bill Gates asks telcoms standards boffins to define future of money

Two-and-a-half billion adults in the world don't have bank accounts, and the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks it's got the answer: deliver financial services to mobile phones. And the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) agrees: late in June, it established a focus group to look at Digital Financial Services …
management regulation2

Dotcom crypto keys not for the FBI: NZ High Court

A New Zealand court has ruled that data on Kim Dotcom's hard drives held by the FBI will remain encrypted, even if the Megaupload founder hands his encryption keys over to NZ police. Dotcom has been in a long wrangle with authorities over the contents of the drives. During the 2012 raid in New Zealand that killed off Megaupload …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Google BLOCKS access to Goldman client-leak email

A Goldman Sachs contractor's inadvertent leak of client data through Gmail has brought the banking giant to a New York court to try and force The Chocolate Factory on a search-and-destroy mission - and Google seems to agree with the bank. Reuters says the slip, which sounds to The Register like someone trusted autocomplete in …
Generic mast

Ericsson and ZTE run demos, join the 'my 5G is the real 5G' club

Mobile vendors are continuing to jockey for position in a market that doesn't yet exist, with Ericsson and ZTE the latest kit-shippers to give the 5G can a kick. Ericsson pitched its latest horseshoe in a demonstration at Kista in Sweden, where the company says by using frequencies in the 15 GHz band it was able to run enough …
NIST's one-way photonic metamaterial

NIST shows off one-way photon-passing metamaterial

If photonics is ever to displace or supplement electronics in microprocessors, the operations we perform on electrons need to be replicated on photons. A group at NIST is the latest to demonstrate a photonic diode – a device that passes light in one direction only, similarly to how diodes pass electrons in one direction only. …

Microsoft, Google et al form club to push 25/50 Gbps Ethernet

A new consortium of vendors is firing up to give 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet a push, in an effort to get the kind of performance demanded in cloud data centres. While lab demonstrations have shown that Ethernet will one day be able to reach 400 Gbps, you need standards to turn speed into systems, and that's what Microsoft, …
Auto Grade Linux example screen

Linux turns the crank on code for cars

Linux's quest to become the default operating system for motor vehicles has taken a step closer to reality, with the Linux Foundation releasing downloads of code from its Automotive Grade Linux project. The project, announced here, is described as being built on Tizen IVI, adding “key applications developed in HTML5 and …
Facebook down

Trick-cyclists defend Facebook emoto-furtling experiment

Facebook's “creepy” feed-manipulation experimentation, which has generated an avalanche of outrage among users, isn't without its chums. A growing collection of psychologists and tech pundits is linking arms, standing next to Mark Zuckerburg, and singing “We Shall Overcome” in the direction of mobs carrying metaphorical …
Microsoft Surface tablets

Surface Mini fondleslab farewelled

Rumours are emerging in Asia that Microsoft has decided not to enter the phablet market and has canned its rumoured Surface Mini. According to Taiwanese outlet Digitimes, manufacturers' reps say Redmond has followed up its decision in May to delay the never-actually-announced device by cancelling build orders. Digitimes' …
Artist's illustration of Supernova 1987A

Speed of light slower than we thought? Probably not

With the simple headline “Einstein was wrong”, yet another piece of questionable physics has garnered world attention. It starts with this kind of canned statement, which originated at Phys.org and apparently arose from this uncritical write-up at the Medium-hosted Physics at Arxiv blog. To quote Physics at Arxiv, “James …
Random numbers

MIT and CERN's secure webmail plan stumped by PayPal freeze

The Proton Mail project, which offers end-to-end encrypted webmail from the user's browser, has had a stick thrust into its operational spokes courtesy of PayPal. The MIT-and-CERN-inspired project, based on Switzerland, had decided against VC funding for reasons of credibility among users. Instead, it relies on users willing to …
Cambridge's superconducting magnet levitating

Cambridge's tiny superconducting magnet breaks strength record

Boffins at the University of Cambridge say they've packed the equivalent of three tonnes of magnetic force into a superconducting material roughly the size of a golf ball. In what they call a “trapped field” experiment, the university says its researchers managed to cram a 17.6 Tesla magnetic field into the brittle “high …