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Richard Chirgwin

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NSA parody T-shirt

Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

The Register has found itself subject to a certain amount of criticism for this author's scepticism regarding whether the NSA has been snooping on optical fibre cables by cutting them. Glenn Greenwald's recent “NSA cut New Zealand's cables” story is illustrative of credibility problems that surround the ongoing Edward Snowden …
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

Boffins plot global (browser) cookie crumb trail

Privacy laws covering the use of personally-identifiable information are, on a global scale, creating a dizzying patchwork of cookie-cutter cookie-serving companies created to sniff our Web browsing. That's one conclusion of research led by Marjan Falahrastegar at Queen Mary University, London. The group, which included …
BitTorrent Chat/Bleep

BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha

Bleep, the BitTorrent peer-to-peer chat client, is now out in the wild in the form of a public Alpha version. First released to registered pre-alpha users in July, Bleep was then in Windows versions only. Now it's gone to release, the organisation has added Android and Mac versions. As BitTorrent explains here, Bleep lets users …
Mathematica screen shot

Mathematica hits the Web

Wolfram wants to broaden the appeal of its Mathematica product, adding a fully-online version to the existing standalone software applications. Announcing the online version in this blog post, Stephen Wolfram says it's a zero-configuration browse-and-login version of the product that replicates most of the features of the …

Sweden orders TWO PETAFLOP supercomputer

Sweden's KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) is continuing its Cray fandom, placing a US$13 million order for an XC super and taking the institute into the petascale era. Cray first got its foot in the door at KTH in 2010, with a 93 teraflop-rated XT6m midrange system. The XT6m was replaced with a 305 TF XE6, which went in …
Parachute

POW! Digia straps Qt into ejector seat, gleefully pulls handle

From Trolltech to Nokia and Nokia to Digia, the application framework Qt has had a challenging corporate life even though it retained fans among developers. Now, the language's next phase of life has begun in earnest, spun out of Digia into a separate subsidiary tasked with bringing the commercial and open source Qts back into …
Twisted radio beam intensity plot

US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux

Evidence continues to mount that the orbital angular momentum (OAM) of radio waves – “twisted waves” – can be exploited to modulate multiple data streams on the same spatial path. Researchers from the University of Southern California are claiming an impressive 32 Gbps transmission, albeit over a distance of 2.5 metres, using …
Facebook logo

Facebook unleashes inter-cache router code on a waiting world

Facebook has slung another slice of code into the open source world: the software that lets it sling content between caches around the world, fast enough to keep The Social NetworkTM social. First discussed last year at Usenix, “Mcrouter” handles “all traffic to, from, and between thousands of cache servers across dozens of …

Cisco sprinkles Sourcefire goodies on ASA firewalls

Cisco has taken the next step in wrapping the technology it acquired along with Sourcefire, by putting its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) next-gen firewalls and the FirePOWER technology into the blender and giving it a good spin. The idea is to run up a combination of firewall, application control, intrusion prevention and …
RoCE v2 stack image

Oi! You noisy servers! Talk among yourselves and stop bothering that poor router!

The group behind the RDMA over converged Ethernet standard – RoCE to its friends – is tweaking the spec to support UPD and IP in the stack. RDMA - remote direct memory access - has become increasingly important in large-scale data centres, since it lets data move between different servers' user space without having to drop down …
Xpliant chip

Xpliant targets white-label Ethernet switch vendors with shiny new silicon

Ethernet silicon vendor Xpliant – currently being digested by Cavium in an acquisition due to conclude in 2015 – is hoping to knock Broadcom out of its spot at the heart of the Ethernet switch market. The upstart, launched in 2011, says it'll have sample silicon in Q4 2014 for an architecture designed to combine speed and …

Attackers tapping on SNMP door to see if it's open

Google's DNS IP address is being spoofed by an attacker, apparently in an attempt to DDoS hosts vulnerable to a flaw in the SNMP protocol. The SANS Internet Storm Center noticed the traffic trend emerging on September 15, and in this post discusses what's going on. The attack is trying to take over SNMP hosts that have left …
eyeofSauron

'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

The washup from yesterday's Dotcom-Snowden-Greenwald saga rolls on, with Southern Cross Cable Network angrily denying that New Zealand's spooks, the NSA, or anybody else for that matter has worked a tap into its cables. The company's response came in response to Glenn Greenwald's accusation that New Zealand's Government …
Privacy image

Chinese 'Sogou Explorer' browser sends URLs to parts unknown

A Chinese-language cloud-based browser seems to be snooping on its users, according to research conducted by the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre's (APNIC's) Geoff Huston, George Michaelson and Byron Ellacot. Speaking to the APNIC 38 conference yesterday, Huston outlined the results of research conducted by APNIC on the …
Winnie-the-Pooh honey

Business expects data retention will hit their bottom lines: survey

Risk management outfit Protiviti says Australian businesses are fearful that the government's proposed metadata retention scheme is going to cost them. The government is in the throes of considering a two-year retention regime for Australian telecommunications carriers and ISPs. While the Parliamentary Joint Committee on …
Thurber-esque cartoon of fat mouse looking inquisitively at bicycle pump valve

Cable internet won't need dose of fibre to stop feeling bloated

CableLabs, the industry group that develops data transmission standards for cable television networks, is experimenting with Active Queue Management (AQM) to deal with the issue of bufferbloat in cable networks. Bufferbloat is one of the underground problems of Internet performance: the way that buffers in network kit add to …
Chongqing's segregated footpath

Chinese city creates footpath for smartphone addicts

China's fifth-largest city, Chongqing, has decided to help out smartphone addicts by devoting a chunk of footpath so they never need to look up from their screens as they walk around. As anybody who's collided with a mobe-stroking pedestrian (or, for that matter, anybody who's ruined their Candy Crush score by striding into a …
Spectral map

Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom

UK regulator Ofcom is looking for radio hams' opinions about proposed changes to spectrum and amateur licensing. In exchange for giving up some spectrum, hams are getting access to new spectrum in the 470 kHz and 5 MHz bands that the Ministry of Defence is happy for them to use. Users of that spectrum will have to quit if the …
First text

New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone

A project that's just landed on github aims to let users in the developing world access Web pages over text messages alone. It's not as absurd an idea as it might first seem, to those of us whose first-world-problems include “how do I delete the U2 album from my iTunes library?” While the number of mobile phones in the world …
SLAC's battery charging test rig

Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around

US boffins are overturning the understanding of how Li-ion batteries charge, by watching the behaviour of individual molecules as they absorb charges. It's long been assumed that a battery charges fairly uniformly – in other words, that electrons are distributed evenly across the charge-carrying material as the battery charges. …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Tasmania offered possible pay-to-connect for NBN fibre

NBN Co boss Bill Morrow has told Tasmanians that communities might be able to preserve the fibre rollout – if they're prepared to kick the can for the installation. In an interview with The Mercury, Morrow said the network builder was investigating the possibility of using co-funding models under which “everyone can jointly …
The Antikythera Mechanism

Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces

Archaeologists have set out on another expedition to the Antikythera wreck site, with the aim of finding the missing pieces of the site's famous “ancient computer”. The Antikythera Mechanism is a device which has fascinated the world ever since its discovery in 1901, since it seemed to embody technology far beyond the roughly 60 …
Stanford U's ant-sized radio

Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor

Electronics boffins at Stanford University are putting their mark on the Internet of Things by way of a tiny radio-plus-computer that uses scavenged radio signals for its power. Instead of shrinking discrete components and patching them together, the Stanford team set out to create a single silicon component that integrates …
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 210

Qualcomm pumps LTE into quad-core CPU for sub-$100 mobes

Qualcomm wants to get more LTE smartphones running high-quality video, preferably with its silicon, and has released Snapdragon variant designed to do just that. With competitor MediaTek squarely in its sights, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 210 is a 28-nm for the entry-level market: it's got a 1.1 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, Adreno 300 …

Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't

Microsoft has taken the final step in sunsetting a dangerous server setting, announcing that all future versions of ASP.NET will enforce the deprecation of EnableViewStateMac=“false”. Since December 2013, when this security advisory landed, Redmond has warned sysadmins that the setting had a privilege escalation vulnerability. …

PayPal goes crypto-currency with Bitcoin

eBay's PayPal business will start accepting the crypto-currency Bitcoin for payments “over the coming months”. The move confirms rumours that emerged in August that the online store was in talks with Bitcoin processor Coinbase. Those talks involved Braintree, which the company acquired early this year, and according to …
UCSD's 500 GHz optical switch schematic

Three photons can switch an optical beam at 500 GHz

American photonics researchers have demonstrated an all-optical switching rig that can work at 500 GHz, controlling a beam using just three photons. High-speed switching in the optical domain is important for several reasons: it will let optical networks outperform anything that can be accomplished if the photonic signal has to …
Sorry we're closed

Get thee to YouTube, Turnbull tells community TV broadcasters

Australia's federal government has announced the outcome of its consultation into community broadcasters, and its decision is: give back the spectrum and learn how to post on YouTube. While upper bands of TV spectrum are in demand among mobile carriers (something bound to increase as consumers shift to higher-capacity 4G …
Batteries that caught fire on Fiji Airlines plane

Flaming drone batteries ground commercial flight before takeoff

A pile of lithium drone batteries checked as baggage on a flight from Australia to Fiji could have had nasty consequences: a bunch of the Li-Ions burned in the hold of the plane. Fortunately for the idiot traveller whose baggage declaration said “no batteries” – and the other passengers on the Fiji Airlines flight in April – the …

YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess

Cisco has spotted some big names serving up malicious advertising: YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! among them. A Borg blogger, Armin Pelkmann, with fellow-authors Shaun Hurley and David McDaniel, writes that what the company calls the “Kyle and Stan” malware campaign began in May, and uses redirects to try and trick users into …
GCHQ as seen on Google Earth

Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International

Privacy International has taken the “Five-Eyes” spying issue to court, filing a demand that the agreements between participant countries – the US, the (currently) UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – be made public. As its filing states, the court action follows a freedom of information (FOI) request for information about the …

Toshiba plans chippery with mere 0.5V power slurp by 2017

Toshiba is getting ready to announce a low-power semiconductor technology it says will hit the market in scale in 2017. Lower power is something of a holy grail in the world of chips: it means less heat to dissipate away from transistors. That in turn lets devices be clocked at higher speeds (because higher clock speeds increase …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

Far from being an “unrepresentative” document based on bad data, the NBN Co internal presentation which leaked last week was the outcome of five months' work, instigated to create a benchmark for future fibre rollout areas. The furore – Vulture South could even go as far as to call it a kerfuffle – began with the leak of an …

OpenSSL promises devs advance notice of future bugs, slaps if they blab

In the wake of Heartbleed, the OpenSSL project has decided that *nix distributions that use the popular crypto pack will get advance notice of upcoming security-related bugfixes. The project has decided that distributions that ship with OpenSSL will get some advance notice of issues ahead of fixes – an announcement on the …
Denmark Minecraft map

What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

New Microsoft boss Satya Nadella has set his sights on Minecraft maker Mojang as his first major acquisition, according to whispers. The move is probably worth the rumoured $2bn price tag in “woah” value alone, since it's practically the only thing that could have diverted attention away from Apple's iStuff launch on Tuesday. …
ASKAP from the air

Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs

Australia's first pass at the Square Kilometre Array – the Boolardy Engineering Test Array – is about to get commissioned into a fully-live system. The test array, known naturally enough as BETA, is part of the science-before-the-science: a proving ground for some of the new technologies being used for the SKA project, in …
NBN FTTN cabinet

NBN Co correction: We're rubbish at broadband rollout and NEVER improved

NBN Co has issued a press statement assuring media that in spite of what looked like a favourable assessment of its fibre-to-the-premises rollout procedures, things really were dreadful until the new government commissioned the Strategic Review. Or perhaps things weren't dreadful, but they're really, truly, definitely better now …
cloud

Nokia Networks joins NFV party

Nokia has joined World+Dog, pitching a Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) platform and announcing that it will be going live with a “major operator” by the end of 2014. In particular, the incredible shrinking Finn is touting its “telco cloud” solution's support for voice-over-LTE, which it reckons will help carriers automate …

India government: 'net should not be censored

India's communications and IT minister, tasked with attracting foreign investors to the country's tech sector, has defended controversial IT laws while saying that Internet censorship should be minimal. Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad made the remarks to The Hindu Business Line in response to criticisms of Section 66 of the country …

Fedora gets new partition manager

Fedora developer Vratislav Podzimek wants partition managers to catch up with modern storage technologies, and has launched his offering, blivet-gui, on the waiting world. The tool is designed to act as a front-end for Fedora's Anaconda. Available at copr here, the partition manager is “still in early development stage”, with …
Bitcoin bloodbath

Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge

Former Bitcoin Foundation chair and BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem has entered a guilty plea on charges that he operated an illegal currency trading operation, and will fork out nearly a million dollars to the US government, in a deal that avoids a trial that was due to start on September 22. Shrem, who resigned his position at …
Qantas A380 tail

Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

We're all accustomed to tales of woe that children are becoming too fat, but how about too-light kiddies spoiling the balance of an aircraft? An error at Australia's Canberra airport left a 168-seat Boeing 737 struggling to take off because a group of 87 schoolchildren was entered into the check-in system as adults. As noted in …
Intel MICA

Intel goes high-fashion with wearable supermodel

World+Dog wants wearables to be the Next Big Thing in tech, but the sector has also learned from Google that ugly devices blending reality and data can raise both privacy and aesthetic objections. Little wonder, then, that Intel has teamed with a fashion designer to craft a gadget that won't get its wearers assaulted or banned …
Broadcom

Broadcom's new mobe chip claims 650 Mbps

The Wi-Fi world's quest to appropriate the term 5G for itself continues apace, with Broadcom announcing an 802.11ac/Bluetooth combo chip it says will give users download speeds “up to” 650 Mbps. The BCM4358 drops 11ac's 2x2 MIMO capabilities into smartphones, and claims “50 per cent better coexistence performance with Bluetooth …
Nimbus and Modis Images 50 years apart

NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years

An ancient and now public trove of imagery from one of the world's earliest Earth-sensing satellites, one of the American Nimbus spacecraft fleet, has been recovered and celebrated for the fact it extends climate records by 15 years. This feat of data archaeology means that scientists now have access to 250,000 images from the …
SOURCE:  http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=1412135

Foxtel promises triple-play launch in early 2015

In a move designed to stave off the threat posed by operations like Netflix and FetchTV, Foxtel says its vaunted “triple-play” broadband-and-TV-and-phone service will land at the start of 2015. The Pay-TV outfit has also dropped its entry level package to $AU25 per month. The service was first announced in December 2013, on the …
Tesla's Elon Musk

Nevada to host Tesla gigafactory: reports

The Nevada governor's office has tipped US broadcaster CNBC that the state is ready to announce Reno as the site for the planned Tesla battery factory. The company has been coy about revealing the location, presumably while it chooses between different government incentive packages for the facility, which will be built in …
cloud

Fujitsu, Intel tilt at hyperscale storage with Ceph-powered arrays

Fujitsu is taking another tilt at software-defined storage hardware by announcing that it's going to create a line of appliances that will combine Intel hardware with the Ceph file system. The Japanese company was for some time the only server-maker to bother bundling NetApp's Virtual Storage Appliance. Virtual arrays have …
Firefox OS RHS teaser

Firefox 32 moves to kill MITM attacks

The Mozilla Foundation has stepped up its efforts to improve browser security with the launch of Firefox 32, adding public key pinning to try and protect users from man-in-the-middle and other attacks. The change is among a bunch of enhancements offered in the new version, now available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android users …

TSMC touts IoT as semiconductor growth engine

Taiwanese chip fab TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co) reckons its Next Big Thing is going to be, you guessed it, the Internet of Things. The vendor, whose contract customers (such as Apple) make it a powerhouse of IC manufacturing, expects demand for microcontrollers, image sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth sensors will …