Richard Chirgwin

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
Manchester BSOD

BSODs of the week: From GRUB to nagware

It's not always Microsoft's fault. Some of the dozens – literally – of submissions El Reg has received documenting Windows in a state of public undress show the world's most beloved operating system weeping because something else failed. Such as if the bootloader is corrupted or trying to find a hard drive that's not there. …
Daisywheel with Courier font

Bash batch: Patch, natch

The maintainers of the Bourne Again Shell – Bash, to its friends – shipped Version 4.4 on Friday. The announcement is here. Version 4.4, supplanting 4.3, rolls up the full set of Shellshock vulnerability patches, and it includes a new Readline (the software library that handles history and line editing). The changelog is …

Emacs and Vim both release first new updates in years

The first major Emacs update in four years landed over the weekend, a few days after Vim had its first big release in a decade. One major improvement to the 40-year-old Emacs is a configuration option to load dynamic modules at launch, for functions developers need but which Emacs doesn't yet support. Mastering Emacs author …
NSA

Cisco plugs another 'Shadow Brokers' hole

Cisco's post-Shadow Brokers security review has uncovered an IKEv1 vulnerability that can leak memory contents of its (deprecated) PIX firewalls and various IOS environments. Don't delay the patch, because the investigation found the bug was exploited in “some Cisco customers”. It attributes the bug to “insufficient condition …
Files in manager's desk drawers: manila folder marked "Redundancies". Image via shutterstock

Skype shuts down London office, hangs up on hundreds of devs

It's hardly surprising, really: having replaced the peer-to-peer Skype with a client-to-cloud version, Microsoft's now shuttering the London development office it inherited when it bought the VoIP application. First reported by the Financial Times, the decision to “unify some engineering positions” also affects Yammer …
FACEPALM

United States Air Force grounds F-35As after cooling kit cracks up

The “ready for combat” F-35 has run into headwinds again, with 15 of the F-35A variant grounded in America because cooling line insulation is cracking up. Various reports state that the problem is non-conforming insulation in lines carrying coolant in the plane's wings. The F-35 passes its poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) coolant …

'Oi! El Reg! Stop pretending Microsoft has a BSOD monopoly!'

Last week, we asked readers for Linux BSODs, and ever-resourceful, you've gone beyond the call of duty and provided oddities that reach beyond our expectations. Mark yourselves down as “KPI exceeded”. Linux Airbus BSOD For the above image, Paulo kicked things off with a complaint that we're becoming a kind of anti-shill for …
Man peers into fridge with odd look on his face. Photo by shutterstock

Printers now the least-secure things on the internet

The Internet of Things is exactly as bad a security nightmare as pessimists think it is, according to Bitdefender's Bogdan Botezatu. The senior threat analyst at the Romanian security software company called by to chat to Vulture South while in Australia (we were, I suspect, meant to discuss the company's 2017 launches, but …

A nice long pub crawl is good for your health, if you stay on your feet

It's probably just as well as the walk to the fifth pub takes a lot longer than the first four, because according to a four-country collaboration of sports boffins, exercise helps offset ethanol. Succinctly: it seems 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, say on a Friday night when you're hunting down the post-pub nosh, …

Microsoft to slap Slack with Skype – reports

A report – and a job ad – have popped up suggesting that in the wake of its aborted multi-billion-dollar Slack acquisition, Microsoft's gearing up to roll Slack-like capabilities into Skype. News that Skype will slack off broke at MS Power User. While The Register can't verify the details in that post, it's clear that …
Artist's view of a binary black hole. Pic credit: NASA, ESA and G Bacon (STScI)

Oz universities plan big iron to look for gravitational waves

A new supercomputer is one of the goodies that Australia's Swinburne University will get in a newly-launched gravitational wave research project. The university's professor Matthew Bailes is leading an AU$31.3 million initiative called OzGRav, and is drawing together local researchers who already have experience in …
NASA's exploding star illustration

US Dept of Energy flings cash at exascale simulators

America's Department of Energy (DoE) has announced US$39.8 million in funding for the first round of grants in its Exascale Computing Project. The winners include 15 applications covering 22 projects with 45 research and academic participants. This round of funding covers modelling and simulation applications “with a focus on …

Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app

We shouldn't encourage readers to waste their time like this, but it's the kind blend of wonderful insanity that springs from a sysadmin with time on his hands: an enterprise instant messaging platform that runs in Excel. Of course, nobody would want to deny Microsoft the chance to stub its toe properly by writing its own …
News room with blur motion effect

Google malware scare plan

Google has expanded the malware warnings its Safe Browsing gives Web admins. As detailed in this blog post, it's offering more detailed reasons for why users are told “this site might harm your computer”. When you curb your outrage and log in, you'll now be told whether the problem is that you've been popped and are serving …

Spoof an Ethernet adapter on USB, and you can sniff credentials from locked laptops

Security consultant and blogger Rob Fuller has turned a USB SoC-based device into a credential-sniffer that works even on locked machines. Fuller's attack works by modifying the dongle; when it's plugged in, it installs and makes itself the victim's network gateway, DNS server, and WPAD (Web proxy autodiscovery protocol) …

Hello, Fortinet? Could you patch these vulns please?

Fortinet's load balancer has been found to include a bunch of vulnerabilities, and so far, the Carnegie-Mellon CERT hasn't been able to determine whether or not they've all been patched. In its advisory, the CERT says FortiWAN is subject to command injections, information exposure, and cross-site scripting attacks. As the …
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

Qualcomm, AT&T get together to test mobe networks for delivery drone control

What drones need is 4G connectivity, Qualcomm reckons, and it's put together a deal with AT&T to prove it. Fair enough, we suppose: if Facebook or Amazon or Domino's want genuine business cases for drone deliveries (rather than stunt-demos for credulous journalists) they'll need some kind of connectivity and 4G networks are …
Xeon E3-1500 v5

Hardcore core-to-core comms core-alled into hardware

Intel and boffins at the North Carolina State University have cooked up a framework that coordinates core-to-core communications in hardware rather than software. This work is important because to keep processing power scaling up, you want the overhead of multi-core computing processes to stay down. The CAF – core-to-core …
Telstra from Shutterstock

Union: Telstra seeking 120 redundancies in network ops team

Telstra's 2015 miss on major National Broadband Network (NBN) construction contracts is biting the carrier's networks delivery operation, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) says there are to be 120 redundancies as a result. The union says it's been notified by Telstra that the redundancies will be voluntary. However, …
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Australia boards the slow boat to Brexit

Australia reckons it can be the first to secure a free trade deal with what's left of the UK post-Brexit, with the two countries to create a trade working group next year. The process is certain to be comically slow: as readers of The Register has already reported, merely negotiating Brexit is going to be a long, slow process …

Lose a satellite? Us? China silent on fate of Gaofen civilian/spy sat

It wasn't just a bad week for SpaceX: China's is mourning the loss of an Earth observation satellite launched on September 1. As US space blog NASA Spaceflight notes, there's no official statement on the fate of the Long March mission that was supposed to lift Gaofen (“high resolution”) 10 into orbit. That's a hint that not …

Google plots cop detection for auto autos

Google has decided it's a good thing if its autonomous vehicles know when there's an emergency services vehicle in the vicinity, and has scored a patent for doing so. Since the Chocolate Factory's autonomous bubbles won't go particularly fast any time they're on a straight patch of road and can't see a cop, the idea is to help …
Kepler

Second 'dimmer switch' star spotted

One curious case of “what's that?” in astronomy is a puzzle: two gets astrophysicists on the way to an answer. An oddly-dimming star called EPIC 204278916 (EPIC in this article) might help boffins understand the “Dyson sphere” (no, it's not) Tabby's star. The group led by Simone Scaringi from the Max Planck Institute for …
Android 6 Marshmallow Logo

Nougat for x86 lands

Developer-level code to run Android Nougat on x86 machines has landed. It's still a little don't-try-this-at-home affair, but the RemixOS devs needed a few days of Nougat (Android 7.0) for to get their branch ready. Nougat features like multi-window mode and split screen are supported, but the Nougat file manage is still …

Samsung Australia waves white phlag in phlaming phablet recall

Samsung Australia recalled all of the Galaxy Note 7 phablets-come-firelighters sold in Australia. Announced yesterday here, the recall will have the company scrambling to find 51,060 devices for replacement. The company had been working through the problem with its vendors to identify the “tiny problem in the manufacturing …