Richard Chirgwin

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Parrot Ar.Drone

Fire fighters call for no-drone zone around bushfires

Australia faces another serious bush fire season and authorities have warned that fire-fighting helicopters may have to be grounded if drone-owners can't resist the temptation to fly over fire-grounds. ABC News is reporting that the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has asked amateur drone operators to stay away from fires. Last …

Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

If you want to spark a religious war, express an unshakeable preference for a programming language, and by preference, make your favourite something relatively obscure, like Erlang. It turns out, according to a study by a bunch of UC Davis boffins, the differences in code quality between languages are pretty small. To be …
Money image

Luxembourg: Engine-room of the tax-break economy

Four high-profile audit firms have been named-and-shamed as architects of a tax minimisation structure used by hundreds of the world's big-name companies, including a slew in the tech sector. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published details of how the structure worked, along with identifying many …
ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus) is one of six detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) – image by Maximilien Brice CERN/Science photo library

CERN: 2015 restart causes tech rethink

Vid Going beyond “seeing” the Higgs boson to “understanding” it is going to cause a data flood for CERN researchers, and its infrastructure services manager Tim Bell says that's pushed the outfit to increasingly look beyond its own iron. Speaking to the OpenStack summit in Paris, Bell says the challenges even of the old Large Hadron …
Antares rocket fails

Antares apocalypse: Orbital points finger at turbopump FAIL

Orbital Sciences says it's probably going to ditch the Russian-made Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engines it has been using for its Antares launchers. The company says preliminary analysis of the telemetry from its failed launch in late October suggests that a turbopump probably failed in one of the two first-stage main engines. That …

Wanna be Facebook? It just open-sourced some of its web server code. Now to find 1bn users...

Facebook has rolled out another chunk of open-source code, this time a C++ HTTP stack called Proxygen, which includes a web server. Techies at the social network hope other developers will use the BSD-licensed software as the basis of their own web apps, and have included a bunch of “sensible defaults” to get people on their way …
Bitcoin bloodbath

FTC to flog Butterfly Labs' Bitcoin holdings

The US Federal Trade Commission has stuck another pin through Butterfly Labs, obtaining a court order that the company hand over any Bitcoins it had mined for itself. The company had promised potential customers that its US$29,000-plus servers would embiggen punters' Bitcoin wealth to wildest-dreams level. It turned out to be …

Intel Skylake processor release date slipping: reports

Reports in Asia are suggesting that Intel's Skylake processors may be delayed, in spite of Chipzilla's September promise it would ship on time. At IDF 2014, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Skylake would land in devs' hands early 2015 ahead of shipping “by the second half of the year”. If you take that to mean early in the third …
UNSW's Michelle Simmons

Oz quantum researcher to head new journal

Prominent University of New South Wales quantum physicist Michelle Simmons has been tapped to take the reins of a new open access quantum physics publishing venture from Nature, as part of a partnership between the journal house and UNSW. Called npj Quantum Information, the journal is one of Nature's partner series, and the …
cloud

HP links arms with Wind River in NFV tie-up

HP has anointed Wind River as its partner of choice to help it break into the next virtualisation battleground, telecommunication carriers. The two companies announced a partnership to put Wind River's Titanium server into HP's Helion OpenStack implementation. NFV – network function virtualisation – aims to put operations that …
Facebook privacy image

Facebook: We are being SLURPED 24 per cent MORE by govt this year

Governments are trying it on more than ever, with Facebook reporting a 24 per cent rise in requests for information. The Social NetworkTM, recently in receipt of a lambasting from the UK GCHQ's new boss as being an enabler of terrorists, says that a steep rise in requests for information took place in just six months – from the …
The Pirate Bay's new mobile site

Hans Neij of Pirate Bay arrested in Thailand

Another Pirate Bay co-founder has been arrested, this time in Thailand. According to BBC News and other outlets, Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij (TiAMO) was trying to cross into Thailand from Laos when he was collared by Thai police. Neij, along with Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, was sentenced in 2009 and in a 2010 appeal had his …

Apple OSX Yosemite infested by nasty 'Rootpipe' vuln

A Swedish security researcher has turned up a serious vulnerability in OS X “Yosemite”, but details are to be withheld until January, giving Apple time to prepare a patch. The vuln was first described in mid-October, when Truesec posted a YouTube video (below) that sketchily described the existence of the bug. Truesec …
cloud

Ericsson, AT&T demo virty mobile signalling

Ericsson and AT&T have reportedly showed off the next fruit of their cloudy SDN-for-carriers research partnership, demonstrating mobile multimedia control functions operating in a virtualised environment. It's a significant step forward in the carrier network, since CSCF (call session control function) is a key control function …
ISS Red shirt

Space Oddity redux: Hadfield's cover back for two years

It's back: Commander Chris Hadfield's famed ISS-recorded cover of the Bowie classic Space Oddity is getting another two years on YouTube after months of tortuous licence negotiations. As it was the first time around, the Hadfield cover is going to have a limited life. The first time around, he was allowed to leave it up for one …
Dance Your PhD - screen grab

So You Think You Can Conduct Original Research?

This year's Dance your PhD winner has taken a different slant – no, “angle” is a better word – on the now-infamous competition: Uma Nagendra has taken to the flying trapeze ropes to beat off a strong field to take the prize. Her entry (video below) covers a topic that doesn't intuitively lend itself to dance, namely how …
Google Chocolate Factory

Google Calendar jumps into Inbox/Gmail era

Google's refreshed its Google Calendar Android app, and is promising an iOS version to follow. The big-ticket item on the list is that the Calendar will suck stuff out of your e-mails, so (in the limited imagination of those that provide real-world use-cases) an airline confirmation would be spotted in your inbox and would …
Lego Monster Fighters Lord Vampyre

Super-villains of C sought for WORLD CONQUEST plan

If you think like a super-villain, laugh like an anti-hero, and can write code, it's time to polish off the cackle, sharpen up the brain, get extra coffee, and start working on your entry to the Underhanded C contest. The 7th Underhanded C contest seeks, like its predecessors, code that is “readable, clear, innocent and …

Australia Post goes a little bit grey with parcel forwarding service

One of the least-favourite activities of Australian online shoppers, working out who offers a safe and reliable international drop service, has become a bit easier after the national postal service Australia Post entered the market. The deliverators have decided to set up in competition with existing forwarders, at the same time …
ipv6 logo

IPv6 web starts to look like the internet we know

Hurricane Electric's daily report on IPv6 adoption isn't the kind of thing you'd report on too often, but Vulture South sometimes takes a look in case the internet suddenly woke up and decided to ramp up its deployment of the addressing scheme. Germany is the largest national IPv6 top-level domain (TLD) with 13,155,766 domains, …

Alca-Lu stems bleeding, squeezes costs

Alcatel-Lucent is slowly stemming the flow of blood, with IP routing its stand-out performer in the company's most recent quarterly results. In a set of often-depressing sales numbers, the company's IP routing revenues rose 2.2 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2013, the company said. That, however, wasn't enough to …

Singapore plots photonic future with new research institute

Singapore is to boost its footprint in photonics research, slinging $SGD80 million (USD$64 million) at a collaboration between the Nanyang Technical University (NTU) and the UK's University of Southampton. The University of Southampton says the NTU's new Photonics Institute will conduct work from basic research up to engineering …
Malcolm Turnbull

Offshore metadata storage fine by me, says Malcolm Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has told the telecommunications industry he doesn't think Australian telecommunications carriers should be required to hold stored customer data within Australia. Data sovereignty has become a hot-button privacy topic in Australia with the rise of the cloud, and with the government's own …
DHS-supplied pic of an unidentified female sneezing

Google hopes to cure its 'flu sneezes

Google has responded to criticism of its Flu Trends, and decided that as well as big data, it needs real data. As noted earlier this year, search data alone overpredicts influenza outbreaks, because there are so many symptoms that can lead people to ask the all-seeing eye “do I have the 'flu?” The response, announced by the …

Cisco makes ACI control more programmable

Cisco has released a command-line toolkit for its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), freeing sys admins from the tyranny of the GUI. The company describes its ACI Toolkit as a combination of “an NX OS-like CLI and some custom Python scripts” that cover the most common daily configuration and admin tasks. The toolkit also …
eyeofSauron

Oz gov lets slip: telco metadata might be available to civil courts

Comment A series of slips by the nation's top cop followed by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has made Australia's data retention bill even more of a potential horror than it seemed when it was introduced last week. It started with the Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin saying that stored telecommunications …
FBNetworkdiagram

Facebook says vendor secrets forced it to homebrew switches

It's four months since Facebook first launched its Wedge switch and accompanying FBOSS operating system. Some forms of Wedge are in production and others are in testing, so El Reg decided to talk with Facebook's VP of network engineering, Najam Ahmad, to see where The Social Network is at with its software-defined networking ( …
Laser ablation to speed rockets

Plasma-spaffing boffins plan spaceships driven by FRIKKIN' LASERS

Russian boffins reckon with the right configuration, lasers can help make rockets more efficient, and could even herald an era of Mach 10 aircraft. Laser-driven propulsion isn't just the domain of the sci-fi fan. The aim of any rocket propulsion system is to take some kind of mass, and heat it up to generate thrust. The amount …
cloud

Remember Internet2? It's now a software-defined metacloud

America's Internet2 research network is embracing the cloud, launching an SDN implementation designed to let academics create their own private clouds. The SDN rollout uses the FlowSpace Firewall to slice up segments of connected campuses' 100 Gbps Internet2 connections into discrete slices whose resources are protected from …
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Twitter, IBM, in deal to create brainy Big Blue Bird

IBM and Twitter have assembled their buzzwords, ranked them into a regiment, and jointly set them loose to march upon a waiting world, by announcing that the avian network will feed data galore to Big Blue's cloudy enterprise big data analytics offerings. Did El Reg add that the pair are promising to transform businesses and …
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

Microsoft opens Office 365 to devs with APIs, SDKs

Microsoft is putting its Office 365 crown jewels on display, opening up APIs to the environment to attract third-party developers to the platform. The APIs are yours for the taking here, along with resources and guides for developers. Microsoft imagines applications such as integrating a reservation system with a user's calendar …

The NO-NAME vuln: wget mess patched without a fancy brand

Sysadmins: another venerable and nearly-ubiquitous *nix tool, wget, needs patching because of a bug first reported by HD Moore. As the Red Hat Bugzilla report describes, the bug was a beauty: a recursive directory fetch over FTP would let an attacker “create arbitrary files, directories or symbolic links” due to a symlink flaw …
Earth and moon from Chang'e 5t1

China lunar mission readies for return to Earth

China's Chang'e 5T1 mission has passed its half-way point, rounding the far side of the Moon and beginning its brief trip to Earth for its scheduled October 31 return. The mission is a test run for a 2017 trip that will drop a lander on the Moon and collect samples for return to Earth. The current mission is slated to touch down …
server room

Bangkok gets 'net exchange with help from ISOC

The Internet Society has nominated Alcatel-Lucent to supply kit for a new Internet exchange in Bangkok. BKNIX will use the company's 7750 Service Router. The exchange is being built with the help of ISOC's Interconnection and Traffic Exchange (ITE) program, and should be operational by December of 2014. With rapid traffic …
Picard Facepalm

Deloitte's dumb rules stop us from telling you about everyone else's dumb rules

Deloitte Access Economics in Australia is pitching the idea – quite possibly correct – that corporate bureaucracy is more costly than government regulation. It's an attractive enough idea, especially in a country where the government has trumpeted as “red tape reduction” the repeal of legislation covering the phase-out of the …
Telstra logo

Telstra (re)launches am app store (again)

Telstra has taken the defibrillator to the in-house app store idea, announcing the business-focussed Telstra Apps Marketplace. Launched with two apps – DocuSign (digital transactions) at AU$10 a month and Box (collaboration) at $6.60 a month – the marketplace is pitched as “a one-stop shop to find, buy, and use today’s best …
CSIRO's Workspace - workflow screen editor

Top research shop releases free boffinware for all

Updated with video Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which lists the formative work behind WiFi among its successes, wants to boost researcher productivity, and has published a free-for-boffins scientific tool called "Workspace" to help. Workspace is designed be a generic environment for researchers …

Cisco and friends chase WiFi's searing speeds with new cable standard

Cisco is buddying up with three semiconductor companies to push Cat 5e and Cat 6 connections beyond the gigabit mark, to bring the Ethernet world into line with speeds on the table from future WiFi network standards. The Borg, along with Freescale, Xilinx and Aquantia, has looked at enterprise cabling and found it wanting: while …
Bored girl

Cray-cray Met Office spaffs £97m on VERY AVERAGE HPC box

The UK's Met Office has settled on Cray as the vendor for its next supercomputer, with a 16 petaflop XC40 machine* to be shared between the Met Office and Exeter Science Park. The £97m HPC box will give the Met Office 13 times more supercomputing muscle than it is currently able to flex. The weathermen want to improve the …
Bohr atomic model

NTT thinks it's defined the PERFECT AMPERE with a cunning trap

Researchers from NTT in Japan have demonstrated what they hope will be that company's contribution to the definition of a new ampere: single electron transfer in silicon, at relatively high speed in a charge-confining trap. The accurate transfer of electrons in one direction provides a high-accuracy measurement of current flow, …

Faster, Igor! Boffins stuff 255 Tbps down ONE fibre

The 2014 game of “leapfrog with fibre speed records” has a new and probably temporary leader, with boffins from China, the US and The Netherlands claiming a 255 Tbps record in a single fibre over 1 km. As always with such things, it pays to understand the conditions under which the boffins are claiming the record, and the …
Big Switch Networks logo

Got $100k to spare? Try this cloudy SDN starter kit

Big Switch is pitching a starter kit for the BCF bare-metal-plus-SDN combo it launched at the end of September. BCF – Big Cloud Fabric for those who aren't paying by the word – is a data-centre-targeted offering in which the brainpower is abstracted to a fabric controller operating either as a cluster of virtual machines, or as …

Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email

Yet another round of Shellshock attacks is emerging, according to the SANS Internet Storm Center – this time, botnets are tapping hosts over SMTP. At the moment, the report is sparse, with the ISC diary post stating merely that Shellshock exploit attempts are travelling over the mail protocol because “the sources so far have all …
BAE Systems Railgun

BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army

BAE Systems, which has been working with the US Navy on its futuristic railgun weapon project, has suggested the Mach 7 electromagnetic metal-slinger could be useful for the next generation of the US Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Brit company made the comments at the Association of the US Army annual conference, according …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

An 'embed' link isn't a new infringement, says EU Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice has decided that even an unauthorised video can be embedded by a third party without creating a new infringement. The case, reported by TorrentFreak, centres around a dispute by a water filtering company, BestWater International, and a couple of men who work as contractors for a competitor (their …
cloud

HP releases OpenStack cloud

HP has put its stamp on the world of OpenStack clouds, with its Helion OpenStack community edition code general availability, as of today. Helion OpenStack starts with a community edition available now, which the company says is suitable for proof-of-concept and pilot deployments, based on the Icehouse release. The company's …
opensuse 13 beta 1 screen shot

OpenSUSE tidies up disto model ahead of 13.4

OpenSUSE has rolled up its Factory and Tumbleweed into a single project that will carry the name Tumbleweed from November 4. The devs had created a measure of confusion among users by elevating Factory – once an indicator of the current unstable code-cut – to the same rolling-release status as Tumbleweed. As Linuxveda writer …
Hacked sarcasm

Pesky POS poison won't Backoff

Infections from the Backoff point-of-sale malware are still rising in America, according to security bods from Damballa. The company reckons it spotted a 57 per cent rise in Backoff detections in August and September 2014, and a 27 per cent rise in September alone. In August, the malware had already hit 1,000 US businesses, …
Jersey cow

Oz trade minister RUBBISHES TPP fears

Australia's trade minister has taken a swipe at critics of the Trans Pacific Partnership, accusing them of spreading “misinformation” about a trade treaty that's been kept as secret as possible since its inception. In response to criticism from consumer watchdog Choice about the deal, Robb told ABC Radio “Those who are opposed …

Boffins want to put Quanta in containers, after docking

Don't laugh: a group of Japanese and Australian boffins want to use container ships to carry around entangled quanta. Entanglement is hard to maintain over any great distance – a few tens of kilometres through optical fibre, a hundred or so through the atmosphere – because of noise. Repeaters are forbidden by the “no-cloning …