Feeds

Richard Chirgwin

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
Sony PRS-T2 Reader

Sony reads the future, quits e-reader market says German report

Earlier this year, Sony decided to quit the North American e-book market and get Kobo to supply content for readers in the US and Canada. The company then staged similar retreats in Europe and Australia. Now, the former Japanese powerhouse has decided to quit the device market as well – worldwide. According to German site Lesen. …

65 patches later and Java STILL breaks stuff

Software tool vendors are complaining that recent updates to Java are breaking their environments. The problem seems to be in JVM's bytecode verification, in Java 8, Update 11 and Java 7, Update 65. According to InfoQ, developers running into the bug include JRebel (from ZeroTurnaround), the Groovy programming language, the …

'Big data' predicts stock movements, boffins claim

Researchers from the Warwick University's business school reckon they can predict the next crash, by watching Google searches and Wikipedia. The supposed power of Google as a predictive tool has been popular in academia ever since The Chocolate Factory unveiled Google Flu Trends back in 2008. Its usefulness for real-world …

Cisco patches OSPF bug that sends traffic into black holes

Cisco has shipped a patch for a buggy Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing implementation it says offers exploits that include traffic blackholing or interception. As the advisory notes, the vulnerability “could allow an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of the OSPF Autonomous System (AS) domain routing table, …

Danes cram 43 Tbps down ONE fibre using ONE laser

Denmark has hauled in some cable in the ongoing tug-o'-war over who has the fastest fibre, claiming a 43 Tbps record using a single laser. The Ultra High-Speed Optical Communications (UHSOC) group at the Denmark Technical University says its demonstration puts it far ahead of the 32 Tbps record formerly held by the Karlsruhe …

Users should PAY for their piracy says Turnbull

Australia's government is applying its customary confusion to the copyright debate, with the two ministers most associated with the issue giving divergent messages on how best to solve the country's supposedly-chronic piracy. Late last week, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull – one of the two signatories to the leaked-then …

Your fitness tracker is a SNITCH says Symantec

If you're the kind of person whose gadgets auto-tweet your exercise, sex or sleep habits – all vanguard applications of the odiously-named “quantified self” movement – you can be tracked, identified and hacked, according to Symantec. In this post, the security outfit explains that the age-old desire for gadget convenience has, …
The 30m dish at Warkworth, New Zealand

Kiwi satellite earth station recycled – as radio telescope

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is celebrating “first light” from its new radio telescope – a 30m, 30-year-old former satellite Earth station that was once New Zealand's primary link to the outside world. The AUT telescope is now getting ready for a mission studying star formation, the centre of the Milky Way, galactic …

5G about the whole network, not just speed, says Alca-Luminary

So in The Register's ongoing untangling of what 5G might mean, we spoke to Tod Sizer of Alcatel-Lucent. Sizer – Dr Theodore (Tod) Sizer – is Vice President of the Wireless Research Program in Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, and he told El Reg that 5G has to be about more than eye-opening press-dazzling showing off what vendors can do …
Random numbers

Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8

AgileBits wants more apps to use 1Password's strong passwords, and has released an extension on github to that end. The idea is that app developers can grab the extension, write a few lines of code into their apps, and allow their app users to create strong passwords during registration. Naturally, this would also push users …
The quantum cheshire cat

Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low

Imagine this: when Australian cricketer Shane Warne bowled “the ball of the century”, a delivery that drifted one way, then hit the pitch and spun the other, the reason batter Mike Gatting was bamboozled was because the spin took a different path from the ball. That's the phenomenon boffins claim they've observed in experiments …
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Recording lawsuit targets Ford, GM in-car CD recorders

The recording industry has spotted another potential target of tax-by-lawsuit: the auto industry, for in-car media players. In a complaint available at Scribd, the Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies (AARC) names General Motors, Ford, and component suppliers Denso and Clarion as supplying recorders that don't comply with …
The RPi-compatible Odroid-W

Korean vendor launches wearable RPi clone

Korean outfit Hardkernel has snuck out a Raspberry Pi-compatible board it says targets developers with an interest in the wearables and Internet of Things space. Due to ship towards the end of August, the Odroid-W uses the same Broadcom SoC as the popular Raspberry Pi – Broadcom's BCM2835. It includes an RPi-compatible 15-pin …

Cisco's application-centric infrastructure arrives at last

Cisco has quit with the long talk and started the walk, announcing that its Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is to ship as a full solution on July 31. The Borg's “here comes our software-defined networking (SDN) solution” Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) can now be ordered with ACI enabled. Cisco …

Keep your iPhone calls private, whispers Signal

The crew at Open Whisper Systems has announced Signal, an app offering encrypted voice calls between iPhones. The open source group has been working on its projects ever since Whisper Systems, co-founded by Moxie Marlinspike, was acquired by Twitter in 2011 – an acquisition that took its Redphone Android project offline, amid …
cloud

UTAS 13,000 Gflop NECTAR node live

The University of Tasmania has flicked the switch on its new node of the national NECTAR research cloud, under an $8.75 million collaboration with the CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division. Its node, which has been progressively rolled out since May 2014, has 21 Dell AMD Opteron-based C6145 machines with a total 2,668 …
Hacker image

Canada's boffins need A WHOLE YEAR to recover from China hack attack

Canada's CIO has pointed the finger at China over a security breach at the nation's National Research Council. Ongoing attempts to breach the research agency's computers led the NRC to hit the “off” switch on Monday of this week, according to Canada's CTV News. Those attacks had continued for a month. CTV notes that the …
cloud

DARPA collab launches fast cloud-to-cloud provisioning

A DARPA-driven project based on OpenStack has been demonstrated in the US, with the bold claim that it will eventually lead to sub-second provisioning for connectivity between clouds. The world is already familiar with the concept of elastic clouds, with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and World+Dog offering some variant on such …
Facebook privacy image

Ethicists say Facebook's experiments not SO creepy

The Ethical Research Project has weighed into the argument over the ethics of Facebook's “creepy” social contagion research, doing the unthinkable: actually asking ordinary punters how they feel about being lab rats. Interestingly, the study suggests that users might have not felt too badly about the Facebook work, if anyone had …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co pricing under spotlight

NBN Co is considering revising its wholesale pricing model, and has approached the industry for comment. According to industry newsletter Communications Day, the usage-based Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) charge, which has been subject to criticism since it was first announced in 2010, may be either overhauled or eliminated …
Rocket Lab's Peter Beck with a model of Rutherford

Kiwi Rocket Lab to build SUPER-CHEAP sat launchers (anyone know 30 rocket scientists?)

A new outfit launched in Auckland, New Zealand, believes that by next year it'll be ready to sling satellites spacewards for as little as $5m. The only hitch is its need to recruit a few rocket scientists – ah, about 30 – who are prepared to relocate to New Zealand. Rocket Lab has just kicked off an American presence to help the …
Microsoft's Sharks Cove

Microsoft bakes a bigger Pi to cook Windows slabs

Microsoft is looking for a footprint in the mini-single-board-computer market dominated by the Raspberry Pi, with the launch of the Intel Atom-based 'Sharks Cove' machine it hopes will attract developers with an interest in tablets. That's an interesting move: the tablet market is hotly contested, with vendors entering and …
Cat 5 cable

Telcos renew calls to limit metadata retention

Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby has (once again) come out swinging against proposals in Australia to introduce a mass data retention regime, telling a senate committee that the head of ASIO doesn't understand what law enforcement is asking for. Dalby was addressing the …
Candle in the dark

Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency

A fire on the International Space Station (ISS) – intentional of course – has provided hints at the kinds of research needed to make engines on Earth cleaner and more fuel efficient. Surprisingly, the experiments turned up flames burning at lower temperatures than thought possible. In the research, astronauts set fire to large …
Doom

Bitcoin on ATM? Pfft! We play DOOM on ours

Back in January, a Register commentard recalled a magazine cover of days of yore, depicting Doom as if it were running on an ATM: now an Aussie tinkerer has brought the vision to life. As shown in the YouTube video below, the hardware hackers obtained a presumably-retired NCR Personas ATM – one that runs Windows XP – and got id …
Google Chocolate Factory

Google Maps community competition falls foul of Indian regulations

Google has found itself in hot water in India, with the country's Central Bureau of Investigation launching a formal investigation into Google Maps for allegedly publishing the location of sensitive military bases. The problem arose because of a community competition held last year - Google's Mapathon 2013 - in which the …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout

NBN Co – via Telstra Wholesale – has revealed which apartment blocks will be the first to get FTTP under commercial trials of a rollout plan designed to thwart cherry-picking by competitors. The Telstra Wholesale rollout publication (PDF or Excel, here) obliquely identifies suburbs in Sydney (Millers Point and Haymarket), …
Random numbers

Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins

Researchers from Denmark's Aalborg university are claiming that Internet could move traffic five times or more faster than it does today. The downside? Doing away with how TCP/IP currently functions. In this announcement, Aalborg professor Frank Fitzek provides a (somewhat sketchy) outline of what he calls “Random Linear Network …
Google UK office logos

Google outlines research priorities for boffin grants

Google, through luminary Vint Cerf, has given the world a glimpse of its immediate research priorities. You'll be pleased to know that The Chocolate Factory still ranks freedom of speech and expression, Internet governance, standards, accessibility, access and IP protection as things it thinks need more study. In this post from …
Boeing 787 battery fire

BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff

Battery capacity remains a big issue in devices ranging from phones to electric vehicles – and one of the biggest constraints is the materials used to make electrodes. A paper published at Nature Nanotechnology (abstract here), offers a promising lead for improvements as boffins say they've hit on a way to replace today's anode …
CSIRO Parkes radio telescope

Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is warning that two iconic Australian astronomy facilities – the Parkes radio-telescope and the Australia Telescope Compact Array at Narrabri, are at risk of closure after the federal government pulled $AU114 million from the agency's funding. The …
Google Chocolate Factory

Google's Canadian 'memory hole' to continue

Google – and arguably free speech – has suffered another “memory hole” setback in its Canadian wrangle with kit vendor Equustek Solutions, and in response has begun taking down links well beyond Canada where the court case is taking place. As we reported in June, the court battle involves Google only incidentally. Equustek's …

IEEE gets to work on 25G Ethernet MAC standards

The IEEE has launched a study group to give 25 Gbps Ethernet standardisation a push along. Hang on, you might ask, don't we already have Ethernet running at speeds higher than 25 Gbps? Yes, but only as multiple links running in parallel: a 40 Gbps Ethernet connection is four 10 Gbps Ethernet serial links strapped together, and …
Malcolm Turnbull

Lower prices are BAD FOR CONSUMERS, says Turnbull

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has intervened in an Australian Consumer And Competition Commission (ACCC) inquiry, warning Australia's competition regulator not to cut the wholesale price of fixed line services. The letter, co-signed by finance minister Matthias Cormann, warns the ACCC that varying the price of Telstra …

Fortinet fawns over fast-if-unfashionable ASIC

Fortinet is making hefty claims for its latest firewall release. In a world obsessed by squeezing performance out of virtualised functions running on white-box servers, the company is puffing its feathers over a new ASIC it says bestows Terabit-per-second performance on its biggest iron. The ASIC is dubbed NP6, a lower power …
Heating air to create optical waveguide

The answer to faster wireless is blowing in the wind

If you make enough hot air, it'll act as a waveguide for optical signals and behave something like an optical fibre. Don't, however, stick your eye in the beam. To create the “air waveguide” described in this paper at Arxiv, the boffins from the University of Maryland were letting loose at least enough heat to burn paper, …

Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade

Mozilla has released a bug-and-security update for Firefox, with 11 security fixes, three of them critical. Chief among the security patches is a use-after-free bug the organisation says was discovered by one James Kitchener. From the advisory: “Mozilla community member James Kitchener reported a crash in DirectWrite when …
Double Facepalm; when one facepalm is not enough.

Stop begging, startup-land, and start YELLING at Catch of the Day

Thank you, Catch of the Day: in taking three years – three years – to own up to a data breach (and by the way doing it late on a Friday afternoon), Australians have had a first-rate demonstration of why we need data breach disclosure laws. It would be welcome news that the egregious Asshat-of-the-Day episode has finally …
Professor Eryk Dutkiewicz, Macquarie University

All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on

The 5G arms race has commenced, but beneath the duelling “my 5G is faster than your 5G” demos, there's serious work going on – and whatever the future of 5G, that work will change the future of mobility one way or the other. With that in mind, The Register spoke to Professor Eryk Dutkiewicz of Macquarie University. In May, …
Transformer Pulsar J1023

Second galactic flip-flop pulsar surprises boffins

“Where did it go?” is the kind of question astrophysicists love to answer, and work by NASA's Fermi gamma-ray space telescope has helped find out what happened to a radio pulsar that seemed to go dark in 2013. The mystery arose in June 2013: a pulsar's radio beacon vanished to be replaced by a huge increase in its gamma ray …
cloud

VeloCloud stitches together virty WAN

A startup called VeloCloud has taken the wraps off a cloudy WAN-as-service offering designed to help enterprises wean themselves off branch networks using private WAN services like MPLS or T1 links. Talking to The Register, VeloCloud's CEO Sanjay Uppal (an alumnus of Webvan among other things, but let's not hold that against him …
Octoblu's Chrome demo

IoT has too many platforms, says IoT platform startup

Yet another startup wants to take over the business of connecting your Internet of Things devices. Octoblu, which has “emerged” from “stealth mode” (if you don't count Tweets about its financing in May, or its joining the AllSeen Alliance in June) is pitching an open-source platform called Meshblu that connects devices with or …
Keep out sign with deleted expletive

EFF looses Privacy Badger to munch cookies and scripts

Chrome and Firefox users can get a better handle on who is tracking their browsing, with the EFF releasing its Privacy Badger browser plug-in to public beta. Privacy Badger, which went in front of alpha testers in May 2014, both exposes Websites' tracking behaviour and lets users control what sites can see. As the EFF explains …
Job cuts jpeg

Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off

Broadcom is exiting the cellular baseband business, a decision that's has bitten hard, with the company announcing layoffs of around 2,500 employees – around 20 per cent of its total workforce – worldwide. Its latest SEC filing shows the company turned in a loss of $US1 million for the quarter, a collapse from the previous …
Flying pig

Cisco relaunches Developer Network

Cisco has picked up a lipstick-gloss in one hand and a pig in the other, by re-launching its developer program to have another shot at attracting third party coders to its platforms. For not the first time, The Borg has hit upon the idea that getting others writing functions and applications for it is a big chunk of its future. …
Today's bloated CPE

WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

As software-defined networking takes off, it's become the basis of a parallel development: network function virtualisation. NFV is a boon to the data centre. For decades now, giants and minnows of the networking industry alike – Cisco and all of its competitors, along with anybody offering firewalls, WAN optimisation devices and …
Cat yawning

Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil

The world's second-richest man, Carlos Slim, has called for a radical overhaul of the world's working arrangements, suggesting a combination of three-day weeks, longer hours, and later retirement. The Paraguay.com news agency reports Slim's comments, which were made to a business conference in Paraguay called “Growing Together …
A bat swing captured by MAP

Boffins fill a dome with 480 cameras for 3D motion capture

Move over Gollum: Carnegie-Mellon boffins are working on 3D motion capture that works without tracking sensors, and can pull together images from hundreds of sensors. Their work, documented in full here, goes way beyond the motion capture tricks that let Peter Jackson give Gollum and King Kong to the world: they put their …
SK Telecom / Ericsson Elastic Cell

SK Telecom, Ericsson trial 'elastic cell'

SK Telecom and Ericsson have demonstrated a technique they call “elastic cells”, which the two say should improve mobile connectivity in difficult environments. Ever since the earliest days of mobile phones, phones have logged into the base station that presents them with the “best” signal. Each handset is dedicated to the cell …
Hyperbolic map of the internet. Credit: Nature Communications

CAIDA to survey peers, colo sheds and ISPs for new map of internet

CAIDA – the group of router boffins established at the University of California to research 'net traffic and look for solutions to threats to Internet stability – has given itself a new name. If you're thrifty with your letters and don't want to learn a new acronym, you'll be pleased to know that the name change is from the …