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Richard Chirgwin

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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 …

Cisco's first 8 Tbps MONSTER router goes live at Telstra

Ten months after the hype first hit the interwebs, Cisco has started pumping electrons through the first live install of its NCS 6008 giant router, at Australian carrier Telstra. Back in September 2013, the Borg described Telstra as one of the customers “deploying the Cisco NCS”, a statement which in retrospect could be …
The VolksPC

Debian Linux, Android share a bed in upcoming distro

A new Linux distribution is looking to overcome the limitations of Debian on ARM, by running both Linux apps and Android apps in native mode. Produced by the group that created the MicroXwin kernel-based X Windows implementation, the VolksPC distribution is designed to give users an ARM-Debian environment that supports Debian's …

Data retention: ASIO says Web browsing habits would need a warrant

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has renewed its call for Australia to implement a data retention regime, with director-general David Irvine telling a Senate committee that it's asking for nothing that doesn't already happen, and promising that it will treat Web browsing differently to e-mail …
Fastpass logical diagram

Kill queues for fast data centres: MIT boffins

MIT researchers hope to speed up networking inside the data centre with concepts that will look familiar to old networking hacks: they propose a central arbiter for network traffic that picks out a predetermined path before a packet is transmitted. The boffins call the scheme Fastpass, and its other characteristic is that the …
management regulation2

Brandon Gray aka Namejuice suspended by ICANN

An accused domain slammer with an international footprint has been temporarily suspended by ICANN, more than a decade after the first complaints about its operations. Brandon Gray Internet Services is accused by ICANN of letting its resellers mine whois for registrant data, which would be used to send “your domain is about to …

Writing about an Australian Snowden would land Vulture South in the clink

Australia isn't just passing a spooks' charter: it's creating a regime in which journalists would be as much at risk as the whistle-blowers whose efforts they chronicle. Here's the bill, and here's the explanatory memorandum. In spite of Attorney-General George Brandis' insistence that the government doesn't intend to target …
ATLAS experiment "candidate event"

CERN data explains how Higgs heavies other matter

Ever since the putative discovery of the Higgs boson in 2011, one of the next-big-thing searches in physics has been to confirm the mechanism by which the exotic particle imparts mass to other particles. Now, a team led by boffins from Brookhaven National Laboratory think they've contrived just such a test. In work conducted at …
Map showing Narrabri in NSW

Supposed 'leader' of LulzSec pleads guilty to hacking, hubris

Matthew Flannery, once paraded by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) as the “leader” of international hacking collective LulzSec, has pleaded guilty to the five remaining charges against him, in Gosford Local Court. Flannery has waited since April 2013 to have the case settled. He is to be sentenced at a later date. At the …
eyeofSauron

Australia gets spooks' charter, new leak penalties

Australia's government has introduced its “spooks' charter” to parliament, wheeling ASIO chief David Irvine in front of a press conference to convince Australians of deadly threats to their liberty that justify the erection of a surveillance state. The new legislation introduces a single warrant covering networks of computers ( …

Fox wants Time to wrap up even more content

Rupert Murdoch, through 21st Century Fox, has launched a $US80 billion unsolicited takeover offer for Time Warner, to a chilly reception from its target. The deal was proposed by Murdoch's vehicle during June, but says that Time Warner “declined to pursue” the proposal. At the moment, Fox says, “We are not currently in any …
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

ACCC should be regulated: Vertigan NBN review

The first slab work by the Vertigan panel, the group assembled to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of Australia's National Broadband Network (NNB), has landed and suggests the industry is happier with dealing with NBN Co than it is with the Australian Competition and Consumer Comission'ss (ACCC's) regulatory processes. Broadly, …
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay

UN to Five Eyes nations: Your mass surveillance is breaking the law

Edward Snowden should be shielded from prosecution because the world needs people willing to expose violations of human rights, says the UN's High Commissioner for Human rights Navi Pillay. Speaking at the launch of a report into digital privacy, Pillay said Snowden's revelations “go to the core” of the UN's concerns about mass …

Data centre Ethernet speed club signs Brocade

The industry consortium formed to boost cloud data centre Ethernet links has signed another member: Brocade Networks. With the current 10/40 Gbps Ethernet spec under stress from growing cloud loads, the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium (a snappy name sure to become more familiar than WiFi) is laying down specs for 25 Gbps (single …

Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT

Elon Musk has taken another step in his transformation into James Bond supervillain, with the FAA granting SpaceX approval to start building its own spaceport in Texas. The FAA has issued a “Record of Decision” (PDF here) stating its support for the issuing of licenses to SpaceX. The facility, to be built near Brownsville, …

Mozilla and Facebook snip a further five per cent from all JPEGs

Just four months after loosing the mozjpeg encoder on a waiting world, Mozilla has updated it to version 2.0, at the same time announcing that Facebook is testing the new iteration. The Social NetworkTM has also slung Mozilla $US60,000 towards the development effort in anticipation of mozjpeg 3.0. Mozjpeg, first released in …

OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh

The embedded Linux distro OpenWRT has updated native IPv6 support – allowing devices to automatically pick up an IPv6 address, as well as an IPv4 one, from an ISP if possible. The release candidate is code-named “Barrier Breaker” and runs the Linux 3.10 kernel. OpenWRT 14.07's improved IPv6 support with DHCPv6 is useful for …
Illustration of Barak Dayan's photonic router

New photonic router works by flipping reflective atom's lid

Quantum boffins from Israel's Weizmann Institute have demonstrated a two-input/two-output router that works entirely with single photons – no electronics required. It's not the first time a photonic router has been demonstrated, but what's different about the Israeli work is that everything is photonic: the device has two …
White flag

Remember when Google+ outed everyone by their real names? Now Google's sorry

In another attempt to get someone, anyone, spending time on Google+, the Chocolate Factory has abandoned its “real names only” policy. The policy has been criticised for its entire existence. The company began deleting accounts that didn't pass its real-names test in 2011, without any particular consistency of enforcement. In …
Dambuster_Mohne_dam_breach

Mandatory data breach laws back on Australian agenda

Australia's on-again, off-again debate about data breach notification laws is on again, courtesy of a report into financial system regulation, at least until the government cans the idea (again). Register readers will recall that a Privacy Alerts bill was proposed by the previous government before the 2013 election, then delayed …
Plaques in the retina fluorescing in a scan

Get an EYEFUL OF CURRY for the sake of your brain

Researchers at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have announced that turmeric – the root that imparts a distinctive yellow colour and subtle flavour to curry – has clinical applications in testing for Alzheimer's disease. The boffins have been working on retinal imaging as a test …

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 …