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Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's US bureau chief based in San Francisco, California. He spends his days hunting for news, writing headlines, editing articles, penning the occasional feature, managing his team, and various other bits and bobs. His PGP public key can be found here on Keybase over HTTPS. Fingerprint: 1FD3 81D9 6344 FC49 9C5F FBC1 0EC6 E70E 3EB7 9D2E
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook

Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. And it appears Intel is testing that definition – if these internal Intel Powerpoint slides that made their way to a blog called FanlessTech this month are the real thing. The slides suggest that Intel is still plugging …
Chris Williams, 28 Jul 2015

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Exclusive Troubled HP has hit upon what it thinks is a terrific idea to revive its fortunes: tell techies to leave their T-shirts and shorts at home and obey the corporate "smart casual" dress code instead. Some R&D teams within HP Enterprise Services were sent a confidential memo this week reminding them to follow the IT giant's rules …
Chris Williams, 24 Jul 2015
Sad Anonymous

US Census Bureau IT systems hacked, data leaked by Anonymous

Anonymous hackers have swiped databases from servers used by the US Census Bureau, and dumped their contents online. The bureau, as you might imagine, collects information on the American population every 10 years – although the leaked data does not include citizens' census records. The purloined bureau databases include the …
Chris Williams, 23 Jul 2015

Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

Code dive You can bypass Apple's space-age security and gain administrator-level privileges on an OS X Yosemite Mac using code that fits in a tweet. Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged- …
Chris Williams, 22 Jul 2015

Microsoft: Hey, you. Done patching Windows this month? WRONG

Microsoft is urging everyone to install an emergency security update for all supported versions of Windows to fix a remote-code execution vulnerability. Details of the vulnerability were found and reported to Microsoft by security researchers poring over internal memos leaked online from spyware-maker Hacking Team. This …
Chris Williams, 20 Jul 2015

Google, Adobe barricade Flash against hacker hordes – we peek inside

Google's team of computer security gurus have described the anti-hacker defenses they've helped Adobe add to Flash Player. It's hoped that these mechanisms will thwart or frustrate miscreants' attempts to exploit programming bugs in the software, and thus hopefully prevent attackers from hijacking victims' PCs and Macs. The …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015
Malware image

Wicked WikiLeaks leaks considered harmful: Alert over malware lurking in dumped docs

Documents laced with malware have been found in WikiLeaks.org's cache of files obtained from hacked CIA wannabe Stratfor. Intelligence biz Stratfor was ransacked by Jeremy Hammond in late 2011, and its email archives passed to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in early 2012. The Julian Assange™-led organization soon began …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015

Ex-Apple bods suing Apple for bag searches get class-action upgrade

Two former Apple Store staffers suing Apple for searching their bags at work for possible stolen gear have upgraded their legal challenge to a wide-ranging class-action lawsuit. Judge William Alsup approved the class-action status in California's northern district court in San Francisco on Thursday. It means the lawsuit, …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2015
Haswell E5-2600 series die

Intel TOCK BLOCK: 10nm Cannonlake delayed to 2017, bonus 14nm Kaby Lake to '16

Intel has surprised the IT world by changing its plans. Let's break down what's happened. At IDF in 2013, Chipzilla boasted that it could get processors fabricated using a groundbreaking 10-nanometer process onto the market by 2015. It later pushed that date to 2016, and on Wednesday of this week it pushed the new chips back …
Chris Williams, 16 Jul 2015

China reveals home-grown supercomputer chips after Intel x86 ban

ISC 2015 Computer design guru Yutong Lu has outlined her blueprints for China's homegrown supercomputer chips following a US ban on Intel processor exports to the Middle Kingdom. In April it emerged that Uncle Sam had forbidden Intel from shipping high-end Xeon and Xeon Phi parts to China's defense labs and other areas of its …
Chris Williams, 15 Jul 2015
Homer Simpson reading on a tablet

Adobe: We REALLY are taking Flash security seriously – honest

Adobe insists it is working hard to boost the security defenses in its pilloried Flash Player. The Photoshop giant, based in San Jose, California, says it is making an "extensive" push to secure its plugin before another wave of vulnerabilities are revealed in the software. We're told that, as a result of "recent developments …
Chris Williams, 14 Jul 2015

Flash HOLED AGAIN TWICE below waterline in fresh Hacking Team reveals

Updated Two more serious Adobe Flash vulnerabilities have emerged from the leaked Hacking Team files, ones which allow malefactors to take over computers remotely – and crooks are apparently already exploiting at least one of them to infect machines. The use-after-free() programming flaws, for which no patches exist, are identified as …
Chris Williams, 12 Jul 2015

Install OS X El Capitan update – or your apps may do an Ellen Pao

If you're running the first public beta of OS X El Capitan (version 10.11), well, open the App Store application, check for updates, and install the supplemental update. That's because there's a bug in the Apple Mac operating system that "may cause some 32-bit apps to quit unexpectedly." And by quit unexpectedly, we think …
Chris Williams, 10 Jul 2015

The bucks stop here: NYSE freezes trading, blames 'technical issue'

Updated The New York Stock Exchange unexpectedly halted all trading of its listed stocks today at 0832 PDT, 1132 EDT. The freeze is said to be a temporary measure, and NYSE-listed issues on rival exchanges are still trading. The NYSE, owned by Intercontinental Exchange, has blamed technical gremlins. All open orders on the exchange …
Chris Williams, 08 Jul 2015
wham_bang_648

KILLER! Adobe Flash, Windows zero-day vulns leak from Hacking Team raid

Updated Confidential source code stolen from Hacking Team, and subsequently leaked online, has revealed new and extremely serious software vulnerabilities that are exploited by the spyware maker to infect victims' computers. The security holes are used to inject malicious code into PCs; that code installs surveillance tools to monitor …
Chris Williams, 07 Jul 2015

Awoogah: Get ready to patch 'severe' bug in OpenSSL this Thursday

Sysadmins and anyone else with systems running OpenSSL code: a new version of the open-source crypto library will be released this week to "fix a single security defect classified as 'high' severity." The bug, we're told, will be addressed in versions 1.0.2d and 1.0.1p of the software. The vulnerability does not affect the 1.0 …
Chris Williams, 06 Jul 2015
Ford Focus steering wheel. Pic: Simon Rockman

Ford recalls 433,000 cars: Software bug breaks engine off-switch

Ford is recalling 433,000 of its cars as they suffer from a software bug that could prevent drivers from turning off their engines. The affected models include some 2015 Focus, C-MAX, and Escape vehicles. If you're unlucky, turning the ignition key to the off position and removing the key, or pressing the engine stop button, …
Chris Williams, 02 Jul 2015

US mega-hack: White House orders govt IT to do what it should have done in the first place

In response to this week's data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management, the White House has ordered federal agencies to immediately deploy state-of-the-art anti-hacker defenses – things like installing security patches, and not giving everyone the admin password. This groundbreaking cyber-edict comes after dossiers …
Chris Williams, 13 Jun 2015

Nuclear fusion simulator among boffinry tools picked for monster Summit supercomputer

In November, the US government announced it will build Summit, a $325m supercomputer capable of performing 300 quadrillion calculations per second if you redline it. When installed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2017 and powered up by 2018, it will be the fastest computer in the world compared to its publicly known …
Chris Williams, 15 Apr 2015

Intel, Cray bag $200m to build 180PFLOPS super for US nuke boffins

Intel and Cray have landed a $200m deal to build a 180-petaFLOPS supercomputer dubbed Aurora for the US Department of Energy. Intel will provide the chips – expected to include next-gen 10nm Knights Hill processor cores – and Cray will integrate it all together. If you look at the numbers, that's a rather small amount of money …
Tom Wheeler, Chair of FCC. Image by DonkeyHotey

AT&T, Verizon and telco pals file lawsuit to KILL net neutrality FOREVER

America's top telcos are suing the FCC over its efforts to impose net neutrality regulations on US broadband networks. AT&T, Verizon, and others, represented by trade body USTelecom, will drag the Federal Communications Commission to the appeals court in Washington DC in a bid to overturn fresh rules on what ISPs can and can't …
Chris Williams, 24 Mar 2015

AI guru Ng: Fearing a rise of killer robots is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars

GTC 2015 Artificial intelligence boffin Andrew Ng told engineers today that worrying about the rise of evil killer robots is like worrying about overpopulation and pollution on Mars before we've even set foot on it. Ng – chief scientist at Chinese web search giant Baidu and an associate professor at Stanford University – said fretting …
Chris Williams, 19 Mar 2015

IBM's OpenPower gang touts first proper non-Big Blue-badged server

GTC 2015 The OpenPower Foundation unveiled new hardware – including its first commercially available server – at its first OpenPower Summit on Wednesday, a mini-event nestled within Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference in California. The foundation has also forged a relationship with the Facebook-led Open Compute Project, which operates in …
Chris Williams, 19 Mar 2015

My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

GTC 2015 Self-driving cars are "almost a solved problem," Tesla Motors boss Elon Musk told the crowds at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California. But he fears the on-board computers may be too good, and ultimately encourage laws that force people to give up their steering wheels. He added: "We’ll take autonomous cars …
Chris Williams, 18 Mar 2015

Nvidia tears wraps off GeForce Titan X (again) and $10,000 GPU brain for DIY self-driving cars

GTC 2015 Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed the arrival of the GeForce Titan X just a few minutes ago today, dubbing it Nvi's fastest single-chip GPU to date. He also showed off two development kits: a $15,000 deep-learning system, and a $10,000 DIY self-driving car brain. The US chip maker's boss was speaking at this year's GPU …
Chris Williams, 17 Mar 2015

AMD, ARM, Imagination, Samsung alliance publish official shared GPU-CPU blueprints

An effort to tightly knit together graphics chips, processors and other hardware to boost things like video search on your desktop has taken a step forward. The HSA Foundation today officially published version 1.0 of its Heterogeneous System Architecture specification, which (if we were being flippant) describes how GPUs, DSPs …
Chris Williams, 16 Mar 2015

Intel gives Facebook the D – Xeons thrust web pages at the masses

Open Compute Summit Facebook is using Intel's Xeon D processors to build stacks of web servers for the 1.39 billion people who visit the social network every month. The OpenRack server design is codenamed Yosemite, is pictured above, and is available for anyone to use under the OpenCompute project. The hardware "dramatically increases speed and …
Chris Williams, 10 Mar 2015

Apple Watch: HOT WRIST ACTION plus slim $1299 MacBooks - and HBO TV

Hype-gasm It's time for Apple to show off its hardware: the Apple Watch, a shiny and expensive accessory for a shiny and expensive accessory (the iPhone) – plus a new Intel Core M thin MacBook for $1,299, and a HBO Now tie-up with Apple TV. CEO Tim Cook is leading a presentation on the device in San Francisco today. You can watch live …
Chris Williams, 09 Mar 2015
Block diagram of the Power8 chip

IBM's Softlayer cloud to tout bare-metal Power8 boxes by the summer

In brief If you're dying to boot up bare-metal Power8-powered servers hosted in the cloud, today's your lucky day, and not in a I've-got-a-winning-lottery-ticket-outta-here sorta way. On Wednesday IBM will announce that its Softlayer public cloud will offer bare-metal Power8 servers as part of its ongoing OpenPower push. If you really, …
Chris Williams, 04 Mar 2015

Just want a simple, low-power GPU for your smart-gumble? Try using your Imagination

MWC 2015 Getting tired of chip designers bragging how their latest and greatest GPUs are stuffed full of transistors and can process a bazillion polygons a second? Well, Imagination has an antidote – the PowerVR G6020, which is aimed at smartwatches and embedded stuff where a slick 2D user interface is preferred over 3D might. The 400MHz …
Chris Williams, 02 Mar 2015

Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Job The Register is expanding in the States: we're seeking a full-time US Production Editor to work in our San Francisco bureau in California. The successful applicant will work alongside our US editor and four reporters to prepare news, opinion and feature articles on the world of science and technology for our vast and …
Chris Williams, 27 Feb 2015

AMD's new Carrizo: The x86 notebook processor that thinks it's a GPU

ISSCC 2015 AMD claims its new x86-powered Carrizo system-on-chip for notebooks has more transistors and yet consumes less power than the previous generation Kaveri – and has shown off some of its engineering to help back that up. In time for this week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, AMD has …
Chris Williams, 24 Feb 2015

I'm the wire starter: ARM, IBM tout plug 'n' play Internet of Stuff kit

Pics ARM and IBM today hope to lure a few more engineers, tinkerers and the like into their Internet of Things (IoT) world with a cloud-connected development kit bundle. The new Ethernet IoT Starter Kit combines the gizmo-laden mbed Application Shield with a Cortex-M4-powered board from Freescale. You plug the two together, hook the …
Chris Williams, 24 Feb 2015

Anthem, America's second biggest health insurer, HACKED: Millions hit by breach

Hackers have invaded the servers of Anthem, a health insurer used by tens of millions of Americans, and stolen social security numbers, employment records, personal contact details and more. A veritable treasure trove for identity thieves. Anthem, the US's second biggest health insurer with about 70 million people on its books …
Chris Williams, 05 Feb 2015

Watt the CHIP!? ARM pops out THE most powerful 64-bit Cortex for mobes'n'slabs

ARM today reveals its most impressive design yet: the 64-bit Cortex-A72 processor core, aimed at giving next year's smartphones and tablets extra oomph for games and such. We're told a 16nm A72 has about twice the performance of a 20nm Cortex-A57, and consumes about half the power. Chip manufacturers are expected to package four …
Chris Williams, 03 Feb 2015
 photo by kudomomo http://www.flickr.com/photos/kudumomo/

Facebook, Instagram, Tinder TITSUP*: HOW did anyone even find out?

Updated It appears Facebook and its snap-slinging subsidiary Instagram have fallen off the web. Hook-up-finder Tinder is also reportedly having problems. As of 22.45 Pacific Time on Monday, (06.45 UTC Tuesday) the websites and apps are apparently still suffering a widespread outage, which kicked off about 40 minutes ago. Facebook …
Chris Williams, 27 Jan 2015

Lizard Squad gang moves from PlayStation, Xbox Live attacks to Tor

The developers of Tor, the software that tries to mask netizens' identities on the internet, have downplayed the arrival of 3,000 new relays – which are courtesy of a gang of mischief-makers. Tor Project members say the flood of nodes will largely be ignored by the network. The relays were seemingly introduced by Lizard Squad …
Chris Williams, 27 Dec 2014

ISC.org website hacked: Scan your PC for malware if you stopped by

The website for the Internet Systems Consortium, which develops the BIND DNS and ISC DHCP tools, has been hacked. Anyone who recently browsed ISC.org is urged to check their PC for malware as miscreants booby-trapped the site to infect visitors. The website has been replaced by a placeholder page warning netizens of the attack …
Chris Williams, 26 Dec 2014

Intel: Grab these platform shoes and dance to OUR Internet of Things standard

The Internet of Things is becoming the Standards Wars of Things: Intel has now thrown its hat into the ring with its own IoT Platform to connect stuff end-to-end. Announced in the past few minutes at a morning presentation in San Francisco, the platform will describe how to hook up gizmos on the edge – the sensors, the wearables …
Chris Williams, 09 Dec 2014

Exit the dragon: US govt blows $325m on China-beating 300PFLOPS monster computer

Vid The US government has chosen IBM and Nvidia chips to build the world's fastest supercomputer – a 300 petaFLOPS beast that would trounce today's most powerful super: China's Tianhe-2. The Department of Energy has commissioned two supercomputers, it was revealed on Friday: one is a system codenamed "Summit", which will be …
Chris Williams, 14 Nov 2014

Symantec's already virtually split, says letter to suppliers

Symantec's been preparing to split into two entities for about six months, according to a letter sent to the company's suppliers sighted by The Reg. The missive comes from Symantec's procurement team and explains that suppliers won't see any change in the company's behavior “until we complete the separation, which we expect to …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2014
Tim Cook as Mr T

The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters

Live Tweetblurt So here it is, the edge-of-the-seat rollercoaster ride as seen from Vulture West HQ (sadly we lost our invite to Cupertino). We take you now back in time to last night: Today's the AMAZING day, no, MOMENT Apple is expected to launch new MAGICAL iPads – quite possibly the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 – plus perhaps a proper …
Chris Williams, 16 Oct 2014
DNA

Applied Micro: Get lost, PowerPC! We're flinging 64-bit ARM HeliX cores at robots next year

ARM TechCon Applied Micro revealed today that it will ship 64-bit ARM-compatible embedded processors dubbed HeliX sometime next year – leaving behind its legacy PowerPC range of chips. "HeliX is sampling today and it will ship in 2015. We will have production parts shipping that year. It's a done deal," Applied Micro CEO Paramesh Gopi said …
Chris Williams, 02 Oct 2014

Internet of Things? Hold my beer, I got this: ARM crafts OS to rule them all

ARM TechCon ARM will today announce a new operating system called mbed OS: it seeks to smooth over all the differences between various competing system-on-chips so that high-level applications can talk to sensors and other gizmos whether they're using silicon from Atmel, Marvell, ST, Freescale, NXP, and so on. Diagram of mbed OS and server …
Chris Williams, 01 Oct 2014
Tangle of cables attached to a telegraph pole

Meet AMD's pole-dancing 64-bit ARM chip: Hierofalcon wants to be in a mast near you

AMD is today pitching its 64-bit ARMv8 system-on-chip codenamed Hierofalcon at software-defined networks in telcos. Essentially, it thinks the processor can do the job of dedicated hardware better, in terms of size and performance per watt. We're told the processor can have up to eight Cortex-A57 cores, is being sampled by "the …
Chris Williams, 01 Oct 2014

ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7

ARM has had a look at the fridges, speakers and robots that use its Cortex-M series processor cores and decided they need a few maths lessons. The Cortex-M7's block diagram The Brit CPU designer has today revealed its new 32-bit Cortex-M7, which will sit at the top of its its microcontroller-grade family of cores in terms of …
Chris Williams, 24 Sep 2014
Solar flare

Sun's MASSIVE solar storm belch to light up Earth's skies

Video A "significant" solar flare emitted by the Sun on Wednesday will hit our planet over the next few days – most likely causing auroras to appear over certain areas. As a result of an X1.6 solar flare intercepting Earth, a dazzling overhead light display could reach as far south as Maryland in the east of the US and down to Kansas …
Chris Williams, 11 Sep 2014

Is that a 64-bit ARM Warrior in your pocket? No, it's MIPS64

Chip designer Imagination Technologies today went public about its new processor design – the 64-bit MIPS Warrior I6400. It's an ambitious blueprint, aimed at car dashboards, digital TVs and tablets – the usual space for Imagination – all the way up to data center-grade compute, storage and networking kit. In other words, …
Chris Williams, 02 Sep 2014
Two teenage girls - one whispering in other's ear

6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)

1. Facebook has declared war on "click-baiting headlines", slamming them as "spammy". 2. The social network has noticed that lazy, poorly written headlines that lure in readers with an ultimately unfilled promise are almost universally hated 3. BuzzFeed and Upworthy-style 'you won't believe this' garbage is drowning out …
Chris Williams, 25 Aug 2014

Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years

Pics A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook northern Californians out of bed today at 3.20am, shutting down power and wrecking homes in the state's wine country. The Sunday morning tremor was the biggest to hit the Bay Area since the destructive M6.9 quake in 1989. The epicenter of today's shallow quake was just a few miles from Napa, …
Chris Williams, 24 Aug 2014