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Old scanned snap of two "Mods" on a scooter. By Sergio Calleja  http://www.flickr.com/photos/24899877@N00/101627303 Licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Microsoft tries to trademark 'Mod' in the US

Microsoft is attempting to trademark the phrase “Microsoft Mod” in a move being interpreted as step towards renaming the Windows 8/8.1 interface. The software giant in December lodged a wordmark filing with the US Patent and Trademark office (USPTO) to claim “Microsoft Mod” and “Microsoft Office Mod.” The filings were uncovered …
Gavin Clarke, 02 Jan 2014

Glassholes, snapt**ts, #blabbergasms, selfies and PRISM: The Reg's review of 2013

"Selfie" is the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year. There's nothing new about a "selfie" - it's a self-portrait - but a perfect storm of social networks and smartphones has given popularity to a word and an act even world leaders feel it's OK to do on really serious occasions. In keeping with a long tradition here at …
Gavin Clarke, 31 Dec 2013

HP clampdown on 'unauthorised' server fixing to start in January

Hewlett-Packard will start restricting who is allowed to fix its ProLiant servers starting in the new year. HP is changing the way it delivers firmware updates for ProLiant systems from January, The Reg had learned, so only HP or HP-authorised partners are allowed to receive and install the patches. According to a leaked …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Dec 2013
Red Hat Shadowman logo

Red Hat snuggles up to Dell with 'enterprise grade' OpenStack offer

Dell and Red Hat will work together to propagate OpenStack clouds running the Linux distro, in what the PC maker claims is a first. The pair have announced they will jointly develop "enterprise grade" private clouds that are based on Dell hardware and Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. The first fruits are due next …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Dec 2013
Outlook.com logo

Microsoft: Here, we'll make it easy for you Gmail lot. Meet our Outlook.com movers

Microsoft is opening a new front against Gmail with a special moving service to lure Gmailers to Redmond's relaunched Outlook.com email service Redmond today announced new functionality in Outlook.com that it claimed would take the heavy lifting and hard work out of abandoning Gmail for Microsoft's service. Microsoft's Naoto …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Dec 2013
SAP HANA

Want more software built for HANA? Cry us a River, SAP. Oh wait, you have

SAP is embracing open-source developers to promote its flagship HANA in-memory data and application architecture. The software giant announced today SAP River, a hosted development environment for building native backend applications using HANA. SAP River will be available worldwide on the company's HANA Cloud Platform, aka …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Dec 2013

Amazon won't break into sweat about Google's cloud. Yet

When Google took the wrapper off its Amazon-like Compute Engine service last week, investors in rival cloud companies – including Amazon – panicked. Shares in Amazon and the OpenStack-backer Rackspace fell as investors feared Mountainview would translate its dominance of internet search and ads to cloud hosting. There's …
Gavin Clarke, 09 Dec 2013
Barack Obama in the Oval Office

Salesforce CEO Benioff offers Obama 'free' Healthcare.gov web fix

Salesforce.com's chief Marc Benioff has offered to help Barack Obama fix his struggling online healthcare exchange for free. The hosted CRM executive is reported to have offered to re-build the entire HealthCare.gov web site and host it without charge for five years. The report didn't say where or how Benioff proposed to host …
Gavin Clarke, 06 Dec 2013
Happy child at Christmas with a tablet

Microsoft 'cautiously optimistic' about Christmas sales

Microsoft is quietly confident it can avoid a repeat of the pantsing it took last Christmas with a triple consumer hit of Windows 8.1, Surface 2 and Xbox One. Terry Myerson, installed chief of all things Windows operating system at Microsoft in a massive Microsoft re-org during the summer, told Wall St yesterday there’s growing …
Gavin Clarke, 05 Dec 2013
Barack Obama in the Oval Office

Obama's US website woes won't hurt us, says NoSQL Euro chief

MarkLogic's European business chief reckons fallout from US president Obama's online health insurance marketplace won't hinder public sector deals here - and it might even help. The website, HealthCare.gov, is a key part of the 2010 Affordable Healthcare Act, which aims to give millions of uninsured US citizens access to health …
Gavin Clarke, 05 Dec 2013
Steve Ballmer and Tony Bates

Brit-boy Bates is Silicon Valley's pick for Microsoft's CEO

Could a Briton end up running quintessential American multinational Microsoft, the world’s largest software company? Or, put another way: could an exec who only briefly ran a small loss-making telco end up in charge of a $73bn business? Why the hell not, if you’ve got the Silicon Valley mindset. London boy Tony Bates, born in …
Gavin Clarke, 02 Dec 2013

Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

Windows 7 beat Windows 8.x in trench-war battle for growing market share in November. Netmarketshare stats for the month found Windows 7 had increased its share of desktops from 46.42 to 46.64 per cent of machines. This meant it outpaced the Windows 8.x family, which gained just 0.05 per cent. Windows 8 fell from 7.53 per cent …
Gavin Clarke, 02 Dec 2013
Emanuel Loertscher, photo: IBM Research

Inside IBM's vomit-inducing, noise-free future chip lab

There’s a bunker inside IBM Research's labs in Zurich which will make you want to throw up - at least according to its architect. It’s a white room - literally. The walls are covered in white foam-like, patterned tiles. But it’s a room that has been specially engineered to block out any interference from any source - noise, …
Gavin Clarke, 02 Dec 2013

Google decides Chromecast TV-stick apps are a whole NEW THING

Google is making it simpler to find media apps for Chromecast: just as another startup seeks to confront the ad giant in the TV dongle market with its own crowd-sourced option. Google has added a section to its Play Store that appears designed to group media streaming apps, suitable for its Chromecast HDMI-n-USB dongle, for …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Nov 2013
Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate

Assange flick The Fifth Estate branded 'WORST FILM OF THE YEAR'

Julian Assange hero flick The Fifth Estate has proved the year’s biggest film loser. The Benedict Cumberbatch helmed vehicle black listed by the film’s real-life muse made just $6m worldwide on a budged of $28m. That means the film recovered just 21 per cent of the cash spent by studio DreamWorks and its owner Disney. The money …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Nov 2013
Muscular man stripping off his shirt

Salesforce stuffs CRM dollars into Benioff's package

No wonder Marc Benioff is feeling relaxed. Salesforce is increasing his multi-million-dollar package by more than a fifth. Benioff is getting a 20 per cent bump in base salary to $1.44m – up from $1.2m - for fiscal 2015, starting on 1 February. The CEO has been allocated a top up of 1,849,441 shares of common stock too. …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Nov 2013
Artist's impression of thunder-thighs kicking a lesser dinosaur into touch. Pic: UCL

COMPLETE, FIFTY-FOOT DINOSAUR sold to MYSTERIOUS, reclusive bidder for £480k

A rare skeleton of one of the largest creatures ever to walk the Earth has been sold at auction for nearly half a million quid to a mystery buyer. A near complete 17-metre-long Diplodocus longus skeleton, aged 150 million years and widely thought to be a female, was sold for £480,000 ($779,856) on Thursday by Summers Place …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Nov 2013

Halfway through Meg Whitman's HP turnaround time: Is it working?

Two years in, is Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman’s recovery plan bearing green shoots? The company beat gloomy Wall Street projections for the fiscal fourth quarter and 2013 year. HP’s top line still took a battering but PC sales were not as bad as expected – and better than IDC’s estimated decline for the market. Whitman told …
Gavin Clarke, 27 Nov 2013

Dropbox joins Linux patent protection hit squad

A company launched to defend Linux on PCs and servers is turning its attention to venture-backed cloud startups and mobile. The Open Invention Network (OIN) has revealed Dropbox is its latest licensee, potentially shielding the cloud document-sharing service from patent attackers. OIN owns an artillery of patents covering Linux …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Nov 2013

Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang joins board of Oracle rival Workday

Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang is taking a hand in the affairs of fast-growing Oracle and SAP competitor Workday. Workday announced on Monday that Yang had joined its board, where he’ll lend his experience helping build its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) service. The company is banking on Yang’s experience in building …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Nov 2013

Salesforce $1m hackathon win under scrutiny after brouhaha

Salesforce is investigating the finalists in its $1m mobile apps hackathon to ensure the competition’s rules weren't broken. The $1m hackathon grand prize was presented by Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff during his annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, California, to start-up Upshot co-founders Thomas Kim and …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Nov 2013
Google Chrome logo

Google: Hey, devs - grab ahold of our Chromecast pipe and work it

Google is working on a webbified development to build the “next generation” of Chrome Apps. One of the search titan’s employees has revealed the existence of a Chrome App-based development environment codenamed Spark. Spark is built using Dart, the company’s planed alternative to Javascript, Googler Francois Beaufort revealed …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Nov 2013

Ultimate Doctor Tom Baker REGENERATES, RETURNS to WHO

Tom Baker is reportedly breaking his legendary Who hiatus to appear in tomorrow’s BBC TV special, the Day of the Doctor - marking Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. And you'll be able to check El Reg tomorrow for coverage. With his flowing scarf, 1970s ‘fro and pockets full of jelly babies, Baker left an iconic mark on the sci-fi …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Nov 2013

Lead ONTO your pencil: Bill Gates pours cash into graphene condoms

A graphene condom so thin that blokes won’t look for excuses to avoid using it is on its way, thanks to Bill Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $100,000 to University of Manchester boffins who’ve proposed making condoms built using the wonder-material, so far earmarked for use in electronics and computing …
Gavin Clarke, 22 Nov 2013
Hortonworks logo

Rob 'Flipper' Bearden plans to FLOAT his Hadoop heffalump

To some, Rob Bearden is a hero. In just a few years, the venture capitalist flipped two open-source startups, turning diamonds in the rough into gems in the corporate M&A crown. In 2006, he sold app server disrupter JBoss to Red Hat within a few years of joining for an estimated $350m, and just a year after joining SpringSource …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Nov 2013

Ballmer: Microsoft stronger without Bing and Xbox tinkering

Steve Ballmer has spoken to shareholders of his vision of a diversified Microsoft which includes both Bing and Xbox, with the backing of the tearful Bill Gates. Ballmer said Tuesday that under the re-org that he announced this summer, Microsoft won’t be limited to a single set of activities, rather it would span “a family of …
Gavin Clarke, 20 Nov 2013
big droplets falling from rain cloud

Salesforce, HP pit newly grown 'Superpods' against Amazon jungle

Salesforce is partnering with Hewlett-Packard in a huge strategic nudge to make Marc Benioff’s cloud company more like Amazon. Salesforce today announced it is giving customers the option of taking out dedicated instances on its vaunted multi-tenant cloud. This marks the first time the customer relationship management (CRM) and …
Gavin Clarke, 19 Nov 2013
Applied Graphene's Jon Mabbitt, photo: Applied Graphene Materials

Brit graphene maker poised to go public: Yes, wonder stuff WILL float

A British startup whose goal is to seriously expand production of graphene and push Blighty to the front of a global race goes public on Wednesday. Applied Graphene Materials will IPO on London's AIM stock exchange with the goal of raising £11m from investors hungry to get in on the ground floor of what’s been hailed as a " …
Gavin Clarke, 19 Nov 2013

Salesforce forces Force sales-force sales: Or tries to anyway

Salesforce is rebooting its mobile strategy, reportedly killing existing versions of its mobile CRM software-as-a-service in exchange for an Android and iOS love-in. The company has announced Salesforce1, a new CRM platform that it claims will make it easier to build and customize Salesforce services for Apple and Google …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Nov 2013
Cloud security

DropBox puts locks on doors, hopes biz bods will buy the house

DropBox is tightening up its service for businesses rather than risk getting kicked out by security-conscious CIOs. The collaboration service, hyped by Silicon Valley, will start offering secure and remotely managed connections between people's personal and business DropBox accounts on PC and mobile from next month. Its DropBox …
Gavin Clarke, 15 Nov 2013
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

'Planned maintenance' CRIPPLES nearly HALF of all Salesforce instances in Europe, US

Botched network maintenance has been blamed for a huge crash at Saleforce’s data centres, taking out customers’ CRM and data services across the US and Europe. Seven of Salesforce’s 17 North American instances and two out of four in EMEA went down. Servers started dropping out just before 2am UTC on 15 November, with outages …
Gavin Clarke, 15 Nov 2013
IBM Watson QA Power7 cluster

IBM. HUMAN-crushing SUPERCOMPUTER Watson. The Cloud. You know where THIS is going

IBM is exposing the super computer brain that crushed puny humans in a TV quiz show to the entire internet. Big Blue announced its IBM Watson Developers Cloud on Thursday, inviting all comers to build big data apps that tap the cognitive powers of its Watson super computer. The idea is to tempt application authors keen on …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Nov 2013
Steve Ballmer

Departing Ballmer shakes up Microsoft's top engineering boffins

Steve Ballmer has shuffled some Microsoft top boffins around, using his closing days as CEO to cement his massive summer re-org. Harry Shum, Bing engineering chief and ex Microsoft Research managing director for Asia, has been named executive vice president of technology and research. Shum replaces Eric Rudder who has been …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Nov 2013
The Tardis: Oooo-eee-ooooo © BBC 1963, Courtesy of BBC Worldwide

Want to BUILD YOUR OWN Tardis? First, get a star and set it spinning...

A joke was doing the rounds at CERN two years ago: “Knock, knock.” “Neutrino.” “Who’s there?” The inspiration for the gag were CERN boffins working on the OPERA (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment. They had apparently found that a group of sub-atomic particles called neutrinos had broken a …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Nov 2013

New Internet Explorer chief is man behind Windows Phone reboot

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) has a new chief - the exec who has led the company’s Windows Phone rebirth for four years. Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone program management and design vice president since early 2009, tweeted today that he’s added responsibility for IE and Windows UX (“user experience”) to his “next role focused …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Nov 2013
hands waving dollar bills in the air

ACID-friendly FoundationDB joins NoSQL millionaires club

FoundationDB, the database startup cooking an ACID*-compliant NoSQL, has caught the eye of investors. The company announced today that it had landed a first round of VC funding, $17m in Series A, from investors Sutter Hill and CrunchFund. The money will be used to fund expansion in sales and marketing, engineering and support …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Nov 2013

iTunes-for-corporates private app stores put firms at risk – survey

Businesses risk flunking software licence audits and overpaying for their apps by rolling out their own take on Apple’s iTunes app stores for business. That’s the warning from an IDC and Flexera Software poll that found 63 per cent of companies are planning their own enterprise app stores. Stores will be used by staff to …
Gavin Clarke, 13 Nov 2013
Photo of Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Ultrabook

Dell aims for cloudy orbit with Sputnik Ubuntu developer project

Dell is taking another stab at making the Sputnik Ultrabook it converted from Windows to Ubuntu even cloudier for developers. The company said on Tuesday it has committed fresh engineering brains to the Sputnik project to help iron out remaining wrinkles. Dell has also enlisted open-source virtualization start up Docker to try …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Nov 2013
Surface Pro 2 with keyboard, photo Gavin Clarke

'Daddy, can I use the BLACK iPAD?': Life with the Surface Pro 2

“Daddy, can I use the black iPad?” my four-year-old daughter asks as she spots the Surface Pro 2 I'm reviewing for The Reg. She has, without knowing it, encapsulated Microsoft's problem on Surface in a nutshell. I’d been passing the Surface Pro 2 around to friends and family at a weekend gathering to garner their feedback. …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Nov 2013
Windows 7

Internet Explorer 11 for Win7 bods: Soz, no HTML5 fun for you

Internet Explorer 11 arrived for Windows 7 last week but some key features are missing, particularly in the field of HTML5-enabled film, TV and audio. Microsoft has compiled a list of features you'll find in IE11 on Windows 8.1 but which have been pulled from the version of its latest browser that targets Windows 7. Some …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Nov 2013

'Burning platform' Elop: I'd SLASH and BURN stuff at Microsoft, TOO

What kind of company would Microsoft be under Stephen Elop, we asked. We have an answer... of sorts. Elop would kill Bing and Xbox as a Microsoft chief executive and go "all business" by developing Office for as many non-Windows devices as possible. Nokia’s CEO is reported by Bloomberg be considering the strategy should he …
Gavin Clarke, 11 Nov 2013
Larry Ellison, photo by Oracle Corporate Communications

'Shared databases are crap' Oracle reveals shared database management suite

Oracle, whose CEO Larry Ellison once slagged off multi-tenant clouds, has now released software to manage those very same multi-tenant databases. Ellison's database giant slipped out Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c this week, updated to administer multi-tenant instances on an Oracle 12c database. Oracle Multitenant is an option …
Gavin Clarke, 08 Nov 2013
Microsoft Office v Google Apps advert

Microsoft offers Google-esque multi-meddling options in Office Web Apps

Microsoft has added joint editing capabilities to Office 365 apps. The company announced on Thursday the fact you can jointly and simultaneously with colleagues edit Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App and Excel Web App. Microsoft promised you could see where colleagues are editing text and formatting so you can avoid changes …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Nov 2013

Skype U-turns on plan to kill off desktop API, spares foot from bullet

Skype has backtracked on a decision to terminate its desktop API next month, a move that would have broken the voice-chat service for millions. Microsoft’s Voice-over-IP unit has said it’s now “extending support” for the parts of the API that work with hardware and allow the user to record calls. Chat through third-party …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Nov 2013
Internet Explorer Logo

Google 'fesses up: Yup, we're KILLING OFF IE9 support for Gmail, Apps

Google has finally revealed its plans for Gmail and Google Apps to stop working with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9. The internet ads and search giant said it has stopped all testing and engineering work to make Gmail and Apps work with IE9. Microsoft’s customers will start receiving notifications in the next few weeks that …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Nov 2013
Alicia Keys at a red carpet event in a blue, jewelled gown with upswept hairdo. Photo by Keith Hinkle, licensed under creative commons attribution

Heins didn't have the beans. Can comeback king Chen fish BlackBerry out of jam?

BlackBerry’s plan for rebirth using the dream team of Alicia Keys and chief executive Thorsten Heins has failed. Sybase turnaround king and CEO-of-the-moment John Chen is now its new great hope. Heins lasted less than two years in the hotseat at BlackBerry. He was named CEO in January 2012, taking over from co-CEOs Mike …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Nov 2013

Microsoft CEO shortlist claim: It's just Elop, Bates, Mulally, Nadella and...

The shortlist for Microsoft’s next chief executive is apparently a bit shorter. Five people are now in the frame to run the world’s largest software company, it's believed. Ford Motor Company big cheese Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop are said to be the two leading outside candidates. “At least” three internal …
Gavin Clarke, 06 Nov 2013

Microsoft's Windows Azure Plan B: A hard drive, a courier and a data-centre monkey

Microsoft, Amazon and Apple have spent tens of billions of dollars rolling out state-of-the art data centres over the past few years. These companies are building massive facilities housing thousands of servers with dedicated fibre and Ethernet connections that shunt tens of gigabytes per second. But when customers are …
Gavin Clarke, 05 Nov 2013

How the W3C met its Waterloo at the Do Not Track vote showdown

The W3C has set some important rules governing the adoption of web technologies. Yet on the issue of privacy, the standards shop has met its Waterloo. By establishing things like XML and HTML as standards, the W3C has helped ensure the web works everywhere – no matter what web server or browser you’re using. Without HTML you’d …
Gavin Clarke, 05 Nov 2013
Dark Blue Window - detail of Windows Server logo

Want a Microsoft cloud subscription? You'll need to be 'committed'

Microsoft has updated its software licensing with a bundle to woo “highly committed” customers who build their clouds using Windows. Redmond’s November price list (PDF) gives loyal customers the option to consume a smorgasbord of serious server and tools software through subscription instead of using the usual site, server and …
Gavin Clarke, 04 Nov 2013