Simon Sharwood

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott says food importers deserve help denied to telcos

Australia's government decided this week to impose two major new regulations on business. The first was announced on Thursday, in the form of new labelling requirements for food importers. This regulation has been introduced after some imported frozen berries were found to be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Australian Prime …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds movie still

At night, scary wildlife comes out to play in the chemical factory

On-call Welcome to On-Call, our semi-regular-ish weekend feature in which readers share experiences that happened late at night, in odd places. This week, the tale of reader "IT Gnome" who tells us "I work on call for a chemical factory, and it wouldn't look out of place at night in a zombie film." "It's perhaps the bleakest scariest …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Google logo

Google open-sources HTTP/2-based RPC framework

Google has open-sourced something called “gRPC” that it says represents “a brand new framework for handling remote procedure calls” using HTTP/2. The Chocolate Factory says it has dogfooded gRPC on its own microservices and that it “enables easy creation of highly performant, scalable APIs and microservices” and offers “ …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Apple's latest notification of hypegasm

NERDGASM as Apple announces 'special event'

Apple's hype machine has creaked into life again, with media outlets on Cupertino's “nice” list* reportedly showered with a new invitation to pay homage to the company on March 9th. The company's also updated its live events page with news of a to-be-streamed event on the same day. It's widely held the event will reveal more …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia to get spooks charter at cost of at least AU$188m

Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended that the nation adopt a telecommunications metadata retention regime. The Committee's report report (PDF) does recommend changes to the current Bill, including the proposed dataset being enshrined in legislation and therefore subject …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Leisure Suit Larry screenshot

To beat Oracle, find jurors who care about Leisure Suit Larry not Larry Ellison

When you kick a giant in the shins and threaten to cut it off at the knees, do it in a jurisdiction you believe will provide you with a sympathetic jury. That's the strategy advised by Seth Ravin, founder and CEO of third-party application support outfit Rimini Street. The ten year-old company is an irritant to Oracle and SAP …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
WTF?

NBN Co says TWO broadband connections are better than one

+Comment NBN Co, the entity building Australia's national broadband network, has come up with an odd suggestion: two broadband connections, each running on different access technologies, are better than one. The suggestion is odd because NBN Co's mandate is to give each Australian household and business one internet connection using one …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Parallels log

Parallels parallels Citrix, VMware with mobile app delivery slurp

VMware made its name in server virtualisation and Citrix rose to fame with application delivery technologies. Both now compete in both fields and in the emerging market for application delivery to, and management of mobile devices. Junior virtualiser Parallels, meanwhile, has concentrated on helping service providers to stand up …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Bank vault

Bank of England could mint own brand of Bitcoin

The Bank of England (BoE) has issued a piece of research suggesting, among other things, that it may not be a bad idea for it and other central banks to issue digital currencies. The “One Bank Research Agenda Discussion Paper” is the BoE's attempt to kick-start new banking thinking. The paper therefore considers five themes, …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Official Intel Atom Inside logo

Intel's Atoms gain new (cosmetic) X-Factor

Intel's decided that its Atom processor needs to get in line with its other ranges, so has given them new names. Like other Chipzilla products, the Atoms glory in monikers like the “C2750”, which rolls off the tongue like a brick. That Atoms come in both a C2350 and a C2530 model doesn't help matters either now that Intel's …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015

Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Gemalto, the world's biggest SIM card maker, has investigated the NSA's and GCHQ's infiltration of its computers – and says that while the agencies did get into its network, they didn't get in far enough to siphon off phone-call encryption keys. Files leaked by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared to show the US …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015
Cloud Hype Hoodie

F5 and Citrix alumni build CAFE to relax cloudy apps

Airline-magazine-grade chatter about cloud suggests that running an app in Azure, AWS or Google requires not much more than a few clicks before vaporised magic takes over, infrastructure bills decrease and scalability becomes infinite. The reality is, of course, rather more complex: apps running in the cloud still need things …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015

Microsoft's patchy patchwork extends to Virtual Machine Manager

Redmond's patchwork mess has extended to Virtual Machine manager, after a recent patch spoiled when exposed to the sun. Update Rollup 5 for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager emerged in early February, promising security, reliability and networking improvements, plus support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015
A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

$1.6bn VMware defence deal challenged by AWS, Citrix and Nutanix

Amazon Web Services, Citrix and Nutanix have protested a US government plan to sign a US$1.6bn software and support contract with VMware. Virtzilla's wares are widely used in the US military, which appears pleased with the company's products but unhappy with procurement arrangements. A Justification For Other Than Full And Equal …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015
Screenshot of the Word 2013 startup screen, which doesn't show the year

'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

British SciFi author Charles Stross once had the protagonist of his Laundry Files series, sysadmin/demon-hunter Bob Howard, narrate his day by saying “I'm sitting in my office, shivering over a cooling cup of coffee and reading The Register when my door opens without warning ...”*. Stross is welcome in these pages for that …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Porn on Blogger – Google takes stiff action

Google has let it be known that as of 23 March, access to raunchy and pornographic blogs hosted on Blogger will be restricted. As of that date "... you won't be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity", Google said. All data will be retained, but come 23 March any Blogger blogs …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015
The new Gmail inbox interface

Google opens 'Inbox' heir-to-email trial to biz users

The last time Google tried to “reinvent the way you get things done”, the term it uses to describe its heir-to-email app "Inbox", it wiped out with the solving-a-problem-people-didn't-know-they-had "Wave" service. But there's still clearly some demand for something other than email, as The Chocolate Factory says demand among …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Give us a week to GUT Superfish, begs Lenovo CTO

Lenovo's chief technology officer Peter Hortensius has issued another statement on how the company plans to handle Superfish. The missive explains that Lenovo has worked with anti-virus vendors to get their products flattening Superfish whenever a PC starts up and issued a removal tool. Hortensius says Lenovo is now “in the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Facebook security chap finds 10 Superfish sub-species

Facebook security researcher Matt Richard says The Social NetworkTM has found at least ten more outfits using the library that gave the Superfish bloat/ad/malware its nasty certificate-evading powers. Richard, a “threats researcher” on Facebook's security team, writes that in 2012 Facebook “... started a project with researchers …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
Credit: katso käyttöehdot http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds#mediaviewer/Tiedosto:Linus_Torvalds_talking.jpeg

May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0

Linus Torvalds has decided it's time for version 4.0 of the Linux kernel. The Linux lord has been wondering about Linux kernel release numbering for a while, notably in a Google+ post last week. He now seems to have taken the plunge, by declaring that the version of the kernel he's working in is “Linux 4.0-rc1” in this post to …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
The XO-Infinity concept design

OLPC spin-off teases modular 'Infinity' computer

One Education, a spin-off of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has teased a design for a computer that can upgrade its major components forever while requiring little more skill than is necessary to connect LEGO bricks. The thinking behind the “XO-Infinity” (depicted above) is that one computer should last for a child's …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

Microsoft to store deleted Exchange Online mails FOREVER

Microsoft has changed its data retention policy for Office 365 email and the upshot is that deleted items will never disappear, unless you set up a policy to bin them. Exchange Online currently deletes things in the Deleted Items folder after 90 days. Redmond's pitching the new policy, explained here, as a hedge against …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015
Samsung NVMe SSD XS1715

Samsung in second SSD slowdown SNAFU

Samsung's wiping egg off its face after a patch for an under performing solid state disk didn't work, necessitating the issue of a second patch. The drive in question is the 840 EVO, a device we last year mentioned, screams along at impressive speeds and packs a handy and workstation-worthy 1TB. But once the drive hit the …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015
Ubisoft Driver San Francisco

The finest weird people in the world live here, and we're proud of it

The expat files Richard Aplin's a 45-year-old who hails from Bristol, but long ago made the move to San Francisco, where he now lives in the infamous-as-hippie-ground-zero Haight/Ashbury district. Richard's not going back to Blighty. He likes the weather and the clusters of weird people he doesn't think you'll find elsewhere in America. He's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015

A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

On Call Welcome back to On-Call, our soon-to-be-less-occasional look at the odd things Reg readers have experienced when being called out to client sites at odd times. This edition features a reader called Jon's adventures on a day trip to Belgium in the 1980s. The trip was the first time Jon had ever flown commercially, and he …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Feb 2015
Azure Index

Azure Site Recovery's SAN-shuffling VM DR aid goes live

The Azure-Site-Recovery-powered SAN snapshot wrangler Microsoft previewed last year at TechEd Europe has reached General Availability status. Azure Site Recovery (ASR) can now work with System Centre Virtual Machine Manager to coordinate the failover of their storage between sites. ASR and System centre use SMI-S- to reach and …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015
Assassin's Creed III

Australian ISPs agree to three-strikes-plus-court-order anti-piracy plan

Australia's internet service providers (ISPs) and Big Content have released a first draft of a proposed anti-piracy scheme. The TL;DR version is that the plan calls for Big Content to indemnify ISPs, so that after a three-strikes regime has played out in letters ISPs hand over customer contact details and Hollywood can let slip …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015

Hi, I'm Larry. I'll be your software vendor tonight. May I take your coat?

Oracle's US$5.3bn ingestion of MICROS, a provider of hardware, software and services to the hospitality and retail industries, looks to be complete as Big Red has announced the acquisition has spawned a new Oracle Hospitality Global Business Unit. The new team looks to have added Oracle's cloud and mobile bits to the mix, so …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015

Expired router cache sends Google Cloud Engine TITSUP

Google's Cloud Engine (GCE) has experienced Total Inability to Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) for about two-and-a-half hours. Incident 15045, as Google describes the outage, kicked off at about 22:59 on the evening of 18 February (West Coast US time) and then rolled on until 01:31 the next day. Virtual machines in the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015
Dial before you dig

Telstra CEO David Thodey retires

The CEO of Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, will step down in May. David Thodey's spent six years in the carrier's big chair, but has "announced his retirement" according to Telstra's canned statement on the matter. That statement also points out that Telstra's market cap and share price have just about doubled during …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
Kim Dotcom

Former Mrs Dotcom hooks up with Xbox 'toyboy'

Here's one to file under #couldnthappentoanicerbloke: Kim Dotcom's former bride appears to have taken up with a younger, slimmer man. News that Dotcom now has relationship troubles to place alongside his legal, financial and political travails comes to us from New Zealand's Woman's Day, which this week brings us the news that " …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
management regulation1

Big Content picks on small Australian ISPs again

Big Content has once again headed to Australia in an attempt to make internet service providers (ISPs) at least partly responsible for their customers' illegal downloads, this time by coughing up their contact details. Hollywood spent years trying to make ISPs liable for illegal downloads by their subscribers in the “iiTrial”, …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
NUtanix logoi

Nutanix to release 'community version' of its secret software sauce

Nutanix is months away from releasing a free, “community” version of the secret software sauce that turns its collections of storage and servers into hyperconverged spin up VMs almost before you know it beasts. CEO Dheeraj Pandey yesterday told The Register development work on the version is under way and will be released in …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
Scholz' Star. Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester

BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Back when Homo sapiens neanderthalensis strode or shambled or knuckled along the earth, about 70,000 years ago, the prehuman simians may have been able to see a small star passing through the fringes of our solar system. So say the authors of a new paper, The Closest Known Flyby of a Star to the Solar System, in The …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Feb 2015

Infosys tires of boring ERP maintenance business

Infosys appears to have tired of maintaining ERP systems by hand and would prefer to offer more interesting consulting services instead. The shift is evident in the decision to slap down 200 million crisp greenbacks to acquire Panaya. The newly-acquired outfit's main offering is the CloudQuality suite, a toolset that offers …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Feb 2015
Brent Spiner signed photo saying 'Big Data'

Inspired by Linux, Pivotal to open-source bulk of big data suite

Pivotal will make the majority of its big data suite open source, drawing inspiration from the Linux concept. The decision will see “core” code for HAWQ, Greenplum Database and Pivotal GemFire released to anyone who cares to footle with it, but plenty of the footling looks like it will be done by a new group calling itself the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015
Wireless Armour Shorts

Torvalds turns to Sir Mix-A-Lot for Linux versioning debate

Linus Torvalds is “running out of fingers and toes” and therefore wonders if it might be a good time to tip the Linux Kernel over into version 4.0. Torvalds has previously suggested version 4.0 could be set aside for a release dedicated entirely to bug fixes, but that idea didn't catch on. The Linux Lord has also previously …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015

Fro-Xen no longer: Xen project plans shorter dev process

The new release manager for version 4.6 of the open source Xen Hypervisor has proposed changes to the project's development process that he hopes will speed things up. Citrix employee Wei Liu, who has scored the gig of ushering the next version into the world, has explained the new plan in a post, presentation and mail in which …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015
What Linus Torvalds thinks of NVIDIA

Windows 10 to give passwords the finger and dangle dongles

Microsoft will add biometric authentication support to Windows 10. Redmond revealed its intention to do so at the White House Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, where group program manager for Windows security and identity Dustin Ingalls announced the company has “contributed design inputs to the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015

Apple LIGHTSABERS to feature in The Force Awakens

Apple design supremo Jony Ive met Star Wars: The Force Awakens director at a dinner party and offered him some thoughts on lightsaber design that made it into the forthcoming flick. So says The New Yorker in a profile of Ive. The story says “Ive once sat next to J. J. Abrams at a boozy dinner party in New York, and made what …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015
Flash Gordon

Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

In November 2012 the Mozilla Foundation announced “Project Shumway”, an effort to create a “web-native runtime implementation of the SWF file format.” Two-and-a-bit years, and a colossal number of Flash bugs later, Shumway has achieved an important milestone by appearing in a Firefox nightly, a step that suggests it's getting …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2015
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon's delivery drones SHOT DOWN by new FAA rules

The United States Federal Aviation Administration has released a new set of rules covering the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, and appears to have shot down Amazon.com's delivery-by-drone dream. The draft regulations (PDF) say drone operations must be “Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only” and that “unmanned aircraft must …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2015

Google founders to offload $4 BEEELLION in shares

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are about to offload millions of shares that will net each billions in cash. Don't panic, dear readers, at the prospect of Google's share price (and the balance of your pension fund) diving: the pair are offloading their holdings in line with an amended stock trading plan that is …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2015
yellow measuring tape - black writing

Google offers universal cloud benchmarking tool

Google is trying to establish an independent cloud benchmark, driven by a new tool called PerfKit Benchmarker. The tool's open source, but Google's not being entirely charitable: it says it created the tool because customers struggled to compare apples to apples when assessing the performance of Google's cloud and rival …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2015
Parking meter FAIL from Ryan Stele's Flickr account  https://www.flickr.com/photos/tweek/139509551/in/photolist-dk2k6-8VcmSf-5w27pU-7RdimR-7RdiiK-7RdifK-7Rgz8f-7Rdiai-czUVBh-9Ls61i-5cY5jG-9bGK2Y-6VH3Xz-5YVGNT-abaRJ9-6PjTC5-6opqMB-jitAoe-5Yvee7-65tNZD-5xf3hB-a9Zegh-845DZg-ocfXQT-bfZB5z-aWWvax-bVe3vu-6yra6f-6yra4A-8nudtt-6WhDiL-6qNQyT-7YYReC-6yra5N-6yra3w-6yra2Y-6yn2HX-a6MPYs-6yn2Qx-6yn2Pv-6yra49-6yra2q-6yn2Hx-6yra57-6qT1yb-55rYVK-6yra75-6yr9ZQ-6odx71-68EVsF

Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

One of the patches Microsoft released this month, KB2920732, has been withdrawn because it breaks PowerPoint. The patch was billed as improving the stability of PowerPoint 2013 in a handful of ways, most pertaining to video playback. But once installed, the patch improved nothing, at least for the many users who reported that …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Feb 2015

Australian tech businesses score $940m of VC and private equitty

Startup-land Australia likes nothing more than to whinge about how hard it is for tech companies to find their first investors in Australia. The sector is considered scarcely capable of spelling HTML, never mind capable of understanding its importance enough to invest in someone that wields it. Complaints about how hard it is to …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Feb 2015
Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

Worst … commute … EVER – Surrey to Sydney

The expat files More than a few of the expats we've quizzed have moved from the UK to Australia, but only Simon Pearson has found himself bouncing backwards and forwards to between the two. The developer-turned-manager came for the lifestyle, but went back to Blighty for … well that'd be telling wouldn't it. So read on to hear Simon's tale of …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Feb 2015
X-ray image showing vibrator in passenger's luggage

W3C turns BROWSERS into VIBRATORS

Web wonks at the W3C have issued a new Recommendation that gives browsers control of vibrators. Recommendations are the W3C's polite way of defining standards, so this week's notification that the Vibration API has attained this status means the world now has a standard way to make devices throb, buzz, jitter, oscillate or …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015

What on Earth has EMC done to VCE?

EMC and Cisco's converged infrastructure love child, since spurned by the latter parent, will reveal how it's re-inventing itself as a member of the EMC federation on March 12th. The Reg's visualisation desk is in receipt of marketing emails promising a “next wave” and “the next big thing” in converged infrastructure. There's …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015
A concept design for a submarine to explore Titan's seas

TITANIC: Nuclear SUBMARINE cruising 'Sea of KRAKENS' may be FOUND ON icy MOON

NASA boffins have come up with a design for a submarine they reckon could one day be used to explore the liquefied hydrocarbon seas of Saturn's mysterious freezing moon, Titan - the only bodies of surface liquid confirmed to exist off Earth. The submarine – to be revealed at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015