Simon Sharwood

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Government statistics bureau drops big data bubble-buster

Big Data, the shiny happy story goes, will let governments direct resources into programs that really do make a difference to the problems society faces, resulting in better services, less waste and grins on every face. But Australia's Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just published a Research Paper A Statistical Framework for …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2015
The Seeing Eye by Valerie Everett, Flickr, CC2.0

VMworld content catalog hints at VSAN upgrade

The content catalog for VMware's North American and European virtu-fests – aka VMworld – has landed, complete with a few hints about just what Virtzilla will announce at the show. The catalog isn't final, which is reasonable given the show is still eight weeks off. VMware has named the theme for this year's events - "Ready for …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2015
Github octodex

Github's 'Atom' text editor hits version 1.0

Github's Atom text editor, which it announced back in February 2014, has reached version 1.0. Atom's inspiration was venerable text editor Emacs, but its backers hoped a new start would result in a tool suited to modern web programming. The result is a tool designed from the ground up for coding and customisable in all manner of …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jun 2015
Art of Fighting featured a story... of sorts

VMware, Microsoft in virtualised Exchange blog battle

Microsoft's Exchange Server has a reputation as being hard to virtualise under hypervisors other than Redmond's own Hyper-V, a state of affairs that has led to more than occasional suggestions that Microsoft might just like it that way. But of course Microsoft still tries to keep Exchange humming as best it can, so in late April …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jun 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

Cloud storage is a three-way race with no contenders

The cloud storage market is a three-way race with the trailing pack choosing to occupy niches rather than challenge the leaders, according to the market scryers of Gartner. The firm last week issued a new “Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Storage Services, Worldwide” that listed just seven providers: AWS, Google, Microsoft, IBM, …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jun 2015
Xen project hypervisor logo

Guest-host escape bug sees Xen project urge rapid upgrade

The Xen Project has released version 4.5.1 of its eponymous hypervisor and recommended that users upgrade, stat. The new release contains over 100 improvements, most bug fixes or improvements on version 4.5. There is, however, one bigg-ish new flaw in the form of XSA-135, a guest-host escape mess that means “A guest which has …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jun 2015
LG Hexagonal BAttery

LG's six-sided battery to take smart watches into new timezones

LG Chem, the chemicals arm of the giant LG conglomerate, has revealed a hexagonal battery for smart watches. The idea here is simple: smart watches are round-ish. Batteries today are usually rectangular. So by building a hexagonal battery (not a symmetrical hexagon, sadly) it becomes possible to pack extra power into a wearable …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jun 2015
Panasonic Virtual Make Up

VMware builds a magic mirror for containers and a desktop cloud

Developers like containers because they're lightweight, easy to make, fast to spawn and allow them to do the DevOps thing and improve code continuously. But developers think virtual machines are clunky. Operations people like virtual machines because they're secure, easy to manage and/or automate and are the way IT mostly gets …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jun 2015
Osborne Logo

20 years ago this week, Microsoft just about killed Australian PC manufacturing

In late June of 1995, Australia's top PC manufacturer Osborne went into voluntary administration, caused in part by tactics that made Microsoft the titan it is today – and shaped our industry in nasty ways. Osborne Australia started life as the local distributor of the famed Osborne One CP/M luggable made by US company Osborne …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jun 2015
management strategy1

Oracle confirms David Donatelli hired to head hardware unit

Oracle has confirmed its rumoured hire of former EMC and HP man David Donatelli, and given him the job of running its converged infrastructure business. The exec actually landed at Oracle at the end of March, though the company refused to acknowledge his presence back then - it’s always nicer to work out if the face fits before …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015

Google endures wobbly Wednesday in the cloud

Google's endured a wobbly week in the cloud, suffering three brown-outs of varying severity. On Wednesday, the company's App Engine had trouble with its task queues that meant some users had trouble deploying applications. Later that day, the Big Query streaming API struck trouble. Next came trouble connecting to Cloud SQL. The …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015
One onion, one tomato and three cloves of garlic

Heinz cockup sees Ketchup's QR codes spurt saucy sites

A chap named Daniel Korell got quite a surprise when, in late May, he scanned the QR code on a bottle of Heinz Hot Tomato Ketchup, as the bottle led him to pornography rather than information about the comdiment. Korrell's Facebook post on the matter depicts a bottle of sauce that bears a promotion for a site we think is …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015

The world .sucks at a minute past midnight on Sunday

At a minute after midnight on Sunday, UTC time, .sucks domains will go on sale to anyone who wants one. The flick of the switch to general availability is expected to produce a feeding frenzy as brands and celebrities scramble to make defensive purchases – there's no way Coca Cola wants Coke.sucks in the wrong hands – and …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015
WikiLeaks Sony document release logo

WikiLeaks slips out YET MORE Sony SECRETS

WikiLeaks has added more than 275,000 documents to its trove of data lifted from Sony Pictures Entertainment as a result of its infamous hack by “North Koreans”. The leaky boat first published Sony's stuff in April, when it released 30,000 docs. At the time, it argued its actions were justified because Sony was “at the centre of …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2015
Capita kebab shop in Waterloo

No, Australian Small business AREN'T flunking out online

The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released new data on “Business Use of Information Technology” and I expect that any moment now it will be seized upon as evidence the nation's businesses are technology laggards. That's not the best interpretation of the data. Let's explore why. The numbers that will most excite the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2015
Containers

ClusterHQ picks EMC as friend with benefits for Flocker release

ClusterHQ has inked an agreement that will see its Flocker container management code integrate with EMC's flashy fare. Flocker is container data management tool that aims to orchestrate containers so that several can be assembled into something that looks, feels and behaves pretty much like an application. Flocker also allows …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2015
Jordan Raskopoulos as Trax, Alex Williams as Julian Assange and Callan Mcauliffe as Prime Suspect

AssangeTM says Sweden squibbed on promised interview

Extreme couch-surfing contender Julian Assange claims “Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny cancelled a prospective appointment to take my statement today.” In March Ny agreed to meet Assange in order to advance Sweden's inquiry into allegations Assange committed sexual offences in Sweden. Such a meeting would need to take place in …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2015
One Microsoft Way by https://www.flickr.com/photos/36182550@N08/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ cropped to 648-432

Windows Server 2016 to inherit Azure's load balancer, data plane

Microsoft's drip … drip … drip of information about Windows Server 2016 has revealed a couple more droplets of detail, and one big splash of news about Redmond's approach to the new OS. The splash is that Azure is the wellspring of Microsoft's plans for your data centre. The whole cloud first thing is no mere mantra: Redmond is …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2015
NBN Logo

Australia's Senate demands access to NBN business case that doesn't exist

Australia's Senate has voted on an "order for the production of documents" demanding access to "a complete and unredacted copy of the NBN Corporate Plan 2015-18," plus "a complete and unredacted copy" of the 2014-2017 plan and an unredacted copy of the NBN Co Strategic Review. The motion (PDF) seeking the order was moved by …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

VMware buddies with Bitnami to hybridise cloud app templates

One of public cloud's selling points is that vendors make it super-easy to spin up common applications: Amazon Web Services, Azure and Rackspace all operate a “marketplace” in which one can find ready-to-deploy virtual machines for just about whatever takes your fancy. Google calls its version “click-to-deploy”. VMware's vCloud …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
German Aerospace Center depiction of Philae on Comet 67/P

Philae warms up nicely, sends home second burst of data

The European Space Agency (ESA) says the Philae lander, Earth's unofficial ambassador to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has sent a second burst of data back home. Philae contacted its hominid masters over the weekend, a much hoped-for event after the craft fell into a shady spot on the comet and depleted its batteries. The …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
Raspberry Pi Official Case

Raspberry Pi guys want you to go topless in the heat

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has revealed a new piece of hardware: the official Rasbperry Pi case. The main feature is the removable roof that to our mind either makes the Pi a convertible or lets it go topless, depending on your preferred level of innuendo. The Pi guys say they chose the design topping this tale after …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
Selection of Australian banknotes

Australian biz will have MERE DAYS to patch for FY15/16 tax changes

It looks like the conveyor belt's broken at the Australian Taxation Office, because vendors of accounting and HR software are releasing their new financial year compliance patches rather late. Oracle's just released its FY 15/16 compliance patch, which will ensure Australian users of Oracle's Payroll wares are up to date with …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2015
This way to linux by https://www.flickr.com/photos/pfh/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Linus Torvalds asks kernel devs to take a break so he can too

In May, Linux overlord Linus Torvalds warned that his holiday might delay the release of Linux 4.1. That scenario's now come to pass, with the benevolent dictator of the penguin palace posting that he's off on his vacation. “So I'm on vacation, but time doesn't stop for that, and it's Sunday, so time for a hopefully final rc,” …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2015
cortana_cropped_648

Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key

Toshiba USA has revealed that it will add a key dedicated to summoning Cortana, Windows 10's digital assistant. Toshiba's Jeff Barney, the company's veep and GM for all things PC in North America, says the new button will appear on every keyboard the company sells. PCWorld reports that “the key will sit in the upper left area, …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2015
Wine Taps by N Wong, Flickr, CC 2.0 License

Hyperconvergence isn't about hardware: It's server-makers becoming software companies

Public cloud is supposed to be a mortal threat to enterprise hardware vendors, whose wares look clunky and costly compared to a servers-for-an-hour-for-cents cloud and the threat looks scary … until you actually use a public cloud for a while. The Reg increasingly hears that the cost of operating in a public cloud quickly adds …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2015
I love Wikipedia, because it is devoted to the future by https://www.flickr.com/photos/nojhan/ cc 2.0 attribution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Wikipedia to go all HTTPS, all the time

The Wikimedia Foundation has decided the time is right to implement HTTPS on all its projects, for all users, all the time. It's been possible to access the Foundation's works – notably Wikipedia – with HTTPs for a while if you're willing to jump through some hoops. The Foundation's now decided to go all-HTTPs, all the time, was …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jun 2015
Green data centre

Fire, fire! Just move your data centre onto my lawn ... Oh rats!

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular weekend feature in which readers share the odd things they've been asked to do at odder times of the day. This week's contributor has asked to remain anonymous, because his tale of a curious incident concerns a company that provided services to the emergency folk, among others. Our reader …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jun 2015

Microsoft picks up shotgun, walks 'Modern apps' behind the shed

Microsoft looks to have decided that the “modern” apps it gave the world with Windows 8 were a confusing mess, at least in the case of Skype, and will replace it with normal, boring, desktop Skype. “With the upcoming release of Windows 10 for PCs, it makes sense to use the Skype application optimized for mouse and keyboards use …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2015
Keys by https://www.flickr.com/photos/richard-g/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

AWS adds bring your own key crypto to its cloudy S3 storage

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added bring-your-own-key (BYOK) encryption to its Simple Storage Service (S3). AWS points out that BYOK comes with some complexity. “... it is up to you to manage your encryption keys and to make sure that you know which keys were used to encrypt each object,” writes the company's omni-blogger Jeff …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2015
USS Enterprise in Task Force One

US Navy wants 0-day intelligence to develop weaponware

In the Navy, the Village People sang, you can sail the seven seas and live a life of ease. And now you can also work with third parties to identify and exploit 0-day flaws in common commercial software. That Naval job is revealed in a fascinating solicitation for a provider capable of reporting new flaws and developing …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2015
The Martian

The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Preview Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox released a trailer for the Matt Damon and Ridley Scott vehicle The Martian, a due-in-November film based on a novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The book's really sweet, although aspiring novelists will wonder why they didn't think of the “astronaut left behind on Mars figures out how to …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2015
Azure Linux Monitoring console

Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Microsoft wants to get better at monitoring Linux. Don't pinch yourself – this isn't some weird dream. Redmond on Tuesday took the covers off a new Linux VM monitoring tool. “A significant number of Virtual Machines on Azure today are running Linux workloads,” writes Khailid Mouss, a senior program manager for the Azure Compute …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2015
scissors cut cable

Exetel becomes Exit-tel, shows customers the door without explanation

Australian internet service provider (ISP) Exetel is firing customers, with no explanation for its actions. Customers have sent Vulture South a “Notice of termination of service” from Exetel that offers the following non-explanation of the decision: Service number: XX XXXX XXXX 10 June 2015 - Today's Date 10 July 2015 - …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2015
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australia's data retention regime starts October 13th says A-G

Australian carriers and internet service providers (ISPs) will be required to retain data on their customers as of October 13th, 2015. But just how they'll access the cash Australia's government has made available to do the retention is still unknown. News of the deadline came from the nation's attorney-general in a letter …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2015
Condoleezza Rice by https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassynewdelhi/  cc 2.0 attribution noderivs https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Condoleezza to China: 'The rules' mean cyber-spying isn't allowed

Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says China's plan to use Huawei as a Trojan Horse for espionage has failed and that the Middle Kingdom has learned its lesson and developed a new approach to global commerce, as shown by e-commerce giant Alibaba's operations. “China wanted Huawei to be a big, dominant telco player,” …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2015
happy_woman_at_desk

VMware unleashes Linux on the (virtual) desktop

VMware's released Horizon 6 for Linux, thereby making it possible to deliver virtual Linux desktops. And there the story ends because, as we all know, there's so much Linux on the desktop that it occasionally manages to get a whole 1.91 per cent of the market and desktop virtualisation is generally figured to be about five to …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2015

VMware hypervisor escape via serial port? VMware hypervisor escape via serial port.

VMware has advised of two security flaws that impact its desktop products. VMware's desktop hypervisors Workstation and Fusion, plus the Player app that runs pre-packaged virtual machines, all have “an input validation issue on an RPC command” that could allow a denial-of-service of the guest operating System (32-bit) or a …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2015

Adobe to hire security auditor to prevent repeat of password SNAFU

Australia's privacy commissioner says basic mistakes at Adobe allowed hackers to ransack its customer database in 2013, and reveals that the company plans to appoint auditors to make sure it won't experience a repeat of the breach. Timothy Pilgrim, holder of the privacy commissioner's office, yesterday released a report [PDF] on …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2015
Acropolis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/adeelanwer/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Nutanix did build 'Acropolis' hypervisor, wants you to bury it

As predicted by The Register, Nutanix has built a hypervisor called Acropolis, but is using it for more than scale-out compute and an assault on VMware. Instead, the company wants to abstract all the stuff that makes up modern applications and make managing infrastructure idiot-proof. We'll explain that in a moment. The …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2015
Voyager mission logo

Voyager 2 'stopped' last week, and not just for maintenance

Voyager 2, the venerable space probe launched in 1977, “stopped” last week. Don't dig up your cache of food or prepare to welcome our Oort Cloud Overlords: the pause is a result of celestial mechanics. As the Tweet below explains, Voyager 2 is heading on its merry way and Earth is swinging around Sol as usual. But last week the …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2015
Internet of Cats feeder

The USB Lego, bluetooth coffee cups and connected cats of Computex 2015

Taiwan's technology industry likes to position the annual Computex expo as the week in which it shows off its ingenuity to the world. This year's show might just have shown that Taiwan - and the rest of us - are in a bit of a rut. Last year, I couldn't move at Computex without stumbling over a booth offering a zillion …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2015
A crack on comet 67P

ESA shortlists three medium-sized missions for 2025 launch

The European Space Agency (ESA) has whittled down the list of projects it is considering for deployment in the year 2025 and is now considering three missions for liftoff in that year. The three projects are: Ariel, aka Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, which would analyse the atmospheres of around 500 …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2015
Chart

Windows 8.1 market share grows, Windows 7 slips, Windows 10 lurks

If it's the first week of the month (and it is) that makes it time to have a look at desktop OS market share as calculated by Netmarketshare and Statcounter. This month, both outfits recorded a small dip in Windows 7 usage. Netmarketshare has it dropping from 58.39 per cent to 57.76 per cent of observed traffic hitting the web …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2015
Facebook Lite app

Facebook Lite: Website strips off to lure in another billion users

Facebook has built Facebook Lite for folks in bandwidth-challenged nations – a stripped down version of The Social NetworkTM that won't wipe out anyone's monthly download allowances. The Silicon Valley giant says the new app weighs in at under one megabyte, offers “core experiences like News Feed, status updates, photos, …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Jun 2015
The Oracle X5-4 server

Oracle, Intel team on server with a dimmer switch

Oracle looks like it's committed to custom Xeons for the long haul. Big Red last year teamed with Chipzilla on the E7-8895 v2, a CPU that improved on the top-of-the-line E7-8890 by adding features that let the silicon switch cores on and off as required by Oracle's operating systems and software. The chips can also vary their …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jun 2015

SourceForge sorry for adware, promises only opt-in in future

Software download service SourceForge has changed its adware-insertion policies after earning users' ire for wrapping popular FOSS image-wrangling app The GIMP in an adware-riddled downloader. The tale of how ads came to The GIMP is long and twisted, but the salient bits of the story are that the version of the program on …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jun 2015
The improved management screen for VirtualBox 4.2

VirtualBox 5.0 beta four graduates to become first release candidate

Snoracle's new version of desktop hypervisor VirtualBox has progressed sufficiently well that it's decided the revised tool is out of beta and into release candidate status. VirtualBox is a developer favourite because, unlike rival desktop hypervisors from VMware and Parallels, it is free. Oracle's kept the tool alive and well- …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jun 2015
Interim logo for Digital Transformation Office

Turnbull's Digital Transformers discover log files contain more than meets the eye

Hey government agencies, there's more than meets the eye in your data Malcolm Turnbull's legacy-hunting Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has discovered analytics. The Office's latest blogged emanation explains that “The DTO's mission is to create digital services that are easy to find and use. Service analytics will give us …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jun 2015
Lightning

Intel adopts 40Gb per SECOND USB-C plug for Thunderbolt 3.0

Computex 2015 Intel's sort of given up on the Thunderbolt interface - but it's also found a way to help increase its relevance by making it a superset of USB 3.1. Thunderbolt has always been fast, and has the nifty trick of connecting peripherals, carrying data and bringing video to monitors over a single cable — but it never took off. …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jun 2015