Simon Sharwood

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Lego Godzilla

Intel raises memory deflector shields in Xeon E7 processor refresh

Intel has given its Xeon E7 processor family its annual refresh, this time emphasising analytics at scale. The new E7-8800/4800 v3 chips use the Haswell micro-architecture, meaning all Chipzilla's Xeons have made the jump. Intel's been a bit cagey and hasn't shared the list of E7 v3 models with us, but we're assured there are …
Simon Sharwood, 05 May 2015
Relative shapes and distances from Mars for five active orbiter missions plus the planet's two natural satellites. I

Mars needs TRAFFIC COP to stop probe prangs, says NASA

NASA has “beefed up” the processes it uses to stop orbiters around Mars from colliding with each other, after two orbiters came within two kilometres of each other in early January. Humanity currently has five live orbiters around the red planet, namely NASA's MAVEN, Mars Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), plus …
Simon Sharwood, 05 May 2015
Firefox for tellies home screen

House of Cards UI central to Mozilla's plans for Firefox on tellies

Mozilla has revealed how it reckons Firefox should look when it's on the tellie. Firefox OS user experience designer Hunter Luo reckons that the four basic functions of a smart television are watching shows, accessing apps, controlling devices and looking at list of your content. The user interface for Firefox-for-tellies …
Simon Sharwood, 05 May 2015
Snakes on a Plane Sudoku

Singapore's prime minister releases source code for his hand-coded Sudoku-solver

Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has decided to reveal the source code of the Sudoku-solving app he personally coded. The PM revealed he likes to program in his spare time last month and mentioned the Sudoku-solver. He's since taken to Facebook to announce the source code dump. “The program is pretty basic,' the PM …
Simon Sharwood, 05 May 2015

Rackspace Australia expands main bit barn, adds DR site

Rackspace's Australian tentacle has decided the time is right to expand its main bit barn and open a disaster recovery site. Digital Realty's bit facility in the Sydney suburb of Erskine Park hosts Rackspace's Australian kit. Things are going well enough down under that Rackspace is expanding into a second hall of that facility …
Simon Sharwood, 04 May 2015

VCE to use Quanta servers for new 'VxRacks'

EMC World 2015 VCE will today announce the “VxRack”, a rack-scale converged infrastructure product that will use Quanta servers. The company will reveal three VxRacks during the EMC World opening keynote. Model 1032 will be a choose-your-own hypervisor affair, with KVM, vSphere or bare metal options, plus EMC's ScaleIO to wrangle storage. EMC' …
Simon Sharwood, 04 May 2015

OMFG – Emojis are killing off traditional 'net slang

Emoji are killing off traditional internet slang, according to a probe by Instagram's engineering team. Instagram's just made it possible to use Emoji in hashtags, a feature we're sure you were all positively clamouring for, and did so in response to its users' increasing interest in the cute little characters that add colour …
Simon Sharwood, 04 May 2015

Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Australia's Economics References Committee, which has been conducting hearings into corporate tax avoidance, looks to have made a breakthrough by eliciting a new method for taxing multinationals from the nation's Taxation Office. Recent hearings have revealed how the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft manage to pay such low …
Simon Sharwood, 04 May 2015

Good luck displacing Windows 7, Microsoft, it's still growing

If it's the first Monday of the month, and it is, it must be time to have a look at desktop operating system market share as recorded by StatCounter and Netmarketshare. It looks like the skids are really under Windows XP now. Netmarketshare has it down from 16.94 per cent to 15.93 per cent. StatCounter has a dip to 10.91 per …
Simon Sharwood, 03 May 2015
Microsoft Clippy

From Manchester to Microsoft – missing mum :-(

The eXpat files Welcome to another eXpat Files, in which Reg readers tell of leaving home and hearth for career upgrades only available elsewhere. This time around we're chatting to 26-year-old Dai Rees, who moved on from “a small commuter town south of Manchester” that he won't name “to spite my former headmaster, who actively discouraged my ' …
Simon Sharwood, 03 May 2015
Apple a day  by Robert Holf https://www.flickr.com/photos/robbertholf/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Samsung back on top of smartmobe market

Samsung's sales may be sliding nastily, but box-counter IDC says the company is back on top of the world when it comes to smartphone shipments. The firm's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker for 2015's first quarter found 336.5 million smartphones shipped, worldwide. That's “ up 16.7% from the 288.5 million units in 1Q14 …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2015
Boeing 787 10x

Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a new airworthiness directive (PDF) for Boeing's 787 because a software bug shuts down the plane's electricity generators every 248 days. “We have been advised by Boeing of an issue identified during laboratory testing,” the directive says. That issue sees “The software …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2015
Tesla powerwall

Tesla reveals Powerwall battery packs for homes, Powerpacks for cities

Billionaire biz baron Elon Musk has revealed Tesla's long-expected battery products and claimed they put an end to humanity's production of carbon dioxide as a by-product of energy generation. “No incremental CO2 is the future we need to have,” Musk said, during the battery packs' launch, advocating that charging his new …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2015
Cthulu springs from desktop printer

Strange alien-like life zones found beneath Antarctic glacier

Back in March, we reported on “Blood Falls”, a peculiar spot in Antarctica stained red by hypersaline brine. Despite being ever-so-salty, the waters that fuel Blood Falls show signs of hosting microbial life. The boffins behind that report reckoned that the pools of brine that leak out from beneath Taylor Glacier to make Blood …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2015
Sharks by https://www.flickr.com/photos/enriquecespedes/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Grooveshark closes, blames 'serious mistake' of not paying for music

Music streaming service Grooveshark has closed its doors, after admitting hadn't acquired rights to the music it streamed. The company on Thursday (US time) replaced its website with the statement below. Grooveshark closure message The writing's been on the wall for Grooveshark for some time, as earlier this week it learned …
Simon Sharwood, 01 May 2015
Facebook Beacon

Facebook bug gobbles pics in posts, web publishers scream

Facebook users are complaining that The Social NetworkTM is experiencing a problem that stops people posting pictures. A developer calling themselves “La Carmina” has filed a bug report stating that “every post I publish on my site does NOT show a featured image when I try to share the link in Facebook”, and there are numerous …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Interim logo for Digital Transformation Office

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office is actually working!

The pet project of Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) modelled on the deeply flawed UK Government Digital Service (GDS), appears to be working. A couple of days ago, Australia's Department of Human Services let us know that it has created a new “Express Plus Child Support …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Intel Atom x5 and x7 Processors.

Intel has ambitions to turn modems into virtual servers and reinvent broadband

Intel has assembled a stack of technologies it thinks can give broadband modems a brain implant and change the nature of home broadband services. At the core of Chipzilla's ambition, as Intel folk have explained to The Reg, is a plan to put x86 chippery into customer premises equipment (CPE) – the modem/router homes and smallish …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
The original Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Oxford chaps solve problem in 1982 Sinclair Spectrum manual

Oxford's Museum of the History of Science have tackled, and solved, a problem posed in the 1982 manual for the ZX Spectrum. Chapter 19 of that document explains "BEEP", a BASIC command that made the Spectrum emit sounds. The chapter included a routine to play the funeral march from Austrian composer Mahler's first symphony. The …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Care Package NSFW by https://www.flickr.com/photos/theredproject/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Facebook serves up shaved, pierced, tattooed 'butterfly' as CAPTCHA

VERY NSFW Reg reader Mike W has sent us something rather interesting from Facebook, which asked him to prove he's human with the test below that asked him to pick out pictures of butterflies. We'll explain the white space at grid position A2 after the image. Facebook Butterfly Captcha Back to that white space, which we excised because …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Cuts to orange

VCE now competing with VMware

VCE, the converged infrastructure lovechild of Cisco, EMC and VMware, is starting to get into interesting competitive tangles. The company's founding proposition was that it sells stacks-in-a-box comprised entirely of kit from Cisco and EMC, plus VMware software. Cisco's since reduced itself to a silent partner in the company, …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
North Pole Visitors by https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfraven/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Oracle, Accenture, in cloudy consulting cuddle

Oracle and Accenture are cuddling in the cloud. The pair have announced “The Accenture Oracle Business Group”, a joint operation that will see the consultancy cook up “solutions” based on Oracle's cloudy applications. There's talk of “accelerators, prebuilt adapters and industry-specific extensions” that will help Accenture do …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Apr 2015
Redditor guinne55fan's arm tattoo

Apple Watch HATES tattoos: Inky pink sinks rinky-dink sensor

The Apple Watch can't figure out if the wearer has a pulse when worn on a tattooed wrist, Register reader Michael Lovell tells us. All is well on his un-inked left wrist, but when he switches to the right, "the wrist detection is playing up," he said, as the watch "keeps asking for the passcode." Michael made the video below to …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2015
Applied Micro's X-Gene server-on-a-chip

PayPal adopts ARM servers, gets mightily dense

Those hoping ARM-powered servers can give Intel and AMD some stiff competition in the data centre have some good news today, after Applied Micro revealed that PayPal “has deployed and validated” the company's ARM-architected X-Gene server-on-a-chip. Applied Micro CEO and president Paramesh Gopi said, during the company's Q4 …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2015
Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Electronics' sales go OVER A CLIFF

Samsung Electronics, the phones-and-chips-and-tellies arm of the Chaebol, has reported a nasty set of numbers for 2015's first quarter. Let's go straight to a slide from the earnings call to show you just how nasty it is. Samsung Q1 2015 sales and profits Samsung Electronics Q1 2015 results. Click here to embiggen Those …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2015
Interim logo for Digital Transformation Office

Turnbull's digital transformation team discovers user testing

Australia's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has done something, again. After a couple of weeks in which its blog has gone largely silent and its Twitter feed has been reduced to retweets of other agencies news, a new post has appeared offering truly transformational advice: do stuff differently for different audiences. User …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Apr 2015
The Hindenburg disaster

IBM: We're the reassuringly expensive cloud

Ahead of Amazon.com breaking out results for Amazon Web Services last week, IBM wrote to let us know that not only does it haul in about US$7.7 billion a year with cloud and software-as-a-service but that it does so with “higher-value, higher profit cloud opportunities” rather than “low-end commoditized cloud offerings.” We …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Apr 2015
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

ServiceMesh man Eric Pulier resigns from CSC amid bribery claims

Eric Pulier, the co-founder of CSC prey ServiceMesh and CSC general manager of cloud has left CSC. Pulier left after it was revealed he allegedly paid bribes to executives at Australia's Commonwealth Bank. CSC sent The Reg the following statement about Pulier's departure: On March 26, 2015 Eric Pulier was notified that his …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Apr 2015
Red Hat virtual desktop by Citrix

2016 might just be the year of Linux on the (virtual) desktop

Come November, some “pundit” will declare that next year is the year of Linux on the desktop. This November, expect a twist on that prediction, as 2016 could just perhaps conceivably be the year of virtual Linux desktops now that Citrix has taken kit capable of delivering it into Beta. That kit is called the “Linux Virtual …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Apr 2015
Bjarne Stroustrup

C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

Calm yourselves, readers. The Spring 2015 C++ Standards Committee Meeting takes place next week in Lenexa, Kansas. And at that meeting much of the discussion is expected to consider C++ 17, a major revision of the programming language due in 2017. C++ is currently in version 14, which was released last year, but last week C++ …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Apr 2015
Virtual Machine Manager Update Rollup 6

Microsoft adds Azure VM controls to Virtual Machine Manager

Microsoft's about to issue a new Update Rollup for System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM). Update Rollups are badly-named these days, because Redmond now slips in small features to the products that get a rollup when the packages land on the last Tuesday of a calendar quarter's first month. This week, VMM users are slated …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Apr 2015
Man drinking through a straw CC2.0 attribution Bradley Gordon https://www.flickr.com/photos/icanchangethisright/

Riverbed retires RVBD from NASDAQ after private equity swoop

Riverbed is no longer a publicly-traded company, as the buyout of its stock by private equiteer Thoma Bravo and Teachers’ Private Capital concluded late last week. The deal was announced last December and appears to have been influenced by activist investor Elliot Management which reckons Riverbed could be doing better. All …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Apr 2015
NBN Logo

NBN Co loses the “Co” for AU$700,000

NBN Co, the entity charged with building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has changed its name to NBN. Reports from Fairfax Media suggest the company spent some AU$700,000 on the re-branding exercise, which produced the logo at the top of this story and the variant at its foot. Both appear heavily- …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Apr 2015
https://www.flickr.com/photos/foundanimalsfoundation/ by Found Animals Foundation CC 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/foundanimalsfoundation/

Who was downloading smut in the office while eating ice cream?

On-call +NSFW Welcome back to On-call, our planned-to-be-fortnightly look at the things readers have been asked to do in the course of their employment, often at odd hours. This week, reader Guy* wrote to tell us about a gig he scored in the mid-nineties, where “my first task was to find out where all our bandwidth was going when the office …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Apr 2015
Judge Dredd

DRM is NOT THE LAW, I AM THE LAW, says JUDGE DREDD

Rebellion, the games developer that owns 2000AD - British comics' finest product – has banished digital rights management (DRM) from Mega-City One. The company's announced that once punters purchase tales of Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog or Rogue Trooper online, they'll be able to access DRM-free downloadables of their purchases. …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
the EVO:RAIL value prop

VMware makes vSphere licences portable to crimp EVO:RAIL costs

VMware has announced what it's calling a “vSphere Loyalty Program” that allows vSphere users to “apply their licenses to the purchase of VMware EVO:RAIL appliances from our nine Qualified EVO:RAIL Partners.” The program's pretty simple: if you have vSphere licences and buy an EVO:RAIL rig, VMware will let you move those licences …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
Lenovo batteries with serial numbers starting with '42T4' are to be treated with suspicion

LenovOUCH expands bits-blistering bodgy battery boomerang

Lenovo has extended the recall for bodgy batteries it shipped with ThinkPad computers between 2010 and 2012. The company's once again alerted the world's governments, and their product safety agencies, that plenty of ThinkPads shipped with Lithium-ion batteries that “may overheat, posing a fire hazard” and therefore “pose the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
Surface 3 in red

Microsoft to offer special Surface 3 for schools

Microsoft has quietly let it be known it's developed a cheap cut of the Surface 3 for schools. A brag post announcing a ten per cent discount for schools that purchase the typoslab, and bragging about how the device is empowering kidlets the world over, also slips in this nuggetoid of information: “In addition, we are offering …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
The Dell Z9100-ON  open networking switch

Dell expands open networking program with new switches

Dell has celebrated the first birthday of its open networking program by launching more products. The program is part of Dell's take on software-defined networking with its core idea being that punters might want to buy kit running an operating system other than that devised by its maker. This arrangement differs from white box …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
Seagate Kinetics - the old vs. the new

Seagate close to open-sourcing Kinetics object storage platform

Seagate will hand over some of its Kinetic Storage platform to the world at the coming OpenStack summit in Vancouver, Canada, The Register has learned. Kinetic is the object storage platform Seagate has built to make it possible to so useful work with its Ethernet-equipped disk drives. Seagate's ambition is to cut arrays out of …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015

Citrix decides to share its WAN optimisation with the world

Citrix has sold WAN optimisation kit for ages, but hasn't pushed its HDX technology far beyond its base of application and desktop virtualisation users. Until today, when it shoved the newly-badged “CloudBridgeVirtual WAN” into the sunlight. Citrix's schtick is that branch offices don't (always) need expensive connectivity: …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Apr 2015
Fukushima Warning Sign by Raneko https://www.flickr.com/photos/raneko/

Fukushima nuke plant owner told to upgrade from Windows XP

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy complex, has been told to migrate 48,000 internet-connected PCs off Windows XP sooner rather than later. TEPCO was recently probed by Japan's Board of Audit, an organisation that oversees the finances of Japan's government and …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Apr 2015
An Amazon.de parcel being delivered into an Audi thanks to keyless entry

JUNK in your TRUNK is Amazon Germany's new delivery plan

Amazon.com's German outpost, Amazon.de, is trialling delivery of goods direct into the trunks of buyers' cars. The trial will only work for Amazon Prime customers who drive an Audi, as the scheme relies on keyless entry to the vehicle. Enabling that access will require testers to add a gadget of undetermined nature to their cars …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Apr 2015
Marina Bay hotel singapore. By https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonid_yaitsky/

Singapore's PM personally programmed C++ Suduko-solver

Lots of politicians talk about the importance of wielding technology, but Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong has just put his money where his mouth is by revealing he's upset that he doesn't have time to code stuff any more. The PM did so in a speech outlining the city-state's many and enviable innovation. Along the way …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Apr 2015
Vmware cloud logo

VMware's growth plans are ripening nicely

VMware's posted another set of good-looking numbers, with the company's first quarter results for 2015 exceeding expectations. The company hauled US$1.51bn through the door in the year's first three months and produced non-GAAP net income of $196m. The first number is an 11 per cent improvement on 2014's first quarter, but …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Apr 2015

Google vs. AWS race to the bottom detours into Super SSD Spring Sale

Over the last year or so, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft's Azure have delighted in pointing out that they do just what the other guy does, only cheaper. So even while IOPs, CPU speeds, volume sizes and other metrics have gone up, the big cloud players have made a point of also taking their prices down. Until, …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Apr 2015

Good news! Your job's not going to the Philippines

Vietnam is now outsourcers' preferred host nation, but Bulgaria is making a tilt for the top spot, according to real estate outfit Cushman & Wakefield's annual “Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Shared Services Location Index”. The study (PDF) ranks nations by costs, risks and conditions, with a 50/20/30 weighting for each …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Apr 2015

Citrix likes OpenStack, puts a cheap ring on it

Citrix has signed up to OpenStack, as a Corporate Sponsor. Nand Mulchandani, the company's veep for product marketing in the Cloud Platforms Group, told The Reg that Citrix considers itself to have co-habited with OpenStack for years, thanks to NetScaler and Xen Server playing nice with the open source cloud stack. Signing up as …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Apr 2015
Cher pointing, Cher point, Sharepoint

SharePoint's next release delayed until deep into 2016

It's becoming apparent that Microsoft's “cloud first” mantra needs some balance, because by making software-as-a-service its priority Redmond is relegating on-premises software to second-class citizenship. Exhibit A for that assertion is last week's announcement that Exchange Server 2016 will be not much more than a rollup of …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Apr 2015
Ceres' bright spots  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Spotty dwarf Ceres BARES ALL in NASA's SHINY CLOSEUPS

The two bright patches on dwarf planet Ceres have been spotted again by NASA astroboffins. The patches baffled boffins who didn't expect the worldlet to shine so bright, or indeed shine much at all. Tinfoil-hatters quickly came up with all sorts of theories about the patches, especially after NASA had nothing to say about them …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Apr 2015