Simon Sharwood

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed

No Santa, no Irish boozers and no regrets: life in Qatar

THE EXPAT FILES In this week's eXpat File, we meet Irishman Russell Clark, who's settled in Qatar. Russell's loving life there, even if the only Irish pub has closed down and the traffic is terrifying. Tell us more, Russell, especially the bit about there not being an Irish bar ... The Register: What kind of work do you do and with which …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2014
Github octodex

Git thee behind me, Git crit security bug!

GitHub has acknowledged there's a flaw in its client software and recommended that users upgrade as soon as possible. News of the flaw was announced at GMANE and GitHub has confirmed the existence of the flaw and issued a recommendation for “all users of GitHub and GitHub Enterprise to update their Git clients as soon as …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014

Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

IBM has had a win in its long court battle with SCO over just who owns Unix and, by extension, whether Linux is an unauthorised clone. Some quick and simplified history: SCO – short for The Santa Cruz Operation – was a software company that offered a version of Unix for x86 chippery. When Linux came along in the late 90s and …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014
India's GSLV Mk-III rocket clears the tower

India's heavy launch rocket passes flight test

India yesterday conducted a successful test of its new GSLV Mk-III X/CARE launch vehicle. The new rocket is a three-stage affair designed to haul 4,000kg payloads to geosynchronous orbit. The first stage offers uses two S200 Large Solid Booster (LSB) with 200 tonnes of solid propellant apiece. Those boosters straddle the second …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014
Photo of a vintage analog modem with an acoustic coupler

NBN Co reveals product roadmap and Telstra planning deal

NBN Co has updated its product roadmap and Telstra has revealed it will help the company to plan future deployments. The highlights of the new roadmap (PDF) are: A guesstimate that trials of a broadband service delivered over hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) cable (Pay TV cables) will start in Q4 of 2015; A second guesstimate that a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014
Guru at work

Woz moves to Oz

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has become a permanent resident of Australia. “Woz” has lived in Australia on and off for a few years now and recently picked up a gig as an adjunct professor at Sydney's University of Technology. According to The Australian Financial Review he's now taken the plunge and moved down under to become …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014
Photo of boxes of Microsoft Office for Mac

Microsoft drops early Chrissie pressie on Mac Office fanbois

Microsoft's not been kind to Office for Mac over the years: since the last major update in 2010 fanbois haven't had much to get excited about. Redmond recently revealed revisions are on the way, with a late-2015 target delivery date. But the company's now snuck out a small set of enhancements to Outlook for Mac. The updates …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2014

TALE OF FAIL: Microsoft offers blow-by-blow Azure outage account

Microsoft has published a full, frank, and ugly account of just what went wrong when Azure Storage entered Total Inability To Support Usual Performance – TITSUP - mode in November. The nub of the problem was that Azure's update procedures and code had “... a gap in the deployment tooling that relied on human decisions and …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Dec 2014

Softlayer hops into Equinix's Cloud Exchange

IBM's cloudy concern SoftLayer has decided it'll be better off if it joins Equinix's Cloud Exchange. Cloud Exchange is a service that provides nicely groomed links between users of cloud computing providers and their chosen clouds. The service is valuable because as organisations put more important workloads and data into public …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Dec 2014
The IT Crowd with highlighted Reg sticker

Singapore startup does an Uber on tech support

Next time your friend's Aunty Gladys asks if that software the nice man from India installed on her PC is legitimate, you might just get paid for helping her out. That's the aim of Singaporean startup Fynd, which bills itself as a way to “use your technical expertise to earn extra income.” The site's schtick is to match folks …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Dec 2014
BMW's remote parking tech

At last! Something else for smartwatches to do as BMW promises park-by-wristjob demo

Auto-maker BMW has announced a park-by-wristjob demo at January 2015's CES electronics extravaganza. The company's been footling about with sensor-laden vehicles for some time and says it now has a research model i3 packing four “advanced laser scanners” that can “reliably identify impediments such as columns, for example in a …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014

Pacnet becomes 'potential' prey for Australia's Telstra

Australia's dominant telecommunications company, Telstra, has told the nation's stock exchange “that it is in discussions with the owners of Pacnet around a potential transaction to acquire the company.” The announcement of the exploration is so brief it reads a lot like it's a tick-the-boxes reveal under the continuous …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014
Tesla Model S family e-car

Telstra scores deal to drive data to Teslas

Australian buyers of the Tesla model S will become customers of the nation's dominant telco, Telstra, after the two companies announced a deal. The Tesla S famously includes a 17-inch touch screen into which all sorts of data pours to power services like mapping and real-time traffic updates. Telstra's mobile networks will be …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014
gandalf

Google bakes W3C malware-buster into Gmail

If an online service offers even the slightest gap through which miscreants can launch an attack, they will do so. It's therefore not surprising that Google feels some extensions to its Gmail service may not be entirely friendly to users. The Chocolate Factory's, response, announced Tuesday, is to adopt the W3C's Content …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014
cable

Gigabit-over-TV-cable spec DOCSIS 3.1 passes interop test

DOCSIS 3.1, a standard designed to deliver downloads at up to 10Gbps on existing hybrid fibre-coax cable television networks, has passed an interoperability test. The Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) standard is overseen by Cable Labs, a not-for-profit outfit that conducts research for the cable companies …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Dec 2014

Penguin porn? NO! Linux folk in #LCA2015 standoff

Each January Linux luminaries from around the world descend on Australia and New Zealand to attend Linux.conf.au, an antipodean penguinista gathering of sufficient gravitas that Linus Torvalds himself often makes the trip. The event is referred to as “LCA”, and for the 2015 edition has used #LCA2015 as its hashtag. But …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Dec 2014
Microsoft Sway

Microsoft opens smiley-kids jangly guitar doc-maker to all

Microsoft has opened its new Office app, Sway, to all comers. As we reported last October, Sway is a document creation and content aggregation tool. Microsoft's laying on the inspirational stuff pretty thick: it says the tool will let you “reimagine how your ideas come to life” and “create a beautiful, interactive, web-based …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Dec 2014
Halo 4

Microsoft to open source HALO's cloudy back-end

Microsoft has decided to release the code for “Project Orleans”, code the company uses to power “the basis of the Halo 4 services architecture.” Halo 4, for the handful of uninitiated among you, is a multiplayer first-person shooter beloved by millions. Microsoft's talked about Project Orleans for a while, as the company feels …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Dec 2014

Chrome devs hatch plan to mark all HTTP traffic insecure

The Chromium Project's security team has kicked off a debate on whether browser will mark all HTTP pages as insecure. “We … propose that user agents (UAs) gradually change their UX to display non-secure origins as affirmatively non-secure,” the team writes in this post. The post says the team's goal “... is to more clearly …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Dec 2014
Candor Colles map

MARSQUAKES shook up range of hills in ancient lake bed

NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS) reckon they've found evidence of ancient earthquakes on Mars. Or should that be Marsquakes? The evidence was spotted in the west Candor Chasma, one of the canyons in the Valles Marineris canyon system. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Containers

Parallels to adopt Docker as native app format in Cloud Server

The little virtualizer that can, Parallels, has been doing containerisation for ages: the company's Virtuozzo software has been running applications in silos that share an underlying operating system since at least 2007, when its predecessor company SWsoft decided to rename itself Parallels. SWsoft got its start in 2001. …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
The Pirate Bay's new IsoHunt logo

Pirate Bay towed to oldpiratebay.org

Torrent site IsoHunt.to claims to have copied The Pirate Bay's database and has recreated a version of the site at oldpiratebay.org/. Isohunt's operators claim they've “copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users.” Here's the rest of their proclamation. Isohunt's Pirate Bay manifesto …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Uber logo

Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

Update The central business district of Australia's largest city, Sydney, is today in lockdown after a man shut himself and around 40 people in a cafe. The man reportedly has a gun and has insisted his captives display a flag bearing Arabic script in the cafe's window. Authorities have asked locals not to visit the city. Several city …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Free Realms

Sony to media: stop publishing our stolen stuff or we'll get nasty

Sony Pictures Entertainment has reportedly written a tersely-worded letter to lots of media outlets that have run stories based on material supposedly liberated from its servers. Any stroll through mainstream media today will encounter all manner of salacious celebrity gossip, much of it attributed to emails accessed during the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Dec 2014
Google Loon balloon envelope

French space agency teams with Google for broadband balloons

France's space agency, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will team with Google to advance the Project Loon broadband balloons project. As CNES points out, France has been messing around with balloons since the 1960s. Today the CNES has 60 staff working with balloons, the world's second-largest such program after the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014
David Thodey, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow sign NBN agreements

NBN Co, Turnbull, issue contradictory broadband speed promises

NBN Co has signed definitive agreements to acquire Telstra's copper network, plus the hybrid fibre-coax networks belonging to both Telstra and Optus, but just what the deals will deliver is uncertain after communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and NBN Co issued conflicting advice on the speeds the network will deliver. The …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014

Slough or Antarctica? Well, at least Antarctica has penguins

The eXpat Files The expats we've met to date in our series have taken us to all sorts of odd places, but none quite as remote as Antarctica, which is where this week's traveller Kevin O'Rourke managed to land a job right out of uni. He's also called Nigeria home, and now resides in Sweden. One's dangerous. One has liquorice coated in ammonium …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Dec 2014

Tor takes off the gloves after sustained staffer harassment

The Tor project has revealed that one of its team has been subjected to “a sustained campaign of harassment for the past several months” and declared it will no longer tolerate such activity on the Tor network. In a strongly-worded post, Tor's “arma”, aka Roger Dingledine, says the female staffer “is not alone and her experience …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
Ford Sync 3

Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

As foreshadowed in February, Ford has announced a new in-car entertainment and communications system that will run on BlackBerry's QNX real-time operating system, not Windows as is the case for the company's current efforts. Ford Sync 3 will offer touch-screen and voice recognition controls. The latter will allow drivers to …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
Bang by Guian Bolisay

VMware exiting 2014 with a bang and a security whimper

The productive bits of 2014 may be ebbing away fast, but VMware's not slowing down: the company's shoved a few notables out the door in recent days. The most urgent is a fix for a bug in the on-premises version of the mobile device management suite AirWatch. As Virtzilla 'fesses up, “These issues may allow a user that manages an …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
Snort 3 logo

Cisco to release flying pig – Snort 3.0

Cisco's going to release a flying pig. The porcine in question is Snort 3.0, a new version of Sourcefire's well-regarded intrusion protection system. Snort's mascot is a pig and Sourcefire has, over the years, had a lot of fun with toy pigs and calendars picturing its pig in provocative poses. That silliness is, happily, …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
Facepalm by Ron Mander

Microsoft pulls a patch and offers PHANTOM FIX for the mess

Another Patch Tuesday, another mess for Microsoft, which has pulled update 3004394, aka “December 2014 update for Windows Root Certificate Program in Windows”. Redmond says the patch “is causing additional problem on computers that are running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. This includes the …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
hand_puppet by MIKI Yoshihito

Puppet Labs decides the time is right to pull Windows' strings

DevOps darling Puppet Labs has decided to share the love with Windows. “People who would not have looked at Windows a year or two ago are considering it as a development platform now,” Puppet CIO Nigel Kersten told The Reg. Kersten thinks that enthusiasm is emerging because, in part, “Microsoft is heading down the path of doing …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Dec 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

HE'S DONE IT! Malcolm Turnbull unites left and right with piracy policy

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull was found, in November, to be Australia's preferred Prime Minister in a Fairfax/IPSOS poll. The erudite and intelligent Turnbull polls well because appeals to moderate voters in his own Liberal Party and the opposition Labour Party. Turnbull's now again demonstrated his …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Dec 2014
balaclava_thief_burglar

Crims at vendors could crock kit says ENISA

Before you sign on the dotted line to acquire some kit or sign up a service provider, ask the vendor you're considering if any of their staff have criminal records. That's just one of many, many, suggestions made by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), in a new guide to Secure ICT Procurement …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Dec 2014
Woman looks immensely happy while staring into blank screen of unplugged monitor

Microsoft says January Windows 10 build will excite sysadmins

Microsoft will conduct a big, consumer-focussed, reveal of Windows 10's progress in January, and not long afterwards will “move conversation” to the new operating system's features for enterprise users. Microsoft Australia representatives today told The Reg that sysadmins and business users should therefore pay close attention …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Dec 2014

Death to Benevolent Dictators says Pivotal as it frees Cloud Foundry

Open source platform-as-a-service effort Cloud Foundry now has its very own not-for-profit foundation. The Cloud Foundry Foundation – try saying that five times quickly – has hung out a shingle at cloudfoundry.org/. The move is notable because Pivotal promised to create an open governance model for Cloud Foundry back in …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Dec 2014
Use google.com button

Google+ to offer 'infinite' gender identity options

Google+ will expand the range of options it offers when it asks users to identify their gender. The Chocolate Factory's social network has, to date, offered “Male”, “Female” and “Other”. Gooogle developer Rachael Bennett writes it's now possible to select a “Decline to State” or “Custom” option. Selecting the latter will mean “ …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Dec 2014

IBM ponders least-cost cloud-brokering service after scoring patent

IBM has claimed a patent for “Routing Service Requests Based on Lowest Actual Cost within a Federated Virtual Service Cloud” that it says “automatically pools cloud computing resources from disparate cloud centers, enabling clients to improve performance and save money by reducing the amount of manual intervention needed to …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Dec 2014
australia

Australia to block piracy sites if Big Content asks nicely in court

Australia will join the ranks of nations that ask local internet service providers block access to sites suspected of illegally distributing copyrighted material. The nation's attorney-general George Brandis and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed their intention to “amend the Copyright Act, to enable rights …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Dec 2014
Photo of a stack of $100 bills

NGINX scores $20 MEELLLION to remind people it sells stuff

Web-server-maker NGINX has a tricky problem: its software is used by the likes of Netflix and Dropbox, it can claim 40 per cent of the world's top 1,000 web as users, but that ability to operate at extraordinary scale isn't translating into the hoped-for level of sales of its commercial products and services. The for-cash stuff …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Dec 2014
Poxon sydiving photo

AWS control freak can now manage ON-PREMISES servers

Apologies if you're tired of the word “disruption”, but please tolerate it just one more time because Amazon Web Services has just done something mighty disruptive: allowed its OpsWork control-freak-as-a-service to wrangle on-premises servers. OpsWorks is an infrastructure automation tool that aims to make it easier to deploy …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Dec 2014
tumbling dice

Juniper gives itself an uppercut, plans white box switch running Junos OS

White box switches are generally held to be a threat to traditional network vendors, because server-based network appliances can't attract the same premium prices as dedicated devices. Juniper, however, appears not to be reading the script – or is perhaps trying to write the next Act - because the struggling vendor has announced …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2014
Barack Obama in the Oval Office

Devs: Barack Obama's gunning for your job!

Barack Obama has written what is believed to be the first computer code ever penned by a US President. Obama wrote what programming education body Code.org says was “a few lines of JavaScript”, but just what he coded has not been revealed. President @BarackObama is learning an #HourOfCode! (He's writing a few lines of …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2014
USB 3 logo

USB Forum submits itself to electrical probing

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has ticked off a small-but-significant milestone by submitting its new standards to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). As we've previously noted, the USB-IF has revealed a 10Gbps-capable USB-C connector, and also an ambition for two-way power flows at up to 100W over USB. …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2014

Google and Microsoft, sitting in a tree,
L I C E N S I N GEE!

Google has announced that Microsoft users can now deploy their licenses in its cloud. The announcement means Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint and other Microsoftery can now happily run in Google's cloud without the need for extra licenses. The news brings Google to parity with Amazon Web Services, so this isn't …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2014

G'Day Australia! Office 365 and Dynamics CRM bounce Down Under

Lots of Australian businesses have already jumped aboard Microsoft's cloudwagon, often after having been told that the latency associated with data centres on foreign soil was no impediment to anything at all. What, then, to make of Microsoft's announcement that Office 365 and Dynamics CRM will be on offer from its Australian …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2014
Credit: katso käyttöehdot http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds#mediaviewer/Tiedosto:Linus_Torvalds_talking.jpeg

Linus Torvalds releases Linux 3.18 as 3.17 wobbles

Linus Torvalds has pressed the go button for a new release of his eponymous kernel. Linux version 3.18 was loosed on Sunday, US time, after what Torvalds wrote was a “tiny” patch to get release candidate 7 done. The new version's headline features for business users are better sleep and resumption for Linux servers, more …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2014
iPhone Battery

IBM Research wants laptop batteries to retire and slum it

IBM's Indian research lab has come up with a nice idea: using old laptop batteries too feeble to power a ThinkPad as off-grid power sources. In a paper [PDF] titled “UrJar: A Lighting Solution using Discarded Laptop Batteries”, IBM and Radio Studio India boffins explain that “Forty percent of the world’s population, including a …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2014

HP flings big data at cloud, sysadmins' faces

Your log files, the story goes, aren't just a record of every every stray packet that grazes your firewall or every temperature spike inside your servers when someone uses the microwave in the lunch room. They're really a treasure trove of hidden indicators that can tell you not just how to stop IT breaking at the worst possible …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2014