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Simon Sharwood

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The EDSAC Gallery at the UK National Museum of Computing

UK computing museum starts reboot of 65-year-old EDSAC

The United Kingdom's National Museum of Computing has begun the process of rebooting the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator – aka EDSAC – a computer commissioned in 1949. As The Reg has previously detailed, EDSAC has a distinguished place in computing history because its design influenced that of LEO, a British …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
DNA

DNA survives fiery heat of re-entry on test rocket

Sounding rockets are sub-orbital spacecraft used to test rocket technologies and to run other experiments. Launches of such craft are quite common and most escape attention: the TEXUS-49 mission launched from Sweden on March 29th, 2011, and now doesn't even produce a clean hit on Google. But the mission is now of rather …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
A rack of Nvidia VCAs

Citrix clambers aboard GPU-powered app-delivery bandwagon

Desktop virtualisation's year has been marked by a growing number of insistences that the technology is now mature, doesn't require more storage than you first planned for and can handle even graphics-intensive, workstation-grade workloads. Hence announcements like Google and Nvidia suggesting Chromebooks can run anything if …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
Sydney Opera House Hackathon logo

NICTA chief quits over future structure flap with board

Australian research house Research house National ICT Australia (NICTA) has announced the unexpected resignation of CEO Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte. A canned statement says “Professor Durrant-Whyte and the Board of NICTA had differences of opinion regarding the strategies and governance structures required to secure the medium …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
Riecoin

Cryptocurrency cruncher cranks prime number constellation

Bitcoin mining, our own Simon Rockman wrote last January, “is essentially a brute-force attack on the generating algorithm”. “Bitcoin, and all the other alt-coins, is training a skillset for building password-cracking hardware that is both powerful and portable,” he wrote. It looks like cryptocurrencies are also helping to spot …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
Chinese search engine Baidu's DuBike

Chinese search engine Baidu to peddle SmartBike

China's Baidu is often compared to Google: it runs a dominant search engine and is tacking on related services at a brisk pace. Now the company is even following Google into the provision of odd bicycle-related projects. Baidu's DuBike is a lot easier to understand than Google's investment in cycle-powered monorail venture …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
VMware logo

VMware secures trademark for something cloudy and secure

VMware has been awarded a mighty interesting-sounding trademark. “VMware Switch” is described as “ Enterprise computing security services, namely, providing secure access, via a global computer network, featuring technology that allows access to enterprise software applications and services.” What might VMware have in mind for …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Nov 2014
Uber logo

Singapore rides to rescue of local cabs by out-Ubering Uber

Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) has found a way to out-Uber Uber, by launching a taxi-finding app of its own. The famously well-regulated island city state already has one of the tightest taxi regimes on the planet, as cabs can only use designated ranks within the central business district. If you're not on a rank, …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2014

Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher

Naughty domain owners are still playing nasty tricks on the whois domain lookup service to tease the likes of Google and Microsoft. Microsoft's had trouble with this stuff for years, and a whois search on Microsoft.com still produces results like: MICROSOFT.COM.IS.NICE.WHEN.TOASTED.COMKAL.NET; MICROSOFT.COM.SHOULD.INSTALL- …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2014
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australia to conduct national cyber-security review

Australia will conduct a national “cyber-security review”. Speaking today at the launch of the new Australian Cyber Security Centre in Canberra today, prime minister Tony Abbott put network security on par with physical security, said it is a guarantor of economic security and added “it is so important we keep one step ahead of …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2014

AWS CloudFront wobbles at worst possible time

Don't start your Black Friday online shopping spree just yet: Amazon Web Services' CloudFront content delivery network has wobbled over the last few hours and the perennially-loss-making retailer, and customers of its cloud computing services, have reportedly been hard to access. Amazon's status page said “We are currently …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2014
Bill Gates

Gates Foundation to insist on Open Access science

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has drawn a line in the sand: as of next year, it will only fund research that is released in full, for free, immediately upon publication. The Foundation's pitching the decision as enabling greater scrutiny of research, and therefore better outcomes. A new Open Access Policy spells out the …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Nov 2014
Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype

Australia's Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday labelled those who oppose use of the public cloud “box-huggers” and suggested such behaviour is bad because it ties organisations to an outmoded and expensive way of doing IT. “There is more resistance to cloud in government that anywhere else,” he said, and blamed …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Nov 2014

Apple seeks patent for user-configurable progress bar

Apple looks to be trying to do something about the flaky nature of software progress bars by making them user-configurable so they report when a machine has missed its estimate of the time needed to complete a task. The fruity 'puter company has applied to patent a ”Smart Progress Indicator” that will improve on current efforts …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Nov 2014
The invitation for the Windows 8 launch in October 2012

IDC: iPad sales CRASH incoming ... Win 8 killing 2-in-1 typoslabs

Market-watcher IDC has bad news for makers of tablets and two-in-one typoslabs like Microsoft's Surface: sales of the former are going to slow markedly and punters are avoiding the latter due to Windows 8. “The worldwide tablet market is expected to see a massive deceleration in 2014 with year-over-year growth slowing to 7.2%, …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Nov 2014

Toshiba Australia recalls combustible laptop power cords

Toshiba Australia has issued a recall notice for the power cord it supplied with laptops sold in Australia between 1st September 2010 and 30th June 2012. The recall notice says the “'LS-15' labelled AC Power cord” was built with “electrical insulation [that] may degrade over time”. If that happens, there's “potential to …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2014
ITU logo

And the award for the world's most tech-savvy country goes to …

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has issued its annual Measuring the Information Society report and found that Denmark is the world's most technologically-developed nation. South Korea scored the win in the last version of the report, but is now in second. Results for other big Reg-reading nations include: The …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2014
How TXTing stresses your spine

Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU

Medical boffins have codified two new gadget-derived diseases. The new “Digitillnesses” are known as “text neck” and “telepressure”. The former, as detailed [PDF] by Kenneth Hansraj MD, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, results from the fact that looking down at a smartphone puts your …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2014
The MSN Santa (unconfirmed)

Google's elves work on Santa to rein(deer) in grinchware

Google's elves have been busy working on a toy for all the girls and boys who run Mac OS and worry about getting a virus. “Santa” is billed as “a binary whitelisting/blacklisting system for Mac OS X”, can be found on GitHub and “keeps track of binaries that are naughty and nice.” Nice binaries get to run. Naughty binaries get a …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Nov 2014

You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes

Security software outfit Avast are trying to figure out why the combination of recent Windows patches and updates to the latter company's software are breaking PCs. Hordes of users have found that their PCs, especially those running Windows 8 and 8.1, grind to a halt after they apply both Microsoft's recent KB3000850 update …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2014
NASA's new Europa photo

NASA revisits Europa with modern image-processing software

NASA has re-issued a famous image of Jovian moon Europa, after subjecting it to “modern image processing techniques” for the first time. The 1.6km-per-pixel, 2300x1700 image is actually a composite of several captured by the Galileo probe during the craft's first and fourteenth orbits through the Jupiter system, in 1995 and 1998 …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2014

Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault

Last July, Dimension Data's Australian cloud went down for over 24 hours. Now the company says its assessment of the incident found those who suffered the most had themselves to blame, to a degree. Speaking today at the launch of the company's new government cloud, cloud general manager David Hanrahan said those impacted by the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Turnbull: Box-huggers are holding back cloud

Dimension Data has announced it will soon offer a government-only cloud hosted in Australia's capital city, Canberra. The new facility will be another node of the firm's currently-14-strong network of Managed Cloud Platforms (MCPs), but won't be open to the general public. Instead, it's been tweaked to handle Australian …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Nov 2014
Sandworm vulnerability logo

SandWorm thrived thanks to botched MSFT patch says HP

Microsoft had a chance to crush the SandWorm bug before it crawled out of the dunes, but botched the job, says HP. HP says that the Windows Object Packager, which SandWorm attacks, “had suffered a similar issue in 2012 with security bulletin MS12-005. HP researcher Matt Oh goes on to write that he “found striking similarities“ …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Nov 2014
View of the LHC tunnel sector 3 to 4

Hunt for Higgs Boson and dark matter now starts ON YOUR SOFA

If you're not too busy this weekend, why not sit down on your sofa and try to find a Higgs Boson or dark matter? The idea's feasible because CERN yesterday released data generated by the the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS). “one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors” at the Large Hadron Collider. CERN says the CMS …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Nov 2014
The Internet from the IT Crowd

The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause

Back in February we reported on a crew called Outernet and its plan to float a network of tiny satellites to deliver internet access around the world and in the process “bypass censorship, ensure privacy, and offer a universally-accessible information service at no cost to global citizens.” Outernet's made some progress towards …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Nov 2014
Android logo

Google releases 'Divide' to conquer mobile devices, messaging

Google has quietly released something called “Divide”, the fruits of an acquisition it made back in May. Divide offered a mobile device management platform and tools to synch Exchange and Notes content to Android devices. The latter features have re-emerged in a new Android app Google says is a “gateway to your existing …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Nov 2014
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Roll up, roll up, Microsoft's rolled up dozens of OS fixes

Microsoft's just released its November rollup of product fixes to address issues that go back to April 2014. The new dump includes patches galore for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2. The latter gets some handy fixes, such as one that includes “performance and reliability improvements in the cluster, file …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Nov 2014
creative commons - must credit clarence: *www.sxc.hu/profile/clarence

HDS: Storage? Pah! We're working on a SMART CITY OPERATING SYSTEM

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is working on two projects that will scale its compute and storage technologies to serve Internet of Things deployments in smart cities. Speaking yesterday at the company's innovation forum in Singapore, Asia-Pac CTO Adrian De Luca mentioned the company's recently announced decision to build an EVO: …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Nov 2014
cloud

VMware testing servers-by-the-minute cloud

Journalists who cover cloud have a recurring nightmare: leaving the “l” out of “public cloud” and copping a caning in the comments for their somewhat Freudian slip. But one vendor that operates a cloud that isn't entirely public is VMware: Virtzilla's vCloud Air has hitherto been sold as a by-the-month affair. The company has, …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Nov 2014
Elite

Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

Elite:Dangerous, the revival of classic eight-bit space trading game Elite, won't have a single-player offline mode and space commanders are mad as hell. Frontier Developments, the game's developer, revealed the demise of offline mode in a recent newsletter in which it argues “A fully offline experience would be unacceptably …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Nov 2014
A 1963 replica batmobile

Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale

A heavily-customised Oldsmobile said to be the first officially-licenced Batmobile will go to auction later in December. Created in 1963, three years before the infamously camp Batman TV show hit the airwaves, DC Comics allowed a US chap named Forrest Robinson to build a Batmobile, according to Heritage Auctions. The hammer- …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Nov 2014
HP and Shrek 2

Shrek-as-a-service: DreamWorks and Infosys team up

Here's an odd one: Indian outsourcer Infosys and Hollywood animation studio DreamWorks Animation have created a “strategic engineering partnership”. The deal looks to involve Infosys running its eye over the technology DreamWorks uses to make movies and figuring out how to commercialise it. The Indian company will “... deploy …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Nov 2014
Kindle Big Brother

Kindle, meet my partner. Darling, play nice with Kindle, please

Amazon.com has made a small-but-significant enhancement to its Kindle ebook ecosystem, as it now allows sharing ebooks among family members. The new Family Library feature allows one to access ebooks “from the Amazon account of a spouse or partner.” Amazon's allowed loans of ebooks, under limited conditions, for a while now. …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Nov 2014

World leaders rubber-stamp tax recoup effort at G20 gabfest

The leaders meeting of the G20 group of nations has endorsed existing approaches to combating international legal-but-naughty tax avoidance schemes. Tax was on the agenda of the weekend gabfest because most G20 members are painfully aware that their balance sheets don't look great, in part because multinational companies have …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Nov 2014

Sarong it's right: Coining it in Thailand without a visa

The eXpat files In this week's eXpat files, we're speaking to … well, actually we're not going to use this person's real name, because they may work in Thailand without all the necessary paperwork. Our expat has therefore suggested we use the name “David Green”. So without any further ado, tells us what life's like over there, “David”. The …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Nov 2014

Bloated, slow and self-perpetuating: Cisco slams standards groups

Cisco's chief architect and CTO for engineering David Ward has blasted standards development organisations (SDOs), asking whether they are “relevant in a rapidly expanding environment of Open Source Software (OSS) projects.” Ward's post on the subject is pointedly timed: he's released it on the even of the Internet Engineering …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014

No more tomorrows for TomorrowNow suit as Oracle and SAP settle

Oracle and SAP have settled their long-running dispute over third-party support outfit TomorrowNow. The case was fought over whether or not SAP subsidiary TomorrowNow was within its rights to download Oracle software to its own servers, by using Oracle customers' licence keys. TomorrowNow 'fessed up way back in 2008, when …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014
David Cameron, UK prime minister

UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

UK prime minister David Cameron has called for “extremist material” to be taken offline by governments, with help from network operators. Speaking in Australia's Parliament on a trip that will also see him attend the G20 leaders' summit, Cameron spoke of Australia and Britain's long shared history, common belief in freedom and …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014
iPad Pages app

Apple expands mobile device management program beyond USA

Apple has extended the reach of its Device Enrollment Program (DEP) beyond the USA and beyond end-users. Apple says [PDF] the DEP “ simplifies initial setup by automating mobile device management (MDM) enrollment and supervision of devices during setup and enabling you to configure the devices without touching them.” “Upon …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014

DEATH TO AMERICA! China has your data centre covered

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, China's encouraging local companies to buy from their brethren behind the great firewall. That exhortation won't hurt Chinese companies because the nation's domestic IT outfits are now very sophisticated. In some product categories Chinese kit is a no-brainer. Lenovo PCs, tablets and …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014

PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS!

Former Microsoft CEO will donate around US$60m to Harvard in order to endow a dozen new Professorial appointments in computer science. Ballmer's told The Harvard Crimson his new PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS! PROFESSORS! mantra is inspired by a desire to keep helping Harvard, from which he graduated in 1977. The twelve new …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2014
Windows 2.0

Stop coding and clean up your UI, devs, it's World Usability Day

November 13th is World Usability Day, the annual event that urges all and sundry “to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use.” The day's raison d'être is promoting good design, so that products and services are easy to use, rather than useless. Physical objects are the …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Nov 2014
secondary age school kids outside NBN truck

NBN 'working' on pay-for-fibre-to-your-premises product

NBN Co, the company building Australia's national broadband network, has released “broad principles” it says “will determine which access technology will be deployed to connect communities to the National Broadband Network (NBN).” For each service area NBN Co will consider whether: Existing infrastructure can be leveraged to …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Nov 2014
iPhone shop Shenzhen

ITU thought bubble ponders mass mobe-tracking to kill fake IT

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will next week meet to consider the issue of “counterfeit and substandard ICT products” and what can be done about them, but some of the proposals on the table look more than a little worrying. Notice of the meeting was posted in late September, when the ITU announced next week's …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Nov 2014
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon hiring drone flight ops engineer in Cambridge, UK

Amazon.com is hiring a flight operations engineer to work in Cambridge, UK, to test its delivery drones. The job ad, posted last week, comes with the following responsibilities: Performing as the Safety Observer during Prime Air flight tests, both outdoor and indoor Ensuring that all safety policies are followed during flight …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Nov 2014

US, China, ink tariff-free technology trade pact

The United States of America and the People's Republic of China have agreed to abolish tariffs on each other's technology products. Announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Beijing on Monday, the deal won't immediately mean unfettered access for US and Chinese companies, because the agreement was …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Nov 2014
Skype iPad

Microsoft's Lync becomes 'Skype for Business'

Microsoft Lync is dead, replaced by Skype for Business. Lync is/was Microsoft's unified communications product and offers voice, video, instant messaging and videoconferences, all delivered from a single client. Integration with Microsoft Office means lots of click-to-talk-or-chat action. As of next year, however, Lync will …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Nov 2014
Grumpy cat

We interrupt this cat video to say you're out of data

Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, has flicked the switch on real-time notifications of mobile data use. Vulture South has personal experience of Telstra's notifications arriving after users have consumed rather more than their monthly data download allowances. The company is kind to customers who quickly react by purchasing …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Nov 2014
iMessage

BEHOLD Apple's BENEVOLENCE! iMessage txt BLACK HOLE finally fixed

People ditching their iPhones until now faced a rather irritating problem: Apple's iMessage service assumes that all text messages to their phone numbers should use the company's over-the-top iMessage app. Thus, messages intended for an iPhone have failed to land when folks move to rival phones – as the SMSs disappeared into …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Nov 2014