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Simon Sharwood

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The view from the ISS

Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Data gathered by the International Space Station's (ISS') Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is being cautiously suggested as useful evidence for the existence of dark matter. The AMS is a particle detector on the ISS and keeps its eyes on cosmic rays, in order to observe the high-energy particles they carry. As explained in a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014
Philips 231P4QRYES ErgoSensor monitor

Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share

Market monitor IDC's latest word on monitors goes some way to explaining limp enthusiasm for Windows 8: people just aren't buying touch-screen monitors. Windows 8's user interface was designed to work on mouse-driven and poke-enabled devices. It's racked up plenty of sales, but not much love. The analyst outfit's latest …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014

Man buys iPHONE 6 and DROPS IT to SMASH on PURPOSE

In the queue to buy the iPhone 6 today, Vulture South met a chap named Alex McCredie, the founder of Sydney iThing repair company FixPod. Alex intended to buy an iPhone 6 Plus, then drop it to see what happened. To say Alex was a bit conflicted about the project is an understatement: he was clearly struggling with the idea of …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014
padlock

Samsung unlocks Knox at zero bucks

Samsung has dropped the cost of its mobile device management (MDM) suite Knox to $0. You don't get all of Knox for that price, as $0 what you'll pay for a new “Express” version of the service offering basic MDM features like a cloud management portal and the ability to create a password-protected partition in which employer- …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014
Apple iPhone 6

Register journo battles Sydney iPHONE queue, FONDLES BIG 'UN

If the vast queues for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at the Broadway Apple Store in Sydney, Australia are a reliable augury, mighty Apple is back on top form, el Reg can report. Thanks to a timezone advantage, Australian Apple outlets open earlier than any others on the planet. The Register dropped in for the iPhone 5 and …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Sep 2014

Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

Rupert Murdoch's minions have written to the European Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia, urging him to mete out stern punishment to Google in the ongoing search market dominance probe. The minion in question is News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson and his urgings are detailed in a letter he sent to Almunia last …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has again unloaded on his predecessors in government, saying the swift planing process for the National Broadband Network made it “the riskiest and most complex project the Australian Government has ever attempted to carry out. In a speech delivered yesterday to the Corporate …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Kindle Fire HD for Kids

Amazon rekindles e-readers and Fire OS without weeks of whack-a-leak fun

Amazon.com has given its Kindle range a thorough refresh, springing a new range on world+dog today without the usual weeks of “will they or won't they and what's inside” leaks and speculation. Instead we got a series of trim announcements of the new range, which comprises: A new Voyage model, a mere 7.6mm thick, 180 gms in …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Steve Herrod, VMware CTO

Former VMware CTO Steve Herrod is now mobile API 'appy

Your marketing department wants to build mobile apps to expose your business processes to world+dog, but if you do it their way you'll fail and set back future mobile development efforts. So says Steve Herrod, former VMware chief technology officer and now venture capitalist with General Catalyst. Speaking to The Reg today, …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014
Synology DS411slim

Synology bakes word processor, groupware, into its NAS OS

Synology is about to release version 5.1 of its Disk Station Manager (DSM) NAS operating system, and has baked a word processor and groupware inside. Synology's already gone a long way down the road of building share 'n' sync into its small business NAS. Adding Note Station, as the word processor is known, looks a logical …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Sep 2014

VMware releases XenApp to Horizon porting tool

VMware has released a tool to migrate apps made virtual and portable by Citrix's XenApp into its own Horizon View product. The tool is a little bit naughty because VMware has released it as a “Fling” - a term Virtzilla applies to code from its labs that consist of “Apps and tools built by our engineers that are intended to be …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Sep 2014
Canonical Orange Box

Canonical, AMD, team up with OpenStack-in-a-rack

AMD and Canonical have announced a new hardware partnership that will see the pair prepare an OpenStack-in-a-rack product. Canonical is clearly quite keen on this stuff, having earlier this year revealed the Orange Box portable cluster. That unit packs ten micro-servers into a portable luggable unit intended to offer a cluster …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Sep 2014
Sydney Opera House Hackathon logo

Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility

The Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) yesterday released “independent research” claiming that “Australia has the lowest average price in the world when looking at new release high definition digital video on demand films”. The news arrived in a breathless press release in which AHEDA “announced that …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014

Docker scores 40 MILLION greenbacks to pop business into boxes

Containerisation mavens Docker have scooped $40m in series C funding. Docker promotes a way of running applications inside portable “containers” that differ from virtual machines in that many can run on a single operating system. The likes of Google use containers at colossal scale and the concept has proven so compelling that …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014

'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

New videos of a "Windows 9" variant have emerged, and to this hack's eyes they look to have brought Windows up to speed with tricks that various desktop flavours of Unix have had for a decade or more. The feature in question is being described as “multiple desktops” and looks an awful lot like the “workspaces” that have been …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014
The Hindenburg disaster

Is your cloud server in the same bit barn as your DR site?

Microsoft is about to launch a “Geo” for Azure in Australia and has decided that the way to do so down under is by co-locating its kit in an as-yet-unidentified third-party bit barn. There's nothing new about that: Rackspace and VMware definitely do it for their cloud services. Amazon Web Services is reputed to do so but will …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014
india

India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction

India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has made its first course correction since June and is now on track to to arrive in orbit around the red planet on September 24th. Known to Indians as “Mangalyaan”, the craft is famous for having left the launchpad, and Earth, last November for the tiny sum of US$74m. The craft has since …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014
The actor playing a young Julian Assange in the telemovie Underground

I saved Bitcoin and the PERFECT DRAFT OF HISTORY, says Assange

Julian Assange has alleged that Bitcoin “founder” Satoshi Nakamoto asked WikiLeaks not to use the cryptocurrency as a means of raising funds, for fear of attracting unwanted attention. The allegation surfaced in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session Assange conducted to promote a new book. In that session he offers this extract …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Sep 2014
Sad cloud

China, clouds, to kill data centre tech market growth

China's data centre kit-providers will take two per cent of the global market from current suppliers, according to newly-released Gartner research titled “Four Highly Disruptive Factors Will Challenge the Survival of Incumbent Data Center Market Vendors.” Gartner says China will advance because it is “buoyed by deep resources” …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2014

Netscape plugins about to stop working in Chrome for Mac

Google has let it be known that it will stop working on 32-bit versions of Chrome for Mac OS. In a brief post, The Chocolate Factory says “Unlike on Windows, where Chrome is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit, on Mac, Chrome will only be available in 64-bit with version 39 and after.” There's no explanation for the change but …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2014
Ciscoblood

Benioff bails from Borg Board

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has decided not to stand for re-election to Cisco's Board of Directors at the company's November annual general meeting. Cisco filed the paperwork to make it happen last Firday, and issued a statement attributed to its own CEO John Chambers to cement the departure. Chambers' statement is as …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Sep 2014
Pikemen overtaking a bus outside St. Paul's Cathedral, London

'There is no downside – unless you count the total bath you take moving your stuff'

Welcome to The eXpat Files, a new weekend Reg regular in which we chat to an IT professional who's decided to seek his or her fortune in another land, so you can learn how to follow in their footsteps. This week, we chat with Piers Goodhew, an Australian who spent the last two years working in London, but is about to head home …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Sep 2014
management regulation1

European Court of Justice allows digitisation of library books

The Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice has ruled that libraries can scan books, even if publishers deny them permission to do so, but that subsequent reading can only take place on “dedicated terminals”. The ruling came in the case of Technische Universität Darmstadt v Eugen Ulmer KG, decided on Thursday. The facts …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014

Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport

Australia's Federal Police force has apologised for leaving explosives in a suitcase at an airport. The force says the explosives – all 230 grams of them – were a “canine training device” inadvertently left in a suitcase used during a training exercise at Sydney Airport. The suitcase was then forgotten but eventually “a woman …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
dropbox privacy security eye

FAIL.GOV – Government asks Dropbox for accounts that don't exist

Dropbox has released its transparency report for the first half of 2014 and says it's handled 120 search warrants, a pair of court orders, 109 subpoenas, between zero and 249 national-security-related requests and 37 requests from governments other than that of the USA. None of the requests pertained to business accounts. …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
One of EVA Air's Hello Kitty jets

Airbus developing inkjet printer for planes

Plane-maker Airbus is working on an inkjet printer. Currently undergoing testing, the device is intended to paint planes. Today, airlines' logos and the designs they favour are usually painted onto planes. If the designs are complex, they are built up layer by layer in a time-consuming process. Designs too complex to be painted …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
Kim Jong-un

NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

North Korea has sent a stern request to foreign embassies, asking them to stop using WiFi and satellite internet services within their walls. NKNews.org reports that the hermit kingdom's State Radio Regulatory Department has written to diplomatic missions to remind them that licences are required to operate radio equipment. …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
EMC federation logo

EMC has nothing to say on VMware sale plan

EMC has reportedly refused to say whether or not it intends to sell a stake in VMware, after being reported as entertaining just such a sale. Confused? Here's how this is playing out. Back in July, activist investor Elliot Management picked up a stake in EMC. Someone then whispered in The Wall Street Journal's ear that Elliot …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Sep 2014
Seagate logo

Seagate spins up new Cloud Systems and Solutions group

Seagate has announced a new “Cloud Systems and Solutions group” it says will deliver the planet's very best storage rigs for cloud operators, a raft of new arrays and some new enterprise disk drives. The company's rolling out the “explosion in unstructured data” line to explain the need for the group, which it says melds the …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Sep 2014
Samuel L Jackson locates late passengers with RFID

Microsoft introduces text search … for videos!

Microsoft's Azure has switched on a range of media services, including one that makes it possible to conduct text searches of audio and video content. The new Azure Media Services offer encoding and streaming services backed by a content distribution network that should make it possible to deliver video around the world without …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Sep 2014
Google Will Eat Itself

Google extends app refund window to two hours

Google has extended the period during which it will permit you to “return” apps to its Play store and receive a refund. As this archive.org link shows, as recently as September 3rd the “Return paid apps & apps” page offered a 15 minute refund window. Today's version of the page says you now have two hours before the transaction …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Sep 2014
Ford Focus embedded into Edinburgh basement

ACCC gives thumbs up to TPG's NBN fibre-to-the-basement raids

Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has to do nothing about junior telco TPG's plans to compete with the nation's government-mandated monopoly telephony network provider NBN Co, but is still pondering whether other telecoms retailers should be allowed to resell services running on TPG's infrastructure. TPG plans …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
Apple iPod Classic

Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

Amid all the colour and movement generated by Tuesday's launch of new iPhones and the Apple Watch, Cupertino looks to have quietly killed the iPod Classic. A visit to www.apple.com/ipod/ or its national variants reveals a range of iPods that includes the iPod Shuffle, Nano and Touch, plus the Apple TV. But there's no mention of …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014

Keep that consumer browser tat away from our software says Oracle

Oracle has announced that it has certified four versions of Firefox's Extended Support releases, but can't be bothered even trying to keep up with the open-source browser's consumer version. Mozilla describes Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR) as “intended for groups who deploy and maintain the desktop environment in large …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014

VMware updates vSphere, recommends new security fixes

VMware has released a second update to vSphere 5.5. The headline news in the new release is that hosts can now run up to six terabytes of RAM. And yes, we do mean terabytes. vCenter Server can now support Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 and Microsoft SQL Server 2014. Those considering hybrid cloud get to …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
Intel Xeon

Intel's SECRET Xeons: tell us what you think Chipzilla's hiding

At the Australian launch of Intel's new Xeon E5-2600 v3 yesterday, Chipzilla's local folks popped up a slide trumpeting the fact that the chip now comes in 35 special flavours. Your correspondent asked Intel to name a few, which prompted a response that pre-launch debate considered whether or not to include the slide because …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
The USB 3.1 Logo

New USB spec offers two-way power flows AND double-sided plug

The USB Promoters Group has loosed the USB Power Delivery v2.0 and USB Billboard Device Class v1.0 specifications on the world. Don't snore, dear readers, because these specs make it possible to reverse the role of devices popped into USB plugs. As the 534-page Power Delivery v2.0 spec (contained in this 42-megabyte .zip file) …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Sep 2014
BBC logo 2012

Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC that markets its products around the world, has told Australia's government that heavy users of “IP obfuscation tools” are so suspicious that internet service providers (ISPs) should consider them as likely content pirates. The organisation states that case in a submission (PDF) to …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2014

Another day, another virtualiser gives Docker a big sloppy kiss

Scarcely a day passes without one enterprise software outfit or another declaring that Docker's version of Linux containerisation is the mutt's nuts, and on Monday the Xen Project took its turn. Like anyone else capable of spelling “VM”, the folks at Xen appreciate containerisation's speed, light weight, density and overall …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2014
SoftLayer's data center

SoftLayer hardens up its hybrid cloud with TXT

IBM's SoftLayer public cloud branch has flicked the switch on Intel's Trusted Execution (TXT) Technology, allowing users of its service to guarantee their code runs on identifiable servers. TXT allows users to validate a machine's BIOS and hardware state, handy tricks because it means software can be tuned so it will only run on …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Microsoft bins Bing image widget after Getty sueball

Microsoft has taken down the Bing images widget that so offended Getty Images that it flung a sueball in Redmond's direction last week. As Getty's complaint (reg-and-paywalled) states, “The Bing Image Widget allows website publishers to embed a panel on their websites that will display digital images supplied by Defendant …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Sep 2014
One of New Zealand Post's commemorative Hobbit coins

Nude celeb pics wrongly blamed for DDOS at New Zealand's largest ISP

New Zealand's largest ISP, Spark, has spent the weekend fighting off a DDOS incorrectly assumed to have a connection with last week's nude celebrity picture scandal. The ISP hit trouble last Friday, when it Tweeted that some of its subscribers had become infected with malware that was flooding its DNS servers and making it hard …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Sep 2014

Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'

Amazon.com has advertised for a Brisbane, Australia-based software developer to work on a “new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative”. AmazonFresh is shopzilla's grocery delivery service and has hitherto been confined to Seattle and parts of California. But the company has previously signalled it is keen to bring AmazonFresh …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Sep 2014

CenturyLink said to have pondered Rackspace buy

US telco CenturyLink is said to be considering an attempt to acquire Rackspace, according to Bloomberg. The newswire's report is sparse: nobody is saying anything concrete and folks familiar with the situation are the source. Let's try to guess what's afoot here. CenturyLink already operates a 57-strong global bit barn network …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Sep 2014
NBN Co logo

'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin

Rod Tucker, a laureate emeritus professor at the University of Melbourne, IEEE fellow, and networking researcher has posted an article that offers very heavy criticism of the Vertigan Review's cost-benefit analysis of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). Tucker's beef is with analysis provided by Communications Chambers …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Sep 2014
named data networking

DEATH TO TCP/IP cry Cisco, Intel, US gov and boffins galore

The US National Science Foundation, Cisco, Verisign, Panasonic and boffins from around the world have thrown their weight behind a new “Named Data Networking Consortium” that aims to develop “a practically deployable set of protocols replacing TCP/IP that increases network trustworthiness and security, addresses the growing …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2014
iiNet Logo

iiNet slurps system integrator Tech2 Group

Australia's third-largest internet service provider iiNet has let it be known that it has acquired 60 per cent of the Tech2 Group , an outfit that provides consumer-and business-grade IT services. iiNet's ASX statement (PDF) announcing the deal says it “provides a complementary focus on customer service, a new sales channel, …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

OH SNAP: Getty Images sues Microsoft over Bing pics widget

Getty Images has flung a sueball at Microsoft, alleging that the new Bing Image Widget breaches its copyright. Microsoft says the widget “enhances your web site with the power of Bing Image Search and provides your users with beautiful, configurable image collages and slideshows.” The widget is easy to use: at this page you feed …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2014
arrow pointing up

White box switches out-sell Brocade, Arista in the data centre

Analyst outfit Gartner has noticed something interesting: white box switches destined for the data centre outsold both Brocade and Arista in 2013. Gartner's data covers 1G/10G/40G/100G port shipments and revenue. Counting sales of those sorts found market share for the blank boxen was 3.8 per cent, on sales of 1.8 million ports …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2014
hands waving dollar bills in the air

TIBCO ponders new 'financial options', including sale or merger

It's hard to be a mid-sized enterprise software vendor these days. BCM last year went private and Compuware this week announced it would walk the same road. TIBCO looks set to do something similar, after on Wednesday announcing “a review of a variety of strategic and financial alternatives available to the Company through the …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Sep 2014