Simon Sharwood

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Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll

IBM's secret growth plan is … Karaoke?

IBM might be planning a karaoke-led-resurgence, if a new patent titled “Enhancing karaoke systems utilizing audience sentiment feedback and audio watermarking” is any guide. If IBM had a theme song it would probably be “I guess that's why they call it the blues”, as the company is beset by problems: the cloud challenges the …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2015
Digital Globe's 30cm satellite imagery vs. 70cm snaps

Bigfoot now visible in commercial satellite images

Last March the USA noticed a market disparity: French companies could sell higher-resolution satellite images than American companies. By June of the same year bans on US companies selling sharper space snaps were lifted. And last week the US company agitating for that change, DigitalGlobe, started to sell 30cm-resolution snaps …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
rockstar games bully/canis canem edit

Australia's social media censorship law – for the children - all-but passes

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014 has passed Australia's Senate, meaning the nation now has a regime for compelling social networks to remove material deemed to represent bullying of children. The Bill defines bullying material as “… intended to have an effect on a particular Australian child ... likely to have …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Picture by Afonso Lima

CONFIRMED: Tiny Windows Server is on the way

Microsoft's plans to decompose Windows Server into a far lighter and leaner beast are real. On Monday we reported on the emergence of a Microsoft slide deck outlining a “Nano” version of Windows Server aimed at the cloud. Microsoft's now pointed to an earlier statement about just what it plans. The pointer came in a Tweet from …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Curiosity's robotic arm probes first rock

Curiosity rover rendered armless by short circuit

Humanity's Mars-resident nuclear-powered, laser-packing space tank Curiosity has a broken arm. NASA says the problem emerged on February 27th when "the rover was conducting an early step in the transfer of rock powder collected by the drill on the arm to laboratory instruments inside the rover." During that operation "Telemetry …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger

Here's what keeps VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger awake at night

VMware has released its Form 10-K, the annual report in which entities listed in the USA are required to offer a warts-and-all account of all the things that could possibly go wrong. 10-Ks are famously detailed and follow a rigid format, so VMware's includes the “mine safety disclosures” required of all such documents (the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
Citrix X1 mouse

Citrix reveals next-gen Receiver and StoreFront, then buries them

Citrix has revealed, and then hidden, previews of a new version of its Receiver and Store Front applications. Receiver is the client software used to consume apps given the Xen Desktop or Xen App treatment. StoreFront is the app store into which one can place apps so that users can select which ones they'd like to access with …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
DSS 35 deep space telescope

NASA upgrades Rosetta, Voyager and moon landing tracker

NASA has upgraded the Australian facility housing antennae that captured signals from the first Moon landing and still helps to track the Voyager missions. The Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station already houses Deep Space Stations (DSS) 34, 43, 45 and DSS 46. The latter is a 26 metre antenna that received the first video of …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office already missing deadlines

On January 23rd, Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) modelled on the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) and charged with taking government services online. As we noted at the time the office had no budget and no plan, but …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Netflix House of Cards remake

March 24th: The day most Australian download allowances become inadequate

Netflix has named the day on which its Australian (and New Zealand) service will commence: March 24th, 2015. Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense, plus Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box, will all be able to access the service. Netflix's home-brand shows will be offered locally, along with …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Tangle of cables attached to a telegraph pole

VMware makes NFV telco play by snuggling up to OpenStack

MWC 2015 VMware has clambered aboard the network function virtualisation (NFV) bandwagon with “vCloud for NFV” - and has announced that Vodafone has been in production with the software for a while. NFV is presented as a key technology for telcos as they become less tolerant of services tied to particular pieces of tin and the attendant …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Hitachi mining shovel and rigid dumptruck

HDS makes its move beyond storage with telco data analyser

MWC 2015 Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has taken big step away from storage by releasing a realtime telco traffic monitor. Hitachi has, of late, woken up to the fact that its heavy industry arms – the group makes trains, mining and construction equipment, power generation kit and much more – emit just the kind of information that Big Data …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Zombie rising from the grave

Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

It's the first Monday of the month, so time for us to have a look at desktop operating system market share again! Keen Reg readers may recall that last month it looked like peak Windows 7 was behind us. This month's data supports that hypothesis: Statcounter has Windows 7 dipping a little to 54.13 per cent and Netmarketshare …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Microsoft working on 'Nano' version of Windows Server for web-scale ops

Microsoft appears to be working on a new version of Windows Server aimed at web-scale operations. News of the product comes via Neowin, which noticed a deck of slides titled “Nano Server: The Future of Windows Starts Now” posted to a Russian blog. The name on the title slide is “Refaat Issa” whose biography at Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015

Blockheads bork Bitcoin Foundation board election

Those with doubts about Bitcoin's viability have some new ammunition, after the Bitcoin Foundation fluffed a board election it tried to run using its own technology. News of the election emerged last December and voting eventually generated the need for a run-off election to determine final winners. That election didn't get off …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Turnbull's model e-gov service is HIPSTER SHAMBLES

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has often expressed his admiration for the United Kingdom's Government Digital Service (GDS), going so far to say as to say it is the model and/or inspiration for the recently-revealed Digital Transformation Office (DTO). As we've reported, the DTO looks to be off to a shaky …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Mar 2015
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott says food importers deserve help denied to telcos

Australia's government decided this week to impose two major new regulations on business. The first was announced on Thursday, in the form of new labelling requirements for food importers. This regulation has been introduced after some imported frozen berries were found to be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Australian Prime …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds movie still

At night, scary wildlife comes out to play in the chemical factory

On-call Welcome to On-Call, our semi-regular-ish weekend feature in which readers share experiences that happened late at night, in odd places. This week, the tale of reader "IT Gnome" who tells us "I work on call for a chemical factory, and it wouldn't look out of place at night in a zombie film." "It's perhaps the bleakest scariest …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Google logo

Google open-sources HTTP/2-based RPC framework

Google has open-sourced something called “gRPC” that it says represents “a brand new framework for handling remote procedure calls” using HTTP/2. The Chocolate Factory says it has dogfooded gRPC on its own microservices and that it “enables easy creation of highly performant, scalable APIs and microservices” and offers “ …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Apple's latest notification of hypegasm

NERDGASM as Apple announces 'special event'

Apple's hype machine has creaked into life again, with media outlets on Cupertino's “nice” list* reportedly showered with a new invitation to pay homage to the company on March 9th. The company's also updated its live events page with news of a to-be-streamed event on the same day. It's widely held the event will reveal more …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia to get spooks charter at cost of at least AU$188m

Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended that the nation adopt a telecommunications metadata retention regime. The Committee's report report (PDF) does recommend changes to the current Bill, including the proposed dataset being enshrined in legislation and therefore subject …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Leisure Suit Larry screenshot

To beat Oracle, find jurors who care about Leisure Suit Larry not Larry Ellison

When you kick a giant in the shins and threaten to cut it off at the knees, do it in a jurisdiction you believe will provide you with a sympathetic jury. That's the strategy advised by Seth Ravin, founder and CEO of third-party application support outfit Rimini Street. The ten year-old company is an irritant to Oracle and SAP …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
WTF?

NBN Co says TWO broadband connections are better than one

+Comment NBN Co, the entity building Australia's national broadband network, has come up with an odd suggestion: two broadband connections, each running on different access technologies, are better than one. The suggestion is odd because NBN Co's mandate is to give each Australian household and business one internet connection using one …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Parallels log

Parallels parallels Citrix, VMware with mobile app delivery slurp

VMware made its name in server virtualisation and Citrix rose to fame with application delivery technologies. Both now compete in both fields and in the emerging market for application delivery to, and management of mobile devices. Junior virtualiser Parallels, meanwhile, has concentrated on helping service providers to stand up …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Bank vault

Bank of England could mint own brand of Bitcoin

The Bank of England (BoE) has issued a piece of research suggesting, among other things, that it may not be a bad idea for it and other central banks to issue digital currencies. The “One Bank Research Agenda Discussion Paper” is the BoE's attempt to kick-start new banking thinking. The paper therefore considers five themes, …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015
Official Intel Atom Inside logo

Intel's Atoms gain new (cosmetic) X-Factor

Intel's decided that its Atom processor needs to get in line with its other ranges, so has given them new names. Like other Chipzilla products, the Atoms glory in monikers like the “C2750”, which rolls off the tongue like a brick. That Atoms come in both a C2350 and a C2530 model doesn't help matters either now that Intel's …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Feb 2015

Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Gemalto, the world's biggest SIM card maker, has investigated the NSA's and GCHQ's infiltration of its computers – and says that while the agencies did get into its network, they didn't get in far enough to siphon off phone-call encryption keys. Files leaked by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden appeared to show the US …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015
Cloud Hype Hoodie

F5 and Citrix alumni build CAFE to relax cloudy apps

Airline-magazine-grade chatter about cloud suggests that running an app in Azure, AWS or Google requires not much more than a few clicks before vaporised magic takes over, infrastructure bills decrease and scalability becomes infinite. The reality is, of course, rather more complex: apps running in the cloud still need things …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015

Microsoft's patchy patchwork extends to Virtual Machine Manager

Redmond's patchwork mess has extended to Virtual Machine manager, after a recent patch spoiled when exposed to the sun. Update Rollup 5 for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager emerged in early February, promising security, reliability and networking improvements, plus support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Feb 2015
A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

$1.6bn VMware defence deal challenged by AWS, Citrix and Nutanix

Amazon Web Services, Citrix and Nutanix have protested a US government plan to sign a US$1.6bn software and support contract with VMware. Virtzilla's wares are widely used in the US military, which appears pleased with the company's products but unhappy with procurement arrangements. A Justification For Other Than Full And Equal …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015
Screenshot of the Word 2013 startup screen, which doesn't show the year

'Utterly unusable' MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

British SciFi author Charles Stross once had the protagonist of his Laundry Files series, sysadmin/demon-hunter Bob Howard, narrate his day by saying “I'm sitting in my office, shivering over a cooling cup of coffee and reading The Register when my door opens without warning ...”*. Stross is welcome in these pages for that …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Porn on Blogger – Google takes stiff action

Google has let it be known that as of 23 March, access to raunchy and pornographic blogs hosted on Blogger will be restricted. As of that date "... you won't be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity", Google said. All data will be retained, but come 23 March any Blogger blogs …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015
The new Gmail inbox interface

Google opens 'Inbox' heir-to-email trial to biz users

The last time Google tried to “reinvent the way you get things done”, the term it uses to describe its heir-to-email app "Inbox", it wiped out with the solving-a-problem-people-didn't-know-they-had "Wave" service. But there's still clearly some demand for something other than email, as The Chocolate Factory says demand among …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Give us a week to GUT Superfish, begs Lenovo CTO

Lenovo's chief technology officer Peter Hortensius has issued another statement on how the company plans to handle Superfish. The missive explains that Lenovo has worked with anti-virus vendors to get their products flattening Superfish whenever a PC starts up and issued a removal tool. Hortensius says Lenovo is now “in the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Feb 2015

Facebook security chap finds 10 Superfish sub-species

Facebook security researcher Matt Richard says The Social NetworkTM has found at least ten more outfits using the library that gave the Superfish bloat/ad/malware its nasty certificate-evading powers. Richard, a “threats researcher” on Facebook's security team, writes that in 2012 Facebook “... started a project with researchers …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
Credit: katso käyttöehdot http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds#mediaviewer/Tiedosto:Linus_Torvalds_talking.jpeg

May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0

Linus Torvalds has decided it's time for version 4.0 of the Linux kernel. The Linux lord has been wondering about Linux kernel release numbering for a while, notably in a Google+ post last week. He now seems to have taken the plunge, by declaring that the version of the kernel he's working in is “Linux 4.0-rc1” in this post to …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
The XO-Infinity concept design

OLPC spin-off teases modular 'Infinity' computer

One Education, a spin-off of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has teased a design for a computer that can upgrade its major components forever while requiring little more skill than is necessary to connect LEGO bricks. The thinking behind the “XO-Infinity” (depicted above) is that one computer should last for a child's …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Feb 2015
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

Microsoft to store deleted Exchange Online mails FOREVER

Microsoft has changed its data retention policy for Office 365 email and the upshot is that deleted items will never disappear, unless you set up a policy to bin them. Exchange Online currently deletes things in the Deleted Items folder after 90 days. Redmond's pitching the new policy, explained here, as a hedge against …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015
Samsung NVMe SSD XS1715

Samsung in second SSD slowdown SNAFU

Samsung's wiping egg off its face after a patch for an under performing solid state disk didn't work, necessitating the issue of a second patch. The drive in question is the 840 EVO, a device we last year mentioned, screams along at impressive speeds and packs a handy and workstation-worthy 1TB. But once the drive hit the …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015
Ubisoft Driver San Francisco

The finest weird people in the world live here, and we're proud of it

The expat files Richard Aplin's a 45-year-old who hails from Bristol, but long ago made the move to San Francisco, where he now lives in the infamous-as-hippie-ground-zero Haight/Ashbury district. Richard's not going back to Blighty. He likes the weather and the clusters of weird people he doesn't think you'll find elsewhere in America. He's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Feb 2015

A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

On Call Welcome back to On-Call, our soon-to-be-less-occasional look at the odd things Reg readers have experienced when being called out to client sites at odd times. This edition features a reader called Jon's adventures on a day trip to Belgium in the 1980s. The trip was the first time Jon had ever flown commercially, and he …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Feb 2015
Azure Index

Azure Site Recovery's SAN-shuffling VM DR aid goes live

The Azure-Site-Recovery-powered SAN snapshot wrangler Microsoft previewed last year at TechEd Europe has reached General Availability status. Azure Site Recovery (ASR) can now work with System Centre Virtual Machine Manager to coordinate the failover of their storage between sites. ASR and System centre use SMI-S- to reach and …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015
Assassin's Creed III

Australian ISPs agree to three-strikes-plus-court-order anti-piracy plan

Australia's internet service providers (ISPs) and Big Content have released a first draft of a proposed anti-piracy scheme. The TL;DR version is that the plan calls for Big Content to indemnify ISPs, so that after a three-strikes regime has played out in letters ISPs hand over customer contact details and Hollywood can let slip …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015

Hi, I'm Larry. I'll be your software vendor tonight. May I take your coat?

Oracle's US$5.3bn ingestion of MICROS, a provider of hardware, software and services to the hospitality and retail industries, looks to be complete as Big Red has announced the acquisition has spawned a new Oracle Hospitality Global Business Unit. The new team looks to have added Oracle's cloud and mobile bits to the mix, so …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015

Expired router cache sends Google Cloud Engine TITSUP

Google's Cloud Engine (GCE) has experienced Total Inability to Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) for about two-and-a-half hours. Incident 15045, as Google describes the outage, kicked off at about 22:59 on the evening of 18 February (West Coast US time) and then rolled on until 01:31 the next day. Virtual machines in the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Feb 2015
Dial before you dig

Telstra CEO David Thodey retires

The CEO of Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, will step down in May. David Thodey's spent six years in the carrier's big chair, but has "announced his retirement" according to Telstra's canned statement on the matter. That statement also points out that Telstra's market cap and share price have just about doubled during …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
Kim Dotcom

Former Mrs Dotcom hooks up with Xbox 'toyboy'

Here's one to file under #couldnthappentoanicerbloke: Kim Dotcom's former bride appears to have taken up with a younger, slimmer man. News that Dotcom now has relationship troubles to place alongside his legal, financial and political travails comes to us from New Zealand's Woman's Day, which this week brings us the news that " …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
management regulation1

Big Content picks on small Australian ISPs again

Big Content has once again headed to Australia in an attempt to make internet service providers (ISPs) at least partly responsible for their customers' illegal downloads, this time by coughing up their contact details. Hollywood spent years trying to make ISPs liable for illegal downloads by their subscribers in the “iiTrial”, …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
NUtanix logoi

Nutanix to release 'community version' of its secret software sauce

Nutanix is months away from releasing a free, “community” version of the secret software sauce that turns its collections of storage and servers into hyperconverged spin up VMs almost before you know it beasts. CEO Dheeraj Pandey yesterday told The Register development work on the version is under way and will be released in …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Feb 2015
Scholz' Star. Michael Osadciw/University of Rochester

BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Back when Homo sapiens neanderthalensis strode or shambled or knuckled along the earth, about 70,000 years ago, the prehuman simians may have been able to see a small star passing through the fringes of our solar system. So say the authors of a new paper, The Closest Known Flyby of a Star to the Solar System, in The …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Feb 2015