Simon Sharwood

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Rosetta's view of Earth on March 5th, 2005

ESA reveals Rosetta's snaps of MARS and EARTH

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a trove of images captured by the Rosetta probe during its journey to Comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta launched in 2004 but dipped into Earth's gravity well three times, and Mars' once, to conduct “gravity assist manoeuvres” designed to speed it on its way to 67P. During …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015

Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Update UK internet service provider Virgin Media suffered a Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) event on Tuesday evening, leaving plenty of subscribers without broadband. The outage appears to have impacted customers across the United Kingdom and to have left the afflicted without terrestrial or wireless broadband …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015
Clouds in blue sky

OpenDaylight and friends spin up 'CloudRouter Project'

Another day, another waft at the software-defined networking (SDN) and/or network function virtualisation (NFV) market, this time in the form of the new “CloudRouter Project” backed by CloudBees, Cloudius Systems, IIX, NGINX and OpenDaylight. The latter you probably know – it's the Linux Foundation's effort to create a standard …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015
JVC HM-DH40000U D-VHS recorder

Netflix teams with AWS to launch VHS-as-a-service

Streaming video titan Netflix will shortly launch a variant of its service in which classic 1980s programs, and modern content, are streamed in a form that approximates the unbelievably bad video quality of the VHS video cassette. The Reg understands Netflix has worked with Amazon Web Services to tweak the cloud giant's Elastic …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015

Firefox hits prime time as version 37 manifests

Version 37 of Firefox is upon us, for ye olde PCs and Android. It's not the Mozilla Foundation's most revolutionary release by a long shot, with the headline feature being the inclusion of a new “Heartbeat” user feedback feature that “provides real-time understanding of our existing Desktop user population” and “ties user …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015
Cloud Hype Hoodie

AWS flops out massive D to vaporise big data rigs

Big data's a fine concept, but when it meets the real world of buying kit to run it on things can get nasty because the cost of the rigs required to crunch lots of data can be very considerable. Some big data vendors make a virtue of offering their own specialised servers for the job and the likes of VMware offer ways to create …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015

Telco and IT courses merged in TAFE tech teaching refresh

IT training courses offered in Australia's technical and further education (TAFE) colleges and by private training outfits have been given a major overhaul. Until last week, TAFEs (the equivalent of UK Polytechnics or US Community Colleges) and private colleges used two training packages known as the ICA11 Information and …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015
Suitcase bulging with cash

CSC tells execs to stay quiet on Australian bribery scandal

Senior executives at CSC have been told to say nothing substantive about the bribery scandal surrounding ServiceMesh, the source of CSC's “Agility” technology. Police in the Australian State of New South Wales recently charged a former employee of the Commonwealth Bank with receiving improper payments. Those payments are alleged …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015

Big Blue to give car insurers IoT peeking powers

IBM has announced it will spend US$3 billion over four years on a new internet of things business unit. The company reckons the internet of things label now applies to all the the smart city stuff it did for water and traffic management applications in recent years. The idea seems to be to take that work, sprinkle on a little …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015

Wearables market action is all in the wrist says market-scryer IDC

The wearables market will be dominated by wrist action, according to market-watcher IDC, and will remain smaller than the PC market. The firm today predicted that 2015 will see 45.7 million wearables shipped, up from 2014's 19.6 million units. By 2019, total shipment volumes are forecast to reach 126.1 million units. Devices …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015
Sydney harbour bridge poking out of the clouds

SoftLayer and Telstra in cloudy embrace

Australia's dominant telco Telstra, which also operates an AU$2bn a year IT services arn, has struck a deal to resell IBM's SoftLayer cloud down under and is chatting about taking the arrangement global. Telstra and IBM today announced a new relationship whereby the former's customers are offered access to the latter's cloud …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015
Ganesha street art by Flickr user avlxyz https://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/

Prostrate yourself before the GNU, commands Indian DEITY

The best-acronymed government department in the world – India's Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) – has laid out a new policy (PDF) commanding the nation's government to use only open source software. The policy statement is rather blunt: Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2015
Screenshot of the Office 2013 installer for Office 365

Office 365 and Dynamics go live in Australia

Office 365 files may load just a little faster in Australia today, after Microsoft announced it has flicked the switch for the local version of the service. Redmond's outpost has also decided the time is right to serve Dynamics CRM from its Australian bit barns in Sydney and Melbourne. Like the local version of Azure, the two …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015
NBN Co by Dushan Hanuska https://www.flickr.com/photos/hanuska/

NBN Co launches fibre-to-the-building product

+Comment NBN Co, the entity charged with building Australia's National Broadband Network, says it has launched its fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) product. In a statement sent to The Register at 6:00PM on Monday described today's events as a “commercial launch” and features chief customer officer John Simon saying pilots have seen “families …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015
David Cameron

David Cameron's Passport number emailed to footy-head

Last week, Australia passed mandatory metadata retention laws, over objections that personal data should only be accessible by a very small number of people under very secure circumstances because it is is bound to leak and cause embarrassment. Two business days later, the antipodean tentacle of the Grauniad revealed that …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015
Galaxy S6 Edge Smart Manager

Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in Vulture's claws: we find looks AND brains

FIRST LOOK Samsung's gone for beauty and brains with its new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but hasn't fallen into the trap of style over substance. Last year's S5 packed all sorts of features into a tired-looking package and while the phone was a technological marvel, it wasn't easy on the eye and didn't set the pulse racing. Both S6 models take …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015

EMC and Cloudera withdraw from Indiana big data event

The technology industry's objections to the US State of Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which permits businesses to decline to serve people on the basis of sexuality or other traits, have deepened after EMC and Cloudera cancelled their presence at a forthcoming conference. On Saturday, Cloudera veep of marketing …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015
Hitler as Fanboi

Apple is like HITLER says Chinese billionaire

One of the ways Chinese kids like to pass their time is watching video on a site called Leshi TV that's sufficiently popular the company's CEO Jia Yueting is ranked among the planet's billionaires. Jia is also an enthusiastic user of Weibo, China's Twitter equivalent. And late last week he used it to post the image above …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2015
NASA 'Blue Marble' image of Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft

AWS flicks switch for cloud storage replication

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has done something rather useful to its simple storage service (S3), namely making it possible to replicate data across regions. For the uninitiated, S3 is a cloud storage service that allows users to stuff stuff into the cloud, and even pick a “region” where it will land. AWS operates nine S3 regions* …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Mar 2015
Dog using a satnav, Mark Robinson

Satnav launches are like buses: none for ages then three arrive at once

Satellite navigation satellites turn out to be a lot like buses: there's none for ages, then three come along all at once. The first of the three launched on Wednesday to join the US Global Posititioning System constellation. The new bird is a Boeing-built GPS IIF, the ninth of its type and one of 12 in a fleet of satellites …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2015

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office to 'leave you quivering with excitement'

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed a little more about his Digital Transformation Office (DTO), the agency he's tasked with making it possible to perform all interactions with the federal government online. Turnbull's previously said the DTO has a goal of taking transactions online by 2017, but …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2015
arrow pointing up

VMware tells partners, punters, to pay higher prices (probably)

VMware has almost certainly increased the prices it charges to partners and customers. News of the increases is dribbling out after Virtzilla wrote to users and resellers over the last few days. In this Reddit thread VMware users report price hikes of between one and five per cent. Blogger and VMware-watcher Aidan Finn on …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2015
Diving Board from Seattle Municipal archives

Microsoft performs reverse full-hybrid with an on-premises twist

Microsoft has made a few changes to its Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup services. The headline item is the ability to "enable protection and disaster recovery for VMware virtual machines and physical servers to Azure." That's a shot across VMware's bow, as it does the same in its own vCloud Air cloud and preaches on- …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2015

Google botches another cloud patch, this time messing up App Engine

Google's botched another cloud patch. The Chocolate Factory's cloud operations have had a tough time of things this year, suffering a network mess in February and then a brownout in early March. Over the last couple of days the company's App Engine experienced “elevated 503 errors on <1% of applications for a typical duration …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2015

Metadata laws pass so it's time to STOP READING LISTICLES

Rugby player Sonny Bill Williams is a role model for many, a fact that's not gone un-noticed by the purveyors of a dubious fitness supplement who've created an ad that looks an awful lot like a news story about the athlete. Williams has nothing to do with the ad or the product. He's just been used to get people clicking. And if …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2015

Google throws a 180 on its plans for Dart language

Back in 2013, Google felt the Dart language deserved a native virtual machine baked into Chrome, because it felt JavaScript couldn't deliver the speed it craves. It therefore started the process of getting Dart turned into a standard to help things along. Fast forward to Wednesday and the Dart team, which Google supports but …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2015
A &#39;Virtual Nose&#39; designed to lessen motion sickness in simulations

'Virtual nose' makes VR less dizzying, say boffins

A Purdue University undergraduate has picked a way to stop virtual reality inducing motion sickness: program in a virtual nose. Assistant professor David Whittinghill says “Simulator sickness is very common” and occurs because “your perceptual system does not like it when the motion of your body and your visual system are out of …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2015
Diablo: Reaper of Souls modes

Diablo escapes from patent hell, condemns Netlist to legal purgatory

Diablo Technologies, a supplier of Memory Channel Storage (MCS) that makes it possible to present flash disks as memory, says it has seen off a patent lawsuit from rival Netlist. Netlist claimed Diablo pinched its technology, allowing the latter to get MCS to market faster. That rapid market entry, it's contended, meant Diablo …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2015
Nerdalize server/heater

Dutch companies try warming homes with cloud servers

Dutch companies Nerdalize and Eneco, the former a startup, the latter an energy company, have started a trial of cloud servers as home heaters. The idea is that by placing servers in homes, where a cheap source of heat is a good thing, you don't need to build data centres, where heat is a bad thing. In exchange for hosting a …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2015
Handshake

Microsoft enlists web security pariah Adobe to help build Internet Explorer-killer Spartan

Microsoft has revealed it's working with Adobe on some aspects of project Spartan, its replacement browser that will confine Internet Explorer to the Antique Code Show. When one contemplates Adobe's contribution to browsers, it's hard not to think of the carnage its Flash plugin has wrought with a seemingly never-ending …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2015

Apple takes ACID-compliant NoSQL upstart FoundationDB

Apple has acquired FoundationDB, a company that “is creating a new generation of database technology that combines the advantages of modern NoSQL databases with the power and reliability of ACID transactions.” Cupertino's not saying why it wants the company, how much it paid, what it plans to do with it or, indeed, whether the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2015

Metadata retention to cost AU$3.98 a year per customer

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report provided to Australia's attorney general on the likely cost of metadata retention has suggested a median figure of AU$3.98 per subscriber, per year. So said no less a personage than Australia's attorney-general George Brandis, in no less a forum than the Australian Senate. Brandis' remarks can …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2015
Beam booth at CES

ROBOT INVASION has already STARTED in HIPSTERLAND

Over the last couple of years The Reg has occasionally reported on “telepresence robots”, devices that beam your beaming smile onto a monitor carried atop a motorised trolley that rolls around a remote office. The idea is that telepresence is all well and good, but your co-workers aren't going to crowd around a monitor to chat …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2015
Fashion models in Shenzhen, forced to wear protective masks on the runway due to air pollution

Xen shows off 35-piece cloudpocalypse collection

The Xen Project has fixed 35 flaws, all rated critical, for versions 4.3 and 4.4 of its flagship hypervisor. The fixes appear to correspond to flaws identified after the late February 2014 cloudpocalypse, when major cloud providers feared they would once again need to reboot substantial parts of their server fleets to keep them …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2015
The exterior of Equinix  ME1

Equinix looking for friends to fuel enterprise push

Global bit barn operator Equinix has decided it wants more enterprise customers. The company operates over 100 data centres around the world and, thanks to a carrier-agnostic stances, is happy to connect any kit it houses to any telco that cares to land a fibre in its data centres. That position's worked well as an attractor …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2015
Ceremony to mark ARM&#39;s decision to open a CPU dev centre in Taiwan

ARM plans to win 20 per cent of the server market by the year 2020

ARM Holdings is telling investors it will take 20 per cent of the server silicon market by the year 2020. The company made the claim last week at an event in Taiwan, sending ripples through the Asian media. A little searching shows that presentations like this one (PDF) shows that the 20 per cent claim has been used in chats …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Mar 2015
Philae

Philae's either screening Rosetta's calls or isn't home

The Rosetta probe's attempts to determine if the Philae lander is alive have come to nought. The Rosetta mission departed Earth in 2004 and planned to reach Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko a decade later. That plan worked and the probe reached the comet then, as planned, send the Philae lander to 67P's surface. That plan also …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Mar 2015
Apple Maiden data center server

3,500 servers go down – so my FIRST AID training kicks in

On-call Welcome again to On-Call, our getting-slightly-more-regular look at Reg readers professional escapades at odd times of the day or night, usually in odd places. This week's tale comes from Pat Dufresne, who tells us he spent two years on the night shift at a hosting company in Montreal, Canada, and rates the gig “the best two …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Mar 2015
Rosetta Selfie from 10 miles

Rosetta SNIFFS molecular nitrogen on Comet 67P

The Rosetta orbiter has spotted molecular nitrogen, N2, on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency (ESA) has confirmed. The ESA's relaying news from a freshly-published paper titled molecular nitrogen in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko indicates a low formation temperature. The presence of nitrogen on 67P …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015

Google drops a log into its cloud. A log analyser, that is

Google's decided its Compute Engine and App Engine users need to know if their cloudy rigs are full of … bugs, by dropping a log (analyser) into the cloud. The new Google Cloud Logging beta collects Compute Engine and App Engine logs and lets users perform the following tricks: Ingest and view the log data, so that you can see …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015
Logo of Iceland&#39;s Pirate Party

Pirate Party leads Icelandic voting intentions poll

Icelandic research outfit MMR's bi-monthly polling has found The Pirate Party is currently the nation's most popular political party. Founded in 2012, Píratar currently has three members in Iceland's Parliament and one on Reykjavik City's council. The party's platform emphasises direct democracy, government transparency at home …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015
Russia

Russia's Putin IT spend in reverse gear, fast

When the first dotcom bubble popped, the likes of EMC, Sun and Oracle didn't panic that the days of easy greenfield sales were over because the then-burgeoning economies of eastern Europe gave them new greenfields in which to romp. Russia, in particular, modernised quickly and became a decent-sized market for enterprise IT. But …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015
WD SSD SiliconEdge

AWS flashes newly-enlarged 16TB (SS)D that's faster at the old in-out-in-out

Amazon Web Services has, as promised last year, revealed a colossal new virtual cloudy solid state disk with colossal IOPS. The new elastic block storage Volumes offer up to 16 terabytes of capacity, all presented as a single volume, and can deliver up to 20,000 IOPS at a top speed of 320 Mbps. Those speeds come with “ …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2015
Microsoft&#39;s telepresence teaser

Skype squares up to Cisco again with new round of 'Room Systems'

Cisco issues regular blog posts pointing out that its unified communications products outsell Microsoft's, but it now looks like Redmond's decided not to take that lying down because it's announced one of the new things Lync will do now that it's become Skype For Business is offer more “room systems”. Microsoft's teamed up with …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015
Aurora over Whitehorse, Yukon, on September 3, 2012

On 50th anniversary of first spacewalk, Aurorae light up two planets

One March 18th, 1965, Alexy Leonov took a small step for a man and exited the Voskhod 22 spacecraft. Leonov then spent the next 12 minutes spacewalking, the first time a human had done so. 50 years down the track, US astronaut Terry Virts, the current commander of the International Space Station (ISS) took a space stroll and as …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015

Target tosses US$10 million at victims of breach

US retailer target has reportedly agreed to settle lawsuits regarding its 2013 data breach for US$10 million, or up to $10,000 per litigant. Target was popped in late 2013, when it leaked up to 40 million customer records. The company's since caught a sueball from banks, shed its CEO and burned through $148 million, among other …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015
Bufo marinus (aka Cane Toad) - a regular four-legged version

Apple Watch is like an invasive weed says Gartner

Analyst outfit Gartner has likened the Apple Watch to the invasive Kudzu vine, an Asian plant that has become a pest around the world. Kudzu's survival strategy, says analyst Robert Hetu, relies on its ability to find deep water with carbohydrate-rich roots and a habit of growing vines and leaves in triplicate to give it …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015

Yahoo! will ! close! Beijing! research! lab!

Yahoo! will close a 350-person research lab in Beijing, in order to consolidate its research efforts. The South China Morning Post learned of the closure and secured confirmation from Yahoo! that workers will be let go from the end of March. Yahoo! isn't easily accessible in China and doesn't aim services at the nation's …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2015
Bondi Blue Rev. A iMac - logo

Apple orders white box servers from Taiwan for data centre refresh

Apple's future bit barns look to be built around white box servers from Taiwan, according to a Digitimes report. The Taiwanese outlet notes that Apple recently clambered aboard the Open Compute Project, and says local white-box server makers have recently received orders from Cupertino. Those orders are to replace servers in …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2015
Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

'All browsing activity should be considered private and sensitive' says US CIO

The CIO of the United States has floated a plan to make HTTPS the standard for all .gov websites. “The majority of Federal websites use HTTP as the primary protocol to communicate over the public internet,” says the plan, which also states that HTTP “create a privacy vulnerability and expose potentially sensitive information …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2015