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Simon Sharwood

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Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg

You're not worth $US10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg. That's one of the many factoids revealed in The Social NetworkTM's new Form 10-Q (PDF) filed last Friday. One item of interest is that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided not to investigate Facebook's 2012 float. The Social Network's big day was spoiled …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Cloud disk drives

VMware counters containers with SaaSy VM disk swap

The rise and rise of Docker, plus news that Google does most everything using containers, has raised eyebrows for those who like to ponder virtualisation's future in large-scale deployments. At issue is that while server virtualisation is universally agreed to be very powerful, very useful and tremendously useful, you still end …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

Verizon to limit unlimited 4G plans

Verizon has decided to throttle some users of its 4G network. There's nothing entirely new or sinister in the decision, as the company's notice of the change points out that it operates a “Network Optimization policy” that “limits the data speeds of the heaviest 3G data users – only select subscribers with unlimited data plans …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Azure Index

Redmond in rapid rebuild after sysadmin request STUNNER

Microsoft has released a few useful tweaks to System Center Advisor, its online log file analysis, monitoring and alerting service, and says actual users asked for the new features it has created. System Center Advisor emerged at TechEd North America, way back in May, and offers a graphical representation of log files emitted by …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

Colbert report reveals VMware's AirWatch integration plan

VMware has revealed more detailed integration plans for AirWatch, the mobile device management specialist it acquired for about an-Instagram-and-a-half last January. AirWatch will nestle in the company's end-user computing group, where it looks set to form a part of the sysadmin side of things. Here's how VMware's CTO for end- …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION

In January 2013, a chap called Jonathan Moylan sent a single email that caused an AU$314m - £174m or $295m - dip in a coal company's value. The email was a fake press release stating that Whitehaven Coal's bank, ANZ, had decided not to lend the mining firm the billion or so dollars needed to open a new pit. Moylan's message was …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves

Australia's is pondering whether it needs the power to block websites that facilitate copyright infringement. Crikey revealed a draft of a discussion paper on “Online Copyright Infringement” that offers three remedies. The first, “Extended Authorisation Liability”, would strike down the legal principle that internet service …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
A fake tattoo on the leg of Canberra Raiders footballer Sandor Earl, sent by Huawei as an April Fool

Huawei to virtual world: Give us your desktops and no-one gets hurt

Huawei's ambitions in the virtualisation market centre on desktop virtualisation and network function virtualisation for telcos, according to the company's CTO for data centre solutions Ron Raffensperger. The Chinese company was this year's only new entrant to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for x86 virtualisation, a position that the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Micro SIM Card

The seven nations where SIM CARDS outnumber PEOPLE

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's (OECD's) latest broadband statistics update reports that about 72 per cent of the group's residents now have access to broadband. Startlingly, the data also reports that seven nations - Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Korea and the United States – now have …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
The Pirate Bay logo

The Pirate Bay opens mobile site

The Pirate Bay has poked Big Content's sore spot again, by erecting a site for mobile devices at themobilebay.org. The new site doesn't do much beyond features offered by The Pirate Bay's other ventures. The site's overseers told Torrent Freak that “The normal version of the site renders like crap on mobile devices”, an …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Tor

Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE

Russia's Interior Ministry has posted a tender seeking parties willing to “study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users (user equipment) TOR anonymous network". The tender appears to be open only to organisations rated to do secret work for the Russian government, but concluding that means the project has …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Enormous coprolite

METRE-LONG DINOSAUR POO going under the hammer

A colossal dinosaur poo is about to go to under the hammer. Auction house I.M. Chait has listed what it describes as an “Enormous and rare coprolite” said to measure 40 inches - 101.6cm - from end to end. The object is believed to have been the result of a meal consumed during the Miocene-Oligocene epoch, some 23 million years …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
cloud

VMware fuels cloudy drive, plonks second bit barn in UK

VMware's virtual cloud hybrid service has quietly added a second British bit barn. The new facility is in Chessington, which probably means Digital Realty's facility in the Surrey exurb. VMware already has an existing server farm in sunny Slough, the town first made famous by Sir John Betjeman's poem – and latterly as the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014
The Sunswift solar car

World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record

The University of New South Wales' Sunswift, the third-placed car in the Cruiser class of the 2013 World Solar Challenge, claims to have set a new record for the swiftest single-charge traversal of a 500km course. The record attempt took place on Wednesday at the Automotive Research Centre's 4.2km track. Sunswift travelled 500km …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

The human spine is poorly-designed for the rigours of modern life, but so are the drugs most commonly prescribed to help you endure a bad back. That's the conclusion of a new study looking into whether paracetamol, the drug most often suggested to treat bad backs, actually helps. Reported in The Lancet, the study funded by the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

vBlock user says EMC bug slipped through VCE's matrix

The Cisco/EMC/VMware/Intel lovechild VCE has a simple schtick: the boxed-up rigs of hardware and software it sells are sold in configurations that have been documented and tested to the last detail. As the company told us by email “we commit to delivering Systems that have been engineered, tested and certified as one.” VCE is …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

StubHub hit by trans-Atlantic fraudsters, says New York DA

eBay's ticket-selling offshoot StubHub has admitted to a breach of some users' security by a ring of fraudsters. Reuters and AP have both received notification from New York district attorney Cyrus Vance of an event to be staged on Wednesday morning US time, at which the details of the attack will be revealed. Arrests in at …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament at night-time

UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

The United Kingdom government has formally adopted the open document format (ODF) as the standard format for government documents. The announcement says PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.” There's some pointed language in …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
William Shatner in plane sees Gremlin outside window

Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app

Actor and sometime “singer” William Shatner has unloaded on Facebook's newest app, the ”Mentions” tool The Social NetworkTM says helps “actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers to discover and join conversations on Facebook.” Shatner took the app for a spin, then shared his thoughts about it on his Tumblr. Long story …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
Telstra's 4G surfboards

Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016

Telstra has announced, with an ever-so-modern blog post, that it will kill off its 2G network by the end of 2016. Telstra says 2G traffic now accounts for less than one per cent of its traffic, and that it stopped selling 2G handsets a couple of years ago. The carrier's group MD for networks Mike Wright says he can't imagine …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014

Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices

Australia last week repealed its carbon tax, a wildly controversial piece of legislation that required the nation's largest polluters to pay up for the privilege of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. But data centre operators don't think the repeal will see their prices fall. The nation's government has promised that the tax's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014

Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!

Yahoo! Japan has launched a service called “Endings” designed to help you after you die. Endings is intended to let the dying set their affairs in order before they shuffle off this mortal coil. The service allows one to set up an automated message to email to up to 200 loved ones after you're gone. The email is triggered by a …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Robot wearing mortar board and brandishing certificates

Microsoft's MCSE and MCSD will become HARDER to win

Microsoft has decided it won't replace the Masters-level certifications it once described as the "pinnacle" of a Redmond-centric IT pro's education. Redmond ”retired” the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certifications last year. At the time …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Twitter for Mac New

Twitter hints at messaging moves

Twitter has issued a couple of big, meaty, hints that it wants in on instant messaging. The avian network already has a messaging service, in the form of “direct messages” that are sent between two parties but don't ever appear in public. Such messages, known as DMs among the Twitterati, aren't very widely used because most apps …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

iiNet says metadata retention means a great big tax on everything

Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has delivered a stinging rebuttal to its home nation's plans to introduce far-reaching data retention laws. iiNet became famous after it was targeted by Big Content's lawyers, who alleged it should have taken allegations of copyright abuse by its subscribers as gospel. After many …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
The Satellite Dish at the Jameson Earth Station

NBN Co extends satellite scheme

NBN Co has announced that 9,000 more premises in remote Australia will be offered satellite services. The NBN Co Satellite Support (NSS) Scheme is an interim operation until dedicated satellites go aloft. In the meantime, NBN Co has used third-parties to provide connectivity to remote users, but ran out of capacity. The outfit …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014
EMC federation logo

Activist investor plans to de-federate EMC: report

Activist investors have taken a billion-dollar stake in EMC in order to break apart its federation and spin out VMware, according to The Wall Street Journal. Quoting folks familiar with the matter, The Journal says Elliot Management Corporation, an outfit financial rating service Hoovers describes as a hedge fund that "takes an …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014
WASP-12b getting devoured by its sun

The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

The Sun seems to have given itself a few days off. As noted by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, with reference to data from the Royal Observatory of Belgium's Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations (SILSO) project, last Thursday July 17th saw the Sun produce no sunspots. That's the first sunspot-free day since 2011. And …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014
Orange Competition

Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs

Customers of UK mobile carrier Orange have spent the weekend nursing their thumbs after receiving a deluge of unwanted TXT messages. The messages spruiked “Magic Numbers”, a service whereby it is possible to make “ free calls to your favourite Orange mobile and Orange Broadband Wireless and Talk numbers” that you nominate in …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014
Chrome OS Athena screenshot

Google shows off new Chrome OS look

Google has shown off a candidate for a new Chrome OS user interface. Dubbed “Athena”, the new UI appeared fully grown from the head, and Google+ page, of Googler François Beaufort. Athena “is a brand new project the Chromium OS team is experimenting with in order to bring a new kind of user experience,” Beaufort writes, adding …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014

Office 365's free terabyte leaves Amazon's Glacier melting

Microsoft last week flicked the switch on its offer of 1 terabyte of storage for all Office 365 users. The new deal has been read as a strike at Google's online offerings. But if you can find an envelope and a pencil stub, it looks like Redmond is taking a swipe at Amazon Web Services' Glacier cold storage facility, too. Here's …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2014
Ben Goldacre

VMware wants IM clients to hookup with calendars and databases

Not content with building a chatbot that lets servers tell you what ails them over instant messaging applications, VMware is also seeking a patent to let messaging tools rummage around in your calendar and suck down data from Google. The newly-published patent application, numbered 20140195621 and titled “Intelligent Chat System …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014
Apple iPhone

Telstra to grinch WAP 1 network five days before Christmas

Telstra has quietly announced it will shutter its WAP 1 network, just five days before Christmas. The carrier is warning that users of older handsets will lose the ability to send Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages or access the internet as of December 20th. The list of soon-to-be-internet-deprived handsets won't alarm …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014
Rosetta comet picture - wide angle

Spinning SPACE DUCK is comet-chasing Rosetta probe's PREY

New images captured by the Rosetta comet-chaser reveal that its target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, may be a “contact binary” – a class of object with two distinct and different segments. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been kind enough to provide an animated GIF of the comet to show off the two distinct parts of the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014

Citrix releases tech preview of next XenServer

In Gartner's recently-released Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure the analyst firm said Citrix “ … is no longer investing strictly to keep up with market leaders VMware and Microsoft for traditional server virtualization.” Gartner might not be that far off the mark, because Citrix has just released “ …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

BBM beta comes to Windows Phone

Among BlackBerry's many problems is that it has a very popular messaging app, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), but struggles to turn a quid with it. Among Microsoft's problems is that it has a very decent mobile device operating system, Windows Phone, but would-be-users are often deterred by the fact some popular apps aren't …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014
Oracle's SPARC and Solaris roadmap

Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases

Oracle will soon detail the SPARC 7 architecture, and how it includes new in-silicon features designed to make Big O's databases and applications achieve better performance in an all-Ellison environment. John Fowler, Oracle's executive veep of systems, today told The Reg that the company will reveal details of the new silicon at …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014

Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Dungeons & Dragons is BAAAACK – and it's brought a freemium business model with it. The venerable game was re-released yesterday, with a new Starter Pack reaching retailers and offering a rulebook for players, an “adventure book” for dungeon masters plus a handful of dice to get things going. The $19.99 kit is not, however, …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014

Oracle to pay $130,000 plus costs in staff sexual harassment suit

Australia's Federal Court has awarded a former Oracle staffer $AUD130,000 to compensate her for distress caused by sexual harassment from a colleague. The case of plaintiff Rebecca Richardson came to our attention in February 2013, when Oracle was ordered to pay her $AUD18,000 in damages after a colleague harassed her at least …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014

Rackspace chases the channel with hands-on 'managed cloud'

Rackspace has decided that cloud users want more than self-service and has launched a “managed” cloud service that will see it feed and groom its customers' cloudy servers. The company's post about the new service says “We’re targeting businesses and developers who want to tap the power of the cloud without the pain of running …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
A man who has fallen asleep at an IDF booth

Run Oracle? Want to sleep tonight? Then sort these 113 patches

Oracle has emitted its quarterly Critical Patch Update, this time offering a mere 113 patches sysadmins and security folks should get busy implementing. This time around there's 29 fixes for Oracle Fusion Middleware, 20 for Java SE, ten in MySQL Server, seven in Hyperion products and five apiece for Oracle database and E- …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Australia's special minister of state has weighed in on solicitor Michael Cordover's freedom of information request to peruse the source code of the application used to count votes in Australian Senate elections with a bizarre suggestion that granting such a request could “leave the voting system open to hacking or manipulation …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Empty phone battery

Phone charging log helps to convict murderer

An Australian man has been convicted of murder after mobile phone metadata describing when the device was connected to a charger was tabled as evidence. Alison Baden-Clay disappeared from her Brisbane home on April 19th, 2012. Her body was found in a nearby creek 11 days later. Her husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, claimed he was …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson confronts rigged voting machine

Interview: Michael Cordover, voteware freedom-of-information crusader

A barrister has offered pro bono assistance to Michael Cordover, the Hobart Solicitor seeking the source code to the EasyCount software used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to count votes in the nation's senate elections. Cordover first sought the source code last year because, as he told The Register, “I have …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Apple iPad and iPad 3g

Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

A report in the American Journal of Pediatrics suggests that the presence of Nickel in Apple's first-generation iPad may have exacerbated an eleven-year-old child's dermatitis. iPad—Increasing Nickel Exposure in Children tells the story of an un-named child who suffered persistent and severe rashes. The report's authors, …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
New Horizons blasts off. Photo: NASA

Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!

NASA's New Horizons mission will arrive at Pluto 364 days from … now! Launched in January 2006, the craft passed Jupiter back in 2007. It hasn't had much to do since, as while it has passed the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune the planets weren't there at the time. NASA's not worried about that, because New Horizons' …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Great Wall of China

VMware launches vCHS in Japan and reveals China Telecom partnership

As El Reg predicted last week, VMware will offer its cloud hybrid service (vCHS) in Japan, and has also revealed a plan to launch the service in China. In Japan, SoftBank will deliver the service from a single Tokyo data centre. A private beta of the service started today and Sanjay Mirchandani, VMware's senior veep and GM for …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
SoftLayer's data center

IBM to drop SoftLayer pod in Melbourne

IBM will bring a "pod" of its SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service offering to Melbourne. Big Blue revealed the new bit barn in a "momentum statement" outlining just how well SoftLayer is going. That announcement is as self-congratulatory as you would expect, claiming that "100 strategic outsourcing clients who are among the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Airbus A330 Neo

Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330

Airbus has promised that its next plane, the A330 Neo, will bring 3D movies into the sky. Announced today, the A330 Neo is an upgrade for the twin-aisle, 250-300 seat A330. Airbus says the new model will come in two sizes and add about ten seats to current configurations, while reducing fuel consumption by 14 per cent per seat. …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014

Microsoft's Lumia 930... a real HANDFUL

Microkia's new Lumia 930 is quite a handful – in the best way possible. Let's start with the phone's dimensions. At 9.8mm deep it's rather chunkier than the 8.1mm Galaxy S5 and 7.6mm iPhone 5s. And that's a good thing: in my paws the Apple and Samsung phones sometimes feel a little too thin for casual handling. The 930 feels …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014