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Simon Sharwood

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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 predicts iPad sales crash, says Win 8 is killing 2-in-1 Typoslabs

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

Toshiba Australia recalls combustible laptop power cords

Toshiba Australia has issued a recall notice for the power cored 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

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
The Raspberry Pi A+'s shapely rear

Raspberry Pi mini-puter TOO BIG and EXPENSIVE for you? Think AGAIN

A new Raspberry Pi model has arrived, and it's even smaller and cheaper than the original, while being in most respects just as goof. However it does come down to just one USB port. The A+ was spotted in the wild over the weekend, only for a product page at Element14 describing the computer to disappear. RS Online's Australian …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Nov 2014
Oracle Wellness tool

Oracle gives HR tool to track your fitness

Oracle has announced a new tool for HR departments called “Employee Wellness” and seems to be suggesting that you might be willing to let your boss track how much you exercise. The tool's a new module for the company's “Human Capital Management” software and promises the chance to let you track your physical activity, set goals …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Nov 2014

Printing Bad: Meth found in laser printer cartridges

Australia's Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) has intercepted laser printer cartridges full of methamphetamine and charged a woman with importing a controlled drug. The cartridges were inspected at a Sydney air cargo facility where officers spotted a white powder. White toner cartridges being something of an oddity, …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Nov 2014
DDoS image

Japan: Land of cheap booze and slippers in the office

In this week's eXpat files, love is the motivator for British chap Stephen Chadfield to make a new start in Japan, where he endures daily workplace workouts and has the chance to drink cheap booze. Over to you, Stephen ... The Register: What kind of work do you do and with which technologies? Chadfield: My current job is …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Nov 2014
turbine

Wind farms make you sick claims blown away again

In certain parts of the world, campaigners against wind farms argue that clusters of giant turbines make nearby residents ill. Australian researcher Professor Simon Chapman's work in the field asserts that “wind turbine sickness” is a “ psychogenic” disease that only occurs when people are told that wind farms might make them …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Nov 2014
EMC federation logo

EMC Federation working on rack scale converged architecture

EMC is working on a rack-scale converged infrastructure product. The company's head of global pre-sales Chad Sakac this week told the Canalys Chanels Forum in Shanghai that EMC feels the success of VCE – which has gone from zero to $2bn a year in revenue since launching in 2009 – shows that users hunger for converged …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Nov 2014
Google Docs

Google gives Microsoft office an awkward hug with new plugin

Google's given Microsoft Office an awkward hug by refreshing Drive so it plays nice with desktop applications. Drive is Google's share 'n' sync offering and integrates tightly with its apps: drop a document into Drive and you can read or edit it in the Docs in-browser word processor. That tool's not to everyone's tastes and …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Nov 2014
Azure Index

Microsoft releases free anti-malware for Azure VMs

Free anti-malware software is not hard to find: even reputable vendors offer product at the low, low, price of $0.00 for client devices/ Microsoft is now doing the same for servers – or at least for virtual machines in its Azure cloud with a new offering called (deep breath now) Microsoft Antimalware for Azure Cloud Services and …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Nov 2014
Fairphone logo

Not even 60,000 of you want an ethically-sourced smartphone

Fairphone, the social enterprise that makes an Android smartphone built of raw materials sourced from conflict-free mines and built in exploitation-free factories, plans to make an even fairer phone in 2015. But the outfit has also revealed it has not yet managed to sell all of the 60,000 phones it has built to date. Founder and …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Nov 2014

New Dell FX2 chassis mixes 'n' matches server innards

Dell is making its converged IT play with a new chassis that can blend compute, networking and storage kit in many configurations to allow the assembly of 2U machines tuned to different workloads. The new beast is called the PowerEdge FX2 Enclosure and Dell's building a range of modules with which you can fill it. Whatever you …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Nov 2014
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

HP's pet lizard is FERAL PERIL says wildlife group

HP's current mega global branding campaign involves a cute kid who loses his pet green iguana named Ralph. An HP laptop and printer later, he festoons his neighbourhood with posters of the plucky pet, resulting in a boy-and-his-iguana tear-jerker for the ages. So far, so cute. But not in Australia, which has a long history of …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Nov 2014
Sydney harbour bridge poking out of the clouds

VMware announces vCloud Air for Australia

VMware has announced it will launch its vCloud Air hybrid offering in Australia in the first half of 2015. Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, scored the hosting gig and will stand up VMware's kit in a Melbourne bit barn. VMware's schtick for vCloud Air is that it is designed from the ground up to hook into its vSphere control …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Nov 2014
Web development graphic

Mozilla promises browser just for DEVELOPERS3

The Mozilla Foundation has promised that next week it will give developers a browser that meets their needs and their needs only, instead of catering to the whims and petty proclivities of users. “When building for the Web, developers tend to use a myriad of different tools which often don’t work well together,” the foundation …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Nov 2014