Simon Sharwood

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Failing projects pray blockchain works as 'magic middleware'

“This is the year of pointless blockchain projects” and anything you build with blockchain will need to be ripped out and replaced within 18 months, according to Gartner fellow Ray Valdes. Speaking to The Register in Sydney today, Valdes said blockchain is among the most secure technologies he's ever seen, having survived …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2016
Splash Screen for classic adventure game The Hobbit

Seminal adventure game The Hobbit finally ported to the Dragon 64

1982-vintage adventure game The Hobbit has been ported to the Dragon 64, 34 years after the program's release. The back story: in 1982, The Hobbit was the hottest ticket in gaming, thanks to its addition of big bold graphics and a syntax that did away with adventure games' annoying habit of allowing only a limited set of verbs …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2016
Lightning

Google's multi-zonal cloud

Google has made a handy addition to its cloud: “Regional Managed Instance Groups” that spread virtual machines across its “zones”. Google's cloud operates “regions” such as US West or Europe. Within those regions are “zones”, discrete facilities that should operate independently if another zone goes down. Regional Managed …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2016
Phone Booth

Mobile broadband now cheaper than wired, for 95 per cent of humanity

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released the 2016 edition of its Facts and Figures (PDF) on technology adoption, and among the many data points it contains is an odd concentration of connected “things” in countries with Fjords. Sweden handily tops the table of nations when one counts machine-to-machine …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2016
Burning money, photo via Shutterstock

Verizon tipped to buy Yahoo! for US$5bn

Markets are bracing for a Monday puzzle: why on earth does Verizon think it is worth spending US$5bn on Yahoo!? Financial news outlets are alive with people-familiar-with-discussions-fed reports that Verizon and Yahoo! have stopped flirting with anybody else and will soon announce that each has a nice new toothbrush in the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2016
The Funai ZV427FX4 VHS/DVD combo box

No, the VCR is not about to die. It died years ago. Now it's VHS/DVD combo boxes' turn

Japanese company Funai will stop making VHS devices this month, marking the end of the road for the venerable video tape standard. But the company has told The Register that low demand is not the reason for VHS' demise, despite being cited widely based on a brief Japanese language report. Funai told us it sold 750,000 VHS …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2016
Telstra from Shutterstock

Telstra's head of ops drops after network flops

Telstra's chief of operations, Kate McKenzie, has “retired” from the carrier. As Telstra's canned announcement points out, McKenzie has since 2013 been “responsible for Telstra’s field services, IT and network architecture and operations.” That statement also heaps praise on McKenzie, who has been with Australia's dominant …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2016
Penguin with video photo via Shutterstock

Linux 4.7 lands

Linus Torvalds has loosed version 4.7 of the Linux kernel on an impatient world. This time around the headline features include the addition of the schedutil cpufreq governor, code that makes it possible to change the frequency at which a CPU operates. There's also support for the new-ish Radeon RX 480 GPU and the ability to …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2016
Strike a match

Cryptography vs. bigotry: The debate Australia needs to have

Australia's newly-elected senator Pauline Hanson has called for a ban on muslim immigration on national security grounds. But her position is ignorant and bigoted because it takes an idea to turn someone to terror and it's now impossible to stop the flow of ideas. Once Hanson realises that stopping immigration won't of itself …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2016
wd_thai_lake_3_small

Forget your RTO*: Real world Disaster Recovery needs garbage bags and bubble wrap

On-Call If it's Friday morning it must once again be time for On-Call, El Reg's end-of-week meander down memory lane to explore readers' reminiscences of jobs that went bump in the night. This week, reader “Olaf” shares his experience in Thailand's 2011 floods. Yup, those floods that left Western Digital's hard disk factory under …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
data

Salesforce slurps uptime startup Coolan for global infrastructure scale-out

Salesforce.com has acquired a startup called Coolan that builds tools “to track and analyze infrastructure reliability for increased uptime and optimized efficiency.” Coolan co-founder Amir Micahel revealed the deal, saying it was done so that his company can “help Salesforce optimize its infrastructure as it scales to support …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016

Juno's 1,300-pic Jupiter vid

NASA's Juno probe has uploaded 1,300 images captured during its approach to Jupiter. And NASA has assembled them into the video below. If you have three minutes to spare, you'll catch glimpses of the Jovian moons Io; Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. And of course there are some lovely views of Jupiter itself. Youtube Video The …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016

Apple, Facebook and Coinbase coughed data to finger alleged pirate king

The United States case against alleged Kickass Torrents (KAT) boss Artem Vaulin is built on data obtained from Apple, Facebook and Coinbase. The criminal complaint (PDF) against Vaulin details how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted a lengthy online probe into the alleged …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016

Gartner's hype cycle turned upside down to assess Brexit

Gartner veep and fellow Mark Raskino has applied the analyst firm's famed Hype Cycle to Brexit. Gartner's Hype Cycle plots technologies' fortunes, asserting that after birth they ascend to a “peak of inflated expectations” before descending into a “trough of disillusionment.” The market eventually figures out what a technology …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
Study Confirms High Effectiveness of Low Speed Autonomous Emergency Braking

Tesla's Model S autonomous mode may have saved a life

Elon Musk has revealed a letter from a Tesla driver offering an account of the Model S braking in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Musk Tweeted the letter, complete with claim that the incident is confirmed by analysis of the car's logs. Musk has recently attempted to verify accounts of a fatality which is alleged to have …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
Face Palm D'oh from Shutterstock

Please don't upgrade NSX just now, says VMware

VMware is advising users of its NSX network virtualisation not to upgrade it to the version 6.2.3 released in early June. The update addressed CVE-2016-2079, a vulnerability that allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information. In other words, just the kind of thing you probably want to patch, not least because NSX is …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
NBN logo

nbn™ talks up HFC upgrades to gigabit speed

nbn™, the entity building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has started to talk up the scalability of the hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) networks it will use to provide services to many Australians. The company commissioned analyst firm Ovum to research the role of HFC in broadband around the world. In what …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
1980 olympics weight-lifting champs. By RIA Novosti archive, image #484445 / Dmitryi Donskoy / CC-BY-SA 3.0

OpenStack bronze for Fujitsu

Fujitsu wants to become one of the top three contributors to OpenStack. The company's keen on the open source cloud because it thinks it's an important tool when big business tries to “digitise” processes and applications so they can compete with whichever startup is trying to eat their lunch. The company's using CloudFoundry …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
MH 370 Search Zone

We're not looking for MH370 in the wrong place say investigators

Dutch geosciences company Fugro has denied that the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been conducted in the wrong place. Reuters yesterday quoted Fugro figures as saying that the chosen search area assumes the plane met a sudden end, but that if the crew were awake the plane could have glided well beyond …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2016
Eyes of a gorila

Selfie-proof smartmobes will hit stores for Christmas

Corning has revealed version 5.0 of its Gorilla Glass, the ubiquitous covering for smartphones. And this time around it says the substance has been toughened up again and will now remain intact “up to 80 percent of the time when dropped face-down from 1.6 meters onto rough surfaces”. The 1.6m figure is an improvement on …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2016
Facebook app for Windows Phone

Facebook's billion sheeple

Facebook says one billion people now use its Messenger service each month. To thank that herd of sheeple, it's created a floating balloon emoji it says will “add a touch of whimsy and delight to any conversation.” Maybe even conversations about your chats being turned into ads? ® Facebook app for Windows Phone
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2016
Punch Card

Microsoft delays Azure updates so you can catch up with the cloud

In the cloud, we're constantly told, we won't have to bother about staying up to date with new versions of stuff. Our service providers will make non-disruptive upgrades for which we'll be non-disruptively grateful. Except when we're not, as Microsoft has just found out with two cloud service upgrades it has had to delay …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2016
Google Cloud logo

New Google cloud bit barn

Google's thrown the switch on a new cloudy data centre. The Oregon Cloud Region (us-west1) currently only offers Google's Compute Engine, Cloud Storage and Container Engine, plus two Compute Engine zones to support high availability applications. Google reckons that users in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Jul 2016
Australian money at a crime scene

Data retention grants still not flowing to Australia telcos

Australia's telcos and internet service providers still have not been told when they will receive promised grants to help them implement mandatory metadata collection. Australia passed metadata retention laws in 2015 and they came into force on October 13th, 2015, albeit with a two-year grace period in which to satisfy the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jul 2016
Transport Control Protocol

Microsoft tweaks TCP stack in Windows Server and Windows 10

Microsoft has announced it will add five new features – some experimental - to the TCP stack it will ship in Windows Server 2016 and the Anniversary Update to Windows 10. Redmond says the following five features will make it into its new TCP stack: TCP Fast Open (TFO) for zero RTT TCP connection setup. IETF RFC 7413 Initial …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jul 2016