Simon Sharwood

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Sysadmin flees asbestos scare with disk drive, blank pay cheques, angry builders in pursuit

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our Friday frolic through readers' memories of jobs gone bad. This week, meet “John” who once worked for a construction company that printed its payroll checks every Thursday afternoon. “If the cheques were not ready early on Friday morning, the superintendents were more than willing to give the …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
You didn't say the magic word

Rogue sysadmins the target of Microsoft's new 'Shielded VM' security

Virtual machine security is suddenly a hot spot: VMware's building a new product for it and has added new bits to vSphere 6.5 to enhance it. And Microsoft thinks it has found a new way to secure VMs. Let's do Redmond first because its new “Shielded VMs” are one of the headline items in Windows Server and Hyper-V 2016. As …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
Savannasaurus elliottorum

Two new dinosaurs walked from South America to Australia, via Antarctica

Australian paleo-boffins have revealed two new dinosaurs, Savannasaurus elliottorum and Diamantinasaurus matildae. As detailed in the Nature: Scientific Reports paper New Australian sauropods shed light on Cretaceous dinosaur palaeobiogeography, the dinos are remarkable because they are the first sauropods to be found in …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
Netflix Chaos Monkey

Chaos Monkey 2.0

Netflix has released version 2.0 of "Chaos Monkey", the tool it uses to randomly shut down servers so it can figure out what happens under unexpected circumstances. Or as Netflix puts it, "Chaos Monkey is a resiliency tool that helps applications tolerate random instance failures." Chaos Monkey was open-sourced in 2012 and now …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016

IBM throws ISP under a bus for Australia's #Censusfail

IBM has blamed a supplier for causing the failure of Australia's online census, which went offline on the very night millions of households were required to describe their disposition. Big Blue's submission (PDF) to Australia's Standing Committees on Economics, which is conducting an Inquiry into the Preparation, …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
UBON RATCHATHANI, THAILAND - JANUARY 25, 2015: Mario pixel art printed on poster <a href="">tulpahn</a> / <a href=""></a>

Nintendo's new console-tab

Nintendo's announced its new “Switch”, a console that's also a tablet. As depicted in the video below, the Switch will offer a dock that connects to your tellie and puts games on the big screen. The dock conceals the device's own screen, but if you take it out of the dock, you can carry on playing the very same game. Switch's …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
Archer cracks the ISIS mainframe's password

DIY website builder Weebly was secured feebly

Another day, another three major breaches: this time at do it yourself website builder Weebly, which has been revealed as secured feebly, as were FourSquare and Modern Business Solutions. A letter to users kindly forwarded to The Register by reader “Ham” explains the situation Weebly as follows: Weebly recently became aware …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Oct 2016
Airbus rendering of the new Beluga XL jetliner

10,000th Airbus takes off

Airbus has celebrated the delivery of its 10,000th plane, an A350-900 acquired by Singapore Airlines. The first Airbus sale, an A300B2, rolled down the runway in 1974. Since then the company has shipped 816 A300/310, 7,256 A320 series, 1,715 wide-body A330/340/350 models and 124 of its double-decker A380 behemoths. The company …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Oct 2016
A Docker container running on Windows Server 2016

Win Server 2016 on AWS

Well that didn't take long: Amazon Web Services (AWS) has flicked the switch and added Windows Server 2016 as an option on its EC2 compute-as-a-service service. AWS offers Windows Server 2016 Datacenter with Desktop Experience, Windows Server 2016 Nano Server, Windows Server 2016 with Containers (complete with pre-installed …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Oct 2016
Microsoft's 'Digital Badges'

Microsoft reveals career-enhancing .PNG files

Microsoft's ongoing efforts to make its certifications something that shows bosses how very clever you are have given us some new “Digital Badges”. As of this Friday, those of you holding a Redmondian Seal of Exam Passing Cleverness will be able to download badges like those depicted above (here for those of you on mobile …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Oct 2016

Chicago DC for Digital Realty

Digital Realty has decided to build a new data center in Chicago, and claims the facility will be the eighth largest in the world. The new bit barn will offer "698,000 square feet and 54 megawatts of utility load" and will be 12 stories tall. Chicago's financial services community is the target for the new facility, which is …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australia's new data breach disclosure laws have a rather floppy definition of 'breach'

After years of discussion a draft of Australia's proposed data breach disclosure laws has landed and, to The Register's mind, it leaves a lot of wriggle room for those who would keep breaches secret. The draft Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 (PDF) doesn't make it compulsory to report a breach. “It would …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
Stick cricket app screenshot

Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and BT bid for Indian cricket online

Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and BT have been revealed as bidders for rights for India's top sporting attracting, the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket competition. IPL matches often attract more than 100 million television viewers and the League runs all-but-daily for nearly two months, making it a media monster with few …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
A fiber optic cable

Vodafone Australia promises fixed-line broadband over NBN

As widely anticipated, Vodafone's Australian tentacle has announced it's getting into the fixed-line broadband business. The carrier will offer services to those lucky enough to enjoy connection to Australia's national broadband network. The company's canned statement says the services will mean customers are "always …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
Oracle and Sun logo

Oracle's quarterly security release offers 253 patches

Oracle has released its quarterly patch dump, this time offering 253 fixes for 76 products. Of those, 15 have a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of 9.0 or over, making them critical. Interestingly, Oracle's short-form announcement of the patch dump includes this warning regarding critical bugs. Italics are …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
polygonal canary

Google's crash canaries' muted chirping led to load balancer brownout

Google has revealed that it broke its own cloud again, this time because of two failures: a software error and alerts that proved too hard to interpret. The problem hit Google's cloudy load balancers on Thursday, October 13, causing them to produce HTTP 502 (Bad Gateway) responses. At first, two per cent reported the problem. …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Oct 2016
Communiqué from Ecuador on Julian assange

Ecuador admits it cut Assange's internet to stop WikiLeaks' US election 'interference'

Ecuador's Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Movilidad Humana – its foreign ministry – has admitted the nation cut off Julian Assange's internet access. The WikiLeaks boss has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past four years to avoid being questioned in Sweden with potential extradition to America. On …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016

vSphere has been moved onto VMware's slow development train

VMware has finally shoved vSphere 6.5 out the door, more than a year after it was deemed good enough to run VMworld Europe 2016, eight months after its formal beta began and the better part of two years since vSphere 6.0's February 2014 release. Why the wait? Mark Chuang, senior director and chief of staff of VMware's software …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016
Woman packs up contents of desk. Image via shutterstock

Dell/Quest Software plans layoffs and relocations – source

The deal restoring the independence of the entity formerly known as Dell Software is expected to close in early November, which is when The Register understands things are going to get very interesting for customers and staff alike. The new Quest Software, as the former Dell Software will be known, comprises the assets of …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016
Ubuntu photo via Shutterstock

Ubuntu OpenStack ARMv8-A

Canonical has announced that Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph "are now commercially available and supported on processors and servers based on 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture." The company reckons that as telcos and businesses build scale-out infrastructure, they're willing to do it on 64-bit ARM-powered servers and storage. Canonical is …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016
Amazon Web Services <a href="">Gil C</a> / <a href=""></a>

AWS turns on Ohio Region

Amazon Web Services has switched on a new region in the US State of Ohio. The new AWS US East (Ohio) Region runs a laundry list of services and hosts C4, D2, I2, M4, R3, T2, and X1 instances. AWS is talking up the low round trips to other bit barns, especially to mere 10ms hop to a nearby Equinix cloud exchange point. ® …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016
Axe Cutting Wood

LogMeIn collapses its 'Cubby' Dropbox clone into LogMeIn Pro

LogMeIn is mostly-closing “Cubby”, it's little-known Dropbox clone. In an email sent to users, the company says it “plans to retire Cubby from its current line of products.” Cubby is a vanilla sync 'n' share product with the usual come-for-the-free-capacity, please-please-please-cough-up-for-more-storage business plan. That …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Oct 2016
NBN Logo

nbn™ says nobody needs gigabit internet, trumpets XG-Fast at 8Gbps anyway

nbn™, the organisation building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has announced trials of fibre-to-the-curb and broadband-over-copper technology XG-fast that hit 8Gbps on 30 metres of copper in lab trials. It's also done tests that produced “5Gbps peak aggregate speed being achieved over 70 metres of …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Oct 2016

Bits of Google's dead Project Ara modular mobe live on in Linux 4.9

Google may have killed off its modular smartphone Project Ara idea, but some of the code that would have made it happen looks like coming to the Linux Kernel. So says none other than Linus Torvalds himself, in his Linux Kernel Mailing List post announcing the first release candidate of Linux 4.9. Torvalds tossed in a barb …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Oct 2016

Hello |FNAME|, this is the Obama-bot Drupal chat module speaking

The White House has open-sourced the bot that president Obama uses to automatically respond to messages sent on Facebook Messenger Yours for the forking on GitHub the bot is, says White House chief digital officer Jason Goldman, “a Drupal module, complete with easy steps and boiler plate code.” “This will enable Drupal 8 …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Oct 2016