Simon Sharwood

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Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular Friday morning foray into readers' stories of being asked to do the right thing, for the wrong reason, at unspeakable times. This week, meet reader “Harold” who works as IT manager for an educational institution. Harold tells us that the institution has a simple scheme to allocate user …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2016
A close up at atomic level of limpits' teeth. Image via Portsmouth University

Bluetooth 5.0 emerges, ready to chew on the internet of things

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has officially adopted Bluetooth 5 as the standard's new specification. The announcement is a bit of a rubber-stamping exercise, as version 5's specs were revealed back in June 2016. This is therefore more of a “go forth and adopt” moment than a “oh wow, check out the new standard” …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2016
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Google found a way to go after 400 MEELLION new users this week

Google this week added Hindi to the languages spoken by its "Allo" digital assistance service, the company's Siri-and-Cortana competitor. The Register fancies this is a pretty significant thing to have done, because the world has about 400 million Hindi speakers in India alone, with plenty concentrated in states like Bihar …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Dec 2016
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Xen 4.8 debuts, gives ARM servers vendors a reason to hope

A new version of the Xen Project's hypervisor has emerged blinking into the light. The Project reckons the best bit of version 4.8 is support for live patching of ARMv8-A CPUs, noting that such silicon is likely to appear in servers. And server users, of course, love anything that avoids operational disruptions. So Xen has …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2016

Work ends on Open Virtualisation Format

Work has ended on the Open Virtualisation Format (OVF), the Distributed Management Task Force's (DMTF's) packaging format for virtual machines. Version 2.0 of the standard landed in early 2013 and back in June 2016 The Register's virtualisation desk spotted plans to develop version 3.0 with a target delivery date of late 2016 …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Dec 2016

China and Russia aren't ready to go it alone on tech, but their threats are worryingly plausible

Feature China and Russia are populous, wealthy nations that the technology industry has long-regarded as exceptional growth prospects. And then along came Edward Snowden, whose suggestions that American vendors were complicit in the United States' surveillance efforts gave governments everywhere a reason to re-think their relationship …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2016
Migrating birds in the cloud

Cloud Velox sends advance parties to make the cloud feel like home

The vendor formerly know as CloudVelocity, since contracted to CloudVelox, has emitted code to lift and shift networks from your bit barn to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The thinking here is that when you migrate an application to the cloud it's best if the network it's set up to use comes along for the ride, because otherwise …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2016

Microsoft says LinkedIn will make Trump, Brexit, voters feel great again

Microsoft says buying LinkedIn will help to address the middle class discontent that saw Britain vote to leave the European Union and America vote to leave politics as we know it behind by electing Donald Trump. The company has expressed that sentiment in its post announcing the European Commission's approval of its …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Dec 2016
Telstra from Shutterstock

Australia's universal telco service obligation's day is done

Australia's Productivity Commission (PC) has suggested the nation can probably scrap the telecommunications universal service obligation (TUSO) that requires every Australian be provided with a telephone connection. The base reason for the suggestion, contained in a draft report (PDF), is that the TUSO was designed for a time …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Dec 2016

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube team to ID terror content

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube have teamed up to share their expertise spotting terrorism-related content, in order to crimp its spread. The four put their name to a joint statement in which they declare “There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services.” The definition they're …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Dec 2016
Apple Watch Sport

Apple Watch sales go over a cliff: Down 2.8 meellion per quarter in a year

Apple's Watch range sold 1.1m units in 2016's third quarter, a stunning 2.9m fewer than the same quarter in 2015. The dip means Apple's share of the wearables market dipped from 17.5 per cent to 4.9 per cent in a year, representing -71 per cent growth according to abacus-twirler IDC's new Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Dec 2016

Online advent calendar offers mystery VM every day until Christmas

Here's something fun for Christmas: the folks behind the free and open-source hosted QEMU hypervisor have whipped up an online advent calendar that offers you a new virtual machine to download every day between now and Christmas. The 2016 QEMU Advent Calendar kicked off last week with a download of the 56kb MikeOS, apparently …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Dec 2016
Vocus Australia Singapore Cable

Vocus to build Singapore-Australia submarine cable

Junior telco Vocus has confirmed it will build a submarine cable linking Singapore and Australia, with a stop in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The Australia-Singapore Cable will have capacity up to 40Tbps and will make landfall in Perth. The cable's been on the drawing board for some time but Vocus today told the Australian …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Dec 2016
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Apple again late to another market others pioneered. Or is it?

Apple's long-rumoured interest in autonomous vehicles appears to be real. The company seems to have written to United States' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to comment on its Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. A widely-circulated letter signed by “Apple's director of product integrity Steve Kenner”, …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Dec 2016
cyanogen mobes

Cyanogen parts ways with its founder

Mobile OS outfit Cyanogen has made further sackings and parted ways with founder Steve Kondik. A post by CEO Lior Tal says the company is closing its Seattle office and consolidating a single Palo Alto abode. “The purpose of the change is to improve the communication and performance of the team which will now operate under …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Dec 2016
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Linus Torvalds finds 163 reasons to wait a week for a new Linux

Linus Torvalds told the world that if it wanted a new Linux he needed a quiet week. But he didn't get it and now the world has an eighth release candidate of Linux 4.9 to consider. The Linux Lord's weekly what's up with Linux post says “things haven't been bad, but it also hasn't been the complete quiet that would have made me …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Dec 2016

Icelandic Pirate Party asked to form government

Iceland's president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson has asked the nation's Pirate Party to form government. A new proclamation and edict (PDF in Icelandic) gives Pirate captain Birgitta Jonsdottir a mandate to lead negotiations with rival parties in an attempt to find a working majority in the Alþingi, Iceland's Parliament. Jóhannesson …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Dec 2016
Weapon of the information wars from Shutterstock

Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

On-Call Thank the Galactic Spirit it's Friday: your correspondent is beat! But not so beat I can't dip into the On-Call mailbag to dredge up another story in which your fellow Reg readers explain how they've rescued clients and colleagues from chronologically-inconvenient computational cock-ups. This week, meet “Hal”, who tells us …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Dec 2016

Windows 10 market share growth just barely has a pulse

November lies behind us in all Reg-reading jurisdictions, so it's time to again consider the state of the desktop by gazing at the three services we use to assess desktop operating system market share. Those three – StatCounter, Netmarketshare and analytics.gov, each assess OS share by looking at web traffic. The first two …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Dec 2016
Server, photo via Shutterstock

Server market slumps as everyone stops buying

Abacus-shuffler IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker for the year's third quarter makes for ugly reading: the firm says just about all categories of server sales have stalled. Revenue was down 7.0 per cent, year over year, and shipments decreased 4.6 per cent. It's not all bad, there's still 2.38m machines and US$12.5 …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Dec 2016
Salvador Dali Persistence of Memory pastiche

Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

Google's turned on a set of public network time protocol (NTP) servers. You'll find the servers at time.google.com – which resolves to 216.239.35.0, a rather less pretty IP address than the 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 Google uses for its public domain-name system (DNS) servers. There's also time2.google.com at 216.239.35.4, time3. at …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Dec 2016
Pixellated Slack logo

Chap creates Slack client for Commodore 64

A Kiwi chap named Jeff Harris has created a Slack client for the Commodore 64. Harris has no explanation for why he thinks the world needs a Slack client for the Commodore 64, but built one anyway. As he writes, he just felt like it was a good idea to write one. So he did. To do so, he wrote a NodeJS app for the Raspberry Pi …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Dec 2016
StorSimple 7010 appliance

Microsoft to lift and shift StorSimple data into Azure blobs

Microsoft's ambition to paint the enterprise azure is accelerating, with the news that Redmond's StorSimple arrays will be able to convert the data they store into Azure Blobs. StorSimple started life as a vanilla iSCSI unified storage array that, at the time of its launch, could store VMs, databases or files but also offered …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Dec 2016

Inventor of McDonald's iconic Big Mac dies

Michael 'Jim' Delligatti, the inventor of the Big Mac, has died aged 98. Just how he made it that far, given his fondness for the lard-laden double-decker, is anyone's guess. Delligatti cooked up the Big Mac in 1965 when, as one of McDonalds' early franchisees, he felt the menu needed a rival for local burger bars' two-storey …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Dec 2016
A Combined Charging System plug

Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network

Six auto-makers have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see them build a network of electric car charging stations across Europe. BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have given themselves an initial target of 400 facilities, but say by 2020 “customers should have access to thousands of high-powered …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Nov 2016