Simon Sharwood

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China

Sniffing and sharing Wi-Fi passwords? There's an app for that!

China's internet services aren't stellar, which is why the nation's State Council recently decided to spend US$182bn on network construction in an effort to speed up local connections. While Chinese citizens wait for all that to happen, plenty are instead turning to an app called Wi-Fi Skeleton Key that collects credentials for …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2015
Firefox logo

Mozilla finds a way to tunnel Firefox into iOS

The Mozilla Foundation reckons it has found a way to sneak its Firefox browser into Apple's walled garden. In a brief post the outfit acknowledges “we can’t bring the full Firefox experience and rendering engine to iOS due to the restrictions”. “The restrictions” probably means Apple's insistence that only browsers using the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 May 2015
Life of Brian

Internet Society of Australia changes name to Internet Australia

The Internet Society of Australia has changed its name to Internet Australia, but kept the name Internet Society of Australia for official purposes. The body's president, George Fong, says the change of name “is designed to give the Society a more contemporary image in keeping with the board’s determination to take a higher …
Simon Sharwood, 24 May 2015

Vietnam-lovin' VoIP man's 50-nation tally couldn't hold him back

The eXpat Files In this instalment of The eXpat Files, we meet Joshua Puckett – a native of Maryland, USA – who, at 23, has managed to work in 50 countries, with extended stays in Switzerland and Hungary. How did this half-man-half-Boeing pull it off? Read on to learn about his very mobile lifestyle, the best bars in the world and how to blag a …
Simon Sharwood, 24 May 2015
William Davies, The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being

The Happiness Industry, Seveneves and Confessions of a Tinderella

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston is joined by Vulture South's own Simon Sharwood and Vulture Central's Nigel Whitfield to pore through the latest from the publishing world. William Davies examines the current political and corporate obsession with wellbeing. Neal Stephenson's latest sci-fi tome adds a satirical spin to saving the …
the EVO:RAIL value prop

VMware doubles node count for EVO:RAIL hyperconvergenceware

VMware has released a new version 1.2 of its EVO:RAIL software that turns servers from third parties into hyperconverged screamers. The headline change is a doubling in scale. Version 1.0 of EVO:RAIL could handle four appliances in a cluster and 16 nodes overall. That's now eight appliances in a cluster and 32 nodes overall. …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2015
Screen shots from The Hobbit re-made for the Spectrum 128K

ZX Spectrum 'Hobbit' revival sparks developer dispute

Sinclair appreciation site World Of Spectrum recently relaunched its forums, after they fell over last year and users were forced to endure a temporary replacement. To celebrate the relaunch, a member and developer using the handle Kayamon released something rather nice: a re-working of classic adventure game The Hobbit with new …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2015
HP Logo splitting in two

HP beats the street on earnings, misses on revenue in Q2

HP has announced its results for its second fiscal quarter, and the news is mixed. The market expected the company to post earnings of 85 cents on US$25.64 billion in revenue. The company trumped the earnings figure by announcing it delivered 87 cents per share, but missed on revenue with a figure of $25.45bn. That's down seven …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2015
VMware logo

VMware beta testing database-as-a-service based on SQL Server

VMware is beta testing a database-as-a-service offering running SQL Server 2008 R2 & 2012. VMware documents sighted by The Register suggest the new service will be called “vCloud Air SQL” and will initially target test and dev scenarios, but also offer a warm failover option for those seeking a disaster recovery option for their …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2015
New Zealand: Karikari Beach by https://www.flickr.com/photos/elisfanclub/ CC 2.0 attribution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

EXT4 filesystem can EAT ALL YOUR DATA

Flaws have been found in the EXT4 filesystem that can cause data loss when running Linux 4.0 and higher. Reports such as this Debian bug report suggest “massive filesystem corruption” is the result of the flaw. The problem appears to strike RAID0 users, on Arch Linux and Debian. Fixes are available, one explained by Lukas …
Simon Sharwood, 22 May 2015
Doug Bowser (left) and Bowser

NINTENDO assigns BOWSER to run North American sales. No, really

Nintendo has announced it has hired Bowser as its new veep of North American sales. Before Mario-playing readers wonder why the company has hired a fire-breathing mutant turtle to run sales, they should know that the Bowser in question is one Doug Bowser, former veep of Global Business Planning at Electronic Arts. Bowser also …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015
NASA PhoneSat by https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

NASA plots interplanetary cubesat swarms

NASA has revealed it is working on CubeSat Application for Planetary Entry Missions (CAPE), a plan to use small satellites to explore the solar system. As Lori Keesey of the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center details, cubesats are proving very useful around Earth. So useful that the 10cmx10cmx10cm craft could be used to …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015
Container meltdown

Intel wants containers to be alone again, naturally

Intel's taken its turn trying to advance containerisation technology by announcing a new approach to container security. Chipzilla'ss new idea is called “Clear containers”, which rely on the VT-x extensions in its chippery to enhance security and scalability. VT-x adds virtualisation support to silicon, the better to let CPUs …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015
Anthony Hopkins as Odin in Marvel's Thor

Odin (formerly Parallels) bets big on Docker and OpenStack

Junior virtualiser Parallels has split into two companies. One company retains the Parallels name and will continue to sell desktop hypervisors for the Mac. The other is called Odin, a reflection of CEO Berger Steen's Norwegian heritage but a brand he says was chosen because it represents wisdom and longevity. Odin gets the …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015

Google DOG WHISTLING fails to send URLs across the room

Google has released an experimental plug-in for Chrome that does something odd: sending URLs around the room using sound. The Tone plugin puts a button in Google's browser that, when clicked, makes a sound that other Tone-using Chrome browsers within earshot will interpret as an instruction to open the URL in the Chrome tab you …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015
India's ASTROSAT

India plans space telescope launch in second half of 2015

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) says it is ready to launch its first “mission aimed at studying distant celestial objects.” Dubbed “ASTROSAT”, the craft packs four X-ray instruments, an ultraviolet telescope and a charge particle monitor. ISRO says all payloads have been integrated into the satellite and that a …
Simon Sharwood, 21 May 2015

SimpliVity opens its doors to KVM, OpenStack

Hyper-converged infrastructure company SimpliVity has announced it now supports the KVM hypervisor and OpenStack. SimpliVity's schtick is that everything below the hypervisor – especially data compression and de-duplication for back-up, networking and cloud-tiering storage – should be handled by a hyper-converged appliance. It …
Simon Sharwood, 20 May 2015
KFC Tray Typer

KFC's new secret ingredient is a bluetooth keyboard on your tray

KFC Germany has salted its meal trays with a thin, flexible, Bluetooth keyboard. The “KFC Type Tray” has been used as a giveaway in new KFC stores. Punters can take 'em home and use the thin, rechargeable keyboards for whatever they fancy. The chicken chain's cunning plan, however, is that folks who wander into their …
Simon Sharwood, 20 May 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

VMware: Our DaaS is is so large it now covers Japan, Australia

VMware has announced that its Horizon Air desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and application-delivery-as-a-service (AdaaS) offerings will shortly become available from its Japanese and Australian bit barns. Virtzilla reckons this expansion of its DaaS-print makes it “the most geographically distributed … provider in the industry.” …
Simon Sharwood, 20 May 2015
Uber launch party by https://www.flickr.com/photos/5chw4r7z/ CC2.0 sharelalike attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Australia forces UberX drivers to become tax collectors

Australia's Taxation Office has issued a guidance note titled “Providing taxi travel services through ride-sourcing and your tax obligations” that makes it clear Uber drivers need to register for, collect and pay the nation's goods and services tax (GST). The note coins the term “ride-sourcing” and defines it as “an ongoing …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
playing cards

Microsoft celebrates 25 years' SOLITARY SELF-PLEASURE with GROUP SESSION

May 18th marked the 25th anniversary of Microsoft giving the world its timewasting Solitaire app, so Redmond has come up with a fine way to celebrate – a card-clicking deathmatch for its staff. Redmond says “an internal competition among Microsoft employees kicks off today to determine who leads the leaderboards here”. That …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
Monty Python TV viewer

Apple threw its TV out the window after years of research: report

Apple spent ten years working on a television, but gave up last year after deciding it couldn't devise something that would crack the competitive market. So says The Wall Street Journal, which found folks familiar with the effort to explain that Cupertino tried to use tellies for video calls, to no avail. Does The Journal know …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
Stonehenge by https://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/ cc 2.0 attribution no derivatives

Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released images of what it's cautiously calling "an unusual formation of boulders in the Aker region on the large lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ... reminiscent of so-called 'balancing rocks' on Earth." The three stones, depicted below, appear to be have a rather small footprint. So …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
CeBIT 2013 VIP Showfloor Tour - Senator Hon Scott Ludlam023 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

iiNet claims victory in Dallas Buyers Club case it lost

Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has proclaimed a victory of sorts in its legal stoush with Dallas Buyers Club LLC (DBC) and Voltage Pictures LLC (Voltage). iiNet and other small Australian ISPs found themselves in court after DBC and Voltage secured the IP addresses of alleged pirates and asked for personal …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015
The Office

SDN to bring new round of internecine office wars to IT shops

Software-defined networking (SDN) will give IT teams a new reason for internecine conflict, as those looking to build automated, software-defined data centres come up against the hard-headed trust nobody pragmatism of security teams. So says Gartner's Eric Ahlm, a research director at the analyst firm, who today delivered a …
Simon Sharwood, 19 May 2015

Cisco tipped to buy 'dominant' STORAGE BADBOY Nutanix

+Comment Jared Rinderer, a senior research analyst at Equity Capital Research Group, has claimed Cisco is about to buy converged infrastructure enfant terrible Nutanix. Rinderer reckons Nutanix is the dominant player in the industry, so is therefore the most likely acquisition for Cisco as it looks to make sure the EMC Federation doesn't …
Simon Sharwood, 18 May 2015
OpenStack

OpenStack private clouds are SCIENCE PROJECTS says Gartner

OpenStack can run a fine private cloud, if you have lots of people to throw at the project and are willing to do lots of coding, according to Alan Waite, a research director at Gartner. Waite works at Gartner for technical professionals, the arm of the analyst aimed at hands-on IT pros rather than suits. His opinion is therefore …
Simon Sharwood, 18 May 2015
Invader by https://www.flickr.com/photos/derpoly/ cc 2.0 attrtibution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Open source power-up on the way for arcade game emulator MAME

MAME – the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator – is going open source. MAME is beloved of retro-gamers, who delight in its ability to run the ROMs of vintage cabinet and console games on Windows, MacOS and Linux. A single Tweet last week – see below – set the cat among the pigeons for fanciers of such fare. MAME is going open …
Simon Sharwood, 17 May 2015
1984 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepen/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Your metadata and the cost of collecting it belong on your phone and internet bill

When Australia's federal government legislated a carbon tax, some electricity companies tweaked their bills so that customers could see it as a line item. The motivation was purely political: companies that did so were owned by States of Australia whose governments were of a different political hue to the Federal government of …
Simon Sharwood, 17 May 2015
Panic button

Never trust a developer who says 'I can fix this in a few minutes'

On-call In this week's instalment of On-call, our weekend thing in which we share readers' tales of odd things that happen at odd hours, we bring you the adventures of “Foredeck” who once “worked for a small UK ISV ... as a Support Manager, which meant I had a lot of different hats to wear, including being on-call one week in three". “ …
Simon Sharwood, 17 May 2015
Candy Crush Saga

Windows 10 to MELT YOUR BRAIN and TAKE OVER YOUR LIFE

Microsoft has announced that Candy Crush Saga will be bundled with Windows 10. Redmond has revealed a deal with the game's developer, King, to bring the mega-hit to its new operating system. Other King games will also appear on the platform. That's good news for King, which is finding it hard to satisfy investors. It's bad …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2015

Blocking pirate sites doesn't weaken pirates say Euroboffins

In June 2011, authorities in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands raided premises suspected of having something to do with kino.to, a site that offered links to a Megaupload-style file lockers containing unlicensed copies of movies, music and TV shows. Not long after the raids, the site shut up shop. Folks associated with …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2015
HTTP/2 flow diagram

HTTP/2 is now utterly officially official

HTTP/2 was signed off back in February, but the spec took its final step towards becoming a standard on Thursday US time with the publication of rfc7540. RFCs - request for comments - are counterintuitively named because as the Internet Engineering Task Force explains, “Once an RFC is published, it is never revised. If the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2015
VMware Fusion by https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertnyman/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

VMware blasts bad backup bug in ESXi 6.0

VMware has issued a patch for a “severe” problem in ESXi 6.0. How severe? Plenty severe: VMs might not backup or power on if you “upgrade to or install ESXi 6.0.x. Other symptoms include an inability to expand the size of a virtual disk or to take “virtual machine quiesced snapshots.” To implement the patch you'll need to …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2015
Inside Google's Hyderabad office

Google to extend Hyderabad office into first non-US campus

Google looks to have signed a deal with the Indian State of Telangana that will see the company splash down a colossal campus in Hyderabad. Telangana's technology minister KT Rama Rao has been doing the rounds of Silicon Valley this week, Tweeting as he goes. At Google, he squeezed out these three missives: Excited to announce …
Simon Sharwood, 15 May 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australian opposition floats startups-and-STEM stimulus plan

Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten has outlined a startups-and-STEM-fuelled plan for Australia. In his speech in reply to treasurer Joe Hockey's budget, Shorten said “I believe Australia can be the science, start-up and technology capital of our region: attracting the best minds, supporting great institutions and …
Simon Sharwood, 14 May 2015
Glorious future of China

China decrees local internet must go faster to stimulate growth

China's premier Li Keqiang has decided the nation's internet connections need to get faster and cheaper. “China has more cell phone users than any other country, but its Internet service speed ranks below 80th in the world due to underdeveloped information infrastructure,” the premier reportedly said. Li Keqiang sits atop China …
Simon Sharwood, 14 May 2015
1984 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepen/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

You have the right to be forgotten 41.3 per cent of the time says Google

Google has published some details of its efforts to comply with the Court of Justice of the European Union's “right to be forgotten” decision that compelled search engines to remove links if citizens ask them to do so. In a new transparency report published a year to the day after the ruling, Google reveals it's received 254,271 …
Simon Sharwood, 14 May 2015
Ultra High definition blu-ray logo

4K refresh sees Blu-ray climb to 100GB, again

The Blu-ray Disc Association has signed off the Ultra HD Blu-ray spec. For those of you who like your video entertainment crisp, the new standard means future disks will be able to handle 3840x2160 resolutions and deliver “significantly expanded color range … high dynamic range and high frame rate content [and] next-generation …
Simon Sharwood, 14 May 2015
Telstra phone booth by Ed Dunens from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/blachswan/

Telstra offers six explanations for its dud Netflix rating

Telstra has come up with six reasons for Netflix's rating of it as the worst-performing broadband network in Australia. In a rambling post Telstra's networks group managing director Mike Wright offers a bunch of mitigating factors that Vulture South thinks constitute six arguments: Netflix doesn't compare like for like, so its …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
Red's Java house by https://www.flickr.com/photos/enerva/ CC 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Oracle proposes to deliver Java 9 SDK on September 22nd, 2016

Oracle's chief architect of the Java Platform Group, Mark Reinhold, has outlined a “proposed schedule for JDK 9” that will see it delivered on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016. Reinhold's post on the topic offers the following development milestones: 10 December 2015: Feature Complete 04 February 2016: All Tests Run 25 February …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
The Mad Max Nux Car

BONKERS apocalyptic WAR WAGONS circle Vulture South

BONKERS The insane vehicles of Mad Max Fury Road cruised past Vulture South When the Vulture South team popped out for lunch today, members of the local constabulary directed us away from our usual haunts. The reason? A promo for the new flick Mad Max: Fury Road had rolled into the nearby Sydney Opera House. Roads were blocked. …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
BitTorrent Bleep

What the BLEEP? BitTorrent's secure messaging app arrives

BitTorrent has released its secure messaging app to world+dog, and given it the name “Bleep”. Bleep can now be had for iThings, Android, Windows and Mac OS. The app promises server-less, peer-to-peer, text or voice communications. The outfit says “we keep messages and the encryption keys for images stored on your local device, …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
Citrix cloud workspace

Citrix reveals its Workspace Cloud ADaaS play

Citrix has kicked off its Synergy shindig with a preview of its new Citrix Workspace Cloud, an application and desktop delivery tool it's billing as “a new control plane that merges the worlds of on-premises and cloud, allowing IT managers to create secure, mobile workspaces that include desktops, applications and data from …
Simon Sharwood, 13 May 2015
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

CSC to sue ServiceMesh man Eric Pulier over Australian bribe scandal

Exclusive CSC has initiated legal action against Eric Pulier, formerly head of strategy for the company's Emerging Business group, over his actions as head of service. Pulier is alleged to have made improper payments to executives of Australia's Commonwealth Bank. Those payments are said to have won ServiceMesh the deal, making it a …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015
Nutanix Logo

Nutanix announces beta of Community Edition software

As foreshadowed by The Reg's virtualisation desk, Nutanix has announced a “community edition” of the software it uses to power its hyperconverged servers-and-storage-in-a-box rigs. The software will see the light of day at the company's user conference on June 8th, where it will merge as a “full-featured, limited-scale version …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia finds AU$131m for data retention, $254m for e-gov luvvies

BUDGET 2015 Australia's treasurer Joe Hockey has outlined several technology-related items in the nation's budget for 2015/16. In a surprise announcement, the treasurer announced the government will abolish fringe benefits tax “on all portable electronic devices used for work, like mobile phones, laptops and tablets.” Fringe benefits tax …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015
Toshiba MQ03ABB300

Toshiba shares go over a cliff after probe into hidden losses

Toshiba's shares have dived 22 per cent in a week after the company commenced a probe into accounting irregularities, rescinded previous profit guidance and cancelled a planned dividend payment. Toshiba's Notice Regarding Establishment of Independent Investigation Comittee (PDF) explains that some projects went pear-shaped, but …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015

Swedish Supreme Court keeps AssangeTM in Little Ecuador

Sweden's Supreme Court has decided not to let Julian Assange discontinue his ongoing attempt to extend the world couch-surfing record. The five-judge court yesterday released a decision (PDF) on Assange's application to have his arrest warrant quashed. Assange's legal team argued that his ongoing residence in London's …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015
Surface 3 in red

For its next trick, Microsoft diminishes the iPad with just a driver

Microsoft has issued a new driver to “enhance mass deployments” of its Surface 3 typoslab. Redmond says the driver will “bring the Surface 3 deployment experience in line with its more business-oriented sibling, Surface Pro 3. The update includes new and enhanced features including those expected in a larger-scale commercial …
Simon Sharwood, 12 May 2015