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Simon Sharwood

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NICTA man explains why he volunteers for CSIRO's ICT in Schools

Last week, Vulture South launched a campaign in support of the CSIRO's ICT in Schools program, an effort to get IT pros sharing their experience with kids in schools around Australia. CSIRO tells us our campaign is working: quite a few signed up in the week since we published our first story, but we're still short of our target …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
NBN Co logo

Turnbull says NBN 'most reckless commitment of Commonwealth funds in our history'

The Scales Review of NBN Mark II Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) has found the second version of the network's early planning process was chaotic and that NBN Co, the company created to build the network, was not built on foundations suitable to enable the project's success. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
GCHQ road sign

GCHQ names the Hogwarts for Hackers

The UK's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has certified six Masters of Cyber Security degrees. The certifications were issued under the UK's Cyber Security Strategy that, among other things, calls for the nation to “Strengthen postgraduate education to expand the pool of experts with in-depth knowledge of cyber.” …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
EMET

Microsoft hacks out new EMET, spits out Adobe Flash

Microsoft has emitted a new version of EMET – its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. Redmond often recommends deployment of EMET as a frontline defence against attacks, so the release of a new version is noteworthy. The big two enhancements that Microsoft is talking up the loudest are an improved Attack Surface Reduction ( …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
IBM Selectric MT/ST

Free 2004-spec AS/400 pops up in the cloud

German hosting company Rechenzentrum Kreuznach has popped an AS/400 into the cloud, and anyone can use it for free. Available here the machine is running V5R3 software that appears to have been released in 2004 and to have had support withdrawn in April 2009. Rechenzentrum Kreuznach asks would-be users to sign up for an account …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
chalk outline of  human body at crime scene

Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Windows XP's demise is finally starting to accelerate, but Windows 7 and not 8 appears to be picking up the slack. Those are the conclusions we draw from Netmarketshare's latest monthly dump on desktop computer operating system market share. Here's the company's counts of what's what on the desktop, going back to October 2013 …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2014
Bill Gates talks tech

Microsoft Australia floats 'death to TechEd' thought bubble

Microsoft Australia has hinted that it may follow the lead of its US parent and make TechEd a part of a larger conference. The Microsoft Mothership last month decided to bundle TechEd and conferences dedicated to SharePoint, Lync, Exchange and Project into a “unified Microsoft commercial technology conference.” TechEd will …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2014
Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Elite Systems promises to order ZX Spectrum revival in two weeks

Elite Systems, the company that last year launched a crowdfunding campaign to revive the ZX Spectrum as a Bluetooth keyboard, says it will place an order for the devices on August 14th. The campaign succeeded after punters pledged £63,194 to recreate the storied microcomputer. Those who paid £50 or more were promised delivery in …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Aug 2014

Wireless charging stretches the friendship by 45mm

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) has boosted the range of its Qi wireless charging standard, which can now deliver electricity to devices 35 millimetres away from a charger. Most of today's wireless chargers assume that devices will be placed quite carefully onto a charging station. Yet at Computex, your correspondent beheld …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Aug 2014
Dromana bottles

Linode open-sources its secret support sauce

Infrastructure-as-a-service and cloud concern Linode has open-sourced the support documentation it offers to users. The company has long operated a “Linode Library” containing tutorials and other documents that might conceivably be useful to its users, or just to the curious. The company has now put the lot on GitHub along with …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Aug 2014

EMC promises 'lots' of news about converged compute at VMworld

VMware's rumoured “MARVIN” converged infrastructure product has piqued the interest of the virtualisation community, because despite winning a trademark for “Computer hardware for virtualization” the company insists it is in the software business. Plenty of speculation has since suggested MARVIN is probably something a bit like …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Aug 2014
heart.australia

A modest proposal: Australian ISPs should JUMP at the chance to store metadata

Scarcely a day passes on which Vulture South is not told that an investment in Big Data software is the first step accruing undreamed-of riches. You know the argument: organisations that collect lots of data are sitting on a trove of un-articulated insights. A little Hadoopery and analytics will quickly reveal why customers …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull to Big Content: Let your movies RUN FREE ... for a fair price

Australia's communications minister has scolded Big Content for not making more efforts to make digital content easy to access. Turnbull last night delivered a speech to mark the release of the federal government's consultation paper on online piracy. In those remarks and an interview with ABC Radio he made more or less the same …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014

Russia to SAP, Apple: Hand over source code to prove you're not spies

Russia has asked SAP and Apple to hand over their products' source code so it can be tested for spyware. The nation's Ministry of Communications and Mass Media announced the request on Wednesday. The shrinkwrapped statement sees Communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov citing the revelations from rogue NSA contractor Edward …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Reebok Bacon

Sneaker-maker Reebok cooks up performance-enhancing BACON

Sports shoe maker Reebok is getting into the bacon business. The move into delicious salted pork parts isn't a diversification. Instead, the company is targeting devotees of the CrossFit cultfitness craze, who often adhere to a “paleo” diet that's heavy in protein and light on carbohydrates. Ad-slinging chronicle AdWeeksuggests …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Apple Mac Mini 2012

VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis

VMware runs a cluster of 50 Mac Minis and puts it to work preparing the executables and binaries that customers receive when they acquire the company's products. We're standing on the shoulders of William Lam's Virtually Ghetto for this story, after he delved into production uses of Mac hardware in an VMware environment. He …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata

Australia's federal government should store metadata collected by the nation's Internet service providers (ISPs), because the government already operates suitable facilities in which to do so. ISPs have suggested that if the government persists with its metadata retention plans they would have to pass the costs of storing data …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014
chain_relationship_channel

Cisco says network virtualisation won't pay off everywhere

Cisco has published an interesting white paper in which it appears to suggest network virtualisation can produce unpleasant and productivity-crimping consequences. “Virtualization is not a new concept but it is now being applied to network functions such as those in switches, routers, and the myriad network appliances deployed …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014

DDOS takes down Cirrus Communications

Fixed wireless broadband provider Cirrus Communications has experienced a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack that incapacitated half its network. Cirrus provides wireless networks to business, apartment complexes, residential colleges and military bases. The company says it is a last mile provider and prides itself on “ …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014

Microsoft rolls up more Windows Server 2012 R2 updates

Microsoft has issued a new “rollup” of enhancements and fixes to Windows Server 2012 R2. The new rollup is the third for the OS and, as is described here, offers downloads for more than 40 issues. Perhaps the most notable addition is the Office 365 management pack, as it gives Windows Server admins the chance to “monitor the …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014
australia

Forrester says Australia, not China, is next boom market for cloud

Cloud vendors that have done alright in Europe and North American should head to Australia to find their next growth market, according to analyst outfit Forrester. Veep and principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals James Staten says Australia may lack China's or India's size, and is an expensive place …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2014

Microsoft says 'weird things' can happen during Windows Server 2003 migrations

Microsoft has started issuing increasingly stern warnings to move from the soon-to-be-unsupported Windows Server 2003, but has also just found an obstacle to migrations away from the operating system. The problem manifests when users run Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controllers serving the same domain. …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2014
Cisco 6324 fabric interconnect

Cisco to reveal UCS for small businesses

Cisco has quietly released details of a new version of its UCS servers and associated kit dubbed the UCS Mini”. Detailed by blogger Justin Paul and described in several Cisco documents, the new UCS also gets its very own version 3.0 of Cisco UCS manager. That package runs on a new piece of kit, the 6324 Fabric Interconnect, …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2014
opportunity selfie

NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark

The plucky Opportunity rover-droid, whose wheels first touched the red Martian dirt back in 2004, has trundled past the 25 mile mark for the first time and in so doing claimed humanity's off-world long distance driving record. NASA records that Opportunity went for a 48 metre trundle on July 27th and in so doing saw its odometer …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2014
MacPaint 1.0

CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic

A chap called Guy Abbott has created a CAPTCHA that asks you to take a swing at imitating pointillist painter Georges-Pierre Seurat. The CAPTCHA is available on the Contact Form on Abbott's site, which depicts an excerpt of Parade de Cirque, a painting in Seurat's famed €œpointillist style comprised of small dots of colour that …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Facebook down

Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg

You're not worth $US10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg. That's one of the many factoids revealed in The Social NetworkTM's new Form 10-Q (PDF) filed last Friday. One item of interest is that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has decided not to investigate Facebook's 2012 float. The Social Network's big day was spoiled …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Cloud disk drives

VMware counters containers with SaaSy VM disk swap

The rise and rise of Docker, plus news that Google does most everything using containers, has raised eyebrows for those who like to ponder virtualisation's future in large-scale deployments. At issue is that while server virtualisation is universally agreed to be very powerful, very useful and tremendously useful, you still end …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

Verizon to limit unlimited 4G plans

Verizon has decided to throttle some users of its 4G network. There's nothing entirely new or sinister in the decision, as the company's notice of the change points out that it operates a “Network Optimization policy” that “limits the data speeds of the heaviest 3G data users – only select subscribers with unlimited data plans …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Azure Index

Redmond in rapid rebuild after sysadmin request STUNNER

Microsoft has released a few useful tweaks to System Center Advisor, its online log file analysis, monitoring and alerting service, and says actual users asked for the new features it has created. System Center Advisor emerged at TechEd North America, way back in May, and offers a graphical representation of log files emitted by …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

Colbert report reveals VMware's AirWatch integration plan

VMware has revealed more detailed integration plans for AirWatch, the mobile device management specialist it acquired for about an-Instagram-and-a-half last January. AirWatch will nestle in the company's end-user computing group, where it looks set to form a part of the sysadmin side of things. Here's how VMware's CTO for end- …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014

ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION

In January 2013, a chap called Jonathan Moylan sent a single email that caused an AU$314m - £174m or $295m - dip in a coal company's value. The email was a fake press release stating that Whitehaven Coal's bank, ANZ, had decided not to lend the mining firm the billion or so dollars needed to open a new pit. Moylan's message was …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2014
Burning copyright symbol. Photo by: Martin Fisch http://www.flickr.com/photos/marfis75/ on flickr"

Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves

Australia's is pondering whether it needs the power to block websites that facilitate copyright infringement. Crikey revealed a draft of a discussion paper on “Online Copyright Infringement” that offers three remedies. The first, “Extended Authorisation Liability”, would strike down the legal principle that internet service …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
A fake tattoo on the leg of Canberra Raiders footballer Sandor Earl, sent by Huawei as an April Fool

Huawei to virtual world: Give us your desktops and no-one gets hurt

Huawei's ambitions in the virtualisation market centre on desktop virtualisation and network function virtualisation for telcos, according to the company's CTO for data centre solutions Ron Raffensperger. The Chinese company was this year's only new entrant to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for x86 virtualisation, a position that the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Micro SIM Card

The seven nations where SIM CARDS outnumber PEOPLE

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's (OECD's) latest broadband statistics update reports that about 72 per cent of the group's residents now have access to broadband. Startlingly, the data also reports that seven nations - Finland, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Korea and the United States – now have …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
The Pirate Bay logo

The Pirate Bay opens mobile site

The Pirate Bay has poked Big Content's sore spot again, by erecting a site for mobile devices at themobilebay.org. The new site doesn't do much beyond features offered by The Pirate Bay's other ventures. The site's overseers told Torrent Freak that “The normal version of the site renders like crap on mobile devices”, an …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Tor

Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE

Russia's Interior Ministry has posted a tender seeking parties willing to “study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users (user equipment) TOR anonymous network". The tender appears to be open only to organisations rated to do secret work for the Russian government, but concluding that means the project has …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
Enormous coprolite

METRE-LONG DINOSAUR POO going under the hammer

A colossal dinosaur poo is about to go to under the hammer. Auction house I.M. Chait has listed what it describes as an “Enormous and rare coprolite” said to measure 40 inches - 101.6cm - from end to end. The object is believed to have been the result of a meal consumed during the Miocene-Oligocene epoch, some 23 million years …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jul 2014
cloud

VMware fuels cloudy drive, plonks second bit barn in UK

VMware's virtual cloud hybrid service has quietly added a second British bit barn. The new facility is in Chessington, which probably means Digital Realty's facility in the Surrey exurb. VMware already has an existing server farm in sunny Slough, the town first made famous by Sir John Betjeman's poem – and latterly as the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014
The Sunswift solar car

World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record

The University of New South Wales' Sunswift, the third-placed car in the Cruiser class of the 2013 World Solar Challenge, claims to have set a new record for the swiftest single-charge traversal of a 500km course. The record attempt took place on Wednesday at the Automotive Research Centre's 4.2km track. Sunswift travelled 500km …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

The human spine is poorly-designed for the rigours of modern life, but so are the drugs most commonly prescribed to help you endure a bad back. That's the conclusion of a new study looking into whether paracetamol, the drug most often suggested to treat bad backs, actually helps. Reported in The Lancet, the study funded by the …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

vBlock user says EMC bug slipped through VCE's matrix

The Cisco/EMC/VMware/Intel lovechild VCE has a simple schtick: the boxed-up rigs of hardware and software it sells are sold in configurations that have been documented and tested to the last detail. As the company told us by email “we commit to delivering Systems that have been engineered, tested and certified as one.” VCE is …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2014

StubHub hit by trans-Atlantic fraudsters, says New York DA

eBay's ticket-selling offshoot StubHub has admitted to a breach of some users' security by a ring of fraudsters. Reuters and AP have both received notification from New York district attorney Cyrus Vance of an event to be staged on Wednesday morning US time, at which the details of the attack will be revealed. Arrests in at …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
Houses of Parliament at night-time

UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

The United Kingdom government has formally adopted the open document format (ODF) as the standard format for government documents. The announcement says PDF/A or HTML are now the standard “for viewing government” while ODF is now expected “for sharing or collaborating on government documents.” There's some pointed language in …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
William Shatner in plane sees Gremlin outside window

Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app

Actor and sometime “singer” William Shatner has unloaded on Facebook's newest app, the ”Mentions” tool The Social NetworkTM says helps “actors, athletes, musicians and other influencers to discover and join conversations on Facebook.” Shatner took the app for a spin, then shared his thoughts about it on his Tumblr. Long story …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014
Telstra's 4G surfboards

Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016

Telstra has announced, with an ever-so-modern blog post, that it will kill off its 2G network by the end of 2016. Telstra says 2G traffic now accounts for less than one per cent of its traffic, and that it stopped selling 2G handsets a couple of years ago. The carrier's group MD for networks Mike Wright says he can't imagine …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2014

Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices

Australia last week repealed its carbon tax, a wildly controversial piece of legislation that required the nation's largest polluters to pay up for the privilege of pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. But data centre operators don't think the repeal will see their prices fall. The nation's government has promised that the tax's …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014

Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!

Yahoo! Japan has launched a service called “Endings” designed to help you after you die. Endings is intended to let the dying set their affairs in order before they shuffle off this mortal coil. The service allows one to set up an automated message to email to up to 200 loved ones after you're gone. The email is triggered by a …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Robot wearing mortar board and brandishing certificates

Microsoft's MCSE and MCSD will become HARDER to win

Microsoft has decided it won't replace the Masters-level certifications it once described as the "pinnacle" of a Redmond-centric IT pro's education. Redmond ”retired” the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM), and Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certifications last year. At the time …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Twitter for Mac New

Twitter hints at messaging moves

Twitter has issued a couple of big, meaty, hints that it wants in on instant messaging. The avian network already has a messaging service, in the form of “direct messages” that are sent between two parties but don't ever appear in public. Such messages, known as DMs among the Twitterati, aren't very widely used because most apps …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

iiNet says metadata retention means a great big tax on everything

Australian internet service provider (ISP) iiNet has delivered a stinging rebuttal to its home nation's plans to introduce far-reaching data retention laws. iiNet became famous after it was targeted by Big Content's lawyers, who alleged it should have taken allegations of copyright abuse by its subscribers as gospel. After many …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2014