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Simon Sharwood

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Apple iPhone

Telstra to grinch WAP 1 network five days before Christmas

Telstra has quietly announced it will shutter its WAP 1 network, just five days before Christmas. The carrier is warning that users of older handsets will lose the ability to send Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages or access the internet as of December 20th. The list of soon-to-be-internet-deprived handsets won't alarm …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014
Rosetta comet picture - wide angle

Spinning SPACE DUCK is comet-chasing Rosetta probe's PREY

New images captured by the Rosetta comet-chaser reveal that its target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, may be a “contact binary” – a class of object with two distinct and different segments. The European Space Agency (ESA) has been kind enough to provide an animated GIF of the comet to show off the two distinct parts of the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2014

Citrix releases tech preview of next XenServer

In Gartner's recently-released Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure the analyst firm said Citrix “ … is no longer investing strictly to keep up with market leaders VMware and Microsoft for traditional server virtualization.” Gartner might not be that far off the mark, because Citrix has just released “ …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

BBM beta comes to Windows Phone

Among BlackBerry's many problems is that it has a very popular messaging app, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), but struggles to turn a quid with it. Among Microsoft's problems is that it has a very decent mobile device operating system, Windows Phone, but would-be-users are often deterred by the fact some popular apps aren't …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014
Oracle's SPARC and Solaris roadmap

Seventh-gen SPARC silicon will accelerate Oracle databases

Oracle will soon detail the SPARC 7 architecture, and how it includes new in-silicon features designed to make Big O's databases and applications achieve better performance in an all-Ellison environment. John Fowler, Oracle's executive veep of systems, today told The Reg that the company will reveal details of the new silicon at …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jul 2014

Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Dungeons & Dragons is BAAAACK – and it's brought a freemium business model with it. The venerable game was re-released yesterday, with a new Starter Pack reaching retailers and offering a rulebook for players, an “adventure book” for dungeon masters plus a handful of dice to get things going. The $19.99 kit is not, however, …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014

Oracle to pay $130,000 plus costs in staff sexual harassment suit

Australia's Federal Court has awarded a former Oracle staffer $AUD130,000 to compensate her for distress caused by sexual harassment from a colleague. The case of plaintiff Rebecca Richardson came to our attention in February 2013, when Oracle was ordered to pay her $AUD18,000 in damages after a colleague harassed her at least …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014

Rackspace chases the channel with hands-on 'managed cloud'

Rackspace has decided that cloud users want more than self-service and has launched a “managed” cloud service that will see it feed and groom its customers' cloudy servers. The company's post about the new service says “We’re targeting businesses and developers who want to tap the power of the cloud without the pain of running …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
A man who has fallen asleep at an IDF booth

Run Oracle? Want to sleep tonight? Then sort these 113 patches

Oracle has emitted its quarterly Critical Patch Update, this time offering a mere 113 patches sysadmins and security folks should get busy implementing. This time around there's 29 fixes for Oracle Fusion Middleware, 20 for Java SE, ten in MySQL Server, seven in Hyperion products and five apiece for Oracle database and E- …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code review 'could lead to hacking'

Australia's special minister of state has weighed in on solicitor Michael Cordover's freedom of information request to peruse the source code of the application used to count votes in Australian Senate elections with a bizarre suggestion that granting such a request could “leave the voting system open to hacking or manipulation …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Empty phone battery

Phone charging log helps to convict murderer

An Australian man has been convicted of murder after mobile phone metadata describing when the device was connected to a charger was tabled as evidence. Alison Baden-Clay disappeared from her Brisbane home on April 19th, 2012. Her body was found in a nearby creek 11 days later. Her husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, claimed he was …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2014
Homer Simpson confronts rigged voting machine

Interview: Michael Cordover, voteware freedom-of-information crusader

A barrister has offered pro bono assistance to Michael Cordover, the Hobart Solicitor seeking the source code to the EasyCount software used by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to count votes in the nation's senate elections. Cordover first sought the source code last year because, as he told The Register, “I have …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Apple iPad and iPad 3g

Child diagnosed as allergic to iPad

A report in the American Journal of Pediatrics suggests that the presence of Nickel in Apple's first-generation iPad may have exacerbated an eleven-year-old child's dermatitis. iPad—Increasing Nickel Exposure in Children tells the story of an un-named child who suffered persistent and severe rashes. The report's authors, …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
New Horizons blasts off. Photo: NASA

Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!

NASA's New Horizons mission will arrive at Pluto 364 days from … now! Launched in January 2006, the craft passed Jupiter back in 2007. It hasn't had much to do since, as while it has passed the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune the planets weren't there at the time. NASA's not worried about that, because New Horizons' …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Great Wall of China

VMware launches vCHS in Japan and reveals China Telecom partnership

As El Reg predicted last week, VMware will offer its cloud hybrid service (vCHS) in Japan, and has also revealed a plan to launch the service in China. In Japan, SoftBank will deliver the service from a single Tokyo data centre. A private beta of the service started today and Sanjay Mirchandani, VMware's senior veep and GM for …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
SoftLayer's data center

IBM to drop SoftLayer pod in Melbourne

IBM will bring a "pod" of its SoftLayer infrastructure-as-a-service offering to Melbourne. Big Blue revealed the new bit barn in a "momentum statement" outlining just how well SoftLayer is going. That announcement is as self-congratulatory as you would expect, claiming that "100 strategic outsourcing clients who are among the …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2014
Airbus A330 Neo

Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330

Airbus has promised that its next plane, the A330 Neo, will bring 3D movies into the sky. Announced today, the A330 Neo is an upgrade for the twin-aisle, 250-300 seat A330. Airbus says the new model will come in two sizes and add about ten seats to current configurations, while reducing fuel consumption by 14 per cent per seat. …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014

Microsoft's Lumia 930... a real HANDFUL

Microkia's new Lumia 930 is quite a handful – in the best way possible. Let's start with the phone's dimensions. At 9.8mm deep it's rather chunkier than the 8.1mm Galaxy S5 and 7.6mm iPhone 5s. And that's a good thing: in my paws the Apple and Samsung phones sometimes feel a little too thin for casual handling. The 930 feels …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014
Raspberry Pi b+

NEW Raspberry Pi B+, NOW with - count them - FOUR USB ports

A new Raspberry Pi model has emerged, rectifying one of the most common gripes directed at its predecessors: it now comes complete with four USB 2.0 ports. The Raspberry Pi B+ was announced this morning, but had already gone on sale a few hours earlier in Australia. The machine was also the subject of a frenzied weekend of …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014

We SO DO support Java on XP, maybe even JDK 8, says Oracle

Oracle has issued a statement saying that it absolutely does support Java on Windows XP and may even decide to support JDK 8 on the orphan OS. Oracle's post on the issue says "We expect all versions of Java that were supported prior to the Microsoft de-support announcement to continue to work on Windows XP for the foreseeable …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014
flag.France

Amazon France routes around free shipping ban with €0.01 charge

Amazon France has come up with a neat way to neuter the nation's ban on free shipping of books. The book-slinger has published a Questions Fréquemment Posées to explain its stance. The workaround is simple: Amazon France has decided on a flat rate of €0.01 for shipping. While the decision to snub France's stance is cheeky, it' …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Jul 2014
Doctor Who: The First Adventure

New Doctor Who episode leaks online as proper trailer debuts

The mess at BBC Worldwide's Miami office that saw scripts for the new series of Doctor Who leak online has worsened, with a whole episode now doing the rounds of torrent sites. Radio Times reports that a “rough black and white edit” of the series' first episode, titled “Deep Breath”, escaped from the BBC's Miami office and …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2014
management cloud2

VMware hiring exec to launch Australian hybrid cloud

VMware's Australian outpost is hiring a Strategic Program Manager to launch its vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service (vCHS). The job ad for the role says the company wants a “Program Manager to launch strategic GTM partner initiatives for vCloud Hybrid Services.” “This position will plan and manage the vCHS partnership lifecycle with …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jul 2014
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip

Amazon.com has written to the USA's Federal Aviation Administration asking to be exempted from rules governing the operation of the “small unmanned aircraft systems” – which it hopes to use in its Prime Air delivery-by-drone service. The letter points out that “Current FAA rules allow hobbyists and manufacturers of model …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014
Acer's C720-3871 Core i3 Chromebook

Acer cranks Chromebooks with Core i3 models

Acer has announced the first Chromebooks powered by Intel's Core i3 processors. The new C720-3871 and C720-3404 will sell for $US349.99 and $US379.99 respectively. The extra $30 buys 4GB of RAM, rather than 2GB. Both machines feature a Core i3-4005U CPU at 1.7GHz, 32GB solid state disk, 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 display, Intel HD …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014
india

Indian government flings ONE HUNDRED BILLION rupees at startups

India's new and tech-savvy government has created a one hundred billion rupee startup fund. Even once converted into US dollars that's still $1.6 billion. And India doesn't see that as the end of the matter: as the budget speech (PDF) by finance minister Arun Jaitley makes plain, the new fund is intended to “act as a catalyst to …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014

World Meteorological Organization says climate data is uncool

The World Meteorological Organization's Commission for Climatology has called for governments to refresh their “climate normals” more often. Climate normals are thirty-year chunks of weather observations that are used as baselines for comparison with more recent events. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the data …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014

Global protest calls for canning SOPA-by-stealth treaty's IP bits

Fears about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have surfaced again, with a pair of open letters calling on negotiators to remove provisions applying to intellectual property. The TPP is a treaty being negotiated among Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014

Google's lounge room invasion advances with Chromecast upgrade

Google is making yet another attempt to get its content into televisions. The Chocolate Factory already offers Google TV, which is either baked into a TV or a set-top box and allows users to run Android apps, the Chrome browser and access content from the Play Store. There's also Android TV, which promises more or less the same …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014
The chinese characters for China as used in the new .中国  domain

China trawls top-secret US personnel lists – report

An attack suspected to have originated in China breached security at the US Office of Personnel Management, according to The New York Times. The paper's report suggests the attackers attempted to access personnel records describing government workers who have applied for high-level security clearances. Those records, the report …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014

Ham-fisted farmer fear: A peanut-butter-and-iPhone sandwich

Japanese farmers are claiming some shipments of grain from the USA include smartphones. The phones' presence isn't an Internet of Things play. Nor is it a new food craze. Instead, as reported by Japanese news outlet Mainichi, (through the Associated Press), it appears that US farmers are dropping their phones while they work in …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014
The Sydney Opera House during the Vivid Festival

AWS adds second Sydney direct connect site and puts Melbourne on CloudFront

Amazon Web Services has revealed it has flicked the switch on a new Sydney site for its direct connect service that allows users to build a direct network connection between their kit and The House of Bezos' cloud. The company previously offered only Equinix Sydney 3 as a direct connect node. It has now added Global Switch's SY6 …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jul 2014
cloud

Microsoft: Give us three MORE WEEKS, folks – our StorSimple Cloud is coming

Microsoft says data center admins will have to wait a mere three more weeks until they can buy hardware built for – and intimately linked with – its Azure public cloud. The software giant said on Wednesday that it had made a number of upgrades to its Azure cloud to help it compete with rivals Amazon and Google and make it easier …
Google Chrome logo

Chrome Remote Desktop adds Linux to supported OS list

Google has tweaked Chrome Remote Desktop to let it access Linux machines. Chrome Remote Desktop is a Chrome (the browser) extension that provides remote access to another desktop. Often suggested as a remote support tool, the technology is also a nice way to access a remote PC on which you left that file you really need to …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jul 2014
ABC iView with Doctor Who

WinPhone iView app flap: Microsoft to pull 'unauthorised' app... coded by STAFFER

A Microsoft employee has created an "unauthorised" Windows Mobile app to access a catch-up TV service in Australia. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is the country's largest public broadcaster and its official iview player app is only available on iOS and Android. The Windows Phone app, iview FTW!, is the creation …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jul 2014
Artist's concept of the Voyager spacecraft in space.

In space no one can hear you scream, but Voyager 1 can hear A ROAR

Hero space probe Voyager 1 has sent home what NASA is calling a “sound” from the cosmos. The venerable spacecraft – now 19,093,090,914km from Earth at the time of writing and moving further away at a rate of about 15km a second – recorded the “noise” in March. That was when a pressure wave caused by a coronal mass from the Sun …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jul 2014
Handshake

But WE want to rule the Internet of STUFF – Intel, Dell, Samsung & chums

Intel, Dell, Samsung and Broadcom – among others – have founded a yet another group, dubbed the “Open Interconnect Consortium”, to promote standards that help development of the Internet of Things. The new consortium says it “will seek to define a common communication framework based on industry standard technologies to …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jul 2014

It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod

Maneesh Sethi, a developer and blogger who rose to fame after hiring a woman to slap him whenever he wasted time on Facebook, has unveiled a wearable device designed to administer electric shocks to users. The “Pavlok”, as the device is named, “uses instantaneous triggers, like vibration, beeping, and even electric shock (up to …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jul 2014

Boffins urge European Commission to reboot electric brain project

More than four hundred scientists have signed an open letter asking the European Commission to rethink the Human Brain Project (HBP), a €1.19b attempt to build a computer capable of simulating the human brain. The HBP has been pitched as beneficial for neuroscience and computer science. The former discipline gets a whole new …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jul 2014
Virtualisation for Beginners

Docker, schmocker: HUAWEI is the new virtualisation challenger

Huawei has been added to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure. The Chinese vendor is the only new entity mentioned in this year's document, and the analyst firm rates its “FusionSphere” hypervisor “An up-and-coming product in emerging markets”. The Chinese company can point to “hundreds of …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jul 2014

Russian law will force citizens' personal data to be stored locally

Russia has amended legislation on data retention to force social networks to store data about its citizens on home soil. Bill number 553424-6 , which translation engines tell us is titled “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation (to clarify the processing of personal data in information and …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jul 2014

Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

The European Banking Authority, which has previously warned consumers that they're unprotected if they get themselves into the crypto-currency game, has followed up with a don't-touch warning to banks. In this announcement, issued on Friday July 4, the EBA says it's identified “more than 70 risks” that apply to users, banks, …
Mobile phone stolen by pickpocket

USA to insist on pre-flight mobe power probe

The USA's Transport Security Administration (TSA) has announced new, “enhanced security measures” that will require mobile phones to be charged before taken aboard international flights to the nation. The new requirement is simple. As explained here, the new arrangements will mean that “During the security examination, officers …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jul 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Voteware source code requester labelled 'vexatious'

Australia's Electoral Commission (AEC) has again denied a request to reveal the source code of the software used to count votes in Senate elections, and pointed out the the man seeking it that he may be a vexatious applicant abusing the freedom of information process. Hobart Lawyer Michael Cordover first tried to view the source …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014

Dimension Data cloud goes TITSUP down under... after EMC storage fail

Dimension Data's Australian cloud has been down for over 24 hours after EMC kit failed. The outage is detailed on this status page recording problems with the company's “AU 1” region dating back to the morning of July 2nd. Dimension Data company says the service has since come back in “a degraded state” and that “Services are …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014
The chinese characters for China as used in the new .中国  domain

China blocks Flickr and OneDrive

China appears to have tweaked the Great Firewall to block Yahoo!'s Flickr photo-sharing service and Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage offering. The timing of the blocks, reported by transparency monitoring outfit GreatFire.org, looks convenient inasmuch as Hong Kong this week saw substantial pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014
Grumpy cat

What do we want? CAT VIDEOS! How do we get them? TOR!

The Onion Router project has fired back at the National Security Agency, after it emerged that those who use the network – and read Linux magazines – are considered worthy of surveillance. Tor's blogged riposte points out that “Just learning that somebody visited the Tor or Tails website doesn't tell you whether that person is a …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014

Google spares founders from TERMINATORS, but not Eric Schmidt

A chap named yueq over at Y Combinator has spotted evidence that Google has decided founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin need protection from Terminators. Proof comes in the form of Google's killer-robots.txt page, which reads as follows: User-Agent: T-1000 User-Agent: T-800 Disallow: /+LarryPage Disallow: /+SergeyBrin In case …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014

Japan makes Prius palatable with road map to hydrogen cars

Japan has outlined a 25-year roadmap to get hydrogen-powered cars onto its roads, hydrogen-powered machinery into its factories and fuel cells into millions of homes. The nation's Ministry, for Economy Trade and Industry, recently outlined the plan, which has three phases. In the first, the nation aims to commercialise a …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014
Oracle Sparc T4 chip

Oracle targets Windows workloads with virtualisation manager update

Oracle VM has received an upgrade that makes the free tool better at managing Windows virtual machines and handling SPARC workloads. Oracle's VM Server for x86 is free, but Big O isn't exactly throwing the kitchen sink at the product as evidenced by the fact it this week it released version 3.3, more than two years after January …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014