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Feral camel

Driver drama delays deep desert XP upgrade

“EJ”* is a God-fearing man. I know this because, at a tricky point in my attempt to upgrade some Windows XP computers, he asked me to write a letter explaining the Lord could vouch for his words. The letter-writing exercise was welcome because, at the time, I was tearing my hair out. The first step in my attempt to upgrade the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Apr 2014
Red Back Spider

El Reg's Deep Outback XP upgrade almost foiled by KILLER ARACHNIDS

Australia's Northern territory, where The Reg is this week doing a Windows XP upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre in the remote community of Willowra, is huge and empty. Let's give that statement some dimensions. The United Kingdom covers 243,610 km2 and is home to 63.23 million people. Texas covers 696,241 km2 and …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2014
The 10.1 inch Galaxy Tab4

Samsung unveils fourth-generation Galaxy Tabs

Samsung has announced this year's Galaxy Tab range and as has become the case in the world of fondleslabs, not much has changed. At some point in 2014's second quarter Samsung will emit a 10.1 inch, 8 inch and 7 inch tablets, all under the “Galaxy Tab4” moniker. All will be a little thinner and lighter, offer 1280x800 …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2014

Selfies are OVER: Welcome to the age of 'Sleeveface'

When "selfie" made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, and was then anointed word of the year, it was clear that selfies themselves were kind of a big deal in 2013. As a forward-looking organisation, The Reg is always looking for the next trivial big thing and is willing to tip that 2014 will see the rise, rise, and crass …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014

Mozilla DENIES reported claims of board rift over new chief Eich

The Mozilla Foundation has denied that the departure of three members of its board is a vote of protest regarding the controversial appointment of Brendan Eich as CEO. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that folks familiar with the matter say three directors - John Lilly, Ellen Siminoff and Gary Kovacs - bailed …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014
Julian Assange, photo by Espen Moe

Assange not running in new Australian election

Julian Assange will not, as previously indicated, run for Australia Senate again. The part-time Ecuadorian ran as a candidate for The Wikileaks Party at Australia's general election last year, hoping to win a Senate seat in the State of Victoria. Doing so probably would not have allowed him safe passage from Ecuador’s London …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014

New IPCC report: 8 ways climate change will throw world INTO PERIL

Debate about climate change is about to, er, heat up, after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) delivered its fifth assessment report, snappily known as WGII AR5. The summary for policymakers [PDF] and full report are online for your reading pleasure. The IPCC says both were compiled using “a substantially …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Mar 2014
VMware logo

VMware reveals more VSAN nodes

VMware launched its virtual storage area network (VSAN) back on March 6th and promised hardware partners would reveal their “VSAN Ready Nodes” within 30 days. At the time, Virtzilla announced Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM and Supermicro would all be on its list of approved suppliers. Almost four weeks later and only Dell, Fujitsu …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Mar 2014
Percentage of responses to government requests for Google data

Google 'Transparency Report' shows rise in government groping

Google has released the latest update to its data detailing how often it is asked by law enforcement agencies around the world to cough up data about its users, and says company's “we’re … seeing more and more governments start to exercise their authority to make requests.” That quote comes from an post by Richard Salgado, the …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
Photo of boxes of Microsoft Office for Mac

Microsoft Australia blows own deadline for online Office 365 sales

Microsoft has written to its Australian customers to apologise in advance for failing to meet a self-imposed deadline for the opening of a portal that would let them sell Office 365. The missed deadline was revealed by Steven Miller, Microsoft Australia's Office division lead, in a Thursday post. “Earlier this year, we …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
Microsoft Excel for iPad

Microsoft's ALREADY telling of bugs in Fondle-Office for iPad

Microsoft has pointed out that the newly released Office for iPad won't immediately work for users of its SharePoint 2010 collaboration suite. As explained in two blog posts, one covering Excel documents and the other addressing PowerPoint files, the problem is that SharePoint 2010 “requires a plugin or active X to launch client …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014

Australian National University CIO Peter Nikoletatos departs

Australian National University (ANU) chief information officer Peter Nikoletatos left his post yesterday. In response to inquiries from The Reg, ANU's media team offered the following: "The University can confirm that Peter left the ANU, by mutual agreement, yesterday. The University won’t be making any further comment." …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
The Opal-card-ready 'flip' cover for Samsung's Galaxy S3

NSW government gets into the smartphone case business

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reports that the right-leaning government in the Australian state of New South Wales has decided to outsource lots of public service jobs because it believes there's a limit to what governments should do. Why, then, is the same government entering the business of selling mobile phone cases? The …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
The Samsung Galaxy S5 in 'copper'

Samsung Galaxy S5 in El Reg's claws: This time the 'S' is for 'sensible'

When Samsung launched the Galaxy S4, its features made little sense. That the handset could respond to your fingertips gesturing a mere millimetre or two above its screen surface was cute, but hardly a game-changer. Ditto the phone's ability to track your eyeballs in order to scroll pages. All that fuss about fitness was also …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Mar 2014
Amazon Web Services Workspaces

AWS unleashes its DaaS 'Workspaces' plus share 'n' sync companion

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced that its desktop-as-a-service offering, “Workspaces” is now live and ready for general consumption. AWS has operated Workspaces as a “Limited Preview” since revealing it in November 2013. Today it's thrown open the gates and also revealed four tiers of pricing. $US35 a month gets you a “ …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Mar 2014

Why it's time to wrap brains around software-defined networking

Software-defined networking has generated lots of noise in recent months, thanks in no small part to the fact that VMware and Cisco don't know whether it's okay to send one another Christmas cards any more. That pair, and plenty of others, are talking up software-defined networking (SDN) as a must-have technology for anyone so …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2014

Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

Windows 8 includes a feature called “push-button reset” that restores a computer to a previous known good state, or performs a factory reset. Nothing out of the ordinary there: System Restore, as it was known in older versions of Windows, could perform those tricks. But performing System Restore did not render a PC incapable of …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2014
Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier sneers at IBM's NSA denials

Ten days ago IBM issued ”A Letter to Our Clients About Government Access to Data” that, as we reported, swore on all that is good and holy that it did not hand over data to the NSA and would never do such a thing. But the letter did not satisfy security commentator Bruce Schneier who's penned an open letter of his own to Big …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

The Reg's desert XP-ocalypse aversion plan revealed

Next week, The Reg heads into Australia's red centre to perform a Windows XP to Windows 7 upgrade at the Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre, a facility in the tiny central Australian town of Willowra. The Learning Centre offers the first publicly accessible internet-connected PCs in the 300-strong town. Willowra is a two-hour drive …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
Windows XP boot screen

Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Microsoft seems to have realised what most everyone figured out years ago: come April 9 there will still be millions upon millions of computers running Windows XP and therefore open to all sorts of potential attacks. Redmond's recognition of the problem appears in a new ”Cyber threats to Windows XP and guidance for Small …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
Photo of Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro, with Touch Cover

Microsoft Australia slashes price of Surface Pro 128GB by $AUD400

Walk into JB HiFi, Australia's most prominent purveyor of consumer electronics, and slap down $AUD597. You'll walk out with this HP 15-d004au and its 15.6-in screen, quad-core AMD A6-5200 running at 2 GHz and packing a Radeon HD 8400 graphics card, 2GB of RAM and a 500GB disk. Take just two dollars more to Microsoft Australia's …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014

Ray-Ban to produce Google Glass data-goggs: Cool - or Tool?

Luxottica, the holding company for pricey eyeware brands Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol and even Burberry, has inked a deal that will see it design stylish versions of Google's “glass” tech specs. The eyewear company's canned statement says it will work with Google“ on the creation of innovative iconic wearable devices”. To do so the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
A cow

Bulls hit city streets after alleged Samsung ad shoot hits the fan

The hipster-infused suburb of Newtown in the Australian city of Sydney was today treated to the sight of two water buffalos walking down its main street, reportedly thanks to a SNAFU at a shoot for a Samsung advertisement. News of the bovine visitation broke in the tweet below and the strolling beasts quickly became a talkback …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Mar 2014
Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia gobble: Microsoft can't get free of red-tape bondage 'til April

Here's an eyebrow-raiser: Microsoft's general counsel and executive veep for legal and corporate affairs Brad Smith has roused himself late on Sunday evening to blog about the company's acquisition of Nokia. In a statement posted at 11:10 PM on Sunday night, Smith said "we expect to close next month, in April 2014." Why did …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
Apple TV

SECRET Apple-Comcast CONFAB BLAB: Movies streamed to TV? – report

Apple is reportedly in discussions that would see it create “... a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web,” according to The Wall Street Journal. The report says discussions are “still in early stages and many …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Brace for extra patches, Oracle tells Australian users

Oracle has warned its Australian customers to brace for extra patches. Before you imagine some exclusively antipodean security SNAFU is behind the bulletin advising Australian users of their fate, consider that the nation offers software-makers one federal and eight State and Territory jurisdictions. Each of those nine …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014

Boffins working on debris float models to track MH370 wreckage

Scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have lent their talents to the search for missing airliner MH370, by developing models to predict where wreckage may have drifted. Objects held to be “credible” candidates for pieces of the plane were spotted by satellite on March …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Mar 2014
A fake tattoo on the leg of Canberra Raiders footballer Sandor Earl, sent by Huawei as an April Fool

US saves self from Huawei spying by spying on Huawei spying

Maybe this is why the US government is so certain Huawei is bad news: Snowdenistas at The New York Times and Der Spiegel have reported another communiqué from their source-in-exile – this time to the effect that the United States National Security Agency penetrated Chinese networking equipment vendor Huawei and monitored its …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Mar 2014
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 9M-MRO

5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

That the US and other nations operate spy satellites capable of taking very detailed photographs of Earth is not in doubt. But the idea that those satellites have been pressed into service to find downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, and that it is therefore possible to infer some of the satellites' capabilities, is very …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014

MtGox finds 200,000 Bitcoin in old wallets

Failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox has revealed a further, but fortuitous failure. In a newly-released (PDF) statement, the outfit says it “... had certain old format wallets which were used in the past and which, MtGox thought, no longer held any bitcoins.” Once it prised open one of those wallets it was found to hold 200,000 …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
snowden SXSW

NSA 'hunted sysadmins' to find CAT PHOTOS, high-level passwords

Staff at the United States' National Security Agency reportedly “hunted” system administrators because they felt doing so would yield passwords that enabled easier surveillance. So says The Intercept, which claims this document came its way thanks to one E. Snowden, late of Moscow. The document is apparently a lift from an …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
Turnbull with Switkowski in Blacktown

Telstra, not Turnbull, at fault in Twitfight

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull stands accused of telling small business owner Julia Keady to move to another home if she wants better broadband, but that interpretation of the exchange between Turnbull and Keady is not correct and ignores the golden rule of any transaction: buyer beware. Here's the pair of …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
Facebook Like Stamp

Facebook hacks out PHP alternative

The big “HACK” signs reputed to adorn the walls of Facebook offices aren't just a command from His Royal Zuckness: The Social Network also uses a programming language called “Hack” and has just given it to the world. Facebook describes Hack as “a programming language we developed for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP” …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
Old Hotmail

Microsoft alters Hotmail policy amid blogger inbox probe outcry

Microsoft has moved to address concerns caused by news it rummaged through a blogger's Hotmail inbox as part of an investigation into an employee's conduct. As we've reported, even though this is a tremendous PR cock-up, Microsoft was well within its rights to dive into a blogging hack's private Hotmail account to root out an …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014
iiNet Logo

iiNet CEO Michael Malone resigns

Michael Malone has resigned his position as chief executive officer of Australia's third-most-subscribed-to internet service provider iiNet. Malone's story is Australia's very own technology fairy tale: he founded the company in his parents' garage in 1993 and led the company to its current position as a listed entity with over …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
Li'l Devil on skis

Intel reinvents the PC as giant 'Black Brook' fondleslab

Intel has shown off its vision for the next generation of PCs, in the form of “Black Brook”, a reference design for a “desktop all-in-one” computer. The new class of device is a PC built into a touch-screen that appears to be up to about 20 inches on its diagonal dimension, packs a battery and nestles into a docking station. …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014

Monkey steals iPod touch, loses interest in minutes

Whatever Apple's up to with its strongly-hinted-at new products, investors will be hoping it's not aiming at the simian market after a monkey reportedly lost interest in an iPod touch after just a few minutes. The iPod Touch in question was dropped by ten year-old Stormi-Lee Whitford during a visit to Auckland Zoo, according to …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
The zone where Australian planes are searching for MH370 debris

Planes fail to find 'credible' candidate for flight MH370 wreckage

Australia has sent planes to the Southern Ocean, some 2,500km south-west of Perth, after analysis of what's been described as “commercial satellite imagery” revealed large objects suspected to be debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The search area, depicted below in a map released by the Australian Maritime …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
closed_sign shut down under collapsed liquidation

Ad-funded mobile carrier goes titsup

OVIVO, a mobile virtual network operator that did not charge for calls, SMS or data, has suddenly closed its doors. The carrier has pulled down almost all of its site, save for a home page stating “We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014
Smile_scan_02

Google, Microsoft tackle climate change as IBM seeks cancer cure

Three of the technology industry's largest companies today harnessed their resources to some Big Problems. Google and Microsoft have both signed up to US president Barack Obama's new Climate Data Initiative, an effort aimed at “bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the …
VMware VSAN Concept

VMware happy for VSANs to work alongside actual SANs

When VMware launched its virtual storage area network (VSAN) a couple of weeks back, other software-defined storage players suddenly wanted to get in touch with El Reg to share their feelpinions on the topic. One such, Atlantis, was keen to let us know that its ILIO virtual-machine-acceleration kit could help out VSAN users by …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Mar 2014

Turnbull to add speed test app to MyBroadband web site

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today delivered a speech at The Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA's) Navigating Analytics Summit. Your correspondent tuned in to the live stream, but was confronted by extreme jitter: video often cut out for seconds at a time, usually after just a few seconds …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014
The Warlipiri Education and Training Trust

Help a hack: What's in your ultimate Windows XP migration toolkit?

Keen Reg readers may remember that last year we visited the remote Aboriginal community of Willowra and its new Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre. We went because we wanted to know how technology makes an impact in a remote community. What we found was a wonderful facility with enormous potential to help locals, but it was …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014
The USB 3.1 Logo

USB cuts the cord, again, with WiGig-derived wireless spec

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Implementors Forum has announced that development is under way on a new “Media Agnostic (MA) USB specification. MA-USB removes the need for USB devices to connect by wire. Instead, they'll use WiGi, WiFi or maybe even UWB to swap data with whatever other systems they connect to. The choice of WiGig …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014
Sony's Morpheus virtual reality headset

Virtual reality? Two can play THAT GAME, says Sony: New headset revealed for the PS4

Sony has revealed Project Morpheus, its virtual-reality headset for the PlayStation 4. Project Morpheus was announced in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference, and will offer a five-inch screen and resolution of 1920x1080 for each eye. Details are scanty for now, with Sony declining to offer dates when the device …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014

Surf's up near Saturn as boffins spot waves on Titan

“At Huntington and Malibu,” the Beach Boys wrote in their classic Surfin' Safari, “They're shooting the pier,” while “At Rincon they're walking the nose.” And out Saturn way, it now transpires, it may be possible to suit up and hang five on a methane break, because boffins believe they've found waves on the moon Titan. The …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Mar 2014
Photo of Apple iPhone 5C in a range of colors

8GB iPhone 5c is real, but no market-maker

Apple's stroll towards the bottom of smartphone market has seen it officially, if quietly, release an iPhone 5c with a mere eight gigabytes of storage. The new model appeared on Apple's Australian online store today priced at $AUD679. The 16GB and 32GB models are $739 and $869 respectively. It has long been assumed that the 5c …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
Hadoop Elephant

Chinese boffins ginger up Hadoop with OpenFlow funnel

Few doubt that the premise of software-defined-networking (SDN) is a good one: organisations that run a lot of virtual machines and virtual networks can benefit from the flexibility and automation SDN provides. Critics, however, point out that SDN in its current form might not have particularly broad applicability: there just …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella's first act may be to launch Office for iPad

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is reportedly about to reveal Office for the iPad. Invitations to an event at which Nadella will appear on March 27th have started to land on reporters' desks around the USA, and favoured outlets like the WSJ-refugee-founded Re|Code and Reuters appear to be receiving pre-event whispers to the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
An Amazon Prime Air drone

Think drone delivery is hot air? A BREWERY just proved you wrong

When Amazon.com last year floated the idea it might one day deliver goods by drone, plenty of folks thought the launch was really just hot air. But Minnesota brewery Lakemaid has just proved that Jeff Bezos is indeed a visionary of the highest order by proving the idea with the aerial despatch of twelve bottles of its Frosty …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014