Simon Sharwood

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
eyeofSauron

UK says comms metadata can kill personal privacy

The UK's inquiry into whether it conducts mass surveillance and the legality of such an effort has recommended tighter controls on access to communications metadata. The inquiry, which as we've reported finds that mass surveillance capabilities exist in the UK, but are used appropriately. The inquiry also rejects use of the …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015
NBN Co logo

NBN Co to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 from 2017

NBN Co, the company building Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has announced that from 2017 it will offer DOCSIS 3.1 over the hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) networks it acquired from Telstra and Optus. The announcement is surprising because just two-and-a-half weeks ago, on February 23rd, NBN Co spoke of designing its …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015
Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Melbourne F1 Grand Prix 2015

Dream job: Sysadmin/F1 pit crew member with Red Bull racing

Another day down the salt mines getting you down? Your correspondent's been lucky enough to get out and about today to the first day of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, where I learned about what might just be the Best IT Job Ever: sysadmin and rear jack operator for the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team's (IRBRT) Formula 1 team …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015

VCE scales up, up and out of exclusive deal with Cisco

VCE, the EMC Federation's converged infrastructure company, in which Cisco is now a silent partner, has revealed new scale-out products and the first dilution of its “Cisco-will-always-provide-networking” plan. The scale-out products are also something of a departure for VCE, which has previously sold converged rigs that weren't …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2015

SoftLayer doubles its bit barns in large, climatically-extreme, resource-rich nations

What is it with IBM and large Commonwealth countries with extreme climates and a big mining industry? Big Blue's SoftLayer cloud outfit has decided two such nations – Australia and Canada – both deserve their second bit barns. The Reg has a few more regulars under the maple leaf than the southern cross, so let's go north of the …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
School of six finger threadfin fish

MOOCROSOFT tosses seven proper tech courses online at edX

Microsoft has clambered further aboard the massive online open courseware (MOOC) bandwagon by announcing seven software development courses to be hosted on the MIT-and-Harvard-governed edX education platform. Microsoft's been an edX partner for a while, but to date hasn't done much of the university-grade vocational courses …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
Philae GIF

Rosetta probe to try contact with Philae lander on Thursday

The European Space Agency (ESA) says its comet-circling Rosettta probe will try to make contact with the Philae lander starting Thursday. In case you've come in late, this story starts in 2004 when the ESA sent a craft called Rosetta in the direction of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta's payload included Philae, a lander …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
virtualisation_illustration2

Unidesk jumps into Hyper-V VDI

Unidesk is a company that's well-regarded in desktop virtualisation (VDI) circles because its layering and one-virtual-disk-for-many-guest-desktops technologies do some nice things like allowing one golden master of a virtual desktop and then delivering custom combinations of apps to individual users. That's a handy trick …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
Telstra phone booth by Ed Dunens from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/blachswan/

Telstra operates at least four clouds, says you use too many clouds

The Reg ignores the bulk of corporate “research” because it's nearly always an attempt to make a business look credible rather than a sincere effort at discovering something new. But we're making an exception in the case of new Telstra Global Services research titled “Customer-centric cloud: Hype or Hybrid?” and available here …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2015
Microsoft Bob

HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Tuesday, 10 March 2015, is a day of infamy, for on that day in 1995 Microsoft gave the world Bob, the “social interface” for Windows 3.x and 95. In 1995 PCs were nowhere as ubiquitous as they are today, not least because they weren't very easy to use. Microsoft knew that Windows 3.x wasn't welcoming the rising numbers of first- …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
TOR Logo

UK Gov SciTech advice bureau suggests keeping Tor alive to reduce street crime

The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has issued a POSTnote titled “The darknet and online anonymity” in which it assesses the threats posed by anonymity technologies like Tor and concludes there's not much governments or law enforcement agencies can do about them. The bulk of the four-page document …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Big Blue promises Big Bucks from Big Bets

IBM chief executive officer Virginia M. Rometty has released her annual Chairman's Letter and has told investors that IBM “knew we faced a critical year of transformation” in 2014 but has “made significant progress and built momentum” to get itself out of a nasty slump that has seen sales decline for eleven consecutive quarters …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
Android 5.0 "Lollipop"

Tastier Lollipops for chosen few as Google releases Android 5.1

Android 5.1 is upon us! Google has announced the updated operating system's release in the usual bloggy way. There's not an awful lot to get excited about in this release, which adds multiple SIM support, high-definition voice and less-labyrinthine menus for accessing functions like connecting to WiFi networks. The headline …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
Bill & Ted

Linux kernel devs adopt Bill and Ted's excellent code of conduct

The Linux kernel development community and its leader Linus Torvalds are both famously feisty: strong words are often exchanged on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, while Linux Lord Linus Torvalds is seldom shy of speaking his mind. Of late, however, Torvalds has copped some criticism for being a little too strident, perhaps …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
Red rocket toy

CoreOS goes native on vSphere and vCloud Air

VMware has announced that CoreOS is now supported natively under vSphere 5.5. What's that you say? A minor Linux distro being supported on an old version of vSphere isn't a huge deal. Stick with us here, because CoreOS last year announced Rocket, a containerisation play that very deliberately offers an alternative to Docker. …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
Salesforce's Analytics Cloud on Apple Watch

Salesforce straps sales analytics to Apple Watch

Never one to miss out on a bandwagon, Salesforce is trying to point out that the Apple Watch is not just a fanboi fashion accessory but is also a cloud-powered analytics and deal-closing wristputer for the modern entrepreneur. The cloudy CRM concern has let it be known that it will soon emit “Salesforce for Apple Watch, designed …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2015
Intel headquarters, Santa Clara

Intel SoCs it to 'em with new D: Tiny but powerful

After some teasing late last year, Intel has taken the full wraps off the Xeon D: a system-on-chip (SoC) version of its data-centre darling that it hopes will excite hyperscale operators and those keen on very dense server rigs. The Xeon D will come in four and eight CPU core models, D-1520 and D-1540. Each will run two threads …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015

Google promises proper patch preparation after new cloud outage

Google Compute Engine (GCE) users experienced a brownout over the weekend, after an incident that bears plenty of likeness to a worse outage that took down the service in February. The February FAIL came about when “The internal software system which programs GCE’s virtual network for VM egress traffic stopped issuing updated …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015
Uber logo

Uber XXXs itself out of South Korea

Taxi-disruptor Uber has earned the ire of incumbents around the world by starting up its uberX service without regard for local laws, but the company has now backed down in South Korea and suspended the service while it tries to reach a detente with local cabbies. In a blog post released last Thursday, the company said “ …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015
Optus Logo

Optus to close its Zoo and shutter Optus Now app

Australian mobile carrier Optus has announced it will close its Zoo website, mobile site and Optus Now app, and replace them with “ an alternative content store to be available from 27 March”. Zoo offers a news portal of sorts, plus webmail and paid music, games and e-book downloads. The Optus Now app crammed that content into …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015
Europa rebooted

Boffins probe mystery of ANTARCTIC BLOOD GLACIER

Scientists have retrieved samples thought to be the cause of a red stain on Taylor Glacier, a 54km-long tongue in Antarctica. The stain has earned the name Blood Falls and is thought to be the result of iron-rich material trapped in a sub-glacial lake. Scientists have analysed Blood Falls' water in the past, and found microbes …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015
Glorious future of China

China reveals 'Internet Plus' plan to modernise and go cloudy

China's premier Li Keqiang has introduced a new “Internet Plus” policy for China that will see the nation focus on domestic technology adoption in order to boost domestic growth while also giving Chinese technology firms a chance do do better overseas. Li Keqiang heads China's State Council, a body whose membership includes the …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2015
Sunset over the Texan desert. Photo by ArchBob, licensed under cc0 public domain

A Brit in California moves to the Lone Star State – just swerve the TexMex grub

The eXpat Files This week's expat is Derek Bergin, a self-described “Scots/Yorkshire hybrid” whose last UK residence was Milton Keynes. After the dot-bomb, he moved to California, but he has recently moved again to Texas. That makes him just about a double-expat in our eyes. Or are we overestimating the differences between Texas and California …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Mar 2015

Tired of IoT hype? Internet of SLUGS and SPIDERS is the reality

Internet of Things (IoT) boosters have great stories to tell about “scavenger-class” sensors that use solar panels, tiny turbines or even stray energy gleaned from passing radio waves. Amid all that excitement we don't hear much about the fact that sensors in odd places will have other things to contend with, like slugs sliming …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2015
Quooker Fusion

Microsoft comes right out and says backup software is dead

Microsoft's been making lots of noise lately about its send-your-snapshots-to-the-cloud service Azure Site Recovery. But now it's come right out and said it: Redmond reckons backup software deserves to die. “If cloud storage had existed decades ago, it’s unlikely that the industry would have developed the backup processes that …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2015

Australia's digital technologies curriculum parked AGAIN

Australia's proposed digital technologies curriculum, which would see kids taught computational thinking for the first ten years of their schooling, has been parked again. The curriculum's development was spurred by industry concerns that Australia's not producing enough skilled technologists to meet employer demand or foster …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2015
Telstra phone booth by Ed Dunens from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/blachswan/

Telstra to let customers access their own metadata for AU$25

Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra, will give its customers the chance to access their metadata, for a fee. The new policy, explained in a post from chief risk officer Kate Hughes, is based on the principle that “offering the same access to a customer’s own metadata as we are required to offer to law enforcement agencies.” “ …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2015

Turnbull says no need to future-proof NBN

Those who feel Australia should invest in a future-proof National Broadband Network (NBN), and that a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network offers the best long-term investment, have new reason to take umbrage with the nation's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull after he yesterday said a quick-and-cheap approach is the best …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2015
Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll

IBM's secret growth plan is … Karaoke?

IBM might be planning a karaoke-led-resurgence, if a new patent application titled “Enhancing karaoke systems utilizing audience sentiment feedback and audio watermarking” is any guide. If IBM had a theme song it would probably be “I guess that's why they call it the blues”, as the company is beset by problems: the cloud …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2015
Digital Globe's 30cm satellite imagery vs. 70cm snaps

Bigfoot now visible in commercial satellite images

Last March the USA noticed a market disparity: French companies could sell higher-resolution satellite images than American companies. By June of the same year bans on US companies selling sharper space snaps were lifted. And last week the US company agitating for that change, DigitalGlobe, started to sell 30cm-resolution snaps …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
rockstar games bully/canis canem edit

Australia's social media censorship law – for the children - all-but passes

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014 has passed Australia's Senate, meaning the nation now has a regime for compelling social networks to remove material deemed to represent bullying of children. The Bill defines bullying material as “… intended to have an effect on a particular Australian child ... likely to have …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Picture by Afonso Lima

CONFIRMED: Tiny Windows Server is on the way

Microsoft's plans to decompose Windows Server into a far lighter and leaner beast are real. On Monday we reported on the emergence of a Microsoft slide deck outlining a “Nano” version of Windows Server aimed at the cloud. Microsoft's now pointed to an earlier statement about just what it plans. The pointer came in a Tweet from …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Curiosity's robotic arm probes first rock

Curiosity rover RENDERED ARMLESS by short circuit

Humanity's Mars-resident nuclear-powered, laser-packing space tank Curiosity has a broken arm. NASA boffins said the problem emerged on 27 February when "the rover was conducting an early step in the transfer of rock powder collected by the drill on the arm to laboratory instruments inside the rover." During that operation " …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2015
Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger

Here's what keeps VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger awake at night

VMware has released its Form 10-K, the annual report in which entities listed in the USA are required to offer a warts-and-all account of all the things that could possibly go wrong. 10-Ks are famously detailed and follow a rigid format, so VMware's includes the “mine safety disclosures” required of all such documents (the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
Citrix X1 mouse

Citrix reveals next-gen Receiver and StoreFront, then buries them

Citrix has revealed, and then hidden, previews of a new version of its Receiver and Store Front applications. Receiver is the client software used to consume apps given the Xen Desktop or Xen App treatment. StoreFront is the app store into which one can place apps so that users can select which ones they'd like to access with …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
DSS 35 deep space telescope

NASA upgrades Rosetta, Voyager and moon landing tracker

NASA has upgraded the Australian facility housing antennae that captured signals from the first Moon landing and still helps to track the Voyager missions. The Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station already houses Deep Space Stations (DSS) 34, 43, 45 and DSS 46. The latter is a 26 metre antenna that received the first video of …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2015
Malcolm Turnbull

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office already missing deadlines

On January 23rd, Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a Digital Transformation Office (DTO) modelled on the UK's Government Digital Service (GDS) and charged with taking government services online. As we noted at the time the office had no budget and no plan, but …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Netflix House of Cards remake

March 24th: The day most Australian download allowances become inadequate

Netflix has named the day on which its Australian (and New Zealand) service will commence: March 24th, 2015. Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense, plus Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box, will all be able to access the service. Netflix's home-brand shows will be offered locally, along with …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Tangle of cables attached to a telegraph pole

VMware makes NFV telco play by snuggling up to OpenStack

MWC 2015 VMware has clambered aboard the network function virtualisation (NFV) bandwagon with “vCloud for NFV” - and has announced that Vodafone has been in production with the software for a while. NFV is presented as a key technology for telcos as they become less tolerant of services tied to particular pieces of tin and the attendant …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Hitachi mining shovel and rigid dumptruck

HDS makes its move beyond storage with telco data analyser

MWC 2015 Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has taken big step away from storage by releasing a realtime telco traffic monitor. Hitachi has, of late, woken up to the fact that its heavy industry arms – the group makes trains, mining and construction equipment, power generation kit and much more – emit just the kind of information that Big Data …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Zombie rising from the grave

Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

It's the first Monday of the month, so time for us to have a look at desktop operating system market share again! Keen Reg readers may recall that last month it looked like peak Windows 7 was behind us. This month's data supports that hypothesis: Statcounter has Windows 7 dipping a little to 54.13 per cent and Netmarketshare …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Microsoft working on 'Nano' version of Windows Server for web-scale ops

Microsoft appears to be working on a new version of Windows Server aimed at web-scale operations. News of the product comes via Neowin, which noticed a deck of slides titled “Nano Server: The Future of Windows Starts Now” posted to a Russian blog. The name on the title slide is “Refaat Issa” whose biography at Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015

Blockheads bork Bitcoin Foundation board election

Those with doubts about Bitcoin's viability have some new ammunition, after the Bitcoin Foundation fluffed a board election it tried to run using its own technology. News of the election emerged last December and voting eventually generated the need for a run-off election to determine final winners. That election didn't get off …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Turnbull's model e-gov service is HIPSTER SHAMBLES

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has often expressed his admiration for the United Kingdom's Government Digital Service (GDS), going so far to say as to say it is the model and/or inspiration for the recently-revealed Digital Transformation Office (DTO). As we've reported, the DTO looks to be off to a shaky …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Mar 2015
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott says food importers deserve help denied to telcos

Australia's government decided this week to impose two major new regulations on business. The first was announced on Thursday, in the form of new labelling requirements for food importers. This regulation has been introduced after some imported frozen berries were found to be contaminated with Hepatitis A. Australian Prime …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds movie still

At night, scary wildlife comes out to play in the chemical factory

On-call Welcome to On-Call, our semi-regular-ish weekend feature in which readers share experiences that happened late at night, in odd places. This week, the tale of reader "IT Gnome" who tells us "I work on call for a chemical factory, and it wouldn't look out of place at night in a zombie film." "It's perhaps the bleakest scariest …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Feb 2015
Google logo

Google open-sources HTTP/2-based RPC framework

Google has open-sourced something called “gRPC” that it says represents “a brand new framework for handling remote procedure calls” using HTTP/2. The Chocolate Factory says it has dogfooded gRPC on its own microservices and that it “enables easy creation of highly performant, scalable APIs and microservices” and offers “ …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Apple's latest notification of hypegasm

NERDGASM as Apple announces 'special event'

Apple's hype machine has creaked into life again, with media outlets on Cupertino's “nice” list* reportedly showered with a new invitation to pay homage to the company on March 9th. The company's also updated its live events page with news of a to-be-streamed event on the same day. It's widely held the event will reveal more …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia to get spooks charter at cost of at least AU$188m

Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended that the nation adopt a telecommunications metadata retention regime. The Committee's report report (PDF) does recommend changes to the current Bill, including the proposed dataset being enshrined in legislation and therefore subject …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015
Leisure Suit Larry screenshot

To beat Oracle, find jurors who care about Leisure Suit Larry not Larry Ellison

When you kick a giant in the shins and threaten to cut it off at the knees, do it in a jurisdiction you believe will provide you with a sympathetic jury. That's the strategy advised by Seth Ravin, founder and CEO of third-party application support outfit Rimini Street. The ten year-old company is an irritant to Oracle and SAP …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Feb 2015