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Simon Sharwood

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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

Judge says there's no such thing as a 'Patent Troll'

A Californian judge has barred Apple from describing a litigant as a “patent troll”, a “bandit” or a “privateer”. Apple is facing off with GPNE Corp, a Hawaii-based outfit that says “Our goal is to position our core patented technologies as some of the world’s most predominant MAC layer protocols.” The two have locked horns for …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Jul 2014

Girl gamers sexism row: Top e-sports federation finds reverse gear

The International E-Sports Federation (IESF), an organisation that promotes computer games as sport and organises tournaments around the world, has decided it will no longer operate separate contests for men and women. Instead, the outfit has abolished its male division in favour of an “Open for All” division and a “Female” …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jul 2014

ARM arms devs for 64-bit Android push with 'Juno' board

ARM has announced a pair of initiatives that should help Android make the jump to 64-bit architectures. The first is that Linaro, the not-for-profit mob making sure open sourcery runs well on ARM, has ported the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) to the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture and popped it out the door in the form of Linaro …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jul 2014
Uncov chronicles the failure of Web 2.0

BAE retracts hedge fund hack allegation

BAE Systems Applied Intelligence has retracted allegations of a nasty attack on a hedge fund it floated on Canadian television a couple of weeks ago. The firm today told Bloomberg was just a scenario that it used for “illustrative” purposes. BAE has promised not to scare us all with hypotheticals any more. That promise is all …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jul 2014

Windows 7, XP and even Vista GAIN market share again

Whatever Microsoft is doing to get punters adopting Windows 8.x isn't working, at least if the latest figures from Netmarketshare showing its older operating systems growing faster than its latest progeny are any guide. We've now tracked Netmarketshare's data for nine months and as the table below shows, Windows 7 has enjoyed …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jul 2014
Jeffrey Meldrum

Like frozen burgers, 'Bigfoot' DNA samples have a touch of horse

Oxford boffin Professor Bryan Sykes' quest to prove the existence of Bigfoot by DNA testing supposed samples of the mythical beasts' fur and flesh has come up with dogs, bears and horses, but no Sasquatches, Yetis or Abominable Snowmen. In a study soon to be published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Sykes and colleagues …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jul 2014
vSphere 5.1 Installer

Who wants to strap on a helmet and crash test vSphere?

VMware has issued an invitation to join a “private beta community” to test future versions of vSphere. The company says participants “can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment” and then to explain “how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases”. Those who …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jul 2014
NBN Co Customer premises equipment

Fibre to YOUR premises NBN still on table pending telco talks

NBN Co's new roadmap, released yesterday, contained an interesting omission: no mention was made of a product offering domestic users the chance to pay for an optic fibre to be laid to their homes even if they live in an area where fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) will be built. The omission is interesting given Australia's …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jul 2014
Wifi grumpy cat

Sydney wallows in cesspit of WiFi obsolescence and ignorance

Sophos has brought its Raspberry-Pi-powered World of Warbiking WiFi-sniffing peloton to Sydney and found, as it does everywhere around the world, that some people just can't be bothered with WiFi security. The Word of Warbiking sees Sophos' head of security research James Lynbe strap a Pi and various WiFi cards to his bicycle …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Jul 2014
NBN Co logo

NBN Co reveals 1 Gbps business plans in new product roadmap

NBN Co, the entity charged with building and operating Australia's national broadband network (NBN), has released a detailed product roadmap stretching out until 2016. The document (PDF) offers a few interesting insights into the network's progress. One item of special interest is a promised “Enterprise Ethernet Service” that …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jul 2014
Apple's invitation to its September 11 event in China

Analyst: Chinese buyers shunning IBM, EMC, Oracle and Cisco

For years, the world's largest technology vendors have assumed that China represents a colossal opportunity, albeit with an unusual set of hoops to jump through in order to do business. That view now seems a little dated according to Frank Liu, analyst firm Forrester's chap covering converged infrastructure and big data in China …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jul 2014
cassini

SPACE: The FINAL FRONTIER. These are the TEN-YEAR images of star probe Cassini

NASA is chuffed to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the splendid Cassini spacecraft's arrival in orbit around mighty Saturn, the ringed gas colossus of the outer solar system. Cassini left Earth on October 15th, 1997 and visited Jupiter in 2000. On July 1st, 2004, it surrendered to Saturn's gravity. Cassini image of …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jul 2014
Angry woman on mobile

Anti-snoop Android 'Blackphone' sees the light of day

The “Blackphone”, a super-secure Android handset promised to arrive in late June has just made its deadline, with the announcement that the first batch started to ship on the last day of the month. The handset is the brainchild of Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone and Silent Circle, a secure communications firm founded by …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Jul 2014

Saddle up for the Tour de Firmware

Lots of techies ride bicycles and it is not hard to see why: both pursuits involve the creation of heavily customised and finely-tuned machines coaxed to peak performance after arcane preparations and exhaustive effort, often at odd hours of the day or night. The overlap looks even more likely of late, because bikes now pack in …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2014
Panasonic's FZ-M1 toughpad

Panasonic's seven-inch Windows slab has tough exterior, confused mind

When Samsung announced that the Galaxy S5 had earned the IP67 rating, the next-to-highest moisture-and-dust-resistance score attainable on the intrusion protection rating scale, it made ruggedisation look easy. After all, the only visible difference between the S5 and its predecessor is a flap over the USB slot and a thin …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2014

VMware's desktop push heads for casualty ward, in a good way

VMware's march towards your palm, your lap and your desk has advanced again. Virtzilla recently released Horizon 6 , its much-ballyhooed end-user computing suite. Announced in April, the code is now generally available. VMware thinks it has something entirely new in Horizon 6. While the company knows it will be compared to …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2014
Zune for Windows Phone 7

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 world conquest plan: folders!

Sharp-eyed Twitter chap @ebin_5 has spotted something interesting: a reference to folders in future versions of Windows Phone. Ebin published a link to a Microsoft page categorised as having something to do with Windows Phone 8 and the title “Create folders on my Start screen”. That page has since disappeared from Windowsphone. …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2014

Google chair Eric Schmidt reportedly visits Cuba

Nixon in China it may not be, but Google's chairman Eric Schmidt has reportedly visited Cuba. Cuban blog 14yomedio.com reports that Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and other senior Googlers dropped in over the weekend to promote “the virtues of an open internet”. Freedom House's 2013 Freedom on the Net 2013 rates Cuba as …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jun 2014

You want a medal for writing a script? Sure: here it is!

Software engineer and Arizon Army National Guard member Vivin Paliath has explained how writing some Perl and Excel macros saw him decorated with the Army Commendation Medal, a decoration awarded “to any member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself by heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service.” …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014
flag.France

French Senate passes anti-Amazon amendment

France's Senate has passed an amendment to the “Lang Law”, a 1981 statute fixing the price of books, to prohibit online booksellers offering discounting and shipping books for free. La Cinquième République and Amazon have been fighting over this issue since 2008. Last year, things flared up again when an amendment to the Lang …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014
Instagram logo

Facebook dumps AWS, moves Instagram's images to own bit barns

Facebook has migrated Instagram's colossal collection of images out of Amazon Web Services and into its own bit barns. News of the move comes in this interview with Facebook infrastructure engineer and Open Compute Foundation program development chap Charlie Manese conducted by Australian hyperscale compute appliance startup …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014
New MH370 search map

New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'

Australia's Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has published a detailed analysis of efforts to find Malaysian Airways Flight 370. The 64-page report (PDF) explains that just seven “handshakes” between the plane and satellite systems are being analysed. The analysis is extensive: The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, Boeing, …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014
NEMA 5 plug socket

USB charger is prime suspect in death of Australian woman

An Australian woman has been found dead, possibly as the result of connecting a device to a USB charger that does not comply with safety standards. The Australian State of New South Wales' Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has issued a statement warning local punters not to buy chargers that do not bear the usual panoply of …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014
Photo of a vintage analog modem with an acoustic coupler

Tell us about your first time … on the internet. Was it gentle?

The University of Melbourne this week marked the 25th anniversary of Australia's first internet connection, which took place on June 24th, 1989. The Uni says the momentous connection was made in what was then called its Department of Computer Science, after NASA prodded pacific nations to get on board the internet. The first bit …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jun 2014

Patch looks like Microsoft FAIL, quacks like FAIL, is actually quite good

An out of band patch, from none other than Microsoft, sounds like a familiar cause of a couple of panicked late nights. Rest easy today, dear readers, for even though that combination has arrived this time there's little need for alarm. The patch in question applies to Windows Update, the bit of Windows that downloads and …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jun 2014
Dunce

Government won't name expert reviewers of Australia's national curriculum

Subject matter experts engaged to review Australia's national curriculum, including the new digital technologies curriculum The Reg has tracked, have been appointed. But the Department of Education won't name the reviewers until the final report on the curriculum is revealed. The Reg makes the above statement after receiving the …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jun 2014
money trap conceptual illustration

VMware ends free SUSE for vSphere customers offer

VMware has posted an End of Availability Announcement for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). Virtzilla used to hand full, and fully-supported, SLES licences to some vSphere buyers. As Vmware's page describing the offering states, the licences came “complete with patches and updates”. Those don't come free: SUSE's support …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jun 2014
Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Star Wars museum to land in Chicago

Chicago will house the official museum of all things George Lucas and Star Wars. A widely-reported statement from Lucas says the director is sad the museum won't be located in his home state of California – San Francisco and Los Angeles also entered bids – but that Chicago is simply a better site. The Chicago Tribune reports the …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jun 2014
First text

Study of Brit students finds TXTING doesn't ruin your writing

Avid texters and their parents and teachers can relax after a study found that the use of wacky text-speak syntax doesn't appear to spill over into writing performed at school or work. The study, Exploring the longitudinal relationships between the use of grammar in text messaging and performance on grammatical tasks, rounded up …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jun 2014

Unisys makes a tilt at converged infrastructure and containerisation

Unisys is the latest iron-monger to make a run at converged infrastructure, or something that looks an awful lot like it. The company walked away from proprietary silicon nigh-on a decade ago, concentrating on x86-powered “ClearPath” big iron instead. Last year, the company unveiled the first of a new range of servers named “ …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jun 2014
Microsoft's Picco workplace playfulness experiment

Microsoft tests HALF-INCH second screen to spur workplace play

Microsoft Research has detailed a tiny device called “Picco” that pipes sketches to users to make the workplace more feel more intimate. Detailed here in a research paper titled “A Small Space for Playful Messaging in the Workplace: Designing and Deploying Picco”, Microsoft Research explains that Picco is “a tiny situated …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jun 2014
Source: Simply Smile Photography by Georgia Stephenson

Cloud Physics reveals new predictive storage services, cash injection

Private cloud analytics outfit Cloud Physics has announced a new funding round and product. The $US15m funding comes from three Silicon Valley sources and means the company has now attracted $27.5m of the folding stuff. The new product is a storage analytics tool that aims to help beleaguered sysadmins wrangling private clouds …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jun 2014

Microsoft brings own security info exchange to the world

Microsoft has announced a “a security and threat information exchange platform for analysts and researchers working in cybersecurity.” Dubbed “Interflow”, Redmond says the new service is “a distributed system where users decide what communities to form, what data feeds to bring to their communities, and with whom to share data …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jun 2014
Nvidia

GAME ON: NVIDIA brings GPUs to 64-bit ARM servers

ARM's march into data centres and the world's most demanding applications has taken a major stride forward with GPU king NVIDIA throwing its weight behind ARM server-makers by releasing a version of its CUDA parallel programming platform that works with the architecture. HPC types have, in recent years, increasingly turned to …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jun 2014
NBN Co logo

Should NBN Co squeeze a server into FTTN nodes?

Last week, Dell revealed an item of interest in the form of the PowerEdge R420xr, a shortened and ruggedised version of its PowerEdge R420 intended for use in the field by telcos. Dell launched the device at CommunicAsia, the region's annual telco-fest, with a pitch that it is small enough to fit into base stations (hence the …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
cookies_eyes_privacy evercookies flash cookies

Google's Nest flings HALF an INSTAGRAM at Dropcam buyout

Google's home automation push has a new view of the world after its Nest subsidiary wrote a half-Instagram ($555m) cheque for camera-maker Dropcam. Dropcam's cameras use Wi-Fi to beam video out of your home or office and into the cloud, from where it can either be beamed back to a variety of devices for you to watch it in real …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014

VMware seeks patent for IM chats between servers and sysadmins

VMware has applied for a patent to bake an instant messaging client into servers so they can chat in real time with multiple human sysadmins. Patent application 20140173751, aka “System And Method for Chatting With Machines”, points out that when a server has something to report to a control freak it usually fires off emails or …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
Titan after shot with circle

Titan sprouts 'Magic Island', say astroboffins

Astroboffins monitoring Titan have spotted something new that hints at how the moon's weather works. The folks behind the discovery have named the new feature a “magic island”, because nobody knows what it is or why it appeared. The discovery is detailed in a Nature Geoscience letter titled “Transient features in a Titan sea” …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
Russia

Russian gov to dump x86, bake own 64-bit ARM chips - reports

Russian news outlet Kommersant has reported that the nation's government wants to ditch Intel and AMD processors in favour of a locally-developed ARM effort. The outlet's report suggests three state-owned Russian companies are banding together to develop to be called “Baikal” that will use ARM's 64-bit kernel Cortex A-57 as its …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014