Simon Sharwood

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router

Peace comes to troubled embedded-Linux-for-routers community

In May 2016, disgruntled developers of the embedded-Linux-for-routers distribution OpenWRT forked the project and headed off to do their own thing. The Linux Embedded Development Environment – LEDE – project felt that OpenWRT was heading in the wrong direction and lacked engagement with the wider developer community. Now, in …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
cloud

This 'cloud storage' thing is going to get seriously big in 2017

The waistline of Azure's storage service continues to expand, with Microsoft upping the size of the Binary Large Objects it can define. Redmond's cloud can now support BLOBs of 4.77 terabytes, up from the previous 195 gigabytes. Block sizes are also up, from four megabytes to 100. And you can commit 50,000 blocks to a single …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
Tasmania

Huawei very happy to be on Map Of Tasmania

Huawei's scored a nice HPC win in Australia, with the University of Tasmania selecting it to provide a 7,000-cores-plus machine. The University’s Sandy Bay Campus will house the AU$5m (US$3.6m, £2.95m) machine, which will be put to work on “urgent scientific problems in existing strengths, including climate and ocean sciences …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
Apple

Apple drops requirement for apps to use HTTPS by 2017

One of the initiatives Apple trumpeted at its 2016 WorldWide Developer Conference was a requirement for all iOS and OS X apps in its Store to use adopt App Transport Security as of December 31st 2016. App Transport Security (ATS) arrived in 2015 iOS and OS X in 2015, in Apple's own words, “improves privacy and data integrity …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Dec 2016
Merry Christmas Australia

Australia's future technology headlines … for 2018!

Today's the last day anyone from Vulture South will show up for work until January 3rd. So while we're at the beach, cricket and bottom of a beer glass, we leave you with our almost-traditional prediction for technology news in the year after next Without any further ado, let's get into it. Google dodges Google Tax Australia …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Broccoli

Eating Brotli will improve Edge's inner health says Microsoft

Microsoft's announced it will adopt the Brotli compression algorithm that Google open-sourced last year in future versions of its Edge browser. Google gave Brotli to the world in September 2015, pointing out that it is compatible with the venerable “Deflate” algorithm but also offers a compression ratio somewhere between 20 …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016

Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

On-call Welcome to another festive edition of On-Call, the column in which we recycle readers' horror stories. Today, as we seek something, anything, to write in the pre-Christmas news drought, we bring you a trio of tales from the bulging On-Call inbox. Which we must say is swelling this week: it looks like some of you might not be …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Swiss army knife in cloud

Virtualisation got boring in 2016, but the fun's about to start anew

END-OF-YEAR ROUND UP 2016 was a year in which virtualisation became so mainstream, so expected, so accepted that it started to look like a moribund market. But virtualisation's really only just getting started because storage virtualisation, network virtualisation and network function virtualisation are just getting started, while other uses for …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Raspberry Pi Foundation's PIXEL OS on a PC

Raspberry Pi Foundation releases operating system for PCs, Macs

The Raspberry Pi foundation has ported the PIXEL OS it released in September to the PC and Mac. PIXEL stands for “Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight” and is, says Pi founder Eben Upton, “our best guess as to what the majority of users are looking for in a desktop environment: a clean, modern user interface; a …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016

NIST requests ideas for crypto that can survive quantum computers

The United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a “Notice and request for nominations for candidate post-quantum algorithms.” The Institute (NIST) has cottoned on to the fact that “If large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they will be able to break many of the public-key cryptosystems …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Firefox logo

Firefox to give all extensions their own process in January

The Mozilla Foundation has outlined plans to add more multi-process features to its Firefox browser. Firefox has had limited multi-process capabilities since version 48, when they were added to enhance security and stability. This is basically a sandboxing play: Firefox's developers feel that if the core browser, each tab and …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Australian Parliament House Canberra

Australian Internet policy remains years behind reality

That Australian policy-makers cannot muster a coherent and consistent approach to the changes wrought by the internet has again been made apparent in recent weeks, by a number of events. The national response to the internet remains, most often, to attempt to control it long after accepted practice makes the attempt to do so …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Dec 2016
Man flexing for webcam

Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

On-call Welcome again to a festive edition of On-Call, the column in which readers send stories of jobs gone bad and we sanitise them for general consumption. We usually appear on Fridays, but the On-Call inbox is bulging, there's sod-all news to write this week and so we're doing it daily this week to spread some Christmas cheer. …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016

Europe trials air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite

The European Space Agency has successfully trialled its air-traffic-control-over-IP-and-satellite plan that it is hoped will one day reduce the amount of spoken instructions delivered to aircraft. Known as IRIS, the project proposes real-time “4D” tracking aircraft that will record latitude, longitude, altitude and time. Such …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016
Donald Trump - Editorial Use Only

Oracle exec quits over co-CEO Safra Catz's promise to assist Trump

An Oracle employee and anti-Donald-Trump activist has quit the company over co-CEO Safra Catz's decision to join president-elect Donald Trump's transition team and her expression of Oracle's intention to support his policies. George A. Polisner, who for the last four years has worked in Oracle's managed cloud services team, …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016
I for one welcome our new insect overlords

NASA explains how 'Spiders' grow on Mars

NASA thinks it has found an explanation for the “spiders” it's spotted on Mars. No, you haven't missed news of Martian arachnids. These spiders are a series of erosion channels that meet in a central pit and are common in regions near Mars' South Pole. A decade's worth of data from The High Resolution Imaging Science …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016
Vmware cloud logo

Seriously, VMware? Two bugs in the week before Christmas?

Bah humbug! VMware's just revealed two nasty bugs that it recommends you fix at your earliest convenience. VMSA-2016-0024 is rated critical because vSphere Data Protection (VDP) turns out to contain “a private SSH key with a known password that is configured to allow key-based authentication.” And what can an attacker do with …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016
Man thumbs down, image via Shutterstock

Facebook has stopped SHA-ring, a year later than it promised

Facebook's quietly taken its SHA-1 certificates out behind the data centre with an electrified degaussing machine. The SHA-1 hashing algorithm was declared unreliable back in 2005. By 2010, hackers cracked a password hashed with SHA-1 using just US$2 of resources rented from Amazon Web Services. In 2015 researchers blew the …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Dec 2016

HPE says 3PAR problem that broke Australia was a one-off. Probably

Hewlett Packard Enterprise says the 3PAR Storage SNAFU that took the Australian Taxation Office offline for a week does not appear to be a systemic problem. The ATO went down hard last week, with many online services that citizens, businesses and the bean-counting industry rely on disappearing from the internet as a result. …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016

Why does Skype only show me from the chin down?

On-call Welcome again to a special festive On-Call, in which we dredge worthy tales from the On-Call inbox and give them a spin to compensate for the lack of pre-Christmas news. And also because lots of people write in and we should give lots of you a go. Today: stupid, stupid people with stupid explanations for simple things. Let's …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016
The area recommended as a new search zone in the hunt for MH370

MH370 hunters call for new search of extra 25,000km2

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is in charge of the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, has recommended an extra 25,000km2of the Indian Ocean be searched in an effort to find the plane. The new recommendation emerged today in the MH370: First Principles Review report that chronicles an early …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016
NBN logo

If nbn™ can't say when it will arrive in your street, you're getting a Telstra HFC connection

nbn™, the organisation building and operating Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN), has updated the online “check your address” service that offers information on when the network will reach your street. Some time between 5:00PM and 6:00PM today (Tuesday, December 20th) the service will be infused with new data that …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016
Xen project logo

Qualcomm joins Xen Project Advisory Board

Qualcomm has joined the Xen Project's Advisory Board, the group of companies “committed to the market and technical success of the Xen Project” and who “provide financial support, technical contributions, and set high-level policy decisions.” And it's done so “to accelerate ARM-server and hyperscale cloud development, …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016
Photo by Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

IBM staff petition for right not to work on Trump's pet projects

IBM staff have petitioned the company to – among other things – express concern that “IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers' core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct.” The petition's authors respect Rometty's “willingness to engage in …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016
Cash in brown paper envelope CC 2.0 attribution StockMonkeys.com

Bank IT exec jailed after pleading guilty to taking bribes from ServiceMesh

A former IT executive from Australia's Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has been jailed for taking bribes from software company ServiceMesh. Keith Robert Hunter has been sent down for three and a half years and will serve at least two years and three months, for dishonestly causing financial disadvantage by deception. Hunter initially …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Dec 2016