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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
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Information Technology Supplier Advocate job abolished

Australia has abolished its Information Technology Supplier Advocate, a Canberra-based role designed to help small biz jump through the hoops of government contracting. The incumbent, Don Easter, finishes work next Monday. The position of Information Technology Supplier Advocate was created in 2010 when, as Labor Senator Kate …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
Firefox OS RHS teaser

Mozilla dev dangles Chromecast clone dongle

Mozilla Developer Network principal developer evangelist Christian Heilmann has popped out a tweet mentioning an effort to clone Google's Chromecast dongle, but with Firefox OS under the hood. Chromecast is a minimalist Android computer that offers WiFi and an HDMI plug. The WiFi sucks video out of devices running Google's …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
A boat full of Fail

Vodafone AU frees data to atone for outage

Vodafone Australia has blamed yesterday's network outage on "transmission network failure" that hit its Western Australian operations. Whatever the reason for the failure, the carrier says its attempts to fix it foundered as "problems occurred which had an impact on the network nationally" manifested. The rest you know if you' …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Sony PV-100 Videocorder

Sony CEO forced to shush shareholder heckling at fiery AGM

Sony yesterday endured a fiery annual general meeting at which investors heckled CEO Kazuo Hirai. Over a decade of strife, the Japanese giant has become a byword for red ink, failed turnarounds and missed boats. Rivals like Samsung and LG have thrashed it in old markets like televisions while Apple beat it into new markets like …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Azure icon

Azure turns on disaster recovery service

Microsoft has made a small-but-significant change to its Hyper-V Recovery Manager service. Now known as Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, the tool still enables Hyper-V users to automate backup of virtual machines and organises failover to a disaster recovery site. The important change is that Azure can now be used as the disaster …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Breaking ground on Cerro Armazones for the E-ELT

KA-BOOOM! Boffins blow up mountain to make way for telescope

Work has commenced on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the 40-metre-class 'scope that will sit atop Chile's Cerro Armazones mountain and collect thirteen times more light than any comparable instrument. The project almost started with a bang: this video starts with plenty of tedious speeches before, at about the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
flag.Australia

Australia's eMinister has policy-crush on UK's Liam Maxwell

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has offered a little more detail on his plans for electronic delivery of government services and the way Australia will procure the kit required to deliver them. Writing in The Guardian Australia, Turnbull detailed a meeting with Liam Maxwell this week. Neelie Kroes, the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
The Project Loon team prepares solar panels, electronics and balloon envelopes for launch as the sun rises in New Zealand.

That's no plane wreck, that's a Google Wi-Fi balloon

Emergency Services in New Zealand town today scrambled to assist what they thought was a downed plane, but actually turned out to be one of Google's Project Loon WiFi-beaming balloons. Project Loon is Google's attempt to become an ISP of sorts by floating balloons over parts of the world where internet access is not often …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Trade in Services Agreement parties

Bankers bid to use offshore temp techies

Financial services organisations could parachute IT staff in wherever they please instead of employing locals, under provisions of an annex to the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) revealed today by WikiLeaks. TISA is a trade agreement aimed at making it easier for service providers to access foreign markets. But the Financial …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
snowden insider theft security

Snowden's HELPING public clouds says VMware hybrid head

VMware's senior veep and general manager for Hybrid Cloud Service Bill Fathers has told the Gigaom Structure conference that Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA snoopery have turned out to be a good thing for the hybrid cloud. In an interview visible here Fathers, at about the five minute mark, says the NSA's activities are “ …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
hitahi t7k500 hard disk drive

High-end storage tanked, but 'HDPA' storage about to soar says IDC

Box-counter IDC recently decreed that 2014's first quarter was a shocker for high-end storage sales, but also predicts things are looking up in storage used for what it now calls “high performance data analysis” (HPDA). IDC's veep for HPC and data analysis Steve Conway puts HDPA in a little perspective with a canned quote …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Nokia and A.Sauvage's inducting charging pants

Mobe battery flat? These ELECTRIC PANTS will pump things up

MicroNokia's ongoing efforts to convince world+dog that inductive charging is a very good idea has just taken important strides with the release of a pair of electric pants. The product of British designer A. Sauvage, the pants are said to have “used the technology from the new Nokia DC-50 wireless charging plate”, a new …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Vodafone UK booster brolly

Vodafone AU in new four-hour Vodafail

Vodafone Australia's infamous Vodafail appears to have returned, with punters across the nation reporting ... nothing. Which to say no ability to make calls or send text messages for around four hours during the Australian afternoon. At 13:40 Vodafone's network blog posted this message admitting that "We are currently …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Bitcoins

US marshals leak list of possible Bitcoin buyers

The U.S. Marshals Service's auction for the for 29,656.51306529 Bitcoin it seized from online recreational pharmaceuticals purveyor Silk Road has gone off the rails after the Service accidentally spilled a list of interested parties. Coindesk reports that an email sent to those asking for information about the auction listed …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
ALP stop the cuts poster

ALP email SNAFU spaffs campaign plan to world+dog

The Australian Labor Party's New South Wales branch appears to have emailed a confidential campaign plan to the wrong people. Vulture South subscribes to several political parties' supports' lists in order to find possible stories. An Australian Labor Party (ALP) missive that hit our inbox this morning offers the subject line “ …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014

Indian DEITY hands down new manufacturing subsidy plan

India's Department of Electronics and Information Technology – which cheerfully uses the domain name deity.gov.in – is making a play to bring more electronics manufacturing work to the sub-continent. India and the Department established a Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) in 2012, offering to rebate up to 25 per …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
VMware Monster VM

VMWorld content catalog hints at slow AirWatch integration

VMware has released the content catalogue for VMworld San Francisco, and it offers a hint or three about what the company might announce at the event. Perhaps the most tantalisingly-named session is titled Preview the Latest Release from AirWatch. "Previewing" suggests, at least to us, that you should rule out a major launch …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014

Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

Samsung has started peddling a smart bicycle prototype. The self-propelled two-wheeler includes a battery, rear-facing camera, WiFi and Bluetooth routers of some sort and “laser projectors”. The latter devices let the bike shine bright red lines on the road, the better to warn motorists of riders' presence. The lasers will …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
borg_cube

Cisco promises Lync link for its UC kit and collaborationware

Cisco has spent the last couple of years talking up its unified communications and collaboration portfolios, often suggesting it is at the top of the market. If that assertion is correct it would be quite a coup, given that other players have a long head start. Cisco's been here before with IP telephony, a field in which it …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
Sydney Opera House Hackathon logo

NSW budget calls for lower GST threshold on imports

The Australian State of New South Wales' annual Budget has called for the threshold at which the nation's ten per cent goods and services tax (GST) is applied to imported goods to be lowered. The GST is collected by Australia's federal government, but handed back to the States. While the tax applies to most goods and services, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

Stopping IT price gouging would risk SOCIALIST DYSTOPIA!

In March 2013, Australia conducted a Parliamentary Inquiry into IT Pricing, in part to figure out why kit and content costs more down under than elsewhere. The Inquiry compelled representatives of Apple, Adobe and Microsoft to appear. The latter two squirmed uncomfortably as they articulated arguments that they charge what the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

Wikipedia insists paid editors reveal their bits in public

The Wikimedia Foundation has changed its terms of use to insist that anyone paid to edit Wikipedia articles discloses their affiliation Section 4 of the terms of use, Refraining from Certain Activities, now includes a sub-section titled “Paid contributions without disclosure” that includes the following language: “ … you must …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014
The new Dell SC4020 array

Oh THOSE products, says Dell. Sure we'll sell them if you ask

Dell has unveiled new storage appliances and a server it probably won't try to sell to you. If that state of affairs seems odd, consider that the new re-privatised concern has a global business making kit for original equipment manufacturers. The resulting products end up in all manner of places where vendors need kit backed by …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014