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Simon Sharwood

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DNS? It's a real bind

Good riddance to American internet oversight says Microsoft

Microsoft's veep for technology policy David Tennenhouse has given Redmond's good netkeeping seal of approval to the USA's plans to stop acting as the ultimate regulator of the internet. Tennenhouse has posted to the effect that “The U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s recent …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
The new Dell SC4020 array

Dell pivots to Asia with frugal flasher

Dell has revealed a new array – the SC4020 – and an aggressive plan to go after pure-play flash array vendors with a promise it will sell for under $US100,000. The SC4020 is, according to Dell storage supremo Alan Atkinson, a shrunken Compellent array. That's shrunken in a good way: everything Compellent arrays and Dell's Fluid …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
Vodafone Smart

Reports say Vodafone to gobble Spanish cable outfit Ono

Vodafone is about to pay around $US10bn to acquire Spain's Ono, according to several sources. The Wall Street Journal reports the deal will be announced on Monday, with $9.73bn to change hands. Bloomberg offers round $10bn, citing the same folks familiar with the report as does the Journal. Ono is a triple-play operator, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2014
Flying Toaster screen saver rebuilt in CSS

Flying Toaster screen savers return on GitHub

A Washington-based coder named Bryan Braun has recreated one of the curiosities of the early PC age: animated screensavers featuring flying toasters. And the resurrection has been effected using cascading style sheets. For the young or forgetful, the late eighties and early 90s were the time of the animated screensaver. The …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2014
O2_uni_charger

Europe approves common charger standard for mobe-makers

The European Parliament has signed off on its proposal to force mobile phone makers to adopt a common charging standard. The new regulation means that if mobe-makers' want to meet European standards for “radio equipment” they'll have to ensure their products will have to be chargeable using micro-USB. But there are ways out of …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Mar 2014
The Zythos Supercomputer at Australia's iVEC

What could you do with 264 Sandy Bridge cores and 6TB of RAM?

What could you do with 264 Xeon E5-4610 cores running at 2,5GHz and 6TB of RAM? As it happens, you can now try to find out: Perth's supercomputer facility iVEC has just shouted-out to anyone who likes the idea of taking its new, large-memory computer system Zythos for a spin. Zythos is an SGI UV2000. The machine is built from …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Mar 2014

Australia doubts ICANN is ready to run the internet

Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has endorsed USA's decision to hand over core internet supervisory chores to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Calling the USA's decision “A momentous day in the history of the Internet” in a blog post, Turnbull says the USA's current involvement …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Mar 2014
Bill Gates' 1970s' mug shot

Microsoft was 'willing' to buy WhatsApp says Bill Gates

Microsoft was “willing” to buy WhatsApp, Bill Gates has told Rolling Stone. The magazine's interview with Gates ranges widely, revealing his recent dinner with Charles Koch and their discussion about climate change (the problem is urgent, action is needed but the US can't be expected to lead and renewable energy has big problems …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

Microsoft closing in on Apache's web server crown

50 million more of the world's web servers started to run Microsoft's internet information server (IIS) during February, according to Netcraft. The server-counter's data for the month offers the following view of the world's web servers. Developer January 2014 Percent February 2014 Percent Change Apache 358,669,012 41.64 …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2014
Emotiv_Epoc_01

Boffins propose brainwave privacy standard

Researchers from MIT Media Lab and the Technical University of Denmark have raised the issue of “Privacy for Personal Neuroinformatics”, a field they feel deserves attention because brainwave data is starting to go public. The four writers' paper on the idea points out that electroencephalography (EEG) has been around for ages …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2014
Nokia Black Lumia Windows Phone Update

Microsoft gives away Windows Phone 8 licences in India – report

Microsoft convinced two Indian mobe-makers to use Windows Phone by letting them install it for free, according to The Times of India. The paper's report says Lava and Karbonn, both of which announced their Windows Phone plans at the Mobile World Congress, only signed up after “... when Microsoft agreed to remove the licence fee …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014
Oracle Fusion 8

Oracle promises 'skin editor' for Fusion apps

No, Oracle hasn't developed an application for tattoo parlours. But Big Red has hinted it will soon bring the world a 'skin editor' for its Fusion applications. That's 'skin' as in the look and feel for the applications, because as Oracle admits here the previous version of Fusion's interface was a little too dependent on …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014
secondary age school kids outside NBN truck

Fibre fanaticism overrode proper NBN planning says report

Early planning for Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) focussed on “how best to implement the government’s policy objectives, rather than considering the merits of different options.” So says Australia's Productivity Commission in a draft report (PDF) on the state of the nation's public infrastructure. The report's …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014

NetApp to 'realign', cut 600 jobs worldwide

NetApp has announced it will cut 600 jobs around the world, as part of a plan to adopt “... a business realignment plan designed to focus its resources on key strategic initiatives and streamline its business in light of the constrained IT spending environment.” The company announced the plan today in a form 8-K filed with the …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014
vSAN is that converged storage layer in the storage scheme VMware has cooked up

REVEALED: What you'll pay for VSAN software and hardware

VMware has officially shunted its VSAN virtual storage area network out the door at $2,495 per CPU. The company has also released VMware Virtual SAN for Desktop at $50 per desktop. You can buy one without the other, if you please. Virtzilla's Compatibility Guide also offers some insights into the cost of a server tricked out to …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2014

You thought it was dead – but Flappy Bird may return: Millions prepare to poke own eyes out

Dong Nguyen, creator of cult game Flappy Bird, has told Rolling Stone he's got three more games in the works. The magazine travelled to Vietnam to meet Nguyen, who tells the story of Flappy Bird's rise and how he found it hard to appreciate its success. Nguyen also told the magazine he's working on three new games. One is “an …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2014
vmware

VMware drops vSphere 5.5 Update 1 into sysadmins' laps

VMware has released VSphere 5.5 Update 1, the first big update to its flagship cloud co-ordinator. Some of the update's features were widely known in advance, especially the inclusion of the VSAN virtual SAN right there in the kernel. VSAN's not perfect, however. The “known issues” section of VMware's release notes points out …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2014
GoGet's autonomous research car Ethel the Yaris

ITU given keys to autonomous car standards process

The International Telecommunications Union has communed with the auto industry and agreed “to host a dialogue of senior executives of vehicle manufacturers to identify the activities needed to consider future steps to realize the potential of fully autonomous driving.” That statement, part of a communiqué issued in the wake of …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Mar 2014
A Fox Footy Alert Shirt

Foxtel's new football-watching shirt THROBS after every tackle

Fox Footy, an Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's Fox pay television empire, has created a special football-watching t-shirt. Dubbed the “Alert Shirt”, the garment is being offered to those who sign up for a year's worth of the channel, which shows Australian Football and not much else. Billed as “Game-changing technology [that …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2014
box_shifting_channel

VMware unleashes desktop-grade desktop-as-a-service service

VMware has flicked the switch on its Horizon DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) service. Virtzilla's service is based on Desktone, an outfit it acquired last year, and its schtick is that it allows customers to blend virtual desktops served from their premises with virtual desktops served from its cloud, an arrangement it talks up as …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Mar 2014
One of Facebook's flat-pack data centre frames

Get out your Allen keys: Facebook's cooked up flat-pack bit barns

Facebook has revealed the design for its new data centre, to be built in the Swedish town of Luleå. The new design was discussed at January’s Open Compute Summit. Facebook has now detailed the design and its ambition for a design process “that would look less like a construction project and more like a manufactured product.” …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2014
Parrot Ar.Drone

Plod foils drone drug drop down under

Police in the Australian State of Victoria claim to have stopped a drone that was allegedly attempting to deliver a bag of drugs into a prison. Victoria's finest were called to the maximum security Metropolitan Remand Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Ravenhall on Sunday afternoon, after reports a drone was buzzing about near …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2014
tumbling dice

IBM bets the farm on big data in annual report

IBM is utterly focussed on big data and analytics as its future growth engines, according to its annual report published over the weekend. But the company has hedged a little on the future of its semiconductor and hardware businesses. Available here, the least-brochure-like bits are to be found in the A Letter from the Chairman …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Mar 2014

VMware announces compulsory bi-ennial VCP recertification

VMware has announced a Recertification Policy for holders of the VMware Certified Professional (VCP) qualification, who will henceforth have to re-qualify every two years. VMware says “Earning a VCP certification is a great achievement. But staying up to date in the expertise gained and proven by your certification is equally …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2014

Sysadmins and devs: Do these job descriptions make any sense?

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has released an ICT Skills White Paper, titled “Common ICT Job Profiles & Indicators of Skills Mobility”, offering definitions of 25 jobs and what they entail. Available after registration here the document was compiled by surveying 3,629 participants and is designed to “provide a clear …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2014

Google's tech training for Australian teachers revealed

The University of Adelaide's Computer Science Research Group, which was engaged by Google to develop a course to teach digital technologies to Primary School teachers, has released an outline of the course. Google's interest in the matter arises from its support of Australia's Digital Technologies curriculum, the nation's first …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Mar 2014

Nutanix photo-bombs VMware's selfie with delayed patent release

On 3 December, 2013, the US Patent And Trademark Office signed off patent 8,601,473, titled “Architecture for managing I/O and storage for a virtualization environment”. On Wednesday 5 March, 2014, the holder of that patent, Nutanix, popped out a press release and other material explaining it. The day of Nutanix's announcement …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2014
Injustice - Gods Among Us

comiXology's Phantom Zone breached by villainous Haxxor

E-comics outfit comiXology has written to customers advising them to change their passwords after “recent review and upgrade of our security infrastructure … determined that an unauthorized individual accessed a database of ours that contained usernames, email addresses, and cryptographically protected passwords.” Just how many …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2014
Oscar Mayer's Bacon Odour Dongle

Can you smell bacon? Yes! And it's coming from your iPhone!

US processed meat concern Oscar Mayer has brought the world a dongle that imparts the scent of bacon to the iPhone. The promotional gewgaw has a companion app that includes an alarm clock that controls the porcine dongle. At the time you wish to rise from your slumbers, the app sets the dongle to work so your first sensory …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2014
management cloud2

Om Nom Nom Nom: AWS to eat Windows Server 2012 VMs

Amazon Web Services' has added yet another feature, this time unveiling the ability to import and export Windows Server 2012 images to EC2. AWS says it “will provide the appropriate Microsoft Windows Server license key for the imported image” and that “Your on-premises key will not be used in the cloud and you are free to use it …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2014
VSAN Tweet GA week of

Wanted: Virtual Steve Jobs to tell us one more thing about VSAN

It's a shame that VMware's VSAN launch didn't use Steve Jobs' trick of revealing “one more thing”, because there's one important detail missing from yesterday's event. That big thing is the price of the VSAN Ready Nodes and VSAN Ready Blocks it's been talking up for a while. VSAN Nodes are servers equipped with the 10Gbps NIC, …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Mar 2014
VMware's monster VM

VSAN emerges at a WHOPPING 32 nodes and two MEEELION IOPS

VMware has revealed the details of its virtual storage area network, the prosically-named VSAN. Virtzilla revealed the existence of VSAN at last year's VMworld and quickly offered a beta. That's been taken up by 12,000 folks, VMware says. They've given it a jolly good shakedown cruise and next week it will emerge as a product …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2014
A VCE vBlock

VCE to offer Whiptail, Nexus 9000 and EMC's ViPR in future vBlocks

When EMC, VMware and Cisco gestated their converged infrastructure lovechild VCE back in 2011, the three were all great buddies. Fast forward to 2014 and Cisco and EMC compete in flash arrays. EMC is also suggesting servers might not always be the best place to do computing. VMware and Cisco compete in software-defined networks …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Mar 2014
australia

Tech policy battle: Australian Industry Group vs. Information Industries Association

Two big lobby groups have just released their visions for Australia's future economy, and agree on the need for reform that will help Australia's technology sector to improve its performance. Let's start with business lobby group The Australian Industry Group (AIG), which this morning published its 10 point plan for a strong and …
comet

Dark matter killed the dinosaurs, boffins suggest

Comets may not be the product of the Sun exerting its influence over rocks in the Oort Cloud, but may instead be pushed Earth-wards by dark matter. So say Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece from Harvard's Department of Physics, in a paper titled “Dark Matter as a Trigger for Periodic Comet Impacts”. The pair write that “Large …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2014
Newton MessagePad 120 - PCMCIA card

HTML is a sexually transmitted disease, say many Americans

The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association's eponymous 1990 PCMCIA card standard used to jokingly be decoded as People Can't Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms. Nearly a quarter of a century later that jape has been proven anew, after an online coupons outfit called Vouchercloud let The Los Angeles Times …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2014
Canadian reseller ad for XP

Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

If you don't believe in the undead, think again: Windows XP may be just over a month from its much-publicised demise but is now Microsoft's fastest-growing operating system in terms of market share. For that zombie-like assertion we can thank Netmarketshare's new data about operating system market share. As we reported in …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2014

Wikimedia wants forced disclosures of paid edits

The Wikimedia Foundation will attempt to alter its terms of service so that users who create articles or make edits as part of their jobs or a paid engagement must disclose their affiliation. Paid edits and articles are often considered to be astroturfing – the marketing technique of making something look like a grass roots …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Mar 2014

Web smut filter advisor to UK PM cuffed in 'child abuse image' probe

A top aide who advised British Prime Minister David Cameron on broadband internet filtering in the UK is being investigated over an allegation involving “child abuse imagery". The man at the centre of the investigation was named last night as 62-year-old Patrick Rock, a powerful advisor to the Conservative Party for 30 years. It …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014

Murdoch dumps Microsoft, prepares to Hangout with Google

Rupert Murdoch is fond of berating Google, last year emitting the Tweet below and previously accusing it of stealing his precious content. "Please expose Eric Schmidt, Google " etc. Just wait! — Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) October 13, 2013 What, then, are we to make of this report titled “News Corp dumps Microsoft for …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014
Toilet

Relief when urine trouble becomes latest capacity-sharing service

Under-utilised-resource-sharing services were last year's darling in startup-land, with the likes of Uber and AirBnb feted for being jolly clever and making rather a lot of money for participants. The unused-capacity sharing concept has now gone down the toilet, literally, with the launch of a new outfit called Airpnp. Before …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014
Google_skull

Triple-headed NHS privacy scare after hospital data reach marketers, Google

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) and the NHS Information Centre are riding out a three-pronged privacy storm. The first privacy incident starts with this PA Consulting document titled “Placing the patient at the centre of healthcare: PA report on the future of healthcare.” On page eight, a section titled “The cloud can …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014
Bitcoin bloodbath

MtGox: Yup, we're pretty sure your Bitcoin were stolen. Sorry about that.

Defunct Bitcoin exchange MtGox has revealed a little more information about its problems, updating its sparse webpage with an “Application for commencement of a procedure of Civil Rehabilitation”. The new statement (with MtGox's punctuation intact) says that “At the start of February 2014, illegal access through the abuse of a …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014
cable

Microsoft to get in XP users' faces with one last warning

Microsoft will give Windows XP users one final warning that their operating system is about to go feral. Redmond's been talking up the death of XP for two years, but will now use the operating system itself to put the news of the software’s demise right in the face of every single user with the dialog box below. Microsoft's …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella shakes up Microsoft, appoints 'Scroogled' man Mark Penn as strategy chief

Reports have emerged of new senior appointments at Microsoft, events that are being interpreted as new CEO Satya Nadella putting his stamp on the organisation. According to Re/Code and Bloomberg, Mark Penn will soon be confirmed as chief strategy officer. The two outlets also report that Skype supremo Tony Bates and head of …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014

Twitter sags beneath weight of Oscar selfie

HOLLYWOOD AND CYBERSPACE: The entertainment industry has once again celebrated the world of entertainment, with the annual Academy Awards going even more viral than usual thanks to a selfie of several prominent entertainers that set new records for social sharing. The selfie in question was taken by entertainer Bradley Cooper ( …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014

MtGox to customers: Your call is important to us … NOT!

Bitcoin owners keen to understand just what failed exchange MtGox may be able to do for them remain in the dark, after the outfit set up a call centre that, so far as The Register can tell, seldom picks up the phone. MtGox declared bankruptcy last week, taking more than $US400m worth of Bitcoin with it. Users are understandably …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014
Qantas A380 tail

Flying fondleslab causes injury after plane hits turbulence

Hot on the heels of news that Australian wasps can ground a plane comes another cautionary tale from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), this time concerning the perils of flying laptop computers and iPads. The two devices fell from an overhead bin during turbulence last November. The ATSB's report on the incident …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014
cloud

AVG killing LiveKive cloud storage service

Mere weeks after pulling the pin on its Crossloop remote access service, AVG has let users of its LiveKive cloud storage service know that it is destined for the Knacker's yard too. LiveKive launched in 2011 offering a sync 'n' share service with a small twist: the free 5GB plan was a 30-day trial and there was an unlimited tier …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Mar 2014

Brit colo outfit Alphadex offline all weekend after attack

British data centre provider Alphadex has been hit by a weekend-long outage. Users report that everything they host with the company has gone down, along with Alphadex's own control panels and management interfaces. Details of the incident are sketchy, with Alphadex offering only Tweets to explain the situation. Customers first …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Mar 2014