Simon Sharwood

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Xen project hypervisor logo

Xen hardens up with zero-footprint guest introspection code

The Xen Project's had a nasty run with security of late, thanks to a run of five bad bugs, but has revealed plans to improve matters in the forthcoming version 4.6 of its open-source hypervisor. The Project's new weapon is called libbdvmi and addresses the fact that running security software on a guest virtual machine can be …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Aug 2015

Indian DEITY lifts national pr0n ban

India's ban on online pornography looks to have gone limp after four days, after a DEITY recommended a change of interpretation to the nation's ban on 857 sites. The DEITY in question is India's marvellously-named Department of Electronics and Information Technology. DEITY is India's acronym, as the deity.gov.in website …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Aug 2015
Redfish Logo

DMTF signs off Redfish server management spec v 1.0

The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) has announced the completion of the Redfish standard, an effort to enable management of heterogeneous computing resources at cloud scale. Redfish's backers are a who's who of enterprise computing players: Broadcom, Dell, Emerson, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Supermicro and VMware …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Aug 2015
Outlook for the web's new calendar

Microsoft changes 'Outlook Web Access' to 'Outlook on the web'

Fresh from showing glimpses of the next-generation Outlook Web Access client in a preview of Exchange Server 2016, Microsoft has now detailed just how the new version of the browser-bound Outlook will work. There's a new name for starters: “Outlook Web Access” is now “Outlook on the web”. Those marketers sure are earning their …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Aug 2015
Australian attorney general George Brandis by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cebitaus/ cc 2.0 attribution https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Australian telcos won't get red tape relief says Brandis

Australia's carriers won't be offered the tit-for-tat regulatory relief the government says is due to other industries. The manifesto of Australia's ruling Liberal Party includes a policy titled Boosting productivity and reducing regulation that says the government will improve Australia's economy by, among other things, “ …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Aug 2015

Want to avoid a hangover? DRINK MORE, say boffins

The juice of Korean pear Pyrus pyrifolia might just be the greatest discovery in all human history, as boffins think the fruit can reduce the severity of hangovers. Korean pears are often sold as “nashi pears” from Japan. The fruit is lighter than a European pear, boast slightly tart flesh, and a density somewhere between that …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2015
Cloud foundry login screen

Pivotal brings its labs to Asia, starting in Australia and Japan

UPDATE EMC Federation member Pivotal will brings its “Labs” consultancy services to Australia and Japan. Australia gets a joint ventures with Telstra. Japan's effort is owned by Pivotal, but will kick off with foundation client Toshiba Solutions. Melissa Ries, Pivotal's veep and general manager for Asia, tells us the labs start out …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2015

QEMU may be fro-Xen out after two new bugs emerge

The Xen project has revealed another two bugs in the QEMU hypervisor and is now wondering the extent to which it should support the buggy code. The first of the flaws, CVE-2015-5165, means “A guest may be able to read sensitive host-level data relating to itself which resides in the QEMU process” and impacts “All Xen systems …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2015
Sydney Harbour Bridge in the cloud

New South Wales to create Ministry of Truth

UPDATE The Australian State of New South Wales has created a whole-of-government data analytics centre. Innovation and better regulation minister Victor Dominello announced the centre yesterday, proclaiming that “Data is one of the greatest assets held by government, but when it’s buried away in bureaucracy it is of little value.” “ …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Aug 2015
chinese authorities inspect tainted wine

VIAGRA found in Chinese 'Kung Fu rice wine'

China's Liuzhou Food and Drug Administration has warned that distilleries in Liunan District are producing booze contaminated with chemicals used in the production of erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra. The Administration reported that products named “Kung Fu wine pot of gold” and “Liu Pa god health wine” were found to …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015
hitchBOT

BAD things happen to GOOD robots in America: hitchBot DECAPITATED

hitchBOT, the small robot that hitch-hiked across Canada last year, has been decapitated in Philadelphia. HitchBOT was an experiment in human attitudes to robots. The creation's creators give it an online bucket list and hoped that it's smiling LED face and written instructions would induce people to drive it in the direction …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015

Nokia sells HERE maps to Audi, Daimler and BMW for €2.8 billion

Nokia has announced that a consortium comprising AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG will drive off into the sunset as joint and owners of its HERE maps unit. Readers may know HERE as “Navteq” and recall that Nokia acquired the company back in 2007 for the small matter of US$8.1 billion. The company later renamed the service “ …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015
Linus Torvalds flips the bird

Linus Torvalds warns he's in no mood to be polite as Linux 4.2 drags

Linus Torvalds' regular Sunday night missive on the state of kernel development has labelled version 4.2 as a bit of a problem child and warned he “might not react politely” to some developer requests. Announcing the release of release candidate five (rv5), Torvalds says “it's looking like 4.2 might be one of the releases …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015
OpenStack

VMware doubling down on OpenStack

The content catalog for late August's VMworld San Francisco has yielded up another nuggetoid of vNews: a new version of VMware Integrated OpenStack. Virtzilla debuted its own OpenStack distribution last year, billing it as an exceptionally fine distribution for those who want to run an OpenStack cloud on top of vSphere. …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015

China bans HPC and UAV exports, citing national security

China has banned the unlicensed export of supercomputers and certain types of unmanned aerial vehicles. The bans, announced here and since shoved through internet translat-o-trons by El Reg, targets machines of eight petaflops or more with 2 Gbps of networking capacity. The June 2015 top 500 supercomputer list records only …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Aug 2015

Windows 10 collects colossal 0.375 per cent market share in July

Windows 10 has rocketed to account for 0.375 per cent of the world's PC-driven web traffic, according to ratings firms Netmarketshare and Statcounter. For those of you domiciled beneath stones, Microsoft released Windows 10 on July 29th, meaning it had a chance to make a mark on the month-by-month desktop OS market share data …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Aug 2015

Sun? In Blighty? Nah, just build that rooftop data centre, it’ll be fine

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular tale of things that happen when readers are called in to fix big messes on weekends and evenings. Before we get to this week's tale, a quick reminder we've some prizes for new submissions as part of our Sysadmin Day celebrations. Write to me if you've a story of being called out to do …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Aug 2015
How Philae lands on the comet

Comet 67/P CAKED in LIFE-GIVING RUBBLE, say astroboffins

When the Philae lander failed to touch down cleanly on Comet 67P/Churyumov­-Gerasimenko, the mission looked like a mess. But the probe's four bounces across the comet's surface turn out to have been a blessing in disguise because they've given us more close-ups of 67P than expected. The results have now appeared in a special …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2015
The All Apps menu in Windows 10

Windows 10 clients come to Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager

Looking forward to a nice, relaxing Sysadmin Day? If you run Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012, your dat may just have been complicated by the release of two update rollups. The biggie is the Update Rollup 7 for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager, which adds the ability to “provision and customize …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2015
Google provides great mobile coverage for Yetis

Sri Lanka braves monsoon with Loon broadband balloons

Service to launch just weeks before monsoon hits, complete with rain and wind a-plenty Sri Lanka has signed up for broadband services delivered by Google's “Project Loon” broadband balloons. The Indian ocean nation's minister for foreign affairs, telecommunications and IT Mangala Samaraweera this week took to the stage …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2015

Kim Dotcom to create Wikimedia-style open source Mega 3.0

File locker mogul Kim Dotcom has signalled he'll soon create a third version of his Mega service. Dotcom's first file locker, Megaupload, saw him accused of knowingly hosting, and indeed encouraging the upload and distribution of, stolen films and music. From his new home in New Zealand, he's fought a long legal battle on …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Jul 2015
spies_648

Rackspace cooking up security-secret-sharing cloud cabal

Rackspace is leading an effort to create a new group of top-tier cloud companies that it hopes will share information about security in close to real time. Rackspace chief security officer Brian Kelly today told The Reg at a Sydney event that he feels cloud companies have to take a lead to address security challenges. …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2015
4 arrows signs in arrow on wooden wall

Tired tablets don't tickle the imagination, so sales fall again

Box-counter IDC's latest Quarterly tablet tracker has more bad news for fondleslab fans: sales are down and the market is fragmenting. The firm's preliminary data for 2015's second quarter finds 44.7 million fondleslabs and typoslabs shipped, down seven per cent on 2014's shipments. Q2's never a cracker – it contains no major …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2015

NetApp sees IBM/Cisco VersaStack as 'huge' threat to FlexPod

NetApp has inadvertently leaked competitive intelligence documents to a community newsfeed, and the contents reveal it worries that IBM and Cisco's VersaStack will threaten its FlexPod business and that SolidFire has emerged as a threat. Several documents penned by the “NetApp Competitive Advantage Team” have reached a public …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Turnbull's transformers plan business access to YOUR GOV ID DATA

Australia's new Digital Transformation Office (DTO), the digital disruption brainchild of communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, has outlined plans for an ambitious new government-led digital identification plan that will meld government and business data on individuals to create a single digital ID. The plan's emerged in …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2015
BT Openreach at work

BT broadband in broad-based brownout and TITSUP incidents

If you can't reach a chum in the UK, chances are they've fallen victim to a substantial outage that's hit BT's voice and broadband services. Or a Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) incident. The carrier appears to be suffering from two issues, the first reported to us by Reg readers Colin and Neil who've …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2015
the EVO:RAIL value prop

HP goes off VMware's EVO:RAIL, stops selling sole appliance

Hewlett Packard has stopped selling its ConvergedSystem 200-HC, the hyperconverged rig based on VMware's EVO:RAIL system architecture. VMware launched EVO:RAIL at VMworld 2014, pitching its combination of compute, storage, core VMware server virtualisation products and a simplified GUI as ideal for smaller businesses or branch …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2015
Voyager's golden record

Voyager's Golden Record now free to download

When NASA launched the two Voyager probes in 1977, it knew that they were on a one-way journey into the galaxy. So on the off chance they encountered another sentient species, NASA equipped both with a golden record full of information about Earth. When we say record, think vinyl, grooves in a disk and the need for a stylus to …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jul 2015
hand_puppet by MIKI Yoshihito

LinkedIn users rebel after personal data siphon crimped

LinkedIn has reversed a recent decision to make it harder for members to download information about those who've decided to connect with them on the business-centric social network. The company's original decision removed a facility that allowed users to more-or-less-instantly download a .CSV file of all their connections. The …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2015
 Can't See You... by https://www.flickr.com/photos/12023825@N04/  cc 2.0 attribution sharealike generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Xen reports new guest-host escape, this time through CD-ROMs

The Xen Project has reported another guest/host escape bug, its third for the year including the VENOM vuln and the XSA-135 SNAFU. The new vuln glories in the name XSA-138, aka CVE-2015-5154 and means “An HVM guest which has access to an emulated IDE CDROM device (e.g. with a device with "devtype=cdrom", or the "cdrom" …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2015
The_Force_Trainer_01

Gamers zap brain-to-computer kit market to US$200m by 2020

Brain-to-Machine Interface (BMI) products will become a US$200m market by 2020, and the action will kick off this Christmas season according to analyst outfit ABI research. The firm reckons “tapping into brain activity as a means of understanding human behavior, or controlling an external activity are now possible” and that …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2015
Wordpress logo

Automattic says spooks asked for something it can't reveal

Automattic, the company behind content management and blogging platform WordPress, has complained that it can't reveal the full extent of state intelligence agencies' requests to probe users' accounts. The company's new National Security report reports that the company's recorded zero “national security requests” in 2015's …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2015
willy wonka oompa loompa

Google to block access to unofficial autocomplete API

Google has decided the autocomplete API it informally offers will no longer be available for “unauthorised” users as of August 10th. The company says its autocomplete API has found an audience among “a number of developers” who have used its ability to predict a query before a user finishes typing for uses other than Google's …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jul 2015
Tommy Lee Jones delivers implied facepalm. From No Country for Old Men  Copyright Miramax Pictures. 2007.

Oracle storage analytics break Oracle storage appliances

An Oracle employee has warned that the analytics features of its ZFS storage appliances can result in “unresponsive” systems. The post linked to above opens with Oracle staffer Matt Barnson stating “I've received a number of questions about analytics and the problems they cause for the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance.” There's …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jul 2015

Pakistan bans BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Pakistan has reportedly ordered the nation's carriers to cease offering services that route email through BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), a product that among other things encrypts email. Pakistan's Express Tribune reports that the nation's Ministry of Interior last Friday instructed the Pakistan Telecommunication …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jul 2015
E-ink parking sign in Sydney

Sydney adopts 'world's first' e-ink parking signs

The Australian city of Sydney has adopted e-ink-equipped parking signs. Slovenian vendor Visionect says the State of New South Wales' Road and Maritime Services (RMS) agency has adopted its digital signage to ease the chore of changing signs to reflect coming events. As Vulture South well knows, Sydney's sclerotic roads …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2015
iran_flags_648

IT in Iran: Servers sold on the grey market, and the rule of FOSS

The eXpat Files Usually for the eXpat Files we talk to folk who have moved to another country. But this week, Vulture Weekend has varied things a little to chat to 28 year-old Roozbeh Shafiee from Tehran, Iran. As readers doubtless know, Iran restricts internet access and hasn't always been keen on freedom of assembly. It's also the subject …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2015
Cher pointing, Cher point, Sharepoint

Microsoft delivers Exchange 2016 Preview

Microsoft has revealed the first Preview of Exchange Server 2016. As is always the case these days, Microsoft says the new version of Exchange is a distillation of all the cooler stuff it does to make cloudy Exchange work at scale. There's a big architectural change in the form of the demise of Client Access servers (CAS). …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2015

BURN ALL BLOGS! WordPress has a critical cross-site scripting flaw

Wordpress has warned users of a “cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could allow users with the Contributor or Author role to compromise a site” and urged all users “to update your sites immediately.” Installations that auto-upgrade should already be patched. The patch comes in the form of WordPress 4.2.3, which fixes …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2015
Apple MacBook Pro 15-in WRD mid-2015

Rare cases of corruption strike Apple. Data corruption, that is

Apple has warned owners of 2015 MacBook Pros that they're at risk of data corruption. Cupertino says those in possession of “Retina, 15-inch, mid 2015” models have firmware installed that might do nasty things to the laptops' on-board solid state disks (SSDs). There's therefore a recommended update owners of the relevant …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2015
trolley_shopping_648

IBM slurps database-as-a-service outfit Compose

IBM has acquired Californian database-as-a-service concern Compose, formerly known as MongoHQ, for an undisclosed sum. Compose offers MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL and other databases at scale, in the cloud, as a service, for developers. IBM's revealed Compose's services will added to its Bluemix suite as Big Blue …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2015
Broken CD with wrench

Google gives away 100 PETABYTES of storage to irritate AWS

Google has flicked the switch to take its “Nearline” archival cloud storage service live, and tossed in an offer of 100 petabytes of free storage to set the snowball rolling. Nearline is Google's competitor for Amazon Web Service's Glacier. Unlike Glacier, which is thought to rely on Blu-Ray, Nearline uses disk and flash*. …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Jul 2015
Telstra phone booth by Ed Dunens from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/blachswan/

Telstra eats its own VMware-flavoured hybrid cloud dog food

Telstra's not only hosting the Australian incarnation of VMware's vCloud Air public cloud, it's also using it. So says no less a figure than VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who in the company's quarterly earnings call on Tuesday said “Telstra, will be leveraging VMware software defined datacenter architecture to deliver …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2015
Microsoft's new "Send" email client

Even Microsoft thinks Outlook is bloated and slow

Microsoft has admitted that its Outlook email and calendar app is too weighty and slow, releasing a new version, essentially a lighter and faster email client for the times you want to send snappy messages. Dubbed “Send”, Microsoft suggests the new app is for use when “... you just need to send a quick, short note to your co- …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2015

Universal Pictures finds pirated Jurassic World on own localhost, fires off a DMCA takedown

Universal Pictures France appears to have tracked down one source of pirated copies of dino-flick Jurassic World: the loopback address of one of its own boxen. In a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice obtained by Chilling Effects, an entity called TMG on behalf of Universal's French limb demanded that Google remove …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2015
NBN Logo

Cheaper broadband will slow NBN adoption, says Turnbull

Australia's Department of Communications has argued that higher broadband prices are necessary in order to protect the under-construction National Broadband Network (NBN). The Department, helmed by Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, has written to the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as that …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2015
A Chinese laundry on the back streets of Shanghai

Chinese IT spending with western firms goes OVER A CLIFF

US tech companies report big trouble in China, despite official data claiming strong growth in the middle kingdom. The official data has growth ticking along at 7 per cent per annum. While that's at the low end of what Beijing wants, it was still welcomed by articles like this one, in state-owned organ Xinhua, explaining “The …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jul 2015
Pluto

PEAK PLUTO: Stunning mountain ridge snapped by New Horizons craft

Photos Photographs of alien mountain ranges, weird splotches and more are still coming in from the New Horizons space probe as it hurtles beyond the orbit of Pluto: the craft is slowly beaming back oodles of data gathered during its flyby of the dwarf iceworld. For starters, Pluto's moon Nix features what the space agency is calling …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2015
Godzilla vs Kitten by https://www.flickr.com/photos/fun9us/

VMware sprawls across the data centre to post 'solid' Q2 results

VMware has posted what CEO Pat Gelsinger described as “solid” second quarter results that exceeded analysts expectations on earnings-per-share and fell over the line on the revenue growth front. The former metric was 93 cents a share, two cents higher than expected. The latter was $1.6bn, a four per cent improvement that …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2015

Oi, #tubby! You are what you Tweet, boffins find

Boffins from the USA and Australia have constructed a “Lexicocalorimeter” that parses social media for mentions of food, discovering a correlation between people's wellbeing, and the foods and activities they mention on Twitter. In an ArXiv paper titled Gauging public health through caloric input and output on social media ( …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Jul 2015