Simon Sharwood

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Burglar sits in kitchen with stolen tablet. Photo by Shutterstock

EMC and VMware both suffer malicious user access messes

VMware and EMC have each revealed security nasties. EMC's problem is with Data Domain OS, the operating system for its disk backup boxen. AS EMC's notification explains, “Data Domain logs the session identifier of a user logged in via the GUI in a file that is accessible to all users.” All users? D'oh! That means “A …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2016
Slippery slope sign

PC market sinking even faster than first thought, thanks to Windows 10

The abacus-shufflers of analyst firm IDC have revised their 2016 PC sales forecasts downwards. The firm now says PC shipments “... are forecast to decline by 7.3% year over year”. That's “roughly two per cent below earlier projections as conditions have been weaker than expected.” The firm names “weak currencies, depressed …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2016
Microsoft Azure

Azure F's up instance sizes

Microsoft has announced new and larger “F-Series” Azure instances. The new instances also have a new naming scheme that means the F1 instance has one CPU core and the F16 instance has 16 cores. Geddit? This naming scheme will henceforth apply to all Azure instances. The new instances run 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2673 v3 (Haswell …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2016

China pledges tighter privacy as it centralises personal health data

China will create “more comprehensive regulation and legislation in personal information and data protection” to facilitate a new national big data scheme it hopes will improve health policy and services. China's State Council (the equivalent of Cabinet) announced the strategy this week, with premier Li Keqiang declaring that …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2016
Bluetooth Smart

Bluetooth 5 debuts next week

An update to Bluetooth, version 5.0, will debut next week. The update will double the range and quadruple the speed of low energy Bluetooth transmissions, which should mean an increase to 200m and four megabits per second respectively, and about one megabit per second available to applications. Bluetooth SIG executive …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2016
FreeBSD logo

Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image. Repeat. Microsoft has created its own FreeBSD image

Microsoft has created its own cut of FreeBSD 10.3 in order to make the OS available and supported in Azure. Jason Anderson, principal PM manager at Microsoft's Open Source Technology Center says Redmond “took on the work of building, testing, releasing and maintaining the image” so it could “ensure our customers have an …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2016
Giant burger

McDonald's says bigger fonts cooked up improved profits

Burger baron McDonalds has attributed stronger financial performance to, in part, enlarging the point size of the fonts it uses on the chits sent to its chefs and customers. McDonalds has had a rotten few years on the financial front, as customers desert it for healthier, newer or more interesting fast food options. Attempts …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2016
Puzzled man displays his palms in the classic physical pose that tells other people you do not know something or are asking a question. Photo by Shutterstock

Chrome's PDF reader has arbitrary code execution flaw

A Researcher at Cisco's Talos limb have discovered an arbitrary code execution flaw in PDFium, the PDF reader installed by default in Google's Chrome browser. CVE-2016-1681, discovered by Talos' Aleksandar Nikolic, means that PDF that includes an embedded jpeg2000 image can trigger an exploitable heap buffer overflow. The …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2016
india

Modi hints at H-1B unease

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has addressed a joint sitting of the United States Congress, and offered a couple of barbs. As is customary on such occasions, Modi's speech heaped praise upon his hosts. He also pointed out that India is one of the reasons the USA is praiseworthy. “Connecting our two nations is also a …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2016
Cable ship Ile de Re

AWS Sydney's outage shows the value of a walk in the cloud

To understand the lessons of this week's Amazon Web Services outage in Sydney, which took down the local AWS cloud for a few hours, take a walk down Huntley Street, Alexandria, an unlovely street in a light industrial suburb. Huntley Street is interesting because its footpaths are riddled with an unusual concentration of …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016
Microsoft Planner

Do you have a 'co-working mindset' and 'ephemerally involve others' in work?

In the olden days, when Reg hacks rode dinosaurs to work and used chisels and stone to write stories, Microsoft Office offered four applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. These days Office is a sprawling affair with new bits that Microsoft's pitching at those “with a co-working mindset” and keen to be empowered to “ …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016

Firefox 48 beta brings 'largest change ever' thanks to 'Electrolysis'

Firefox 48 entered beta this week, complete with a feature called “Electrolysis” that Mozilla bills as “the largest change we’ve ever made to Firefox.” Electrolysis will see Mozilla “split Firefox into a UI process and a content process.” Long-time Firefox developer Asa Dotzler explains that “Splitting UI from content means …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016

Slack vs. Skype

Unicorn-grade group messaging tool Slack has turned on a voice calling feature in its titular client. The addition means members of Slack groups can now click a phone icon to initiate an actual conversation with colleagues. The cross-platform features lets conversations start and end on any device for which Slack offers a …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016
A micro B USB plug

Freeze, lastholes: USB-C and Thunderbolt are the ultimate physical ports

USB-C and Thunderbolt are the last mainstream connections devices will need to the outside world, according to analyst firm ABI Research. The company's new Device Connectivity Report predicts that by the year 2020 “Almost half of the smartphones and 93% of laptops will include USB Type-C connectivity.” In coming years we'll …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016
Marina Bay hotel singapore. By https://www.flickr.com/photos/leonid_yaitsky/

Singapore.gov bans Net

Singapore will reportedly disconnect more than 100,000 government workers' computers from the Internet. As reported by The Straits Times, the measure has been adopted to stop leaks of information from the city-state's government to the wider world. Workers' own devices will be allowed to access the internet, provided they …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Jun 2016
Green data centre

Hadoop rigs are really supercomputers waiting for the right discipline

IBM reckons the rigs assembled to run the likes of Hadoop and Apache Spark are really just supercomputers in disguise, so has tweaked some of its supercomputer management code to handle applications that sprawl across x86 fleets. As explained to The Register by IBM's veep for software-defined infrastructure Bernie Sprang, apps …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jun 2016

Citrix to unleash containerised NetScaler this month

Citrix is mere weeks away from releasing the containerised version of its NetScaler application delivery controller is revealed last December. “NetScaler CPX” was shown off at the company's Synergy conference last month, but NetScaler veep and general manager Ash Chowdappa today told The Register the software has snuck into a …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jun 2016
Nested virtualisation in Windows 10

OVF 3.0 due by Christmas

Work has commenced on version 3.0 of the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). OVF is an open format for virtual machines. Commercial virtualisation vendors have proprietary VM formats. An open format makes it easier to migrate virtual machines between hypervisors. The Distributed Management Task Force's OVF Working Group page …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jun 2016
Stab in the back

Microsoft waltzes users through Azure by killing VM conversion tool

Microsoft has announced “the upcoming retirement of Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter” (MVMC) and its replacement with Azure Recovery Services. MVMC does what it says on the can, namely convert virtual machines. The tool lets you turn physical machines into virtual machines, VMware hosts into Hyper-V hosts or convert VMs so …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jun 2016
VirtualBox 5

New VirtualBox Beta

Oracle's VirtualBox desktop hypervisor is about to hit a new-but-small milestone, as version 5.1 beckons. A beta was released late last week, addressing plenty of bugs that have been found since version 5.0 debuted in July 2015 The announcement for the beta of 5.1 mentions fixes like a revised GUI and enhanced support for …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Jun 2016
Bill Shorten by https://www.flickr.com/photos/cpsucsa/  CC 2.0  attribution sharealike generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

ALP won't confirm Digital Transformation Office funding

Australia's opposition Labor Party (ALP) won't commit to continued funding or operations of the nation's Digital Transformation Office (DTO). The DTO is modelled on the United Kingdom's Government Digital Service (GDS) and has adopted many of its methods and tools as it pursues a mission of reforming online service delivery. …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2016
Gnu doing its thing... by https://www.flickr.com/photos/eiriknewth/ cc2.0 attribution generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

GNU cryptocurrency aims at 'the mainstream economy not the black market'

GNU and an outfit called “Inria” have released Alpha code – version 0.0.0 to be precise – of an anonymous-but-taxable electronic payments system they say is “a currency for the mainstream economy, and not the black market.” “Taler”, as the effort is dubbed, looks to be an attempt to build on the concepts behind Bitcoin. So …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2016
Dell's Triton liquid cooling rigs

Dell finds liquid cooling tech on eBay, now wants you to buy it

Dell is getting into the water-cooled server business for hyperscalers with an offering called “Triton” that it developed for eBay. Dell says it's keen on water cooling because it's cheap: data centres nearly always have a cooling tower that lower the temperature of water so it is sensible to put that cool water to good use. …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2016
Linux on multiple devices

Latin-quoting Linus Torvalds plays God by not abusing mortals

Linus Torvalds has loosed release candidate 2 of version 4.7 of the Linux kernel on the waiting world. "Things are looking fairly normal, and there are fixes all over, with drivers and architecture code leading the charge as usual, but there's stuff spread out all over the place, including filesystems, networking, mm, library …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2016

Microsoft thinks it's fixed Windows Server mess its last fix 'fixed'

Microsoft has issued fixes to its last round of Windows Server Management Pack fixes, but is asking you to help it understand if the new fixes fix the messes the last fixes created. File this one under “doesn't exactly inspire confidence”. This problem started way back in February 2016 when Microsoft released version 6.0.7303 …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2016