Simon Sharwood

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WikiLeaks reveals searchable trove of Sony Pictures documents

Wikileaks has decided Sony Pictures is worthy of its attention by releasing 30,000 documents it says were lifted from the company's servers during the infamous 2014 attack. Wikileaks' justification for publishing the new trove is that Sony “is a member of the [Motion Picture Association of America] MPAA and a strong lobbyist on …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Apr 2015
F-35

DRONE ALONE: US Navy secretary gives up on manned fighters

The secretary of the US Navy has said the F-35 Lightning II, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter program, “should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.” Speaking at the Sea-Air-Space 2015 conference on Wednesday, secretary Ray Mabus said ( …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015
Google handwriting recognition app

Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

First Look Google has popped the lid off its Google Handwriting Input, new Android software that lets you input your text longhand in any 'droid app. The Chocolate Factory's research arm says handwriting recognition is needed because touchscreen keyboards remain modestly effective and while “Voice input is an option, but there are …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015
Philae

Comet 67P found to be COMPLETELY UNATTRACTIVE

The Philae Lander should soon see enough sun to resume operations on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkoduring April or May, the European Space Agency's (ESA's) lander manager Stephan Ulamec told the European Geosciences Union General Assembly earlier this week. Philae hitched a ride to 67P aboard the Rosetta probe and descended to …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015

Exchange Server 2016 will be mostly Cloud Exchange ported back on-premises

Microsoft has let it be known that it has a preview of Exchange Server 2016 ready to see the sun at its May Ignite conference. Along the way it's also said that the on-premises version of Exchange isn't getting much more than stuff it's already built for, and proved in, the cloud version of the server. Here's what the company …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015

Target settles with MasterCard for US$19 million

US retailer Target's ongoing attempts to mop up after its colossal data breach have taken another step forward, after it settled with MasterCard. The deal will see the retailer toss US$19m into a pot that MasterCard will use to make “alternative recovery offers … to eligible MasterCard issuers worldwide that issued MasterCard- …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015
Paper clips by Ross Elliott https://www.flickr.com/photos/ross_elliott/ CC 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Boost your attachment size with this one weird trick

Microsoft has increased the maximum attachment size accessible to users of Outlook Web Access (OWA) under Office 365, with 150MB of digital baggage now able to hop aboard emails. Admins worried about blowing storage allowances and congested networks needn't worry: Microsoft makes it possible to dial permitted total attachment …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015

VMware's vCloud Air to launch database DRaaS, pipe in more clouds

Exclusive VMware will add database-backup-as-a-service to its vCloud Air cloud in June, the company's veep and general manager of hybrid cloud Bill Fathers has told The Register. The service will be based on technology VMware acquired last year along with Continuent, a provider of clustering, replication and disaster recovery services for …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Apr 2015
Smartwatches

Health apps and wearables make you nervous, not fit, say boffins

The British Medical Journal has staged a debate on the topic “Can healthy people benefit from health apps?” The debate seems to your correspondent to be a draw. Iltifat Husain, editor, iMedicalApps.com, and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, North Carolina, USA, argued the “Yes” case …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015
Cisco and Veeam's UCS backup scheme

Veeam lobs backup bombs, with Cisco lighting the fuse

Veeam's making waves again, with two new initiatives sure to get backup software rivals – and tin-makers – a little riled. Software rivals have to figure out how to contend with the new free endpoint backup tool the company flagged last October and released today. The tool's pitched at anyone who wants to back up a Windows PC, …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015

Talk is FINNISHed: Nokia to buy Alcatel Lucent for €15.6 billion

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have confirmed rumours about a possible merger by saying it will happen, as “The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding under which Nokia will make an offer for all of the equity securities issued by Alcatel-Lucent”. Each Alca-Lu share will be exchanged for 0.55 of a new Nokia …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015
Ceres

Dwarf planet Ceres has TEN bright spots, astroboffins say

Dwarf planet Ceres has ten bright spots, not just the two that the Dawn spacecraft saw as it approached the worldlet in February. The two bright patches sparked all manner of speculation about their origins. Some suggested they could be volcanoes or a frozen lake reflecting the Sun. As news, and new images, of the bright spots …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015

NASA to put the stars in your hands with coming-soon-now API portal

NASA has let it be known its working on an API portal so it can put more data into developers' hands. “Data is one of the most important assets at NASA,” writes Dan Hammer, a presidential innovation fellow at the agency. “”We have data on comets, measurements of mars, and real-time imagery of earth. But what good is data if you …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015

Yahoo! adopts! Ceph! to! underpin! Flickr!, plans! storage-as-a-service! service!

Strap yourself in, storage-buyers: those pushing a software-defined approach and/or object storage will soon be telling you that their wares are ready for anything because Yahoo!'s exascale photo storage service has re-platformed itself on Ceph. The Purple Palace also says it will soon have hundreds of petabytes under software- …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015

30 – count 'em – 30 orgs sign up for Cumulus on Dell networking kit

UPDATE January 2014, Dell announced it would make it possible to run Cumulus Networks' operating system on its networking gear. 15 months later, 30 organisations have done so. As in a three followed by a zero. Worldwide. So says John McCloskey, executive director for enterprise solutions at Dell Australia and New Zealand. McCloskey's …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Apr 2015
Brando wooden cross Flash drive

Aussie priest BLESSES an APP – and the sacred iPad it runs on

The Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide has claimed a world first by blessing an app and the iPad it runs on. The app is no mere piece of code, but instead serves as a heavenly guide to the life of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia's first saint. The app guides users along a righteous path through Adelaide, retracing the …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Apr 2015
The Wirliyatjarrayi Learning Centre

Help! We need to pick a platform for our desert adventure

Things have slowed down a bit in our efforts to build a super network-groomer for the remote Australian community of Willowra, because there's been a changing of the guard at the Wirliyajarrayi Learning Centre. While we wait for new staff to arrive and to help us out with some ping tests and better photos of the network cabinet …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Apr 2015

Puny humans flub ANOTHER Google cloud patch

No-one says running a globe-spanning cloud is easy, but Google's just borked its own cloud for the fourth and fifth time in a few weeks. This time the problem was with Google Compute Engine instances in us-central1, which experienced elevated packet loss last Friday. The problem wasn't a shocker – it lasted 14 minutes – but was …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Apr 2015
Hilary Clinton's Hard Disk

Rand Paul puts Hillary Clinton's hard drive on sale

Hillary Clinton's announcement that she will run for the presidency of the United States has seen Republican candidate Rand Paul offer her hard drive for sale. “You've read about it on the news, now you can get one for yourself,” reads Paul's e-commerce mockup. “100% genuine erased clean email server. Buyer beware, this product …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Apr 2015

Citrix reveals direction for cloudified XenApp, XenDesktop

If you've heard the “opex, not capex, software updates done centrally so your people can innovate, not administer, and elastic provisioning instead of licensing-for-peak-load” cloud mantra (and who hasn't), this will be a quick read because Citrix has taken that list of cloudy goodness and signalled that it will soon apply it to …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Apr 2015
The Oracle Netra X3-2

Oracle releases non-engineered x86 servers

Oracle may make a heap of noise about its engineered stacks-in-a-box, but appears to have decided there's still some cash to be wrung out of the standalone x86 server market … when they're designed to suit the needs of a particular industry. That industry is telecommunications, upon which Oracle last week lavished new Netra M3 …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Apr 2015
Linux kernel development

Linux 4.0 debuts with the usual no fanfare

Linux 4.0 is upon us. Linux Lord Linus Torvalds made it official with a typically brief post and slightly longer explanation to the Linux kernel mailing list. The new number isn't a sign of a major upgrade. As we've chronicled, Torvalds thinks that it looks a bit silly when version numbers go beyond x.19. He therefore decided …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Apr 2015

You’ll be the coolest guy in IT if you ain't got your ID

On-call Welcome again to On-call, our almost-regular look at readers' escapades on client sites at odd times of day or night. This week's contributor offers up a story “of personal stupidity more than anything” so we'll spare him the blushes that come with a name. Our hero's tale starts with a downed Terminal Access Controller Access …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Apr 2015
management regulation1

Cisco loses logo lawsuit against WiFi inventor boffinhaus

Cisco's suffered a legal reversal in Australia, where the nation's Trade Marks Office has ruled the logo of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is not an attempt to imitate or cash in on the Borg's bridge badge. CSIRO's logo is supposed to be a stylised map of Australia. Cisco's …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2015
LTO-2 tape cartridge

IBM claims new areal density record with 220TB tape tech

VIDEO IBM and FUJIFILM have demonstrated new technologies they say crams 123 billion bits into every square inch of tape, to deliver a 220 terabyte (probably LTO) tape cartridge. The two companies say they've pulled off this trick with something called NANOCUBIC technology that “decreases barium ferrite (BaFe) magnetic particle volume …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Australia finds $1 BEELLION to replace No-SQL DATABASE

That sound? The first drops of a cool billion Australian dollars (US$770m, £520m) that the nation's government has started pouring into a honeypot for the world's technology community. The sweet, sweet pot of dosh is there because Australia has decided it can't go on running Model 204, an eighties database, to run its welfare …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2015
No Sale

PC sales dip below 2009 levels, with Japanese sales off 44 per cent

68.5 million PCs trundled off the world's production lines in 2015's first quarter, the lowest number since 2009 according to box-watcher IDC. The news isn't all bad: the analyst firm had previously predicted a lower number. But it's still a 6.7 per cent dip on last year's first quarter. Newer PC designs are exciting punters, …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2015
firing range - target in cross hairs

Citrix warns it will miss Q1 earnings guidance

Citrix has announced that it will not deliver the financial results it promised the markets. “Revenue for the quarter is expected to be in the range of $755 million to $760 million, below the company's guidance of $780 million to $790 million,” says in its mea culpa preliminary Q1 results released today. “Net income for the …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Apr 2015
Lensman series

Microsoft, Getty settle image snatch 'suit

Microsoft and Getty Images have resolved a dispute by getting into bed together. The legal imbroglio between the two kicked off last September when Getty sued Microsoft for making it too easy to find its images with the Bing Image Search widget. Once it saw the sueball heading its way, Redmond shuttered the widget and the …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Apr 2015
Vmware cloud logo

VMware puffs up AirWatch to join the sync 'n' social crowd

VMware's tried for years, without much success, to sell productivity apps. Now it's having another go by getting out the twine to bind three of AirWatch's offerings into a “collaboration bundle”. The bundle includes the AirWatch Content Locker, essentially a private Dropbox clone that aggregates content and adds secured access …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Apr 2015
The Netflix smartwatch: fun in the urinal, or wherever you want a house of cards

Screw YOU, Apple – Netflix teases world+dog with its own 'coming soon' SMARTWATCH

Video Netflix says it has a smartwatch “coming soon.” Kind of. The streaming vid titan today released the video below to illustrate its concept for a smartwatch. Spoiler alert: the company may not be entirely serious, as the video features a wrist-mounted smartphone with what looks to be about a five-inch screen. The “watch” is used …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Apr 2015
The CX5055 WAN optimization appliance

We're hyperconverged too, says Riverbed as it issues SteelFusion 4

Hyperconverged infrastructure is the buzzphrase of the moment, and Riverbed's decided it wants some of that buzz by decreeing thath the fourth iteration of its SteelFusion appliances are, indeed, hyperconverged. SteelFusion is a server and WAN optimisation box in one package. The idea is to put the smaller versions of the box at …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Apr 2015

Google, Microsoft and Apple explain their tax tricks in Australia

Representatives of Google, Apple and Microsoft Australia today appeared before a hearing into Corporate Tax Avoidance convened by the nation's Economics Reference Committee, and all struggled to explain just where the money goes or whether what they do is fair. All three also admitted, after being told they were permitted to do …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Apr 2015
The MSN Santa (unconfirmed)

Google open-sources Santa Claus

Google has open-sourced Santa Claus. Or at least the code for its online Santa Tracker. For those of you who are more “bah humbug” than “pass the eggnog”, Santa Tracker offers an online method of tracking Santa's fictional progress through the logistical chore of stuffing soon-to-be-ignored amusing plastic tat down the chimneys …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Apr 2015

Trustwave's off to Singapore as Singtel slurps security company

Singapore's dominant telco and aspiring services player, Singtel, has acquired Trustwave for about US$810m. Trustwave offers managed security services and the SpiderLabs ethical hacking research outfit, plus a range of network, content and endpoint security products. The company operates in 26 nations and has 1,200 people on the …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Apr 2015
Interim logo for Digital Transformation Office

Turnbull's digital transformation office DOES SOMETHING

Earlier today, your correspondent bemoaned the fact that Australia's nascent Digital Transformation Office (DTO) was announced ten weeks ago but appears to have done little in that time other than advertise for a leader. Fast-forward to around 15:00 Australian time and the agency has revealed that it has, indeed, done something …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Apr 2015
Fight sticker

VMware and Nutanix in vSphere support spat

Nutanix and VMware are fighting an ugly online battle about over how to do hyperconvergence right. VMware threw the first punch, in this post by Chuck Hollis in which he says VCE invented the hyperconverged market and that got it right the first time with its “everything in this rack and running on this rack has been tested a …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Apr 2015
tumbling dice

Pure Storage preps for IPO: report

Pure Storage has appointed Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Plc to ready it for an initial public offering (IPO), says Reuters. Citing people familiar with the financial footling as its source, the newswire says the company thinks the markets will toss over US$3bn in its direction some time later this year. Pure …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Apr 2015
Screaming kid

Microsoft sounds 100-day DOOM KLAXON for Windows Server 2003

Microsoft's sounded the 100-day warning bell for Windows Server 2003, which exits supported status on July 14th. Redmond's rolling out the usual arguments for making the move to anything other than Server 2003: you're going to be insecure; you're missing out on the joy of virtualisation and automation, and the savings they …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Apr 2015
The improved management screen for VirtualBox 4.2

VirtualBox v. 5.0 beta 1 spins up for desktop virty lab chuckles

Snoracle has decided the time is right to upgrade its VirtualBox desktop hypervisor. VirtualBox is a favourite among home lab types, developers and virtualisation fanbois because it is very good at running guest operating systems and has a significant price advantage over rivals like VMware Workstation and Parallels Desktop …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Apr 2015
Windows OEM devices on stage at Computex

Pro-tip: Steal a TARDIS to survive Windows Server preview death

Microsoft's decision to deliver the next version of Windows Server in 2016 has created an odd problem: the current tech preview of the new OS will expire before it ships the next pre-beta build. This state of affairs has come about because Microsoft released the first tech preview way back in October 2014, with a six-month …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Apr 2015
Malcolm Turnbull from ITU pictures flickr feed https://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/

Job ad appears for CEO of Turnbull's digital transformation office

Australia's Department of Communications has advertised for a chief executive officer of the nascent Digital Transformation Office (DTO). Applicants are expected to possess a “Strong track record of delivering transformational change in a customer-focussed, high volume and transactional environment using digital technology”, an …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Apr 2015
Sydney Opera House Hackathon logo

Liberal MP threatens journo with metadata probe

Mere weeks after Australia's government passed its metadata retention laws, a junior minister has - perhaps jokingly - threatened to use them against a journalist. The minister in question is Jamie Briggs, member for the South Australian seat of Mayo and assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development. Briggs …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Apr 2015
Scary Mary Haunted Mirror

Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

On-call Welcome to On-call, our getting-a-bit-more-regular look at the odd things readers experience when called out to do things at night. This week, reader Pauly tells us that “a couple of Mondays ago I was asked to go and install some temperature-monitoring equipment at a prestigious hotel in Knightsbridge”. That's the posh bit of …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Apr 2015
Sad cloud

Snowden didn't scare many out of US clouds says Forrester

Analyst outfit Forrester has asked the question “Did PRISM Cause An Exodus From US Clouds?” and found the answer is yes. At least a bit. The firm asked “1,668 non-US technology and business decision-makers” whether “In the past year, has your company explicitly halted or reduced your spending with US-based companies for Internet …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2015

Is this what Windows XP's death throes look like?

It's the first of the month (US time), so off we go to Netmarketshare and Statcounter to see what operating systems are getting a run on the world's desktop computers. Our long series of stories on the two analysts' output has shown, time and again, that Windows XP is just-about-unkillable. Despite Microsoft ceasing support, the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2015
South Korean flag. Pic: Republic of Korea

South Korea to NUKE Microsoft ActiveX

South Korea may have the world's best broadband, a vivid gaming culture and, in Samsung and LG, two very influential technology giants. But it also has one the world's weirdest online payment regimes because of its decision to mandate the obscure SEED cipher to secure online transactions. SEED doesn't play nice with SSL, but …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2015

VMware seeks patent for VD-eye-tracking tech

Delivering a virtual desktop to a mobile device is easy to do these days, but once it lands in a mobile device the experience can be horrid. Touch screens make poor substitutes for mice and the smaller screen of a fondleslab or smartphone makes user interfaces designed for monitors unpleasant. Citrix's answer to this problem is …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Apr 2015
Rosetta's view of Earth on March 5th, 2005

ESA reveals Rosetta's snaps of MARS and EARTH

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a trove of images captured by the Rosetta probe during its journey to Comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta launched in 2004 but dipped into Earth's gravity well three times, and Mars' once, to conduct “gravity assist manoeuvres” designed to speed it on its way to 67P. During …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015

Virgin Media goes TITSUP, RUINS Tuesday evening

Update UK internet service provider Virgin Media suffered a Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP) event on Tuesday evening, leaving plenty of subscribers without broadband. The outage appears to have impacted customers across the United Kingdom and to have left the afflicted without terrestrial or wireless broadband …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Apr 2015