Simon Sharwood

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The many moods of Cortana

Cortana to form CIRCLE OF LIFE in Windows 10

Microsoft has revealed more details of just how its personal assistant Cortana will work in Windows 10. The assistant's been given a visual representation based on circles, with the variations at the top of the story representing Cortana in different moods and when performing different tasks. The circles will appear as …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2015
Flying pig

VMware creates network function virtualisation team

VMware will create a new team dedicated to what it calls “networks functions virtualisation” (NFV). News of the initiative slipped into a canned statement about a pair of promotions at Virtzilla. The newly-titled ones are Sanjay Mirchandani, now corporate senior veep in addition to his role as leader of VMware's Asia-Pacific and …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2015
Cloudera logo

Cloudera doesn't want your money, honey, it wants your LOVE!

Cloudera will one day become a public company, but unusually won't do so with the primary aim of finding working capital, according to co-founder and chief strategy officer Mike Olson. Speaking to The Reg in Sydney today, Olson said the US$740m Intel invested in the company means it has all the cash it needs to get where it …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Feb 2015

Linux 3.19 released for your computing pleasure

Version 3.19 of the Linux kernel has been signed off by Linus Torvalds. News of the release emerged in a typically economical Sunday evening post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, in which Torvalds noted there are still a couple of bugs in this release but they were pretty obscure so “... while I was tempted a couple of times to …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Feb 2015

WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

Samsung's smart televisions don't just do what you tell them to – they also use their voice recognition capabilities to tell unspecified third parties what you're saying while you sit in front of them. If that's not a bit worrying, we don't know what is. Sharp-eyed folks have spotted Samsung's confession to that this effect in …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Feb 2015
Woman being eaten  by vacuum cleaner

Robot vacuum cleaner EATS WOMAN

Korean outlet The Kyunghyang Shinmum reports a robot vacuum cleaner has attempted to eat a local woman, starting with her hair. The woman appears to have been lying down on the floor of her home, having forgotten that her robot vacuum cleaner was set to patrol the area. Once the vacuum woke up, it sucked 5cm of her head hair …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Feb 2015

Brit Linux distro CrunchBang calls it quits

The British developer behind the CrunchBang Linux distribution has called it quits. Philip Newborough, aka @corenominal, posted his decision to stop work on the distro last Friday. “I’m leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Feb 2015

Microsoft makes 'business case' for marriage equality

Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith has put forward a business case for marriage equality. The “Microsoft on the issues” blog mostly spends most of its time on topics like privacy and education, so tackling marriage equality is a bit of a departure. Smith starts by saying marriage equality is important to Microsoft because …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Feb 2015

Biltong, braais, being an 'IT bitch': A UK woman on working in Africa

The eXpat Files Jo Crawshaw is a 28-year-old woman who hails from “just outside the concrete jungle that is Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire”. These days you'll find her all over Africa, because her work for Opera Software means her gig is all about chatting to the continent's carriers. That job's taken her into some pretty confronting situations …
Simon Sharwood, 08 Feb 2015
Sopwith Pup RC Plane trench level view

Plane crash blamed on in-flight SELFIES

The USA's National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB's) investigation into a 2014 light plane crash has come to the conclusion that the pilot may well have been distracted by selfie-taking passengers. The crash killed two people last May when a Cessna 150 came to grief in Colorado after “... the pilot experienced spatial …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Feb 2015
virtualisation_illustration2

You're too NSX-y for this straitjacket

EMC's recently-reintegrated hyperconverged storage arm VCE yesterday announced a new “VCE Foundation for Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud”. It's not colossally different from the outfit's current vBlocks, save that it brings VMware's NSX network virtualisation, vRealize management code and EMC's ViPR software-defined-storage …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Feb 2015
Docker Logo

Oracle tosses its Linux into Docker's repository

Oracle sometimes seems to be a bit miffed by enthusiasm for Linux container darling Docker because its own Solaris “Zones” have done containers for ages. Big Red also knows in its heart of hearts that Solaris isn't for everyone, but reckons its own Linux is for anyone who fancies robust, well-supported Torvalds-spawn. And given …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Feb 2015
US Digital Service Logo

Obama pinches VMware's CIO for same gig at White House

VMware's senior veep and CIO Tony Scott has been made an offer he couldn't refuse: to take the latter job in the US Government. The White House announced the appointment Thursday, with the canned statement saying he's the right person to meet the gig's goals of "driving value in Federal IT investments ... delivering world-class …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Feb 2015
Handshake

Dell enterprise tech leader parachutes to Nexenta

Dell's chief technology evengelist for the enterprise appears to have left the company and re-surfaced as software-defined-storage outfit Nexenta's chief technology officer. Sam Greenblatt's the chap in question, a former CA and HP exec who jumped to Dell in 2012. At the time of writing, Dell lauded him in this profile …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Feb 2015
Veeam CEO Ratmir Timashev

Veeam proclaims VICTORY in Symantec patent spat

Virtualisation management outfit Veeam is claiming twin victories today. One is notional: the company reported its full 2014 results today and proudly proclaimed that it has hauled a billion dollars through its doors since opening them for business in 2007. $288m of that haul landed during FY 2014, in the form of new licence …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Feb 2015
Toshiba encrypted USB stick

Toshiba packs NUMERIC KEYPAD onto self-bricking USB drive

Toshiba has released a range of USB sticks boasting numeric keypads needed to unlock their encrypted contents. The keypad's there to add an extra layer of security to the drive by requiring a personal identification number (PIN) to be entered before the device will be useful when connected to a PC. Once users unplug their sticks …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Feb 2015

IBM chasing ex-staffers for $20 payments

IBM's nasty round of job-shedding is in part due to a pyramid scheme, in the form of a new Digital Sales Center in Cairo, Egypt, home to the nation's most famous pyramids. IBM's not being shy about why it's making new investments in Egypt: its canned statement about the new facility features the CEO of the Egyptian Information …
Simon Sharwood, 05 Feb 2015
The EDSAC Gallery at the UK National Museum of Computing

Parts for Brit proto-mainframe EDSAC show up in USA

Original parts from the British proto-mainframe EDSAC have been found in the USA, boosting the project that aims to restore the computer to working order. The UK's National Computing Museum is keen to reboot EDSAC because it is was an early British effort at creating a commercial computer, and spawned the LEO range considered …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Feb 2015
The European flag

Web daddy Tim Berners-Lee calls for net neutrality in Europe

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, HTTP server visionary and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, has penned a blog post on the European Commission web site titled Net neutrality is critical for Europe's future. Sir Tim defines net neutrality as “ the principle that each ‘packet’ of data must be treated equally by the network” and says …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Feb 2015
Cheap kit kat

Indian phone buyers decide home is where the heart is

In most of the world, Samsung, Apple and MicroNokia battle it out for the crown as the top-selling mobile phone vendor. But in India, local hero Micromax has just taken the crown according to channel-centric analyst firm Canalys which reckons it has 22 per cent of the market, ahead of Samsung's 20 per cent. Canalys reckons the …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Feb 2015
Slurp

VMware acquires Immidio to personalise mobile stuff

VMware has acquired Immidio, a vendor of “user environment management” (UEM) products that deliver desktops to any device, and will fold it into a wider Workspace Environment Management (WEM) effort. Virtzilla's cooking up this new batch of acronym soup because it's decided that the application and desktop delivery caper is …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Feb 2015

GROUPTHINK HIVE MIND informs climate change believers

Both sides of the climate change debate tend towards group conciousness and define their positions based, in part, on hating the other side of the argument, according to a letter published in Nature: Climate Change. Public division about climate change rooted in conflicting socio-political identities(PDF), penned by folks from …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Feb 2015
Zombie rising from the grave

Rumours of on-premises software's demise greatly exaggerated

Microsoft has let it be known that it will create another version of SharePoint, and release a version of it for on-premises operations. “We know that the move to cloud doesn’t happen all at once,” Microsoft writes , adding “While we’ve seen growing demand for SharePoint Online, we recognize that our customers have a range of …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Feb 2015
Probably a new Samsung smartmobe

Samsung gets KINKY with new Galaxy in 50 SHADES OF GREY

Samsung has let it be known it'll reveal whatever's depicted below in Barcelona on March 1st, the eve of 2015's Mobile World Congress. Probably a new Samsung smartmobe Oooh! Kinky! (Bigger kink here) The small print at bottom left reads "Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2015", so presumably the image and invite sent to media pertains …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Feb 2015
Google car

LOOK OUT - it's a GOOBER! Google's über-Uber robo apptaxi ploy

Google may be working on an Uber-like service using autonomous vehicles, reports Bloomberg. The financial newswire's story says Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, who sits on Uber's board, has mentioned Google's interest in some kind of Uber competitor, and that possible conflicts of interest are therefore being …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Feb 2015
Vmware cloud logo

The joy of six: VMware ecstatic after finally emitting new vSphere

As expected, VMware has released vSphere 6, and as anticipated the company has also released its OpenStack distribution. But it also surprised with a new version of VSAN and the release of Project Fargo. Virtzilla's also given itself a new mantra - OneCloud - to describe its ambition to manage on-premises infrastructure, what …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015
Uber apologises for Sydney siege surge pricing SNAFU

Uber Australia hiring lawyers, PR flaks

Uber Australia has two interlinked problems: because its operations appear to be against current regulations, and it behaves with impunity, a fair share of the public thinks it is a corporate scoundrel. What a surprise then, that on the HR wishlist for the company's Sydney office are the following roles: Lead country counsel, …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015
Philae

Lost SPACECRAFT believed FOUND ON COMET

The European Space Agency has released an image it says hints at where the Philae lander dispatched to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko came to rest. Comet-watchers will recall that Philae was carried to 67P by the Rosetta spacecraft, which dropped the washing-machine-sized lander last November 12th. All went well until the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015

National Lottery sleeps through Sunday

The UK National Lottery website seems to have done something nasty to itself on Saturday night, as it crashed out for much of Sunday. We're not sure exactly when the site went down and it's hard to say exactly when the problem happened because the time stamps on the Tweets that tell the story don't translate well when read down …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015
Google's project tango

Tango UP – Google graduates 3D tablet from the labs

Google has thrown its 3D-sensing Project Tango fondleslab out of its labs, and into the embrace of Google itself. Project Tango is billed as giving “mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion,” a trick it pulls off by building motion-sensing cameras into mobile devices and then building up 3D models of the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Feb 2015
chart

PEAK WINDOWS 7 may well be behind us

Windows 7's market share appears to have peaked, according to two sources we use to assess what's running on the world's desktop computers. Those sources are Netmarketshare and Statcounter.com, two outfits that make their assessments of operating system prevalence based on traffic hitting web servers. That's an imperfect …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Feb 2015
creative commons - must credit clarence: *www.sxc.hu/profile/clarence

Rule-breakers thrive in strait-laced Singapore

The eXpat Files Douglas Baigrie is an ethical hacker, a role he says it's hard to recruit for in Singapore because the local culture encourages following rules – not thinking around them as he's required to do. The 36-year-old Scot therefore found himself in demand in the Lion City, and after seven years there has even learned to cope with the …
Simon Sharwood, 01 Feb 2015
alibaba logo

Alibaba's magic cave empties as it misses revenue target

Chinese online tat bazaar Alibaba has not only posted disappointing results, been caned by the stock market but now has also fallen foul of China's government for knowingly hosting sellers of counterfeit kit. The company reported that it earned $964m for the last quarter of 2014 on revenue of $4.22bn. The earnings number was …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jan 2015
Bonfire. Pic: DiAnn L'Roy, Flickr

EMC grows new 'Enterprise Content Division'

Another attempted reboot for Documentum EMC's Documentum business has limped along for years now, but now has a spring in its step after rebranding and acquiring a new leader. Evidence of the change emerged from the former Information Intelligence Group's (IIG's) gabfest in San Francisco this week, where attendees were …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jan 2015
"Image from the glassbrain project, neuroscapelab.com, UCSF

OH HAPPY DAY! Lawyers replaced by AI

Artificial intelligence is a worry on two fronts. In a worst-case scenario, we end up with The Terminator. In a less-painful scenario, we end up with billions of humans out of work as drudgery is replaced by machines. The second scenario looks just a little bit closer today, but also less painful, after the advent of “ROSS”, a …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jan 2015
Columns of coins in the cloud

YOU COMPLETE ME: Google and VMware in cloudy embrace

Google and VMware have forged a cloudy alliance that will see several of the former's services made available through the latter's vCloud Air service. Google Cloud Storage; the BigQuery analytics and big data service; Cloud Datastore; and Cloud DNS will all be “tightly integrated” into vCloud Air. The announcement about the …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2015

SamSUNK! Korean giant's electronics biz takes punch to the smartphone profits

Samsung's mobile phone businesses took a nasty tumble in 2014's fourth quarter, with profits at the company's electronics division falling by 27 per cent to 5.35 trillion won ($4.9bn). Samsung Electronics makes all manner of gadgetry, much used by other electronics companies in their own products. But attention has focussed on …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2015
Boot Chess screen shot

ZX81 BEATEN at last as dev claims smallest Chess code crown

Developer Olivier Poudade claims he's beaten a 33 year-old record for the smallest working Chess program. The previous record-holder, 1K ZX Chess, ran on the seminal Sinclair ZX81 which shipped with just 1K of RAM. 1K ZX Chess was lousy at the game, but its mere existence bestowed a little gravitas on the easy-to-ridicule ZX81 …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2015
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft's Ignite gabfest includes just ONE session about Windows Server

Microsoft has just released the session catalog for its May Ignite event, the new gabfest that mashes TechEd and several other product-specific enterprise software conferences into one. And at this stage it looks like Windows Server will hardly make the agenda. Vulture South's search of the catalog found just one session …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Jan 2015
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Turnbull's Digital Transformation Office has NO PLAN, but awesome power

Malcolm Turnbull's new Digital Transformation Office (DTO), launched last week with a goal of reinventing government service delivery but lacking any new money with which to make the attempt, also has no plan for its efforts. It does, however, have an FAQ on Turnbull's own site, explaining that the new agency will “will be …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jan 2015
The COSIMA instrument aboard Rosetta

I'll get my coat – there's a dusty one flying off Comet 67P

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is shedding four years worth of accumulated dust as it hurtles towards the Sun, say scientists after studying the output of the Rosetta spacecraft's COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser, aka COSIMA. A gaggle of astroboffins have penned a letter titled “Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sheds dust …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jan 2015

YouTube flushes Flash for future flicks

YouTube has decided it's had enough of Adobe's perenially-p0wned Flash and will therefore now default to delivering video with the HTML5 <video> tag. A post by the video vault's engineering and development team says the move is now possible, and sensible, because the industry has invented useful things like adaptive bitrates, …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jan 2015
big droplets falling from rain cloud

VMware cracks US$6bn for the year, says SaaS will slow growth

VMware today used its Q4 2014 earnings call to warn its revenue growth will slow because it's doing so well in the cloud. The overall picture is rosy for VMware, which announced a US$1,703 million quarter and $6.03 billion dollar year, up 15 per cent and 16 per cent respectively on the corresponding periods from 2013. Other …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jan 2015
Privacy image

INTERNET of STUFF: Google to replace old Dropcams for $0.00

Dropcam, the home video camera company acquired by Google's Internet of Things limb Nest, is giving away new cameras to owners of its old cameras. Dropcam's eponymous products are WiFi-connected cameras that make it easy to log on and peer at whatever it is they see over a video stream. The idea is that you'll buy a Dropcam and …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jan 2015
management management4

HP reveals which execs have a chair once the splitting music stops

HP has revealed who'll be sitting where once the splitting song stops and the company has broken into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise. As previously flagged, current leader Meg Whitman will stay atop HP Enterprise as chair and CEO, backed by the following team: Cathie Lesjak will be the Chief Financial Officer John Schultz will be …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jan 2015
SKA artists impression

IBM details PowerPC microserver aimed at square kilometre array

IBM has revealed more about a PowerPC microserver it says will help to crunch data gathered by the square kilometre array (SKA), the colossal radio telescope to be built across South Africa and Australia. Once operational, the SKA is expected to generate around an exabyte – a million terabytes - of data each day. Even sorting …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jan 2015
Welcome to Amazon Workspaces

VDI is heading for a minor DAAS-aster

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) services are getting good enough, fast enough, that organisations need to consider them as an alternative to desktop virtualisation (VDI). So says analyst tribe Gartner in a new emission, Is DaaS Ready for the Enterprise?, in which it answers in the affirmative, certainly for low-end applications, but …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jan 2015
Bluetooth Control to reach the button

Oi, Aussie sports fans! Take that selfie stick and stick it

If you think selfie sticks are a sign of society's descent into a slough of narcissism, get thee to Australia where organisers of sporting events are making it known that telescoping terrors aren't entirely welcome. Officials at cycling event the Tour Down Under on Friday felt it necessary to emit the Tweet below: Be #selfie …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jan 2015

Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

The eXpat Files Last time we chatted to an expat in Thailand, our secretive subject stayed schtum about his identity because he was working illegally. This time around, Eddie Croasdell had all his paperwork in order, but after spending a decade in the country has decided the political climate was getting a bit hot so recently came home to …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jan 2015
Comet 67P closeup

SPACE the FINAL FRONTIER: These are the images of COMET PROBE ROSETTA

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released details of the first bushel of studies derived from the Rosetta spacecraft's visit to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The journal Science has devoted a special issue to seven studies of the comet, but let's do a summary here. For starters, boffins have decided that 67P is fluffy, or …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jan 2015