Neil McAllister

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Meego, webOS, Sailfish OS, and now Firefox OS: Ex-Nokia man Jaaksi joins Mozilla

Mozilla has appointed ex-Nokia man Ari Jaaksi as its new senior veep of connected devices. "In this role, Ari will be responsible for Firefox OS and broader exploration of opportunities to advance our mission across the ever-increasing range of connection points of the modern Internet, i.e. phones, TVs, [internet of things], …
Neil McAllister, 06 Oct 2015

Microsoft gobbles Chipzilla's Havok 3D physics unit in cloud gaming play

Top physics engine for 3D gaming Havoc has been scooped up by Microsoft, which has inked a deal with Intel to buy the outfit for an undisclosed sum. "Havok is an amazing technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real-time physics creator," Microsoft crowed in a blog post announcing the purchase. It added: "We …
Neil McAllister, 03 Oct 2015

Like your job at Sprint? Yeah, about that ... $2.5bn in cuts coming

US mobile carrier Sprint plans to tighten its belt to the tune of up to $2.5bn in cost cuts over the next six months, a new report claims. The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday that it has obtained a memo outlining the plan that was sent to Sprint staffers this week by CFO Tarek Robbiati. In it, Robbiati reportedly said he …
Neil McAllister, 02 Oct 2015

Autonomy ex-boss Lynch tells of poisonous life within HP in High Court showdown

Analysis Former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch has stepped up his rhetoric against HP in his latest lawsuit against the firm, having characterized HP as a snake pit of backbiting and internecine squabbling where execs "generally fought amongst themselves like cats in a sack." In papers [PDF] filed with the UK High Court on Thursday, Lynch …
Neil McAllister, 02 Oct 2015

AMD to axe a few more staff as it struggles to get back to black

AMD has unveiled a belt-tightening plan that the struggling chipmaker hopes will get its finances back on track to profitability. We were told to expect changes after AMD's latest dispiriting earnings report in July, although no specifics were offered at the time. You needn't have been a fortune teller to predict that heads …
Neil McAllister, 01 Oct 2015

Patch NOW: VMware vCenter, ESXi can be pwned via your network

VMware is urging users of its vCenter Server and ESXi software to install its latest patches to plug vulnerabilities that can allow remote-code execution and denial of service. The vCenter flaw was first spotted by Doug McLeod of Edinburgh-based security consultancy 7 Elements toward the beginning of the year, and the …
Neil McAllister, 01 Oct 2015
Microsoft on Android

Microsoft and Google ink SECRET TREATY to end all their patent wars

Google and Microsoft have inked a secret deal in which all patent disputes between the mammoth companies will be abandoned. The exact terms of the agreement – as in, who gets what – were not disclosed. Your guess is as good as ours. "Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues," the companies …
Neil McAllister, 01 Oct 2015

Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

Windows 7 users were left scratching their heads on Wednesday when a mysterious garbled patch appeared in Windows Update, origins unknown. The update only seems to have popped up on Windows 7 systems, including Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise. The rogue patch, which advertised itself as a Windows Language Pack, was said …
Neil McAllister, 30 Sep 2015
Bang by Guian Bolisay

Rackspace: Amazon? Sure, you can buy their cloud ... from us

Rackspace has reportedly formed a partnership with Amazon Web Services to help customers move their data centers to the online retail giant's public cloud. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, an American financial newspaper, the two companies plan to announce their new relationship at Amazon's AWS:reinvent …
Neil McAllister, 30 Sep 2015

Microsoft says Mesos support is coming with Azure Container Service

Building on its existing support for containerized applications on its Azure cloud, Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Azure Container Service, a new environment for running cloudy container workloads based on Docker and Apache Mesos. "After speaking with many enterprise customers who have turned to Mesos to address challenges …
Neil McAllister, 29 Sep 2015

Yahoo!: Who! cares! what! US! taxman! thinks!, we'll! spinoff! Alibaba! anyway!

Yahoo! says it's going to press ahead with its plan to spin off its multibillion-dollar stake in Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, despite failing to receive a favorable ruling from the US Internal Revenue Service. CEO Marissa Mayer first announced the plan, which would see Yahoo! transfer its 384 million Alibaba shares to a …
Neil McAllister, 29 Sep 2015
Satya Nadella

Axed-ya Nadella swings blade through the forest of Microsoft again

In Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's latest move to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor, Steve Ballmer, the software giant has announced that it's changing its financial reporting structure ... again. The last time Redmond reorganized how it reports its earnings to investors was in the summer of 2013. Ballmer would step aside …
Neil McAllister, 28 Sep 2015

Is Windows 10 slurping too much data? No, says Microsoft. Nuh-uh. Nope

Is Windows 10 spying on you by grabbing all sorts of personally identifying data about you without your permission? Not at all, claims Redmond. On Monday, Microsoft OS boss Terry Myerson let fly a blog post explaining that all the Sturm und Drang on blogs and in the media about Windows 10's data collection policies is …
Neil McAllister, 28 Sep 2015

Confession: I was a teenage computer virus writer

Special feature I was 17 years old, I had nothing to do, and I wanted to teach myself programming. So I decided to write a computer virus. Don't worry. The two viruses that I ended up writing – Leprosy and Leprosy-B – were designed to infect MS-DOS computers. They knew nothing about the internet, because neither did I at the time, and these …
Neil McAllister, 14 Sep 2015
Brad Smith

Donald Trump? No, it's BRAD SMITH for president (of Microsoft)

Microsoft top legal beagle Brad Smith has been promoted to president of the company, marking the first time Redmond has had a company-wide president since 2002. Smith's expanded role also sees him taking the title of chief legal officer, an upgrade from his previous position as Microsoft's general counsel. In an internal memo …
Neil McAllister, 11 Sep 2015
Hybrid NAND disk controller Marvell 88SE9230

Marvell superheroes and the Fantastic Four (hundred million dollar loss and internal probe)

Shares of chipmaker Marvell plummeted on Friday after the company said it was unable to file its quarterly earnings results on time, but that it expected to post a whopping $382.4m net loss. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Marvell said its earnings report would be late due to an ongoing internal …
Neil McAllister, 11 Sep 2015
Spoon feeding

Don't want to upgrade to Windows 10? You'll download it WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT

Microsoft would really, really, really like you to upgrade to Windows 10. So much so that even if you've opted not to request the upgrade, you'll get it anyway, even if you never intend to install it. The software giant confirmed to The Register on Thursday that it's been pushing out the necessary files for the upgrade to …
Neil McAllister, 10 Sep 2015
Node Knockout code

Node.js says all is forgiven, welcomes io.js fork back into the fold

The Node.js Foundation has released version 4.0.0 of the Node.js, the first version that reunites the JavaScript-based server-side web application framework with its io.js fork. "This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single …
Neil McAllister, 09 Sep 2015
Phone landfill

You're FIRE-D: Amazon quietly extinguishes its failed smartphone

The saga of Amazon's star-crossed Fire Phone looks to have ended, at last. The device, which was launched to much hype in June 2014, is now listed as "currently unavailable" on Amazon's e-commerce sites. A note on the Fire Phone's official product page says, "We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock" – and you …
Neil McAllister, 09 Sep 2015
Raja Koduri

Struggling AMD re-orgs graphics groups as Radeon Technologies

AMD has done a rethink of how it approaches graphics chips and has reorganized its various visual computing groups into a new, unified division called Radeon Technologies. Leading the new group as its senior VP and chief architect is Raja Koduri, who until recently served as AMD's VP of visual computing – one of several execs …
Neil McAllister, 09 Sep 2015
Web browsers 2015

Microsoft: Thanks, Google, we'll have your media codec for Edge

Microsoft says it plans to build support for Google's open source VP9 streaming video codec into its Edge browser, and it's evaluating other open source audio and video formats for the web. The Mountain View Chocolate Factory created VP9 as a replacement for H.264 that delivers better-quality video with lower bandwidth …
Neil McAllister, 08 Sep 2015
The Starship Enterprise

Windows 10 to grow up, turn extra enterprise-y beginning this month

Microsoft says features of Windows 10 for enterprises that weren't available when the OS launched in July will begin rolling out this month. As was the case with the Windows 10 launch, subscribers to the Windows Insider program will get first crack at the late add-ons, which won't reach general availability until later in the …
Neil McAllister, 08 Sep 2015

Hackers spent at least a year spying on Mozilla to discover Firefox security holes – and exploit them

Hackers have known about unpublicized and unpatched critical security holes in the Firefox web browser for a year or more – all by invading Mozilla's systems. The Mozilla Foundation admitted on Friday that a privileged account on Firefox's Bugzilla bug-tracking software has been compromised since at least September 2014. Said …
Neil McAllister, 04 Sep 2015

Victims of US gov't mega-breach still haven't been notified

Nearly three months after the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) discovered its databases had been compromised by Chinese hackers, the government still hasn't notified the employees and contractors affected by the breach. On Tuesday, the OPM said it planned to start the process of informing victims "later this month," and …
Neil McAllister, 02 Sep 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC –

Bloke clicks GitHub 'commit' button in Visual Studio, gets slapped with $6,500 AWS bill

A web developer from South Africa said a bug in a tool for using Microsoft's Visual Studio IDE with code-sharing site GitHub inadvertently exposed his sensitive data – and the error cost him more than $6,500 (£4,250) in just a few hours. Carlo van Wyk of Cape Town–based Humankode said he used the GitHub Extension for Visual …
Neil McAllister, 01 Sep 2015
H.264 image scaling

Web giants gang up to take on MPEG LA, HEVC Advance with royalty-free streaming codec

Some of the largest companies in online media have banded together to battle back against excessive patent licensing fees for streaming video. Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix have all joined the Alliance for Open Media, a new consortium aimed at developing a new, open source, royalty-free video …
Neil McAllister, 01 Sep 2015

AMD rattles Nvidia's cage with hardware-based GPU virtualization

VMworld 2015 AMD has used the VMworld conference in San Francisco this week to take wraps off a new, hardware-based GPU virtualization tech for virtualized workstations. Known as the AMD Multiuser GPU, the chipmaker claims it can allow up to 15 virtualized desktops to share a single graphics processor without any loss of performance. The …
Neil McAllister, 01 Sep 2015
Web browsers 2015

Google's Chrome to gag noisy tabs until you click on them

Soon, Google's Chrome browser will only play media when a tab is in the foreground, even if it is set to play automatically. The idea is that you'll no longer need to worry about a tab you've opened suddenly blabbering away while you're in a meeting because it contained media that was set to auto-play a few minutes after you …
Neil McAllister, 31 Aug 2015
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

Ex-HP top aide in the clink for racking up $1m on company credit cards

A former HP employee was sentenced on Monday to 21 months in prison, after having charged unauthorized personal expenses to her company credit cards to the tune of nearly $1m. According to a statement by the US Attorney's Office, Holli Dawn Coulman, 45, joined HP in 2000 and spent 12 years at the company. During the last four …
Neil McAllister, 25 Aug 2015
Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan Supreme Court rules former TSMC exec leaked chip secrets to Samsung

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly won a lawsuit against a former employee over claims that he leaked details of the chip fabber's 28-nanometer process technology to archrival Samsung. As a result of the judgment, Liang Mong-song, a former top R&D man at TSMC, has been barred from working for …
Neil McAllister, 25 Aug 2015

Qualcomm flashes Snapdragon 820's bits again – this time it's DSP

Qualcomm has lifted the veil a little further from its upcoming Snapdragon 820 mobile system-on-chip, sharing details of its new digital signal processor (DSP). The chipmaker has been dribbling out information about the Snapdragon 820 ahead of its launch, having already dropped a few tidbits about its graphics processing unit …
Neil McAllister, 25 Aug 2015
Data Centre

Dude, you're getting a few thousand custom Dells!

Dell has launched a new business line of custom servers to companies with unique needs and those that don't quite want the server volume of "hyperscale" data centers. The Datacenter Scalable Solutions (DSS) unit will specifically target companies in web tech, telecoms, hosting, oil and gas, and research spaces. "Today, there' …
Neil McAllister, 24 Aug 2015

Big trouble in big China: Crashing economy in Middle Kingdom body slams US tech stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 1,000 points in the first few minutes of trading on Monday, as the effects of China's economic woes spilled over onto Wall Street. China's Shanghai Composite index plummeted by 8.7 per cent – its biggest one-day drop since the global financial crisis of 2007 – sending waves into …
Neil McAllister, 24 Aug 2015

HP is getting so good now at negative growth, it should patent it

HP CEO Meg Whitman said on Thursday that she was pleased with the company's performance during the third quarter of its fiscal 2015, despite the fact that nearly every reporting segment was down annually. The PC and printer giant missed analysts' estimates on revenue, with total sales for the quarter of $25.35bn, an 8.1 per …
Neil McAllister, 20 Aug 2015
BlackBerry Venice

Leaked images claim to show BlackBerry's first Android phone

Images have hit the web of what is purportedly BlackBerry's first Android handset. Eye candy. — Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 19, 2015 The photos and short video clips were posted by blogger Evan Blass, aka Evleaks, who got them from an unnamed source. They allegedly show a device to be released …
Neil McAllister, 20 Aug 2015
Are you being served?

Microsoft kicks off 'Windows as a service' with new Insider build

Less than a month after releasing the General Availability version of Windows 10, Microsoft is back with a brand-new experimental build of the OS for its Windows Insider guinea pigs. Build 10525 started shipping on Wednesday to Windows Insider members who subscribed to the Fast release ring. By comparison, the release version …
Neil McAllister, 20 Aug 2015
Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier: 'We're in early years of a cyber arms race'

LinuxCon 2015 Security guru Bruce Schneier says there's a kind of cold war now being waged in cyberspace, only the trouble is we don't always know who we're waging it against. Schneier appeared onscreen via Google Hangouts at the LinuxCon/CloudOpen/ContainerCon conference in Seattle on Tuesday to warn attendees that the modern security …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2015
Windows Server

Windows Server 2016 Preview 3 brings containers at last

The third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 is here, and with it, Microsoft takes another step forward into the much-hyped world of cloud native computing. Most importantly, this build gives us our first look at Windows Server Containers, which were conspicuously absent from the previous build that shipped in May. …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2015
Jim Zemlin and Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon 2015

Linux boss Torvalds: Don't talk to me about containers and other buzzwords

LinuxCon 2015 Linux kernel maintainer Linus Torvalds isn't thinking about where his creation will be ten years from now – in fact, he claims he doesn't even think ahead one year. "I am a very plodding, pedestrian kind of person," Torvalds said during a Q&A session with Linux Foundation boss Jim Zemlin at LinuxCon in Seattle on Wednesday. "I …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2015
Gold Hat stinking badges

Linux Foundation wants open source projects to show you their steenking badges

LinuxCon 2015 The Linux Foundation says it plans to introduce a new, voluntary badge program designed to help IT admins identify open source projects that have made security a priority. The new effort is part of the Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), which aims to fund and support open source projects that are critical to …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2015
Red rocket toy

Intel and CoreOS add hardware virty support to rkt containers

LinuxCon 2015 Intel and CoreOS have teamed up to produce an application container runtime that supports hardware enhanced virtualization. Version 0.8.0 of CoreOS's rkt (pronounced "rocket") container runtime was announced at the LinuxCon/CloudOpen/ContainerCon conference taking place this week in Seattle. Among the main features of the new …
Neil McAllister, 19 Aug 2015
Project Ara - swappable hardware mobile

Er, uh ... sorry! Project Ara will not launch this year after all

Google had bad news on Thursday for fans of Project Ara, its DIY modular smartphone. It seems it won't launch this year, after all. In January, the Chocolate Factory's Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) group said the devices, which let owners mix and match from an assortment of batteries, screens, cameras, and other …
Neil McAllister, 15 Aug 2015

SEC: Ukrainian hackers' investment fraud ring raked in millions in 'unprecedented' hack

Analysis The computer hacking and securities fraud ring that was broken up by US authorities this week was "one of the most intricate and sophisticated trading rings that we have ever seen," the US Securities and Exchange Commission has said. Some 32 people were charged on Monday with offenses related to the scheme, which the SEC …
Neil McAllister, 14 Aug 2015

New Docker crypto locker is a blocker for Docker image mockers

Docker has tackled the problem of secure application container distribution with a new system that supports signing container images using public key cryptography. The new feature, known as Docker Content Trust, is the main attraction of Docker 1.8, the latest version of the tool suite that was announced on Wednesday. "Before …
Neil McAllister, 13 Aug 2015
Def Con 23 Record Badge

Is this the most puzzling DEF CON attendee badge yet on record?

DEF CON 23 Attending the DEF CON hacking conference in Las Vegas is always an unusual experience, but among the most celebrated features of the event are its unusual attendee badges. Reg man Iain Thomson attended this year's event – the 23rd – and we at Vulture Annex in San Francisco got a kick out of scratching our heads at the mystery …
Neil McAllister, 12 Aug 2015

Snapdragon 820: Qualcomm lifts kimono on its shiny new GPUs

Qualcomm has yet to publicly share hard specs on the Snapdragon 820, its forthcoming flagship mobile system-on-chip (SoC), but on Wednesday it served an amuse-bouche by unveiling the new chip's pixel-bashing components. The Adreno 5xx line is Qualcomm's latest generation of mobile graphics-processing units (GPUs), and they …
Neil McAllister, 12 Aug 2015

ZTE says it won't allow exec to appear in US court over arrest fears

Relations between Chinese telecoms vendor ZTE and the US federal government remain as tense as ever, with ZTE claiming it won't allow one of its executives to testify in a New York court over fears he will be detained if he enters the US. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York had ordered Guo …
Neil McAllister, 12 Aug 2015

Mozilla-Microsoft spat latest: Firefox yanks Cortana away from Bing

Mozilla has upped the stakes in its squabble with Microsoft over user choice, having released a new version of Firefox that can sneakily subvert internet searches fed to Windows 10's Cortana personal assistant. Firefox 40, which shipped on Tuesday, comes with "a fresh new look for Windows 10" that includes "bigger, bolder …
Neil McAllister, 11 Aug 2015
Smartphones running Ubuntu

Ubuntu phone on sale to world+dog ... but will it work on your network?

Customers worldwide are now able to buy smartphones running the mobile version of Ubuntu Linux, even though many won't be able to get full value out of them. In a Tuesday blog post, Ubuntu maker Canonical said that BQ, its Spanish hardware partner, has opened a new online store where customers around the world can order the …
Neil McAllister, 11 Aug 2015
Car crash

BlackBerry can't catch a break: Now it's fending off Jeep hacking claims

BlackBerry has denied rumors that its software might have played a role in the infamous "Jeep hack," saying it's "unequivocally" not true. In July, security researchers revealed that certain cars built by Fiat Chrysler were vulnerable to potentially life-threatening remote attacks, thanks to a flaw in the automaker's uConnect …
Neil McAllister, 11 Aug 2015