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Alexander J Martin

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Alexander is a staff reporter at The Register. His PGP public key can be found here on Keybase.
Watson Power7 cluster. Pic: IBM

Elementary, my dear IBM: When will Watson make money?

IBM Watson has taken heat from Wall Street for not adding to Big Blue's revenue as the company reported a 19th successive quarter of decline. The Watson brand won worldwide attention back in 2011 when the supercomputer defeated human contestants during a special series of television quiz show Jeopardy. Now the brand lives on …
Google, photo by lightpoet via Shutterstock

I'll have Fabric, Crashlytics... Google crams Twitter mobile dev tools in trolley

Google is set to acquire Twitter's mobile app development platform, Fabric, and assimilate its team within its own development platform, Firebase. The terms of the acquisition have not been revealed, but the Fabric team will join Google's Developer Products Group, working with Google's Firebase team which also offers a mobile …

ProtonMail launches Tor hidden service to dodge totalitarian censorship

ProtonMail, the privacy-focused email business, has launched a Tor hidden service to combat the censorship and surveillance of its users. The move is designed to counter actions "by totalitarian governments around the world to cut off access to privacy tools" and the Swiss company specifically cited "recent events such as the …
Man looks suspiciously over his shoulder while working on laptop. Photo via Shutterstock

Exclusive billionaires' investment club leads Collibra's $50m Series C

Belgian data governance business Collibra has today announced the closure of its Series C round, almost tripling its venture capital funding. Collibra was founded in 2008, but as a European company did not follow the typical Valley model of growth and was, according to CEO and co-founder Felix Van de Maele, already cash-flow …

Oracle crashes AWS and Azure UK cloud data centre party

Oracle will open a cloud region in the UK that's based in London and plans to have three data centres serving the region by mid-2017. The region will accompany others in Virginia and Turkey in a plan Oracle stated will double "the regional presence of its cloud platform in the last 24 months, with 29 regions available globally …
Man with head in the cloud

Admins rejoice. Microsoft brings Azure Automation to the UK

Microsoft's slow rollout of the full suite of Azure tools in the UK has taken another step forwards today, with Automation arriving in both of its UK regions. Redmond says Azure Automation offers users a way to, well, automate the more tedious manual tasks that need to be repeated when managing a cloud and enterprise …
Doctors run to save patient. Photo by Shutterstock

Jeremy Hunt pockets £14m through sale of course search website

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has become one of the UK's richest politicians following the sale of his business which runs course-listing websites. London-based Hotcourses, in which Hunt has a 48 per cent stake, provides marketing services for universities, and course comparison sites for potential students. It today announced …

Sage signs X3 trio to cloud 'big business' ERP combo

Salesforce partner Sage Group has signed a trio of firms to its emerging X3 business ERP platform. CLOUT, Atlas Cloud, and BrightBridge are being held up as examples of Sage's ability to handle larger customers' needs with X3. David Watts, Sage's vice president for enterprise in UK and Ireland, said in a statement: "Over the …
Scrooge McDuck

Tech moguls dominate Oxfam's rich people Hateful 8

Five of the world's eight fattest fat cats, whose collective wealth equals that of the world's 3.6 billion poorest people – according to a new report by Oxfam – are technology billionaires. Leading the pack is the charity-committed Bill Gates, with $75bn he's honestly trying to get rid of. Carlos Slim Helú has a net worth of $ …

Pirates, pirates, whatchu gonna do? Advertisers cop a visit from PIPCU

Knock knock. Who's there? This Wednesday, officers from the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) trying to get your advertising agency to stop helping pirate sites generate revenue. Eight organisations – from influential brands, through to advertising agencies and ad networks – got a polite visit …
A handful of euro 1 cent coins

Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

Reg Standards Bureau There are supposedly two certainties in life – death and taxes – and while we've never seen death by wheelbarrow, Nick Stafford from Cedar Buff, Virginia, has sorted us out on the latter. Stafford had got into a dispute with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and, seemingly displeased by how difficult it was to contact the …
Thumbs up photo via Shutterstock

Hadoop hurler Hortonworks votes Tibco veteran for president

Hortonworks has named Raj Verma as its new president and chief operating officer in the latest of a string of shakeups designed to reinvigorate the Hadoop business following sliding sales. The Santa Clara-based business announced the departure of its former president, Herb Cunitz, alongside its second-quarter results last year …

Drone company fails to take off, tells pre-orderers: You can have your $34m back

Lily Robotics, which three years ago set out to create a flying camera, is shutting up shop and returning $34m to customers who had placed pre-orders. The firm announced yesterday that it had conceded defeat in its race against the "clock of ever-diminishing funds" despite the capital raised for the $899 camera-copter. Lily …

Smart fingerprint padlock startup to $320k backers: Sorry for the radio silence

TappLock, a startup promising the "world's first smart fingerprint padlock" has claimed that issues with manufacturing in China were behind the months of silence which provoked aggrieved backers to contact The Register, fearing fraud. The padlock business had managed to raise over $320,000 on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo …
Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017

The BBC has announced that it will this year broadcast Terry Pratchett's last story: His own. Sir Terry's Alzheimer's prevented him from finishing this work, but the BBC has completed its "poignant and humorous documentary" to tell the tale of the creator of the Discworld series of fantasy novels, whose books have sold over 85 …
cloud

Microsoft cans pay-as-you-go Azure for new MPSA licensees

Come February, Redmond will be ending pay-as-you-go Azure access for new customers on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, as it turns to channel partners to win small customers who are floating away. Existing customers currently purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA will be allowed to continue …
The FBI seal on a building

FBI takes gag out of Cloudflare's mouth after three-year legal battle

Cloudflare successfully fended off an FBI demand for people's private information, we can report this week now that a gagging order has been ripped away. In February 2013, the Feds slapped a National Security Letter (NSL) on the San Francisco-based web delivery biz, requiring it to hand over some customer account records and …
Raining money

British Hadoop security startup expands to New York to land big investor

British security startup Panaseer is expanding to New York from London as it plans to land a large American investor in 2017. Panaseer will remain headquartered in London, where it develops its proprietary Security Data Lake to bring "the application of data science, advanced security intelligence and data engineering" to its …

Google must be Beaming as Apache announces its new top-level projects

The Apache Software Foundation has today announced two new top-level projects, Apache Beam and Apache Eagle. Apache Beam is yet another technology birthed by Google's work on data processing, and its roots can be traced back to Google's initial MapReduce system which revolutionised the science of distributed data processing …
Standup comedian faces the crowd. Photo by shutterstock

What do you call a firm that leaves customer financials unencrypted on a hard drive? RSA

A UK insurance business has been fined £150,000 for its lax security practices after a hard drive containing customers' unencrypted information was stolen. The hard drive disappeared from the offices of Royal & Sun Alliance insurance (ironically it prefers the abbreviation RSA) back in 2015. It contained 59,592 customers' …
Statue of Liberty

NGO to crowdfund legal challenge against Investigatory Powers Act

Civil liberties advocacy group Liberty is seeking to crowdfund a judicial review of the Investigatory Powers Act. Liberty is launching the legal challenge following a landmark EU ruling in December which found that data retention had to be targeted and not practiced on a population-scale to be lawful. This is not the case …
NHS hosptial photo, by Marbury via Shutterstock

Corrupt NHS official jailed for £80k bribe over tech contract

An NHS official who pocketed £80,000 in bribes for doling out lucrative IT contracts has been sentenced to three and half years in the slammer, while the techie contractor who benefited from them was given 14 months. Peter Lewis, 57, of Windlesham, admitted receiving corrupt payments from Richard Moxon, 41, of Wynbury in …
Calculating photo via Shutterstock

Trello, hello, hello: Todo list biz gobbled by Atlassian for $425m

Freemium digital post-it business board Trello is to be acquired by productivity software floggers Atlassian. The deal is worth $425m, according to TechCrunch, with the productivity software business to pay $360m in cash and $65m in restricted shares and options for Trello. The deal is expected to close by the end of March …
Cat in tupperware image via Shutterstock

Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth

Spare a thought for Ross LeBeau, who spent three days in jail when Texas cops confused cat litter for methamphetamine during a routine traffic stop. Although LeBeau has since been released without charge, he claims to have lost work as a result of the arrest, and is upset at the damage to his reputation. The Houston man had …

CIA director AOL email hacker coughs to crime

Justin Liverman, arrested by the FBI for breaking into the AOL email account of CIA director John Brennan, has today signed a guilty plea deal in the face of what his lawyers described as "draconian penalties." Brennan's webmail inbox was hijacked in 2015 and his emails were subsequently published by WikiLeaks. Liverman is …