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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.

King's College London staggers from outage, replaces infrastructure services head

Exclusive More than a month after the catastrophic incident that brought King's College London's entire IT system down, the head of infrastructure services, Russell Frostick, is being replaced. The change was announced by the university's CIO, Nick Leake, in an internal communication seen by The Register, although it is not clear …

Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

Professor David Solomon, the inventor of the polymer banknote, has told vegetarians that they're being "stupid" over their opposition to its trace amounts of animal fat. The UK's new plastic notes were introduced earlier this year to replace the UK's battered and disintegrating stocks of paper** £5 notes. However, when the …
ISIS fighters

Still too much discretion when it comes to that 'terrorism' stuff, repeats David Anderson QC

There is still too much discretion in what the State is talking about when discussing terrorism, according to the outgoing independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. Seeking to limit the growth of public suspicion regarding the State's increasing investigatory powers, it is still necessary to establish a proper definition …

Amazonian Athena gifts the AWS team with the wisdom of SaaS on PaaS

Athena, goddess of wisdom, has bestowed her name upon Amazon's new interactive query service for S3 as the company seeks to become more than a mere infrastructure vendor. Announced at re:Invent, Athena is a serverless service using distributed query engine Presto with standard ANSI SQL support to allow customers to analyse …
empty pockets

Qubes goes commercial to keep its secure VM-focused OS dream alive

Financial necessity is forcing the security research group behind Qubes OS to begin establishing commercial funding to support its continued development. Warsaw-based Invisible Things Labs was founded in 2007 by low-level security researcher Joanna Rutkowska, who spoke at the Chaos Communications Congress last year about the …

It's sooo much more than a data warehouse! Microsoft beams over new appliance update

Microsoft has made its latest appliance update generally available, reminding users that PolyBase exists and that SQL Server isn't just a boring old data warehouse. Redmond's Analytics Platform System (APS) is a scale-orientated, parallel-processing, fully integrated platform for data warehouse workloads, and is now generally …
Privacy

UCL snags head of Europol for a seminar on privacy

The head of Europol will be contributing to a seminar at UCL on "the state of the current privacy landscape", which will run in January. The event – Privacy Online and Offline: The Citizen, the Personal and the Public Interest – is being run by UCL's Institute of Brand and Innovation Law. The talks will take place over 23-24 …

Outlook.com is still not functioning properly for some Microsoft punters

Microsoft is still working to resolve "difficulties" faced by its Outlook customers, despite months of complaints about the disappearance of sent emails and 550 Errors. A growing number of complaints threads have been posted to Microsoft's questions page regarding Outlook after recent upgrades to the service. They both precede …
Queen's Speech 2015. Screen grab from Parliament TV

Investigatory Powers Act signed into UK law by Queen

IPBill Queen Elizabeth II today signs off on Parliament's Investigatory Powers Act, officially making it law in the UK. Her Maj not only had the last word on the new legislation — aka the Snoopers' Charter — she had the first. She publicly announced what the law would be called during the official opening of Parliament after last …

R3 four flew: What's driving banks to flee blockchain consortium?

Analysis The value of distributed ledgers and blockchain tech to the financial sector has again come under the spotlight following the departure of several entities from prominent blockchain consortium R3: namely Goldman Sachs, Santander, Morgan Stanley and the National Australian Bank. All four left the consortium this month, and with …
Privacy image

100k+ petition: MPs must consider debating Snoopers' Charter again

A petition to Parliament requesting the repeal of the Investigatory Powers Act has received the 100,000 signatures required to make Parliament “consider” debating the issue. Although the Investigatory Powers Act doesn't actually exist at the moment — it remains a Bill of Parliament which will not become an Act until it …
police hacking

London cops' tech slammed for failing abused kids – report

A broken police information system hampered efforts to protect children at risk of sexual exploitation in the UK, according to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC). Published today, the watchdog's the 113-page report [PDF] details an HMIC inspection into national child protection. It reveals how London's …

Black Friday: Cashback site Quidco goes TITSUP* on payday

Quidco, the cashback site, has gone TITSUP amid a push to encourage British consumers to engage in the US-imported Black Friday sales fest. The business operates by transferring third-party commissions (gained via its affiliate network) which retailers pay to referrers, on to its own members while taking a cut itself. But …

Make Christmas Great Again: $149 24-karat gold* Trump tree ornament

President-elect Donald Trump's online shop has released a tremendous ornament, the best ornament, for Christmas trees. Costing "just" $149, the bauble is officially described as a Red Cap Collectible Ornament, and it is very collectable. People are telling us how collectible it is. Potential purchasers are encouraged to "get …
Weeping astronaut illustration via Shutterstock

Space crap: Flap, zap or strap? $30k from NASA for your pooper scooper

Time is ticking away if you want to enter NASA's competition for the public to suggest an astronaut ablution solution. While the PR team must be delighted with their title of "Space Poop Challenge" the more officious procurement language of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is even sweeter: NASA seeks …
A man chasing a plane

Scotland's Skyscanner sold to Chinese rival Ctrip in £1.4bn deal

Skyscanner, the Scottish travel search business, has been acquired by Chinese competitor Ctrip in a deal valued at £1.4bn. The Edinburgh-based business, which was founded in 2001, will maintain operations independently of Ctrip, China's largest travel search business, which was founded in 1999. Expected to close by the end of …
AWS boss Andy Jassy speaking at AWS SFO Summit 2015

AWS to launch Aurora service for PostgreSQL at re:Invent – report

Amazon Web Services will announce a PostgreSQL compatible managed cloud service during its re:Invent conference next week, according to reports. Just as AWS cloned MySQL to create Aurora – its own MySQL-compatible relational database engine which it claims is the fastest-growing service in its history – it is now set to launch …

Obama awards honours to Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton for computing contributions

President Barack Obama has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two women who made enormous contributions to the history of computing – COBOL co-inventor Grace Hopper and Apollo programmer Margaret Hamilton. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper passed away in 1992 and received the award posthumously. Also known as "Amazing Grace …
shutterstock_57979207-missing-watch

Microsoft still working to fix Outlook sync issues

Outlook users are still struggling to get their email clients to synchronise with Microsoft's servers. The outage, which may now be in its sixth day, has left users confused and annoyed, as they have themselves complained on sites such as Down Detector and Down Today. A Microsoft spokesperson told The Register: "Some …

Outlook outage outrage

An unknown issue affecting Microsoft's free email service Outlook has left users' email clients borked. The apparent outage is being widely complained about on sites such as Down Detector and Down Today, where many users have claimed they have been unable to access their accounts through email clients for as long as three days …

Google DeepMind inks 5-year agreement with NHS for 'Streams' app

DeepMind Health, the healthcare arm of the artificial intelligence business owned by Google, has signed a deal with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to provide an app called Streams. The deal, which establishes a five-year partnership between the organisations, builds on DeepMind Health's pilot project with the Trust …
black helicopter

Trial date set for Brit police 'copter coppers over spying-on-doggers claims

The five officers from South Yorkshire Police accused of using a copper 'copter to record people who were naked or having sex will contest the allegations at their trial next year. The men all deny guilt. The serving and retired coppers were arrested as part of an internal investigation following reports that the force's …

Talend CEO: Profit? We're a few years off... But we're cash-flow positive

Interview Founded in France in 2005, Talend made its initial public offering on the NASDAQ in July, listing as a French company although it's now headquartered in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. It was only the fifth technology IPO of the year, raising questions as to how fruitful the listing might be. But Talend raised $94m, and …
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KCL staff offered emotional support, clergy chat to help get over data loss

Exclusive Staff at King's College London are now being offered counseling and prayers to help them get over the data loss suffered during October's catastrophic IT failure. A month ago, departments across the university suffered “irretrievable data loss” when a 3PAR's one-fault-tolerant RAID Array kicked the bucket. Almost every system …
Her Majesty the Queen. Crown copyright/MoD

British politicians sign off on surveillance law, now it's over to the Queen

The UK's Investigatory Powers Bill has completed its passage through parliament and now only awaits Her Majesty's stamp of approval before becoming law. Also known as the Snoopers' Charter, the legislation has been criticised as being among the most onerous in the world upon the civilian population, and will require British …