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Arduino-powered VIVA vest

Vale, LOGO creator Seymour Papert, who taught us that code can be creative play

Back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and I was a kid, I received the gift of a "100-in-1 Electronics Kit" that taught me the basics of electrical circuit design as I strung pre-cut wires between springy posts. At the very centre of this kit - its beating heart - a single transistor could be wired to work in an amplifier, or AM …
Mark Pesce, 25 Aug 2016
Excel on smart phone, photo via RoSonic on Shutterstock

Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers

Scientific literature often mis-names genes and boffins say Microsoft Excel is partly to blame. “Automatic conversion of gene symbols to dates and floating-point numbers is a problematic feature of Excel software,” In a paper titled write Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren and Assam El-OstaEmai of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016
Chinese Martian probe

Mars to get Chinese delivery. Estimated time of arrival: 2020

The Chinese space program has taken a massive step forward as the country unveiled its design for a rover to scoot across the surface of Mars. The mission to the Red Planet will see the rover launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in China's Hainan province. It is scheduled to land …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2016
Bait

Microsoft baits new vSphere-to-Hyper-V switch offer

Microsoft is having another go at displacing vSphere. Redmond's new offer means that if you make the move and prove it to Microsoft's satisfaction, you will “Receive free Windows Server Datacenter licenses with Software Assurance and pay only the cost of Software Assurance”. On one level this is business as usual: vendors are …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016

Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'

Plugging a Kindle Paperwhite into a PC running Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update installed sparks a full system meltdown, it is claimed. Connecting the Amazon e-reader to a fully up-to-date W10 machine via USB triggers an immediate Blue Screen of Death, according to complaints on Microsoft's support forum. All the trouble …
Chris Williams, 25 Aug 2016
NEMA 5 plug socket

Top facial recognition algo joins the dots and sees pretend people

How much like a face does an image have to be, to trick the standard Voila-Jones facial recognition algorithm? Not very much, it turns out. Two researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have spoofed the algorithm into recognising a handful of dots, barely recognisable as an image, as a human face. Another image …
Voyager mission logo

Voyager 2's closest Saturn swoop was 35 years ago today

The Voyager mission is celebrating another remarkable milestone, the 35th anniversary of Voyager 2's closest encounter with Saturn. Voyager 1 launched on September 5th, 1977, a few days after Voyager 2's August 20th, ascent. Despite that launch order, Voyager 1 made it to Saturn first, making its closest approach on November …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016

Doing business with Asia? Then worry more about security

Organisations across the Asia Pacific are terrible at information security, a Mandiant report contests. While businesses in the United States will detect a hacker in their networks within four months, in line with the global average, it takes 17 months for those in the Asia Pacific region to notice their intruder. The region …
Darren Pauli, 25 Aug 2016
FACEPALM

NASA's free research trove may have broken arms trafficking rules

Last week, NASA announced that all of its published research would be aggregated into a single portal and published for free. Now, according to Space News, some NASA research has had to be pulled from the Web because the agency fears it might violate export controls. The research in question represented outputs from the NASA …
Fingers crossed

Dell trademarks everything it does as 'Cross Cloud'

Dell has filed a trademark for 'Cross Cloud' that covers just about everything it does. And when we say everything we mean it: the trademark covers printer cartridges, servers, headphones, all manner of consulting services and even leasing. The descriptions of what the trademark covers run to 1,500 words. So what's Dell up to …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016

Salesforce's NA14 nods again

Salesforce's NA14 instance, the naughty one that crashed and caused data loss has wobbled again. It had a three-hour wobble on Wednesday, US time, during which “a subset of customers may have experienced delays in asynchronous processing including Web-to-Case, Web-to-Lead, Email-to-Case and dashboard refreshes.” Salesforce …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Aug 2016
Man in tie smashes printer with baseball bat in a field.

Error: Print job 'Money' failed for laserjet001.lan.hp.com

HP Inc says it will move forward with its plans to cut costs and refocus its business as it posted better than expected quarterly numbers. For the three months to July 31, Q3 of its 2016 fiscal year, the printers and PCs half of the HP split reported: Revenues of $11.9bn were down four per cent on the year-ago total of $12. …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Aug 2016
bomb

Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week

You'd be forgiven for thinking Microsoft is actively trying to stop people using Windows 10 Anniversary Edition. A patch this week broke one of the key features of the OS: PowerShell. KB 3176934, released on Tuesday as an automatic update, addresses a good number of bugs and other oddities in the operating system, including …
Iain Thomson, 25 Aug 2016
china_future_648

China's $30bn VC fund

China has announced the creation of a 200 billion yuan ($30bn) venture capital fund to invest in new and innovative technology. There's only one catch: it is, of course, run by the state. The fund's creation was announced by the country's state assets regulator and the money comes from other state-run companies, including its …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016
Apple iPhone 6 and 6s

Touchy iPhone 6, 6S chips prone to breaking down and giving up

Apple's latest iPhones can suffer chip failures that can render the touchscreen unusable. This according to a report from DIY repair site iFixit, which says two controller chips on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus logic board can lose their electrical contacts, and when they go, the handset's touchscreen no longer works. The issue …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Aug 2016
A farm and house

Just a little FYI: Small town ISPs want out of FCC privacy rules

An advocate group for rural broadband providers is asking the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to omit small ISPs from its planned privacy rules. The WTA (formerly known as the Western Telecommunications Alliance) has written [PDF] to secretary Marlene Dortch to request that the regulator omit small ISPs from rules …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Aug 2016

Iraq internet shutdowns

Iraq has continued its extraordinary policy of shutting down the entire country's internet in order to prevent exam cheating. Several internet traffic observers including Akamai and Dyn Research have been amazed at the frequency this year however – no fewer than eight times in ten days, with the break coming at the weekend. …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016
Airlander 10 crash

Watch the world's biggest 'flying bum' go arse over tit in a crash

Video The Airlander 10 hybrid – part airplane and part airship – has had a bumpy touchdown after piling into its landing site nose first. The 92-meter (302-foot) aircraft gets 60 per cent of its lift from the helium that fills its two massive airbags, which have earned the aircraft its nickname of the Flying Bum, although the …
Iain Thomson, 24 Aug 2016

French, German ministers demand new encryption backdoor law

A meeting this week between the interior ministers of France and Germany has focused on the issue of encryption and its potential impact on security. In the lead-up to the meeting and in subsequent public comments from the ministers, they both made repeated mention of the issue of data encryption, even calling out the app …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016
Mobile adverts

Google tells popup ads to p*** off on mobes

Google will be rejigging its search algorithm to downgrade websites that slap up a large advert, aka an "interstitial," before readers can actually get to see the content. On January 10, the Chocolate Factory will start scanning websites for interstitials and, if they break the recommended guidelines, they'll be kicked down …
Iain Thomson, 24 Aug 2016

Unlimited mobile data in America – where's the catch? There's always a catch

Analysis Sprint and T-Mobile US are introducing "all you can eat" internet plans, and as you might expect, someone at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco is horrified. Somebody always is. The EFF tut-tutted at dirt-poor Indian farmers getting Ceefax pages on their mobiles for free – and the Indians obligingly banned it …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2016

Pow! Right in the Jawbone: Fitbit cleared in tech ripoff legal ordeal

An effort to ban health-tracking Fitbit gadgets in the United States has fallen apart, with a final decision against competitor Jawbone. Jawbone made two complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) last year, one claiming that Fitbit has infringed its patents and a second that it stole trade secrets. If …
Kieren McCarthy, 24 Aug 2016

'Second Earth' exoplanet found right under our noses – just four light years away

Rumours that a terrestrial planet orbiting Proxima Centauri – the Sun’s closest neighbour – may be Earth-like have been confirmed today in a paper published in Nature. The possibility that extraterrestrial life may exist next door was first reported last week in Der Spiegel, a German weekly news magazine. Excitement bubbled …
Katyanna Quach, 24 Aug 2016
IBM Headquarters, Armonk, NY

IBM will move stored stuff onto its new flashy boxen for free

IBM has launched more cost-effective Storwize all-flash arrays and announced a Flash In migration program aimed at Dell and IBM customers looking for a warm comfort blanket from Big Blue. The existing Storwize line includes: V7000 – hybrid flash/disk enterprise array V5000F – all flash enterprise array V5000 – mid-size …
Chris Mellor, 24 Aug 2016

US Treasury to launch pre-emptive strike on EU's Ireland tax probe

The US Treasury is preparing a pre-emptive strike against a long-awaited probe by the European Commission into Ireland's tax arrangements with tech firms such as Apple. The US Department of the Treasury plans to publish a paper today outlining its views on the EU’s investigations into tax arrangements, sources told The Irish …
Kat Hall, 24 Aug 2016
Nerd plus dollar, photo via Shutterstock

Same job, different place: US salaries top DevOps pay packet poll

US techies are earning more than their counterparts in Europe, with those in California doing better off than their US peers. That’s according to Puppet Labs' fifth annual “state of DevOps” survey which found that not only are those on the coalface and those managing them on who work other side of the pond pulling in more, but …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Aug 2016
Red Hard Hat photo via Shutterstock

Red Hat goes to work on OpenStack network convergence

Red Hat has fully embraced OpenStack’s Neutron in a convergence-targeted virtualisation package. The Linux shop has released Red Hat Virtualisation 4, a package that subtly drops the reference to “Enterprise” held up until and including version 3.5 The intent seems to be for Red Hat’s virtualized Linux stack to become the …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Aug 2016
speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise

Speaking in Tech: Open Source fixes a Microsoft engineering problem

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise This week Podcast Idol returns with Nick Howell joining Greg and Ed to host this week’s episode where the boys discuss a new browser, layoffs at Cisco and Powershelgl gets open sourced. Our special guest this week is Brian Clifton, a developer at Brave. The details… (0:00 …
Team Register, 24 Aug 2016
Nimble_AF_Series_table_competition

Nimble Storage ticks over nicely but will shareholders want more revs?

Nimble Storage's revenue of $97.1m for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2017 beat its guidance of $93m - $96m, which is good, and it generated a loss of $40m; better than the previous quarter's $42.7m loss but worse than the $30.1m it lost in Q2 last year. On the annual compare, revenues were up 21.2 per cent – excellent …
Chris Mellor, 24 Aug 2016
Huawei P8

Huawei's pricey new Honor goes upmarket. Bold move when prices are sliding

Analysis Last year Huawei launched its Honor smartphone into Western markets: a cheap and cheerful way to showcase its advantages. Over in China, the Honor was about yoof, but over here, Huawei followed the well-trodden path by lower cost Asian manufacturers for decades: sell decent tech at low prices and urge the punter to overlook the …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Aug 2016

Irritable Cisco kicks Nutanix out of partner program

Dis is not welcome so we're going to diss it. That's Cisco's view, in a nutshell, of Nutanix jumping on its UCS servers as a means of selling its hyper-converged system software into the Cisco customer base and channel. A source in the channel slipped us an email Cisco sent to some of its partners – here's the crucial portion …
Chris Mellor, 24 Aug 2016
Engineer aboard Das Boot U-96 responds to telegraphs

French submarine builder DCNS springs leak: India investigates

India is investigating a security breach affecting its French-built Scorpene-class submarines after more than 22,000 pages covering its secret capabilities were leaked. First reported in The Australian, the documents offer details on the designs of the submarines, which were put together by French company DCNS. Based on the …
Fish hook in a clear light blue tropical ocean. Photo by Shutterstock

Angler hooks German's todger at nudist lake

A plucky German nudist out for a swim at a local lake was left in agony after an angler hooked his worm. Herbert Fendt - an alias the embarrassed man adopted to spare his family's blushes - was taking a dip in the Kaisersee, near Augsburg in south-eastern Germany, when the tackle-on-tackle action occurred. Initially the man …
Paul Kunert, 24 Aug 2016
Frustation, image via Shutterstock

Vidahost hikes domain name fees by a third, blames Brexit

Domain name biz Vidahost has hiked up the cost of its pricing by 33 per cent, blaming Brexit-induced exchange rate woes. In an email sent to customers and seen by The Register, the biz said: "Prior to the referendum to leave the EU, we spent time working up rigorous plans for the Brexit scenario. "True to form we focused on …
Kat Hall, 24 Aug 2016
Crystal ball. Pic: Shutterstock

Gartner's Magic Quadrant mages shake crystal ball, Violin goes topsy turvy

Gartner's latest all-flash array Magic Quadrant contains expected news, a few surprises and a demotion that has prompted a public response from Violin Memory. The report, Gartner's 2016 Solid State Arrays Magic Quadrant and Critical Capabilities" report, can be accessed by Gartner subscribers here. The Magic Quadrant (MQ) …
Chris Mellor, 24 Aug 2016

False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

An alert that the Northern Lights would be visible across all of Great Britain last night was wrongly issued because a sit-on lawnmower disturbed scientific instruments. Subscribers to the AuroraWatch UK mailing list were sent a “Red Alert” yesterday; informing them that it would be possible to view the aurora borealis from …

Arista slapped with import ban after US Trade Rep lays down law

The US Trade Representative has upheld a ban on all Arista Networks products, following a complaint of patent infringement by Cisco. A federal commission found in June that the company's products infringed patents owned by the switchzilla. "The International Trade Commission determined that Arista wilfully and intentionally …
Kat Hall, 24 Aug 2016
Priest, image via Shutterstock

MySQL daddy Widenius: Open-source religion won't feed MariaDB

Interview MySQL daddy Monty Widenius has dismissed claims the MariaDB fork is veering away from open source. Rather, the chief technology officer of MariaDB corporation called his firm’s embrace of a commercial licence for part of MariaDB "critical" to delivering new revenue and for the continued development of open-source software. …

Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

Hot Chips After cruising two million miles of public roads, Google's self-driving cars still find traffic lights, four-way junctions and other aspects of everyday life hard work. To be sure, the hardware and software at the heart of the autonomous vehicles is impressive. But it's just not quite good enough yet to be truly let loose on …
Chris Williams, 24 Aug 2016
Handsome man has fuchsia-painted skin. Photo by Shutterstock

Google Fuchsia OS eyes non-Linux things

Google’s latest operating system project, Fuchsia, may be largely a mystery, but it reinforces a truth that platform vendors are having, grudgingly, to acknowledge: one operating system does not fit all. For a company which has put so much effort into making Android an OS for all purposes, Google has a remarkable number of …
Wireless Watch, 24 Aug 2016

Major update drops for popular Pwntools penetration showbag

The third version of the Pwntools exploit showbag has been released, sporting new Android p0wnage functions and a host of additional modules. The Python development library is the brainchild of the Gallopsled CTF team, which wrote the toolset to help fellow security types build faster exploits for penetration testing and …
Darren Pauli, 24 Aug 2016

No, we haven't found liquid water on Mars, says NASA

The idea that seasonal dark streaks on Mars indicate the presence of liquid water turns out to be a dry argument. NASA last year advanced a theory that dark gullies called recurring slope lineae (RSL) that appear during the Martian summer were evidence of liquid water on Mars, albeit liquid water bonded to mix of salty …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Aug 2016
Oracle's Java is 20 years old

Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan

Oracle has revealed its interim plan to help Java devs deal with browser-makers' imminent banishment of plug-ins. Years of bugs in Java, Flash and other plugins have led browser-makers to give up on plugins. Apple recently decided that its Safari browser will just pretend Java, Flash and Silverlight aren't installed. Google …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Aug 2016

Nuclear fallout shelter becomes cloud storage bunker

French hosting company Online.net has revealed its new data centre resides in a former nuclear fallout shelter. The company explains that its new bit barn was once a “passive defence shelter” named Abri Lefebvre built in 1937 atop a disused quarry out in the fifteenth Arrondisement. In 1946 authorities decided Paris needed to …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Aug 2016
Linux holding up Windows

Microsoft drops OMI for Linux to GitHub

Microsoft has added another piece to its Open Management Infrastructure (OMI) jigsaw, publishing Unix/Linux code that implements the Distributed Management Task Force's (DMTF) models and standards. The project has been running for some years under the auspices of the DMTF here. OMI itself is already free and open source, a …
Trucker, image via Shutterstock

Breaker, breaker: LTE is coming to America's CB radio frequencies

Another industry alliance is gearing up to pitch mobile phone spectrum access to spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band – this time using frequencies formerly devoted to Citizens Band (CB) radio users. Following a decision by America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to free up 150 MHz of the “truckers' Internet” for unlicensed …
NIST's compact gyroscope

NIST spins atomic gyroscope to allow navigation without GPS

The United States' National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has thinks it can use a cloud of atoms as a gyroscope. The point is navigation: the agency reckons the little gyro is part of work on ultra-precise navigation for applications like space and submarines. It measures rotation by analysing patterns of “ …
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Intel douses Wildfire ransomware as-a-service Euro menace

An alliance of cops and anti-malware experts have doused the Wildfire ransomware that plagued users in Belgium and the Netherlands. Wildfire is carried in spam messages and demands up to 1.5 Bitcoins of ransom for files to be decrypted. Security researchers have uploaded 1,600 decryption keys with more to come to the No More …
Darren Pauli, 24 Aug 2016
Image composite bazzier and valeo5 http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-761863p1.html http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1393552p1.html

Equation Group exploit hits newer Cisco ASA, Juniper Netscreen

Hungary-based security consultancy SilentSignal has ported a public exploit to newer models of Cisco's Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA). The firm expanded the attack range of the ExtraBacon Cisco hack hole revealed as part of the Shadow Brokers cache of National Security Agency-linked exploits and tools. The exploit was …
Darren Pauli, 24 Aug 2016
VMware nutella

VMware reveals vulns

VMware has revealed “important” flaws in VMware Identity Manager and vRealize Automation. Both products “contain a vulnerability that may allow for a local privilege escalation. Exploitation of this issue may lead to an attacker with access to a low-privileged account to escalate their privileges to that of root.” vRealize …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Aug 2016