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China's 'Deep Panda' crew targets Middle East policy wonks - report

A group of China-based cyber spies have begun targeting national security think tanks, initially targeting analysts focusing on the Asia-Pacific region before switching their focus to Iraq. Infosec threat intelligence firm CrowdStrike warns that a group it dubs Deep Panda has begun targeting think tanks, particularly those …
John Leyden, 08 Jul 2014
Wheat harvest

Customisation is BAD for the economy, say Oz productivity wonks

Australia's Productivity Commission is complaining that high-value, highly-customised – artesan, in fact – products are a drag on national productivity. In its latest productivity report, the nation's flint-eyed economists have decided that the best thing for the economy is for every possible product to sink into an identical …
Swiss iOS clock

OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

Every Reg reader knows that a prime number is divisible only by one and itself. But did you also know that today is a big day for prime numbers? When the clock ticks over to 2:03:05 on November the 7th, 2013, the universe will experience an unusual alignment of prime numbers as the time becomes 02:03:05:07:11:13. Before you …
Simon Sharwood, 07 Nov 2013

Word wonks insist GIFs are really JIFs

Not content with somehow managing to proclaim ‘GIF’ the USA’s word of the year for 2012, the lexicographers at Oxford Dictionaries now insist that the correct pronunciation of the word does not use a hard g, as in golf. The dictionary chose GIF as its word of the year because the USA has gone GIF-crazy. Making satirical GIFs of …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Nov 2012

IEEE gets to work on 25G Ethernet MAC standards

The IEEE has launched a study group to give 25 Gbps Ethernet standardisation a push along. Hang on, you might ask, don't we already have Ethernet running at speeds higher than 25 Gbps? Yes, but only as multiple links running in parallel: a 40 Gbps Ethernet connection is four 10 Gbps Ethernet serial links strapped together, and …

G-Cloud boss begs UK.gov wonks: 'Speak out against s**t IT'

The UK government's technology shopping catalogue G-Cloud is creeping through the corridors of power - but a wave of outsourcing decisions has sapped Whitehall’s ability to set the nation's tech strategy, and the entrenched interests of incumbent IT suppliers stand in its way. That’s the takeaway from outgoing G-Cloud director …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

Yahoo! wonks! brace! for! lay-offs!

Job cuts at Yahoo! are reportedly coming before the year is out, with about 650 lay-offs at the Carol Bartz-run firm expected to kick off on 13 December. Blake Irving. Who me? It's mostly Blake Irving's staff facing the chop, say sources All Things Digital, which cited sources familiar with the situation, said Yahoo! is to …
Kelly Fiveash, 01 Dec 2010

World Meteorological Organization says climate data is uncool

The World Meteorological Organization's Commission for Climatology has called for governments to refresh their “climate normals” more often. Climate normals are thirty-year chunks of weather observations that are used as baselines for comparison with more recent events. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the data …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jul 2014
channel

Aussie gov web wonks declare clouds have grey areas

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), has raised legal and contractual issues as key concerns in government adoption of cloud computing. The office has released a consultation draft, "Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper, Opportunities and applicability for use by Australian Government", and has …

BT and Neul ink gov-funded deal: Milton Keynes to be test bed for Internet of Stuff

A taxpayer-subsidised project to run a test network for Machine-to-Machine communications – aka the Internet of Things – is getting underway in Milton Keynes, with kit being supplied by Brit telco BT and wireless bods at Neul. The main purpose behind the scheme is for Whitehall to get the one-time state monopoly and the …
Kelly Fiveash, 22 May 2014
Mildura is still marked in the wrong place on Apple's iOS6 maps

Turnbull takes control of spatial data policy

Australia's Office of Spatial Policy (OSP) has announced it is about to be moved to the Department of Communications, a machinery of government change that will see it depart its current home in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. “The Office of what?” we hear you ask. Why's this in The Reg? The OSP is Australia's …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Nov 2013

Robins' inbuilt navigators pecked to bits by AM radio

Humans often claim to be able to sense wireless fields by way of headaches – the so-called WiFi syndrome – but pity the European Robin, whose navigational abilities may be spoiled by electromagnetic radiation. That's the suggestion put forward in this paper in Nature. The frequencies the researchers looked at had nothing to do …

'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder

A founder of the volunteer technology education group Code Club has resigned, claiming she was warned not to criticise the group’s sponsors – which include Google. User interface designer Linda Sandvik claims she was told to shut up or quit. “On Monday the 25th of August the Code Club board gave me an ultimatum: either I have …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Aug 2014
European Union Flag

Euro wonks lay SMACKDOWN on draft data protection rules

DAPIX is the Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection, where delegations of civil servants from the European Union's member states discuss the Commission’s Data Protection Regulation. But the minutes of the meeting held on 23 and 24 February reveal that there are deep divisions as to the content of the …

Mathematicians spark debate with 13 GB proof for Erdős problem

When Pierre de Fermat famously complained that he didn't have space to write the proof of his famous “Fermat's Last Theorem”, he only ran out of space of the margin of a book. Now, a pair of mathematicians at the University of Liverpool in the UK have produced a 13GB proof that's sparked a debate about how to test it. The …

Lenovo hires ex-CIA bod to push through Moto deal

Lenovo has hired former CIA and Homeland Security legal wonks to help push through its deals to buy Motorola Mobility and IBM’s x86 server business with US regulators, according to Bloomberg. The Chinese outfit is spending $US5 billion on the two big name acquisitions to become a top three player in both markets. People …
Phil Muncaster, 05 Feb 2014
Google Lenoir datacentre with Oracle tape libraries

FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage

The analytical wonks at Wikibon have deduced that a combination of flash and tape is better than tape alone or disk and tape for storing archival data. The argument is based on tape being not only cheaper than disk, but actually faster than disk for streaming large files. It also relies on the cost of flash approaching that of …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jul 2014

Nudge Unit flies into Nesta's arms: Is the hype justified?

No 10's controversial "nudge unit" has been spun out into a company - but it hasn't fallen far from the nest. The 16-strong Behavioural Insights Team (as it's known) will become a private entity and will be able to tap into cash originally set aside for fledgling inventors. It will then sell its services back to the government …
Andrew Orlowski, 06 Feb 2014
Asus' old Eee girl

Can't wait for 4G? Take heart, 5G is on the way

Mobile data volumes have increased 50 per cent in the year to June, having doubled over the year before that - so the crunch will always be with us. 5G just one of many data applications for spectrum that Ofcom wants you to think about. The regulator today published a spectrum consultation focusing on mobile data. Ofcom thinks …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2013
snowden SXSW

Privacy at the Donmar Warehouse: All your data are belong to THEM

Josie Rourke, mummer-in-chief at the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London, was halfway through researching a new play on how “smartphones and the internet are changing the ways in which we live”, when the Guardian and its partners began publishing the Edward Snowden files. This timely interruption gave Rourke new impetus and …
Colin Myer, 24 May 2014
silent circle

Silent Circle shutters email service

Silent Circle, the company founded by former PGP wonks and Navy Seals and which offers very, very, secure communications, has decided to shutter its Silent Mail email service. The decision, announced in a blog post, comes on the same day that Lavabit, another secure email service, decided to close because it cannot guarantee …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Aug 2013
mio_spirit_TV_satnav_SM

Safety wonks condemn digital TV satnav

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has hit out at Mio’s latest satnavs, which allow drivers to catch some TV while driving. mio_spirit_TV_satnav Mio's TV satnav: RoSPA not pleased Mio’s 4.7in and 7in Spirit satnavs can pick up DVB-T signals, but only display a warning when TV mode is enabled, not while …
James Sherwood, 24 Jun 2009

Wall Street's internet darlings require an endless supply of idiots

The following stories have one thing in common. Can you guess what it is around the dinner table this evening with your friends? Last week Samsung announced the acquisition of a crowd-funded startup called SmartThings for $200m. USA Today wrote that the deal “has also once again validated the power of crowdsourcing platform …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Aug 2014
Oracle Termites

Oracle automates master data management workflow

Oracle has released a new product aimed at automating some master data management (MDM) chores. MDM is often spoken of when software companies discuss “a single version of the truth”, shorthand term for the tricky problem that arises when a company deals with related-but-differentiated entities. A single version of the truth is …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Aug 2013

Branson, Berners-Lee, Google, £2m: LET'S SAVE THE WORLD

Google is waving £2m in front of charities, promising to donate dollops of the dosh if the orgs develop tech that improves people's lives. The not-for-profit bodies are invited to apply and compete for the cash; four "data-driven" projects that successfully prove their worth will each get a £500,000 cheque from the advertising …
Team Register, 25 Mar 2013

Google pools cloud storage

Google has changed its approach to cloud storage, with individuals and business users of its apps now offered a pool of storage rather than silos dedicated to different services. Announced in an inevitable pair of blog posts, the Chocolate Factory is calling the new arrangement “unified storage”. Storage wonks wondering why …
Simon Sharwood, 14 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Amazon goes legit with cloud certification plan

Watch out Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Dell, and HP. There's a new reassuringly dull certificate in town, and it's coming for your devs. Amazon Web Services has launched a global certfication program so that technologists can get something to stick on their CV and use as a lever to extract more cash from current and future employers …
Jack Clark, 30 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Report: Microsoft tried and FAILED to offload Bing on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg reportedly declined to take Microsoft's Bing off the software vendor's hands last year. According to a New York Times report about Facebook and Microsoft's recent patent deal that once again underlined the strategic partnership between the two outfits, some Redmond execs were super-keen to offload its search …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Apr 2012
cloud

Dumping gear in the public cloud: It's about ease of use, stupid

Public cloud computing has finally started to make sense to me now. A recent conversation with a fellow sysadmin had me rocking back and forth in a corner muttering "that's illogical". When I emerged from my nervous breakdown I realised that capitalising on the irrationality of the decision-making process within most companies …
Trevor Pott, 06 Aug 2014

ThousandEyes interrogates apps as they flow through clouds

ThousandEyes has uncloaked, promising that its technology will give data center admins a better way to track performance and diagnose problems across varied IT infrastructures. The company launched on Wednesday at GigaOm Structure in San Francisco with $5.5m in funding from Sequoia Capital, and announced its own brand of app …
Jack Clark, 20 Jun 2013
The Register breaking news

FTC chief fends off critics over THAT Google decision

The propriety of the US Federal Trade Commission's decision not to take action against Google over allegations of search bias has repeatedly been questioned, after FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz recently confirmed that the multi-billion dollar corporation would not face anti-trust charges. He has now defended that finding by …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Jan 2013

Newsnight goes sour on Tech City miracle

BBC's Newsnight decided to get a reality check on Britain's economic miracle of East London's "Tech City Cluster" on Friday, and asked me if I'd like to contribute. With a hangover and not much sleep the night before? Of course I would. Radio 4's Today and BBC2's Newsnight are invitations you don't turn down if you think you've …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Mar 2014

So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Microsoft isn't used to being the underdog, but the company which owns the desktop is losing its grip on customers' wallets. While buying Nokia is an audacious move to redress that, to make it work Microsoft needs to understand some of Nokia's history. Of course, Microsoft has been the challenger before, with varying degrees of …
Simon Rockman, 17 May 2014
The Register breaking news

Tory think tank: Hey, civil servants! Work with startups to save £70bn

Articulated-truck-loads of paperwork awaiting the ministrations of a rubber stamp- or pen-wielding civil servant should soon be a thing of the past, according to Tory think tank Policy Exchange. It wants to see bureaucrats mashing up APIs with Silicon Roundabout startups instead and leaders "driv[ing] digital into the DNA of …
Kelly Fiveash, 03 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

Sacrebleu! Googleplex insists Bush is still le président américain

Google wonks beavering away at translating snippets of French into the English language might wish to take note of the following fact - their system thinks "le président américain" is "Bush". That's George W Bush, we suppose. Reg reader Robert spotted the amusing cockup when he tried to translate an article from daily French …
Team Register, 20 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

Sleepy North Yorkshire village is first to get gov-subsidised BT fibre

After a long delay, the Ministry of Fun has finally signed off the first BT broadband cabinet - supported by BDUK funds - to deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbit/s to residents in a North Yorkshire village. Broadband minister Ed Vaizey paid a visit to Ainderby Steeple today to show off the first such cabinet that some have …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

O2 refuses to deny plans to offload home broadband product

UK telecoms provider O2 has refused to deny that it is planning to offload its fixed line home broadband product later this year. According to a source close to the situation, O2 - which is currently undergoing an upgrade of its broadband service over to a single core network - is mulling over a sale of its local-loop unbundling …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Jan 2013
Matijevic Hill, current location of the Opportunity Rover

Opportunity celebrates nine years on Mars

Mean time between failure wonks take note: The Opportunity rover launched in 2003 and expected to survive 90 days on Mars today racks up nine years of continuous operations on the red planet. That's 3195 days longer than first planned. Opportunity was hauled into orbit by a Delta II rocket on July 7th, 2003. A little over six …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Jan 2013
Facebook v Myspace, source:comScore

Myspace mutates Windows 8 with new look

Myspace* has released a video that shows off a new look that, at first glance, owes a fair bit to the design thinking behind Windows 8, with a dash of Pinterest thrown in for good measure. The once-dominant social network, infamously acquired by Rupert Murdoch for US$580m in 2005 and then offloaded Specific Media for a paltry US …
Simon Sharwood, 25 Sep 2012
The Register breaking news

Mysterious Facebook product plumps up shares on Wall Street

Facebook's stock went north on Wall Street - reaching $32 a share yesterday for the first time since July 2011 - basking in the glow of the free content ad network's imminent product announcement. The company sent out invites to the press last week to "come and see what we're building". Surprisingly, the details of what will be …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Wireless wonks face shrinking economy, vanishing porn

We're into the third day of Mobile World Congress, the annual shindig of the mobile industry, and now that the urgent meetings are over and the big news has been released, talk turns to the state of the industry - and the state of the congress itself. Attendance is down around 25 per cent, which is being heralded as a good thing …
Bill Ray, 18 Feb 2009

VCE zaps vBlocks with shrink ray

VCE, the stack-in-a-box vendor jointly owned by EMC, Intel, VMware and Cisco, is working on smaller versions of its vBlocks and also plans to build versions of its products optimised to run certain applications. VCE Chief Technology Officer Trey Layton said the company is already working on an eensy-weensy vBlock for …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

O2 3G stops giving punters' mobile numbers to websites

After a flurry of complaints, O2 engineers appear to have shut off the proxy server quirk that leaked to websites the phone numbers of punters browsing the net on 3G connections. The disclosure that affected all users of O2's 3G network on iPhone and Android in the UK was highlighted earlier today. O2 has yet to issue an …
Anna Leach, 25 Jan 2012

Report: Cloud could slash biz software energy use by 87%

If every US company would shift its core business-software applications from in-house equipment to the cloud, the amount of energy used by that software could be reduced by as much as 87 per cent, a new study claims. The study, which was published on Tuesday, was conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – a government …
Neil McAllister, 11 Jun 2013
Photo by Thore Siebrands Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Improbable: YOU gave model Lily Cole £200k for her Impossible.com whimsy-site

Why is the UK taxpayer funding a millionaire supermodel and actress to build a website that replicates the "Help Needed" pages of Craigslist and Freecycle? Using information gleaned from Freedom of Information requests, we’ve attempted to find out. The model and actress Lily Luahana Cole, a Cambridge University art history …
Andrew Orlowski, 25 Mar 2014
The Register breaking news

Broadband minister admits rural rollout by 2015 is 'challenging target'

Broadband minister Ed Vaizey has confessed that the government's £530m pledge to deploy a faster fibre network to rural areas by 2015 is "a challenging target". Speaking with MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, Vaizey said that his department was "running as fast as we can" to deliver on time. …
Kelly Fiveash, 29 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

Oh, those crazy Frenchies: Facebook faces family photo tax in France

Facebook should pay the French government for hosting the holiday photos and status updates of the French people, a new report commissioned by the French government has suggested. The new 200-page report* on taxing the digital economy - commissioned by four French Cabinet Ministers - proposes that France should tax data …
Anna Leach, 24 Jan 2013

Wireless wonks celebrate 35th anniversary of first cell call

April 3 marks the 35th anniversary of the world’s first cellular phone call, and to celebrate, former NFL hero Steve Largent has presented a priapic monolith to the man who made that call back in the spring of 1973. Largent is now the president and CEO of the CTIA wireless association, and this morning, at the association's …
Cade Metz, 02 Apr 2008
The Register breaking news

Most brain science papers are neurotrash: Official

A group of academics from Oxford, Stanford, Virginia and Bristol universities have looked at a range of subfields of neuroscience and concluded that most of the results are statistically worthless. The researchers found that most structural and volumetric MRI studies are very small and have minimal power to detect differences …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Congratulations, freetards: You are THE FIVE PER CENT

Meet the most pampered group in the UK. Bankers? Farmers? Wind-farm operators? The depressed river mussel? Actually, none of the above. It's copyright infringers. New research from UK communications regulator Ofcom shows that filling your boots with pirate downloads remains risk free and a money saver, particularly if you like …
Andrew Orlowski, 08 Mar 2013