Articles about Wonks

Unicode wonks are bringing home the BACON, as an emoji

Want a bacon, avocado and cucumber salad? Next year, you'll be able to order it with emoji. In among the po-faced work of setting standards, the Unicode Consortium is considering adding those three emoji to the character set – along with pregnancy, crossed fingers, a nauseated face, a clown and a cowboy, and a bunch of others. …
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
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 …

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

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
willy wonka oompa loompa

More oompa loompas needed to push Google's EU agenda

Google and Facebook are throwing people and money at the EU in an effort to ensure more laws go their way. Both companies are recruiting new policy wonks to influence law-makers in Brussels. Google is after two public policy and government relations analysts – one to work on the European Commission and the Council, the other to …
Jennifer Baker, 13 May 2015
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Microsoft open-sources Sora software-defined radio

Microsoft has decided to open-source its six-year-old Sora software radio project. As Redmond's Jane Ma explained at Technet, Sora has been designed to replicate the behaviour of specialised ASICs on a PC. Its focus is on the PHY and MAC layers. ASIC design is expensive and inflexible, so software platforms are attractive to …
X-ray image showing vibrator in passenger's luggage

W3C turns BROWSERS into VIBRATORS

Web wonks at the W3C have issued a new Recommendation that gives browsers control of vibrators. Recommendations are the W3C's polite way of defining standards, so this week's notification that the Vibration API has attained this status means the world now has a standard way to make devices throb, buzz, jitter, oscillate or …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015
Cat 5 cable

North America down to its last ~130,000 IPv4 addresses

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) can no longer satisfy requests for new IPv4 addresses and has started a waitlist for those who want more. ARIN warned, in early June, that “It is very likely that we are already processing a request that we will be unable to fulfill [sic].” On Monday this week it escalated the …
Simon Sharwood, 03 Jul 2015

Intel infosec folk TEE off open source app dev framework

A trio of Intel boffins have broken a vendor lock-down on trusted execution environments (TEEs) with the release of an open source framework that could help developers to build more secure apps. Intel wonks Brian McGillion, Tanel Dettenborn, and Thomas Nyman (plus N. Asokan of Aalto University and University of Helsinki) …
Darren Pauli, 30 Jun 2015
Dan Fredinburg on Mount Everest. Pic credit: Fredinburg's Instagram page

Google exec and avid climber dies on Mount Everest

One of Google's top privacy wonks was killed by an avalanche on Mount Everest on Saturday. The snowslide was triggered by a massive Nepal earthquake that has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people in the region. Dan Fredinburg had worked at Google since 2007 as a product manager, software engineer and the ad …
Kelly Fiveash, 26 Apr 2015
Office Space

Zucking 'ell! Facebook at Work bloke unfriends Facebook AT WORK

Lars Rasmussen has quit Facebook after nearly five years as director of engineering at the free content ad network. He defected from Google to the Mark Zuckerberg-run company in 2010 in the immediate aftermath of the failure of his wonky Wave project, which he described at the time as being a "little stressful" to try to get off …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Apr 2015
Windows 2.0

Stop coding and clean up your UI, devs, it's World Usability Day

November 13th is World Usability Day, the annual event that urges all and sundry “to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use.” The day's raison d'être is promoting good design, so that products and services are easy to use, rather than useless. Physical objects are the …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Nov 2014
Pinocchio CC 2.0 Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jepoirrier/

Microsoft proves Pinocchio's a real boy with proofs tool

Microsoft cloud wonks have developed a tool for developers capable of practical generation of proofs that an outsourced job has been crunched securely. The team of eight including Craig Costello; Cedric Fournet; Jon Howell; Markulf Kohlweiss ; Michael Naehrig, and Bryan Parno together with University of Virginia boffins Benjamin …
Darren Pauli, 20 Apr 2015
spy_eye_648

'The Google execs, the journalists, plus Brit and US spybosses in a cosy mansion confab'

A high-level private meeting between Silicon Valley execs, spies and others was held in the UK this month: on the agenda, the state of government surveillance, and what limits should be put on it. The attendee list is impressive. Key speakers apparently included former acting CIA boss John McLaughlin; former White House deputy …
Iain Thomson, 22 May 2015
Facebook privacy image

Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

In an attempt to poke "da yoof" into voting, the Electoral Commission will run a registration campaign via Facebook tomorrow. Every person eligible to vote on Facebook in the UK will see a message in their newsfeed directing them to register online via the Gov.uk site. The body hopes it will prompt others to register, with …
Kat Hall, 04 Feb 2015
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

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

Labour outsources digital policy, Tories turn up to finish it

Do tax avoidance, monopolistic business practices or your right to determine your digital identity bother you? Well don’t look for help in the new "digital manifesto" that the Labour Party launched this week. The audience for the crowdsourced "mashup" policy document is VCs, the media, and nervous unions – not you. The People’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 28 Sep 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 …

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 …

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
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 …
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
Tony Blair closes the RSA 2012 conference

Freedom of Info at 10: Tony Blair's WORST NIGHTMARE

Although the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000, it didn't come into force until 1 January 2005, meaning we've had just about 10 years of FoI – as the Information Commissioner's Office was keen to point out in a minor PR blizzard. That load of celebratory snippets* included such worthy-but-dull moments as the first …
Gareth Corfield, 28 Dec 2014

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

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 …
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

Tale of 2 cyber-confabs: Govts, nerds on one side. Shock hotel room searches on the other

Analysis Last week, the fourth annual global conference on cybersecurity (GCCS) was held in The Hague in the Netherlands. The two-day conference is put on by a different government each year, starting with the first in London in 2011. It is billed as a place for "representatives from governments, private sector and civil society" to meet …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Apr 2015

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 …

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

+Comment 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

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
Rows of washing machines in shop aisle

If hypervisor is commodity, why is VMware still on top?

The hypervisor is a commodity. VMware's ESXi, Microsoft's Hyper-V and the open-source community's Xen and KVM are all right and proper tools for virtualising workloads. Does that mean we should all stampede away from expensive proprietary hypervisors and dine on the open-source freebies? This being IT, the answer is "it depends …
Trevor Pott, 23 Apr 2015
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?

Analysis 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
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
snowden SXSW

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

Theatre review 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
Internet of Things

Greedy datagrabs, crap security will KILL the Internet of Thingies

Opinion Is the Internet of Things a nightmare, a glorious utopia, or might it just never happen? Last week I was asked to offer a few thoughts in a panel discussion for over 200 PriceWaterhouseCoopers staff, ranging from hackers to business geeks. I’ve only touched on IoT briefly, when David Cameron at CeBIT announced he was throwing a …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Oct 2014

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
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

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

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
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

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

Dinner Party Punchup 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
The Register breaking news

Wireless wonks face shrinking economy, vanishing porn

MWC 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

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

Wireless wonks celebrate 35th anniversary of first cell call

CTIA Wireless 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

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
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