Articles about engineering

Engineers say safety features got squished out of cramped Samsung Note 7

A teardown analysis of the Samsung Note 7 claims that the ill-fated phablet was doomed by a design flaw that squeezed its battery pack to unsafe pressure levels. Anna Shedletsky, CEO of engineering software developer Instrumental, said her team's teardown analysis of the Note 7 found that the smartphone's tendency to explode …
Shaun Nichols, 06 Dec 2016
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Datrium: $55m burning hole in its pocket and raring to go global

Datrium has gained $55m C-round funding to grow its business to global scale. The startup was founded in 2012 by Data Domain and VMware vets. Its DVX product is a 2-tier design, revealed in January this year, and involving controller and data services software running in from one to 32 accessing servers, each with at least …
Chris Mellor, 05 Dec 2016

BlackBerry's final QWERTY floats past the rumour mill

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but what if BlackBerry had produced a smart, secure Android QWERTY in 2011, rather than waiting until 2017? A photo purporting to be BlackBerry’s final phone – which happens to be a smart, secure Android QWERTY expected in Q1 next year, popped up at the weekend, inviting counterfactual histories …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Dec 2016

Amazon tries again with AppStream because customers didn't like it

Acknowledging that the initial version of application streaming service AppStream failed to appeal to customers, Amazon Web Services is ready to try again. Introduced in 2013, AppStream offered companies a way to stream Windows desktop apps to users via browser across a variety of devices. It was intended as an alternative to …
Thomas Claburn, 02 Dec 2016

Dell EMC kills off VxRack Neutrino

EMC is end-of-lifing its hyper-converged, rack-scale, scale-out, turnkey VxRack Neutrino product. VxRack Neutrino was announced in February this year as a product on which to run cloud-native apps and Big Data analytics workloads in large data centres. The component storage pieces in the VxRack 1000-based product were ScaleIO …
Chris Mellor, 02 Dec 2016

Hackers waste Xbox One, PS4, MacBook, Pixel, with USB zapper

VIDS Hackers are destroying everything from the latest gaming systems, phones, and even cars with a dangerous circuit-frying USB device that could put critical systems at risk. The -220V USBKill device developed last year and since refined is an inconspicious USB stick that can ruin devices in seconds by delivering continous power …
Darren Pauli, 02 Dec 2016

Wearable eats wearable: Fitbit 'to buy Pebble' with a steal of a deal

Crowdfunding hero and smart bling pioneer Pebble is about to be acquired by Fitbit. The Information was first with the story, and subsequent reports suggest the price is modest: around $35 to $40m. The company launched its first smartwatch under the Pebble name on Kickstarter in 2012 after Vancouver engineering student Eric …
Andrew Orlowski, 01 Dec 2016
Pacemaker

Fatal flaws in ten pacemakers make for Denial of Life attacks

A global research team has hacked 10 different types of implantable medical devices and pacemakers finding exploits that could allow wireless remote attackers to kill victims. Eduard Marin and Dave Singelée, researchers with KU Leuven University, Belgium, began examining the pacemakers under black box testing conditions in …
Darren Pauli, 01 Dec 2016
anchor

Jersey sore: Anchor rips into island's undersea cables, sinks net access

Internet speeds on the UK island of Jersey have been slashed – literally – after a ship's anchor destroyed three submarine cables linking the isle to the British mainland. Broadband speeds on the Channel island immediately slowed to a trickle after the data cables, owned by telco JT, and the voice traffic cable, owned by ISP …
Iain Thomson, 30 Nov 2016
Ash loses his head in a still of the movie Alien. Copyright: 20th Century Fox

Qumulo gets head transplant

Qumulo CEO and co-founder Peter Godman is transitioning to a CTO role as Bill Richter is hired to be the new CEO and Presidenp. Godman, recent CTO Aaron Passey and VP Engineering Neil Fachan, all ex-Isilon execs, founded scale-out file startup Qumulo in 2012. Richter is another ex-Isilon exec. He left his president role at EMC …
Chris Mellor, 30 Nov 2016

UK cops spot webcam 'sextortion' plots: How vics can hit stop

The NCA has said that "at least four young men have taken their own lives" after being targeted by financially motivated webcam blackmailers, while UK police forces are sharing stats and tips in a campaign to combat the rising problem. Police say they've recorded 864 cases of webcam blackmail cases so far in 2016, more than …
John Leyden, 30 Nov 2016
Pic: Shutterstock

Drive-by web nasty unmasks Tor Browser users, Mozilla dashes to patch zero-day vuln

Updated Mozilla is scrambling to patch a vulnerability in Firefox that is apparently being exploited in the wild to unmask Tor Browser users. Earlier today, a small package of SVG, JavaScript and x86 code popped up on a Tor mailing list that, when opened by Firefox or Tor Browser on a Windows PC, phones home to a remote server and …
Darren Pauli, 30 Nov 2016

Huawei Mate 9: The Note you've been waiting for?

Hands On Can you believe Huawei’s luck? Imagine discovering a new planet, populated entirely by Irish people, which has a dozen orbiting satellite moons all harvesting shamrocks, all the year round. That lucky. Through extraordinary timing, the Chinese giant finds itself with the big screen phone category to itself, thanks to its new …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Nov 2016
Soyuz

50 years on, the Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is still our favorite space truck

On 28 November 1966, Soviet engineers cheered as the first Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Motherland and made it into space. 50 years later, the Soyuz family is still delivering the goods. For the past five years, the rockets have been our only means to resupply the International Space Station. Not bad for a rocket design …
Iain Thomson, 29 Nov 2016

If you have a problem, if no one else can help – and if you can find them – maybe you can hire DARPA's A-Teams

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research arm of the US military, has today announced a new program aimed at using AI to bring together skills from humans and machines to solve problems more effectively. The use of AI is seeping through to all areas of technology, including the military. But don’t …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Nov 2016
robot car canada

BlackBerry-driven robo-car spins its RIMs across Canada

Video Today, a trio of self-driving cars – including a BlackBerry-powered ride – hit the streets in Canada for the first time. The autonomous vehicles will be tested by their manufacturers to assess their safety and control systems in the real world. Ontario became the first province in Canada to allow robotic autos on the road on …
Iain Thomson, 28 Nov 2016
Tesla Model X

Grand App Auto: Tesla smartphone hack can track, locate, unlock, and start cars

A smartphone app flaw has left Tesla vehicles vulnerable to being tracked, located, unlocked, and stolen. Security experts at Norwegian app security firm Promon were able to take full control of a Tesla vehicle, including finding where the car is parked, opening the door and enabling its keyless driving functionality. A lack …
John Leyden, 25 Nov 2016
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2.1Gbps speeds over LTE? That's not a typo, EE's already done it

MBBF2016 Engineers at EE recently managed to get speeds of 2.1Gbps out of a trial LTE deployment, according to Tom Bennett, the British telco’s director of network services and devices. “Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the fastest anyone’s got LTE to go anywhere,” Bennett told the world’s tech press at Huawei’s Global Mobile …
Gareth Corfield, 25 Nov 2016
Donald Trump

Meet the Loughborough 'emo' boffins who predicted Trump's victory

This has not been a good year for opinion pollsters, most of whom failed to predict either Britain’s vote to leave the European Union or the election of Donald Trump as US president. To be fair, both were close races. Wise pollsters offer probabilities rather than certainties: FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who successfully …
SA Mathieson, 24 Nov 2016
Pop art style illustration of man exclaiming "WHAT?" in shock/horror/bemusement. Illustration via Shutterstock

Microsoft’s ‘Home Hub’ probably isn’t even hardware at all

Microsoft isn’t in a rush to follow Amazon and Google by planting a pair of creepy listening ears in your living room, disguised as a robot buddy. Microsoft’s fabled “Home Hub” may not even be hardware at all. But you can see why tongues are wagging. Given the success of Amazon’s Echo speaker, and with Google launching a me- …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Nov 2016
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HPE core servers and storage under pressure

Analysis HPE's latest results show a company emerging slimmer and fitter through diet (cost-cutting) and exercise (spin-merger deals) but facing tougher markets in servers and storage – the new normal, as CEO Meg Whitman says. A look at the numbers and the earnings call from the servers and storage points of view shows a …
Chris Mellor, 23 Nov 2016
Cut cable

Comcast is the honey badger of ISPs – injects pop-ups into browsers, doesn't give a fsck

As an ostensible courtesy to internet customers now facing 1TB monthly data caps, Comcast has begun notifying those approaching their quotas through popup browser windows. But the way it delivers those messages – injecting web code into the customer's browsing session – undermines online security, said iOS developer Chris …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Nov 2016

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 …
Peter Capaldi in bbc2 political satire The Thick of It. Copyright BBC

Gov's industrial strategy: 'Look, we've changed the words above our door'

Analysis We know the government is serious about an industrial strategy because it renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Unfortunately, five months on that's still just about all we know. More details are expected in the Autumn Statement today. …
Kat Hall, 23 Nov 2016
letters stuffed in a mailbox. Photo by SHutterstock

Snail mail thieves feed international identity theft rings say Oz cops

You may run security software, encrypt everything, protect your very complex passwords and use two-factor authentication for everything, but the humble mailbox and the snail mail it contains can still see your identity stolen. So say Police in the Australian State of New South Wales, where Fraud and Cybercrime Squad detectives …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Nov 2016
NBN

NetComm kicked to the curb by nbn™ for fibre-not-quite-to-the-home

Nearly 20 years after it was a supplier to Optus' hybrid fibre coax build, Australian comms-kit-maker NetComm will help replace the network. The company yesterday announced it's won a contract to supply one-port and four-port nodes for the National Broadband Network's Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) services. In NetComm's …

Veeam kicks Symantec's ass over unpatentable patents

Veeam has defeated two four-year-old legal challenges from Symantec, initiated before Symantec split from Veritas and its data protection software. Symantec claimed Veeam was infringing Symantec patents back in 2012. The big bad S referred to several patents in its claims: An '086 patent refers to a virtual machine backup …
Chris Mellor, 22 Nov 2016
DNS privacy slide from Dan Gillmor, ACLU

IETF plants privacy test inside DNS

The Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF's) years-long effort to protect Internet users has taken a small step forward, with one option for better Domain Name System (DNS) privacy reaching the test stage. "Stubby", created by the getdns project team, lets users test encrypted DNS queries. The idea isn't to flick the switch …
Sad Android

More Androids carry phone-home firmware

Got a cheap-and-cheerful Android phone from BLU, Infinix, Doogee, Leagoo, IKU, Beeline or Xolo? It might be harbouring some badware in the firmware. The issue affects phones that use an over-the-air update mechanism from Chinese company according to BitSight researcher Dan Dahlberg and Anubis Networks' João Gouveia and Tiago …

Virtual Instruments gobbles up Xangati in cash-free deal

Storage workload and network testing company Virtual Instruments has bought Xangati and its hybrid cloud and virtualisation performance management technology. Back in March Load Dynamix and Virtual Instruments merged, taking the Virtual Instruments name and receiving $20m in funding from Load Dynamix investors. Some 26 …
Chris Mellor, 17 Nov 2016
Man heaves giant rock above his head in the middle of the woods. Photo by Shutterstock

Facebook Telecom Infrastructure Project starts chucking rocks at mobile model

Analysis Nine months after announcing its Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), Facebook has held its first summit and unveiled new partners and a first concrete project, a white box transponder/router for fibre backhaul, called Voyager. This is an indication, if any were needed, that the social media giant was not just tub-thumping …
Wireless Watch, 17 Nov 2016
Hadoop

Hadoop experiencing growing pains in lamestream businesses

Apache Big Data Fast, unbridled growth has hurt adoption of Hadoop, according to a leading advocate of the technology. John Mertic, director of program management at ODPi, said that work on Hadoop was often relegated to a "skunkworks" project in many mainstream organisations. "It's effectively stuck," he said during a keynote presentation at …
John Leyden, 16 Nov 2016
Blackmail

New Ransoc extortionists hunt for actual child abuse material

Hackers have unleashed a strain of scammer that activates on compromised computers when it encounters filenames containing strings that have been associated with child abuse clips and images. Ransoc kicks in when it finds potential "evidence" of child abuse material or media files downloaded via torrents on the targeted …
John Leyden, 16 Nov 2016

Forget razors and blades, APIs are the new gotcha

Sysadmin Blog I've always hated the "razor and blades" business model. It pops up everywhere in our society, and is becoming ever more popular in IT. There is enough crossover with subscription models that it's hard to tell where one business model stops and the other begins. Regardless of the nuances, "razor and blades" is nothing but a tax …
Trevor Pott, 16 Nov 2016

DataStax slurps DataScale, burps out own managed cloud

NoSQL-business DataStax has today announced its acquisition of the similarly-named DataScale, as well as plans to launch its own managed cloud offering next year. DataStax'a Martin Van Ryswyk, EVP of Engineering, confirmed to The Register that the specific financial terms of the acquisition weren't going to be revealed, but …
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Shhh! Shazam is always listening – even when it's been switched 'off'

A security researcher has discovered that when the Mac version of Shazam is switched off, it simply stops processing recorded data. The recording itself continues. The music identification service admits the behaviour but says it only keeps recording purely for technical reasons. Patrick Wardle, a former NSA staffer who heads …
John Leyden, 15 Nov 2016
Money falling, image via Shutterstock

PIR saves millions in .org rebid

The non-profit that runs all .org domains and provides the bulk of the funding for the Internet Society and Internet Engineering Task Force has just saved itself millions of dollars a year. Public Interest Registry (PIR) announced Monday that it had re-selected Afilias as its backend operator after a nine-month retendering …
Kieren McCarthy, 14 Nov 2016
Carl Spackler

Cheer up, world! AWS instances just got cheaper

Amazon has rolled out yet another cut to prices for Amazon Web Services server instances. The cloud backbone and Bezos cash cow says the price drop will cover multiple regions and will include the pay-per-hour on-demand instances, the pre-paid reserved plans, and full-machine dedicated host instances in Elastic Compute Cloud ( …
Shaun Nichols, 14 Nov 2016
Embarrassed/exhausted man sits in front of laptop in hipstery office. Photo by Shutterstock

Pay up or your data gets it. Ransomware highwaymen's attacks on small biz octuple

Small businesses faced eight times more ransomware attacks in the third quarter of 2016 than the same quarter last year, according to stats from Kaspersky Lab. Kaspersky Small Office Security thwarted 27,471 attempts to block access to corporate data in Q3 2016, compared to 3,224 similar attacks in Q3 2015. Ransomware makes …
John Leyden, 14 Nov 2016
F16

Kaminario's Dani Golan reaches for the sky

Profile Dani Golan stands on the roof of his Israeli headquarters and points out features of the scenery: an 8,000 year-old ruin here, an ancient trade route there, a modern highway alongside the building, a sign to Nazareth, and fighter jets taking off from a nearby airforce base with thunderous, sky-filling roars. Dani is …
Chris Mellor, 14 Nov 2016

Google BigQuery TITSUP caused by failure to scale-yer workloads

A four-hour outage of Google's BigQuery streaming service has taught the cloud aspirant two harsh lessons: its cloud doesn't always scale as well as it would like, and; it needs to explain itself better during outages. The Alphabet subsidiary's trouble started last Tuesday when a surge in demand for the BigQuery authorization …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Nov 2016
Lego builders, photo by Simone Mescolini, via Shutterstock

Fancy 15 hours of DevOps learnings, and lunch?

Promo It’s one thing logging onto a 15 hour online event covering the world of DevOps. It’s quite another watching it live in the comfortable offices of one of the main sponsors with complimentary food and drinks from morning until evening. Plus happy hour. That’s what’s on offer next week. Go here to register for the AllDayDevOps …
David Gordon, 11 Nov 2016
Darin Fisher at the Chrome Dev Summit

Google's crusade to make mobile web apps less, well, horrible

Chrome Dev Summit At SFJazz – the first freestanding jazz arts center in the US – on Thursday in San Francisco, Google riffed on the virtues of Progressive Web Apps as a vehicle for efficient and engaging content delivery. "Our mission is to move the web platform forward," said Darin Fisher, VP of Chrome engineering, at the Chrome Developers …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Nov 2016
Dice, photo via Shutterstock

Red Hat rolls OpenStack Platform double with help

Red Hat is changing its OpenStack support plan to tap Agile with those craving long-term commitment following a shakeup in its engineering. The Linux flinger's OpenStack Platform 10, due shortly and based on Newton, will see Red Hat introduce one and three-year lifecycle support for two new planned editions. One-year support …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Nov 2016

GitHub Enterprise catches up with GitHub proper

GitHub Enterprise is scheduled to get a version bump on Wednesday that will bring code reviews, project organization, and workflow visualization capabilities. Introduced in 2011, GitHub Enterprise provides Git version control on GitHub, on premises, or via private cloud, with a variety of bells and whistles that matter to …
Thomas Claburn, 09 Nov 2016

Tailored Swift – coming soon to a cloud near you

Interview Jonathan "Jono" Guthrie, senior software engineer for PerfectlySoft, dropped by The Register's office in San Francisco to discuss the merits of the Swift programming language. The Apple-created Swift has attracted significant attention from developers since the iPhone maker released it as an open source project last year, but …
Thomas Claburn, 09 Nov 2016
Cat in a box, image via Shutterstock

Protected? Cosy? Pffft, Reduxio prefer 'daring stupidity'

Analysis Reduxio's array is a hybrid one with clever dedupe, and is restricted to an iSCSI interface, so let's move on. Actually let's not. Because under the covers something remarkable is going on. Co-founder and CTO Nir Peleg explained this to us press hacks at Reduxio's Israeli HQ in Petach Tikvah yesterday. At heart, he …
Chris Mellor, 09 Nov 2016
Backpack

Facebook opens up, shares blueprints for its 100Gbit network switch

It’s odd thinking of Facebook as an infrastructure company rather than a purveyor of cat pictures and fake news. However, the web giant is rapidly becoming one of the key leaders in telecommunications design – as demonstrated with the firm’s latest release. The Backpack is a second-generation modular open switch platform …
Iain Thomson, 08 Nov 2016

Retiring IETF veteran warns: Stop adding so many damn protocols

A retiring veteran of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has left the organization with a departing piece of advice: stop creating so many protocols. Ross Callon was one of just 21 engineers who attended the first IETF meeting in San Diego in 1986 and has missed only a handful of the 95 subsequent meetings it has held …
Kieren McCarthy, 08 Nov 2016
Ellison with watch photo by drserg via Shutterstock

Why Oracle's Larry Ellison shelled out $9bn for NetSuite

Analysis NetSuite's 18-year run as an independent ERP SaaS provider is over after shareholders approved Oracle's $9.3bn acquisition of the firm. Larry Ellison scraped up a narrow majority of unaffiliated shares to land one of Silicon Valley's early SaaS pioneers. Ellison got 53.21 per cent of unaffiliated shares, 21,775,553. Oracle's …
Gavin Clarke, 07 Nov 2016