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Kitten, image via Shutterstock

Ubuntu 15.10: More kitten than beast – but beware the claws

Review The second beta of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf has arrived and there’s not much to see here. Oh sure, there's some revamped scrollbars, Unity 7.3.2 that has some welcome bug fixes and Ubuntu's version of the 4.2.1 Linux kernel, but this is no lycanthropic beast of great transformation as the name might suggest. You won't find …
Child measuring image via Shutterstock

By the numbers: The virtualisation options for private cloud hopefuls

VMware, Hyper-V ... XenServer? When it comes to virtualisation, these are the three most frequently cited options. And this would have been OK in the days before cloud, when virtualisation was “just” something for the boys and girls down in the sysadmin branch of the IT department cared about. Now we do have cloud, and private …
Tom Baines, 5 Oct 2015

Mysterious brown spots and a different kind of mouse support

On-Call Welcome once again to On-Call, our regular look at the messes readers find themselves in when asked to go to help out their clients. This week, we've heard from Reg reader Pat, who tells us about the time he responded to a request for tech help from a user who was puzzled by the strange behaviour of a printer. "I was minding …
Team Register, 4 Oct 2015
Ronnie Barker: All I Ever Wrote book cover

Ten years on: Ronnie Barker, Pismonouncers Unanimous founder, remembered

Feature It’s ten years ago today that much-loved comedian, writer and actor Ronnie Barker passed away. By then, despite having retired way back in 1987, he had already won four BAFTAs, a Royal Television Society award for Outstanding Creative Achievement and been made an OBE. Ronnie Barker – Mispronunciation Sketch He’d also produced …

Experian-T-Mobile US hack: 'We trusted them, now that trust is broken'

Analysis The IT security breach that spilt the personal details of an estimated 15 million T-Mobile US phone contract applicants has thrown a new spotlight on the risks of breaches at third-party companies. T-Mobile's own systems weren't compromised. Rather, the source of the leak was Experian, the company that processed the carrier's …
John Leyden, 2 Oct 2015
 CRAY-1 on display in the hallways of the EPFL in Lausanne.

The Steve Jobs of supercomputers: We remember Seymour Cray

Before Steve Jobs, there was Seymour Cray – father of the supercomputer and regarded as something close to a God in the circles he moved in. Jobs’ Apple Computer is reputed to have bought one of Seymour’s massive machines back in the day: a Cray, to design the brand-new Macintosh personal computer. This would have been a …
Gavin Clarke, 2 Oct 2015

EMC purchase of Graphite Systems was a wetware buy

EMC’s purchase of Graphite Systems was a wetware acquisition, a simple acquihire, according to sources close to the matter. EMC didn’t want the hardware or the software: it wanted the wetware – the people – because what they were developing was so similar to DSSD’s own technology of an ultra-fast, solid state storage array …
Chris Mellor, 1 Oct 2015
Welchman’s book and a portrait of him painted by his second wife, cubist painter Fannie Hillsmith. ©ShaunArmstrong/

Bletchley Park remembers 'forgotten genius' Gordon Welchman

An exhibition has been launched at Bletchley Park to commemorate the work of Cambridge lecturer and "forgotten genius" Gordon Welchman at Britain's wartime codebreaking centre. Titled Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park's Architect of Ultra Intelligence, the exhibition is based on the book of the same name by the great man's …
IBM 5150 PC

Will IT support please come to the ward immediately. Weeeee have a tricky problem

On-Call Welcome once again to On-Call, our regular look at the messes readers find themselves in when asked to go to help out their clients. This week, we've heard from an NHS IT guy who would like to keep his name anonymous. When a support request came in for our reader, it was hard to work out what was going on, we're told, because …
Team Register, 27 Sep 2015
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

The last post: Building your own mail server, Part 3

FEATURE The story so far: Over the last two weeks, I've explained how you can set up a mail server to provide you with POP3 and IMAP services, for your own email, with some basic filtering of inbound connections, and the ability to connect to it and send emails from just about anywhere. This week, it's time to add more serious mail …
Nigel Whitfield, 26 Sep 2015
Bill Bailey - Qualmpeddler art work

Bill Bailey: The man, the musician, the comic, the troll, the legend

Feature Bill Bailey. No, no, he’s not dead yet – which has been a bit of a theme with some of these articles of late – but he is dead funny. And it’s also 20 years since the “part man, part troll” first started to make waves by winning the Time Out comedy award of 1995. Bill Bailey - Limboland Part musician, part comedian ... part …
Phil Strongman, 26 Sep 2015

Did you bet the farm on Amazon's cloud? Time to wean yourself off

Comment Oracle is making hay over last weekend's mega six-hour Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud outage. "You get what you pay for," tweeted Oracle's Phil Dunn, with the caveat that all views are his and don't necessarily reflect those of Oracle. But you get the point. Yes, Amazon's been left with egg on its face and rivals will be …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Sep 2015

XcodeGhost attack tapped into dev distaste for Apple's Gatekeeper

In light of XcodeGhost, the number of malware-laden iOS apps is focusing attention on how developers were tricked into using dodgy code in the first place. The Xcode development tools used by iOS app makers were copied, modified and distributed online before (mainly) Chinese developers used the counterfeit code to compile apps …
John Leyden, 23 Sep 2015
that's all folks featuring Porky Pig

Eight things people forget when buying infrastructure

IT people start on their journeys through infrastructure provision lacking one fundamental thing: experience. You emerge from school, college or university knowing something about technology (unless of course you did one of those nancy IT degrees that doesn't teach you anything about proper IT, in which case your usefulness to …
Dave Cartwright, 21 Sep 2015

Apple cleans up iOS App Store after first big malware attack

Apple is cleaning up its official iOS App Store after the first large-scale attack on its walled garden mobile software site. The Xcode development tools used by iOS app makers was copied, modified, and distributed online, by hackers to inject malicious code into apps available on the App Store, as previously reported. Palo …
John Leyden, 21 Sep 2015
Free range chicken and farmer photo via Shutterstock

It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular look at the messes readers find themselves confronting when asked to go to help out their clients. This week, reader Matt brings us a tale from the time “I was working in a tiny system-integrator firm that has some big clients.” One of those clients was a substantial farm and food …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Sep 2015
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

The last post: Building your own mail server, part 2

Feature Last week, I explained the reasoning behind setting up your own mailserver, and the choice of software that I'll be using for it. This week, it's time to get hands on and show you how to do it. One word of advice, though: this is my configuration, and there are lots of options for tweaking, not to mention different ways to do it …
Nigel Whitfield, 19 Sep 2015
Weston Library, photo by John Cairns

Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Geek's Guide to Britain The Botanic Gardens, Sheldonian Theatre, Museum of Natural History – there’s plenty to see in Oxford. Off limits, however, was the New Bodleian Library, arguably the city’s greatest treasure and jewel in the nation's academic crown. The Bodleian is home one of the world’s oldest and greatest collections of books, maps and …
SA Mathieson, 18 Sep 2015
David Cameron

What Reg readers really think will affect IT in the next three years...

Temperature Check The rate of change in IT and business has never been more rapid. When it comes to how your organisation uses IT, standing still is not an option. But keeping track of advances in technology and the new solutions becoming available in the market place isn’t always that easy, and few Reg readers have the time or resources to …
Tony Lock, 16 Sep 2015
No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr

The last post: Building your own mail server, part 1

Feature Email is one of those internet services that, like it or not, we all have to use. Yet the underlying protocols have been around since before the invention of spam (the electronic sort, of course), and have little in the way of protection. No junk mail. Pic: gajman, Flickr Internet email is far from perfect, but unless you …
Nigel Whitfield, 12 Sep 2015
Argos lorry, photo: Argos

Laminate this: Inside Argos' ongoing online (r)evolution

Think Argos and you think catalogue: The Laminated Book of Dreams, as comedian Bill Bailey puts it, placing thousands of products from crayons to cookers within the easy reach of eager shoppers. Go ahead, laugh it up, but that book introduced a brand new way of shopping in beige 1970s Britain. Shopping from a catalogue was the …
Gavin Clarke, 8 Sep 2015
Man with head in the cloud

Breaking up EMC is a dumb idea, says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

Interview “From the EMC board room,” says VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, “you can see the carnage of the minicomputer industry.” “Wang, Digital, Data General. You can see their buildings from EMC's headquarters.” That view, Gelsinger told The Register, means “we know how this whole story played out.” And because he and the EMC board have …

DSSD says Violin's right: SSD format is WRONG for flash memory

Analysis The SSD format is wrong for flash memory storage arrays. That is the message from DSSD, EMC’s rack-scale, shared flash array development. The Register has seen pictures of DSSD’s flash modules and these are not disk bay form factor SSDs. Rather, they resemble Violin Memory VIMM – Violin In-Line Memory Modules – instead. Pure …
Chris Mellor, 7 Sep 2015
2001: A Space Odyssey

Cognitive computing: What can and can’t we do, and should lipreading be banned?

Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference. That conference, which marked the birth of AI research, explored whether machines could simulate any aspect of human intelligence. Since then, Google has developed a self-driving car, computers can type what you speak, and phones …
Far Cry 4

Wangling my way into the 4K gaming club with a water-cooled whopper

Feature The other week a Viewsonic VX2475Smhl-4K monitor, boasting a 3840x2160 resolution running at 60Hz – though only 24-inches of it – shows up at my door. I’m happy as a clam until it dawns on me that this isn’t a job my faithful little NUC, the Gigabyte Brix Pro, is up to. I was going to need a rig and a half, probably costing more …
Lucy Orr, 4 Sep 2015
Old scrolls at the National Archive

Flash, holograms? Where will your archive end up?

Whether it’s unstructured rich media, traditional business documents and files, or the audiovisual library of a media company, there is more data about than ever before. And more than ever, it has potential value – whether that is to build new content, to improve customer relationships, to answer the demands of regulators, or …
Bryan Betts, 3 Sep 2015

Viral virus bunfight: Dr Web tested rivals like Kaspersky Lab

Russian anti-malware firm Dr.Web tested rivals to see if they blindly accepted malware reports shared through cross-industry intelligence systems like Kaspersky Lab, according to investigative reporter Brian Krebs. However, Dr.Web stopped short of using services such as VirusTotal to trip up rivals, the focus of fiercely …
John Leyden, 2 Sep 2015
Roadside Advice in South Dakota by cc 2.0 attribution noderivs generic

In redneck heaven, internet outages are the American Way

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular reader-contributed tale in which we reveal the odd things you've been asked to do at all hours. This week, reader “Commander” brings us a tale from the American South. Where they don't just have bacon. They have machine gun bacon! And as one reader once told us, cars in Texas are big. So …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Aug 2015
Richard Pryor ...Is It Something I Said?

Black and blue: The rise of the riotous Richard Pryor

Feature Readers are advised that a number of the video clips featured in this article contain colourful language of a NSFW nature. It’s 40 years since Richard Pryor’s first seriously promoted album crashed into the US charts. Within months ... Is It Something I Said? went platinum and the next spring saw it win him his second Grammy …
Phil Strongman, 29 Aug 2015
TV watcher, image via Shutterstock

Channel surfers and the irresistible rise of Content Delivery Networks

Fastly, a four-year-old content delivery network start-up, this month landed $75m in venture funding. It was the firm’s fifth intake of cash, the second in less than a year. What’s remarkable is that inventors are backing a firm that is going up against some big names – among them the massive Amazon juggernaut. Clearly, …
Tom Baines, 28 Aug 2015

Malware menaces poison ads as Google, Yahoo! look away

Feature Online advertising has become an increasingly potent threat to end-user security on the internet. More hackers than ever are targeting the internet's money engine, using it as a powerful attack vector to hide exploits and compromise huge numbers of victims. Malvertising, as poisoned ads are known, is as deadly as it is diverse …
Darren Pauli, 27 Aug 2015

BYOD? More like CYOD as companies still set the parameters

Companies are rapidly expanding the volume of mobile devices used by their employees. The number of devices enrolled in business grew by 72 per cent during the whole of last year, compared with 2013. Moreover, a Good Technology survey in the first quarter of 2015 found 72 per cent of those devices ran iOS, 26 per cent Android …
Andy Favell, 25 Aug 2015
CAT_wind tunnel for testing turbine shapes photo SA Mathieson

Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Geek's Guide to Britain There are plenty of tourist attractions scattered around the coast of Cardigan Bay in Wales. But for the last four decades, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has provided something appropriately... alternative. There is an early sign of this in the car park – a huge wind turbine blade, placed as if to diminish the …
SA Mathieson, 21 Aug 2015
One Nation Under CCTV

Still safe as houses: More CCTV for the masses

Feature Last week, I looked at two home camera systems: Arlo from Netgear and Welcome from Netatmo. To recap, Arlo is pretty much a straightforward cloud-based CCTV system, offering you cameras with motion sensors and notification, together with an app to view things on your phone. Netatmo's Welcome is a stand-alone camera – again …
Nigel Whitfield, 15 Aug 2015

Patching a fragmented, Stagefrightened Android isn't easy

Android users face a triple patching headache with the recent discovery of a collection of serious vulnerabilities affecting smartphones and tablets running Google's mobile operating system. Security experts warn that the fragmented nature of Android devices will make patching more difficult than it would be in updating PCs. …
John Leyden, 12 Aug 2015
New Lanark photo via Shutterstock

Get thee behind me, Satanic mills! Robert Owen's Scottish legacy

Geek's Guide to Britain The European Route of Industrial Heritage marks New Lanark as an anchor point in the global development of textiles and architecture, and so it is. Nestled in the Clyde Valley the village owes its existence to the falls that were harnessed to refine raw cotton sent in from the colonies: a picture-postcard image from a time …
Bill Ray, 11 Aug 2015
Walkie Talkie photo: Malcolm Chapman/

RSA chief uncans insurance giant's mega IT infrastructure review

Interview Zurich Insurance, Europe’s third-largest insurer with $70bn in revenue and 55,000 staff, hinted last week that it might buy RSA Group. Yet six major acts of M&A have saddled RSA with 15 data centres, managed and run differently and propping up a creaking architecture. Worth £4.5bn and with 19,000 staff and 20 million customers …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Aug 2015
Captain Mainwaring

Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular reader-contributed weekender in which we recount tales of the weird and wonderful things you've been asked to do at anti-social times in decidedly out-of-the-way places. This week, reader Michael tells us that "a couple of years back I was working for a large German university hospital". …
One Nation Under CCTV

Safe as houses: CCTV for the masses

Feature The technology to keep our homes safe has been remarkably static over the years. Most alarms still rely on the same tried and trusted techniques to work out if there's someone in your home when there shouldn't be. Typically they rely on motion detectors, door and window sensors, or pressure mats. Oh and you can have fancy light …

I, for one, welcome the rise of the Infrastructure Endgame Machines

The end of IT as we know it is upon us. Decades of hype, incremental evolution and bitter disappointment are about to come to an end as the provisioning of IT infrastructure is finally commoditised. By the end of the decade, the majority of new IT purchases will be converged infrastructure solutions that I only semi-jokingly …
Trevor Pott, 5 Aug 2015

Vision? Execution? Sadly, omission and confusion rule Gartner's virty quadrant

Comment Gartner has released its Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualisation Infrastructure. It annoys me. Normally, I can write of it as simply being Gartner, and move on ... normally. But storage and virtualisation specifically – and anyone who thinks these two markets are separate doesn't understand them – are on my list, of late …
Trevor Pott, 5 Aug 2015

Do you speak NFV? Time to go back to school and learn

Administrators have some growing up to do before they're ready to properly implement Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), as it not only has to be automated and integrated into extant management systems, it needs to be a lot more lightweight than most administrator believe is possible. NFV is the ability to stand up, tear …
Trevor Pott, 4 Aug 2015