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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/Shutterstock.com

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 …
terminators_648

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
classroom_shutterstock_648

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
Grand Canyon

Is Nexenta exposing a vast core storage market vulnerability?

Comment Nexenta CEO and evangelist Tarkan Maner has talked about potentially displacing double-digit petabytes of NetApp storage at a global net giant. He mentions that SAP has an RFP (a "request for proposal"; essentially a solicitation from a body interested in buying something) out to move 74PB of secondary storage off EMC and …
Chris Mellor, 3 Aug 2015

Sun? In Blighty? Nah, just build that rooftop data centre, it’ll be fine

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, our regular tale of things that happen when readers are called in to fix big messes on weekends and evenings. Before we get to this week's tale, a quick reminder we've some prizes for new submissions as part of our Sysadmin Day celebrations. Write to me if you've a story of being called out to do …

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bacon and egg sushi

OK, sliced pork fans. In response to criticisms that our recent culinary trip to Hawaii – in search of the quite remarkable Spam musubi - simply did not feature enough bacon, we today present for your wobbly dining pleasure the very cutting edge of Anglo-Japanese fusion cuisine. Yes indeed, consider if you will bacon and egg …
Lester Haines, 1 Aug 2015
Security guard, picture via Shutterstock

Don't want Windows 10 FILTH on the company network? Step this way

Windows 10 is here. Now, while I have Windows Upgrade Fatigue and I'm in no rush to make the change, plenty of people out there received the upgrade when it arrived. There will certainly going to be a mighty spike in net traffic that day – not least because the upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 is a free one. If you're a …
Dave Cartwright, 31 Jul 2015
atm_teaser_648

Interested in building 'community' Mr Corporation? Please swipe here

Feature Money isn’t new to open source. Capitalist pigs have always been quite at home amidst the unwashed developer masses, spinning up companies to capitalise on the success of JBoss, MySQL, and more. What’s different today is the lengths to which corporate interests go to feign “community". In the early days of open source, for …
Matt Asay, 31 Jul 2015
Back_of_the_NSCI_envelope

Obama endorses 3D TLC flash. How else can you do exaflop computing?

Comment New storage technologies are needed for exabyte-munching exaflop supercomputers. The same-old-same-old disk tech used for supercomputers won’t do for the exaflop generation promised by President Obama’s US leadership supercomputing order. This is Obama’s moonshot, the equivalent of President Kennedy’s man on the moon vision …
Chris Mellor, 30 Jul 2015
Steve Ballmer. Pic:  Aanjhan Ranganathan

Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

Analysis Less than two years into Satya Nadella's tenure as CEO of Microsoft, he's already had to report a lossmaking quarter. It's only the second time that's happened in the software giant's three decades as a public company, and the $8.44bn write-off Redmond posted earlier this week is the largest in its history. Don't blame Nadella …
Neil McAllister, 27 Jul 2015
Alf Garnett

Happy birthday Alf Garnett, you daft, reactionary old git

Feature It’s 50 years ago this week that writer Johnny Speight leapt to fame with his creation of the bigoted conservative Cockney known as Alf Garnett, the loudmouth star of Speight’s sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Alf Garnett Always intended to be laughed at, Johnny Speight's confrontational comic creation was controversial from …
Phil Strongman, 26 Jul 2015
Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo Mobile

The Lazarus Effect: Saved by Linux and Cash Converters

Feature I was recently stuck in a quandary, when, having just moved to Portugal, my trusty MacBook Pro departed this mortal coil. No time to mourn those sweet memories with a deadline fast approaching and replacement to be sought. I’d no intention of buying a new machine with a Portuguese keyboard so I went in search of something …
Mark Diston, 25 Jul 2015
The Hindenburg disaster

How to waste two years and lose $415m: Cisco's now-dead Whiptail deal

Exclusive + analysis Cisco has confirmed that the Invicta all-flash array line is no more, telling The Register: "As part of product lifecycle management, we withdraw technology from the marketplace when necessary to focus our efforts on what is critical for the future of our customers' business as well as our own." The networking goliath added: …
Chris Mellor, 24 Jul 2015
Herdwick sheep walk towards the camera

You can do more with backup than just cloning your data

As we all know, the world of backup is changing, and not just in obvious ways such as the move to disk and cloud-based backup, the adoption of deduplication, the need to copy, back up and restore virtual machines, and so on. First, flash memory and the wider availability of snapshots and replication means that other elements …
Bryan Betts, 23 Jul 2015
Ideal for a summer blast

How to keep track of your flexible workers

It has been two years since Yahoo! chief Marissa Meyer hauled her remote working employees back into the office, intent on eliminating flexible working. The concept is becoming more popular, though, whether people like Ms Meyer like it or not. In June 2014, an amendment to the UK’s Children and Families Act came into effect. …
Robin Birtstone, 23 Jul 2015
Walther PPK pistol. Pic: Art Bromage

How British spies really spy: Information that didn't come from Snowden

Feature David Anderson QC’s review of Britain’s anti-terrorism laws, published earlier this month, has mostly been examined for its potential impact on the government’s plans for a new act of Parliament on surveillance, known as the Snooper’s Charter to opponents. He made extensive recommendations as to what should be in the …
SA Mathieson, 23 Jul 2015

Ashley Madison invites red-faced cheats to bolt stable door for free

Adulterous hook-up site Ashley Madison is allowing all members to fully delete their profiles without charge in the aftermath of a serious data breach that threatens the site' future. Previously, if users wanted to delete their records (profile, pictures and messages sent through the system) they were obliged to pay around $20 …
John Leyden, 21 Jul 2015
George Osborne, photo: HM Treasury

Are you a Tory-voting IT contractor? Congrats! Osborne is hiking your taxes

Benefits recipients, “non-doms” (those living in Britain treated as foreigners for tax purposes), banks, and landlords weren't the only losers in George Osborne's recent budget. Although they weren’t explicitly mentioned, the chancellor put many contractors, including those working in IT, on his hit list by changing the …
SA Mathieson, 21 Jul 2015
Android icon desktop toys

Fragmented Android development creating greater security risks

The fragmentation of Android is creating additional security risks, as the rush to release new devices without sufficient testing is inadvertently introducing security flaws, security researchers have warned. The researchers – Xiaoyong Zhou, Yeonjoon Lee, Nan Zhang, Muhammad Naveed and XiaoFeng Wang – uncovered flaws in …
John Leyden, 20 Jul 2015
Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution cover photo by Chris Saunders

Bill Hicks: 25 years on from the cult comedian's big break

Feature It’s 25 years since Bill Hicks took the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival by storm with a blistering, intelligent comic set that was basically his, then new, debut album Dangerous. Within two years the semi-underground stand-up was a regular on British TV in-between successfully touring across the USA and Australia. And …
Phil Strongman, 19 Jul 2015
Lenticular Cloud

You've tested the cloud – now get ready and take a bigger step

The move to cloud computing in enterprises has until recently largely been confined to new greenfield applications, test and development solutions or software-as-a-service solutions from companies such as Salesforce. The one factor that these applications share is that they are not on the whole critical to the business. But …
Marcus Austin, 17 Jul 2015
Sheep, image via Shutterstock

Feel like you're being herded onto Windows 10? Well, you should

Comment Roll up, roll up for Windows 10, the greatest show on Earth! Forget everything you think you know or might have heard. THIS changes everything. Windows 7 and Windows 8? Pah. THIS is the one you want. Yes, the bandwagon on the Windows 10 hype machine is trundling along, and its online followers are hailing its game-changing …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Jul 2015
Flipside RFID-shielded wallet

Your security is just dandy, Apple Pay, but here comes Android

Analysis Most security experts estimate that the security offered within (and by) Apple Pay is superior to that seen in existing contactless credit or debit card systems. However, the success of the technology in the UK may well depend more on commercial factors than anything else, with one payments expert warning that merchants fees …
John Leyden, 16 Jul 2015
yellow measuring tape - black writing

Make sure your storage can grow with your business

The average SME has a modest infrastructure which has grown organically: a file server of some sort, probably an email server, then a handful of application servers hosting things like finance systems or the database back-ends to business applications. In most cases server A is pushing the limits of its storage capacity while …
Dave Cartwright, 16 Jul 2015

Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

For some time now Firefox, the once mighty web browser, has been bleeding market share and – perhaps more importantly – developer mind share. Between bundling unwanted features such as Pocket, proffering popcorn-worthy CEO dramas atop Mozilla, being led by a seemingly clueless management, and the fact that that Chrome feels …
Thames barrier pier 7, photo: Gavin Clarke

The Great Barrier Relief – Inside London's heavy metal and concrete defence act

Geek's Guide to Britain Last time London flooded was 1953. Three hundred lives were lost, 30,000 evacuated and the damage totalled a considerable £5bn in today’s money. Given how London has expanded since then, the record-breaking wet winter of 2014 would have been worse had it not been for the presence of 51,000 tonnes of metal and 210,000 cubic …
Gavin Clarke, 14 Jul 2015
Spam musubi

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chopstick-collapsing Spam musubi

Those of you of delicate culinary sensibilities would do well to look away now as we present for your wobbly dining pleasure the highly improbable Hawaiian-Japanese canned pork fusion cuisine that is Spam musubi. This Pacific island classic was apparently concocted up by Hawaii's Japanese population after they were introduced …
Lester Haines, 12 Jul 2015

Surviving Hurricane Katrina: A sysadmin's epic DR (as in Didn't Realise) odyssey

On-Call Jim Thompson got in touch with The Register about the mother of all On-Call stories, recalling the time he received a message asking him to come back to New Orleans because a storm called “Hurricane Katrina” was on its way and looked bad. It's nearly 10 years since Katrina raged, so Jim kindly retrieved his jottings on the …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jul 2015
Intel SSD 750

Thinking of adding an SSD for SUPREME speed? Read this

Feature Those guys in white coats at the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) must have been really proud when they unleashed the SATA 6Gb/s specifications on the world. You can imagine them thinking: this will keep us ahead of the game when it comes to hard drive performance. Certainly they were right when it comes to the …
Simon Crisp, 10 Jul 2015
crunchbang

Five lightweight Linux desktop worlds for extreme open-sourcers

Screenshots Linux long ago reached parity with Windows and OS X. That's great for the average user looking to make the switch from either platform to Linux. Indeed distros like Ubuntu, with its Unity desktop, make switching relatively painless. All of the common tools most users want in Windows are also available in Unity, GNOME and other …
OpenStack

Everything you know about OpenStack is wrong

When someone talks about "the future of IT infrastructure delivery" the scope of topic is so broad that there's a really good chance they're working with an Etch-a-Sketch that lacks some of the knobs. IT isn't homogeneous. What works for enterprises doesn't work for the SMB. What works for the SMB doesn't work for service …
Trevor Pott, 9 Jul 2015
mondeo_powerflow

Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

Ford’s recall of more than 400,000 cars in North America to fix a software bug may be just the first of many for the motor industry as automobiles become increasingly complex, security researchers warn. As previously reported, a total of 433,000 2015 Focus, C-MAX and Escape cars are being recalled to dealerships for a software …
John Leyden, 8 Jul 2015
Spaceguard Center in snow, photo: The Spaceguard Center

Planet killer: Ex-army officer's Welsh space-rock mission

Geek's Guide to Britain As I approach the Wales-England border, the rolling Herefordshire countryside sharpens into steep hills and narrow valleys. Powys is a county covering a quarter of Wales, but it is home to just 133,000 people, making it the least densely populated area of Britain south of the North Yorkshire moors. Limited population means few …
SA Mathieson, 6 Jul 2015
titanium rods in https://www.flickr.com/photos/warrenski/'s spine cc 2.0 attribution sharealike https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

On-Call Reg readers are awesome and none more so than JT Smith, who sent us an epic tale of the time he was called out to solve a backup problem. It started with a chap called “Hubswitch”, who was in charge of technology at a remote site that JT oversaw. Hubswitch earned his name because he kept using the word to describe any piece …

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Uitsmijter

We're obliged to readers who answered our recent call for post-pub nosh neckfiller suggestions, and rest assured we now have a extensive menu planned for the coming months, based on your input. One comment which caught our eye came from "dan1980", who pitched the "cheese and tomato sandwich", daringly proposing: "Add ham or left …
Lester Haines, 4 Jul 2015