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Flying filers and Game of Thrones: Jon Snow? No, latency is dead

Cache me if you can Special effects for season 6 of Game of Thrones were created by Spanish video special effects (VFX) house El Ranchito, which explains how it solved its classic scaling problem below. El Ranchito, which was founded in 2010 in Barcelona, has an office in Madrid. It has done work on movies including The Homesman and it also did …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2016
PCM IBM chip, photo IBM

Great, IBM has had a PCM breakthrough. Who exactly is going to manufacture?

Analysis IBM has demonstrated a 3-bit Phase-Change Memory chip with IBM Zurich researcher Dr. Haris Pozidis talking about it in a YouTube video and not mentioning 3D XPoint once. The idea is to counter the relatively high cost of PCM chips by giving them 3 bits per cell, TLC or triple-level cells, instead of just one - clever. This …
Chris Mellor, 20 May 2016
Who and tangerine: photo BBC

BBC's Britflix likely dead before the ink has even dried on the news

Analysis Anyone hearing this week that Britain’s BBC is set to launch against Netflix with a service touted as “BritFlix” will almost certainly get the wrong idea and believe it is actually going to happen. The move is being touted merely because the recent government review of the BBC encouraged the ancient British public broadcasters …
Faultline, 20 May 2016

LinkedIn plays down '117 million users' breach data sale

LinkedIn has responded to the recent sale of users’ data - apparently the fruits of a 2012 breach - on the dark web. As previously reported, a black hat hacker using the nickname Peace is attempting to sell 117 million LinkedIn users' emails and passwords on the dark web. "Peace" wants 5 BTC for the trove of private info which …
John Leyden, 19 May 2016
Prince philip Thames barrier old control room photo Environment Agency

Landmark computer hacking archive deposited at TNMOC

An archive that tells the story of how the 1980s hack of Prince Philip’s mailbox led to UK anti-hacking legislation has been deposited at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC). Robert Schifreen, the "white hat" at the centre of the 1980s controversy, compiled the archive, which details Schifreen’s two-year-long legal …
John Leyden, 18 May 2016
Electric Mountain under construction, photo by First Hydro Company

Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

From the outside, Elidir Mountain looks like an old industrial site that has returned to nature. The slopes facing the Llyn Peris reservoir have been hacked into terraces by slate quarrying – this was once the second-biggest quarry in the world, with 3,000 workers – but they are now peaceful. Only a few buildings at ground …
SA Mathieson, 16 May 2016

36 firms at risk from that unpatched 2010 SAP vuln? Try 500+

Analysis A vulnerability in SAP systems that some enterprises have failed to patch for six years is more difficult to fix than previously reported and estimates of enterprise exposure are way too low, according to the security consultancy that originally found it. US-CERT took the unprecedented move on Wednesday of enumerating in an …
John Leyden, 13 May 2016
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US work visas for international tech talent? 'If Donald Trump is elected all bets are off'

Apart from marrying an American, the best known route for foreign techies wanting to (legally) share their expertise for a fee in the US is a work visa. But this route is overcrowded, increasingly expensive and, should Donald Trump become America’s 45th president, it'll likely slam shut for many hoping to work in Silicon …
SA Mathieson, 13 May 2016

Kobayashi Maru gets real: VR and AR in meatspace today

Three years ago few people other than hardcore gamers and those working in specialist industrial fields were still talking about VR. It was a gimmicky technology cursed by the “P” word (“potential”) and huge, ungainly headsets that generated a flurry of interest in the late 1990s that quickly evaporated. Today, it’s big news …
Alistair Dabbs, 13 May 2016
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Seagate ready for the HAMR blow: First drives out in 2017

Seagate is reducing its manufacturing capacity while still focusing on high-capacity disk drives for cloud and hyper-scale storage of unstructured data. This means it needs higher capacity drives, requiring new read-write head technology. It is a high-technology, nano-scale, clean room manufacturing process, and drive read- …
Chris Mellor, 12 May 2016
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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

Ireland has a very good track record of using its corporation tax rate to attract foreign tech firms - anyone who is anyone is either in Ireland or has been here. The number of jobs created down the years has been significant, especially for such a small country. The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) boasts that Ireland’s “ …
Billy MacInnes, 11 May 2016
Ireland and Great Britain map, image via Shutterstock

Sayonara, Brits! The Irish tech sector could benefit from Brexit

There appears to be a broad consensus that a Brexit would be bad for Ireland: that Ireland’s economy would be seriously affected if the UK decides to leave the EU on June 23. A report by Irish business lobby group Ibec has warned of “the far-reaching impact on Ireland if our nearest neighbour, key trading partner and close …
Broken glass girl image via Shutterstock

Learn a scripting language and play nicely: How to get a DevOps job

You’ve almost certainly heard about DevOps and the fact there’s a skills shortage. One study by data virtualisation specialist Delphix reckoned the most implemented DevOps initiatives include virtual databases, agile data masking and continuous deployment. That's opportunity, right? If you want to muscle in on the DevOps …

Jobs in Ireland may be vulnerable at post merger Dell Technologies

When Dell completes its acquisition of EMC and its subsidiary VMware, the combined Dell Technologies will become one of the largest technology employers in Ireland. But with role duplication almost inevitably raising the spectre of job losses as the firms integrate, the elimination of product overlaps will also have a job …
Chris Mellor, 5 May 2016

BT Sport takes Elemental step of software encoding

Analysis BT has been as bold over distribution technology as the content itself for its sport channels, but then it had to be given Sky’s entrenched position in sports rights in the UK. BT Sport succeeded in at least ruffling Sky’s feathers and arguably making serious inroads firstly by biting into the English Premier League pie and …
Faultline, 5 May 2016
An angry man gesticulates at his laptop screen. Photo by Shutterstock

Monster Cloud and an angry customer wanting a refund: A Love Story

A Reg reader has passed on the most beautiful email exchange we've seen this year, between himself and UK backup business Monster Cloud, after the company suddenly bumped up its prices mid-contract. The London-based reseller came under fire from customers earlier this month when customers who had paid £50 for a year's worth of …

Do you know where your trade secrets are?

Information security (infosec) is no longer a nice-to-have. It is a matter of corporate survival. Even the smallest company can be weakened by the simple loss of a customer list, ruined by the fallout from the loss of protected customer information. There's a lot more to infosec than merely hunkering down behind a firewall. As …
Trevor Pott, 3 May 2016
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Who you callin' stoopid? No excuses for biz intelligence's poor stats

Business Intelligence (BI) systems are designed to turn raw data into useful information, so why don’t they do the job properly? Why do most of them fail so completely to make use of the huge range of capabilities that the analytics world has to offer? Even at the most basic level, they fail catastrophically to take simple …
Hacker with face obscured, wearing a hoodie,  works in front of a bank of monitors. photo by Shutterstock

Finance bods SWIFT to update after Bangladesh hack

Security vendors are pushing for a more comprehensive revamp of the SWIFT international inter-bank financial transaction messaging system beyond a update prompted by an $81m hack against Bangladesh's central bank. The loss of $81m (part of an attempted $950m heist) in February’s Bangladesh cyber-heist – reckoned to be the …
John Leyden, 29 Apr 2016
Nerd thinking, image via Shutterstock

Reskilling to become a devops dude could net you $105k+

There’s a skills shortage in DevOps and that’s forcing up salaries. A Netenrich survey of 200 CIOs last year found 97 per cent of large and mid-market US firms are moving to cloud – yet the same CIOs reckon their IT teams are lacking the necessary qualifications to make that move. Nearly half (42 per cent) said their IT staff …
Rachel Willcox, 28 Apr 2016
Man on laptop has ethical dilemma (represted by angel and demon on either shoulder). Photo by Shutterstock

The case for ethical ad-blocking

When is ad-blocking ethical? How about when the adtech industry is behaving so unethically it destroys people’s livelihoods? Musician and music rights campaigner David Lowery last year made the incendiary suggestion that musicians should encourage their fans to block the advertising running on music-streaming sites – even …
Andrew Orlowski, 27 Apr 2016
Walking on water, image via Shutterstock

Ding-dong, reality calling: iPhone slump is not Apple's doom

The sky is not falling. This is not as bad for Apple as 2003 or 1996. But neither does Apple walk on water. For the first time in 13 years, Apple’s reported falling revenue – down 13 per in the last three months to $50.6bn. Cruelly, it was the growth engine that was winding down: iPhone sales fell for the first time in the …
Gavin Clarke, 27 Apr 2016
Shouting match

Blighty's SMB tech ranks bitterly divided on Brexit

Britain’s membership of the EU has small tech firms divided. A survey of owner-managed businesses by accountant Moore Stephens found 60 per cent of SME owners would vote to stay in the EU with less than one-in-five (17 per cent) supporting Brexit. Mark Lamb, a partner at the firm, said: “Owner-managed businesses are concerned …
Marcus Gibson, 27 Apr 2016

More questions than answers, literally, from America's privacy rules

Analysis New privacy rules put forward by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that are intended to give consumers more rights over what ISPs do with their data have left policymakers scratching their heads. When FCC chairman Tom Wheeler announced last month that he would issue a "notice of proposed rulemaking" – or NPRM in …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Apr 2016
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Planning to throw capacity at an IT problem? Read this first

Not so long ago the axiom “you get what you pay for” held true in IT. More expensive hardware and software generally produced better results. With the rise of open source and open standards, this is no longer the case. In today's world, if you'll pardon the mangled aphorism, IT isn't about how much you spend, but how you set …
Trevor Pott, 25 Apr 2016
man crying, image via Shutterstock

What the world needs now is... not disk drives

Analysis Flash goes the PC and notebook disk drive. Dramatic and persistent disk drive sales declines heralds changes at WD and Seagate as their disk drive job engine slows down. With PC sales falling and notebook/tablet flash use climbing the outlook for disk drive manufacturers on the desktop, sofa and kitchen table is looking bleak …
Chris Mellor, 22 Apr 2016

How does a business make decisions? How should a business make decisions?

As a business owner, I want to believe that I have what it takes to lead. I'm charismatic enough that I can usually convince people to do what I want them to do. I am good enough with Google that I can find out many things and I have the ability to learn a great deal about complex topics quickly. Surely I will thusly make good …
Trevor Pott, 22 Apr 2016

12,000 chopped: Intel finds its inner paranoid

Only the Paranoid Survive, or so former Intel chief executive Andy Grove once wrote. And it seems that, faced with the demise of the PC market, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has found his inner Andy Grove. Grove, who died last month aged 79, left both an awesome business record and some great quotes behind him. While Intel co- …

Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Analysis Google says that its tight control over Android is necessary to keep Android great, and safe for consumers, adding that it's not all that heavy-handed. Honest. Google feels hard done by because it has created a market of alternatives to Apple’s costly and proprietary iPhone, and that ecosystem benefits consumers. There’s no …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Apr 2016
Man with head in the cloud

All that is white and fluffy isn't always cloud: Hybrid infrastructure

The hybrid infrastructure. People have been banging on about them for a few years now – not least the vendors who want to sell you kit that will let you spread your infrastructure between on-premises, private data centres and the cloud. Now that much of hype about the cloud has started to die down (that doesn't mean it's gone …
Dave Cartwright, 20 Apr 2016
Crazy inventor, image via Shutterstock

How Apple's early VR experiments accidentally led to RSS

Industry talk has it that Apple is working on "something" to do with virtual reality. Twenty years ago the company's first attempt in the field flopped, but ultimately and unintentionally spawned the RSS metadata format used by just about every website everywhere. This story starts in 1996, when the world was going through …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Apr 2016
Yahoo! branded bus

What's wrong with the Daily Mail Group buying Yahoo?

Analysis Right now MailOnline parent the Daily Mail Group is worth at most £2.5bn, and the few content assets that Yahoo! is supposed to be selling, are already worth way more than that. But the issues go deeper. DMG – parent both of the Daily Mail print newspaper and the massively successful online site Mail Online – has no magic …
Faultline, 18 Apr 2016
Man on bicycle talks on mobile on busy Brussels street. Photo by Alredo Cerra via Shutterstock

Europe's new privacy safeguards are finally approved, must invade EU nations by 2018

Analysis The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been ratified by the European Parliament. The final seal of approval follows successful passage through the EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Following four years of discussions and amendments, the GDPR is now officially EU law and will …
John Leyden, 14 Apr 2016
Illustration of a "bitcoin" dissolving into numbers. Photo by SHutterstock

Cash, fear and uncertainty: The Holy Trinity of Bitcoin and blockchain

Feature Writing anything about Bitcoin or blockchains is a challenge. It's not the easiest technology to understand – not because it's particularly complex, but because it's grown into something of a confused mess of different technologies and applications. It also "looks" strange compared to most technologies that we're used to. Plus …
Matt Reynolds, 12 Apr 2016
Penguin wedding cake, image via Shutterstock

Linux is so grown up, it's ready for marriage with containers

Linux is all grown up. It has nothing left to prove. There's never been a year of the Linux desktop and there probably never will be, but it runs on the majority of the world's servers. It never took over the desktop, it did an end-run around it: there are more Linux-based client devices accessing those servers than there are …
Liam Proven, 7 Apr 2016
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AI, VR, bots and YOU? A survivor's guide to The Future™

We’re at an inflection point, or – rather – the point before that inflection point. We are in the pre-countdown-phase for virtual reality or augmented reality or perhaps machine learning or bots, say onlookers. But which is it? Or will it be none of these? For Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the future is definitely virtual …
Gavin Clarke, 5 Apr 2016
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Memory and storage boundary changes

Analysis Latency is always the storage access bête noire. No one likes to wait, least of all VMs hungry for data access in multi-threaded, multi-core, multi-socket, virtualized servers. Processors aren't getting that much faster as Moore's Law runs out of steam, so attention is turning to fixing IO delays as a way of getting our …
Chris Mellor, 4 Apr 2016

Is Microsoft's chatty bot platform just Clippy Mark 2?

Analysis At last, Microsoft’s visionary CEO has found a “vision thing” that doesn’t need a Hegelian philosopher to decode. And it looks like a very old thing. CEO Satya Nadella calls it "Conversations as a Platform", and it’s all about chatty bots. “Bots are the new apps,” Nadella told Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference …
Charis Tsevis's icon montage of Steve Jobs

Done making the big stuff better? The path to Apple's mid-life crisis

Apple at 40 Forty years ago today, Yasser Arafat was on the front page of The New York Times, the cover of Time magazine was screaming about "The Porno Plague," Johnnie Taylor sang "Girl you ought to be on T.V. on soul train" as his "Disco Lady" topped the US pop charts, and the Apple Computer Company was born. Apple co-founder Steve …
Rik Myslewski, 1 Apr 2016

Brexit: Time to make your plans, UK IT biz

Analysis The Brexit debate continues and, with the Leave and Remain camps neck and neck, it looks likely that the undecided few will carry the result. It seems that we can expect more headline-grabbing soundbites until the vote on June 23. The polarised nature of this debate is throwing up some interesting oddities, so you might be …
Frank Jennings, 31 Mar 2016
Handshake, image via Shutterstock

IT freely, a true tale: One night a project saved my life

Everyone knows that IT is a byword for burnout. Admins, coders and hardware jocks frequently keep unsociable hours. Putting in 60-hour weeks is something of a norm. Such punishing workloads can and do push people over the edge. Everyone deals with stress in different ways. Some people snap and end up taking it to the extreme, …
single pain of glass

One pane of glass to rule them all? Vanity – thy name is cloud management

Is it possible to achieve a single view of the cloud? The more cloud services that a company uses, the more complex it would seem to get. Maybe you use a bit of AWS here, some Azure there, and some Rackspace somewhere else. That might be complex enough, but add in your own on-premise cloud solutions and it gets even muddier. …
Danny Bradbury, 28 Mar 2016