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About to make a big bet? Don't crash out, cash in with the power of maths

Big Data's Big 5 When and how to make change to a successful business or popular website can be a huge risk. Get things right and - at best - nobody notices. Get things wrong, however, and you run the risk of losing business and suffering a damaged reputation. A good recent example is that of film and TV service Netflix, whose fluffed …
Mark Whitehorn, 29 May 2014
nuts

From production to development databases (and back again)

Workshop In many organisations, it isn't just the production database that database administrators (DBAs) have to look after. There are several non-production versions, as well. Project teams may need one to develop on, so that they can work in isolation without affecting production. A QA team may need its own version for testing patches …
Robin Birtstone, 28 May 2014
Bart Simpson

What can The Simpsons teach us about stats algorithms? Glad you asked...

Big Data's Big 5 When his class is asked to give an example of a paradox in The Simpsons, Bart offers: "You're damned if ya' do, and you're damned if ya' don't." The dictionary defines a paradox as an absurd or seemingly absurd or contradictory statement that might prove to be true and when it comes to data a seemingly contradictory situation …
Mark Whitehorn, 28 May 2014
android malware mobile iphone

After the cyberpunks, prepare to fight a new wave of nasties

Presagers of doom in the IT industry have sometimes got it horribly wrong. One need only look back 14 years to the millennium bug, which was supposed to bring down the world’s critical systems. The year 2000 came and went with no digital cataclysm in sight. Even the smartest people make grand claims about imminent threats. …
Tom Brewster, 27 May 2014
yellow measuring tape - black writing

Capacity planning: How to plan ahead and keep your Oracle database healthy

Workshop Crystal balls aren't really good for IT administration. Database administrators (DBAs) like certainty and clarity, and that extends to how much strain their databases will be under in the future. Capacity planning is a way to figure that out. The concept behind capacity planning is simple, but the mechanics are harder. Capacity …
Robin Birtstone, 26 May 2014

The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

Solid The more the Internet of Things knows about you, the more that insurance companies are able to slurp that data and incentivize you to walk the straight and narrow. "You know the way that advertising turned out to be the native business model for the internet? I think that insurance is going to be the native business model for …
Rik Myslewski, 23 May 2014

Big data hitting the fan? Nyquist-Shannon TOOL SAMPLE can save you

Big Data's Big 5 You are working on a big data project that collects data from sensors that can be polled every 0.1 of a second. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should, so how do we decide how frequently to poll sensors? The tempting answer is to collect it all, every last ping. That way, not only is your back covered but you can also …
Mark Whitehorn, 23 May 2014
Kirk and Spock contemplate castles built in the air

HP's $1bn 'Linux for the cloud' dream: Will Helion float?

Analysis Hewlett-Packard has committed $1bn to OpenStack, a Linux for the cloud, over the next two years. The cash is going on R&D, products, engineering and services, HP said. The company will iron out the kinks in the OpenStack code and make it work and try to sniff out OpenStack clouds on HP hardware out of the box. To grease up the …
Gavin Clarke, 23 May 2014
A road train parked up at Waukhope

How technology tracks parcels every step of the way

A lot has changed since the '80s. Back in the day, your product arrived when it arrived, often within weeks rather than days and you didn’t get the chance to check where it was. In time you could see your product entering and leaving locations en route, enabling you to track it from city to city as it made its way to you. Now in …
Robin Birtstone, 22 May 2014
Nokia Lumia 625 displaying Office app

Concerning Windows Phone and its relevance to the larger business

Five Lumia phones leaning against each other Nokia Lumia 630: Will enterprises bite? You could be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft has missed the boat with its Windows everywhere proposition. It’s a hybrid world in which Android, iOS, OS X and even Linux are not going away. This in turn leaves Windows Phone 8.1 as just …
Dale Vile, 22 May 2014
racks of Fujistu lettuce

Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Fujitsu’s foray into growing lettuce is not meant to be a revenue stream, but rather a necessary step in convincing farmers to start utilising ICT, the tech giant’s boss has told us. Which is just as well, as the clean-room grown lettuce the IT giant unveiled last week will produce revenues of $3.8m this year, according to our …
Joe Fay, 22 May 2014

How not to let your Oracle database spin out of control

Workshop Growing pains: How not to let your Oracle database spin out of control Oracle databases are a lot like children. They toddle along quite nicely, being polite and well behaved, until suddenly, they hit a massive growth spurt. They become teenagers and can make their administrators' lives a living hell. They double in size …
Robin Birtstone, 22 May 2014

China to become world's No 1 economy. And we still can't see why

Special Report China will become the world's biggest economy this year, overtaking the United States in GDP. As the FT drily notes, "Most economists previously thought China would pull ahead in 2019." So China powers on, at a greater pace than had been predicted by Western economic experts, who are supposed to know about these things. But our …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 May 2014
Angry woman on mobile

TV body seeks attractive mobile operators for mutual action replays

+Analysis TV on mobiles? Yes, you’ve heard that one before. It’s been one of the most persistent flops of the past fifteen years. But then so were mobile app stores until somebody, Apple, put enough pieces in place to make them work. Without much fanfare, yesterday saw the launch of a new UK-based initiative, the Mobile Video Alliance ( …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2014

Web firms, DON'T PANIC: The Euro Google 'right to be forgotten' isn't a problem

Comment Are you an internet company? Beware of companies and organisations purporting to "help" European firms interpret the new Google privacy ruling. you may find yourself taking unnecessary mitigation measures - and fuelling the trolls. Last week, the ECJ ruled that Google was subject to European privacy and data protection laws, …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 May 2014
management governance3

Tracking configuration in Oracle databases

Workshop Databases are never static. The data in them changes, of course, but so does the meta-information about that database. Oracle holds information about each user's database assets in separate schemas (and the system also has its own). This information will change as new developments happen over time. It's the database …
Robin Birtstone, 20 May 2014

Achtung! Use maths to smash the German tank problem – and your rival

Big Data's Big 5 You've employed Benford's Law to out fraudsters hidden in seemingly random numbers. Now what do you do if you need answers but some of your data is missing? Welcome to the German tank problem, the second in The Reg's guide to crafty techniques from the world of mathematics that can help you quickly solve niggling data problems. …
Mark Whitehorn, 20 May 2014
The Epson Derby

Big data? Internet of things? Sport of Kings inches into high tech

In Clare Balding’s autobiography My Animals and Other Family she relates the story of her father, a renowned horse trainer, telling an owner after Mrs Thatcher’s 1979 election victory that “it’s going to take a while to get used to a woman running the country”. The horse owner was the queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. …
SA Mathieson, 20 May 2014
Intel Personal Vehicle Experience

Toot-toot. Intel pulls up in the connected car of the FU-TURE-TURE

Pics Over on Planet Intel, it's not all about cranking out chips to power the world's desktops and servers; a semiconductor giant is allowed to dream of future of technology. Not every dream goes Intel's way, of course. Still, with some new design concepts tucked under its arm, Chipzilla stomped into London last week and …
Bob Dormon, 19 May 2014

So you reckon Nokia-wielding Microsoft can't beat off Apple?

Analysis Microsoft isn't used to being the underdog, but the company which owns the desktop is losing its grip on customers' wallets. While buying Nokia is an audacious move to redress that, to make it work Microsoft needs to understand some of Nokia's history. Of course, Microsoft has been the challenger before, with varying degrees of …
Simon Rockman, 17 May 2014
Playmobil's Security Check Point

Locking it down: Steps to Oracle database security

Workshop How secure is your Oracle database? One of the DBA's roles is to ensure that the database is reliable and available, and to maintain the integrity of its data. Adequate system security is a big part of that process, and the more that you can do to lock down your database, the happier your compliance department and IT director …
Robin Birtstone, 16 May 2014
Container Vessel at Sea

How to sail the stormy seas of international trade

Bono must love Japan. Most of the streets there really do have no name; instead, cities and towns are subdivided into areas, subareas and blocks. Some of those land blocks (known as banchi) aren’t listed linearly but in the order that they were registered with the government. To a westerner, it is a wonder that anything ever …
Robin Birtstone, 14 May 2014

How to catch a fraudster – using 'top cop' Benford and the power of maths

Big Data's Big 5 Yes, we've been hit over the head enough times with the phrase "big data" to be aware of its presence, even though we've been up to our armpits in streams of huge unstructured datasets for years. Those of you who are analysts or data scientists will have already picked up a set of tools that help you find hidden information …
Mark Whitehorn, 14 May 2014
Credit: Kelly Reeves https://www.flickr.com/photos/misskelly/5291975972/ CC-by-nd

Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Feature Reports suggest Apple is in talks to buy Beats Electronics, which was founded by hip-hopper André Young, aka Dr Dre, for an astronomical amount of money. At the same time Pono, founded by another Young, namely Neil, promises to transform music delivery. John Watkinson, aka JR Cool Dubbya, wonders what is going on. One aspect of …
John Watkinson, 13 May 2014
IBM Elastic Storage Vid

IBM intros Elastic Storage ... as used by human-crushing HPC brain Watson

BM has announced Elastic Storage as a component of its software-defined storage portfolio, and it's actually a repackaging and renaming of the venerable GPFS product. GPFS is IBM’s General Parallel File System for parallel access to massive numbers of files. The IBM announcement says Elastic Storage “offers unprecedented …
Chris Mellor, 13 May 2014
money trap conceptual illustration

Doing more for less with your Oracle database

Workshop Database services are constantly increasing in demand, but while demand might be expanding, budgets in general aren't. The Independent Oracle User Group's 2013 Database Manageability survey showed that data volumes - along with the business demand for database services to manage them - grew by more than 20 per cent on average …
Robin Birtstone, 12 May 2014

WTF is NET NEUTRALITY, anyway? And how can we make everything better?

Special Report This weekend, earnest young men - several of whom appear to have beards - are camping out in Washington DC. They're protesting against "plans to allow a pay-for play internet". In fact, we think there genuinely are some serious competitive concerns about recent developments in the ever-changing business of carrying bits of data …

Goodbye HANA daddy, assorted cloud bods: SAP gets corporate

Analysis The cloud “talent” is leaving SAP and the suits are taking over. Is it time to panic for SAP? The mastermind of SAP’s Hana in-memory architecture has gone and so has yet another cloud hire. Vishal Sikka, executive board member of products and innovation, has left the giant immediately for "personal reasons". Sikka’s legacy is …
Gavin Clarke, 9 May 2014
Maxta scheme

Server SAN software upstart Maxta gets Intel's cash inside

Analysis Server SAN software startup Maxta has gained $25m in a B-round of funding led by Intel's investment arm and Tenaya Capital just as the software-defined and converged storage trends are taking off. The upstart swallowed $10m in an A-round in October last year. With converged compute/storage hardware-software competitors Nutanix …
Chris Mellor, 8 May 2014

Performing an Oracle database health check? We have a little list

Workshop Everyone needs a checkup from time to time, and your Oracle database is no exception. A periodic medical can keep it running smoothly, and avoid more serious conditions from developing later. Here is a guide to help ensure optimal performance, with a series of checkpoints that can form the basis for a regular database review. …

How Google's Android Silver could become 'Wintel for phones'

Analysis In the 1990s, Intel and Microsoft dominated the "open" PC standard – and it appears that Google now wants to do the same for its Android system, via its Silver programme. Silver has yet to be announced, but industry sources have confirmed the details to us. While the comparison between Google today and Wintel then isn’t …

How to tune your Oracle database's performance

Workshop It's the call that every Oracle database admin (DBA) dreads: the "too slow" call. Users, or their managers, may argue that online performance is so bad that it stops staff from doing their jobs. Batch jobs such as billing runs may run too slowly. Customers may be walking away from an Oracle-driven ecommerce site because pages …
Emulex losses to Q3 fy2014

Emulex racks up fifth loss-making quarter as FIVE-YEAR Broadcom broadside ends

Analysis It's Emulex's fifth loss-making quarter in a row and a whopping loss at that. For its third financial 2014 quarter, ended 30 March, Emulex made a loss of $7.2m on revenues of $109.7m. Let's put that in context. A year ago its revenues were $116.8m and its loss was $6.7m. In the previous fy2014 quarter revenues were $123.2m and …
Chris Mellor, 6 May 2014
Various devices including phone, laptop and tablet

Danger, Will Robinson! Beware the hidden perils of BYOD

When I first became involved with networked PCs, the company I was working with was upgrading its NetWare 2.0a installation to 2.15. We were pushing the boundaries of networking with our three-way gateway connecting Ethernet, Token Ring and PCnet. The only local storage on all but the most high-end PCs was a floppy drive, and …

Reg man says '拜拜' to Honkers, ponders Asia's future role in tech world

Phil Muncaster, The Reg's man in Hong Kong, has said his final '拜拜' - that's bye-bye in simplified Chinese - to the special administrative region. Before he moved on, we asked him to assess his two-and-a-bit years covering Asia's technology industries. Here's his assessment on where Asia sits in the technology world. – Ed. Over …
NHS Files on a desk

Aah, that warm sharing feeling. Just don't let the cloud rain on your firm

Data is the lifeblood of every business. Without it we would know nothing of our products, our customers, our processes, our policies, our staff or our financial state. Data is everything. Well, almost everything. Storing it is one thing, but it is irrelevant if the right people can't access it in the right way at the right time …

Cash slump a Seagate problem, or a hard disk industry problem?

Analysis Seagate revenues and profits have slumped in its third fiscal 2014 quarter, reflecting ongoing difficulties in the disk drive market and product transitions. Revenues of $3.4bn were reported in the quarter ending 28 March, and these were 4 per cent down year-on-year. Net profits were $395m, 5 per cent lower than a year ago. …
Chris Mellor, 30 Apr 2014

Everything you always wanted to know about VDI but were afraid to ask (no, it's not an STD)

Feature So you know your way around a data center just fine, but you've been told to roll out VDI – aka that highly riveting technology, virtual desktop infrastructure. This is your first time juggling virtualization on this scale. What do you need to worry about? How will you test and benchmark it? Our sysadmin blogger Trevor Pott …
Trevor Pott, 28 Apr 2014
Measuring up Apple

Will Apple's $130bn cash infusion keep investors onboard?

Analysis Apple may be cash-rich, but it's in a product-release quiet period – which may be why it's accelerating its efforts to return capital to its investors in the forms of steadily increasing dividends and a more aggressive stock-repurchase program, and will again "access the debt markets" to pull it off. You'd think that with $150. …
Rik Myslewski, 25 Apr 2014
HP cloud

Microsoft's 'evil open source' man on life as HP's top cloud-wrangler

He brought Microsoft the open source it had viewed with such dread and now former Redmond man Bill Hilf is challenging the thinking at Hewlett-Packard. Microsoft plucked Hilf from IBM in 2004 to become its general manager for open source and platform strategy at a time when Microsoft was waging a war on open source, calling it a …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Apr 2014
Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen

DeSENSORtised: Why the 'Internet of Things' will FAIL without IPv6

Analysis For more than 20 years, it has been clear that the internet will eventually run out of public IPv4 addresses. Despite that limit, online businesses have been slow to adopt IPv6, which has an abundance of addresses by comparison. Now that tech companies are eager to use the phrase "Internet of Things" (IoT) or the "Internet of …
Kelly Fiveash, 24 Apr 2014

Reg man builds smart home rig, gains SUPREME CONTROL of DOMAIN – Pics

Feature Reg reader Ben Lamb was so impressed with how his recent Lightwave RF installation turned out, he put pinkie to keyboard to share his experiences with us. In his own words, here's how he got on. Until recently, home automation solutions were a kludge. Unless you were starting from scratch you'd have to place devices in-line with …
Ben Lamb, 22 Apr 2014