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iOS app that smuggled pirated software into China is booted out of Apple's walled garden

A dodgy application that evaded Apple's hardline code reviewers and made it into Cupertino's official App Store has been turfed out. The program – which featured a hidden smugglers' cove of software – was ejected after it was fingered by third-party security researchers. The team at Palo Alto Networks explained over the …
John Leyden, 22 Feb 2016
SAP logo

SAP’s Byzantine licensing leaves its customers feeling exposed

SAP’s complex and “opaque” licensing conditions means the majority of its users think they are exposed to “incalculable” financial risks when third parties dip into their systems. A survey of German SAP user group members by SAM specialist SecurIntegration showed that over half thought they were “possibly” or “very probably” …
Joe Fay, 19 Feb 2016
EARTHQUAKE!

Earthquake-sensing smartphone app fires off early alerts of disaster

There's a new smartphone app that could save your life by giving an early warning of an impending earthquake. The app, dubbed MyShake, was developed as a collaboration between UC Berkeley and Deutsche Telekom and uses the accelerometers built into modern smartphones to sense for earthquakes. "MyShake cannot replace …
Iain Thomson, 13 Feb 2016
Mark Wahlberg and his come-to-life teddy bear in bed in the movie Ted. Copyright: Universal Pictures

Move over, Google. Here’s Wikipedia's search engine – full of on-demand smut

Wikipedia developers have sketched out designs for a Wikipedia Search Engine, which would give users a one-click replacement for Google search. The search engine could also be embedded in devices such as the Kindle, or smartphones. It’s an fascinating strategic option, and an aggressive one. Google’s site scraping algorithms …
Andrew Orlowski, 11 Feb 2016

Bank fail: Ready or not, here's our new software

Today, I was a user Every now and again The Register runs articles from sysadmins around the world about the horrors of working in IT. From time to time, however, it is probably worth reading something from the user's point of view. This is one such story. Today at the grocery store, I saw an advertisement for a smallish regional bank. I used to …
Trevor Pott, 10 Feb 2016
Adobe Animate CC replaces Flash Professional

Don't mention the F word: Adobe releases Animate CC

Adobe has released Animate CC, formerly known as Flash Professional, as part of its effort to move away from its proprietary plug-in and runtime in favour of HTML5 Canvas and WebGL. The company announced its intentions at the end of November 2015, explaining that “we completely rewrote the tool over the past few years to …
Tim Anderson, 9 Feb 2016

FTC: Duo bought rights to Android game – then turned it into ad-slinging junkware in an update

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled its case against a pair of developers accused of purchasing an Android game and turning it into an adware faucet. The FTC said Ali Moiz and Murtaza Hussain, proprietors of software company Vulcun, have agreed to requirements that include gaining explicit user permission before …
Shaun Nichols, 6 Feb 2016

Microsoft explanation for Visual Studio online outage leaves open questions

Microsoft has posted a resolution report on a recent problem with Visual Studio Team Services, a cloud-based code repository and developer collaboration platform. Users have been unable to log into Visual Studio Team Services "Between 09:10 and 14:28 UTC on 04 Feb 2016, customers attempting to log into their Visual Studio …
Tim Anderson, 5 Feb 2016

Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

Something for the Weekend, Sir? “Put down the sacrificial dagger and step away from the goat.” Tsk, typical. I make all the effort of finding a remote hillock in Wales and an inexpensive black doe for my pagan ritual and I’m not even halfway through the banishing ceremony. It’s wet and cold and the trailing edges of my robes are muddy, and now some norm in a …
Grinning man in suit points at a calculator meaningfully. Pic via Shutterstock

Oracle now fully compliant with UK tax laws*

Good news, britons! Oracle says it is now fully compliant with the nation's latest tax regulations, including those that come into force on April 6th. That's the first day of the UK's new financial year, thanks to some sixteenth-century calendar-realignment shenanigans. Whatever the reason for the day, those who rely on …
lightning_cropped

Z-z-ZAP! Salesforce.com reveals Lightning release and price hikes

Salesforce.com has revealed new and more expensive versions of its products. The crown jewel is a new release called “Lightning” that adds integrated VoIP, the better to help sales folk make calls fast and have them logged for managerial approval. There's also more analytics, tied to email if required, to help send more and …
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Autodesk vapourises ten per cent of jobs to go completely cloudy

Autodesk, which is getting close to phasing out physical product sales, has announced it's also going to farewell 925 jobs, about ten per cent of its global workforce. The move comes less than two months after the company woke to find not one, but two “activist” investor funds on its share register: Eminence Capital and Sachem …
retro cartoon featuring two men fighting against cloud backdrop

Microsoft showers Office 365 sellers with gold in Google snub

Microsoft is again rattling Google’s cage by throwing money at channel folk that convert small businesses into Office 365 believers. The Fast Track programme was launched in 2014 for customers with more than 150 seats to drive adoption of Microsoft’s online service, but the glare of Redmond is switching to those with 149 and …
Paul Kunert, 3 Feb 2016

Microsoft buys SwiftKey, Britain's 'stealthiest software startup'

Microsoft has bought the British software company SwiftKey, the company we once described as "the UK's stealthiest startup". It's best known for its predictive software keyboard, and the deal is worth $250m, the Financial Times reports. SwiftKey was founded in August 2008 by two Cambridge graduates and was perfectly placed to …

Google calls out Comodo's Chromodo Chrome-knockoff as insecure crapware

Google security boffins have thrown the book at Comodo for turning off Chrome security. As explained in this advisory today, users who install Comodo Internet Security may not realize that their Chrome installation is replaced with Comodo's own browser, Chromodo. That little bit of crapware isn't secure at all: it's set as …

Wanted! A browser to replace Xombrero

Readers' corner Not a mainstream request this one perhaps, but over at El Reg Forums, 1980s coder is seeking some advice. Guys, what do you reckon? I'm looking for an alternative to the Xombrero web browser, now that it seems to be virtually unmaintained, and becoming increasingly out of date. I liked it because it worked well without a …
Drew Cullen, 2 Feb 2016

Samsung trolls Google, adds adblockers to phones

Samsung has added built-in ad-blocking capabilities to its Android browser in its latest OTA (over-the-air) update to its Lollipop 5.0 devices, which include the Galaxy S6. Samsung’s internet browser now supports third-party ad-blockers such as Adblock Fast. Firefox’s browser supports ad-blocking plug-ins, while to firewall …
Seesaw, image via Shutterstock

Google peddles Linux based load balancer to open sourcers

Google has developed an open source infrastructure software build using its Go language. The ad-flinger has released the Seesaw load balancer for Linux, built to replace two existing systems. Code has been released to GitHub here. Google’s site reliability engineer, Joel Sing, blogged that Seesaw would increase the …
Gavin Clarke, 1 Feb 2016
Office storage

Microsoft: We think your Office files should see other people

Users of Microsoft Office now have more choice where they keep and work on their documents, and with whom they co-create them. "Since 2013, we’ve offered real-time co-authoring with Office Online documents stored in Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online," said Microsoft's Office VP Kirk Koenigsbauer in a blog post. "Today …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jan 2016
Firefox developer edition

Mozilla slings web push notifications into Firefox

Mozilla has bid farewell to RC4 encryption in the latest iteration of the Firefox browser. The release also uses a SHA-256 signing certificate for Windows builds, and enables push notifications from websites. Push notifications mean users can get an alert for updates to a site that isn't currently loaded in a tab. As the …
Hammer and hardhat, image via Shutterstock

Microsoft struggles against self-inflicted Office 365 IMAP outage

Microsoft engineers are struggling to fix a seven-day-old, self-inflicted Office 365 IMAP outage. IMAP access to Office 365 tanked on January 18, meaning customers could not access emails using Exchange Online via IMAP or connect third-party mail clients via IMAP. Microsoft told disgruntled Office 365 customers that the …
Gavin Clarke, 25 Jan 2016
Fujitsu's iris scanner

Sight for sore eyes: Dropbox lands on Win 10 with iris recognition

Microsoft Windows 10 users are about to get more done with Dropbox on their PCs, notebooks and tablets. The file sync-and-sharing service is using Win10’s universal app architecture to run its new application across devices of all shapes and sizes. The software's features include: Drag‘n'drop files from Windows Explorer into …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jan 2016

New open-source ad-blocking web browser emerges from brain of ex-Mozilla boss Eich

A new open-source browser that blocks ads and tracking code and so promises to "fix the Web" by offering a faster, privacy-respecting experience has been released. The Brave browser is the brainchild of former Mozilla (Firefox) CEO and JavaScript inventor Brendan Eich, and version 0.7 is now available to developers on GitHub …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jan 2016
Happy penguin, image via Shutterstock

Ubuntu's Amazon 'adware' feature to be made opt in

Scopes, the controversial feature in Ubuntu, is being “gracefully retired”, says Canonical. The "commercial" search app, which combines product data from Amazon with data from your desktop and phone, is to be turned off by default in 16.04 LTS in April and in Unity 7 and 8. The Scopes in question are for Amazon and Skimlinks …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Jan 2016
Two upended shopping trolleys in an alleyway. Photo by Cyron, licensecd under CC 2.0

IBM introduces fleecing-you-as-a-service for retailers

IBM has introduced a new cloud service it calls “dynamic pricing” that says a lot about where online retailing, IBM and its relationship with partners is going. Dynamic pricing is conceptually simple: if you run a web store, IBM will now scour rivals price lists for you and offer recommendations about what you should charge. …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jan 2016
Magic act, image via Shutterstock

After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

Review Linux Mint 17.3, recently released, will be the last release of the Mint 17 line. It is the culmination of work that began two years ago, and the final edition of Mint based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS . With the stability of an Ubuntu LTS release as the base system, Linux Mint has had eighteen months of development time to focus on …
shutterstock_197375177-doctor

UK NHS-backed health apps 'riddled with security flaws'

As if striking junior doctors weren’t enough, the UK's NHS also has technology worries, according to a study by app security firm Arxan. All of the NHS-approved apps Arxan audited lacked binary protection against code tampering, and most also lacked adequate protection in the transport layer. Flaws also emerged in FDA-approved …
John Leyden, 13 Jan 2016

Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 nagware shows signs of sentience

RoTM Windows 7 and 8 installations are finding new ways to re-enable Microsoft’s intrusive “Get Windows 10” nagware, even when users disable it. An additional background process has been detected that resets the Registry’s AllowOSUpgrade flag twice a day. Prophylactic measures taken by users to disable the nagware – such as these …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jan 2016
zombie_648

Come in Internet Explorers, your time is up. Or not. Up to you

A huge chunk of Microsoft users will today be cut off from the computing giant’s security lifeline, for January 12 is the day when Redmond will stop releasing security fixes for a swathe of legacy versions of Internet Explorer. Extended support has finished for IE8, 9 and 10 on Windows 7 SP1. Only the following are still …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Jan 2016
cable

Juniper Networks planned upgrade kicks down some services

Juniper Networks' partners have complained about a planned systems upgrade at the company which created a number of difficulties over the last week. A number of sources contacted The Register to report the problem, which is understood to be related to an internal upgrade of its Customer Relationship Management system. "It's a …
Kat Hall, 8 Jan 2016
Shutterstock dog mascot jumps into the air on natural pathway. PIC shutterstock/GIMP LOGO MASHUP

Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Review Despite its relatively obscure version number, GIMP 2.9.2, released recently, represents a major leap forward for the popular image editing suite. Like all odd-numbered GIMP releases, 2.9.2 is considered a technical preview, but the features here will form the base of the stable release GIMP 2.10. In the mean time, I've found …
Angry baby. Pic: Luke Addison/Flickr

Speaking in Tech: Rant at fools on Facebook? You pass the IQ test

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise It's another wrapup of the week in tech hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, Ed, Sarah and Greg are all together to discuss EMC cuts, Lyft, Zuck's reacharound and SolidFire. Special guest this week is Jeramiah Dooley of SolidFire. The details …
Team Register, 6 Jan 2016

Firefox will support non-standard CSS for WebKit compatibility

Plans are afoot for Firefox to work with pre-complete web standards as implemented in rivals’ browsers. Mozilla developers have revealed a plan to implement support for a subset of non-standard CSS prefixes used in WebKit, –webkit. Changes are planned for either Firefox 46 or 47, set to be released around April and May. …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Jan 2016
Music kid image via Shutterstock

Beyond iTunes: XML boffins target sheet music

One of the world's oldest and most successful "standards" – so standard in fact that western musical notation is simply called standard notation – does not yet have a standard way to be displayed on the web. But a W3C group formed earlier this year, in the summer of 2015, hopes to change that. The Music Notation Community …
Penguin with video photo via Shutterstock

Feeling abandoned by Adobe? Check out the video editing suites for penguins

When it comes to video editing, Windows and Mac rule the screen. Professional apps by the likes of Adobe, Avid and Apple only run in the Win/Mac world and Apple even throws in a pretty sophisticated video editor (iMovie) for free. No matter how much you love Linux and open source software, you're never going to get Adobe …
fox, image via shutterstock

OK Google? Firefox to nibble Chrome extensions from 2016

Code from a project billed as “the future of developing add-ons” in Firefox will debut in early 2016. The code will let extensions written for Google’s growing Chrome run, supposedly unchanged, in Firefox. The WebExtensions API, announced in August and currently in alpha, is expected to see daylight in March 2016, with …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Dec 2015
Tactical facepalm

Facepalm time: MS Office update wipes custom Word autotext

A Microsoft Office update has pranged customised copies of Word. The upgrade for Word version 16.0.6366 renames users' Normal.dotm file. This means a new and empty Normal.dotm is created when Word is restarted after the update is applied, giving people the impression their customizations have been lost. Complaints are landing …
Gavin Clarke, 21 Dec 2015

Firefox-on-Windows users, rejoice: Game of Thrones now in HTML5

Firefox has joined the Netflix community on Windows with the addition of HTML5 video extensions. The box set streaming giant’s HTML5 video player now works with Mozilla’s browser and digital-rights management software from Adobe to police content – Primetime CDM. It means you can stream Netflix to Firefox on a Windows PC …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Dec 2015
Scotty - Star Trek

How relevant is NoSQL in the enterprise?

On Demand Watch our on-demand webcast where we look into whether NoSQL is a suitable fit for the enterprise. Once upon a time, there was only one mainstream database architecture. Relational databases management systems (RDBMS), which stored information in tables and enabled access via a structured query language, were the only real …
David Gordon, 18 Dec 2015
shutterstock_197065211

Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

Analysis An extraordinary conglomeration of technology, politics, and law took place Wednesday night and Thursday morning when the WhatsApp service suddenly disappeared for millions of users in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Starting 9pm Wednesday local time, Brazil's four main telcos – Oi, Vivo, TIM, and Claro – complied with an …
Kieren McCarthy, 17 Dec 2015
Paperwork image via Shutterstock

Beleaguered Microsoft customers: Streamline your licensing

Microsoft must simplify its licensing by putting sales targets second. That’s according to the Campaign for Clear Licensing, which reckons the way Microsoft charges for its software is “unnecessarily complex”. “The bundling of products benefits sales objectives over customer requirements,” CCL said in a white paper on its …
Gavin Clarke, 16 Dec 2015
Teacher

Google fends off EFF's claims kids probed by Chromebook software

Google has fired back at allegations that Chromebooks running its education software spy on children in classrooms and push adverts. "Our goal is to ensure teachers and students everywhere have access to powerful, affordable, and easy-to-use tools for teaching, learning, and working together," said Jonathan Rochelle, director …
Iain Thomson, 3 Dec 2015