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You want SaaS? Don't bother, darling, your kind can't afford it

Something for the Weekend, Sir? "That member is the wrong way around," confides the gym receptionist in hushed tones, nodding towards a middle-aged fellow ambling into the cardio room. I stare after him, trying to guess how his member might be incorrectly attached. Dressed unfashionably and, I suspect, quite accidentally in a sleeveless side-boob vest, split …
Alistair Dabbs, 25 Nov 2016
Donald Trump

Meet the Loughborough 'emo' boffins who predicted Trump's victory

This has not been a good year for opinion pollsters, most of whom failed to predict either Britain’s vote to leave the European Union or the election of Donald Trump as US president. To be fair, both were close races. Wise pollsters offer probabilities rather than certainties: FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who successfully …
SA Mathieson, 24 Nov 2016
Pop art style illustration of man exclaiming "WHAT?" in shock/horror/bemusement. Illustration via Shutterstock

Microsoft’s ‘Home Hub’ probably isn’t even hardware at all

Microsoft isn’t in a rush to follow Amazon and Google by planting a pair of creepy listening ears in your living room, disguised as a robot buddy. Microsoft’s fabled “Home Hub” may not even be hardware at all. But you can see why tongues are wagging. Given the success of Amazon’s Echo speaker, and with Google launching a me- …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Nov 2016
Baby penguins, image via Shutterstock

SQL Server on Linux: Runs well in spite of internal quirks. Why?

First Look Microsoft has released a public preview of SQL Server for Linux, and I took it for a spin. There are three supported platforms for SQL Server on Linux, these being Red Hat Enterprise 7.2, Ubuntu 16.04, and a Linux-based Docker engine. Installation on other versions of Linux may also work, although unsupported. The Docker image …
Tim Anderson, 24 Nov 2016

Debian putting everything on the /usr

Debian is preparing to revise its default file system mapping to bring it in in line with other major distributions (like Fedora and CentOS). Evidence of the shift can be found in the bootstrap option that's arrived in its unstable branch, where Debian dev Ansgar Burchardt posted news that mailing list announcement: “ …
Car crash

Hey techbros, make an airplane mode but for driving for your apps – US traffic watchdog

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed voluntary guidelines [PDF] designed to reduce driver distraction by mobile devices in vehicles. According to the NHTSA, about 10 per cent of the 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015 – 3,477 people – involved one or more distracted drivers. This represents an 8.8 …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Nov 2016
AWS boss Andy Jassy speaking at AWS SFO Summit 2015

AWS to launch Aurora service for PostgreSQL at re:Invent – report

Amazon Web Services will announce a PostgreSQL compatible managed cloud service during its re:Invent conference next week, according to reports. Just as AWS cloned MySQL to create Aurora – its own MySQL-compatible relational database engine which it claims is the fastest-growing service in its history – it is now set to launch …

Obama awards honours to Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton for computing contributions

President Barack Obama has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two women who made enormous contributions to the history of computing – COBOL co-inventor Grace Hopper and Apollo programmer Margaret Hamilton. Rear Admiral Grace Hopper passed away in 1992 and received the award posthumously. Also known as "Amazing Grace …
shutterstock_57979207-missing-watch

Microsoft still working to fix Outlook sync issues

Outlook users are still struggling to get their email clients to synchronise with Microsoft's servers. The outage, which may now be in its sixth day, has left users confused and annoyed, as they have themselves complained on sites such as Down Detector and Down Today. A Microsoft spokesperson told The Register: "Some …
Image of landscape with Facebook Reaction icons

Not fake news: Facebook reinvents SVG

Thanks to Facebook, you too can festoon your mobile applications with high-quality, low-overhead vector animations. The social media and data-harvesting giant on Tuesday released its Keyframes library for exporting Adobe After Effects animations so they can be rendered in Android and iOS apps. Facebook developed Keyframes for …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Nov 2016

Google DeepMind inks 5-year agreement with NHS for 'Streams' app

DeepMind Health, the healthcare arm of the artificial intelligence business owned by Google, has signed a deal with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to provide an app called Streams. The deal, which establishes a five-year partnership between the organisations, builds on DeepMind Health's pilot project with the Trust …

Emulating x86: Microsoft builds granny flat into Windows 10

Microsoft plans to emulate x86 instructions on ARM chips, throwing a compatibility lifeline to future Windows tablets and phones. The Cobalt project should bear fruit within the year, when the "Redstone 3" release of Windows 10 is due to arrive, Mary Jo Foley reports. Ideally, Microsoft wants everyone to convert their old …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Nov 2016
Nerd kid, image via Shutterstock

Kids' Hour of Code turns into a giant corporate infomercial for kids

A leading education advisor to government ministers in the UK has criticised the aggressive proliferation of software in schools as a "gimmick", and called for ministers to "drain the swamp". British schoolchildren will play Minecraft for an hour as Microsoft's contribution to the global "Hour of Code", a stunt intended to …
Andrew Orlowski, 21 Nov 2016
Penguin road sign

Linux 4.9 has 'issues that just shouldn't be issues'. Or might not

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds is both worried and chilled about the progress of Linux 4.9. Or maybe he isn't: his weekly message about the latest release candidate has a bet each way. “We're getting further in the rc series, and while things have stayed pretty calm, I'm not sure if we're quite there yet,” he posted to the …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Nov 2016

Going shopping for a BSOD? We've found 'em in store at M&S

Every time the BSOD flood seems to taper off, yet another bunch arrive in the Vulture South inbox, and for some reason the latest crop seems to have a retail theme. reader "Ozzard", for example, fired in the BSOD below, spotted in a Marks & Spencer, and since it's the right shape for the top spot, here it is. BSOD at Marks …

Microsoft's cmd.exe deposed by PowerShell in Windows 10 preview

Updated Taking timeworn advice for authors to "murder your darlings," Microsoft is seemingly nudging the classic Windows Command Prompt toward the slaughterhouse door. The newly released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14971 for PC has made PowerShell the default command line tool, a promotion that coincides with PowerShell's 10-year …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Nov 2016
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Microsoft ❤️ Linux? Microsoft ❤️ running its Windows' SQL Server software on Linux

In March, when Microsoft announced plans to release SQL Server for Linux, Scott Guthrie, EVP of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, said, "This will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud." The release of the first public preview of SQL …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Nov 2016

Mozilla launches 'privacy edition' Firefox... that phones home

Mozilla popped out a new browser today, aimed at the privacy-aware mobile user. Somewhat ironically, it sends Mozilla user data by default: you’ll need to turn this off manually. FireFox Focus blocks ad trackers, analytics trackers and social network tracers by default, although some tracking is permitted. That can be disabled …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2016
Coffee, photo via shutterstock

Alibaba misses Java seat as MicroProfile champ lands a first

Web commerce giant Alibaba has failed in its bid to steward Java in an election that largely returned a familiar blend of members. Jack Ma's firm failed to win enough votes to secure a place on the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process (JCP), receiving just 5 per cent of the 983 votes cast. The firm's JVM team …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Nov 2016
Baby

'Podling' Apache projects are spending longer in the incubator

ApacheCon Stewards of the Apache Software Foundation are mildly concerned that many nascent projects are spending longer in the incubator, putting pressure on limited mentoring resources. In the 12 months up to November 2016, ASF oversaw 30 new "podling" incubator projects, of which four were retired and just seven graduated. Jim …
John Leyden, 17 Nov 2016
Man jumps out of window of burning building. Pic by Shutterstock

British banks chuck smartphone apps out of Windows

The UK's largest retail bank, Lloyds, has withdrawn its app from the Windows Store, and the bank's web page now redirects to a 404. TSB's Windows mobile app has also disappeared. Although the Windows Store has mobile apps for Barclays and RBS's NatWest – both have around 18 per cent market share – Lloyds is far and away the …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2016
Ice cream, photo via Shutterstock

Has Linux got OpenStack licked? The Vanilla 'Plus' strategy

No man is an island, nor is OpenStack removed from the fates of two of its – until recently – best-known names. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise was once the largest single contributor to OpenStack. Now, HPE is getting rid of its OpenStack engineers as it turns over responsibility for its OpenStack work to MicroFocus under a deal …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Nov 2016
Flying pig

After Microsoft joins Linux, Google Cloud joins .NET Foundation

It has been a day for software surprises – first Microsoft joins the Linux Foundation, and now Google is joining the Technical Steering Group of the .NET Foundation. "Google is already an active contributor to .NET, including heavy involvement in the ECMA [European Computer Manufacturers Association] specification for C#. …
Iain Thomson, 16 Nov 2016
Hadoop

Hadoop experiencing growing pains in lamestream businesses

Apache Big Data Fast, unbridled growth has hurt adoption of Hadoop, according to a leading advocate of the technology. John Mertic, director of program management at ODPi, said that work on Hadoop was often relegated to a "skunkworks" project in many mainstream organisations. "It's effectively stuck," he said during a keynote presentation at …
John Leyden, 16 Nov 2016
A bear and a penguin celebrate with champagne. Photo by Shutterstock

Microsoft just got its Linux Foundation platinum card, becomes top level member

Microsoft has joined The Linux Foundation as a Platinum member, the highest level of membership. The news was announced at the company's Connect developer event in New York. The Linux Foundation is a non-profit trade association which supports and promotes the Linux operating system and related projects, including Node.js, Xen …
Tim Anderson, 16 Nov 2016

Firefox hits version 50

The Mozilla Foundation's Firefox web browser has hit version 50.0 on Windows, MacOS, Linux and Android. Firefox debuted in November 2004 and has sometimes pushed its market share above 30 per cent. These days it's the world's second-most popular browser, with its 13.29 per cent market share according to StatCounter. Version …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Nov 2016
Samsung Z1

Samsung sets fire to $9m by throwing it at Tizen devs

Samsung will throw US$9m at developers willing to have a go at making apps for smartphones running Tizen. Tizen is now a Linux Foundation project, so enjoys independent oversight and is free to adopt. But that's not helped it to catch on in the smartphone market: Samsung offers a handful of models but hasn't taken them far …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Nov 2016
Microsoft Visual Studio for Mac image

Microsoft leaks Visual Studio for Mac, then scrubs the news

Microsoft Visual Studio, or something like it, will soon be available for macOS, a shift that reflects the company's effort to be more open toward non-Windows technology. Microsoft published the announcement prematurely and then withdrew it. The news, captured by archive.org, is scheduled to coincide with Microsoft Connect …
Thomas Claburn, 14 Nov 2016
Hadoop

Hadoop for joy? ODPi 2.0's available, but questions persist

The Hadoop standardisations body, ODPi, has today made its 2.0 release generally available. Formerly the Open Data Platform initiative, now known only as ODPi, the second iteration of the Hadoop interoperability program will include updated specifications for runtime. Where its previous release had established standards for …
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Fear of Staxit: What next for ASF's Cassandra as biggest donor cuts back

I've been a user of Cassandra for quite a number of years. I've suggested fixes for Apache Cassandra and – I believe – was the first to build a small cluster on Raspberry Pi computers. This year I was lucky enough to be voted an Apache Cassandra MVP. It's for these reasons that I've been saddened by this year's falling out …
Andrew Cobley, 14 Nov 2016
Mark Zuckerberg with memorial Facebook header

Mark Zuckerberg is dead – Facebook confirmed

A day after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared it's a "crazy idea" that fake Facebook news may have influenced the election – never mind the persuasive power of its ads – the web giant took to issuing fake death notices. The piffling cyber-sideshow of holiday photos and made-up headlines plastered remembrance banners atop …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Nov 2016
Lawyer up

Software biz boss on harassment charges represents himself, says I want a jury

The managing director of software firm Gravy Solutions represented himself at a case management hearing on Thursday morning, where he stands accused of harassing staff members of solicitors' firm Kemp Little. Jonathan Sherwood , 53, is alleged to have engaged in a harassment campaign against five senior employees at Kemp …
Darin Fisher at the Chrome Dev Summit

Google's crusade to make mobile web apps less, well, horrible

Chrome Dev Summit At SFJazz – the first freestanding jazz arts center in the US – on Thursday in San Francisco, Google riffed on the virtues of Progressive Web Apps as a vehicle for efficient and engaging content delivery. "Our mission is to move the web platform forward," said Darin Fisher, VP of Chrome engineering, at the Chrome Developers …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Nov 2016
Office war photo via Shutterstock

Slacker or Team playa? Microsoft's Mr Business takes on messaging's corporate raider

The early days of the internet provided ways to chat, bicker and "collaborate" with others in the world, and decades later we're still working on making that experience better. IRC (Internet Relay Chat) ruled the roost for many years but never really found a place in the enterprise world. It isn't complicated to use yet …
Adam Fowler, 11 Nov 2016
Pop art style illustration of man exclaiming "WHAT?" in shock/horror/bemusement. Illustration via Shutterstock

UK Ministry of Defence splurges £280,000 on online 'good ideas' form

A webpage form on the UK Ministry of Defence’s GEMS employee suggestion website cost taxpayers nearly £280,000. GEMS is the MoD’s internal bright ideas scheme. The concept is that serving personnel who see a better way of doing things than the laid-down method can submit ideas to GEMS. GEMS reviews them and, if they’re useful …
Gareth Corfield, 11 Nov 2016

Chirp! Let's hear it for data over audio

Low tech sometimes succeeds where high tech fails – as one ingenious company is proving. Chirp sends data over sound, a burst of audio that usually sounds like a bird’s tweet. It doesn’t transmit much data – 50 bytes – but it turns out you don’t need much bandwidth to bridge the gaps between the real world and the digital …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2016
Man in an orange jumpsuit clutches prison bars. Image by Shutterstock

Flash crash trader takes plea bargain, cops to 'spoofing' and wire fraud

Navinder Sarao, the British trader accused of causing a "flash crash" from his parents' home in London, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud and illegal market manipulation. The indictment against Sarao alleged that he had committed 22 counts of fraud, which included "spoofing" – illegally manipulating the market by flooding the …

Mac administrators brace for big changes to Apple-powered fleets

Special report A looming set of changes to the macOS has some administrators worried that the way they manage and configure Apple systems will need switching up. Those changes, which have only been partly revealed by Apple, will see a new file system implemented in the OS and, in the process, a lockdown of key components of the operating …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Nov 2016

Tailored Swift – coming soon to a cloud near you

Interview Jonathan "Jono" Guthrie, senior software engineer for PerfectlySoft, dropped by The Register's office in San Francisco to discuss the merits of the Swift programming language. The Apple-created Swift has attracted significant attention from developers since the iPhone maker released it as an open source project last year, but …
Businesswoman shoots arrow from cliff at balloon holding up rival... Bit silly conceptual art. Photo by Shutterstock

IFTTT isss notttt afraiddd offf Microsofttt Flowww

Microsoft's rival to IFTTT, Flow, formally emerged last week – after some months in beta – but the scripting outfit has no intention of giving up its lead. IFTTT has "platformised" itself in response, opening up the runtime to app developers in August, and now professional services. Last week B2B service providers were invited …
The Chocolate Festival, London

Toblerone's Brexit trim should be applied to bloatware

Comment Toblerone's decision to keep its post-Brexit price stable by just selling less chocolate for the same price is a tactic the software industry should copy. I offer this suggestion because so much software is "bloatware" packed with features hardly anyone uses, but the inclusion of those features is used to justify the price. …
finger pushing first in set of dominos

Boffins automate code optimisation for multi-core CPUs

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Stony Brook University reckon they've found a way to automatically adapt dynamic optimisation code for multi-core CPUs, potentially removing the need for hand-coding of some tricky problems. As explained by the CSAIL and in the paper …