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Microsoft frisks yet another Android gear maker for patent dosh

Microsoft and Dell have inked a licensing deal for each other's patents that cover the technology found in Android, Chrome OS, and the Xbox. Android handsets and tablets don't spring to mind when you think of Dell, but the Texan biz does offer the Wyse Cloud Connect HDMI stick, which is powered by Android code, for instance. …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Mar 2014
A shiny new cash point

Forget sledgehammers – crooks can CRACK ATMs with a TEXT

Mexican cybercrooks are targeting bank ATMs with malware that can be activated by a SMS message that forces compromised cash machines to spew out cash. The attack is a refinement on previous assaults using the Ploutus backdoor strain of malware that makes robbing cash machines even easier for local banditos, according to net …
John Leyden, 26 Mar 2014

Windows 8 BREAKS ITSELF after system restores

Windows 8 includes a feature called “push-button reset” that restores a computer to a previous known good state, or performs a factory reset. Nothing out of the ordinary there: System Restore, as it was known in older versions of Windows, could perform those tricks. But performing System Restore did not render a PC incapable of …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Mar 2014
Microsoft Word

As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

Retro-computing fans got a treat on Tuesday when Microsoft donated the source code of MS DOS 1.1 and 2 to the Computer History Museum (CHM), along with the first version of Word for Windows. "Version 1.1 fits an entire operating system – limited as it was – into only 12KB of memory, which is tiny compared to today's software," …
Iain Thomson, 25 Mar 2014
Microsoft campus

Meet Microsoft's latest Windows Server reseller – come on down, Google

GCPLive Google is going to serve up Microsoft Windows in virtual machines on its Compute Engine service as the web giant hopes to dethrone Amazon as the king of the cloud. Support for the operating system was announced by Google on Tuesday at its Cloud Platform event in San Francisco: the search king will make Windows Server 2008 R2 …
Jack Clark, 25 Mar 2014

BOYCOTT FIREFOX, rage gay devs as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

Updated A pair of gay developers have launched a boycott of Firefox in protest against the Mozilla Foundation's decision to appoint a CEO who appears to be an opponent of same sex marriage. Mozilla co-founder and Javascript creator Brendan Eich was awarded the top job yesterday. Hampton Catlin, creator of Wikipedia Mobile and CSS …
Jasper Hamill, 25 Mar 2014
Windows 9x BSOD

It's 2014 and you can pwn a PC by opening a .RTF in Word, Outlook

Microsoft has warned its Word software is vulnerable to a newly discovered dangerous bug – which is being exploited right now in "limited, targeted attacks" in the wild. There is no patch available at this time. The flaw is triggered by opening a maliciously crafted RTF document in the Microsoft Office word processor, or opening …
Jack Clark, 24 Mar 2014

AMD: Why we had to evacuate 276TB from Oracle DB to Hadoop

AMD has migrated terabytes of information from an Oracle Database installation to an Apache Hadoop stack, claiming Oracle's pricey software was suffering from scaling issues. The chip maker's chief information officer, Jake Dominguez, revealed further details of the transfer in a chat with The Reg. "Within the common Oracle …
Jack Clark, 24 Mar 2014
First official pic of Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs

Zuckerberg, Musk and Fake Steve Jobs invest in secretive AI firm

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have become some of the latest investors in secretive artificial intelligence software firm Vicarious. The SpaceX billionaire and the Facebook founder took part in a $40m funding round, the second major cash-raising from the firm in the last two years, the Wall Street Journal reported. The actor who …
Various devices including phone, laptop and tablet

What does people-centric IT mean, anyway?

People-centric visions of IT need to be broad-ranging, says Danny Bradbury. Now, don't bother him while he's trying to play Call of Duty: Ghosts. Satya Nadella has news for IT users: it's all about you. Microsoft's new CEO is touting a concept that he calls "people-centric IT". He wants to create an environment where "the end …
Danny Bradbury, 24 Mar 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Brace for extra patches, Oracle tells Australian users

Oracle has warned its Australian customers to brace for extra patches. Before you imagine some exclusively antipodean security SNAFU is behind the bulletin advising Australian users of their fate, consider that the nation offers software-makers one federal and eight State and Territory jurisdictions. Each of those nine …
Simon Sharwood, 24 Mar 2014
HMSMobile Swine Flu Center iPhone app

Google flu-finding service diagnosed with 'big data hubris'

A paper in Science claims that Google Flu Trends, unveiled back in 2008 to become a poster-child of Big Data, has one teeny, tiny, fatal flaw: it's almost always wrong. The paper – abstract here – finds that not only did Flu Trends completely miss the 2009 swine flu, but for 100 of the 108 weeks since 2011, Google's predictions …
Windows XP boot screen

This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

In an attempt to lure people off its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system, Microsoft will pay $100 to XP users who upgrade to a new Windows 8 PC. The promotion, run via the Microsoft Store website, is open to users who ditch their Windows XP systems and buy new machines. The money-off offer applies to PCs costing $699 or …
Shaun Nichols, 22 Mar 2014
Facebook Like Stamp

Facebook hacks out PHP alternative

The big “HACK” signs reputed to adorn the walls of Facebook offices aren't just a command from His Royal Zuckness: The Social Network also uses a programming language called “Hack” and has just given it to the world. Facebook describes Hack as “a programming language we developed for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP” …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Mar 2014

Microsoft DirectX 12 pushes gaming code closer to GPU bare metal

GDC Microsoft has unveiled DirectX 12, at the heart of which is the Direct3D API, which Redmond promises will enable "richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware" – and which will run on "many" cards that gamers already own. "What makes Direct3D 12 better?" Microsoft's Matt Sandy asked in a blog post. …
Rik Myslewski, 20 Mar 2014
Java logo

Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Two years later than planned, Oracle has made Java ready for a multi-core processor world. The database giant has announced general availability of Java 8, calling it a “major new release”. Java 8 is important because it’s the base spec for Java Enterprise Edition, as well as feeding the free and open-source implementation of …
Gavin Clarke, 20 Mar 2014
medical_doctor_health_channel

Whitehall and Microsoft thrashing out 1-year NHS WinXP lifeline

Exclusive The Department of Health and Microsoft are thrashing out a one-year support deal for tens of thousands of NHS PCs running Windows XP. The agreement would give hospitals, trusts and GPs across England and Wales time to back away from Windows XP and implement a newer operating system. A deal would mean Microsoft continues to …

New WebCL toolkit hooks browser apps into GPUs – and that's not good news for Apple

Vid Web browsers apps on PCs and smartphones will be able to hook directly into the system's graphics chip and boost performance, thanks to the first WebCL release. WebCL 1.0 is a set of JavaScript bindings to the OpenCL graphics programming standard, its developers the Khronos Group announced today: the software interface lets in- …
Iain Thomson, 20 Mar 2014

Virtual-reality Dev Kit 2 game goggles by Oculus – now with less vomit!

Virtual reality gaming-goggles maker Oculus has released a new model of its Rift headset for software developers. The company said its Dev Kit 2 unit does a better job of smoothly rendering scenes when the wearer's head is moving around, an improvement that's key to reducing the motion sickness suffered by some users of early …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Mar 2014

Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

Event Nokia has started encouraging Android developers to support its Nokia X platform. The phones, primarily aimed at developing markets, run a highly customised version of Android and to ensure compatibility Nokia has wound up its developer outreach programme. Next week Monday – 24 March – Nokia will be around the corner from …
Simon Rockman, 19 Mar 2014

Eight hour cleansing to get all the 'faggots' and 'bitches' OUT of Github

A small army of politically correct nerds will gather in London this weekend to launch a mission to "clean up" source code hosted by GitHub. A group calling itself Ethical Code claimed the platform has become a hub for, er, gits who insist on peppering their work with nasty words that have the potential to shock and offend. At …
Jasper Hamill, 19 Mar 2014
Lamport

Byzantine Generals co-boffin Lamport bags CompSci's 'Nobel prize'

Distributed systems researcher Leslie Lamport has been awarded the A.M. Turing award, computer science's equivalent to the Nobel Prize. The award for 2013 was given to Lamport "for imposing clear, well-defined coherence on the seemingly chaotic behavior of distributed computing systems." Another way of putting it is: no Lamport …
Jack Clark, 18 Mar 2014

Hidden 'Windigo' UNIX ZOMBIES are EVERYWHERE

Hackers using a Trojan seized control of over 25,000 Unix servers worldwide to create a potent spam and malware distribution platform. The attack, dubbed Operation Windigo1, was uncovered by security experts at anti-virus firm ESET, in collaboration with CERT-Bund, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing, as well as …
John Leyden, 18 Mar 2014
Hadoop Elephant

Chinese boffins ginger up Hadoop with OpenFlow funnel

Few doubt that the premise of software-defined-networking (SDN) is a good one: organisations that run a lot of virtual machines and virtual networks can benefit from the flexibility and automation SDN provides. Critics, however, point out that SDN in its current form might not have particularly broad applicability: there just …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
The new Twitter logo. Pic: Twitter

Sorry Dick: 3 reasons why Twitter will NEVER be unblocked in China

Comment Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is in China this week visiting the country but rumours of the microblogging platform’s resurrection there have been greatly exaggerated. Twitter and Facebook have been blocked in the Middle Kingdom since 2009, when the government claimed they had been used by protesters to organise ahead of deadly anti- …
Phil Muncaster, 18 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella's first act may be to launch Office for iPad

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is reportedly about to reveal Office for the iPad. Invitations to an event at which Nadella will appear on March 27th have started to land on reporters' desks around the USA, and favoured outlets like the WSJ-refugee-founded Re|Code and Reuters appear to be receiving pre-event whispers to the …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Mar 2014
Red Hat Shadowman logo

Red Hat plans unified security management for Fedora 21

Red Hat is planning a significant change to how its Fedora Linux distribution handles crypto policy, to ship with the due-in-late-2014 Fedora 21 release. In this wiki post, the Fedora Project outlines what it calls “system-wide crypto policy”. The idea is that Fedora would provide consistent security for all applications running …

OpenGL mobile graphics spec inches closer to desktop, laptop cousin

The Khronos Group has released the OpenGL ES 3.1 specification, bringing closer the day when handheld devices match mainstream desktops and laptops in graphics performance. "The OpenGL family of APIs including OpenGL ES, OpenGL and WebGL have proven themselves as the foundation for 3D graphics on mobile devices, PCs and the Web …
Rik Myslewski, 17 Mar 2014
oneNote

Spend zero notes to take all notes with OneNote: Microsoft makes app free, builds it for OS X

Microsoft is making its Office OneNote application free for all users, creating a version for Apple's OS X, and opening up key parts of the API so developers can hook it into online cloud services. "Today is a huge step forward for OneNote. We’ve made it easier to use OneNote no matter what platform you’re on, and easier than …
Iain Thomson, 17 Mar 2014

GitHub probes worker's claims of hostile, sexist office culture

GitHub is investigating allegations of sexism and inappropriate behaviour towards its female employees after one code jockey quit and went public on Twitter. Software engineer Julie Horvath left the VC-funded site last week, telling world+dog of an unpleasant culture at work. Horvath used her Twitter profile to allege she had …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Mar 2014

Win XP holdouts storm eBay and licence brokers, hiss: Give us all your Windows 7

PC users are scouring auction sites and licence brokers to obtain copies of Windows 7 for their upgrades to Windows XP, rather than buying Windows 8. Sales of Windows 7 on eBay have more than doubled during the last seven months as people scramble to beat Microsoft’s 8 April cut-off for Windows XP support. Anybody running …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Mar 2014
Metropolitan Police's e-Smart

Straight to 8: London's Met Police hatches Win XP escape plan

The Metropolitan Police are bypassing Windows 7 and going straight to Windows 8 as they ditch Windows XP from nearly 40,000 PCs. But the force will not have finished the move before April’s end-of-support deadline from Microsoft. Rather, the Met has agreed a custom support agreement with Microsoft to keep Windows XP machines …
Gavin Clarke, 17 Mar 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Windows hits the skids, Mac OS X on the rise

Peak Microsoft According to two different web-analytics groups – NetMarketShare and StatCounter – Windows' market share has dropped to below 90 per cent for the first time since the mid 1990s and the juggernaut that was Windows 95. As SeekingAlpha reports, NetMarketShare calculates that Windows' market share – that's all versions of Windows …
Rik Myslewski, 15 Mar 2014

Mozilla takes Windows 8-friendly Firefox out back ... two shots heard

Mozilla has bad news for Firefox users who are fans of Windows 8 and its new, touch-centric UI – all 1,000 of you, worldwide. On Friday, Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale revealed that he had made the decision to "take the Windows Metro version of Firefox off the trains" – Mozilla-speak meaning he's canceled it. "Mozilla builds …
Neil McAllister, 15 Mar 2014
A shot taken with the iPhone 5c

iOS 8 screencaps leak: Text editor, dictaphone and 'tips' on the way

The first screenshots of iOS 8 have leaked online after being posted on the Chinese microblogging service Weibo. Although Apple have not officially confirmed whether the images are real, web whisperers certainly think they are for real. Apart from Healthbook, which is presumably a health app, the new additions to iOS 8 are …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Mar 2014
Apple Mac Pro

Apple flops out latest OS X Mavericks beta, hopes sound+graphics sorted

Apple has rolled out a brand new beta version of Mavericks to devs in the hope they will test its updated graphics and audio drivers. The new version of Mavericks is numbered 10.9.3 (13D17) . It was first seeded to developers earlier this month, but this latest iteration is a proper pre-release build. Mavericks has proven …
Jasper Hamill, 14 Mar 2014

App.net 'not just a way for nerds to talk to each other', boss tells nerds

Column It has never been quite accurate to describe the social network App.net, founded by developer and entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell a little over a year ago, as simply a Twitter also-ran. True, the similarities between the two are impossible to miss: App.net users have accounts prefixed by “@” from which they post (not tweet) …
Dave Mandl, 14 Mar 2014
Windows XP boot screen

Not sure if you're STILL running Windows XP? AmIRunningXP.com to the rescue!

If you're wondering who is still running Windows XP in this day and age, given that support for the OS is ending soon, the answer is it might be YOU! Or at least, so Microsoft suspects. But fear not: Redmond has stepped up its outreach program with a new website that's designed to get to the bottom of this mystery, once and for …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014
Crystal ball via http://www.manoftaste.de/

Microsoft closing in on Apache's web server crown

50 million more of the world's web servers started to run Microsoft's internet information server (IIS) during February, according to Netcraft. The server-counter's data for the month offers the following view of the world's web servers. Developer January 2014 Percent February 2014 Percent Change Apache 358,669,012 41.64 …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2014
Barnes and Noble Microsoft deal, credit: Microsoft

Barnes & Noble's Nook freed from Windows, WinPhone apps pledge

Barnes & Noble's struggling Nook e-book division can breathe a little easier, now that Microsoft has let the bookseller off the hook on its promise to offer e-reader apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Redmond pumped $300m into Nook back in 2012, in a deal that gave it a 17.5 per cent stake in B&N's underperforming e-book …
Neil McAllister, 14 Mar 2014
Nokia Black Lumia Windows Phone Update

Microsoft gives away Windows Phone 8 licences in India – report

Microsoft convinced two Indian mobe-makers to use Windows Phone by letting them install it for free, according to The Times of India. The paper's report says Lava and Karbonn, both of which announced their Windows Phone plans at the Mobile World Congress, only signed up after “... when Microsoft agreed to remove the licence fee …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Mar 2014
Huawei Ascend P6

Huawei: We'll sell a dual-boot Android, Windows 8 smartphone because, well, isn't it obvious?

Huawei is planning an assault on the American smartphone market with a dual-boot smartphone running both Google's Android operating system and Redmond's Windows Phone. "With Windows Phone, one direction for us – and one that we are now following – is dual OS. Dual OS as in Android and Windows together," Shao Yang, Huawei's chief …
Iain Thomson, 13 Mar 2014