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Microsoft KILLS Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Patch Tuesday

Microsoft has at last revealed the date when its second major update to Windows 8.1 will ship to customers: never. Despite months of speculation that the software giant has been planning to push out another major update roll-up for its latest OS this year, much like it did with the oddly named Windows 8.1 Update in April, …

Oracle cold bath shrinks Larry Ellison's pay package

Oracle's Larry Ellison, one of the world’s richest men and best-paid CEOs in the US, is getting his pay cut by more than half. The database giant's chief executive has been awarded just 3 million stock options by its compensation committee in its annual review process. That’s down from 7 million the year before and every year …
Gavin Clarke, 5 Aug 2014
RFID_snail_trio

Tiny steps: HTTP 2.0 WG looks for consensus

The long-awaited HTTP 2.0 protocol has inched a step further towards completion, with the IETF issuing a last call on the two key documents of the spec, with comments to end on 1 September. The two drafts in question are the core HTTP 2.0 document, and the HPACK header compression format. It's been a long road to get to HTTP 2. …

Meet Solaris 11.2, where SDN means 'Software-Defined Net profit'

Analysis Larry Ellison’s Oracle bowled out Solaris 11.2 last week – and what does this member of the Unix family give us? Cloud computing, yes, but also a stab at a datacenter-in-a-(large)-box. It's not too far off the database-as-a-box idea Larry's been banging on about since 1998. Oracle’s Solaris 11.2 announcement is larded with the …
Gavin Clarke, 5 Aug 2014
Zombie cloud

Shuffling Zombie Juror – aka Linux kernel 3.16 – wants to eat … ARMs?

The Linux kernel has been updated, again. On Sunday, Linux Lord Linus Torvalds announced version 3.16 of the kernel is now good to go. Torvalds says “3.16 looked a bit iffy for a while” but “things cleared up nicely, and there was no reason to do extra release candidates like I feared just a couple of weeks ago.” You'll be …

65 patches later and Java STILL breaks stuff

Software tool vendors are complaining that recent updates to Java are breaking their environments. The problem seems to be in JVM's bytecode verification, in Java 8, Update 11 and Java 7, Update 65. According to InfoQ, developers running into the bug include JRebel (from ZeroTurnaround), the Groovy programming language, the …

Factory-fresh delivery: Get your OpenSUSE fix daily

Open-sourcers running OpenSUSE’s development have adopted a browser-based model of development for their beloved distro. From now on, daily builds of new versions of OpenSUSE are to be developed and released for immediate testing. SUSE Linux was owned by Novell, which opened distro development to outside contributors in 2005 …
Gavin Clarke, 4 Aug 2014
A fake iPhone with electric shock capabilities

Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

Google's Android has slipped past Apple's iOS to become the top mobile operating system for the first time, in terms of online usage. Figures from Net Marketshare show that devices powered by Android were detected browsing the web more than iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices running iOS throughout July 2014. Net Marketshare …
Jasper Hamill, 4 Aug 2014
EMET

Microsoft hacks out new EMET, spits out Adobe Flash

Microsoft has emitted a new version of EMET – its Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. Redmond often recommends deployment of EMET as a frontline defence against attacks, so the release of a new version is noteworthy. The big two enhancements that Microsoft is talking up the loudest are an improved Attack Surface Reduction ( …

'Big data' predicts stock movements, boffins claim

Researchers from the Warwick University's business school reckon they can predict the next crash, by watching Google searches and Wikipedia. The supposed power of Google as a predictive tool has been popular in academia ever since The Chocolate Factory unveiled Google Flu Trends back in 2008. Its usefulness for real-world …
chalk outline of  human body at crime scene

Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

Windows XP's demise is finally starting to accelerate, but Windows 7 and not 8 appears to be picking up the slack. Those are the conclusions we draw from Netmarketshare's latest monthly dump on desktop computer operating system market share. Here's the company's counts of what's what on the desktop, going back to October 2013 …

What the FLOCK? Addictive 'Flappy Bird' is back – and it's coming for your family

Pic Infuriating yet stupidly popular crapp Flappy Bird has officially returned, it appears – and it's now a multi-player game called Flappy Birds Family. It's available for free for Amazon's set-top box, the Android-based Fire TV. According to its app store listing, the software was built by Dotgears Studio, aka Flappy Bird creator …

Microsoft: IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1 is TOO GOOD. So we'll cripple it like Safari

The forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update will include plenty of tweaks and fixes for Internet Explorer 11, and while many of them are designed to improve the browser's web standards compliance, Redmond says others are designed to do exactly the opposite. The problem, to hear Microsoft tell it, is that IE11 on Windows Phone is …
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

BlackBerry lands feature-light BBM on Windows Phone

The wait for BBM on Windows Phone is over. BlackBerry has brought its pioneering and much-imitated messaging app to Windows, following launches on Android and iOS last year, albeit with the "Beta" label. BBM for Windows looks a lot more like a native app than other BBM ports: it uses Windows Phone pivot views and includes …

Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

Programming the Web, Pt. II It took the United States eight years to put a man on the Moon. That was time between John F Kennedy’s call to Congress in 1961 and Neil Armstrong getting his boots dirty on the lunar surface, in July 1969 – 45 years ago this month. Yet it took 17 years, from the start of CSS, to get widespread support for custom fonts in HTML …
PHP

What's that? A PHP SPECIFICATION? Surely you're joking, Facebook

A group of Facebook developers has decided to break with 20 years of tradition and release a formal specification for the PHP programming language. The initial draft of the spec was released on Wednesday and is available via a Git repository hosted on PHP.net. Language specs, in and of themselves, are nothing new. Many of the …
Firing squad

Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS

In a surprise move, HP has granted OpenVMS a new lease on life, effectively reversing last year's decision to mothball the venerable server OS. HP hasn't changed its mind about its latest OpenVMS roadmap, which has it ending standard support for some versions of the OS next year and pulling the plug completely by 2020. Rather, …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jul 2014
Apple MacBook Air 11-inch 2013

POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage

Apple has released an urgent fix for a problem that temporarily bricked a number of fanbois' Macbooks. Apple customers wailed last week after an update hobbled some users' machines. People using Macbook Airs from mid 2011 claimed the update wrought havoc on their pride and joy, turning that expensive silver machine into a …
Jasper Hamill, 31 Jul 2014

PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

Analysis "Everything points to a boom in the landfill business" – The Register, 2012 Are tablets the new netbooks – a flash in the pan? Or perhaps even the new picture frames - a one-season fad? I don’t think so, but sales are flat, and the numbers look ominous for any global technology company hoping they’ll provide a long-term money …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Jul 2014
Random numbers

Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8

AgileBits wants more apps to use 1Password's strong passwords, and has released an extension on github to that end. The idea is that app developers can grab the extension, write a few lines of code into their apps, and allow their app users to create strong passwords during registration. Naturally, this would also push users …

Oracle: That BUG in our In-Memory Option will be fixed in October

After much back-and-forth on blogs, Twitter, and online forums, Oracle has admitted that there is a bug that can cause its new in-memory database option to be reported as being in use when it's not, although the actual risk it poses remains unclear. As reported by The Register last week, database pro Kevin Closson was the first …
Neil McAllister, 31 Jul 2014

AMD dangles 64-bit ARM code developer kit over, well ... developers

AMD has been promising shipments of its 64-bit ARM-based server chips, code-named "Seattle", for the end of the year but now you can get hold of one with the firm's latest developer kit release. From Wednesday those with the cash can hand over $2,999 to AMD and in return get the AMD Opteron A1100-series developer kit …
Iain Thomson, 30 Jul 2014
Partnership

Red Hat rallies hardware makers with 64-bit ARM server partner program

Red Hat has upped its commitment to support servers based on the ARM processor architecture, with the formation of a new partner program specifically for vendors of 64-bit ARM hardware for the data center. The Red Hat ARM Partner Early Access Program is aimed at both chipmakers and server builders, and its early members include …
Neil McAllister, 30 Jul 2014

Microsoft rolls up more Windows Server 2012 R2 updates

Microsoft has issued a new “rollup” of enhancements and fixes to Windows Server 2012 R2. The new rollup is the third for the OS and, as is described here, offers downloads for more than 40 issues. Perhaps the most notable addition is the Office 365 management pack, as it gives Windows Server admins the chance to “monitor the …
Simon Sharwood, 30 Jul 2014
LG Optimus 2X

Android busted for carrying Fake ID: OS doesn't check who really made that 'Adobe' plugin

Google Android allows malware to masquerade as legit, trusted apps thanks to weaknesses in the way the operating system checks digital certificates of authenticity. The flaw, dubbed Fake ID by its discoverers at Bluebox Security, affects all versions of Android from 2.1 (released in 2010) up to Android 4.4. Although Google …
Iain Thomson, 29 Jul 2014
Doom

Bitcoin on ATM? Pfft! We play DOOM on ours

Back in January, a Register commentard recalled a magazine cover of days of yore, depicting Doom as if it were running on an ATM: now an Aussie tinkerer has brought the vision to life. As shown in the YouTube video below, the hardware hackers obtained a presumably-retired NCR Personas ATM – one that runs Windows XP – and got id …
Windows Phone 8

Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes

The website wranglers at Microsoft appear to have accidentally let slip some details about the forthcoming update to Windows Phone 8.1 – as well as some hints at what we can expect from future handsets running Redmond's mobile OS. A page on the software giant's site – first spotted by the Windows Phone watchers at WPCentral on …
Neil McAllister, 29 Jul 2014

Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready

The developers behind the stripped-down CoreOS Linux distribution have pushed version 367.1.0 to the Stable release channel, marking the first time the project has delivered a production-ready release. Unlike other Linux distros, CoreOS is a minimal OS that ships each new version as a single unit, rather than updating individual …
Neil McAllister, 28 Jul 2014
Mozilla's new CEO Chris Beard

Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over

Mozilla has confirmed that Chris Beard, who was appointed as interim CEO three months ago as a replacement for controversial Brendan Eich, will stay at the helm for the foreseeable future. "Chris has a keen sense of where Mozilla has been – and where we’re headed," said Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman at Mozilla. "He has …
Iain Thomson, 28 Jul 2014

Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY

Review The idea of a new version of Firefox will sound like a bad joke to some. To others, it’s a yawn – Firefox comes at the blistering pace of one new version every six weeks. How can there be anything significant in the latest edition? Well, Firefox 31, released last week, is a significant update with new tools for web developers. …
By Gary Knight CC 2.0

KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer

Review Plasma 5, released last week, is a major redesign of the Unix KDE desktop environment and underlying frameworks. Perhaps the most notable difference is the visual changes, which see KDE embracing a more streamlined, "flat" interface, but it's also the first version of KDE to be powered by Qt 5 and the recently released KDE …

Swell. Apple buys 'Pandora-for-talk-radio' app... for $30 meeellion

Can you hear that message crackling over the airwaves? No? Perhaps you need to stop using that rusty old radio and replace it with a gleaming iThing from Apple. That could be an option soon if rumours that Apple is preparing to buy "Pandora-for-talk-radio" service Swell are to be believed. The fruity firm is thought to have …
Jasper Hamill, 28 Jul 2014
NICTA's seL4 team

Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

A nippy microkernel mathematically proven to be bug free*, and used to protect drones from hacking, will be released as open source tomorrow. The formal-methods-based secure embedded L4 (seL4) microkernel was developed by boffins backed by National ICT Australia (NICTA). In 2012, the software was enlisted to help stop hackers …
Darren Pauli, 28 Jul 2014
Azure Index

Redmond in rapid rebuild after sysadmin request STUNNER

Microsoft has released a few useful tweaks to System Center Advisor, its online log file analysis, monitoring and alerting service, and says actual users asked for the new features it has created. System Center Advisor emerged at TechEd North America, way back in May, and offers a graphical representation of log files emitted by …
Simon Sharwood, 28 Jul 2014
Photo of a US Passport

Need a US visa, passport? Prepare for misery: Database crash strands thousands

An unspecified glitch in a global database used by the US government to issue passports and travel visas has left countless people around the world unable to travel for the last few days, according to State Department officials. "The Bureau of Consular Affairs has been experiencing technical problems with our passport and visa …
Neil McAllister, 25 Jul 2014
yawn

Google devs: Tearing Chrome away from OpenSSL not that easy

Google is trying to migrate its Chrome browser away from the buggy OpenSSL cryptography library toward BoringSSL, its homegrown fork, but swapping out the crypto code is proving more difficult than it sounds. Google engineer David Benjamin posted a revision to the Chromium source code version control system this week with a …
Neil McAllister, 25 Jul 2014
Oracle frankenstein

Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU

Oracle has released "the most comprehensive patch set" ever for its database software – but its users should be aware of potentially wallet-busting features in the batch. Version 12.1.0.2 of the database came out on Tuesday and brought with it a range of new features, including Oracle's hotly anticipated "in memory" tech. The " …
Jack Clark, 24 Jul 2014

Stop! Yammer time: Microsoft's social biz service becomes one with Office 365

David Sacks, cofounder and former CEO of Yammer, has left his position at Microsoft after having steered the enterprise social networking service for nearly six years. Sacks, a former PayPal exec who has been an angel investor in various startups and even once dabbled in producing and financing an independent feature film, …
Neil McAllister, 24 Jul 2014
From left to right: Mastodon, mammoth, gomphothere. Credit: Sergio de la Rosa

Hadoop coop's $50m scoop: Hortonworks takes HP coin

Hadoop has become a strategic battleground for three of the world's most influential technology companies, judging by HP's $50m investment into Hadoop company Hortonworks. The injection, which was announced on Thursday, follows Google Capital – the web giant's investment arm – leading a $110m fundraising round for Hadoop rival …
Jack Clark, 24 Jul 2014
Kim Jong Il fro team America, World Police

Integrate? Moi? Amazon’s first API-free service should open up

Amazon’s Zocalo document-sharing and collaboration service, in limited public preview, is unusual among Amazon’s web services because it (currently) has no API. You can interact with it only through the supplied applications or via a web browser. Zocalo offers a limited set of features and aims at enterprise users with careful …
Tim Anderson, 24 Jul 2014

Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade

Mozilla has released a bug-and-security update for Firefox, with 11 security fixes, three of them critical. Chief among the security patches is a use-after-free bug the organisation says was discovered by one James Kitchener. From the advisory: “Mozilla community member James Kitchener reported a crash in DirectWrite when …
Fail and You

iOS slurpware brouhaha: It's for diagnostics, honest, says Apple

Faced with a growing backlash, Apple has added a page to its support website explaining iOS's previously unexplained data-slurping tools – which were recently highlighted by security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski. The utilities – which includes a silent packet sniffer, a file relay system that bypasses Apple's Backup Encryption …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jul 2014