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Stella Artois: Queens Tennis Championship. Artwork by stevecaplin.com for The Guardian

(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Feature Nothing proves the popularity of a star product more than its name being used as a verb. Rival companies hate it, but carpets get Hoovered, wrapping paper gets Sellotaped. And what do you do to a photo? A poorly Photoshopped picture can arouse horror or derision, while a half-decent one can become an internet phenomenon. Think …
Alistair Dabbs, 19 Feb 2015

Wanna cheerlead open internet standards, help out the peeps at IETF? Enter the ISoc Maze

The political arm of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Society, has posted its approved slate of candidates for two board positions – and invited everyone else in the world to parachute into the process. The IETF will be best known among Reg readers as the volunteer developers and maintainers of the …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Feb 2015

Microsoft updates Outlook app security, but haters still gunna hate

Microsoft has upgraded the security controls of its mobile Outlook app to allow credentials to be kept on its servers rather than Amazon's. Security upgrades detailed in a Redmond blog include PIN lock enforcement and faster remote wiping of application data, some of which will be deployed in coming months, along with …
Darren Pauli, 19 Feb 2015
Jim Zemlin, speaking at Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2015

Critical 0-days in open source? The problem isn't code, it's CASH

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin thinks the information security world needs fewer surgeons and more personal trainers, and he's putting his organization's money where his mouth is. Speaking at this year's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, an invite-only event taking place this week in Santa Rosa, California, …
Neil McAllister, 18 Feb 2015
Google Talk shutdown notice

Google Talk is dead, long live, er, Google Talk: Chat will survive app zap, flaps G+ chap

As Google killed off its Windows Google Talk client, it was feared the web giant would soon drop Google Talk support completely – in hope of forcing everyone over to Hangouts. The death of the Windows desktop app was seen was a signal that Google will, in the near future, axe Google Talk for all XMPP-based clients, not just …
Shaun Nichols, 18 Feb 2015
HTTP/2 flow diagram

HTTP/2 spec gets green light: Faster web or needless complexity?

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) has approved the specifications for HTTP/2 and HPACK (a compression format for HTTP/2 header fields), says working group chair Mark Nottingham. HTTP/2 is based on SPDY, a Google-developed protocol designed to speed up web page loading by compressing the content and reducing the …
Tim Anderson, 18 Feb 2015
Pushmi-Pullyu

BlackBerry's money-making QNX unit touts virty dual-OS devices

QNX Software Systems, the BlackBerry subsidiary that markets operating systems and tools for embedded systems, has released new virtualization software designed to allow device makers to deliver rich graphical UIs without sacrificing reliability or safety. QNX Hypervisor allows embedded devices to operate two OS instances at the …
Neil McAllister, 18 Feb 2015

Microsoft leaves the Rooms. How will Windows Phone OS users make to do lists?

Microsoft is axing a much-loved feature of its Windows Phone OS, Rooms, at short notice. An email sent to users yesterday announced that support is ending next month – long before functionally equivalent replacements are in place. Rooms was introduced with Windows Phone 8 in 2012, and allowed users to chat, share calendars, …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Feb 2015

SAP's 10-year HANA gamble: A life without the big boys

SAP was gung-ho about its HANA-or-nothing database play for the next version of its software crown jewels earlier this month. The enterprise and software giant rolled out what it claimed was its biggest launch in decades – SAP S/4HANA. The system is built to run on one single database – SAP’s HANA. Previously, SAP has relied …
Gavin Clarke, 18 Feb 2015
Windows 10 for phone

Windows 10 for phones: Stepping towards the One True Windows

Microsoft has released an early preview of Windows Phone 10, and we put it through its paces on a Lumia 630, one of just a few supported devices. In the official announcement, Director of Program Management Gabe Aul does not refer to Windows Phone 10, but rather “Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones”. It's all part of …
Tim Anderson, 18 Feb 2015
Linux kernel development

Linux kernel dev has gone well and truly corporate – report

The Linux kernel is growing and changing faster than ever, but its development is increasingly being supported by a select group of companies, rather than by volunteer developers. That's according to the latest survey of Linux kernel of development by the Linux Foundation, which it published to coincide with the kickoff of this …
Neil McAllister, 18 Feb 2015
Google Chocolate Factory

Google's email-for-iOS app Sparrow is pining for the fjords

Two-and-a-half years after Google bought the French email client Sparrow, it has decided the client gets in the way of pushing Apple fans to its own Inbox service. Hence, apparently, to get iOS and OS X users to head for Inbox, the Chocolate Factory has pulled Sparrow from the App Store. Even the iPhone version, which was …
Yahoo! facial reconition

Yahoo! Boffins! Improve! Face! Search!

A research collaboration between Yahoo! Labs and Stanford University has yielded a fast and simple approach to facial recognition. If you're the kind of person that finds features like being tagged in images on Facebook unsettling, you might not see this as good news: not only do the researchers' Deep Dense Face Detector claim “ …

Infosys tires of boring ERP maintenance business

Infosys appears to have tired of maintaining ERP systems by hand and would prefer to offer more interesting consulting services instead. The shift is evident in the decision to slap down 200 million crisp greenbacks to acquire Panaya. The newly-acquired outfit's main offering is the CloudQuality suite, a toolset that offers …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Feb 2015
Brent Spiner signed photo saying 'Big Data'

Inspired by Linux, Pivotal to open-source bulk of big data suite

Pivotal will make the majority of its big data suite open source, drawing inspiration from the Linux concept. The decision will see “core” code for HAWQ, Greenplum Database and Pivotal GemFire released to anyone who cares to footle with it, but plenty of the footling looks like it will be done by a new group calling itself the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015
Wireless Armour Shorts

Torvalds turns to Sir Mix-A-Lot for Linux versioning debate

Linus Torvalds is “running out of fingers and toes” and therefore wonders if it might be a good time to tip the Linux Kernel over into version 4.0. Torvalds has previously suggested version 4.0 could be set aside for a release dedicated entirely to bug fixes, but that idea didn't catch on. The Linux Lord has also previously …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Feb 2015
Flash Gordon

Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies

In November 2012 the Mozilla Foundation announced “Project Shumway”, an effort to create a “web-native runtime implementation of the SWF file format.” Two-and-a-bit years, and a colossal number of Flash bugs later, Shumway has achieved an important milestone by appearing in a Firefox nightly, a step that suggests it's getting …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Feb 2015

Cisco puts elastic in the fabric

Cisco has announced the next piece of its software-defined networking strategy: a long-distance interconnect designed to simplify workload mobility between data centres. The “stretched fabric” release of its Application Centric Policy Controller (APIC) allows each of the leaf and spine switches that form a fabric to be located …
Sorry we're closed

M0n0wall comes tumbling down as dev throws in the trowel

The open-source m0n0wall firewall project has been discontinued. The project's author, Manuel Kaspar, has posted that his reason for pulling the plug is simple: “there are now better solutions available and under active development”. The end of the project is in part illustrative of the challenges that face any small-scale open …
Interstellar movie black hole special effects

Interstellar sci-fi WORMS its way into spinning black hole science FACT

Vid Boffins who worked alongside Hollywood film-makers on the Oscar-nominated sci-fi flick Interstellar reckon they've come up with new discoveries that reveal the "powerful effects" of black holes – all thanks to the computer code that was used for the movie. As The Register reported back in October, theoretical physicist Kip …
Kelly Fiveash, 14 Feb 2015
X-ray image showing vibrator in passenger's luggage

W3C turns BROWSERS into VIBRATORS

Web wonks at the W3C have issued a new Recommendation that gives browsers control of vibrators. Recommendations are the W3C's polite way of defining standards, so this week's notification that the Vibration API has attained this status means the world now has a standard way to make devices throb, buzz, jitter, oscillate or …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Feb 2015
Human cannonball

Microsoft launches wobbly Windows 10 phone preview for Lumia daredevils only

Some four months after it unveiled the first build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft has now kicked off the early access program for its smartphone OS, known as ... Windows 10 Technical Preview. The naming is in keeping with Redmond's insistence that Windows 10 will be a single operating system for all screens great …
Neil McAllister, 12 Feb 2015
Hippies stage sitdown on beach (in shape of peace sign)

Ex-Microsoft open source plan man lands top Cloud Foundry job

Sam Ramji has been named chief executive of Cloud Foundry Foundation, to shepherd the open-source platform cloud effort. Ramji shot to prominence as the architect of Microsoft’s open-source strategy in the 2000s, having been handed Redmond’s radioactive "relations with the community" by his bosses. Ramji's efforts went a long …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Feb 2015
Sunrise calendar app

Microsoft slurps Apple-happy, Google-tastic Sunrise calendar firm

Microsoft’s personal productivity apps acquisition spree continues, the latest slurp being that of Sunrise, a provider of calendar apps for Mac, iOS and Android. Sunrise accounts Sunrise links to multiple calendars and cloud apps The Sunrise app does not maintain a calendar of its own, but provides an aggregated view of …
Tim Anderson, 12 Feb 2015
Hadoop_elephant

Datameer rolls out Hadoop-as-a-service for impatient IT bods

Big-data analytics startup Datameer is rolling out analytics-as-a-service running on Hadoop. Called Datameer Professional, the service targets potential Hadoop users unable to build their own large-scale Hadoop clusters or unwilling to wait for an enterprise-wide rollout. Datameer claims a number of big-name customers for its …
Gavin Clarke, 12 Feb 2015

Death knell for Windows with Bing, licences carved up

Microsoft is effectively killing off the Windows with Bing notebook market less than a year after it was created. The low-cost portables released last summer were Redmond’s competitive response to Google’s Chromebook, giving PC OEMs the Windows OS licence at a heavily discounted rate, and consumers responded positively. However …
Paul Kunert, 11 Feb 2015
The many moods of Cortana

Cortana to form CIRCLE OF LIFE in Windows 10

Microsoft has revealed more details of just how its personal assistant Cortana will work in Windows 10. The assistant's been given a visual representation based on circles, with the variations at the top of the story representing Cortana in different moods and when performing different tasks. The circles will appear as …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Feb 2015

Coding Cupid publishes Tinder-ised automatic love machine

Canadian engineer and amateur cupid Justin Long has created a Tinder love machine that can automatically find a face you like and send it alluring love letters. The Tinderbox plugin experiment is built on the the service's API and employs facial recognition to learn a user's romantic preferences before setting loose a bot to …
Darren Pauli, 11 Feb 2015
Google Talk shutdown notice

Still using the Google Talk app? You've got ONE WEEK to move on

Google is warning holdout users of its standalone Windows GTalk application that they have one week left before the service will be shut down permanently. Users have, over the past few days, been receiving direct alerts from the Chocolate Factory that 16 February will mark the end of service for an application the company has …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Feb 2015

Linux kernel set to get live patching in release 3.20

A collaboration between SUSE and Red Hat is going to bring relief to Linux users the world over: they'll be able to patch their systems without reboots. The live patching infrastructure looks set to become available in version 3.20 of the Linux kernel. The two organisations introduced their distribution-specific live patching …
Patrick McGoohan as The Prisoner in "Fall Out"

Joyent: Never mind those other forkers, Node.js has a foundation now, too

The popular, open source Node.js JavaScript runtime engine is getting a new foundation to manage its development, in a move that could help mend the recent schism in the project's community. To date, Node.js has been sponsored and overseen by Joyent, the infrastructure-as-a-service company where Ryan Dahl, the software's creator …
Neil McAllister, 10 Feb 2015
Swift programming language

Swift gets swifter: Apple updates its new programming language

Apple's Swift programming language has been enhanced with new features and an upgraded compiler, in the just-released beta version of Xcode 6.3. Swift was announced at Apple’s WWDC event in June 2014 and version 1.0 was released with Xcode 6.0 (Apple’s IDE for OSX and iOS) in September 2014, with version 1.1 following soon after …
Tim Anderson, 10 Feb 2015
Fluffy grey ragdoll cat relaxes next to laptop.

MongoDB's feline brains trust sink their claws into NoSQL

By any measure, BerkeleyDB was a hit. It became the world’s most widely deployed embedded and open-source database, meaning that the company which did the most work to maintain it, Sleepycat, got swallowed by Larry Ellison’s database giant Oracle in 2006. Mike Olson was Sleepycat’s business chief. He’s now CEO of Hadoop venture …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Feb 2015

Why 1.6 million people will miss Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 date with fate

Upgraded your Windows Server 2003 yet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Gartner reckons there are eight million Windows Server 2003 OS instances in operation, and SI Avanade reckons that of those instances, a full 20 per cent – 1.6 million – will blow past the 14 July end-of-support date. What happens six months from now, on 14 …
Gavin Clarke, 10 Feb 2015
Web browsers

RIP SPDY, we hardly knew ye: Google to retire next-gen web protocol

Google has decided to mothball its home-grown SPDY internet application-layer protocol in future versions of its Chrome browser, in favor of the Internet Engineering Taskforce's HTTP/2 spec. "Chrome has supported SPDY since Chrome 6, but since most of the benefits are present in HTTP/2, it's time to say goodbye," Google engineer …

Microsoft explains Windows as a SERVICE – but one version remains a distant dream

Windows chief Terry Myerson proclaimed the advent of Windows-as-a-service at an event last month. But what does that mean? A more recent post from Enterprise and Security Directory Jim Alkove offers some clues. First, here is what Myerson said: Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current …
Tim Anderson, 9 Feb 2015

Linux 3.19 released for your computing pleasure

Version 3.19 of the Linux kernel has been signed off by Linus Torvalds. News of the release emerged in a typically economical Sunday evening post to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, in which Torvalds noted there are still a couple of bugs in this release but they were pretty obscure so “... while I was tempted a couple of times to …

Brit Linux distro CrunchBang calls it quits

The British developer behind the CrunchBang Linux distribution has called it quits. Philip Newborough, aka @corenominal, posted his decision to stop work on the distro last Friday. “I’m leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don …

Apple preps to DUMP crappy, sluggish iPhoto FOR GOOD

Apple has pushed out a pre-release version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 to developers, ahead of Cupertino's planned Spring arrival of its iPhoto killer – Photos. Coders can now play around with a beta of the Photos app, after Apple confirmed in June 2014 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference that it was abandoning its …
Kelly Fiveash, 7 Feb 2015
A fresh horse dump

Legalese and coding? Yup, it's the open-source FOSDEM shindig

FOSDEM doesn't get the ra-ra headlines or (thankfully) the "booth babes" but the conference does get networking and top technologists (and Belgian beer). I saw a couple of my tech heroes and big cheeses here a few minutes apart just before writing this, for example, and got some top advice for a specific tech issue a breath …
Ubuntu smartphones

Ubuntu smartphone to go on sale: It'll be harder to get than a new iPhone

The first Ubuntu Linux smartphones go on sale next week, after more than a year of chatter about the upcoming release. Spanish e-reader and 'slab maker BQ’s Aquarius E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will be sold online only during a series of flash sales prior to broader availability. Ubuntu is using flash sales, announced via Twitter, as a …
Gavin Clarke, 6 Feb 2015
Marvel Comics

Legion of Superheroes fly in from Redmond for SQLBits bash

Promo A whole flock of Microsoft techies will be heading to the Excel Centre next month for this year’s SQLBits conference. MS partner director of engineering Rohan Kumar will be giving the keynote at this year’s conference, which runs from March 4th to 7th. His wingmen will include distinguished engineer Nigel Ellis, principal …
David Gordon, 6 Feb 2015