Chris Williams

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Chris is The Register's Editor in Chief, based in San Francisco, California. When he's not editing news and features, he writes about semiconductor chips and software engineering. You can look him up online at, find him on Twitter, or give him a call: (+1) 415-866-4969
Screenshot of an ad loading in Windows 10

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality

Microsoft was, and maybe still is, considering injecting targeted adverts into the Windows 10 Mail app. For a few, er, lucky folks, ads would appear at the top of their inboxes, they were using the client without a paid-for Office 365 subscription. The advertising would be tailored to their interests. Revenues from the banners …
Chris Williams, 17 Nov 2018
Google's PR pic of Diane Greene

Pick three people you think will replace Google Cloud CEO Greene, then forget them – because it's Thomas Kurian

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene has quit the online ads giant, and will be replaced by ex-Oracle executive Thomas Kurian. The handover of power will begin on November 26, it was announced today: that's when Kurian will join Google Cloud, and will take over fully in January. Greene will stay on as a director of Google parent …
Chris Williams, 16 Nov 2018
Couple shocked by something on a smartphone

The Register translates VMware's VMworld Europe 2018 news into plain English – our free guide for every reader

Today marks the opening of VMware's VMworld Europe 2018 event in Barcelona, Spain. The Dell-owned virtualization giant has a bunch of announcements to kick off its shindig. Now, your humble vulture has seen his fair share of marketing departments' techno-biz babble in his time during product launches, but has gotta say: VMware …

Intel peddles latest Xeon CPUs – E-series and 48-core Cascade Lake AP – to soothe epyc mygrayne

Intel will today talk up two new Xeon processor family members: the 48-core Cascade Lake Advanced Performance (AP), and the single-socket E-2100. Both are, it seems, direct responses to AMD's Epyc data-center processors, which are themselves chiseling away bit by bit at Intel's monopoly in the global server market. The US …
Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO

Official: IBM to gobble Red Hat for $34bn – yes, the enterprise Linux biz

IBM intends to acquire enterprise Linux maker Red Hat for $34bn (£27bn). Following rumors of a deal over the weekend, Big Blue announced the move here, in the past hour, and Red Hat's take is here. IBM made an offer of $190 per issued and outstanding Red Hat share, which was accepted: the current price stands at $116. …
Chris Williams, 28 Oct 2018
A silhouette walks through a keyhole leaking binary

We asked 100 people to name a backdoored router. You said 'EE's 4GEE HH70'. Our survey says... Top answer!

Updated A Wi-Fi router flogged by British mobile network EE has a hidden administration account with a hardcoded username and password – and is accessible via SSH. This root-level account, present in EE's 4GEE HH70 gateways, can be accessed by anyone on the local network, such as a malicious user or malware on a Wi-Fi-connected PC. …
Chris Williams, 26 Oct 2018 freezes up as techies race to fix dead data storage gear

GitHub's website remains broken after a data storage system failed hours ago. Depending on where you are, you may have been working on some Sunday evening programming, or getting up to speed with work on a Monday morning, using resources on – and possibly failing miserably as a result of the outage. From about 4pm …
Chris Williams, 22 Oct 2018

Need a modest Arm Cortex-A CPU in your custom chip? Just apply online. Plus $125,000

In 2018, a crack commando CPU was sent to an ASIC by a military court for a crime it didn't commit. This processor core promptly escaped from a maximum-security system-on-chip to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, it survives as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can …
Chris Williams, 22 Oct 2018
Illustration of Julian Assange

London flatmate (Julian Assange) sues landlord (government of Ecuador) in human rights spat

Housemate from hell Julian Assange is taking his landlord, the government of Ecuador, to court to stop its officials from, allegedly, running roughshod over his human rights. The WikiLeaks supremo is fed up with being essentially held in near-solitary confinement in an Ecuadorian embassy broom cupboard in London, England. In …
Chris Williams, 19 Oct 2018
Leaking information

Tumblr turns stumblr, left humblr: Blogging biz blogs bloggers' private info to world+dog

Tumblr today reveal it has fixed a security bug in its website that quietly revealed private details of some of its bloggers. This is quite an interesting bug. The desktop version of Tumblr shows a list of recommended blogs for logged-in users to check out. According to Tumblr, "it was possible, using debugging software in a …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2018

Someone's in hot water: Tea party super PAC group 'spilled 500,000+ voters' info' all over web

Now, now, America. Don't go overboard. Again. More than half a million folks' names and phone numbers, plus other sensitive files, were accidentally spilled onto the internet by a misconfigured server operated by the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, it is claimed. That fund is a Republican super PAC that campaigned in the …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2018

Our processor tech's got legs, says Arm: 'One million' data center servers will ship in 2018

Analysis One million Arm-powered data center servers will ship in 2018, the processor design house claimed on Tuesday. By servers, the Softbank-owned biz means machines that perform networking, storage, and security workloads for other systems running virtual machines and application code. Arm, like AMD, really wants to get its CPU …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2018
You didn't say the magic word

Arm PSA IoT API? BRB... Toolbox of tech to secure net-connected kit opens up some more

One year on from launching its Platform Security Architecture – a recipe book and ingredients for securing Internet of Things gizmos – Arm has opened it up some more to get more manufacturers and developers involved. The PSA is not Arm specific, we're told: it can be used on any architecture. It's a set of programming …
Chris Williams, 17 Oct 2018
Local storage servers. Photo by Shutterstock

Arm doodles server, comms CPUs in public before they leak out in open-source code...

Japanese chip designer Arm has lightly sketched out in public its future processor designs that are aimed at powering internet servers and infrastructure. Think CPU cores, chip interconnects, memory subsystems, and so on, for semiconductor manufacturers to use in silicon brains for data center systems, edge devices, and …
Chris Williams, 16 Oct 2018

Virgin Media? More like Virgin Meltdown: Brit broadband ISP falls over amid power drama

Updated Virgin Media, one of the UK's largest broadband and TV cable providers, is suffering an outage right now. If you can't access the internet or watch the telly, then it's not just you. It's quite a few of you. It appears the blackout includes business and home connections, and kicked off around 4pm BST today. At the time of …
Chris Williams, 15 Oct 2018
Packing too much into a box

AI engines, Arm brains, DSP brawn... Versal is Xilinx's Kitchen Sink Edition FPGA

XDF Xilinx has packed everything but the kitchen sink into its new Versal family of FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays). These are chips that have electronic circuitry you can change on-the-fly as needed, so you can morph their internal logic to suit whatever needs doing. You usually describe how you want your chip to work …
Arm DesignStart Xilinx card

Free for every Reg reader – and everyone else, too: Arm Cortex-M CPUs for Xilinx FPGAs

XDF If you've ever wanted to embed cheap-and-cheerful Arm Cortex CPU cores into your Xilinx FPGA designs, well, now's your chance. The processor designer is making its 32-bit microcontroller-grade Cortex-M1 and M3 cores available for Xilinx's Spartan, Artix, and Zynq chips via its DesignStart program. We're told there are no …

Oracle cloud supremo Thomas Kurian extends temp leave to the heat death of the universe

It's Friday afternoon on the US West Coast, and everyone's playing pingpong in the office. The East Coast is ordering the next round of martinis. The Europeans are stumbling home from the pub. The Australians are hitting the beach. Anyone by their computer or phone is glued to rolling headlines of Facebook's gigantic security …
Chris Williams, 29 Sep 2018
Robot drives a car. Conceptual illustration from Shutterstock

Take the wheel, Arm tells its notebook-grade Cortex-A76 CPU: Now you're a robo-ride brain

Japanese chip designer Arm really doesn't want to be overtaken in the world of autonomous cars by the likes of Intel, Nvidia, and other rivals. The Softbank-owned semiconductor architects have thus injected a safety feature normally reserved for real-time CPUs into their highest-end application processor core, in a bid to lure …
Chris Williams, 26 Sep 2018

Oi, you. Equifax. Cough up half a million quid for fumbling 15 million Brits' personal info to hackers

Updated The UK's privacy watchdog wants to fine Equifax £500,000 ($660,000) after hackers siphoned off 15 million Brits' info from the credit-score agency's databases. Or in other words, three pence for each of the affected British citizens. The fine could have been much larger had it fallen under Europe's GDPR. However, the security …
Chris Williams, 20 Sep 2018
Ampere's 64-bit Arm server chip

Watt the heck is this? A 32-core 3.3GHz Arm server CPU shipping? Yes, says Ampere

Carlyle Group-backed Ampere Computing, run by ex-Intel president Renée James, says it is, at last, shipping its 64-bit Arm-compatible server processor. It represents another attempt by the Arm world to grab a chunk of the lucrative data-center server market, which is virtually 100 per cent locked up by Intel and its x86-64 …
Chris Williams, 18 Sep 2018

Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Linux kernel firebrand Linus Torvalds has apologized for his explosive rants, and vowed to take a break from the open-source project and seek help. In a mailing list message on Sunday, Torvalds admitted his "flippant attacks in emails" to fellow Linux programmers and project contributors "have been both unprofessional and …
Chris Williams, 17 Sep 2018
Some people discussing design stuff

Do not adjust your set, er, browser: This is our new page-one design

Today's the day we flip the switch, and make our new homepage design live – with an opt-out for those still unsure of the layout. We've been gradually redeveloping the front page over the summer, and we will continue to do so, pushing out fixes, nudges, and features here and there. What you see today is not its final form, …
Chris Williams, 13 Sep 2018
Not singing in the rain

Ever wanted to strangle Microsoft? Now Outlook, Skype 'throttle' users amid storm cloud drama

Folks around the planet are today unable to use Microsoft Skype and Office 365's Outlook due to a baffling "Throttled" error message. The weird text box pops up in the chat software and cloud-backed email client, preventing people from sending messages, and talking to contacts. This is, according to Microsoft, due to a …
Border Grill at Mandalay Bay

VMware 'pressured' hotel to shut down tech event close to VMworld, IGEL sues resort giant

VMware has been accused of slyly shutting down and evicting a partner's four-day tech event running this week alongside the VMworld US conference in Las Vegas. Just as IT industry bods were biting into their lunch at the Border Grill restaurant in the Mandalay Bay hotel during the second day (27 August) of enterprise software …

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