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 diodesign.co.uk, find him on Twitter, or give him a call: (+1) 415-866-4969
Dabbsy's Reg mug

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Here at El Reg towers, our backroom boffins have been toiling away improving our proudly Perl-based homegrown online publishing system. Among their latest work is rejigging The Register's website so that it looks spiffing on desktop and mobile, automatically adjusting the layout depending on your device's screen size. Whether …
Chris Williams, 17 Jul 2018

Up in arms! Arm kills off its anti-RISC-V smear site after own staff revolt

Arm has taken offline its website attacking rival processor architecture RISC-V within days of it going live – after its own staff objected to the underhand tactic. The site – riscv-basics.com – was created at the end of June, and attempted to smear open-source RISC-V, listing five reasons why Arm cores are a better choice …
Chris Williams, 10 Jul 2018

Another data-leaking Spectre CPU flaw among Intel's dirty dozen of security bug alerts today

Exclusive Intel will today emit a dozen security alerts for its products – including details of another data-leaking vulnerability within the family of Spectre CPU flaws. This bundle of disclosures is the start of the processor giant's efforts to move to a quarterly cadence of updates, we understand. Rather than drop surprise alerts …
Chris Williams, 10 Jul 2018
Two people standing talking by a water cooler

I think I'm a clone now: Chinese AMD Epyc-like server chips appear in China. What gives?

Watercooler  Hey El Reg, over the past few days I've seen news that Chinese chip biz Hygon is producing server-grade processors virtually identical to AMD Epyc processors. I'm kinda getting deja vu – you, too? You're not the only one. We reported back in April 2016 that... AMD and THATIC – Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment …
Chris Williams, 10 Jul 2018
A bunch of young-ish people

IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

A laid-off IBM cloud sales ace is suing the IT giant for age discrimination, alleging he was forced out for being too old. Jonathan Langley joined Big Blue in 1993, and worked his way up the ranks over the next 24 years. Then, in 2017, as worldwide program director and sales lead of the Bluemix software-as-a-service, he was …
Someone looking at their smartphone shocked

Dear Samsung mobe owners: It may leak your private pics to randoms

Samsung's Messages app bundled with the South Korean giant's latest smartphones and tablets may silently send people's private photos to random contacts, it is claimed. An unlucky bunch of Sammy phone fans – including owners of Galaxy S9, S9+ and Note 8 gadgets – have complained on Reddit and the official support forums that …
A SD850 Windows 10 laptop reference design

Qualcomm still serious about Windows 10 on Arm: Engineers work on '12W' Snapdragon 1000

Qualcomm is seemingly working on another high-end 64-bit Arm-compatible system-on-chip for Windows 10 PCs – the Snapdragon 1000. Here's the US chip designer's line up so far for personal computers: the Snapdragon 835, which made its way into a few moderately overpriced and slightly lackluster touchscreen laptops; the 845 …
Chris Williams, 25 Jun 2018
Apple MacBook Pro 15-in WRD mid-2015

At last! Apple admits its MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards utterly suck, offers free replacements

Apple has finally admitted the utterfly-mechanism keyoards in its Macook ad Macook Pro laptops are diaolical, and has offered free repairs and replacemets. It's funy what tens of thousads of complaints and a lawsuit will do. These minimalist noteook keyoards, asically, are terrile: the key tops fall off, ad they ecome …
Chris Williams, 23 Jun 2018
No, this isn't the official TLBleed logo (unless you want it to be)

Meet TLBleed: A crypto-key-leaking CPU attack that Intel reckons we shouldn't worry about

Updated Intel has, for now, no plans to specifically address a side-channel vulnerability in its processors that can be potentially exploited by malware to extract encryption keys and other sensitive info from applications. A team of researchers at the Systems and Network Security Group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the …
Chris Williams, 22 Jun 2018
Microsoft Azure on show at Ignite in Orlando

Microsoft Azure Europe embraced the other GDPR: Generally Down, Possibly Recovering

Updated Microsoft Azure tumbled over in northern Europe – and services have effectively stayed down for unlucky customers for around five hours. The disruption was caused by problems within the cloud platform's storage and networking systems, we're told. Today, from 1744 UTC to now, at time of writing 2115 UTC, according to the …
Chris Williams, 19 Jun 2018
Illustration of a circuit board

Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

Updated Microsoft has ported Windows 10 and Linux to E2, its homegrown processor architecture it has spent years working on mostly in secret. As well as the two operating systems, the US giant's researchers say they have also ported Busybox and FreeRTOS, plus a collection of toolkits for developing and building applications for the …
Chris Williams, 18 Jun 2018
An unlocked padlock on a chip, hint hint

Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets from apps to malware

Updated A security flaw within Intel Core and Xeon processors can be potentially exploited to swipe sensitive data from the chips' math processing units. Malware or malicious logged-in users can attempt to leverage this design blunder to steal the inputs and results of computations performed in private by other software. These …
Chris Williams, 13 Jun 2018
AMD's Jim Anderson holds up a Threadripper 2

Monday: Intel touts 28-core desktop CPU. Tuesday: AMD turns Threadripper up to 32

AMD this week promised to ship 32-core Ryzen Threadripper 2 processors in the third quarter of 2018 – one day after Intel bragged about a forthcoming 28-core part. On Monday, Intel, the dominant CPU maker in the worlds of desktop and server systems, touted an upcoming 28-core Core X-series aimed at workstations, gamers, and …
A SD850 Windows 10 laptop reference design

FYI: Qualcomm hasn't given up on Arm-based Windows 10 slabtops

Like a lawman in an old-timey Western movie running while firing his pistol at escaping bandits, Qualcomm is running through PC land shooting out Snapdragon system-on-chips at computer manufacturers. Today, in time for Computex in Taiwan, Qualy emitted details of the Snapdragon 850, a 64-bit Arm-compatible octo-core processor …
A Microsoft cloud... sorta

Is Microsoft about to git-merge with GitHub? Rumors suggest: Yes

Updated Microsoft has held talks with GitHub with a mind to potentially buy the popular source-code warehouse, folks closely familiar with the discussions have claimed. There have been recurring rumors going back to at least 2016 that the Windows giant is considering gobbling the San Francisco-based upstart, which hosts developers' …
Arm Cortex-A76

Arm emits Cortex-A76 – its first 64-bit-only CPU core (in kernel mode)

Arm's latest top-end processor core design – the Cortex-A76 unveiled today – is its first CPU to only run kernel-level code that is 64-bit, according to its inventors. The processor will still support applications that use 32-bit A32 and T32 instruction sets, as well as 64-bit A64, meaning your apps and other programs will run …
Chris Williams, 31 May 2018
Someone using a copying machine

Servers crashed and burned. So, Qualcomm's back to Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V'ing Arm cores into phones

Following its Centriq server processor implosion, Qualcomm has dusted itself off, and today presented to the world another smartphone processor: the Snapdragon 710. And as for previous Snapdragons, Qualy has pretty much xeroxed off-the-shelf Arm Cortex CPU cores. Qualcomm shifted engineers from the Snapdragon team onto its …
Chris Williams, 24 May 2018
Arm's object detector core at work

Within Arm's reach: Chip brains that'll make your 'smart' TV a bit smarter

Processor design house Arm has emitted a few more details about the AI brain it's trying to persuade chip makers to pack into their silicon. Pretty much everyone – from Intel and Qualcomm to IBM, Mediatek and Imagination – has some kind of dedicated neural-network accelerator among their blueprints, ready to slot into chips …
Chris Williams, 22 May 2018
A blowtorch burning a computer board

Microsoft, Google: We've found a fourth data-leaking Meltdown-Spectre CPU hole

A fourth variant of the data-leaking Meltdown-Spectre security flaws in modern processors has been found by Microsoft and Google researchers. These speculative-execution design blunders can be potentially exploited by malicious software running on a vulnerable device or computer, or a miscreant logged into the system, to …
Chris Williams, 21 May 2018
Rendering of an AMD Ryzen Pro chip

Cheap-ish. Not Intel. Nice graphics. Pick, er, 3: AMD touts Ryzen Pro processors for business

AMD spent a pretty penny marketing its desktop-grade Ryzen Pro chips, to launch this week, but we'll summarize the new line for you in just a dozen words: they are cheaper than rival Intel parts, and have nice enough graphics. These are the sort of processors destined for office PCs. Desktop systems first out of gate with …
Chris Williams, 14 May 2018
A man jumping off a cliff

Intel CEO Brian is a man living on the edge

Comment Intel declined to comment on industry whisperings that Qualcomm is mulling ending its Arm-powered server processor efforts. Perhaps it's no wonder: Intel has a monopoly on the compute workhorses used in data centers by Google and Amazon, among others, to provide their increasingly ubiquitous cloud computing services, as well …
Here we go again

Every major OS maker misread Intel's docs. Now their kernels can be hijacked or crashed

Updated Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, and some implementations of Xen have a design flaw that could allow attackers to, at best, crash Intel and AMD-powered computers. At worst, miscreants can, potentially, "gain access to sensitive memory information or control low-level operating system functions,” which is a fancy way of saying …
A Microsoft cloud... sorta

It's 2018, and a webpage can still pwn your Windows PC – and apps can escape Hyper-V

Patch Tuesday Microsoft and Adobe have patched a bunch of security bugs in their products that can be exploited by hackers to commandeer vulnerable computers, siphon people's personal information, and so on. Redmond emitted 68 patches alone, 21 rated critical and at least two being actively exploited in the wild. There are browser and …
Close up of the ThunderX2 processor

Broadcom's Arm server chip lives – as Cavium's two-socket ThunderX2

Pic Broadcom's axed Arm server processor project today rose from the grave – as Cavium's 64-bit 32-core two-socket Armv8-A ThunderX2 chip. Back in 2013, Broadcom announced it was working on Vulcan, a multi-core 3GHz Arm-compatible 64-bit server-grade system-on-chip. By 2016, that ambitious project was quietly dismantled. Broadcom …
Canada

You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Comment There's a curious legal situation developing in Nova Scotia, Canada, right now. A teenager is suspected of breaking the nation's hacking laws by downloading PDFs containing personal information from a public government website after officials failed to redact the documents. The 19-year-old was arrested after more than a dozen …
Chris Williams, 18 Apr 2018

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