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
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
A bunch of shadow people leg it across a backdrop of dollar bills (conceptual illustration)

UK ICO, USCourts.gov... Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after popular plugin pwned

Thousands of websites around the world – from the UK's NHS and ICO to the US government's court system – were today secretly mining crypto-coins on netizens' web browsers for miscreants unknown. The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind …
Chris Williams, 11 Feb 2018
man spits out beer in shock

Apple's top-secret iBoot firmware source code spills onto GitHub for some insane reason

The confidential source code to Apple's iBoot firmware in iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices has leaked into a public GitHub repo. The closed-source code is top-secret, proprietary, copyright Apple, and yet has been quietly doing the rounds between security researchers and device jailbreakers on Reddit for four or so months …
Shocked couple scream and clutch their hair

Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

Summary The severe design flaw in Intel microprocessors that allows sensitive data, such as passwords and crypto-keys, to be stolen from memory is real – and its details have been revealed. On Tuesday, we warned that a blueprint blunder in Intel's CPUs could allow applications, malware, and JavaScript running in web browsers, to …

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Final update A fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug. Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes …

Long Island Iced Tea Corp renamed itself to Long Blockchain – and its shares went bananas

Logowatch This special edition of El Reg's Logowatch isn't strictly about logos, rather it's a rebrand, but since today is Friday and this news is – and this is a technical term here – batshit mad, we couldn't pass it up. Non-alcoholic beverage slinger Long Island Iced Tea Corp, which is publicly traded and wasn't performing …
Chris Williams, 22 Dec 2017
Playground hero

Braking news: Nissan Canada hacked, up to 1.1m Canucks exposed

Nissan Canada's vehicle-financing wing has been hacked, putting personal information on as many as 1.13 million customers in the hands of miscreants. In an email to Nissan car buyers, seen by The Register, the biz admitted its computer systems were compromised, with "unauthorized person(s) gaining access to the personal …
Chris Williams, 22 Dec 2017

Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

Updated Canonical has halted downloads of Ubuntu Linux 17.10, aka Artful Aardvark, from its website after punters complained installing the open-source OS on laptops knackered the machines. Specifically, the desktop flavor of Artful Aardvark, released in October, has been temporarily pulled – the server builds and other editions …

Inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 for PCs, mobes: Cortex-A75s, fat caches, vector math, security stuff, and more

Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip will include an isolated security core for handling sensitive personal information, among other new features. The California chip designer showed off its upcoming 845 component at a tech summit in Hawaii on Wednesday, promising the silicon will power 2018's high-end Android …

Lap-slabtop-mobes with Snapdragon Arm CPUs running Windows 10: We had a quick gander

Pics Qualcomm, Microsoft, Asus, HP Inc and Lenovo today talked up their upcoming Arm-compatible, Snapdragon-powered three-in-one Windows 10 PCs. "Three in one" because they combine a laptop, a tablet, and smartphone-like connectivity in one. The laptop is the base unit. It's also a tablet because the display is a touchscreen and, …
Qualcomm

Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Analysis Qualcomm conquered the high-end smartphone world with its top-end Arm-compatible Snapdragon chips powering more than 120 smart mobes models globally. Now it's got a new quarry in its sights: the Windows 10 PC, and the x86 processors that typically power them. And also crappy Wi-Fi networks. Qualcomm wants to take smartphone- …

HPE CEO Meg Whitman QUITS, MAN! Neri to replace chief exec in Feb

Hewlett Packard Enterprise boss Meg Whitman is stepping down, and will be replaced on February 1 by company president Antonio Neri. Neri, a 50-year-old engineer turned executive who we described as a CEO-in-waiting, will take the chief exec throne while remaining HPE president. As of right now, the US tech goliath's stock is …

Intel drags Xeon Phi Knights Hill chips out back... two shots heard

Updated Intel has scrapped Knights Hill, an upcoming addition to its high-end many-core Xeon Phi chip family, and will go back to the drawing board for its microarchitecture. We heard at the end of last month that the Xeon Phi gang was, in the words of one well-placed semiconductor industry source, "not long for this world," which we …

Qualcomm is shipping next chip it'll perhaps get sued for: ARM server processor Centriq 2400

Putting aside its legal battles and lawsuits for a few hours, Qualcomm today said is it shipping the Centriq 2400 – its ARM-based server-grade processor, and the world's first 10nm data-center CPU. "This chip is now shipping for revenue," said Anand Chandrasekher, the boss of Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, adding that the …

AMD, Intel hate Nvidia so much they're building a laptop chip to spite it

Analysis Arch-rivals AMD and Intel have put aside their animosity toward each other, and united against a common foe: Nvidia. On Monday the pair revealed they are working on a chip family that will combine an Intel Core x86 processor, a customized AMD Radeon GPU, and HBM2 – high-bandwidth memory – all in one package. The silicon will, …
Super-villain Dr Evil puts finger to lip in scheming manner, asks for one million dollars. Pic: New Line Cinema

'Qualcomm, we will buy you... for... one HUNDRED... BILLION DOLLARS' – Broadcom

Broadcom is channeling Dr Evil of Austin Powers fame, and considering blowing more than $100bn to buy Qualcomm, it was claimed on Friday. Apparently, Broadcom is planning to offer within the next few days about $70 a share in cash and stocks to acquire California-based Qualy. Right now, Qualcomm's shares stand at $62.71 apiece …
Miele

IoT pushes Arm over the Edge: Mbed Cloud offers to grab gadget gateways

TechCon Kicking off its TechCon engineering conference today in Silicon Valley, Arm announced a couple of things: Internet-of-Things gateway wrangling code, and some security measures to potentially prevent secrets leaking electrically from chips. First, the Brit processor designer's gadget-controlling Mbed Cloud is getting a suite of …
Chris Williams, 24 Oct 2017

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