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Quantum, Linux and Dynamics: That's the week at Microsoft, not a '70s prog rock band

Roundup It has been a good week for Microsoft. While beancounters counted their cloudy cash, the rest of the Redmond kept itself busy. A Quantum of coders Though uptake of Windows 10 continues to hover around the 700 million mark (quite some way behind the billion promised at the operating system's launch back in 2015), the Microsoft …
Richard Speed, 24 Jul 2018
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If Brussels wants Android forks, phone makers aren't helping

The European Commission made the phrase "Android forks" a household word last week. But developers who wish to create and popularise their Android forks have just found the job got harder. The world's No.3 phone seller, Huawei, which also sells tens of millions of Honor-brand phones each year, offered bootloader codes allowing …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Jul 2018
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
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Microsoft Visual Studio Code replumbed for better Python taming

Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, the company's Electron-based source code editor for Linux, macOS and Windows, has been bestowed with the company's Python Language Server, making it more fluent in the popular programming language. The language server, Microsoft explains, powers the company's IntelliSense autocomplete system, …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Jul 2018
Microsoft Bob
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Microsoft still longs to be a 'lifestyle' brand, but the cupboard looks bare

Comment Two contradictory ideas run through statements by Microsoft executives this week. One is that if the company focuses on growth areas in enterprise, without expensive distractions, then revenue and profits shoot through the roof. That much is evident in the fiscal '18 earnings. Microsoft made the cloud another platform, and as …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2018
Asleep hammock, photo via Shutterstock
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Why Google won't break a sweat about EU ruling

Comment The European Commission wants to see a thousand Android forks bloom as the result of its decision yesterday to demand remedies from Google for its anti-competitive conduct on mobile. Or if not thousands, then at least a good few. Alternative Androids like FireOS or Lineage OS (formerly CyanogenMod) would become a much more …
Andrew Orlowski, 20 Jul 2018
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Get rich with Firefox or *(int *)NULL = 0 trying: Automated bug-bounty hunter build touted

Do you love Firefox, Linux, and the internet? Are you interested in earning money from the comfort of your own home? Are you OK with a special flavor of Firefox quietly gobbling up memory in a hunt for exploitable security bugs? If so, Mozilla has a deal for you. The open internet organization (and search licensing revenue …
Thomas Claburn, 20 Jul 2018
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British Airways' latest Total Inability To Support Upwardness of Planes* caused by Amadeus system outage

Exclusive The British Airways IT system failure that caused the grounding of flights around the world yesterday was caused by an outage at third-party travel tech supplier Amadeus. Amadeus, a travel tech outsourcer best known for supplying flight booking software to low-cost airlines such as Easyjet, suffered an outage which meant BA's …
Gareth Corfield, 19 Jul 2018
old man wearing gold chain and sleeve tattoos
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Oldest swinger in town, Slackware, notches up a quarter of a century

Slackware, the oldest Linux distribution still being maintained, has turned 25 this week, making many an enthusiast wonder where all those years went. Mention Slackware, and the odds are that the FOSS fan before you will go a bit misty-eyed and mumble something about dependency resolution as they recall their first entry into …
Richard Speed, 19 Jul 2018
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Windows Server 2019 tweaked to stop it getting clock-blocked

Microsoft Windows Server 2019, coming later this year, will include UTC-compliant leap second support, both for added and subtracted time. But there will be no smearing. Since 1972, leap seconds have been added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to compensate for divergence with mean solar time (UT1) – which slows with the …
Thomas Claburn, 19 Jul 2018
Xeon E3-1500 v5
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ME! ME! ME! – Intel's management tech gets a quartet of security fixes

In case you missed it, Chipzilla has gone public with more security updates for the Intel Management Engine. The advisories, here and here, address four exploitable bugs. Positive Technologies, which discussed the bugs in detail here, identified CVE-2018-3628, a “Buffer overflow in HTTP handler” as the most serious. That's …
Containers in the fridge

IBM attempts to graft virtual machine security onto container flexibility

IBM researchers have developed a new flavor of software container in an effort to create code that's more secure than Docker and similar shared kernel container systems. Docker and its ilk are considered less secure than VMs because the compromise of a shared kernel puts all associated containers at risk. With VMs, the kernel …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Jul 2018

Webinar: Get a good look at Microsoft’s Windows Analytics suite

Promo Windows Analytics is a cloud-based suite of solutions that provides proactive insights into the current state of a Windows environment. The suite uses telemetry data to monitor an organisation’s devices, detect any problems and keep the devices secure and up to date. It aims to streamline support and make it easier for …
David Gordon, 17 Jul 2018
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Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach

Updated Capita has admitted a bug in an information management system used by 21,000 UK schools could have incorrectly linked contact details to the wrong pupils – an incident with huge implications for pupils' data protection. The error, which has been pinned on a December 2017 upgrade to the Schools Information Management System, …
Rebecca Hill, 17 Jul 2018
Skype Logo
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Skype Classic headed for the chopping block on September 1

Windows users still clinging onto to the halcyon days of Skype 7 (aka "Classic") were warned last night to move to version 8 or face the service dying from September 1. You read that right. While the rest of us look forward to a summer of frolicking in the sun or basking on beaches, a sad-faced Microsoft engineer will be …
Richard Speed, 17 Jul 2018
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Exec-transcribing AI so you can click Like on their brainfarts. Oh Microsoft, you spoil us

It’s Monday and Microsoft’s Partners are already winging their way to Las Vegas for Inspire. That means it must be time for a news round-up. Surface a-go-go While the soap opera of the mythical Andromeda device rumbled on, Microsoft finally admitted that yes, a new Surface device was on the way, and no, it isn’t a phone. …
Richard Speed, 16 Jul 2018
Zork1 running on IBM 5150
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Microsoft's TextWorld gives AI a Zork-like challenge

How do you train AI agents in language and understanding? Easy – drop them into a Zork-alike dungeon and let then find their own way out. While the rest of the Microsoft world squeaked with excitement about new hardware and free collaboration tools, the boffins at Redmond’s Montreal Research Lab have looked to history as way …
Richard Speed, 16 Jul 2018
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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

Sunday is a big day in Vulture Central. No, not the football. Sunday is three years to the day when Microsoft’s apology for the Windows 8 generation was released to computer makers. Windows 10 would hit end users two weeks later, charged with undoing the Metro carnage. The background In 2015 Microsoft was still reeling from …
Richard Speed, 16 Jul 2018
birthday
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Apache Cassandra at 10: Making a community believe in NoSQL

Ten years ago this month, when Lehman Brothers was still just about in business and the term NoSQL wasn't even widely known, let alone an irritant, Facebook engineers open-sourced a distributed database system named Cassandra. Back then, the idea that huge numbers of companies would need a scalable database was almost …
Rebecca Hill, 16 Jul 2018
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Notes/Domino is alive! Second beta of version 10 is imminent

IBM’s effort to make its Notes/Domino platform relevant for the future kicks up a gear this week, as the company prepares a second beta of a new version 10. Notes combined messaging and an application development environment, which set hearts a-fluttering in the early-to-mid 1990s. IBM laid out a then-record $3bn to acquire …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jul 2018
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Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived

Comment Slack chief exec Stewart Butterfield is one of the more thoughtful Web 2.0 CEOs, but his software is like those movie sets in Westerns: all facade, no house. A beautiful UX is created, the hipsters are lured in. It worked for Flickr, and it worked for Slack. “Slack just feels, looks and sounds different than the boring …
Andrew Orlowski, 13 Jul 2018
Business meeting argument
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Microsoft: For God's sake, people, cut down on the meetings!

Microsoft yesterday squeezed out a couple of technologies aimed at encouraging teams to adopt a healthier approach toward meetings and, you know, maybe think a bit before firing off that midnight email. Helpful hints or management monitoring? You decide The first, Workplace Analytics solution for teamwork (now in preview), …
Richard Speed, 13 Jul 2018
User interface whiteboarding
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Microsoft bids adieu to inky fingers with whiteboard app

Microsoft has made its Whiteboard Windows 10 app generally available in a move that Redmond hopes will see an end to dried-out marker pens and inky fingers. In preview since December 2017, the ‘free-form, intelligent canvas’ represents an excellent opportunity for a game of buzzword bingo, with ‘ideation’ taking the honours in …
Richard Speed, 12 Jul 2018
bearded gentleman raises glass
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Microsoft Teams goes free, as free as the wind blows... up to a point

On the eve of its 2018 partner conference, Inspire, Microsoft has launched a freebie version of its Slack-alike collaboration platform, Teams. While Redmond has put a brave face on things, claiming 200,000 businesses over 181 markets are happily collaborating in the shiny new Teams world, Slack merely applies some oil to its …
Richard Speed, 12 Jul 2018
Angry man's eye peers from face painted with Scottish flag / st andrews cross

Softcat scores big in Scotland: Many a mickle makes a muckle

UK-based box shifting titan Softcat, is cock-a-hoop after bagging a lucrative contract worth up to £160m to fling software at the Scottish public sector. Tsk-tsk, fat cat Softcat: Milk-slurping reseller taken to court READ MORE The single-source contract, which lasts for two years (with an option to extend for another two …
Richard Speed, 12 Jul 2018
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Forking hell. It's summer, and Windows 10 is already thinking about autumn

Microsoft's army of Windows Insiders got a treat last night in the form of a fresh build of Redmond's other OS. You know, the one that isn't based on Linux. The Register does not normally cover every single Windows Insider build, but 17713 is a bit of a milestone. Before the usual gushing over new functionality, the …
Richard Speed, 12 Jul 2018
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Happy 10th birthday, Evernote: You have survived Google and Microsoft. For your next challenge...

Evernote can quietly celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer, and remarkably, the software company behind it remains independent. Devised by the Russian/Udi computer scientist Stepan Pachikov, who developed cursive writing recognition for the Apple Newton, Evernote can now boast 225 million registered users, with 20,000 …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Jul 2018
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Salesforce ‘Einstein’ now smart enough for customer service

Salesforce has unleashed an upgrade to its Einstein AI that equips it to handle customer service chores. Einstein has hitherto been offered as an assistant capable of helping Salesforce users to make predictions based on the data they’ve collected on the SaaS platform, with one variant also capable of making suggestions to …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jul 2018
blender
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Put WhatsApp, Slack, admin privileges in a blender and what do you get? Wickr

It's an issue every sysadmin faces: how do you maintain a decent level of network security when everyone and their dog wants to use the latest messaging app or collaboration tool? And when they inevitably do add WhatsApp and Signal and Slack and Telegram to their devices and set up their own project spaces, placing …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jul 2018
Man suffering from stomach ache while lying on sofa

Micro Focus belches as it struggles to digest HPE Software

The integration of HPE Software into Micro Focus is running a year behind schedule due to a clash of sales cultures and setting up new IT systems. But at least the rate of falling revenues has slowed. So said Micro Focus chairman Kevin Loosemore and chief exec Stephen Murdoch, whose backside is still warming a seat vacated by …
Paul Kunert, 11 Jul 2018
Cat sleeps on laptop
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Azure Dev Spaces has hit public preview, so El Reg took it for a spin

Azure Dev Spaces is one of those technologies that looks great in demonstrations, but can end up being infuriating when introduced to real life. Shown off at this year's Build conference and subsequently released in private preview, the toys were released to public preview this week, and The Register was keen to get its talons …
Richard Speed, 11 Jul 2018
FBI agent on a phone
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Apple emits iPhone cop-block update – plus iOS, macOS, Safari patches

Apple has released the latest version of its mobile operating system complete with its Fed-blocking option. The iOS 11.4.1 upgrade is small by Apple standards – coming in at around 200MB – but it represents a big headache for the FBI and other organizations that want to gain access to someone else's phone because it kills off …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Jul 2018
Goats, image via Shutterstock

Hardware rumours, goat-spanking search engines and plenty of Azure. It's last week in Redmond

New builds, no outages and a few brokenhearted fanboys. It's the week at Microsoft. While plucky little America celebrated its liberation from the might of the British Empire, Microsoft was busy devising ways of liberating budget-conscious Surface fans from their cash as new hardware was sighted at the FCC. Unfortunately, …
Richard Speed, 09 Jul 2018
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GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

How many baby boomers does it take to set up GitHub? Just one – but you've got to make it look like a 1990s Windows build. That seems to be the reasoning behind "GitHub Windows Edition", billed as “a user style which transforms GitHub's pages into [a] GUI resembling Windows 9x” in a browser window. Vulture South can't decide …
Downloading a patch

Microsoft slows Dynamics 365 update cadence

Microsoft’s announced a new twice-annual release cadence for Dynamics 365, its cloudy CRM/ERP service. Corporate veep and COO for business application engineering Mo Osborne has pitched the change as “modernizing” Microsoft’s efforts by making a new release every April and October. “Our new update cadence aims to lower …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jul 2018
A finger pressing a delete key

Oracle tells court: Boss man Mark Hurd didn't have docs relevant to HPE spat over Solaris

HPE's assertions that Oracle boss Mark Hurd intentionally deleted emails related to a legal spat over operating system software are "mere speculation," the database giant has told a district court in northern California. The two IT giants have been embroiled a copyright dispute since 2016, when Oracle accused HPE of improperly …
Rebecca Hill, 06 Jul 2018
Repairman in orange overalls threateningly wields tape measure
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GIMP masks font downloads, adds horizon fix in new build

As the US partied and the UK made increasingly desperate “well, we dumped YOU” jokes, the GIMP team celebrated 4 July by emitting a fresh stable build of the arty application with a function aimed at fixing drunken photos. The latest stable release of GIMP (2.10.4) sees the introduction of the nifty Straighten button as part …
Richard Speed, 05 Jul 2018

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