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Good folk of Forfar: Alan Hattel would like you all to know he's not dead despite what it says on his tombstone

So give him a call FFS

Like the unfortunate soul who finds himself being loaded onto a cart of plague victims in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a bloke from Forfar in Scotland has had to declare himself "still alive" after finding his name on a headstone in a local graveyard.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 10:45 am

In the red corner, Big Red, and in the blue corner... the rest of the tech industry

Innovation freedom may not be so free if US Supreme Court rules Google ripped off Oracle's Java APIs

Column  Later this spring, the US Supreme Court will hear Google v Oracle. This is the final appeal of a decade-long case in which Oracle claims Google stole the Java application program interface (API) structure that defines how programs interact with Java's own libraries. That Google reproduced the API in Android is not in doubt; until Oracle kicked up a stink, it was also not in doubt that APIs could not be copyrighted.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 10:00 am

Rugby legend Will Carling tells El Reg: Techie stats bods will love this year's Six Nations

Well, AWS hopes you will because they're doing AI/ML/etc for it

New tech-driven Six Nations stats will "show you which teams are really clinical" at making line breaks inside the opposition's 22, England rugby legend Will Carling has told The Register.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 9:15 am

Stiff upper lip time, Brits: After bullying France to drop its digital tax on Silicon Valley, Trump's coming for you next

Macron suspends cyber levy plan after The Donald has a quiet word

French President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed his country will suspend its plan to slap a digital tax on tech giants after threats from US president Donald Trump to impose trade tariffs.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 7:55 am

Still losing sleep over that awful Citrix bug? This scanner is here to help... you realize you've already been pwned

Handy FireEye tool roots out indicators of compromise

Citrix and FireEye have released a new security tool to help admins find out if their servers have been hacked via the high-profile CVE-2019-19781 flaw that was disclosed in December but only patched on Monday.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 7:04 am

Two billion years ago, snowball Earth was defrosted in huge asteroid crash – and it's been downhill ever since

Space prang rose temperatures, melted glaciers, influenced climate, next thing we know: we're sharing AI-filtered selfies on Insta

Pic  Scientists studying minerals in the Yarrabubba crater in Western Australia have confirmed the giant pit was formed when an asteroid struck Earth 2.229 billion years ago, making it the oldest impact site yet found on our planet.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 5:52 am

If you never thought you'd hear a Microsoftie tell you to stop using Internet Explorer, lap it up: 'I beg you, let it retire to great bitbucket in the sky'

We say take off and nuke the entire codebase from orbit. It's the only way to be sure

To mark the arrival of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser, Microsoft software engineer Eric Lawrence, who helped shift Edge to its Google-driven open source foundation, issued a plea to Windows users to let go of Internet Explorer.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 1:44 am

Sorry to be blunt about this... Open AWS S3 storage bucket just made 30,000 potheads' privacy go up in smoke

Talk about high tech: Software maker exposes cloud silo of personal info in tale of security gone bong

A tech biz specializing in software for marijuana dispensaries inadvertently exposed to the public internet a database containing tens of thousands of mellow Americans' personal information.…

Posted on 23 January 2020 | 12:19 am

Who honestly has a crown prince in their threat model? UN report officially fingers Saudi royal as Bezos hacker

Rapporteurs call for investigation, technical security report leaks

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, has been officially fingered as the man responsible for hacking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s iPhone X, causing a massive stir in diplomatic circles.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 11:13 pm

Safari's Intelligent Tracking Protection is misspelled, says Google: It should be Dumb Browser Stalking Enabler

Chocolate Factory boffins doubt Apple can fix it, either

Google security researchers have published details about the flaws they identified last year in Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP), a privacy scheme developed by Apple's WebKit team for the company's Safari browser.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 9:53 pm

Chrome suddenly using Bing after installing Office 365 Pro Plus... Yeah, that might have been us, mumbles Microsoft

Bad-a-Bing, badda-boom: Netizens complain of browser hijacking

Users who install or update Office 365 Pro Plus, part of the Office 365 subscription for larger businesses, will find their browser search engine automatically set to Bing, according to Microsoft documentation.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 9:18 pm

Judge snubs IT outsourcers' plea to Alt-F4 tougher H-1B visa rules: Bosses told to fill out the extra paperwork

Homeland Security memo not an abuse of power, court decides

An effort by tech companies to put the Trump Administration's tough new visa requirements on hold has been thrown out by a US federal judge in Arizona.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 8:38 pm

SAP co-CEO: I'm leavin' on a jet plane... Davos knows that I'll be back again...Oh babe, I hate to go (back to work)

High flying exec joins 'leccy car-driver co-boss in Switzerland

Only one half of SAP’s joint CEOs managed to travel to the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos by relatively environmentally friendly means, the other opted to jump on a jet plane.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 7:27 pm

The Foot of Cupid emits final burst of flatulence in honour of fallen Python Terry Jones

'Two down, four to go,' quips John Cleese as another member of comedy crew kicks bucket

Obit  Actor, writer and Python Terry Jones has died at the age of 77.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 5:00 pm

Academics call for UK's Computer Misuse Act 1990 to be reformed

Report suggests public interest defences for infosec professionals, academics and journalists

Britain's main anti-hacker law, the Computer Misuse Act 1990, is "confused", "outdated" and "ambiguous", according to a group of pro-reform academics.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 4:06 pm

Co-Op Insurance and IBM play blame game over collapse of £175m megaproject

What happens when big tech ventures completely fail? A High Court trial!

In a long-running spat, British insurer Co-Op Insurance is suing IBM for £155m over what it claims is Big Blue's "deliberate" failure to deliver a new IT platform for the British financial services provider.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 3:00 pm

WindiLeaks: 250 million Microsoft customer support records dating back to 2005 exposed to open internet

Quickly shuttered partially redacted leaky DB included 'internal notes marked as confidential'

Five identical Elasticsearch databases containing 250 million records of Microsoft customer support incidents were exposed on the internet for all to see for at least two days right at the end of 2019.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 2:00 pm

Xerox to nominate up to 11 directors to HP's board in hostile takeover push – report

If yours won't support a merger, we'll install some who will

Xerox is preparing to nominate up to 11 directors to HP's board to push through a $33.5bn takeover bid, according to the Wall Street Journal.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 1:29 pm

German taxpayers faced with €800k Windows 7 support bill due to Deutschland dithering

Total Inability To Secure Upgrade Programme in Berlin

German authorities are waking up to a Windows 7 headache, with approximately €800,000 required in order to keep the elderly software supported a little longer.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 12:59 pm

Flinging resource-hungry apps at landfill Android? Ubuntu daddy wants to lure you into Anbox Cloud

Canonical goes playing in the streams

Ubuntu daddy Canonical is aiming at the likes of Huawei and Google with its take on app streaming with Anbox Cloud.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 12:27 pm

Ancient Ore Crusher or KillBot 2000? NASA gets ready to pick a name for its Mars 2020 Rover

Destined to die a lonely Martian death? How about Doomed Buggy?

NASA has announced the finalists for its Mars 2020 Rover naming and the options are as worthy as one might expect.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 11:46 am

Enterprise skinflints, rejoice: AWS slashes cost of disaster recovery, Kubernetes services

CloudEndure DR gets cheaper, new host-level backup for VMs as AWS looks to lock 'em in

AWS has lopped 80 per cent off the price of its CloudEndure disaster recovery service and 50 per cent off Kubernetes (K8s) clusters.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 11:10 am

Capita Education Services accidentally spaffs email addresses in Helpdesk snafu

Emailing stuff is hard, m'kay?

Updated  Capita Education Services had a bit of an oopsie yesterday as a new helpdesk system spurted potentially thousands of email addresses at unsuspecting users.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 10:30 am

A-high: Prototype drug squad bot to patrol Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, etc for dodgy ads for opiods

Not for surveillance, honest

Drug dealers and dodgy pharmacies illegally touting opioids online – think heroin, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, and so on – may have their collars felt by an AI cop soon. Ish. Maybe.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 10:00 am

Microsoft boffin inadvertently highlights .NET image woes by running C# on Windows 3.11

Old? Windows-only? Community struggles with '40-year-old male' problem

Microsoft senior software engineer Michal Strehovský has run a small .NET Core application on Windows 3.11, a version of the OS released in 1993.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 9:16 am

Alan Turing’s OBE medal, PhD cert, other missing items found in super-fan’s Colorado home by agents, says US govt

Shock discovery after Brit super-boffin's stuff disappears decades earlier

More than 250 items belonging to super-Brit Alan Turing, including his OBE medal, that went missing decades ago were found hidden behind a bathroom wall in America, according to new court documents.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 8:04 am

From WordPad to WordAds: Microsoft caught sneaking nagging Office promos into venerable text editor beta

Hidden for now, probably coming to a desktop near you, soon, ish

Microsoft is secretly testing in-house ads in WordPad, the basic text editing app bundled into its desktop operating system since Windows 95.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 7:06 am

*David Attenborough voice* And here we have, in the wild, a rare glimpse... of what may be... a positive IBM quarter

Big Blue rides Red Hat into the black

A tenth of a percent still counts, right?…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 5:48 am

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia accused of hacking Jeff Bezos' phone with malware-laden WhatsApp message

Mid-East nation slams 'absurd' claim, UN report to emerge

Updated  Candid pictures used to threaten Amazon boss Jeff Bezos were exposed not by his current paramour's brother, as some have suggested, but through a sophisticated hacking operation personally directed by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, The Guardian has asserted.…

Posted on 22 January 2020 | 12:31 am

Bank IT bod pocketed nearly $1m in kickbacks from tech contractor bosses for sending deals their way, Feds claim

Cuffed procurement bureaucrat took percentage cut, it is alleged

An IT worker at a New York bank steered multi-million-dollar deals to a technology contractor in exchange for $900,000 in kickbacks, it is claimed.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 10:34 pm

Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

Planned obsolescence strikes again

Sonos is doubling down on its previously disclosed inclination to drop support for older products that aren't profitable to support.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 8:53 pm

No backdoors needed: Apple ditched plans to fully encrypt iCloud backups after heavy pressure from FBI – claim

Convenient timing for this story to emerge

Apple ditched plans to fully encrypt its iCloud backups two years ago after being pressured by the FBI, it is claimed.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 8:04 pm

CityFibre relieves TalkTalk of its FTTP sister biz for £200m – after Boris win blows away Labour's nationalisation vow

Deal will crank telco's reach up to 8 million premises in UK

Goldman Sachs-backed telco CityFibre has snapped up TalkTalk's fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network for £200m, two months after the deal was delayed during the general election.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 6:41 pm

Opera hits back at 'short seller' whose report claimed its 'predatory' microloan droid apps could hurt, er... investors

Nothing to see here, insists browser-maker

Opera has responded to accusations that it offers predatory short-term loans to some of the world's most disadvantaged communities to shore up its financial results.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 4:45 pm

South American nations open fire on ICANN for 'illegal and unjust' sale of .amazon to zillionaire Jeff Bezos

Nastygram to DNS overseer follows long, flawed and drawn-out process

Eight South American governments have vowed to make life difficult for DNS overseer ICANN after it gave the .amazon top-level domain to the US tech giant headed by Jeff Bezos.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 4:07 pm

Dixons Carphone to London Stock Exchange: Yay, we grew 2% in the festive quarter. Oh, hang on, no we didn't

'Clerical error' causes major screw-up... misery loves company at UK's largest 'leccy retailer

Just because you want something badly doesn't mean you can will it to happen. This is what Dixons found out today when it was forced to re-issue a trading statement, with the first one saying sales had grown. (Spoiler: they hadn't.)…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 3:27 pm

New SAP co-CEO 'runs simple' to Davos in Mercedes hydrogen car

Just don't mention software giant's carbon-producing customers, 'cos that doesn't matter, right?

The World Economic Forum is pinning a sustainability badge on its 2020 conference, which, according to one estimate, will produce 18,090 metric tonnes of CO2 in private air travel alone.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 2:40 pm

WTF, EFS? Experts warn Windows encryption could spawn nasty new ransomware

Redmond's own security tools could be abused by hard-to-block file-scrambling software nasties

The encryption technology Microsoft uses to protect Windows file systems can be exploited by ransomware.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 2:00 pm

US court rules: Just because you can extract teeth while riding a hoverboard doesn't mean you should

We get it. You are a skilled dentist. Sorry, 'were'

Since Marty McFly swooped into pop culture on a hoverboard in 1985, the wheelless wonders have cemented their position as a litmus test for living in "The Future™" alongside other sci-fi paraphernalia like lightsabers, jetpacks and flying cars.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 1:38 pm

'I am done with open source': Developer of Rust Actix web framework quits, appoints new maintainer

Project author Nikolay Kim also given some community support after 'unsafe shitstorm'

The maintainer of the Actix web framework, written in Rust, has quit the project after complaining of a toxic web community - although over 100 Actix users have since signed a letter of support for him.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 12:55 pm

Windows 7 back in black as holdouts report wallpaper-stripping shenanigans

Suitable attire, seeing that it's dead

Microsoft has given Windows 7 users a parting gift with its last update as some holdouts are reporting existing desktop wallpaper being replaced by a sombre black screen – presumably in mourning for the veteran OS.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 12:18 pm

SpaceX ponders its next mission to blot out the Sun with another 60 Starlink sats

Also: ISS batteries changed, Virgin's fleet grows, Rocket Lab makes nod to crap sitcom, and more

Roundup  Welcome back to The Register's weekly roundup of stories from the world of rockets and orbital shenanigans.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 11:23 am

Looking for a great value broadband deal? War-torn Syria will do you proud

UK internet costs shamed by European colleagues, but at least it's not Eritrea

After a third trip to thrash the router this morning, Brits might not be too surprised to learn that they're being ripped off for broadband compared to their pals across the Channel.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 10:20 am

How a Kaggle Grandmaster cheated in $25,000 AI contest with hidden code – and was fired from dream SV job

Pet adoption ML coder apologizes and says desire to be ranked #1 'compromised my judgement'

Special report  A Google-backed competition to develop machine-learning software to help abandoned animals find loving homes turned ugly – when it was revealed the winning team cheated.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 9:24 am

Looks like the party's over, folks: Global PC sales set to shrink as Windows 10 upgrade cycle tails off, says Gartner

Smartphone shipments slightly up, personal computers to resume historical trends

What goes up must come down, or so it seems for the PC market.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 8:30 am

Fly me to the M(O2)n: Euro scientists extract oxygen from 'lunar dust' by cooking it with molten salt electrolysis

'Being able to acquire oxygen would obviously be hugely useful for future settlers'

Scientists at the European Space Agency are trying to extract oxygen from something very close to lunar soil.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 7:27 am

Server-side Swift's slow support story sours some: Apple lang tailored for mobile CPUs, lacking in Linux world

Look what you made me

Analysis  The Swift programming language has suffered some setbacks in its quest for ubiquity since Apple released it under an open-source license in 2015.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 6:28 am

World-record-breaking boffins reveal the fastest spinning thing on Earth – and it's not George Orwell in his grave

Privacy's dead but, hey, we've got nanoparticles spinning at 300 billion RPM. So that's cool

The fastest spinning object on Earth – a pair of nanoparticles – can complete over five billion revolutions per second in the laboratory, according to a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology on Monday.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 5:36 am

Let’s check in on the .org sale fiasco: Senators say No, internet grandees say Yes – and ICANN pretends there's absolutely nothing to see here

'Ethos Capital, ISOC, and PIR have failed to provide clear and transparent information'

Analysis  A quick hypothetical for you: if your organization received a letter from six senior politicians urging you not to move forward with a controversial decision, and you looked out your windows to see dozens of protesters insisting on the same, would you……

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 1:13 am

Wave goodbye: DigitalOcean decimates workforce as co-founder reveals lack of profitability, leadership turmoil

Literally: As much as 10% of employees at server-hosting biz laid off in 'non-cost-cutting' move

DigitalOcean last week axed an undisclosed number of employees.…

Posted on 21 January 2020 | 12:15 am