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Biting the hand that feeds IT — sci/tech news and views for the world

Brit consumers still holding off on buying new PCs until that Brexit thing is over and done with

Even businesses' attempts to destroy Windows 7 with firehose of cash fail to reverse sales droop

The bad news bus kept on rolling in calendar Q2 as consumer PCs sold to retailers continued their decline. Business customers’ enthusiasm for pricier hardware did, however, keep tech wholesalers revenues afloat.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 8:13 am

Share your story: Continuous Lifecycle 2020 call for papers is open NOW – what are you waiting for?

Transformed your software development and deployment? Tell us how

Event  The Continuous Lifecycle London 2020 call for papers is open, and we want to hear what you’ve been doing over the past 12 months.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 7:00 am

Bad news: Earth is not going to be walloped by asteroid 2006 QV89. Good news: Boffins have lost sight of it, so all hope is not yet lost

Wait, did we get that the right way around?

Pic  Panic-stricken headlines claiming Earth will be slammed by an asteroid on September 9 this year should be ignored, the European Space Agency (ESA) assures us.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 5:58 am

Chrome on, baby, don't fear The Reaper: Plugin sends CPU-hogging browser processes to hell where they belong

NIST boffin builds processor-busting buster

The US government may have trouble regulating Google – but one of its developers has come up with a way to rein in the Chocolate Factory's resource-hungry browser.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 5:28 am

Experts: No need to worry about Europe's GPS satellites going dark for days. Also: What the hell is going on with those satellites?!

Galileo, Galileo... time to stop doing the fandango and get on with the global positioning

Europe's constellation of positioning satellites is still offline, at time of writing, after six or so days, prompting eggheads to dig into what exactly is going on.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 4:53 am

If malware wants to bury deep inside your Lenovo or Gigabyte servers, they can just ask Vertiv's insecure BMC firmware

Software nasties, hackers, rogue admins can exploit bug duo to hide in your systems

A pair of vulnerabilities in BMC firmware used in servers built by Lenovo – and in Acer and Penguin Computing boxes using Gigabyte server motherboards – can be exploited to hide malware deep below the operating system, hypervisor, and antivirus.…

Posted on 17 July 2019 | 1:36 am

It was totally Samsung's fault that crims stole your personal info from a Samsung site, says Samsung-blaming Sprint

Just in case we've not made ourselves clear, Samsung screwed you over, adds Sprint

Sprint has told some of its subscribers that a piss-poor Samsung website exposed their personal details to the internet.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 11:28 pm

Let's open the Mystery Data Security Blunder box, and see what's inside today... Ah! Hotel reservations and more

Public-facing insecure ElasticSearch silo found, reported, hidden from view

Internal hotel biz documents and guest bookings were exposed to everyone on the public internet from an unsecured database managed by tech provider AavGo, it is claimed.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 10:34 pm

Google nuked tech support ads to kill off scammers. OK. It also blew away legit repair shops. Not OK at all

Collateral damage: Web advert crackdown broke our fix-it businesses, sigh owners

With America's trade watchdog on Tuesday hosting a workshop in Washington DC on restrictions that limit the feasibility of repair devices, hardware rehab forum iFixit has penned an open letter to the FTC to complain about Google's ad policies that hinder the mending of machines.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 8:58 pm

SpaceX reveals chain of events that caused the unplanned disassembly of Crew Dragon capsule

Anyone up for a second-hand SuperDraco? Slightly singed?

SpaceX has posted an update on the investigation into the destruction of its Crew Dragon test vehicle in April.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 8:00 pm

Awkward! Bernie tells Bezos-sponsored event he'd break up Amazon and other tech titans

Promises to go all Teddy Roosevelt on anti-trust if elected

Bernie Sanders will "absolutely" look at breaking up Facebook, Google and Amazon if he becomes president.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 7:24 pm

No support for CloudEvents standard as AWS does its own thing with EventBridge

We'd love to support the standard, says XML inventor Tim Bray - but why not adopt ours instead?

Amazon Web Services has gone live with an upgrade of its CloudWatch Events service, EventBridge, which has integration with third-party SaaS applications built in.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 7:00 pm

It just wasn't meant toupee: Bloke nicked at Barcelona Airport with €30k of blow under wig

The worst drug-smuggling attempt we've ever seen

Hats off to Spanish customs at Barcelona Airport who spotted a Baldrick-level attempt to smuggle cocaine into the Catalan capital.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 6:24 pm

An email arrives. It's from the boss. Subject: Hybrid Cloud. You gulp. You get the cloud – but what's this 'hybrid' bit?

Your gentle introduction to this on-and-off prem tech

Backgrounder  The move to hybrid cloud is growing.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 6:01 pm

Maybe double-check that HMRC email? UK taxman remains a fave among the phisherfolk

And Windows XP is alive and not well in the public sector

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has had another busy year trying to disrupt cybercrime.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 5:00 pm

'I AM NOT PUTTING UP WITH THIS SH*T' Mike Lynch raged at salesmen

Ex-Autonomy CEO continues to deny Filetek was a revenue-pumping contra deal

Autonomy Trial  London's High Court has seen emails from ex-Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch in which he berated company salespeople for "a massive f***-up" after they bungled a major deal.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 4:00 pm

50 years ago today Apollo 11 slipped the surly bonds of Earth to put peeps on the Moon

Mind that pocket, Neil... oops

On 16 July 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida on an eight-day mission to the Moon and back.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 3:15 pm

Ex-Which? bod's £3bn Safari sueball has second shot at Google over UK data laws

It's the Safari Workaround – and there's no working around it this time

The man who tried and failed to run a not-a-data-protection-class-action-honest-guv lawsuit against Google in England's High Court is having another crack at it in the Court of Appeal.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 2:30 pm

Dear chip designers: It will no longer cost you an Arm and a leg to use these CPU cores (well, not at first, anyway...)

Take a RISC, not a RISC-V, with us, says Softbank's processor design house

Attention, chip designers. If you want to add CPU and GPU cores, and other technology, from Arm to your homegrown silicon, and have balked at the upfront costs, this may be of interest.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 2:00 pm

IBM drags Websphere devs towards Kubernetes with Kabanero package

Big Blue sings an Appsody to make its software stack easier to use

IBM is the latest to pile into devops darling Kubernetes, pulling its Kabanero project out the bag at the O’Reilly Open Source Software conference, currently under way in Portland, Oregon.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 1:30 pm

Patch now before you get your NAS kicked: Iomega storage boxes leave millions of files open to the internet

API blunder exposes data, fix incoming from Lenovo

Lenovo is emitting an emergency firmware patch for Iomega NAS devices after the network-attached storage boxes were discovered inadvertently offering millions of files to the internet via an insecure software interface.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 1:00 pm

Bulb smart meters in England wake up from comas miraculously speaking fluent Welsh

Nid fi yw'r bwlb mwyaf disglair yn y canhwyllyr

Smart meters in England are suddenly switching to Welsh language displays, much to the confusion of owners.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 12:13 pm

Office 365 verboten in Hessen schools: German state bans cloudy Microsoft suite on privacy grounds

Meanwhile, Australia signs 98 federal agencies up to service

The German state of Hessen has warned schools not to use Office 365 because the Microsoft suite's cloud storage and telemetry collection are not compliant with the EU's General Data Protection Regulations.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 11:40 am

Alexa! When will Windows 10 19H2 ship? New version promises more toys for assistants

Now, how about those Surface Book 2s?

Microsoft emitted a fresh build of October's Windows 10 last night with tweaks that should bring a smile to the face of Jeff Bezos.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 11:07 am

All change at NASA while Proton launches and India's Moon dream suffers a snag

Also: Virgin Orbit demonstrates it can drop stuff off a 747

Roundup  While some at NASA may still be obsessing over past glories, other eyes remained fixed on the Moon, Mars and beyond in this week's rocket-bothering roundup.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 10:30 am

Amadeus! Amadeus! Pwn me Amadeus! Airline check-in bug may have exposed all y'all boarding passes to spies

Patched IDOR hole would have been child's play to exploit

Updated  A now-patched vulnerability in the Amadeus flight reservation system – used by airlines around the planet – could, or may, have been exploited by miscreants to view strangers' boarding passes.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 10:00 am

Facebook chucks 1.5 hours' profit at Citizens Advice anti-scam charity to defuse consumer champ's defamation suit

Meanwhile, UK users still first line of defence against fake ads

The fake-Facebook-ad-spotting service goes live today, backed by a £3m donation to Citizens Advice coughed by the social network as a result of legal action from MoneySavingExpert scribe Martin Lewis.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 9:29 am

In the US? Using Medicaid? There's a good chance DXC is about to boot your data into the AWS cloud

What could possibly go wrong?

Exclusive  Wonderful news for some US Medicaid patients: king of the cost-cutters DXC is planning to shunt their data into Amazon's cloud.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 9:02 am

The Pi who loved me: Licensed to SSL

Wherein Verity is troubled by a curious spam

Stob  "Hi, I am James Bond (Business Development Manager). We specialize in re-designing and re-developing websites if you are considering any of the following projects. Please let us know in case you are interested." – Spam email received by the author…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 8:05 am

Amazon's bugging of homes has German boffins worried that Alexa may be an outlaw

It records everything, even when someone didn't want to be overheard? And it's in your house? Was zum Teufel!

The German parliament has been warned by its official eggheads that Amazon's Alexa digital assistant may not be legal – because it stores voice recordings and overhears things it is not supposed to.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 7:04 am

A Facebook AI research chief and a machine-learning guru walk into MCubed in London...

Learn practical AI skills from the best this year ‒ book your early-bird tickets now

Event  Our offer of discount early-bird tickets for Minds Mastering Machines ends next Monday, so act now if you want to join us to learn how real organisations can exploit machine learning and artificial intelligence and save big.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 6:05 am

AI solves Rubik's Cube in 1.2 seconds (that's three times slower than a non-AI algorithm)

Even so, human nerds are left in the dust and this neural net can be used for other tricks

A new neural-network can solve a Rubik’s cube twice as fast as the fastest human – though roughly three times slower than the fastest dumb algorithm – according to research published in Nature Machine Intelligence on Monday.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 5:07 am

Humans may be able to live on Mars within halls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation

Just build houses near the ice caps to produce water and grow food. Easy!

We may be able to survive and live on Mars in regions protected by thin ceilings of silica aerogel, a strong lightweight material that insulates heat and blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation while weighing almost nothing.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 1:18 am

What Huawei to go: Hundreds of Chinese tech giant's US workers to get pink slips – report

With trade ban set to kick in next month, jockeying continues

Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer targeted by a Trump administration trade ban, is expected to dismiss a substantial number of people in the US in the coming weeks.…

Posted on 16 July 2019 | 12:08 am

You can't say Go without Google – specifically, our little logo, Chocolate Factory insists

We pay for the hosting so the big G stays: Open-source community-driven code lingo site must sport giant's brand

Back in 2009, Google chose to name its latest programming language Go, a decision that is still giving it a migraine…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 8:54 pm

Facebook's Libra is a terrorist's best friend, thunders US Treasury: Crypto-coins dubbed 'national security risk'

But Zuck Inc got in first and announced it was delaying its unwelcome electronic currency

The US Treasury Secretary today put a big dent into Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency plans, by claiming it would be a "national security risk," as well as a likely source of money laundering for – among others – terrorists.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 8:23 pm

DDoS attack? Mad dash to file forms? No, errant network switch crashed Australian tax service

Strewth, mate!

On Friday, with tax-return season underway, the websites of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) suddenly went TITSUP (Totally Inefficient Tax Service: Under Performing), causing anguish to thousands of Aussies.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 7:47 pm

Symantec share price nose dives after rumored Broadcom biz gobble taken off the menu

Looks like the ailing security shop priced itself out of an acquisition by chip giant

Symantec's share price has plunged on reports that its planned merger with Broadcom has fallen through.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 6:55 pm

UK's Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station takes an eye off the sky to strike out into data centre biz

Complete with an immersion-cooled machine learning cluster

Goonhilly Earth Station, the Cornish-based satellite comms and space tech hub, has cut the ribbon on a data centre to sell colocation and managed services.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 5:00 pm

Scientist, war hero and gay icon Alan Turing is new face of the £50 note

Binary and blueprints: is this the nerdiest banknote ever?

Legendary codebreaker and father of theoretical computer science Alan Turing will soon be gracing your pocket on the side of a shiny new £50 note.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 4:15 pm

Yes, I've been swotting up on court evidence in advance, says Autonomy founder Mike Lynch

No wonder he seems so well informed

Autonomy Trial  Former Autonomy chief exec Mike Lynch sensationally admitted to London's High Court this afternoon that he has been reading courtroom evidence in advance of being questioned about it.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 3:30 pm

UK says no way to US calls for no Huawei on 5G networks: MPs find 'no technical grounds' to exclude Chinese giant

Plus: American biz bods could say yes way to Zhengfei... in '2 to 4 weeks'

The UK's Science and Technology Select Committee said it can't find any "technical grounds" for chopping Huawei out of the UK's 5G and other telco networks, but said government should consider "ethical" issues and its relationship with "allies".…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 2:55 pm

Virgin Media blocks Imgur, literally tens of people rage at UK ISP

They blame IWF-related error, IWF says 'it's not us, it's you'

UK internet service provider Virgin Media has insisted it does not block entire domains "as a matter of course" after it stopped its customers from viewing the whole of Imgur this morning – on the say-so of the Internet Watch Foundation.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 1:55 pm

It's a Hull of a thing: Private equity biz Macquarie to swallow KCOM

Gavel falls on £627m valuation – new owner may look to offload ailing divisions

Updated  The battle for ownership of KCOM, the East Yorkshire-based broadband provider and slinger of clouds, has finally ended with private equity investor Macquarie on top.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 1:07 pm

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, where to go? Navigation satellite signals flip from degraded to full TITSUP* over span of four days

*Timing Is Terrible Say Users Plaintively

The multibillion-euro navigation system Galileo went dark over the weekend.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 11:49 am

Prospect union urges members at BT: Say yes to pay and grading shakeup revisions

Common ground found on People's Framework revamp after months of haggling

Prospect the union has advised BT employees to approve the so-called People's Framework, a programme of change that includes a revamp of pay and grading structures, following months of discussions.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 11:16 am

Quantum goes open and passwords must die in a week of Microsoft fun

Also: a new build brings Android joy to more users. Assuming it actually installs

Roundup  Microsoft was cock-a-hoop over its new London retail presence last week while its resellers were less than impressed with the company's prancing around licensing. However, a whole bunch of other things happened at the company while we were looking at the big stuff.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 10:26 am

Good luck deleting someone's private info from a trained neural network – it's likely to bork the whole thing

Researchers show limited success in getting rid of data

AI systems have weird memories. The machines desperately cling onto the data they’ve been trained on, making it difficult to delete bits of it. In fact, they often have to be completely retrained from scratch with the newer, smaller dataset.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 9:04 am

Industry reps told the UK taxman everything wrong with extending IR35. What happened next will astound you

Don't like it? Take it to an employment tribunal!

The UK government disregarded a raft of concerns about extending IR35 to the private sector in its response to a consultation over off-payroll working rules, industry groups have said.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 8:10 am

Hell hath no fury like a radar engineer scorned

More than four decades on, we can finally shine the light on this tale

Who, Me?  As the weekend disappears with the speed of a Phantom flung off an aircraft carrier, it is time to console ourselves with another tale of decades-old hijinks in The Register's weekly Who, Me? column.…

Posted on 15 July 2019 | 7:06 am