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Biting the hand that feeds IT

Copyright: Copyright 2018, Situation Publishing

User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 07:02:07 GMT

It turns out that keyboards work best when they’re not under pressure

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s Friday foray into readers’ recollections of tech support jobs that went janky.…

'R2D2' stops disk-wipe malware before it executes evil commands

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:23:07 GMT

'Reactive Redundancy for Data Destruction Protection' stops the likes of Shamoon and Stonedrill before they hit 'erase'

Purdue University researchers reckon they've cracked how to protect data against “disk-wipe” malware.…

SpaceX blasted massive plasma hole in Earth's ionosphere

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:03:07 GMT

GPS systems thrown out of whack by Elon's rocket

A SpaceX rocket ripped a humongous hole in Earth’s ionosphere during a launch in California last year and may have impaired GPS satellites.…

Mozilla pulls ads from Facebook after spat over privacy controls

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 05:29:08 GMT

UK advertisers's society has also fired a warning shot

The Mozilla Foundation has expressed its discomfort at the Cambridge Analytica revelations by pulling its ads from Facebook.…

Guns, audio and eye-tracking: VR nearly ready for prime time

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 05:04:08 GMT

The future is finally getting into gear

GDC Virtual reality reemerged in the past couple of years as a hot tech topic. However, the unfortunate truth – fiercely ignored by its passionate advocates – is that it hasn't been ready for primetime.…

Reflection of a QR code on PoS scanner used to own mobile payments

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 04:03:10 GMT

Chinese researcher also cracked magnetic and sonic payments

Black Hat Asia Paying for stuff with your smartphone is downright dangerous according to Zhe Zhou, a pre-tenure associate professor at Fudan University, who yesterday explained how three different payment methods can be cracked at Black Hat Asia in Singapore.…

Tiangong-1 re-entry window shrinks: duck from March 30 to April 3

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 02:27:05 GMT

Radar imaging shows Chinese space station is still intact

Video Boffins have refined their estimates of when Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will return to Earth, with the big bird's impact now predicted to happen between March 30 and April 3.…

US Congress quietly slips cloud-spying powers into page 2,201 of spending mega-bill

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 01:42:05 GMT

House OKs crippling email privacy, Senate stalled by Paul

For months now, US Congress has mulled new laws to strengthen Feds' powers to access American citizens' private messages and files stored on computers overseas.…

Dodo, Commander, iPrimus are very sorry about 100/40 NBN plans

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 01:15:31 GMT

Regulator secured refund/exit deals for 16,000 unhappy customers this week

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's push-back against internet service providers making over overly-optimistic download speed claims on the national broadband network has seen Dodo, iPrimus and Commander agree to refund their customers.…

Prez Trump's $60bn China tariff plan to hit tech, communications, aerospace industries

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:50:44 GMT

Good thing we have all those chip fabs and assembly plants stateside

US President Donald Trump's planned tariffs on goods imported into America from China could hit the tech industry – and ergo, you the customer – particularly hard.…

City of Atlanta's IT gear thoroughly pwned by ransomware nasty

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:04:42 GMT

Data gone with the wind as attacker goes full Sherman

Updated IT systems used by the City of Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia, have succumbed to a ransomware attack, cutting off some online city services and potentially putting the personal information of employees and citizens at risk.…

Probe: How IBM ousts older staff, replaces them with young blood

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 22:19:57 GMT

Big Blue's five-year effort to weed out elders detailed after deep-dive investigation

IBM for the past five years has been pushing older employees out of the company and replacing them with younger staffers in the US or moving the jobs overseas, it is claimed.…

US watchdog: Scam scammers scamming scammed in scam scam

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 21:20:06 GMT

It's like sleazebag Inception

America's trade regulator the FTC has issued a warning over reports of a new data-harvesting operation that is targeting the victims of a previous scam.…

Prof Stephen Hawking's ashes will be interred alongside Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 20:43:44 GMT

Westminster Abbey is noted atheist's final resting place

The ashes of British physics ace Professor Stephen Hawking will be placed in Westminster Abbey after a special service of thanksgiving for his life.…

What a hang up: US big box biz Best Buy kicks Huawei to the curb

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 19:09:53 GMT


Best Buy will no longer carry Huawei phones in its stores, marking yet another setback for the Chinese smartphone maker's efforts in America.…

Oracle sued over claims of shoddy service, licensing designed to force adoption of its kit

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:57:56 GMT

A&E Adventures sues Oracle America for breach of contract over point-of-sale shenanigans

Oracle has been sued in the US for allegedly engaging in a scheme to force owners of point-of-sale gear to switch to its subscription-based Simphony system in violation of contract and trade laws.…

MIT boffins build rubber robot, invade privacy of unsuspecting sealife

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:57:46 GMT

Finding Robo: Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…

Researchers at MIT have developed a robotic fish that should allow scientists to spy on intimate fishy moments normally unseen by human eyes.…

Vodafone is UK's mobile ping king

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:18:08 GMT

It's not all about speed

Vodafone is the mobile network with the best ping rate, according to network performance sleuth Tutela.…

The Register Lecture: How to build your own tractor beam

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:49:13 GMT

Bristol's Dr Asier Marzo on acoustic levitation

Levitation and tractor beams are the stuff of science fiction legend. Think Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Steven Spielberg’s Back to the Future II in 1989, or any number of Star Trek episodes.…

Leaning tower of NASA receives last big arm

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 15:19:08 GMT

Space Launch System pad lumbers towards completion

NASA's monster rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), took another tentative step towards lift-off yesterday as engineers fitted the last big umbilical arm to its launch tower.…

Go park yourself: Brit firm flashes self-parking car tech

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 14:25:12 GMT

Plus: who gets priority at unmarked junctions. We know you care about this

The UK Autodrive consortium is working on self-parking car technology, it has declared – which puts it head-to-head with German car tech rivals.…

El Reg deep dive: Everything you need to know about's pr0n block

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:32:07 GMT

Some foreplay: Dark web, smut monopolies and moral outrage

Remember last night when you went online to order pizza and stumbled across those two people humping each others' brains out?…

Troubled Watchkeeper drones miss crucial UK flight safety certificate

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:48:08 GMT

Big drone, big money, big problems

The British Army's massively overdue Watchkeeper drone project has failed to gain a critical air safety certificate – yet the Ministry of Defence still insists it is "a satisfactory use of public resources".…

Surprise UK raid of Cambridge Analytica delayed: Nobody expects the British information commissioner!

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 12:11:04 GMT

Oh wait, yes they do

The UK data protection watchdog’s well-advertised raid of Cambridge Analytica’s offices is no closer to happening, as the High Court has adjourned the warrant application until tomorrow.…

WekaIO pulls some Matrix kung fu on SPEC file system benchmark

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:12:09 GMT

Like a bat out of parallel...

Startup type WekaIO has apparently walked all over IBM's Spectrum Scale parallel file system with a doubled SPEC SFS2014 benchmark score for its Matrix software running on Supermicro servers.…

F-35B Block 4 software upgrades will cost Britain £345m

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:59:08 GMT

After we leave the EU we could cover that in a week with change to spare ... allegedly

Britain will spend £345m ($486m) upgrading its F-35B fighter jets to the most recent, combat-ready, version of the aircraft’s operating system.…

Hip hop-eration: Hopless Franken-beer will bring you hoppiness

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 09:14:11 GMT

Science. Because save the planet 'n' beer 'n' stuff

In news to delight eco-friendly hipsters the world over, boffins at the University of California, Berkeley, have come up with a way of creating hoppy craft beer without recourse to, er, hops.…

Diplomats, 'Net greybeards work to disarm USA, China and Russia’s cyber-weapons

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 08:30:14 GMT

Because when state attacks blow back, the taxpayers who paid to have them developed pay again

Black Hat Asia The USA, China and Russia are doing all that they can to avoid development of a treaty that would make it hard for them to conduct cyber-war, but an effort led by the governments of The Netherlands, France and Singapore, together with Microsoft and The Internet Society, is using diplomacy to find another way to stop state-sponsored online warfare.…

Five things you need to know about Microsoft's looming Windows 10 Spring Creators Update

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 08:07:13 GMT

Yeah, it's an El Reg listicle. What of it?

Poll At some point next month, just in time for Spring, Microsoft will start to emit the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update to everyone's PC.…

Holy sweat! Wearables have THREE attack surfaces

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:29:13 GMT

The device, the app and the cloud, and your development lifecycle isn’t fit enough to catch up

Black Hat Asia Wearable devices – and anything that relies on an app to help with configuration – has at least three attack surfaces and your existing secure development lifecycle probably isn’t going to cope with the complexity that creates.…

We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 07:02:10 GMT

Things get surreal in suite 7088

GDC The Ataribox has been renamed the AtariVCS, and it is finally here!…

AI software that can reproduce like a living thing? Yup, boffins have only gone and done it

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:30:08 GMT

Talk about telling your code to go screw itself

A pair of computer scientists have created a neural network that can self-replicate.…

Fog off! No more misty eyes for self-driving cars, declare MIT boffins

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 06:04:07 GMT

Auto autos prevented from being blinded by the elements – using the power of statistics

MIT brainiacs have come up with some new fangled technology that could help self-driving cars cope with misty mornings.…

Internet Society: Cryptocurrency probably not an identity system

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 05:33:08 GMT

ID on a blockchain? Maybe. ID on Bitcoin? Forget it

Too many cryptocurrency people are trying to force-fit blockchain technology into identity solutions, when ID needs its own solutions.…

Colt, Verizon show off inter-carrier SDN

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 05:02:05 GMT

Care for some extra bandwidth? Just turn the knob

One thing that's always been promised in telco-land, but rarely delivered, is genuine automation between carrier networks. At the end of last week, Verizon and Colt claimed to crack it with an inter-carrier software-defined-networking (SDN) demo.…

Everybody loves Microsoft's open switch software, SONiC

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:28:59 GMT

Plus news from F5, Palo Alto and Dell EMC in your networking news capsule

Roundup This week's networking news roundup isn't only “what happened at the Open Compute Project summit?” – there's also news from F5, Palo Alto Networks, and Dell EMC.…

What ends with X and won't sue security researchers?

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 04:03:11 GMT

Netflix lures bounty-hunters, Dropbox offers vulnerability research safe harbour

If you listen carefully, you'll hear the sound of a very small ship coming in: Netflix has joined Bugcrowd, offering bounties of up to US$15,000 for vulnerabilities.…

VMware’s end-user compute kit buffed with 2018’s tick-box options

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 02:02:10 GMT

Proactive fault-finding? Yup. Security alliance? Yup. CX checks? Yup. And an eloquent little licence change, too

VMware’s given its end-user computing portfolio a few tweaks, the most interesting of which might just be a licencing change.…

US Senate green-lights controversial anti-sex-trafficking law amid warnings of power grab

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:27:43 GMT

SESTA passes – but could do more harm than good

The US Senate has passed the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) with a 97-2 vote.…

That long-awaited Mark Zuckerberg response: Everything's fine! Mostly fixed! Facebook's great! All good in the hoodie!

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:58:37 GMT

The sound of stable door shutting years too late

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has broken his silence about his data gathering and advertising firm's unforeseen role in data gathering and advertising.…

Magic Leap bounds into SF's Games Developer Conference and... disappears

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 23:12:12 GMT

Our intrepid reporter tries to track down mystery tech

GDC After months – no, years – of Magic Leap promising to revolutionize the gaming world with its augmented reality technology, this week the company finally launched… sort of.…

Facebook opens up Big Basin Volta plans to share the server wealth

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 22:17:59 GMT

AI hardware plans up for grabs

Facebook has revealed its updated GPU-powered server design known as Big Basin v2 as part of the Open Compute Project.…

Google gives its $1m Turing prize to, er, top Google bods: RISC men Hennessy, Patterson

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 21:18:48 GMT

Silicon Valley boffins bag Nobel Prize of computer science

The two engineers who further developed and popularized the concept of RISC microprocessors have won the 2017 ACM Turing Award.…

US mulls drafting gray-haired hackers during times of crisis

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 20:59:35 GMT

Shortage of tech talent has government pondering end to age, gender restrictions

A US government commission has asked the public for its thoughts on possible changes to the military's selective service rules to allow the conscription of technical talent, including those with computer-oriented skills, regardless of sex or age.…

SAP: Psst. Use our predictive analytics in your apps – you won't even know we're there

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 19:32:13 GMT

No-name brand software to help push Leonardo toolkit

German ERP giant SAP has launched an Application Edition of its Predictive Analytics software – part of its Leonardo toolkit.…

IBM claims its machine learning library is 46x faster than TensorFlow

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 18:47:14 GMT

Big Blue claims POWER9 kit with beastly GPUs gives Google Cloud a thrashing

Analysis IBM boasts that machine learning is not just quicker on its POWER servers than on TensorFlow in the Google Cloud, it's 46 times quicker.…

2 + 2 = 4, er, 4.1, no, 4.3... Nvidia's Titan V GPUs spit out 'wrong answers' in scientific simulations

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 17:03:14 GMT

Fine for gaming, not so much for modeling, it is claimed

Nvidia’s flagship Titan V graphics cards may have hardware gremlins causing them to spit out different answers to repeated complex calculations under certain conditions, according to computer scientists.…

Seagate's HAMR to drop in 2020: Multi-actuator disk drives on the way

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:32:06 GMT

Fast and slow high-cap disk lines coming

In 2020 Seagate will introduce its first multi-actuator disk drives using Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) tech with 20TB capacities.…

Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 16:02:16 GMT

Project hopes to bring dev skills to developing nation

A Filipino developer is hoping his handmade Ruby port will help bring coding skills to some of the Philippines's poorest communities.…

UK surgeon suspects his PC was hacked to target Syrian hospital

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 15:37:15 GMT

Not the only possible theory, say infosec types

A British surgeon whose instructions over the internet helped to guide operations in war-torn Aleppo fears his PC was hacked in order to target a makeshift hospital that was subsequently bombed.…