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Elon Musk blasts off from OpenAI to focus on cars, how to make smart code fair, and more

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 15:10:12 GMT

E: Syntax error at line 42 in journobot/

Roundup Welcome, friends. Here's your human-generated, totally not computer written, summary of this week's AI news, beyond what we've already covered. In short: Elon Musk steps down from OpenAI's board, Uber is looking to train new coders in machine learning, and there's a new AI conference.…

Stunning infosec tips from Uncle Sam, furries exposed, Chase bank web leak, and more

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 11:12:06 GMT

A busy and bonkers week in security

Roundup Happy weekend, everyone. Here's a roundup of computer security news beyond everything we've already reported this week.…

When clever code kills, who pays and who does the time? A Brit expert explains to El Reg

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 08:36:10 GMT

Liability for artificial intelligence won't be easy

Analysis On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov, an officer in the Soviet Union's Air Defense Forces, heard an alarm and saw that the warning system he'd been assigned to monitor showed the US had launched five nuclear missiles.…

Tor pedo's torpedo torpedoed: FBI spyware crossed the line but was in good faith, say judges

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 03:56:10 GMT

Playpen pervert fails to convince appeals court

Analysis US judges have shut down an appeal from a convicted pedophile who claimed the FBI hacking of his computer was an illegal and unreasonable search.…

NRA gives FCC boss Ajit Pai a gun as reward for killing net neutrality. Yeah, an actual gun

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 00:32:41 GMT

Decorum isn't even visible in the rear-view mirror at this point

Ajit Pai – chairman of America's broadband watchdog, the FCC – is the proud new owner of a handmade Kentucky long gun from the US National Rifle Association (NRA) – thanks to his brave stance in favor of lining the pockets of billion-dollar telcos.…

DropEverything! DropBox DropsDocs to DropStocks

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 23:10:00 GMT

Cloud file system upstart files for IPO

DropBox today formally filed for its IPO – its initial public offering, its stock-market debut, whatever you want to call it.…

We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 22:09:47 GMT

Stand up would you, please, Mr Paul Manafort

They are potentially the two most popular file formats in the world – Microsoft Word's .DOC and Adobe's .PDF. And it's fair to say they have caused millions of people billions of hours of frustration.…

Billionaire's Babylon beach ban battle barrels toward Supreme Court

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 21:18:08 GMT

Sun cofounder Khosla continues fight to keep surfers off public pleasure spot

Analysis Billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla is taking his legal battle to control access to a piece of California coastline to the US Supreme Court.…

Cali cops' Clue caper: Apple technicans, in an iPhone repair lab, with the 1,600 silent 911 calls

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:11:42 GMT

Mystery solved... behind closed doors

For more than three months now, cops in Sacramento, California, have been baffled by a rash of false-alarm 911 emergency calls.…

The Great Bulgarian Streaming Scam may well have been scummy, but Spotify got paid

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:58:13 GMT

Bot farming today

An unknown Bulgarian has become the talk of the music industry after a sophisticated and apparently successful attempt to game Spotify.…

Does my boom look big in this? New universe measurements bewilder boffins

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 16:01:08 GMT

But don't throw away those physics books just yet, m'kay?

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Institute and John Hopkins University have used NASA’s Hubble Telescope to show that the universe is expanding a little bit faster than expected.…

Google gives mobile operators a reason to love it, and opens rich chat up for business

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:24:05 GMT

Spam and adverts? You bet

Google has opened up a major new communications channel for businesses – sending multimedia messages to mobiles using interoperable standards.…

Vatican sets up dedicated exorcism training course

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:31:10 GMT

Church supports priests' professional development plans

The Vatican cannot be accused of lack of interest in the continued professional development of its staff. Just look at the dedicated exorcism training course it set out this week for clergy interested in advancing their skills.…

UK's BT: Ofcom's wholesale superfast broadband price slash will hurt bottom line

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:34:07 GMT

Part of plans to boost country's woeful full-fibre investment

Ofcom has slashed the price BT’s Openreach can charge operators for superfast broadband, in a package of measures BT said will hit its bottom line to the tune of £120m next year.…

Perusing pr0nz at work? Here's a protip: Save it in a file marked 'private'

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:58:11 GMT

No, your snooping boss did not breach your human rights, Euro court tells sacked Frenchman

A Frenchman who was fired after his bosses discovered porn stored on his work computer has been told his human rights were not violated by his employers' snooping.…

Veritas insiders: Job cuts? There will be blood

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:23:14 GMT

Drafts in corp restructuring biz Alix Partners to cut costs, improve margins

Veritas Technologies has hired a corporate restructuring specialist in the face of business difficulties.…

A bit of intel on AMD's embedded Epyc and Ryzen processors

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:59:09 GMT

Dips Zen toes into embedded world with hot new SoCs

The "other" X86 mill-maker, AMD, has unveiled its efforts to position its Zen architecture kit as an embedded solution for networking, storage, edge and industrial devices: a brace of Epyc and Ryzen processors.…

Flappy Friday for Stack Overflow as outage woes run on

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:32:10 GMT

Well, guess it's nearly the weekend

Updated The keys Control, C and V are gathering dust around the world as Stack Overflow went for an uscheduled nap last night before going into full blown TITSUP* mode today.…

Why isn't digital fixing the productivity puzzle?

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 10:01:12 GMT

Paying people better matters just as much. Maybe more so

Analysis Oh dear. If all this new technology is so amazing, why isn’t it translating into productivity gains?…

IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:34:56 GMT

Rolling out (and scraping) the barrel of computing history

Something for the Weekend, Sir? Telephone operator, please put me through to… What's that? You want me to address you by your first name? Well, that's jolly friendly. I'm (thinks quickly, decides to use Starbucks name) "Alex". And how should I call you? Right.…

Software shortcuts: Pay down your tech debt. It's time to fix a price

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:12:06 GMT

Rushing to ship won't get you to the other side

Technical debt: we probably create it every day. It happens when you do things that might get you closer to goal now, but which create problems that you’ll have to pay for later.…

Intel didn't tell CERTS, govs, about Meltdown and Spectre because they couldn't help fix it

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:30:09 GMT

Letters to Congress detail the plan to keep CPU flaws secret

Letters sent to the United States Congress by Intel and the other six companies in the Meltdown/Spectre disclosure cabal have revealed how and why they didn't inform the wider world about the dangerous chip design flaws.…

Here's how we made a no-fuss RSS vulture app using trendy Electron

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:04:06 GMT

Everyone's using this framework – now you can, too. Source is open

Code corner Keeping up with the endless torrent of stuff happening online is a losing battle. In the absence of omniscience, there's just no way to catch every bug, cockup, blowup, and scandal as it breaks.…

Intel's announced PCs packing 5G, and that's just plain wrong

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:28:12 GMT

Chipzilla needs more than its old PC-making pals to win 5G

Intel's breathlessly announced that Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft will deploy its 5G modems in their portable PCs sometime in the second half of 2019, and that it will show off prototypes of said laptops at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next week.…

Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:00:10 GMT

Flip phones - and their users - were both evolutionary dead ends (but the phones had awesome ads)

On-Call + video Welcome again to On-Call, The Register's support group for tech support pros, in which we share readers' tales of being asked to do unreasonable things for inexcusable people.…

He's cheesed it! French flick pirate on the lam to swerve €80m fine, two-year stretch in the clink

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:28:07 GMT

A Frenchman? Running away? Gawd, you don't say

A 41-year-old Frenchman is on the run after a court in his home country sentenced him to two years behind bars, and fined him €83.6m (£73m, $103m), for running a pirate movie website.…

Unlucky Linux boxes trampled by NPM code update, patch zapped

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:09:05 GMT

Devs stumble into pre-release beta by using command they didn't understand

NPM – the biz behind the Node package management software used to wrangle JavaScript code and various related frameworks – on Thursday undid a code update less than 24 hours after it was issued because the software was messing with Linux file permissions.…

OpenBSD releases Meltdown patch

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 05:30:10 GMT

And now to see it's an unwelcome imposition or a mere inconvenience

OpenBSD's Meltdown patch has landed, in the form of a Version 11 code update that separates user memory pages from the kernel's – pretty much the same approach as was taken in the Linux kernel.…

Bros, in these taxing times, PC culture has had a major effect on HP

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 04:50:09 GMT

In a good way – Xmas personal computer and printers sales up, tax windfall swells profit

Stronger than expected PC and printer sales, plus a tax windfall, gave HP Inc one of its best quarters in recent history, according to its latest financial figures.…

802.11ax Wi-Fi standard isn't ready, Qualcomm bakes chips anyway

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 04:02:11 GMT

Future Access points will tell clients when to sleep, then make a wake up call

In November 2017, the next version of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, stalled in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers's (IEEE's) standards process, but vendors want to push ahead with at least some of its features, according to Qualcomm Wi-Fi product marketing lead Prakash Sangam.…

Juniper sharpens knife for the carrier network and boxes white boxes

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 02:45:10 GMT

Suddenly, everyone's using automation to beat back open networks

MWC Juniper's following Cisco's lead into carrier network automation.…

Who wants to play monopoly with no get-out-of-jail-free card, Qualcomm asks its shareholders

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 01:35:07 GMT

Get ready for antitrust hell if Broadcom buys us, warns biz

Qualcomm is hoping to scare its shareholders away from considering Broadcom's takeover offer – by predicting regulatory doom and gloom for the combined company.…

As HPE trousers soaring profit, new CEO looks at cost-cutting Next plan and thinks: More of that!

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 01:04:08 GMT

Neri vows to double down on reorg campaign

Hewlett Packard Enterprise took everyone by surprise Thursday by turning in better-than-expected quarterly financial numbers.…

Fun fact: US Customs slaps eyeglass taxes on optical networking gear

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 23:05:56 GMT

Officials are overcharging us, complains comms slinger as it heads into court to scrap fees

An American telecoms hardware shifter is fed up with US Customs officials slapping extra tariffs on its fiber-optic tech imports – all because the agents are classifying the IT gear as eyeglasses.…

That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 21:54:45 GMT

Despite demanding world+dog gets one, Uncle Sam lacks tools to check crypto-signatures

Two Democratic US senators have formally asked Uncle Sam's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency to get its act together on electronic passports.…

America's broadband speed map is back! And it doesn't totally suck!

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:28:02 GMT

Now all we need is accurate info and prices

After four years in purgatory the US government's internet broadband map is back - and it's pretty good.…

SpaceX's internet satellites to beam down 'Hello world' from orbit

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 20:16:19 GMT

Birds launched today... but ship-borne catcher's mitt misses payload fairing catch

Video The first two internet-relaying satellites in SpaceX's Starlink constellation have been launched into Earth's orbit – and will begin broadcasting to the world this week.…

Amateur astronomer strikes it lucky with first glimpse of a Supernova

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 17:35:12 GMT

What are the chances of that El Reg? 1 in 10 MEEELLION

Published today in the journal Nature is a description of a rare and difficult to capture event – the birth of a supernova (and the death of a star).…

A dog DNA database? You must be barking

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:55:07 GMT

Thousands of livestock attacks give police paws for thought

Police have revealed plans to take the lead on tracking down hounds that attack livestock - a dog DNA database.…

Nobody expects the social media inquisition! OK, everybody did, UK politicos

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 16:19:07 GMT

MPs want to know what the kids are up to

The UK Commons Select Committee for Science and Technology has begun taking submissions for an inquiry into the "Impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health".…

Mobile network O2 UK leaps into 5G test bed with Greenwich trial

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:37:14 GMT

First taste of 5G for consumers, but will it make any cash?

O2 UK is the latest operator to jump on the "5G test bed" bandwagon, with plans to trial the tech at the iconic former Millennium Dome in North Greenwich later this year.…

Arm emits designs to add iSIM tech to Internet of Stuff

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:19:08 GMT

I SIM, you SIM, we all SIM for iSIM

Arm has made public the designs to shove SIM technology into ever more connected gizmos by building an iSIM, along with a cellular modem and microcontroller, onto a single chip.…

Worldwide smartphone shipments DOWN for first time ever

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:23:07 GMT

Chinese phone giants grow, Apple and Samsung hit

The global smartphone market is shrinking for the first time as choosey buyers in emerging markets hang on to their mobiles for longer.…

Lloyds Banking Group to splash £3bn on tech

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:54:09 GMT

IT spend will 'reduce overheads'. You mean branch closures?

Lloyds Banking Group is to splash £3bn on IT investment, amid a major outsourcing and cost-cutting programme.…

Putting the urgency in emergency: UK's delayed emergency services network review... delayed

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:06:12 GMT

These 'resets take time' says ex IBM head

A review of the UK government's delayed emergency services network intended to replace the national radio infrastructure with a 4G network has itself been delayed by more than half a year.…

RIP, Swype: Thanks for all the sor--speec--speedy texting

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 11:27:21 GMT

Pioneering gesture keyboard killed off by owner Nuance

One of the best-loved mobile apps of the past decade, Swype, has been given the bullet. Parent company Nuance confirmed it will no longer develop the letter-tracing keyboard, which will disappear from the Apple and Google app stores.…

SAP HANA: Concerns remain over tech skills, complexity, licensing - survey

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:59:05 GMT

Most deployments now complete on time and on budget… It only took 7 years

Customer confusion and a lack of technical skills are still dogging migration to SAP HANA, but the days of deployment horror stories are fading, according to a report penned by an integrator.…

Blockchain nears peak hype: UK politicos to probe crypto-coin

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:12:06 GMT

Digi currencies falling under glare of Treasury committee

Hot on the heels of Bitcoin’s dramatic rise and fall - and rise, British parliamentarians have decided to launch an inquiry into digital currencies.…

Don't worry, Eugene Kaspersky. Acronis is just busting a security move...

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:31:05 GMT

Oh and a touch of HCI, says data protector as it waltzes into adjacent markets

Analysis Data protector Acronis is building hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) kit for release in 2019 and developing a security product slated for 2020 – markets in little danger of being under-served.…

Contain yourself – literally. You can't avoid Docker, K8s for long

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:01:08 GMT

Death reports of containerization biz somewhat exaggerated

Comment Do you remember those guys that invented virtualization, founded a company, got rich and lived happily ever after, remembered fondly by all? Well, that’s almost the story of VMware. But we might see a different story with some of the people behind Docker.…