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Actuellement déployée pour iOS et Android, la fonctionnalité permet aux utilisateurs sur iPhone de saisir leur code unique en tapant sur l’icône d’engrenage dans l’application, et de sélectionner « QR code » dans la liste déroulante. Une fois votre code à l’écran, appuyez simplement sur la partie supérieure droite de la flèche pour faire apparaître d’autres options, comme « Enregistrer la photo » qui est une première étape pour le remplacement de votre photo de profil Twitter actuelle, « Tweeter la » pour l’envoyer à vos followers (abonnés), ou « Partager par » un autre service comme une application ou la messagerie électronique. Lorsque vous appuyez sur le bouton « QR code » dans la liste déroulante, vous verrez également un bouton « Scanner QR » sur l’écran, qui, avec un seul clic, lance votre caméra afin que vous puissiez analyser vous-même le QR code d’un autre utilisateur. Quand vous faites cela, le profil de cet utilisateur apparaîtra sur l’écran et il vous sera demandé de confirmer que vous voulez le suivre.

Sur Android, vous pouvez trouver la fonctionnalité dans le menu déroulant sur le côté gauche de l’écran.Une fois que vous avez votre propre QR code Twitter, vous pouvez le coller où vous voulez, non seulement sur votre page Twitter, mais aussi sur des cartes de visite ou d’autres documents physiques si vous le souhaitez.Cette dernière initiative est l’un des nombreux espoirs que Twitter place en sa plate-forme pour vous aider à stimuler la croissance de l’utilisateur.Western Digital annonce aujourd’hui le lancement de sa solution WD PiDrive Foundation Edition pour le Raspberry Pi, disponible dans trois modèles qui offrent des capacités de stockage différentes.« Notre solution WD PiDrive, qui en est à sa troisième génération, a évolué de la même manière que les ordinateurs, passés au fil du temps du stade d’une disquette souple hébergeant le système à celui d’une disquette souple associée à un disque dur stockant le système d’exploitation et des applications. Ainsi, nous avons regroupé nos technologies de carte SD et de disque USB pour proposer une solution plus performante puisque chaque composant du système bénéficiera de leur puissance », explique Dave Chew, ingénieur en chef chez WDLabs. « L’arrivée de cette nouvelle solution est comparable à celle du disque dur sur le marché, qui a sonné la fin des disquettes souples qu’il fallait insérer et retirer des ordinateurs ».

Bien que semblable à ses versions précédentes, ce WD PiDrive Foundation Edition est livré avec une carte micro SD avec le programme d’installation New Out of Box Software (NOOBS) OS est préchargé. Ceci vous permet d’installer l’OS officiel de Raspberry Pi, Raspbian PIXEL, sans avoir besoin de fichiers supplémentaires. Cela va faciliter l’installation des systèmes d’exploitation sur le disque USB.Grâce à sa grande capacité, le disque est équipé de la fonctionnalité Project Spaces qui permet d’installer plusieurs instances du système d’exploitation et, ainsi, de créer des espaces indépendants dédiés à la création de projets ou à la prise en charge d’un grand nombre d’utilisateurs disposant chacun d’un espace de travail distinct.Votre Raspberry Pi va adorer ce stockage supplémentaire !Votre Raspberry Pi va adorer ce stockage supplémentaire ! « Les adeptes du micro-ordinateur Raspberry Pi vont être conquis par notre solution WD PiDrive Foundation Edition », assure Matt Richardson, évangéliste produit de la Raspberry Pi Foundation. La fonctionnalité Project Spaces va fournir aux utilisateurs davantage de moyens pour créer, expérimenter et se divertir avec leur Raspberry Pi. Les espaces Project Spaces sont des portions indépendantes du disque qui fonctionnent avec Raspbian Lite, un OS minimal permettant de concevoir des solutions aussi efficaces qu’élaborées à l’aide du mode programmation par lignes de commande.

La solution WD PiDrive Foundation Edition est proposée dans trois capacités différentes avec un disque dur de 375 Go, un disque dur de 250 Go ou un disque flash de 64 Go. Les modèles dotés d’une capacité de 375 Go et 250 Go sont équipés d’un câble WD PiDrive qui garantit une alimentation optimale du disque dur et du Raspberry Pi.La solution WD PiDrive Foundation Edition est disponible à partir de 40,90 euros pour sa version 375 Go et de 31,90 euros pour le modèle 250 Go, et 20,90 euros pour sa variante avec disque flash 64 Go.iPhone 8 est actuellement attendu pour une date de sortie fin 2017, et les dernières nouvelles suggèrent que nous allons voir trois versions du téléphone, au lieu des deux traditionnelles options. Apple prépare peut-être un iPhone 8 Plus avec un écran LCD, ainsi qu’un autre smartphone de 5,5 pouces avec un écran OLED.Bien que la technologie d’écran soit différente, on peut légitimement penser que ces derniers vont mettre en exergue la configuration de caméra à double lentille, introduite avec l’iPhone 7 Plus. Ces smartphones seraient lancés aux côtés d’un iPhone 8 traditionnel, et son écran LCD de 4,7 pouces, et son capteur mono-objectif.

Je pense que l’on peut également prédire sans trop de crainte que la version plus haut de gamme de l’iPhone 8 Plus sera également plus chère que les deux autres versions du téléphone.La rumeur émane d’un analyste de KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, qui, bien qu’il annonce généralement des informations authentiques sur les produits Apple, se trompe de temps en temps. Autrement dit, il faut prendre cette information avec des pincettes jusqu’à ce que celle-ci soit officialisée.Allons-nous voir deux déclinaisons du modèle "Plus" de l'iPhone ?Allons-nous voir deux déclinaisons du modèle « Plus » de l’iPhone ? Il est spéculé qu’Apple va également retirer le bouton d’accueil de l’iPhone l’année prochaine, et placer le capteur d’empreintes digitales Touch ID sous l’écran, dans ce qui sera presque une conception sans bords d’écran. Kuo n’a pas abordé la conception de l’iPhone 8 dans cette nouvelle rumeur. À l’heure actuelle, nous connaissons peu de chose sur les futurs iPhone 8 et iPhone 8 Plus. Ce n’est pas réellement surprenant, puisque les smartphones n’arriveront pas sur le marché avant la fin de l’année prochaine, et peut-être même en 2018.

Si Apple suit sa traditionnelle convention de nommage pour ses smartphones, alors l’année prochaine nous devrions voir l’iPhone 7S et l’iPhone 7S Plus. Vous l’aurez compris, il faudra être patient…À son premier événement Connect en 2013, Microsoft a publié Visual Studio 2013. En 2014, elle a annoncé l’ouverture du code source de .NET, et en 2015, l’ouverture des sources de l’éditeur de code Visual Studio. Et cette année ? Microsoft, la société qui a construit un empire sur du logiciel propriétaire, a rejoint la Linux Fondation.Est-ce réellement une surprise ? Microsoft vient d’annoncer par le biais d’un communiqué que la firme de Redmond se joint aujourd’hui à la Linux Fondation comme un haut membre Platinum.Pour ceux qui l’ignorent, la Linux Fondation est un groupe technologique sans but lucratif qui favorise la protection et la standardisation Linux en procurant les ressources et les services centralisés nécessaires à concurrencer de manière efficace les autres systèmes d’exploitation. Elle fournit des outils, des formations et des événements à l’échelle de tout projet open source. Microsoft contribue déjà à plusieurs de ses projets, y compris la Fondation Node.js, OpenDaylight, Open Initiative Container, R Consortium, et l’Initiative Open API.

Selon le CEO de Microsoft, Satya Nadella, cette arrivée dans l’ère de la communauté du libre n’est pas une surprise. Microsoft est aujourd’hui l’un des plus grands contributeurs de l’open source. Au cours des dernières années, la firme a essentiellement aidé à la construction de la distribution Ubuntu de Canonical à Windows 10, introduit SQL Server pour Linux, une partie de sa plate-forme open source .NET Core et a réalisé un partenariat avec Red Hat, SUSE et d’autres. Comme l’a noté Jim Zemlin, directeur exécutif de la Linux Foundation, Microsoft a également contribué à un certain nombre de projets gérés par la Linux Foundation comme Node.js, OpenDaylight, l’Open Container Initiative, le R Consortium et Open API Initiative. Malgré tout cela, l’annonce d’aujourd’hui va être une surprise pour beaucoup, étant donné que Microsoft et la communauté Linux ont souvent été en guerre les uns avec les autres par le passé. L’engagement croissant de Microsoft à l’open source a été accueilli avec un certain cynisme, mais avec des projets tels que Visual Studio Code et .NET, la firme a réussi à gagner les cœurs et les esprits.

Facebook commence enfin à intégrer Instagram avec sa plate-forme phare. Jusqu’à présent, la populaire application de partage de photos est restée indépendante de sa société mère (si l’on ne compte pas le fait que vous avez besoin d’un compte Facebook pour activer votre profil Instagram, et ses fonctions de cross-partage). Mais, cela pourrait prochainement changer, au moins pour les entreprises.Le réseau social a annoncé ce mardi qu’elle met à jour son application mobile Pages avec une nouvelle boîte de réception unifiée qui permet aux administrateurs de la page d’accéder à leurs interactions Facebook, Instagram et Messenger en un seul endroit. La nouvelle fonctionnalité vous permet de répondre aux commentaires Facebook, aux messages des visiteurs, aux critiques, ainsi qu’aux messages et aux commentaires Instagram directement à partir de la boîte de réception en tapant sur le contenu auquel vous souhaitez répondre.Pour commencer, tout ce que vous avez à faire est de connecter vos comptes Facebook et Instagram en tapant sur l’icône de messagerie en bas de l’application. Vous allez alors accéder à l’onglet Instagram où vous serez invité à entrer vos informations de connexion. Si vos comptes sont déjà connectés par les publicités Instagram, vous recevrez automatiquement la mise à jour.

Les administrateurs de Pages seront également en mesure de voir les profils Instagram et Facebook accessibles au public de leurs clients en tapant le nom de la personne. De plus, vous pouvez visualiser vos interactions précédentes avec l’utilisateur sélectionné, et attribuer une étiquette pour indiquer à quelle fréquence ils interagissent avec vous (comme « important » et « client »).Facebook réunit toutes les conversations de ses servicesFacebook réunit toutes les conversations de ses services Productivité en plus La boîte de réception unifiée permet essentiellement à une entreprise de rationaliser le processus de messagerie pour plusieurs de ses plates-formes sociales. Si Facebook n’offre toujours pas la possibilité de poster des photos ou des vidéos sur Instagram depuis ses applications, au moins, vous ne manquerez pas un autre message important.

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Dazu teilte Ismaik bei Facebook mit: Ich habe mich nie mit dem Namen Dieter Hoeneß auseinandergesetzt und auch keiner anderen Person einen Auftrag gegeben, ihn für 1860 zu begeistern. In seinem ersten Eintrag in dem sozialen Netzwerk seit Anfang Juli wies der Unternehmer aus Abu Dhabi das Gerücht entschieden zurück.Nach dem Zwangsabstieg in die vierte Liga führt Trainer Daniel Bierofka das Team ohne Sportdirektor, äußerte zuletzt aber den Wunsch nach Unterstützung durch einen Manager. Ich hoffe, dass die Voraussetzungen geschaffen werden, damit er seine Arbeit weiterhin erfolgreich erledigen kann, sagte Ismaik und wünschte sich eine Vertragsverlängerung mit dem Coach des Regionalliga-Tabellenführers. Foto-Termin mit Kälbchen und Wutburger: Der vegane Koch und TV-Promi Attila Hildmann (36) hat mit einer Einladung zum Testessen in seinem Berliner Imbiss einigen Medienrummel ausgelöst. Ein Steak aß er trotz verlorener Wette nicht. Anlass der Aktion war eine Gastrokritik des Tagesspiegels, der die Snackbar verrissen hatte. Darüber hatte sich Hildmann lautstark und werbewirksam geärgert.

Vor dem Testessen hatte der selbsternannte Veganerkönig versprochen, live vor der Kamera ein Steak zu essen, falls seine Burger den Journalisten schlechter schmecken als die Fleischburger. Von der Presse gab es laut Hildmann gute Noten, aber die Mehrheit bevorzugte weiter die Fleischvariante. Daraufhin posierte er mit einem Messer vor dem Imbiss, hinter ihm ein Anhänger, in dem ein Kälbchen war. Wer bringt das Tier um?, fragte Hildmann. Er wollte demnach nur ein Steak essen, wenn jemand das Kälbchen dafür tötet. Das passierte nicht.Bei einem Gift-Unfall in Oberding (Landkreis Erding) sind 16 Mitarbeiter einer Logistikfirma leicht verletzt worden. Aus einem beschädigten Sack war am Mittwoch beim Entladen eines Lastwagens giftiges Granulat entwichen, teilte die Flughafenpolizei München mit. Die Substanz breitete sich auf dem Boden der Lagerhalle im Ortsteil Schwaig aus.

Einige Mitarbeiter klagten daraufhin über Hustenreiz, andere über Atemwegsbeschwerden. Alle 16 Personen wurden in ein Krankenhaus zur ambulanten Untersuchung gebracht. Die Flughafenpolizei ging von leichten Verletzungen aus. Die Feuerwehr war mit 30 Einsatzkräften vor Ort, sie banden das Granulat und verpackten es in einem luftdichten Spezialbehältnis. Die Flughafenpolizei hat die Ermittlungen aufgenommen. Ein mutmaßlicher Hochstapler muss sich seit Mittwoch vor dem Amtsgericht Dresden verantworten. Der 42-jährige gebürtige Brandenburger soll sich zwischen 2009 und 2012 als Heilpraktiker ausgegeben und in seiner Altenburger Naturheilpraxis ohne Lizenz zahlreiche Patienten behandelt haben. Dabei hat er seinen Patienten laut Anklage fragwürdige Mittel verabreicht, die bei einem Ehepaar zum Erbrechen geführt hätten.

Ferner soll der Angeklagte als ehemaliger Strafrichter aufgetreten sein, der Menschen in Problemsituationen helfen wolle. Einen Handwerker brachte er dem Staatsanwalt zufolge so dazu, eine Anzahlung an das Finanzamt über 7000 Euro zunächst auf sein Konto zu überweisen. Dem 42-Jährigen werden unter anderem Körperverletzung, Betrug und Verstöße gegen das Heilpraktiker-Gesetz vorgeworfen.Am Mittwoch wies er sämtliche Anschuldigungen entschieden zurück. Er sei im Juni 2012 nicht nur zu Unrecht für 105 Tage in Untersuchungshaft genommen worden. Die Ermittler hätten auch Beweismaterial genutzt, dass sie rechtswidrig bei der Durchsuchung seiner Räume in Altenberg erlangt hätten. Am Freitag will das Gericht mit der Befragung von Geschädigten fortfahren.Typische Frauenberufe sind oft schlecht bezahlt, in vielen Männerjobs gibt es dagegen relativ hohe Löhne. Das ist aber nicht die einzige Erklärung für Gehaltsunterschiede zwischen den Geschlechtern, wie eine neue Studie des Deutschen Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) zeigt.

Der Untersuchung zufolge gibt es auch innerhalb von Berufsgruppen große Differenzen - unabhängig davon, ob es dort mehr Männer oder mehr Frauen gibt. So bekommen männliche Sprechstundenhilfen zum Beispiel einen 43 Prozent höheren Bruttolohn als ihre Kolleginnen. Der Frauenanteil liegt in diesem Job allerdings bei deutlich über 90 Prozent.Es gibt aber auch Männerjobs, in denen die wenigen Frauen deutlich schlechter verdienen als ihre Kollegen - und gleichzeitig typische Frauenjobs ohne große Gehaltsunterschiede.Bei den Drehern, den Unternehmern oder den Lagerarbeitern liegt der Gehaltsunterschied zwischen den Geschlechtern zum Beispiel über dem Durchschnitt von 21 Prozent, der Frauenanteil aber nie über 25 Prozent. Unter den Krankenpflegerinnen und Kindergärtnerinnen gibt es dagegen deutlich mehr Frauen als Männer, der Gehaltsunterschied liegt aber unter 10 Prozent. Generell sind die Gehaltsunterschiede den Angaben nach dort am niedrigsten, wo es einen hohen Anteil an Beschäftigten im öffentlichen Dienst gibt.

Die Zahlen zeigen aber auch, dass Männerberufe tatsächlich oft besser bezahlt werden als die von Frauen. Von den 30 häufigsten Berufen in Deutschland sind die 10 mit den höchsten Löhnen demnach klar männerdominiert. Nur in 3 davon liegt der Frauenanteil wenigstens über 40 Prozent - und nur in einem, bei den Buchhalterinnen nämlich, gibt es mehr Frauen als Männer.Die Studie des DIW basiert auf Daten des Instituts für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB) von 2014. Die Stichprobe enthält die gesamte Erwerbsbiografie von 1,75 Millionen Menschen. Dabei wurden nur Vollzeitstellen miteinander verglichen.Handball-Bundesligist MT Melsungen hat die Verträge mit den Zwillingen Michael und Philipp Müller vorzeitig bis 2020 verlängert. Zudem haben die Nordhessen Simon Birkefeldt als ersten Neuzugang für die Saison 2018/19 verpflichtet. Der 26 Jahre alte Rückraumspieler kommt im Sommer vom dänischen Erstligisten TTH Holstebro und ersetzt künftig den Esten Dener Jaanimaa, dessen auslaufender Vertrag nicht verlängert wird. In Nordhessen wird es bald einen neuen Naturpark mit dem Namen Naturpark Reinhardswald geben. Ein Sprecher des Landkreises Kassel teilte am Mittwoch mit, dass nach intensiver Vorbereitung nun auch alle formalen Voraussetzungen gegeben seien. Der knapp 50 000 Hektar große Naturpark Reinhardswald im Landkreis Kassel wird damit der zwölfte in Hessen. Ich freue mich sehr darüber, denn es zeigt, dass wir die richtigen Weichen gestellt haben, hatte Umweltministerin Priska Hinz (Grüne) im September über das Vorhaben gesagt. Das Land will die Errichtung des Parks zunächst mit 450 000 Euro fördern. Am 2. November werde die Ministerin offiziell die Anerkennungsurkunde überreichen, teilte der Kreis Kassel mit. Die Gewerkschaft Verdi hat es als unverständlich kritisiert, dass keine große Auffanggesellschaft für bis zu 4000 Air-Berlin-Mitarbeiter gegründet wird. Es ist völlig unverständlich, dass sich Erwerber und die Politik nicht dazu bereitgefunden haben, den Beschäftigten von Air Berlin unter die Arme zu greifen, weil sie keinen ausreichenden Beitrag für eine Auffanggesellschaft leisten wollen, teilte Vorstandsmitglied Christine Behle am Mittwoch mit.

Nachdem Gespräche über eine große Transfergesellschaft gescheitert sind, arbeiten Berlin und das Unternehmen zumindest an einer Lösung für 1200 Mitarbeiter des Bodenpersonals. Nordrhein-Westfalen und Bayern hätten sich ebenso aus der Verantwortung gestohlen wie der Bund, sagte Behle laut Mitteilung. Lediglich Berlin sei bereit, soziale Verantwortung zu übernehmen. Auch nach dem Abkommen mit Lufthansa drohe Tausenden die Arbeitslosigkeit. Trainer Pep Guardiola von Manchester City hat nach dem beschwerlichen Sieg im englischen Ligapokal gegen Zweitligist Wolverhampton Wanderers den Spielball für die Probleme seines Teams mitverantwortlich gemacht.Der Ball ist auf diesem Level nicht akzeptabel. Das ist kein vernünftiger Ball für ein professionelles Spiel. Ich kann das sagen, nachdem wir gewonnen haben. Wenn ich es sage, nachdem wir verlieren, klingt es wie eine Ausrede, sagte Guardiola nach dem 4:1 (0:0, 0:0) im Elfmeterschießen. Zuvor hatte es der Tabellenführer der Premier League nicht geschafft, in 120 Minuten ein Tor gegen den Außenseiter zu erzielen.

Der Ball sei insgesamt kaum zu kontrollieren gewesen und es sei unmöglich, damit ein Tor zu erzielen, ereiferte sich Ex-Bayern-Coach Guardiola. Das Spielgerät von Mitre, dem im Jahr 1817 gegründeten ältesten Sportartikel-Hersteller der Welt, wird in der Premier League nicht eingesetzt, sondern nur in den anderen englischen Profiligen sowie im Ligapokal. Im Training hätten seine Spieler den Ball ein oder zwei Tage testen können und waren damit schnell unzufrieden. Er ist schlecht, sagte der Spanier Guardiola und beschwerte sich unter anderem über das fehlende Gewicht.Die englische Klubvereinigung EFL, Organisator des Ligapokals, wehrte sich am Mittwochnachmittag gegen Guardiolas Kritik und teilte mit: Der Mitra-Ball hat genau die gleichen technischen Spezifikationen wie der Ball in der Premier League. Wir werden uns mit Herrn Guardiola und Manchester City auseinandersetzen, um vor dem nächsten Spiel alle Bedenken zu verstehen.

Der deutsche Nationalspieler Ilkay Gündogan hatte gegen den Spitzenreiter der Championship in der Startelf gestanden. Stammkräfte wie der Ex-Wolfsburger Kevin De Bruyne und Leroy Sané wurden erst spät eingewechselt. Bei den Bad Vilbeler Burgfestspielen stehen im kommenden Jahr elf Inszenierungen und 240 Vorstellungen auf dem Programm. Vom 5. Mai bis 9. September 2018 werde es um Liebe, Treue und Untreue, Irrungen und Verstrickungen gehen, teilten die Veranstalter am Mittwoch mit. Neben Theater, Musical und Oper sind auch mehrere Gastspiele geplant, darunter Konzerte und Kabarett. Zu den Inszenierungen gehört die Bühnenfassung des Til Schweiger-Films Honig im Kopf, das Musical Ein Käfig voller Narren oder das Stück Ziemlich beste Freunde. Für Familien stehen unter anderem das Musical Peter Pan, das Schauspiel Pippi Langstrumpf und die Oper Hänsel und Gretel auf dem Programm.vier Jahre nach dem #aufschrei in den sozialen Netzwerken findet in Deutschland eine neue Sexismus-Debatte statt - und in der ganzen Welt. Ausgelöst wurde sie in Hollywood, von mutigen Schauspielerinnen, die einen der mächtigsten Film-Männer dieser Zeit beschuldigen, sie sexuell belästigt zu haben: US-Kinoproduzent Harvey Weinstein, gegen den mittlerweile Justizbehörden ermitteln. Die renommierte Oscar-Akademie schloss Weinstein wegen der Vorwürfe aus, doch die Empörungswelle geht inzwischen weit über seinen Fall und über die Filmbranche hinaus.

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US Air Force sysadmin Christopher Glenn was sent down for 10 years after stealing military documents relating to the Middle East, in addition to copying emails controlled by the commander of a special unit that conducts military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as we reported.Glenn, 34, had secret-level clearance, and worked at the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras installing and maintaining Windows 7 systems when he swiped copies of the classified files. He was arrested, charged, and appeared before a court in the southern district of Florida, where he admitted breaking the US Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He was sentenced on Friday.According to the Sun Sentinel, the court heard a claim by Gerald Parsons, an army counterintelligence expert, that the FBI had managed to access a concealed and encrypted hard-drive partition within which Glenn had hidden the stolen files.The hidden compartment was protected using a complex 30-character password, Parsons said. It would take the Feds millions of years to crack it by brute force. A summary of Parsons' testimony is here [PDF].The court heard that the partition was created using TrueCrypt, a popular source-is-available encryption tool, developed from 2004 up until last year when its anonymous developers mysteriously closed the project down.

James Tagg, co-founder of Hacklands said: “We create our future through the technology we develop but we don't give enough time to thinking properly about that future. Hacklands is an opportunity to experiment with technology and creativity and relax with fellow future gazers.”Tagg said he is looking for people to hack with a green tinge, looking particularly at “using proto-typical AI to improve usage”.He wants to get his Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid to charge from its solar cells at sensible times and to work in concert with his home network rather than just be paired with a phone.Music will take the form of a memory maestro and a concert pianist playing all 210 works of Chopin and then explaining how he memorised the lot. More mainstream is music from DJ Oisin Lunny.The festival is aimed at people interested in technology and its social and economic implications and will host activities aimed at both adults and children.There are a variety of activities planned including a music glitching session, an experimental LTE network (courtesy of Truphone), eCows and LIDAR data (courtesy of the Open Data Institute), open space style discussions with Lloyd Davis (founder of The Tuttle Club) and much more, including chances to commune with the lush West Kent countryside.

All participants are encouraged to get involved and lead a workshop, discussion or art session.Accommodation in the farmhouse is sold out – hackers clearly like to be indoors, but there is glamping, which means you don’t have to carry a tent and bedding.Outside of communal meals, there will be a pay bar and café open all weekend serving snacks, cakes, soft drinks, beer, cider and wine and generally adding to the festival vibe.“I’ve attended and produced all kinds of events, said Helen Keegan, co-founder of Hacklands, and I’m also a big fan of music festivals so I wondered what would happen if we combined the formats and created something that has the best bits of all of those events.”The event takes place from 14-16 August 2015 at a farm in Crockham Hill, West Kent. It costs £60 for a ticket without camping and £100 to include camping. Meals are included with all tickets, for more details see the website.

Review Time to recap the history of Sony’s Xperia tablet range to put this new model into context. In the beginning was the Xperia Tablet, the first Sony 10-inch slab. Then came the Z2 Tablet, launched just over a year ago and reviewed here. The Z3 Tablet never existed, only the clumsily named Z3 Tablet Compact, an 8-inch affair.Now we have the Z4 Tablet, a 10-incher that doesn’t actually replace the Z2 Tablet. That is still on sale for £409 against the new Z4’s £579. Those prices are for the 4G versions but in the case of the Z4, the not insignificant cost includes a Bluetooth keyboard. Lose the 4G radio and you save £80.If you were hoping for a radical overhaul of the Xperia design with the Z4 you are going to be disappointed. It's very much a reheat of the Z2. Yes it's thinner, smaller, lighter and more crud-proof at 167 x 254 x 6.1mm, 393g and IP68-resistant, but the looks and materials are all rather familiar.Of course, there is nothing wrong with the shape or looks or material of the Z2 Tablet, but I do wonder quite how long Sony can continue with this conservative design language before customers become bored with it and stop being able to recognise new models when they see them.

Aesthetics to one side, Sony claims the Z4 is the lightest and thinnest 10-incher available and, as far as I can tell, that’s correct, because it is 103g lighter than the original Xperia Tablet and 42g lighter than the Z2.Apple’s latest and hardly lardy iPad Air is a comparatively leaden 444g though it shares the same 6.1mm girth. Even the smaller iPad Mini is only 52g lighter. There’s no hint that this impressive loss of weight has made the Z4 more fragile; it feels every bit as sturdy as its forebears.It's more technically advanced too. The screen is now a 1600 x 2560-pixel, 299dpi IPS affair, while the SoC is an up-to-date MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 component packing four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53, and four 2GHz Cortex-A57 cores, an Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

There’s also 32GB of storage and a microSD card slot, which is good for another 128GB. That’ll do nicely.With a spec like that, you’d expect the Z4 to ace all the usual bench tests, and you’d be right too. Both the AnTuTu and 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited tests were drop-kicked out of the ballpark by the Z4. When it comes to powerful Android tablets, this is pretty much the state-of-the-art.BlackHat video Researchers Trammel Hudson and Xeno Kovah have built a self-replicating Apple firmware malware that can infect peripherals to spread to new computers.The ThunderStrike 2 malware is the second iteration of the attack forged earlier this year and liberates the requirement for attackers to have physical access to machines.Hudson says while his proof of concept is deliberately noisy, displaying a logo during boot, a real attack could be made surreptitious through virtualisation or system management mode.Thunderstrike 2 starts with a local root privilege exploit that can load a kernel module to give it access to raw memory [and] can unlock and rewrite the motherboard boot flash, Hudson says.It can search the PCIe bus and look for removable Thunderbolt devices and write itself into their option ROMs.When the infected adapter is connected to a fresh laptop during system boot the option ROM is executed by EFI firmware before the kernel is started … and hooks the S3 resume scripted that will be executed when the system comes out of sleep mode.

Once installed Thunderstrike in the boot flash is very difficult to remove because it controls the system from the first executed command. Reinstalling the operating system or even replacing the hard drive will not remove it.The infection of new Thunderbolt peripheral devices means a potential victim may even re-infect a replacement laptop.Thunderstrike was revealed January as a then unmitigated attack targeting option ROMs to load malware by replacing RSA keys in Mac extensible firmware interfaces (EFIs).Apple issued a partial fix in the ensuing OS X patch run blocking it in version 10.10.2. Option ROM updates coupled with Boot Guard mitigations also slow it down for those attackers lacking high levels of resources. The screen is a bit of a mixed bag though. Not so much technically – it’s bright, crisp, colourful, works at seriously obtuse angles and is altogether very easy on the eye – but rather physically. Firstly, despite having an oleophobic coating, it shows up fingerprints badly. Secondly, there’s no Gorilla Glass, just a rather vague-sounding “scratch-resistant glass”. Lastly, it’s rather too reflective in daylight. Carry a cloth, take care of it and use it under a tree and none of that matters, but still.

On the subject of fingerprints, it's not just the screen that gets mucky; so does the matt finish on the back of the tablet and on the keyboard deck. I ended up polishing my Xperia Z4 like I had a bad dose of OCD.The speakers perform very creditably, but your guess is as good as mine where they are actually buried, as there are no visible grilles. The sound they make is composed and there’s more than enough volume to listen to a film in a less than silent environment. Plug in a decent pair of headphones and the fact you’re using a tablet made by a company that knows a thing or two about sound quality becomes clear.Android here is v.5.0.2 skinned with Sony’s Xperia launcher which adds a few extra features like “small apps” and a miniature, collapsible task bar. Personally I swapped straight to Google’s Now Launcher but there’s nothing wrong with the Xperia alternative, though on a 10-inch screen I miss Samsung’s multi-window jiggery-pokery.This is the first Android device I’ve encountered with a pre-loaded package from Microsoft. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype (no Outlook mail app though) were all nestled in a Microsoft folder when I first fired the Z4 up. If you don’t want them they can all be uninstalled, as can most of the other pre-loaded apps Sony foists upon you.

The Bluetooth keyboard that came in with my Z4 is rather good, albeit in an understated way. Tablet and keyboard join together by jamming the former into a plastic channel at the back of the latter. It’s a straightforward idea but it means that you can slot the tablet in the other way around to stand it up in what’s now called tent mode.That’s handy if you want to watch a movie on an aeroplane or train with a small drop-down table in front of you.A trick Sony missed here is not moving the 3.5mm audio jack. It’s on the top in landscape mod, so in tent mode it is either obscured by the docking channel or the table top. The answer? Just slide the tablet along the docking channel by half an inch. That leaves the audio jack exposed. This sort of hi-tech advice is why you read The Reg, right?Sony says that the keyboard delivers a “laptop experience” and it’s not far off the mark. The layout is traditional, the keys have a decent amount of travel and the trackpad works a treat. There are also enough shortcut keys to prevent you actually having to touch the screen at all. The function commands on F1-F12 can be set to always-on, so you don’t need to tap the Fn key to use them.Something for the Weekend, Sir? Microsoft wants to give me Windows 10 for free! Hooray for freebies! OK, some of my software no longer launches or works quite the way it’s supposed to, but I got used to that after upgrading to Windows 8, and then again with Windows 8.1.

Akku HP 447649-251 www.akkus-laptop.com

Das kann sich rasch ändern, zumal demnächst viele Modelle auf den Markt kommen, die über deutlich bessere Reichweiten verfügen und zudem erheblich billiger sind als die ersten elektrisch betriebenen Autos. So mancher Entsorger bringt sich bereits in Stellung. Einer davon ist Saubermacher. Die Steirer haben 2015 die Mehrheit an Redux mit Standorten in Offenbach und Bremerhaven übernommen. Voriges Jahr hat sich Saubermacher das Unternehmen, einen früheren Geschäftspartner, komplett einverleibt. Bei Gerätebatterien reklamiert man einen Marktanteil von 30 Prozent und die Marktführung für sich, in der Verwertung von Lithium-Ionen-Batterien strebt man ebenfalls die Nummer-eins-Position an. Recyclinganlage in Bau Für das Recycling von Lithium-Ionen-Akkus, die unter anderem in Laptops, Mobiltelefonen, E-Bikes und Elektroautos verbaut sind, wird derzeit eine neue Anlage am Werksgelände in Bremerhaven errichtet. Ende Februar 2018 soll sie mit einer Kapazität von 10.000 Tonnen in Betrieb gehen. Damit sollten wir in den nächsten drei, vier Jahren das Auslangen finden, sagt Hans Roth, Gründer und Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender von Saubermacher, dem STANDARD.

Der Rücklauf an Lithium-Ionen-Batterien aus E-Autos beschränke sich derzeit auf Unfallfahrzeuge und Ausschussware aus der Produktion. Die Batterien haben laut Roth eine Lebensdauer von sieben, acht Jahren. Erst dann sei mit einem stark steigenden Rücklauf zu rechnen. Bremerhaven sei als Standort interessant, weil Schiffe anlegen können, die für Recycling bestimmte Batterien containerweise aus Skandinavien und Großbritannien heranschaffen können. Teure Verfahren Der Akku ist eine der Schlüsselkomponenten des Elektroautos und voll mit Wertstoffen. Neben Aluminium, Kupfer und Grafit sind auch seltene Metalle wie Lithium und Kobalt darin verbaut. Die Verfahren, um Lithium-Ionen-Akkus auseinanderzunehmen und zu recyceln, sind kompliziert und teuer. Eine Anlage in Österreich rechne sich wegen der fehlenden kritischen Menge an Batterien nicht, sagt Roth. Wie bisher werde man die knapp 2000 Tonnen an gesammelten Batterien in Deutschland recyceln. Die Entsorgerbranche, die in Zeiten rückläufiger Konjunktur mit sinkenden Mengen recyclingfähigen Materials in Österreich kämpfen musste, hat wieder Tritt gefasst. Die Mengen steigen wieder, sagt Roth, der aktuell auch Präsident der Vereinigung Österreichischer Entsorgungsbetriebe (VÖEB) ist. Er beklagt im Namen der 220 Mitgliedsbetriebe, die direkt oder indirekt an die 47.000 Mitarbeiter beschäftigen, ein Übermaß an Bürokratie.

Forderung an neue Regierung An die neue Regierung hat der Verband ein Papier mit acht Forderungen adressiert. Dazu gehört eine Vereinheitlichung der unterschiedlichen Landesabfallwirtschaftsgesetze in einem einzigen Ressourcenwirtschaftsgesetz. Kommunen sollten sich auf die Daseinsvorsorge konzentrieren und den Privaten neben den Haushaltsabfällen nicht auch noch Altstoffe aus Industrie und Gewerbe streitig machen. Darüber hinaus fordert Roth als VÖEB-Präsident eine Bündelung der politischen Agenden der Entsorgungsbranche in einem eigenen Ministerium oder zumindest in einer eigenen Sektion. Schmerzhaft für die Branche, letztlich aber auch für die Umwelt sei der anhaltende Abfallexport. Von 250.000 Altautos verschwinden laut Roth rund 75 Prozent aus Österreich, nur etwa 60.000 könnten ordnungsgemäß in österreichischen Anlagen verwertet werden.

Elektroaltgeräte würden zu rund einem Viertel illegal ins Ausland gebracht, wertvolle Metallabfälle gingen dadurch verloren. - derstandard.at/2000065833349/Entsorger-bringen-sich-fuer-Batterien-Boom-in-StellungLange Jahre jammerte die Elektronikbranche darüber, dass der PC-Markt sich rückläufig entwickelte. Das Aufkommen von Smartphones und anderen Mobilgeräten hat Laptops und Desktops als Internetmaschinen weitgehend überflüssig gemacht. Produkte wie das iPad Pro könnten langfristig auch zur Gefahr in der Arbeitswelt werden. Doch es gibt Hoffnung. Neben dem wachsenden Segment der Convertibles, die Notebook und Tablet vereinen, sind es die Gamer, die wieder Geld in die Kassen der Branche spülen. Gedankt werden darf es dem allgemeinen Boom von Videospielen und dem immer wichtiger werdenden E-Sport. Fast jeder PC-Hersteller pflegt mittlerweile eine Gamingmarke: Lenovo Legion, Dell Alienware, HP Omen, Asus Republic of Gamers, um nur ein paar zu nennen. Schon ein Weilchen dabei ist auch Acer, wo Spielerware unter dem Namen Predator verkauft wird.

Der GameStandard hat sich über den Sommer das Laptop-Modell Predator 17 angesehen. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Acer Predator 17 in der Frontansicht. Hinweis Einleitend zur Konfiguration: Verbaut ist ein Intel Core-i7 6600HQ, eine Quadcore-CPU mit einem Maximaltakt von 3,5 GHz. Der Prozessor nach Skylake-Architektur wurde 2015 vorgestellt. Er werkt im Verbund mit 16 GB RAM. Dazu gibt es eine 256-GB-SSD von Liteon und eine Festplatte mit einem Terabyte Speicherplatz von Toshiba. Für Grafikleistung zuständig ist eine Nvidia Geforce 1070 mit vier GB VRAM. Es kommt ein Monitor mit 17,3 Zoll Bildschirmdiganole, G-Sync-Kompatibilität und Full-HD-Auflösung (1.920 x 1.080) zum Einsatz. In dieser Konfiguration wird der Predator 17 nicht mehr verkauft. Das nächstgelegene Modell ist praktisch identisch, kommt aber mit acht GB VRAM für die GTX 1070. Es kostet laut offizieller Preisauszeichnung knapp 2.300 Euro. Dazu sind auch Ausgaben mit der 7000er-Reihe von Intels Prozessoren und künftig wohl auch mit den CPUs der neuen, achten Generation zu haben, ebenso wie es Varianten mit unterschiedlichen Speichergrößen, höherer Bildschirmauflösung und der Geforce 1060 gibt. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Auch das Seitenprofil fällt nicht besonders schlank aus. Lärm zum Auftakt Wie für Gaming-Geräte oft typisch, gibt sich auch Acers Jäger äußerlich nicht dezent. Ihn ziert ein prominent leuchtendes Logo.

Das Design der Lüfter ist irgendwo zwischen Sportwagen und Flugzeugtriebwerk angesiedelt. Die Farbwahl ist mit Schwarz und Rot betont aggressiv. Beim Einschalten begrüßt der Rechner den Nutzer mit einem Sound, der aus einem Hitchcock-Psychothriller stammen könnte. Dieser wird auch immer über die Lautsprecher abgespielt, selbst wenn Kopfhörer angesteckt sind. Ärgerlich: Die vorinstallierte Zusatzsoftware bietet keine Möglichkeit, ihn abzudrehen, man muss hierfür den etwas mühseligen Weg über das BIOS gehen. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Passend zum Rest leuchtet auch der Einschaltknopf glühend rot. Abseits davon bootet die Kiste recht flott. Der matte Bildschirm spiegelt kaum und bietet ordentliche Farbdarstellung. Einzig die horizontale Blickwinkelstabilität könnte etwas höher sein, das ist aber nur relevant, sollten sich mehrere Zuseher um den Rechner versammeln. Von seinem Scharnier wird er jedenfalls sehr stabil an seinem Platz gehalten. Das Gehäuse besteht aus solide wirkendem, gummiertem Kunststoff, der etwas anfällig für Staubablagerungen ist. Auf schlankes Design hat Acer verzichtet. 423 x 321 x 42 Millimeter misst der Laptop und wiegt dabei fast 4,3 Kilogramm. Wer einen Laptop sucht, den man mal eben mit ins Büro, an die Universität oder woanders hin nehmen kann, ist hier falsch aufgehoben. Der Predator 17 ist dafür gedacht, einen Desktoprechner zu ersetzen und dem User langes Auf- und Abbauen zu ersparen.

Daher eignet er sich etwa gut als Entertainmentfreund im Hotel oder als Spieleplattform für LAN-Partys. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Auf der linken Seite finden sich zwei USB-3.0-Ports und die Klinkenbuchsen für Kopfhörer und Mikrofon. Vollwertige Portausstattung Nachdem Kompaktheit keine Vorgabe war, fällt auch die Port-Ausstattung ansehnlich aus. Insgesamt vier USB-3.0-Port sowie ein USB-3.1-Anschluss mit Thunderbolt-3-Unterstützung bieten Dockmöglichkeiten für Peripherie. Dazu kommen zwei 3,5-mm-Klinken, um auf Wunsch separat Kopfhörer und Mikrofon anstecken zu können. Externe Bildschirme können per Displayport oder HDMI verbunden werden. Ebenso dabei sind ein Leseeinschub für SD-Karten sowie ein RJ45-Netzwerkstecker. Wer Videotelefonie führen mag, findet auch eine integrierte Webcam über dem Bildschirm vor. Deren Bilderfassungsqualität ist aber eher von trauriger Natur – weil blass und verwaschen. Das integrierte Mikrofon produziert okaye Qualität. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Die Rückseite lehnt sich an Rennwagenoptik an. DVD-Laufwerk oder Zusatzkühlung Weiters kann man sich entscheiden, ob man den Laptop mit einem DVD-Brenner betreiben möchte oder stattdessen lieber ein weiteres Kühlmodul nutzt. Für einen Tausch ist lediglich eine einfache Entriegelung zu betätigen und ein Modul im Laufwerkseinschub gegen das andere zu ersetzen. Ausgetauscht werden können auch Festplatte und RAM. Die Wartungsklappe auf der Unterseite ist mit einem Sperrmechanismus sowie zwei Kreuzschlitzschrauben gesichert. Ein einfacher Wechsel des 90-Wh-Akkus ist allerdings nicht vorgesehen.

Versorgt wird dieser über ein wuchtiges Netzteil, das vom Format her an jenes der ersten Xbox One erinnert. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Die rechte Seite beherbergt den Rest der Port-Ausstattung, unter anderem die Bildschirmausgänge und den Netzwerkanschluss. Gelegentliche WLAN-Probleme Acer hat den Laptop vollgepackt mit lauter spektakulär klingenden Technologien. Killer Doubleshot Pro soll die ac-WLAN-Verbindung für Gamingbelange optimieren. Soundpound soll mit vier Lautsprechern und zwei Subwoofern gute Akustik erzeugen. Frostcore wiederum obliegt es, auch unter Last für gute Kühlung zu sorgen – auch wenn man mittels der Predator Sense-Software übertaktet. Und hinter der Predator Pro Zone verbergen sich fünf Sondertasten, die sich in verschiedenen Varianten belegen und einfach umschalten lassen. Der Reihe nach: Die WLAN-Verbindung funktioniert an sich gut, sofern man den Laptop im richtigen Winkel zum Router aufstellt. Denn besonders, wenn die Netzwerkquelle etwas weiter entfernt ist, scheint es bei ungünstiger Ausrichtung trotz laut Software starken Signals zu Aussetzern zu kommen. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Lüfterausgang in der Nahaufnahme. Kühlung mit Reinigungsfunktion In akustischer Hinsicht bringt der Predator 17 einiges an Lautstärke mit. Aber auch die Vierfachausstattung mit Lautsprechern klingt am Anschlag nicht mehr sehr gut. Dreht man den Output etwas herunter, fällt die Soundqualität für diese Geräteklasse ordentlich aus, bei Bässen macht sich der integrierte Subwoofer jedenfalls bemerkbar. Die Frostcore-Kühlung leistet gute Arbeit. Weder spür- noch messbar erreichte der Laptop jemals problematische Werte.

Doch selbst ohne jegliche Übertaktung erzeugt sie unter Last einigen Lärm. Wer länger ein grafikintensives Game spielen will, sollte zu Kopfhörern greifen, da die Geräuschentwicklung in leiseren Spielmomenten störend sein kann. Hierzu lässt sich anmerken, dass die Soundausgabe über den Klinkenstecker problemlos läuft. Es gibt kein bemerkbares Hintergrundrauschen oder ähnliche Ärgernisse. Nett ist die Staubschutzfunktion. Sofern die Lüftung nicht gerade beansprucht wird, wird die Drehrichtung der Ventilatoren für eine kurze Weile umgekehrt. Dies lässt sich auch manuell auslösen. Ob ein Durchlüften entgegen der üblichen Richtung tatsächlich Staubablagerungen verhindert, müsste man langfristig beobachten. Das Konzept klingt jedenfalls plausibel. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Die Chocolate-Keys sind beleuchtet. Chocolate Keys Die Tastatur verfügt über regenbogenfarbige Hintergrundbeleuchtung, die nett aussieht und auf Wunsch auch einfach abgedreht werden kann. Zum Einsatz kommen Chocolate Keys, die ein klein wenig Spiel und einen sehr kurzen Druckpunkt haben. Wie gut sich diese zum Spielen eignen, obliegt wohl hauptsächlich dem eigenen Geschmack. Subjektiv gesehen machten sie einen guten Eindruck.

Gleiches gilt für das Trackpad, das praktischerweise mit einem physischen An/Aus-Knopf daherkommt. Einen Wermutstropfen stellen jedoch die Klicktasten dar, deren Druckpunkt sehr undefinierbar ist. Gamer schließen aber üblicherweise sowieso eine Maus an den Rechner an. foto: derstandard.at/pichler Mittels Wartungsklappe können Festplatte und RAM einfach ausgetauscht werden. Satte Leistung, kurze Akku-Lebensdauer Leistungstechnisch tut der Predator 17, was von seiner Hardware auch zu erwarten ist. Nämlich aktuelle beziehungsweise aufwendigere Games (etwa The Witcher 3 oder Playerunknown's Battlegrounds) gut wiedergeben – wenn man von Hängern aufgrund der mangelnden Optimierung von letztgenanntem Spiel absieht. Im PC-Mark-10-Benchmark liegt er mit rund 4.500 Zählern etwas unter der als Gaming Laptop definierten Kategorie, bei der allerdings ein etwas stärkerer Prozessor und das Spitzenmodell der letzten Geforce-Generation (GTX 980) als Konfiguration definiert sind. Ob dies ein benchmarkspezifisches Problem ist, lässt sich schwer sagen. In der Praxis stößt man mit dem Predator 17 aktuell als Gamer auf keine signifikanten Leistungsgrenzen.

Samsung r478 Battery all-laptopbattery.com

The team developed a prototype where bendy batteries are tucked into watch straps to supplement and provide "significantly improved" life to the main lithium ion battery.The ten researchers say, in a paper titled Software Defined Batteries (PDF) that the system is part hardware part software, the former offering granular control of power flowing through each battery thanks to "smart switching circuitry", and the latter being an element of the operating system that runs algorithms, policies, and APIs for increasing single charge-discharge duration and battery life."A growing range of battery chemistries are under development, each of which delivers a different set of benefits in terms of performance. We believe that combining multiple of these heterogeneous batteries instead of using a single battery chemistry can allow a mobile system to dynamically trade between their capabilities and thereby offer attractive tradeoffs. ...In current designs, the interactions between the OS and Power Management Integrated Circuit are limited to query operations, such as inquiring about remaining charge in the battery, terminal voltage or the cycle count … Through the SDB system, we propose enabling fine grain control over the behavior of hardware sub modules by exposing a richer software API to the OS to dynamically change the amount of charge to be drawn from or provided to each batteryies."

Users can login on a single device if it allows the web browser and the Sound-Proof app concurrent access to the phone microphone.The researchers say the platform can also be used as a form of continuous authentication, and sports brute-force rate limiting and maintains logs of login attempts.Pic Google’s Chromebooks are just over four year old and, while the hardware has done well in education, businesses and normal people haven’t been too keen.In response, the ad giant has teamed up with Dell to fix this with a line of Chromebooks for business. Rajen Sheth, director of product management for Android and Chrome for Business and Education, said that with businesses updating from Windows XP, there’s an opportunity for Google to pick up some market share.“This is a long term move from legacy systems,” Kirk Schell, Dell’s GM for commercial client solutions, told a press conference in San Francisco on Thursday. “It’s going to be a long process, which is why you’ll see Google apps running alongside legacy apps via virtualization.”

The Dell Chromebook 13 (for the size, not for luck) is a carbon fiber and magalloy machine that has the look of a premium laptop and weighs in at a reasonably portable 3.23lb, with the touchscreen adding a third of a pound to that. The device has seven configurations, ranging between $399 and $899 in price, and runs Intel Celeron, Core i3 and Core i5 processors, 2, 4 or 8GB of RAM, and either a 16 or 32GB SSD.The laptops have two USB ports (one version 2.0 and one 3.0), an HDMI socket, and a microSD card for removable storage. It runs 801.11AC Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and has a variety of add-on dongles for Ethernet and serial ports.The battery life is a claimed 12 hours minimum, and that’s on the base-spec model, Schell said. The devices go on sale on September 17 from Dell and Google’s online shop.The hardware is all well and good, but in order to convince businesses to dump Windows machines and go to ChromeOS, Google and Dell have focused on software.The Chromebook 13s have been set up to run Windows and legacy apps via VMWare, Dell vWorkspace, or Citrix’s Chrome receiver. For storage, considering the piddling size of the hard disk, there’s Google Drive, of course, but also support for Box, Dropbox, or OneDrive.

Google and Dell are also selling this on the basis of easy IT management. A central console allows administrators to control the rollout of operating system updates, security protocols, passwords, and user interface changes on a company-wide, workgroup, or individual basis.The simplified IT management structure of the ChromeOS is how Google sold these systems from the beginning, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s still a hell of a lot easier (and less expensive) to manage a Chromebook fleet rather than a swathe of Windows beige boxes and laptops.One of the traditional weaknesses of Chromebooks is their distressing tendency to become mostly useless when out of range of an internet connection. Sheth said that this too had been addressed by the latest builds of the ChromeOS.“We’re seeing a good amount of sophistication in offline use of web apps,” he explained. “Google apps are all available offline by default on these devices, and we’re seeing many other web apps working on that too. Also we have android apps now being able to be ported to Chromebooks, and a lot of those are designed to be inherently offline.”El Reg will be getting one of the new systems in for review. The new laptop looks all right, with a few caveats.

Certainly, it looks good enough to take into a pitch meeting and the connectivity is fine. The keyboard is frankly a bit small compared to something like the higher-end Pixel model, but it's still usable.It remains to be seen how companies are going to find the software side of things. No doubt many companies are sick to the back teeth of Windows, but moving across to Google is a serious shift that some may balk at. Exclusive EE failed to label its "Power Bar" phone charging devices with the correct marking to show that the product complied with European safety directives, The Register has learned.The embarrassing cockup comes after we revealed that EE management had been warned about safety risks with its Power Bar, ahead of its launch in April this year. Since then, 1.5 million such devices have been dished out for free to the company's customers – but a recall affecting hundreds of thousands of units is now under way, after a Power Bar exploded, injuring a 26-year-old medical student.Late last month, Katy Emslie suffered burns to her hands and spent five hours in A&E and had plastic/re-constructive treatment after her Power Bar, which was charging from her laptop, blew up in the middle of the night while she slept.

That incident eventually prompted EE to recall around 500,000 Power Bars. The UK's largest mobile operator said that only some of its chargers posed a potential fire risk and blamed a faulty batch of models labelled "E1-06."El Reg saw internal documents that made it clear that serious safety concerns regarding the Power Bar had been raised at the company before the device was launched. However, when EE was quizzed by us, it had this to say:"We strongly refute any suggestion that safety concerns were ignored or dismissed without careful consideration. The product was subject to a rigorous testing process by our safety and products teams, and all EE Power Bars meet EC electrical safety standards."Now, it has come to The Register's attention that the CE marking (which stands for European Conformity) affixed to the device doesn't adhere to the specific European Union rules.Those measures detail the required layout of the CE marking, but we've discovered that EE failed to comply. Furthermore, we're told that the labelling cockup has been spotted on batches of the device that haven't been recalled.

Worse still, EE was first told about the dodgy CE marking back in April – not long after the product was launched as part of a big marketing blitz.EE had promised "never-ending power" for its millions of customers by offering them free Power Bars, which – prior to the programme being mothballed following the recall – allowed them to collect the chargers from the company's retail outlets. The devices could then later be returned to be recharged, swapping for a freshly-charged Bar.Early in the project, EE carried out a risk review through its own safety and sustainability team. It claimed risks had been assessed and that the product met legal requirements, including European battery regulations. But it is unclear how detailed that exercise was.Specific concerns raised within EE in the documents seen by The Register included variable quality in the cells used in manufacture, a risk that the Power Bar could easily be overloaded and catch fire if used with a faulty cable, lack of measures to ensure that Power Bars circulating among EE's users and shops would remain within their safe lifespan, a risk that bars being charged en masse in shops might suffer "thermal runaway" and burn down buildings, and other dangers.

In light of those serious safety concerns, EE will undoubtedly be red-faced about this latest blunder with its controversial Power Bar devices.El Reg pressed the mobile carrier for answers about its CE marking gaffe. We asked the company if it would let us take a look at the so-called "Declaration of Conformity" paperwork for the Power Bar, which would have been required to be created prior to any CE marking being applied to the product.However, EE declined to provide us with that information. It also failed to explain how the labelling error had occurred in the first place. Why, for example, was it not spotted during the operator's "rigorous testing process"?The UK government has warned firms of the pitfalls of slapping inaccurate CE markings on products. It said:If an enforcement body finds your product does not meet CE marking requirements, they will often provide you with an opportunity to ensure it is correctly CE marked.If you fail to comply with this, you will be obliged to take your product off the market. You may also be liable for a fine and imprisonment.

An EE Power Bar with the wrong CE marking from a different batch to those models that have been recalled. Pic credit: Joseph Heenan It's also worth noting that the so-called "Chinese Export" marking – which some people attribute to products manufactured in China – is about as real as the existence of a unicorn, as this response from the European Commission explained back in 2008.Analysis Lenovo has sold laptops bundled with unremovable software that features a bonus exploitable security vulnerability. If the crapware is deleted, or the hard drive wiped and Windows reinstalled from scratch, the laptop's firmware will quietly and automatically reinstall Lenovo's software on the next boot-up.Built into the firmware on the laptops' motherboard is a piece of code called the Lenovo Service Engine (LSE). If Windows is installed, the LSE is executed before the Microsoft operating system is launched.The LSE makes sure C:\Windows\system32\autochk.exe is Lenovo's variant of the autochk.exe file; if Microsoft's official version is there, it is moved out of the way and replaced. The executable is run during startup, and is supposed to check the computer's file system to make sure it's free of any corruption.

Lenovo's variant of this system file ensures LenovoUpdate.exe and LenovoCheck.exe are present in the operating system's system32 directory, and if not, it will copy the executables into that directory during boot up. So if you uninstall or delete these programs, the LSE in the firmware will bring them back during the next power-on or reboot.LenovoCheck and LenovoUpdate are executed on startup with full administrator access. Automatically, and rather rudely, they connect to the internet to download and install drivers, a system "optimizer", and whatever else Lenovo wants on your computer. Lenovo's software also phones home to the Chinese giant details of the running system.To pull this off, the LSE exploits Microsoft's Windows Platform Binary Table (WPBT) feature. This allows PC manufacturers and corporate IT to inject drivers, programs and other files into the Windows operating system from the motherboard firmware.

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HP will soon release a special Star Wars edition laptop it says will allow you to “Unleash your inner Sith”.And no, it's not making that claim solely based on the presence of Windows 10. The machine boasts styling based on the Lucasverse and is pre-loaded with oodles of Star Wars content including “rare wallpapers, screen savers, concept art, and original trilogy storyboards”. Plugging in a USB device apparently produces a burst of R2-D2's trademark clicks and whistles. Other actions result in the clash of lightsabers ringing out from the machine's Bang & Olufsen speakers.“The Galactic Empire lives on in the battle-worn design of this unique special edition notebook”, HP gushes, as it extols the virtues of the “dark side inspired” machine.There's even a font for “Aurebesh”, apparently the Lucascerse's Galactic Base Standard language, presumably for those tired of learning Klingon.When HP announced it would split into enterprise and printer/PC entities, it promised the latter entity would deliver “new computing experiences - inventing technology that empowers people to create, interact and inspire like never before.”

Is a Sith-inspired laptop delivering on that promise? Or just a way to make a US$699 laptop with specs that won't excite serious gamers (Core i5, 12GB RAM, GeForce graphics, a DVD reader/writer) a little bit more interesting? The buttons, labelled with emojis, cover common feelings such as excitement, sadness, anger, and so on and will be made available first to users in Spain and Ireland. Facebook will look at feedback and decide whether to roll the feature out further.The company's chief product officer Chris Cox posted a video to his public Facebook feed to show how the process would work on a mobile phone.While Facebook's response is a novel one and more expansive than simply providing a "Dislike" button that people have been bugging the social media company to roll out for a number of years, some feel that the new emojis are a little too restrictive.While fun, the new options are unlikely to capture the most frequent responses that Facebook users wish to append to their friends and complete strangers' posts, depending on their privacy settings and whatever Facebook has decided it wants people to see that week.

Such is the importance of Facebook to society's well-being, however, that we at The Register decided to carry out extensive research and customer modeling using the most recent techniques in cutting-edge design fabrication to provide an enhanced experience for users – and provide the results of that work, for free, to Mr Zuckerberg and his glorified curtain-twitchers.Comment The days of the massive standalone storage company are coming to a close, as the public cloud and myriad storage startups drive cumulatively fatal wounds deep into the heart of the one-supplier-does-all-your-storage business model.The all-you-need, best-of-breed storage supplier days are ending as enterprises realize they can get better or cheaper or simpler or more integrated storage, or several of these attributes, by revolutionizing their on-premises storage and moving some or all of it to the public cloud.All mainstream storage suppliers are affected though, not just the stand-alone ones.Traditional, on-premises storage costs and over-consumption of limited enterprise IT resources are being seen as unbearable yet fixable problems, with the fixes tearing the heart out of traditional, mainstream, on-premises enterprise IT suppliers' businesses.

The idea of EMC merging with HP or Dell or selling its VNX line to Dell is only the latest manifestation of this.A problem for these suppliers is that many changes are going on at once, some short-term and some long-term or secular. The biggest secular change is the rise of the public cloud with three giants emerging: Amazon, Azure (Microsoft), and Google. Each is reporting growing customer usage of their clouds for compute and for storage.There are vertical application clouds as well, such as Salesforce.com and, much lower down the scale, ambitious file sharers like Dropbox and Box. Some of this public cloud-use is cloud-bursting – the temporary use of the public cloud for one-off, short-term needs – but the rest is pretty permanent. Most Salesforce.com customers intend to carry on using it and no longer have on-premises IT resources for their CRM-type applications.

That is the simple public cloud threat; on-premises IT is hollowed out, leaving desktop, laptop, and hand-held endpoints behind, accessing remote, in-cloud IT resources. Off-premises IT is not supplied by mainstream, on-premises IT suppliers. But this is extreme and will take years to come to pass, if it does, with on-premises IT being a multi-billion dollar market for decades yet.In the on-premises storage area, there are many many changes too, some of them totally focused on-premises, such as the move to all-flash arrays, a trend to detach storage software from hardware, newer hybrid arrays with much better software, and converged and hyper-converged server hardware and software/storage/networking systems.But these replace legacy products in what is looking like a slowly growing pool – the on-premises IT market. As the myriad storage startups grow, they will eventually face the same problem as the mainstream suppliers are facing now: the business system they pitched for last year has either gone to the public cloud or to a newer start-up technology and the opportunity has vanished.Once the startups have collectively taken all the business they can from the existing vendors, and exist in a state of stable competition with them and their uprated product (think EMC and XtremIO, for example), then they could be playing public cloud musical chairs.

The chairs are business applications, and each time the music stops another application has gone to the cloud and there are fewer chairs (sales opportunities) for the suppliers, so someone has to leave the game.For suppliers, the judgements they have to make include asking which changes coming are most severe for me? How fast are they coming? What is the impact on my business?Analysis “Someone out there must have a family,” Panos Panay remarked yesterday, surveying his audience of potato-shaped gadget bloggers. An optimistic view, I thought. Panay was presenting Microsoft’s Devices event in New York, an event designed to get bloggers’ juices running.Years ago, I was in a MacWorld audience for a Steve Jobs keynote, where the fans even applauded a price increase. But this was far more hysterical. I suspect Microsoft execs had prepared for the event by watching Team America World Police. Several times they told us how “pumped” they were. Thanks for sharing – we might have guessed by the veins throbbing, Hulk-style, on your temples. Maybe next year the Microsoft Devices Event will simply be called, “Surface, Fuck Yeah!” That’s really what this year’s should have been called, it was so aggressive, and single-minded.

Partly this is a function of changes in the tech media. 15 years ago the tech press attending Microsoft presentations wore the same generic uniform as the presenters: a regulation blue Gap shirt (no tie) tucked into Chinos. Now that so many publications have gone, taking the cooler and more analytical voices with them, the audience is predominantly poorly paid, hormonal and adolescent. Some even write for no pay at all – events like this are their big thrill. So the timbre has changed too.Let’s look past the chest-beating and testosterone, though, and see what we really learned.This was a hardware event, and it had an explicit goal and an unspoken one. The obvious goal was to showcase Microsoft’s hardware, not counting Xbox. The unspoken goal was to hide the software, which is in (to put it kindly) a stage of transition. Microsoft achieved both, managing to hide Windows 10 almost completely. Phew!Analysis If there's one message that stands out from Microsoft's big device day launch on Tuesday it's this: stop thinking about Redmond as the cheap option, because it wants to be seen as the premium brand.For years Microsoft has sold itself as the dominant ecosystem for computing that won't cost you too much. The device day focus, however, shows that Microsoft is intent on going after the big spenders in the IT industry.

Take the Surface Book, for example. Again and again Microsoft hammered the message that this was the ultimate laptop, with no expense spared. That's reflected in the price – $1,500 will get you the base unit but you can spent nearly three grand on a top-of-the-range system with dual graphics chips and a terabyte of solid state storage.That's a hell of a lot for a laptop. You can pick up a good-enough laptop for a tenth of the price of a top-of-the-range Surface Book running Windows. But there's a market for people willing to spend a fortune on top-spec hardware, both in the gaming market and also for the executive who likes to show off a bit.As for fondleslabs, the Surface Pro 4 is an expensive option for a tablet, which is why Microsoft has always billed it as a PC that just happens to be in tablet form. While $899 is the base price, when you add in the keyboard, a bit more storage, RAM, and the pen you're well into four figures.

The same is true for phones. The Lumia 950 and 950XL were promoted (and priced) to compete with the highest-end cellphones on the market and billed as a possible replacement for PCs. Buy a docking station to go with it and the phones can handle 90 per cent of the applications most people use most of the time.By contrast, the lowly Lumia 550 got little love from Redmond. It merited a couple of sentences in the long presentation and was reduced to a "if you want to try Windows 10 on the phone it's a cheap option." There's just one problem with this strategy – other people have got there first and they'll be a bugger to dislodge.When it comes to expensive hardware, Apple has ruled the roost for a long time. The MacBook, iPad, and iPhone lines are pricey, albeit with a very high-quality build and the apps to match. Cook & Co have earned serious coin with high-end hardware and will cling onto the sector like rabid weasels.The Surface Book also takes aim at Alienware, although that's a longer-term play. The dual graphics capability of the laptop will match the Dell subsidiary's best laptops (once software that can take advantage of the hardware has been written), and gamers are notorious/beloved by vendors for being willing to spend big bucks on the right kit.

Microsoft wants a piece of both companies' markets, although the Apple bashing was more in evidence at yesterday's show in New York City – possibly because Microsoft has a financial stake in Dell and it's one of the firm's favorite partners.Engineers from Microsoft, Tesla, and Columbia and Massachusetts universities have teamed up to develop what on paper looks like a revolution in consumer battery technology that meets demands for fast charge, long life, and the ability to bend.The "Software-Defined Battery" system allows different batteries with different chemistries to be integrated into the same system. Fast charging and the ability to work for longer by adapting to different tasks are the result of the blended battery plan.Energy consumption rates can even be predicted, based on learned user behaviour.The team says these arrangements overcome current trade-offs in black-box batteries that mean no one single type can meet all common user requirements, such as the need for a laptop to last over long-haul flights or to deliver quick bursts of power in applications like starter motors or camera flashes.Delivering bendable batteries for us in wearables is also said to be possible using the new heterogeneous system.

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My favourite cliche is the way a keyboard’s keys always go “blip blip blip” when being typed upon, and the monitor goes “bleert, whirr, tagadagadaga” when text appears on it. The only way I can get a computer to do all this is to vocalise the noises myself while working, much to the annoyance of my colleagues. I guess it’s the cyber-thriller equivalent of waving a broomstick about while making light-sabre sounds.Whether it’s a 12-year-old girl in Jurassic Park exclaiming “It’s a Unix system! I know this!” or Mr Andersonnnnnn choosing to do his hacking via monitored company Internet access from his office cubicle, Hollywood’s idea of hacking is all so much bollocks.In real life, hackers do not look like Keanu Reeves, nor are they ever female. Rather, they are friendless overweight blokes in faded Iron Maiden t-shirts, huddled over a second-hand laptop for hours in a bedroom in their Mum’s house, windows shut, curtains closed and with a row of urine-filled cola bottles arranged along the wall.On screen, a hacker, with no apparent source of regular income, rents a flat alone and has filled his or her living room with five acres of Vittsjö shelving and 400 miles of cabling and managed to assemble their own Large Hadron Collider in the kitchenette.

And now, far from breaking away from this norm, the newly hyped cyber-hacking thriller series Mr Robot just repeats all the cliches. Hilariously, International Business Times says it participated in a webchat in which a member of Anonymous praised Mr Robot for being “the most accurate portrayal of security and hacking culture ever to grace the screen”.Well, of course he’d say that. The protagonist of Mr Robot is young, slim and handsome. He is smart. He is articulate. He has no zits. It even looks as if he’s washed his hoody within the last seven days.Tell you what, I’ll write an autobiography about my life in IT journalism and get Chris Hemsworth to play me in the big screen adaptation. Honest, we could be twins.I can see it all now. The editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, could be played by Samuel L Jackson; Rupert Murdoch would be played by Johnny Depp; Felix Dennis could be played by Tom Cruise; The Register’s John Lettice will be played by Keira Knightley.

In the meantime, I will just have to play (with? – Vulture Central's backroom gremlins) myself. As the incomparably terrible Mike Yarwood used to remind us unnecessarily, this is me.On the other hand, back to my earlier admission concerning odd clothes and wigs, I’m not always me.To amuse myself, accompany my daughter and embarrass her friends over the years, I have occasionally joined in with her penchant for cosplaying TV, movie and cartoon characters at MCM London Comic Con. As someone of “a certain age”, this means I can act the fool playing the older character parts from series as diverse as Ghost In The Shell and Adventure Time, while also being the “responsible adult” accompanying one’s teen offspring and her chums.Thankfully for everyone concerned, I took a tip from the stars and have always chosen parts that involve heavy disguise. I will leave you with following video which, believe it or not, is me on stage from five years ago.

Having recently put down his axe after hacking away 336 staff earlier this month, chief executive Jack Dorsey has now donned his Santa suit to hand out $200m (£130m) worth of stock to remaining employees.Dorsey said he was giving away about 1 per cent of the company to the company’s 3,700 employees, in Twitter's Teatime town hall event, reported the FT.In a tweet Dorsey said: "As for me: I'd rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small. I'm confident we can make Twitter big."Dorsey was installed as chief executive of the company earlier this month, following a stint as interim chief exec for four months.But he wasted no time in planning the hefty job 8 per cent job cuts to the moaning platform's global workforce.Twitter has flagged behind its other "social media" competitors in attracting enough advertising revenue and increasing its user base.But the winner is: monty75 with this gem: "It was at this point that Kate began to suspect that the phone call she received wasn't really from Windows Support." We’ve all been there.

Mr 75 wins a Western Digital 6TB black drive, something with more than a million times more capacity than the Corvus hard disk we remember using on a Commodore PET in 1980. Even the cache of 128MB in the 6TB Black would have seemed impossible back then.This is the top-of-the-range Western Digital drives with a sustained data rate of 600MB/s, StableTrac to cope with vibrations caused from the sub-woofer in a hardcore gaming system, and dual processors.The drive has a SATA interface and uses the well-established Ramp Load technology which parks the heads off the disk surface to prevent stiction, and Advanced Format Technology which uses eight 512 byte logical sectors in one 4096 byte physical sector. WD sells them here.And by this time next week you too could be the proud owner of a happy grin which shows that you’ve come up with the best caption, and that a Western Digital hard disk will be finding its way to you.Please try to keep it kind of SFW, but applicable to the content. If you want to be considered, please don’t hide as an anonymous coward, and if you win we’ll need a UK mailing address. The competition closes at 9:00 UK time next Thursday, 29 Oct. Post your witty words in the comments below.

With the kind-of-launch of the Australian government's telecommunications data retention regime, there's been a plethora of advice everywhere – from “lad mags” to the tech press to political parties – with one theme: “get a virtual private network” (VPN).Which moves Vulture South to idly wonder: do people know that a VPN on Android might only protect data emanating from the phone, and not (for example) a laptop tethered to its WiFi?This isn't news, it's just an observation that consumer-level advice about information security is not to be trusted. To make recommendations about security you have to be the kind of obsessive that assumes nothing, takes nothing at face value and checks everything.Vulture South can't claim that kind of attention to detail: the issue was pointed out to us by someone else. We do, however, like to test things for ourselves, so we downloaded two copies of OpenVPN (one on the MacBook Pro, one on the Samsung S5) and set to work.TLDR: OpenVPN on Android only protects communications originating on the phone, but not a tethered PC, as we show below. Since OpenVPN sensibly bars Traceroute, we had to infer routing with pings. Being in Australia has a distinct advantage here: the Pacific Ocean imposes big penalties on ping times.

The test clearly isn't perfect, but the salient point is that the ping time over the tethered 4G connection should not be lower with the VPN on than off. At an informed guess, the shorter ping times for a tethered connection show the VPN isn't protecting the tethered MacBook Pro. Shorter ping times almost certainly mean fewer hops, which means the VPN's taken out of the picture (we'd love to know why latency was lower with OpenVPN active, but lack the tools).This isn't the fault of OpenVPN. It happens to be the one we tested to assess the suggestion that tethering and passing traffic through a VPN on a smartphone could be a metadata dodge.Those in the know realise that such things have limitations.Vulture South has asked an expert to tell us whether our suspicion is accurate: that to force a VPN client to re-route what's tethered probably needs a rooted phone.While we wait for that response, we think we have illustrated the danger of giving careless and glib advice to ordinary consumers, who don't know enough to go beyond "a VPN will make me safe" and therefore don't ask questions. Updated A vulnerability in FitBit fitness trackers first reported to the vendor in March could still be exploited by the person you sit next to on a park bench while catching your breath.

The athletic-achievement-accumulating wearables are wide open on their Bluetooth ports, according to research by Fortinet. The attack is quick, and can spread to other computers to which an infected FitBit connects.Attacks over Bluetooth require an attacker hacker to be within metres of a target device. This malware can be delivered 10 seconds after devices connect, making even fleeting proximity a problem. Testing the success of the hack takes about a minute, although it is unnecessary for the compromise.Fortinet researcher Axelle Apvrille (@cryptax) told Vulture South that full persistence means it does not matter if the FitBit Flex is restarted; any computer that connects with the wearable can be potentially infected with a backdoor, trojan, or whatever the attacker desires.(Of course, the malicious code stashed on the gadget must find a way to execute on the connected PC, but that's an exercise left to the reader.)"An attacker sends an infected packet to a fitness tracker nearby at bluetooth distance then the rest of the attack occurs by itself, without any special need for the attacker being near," Apvrille says.

"[When] the victim wishes to synchronise his or her fitness data with FitBit servers to update their profile … the fitness tracker responds to the query, but in addition to the standard message, the response is tainted with the infected code."From there, it can deliver a specific malicious payload on the laptop, that is, start a backdoor, or have the machine crash [and] can propagate the infection to other trackers (Fitbits)."It is the first time malware has been viably delivered to fitness trackers.The attack vectors are still present. Apvrille warned FitBit in March and says the company considers it a bug which will be squashed at some point.Apvrille, a respected malware researcher, will offer a proof-of-concept demonstration video at the Hack.Lu conference in Luxembourg tomorrow."The video demonstrates that the infection persists over multiple messages," she says. "Even when I fully reset the connection with the tracker, most of the infected bytes persist, so that means we have enough space to convey a short malicious code."Apvrille has pulled off other hacks; she is able to manipulate the number of counted steps and logged distance to earn badges that can be traded in for discounts and prizes.

Those badges can be turned into discounts and gifts through third-party companies such as Higi which in April launched an API to help companies receive health data derived from wearables.Apvrille has reversed 24 messages from the Fitbit tracker and 20 from the USB Bluetooth dongle as part of the largely ground-up reverse engineering work since the devices are closed-source and do not come with documentation on software internals.She says communication is over XML and Bluetooth Low Energy while encryption and decryption occurs on the wearable device, and not on the dongle which is "outside of the security boundaries".The communications data sets are divided into "mega dumps" that include walking steps and user activity information, and "micro dumps" which relate to pairing, server responses, and device identifiers.The work adds new information on the low-level software internals of Fitbit to an existing repository of work built by fellow researchers.It is not the first security blunder for the fitness strap. In 2013 researchers were able to fake login information to access any Fitbit account thanks to then lax authentication checks, allowing attackers to earn prizes.

And in 2011 the sexual activities of users were publicly spewed over web searches revealing whether those who had engaged in "vigorous" or “passive and light” efforts.Dumb hacks exist that allow the lazy to trick the sensors into thinking steps are being taken. In 2013 some researchers tied Fitbits to a car tyre and drove 16km/h to simulate steps. Fitbit's been in touch to say it "... is focused on protecting consumer privacy and keeping data safe. We believe that security issues reported today are false, and that Fitbit devices can’t be used to infect users with malware. We will continue to monitor this issue."Fortinet first contacted us in March to report a low-severity issue unrelated to malicious software. Since that time we’ve maintained an open channel of communication with Fortinet. We have not seen any data to indicate that it is currently possible to use a tracker to distribute malware."The researcher delivering the talk we reported has since pointed out, in tweets like the one below, that the attack is a proof of concept, theoretical, and not something that's in the wild.The Obama Administration has ordered US federal agencies to hold off on purchasing new PCs in hopes of patching up a broken ordering system.The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has put a hold on new desktops and notebooks while it sorts through what it says are "thousands" of new system orders every year.OMB said that because agencies lack a standardized way to order, maintain, and replace their IT infrastructure, officials are forced to seek out their own contracts and purchase orders to get new PCs, leading to huge accumulated costs in waste.

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Since Nadella slashed into the former Nokia business and pulled smartphone activities back to fewer models and markets, the main focus is the enterprise space, and the idea that W10 smartphones can be companions to their more successful tablet and PC stablemates – an argument often used by Apple, of course, which believes that adoption of one of its devices nearly always leads to the uptake of others. It is a cornerstone of the W10 strategy – and another borrowing from Apple – that the new Microsoft OS should do the same, providing a sufficiently enticing user experience for customers to want it on all their screens, and offering the simplicity of a single set of apps and interfaces on each one."These devices promise to fuel even more enthusiasm and opportunity for the entire Windows ecosystem," claimed Nadella in a statement, while devices chief Panos Panay went further, claiming that the W10 handset would be a natural extension of the huge in-stalled base for the operating system on other products.

"Now, we want to put Windows in your pocket," he said. "110 million people using Windows 10 right now. If you haven't thought about these phones, wake up! Spend a minute, with the universal apps coming. 110 million users in eight weeks - the opportunity is unbelievable."Microsoft has been gradually moving towards a unified experience across all screens, building on the Universal Apps platform that first appeared in Windows 8. Facebook, Instagram and Uber were among those announcing Universal Apps which work in the same way across different W10 devices. Also, with a new Display Dock, users can connect a Lumia to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, turning the smartphone into a small desktop PC.Like Apple again, Microsoft has announced a flagship smartphone in two screen sizes. Both the 5.2-inch Lumia 950 and 5.7-inch Lumia 950 XL have 20-megapixel cameras with high level imaging functionality (a key Nokia strength), including 4K UHD video capture. The handsets run on Snapdragon 808 and 810 processor and cost $549 and $649 respectively. They are due to go on sale in November.DigiTimes suggests that two models will be built by contract manufacturers, Inventec and Compal, and feature 12.5 inch and 13.3 inch displays.

According to the trade paper, Xiaomi has been tapping up Lenovo executives "aggressively" to manage the new laptop venture.The consumer electronics upstart is best known for selling smartphones at cost, or close to cost price, a strategy that allowed it grab the No.3 spot in vendor market share worldwide.It's currently slipped to No 5, and Huawei has clawed back top spot in the PRC in the most recent quarter.Xiaomi already produces a curious mix of white goods, networking kit and consumer electronics, ranging from an air humidifier to routers, TVs, and a fitness band. So why not?Popular apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, combined with weaknesses in LTE protocols, could help spooks or attackers locate users, a group of German and Finnish researchers have found.The problem, however, isn't the apps, but the network protocols they use. The work, here at Arxiv, details how LTE protocols can be attacked to deny service to a target's device; and how the network can be persuaded to leak device locations.The location problem is this: the social apps – and other applications, like Voice over LTE – generate broadcast “paging” messages from the network to the device, and the supposedly-anonymous Global Unique Temporary ID given to devices by the network lasts so long (up to three days) that it's easy to de-anonymise devices.Those messages have always existed, but as the group writes here, in the 3G world the broadcasts covered areas of 100 km2, which isn't so useful for tracking a user.

The designers of LTE wanted better user location, so broadcast activity is now confined to the much-more-snoopable 2 km2 – and building kit to sniff all the broadcast messages a network transmits is relatively easy. The boffins needed only a laptop running open-source LTE baseband software, and a suitable software-defined radio card.In Facebook, the paging messages are triggered by incoming messages, and in WhatsApp, they're generated to tell you that the other person in a conversation is typing. Since the broadcast message only reaches the cell you're connected to, watching those broadcasts gives an attacker your location within that cell.The other key to the location attack is to get the network to leak a user's IMSI, but the authors say there are a variety of existing attacks that will do this. With IMSI and user presence in hand, it's then easy to refine location to a much finer degree, by getting users to log into a rogue cell (think “Stingray”).

Luckily, the authors note, the fix for the location tracking bug should be easy enough for operators: if they cycle GUTIs often enough (a pain in the neck if operators have to comply with data retention, but there you go), it becomes impossible to associate paging messages with a specific individual.The over-the-air denial-of-service attacks the paper presents are based on LTE network signalling messages that aren't protected – “Tracking Area Update” (TAU) messages.Because LTE devices don't check the integrity of these messages, the messages can be sent from a rogue access point to force downgrade or deny services either to a specific device, or all devices in reach of the attacker.The DoS attacks are a much thornier problem: forcing authentication of all the network messages requires at least infrastructure upgrades, and in some cases, new LTE protocols. Powerful malware with speculative National Security Agency (NSA) links has infected the private laptop of Germany's secretary of state in the Federal Chancellery, according to reports by national news digger Der Spiegel.

The Regin-derived malware in question is thought to be a plugin dubbed Qwerty, used in the NSA's WarriorPride framework.That connection is based on Snowden documents and deep technical analysis that also shows Regin bears links to the infamous Stuxnet malware and spin-offs Flame and Duqu, as well as the long-running and truly advanced Equation hacking group which has operated for some 15 years and infected hundreds of targets.The current Chancellery chief is Peter Altmaier, who has held office since 2013. The Chancellery is charged with assisting the German Chancellor, presently Mrs Angela Merkel.Der Spiegel does not specify who was in the seat when the attacks occurred but says the compromise was discovered in 2014.Germany's federal prosecutor's office is investigating the attacks but has not provided a timeline for the probe.News of the alleged infection comes after the country's former Attorney General Harald Range dropped a probe into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone revealed in October 2013.

Merkel was also thought to be the first of multiple German Government officials to be compromised by Russian-based actors who used her computer to spread a trojan thought to have ultimately infected some 20,000 systems. Analysis Despite focusing exclusively on budget phones in 2015, Microsoft's Lumia revenues fell ... a lot. Year-on-year revenue declined 54 per cent in full year Q1 2015.We have to extrapolate the volumes from revenue, but assuming the Average Selling Prices (ASP) and the profit margin remained the same, that translates as shipments halving. Or so Windows Central calculates, using those assumptions.Of course, it's unlikely that ASP remained the same: ASPs are always falling. Margins are being squeezed. And the product mix in Q1 fiscal this year was more skewed to budget models than in full year Q1 2014.The higher end models such as the 930 and 1520 weren't superseded by newer models, nor were the "mid-range" Lumia 830 and 730 (both excellent devices). By contrast, the budget models gained a boost with the "hero" (that's Microsoft's description) Lumia 640.But the revenue figure is uncontested, and real revenue is what counts. Don't be surprised or alarmed. It's actually in line with the revised mobile strategy outlined in the summer, in which value phones don't even feature.

If you recall, CEO Satya Nadella promised new Lumia flagships and promise to make phones for businesses, but only "experiences" for "value" punters. We hardly need point out that SatNad himself hardly helped, by sparking a rash of "scaling back dramatically" headlines.And that strategy, of dumping millions of "low value" consumers, is at least rational. The reasoning is that third-party OEMs will take up the slack. Windows Phone today is free, like Android, but Microsoft's "free" is cheaper than Google's "free", once you factor in the royalties.We've seen a glut of announcements by OEMs in (mostly) emerging markets, from companies such as Blu, Yezz, Alcatel and Micromax. Even Polaroid showed off a Windows Phone.But not all of them actually delivered the goods. So there's no sense in Microsoft duking it out in the budget volume segment, just as there's no sense in it duking it out in the budget tablet or laptop segment with Acer.It's a pity, because nothing gets you quite as nice an experience for £120 as a Lumia 640. But Microsoft just doesn't have the commitment to consumers as Nokia did. Maybe Corporate HQ doesn't really feel that budget Lumia customers are its customers anyway; more like squatters.

What's harder to fathom is why Microsoft didn't make more of the two flagships (and a new budget model) unveiled two weeks ago. The phones were denied their own dedicated event and then shunted into a slot in the first few minutes, so as not to steal the limelight from Surface.Apparently they tout a superb camera, but Microsoft didn't show any samples during the aggressive "Team Microsoft: Device Police" presentation.Windows Phone's champion Joe Belfiore, who presented every new Windows Phone event since launch, has just sailed away. Literally. For a year.Maybe Microsoft is just waiting until the WM10 platform is presentable before it shows off its capabilities, and that looks like it will be next year.Something for the Weekend, Sir? I have an urge to dress up in unconventional clothing, don a wig and parade myself around east London.You may be relieved to learn, without indicating prejudice, that this will not involve women’s clothing. I am neither a master potter nor am I on the game. Sorry to disappoint. I had better explain.

MCM London Comic Con takes place this weekend. Held twice a year, this event is a smaller and very British version of the rather more famous San Diego Comic Con. It differs from San Diego in a number of significant ways: there are fewer people in superhero fancy dress and a great deal many more manga/anime cosplayers, for example.One of the unique joys of MCM, even for the casually attired visitor, is finding yourself crammed into a Docklands Light Railway carriage heading to London ExCeL in the company of 100 young women dressed up in Gothic Lolita lingerie.“No, the other carriage is full, honest, I have to use this one. Excuse me, sorry, sorry, beg pardon. Busy today, eh? No, don’t worry, that’s my umbrella.”Another particularly British aspect is that British cosplayers tend to be, er – how can I say this nicely? – a little less trim around the waist compared with their ’Murcan counterparts.This is a good thing. Superheroes and camp crusaders bore me but I’m sure I’d find them more interesting if they were imperfect from time to time, such as if they spent entire weekends slumped in front of the TV, or found themselves in urgent need of a midnight slash after a long Babycham-drenched evening spent with the Hulk. It would certainly be amusing to watch them struggle to get out of all that Spandex faster than a speeding bullet.

As any fancy dress partygoer can attest, it’s only when you actually don the cape that you begin to fully appreciate the utter ridiculousness of it all. That’s why live-action superheroes tend to have their costumes redesigned from tights to black leather for their big screen appearances. This apparently makes everything more realistic.Black leather! Can you imagine the smell? “Holy cow, Batman, you stink like a cross between Wolverine’s armpits and the Asgardian public toilets after Loki’s last curry night.”Oddly enough, when it comes to dressing up computer hackers in films and TV shows, the opposite rule applies.On screen, hackers are depicted as punky, funky and spunky. They are yobs and rebels who still manage to have apparently achieved some sort of formal education in computer science. They claim to be anonymous and then roar about town on motorbikes. They harp on about the importance of secrecy but are forever announcing themselves and summarising their hacking credentials to every fucker they meet, like some kind of deranged walking LinkedIn profile stuck in screenreader mode.

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The cloud has a fairly core problem: it's the cloud. You have no idea of the underlying hardware, or how far server A physically sits from server B. You have high-level monitoring but nothing below a very abstract set of statistics, so although you could use something like PerfMon/TypePerf at the Windows level (or the Linux equivalent if you're an Open Source kind of person) you have no idea what's going on on the network.Particularly for an application specialist this is a big deal: in any networked application each contact between endpoints has several phases, from the initial DNS lookup right at the end of the delivery of the results to the user. In the cloud you just can't see this – so research on how your apps perform in this regard needs you to have some kind of data centre presence with some real, physical equipment in it.And the beauty is that you can often equip your R&D “lab” without costing the earth. After all, you didn't throw out those end-of-life switches or routers, did you? In most cases you replace kit not because it's completely unusable but because the vendor no longer supports it and hence it's no use in a business-critical infrastructure. So if you gave me a few Cisco 2600s routers, 3750G switches, ASA5510s, four-year-old Dell servers and the like I'd be perfectly happy. Although you'll need to buy some stuff, it won't be an expensive ground-up purchase.

And the point is I'd be able to let my gang run riot with them and practise stuff. Flash an ancient copy of the ASA firmware onto a 5510 and let them figure out how to upgrade it to the latest release without breaking the VPN connection. We can unplug things and see how the database copes, and whether it manages to get its bearings and pick up where it left off once the connection comes back.Engineers are like children: we like stuff that's new, and we like trying stuff out and finding things out for ourselves
Buy some assorted hard disks – SATA and SAS spinning disks and various types of Flash drive – and do real benchmarks and show yourself just what the difference is. Record what you see, because when you then look back to the cloud for your production systems you'll be so much more convinced that (say) the extra performance of the SSD storage option is worth it – because you'll remember that “Holy crap!” moment when you saw how fast the benchmark was on your own physical box, run by your own fair hand.

The cloud abstracts everything too much to be useful for infrastructure research and testing, and so an in-house alternative is the obvious way to go.And the thing is, engineers are like children: we like stuff that's new, and we like trying stuff out and finding things out for ourselves. And if this can involve real engineering, with real metal boxes (preferably with the lids off where possible), and flashing lights, and bits of electric string, all the better.And this means physical kit. On our premises. Combine this with the undeniable fact that experimenting is fun, and it's the obvious way of getting the fun stuff back into the data centre. Microsoft's support forums and the Surface subreddit are filled with folks claiming their displays erratically wink completely on and off. This happens, we're told, whether the tablet is running on its own or when it's docked in its base station."A small number of customers have flagged some issues with their Surface Book," a Redmond spokesperson told The Register. "We are working hard to resolve them quickly and easily with Windows Update."

The reports come just two days into the retail run for the high-end Microsoft tablet-notebook convertible. Marketed as a high-end expansion on the Surface Pro, the Surface Book starts at a price of $1500 and offers up to an Intel Core i7 processor and 1TB SSD in the tablet, with an additional Nvidia discrete GPU built into the keyboard dock.That high-priced, hefty hardware package seems to be coming with some early hiccups. A video captured by one Surface Book owner shows the mysterious screen flicker in action."Just got my unit, i7 512GB. Applied all the updates (including the recent firmware). My screen keeps flickering on/off, whether or not the screen is docked," user Jarem said of the problem."I've tried resetting but the issue still persists. It also seems independent of running apps or focused windows. Adjusting the brightness doesn't resolve the issue.""It doesn't seem to do it when the screen is attached in laptop mode, but flipping the screen around makes it flicker like crazy," wrote user JohnnyLocust."Spent about 2 hours with tech support on the phone. All we did was a complete factory reset and reinstall the latest firmware and drivers. One hour later, the flicker started right back up."While the cause of the flickering has not yet been determined, users have suggested the problem may be related to Hyper-V, as some reported that disabling the Windows 10 hypervisor alleviates the flickering issue.Though many Windows users will not need Hyper-V enabled, the issue could be a problem for the Surface book in particular, as Redmond has positioned the tablet, with its in-dock discrete GPU, as a solution for high-end enterprise users.

This week, the pair developing the Novena open laptop have provided an update on their work. The idea is to develop a usable system that is completely open to customization and scrutiny – from the electronics to the firmware to the operating system to the applications.This is ideal for people paranoid there is malicious code hidden in closed-source drivers and firmware in their motherboards and hardware, or just fed up with insecure and broken closed-source software from manufacturers.Andrew Huang and Sean Cross, two self-employed engineers living in Singapore, built their computer around a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9-powered Freescale system-on-chip and a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) – the specs are here. (The pair trust the system-on-chip and the FPGA behave as documented.)Even the display bezel is hackable, with Huang explaining: "Anyone with access to an entry-level machine shop can fabricate a custom bezel to accommodate a different LCD, as well as mount additional sensors (such as a camera or a microphone) or additional buttons and knobs."A crowdfunding round via Crowd Supply 18 months ago far exceeded its goals, even though prices ranged from $1,195 to a $5,000 wooden model.The pair were obliged to reject RedHat and Ubuntu because they required black-box drivers for GPU acceleration to draw the pointless desktop eye candy, and opted for a fully free Debian on GNU/Linux with the Xfce4 window manager.

"We hope eventually to figure out enough of the GPU to let us do 3D graphics with acceleration sufficient to produce a user experience much like that of any mainstream laptop," the guys said.The pair want you to think of it as a piece of lab equipment. A software-defined radio board was developed for the Novena by Myriad RF to avoid using more black-box radio hardware and firmware.As an exercise in producing an open system from scratch, it's fascinating. The Novena board has already been used as the basis for a crypto key signing box, Cryptech.You can read the duo's adventures at the IEEE's Spectrum, here. For what it's worth, a startup called Purism is doing similar with an x86-based laptop, but it relies on Intel's closed-source processor initialization firmware, which gives some people the heebie-jeebies. Analysis Microsoft stubbornly refuses to let go of making hardware, but now the reasons why CEO Satya Nadella has not followed his clear instinct to ditch devices (except Xbox) are becoming clearer.

We have analysed many times why Microsoft should not make smartphones and tablets, mainly because of conflicts of interest with the OEM partners which have always been the basis of its model. However, there is the defensive reason that without the former Nokia products, there would be very few Windows handsets at all. The software giant is ill-equipped, in terms of its business model and its capabilities, to be a vendor of mass market hardware.Yet it does need Windows 10 to live up to its promises of spanning every kind of device and screen, which means continuing to provide users, especially in the business sector, with the option of a Windows smartphone. And the Surface range is starting to justify the approach that software platform giants need to create and drive new form factors themselves by showcasing the capabilities of their operating systems on their own hardware. Microsoft has taken that tack in the past, though usually retreating quickly once a particular product gained traction among "real" hardware vendors (as seen with its Wi-Fi access point, for instance).Google has done the same with Nexus. Neither of these represents the integrated hardware/platform business model of Apple – briefly chased by Nadella’s predecessor Steve Ballmer, with the resulting failure of the Nokia devices acquisition. Instead they show the need for a new OS to have worthy devices.

With the first Surface tablets, it was clear that Microsoft should have left this task to its partners. Google may have complained, when it launched the first release of Android for larger screens, that very few device makers could produce a quality experience to live up to the OS’s potential. But that is not true of Microsoft, which has established and capable customers such as Acer and Asustek.They were vocal in their misgivings about the Windows giant competing with them with Surface.However, between the unloved Surface RT and this week’s launch of the Surface Book, there has been a significant change, partly driven by the emergence of Windows 10 and partly by the decline of the conventional PC. It is imperative that W10 – Microsoft’s last chance to remain a company with its own OS rather than just a multi-platform service provider – succeeds in that post-PC space which is currently being defined, and will include some combination of tablet touchscreens and notebook keyboards, at the base level. There have been all kinds of experiment with these hybrids, but unexpectedly, Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet-with-keyboard has proved definitive, especially since W10 came along.

To prove that point, we only had to see Apple head-to-head with its old enemy with its launch of the iPad Pro, a clear response to the Surface Pro. Now Microsoft has returned the compliment with the launch of its first notebook, the Surface Book. The dividing line between a professional tablet and a laptop is blurring, but increasingly it seems that, after many experiment with post-PC form factors, this is where the successor to the PC will be found. Both Microsoft and Apple are looking to colonize the space via a pincer movement. Both are now offering a beefed-up tablet with optional keyboard, and an ultraslim laptop, though the MacBook Air does not yet have a touchscreen, and Apple CEO Tim Cook last week insisted that, unlike Microsoft, his firm had no plans to converge its mobile/touch and notebook/desktop operating systems.So it’s back to the good old days of Windows and Apple Mac fighting it out for the business base – though with the critical difference that Microsoft is making its own hardware rather than relying on its PC OEMs. Just as one of the problems for Windows Phone was the conflict of interest between the Microsoft/Nokia alliance and the bid to create a broad device ecosystem, so Microsoft risks the same effect in the emerging market for tablet/notebook hybrids.

That form factor, with its assorted variations from Intel Ultrabooks to Surface Pro tablets, will be vital to propel Windows 10 growth, but despite the latter-day success of the Surface family, Microsoft cannot dominate the post-PC territory all by itself. To fend off MacBooks, iPads, Chromebooks and Android devices, it needs to have a broad base of OEMs making innovative Windows 10 products. If it confines its Surface launches to a leadership role – demonstrating to OEMs, developers and users what can be done with W10, as Google does for Android with Nexus – that should be possible. But if it competes with its own partners, it risks driving them towards Linux.The Surface Book sports a 13.5-inch touchscreen which detaches to work as a standalone tablet. It claims up to 12 hours of battery life and comes in flexible configurations, with choices of memory (up to 16GB of RAM), hard drive size (up to a terabyte) and processor speed. The device runs on sixth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Intel HD graphics, and there is an optional Nvidia GeForce GPU. All that comes at a price - $1,499 for the entry level model, up to $2,699 for the top end.

The Surface Book has a decent chance of becoming a successful device in its own right, and not purely as an accelerant for new W10 form factors – though that will be a double-edged sword for Microsoft, whose PC partners still have to pay for Windows licences for larger gadgets, and which have Chrome and Linux alternatives in their sights too, if they feel squeezed out of the post-PC segment. On the other hand, a successful Surface could help keep Windows relevant and in-demand, proving to the OEMs that there is still a good reason to stay loyal to the old platform. The situation is very different for the Lumia smartphones, which are not defending a dominant position, like Surface, but struggling with single-digit market share and no obvious role in life except to ensure that W10 options are available across all form factors.The first Lumia smartphones designed specifically for Windows 10 made their debut with all the genuinely strong attributes of former Nokia products - the innovative Windows Phone user interface, now the basis of the whole W10 experience: the top class imaging. But they launched without US carrier support and with the usual challenge of a far smaller apps base than Android or iOS.

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Existing devices, like the Lumia 830 on which this review is being typed, can connect wirelessly to full-size displays, but only with display mirroring, limiting the screen resolution. True Continuum displays different content on each screen. Therefore the forthcoming HD-500 Display Dock requires a Lumia 950 or 950XL.Despite this limitation, there are features in this build that seem to be aimed at Continuum users. After connecting to an external display, there is an Advanced setting appears that only offers “Mirror what’s on my device”, but which would presumably have further options on new hardware. You can also reduce the size of the text and other on-screen items, making it almost unreadable on the phone itself, but more usable on the connected display. This makes it feasible to type a document in Word Mobile, though I cannot pretend it is a great experience. Connecting a Bluetooth mouse is no-go for me; the mouse works, but types random repeating characters as a side-effect. Without a mouse, it is fiddly to perform operations like taking a screenshot, inserting it into the document, and cropping it. I found myself looking forward to finishing the document on a real PC.

Another issue is power management. In full Windows 10, you can vary how quickly the screen goes off after inactivity, according to whether the device is on battery or external power. This is not possible in the current build, and screen time-outs are particularly annoying since the wireless display disconnects. Real Continuum will be a better experience, though no doubt there will still be annoyances. The open question here is how useful it will be. It only makes sense if you are travelling without a laptop or tablet, and to use it you will need keyboard, mouse and a display with either the Microsoft dock or wireless connectivity. It is unlikely to replace a PC since x86 applications will not run. It all sounds rather niche.How is Windows 10 Mobile shaping up as a smartphone OS? It is usable though there is still occasional jerkiness on the Lumia 830 used for this review. There are several things to like. App navigation is excellent, with the Start menu available by swiping in from the right, and pinned tiles which support groups as well as multiple sizes. Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, makes more sense on a phone than on a PC, and works rather well, with decent voice recognition as well as handy features like reading incoming texts and accepting dictated replies, now fixed to be always on (as an option) rather than restricted to Bluetoooth audio. Give Cortana a sum to do, and a calculator appears embedded in the reply, another neat feature.

Police have seized the laptop of a BBC journalist who had interviewed men identifying themselves with jihadist organisation Islamic State in order to access these communications.The laptop of Secunder Kermani was taken by police under powers available through the Terrorism Act 2000, according to the Independent.The Register understands Kermani has not been detained or questioned.Kermani, a journalist with BBC's flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, had produced interviews and features on British-born terrorists and others from Western backgrounds sympathetic to jihadist organisation Islamic State.While the seizure was ostensibly to acquire the journalist's communications with one such source, it is notable because it forced Kermani to hand over his personal property, rather than a standard request to an internet service provider to collect retained communications data.According to a BBC spokesperson: "Police obtained an order under the Terrorism Act requiring the BBC to hand over communication between a Newsnight journalist and a man in Syria who had publicly identified himself as an IS member. The man had featured in Newsnight reports and was not a confidential source."

While controversy persists regarding police powers under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to target the communications of journalists, previous complaints triggered reforms that now require the police to obtain a court-issued warrant before targeting journalists' communications. However, the Interception of Communication Commissioner's Office (IOCCO) reported this year that many police forces were failing to do so.That Kermani's physical machine was seized by the police suggests that communications between himself and his sources were unavailable to the police through RIPA. Such unavailability has been a gripe of the British government in recent months, with suggestions of banning end-to-end encrypted communications – but not encryption wholesale – left open by Baroness Shields, ironically the minister for internet safety and security, in the coming Investigatory Powers Bill.Michelle Stanistreet, secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: "There are serious questions to be answered about why the order obtained by the police warranted the seizing of a journalist's laptop - which may well have contained confidential information on other sources and other stories too. Terrorism laws should not be used as convenient cloaks to sidestep measures that protect press freedom and the ability of journalists to inform the public and to hold power to account."

If Kermani's communications were encrypted on his device, he may now face a compulsory disclosure order under Section 49 of RIPA which would compel him to disclose the cryptographic key protecting his communications or face a maximum of two years in prison.Ian Katz, editor of Newsnight, said: "While we would not seek to obstruct any police investigation we are concerned that the use of the Terrorism Act to obtain communication between journalists and sources will make it very difficult for reporters to cover this issue of critical public interest." The cloud is a fabulous concept. If you want to try something out, or prototype your latest idea, or give yourself a relatively inexpensive disaster recovery setup, get in there and run up a cloud-based installation.There's something that the cloud lacks, though: it's just not fun or cool. Lists of virtual machines in the Azure management GUI aren't sexy. Neither is the pop-up on AWS that tells you the settings you need to paste into your router to get your VPN up and running. And incidentally, Microsoft and Amazon, I'm not having a pop specifically at you – they're just random examples that apply to the cloud in general rather to than any one supplier in particular.


One of the things that has to stay in your data centre, assuming you have one, is the infrastructure that runs it. There's nothing quite as impressive as a spankingly tidy cabinet, every cable run perfectly along the cable management tray, perhaps colour-coded for important connections.I've had managers and auditors become wide-eyed and gasp when I've opened the cabinet door on a particularly sexy collection of flashing lights and cables (not, I hasten to add, my own cabling handiwork – happily I used to have a colleague called Chris who was amazing at that stuff).And if your hardware vendor does cool kit, that's a bonus. My favourite was 3PAR's (now HP's) funky racks with yellow flashes across the doors. A colleague once referred to the yellow rack and the humming of the disks therein as “a box of angry bees”. What I do know is that everyone commented on it.Sadly, of course, the best any vendor can hope to achieve is second best, because the best-looking piece of kit ever devised has been out of production for years.

Someone told me only this week of her experience rather a lot of years ago when she was a trainee accountant at the UK Atomic Energy Authority … and she went to see the Cray in its data centre. If you think anything can beat a proper Cray (the Cray-1, not one of those poncey 19-inch-rack-with-funky-doors ones they do these days), you're welcome to submit challenges in the Comments section of this page. I come from a world of running resilient global infrastructures. This tends to mean a global network connected to a bunch of kit at each location that largely follows a standard architecture, since if everything's the same it's a breeze to manage. So you have the same firewalls, same family of switches, the same remote management servers, the same fileservers, the same storage devices, and so on at each site; the only thing that will usually change was the number of switches in the stack, reflecting the fact that some offices are bigger and have more users than others. And of course the only real way to test the resilience of your kit is to have a real setup to play with.

Doing it for real has two key advantages. First, you're proving conclusively that it does what you expect. Yes, you can emulate a link failure by downing the port on (say) the WAN router, but it's still electrically connected in some cases. I've seen instances where downing the port didn't cause the link to go down entirely, but pulling the cable did – handy to know when you're testing your failover design. Second, though, is when you're trying to sell the idea of the CFO, or the company's investment committee, so they'll give you the money to actually do it.Take a bunch of senior managers to the data centre, open up the rack on your test network, run up a funky streamed music video on your laptop, and invite them to do their worst. “Pick a switch and pull the power on it,” you can tell them, and the video keeps on humming.Stuff the power back in and watch the monitoring alerts all turn green when the switch is back on line. Invite them to pull the cable from the primary (simulated) WAN connection in the knowledge that it's supposed to be resilient; see the video pause for a few seconds while BGP re-converges and then pick up where it left off without you doing anything.

If you're a techie, you think this is cool and you feel smug; if you're a manager you think the techie is some kind of wizard who does weird magic because until this point they thought this whole resilient technology was unfounded bollocks that you made up.Of course you could have demonstrated this from a distance by electronically downing ports, but being there in person and seeing it for real is worth a thousand semi-artificial demos. In these days of cloud computing, auditors can be a royal pain in the arse. Particularly the younger ones who are sent to do the initial on-site interviews and whose sole contribution to the process is the ability to write down what they're told.I love taking auditors to data centres. They're so used to people saying: “Oh, that's in the cloud” or “It's in our service provider's premises … here's a photocopy of their ISO27001 certificate” that they spend their lives with a suspicious look on their face.

So it's great when they ask: “Can you tell me where XXX is stored?” You email the data centre receptionist surreptitiously to tell him to be particularly pedantic about ID, then shepherd the auditors outside, hop in the car, drive down to the data centre, go through the (now overly onerous) entry procedure, open the door of cabinet C23, point to the third disk shelf down, and say: “It's on there.” Even better, you nod to cabinet D14 and mention: “Oh, it's in there as well, and I won't bother showing you the other data centre as it's a long way away, but it's there too.”Beancounters like boxes you can point at, particularly when they have big black-and-white labels saying “CORP-MailServer-01”. Auditor-baiting is a great game, and you can only do it if you have core stuff in your DC. You may, of course, end up deciding to move your entire production application world into the cloud. It's inexpensive, security isn't regarded as an excessive problem, and support costs generally go down markedly when someone else has to look after the hardware and the software upgrades.Even if you do, though, the data centre remains the ideal place to do your architecture tests and prototyping – trying things out and seeing how they behave. The example I gave earlier about inviting people to pull the connection out of the simulated WAN link is exactly what I'm talking about: a platform that physically exists but isn't part of the production infrastructure. It's got routers, servers, switches, storage, bits of cable, its own internet connection, and preferably additional tools such as a WAN emulator, dedicated PC for network monitoring, and so on.

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