The legal spat between Epic Games and Apple entered somewhat philosophical territory on Wednesday as the battling sides debated over whether the iPhone legitimately constitutes a general-purpose computing device, or is merely a locked-down platform with a specific purpose, such as a games console.
Epic Games, which has alleged Apple's tight control on the way iOS software is distributed and monetised is tantamount to an antitrust abuse, called up Lori Wright, Microsoft's head of Xbox business development, as a witness.
During her testimony (audio-only link to the hearing here), Wright divided devices into two categories. Special-purpose devices like the Xbox, she said, are purchased by consumers because they perform a specific function. While the Xbox can be used to stream content on Spotify or Netflix, its raison d'etre is playing games.
In another chapter to a saga that refuses to die, the US government has recommended [PDF] that the Supreme Court rejects Oracle’s efforts to overturn a Department of Defense decision to award the $10bn JEDI contract to Microsoft.
Acknowledging there were problems with the controversial contract award, which fellow bidder AWS is also contesting, these would not have affected Oracle’s chances of winning the deal, the government claimed in its brief. Security concerns over the geographic distribution of data centres were the main reason Big Red failed to win.
The US government asked the justices of the Supreme Court to reject Oracle’s challenge, saying that the Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Circuit had been correct in concluding that Oracle would need to show it had a “substantial chance” of winning the contract in order for procurement errors to be addressed.
The Microsoft-sponsored .NET Foundation has released a survey-based "State of .NET" report showing that efforts to broaden the appeal of the technology beyond its own platform have had limited success so far.
The .NET Foundation was set up by Microsoft in 2014, around the time that the cross-platform and open-source .NET Core was first announced, the idea being to support the .NET ecosystem.
Between November 2020 and March 2021, it conducted its first survey of .NET developers, the results of which have just been made public.
The beast is back... almost. A "100 per cent compatible Visual Basic 6 solution" has been promised to the backers of a Kickstarter. There is, however, no word on how much it would cost to ensure it stayed dead.
Visual Basic 6 was the last hurrah in a succession of languages first introduced in 1991 and seemingly killed off once and for all in 2008 (a decade after Visual Basic 6 first shipped in a hefty cardboard box.)
Although devs may sniff at the old thing nowadays, a good many IT professionals owe their start in the computing world to the Rapid Application Development world of Visual Basic. While Visual Basic 1 and 2 could be filed in the novelty drawer (this hack has a particular fondness for 1992's Visual Basic for DOS) it was Visual Basic 3 and its bundled Jet database engine that captured corporate imaginations.
Consumer org Which? reckons more than two million Britons are connected to the internet through routers that were last updated in 2016.
This eye-catching finding came from a Which? survey launched today, seemingly criticising UK ISPs for not complying with a proposed law whose first draft hasn't been introduced to Parliament. The proposal in question is Secure by Design, where the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will be asking phone, tablet, and IoT gadget makers to state when they'll stop providing security updates for new devices entering the market.
Pre-legislative oddities aside, there was a useful point in the survey of 6,000 UK adults carried out in December 2020: six million Britons are using routers that last received security patches in 2018, while 2.4 million of that number are using boxes that might not have been updated for five years.
Dubbed "Hyper Resilience", the plan employs the combinations of a revamped approach to internal backups, external customer back-ups and a new policy of fail-over between three data centres per region.
OVH founder, chair and CFO Octave Klaba and CEO Michel Paulin outlined the plans in a tweeted video address, viewers of which were implicitly being asked to avoid the conclusion that they were closing the stable door after the horse had not only bolted but bought airline tickets to Cancun where it was now sipping mojitos on a beach.
Graphic images Everyone knows the trope. The baddies smash their way in and gun down the guard standing in front of the vault. "Dammit," says the lead bad guy, "it's a biometric scanner, we'll never get in!" His most grizzled henchman turns round, holding up the dead guard's lifeless arm. "Oh yes we will…"
A Reg reader recreated this scene in real life (bits of it) using his Samsung Galaxy A20 phone – and the severed tip of his index finger, parted from his hand thanks to an industrial accident involving a crane.
Kieran Higgins, a semi-retired auditor living in Spain, showed El Reg that his phone's fingerprint sensor read his two-weeks-dead fingertip's print and happily unlocked the device.
Highways England, the authority responsible for the nation's roads and related infrastructure, is asking tech vendors to bid for a project worth up to £15m to replace its ageing pavement information management systems.
Still running on an unsupported Windows 2003 system, the Highways Agency Pavement Management System (HAPMS) dates back more than 20 years and is responsible for recording the status of 6,920km of pavement in England.
Highways England, which has an annual budget of around £4.5bn, is now looking for someone to build a new system based on commercial off-the-shelf software. The current system is based upon an outdated version of the Pitney Bowes Confirm product.
Singapore’s dominant ride-sharing app Grab has added a service for large dogs, or humans who own large numbers of dogs.
The company, which bought Uber’s local operations, has seen close to 170 percent growth over the last two years for its current “GrabPet” service that offers to carry two humans, “two small to medium-sized pets, or one large pet”.
The new GrabPet XL will schlep three human passengers and three small to medium-sized pets (up to 41cm in length), or two large pets (41cm in length or more).
Version 90 of Google's Chrome browser includes a bit of extra security for users of recent versions of Windows and the latest x86 processors, in the form of hardware-enforced stack protection.
This basically means that, if your PC supports it, it's a bit harder for malicious websites to exploit bugs in Chrome to hijack your computer.
Released in April, Chrome 90 supports Intel’s Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) [PDF], a processor-based defense against exploits that use something like Return Oriented Programming (ROP) to violate a program's control-flow integrity (CFI).
Video SpaceX’s latest test of its Starship vehicle has stuck its landing for the first time.
On Wednesday, US time, Starship serial number 15 (SN15) ascended to 10,000 metres, turned off its three raptor engines, and then belly-flopped back toward Earth.
The belly-flop phase of the flight was intentional: the craft has four flaps that let it control its descent.
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