The new deal combines all of those elements so that graphically rich apps will work on Chromebooks.Or at least Chromebooks like the Acer Chromebook 13 released in early August for $279. That price buys you the 13.3in laptop and its Tegra K1 CPU, which hums along at 2.1GHz CPU and includes the small matter of a 192-core GPU. A saccharine launch video shows what's possible.All parties to the deal say a new generation of “VMware BLAST Performance technology” will make this possible, and there are hints that this code will reside at least partly in Chromebooks' firmware.The VMware/Google/Nvidia triumvirate is also talking up a better experience running Microsoft Office in a virtual desktop, a far more mainstream use case. Nor is this stuff on sale yet: there's an early access program kicking off in Q4.Is this alliance therefore more than a gimmicky piece of vapourware? Probably. Google and VMware can point to a better VDI experience for any app. NVIDIA can show off the power of the Tegra K1. Google may also have a far better gaming story, for what that is worth.
But let's not get carried away with the idea that architects and animators are about to throw away their Mac Pros or Windows workstations and rush to buy Chromebooks. This alliance will make it possible to take the apps such users love into a mobile device, on the few occasions they can tear themselves away from their banks of monitors. Doing any meaningful work on a Chromebook's smaller screen isn't likely to happen. Chromeboxes? Watch this space, if the back-end kit required to make this work comes in cheaper than workstations. Google has bought up Gecko Design, the industrial design house behind products like the One Laptop Per Child PC and Fitbit."This is an incredible opportunity for everyone at Gecko," Jacques Gagne, Gecko's president and founder, gushed on the company website. "We are very excited and honored to join Google(x) and work on a variety of cutting edge projects."The biz is being drafted in to work on Google X, the Chocolate Factory's skunkworks team responsible for Google Glass techno-specs and self-driving cars. Google confirmed to El Reg that the acquisition was going ahead, but declined to state how much it had paid for the company.
Gecko worked with Google on an unnamed and thus mysterious product last year, and the search giant was obviously impressed with what it saw. But it's bad news for Gecko's other customers – such as Dell, Logitech and HP – since presumably they will no longer benefit from the designer team's skills.The design house, based in Los Gatos, California, said no redundancies are planned; it's not known if the company will up sticks and move onto the Mountain View campus. QuoTW This was the week when the infamous and terrifying Blue Screen of Death made its return to Windows systems. Folks who said yes to Microsoft’s 40 updates for Internet Explorer, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Pro were left tearing their hair out when the patches started bricking their machines. People had believed, or at least hoped, that the BSOD was a thing of the past, but now here they were, back on the forums, once more seeking a fix for an unknown bug… One cried:I have spent about 8 hours looking into this and I found out that the error occurs when I install any of the following updates: KB2976897, KB2982791 and KB2970228. I checked my laptop's ram and hard disk and they do not show any defects.
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I thought that only Windows 98 systems got blue-screen errors? (I am laughing at you all, because I haven't seen a blue-screen error on my win-98se system for years. I'm typing this reply on one such win-98 system right now - it has 2 gb of installed ram and win-98 can see and use all of it thanks to a few patches. And no, I'm not running 98 in a VM).Over at fellow old guard tech firm HP, champagne corks were doubtless popping after the company managed to pull out of an eleven-quarter sales nosedive. Thanks to that curious upswing in PC sales, HP managed an increase in net revenue of one per cent year on year to $27.6bn. Sadly, net earnings were down 29 per cent to $985m.Turnarounds are not linear and we have a lot of work ahead of us. This is a big ship to turn and we need to move faster.Meanwhile, security researchers have revealed that top Android apps are rife with vulnerabilities, particularly to man-in-the-middle attacks. FireEye’s security staff found that the large majority of the 1,000 most popular apps were open to these hacks, thanks to faulty SSL error and certificate handling. They said:
The Android ecosystem is all about communicating, and right now it's screaming for help. That's because SSL vulnerabilities and the Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) attacks they enable are wreaking havoc on data security.This was also the week when fearless Reg hack Jasper Hamill turned himself in to the police, after learning that merely viewing the video of the purported murder of journalist James Foley in Syria could be seen as an act of terror. Britain's secret-police unit (SO15, aka the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan police, tasked with working alongside the intelligence agencies against spies, terrorists and other supervillains) had announced that just seeing the sickening video could result in charges under sweeping counter-terrorism laws. Jasper gamely told the cops:He was told that viewing alone wouldn't get you banged up, but the fuzz could use the fact of having watched it to fatten up their case against a suspect on other charges. A spokesman said:Distribution is the issue. Viewing the video could be taken into consideration if any other information comes to light.
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In a shock revelation from The Times, we learned that not everything you see on the internet is actually true. The paper headlined its article pondering the authenticity of the Foley video as follows:(What's next? "Bulletin issued by crazed zealots may not be completely factual"? "Photo of Loch Ness monster may not be totally bona-fide"? Hurrah for the Thunderer. -Ed)In Blighty, the government is facing a £224m bill for cancellation fees after it scrapped the £750m e-Borders IT contract. The border security project was supposed to help id folks entering the country, but was scrapped when the new government came in in 2010, leaving US supplier Raytheon out of pocket. The company promptly sued and has won the favour of an adjudicating tribunal.The tribunal's ruling confirms that [Raytheon] delivered substantial capabilities to the UK Home Office under the e-Borders programme.Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement that despite having a huge bill and an unfinished electronic system, the government was still right to cancel the whole thing:
The Government stands by the decision to end the e-Borders contract with Raytheon. This decision was, and remains, the most appropriate action to address the well-documented issues with the delivery and management of the programme.The situation the Government inherited was… a mess with no attractive options.All other alternatives available to the Government would have led to greater costs than the result of this Tribunal ruling.The statement was in response to Keith Vaz, chairman of the Parliament’s Home Affairs select Committee, which scrutinises the Home Office. He described the tribunal’s ruling as a “catastrophic result”.The British government’s Department of Work and Pensions also had trouble this week over its Universal Credit programme.The Public Accounts Committee said in a report that the Major Projects Authority was failing to adequately berate ministers and top civil servants over spending decisions on wildly expensive IT schemes – and singled out Universal Credit in particular.
Review Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3.0 tablet sees its UK release on 28 August. But why is the Surface fondleslab called Surface?Microsoft hijacked the name from one of its own existing products, the niche tabletop display now called PixelSense, but a remark by vice president Panos Panay at the October 2012 launch of the first Surface tablet shows why the team liked the name.“We talk about it as a stage for Windows 8,” he said. “To work with the hardware and software teams together, to pull out everything that Windows is bringing to the surface of Surface.”In other words, Surface was designed to show off Windows 8, which back then meant TIFKAM (The Interface Formerly Known As Metro), Windows Store apps, and multi-tasking with a split screen.“The 10.6-inch screen is the perfect expression of Windows,” said Panay.Customers did not buy it though: neither Surface RT, which was the subject of a $900m write-down in July 2013, nor Windows 8 in general. At least not if they could help it. Look for a business laptop today, and “Windows 7 preloaded” is the constant refrain. Further, the dismal selection of apps in the Windows Store means that even those who do have Windows 8 tend to use it in desktop mode most of the time.