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16 years and counting: How ESA squeezed oodles of bonus science out of plucky Mars Express probe

Space extenders As the European Space Agency flicked the standby switch on some of its long-lived spacecraft in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Register figured it was time for a look at how the agency has kept its fleet flying far beyond expectations. Today, the veteran Mars Express orbiter. ESA’s Mars Express (MEX) spacecraft is an interesting beast. Launched on 2 June 2003 from Baikonur aboard a Soyuz…

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What’s the difference between Windows 7 and a bin lorry? One is full of garbage, and the other… oh dear

Bork!Bork!Bork! Welcome to another in our uplifting series of incidents where someone else’s IT misdemeanours are flashed at an unsuspecting world. Behold the bork. Today’s example was spotted on the side of a recycling collection lorry pulling out of Queen’s Crescent in Kentish Town, Camden. The venerable market street has a rich history, although has fallen on hard times in recent years. Despite hosting some of the first Sainsbury’s…

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SAP’s locked-down offshore project managers develop remote work plans for clients

India is the dominant source of offshored IT workers, and home to big facilities for plenty of global IT companies. India is also in lockdown and workers there cannot leave their homes except under limited cirumstances. So The Register decided to ask big global IT companies if the situation has changed the way they deliver services from India, or their ability to do so. We asked how they are…

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Sucks to be you, ICANN. We can go our own way: Opera to support sites using renegade top-level domain .crypto

Opera has updated its lightweight browser for Android so that it can access unofficial .crypto domains, primarily to exchange cryptocurrency. Support for .crypto in Opera will “bring the blockchain-browsing experience to a new level,” the Norwegian software maker gushed on Monday. Crucially, dot-crypto simply doesn’t exist in the global domain name system, and is not recognized by DNS overseer ICANN nor the world’s DNS resolvers. It is a renegade…

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Oracle makes some certifications and cloudy content free, in case you have time on your hands

Oracle will offer free training and learning material during the coronavirus lockdown. The company’s training division, Oracle University, said last night it will make all its content and certifications, including more than 50 hours of online training and six certificate exams, free until May 15. The courses include material for Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure and Autonomous Database systems, as well as more general courses around data science, machine learning, and…

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Microsoft reveals 775 percent Azure surge, quotas on some resources and ‘significant new capacity’ coming ASAP

Microsoft has revealed “a 775 percent increase of our cloud services in regions that have enforced social distancing or shelter in place orders” and is “expediting the addition of significant new capacity that will be available in the weeks ahead”, but has already imposed some quotas to cope with huge demand for its cloud. The software giant over the weekend issued “Update #2 on Microsoft cloud services continuity” that…

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Infosys fires employee who Facebooked ‘let’s hold hands and share coronavirus’

Infosys has fired an employee who reportedly used his Facebook account to suggest wilfully spreading coronavirus. The man allegedly posted “Let’s join hands, go out and sneeze with open mouth in public. Spread the Virus”. The post was widely spread, then widely condemned, and the poster identified as an Infosys employee in India. Infosys quickly caught wind of the situation and even interrupted its usually ShinyHappy™ Twitter feed to…

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Drones intone ‘you must stay home,’ eliciting moans from those in the zone: Flying gizmos corral Brits amid coronavirus lockdown

Authorities in the UK have begun using drones to direct the public to comply with public health measures announced on Monday to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. On Thursday, the Neath Port Talbot Council, which serves the Welsh towns of Neath and Port Talbot, said it is working with local police and the Safer Neath Port Talbot Community Partnership to deploy drones “to distribute public information” in…

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Remember that clinical trial, promoted by President Trump, of a possible COVID-19 cure? So, so, so many questions…

A research paper, championed by President Donald Trump, that suggested hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin could effectively treat COVID-19 coronavirus victims is flawed, scientists fear. As world leaders face mounting pressure to contain the novel coronavirus, and hospitals are overwhelmed with patients needing beds and ventilators, there is a desperate search to find a vaccine as well as a cure. Unfortunately, desperation can lead to the grabbing of straws. Medics and…

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Gresecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens’ legal bill in row over GPL

After three years of legal wrangling, the defamation lawsuit brought by Brad Spengler and his company Open Source Security (OSS) against open-source pioneer Bruce Perens has finally concluded. It was clear that the end was nigh last month when California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling against the plaintiffs. Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the…

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