Daily Tech Briefing: August 20, 2014

By eWEEK Staff  |  Posted 2014-08-20 Print this article Print

Spate of Cloud outages plague Microsoft Azure; New mobile phone charging methods lurk on the horizon; Microsoft yanks Windows updates after a rash of blue screens; and more.

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Read more about the stories in today's news:


Since Aug. 15, Microsoft has been beset with outages affecting its Azure cloud computing platform, which powers the company's growing infrastructure- and software-as-a-service portfolio.

It began with customers receiving a 500 Internal Server Error message when they tried to log into the Azure Management Portal.

While the company resolved those issues, on Aug. 18, Microsoft confirmed that multiple Azure offerings were suffering a "full service interruption," just as the company rolled out its cloud-based big data solution in two additional regions.

This caused the cloud's suitability for mission-critical enterprise workloads to be called into question.

For decades people have been searching for alternative ways to charge cell phones—from plug-in power extenders to charging pads.

Experiments to use sound waves to wirelessly charge cell phones have been tested in the past, with the latest attempt coming from England's Queen Mary University of London.

What's more, a start-up called uBeam has been working for several years to perfect a method by which it uses ultrasound to move electricity from a source into a wireless device, such as from a smartphone to a tablet or other device.

Microsoft was forced to pull four software updates released on Aug. 12 following reports that they were causing Windows PCs to display the so-called "Blue Screen of Death."

This is an error screen that can only be resolved by restarting the operating system and can result in lost work and in some cases can be a sign of an imminent hardware failure. However, Microsoft took the blame for these system crashes and issued a collection of patches and bug fixes last week.

Community Health Systems presented an 8-K regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stating that its systems were breached in an attack that occurred between April and June 2014.

According to the company that investigated the breach, a China-based attacker is responsible for the intrusion. This shows that it's not just U.S. government and industrial concerns that may have to watch out for Chinese hackers, but health systems will have to be vigilant for potential nation-state hacking as well.


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