|Digital TV tuner for PlayStation 3, but what's in it for Sony?|
Around March next year, Sony expects to introduce a digital TV tuner add-on turning the PS3 into a personal video recorder, Sony revealed last week.
a TV-enabled PS3 opens up for Sony. Monitoring your viewing habits, monitoring you add-watching habits, monitoring you ad-skipping habits – all precious data to both Sony and interested third parties. The promise of a Sony movie download service is designed to get more PS3 owners to connect their console to the internet, which obviously gives Sony access to the super computer they've snuck into your lounge room in the guise of a games console.
Microsoft has already patented a TiVo for advertisements, with the idea of inserting fresh advertisements into old recordings on personal video recorders, to ensure you see today's ads even if you're watching a recording from last week.
Sony knows if it doesn't add a digital TV tuner to the PS3 then someone else will. By adding a digital TV tuner itself, Sony assures it remains in full control over you and your console. Games consoles are all about control and "owning" your lounge room – and Sony isn't selling the PlayStation 3 just for your viewing pleasure.
|ABC launches interactive television|
Premiering on ABC TV on Monday August 6, RollerCoaster Interactive TV will include audio, games, SMS, competitions and user generated content. The service will air on Foxtel and Optus subscription television services every weekday from on ABC TV from 4.55pm to 5.55pm and on ABC2, ABC’s second digital channel, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm.
Accessible via the red button on the pay TV remote control, the service will include a range of interactive TV games and quizzes. Games will be based on the cartoons and hosted segments that make up the ABC's RollerCoaster TV after school programming. Quizzes will include questions submitted by viewers.
The interactive services will also tie in with www.rollercoaster.com.au, which has expanded to allow children to share their own video and animation content.
Other interactive features allow viewers to superimpose special effects on top of live broadcasts, such as ability to throw objects across the screen and play sound effects.
Patients rate doctors online
ONE Queensland doctor is described as pompous and arrogant, with "absolutely no compassion". Others are described as rude, careless and condescending.
In only three weeks, the number of Queensland doctors named on the RateMDs.com site has grown from 11 to 145–prompting outrage from some of those named.
The RateMDs site also invites patients to mark their doctors on their punctuality, helpfulness and knowledge. Of the 145 Queensland doctors rated, 43 scored the maximum five points, while 27 scored two or less.
A similar website allowing students to anonymously rate their teachers has also taken off in Queensland. The RateMyTeachers. com site now has Brisbane's Mansfield State High among Australia's most-rated schools. Some teachers there were criticised as too arrogant, very gruff, useless and "the worst teacher I have ever had".
Online patents are a virtue
THE release of searchable Australian patents would allow inventors to work far more efficiently, according to the man who has set the information free.
Molecular biologist Richard Jefferson told the HES that he and a small team at his private non-profit organisation Cambia had worked around the clock to transfer the patents into a searchable format.
They finished the job last week and the patents are now on the internet.
The freeing up of patent information would "benefit the entire Australian community that hopes to see innovation work".
Inventors and innovators could be surer of their legal standing and also more efficient.
"Unless you can search for similar products, you have no idea whether somebody has gazumped you," Dr Jefferson said. "You might be putting in hundreds of thousands of dollars into a research project with no clear path for delivery."
Knowing who had patented what would allow follow-up innovators to seek permission to build on existing technology to help them to "navigate this shoal ofrights".
Cambia's patent lens links to seven million searchable patents from Australia, the US, Europe and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Microsoft, Digg in ad deal
MICROSOFT has reached an agreement to be the exclusive provider of display and contextual advertising on, Digg.com, a popular website that lets readers recommend online articles to others.
The three-year agreement between Microsoft and Digg, which has more than 17 million visitors a month, provides a boost to the world's largest software maker's efforts to gain a foothold in the rapidly growing online advertising market.
Microsoft has a similar advertising agreement with another hot Web property, social-networking site Facebook.com.
Predator protection 'in weeks'
AUSTRALIANS will have access to a national online child protection hotline and free internet filtering software "within weeks", when the long-delayed $116 million scheme to protect families from predators and porn finally gets off the ground.
A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan confirmed that the Government was working to a tight deadline to launch the scheme in time for national child protection week, which begins September 7.
the national call centre, which would be large enough to serve 2.5 million families, would be the more powerful component of the strategy.
"The main element of the program is the education component. To my mind, the call centre is going to be a lot more powerful than the actual filters, because parents are going to be able to ring the hotline or go to the web portal to get individual advice about online safety," she said.
The legislation allows the Australian Communications and Media Authority to order ISPs to remove X-rated and Restricted content, and R-rated content that has not been placed behind adult verification systems.
Senator Conroy said that the program didn't go far enough. He said the ALP wanted to introduce laws that would make it mandatory for internet service providers to filter content.
Snaring cyber child corrupters | Australian IT
AFP commissioner Mick Keelty said global authorities had seen "a convergence of pedophile activity on the internet and in the real world".
With more than 7 million people now registered as Second Life residents, up from 300,000 only 10 months ago, Mr Keelty said, more than $US1.7 million ($1.9 million) changed hands through virtual transactions in every 24-hour period.
"It will be a problem for us, as will be the simple art of telephone interception and listening device activity," Mr Keelty said."If you think about it, a lot of that could happen in the virtual world where it will be difficult, if not almost impossible, to prove who has had the conversations or who indeed has been part of a conspiracy."
Other technologies, such as voice over internet protocol telephony, also defeat police intercept capabilities and efforts to identify offenders.
"This has changed the nature of policing," Mr Keelty said. "Criminals have the ability to be flexible and adopt techniques quickly. A lot of those skills do not exist in policing. They will have to be imported from the private sector."
"Our environmental scanning tells us that, with some of the cloning of human beings – not necessarily in Australia but elsewhere – you could have potentially a cloned part-person, part-robot. You could have technology acting at the direction of a human being, but the person being considerably distant from the actual crime scene."
Terror threat if Telstra loses – Burgess | Australian IT
Terror threat if Telstra loses – Burgess
TELSTRA public affairs boss Phil Burgess has suggested Australia would be vulnerable to terrorist attacks if the telecommunications company didn't get its way in the broadband debate.
The telco's plans to build a high-speed fibre-to-the-node broadband network in Australian cities is being considered alongside an alternative plan developed by a nine-member consortium led by Optus.
Telstra has continually highlighted Optus's foreign links through its parent company SingTel, which is majority owned by the Singapore Government's investment vehicle, Temasek.
Dr Burgess' comment that the issue went "right to the heart of national security" marked a ratcheting up of Telstra's rhetoric on the matter.
Dr Burgess comments were:
blasted the Government, which has appointed a committee to consider the broadband issue, for failing to deliver a quick decision.
What we see here is a big stall – another big stall – in making a decision about infrastructure that is critical to the future of the country
the process was a ploy to avoid making a decision before the federal election later this year, he said.
renewed threats to invest Telstra's capital overseas if another provider were chosen to build a fast broadband network.
We'll give them our plan. They can take it or they can leave it, and if they don't want it we'll do other things," he said.
We can do other things in this country, or we can do other things outside this country."
"If we can't spend $4 billion on the FTTN we will find other places to invest that money so our shareholders can be rewarded for their investment in Telstra.
Asked if that could include investing in overseas markets such as China, he responded: "Everything is on the table."
Telstra suing Govt over broadband plan
Telstra lodged the papers today (file photo). (Getty Images: Ian Waldie)
Telstra has lodged papers with the Federal Court of Australia against federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan.
The court action relates to the Federal Government's national broadband program, which awarded almost $1 billion to a consortium run by Elders and Optus owner SingTel to set up a broadband network in regional and rural Australia.
Telstra says it submitted its proposal on the basis that $600 million of funding would be provided by the Commonwealth.
"This is about finding out why the goal posts were changed halfway through a tender process," he said.
"We didn't find out about it and it seems that the original tender process for $600 million turned into $1 billion.
"We didn't find out about it and we want to find out what went on."
Telstra claims the winning bid duplicates existing services.
"We just want to find out the truth," he said. "Were the goal posts changed and were others given information that we weren't entitled to?
"But clearly Telstra, if it wishes to, can put its shareholders' funds into an expensive court case."
The federal Opposition says Telstra has a legitimate complaint against the Government.
The courts will determine the validity of its complaint."
US swoop on mod-chip shops | Australian IT
US FEDERAL customs agents have raided more than 30 businesses and homes in 16 states, looking for devices that allow pirated video games to play on Wiis, PlayStation 2s and Xboxes.
The alleged sale and distribution of illegal modification chips and copyright circumvention devices for the popular consoles and others included 32 search warrants in 16 states, said the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Sales of counterfeit or illegally obtained games cost the industry about $US3 billion ($3.5 billion) a year globally, not including internet piracy, the Entertainment Software Association trade group estimates.
Piracy losses for Nintendo and its game developers and publishers likely totalled $US762 million last year alone, Jodi Daugherty, senior director of anti-piracy at Redmond, Wash.-based Nintendo America said.
Ms Daugherty's five-person team coordinates global anti-piracy efforts for Nintendo's Japan-based parent company. Since April, the company has helped law enforcement agencies worldwide seize 61,000 counterfeit Wii modification chips, she said.
ICE declined to release the names of those targeted but said they are allegedly responsible for importing, installing, selling and distributing foreign-made devices smuggled into the US.
The raids were conducted in: California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin.