Episode 059

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iTWire – Aussie iTunes Store removes DRM-free surcharge
Aussie iTunes Store removes DRM-free surcharge
Apple's Australian iTunes Store has followed the lead of its US counterpart and eliminated the surcharge previously applied to DRM-free versions of songs

When first introduced in June, unprotected 256kbps iTunes Plus tracks sold for $A2.19, compared with $A1.69 for 128kbps FairPlay-protected versions.

Effective today, all iTunes Plus tracks available from the Australian store will be priced at $A1.69.

iTWire – Mac OS X Leopard arrives 26 October
Mac OS X Leopard arrives 26 October

Apple has announced that the long awaited Mac OS X Leopard will go on sale Friday, 26 October at 6:00pm at Apple Authorised Resellers in Australia and the new version appears to offer existing users a feature rich upgrade at a very reasonable price.
Apple’s online store is now accepting pre-orders. According to Apple, Leopard is packed with more than 300 new features and introduces a brand new desktop with Stacks, a new way to easily access files from the Dock; a redesigned Finder that lets users quickly browse and share files between multiple Macs; Quick Look, a new way to instantly see files without opening an application; Spaces, an intuitive new feature used to create groups of applications and instantly switch between them; and Time Machine, an effortless way to automatically back up everything on a Mac.

iTWire – Users' help needed for the Internet's big change
Users' help needed for the Internet's big change

ICANN is set to launch a trial in preparation for enabling domain names to be written in scripts other than roman (as used for English, French and most European languages), and is calling for users to help with the evaluation.

Thirteen different scripts have been selected for the trial: Arabic, Persian Arabic, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Cyrillic (Russian), Devanagari (Hindi), Greek, Hangul (Korean), Hebrew, Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana (Japanese) and Tamil. ICANN says these were chosen because they represent "the Internet communities that have shown the most interest in moving internationalised domain names from concept to reality."

"This evaluation represents ICANN's most important step so far towards the full implementation of Internationalised Domain Names. This will be one of the biggest changes to the Internet since it was created," said Dr Paul Twomey, ICANN's president and CEO.

For the evaluation ICANN has created versions, one in each script of a new top level domain .test From 15 October 2007, Internet users around the globe will be able to access wiki pages with the domain name example.test in the test scripts and create their own subpages (example.teset/myname) which they will then be able to invite others to try an access.

At present non-ASCII characters can be used only before the top level domain name – the part of the address before the dot. The top level domain name can use only the letters of the English alphabet

Twomey said: "IDNs will change this so that literally tens of thousands of characters will be available to the world… "Users will be able to have their name in their language for their Internet when full IDN implementation makes available tens of thousands of characters from the languages of the world."

Online party hopes to click with voters – web – Technology
Online party hopes to click with voters

Australia's first completely online political party hopes to give unprecedented power to the people by throwing open all of its decisions to a web-based vote.

The party, Senator On-Line (SOL), is running for a place in the Senate and plans to allow anyone on the electoral roll to vote, via its website, on every piece of legislation that passes through Parliament.

Party founder Berge Der Sarkissian said the positions of his senators would be based solely on the results of the online polls.

The Independent Mayor of Willoughby and sometime Elvis impersonator, Pat Reilly, will run as the party's main candidate for NSW. He has been in local government for 30 years, 10 of those as mayor.

Car bombs, Tom Cruise and botox – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Car bombs, Tom Cruise and botox

Germany, Mexico and Austria were world's top three searchers of the word "Hitler" while "Nazi" scored the most hits in Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom, data from 2004 to the present retrievable on the Google Trends website showed.

Chile also came in first place searching for the word "gay", followed by Mexico and Colombia.

The top searchers for other keywords were as follows (in order from first to third place):

"Jihad" – Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan

"Terrorism" – Pakistan, Philippines, Australia

"Hangover" – Ireland, United Kingdom, United States

"Burrito" – United States, Argentina, Canada

"Iraq" – United States, Australia, Canada

"Taliban" – Pakistan, Australia, Canada

"Tom Cruise" – Canada, United States, Australia

"Britney Spears" – Mexico, Venezuela, Canada

"Homosexual" – Philippines, Chile, Venezuela

"Love" – Phillipines, Australia, United States

"Botox" – Australia, United States, United Kingdom

"Viagra" – Italy, United Kindgom, Germany

"David Beckham" – Venezuela, United Kingdom, Mexico

"Kate Moss" – Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden

"Dolly Buster" – Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia

"Car bomb" – Australia, United States, Canada

"Marijuana" – Canada, United States, Australia

"IAEA" – Austria, Pakistan, Iran

Google Watch – YouTube – Google Launches Anti-piracy Tool for YouTube
Google Launches Anti-piracy Tool for YouTube

Months after promising tools that will help weed out copyrighted material on YouTube, Google today launched the beta of its YouTube Video Identification tool for pinpointing pirated content

Video Identification will help copyright holders identify their works on YouTube, and choose whether to block, promote or monetize their videos if a copyright holder chooses to license their content
Users can click here for more information and the sign-up form.

 

 

BBC NEWS | Business | Google profits beat expectations

Google profits beat expectations

Google has seen its shares surge above $600

Web search giant Google saw its profits leap 46% in the third quarter, beating expectations as it gains market share.

The firm saw profits for the three months to the end of September hit $1.07bn (£523.4m) up from 733.4m for the same period a year earlier.

The latest rise comes after Google saw profits for the second quarter miss forecasts – which has only occurred twice in just over three years.

Google shares recently breached the $600 mark, rising $100 over four weeks.

The firm's shares ended at $639.62 on Thursday, but in after-hours trading the stock reached $642.20 – marking a rise of just over $6 or 1%.

The company's revenue reached $3.01bn for the quarter, after commissions for advertising partners.

Telstra, Labor 'in cahoots': Vaile | Australian IT

Telstra, Labor 'in cahoots': Vaile

Michael Sainsbury and Cath Hart | October 19, 2007

LABOR will not release any coverage maps for its partly taxpayer-funded $8 billion national broadband network, claiming it has based its calculations on confidential Telstra network information.

Senator Helen Coonan has described the Labor maps as "doctored" and "a stunt"

This week, The Australian revealed Opposition maps that Labor is using to claim the $958 million government-funded OPEL regional broadband project does not provide the coverage claimed by Communications Minister Helen Coonan.

The revelations prompted Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile to say yesterday that Labor was "in cahoots" with Telstra over its attack on the Coalition's broadband plan.

Opposition communications spokesman Stephen Conroy yesterday admitted he would not be releasing any of his own coverage maps. He has promised to tip $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds into a public-private partnership with the group that wins a public tender for the project.

"The network configuration is drawn from commercial in-confidence information that Telstra, understandably, will not allow us to publish," Senator Conroy said last night.

"Ours are based on phone lines in the ground."

Suncorp takes a shine to India | Australian IT

Suncorp takes a shine to India

Katherine Jimenez | October 19, 2007

SUNCORP yesterday announced that up to 250 back-office jobs could be transferred to Infosys, the India-based business process outsourcer, as the Queensland group embarks on a retail growth push.

As part of the revamp, 270 customer-facing jobs will be created over three years to support a $50 million investment in Suncorp branches in Australia's two fastest growing economies, Queensland and Western Australia, and mortgage broker expansion, mainly in the southern states.

The 270 customer-facing jobs will be relocated out of Suncorp's back-office operations, which process loan applications and data entry activities.

To fill the back-office gap, the bancassurance company has entered into partnerships with Perpetual and Infosys in an attempt to develop a more efficient and scalable process in parts of the bank's back office.

By 2011 up to 250 back-office jobs could be transferred to Infosys, which would provide services through a mix of onshore and offshore resources. However, it is understood that most of the jobs transferred to Infosys will be offshored to India.

Apple

Digital age costs BBC jobs | Australian IT

Digital age costs BBC jobs

Kate Holton in London | October 19, 2007

BRITAIN'S public broadcaster has announced plans to cut 1,800 jobs and integrate its TV, radio and internet news operations to confront the digital-age shift away from traditional media.

The BBC, paid by the British public to "inform, educate and entertain," said 2,500 posts would go, but it will also create new positions to offer content when and where the audience wants it.

"Media is transforming, audiences are transforming," BBC director general Mark Thompson told staff. "I care too much to see (the BBC) drift steadily into irrelevance."

"It would be easy to say that the sheer pace of this revolution is too fast for the BBC … but I think we can see both here and around the world the price you pay for taking what looks like the safe option."

News and factual departments will be hardest hit in the move, which follows almost 4,000 job cuts announced in 2005. Most jobs are likely to go sooner than the plan's 2012-13 deadline.

Staff have said morale at the BBC, fondly known as "Auntie" or the "Beeb" in Britain, is terrible and unions, fearing quality will suffer, have threatened strike action.

MySpace makes move on Facebook | Australian IT

MySpace makes move on Facebook

Michele Gershberg and Eric Auchard in San Francisco | October 19, 2007

NEWS Corp's MySpace, the world's largest online social network, said it will allow outside developers further access to its service to counter the growth of smaller rival Facebook.

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch joined MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe to make the announcement before Silicon Valley's internet elite and answer questions about the media conglomerate's digital future.

"We are opening our platform in the next couple of months," Mr DeWolfe said, confirming months of speculation that MySpace would follow in the footsteps of Facebook, which emerged as a serious competitor after allowing software developers to create applications for its users.

At the same time Murdoch signalled lower expectations for MySpace revenue in the company's 2008 fiscal year ending in June, suggesting it may not reach a previous forecast of over $US800 million ($893 million).

"I might say $US750 (million) but it's at least 30 times what it was the day we bought it two years ago," Mr Murdoch said at the web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. "If we keep that trajectory going like that we'll be very happy."

Mr Murdoch's acquisition of MySpace for $US580 million in 2005 crowned him as the smartest media executive at the time, once rivals realized the potential of its growing base of users for promotions and advertising.

CBA overhauls NetBank, website | Australian IT

CBA overhauls NetBank, website

Nicki Bourlioufas | October 18, 2007

THE Commonwealth Bank has upgraded its online banking service NetBank after customer feedback as the big banks try to push more services online.

The bank’s online banking service NetBank has been revamped with a new homepage and links to finance tools, with the changes to go live on Saturday.

"NetBank …features an improved home page, simpler short cuts, customer news bulletins and links to useful tools such as budget planners and a home loan calculator," Ross McEwan, CBA group executive, retail banking services, said.

"We started the ball rolling six months ago with the introduction of two-factor authentication for NetBank to deliver safer and more secure online banking."

CBA has simplified the navigation process on its homepage and boosted the search function on the website.

The bank has an average of 100,000 visitors each day and close to three million unique visitors every month, Commonwealth Bank chief marketing officer Mark Buckman said.

"The website has been redesigned to emphasise simplicity and deliver a positive experience when our customers visit the site either for online banking, or product and service information," he said.

BBC NEWS | Business | Apple to open up iPhone software

Apple to open up iPhone software

The iPhone was launched back in the summer

Apple boss Steve Jobs has said that outside developers will now be allowed to make add-on software for the iPhone.

The move follows criticism that Apple was previously not allowing outsiders to make programs that would run easily on the popular mobile phone.

Last month Apple warned iPhone users not to hack into the gadget to install unauthorised programs.

Apple said that such moves would render the phones "permanently inoperable" when it releases software updates.

'Vibrant community'

"We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users," said Mr Jobs.

He added that it would take until February to release a software development kit (SDK), as Apple both wanted to "provide an advanced and open platform", at the same time as protecting iPhone users from viruses and privacy attacks.

The SDK will also allow developers to make applications for the iPod touch, which uses the same underlying architecture as the iPhone.

Apple has played a cat and mouse game with hackers since the phone's launch, with programmers battling the protection on the device in order to install third-party programs, such as games emulators, net telephony applications and turning the gadget into a remote control.

Apple has also faced criticism that iPhone users cannot choose their phone network.

Instead, those in the US have to use AT&T, while UK users are tied to 02.

In France the iPhone will have to be sold with and without a contract, according to the country's laws.

Orange is the exclusive carrier for the phone but under French law phones must also be supplied unlocked for use on other networks.

Adobe sees full shift to Web | Australian IT

Adobe sees full shift to Web

Daisuke Wakabayashi in San Francisco | October 19, 2007

ADOBE Systems is working to deliver all of its software via the web as a service rather than a packaged product, but the transition to earn money from subscriptions or advertising could take a decade.

Adobe, a leading maker of graphic and web design software, earns most of its money through the sales of packaged software that runs locally on a computer's hard drive but it has started offering some of its applications online as service.

Speaking at the web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Adobe chief executive Bruce Chizen said running software on the desktop is still optimal for most of its customers, but that will change over time.

"The desktop is a powerful, powerful machine in which to run applications. Broadband, as quick as it gets, is still going to have some limitations in the short term," said Mr Chizen in a question-and-answer session on stage at the conference.

Mr Chizen answered a question about whether a complete shift to web delivery would take five or 10 years and he indicated it would be closer to a decade.

Like many traditional software makers including Microsoft, Adobe must fend off rivals delivering competing applications over the web and it also needs to adopt a new business model after years of selling software in boxes.

Mr Chizen expects professional customers of products like Acrobat document-sharing or Photoshop for editing images would opt to pay for subscriptions versus facing a steady stream of advertising to use tools critical to their jobs.

BBC NEWS | Business | Apple to open up iPhone software

Apple to open up iPhone software

The iPhone was launched back in the summer

Apple boss Steve Jobs has said that outside developers will now be allowed to make add-on software for the iPhone.

The move follows criticism that Apple was previously not allowing outsiders to make programs that would run easily on the popular mobile phone.

Last month Apple warned iPhone users not to hack into the gadget to install unauthorised programs.

Apple said that such moves would render the phones "permanently inoperable" when it releases software updates.

'Vibrant community'

"We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users," said Mr Jobs.

He added that it would take until February to release a software development kit (SDK), as Apple both wanted to "provide an advanced and open platform", at the same time as protecting iPhone users from viruses and privacy attacks.

The SDK will also allow developers to make applications for the iPod touch, which uses the same underlying architecture as the iPhone.

Apple has played a cat and mouse game with hackers since the phone's launch, with programmers battling the protection on the device in order to install third-party programs, such as games emulators, net telephony applications and turning the gadget into a remote control.

Apple has also faced criticism that iPhone users cannot choose their phone network.

Instead, those in the US have to use AT&T, while UK users are tied to 02.

In France the iPhone will have to be sold with and without a contract, according to the country's laws.

Orange is the exclusive carrier for the phone but under French law phones must also be supplied unlocked for use on other networks.

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