Episode 063

posted in: Show Notes


Schoolboy whiz helps draft Labor cyber policy – web – Technology
Schoolboy whiz helps draft Labor cyber policy


Tom Wood, the 16-year-old schoolboy who circumvented the Government's $84 million internet filter scheme, has been enlisted by Labor to draft a sizeable chunk of its cyber safety policy.

And in the process he has been drawn into a vicious mud-slinging match between the Labor and Liberal parties.

The Romantics sue 'Guitar Hero' maker – CNN.com
The Romantics sue 'Guitar Hero' maker

 The Romantics have filed a federal lawsuit against Activision Inc., the maker of "Guitar Hero," saying the popular video game infringes on the band's rights by featuring a soundalike recording of its 1980 hit "What I Like About You."

The song is one of about 30 songs featured on "Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the '80s."

The band also is seeking an injunction that could take the best-selling game off store shelves.

The band's attorneys tell the Detroit Free Press for Thursday's edition that Activision properly secured permission to use "What I Like About You," allowing it to record a cover version

But they say by creating an imitation so much like the Romantics' original, the California-based company infringed on the group's rights to its own likeness.

Winners of Australia’s biggest tech survey unveiled next week – Hardware – www.itnews.com.au
Winners of Australia’s biggest tech survey unveiled next week


PC Authority magazine has conducted the biggest ever tech survey in Australia with over 14,000 respondents voting in the Reliability and Service Awards 2007.

Over 93,000 items of hardware were rated worth, at a conservative estimate, over $50,000,000. Another 100,000 products were rated in the areas of software and ISP’s.

Find out next week the results of the biggest ever Australian tech survey.
PC Authority is CRN’s sister magazine representing the consumer market.

Internet infrastructure to collapse by 2010?: News – Communications – ZDNet Australia
Internet infrastructure to collapse by 2010?

 Rising levels of data consumption could lead to the collapse of the Internet, according to a study by market research firm Nemertes.

The demand for online video and similar content will grow so strongly that the existing infrastructure will not be able to cope, according to the research.

To keep with the demand forecast until the year 2010, network providers will have to invest US$137 billion in developing infrastructure, according to the study — double the amount that they have planned to invest up until now.

In the US alone, US$42 to US$55 billion dollars will be necessary to meet demand, the report said.

PayPal releases new payment method – Business – www.itnews.com.au
PayPal releases new payment method

 Payments service provider PayPal has partnered with MasterCard to release Secure Card, a new service that enables its customers to make payments on websites that do not normally accept PayPal.

Secure Card, which uses technology from Orbiscom, comes in the form of software that users can download onto their computers. Each time the PayPal user enters an ecommerce sales page that doesn’t otherwise take PayPal payments, they click a PayPal button on their browsers. This generates a unique MasterCard number and fills out the user’s stored financial details on the form.

PayPal stores all the details of Secure Card activity in a central account rather than on the user’s local drive, making it more secure for the user than giving their credit card details to an ecommerce site.

Google-funded 23andMe starts, offers US$999 DNA test – Internet – www.itnews.com.au
Google-funded 23andMe starts, offers US$999 DNA test


Users sign up for US$999 to have their saliva checked and DNA loaded  onto the sites servers

The data will not leave 23andMe," said Linda Avey (co founder), who came to the project with sales and business development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN THE LAW SAYS TO

users could begin to understand why they dislike certain flavors or foods, or whether they share a maternal ancestor line with celebrities, such as "Margaritaville" crooner and 23andMe user Jimmy Buffett.

SMS online banking vulnerable | Australian IT
SMS online banking vulnerable

 Several banks offered online banking customers an SMS password system as an extra security measure, Queensland University of Technology researcher Mohammed  AlZomai said.

Several banks offered online banking customers an SMS password system as an extra security measure, Mr AlZomai said.

A typical method was sending a one-time password by SMS to the customer's mobile phone for each transaction. The customer must then manually copy the password from their phone to confirm the transaction.

The study finds that customers failed to notice when the bank account number in the SMS message was not the same as the intended account number. If this occurred, it was a clear sign hackers had infiltrated the system, Mr AlZomai said.

Two types of attacks were simulated – an obvious attack that involved altering five or more digits in the account number, and a stealth attack altering only one digit.

The study shows 21 per cent of obvious attacks were successful, and 61 per cent of stealth attacks succeeded.

There was no evidence to suggest SMS password systems had been attacked as yet, he said.

"We don't know if it is happening in real life," Mr AlZomai said. "But we expect it to happen in the future if the usability is not enhanced."




Mozilla unveils Firefox 3 beta – Software – www.itnews.com.au
Mozilla unveils Firefox 3 beta


Mozilla has finally released a beta of Firefox 3.0 after 27 months of development.

The company is keen to stress that Firefox 3 Beta 1 is a developer preview release rather than a finished product, and is making the download available for "testing purposes only".

improved security aimed at combating phishing attacks, new antivirus software and Windows Vista-style parental control settings.

Mozilla also claims improved integration with Windows Vista and Mac OS, in addition to better zooming and enhanced tab controls. More than two million lines of code have been changed and 11,000 issues fixed.

The final version of Firefox 3 will be released when we qualify the product as fully ready for our users."

Networks want to nobble ad-skipping – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Networks want to nobble ad-skipping

 The free-to-air television industry is pressuring PVR makers to limit the advertisement-skipping functions of their products.

 The networks have threatened legal action under Australian copyright law, but manufacturers say Australia-specific modifications to the advertisement-skipping features would not be possible as their products are made for global markets.

Last Wednesday, the industry body representing local free-to-air networks, Free TV Australia, announced all networks would be openly broadcasting seven days worth of program listing information by January 1, 2008, creating Australia's first free EPG.

It would be receivable "by any digital set-top box, integrated television or personal video recorder (PVR) that has an EPG function".

Channels Nine and Ten began broadcasting today, while Channel Seven's will commence on January 1 next year. ABC already broadcasts EPG information.

Free TV Australia wrote a letter to the Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF), which represents PVR makers, saying "broadcasters are not authorising the use of the programs listing data in PVRs where 'ad-skip' functionality goes beyond a maximum fast forward speed of x60".



Labor will win election: MySpace – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Labor will win election: MySpace


The Labor Party will win this Saturday's federal election and Kevin Rudd will be the next Prime Minister of Australia, according to social networking website MySpace.

An online election poll on MySpace's special election page has collected more than 2100 votes, and shows some surprising results.

While Labor has so far polled ahead of the Coalition, the results indicate a growing preference for the Greens.


Labor has so far received 43 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the Coalition's 30 per cent result.

However the Greens have so far received 15 per cent, showing a greater preference than in other more conventional polls.

Kevin Rudd boasts more than 23,000 friends on MySpace and has received in excess of 5000 comments.

Greens leader Bob Brown has about 2350 friends and has received more than 260 comments.

However the official Liberal Party MySpace page has received considerably less attention, with only nine friends and no comments.


Wireless a cheaper option for ALP plan | Australian IT

Wireless a cheaper option for ALP plan

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Michael Sainsbury | November 23, 2007

LABOR'S plan to spend $100 million connecting more than 2500 Australian schools with high-speed internet access could be done more cheaply using wireless technology, says a Sydney-based broadband provider.

Sydney-based broadband provider BigAir says high-speed internet access to schools could be built at a fraction of the cost of fibre

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd last week made the promise to provide connections with speeds of 100Mbps – three times faster than the fastest available home connections – to every school as part of a commitment to spend almost $5 billion of taxpayer funds on a new broadband network.

Wireless broadband provider BigAir has already connected a number of schools – including Loreto Normanhurst, Emmanuel College and Trinity Grammar – using WiMax technology. "We are a little dumbfounded by the major parties calling for large-scale fibre builds to be undertaken when, in most cases, alternative technologies such as wireless broadband can achieve the same results at a fraction of the cost and without lengthy construction delays," said BigAir CEO Jason Ashton.

The links were built at a fraction of the cost of fibre, he added.

"These links are easily upgradeable and speeds up to 30Mbps can be achieved without changing the existing equipment, and even 100Mbps or faster is available with a simple radio upgrade," Mr Ashton said.

Hotmail creator unveils Office killer | Australian IT

Hotmail creator unveils Office killer

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Ashling O'Connor | November 23, 2007

THE co-founder of Hotmail, the web-based e-mail service bought by Microsoft for $US400 million ($459 million) a decade ago, is challenging the American software giant's core $US20 billion office desktop business.

Sabeer Bhatia has released a free online rival to the bestselling Office suite of applications that will allow users to view, share and edit documents from any computer.

The Indian-born Stanford graduate said that Live Documents would pose a "significant" challenge to Microsoft's propriety software business, which eventually would be made redundant by the evolving internet applications industry.

Office, bundling the Word word-processing, Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation tools, accounted for a third of Microsoft's total revenues last year. It is forecast to top $US20 billion this year.

"We are just a few years away from the end of the shrink-wrapped software business. By 2010, people will not be buying software," Mr Bhatia said. "This is a significant challenge to a proportion of Microsoft's revenues."

The latest rival product was developed by InstaColl, a Bangalore-based company that is chaired by Mr Bhatia and backed by SoftBank’s Bodhi Fund. He admitted that "a few million bucks" of Microsoft’s payment from the sale of Hotmail went into its creation.

Three arrested over web piracy ring | Australian IT

Three arrested over web piracy ring

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Andrew Hough in London | November 23, 2007

UK police have arrested three people on suspicion of being involved in one of the country's biggest internet-based music and film piracy rings, officials said.

The alleged ringleader, an unnamed 33-year-old man, was held in a dawn raid at work in Cardiff on Tuesday, the city's trading standards department said.

A second man aged 28 and a woman aged 22 were also arrested in the anti-piracy operation in the Welsh capital. They have been bailed pending further police inquiries.

Police and officials from the Intellectual Property Office and the BPI, a music industry body, took part in the raids, seizing computer equipment.

Fake online ad targets Howard | Australian IT

Fake online ad targets Howard

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Correspondents in Sydney | November 23, 2007

AN online prankster has listed Prime Minister John Howard's Sydney residence, Kirribilli House, for sale on the internet real-estate site Domain.

A fictitious advertisement suggests the Prime Minister's four-bedroom abode at 111 Kirribilli Avenue would be up for grabs. Picture: Domain.com.au

The fictitious advertisement suggests the four-bedroom abode at 111 Kirribilli Avenue would be "open for inspection .. sorry open for election" this Saturday.

It said far superior to any old Lodge in Canberra, "this house fits a family of five and provides the ultimate abode in which to be relaxed and comfortable".

It also lists among the inventory a $200,000 set of executive chairs, proclaiming they're NOT from Ikea and states the current occupant is considering a move even if a new lease is signed.

CSIRO, R&D tax rejig if Labor wins | Australian IT

CSIRO, R&D tax rejig if Labor wins

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Mahesh Sharma | November 22, 2007

A Labor federal government would revamp the CSIRO and tweak research and development (R&D) tax concessions to attract greater investment from multinationals and small businesses if it wins the election.

If Kevin Rudd (left) comes into power, Labor plans to change R&D tax thresholds to attract more investment from multinationals

"We are considering the best means by which we can rebuild the national innovation system,'' Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research, said.

"Clearly by international standards we are slipping, both in terms of public and private expenditure on R&D investment.

"This has been demonstrated time and time again by the OECD and other official reports."

CBA tests mobile e-payment system | Australian IT

CBA tests mobile e-payment system

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Ben Woodhead | November 22, 2007

THE Commonwealth Bank has joined the race to allow shoppers to buy anything from snacks to sports tickets with just a flash of their mobile phone.

The CBA is vying with the National Australia Bank to be among the first Australian financial services firms to offer so-called near field communication (NFC) contactless payment technology to its customers.

The technology allows mobile phones to communicate directly with Eftpos terminals over short distances so that buyers can complete a transaction with a simple swipe of their handset.

The CBA and MasterCard are co-operating in field trials of mobile phone payments at this week's MasterCard Masters golf tournament in Melbourne.

Around 50 NFC enabled mobile phones have been supplied to merchants at the event, allowing attendees to test the technology, which permits users to complete transactions worth up to $35 without entering a PIN.

5c fare offer swamps Jetstar | Australian IT

5c fare offer swamps Jetstar

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Steve Creedy and Nicola Berkovic | November 22, 2007

JETSTAR'S computer system was struggling to keep up last night as more than 10 times the normal volume of customers competed for its 5c fares.

The sale was delayed 19 minutes because of the volume of users wanting to register for the airline's email service to receive the fare offer.

It had been expected to sell out in 30 minutes or less but the response meant transactions were being processed more slowly than anticipated. "We're just having a few systems issues here because of the sheer volume of people … trying to transact," a spokeswoman said.

The all inclusive one-way fares are the lowest ever offered in Australia and are estimated to have cost the airline up to $150,000 in fuel costs, taxes and charges.

Review: Super Mario Galaxy for Wii on GamePro.com.
Mario reaches for the stars in his new intergalactic adventure, Super Mario Galaxy. Strap on your space boots and come along for the ride as Gamerhelp Editor Patrick Shaw tours the cosmos and explains why Galaxy is the best Mario game since the timeless classic, Mario 64!!!

30 More Excellent Blog Designs | Design Showcase | Smashing Magazine
t’s not hard to design a weblog, but it’s getting harder when you try to achieve a unique weblog design. It doesn’t matter what weblog-engine you are using — frequently used themes tend to become boring over time, and they also don’t necessarily reflect the unique identity of the blogger.

Ares04: Top 25 Star Wars Miis
Top 25 Star Wars Miis

Google: "I'm feeling lucky" button costs Google $110 million per year
"I'm feeling lucky" button costs Google $110 million per year

Gametrailers.com – Assassin's Creed: Reviews, Trailers, and Interviews

Cover-up claims fuel UK data breach | Australian IT

Cover-up claims fuel UK data breach

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Peter Graff in London | November 23, 2007

SENIOR officials knew about a decision to include financial details of millions of Britons on computer discs that then went missing in the mail, British opposition politicians said on Thursday.

Two discs, which contained the names and bank account details of 25 million people in the UK, were sent between two government offices by internal mail and were not encrypted. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP

Citing an internal email, members of the Conservative party said blame for the scandal went higher than just the junior civil servant so far blamed by the government for violating security rules.

The latest claims increased pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who acknowledged this week that discs had gone missing containing the names and bank account details of 25 million people. The discs were sent between two government offices by internal mail and were not encrypted.

The scandal has damaged the government's reputation for competence at a time when Mr Brown's popularity has fallen to its lowest level since he took over from Tony Blair in June.

"This was a systematic failure, not individual error by a junior official, and Gordon Brown needs to tell us the whole truth of why the security of all families in this country has been put at risk," opposition Conservative treasury spokesman George Osborne said in a statement.

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