Episode 065

posted in: Show Notes




Mark last week said that WEP was the best but that is not the case. WPK is the best.


thanks to bigants

Web-based artists pop up with unlikely winner | The Courier-Mail
Web-based artists pop up with unlikely winner

"What we do is we turn people's photographs into canvas printed pop art," Mr Pascoe said.

The business has been growing well, from an initial dozen orders in its first month of operation, to an expected rate of between 50 and 100 for this Christmas.

Mr Pascoe said one of the major challenges was establishing the legitimacy of the business.

"Because we've insisted on making it an online enterprise, it's been difficult conveying a sense of integrity; convincing people that they're going to get what they pay for," he said.

He addressed this by personalising the site with his own photo and providing personal interaction while designs were developed. And no money is charged until the customer selects their design from a range of options.

Counteracting this challenge is PascoePopArt's major strength – its flexibility.

"Because we don't have to worry about the responsibility of an offline business with rent and equipment, we can offer a range of services and products. We don't have to worry about having a back catalogue – it just exists on the computer," Mr Pascoe said.

"Next year, we'll be looking at rolling out T-shirts and postcards – as value adds. (There are) all sorts of media to get images printed on."

Mr Pascoe has used his experience in web development and web marketing to ensure the website operates at its optimum.

About 60 per cent of sales are from overseas, with more than 80 per cent of these sales from the US.

NASA plans moon base | The Courier-Mail
NASA plans moon base


NASA says it plans to build a permanently occupied base on the moon, most likely at the lunar north pole.

The habitat will serve as a science outpost as well as a testbed for technologies needed for future travel to Mars, and construction will follow a series of flights to the moon scheduled to begin by 2020.

"We're going for a base on the moon," Scott "Doc" Horowitz, NASA's associate administrator for exploration, said from the Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

Plans for what the base will look like and what astronauts would do there have yet to be determined. Similarly, NASA has not projected a date when the base would go into operation.

The moon's polar sites are preferred to equatorial regions because of more moderate temperatures and longer periods of sunlight, which is critical for the solar-powered electrical systems NASA plans to develop. Eventually, nuclear power may be used to augment or replace the solar energy systems.

Scientists also suspect the poles have resources such as hydrogen, ice and other materials that could be used for life support.

"It's exciting," said NASA deputy administrator Shana Dale. "We don't know as much about the polar regions."

The US had already announced plans to develop new spacecraft to travel to the moon and land on its surface for the first time since the last Apollo flight there in 1972. It also plans to provide a communications system linking Earth and the moon.

But NASA doesn't plan to go to the moon alone. The United States will look for international and commercial partners to share the expense and possibly provide components such as extra power systems, living quarters and resources for surface travel on the moon.

NASA is not expecting a budget increase to pay for the program. Rather, it will use funds that will become available as the space shuttle fleet is phased out.

The shuttles are set to be retired in 2010. By that time, NASA plans to have finished building the space station, leaving the moon initiative as a successor to both programs. NASA receives about $US16 billion ($20bn) a year.

Countries that already have been working with NASA to develop its so-called Global Exploration Strategy are Australia, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.

3 slashes mobile broadband prices for Christmas – Mobile Phones
3 slashes mobile broadband prices for Christmas


The carrier has slashed its prices by half for customers entering a 24-month contract. The lowest priced entry plan is AU$14.50 for 1GB, but only linked with a 3 mobile telephone plan. Otherwise, the tariffs are AU$24.50 for 2GB, AU$34.50 for 3GB or AU$45.50 for 5GB — without obligation to take up a mobile plan.

Charges for exceeding the download limit are set at 10c per MB.

Vodafone is offering 5GB for AU$39 per month, while Optus is promoting 2GB for AU$39.99 per month.

Group warns parents about video game sex, violence – CNN.com
Group warns parents about video game sex, violence

 WASHINGTON (AP) — Graphic scenes of gunshot victims spurting blood and a jailer urinating into a prisoner's cell are included among the 10 video games that a media watchdog group warns should be avoided by kids and teens under 17.

The institute showed gory scenes of sword, gun and knife violence from several video games. A scene from "Assassin's Creed" depicts an attacker plunging a knife into his victim's back several times. A jailer in "Manhunt 2" taunts his prisoner by urinating into the man's cell. A fallen victim's body is riddled with gunfire as blood spurts across the screen in "The Darkness."

The group's list of 10 "games to avoid, " all M-rated, are in the video game report card on its Web site, http://www.mediafamily.org, along with a list of recommended games for kids and teens

19 who killed eight people and himself at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall was placed in a mental health treatment center five years ago after making homicidal threats toward his stepmother

iTWire – Windows Server 2008 RC1 up for grabs
Windows Server 2008 RC1 up for grabs

 Windows Server 2008 can download Release Candidate 1 from Microsoft's web site

The beta can be obtained on a 30-day licence. An evaluation period extended to June 30, 2008 is offered to those prepared to register with Microsoft.

Despite the name, RC1 is the second release candidate to be made available to customers. According to Microsoft, more than 1.8 million customers have downloaded evaluation versions of Windows Server 2008, and more than 3000 IT professionals have already been certified on the new operating system.

Windows Server 2008 is expected to be released to manufacturing by the end of February. Microsoft has scheduled a major launch event for Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 on February 27, 2008. The company is spending more than $US150 million on "outreach and demand generation to IT Pros and developers," according to the Windows Server Division Weblog.

The current version is Windows Server 2003 – five years is a long time between major upgrades for a significant operating system.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the release candidate of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 will be made available to the general public next week. Vista SP1 is expected sometime in the first quarter of 2008, and Microsoft has warned that it will be necessary to uninstall the release candidate before SP1 proper can be installed.

iTWire – 'Highly critical' update for OpenOffice
'Highly critical' update for OpenOffice

 OpenOffice 2.3.1 fixes a variety of bugs, but one of the most important concerns a vulnerability in the database engine shipped with the package

Users of OpenOffice derivatives should either watch for a corresponding update or (if necessary) install the revised version of the database which can be downloaded via hsqldb.org.

iTWire – WGA anti-piracy mode for Vista softened thanks to Linux and OS X threat?
WGA anti-piracy mode for Vista softened thanks to Linux and OS X threat?

 Microsoft’s new WGA anti-piracy mode in the upcoming Vista SP1 lets users continue using their newly detected non-genuine copies of Vista, albeit with Aero disabled and hourly reminders, in a major backflip. Will pirates give in and pay for a legal copy of Vista Home Premium at less than half price, or consider moving to Linux or Mac OS X instead?

Microsoft have announced major changes to the WGA anti-piracy system in Windows Vista SP1 to detect users of non-genuine Vista copies, ‘hacktivated’ by the OEM Bios exploit or the Grace Timer exploit, and inform them of their non-genuine status.

Unlike the current WGA anti-piracy system in today’s pre-SP1 Vista, which puts Vista into a
‘reduced functionality mode’ only gives the user access to a browser for one hour, effectively locking you out of your PC until a legally purchased key was supplied, the Vista SP1 WGA regime is much more forgiving.

It allows people who’ve likely been using a non-genuine copy of Vista some time now to continue using their computer, their software and hardware, and access their data, albeit with Aero and some other more advanced features disabled, changing the background to include a notification of non-genuine status and reminding users of this on hourly basis with a pop up message.

The newly softened stance is despite Microsoft reporting that Vista’s piracy rate is “less than half that of XP today”, attributed to Vista’s better anti-piracy measures, including preventing the ability of volume license keys to allow the installation without activation, as was the case with Windows XP.

iTWire – House hunting just got easier with Google Maps collaboration
House hunting just got easier with Google Maps collaboration

 Couples searching for the perfect real estate now have a great online assistant thanks to Google Maps' new collaboration features.

Google has updated its My Maps service to allow several people to collaborate on a single map, making it an invaluable tool in the hunt for the perfect house. Along with satellite images and street maps, the Google Maps interface has now replaced the hybrid button with 'terrain' – perfect for those looking for an abode in the hills.

The first step to using Google Maps for house hunting is to create a map to share:

– go to maps.google.com (or your local country's Google Maps service, if available)
– sign in using the link at the top right of the window
– click on the My Maps tab at the top left
– click 'Create new map' and give it a relevant title like "House Hunt"
– set the privacy settings to 'unlisted'
– click 'Done" (next to Collaborate)

The first thing is to search for your target suburb and then click back on the My Maps tab. Now click on the 'Draw a shape' tool at the top left of the map and draw around the area in which you want to restrict your search. Now head off to your local online real estate portal, such as www.domain.com.au in Australia, and run a search on houses for sale or rent in that suburb. When you find an upcoming property of interest, or one that recently sold, copy the street address. Now paste it into the search bar on Google Maps and click 'Search Maps'.

Australia's cheapest laptop sells out – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Australia's cheapest laptop sells out


Taiwan computer maker Asus might have underestimated the local demand for its diminutive Eee PC, as the $499 laptop is now virtually sold out in Australia.

Neither Asus nor the exclusive retailer, Myer, will say how many units were sold, but an Asus spokeswoman said more stock would be shipped to Myer at the end of this week.

The Eee PC, Australia's cheapest laptop, went on sale in Myer stores nationwide on Sunday and by close of business on Monday all the capital city stores were sold out. The Asus spokeswoman said other metro stores might have a small amount of stock left.

"We've had a lot of schools coming in making multiple purchases."

In the US, Asus said it sold out of 10,000 units within two weeks and planned to sell 350,000 by the end of the year

Kevin Rudd, education – pc companies better get thinking caps on re pricing

Hot Tomato left with egg on face – Queensland – BrisbaneTimes
Hot Tomato left with egg on face


A Queensland radio station has unwittingly released the names, postal and email address, phone numbers and personal details of more than 50 contestants in one of its competitions.

The embarrassing privacy breach occurred in a competition run by Gold Coast radio station 102.9 Hot Tomato to win a $5000 shadecloth structure from VP Structures.

When contestants click on the competition's icon on the Hot Tomato website, instead of being taken to the application page, they are taken to a uncoded file page where anyone can access a subpage that lists names, home address and other personal details.


give out info as if you expect the world to see.

Video shop death knell? – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Video shop death knell?


Australians can now rent movies while doing their grocery shopping with the arrival of DVD vending machines in supermarkets.

Instant DVD has installed vending machines in 12 supermarkets throughout Melbourne and Sydney and intends to expand to 500 throughout the country, creating yet more competition for the traditional video shop.

The machines offer a choice of 300 of the latest movies that can be paid for with the swipe of a credit card.

All movies cost $2.99 a night to hire and can be returned to any of the service's vending machines. If you fail to return a movie within two weeks its price is charged to your credit card and it becomes yours to keep.

Instant DVD believe it will be at least seven to 10 years before movies on discs start to disappear."

Fed Court rules against Telstra over Next G ads: News – Communications – ZDNet Australia
Fed Court rules against Telstra over Next G ads


A ruling by the Federal Court has declared that Telstra misled consumers over the extent of its Next G mobile phone coverage, but Telstra has already announced it will appeal the decision.

The legal action was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which questioned Telstra's claim that the Next G network had "coverage everywhere you need it".

In her judgment, Justice Michelle Gordon said Telstra had engaged and continued to engage in conduct that was misleading or deceptive in various Next G advertisements, which appeared in print, on television and online.

Telstra said it intended to appeal what it described as a "very disappointing" court decision.

Telstra gives its customers credit for understanding advertising," spokesperson Peter Taylor said in the statement.

Reality-check or rip off? People spending millions on virtual gifts – CNN.com
People spending millions on virtual gifts

They are nothing more than cutesy icons posted in a "gifts" section on a person's profile page, the smiley faces of the 21st century. And like that 1970s icon, they have mass appeal.

Since they were introduced in February, Facebook says its users have purchased more than 24 million of these dollar items, which are sold in limited editions to generate more interest.

Elsewhere online, including virtual world sites such as Second Life, Utherverse and Stardoll, people can give gift certificates so their friends' avatars, or online personalities, can shop at "malls" on the sites.

Causes is one of the most popular Facebook Applications, with over 300,000 active users. The service, which leverages virality to spread the word about worthy causes, aggregates 40,000 causes that benefit 13,000 nonprofits worldwide

 But now you can give a gift that says a little more than “I spent a dollar on you.” With Gifts from Causes, you can give a $10 – $200 gift to a friend. Each virtual gift (see image below) benefits a different charity. 100% of the proceeds (minus only credit card fees) go directly to the charity.

Aussie Search Results

Fastest-rising Australian searches of 2007
1. Facebook
2. YouTube
3. Summer Heights High
4. Tiger Airways
5. iPhone
6. Rugby World Cup
7. MySpace
8. Heroes
9. Bebo
10. Transformers

Most-popular TV show searches

1. Big Brother
2. Australian Idol
3. Heroes
4. Today Tonight
5. Home and Away
6. Summer Heights High
7. Top Gear
8. Prison Break
9. Lost
10. Greys Anatomy

Most-popular celebrity searches

1. Paris Hilton
2. Britney Spears
3. Vanessa Hudgens
4. John Howard
5. Justin Timberlake
6. Ben Cousins
7. Anna Nicole Smith
8. Steve Irwin
9. Rihanna
10. Angelina Jolie

Most-popular sport searches

1. AFL
2. NRL
3. WWE
4. Rugby World Cup
5. Melbourne Cup
6. Australian Open
7. Cricket
8. Cricket World Cup
9. Tour de France
10. Soccer

Most-popular fashion searches

1. Gucci
2. Lisa Ho
3. Alex Perry
4. Chanel
5. Prada
6. Louis Vuitton
7. Peter Alexander
8. Colette Dinigan
9. Vera Wang
10. Wayne Cooper

Most-popular "Kevin" searches

1. Kevin Rudd
2. Kevin 07
3. Kevin Bloody Wilson
4. Kevin Andrews
5. Kevin Sheedy
6. Kevin Smith
7. Kevin Bacon
8. Kevin Federline
9. Kevin Costner
10. Kevin Spacey

Most-popular album searches

1. Radiohead new album
2. Justin Timberlake album
3. Metallica new album
4. Pink album
5. Snow patrol album
6. Powderfinger new album
7. Silverchair new album
8. Fergie album
9. Timberland album
10. Akon album

Search terms by state and territory

Basketball – NT
Beach – Qld
Beer – SA
Charity – NSW
Chocolate – SA
Church – NSW
Cricket – Vic
Dating etiquette – Vic
Drought – ACT
Election – ACT
European holiday – NSW
First date – NT
Global warming – NT
Internet dating – Qld
Journalism – Tas
New job – ACT
Pet tricks – Qld
Pinot – Tas
Poker – NSW
Police – NT
Pulp mill – Tas
Quiz night – WA
Romantic – NSW
Shakespeare – Tas
Shark – WA
Shiraz – SA
Tax return – NSW
Weather – Vic
Wii – SA
Wine – SA


  1.  Britney Spears
  2.  Weather
  3. Real estate
  4. Bebo
  5. Jessica Alba
  6. Anna Nicole Smith
  7. Brangelina
  8. iPod Nano
  9. Bourne Ultimatum III
  10. Justin Timberlake

Female celebrities

  1. Britney Spears
  2. Jessica Alba
  3. Paris Hilton
  4. Jennifer Hawkins
  5. Rihanna
  6. Lindsay Lohan
  7. Katie Holmes
  8. Schapelle Corby
  9. Hilary Duff
  10. Victoria Beckham

Male celebrities

  1. Zac Efron
  2. Justin Timberlake
  3. Matt Damon
  4. Steve Irwin
  5. Orlando Bloom
  6. Johnny Depp
  7. David Beckham
  8. Wentworth Miller
  9. Rove McManus
  10. Luciano Pavarotti

Celebrity couples

  1. Brangelina (Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie)
  2. TomKat (Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes)
  3. Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel
  4. Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
  5. Nicole Richie & Joel Madden
  6. Vanessa Hudgens & Zac Efron
  7. Christina Aguilera & Jordan Bratman
  8. JLo & Marc Antony
  9. Reese Witherspoon & Jake Gyllenhaal
  10. Brand Beckham: David & Victoria Beckham

TV shows

  1. LOST
  2. Dancing with the Stars
  3. 24
  4. Home and Away
  5. Prison Break
  6. All Saints
  7. Grey's Anatomy
  8. Heroes
  9. Desperate Housewives
  10. Australian Idol


  1. Bourne Ultimatum III
  2. 300
  3. Knocked Up
  4. Transformers
  5. Pirates III
  6. Ghostrider
  7. Shrek III
  8. Spiderman III
  9. Ratatouille
  10. Hairspray


  1. Britney – out with no underwear all over town
  2. Celebrity rap sheet – jail time for Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan
  3. Vanessa Hudgens – private nude photos made public
  4. Anna Nicole Smith's death and the controversy of drugs hanging over it
  5. Hugh Grant – in a drunken romp on Facebook, revelling with students half his age
  6. Alec Baldwin – calls his child a thoughtless pig in a phone message
  7. Owen Wilson – suicide attempt
  8. Kate Moss – sex tape with Pete Doherty
  9. Isaiah Washington (Burke) – fired from Grey's Anatomy due to gay slur about T.R. Knight
  10. Did Salma Hayek's fiance and father of her baby daughter previously father Linda Evangelista's son?

Tech toy/gadget

  1. (Apple) iPod Nano
  2. Nintendo Wii
  3. Sony Playstation 3
  4. Xbox 360
  5. Digital cameras
  6. Navman GPS
  7. MP3 Player
  8. Nokia N95
  9. Camcorder
  10. Bluetooth GPS


  1. Climate change
  2. Stop global warming
  3. Recycling ideas
  4. Global warming swindle/global warming sceptics
  5. Whaling
  6. Air pollution
  7. Conservation
  8. Environmentally friendly cars
  9. Save endangered species
  10. Genetically modified foods

News stories

  1. Australia's federal election 2007
  2. Death of Anna Nicole Smith
  3. Equine influenza
  4. The Pasha Bulker and Newcastle floods
  5. Death of Luciano Pavarotti
  6. Californian wildfires
  7. Royal ocean liners Queen Mary 2 & Queen Elizabeth 2 visit Sydney as well as USS Kitty Hawk
  8. Australia beats England in the Ashes cricket
  9. Andrew Johns's drug scandal
  10. Lunar eclipse


  1. Australia beats England in Ashes
  2. David Beckham joins LA Galaxy
  3. Tour de France 2007
  4. Efficient wins Melbourne Cup 2007
  5. Greg Norman honoured as the 27th legend of Australian Sport
  6. Jonathan Thurston wins his second Dally M Player of the Year medal
  7. Aussie netball captain Liz Ellis resigns but not before leading Australia to the world championship title in Auckland
  8. Roger Federer claims his fourth Tennis Masters Cup title in Shanghai
  9. Golf's $1.5 million Australian Masters tournament
  10. Australian women's basketballers Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor named All Stars



 Chinese fury at cyber spy claims | Australian IT

Chinese fury at cyber spy claims

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Rowan Callick and Jane Macartney | December 07, 2007

CHINA issued a furious response to reports that Chinese agencies are spying on international companies using the internet.

China has been accused of running international cyber-espionage rings that have gained access to strategic corporate and defence information from countries including Australia, Britain, Germany, India, New Zealand and the US.

But the claim, apparently backed up by Britain's MI5 spy chief Jonathan Evans, has been strenuously denied by Beijing.

Other experts on hacking have cast doubt on the chief source of the accusation, a report by Californian security software seller McAfee.

The McAfee report says about 120 countries are developing cyber attack strategies, but that China is believed responsible for 80per cent of the most damaging attacks on government targets this year.

A report in The Times says: "Chinese-backed computer hackers broke into the internal computer network of Rolls-Royce in an attack that a security source said 'nearly took them out'."

The report claimed: "Chinese nationals working for Shell were preyed upon by state-backed operatives hoping to obtain pricing information for its operations in Africa."

Branson's gift to Google co-founder | Australian IT

Branson's gift to Google co-founder

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Yinka Adegoke in New York | December 07, 2007

LARRY Page, Google's billionaire co-founder, is set to marry his girlfriend, Lucy Southworth, on a tiny Caribbean island this weekend, a source familiar with the wedding arrangements said on Wednesday.

Larry Page is set to wed this weekend on a tiny Caribbean island owned by billionaire Richard Branson. Picture: Chip East/Reuters

The couple will hold the ceremony on an island enclave owned by Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin Group, who will act as best man to Larry, the source said.

Mr Page, 34, co-founded the famous search company in 1998 with Stanford University classmate Sergey Brin. The two are now co-presidents of internet leader Google.

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that 600 guests will be flown on private planes to the wedding on Branson's Necker Island. The Post's Page Six column said wedding planners booked up the hotels on the neighbouring island of Virgin Gorda six months in advance.

Since 2003, Ms Southworth has been a doctoral student in biomedical informatics at Stanford University. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001 and holds a master's of science degree from Oxford University.

Google, TomTom in alliance | Australian IT

Google, TomTom in alliance

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Emma Thomasson in Amsterdam | December 07, 2007

DUTCH navigation systems company TomTom is teaming up with internet search leader Google so users can find and send business addresses to their portable devices.

TomTom, which makes navigation devices for cars and mapping software for handheld computers, said in a statement its users would be able to search for business addresses on Google Maps and transfer them to their TomTom device.

"This cooperation represents a major step for TomTom in meeting the growing demands of our customers for personalised content for their TomTom devices," said Eric Pite, vice president for product management at TomTom.

TomTom said its users would be able to transfer information to their devices when they are connected to the internet with one mouse click and then view the location on their TomTom.

Ads land Next G in hot water | Australian IT

Ads land Next G in hot water

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Susannah Moran | December 06, 2007

TELSTRA has been slammed by the Federal Court for misleading mobile phone consumers when it said in a number of advertisements that coverage for its Next G network was available "everywhere you need it".

"Telstra engaged, and continues to engage, in conduct that is misleading or deceptive," Justice Michelle Gordon said yesterday.

The judge also said Telstra had misled consumers with comparisons between the outgoing CDMA network and the Next G network.

The case was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, but Justice Gordon said the evidence of a Telstra employee regarding coverage was enough for her to find that Telstra had breached the Trade Practices Act.

Telstra spokesman Peter Taylor said the company would appeal the "very disappointing" decision.

"Telstra gives its customers credit for understanding advertising. Do people really believe that Vegemite puts a rose in every cheek?" Mr Taylor said in a statement.

Telstra insists Next G is everywhere | Australian IT

Telstra insists Next G is everywhere

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Correspondents in Sydney | December 06, 2007

TELSTRA will appeal a Federal Court decision that it misled consumers over the coverage of its Next G network.

Telstra's claim that its Next G network had "coverage everywhere you need it'' was deceptive, the Federal Court ruled – a verdict the telco disagrees with

The court today ruled Telstra's claim that its Next G network had "coverage everywhere you need it'' was misleading or deceptive.

The judgment was made in response to an action brought against Telstra by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The court found Telstra's claim that Next G customers would get the same or better coverage as they received on the CDMA network was misleading.

"We intend to appeal this very disappointing decision,'' Telstra spokesperson Peter Taylor said in a statement.

"We stand behind our advertising and the network because we know that Telstra's Next G network is the largest mobile network in Australia that provides coverage in more places in Australia than any other mobile network including the old CDMA network.''

Telstra rejects Labor net plan | Australian IT

Telstra rejects Labor net plan

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Jennifer Hewett | December 06, 2007

TELSTRA has bluntly rejected the new Government's proposal for a partnership to build a national broadband network, jeopardising Labor's ambitious agenda for a broadband and education revolution.

Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has described joint ownership of a national broadband network as some sort of "kumbaya, holding hands" theory

Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo told The Australian that the company would never agree to the Government's suggestion of a form of joint ownership, mocking it as some sort of "kumbaya, holding hands" theory.

"We are only going to participate in the things that we own and control," he said.

He also argued the new Government must direct the competition regulator to back off in terms of limiting the prices Telstra could charge. Instead, he insisted that the company would only invest on the basis that it could charge enough to ensure good returns for its shareholders.

Telstra investigated over AWAs | Australian IT

Telstra investigated over AWAs

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Correspondents in Sydney | December 06, 2007

TELSTRA is being investigated by the Workplace Ombudsman over allegations that it has pressured employees to sign new workplace agreements.

Telstra, led by Sol Trujiilo, is under investigation for allegedly trying to coerce its employees into signing new AWAs before new employment rules come into effect

The new Labor Federal Government has promised to scrap all Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) as soon as possible.

But all current AWAs will continue until their term expires.

A spokesman for the Workplace Ombudsman said it is now investigating claims that Telstra is trying to coerce its employees into signing new AWAs before the new rules come into effect.

"Following consistent public allegations that Telstra has applied undue pressure to existing employees to sign AWAs, the Workplace Ombudsman advised Telstra that it is conducting an investigation into the substance of these claims and to determine if any breaches of workplace law have occurred," executive director of external affairs Michael Campbell said.

Mr Campbell said the Workplace Ombudsman had earlier warned employers not to rush their workers onto AWAs following the change of government and said that employers must not subject their workers to undue pressure to sign AWAs.

Telstra to cut more jobs | Australian IT

Telstra to cut more jobs

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Fran Foo | December 06, 2007

TELSTRA has revealed that around 110 of its workers face redundancy next year as part of a contract extension with IBM.

The carrier said that approximately two-thirds of 335 Telstra workers affected by the deal would be transferred to IBM. The remaining employees were only expected to be guaranteed work until around mid-next year.

"The remaining employees will continue to employment with Telstra assisting in knowledge transfer until at least June 2008," the telco said.

Telstra has extended its seven-year supply chain agreement with IBM in as part of a bid to slash up to $200 million from its operating costs.

The contract was initially announced in September 2006.

3 cuts mobile broadband price | Australian IT

3 cuts mobile broadband price

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Mahesh Sharma | December 06, 2007

3 Mobile has halved the price of its mobile broadband plans over 24 months as it attempts to fend off new rivals.

The one gigabyte monthly package would cost $14.50, and scale up to $49.50 for 5GB.

To qualify for the offer, customers must sign-up for a two-year mobile phone contract.

Recently, Vodafone and Optus launched mobile broadband offerings in Australia but 3’s general manager for products and services, Mari Bashi, said 3 had a wider range.

Once 3 customers exceed their download limit, they are charged $0.10 for every additional megabyte, and the company said it has no short-term plans to introduce speed-shaping.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Facebook founder apology over ads

Facebook founder apology over ads

Facebook has 50 million users worldwide

The founder of social networking site Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has apologised to users for the way it launched a social advertising system.

Called Beacon, the system tracks web shopping on partner sites outside Facebook and then sells adverts to the social network based on purchases.

After complaints the site was invading privacy, Facebook changed Beacon from an opt-out system to opt in.

Mr Zuckerberg has said users can now switch off Beacon completely.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop

Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop

The XO laptops are being trialled worldwide

Microsoft is to begin field tests of Windows XP working on the so-called $100 laptop, or XO, early in 2008.

It has not committed to offering XP on the XO laptop but hopes to release the operating system in the first half of 2008 if the trials succeed.

The work, undertaken as part of the firm's plans to widen access to technology, forms part of a project to run Windows on flash-based machines.

The XO does not have a hard drive, and uses a lightweight flash drive instead.

Microsoft's James Utzschneider, writing on his blog, said: "We are hard at work on the project here.

"Between Microsoft employees and third party contractors that we have brought into the effort, we have over 40 engineers working full-time on the port."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Light to shrink computer clusters

Light to shrink computer clusters

The breakthrough could mean smaller supercomputers

Supercomputers may one day be the size of a laptop thanks to research by IBM.

Scientists at IBM have completed work that may make it possible to do away with the copper wires used to couple processing cores to each other.

The connector created by the team uses light to pass data between the computational cores that is faster and uses less power than copper wires.

BBC NEWS | Business | 20% of iPhones in France unlocked

20% of iPhones in France unlocked

iPhones were launched in France on 29 November

Mobile phone company Orange has said 20% of customers who have bought iPhones from it in France have opted for unlocked ones.

Orange sold the popular Apple product for 399 euros (£288) with a two-year contract, or 749 euros without one.

Elsewhere, mobile companies only sell iPhones to customers who take out network contracts with them.

Orange sold 30,000 iPhones in the first five days, 20% of which were unlocked so they could be used on any network.

Orange says that 48% of people buying the phones were new customers for the network.

BBC NEWS | Technology | 'Kill switch' dropped from Vista

'Kill switch' dropped from Vista

Vista was launched at the start of the year

Microsoft is to withdraw an anti-piracy tool from Windows Vista, which disables the operating system when invoked, following customer complaints.

The so-called "kill switch" is designed to prevent users with illegal copies of Vista from using certain features.

But the tool has suffered from glitches since it was introduced with many Windows users claiming that legal copies of Vista had been disabled.

Microsoft says its efforts have seen a drop in piracy of its software.

In a statement released by the company, Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Sievert, said: "Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine copies."

BBC NEWS | Technology | The future is bright for LEDs

The future is bright for LEDs

By Anna Lacey
BBC Science Unit reporter

Energy-efficient LEDs are being used to light up Christmas

They wink at us every day from computer screens and stereos. But the humble LED is heading for a brighter future.

New generation Light Emitting Diodes will purify water, make lights that mimic the colour of sunshine, and keep private data immune from hackers.

Dr Rachel Oliver, an LED researcher from the University of Cambridge, thinks that they could easily succeed tungsten bulbs as the main way to light our homes.

"LEDs have enormous benefits over standard light bulbs because they're a great deal more efficient, come in a range of different colours and have a very long lifetime. They are also good at saving energy too," she told BBC Radio 4's The Material World programme.

BBC NEWS | Business | Vodafone loses iPhone court case

Vodafone loses iPhone court case

Vodafone wanted iPhone users to be able to choose between networks

Mobile provider Vodafone has failed to break up a deal giving rival T-Mobile the exclusive rights to distribute Apple's iPhone in Germany.

A German court overturned a temporary injunction it granted two weeks ago, which forced T-Mobile to sell iPhones that were not tied to a single network.

Vodafone objected to the exclusivity agreement and said customers should be able to choose between networks.

Apple has similar licensing agreements with O2 in the UK and AT&T in the US.

There has been much speculation about the details of the deals between Apple and the mobile providers, who are reported to be paying the US computer firm anything from 10% to 30% of their iPhone revenues.

"We are pleased with the outcome," said T-Mobile spokesman Rene Bresken.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Video game giants in $18bn merger

Video game giants in $18bn merger

By Rory Cellan-Jones
Technology correspondent, BBC News

World of Warcraft is played by more than nine million people

The companies behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are merging in a deal which could shake up the global video games industry.

Activision and Blizzard have said they will form "the world's most profitable games business" in a deal worth $18.8bn (£9.15bn).

US-based Activision also makes hit console games such as the Tony Hawk series and Guitar Hero.

Nine million people pay a monthly subscription to play World of Warcraft.


BBC NEWS | Technology | Graphics chips rev up research results

Graphics chips rev up research results

By Mark Ward
Technology Correspondent, BBC News website

A better graphics card means PC games look more realistic








Every serious PC gamer knows what a difference a good graphics card can make to the fun they have.

But it is not just hardcore gamers who have recognised the worth of a PC graphics card.

Increasing numbers of research scientists have woken up to their potential too.

But the scientists in question are not using the cards to appreciate the detail in PC games such as The Witcher. Instead they are using them as cheap sources of supercomputer-class processing power.


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