Episode 066

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

‘w00t’ voted word of the year | Australian IT
‘w00t’ voted word of the year

 

AN expression popular with people who play online computer games has been voted word of the year for 2007 by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The word “w00t”, spelled using the number zero in place of the letter “o”, placed first in a Top Ten list based on votes by visitors to Merriam-Webster’s website.

The word is described as an exclamation “expressing joy, possibly after a triumph or for no reason at all” and is similar to the word “yay”.

An example given by the dictionary is “w00t! I won the contest.”

Second-place in the word-of-the-year contest went to “facebook“, making an unofficial verb of the name of the popular social networking website.

The meaning given to “facebook” is to post a picture, party news or other information to profile pages at the website.

Also finishing in the top ten of the competition were yet-to-be-sanctioned words “blamestorm”

A blamestorm is a verb described as a group discussion of why a deadline was missed or a project botched and whose fault it was.

Foxtel’s new iQ HD box, specs – Digital STBs and PVRs
Foxtel’s new iQ HD box, specs

 

Foxtel has revealed details of its new HD service to be released next year which will feature four HD channels and a custom-built box.

It’s been almost three years since the original Foxtel iQ came out, and by the middle of 2008 the latest iQHD service should be available.

JB Hi-Fi to stock HD DVDs in-store – News – Blu-ray & HD DVD
JB Hi-Fi to stock HD DVDs in-store

 

After nine months, major retailer JB Hi-Fi has reversed its decision to exclusively stock Blu-ray products in-store, opening the floor for HD DVD players and titles.

While the chain has been selling HD DVD titles online since early this year, the decision to share physical store space with the competing format is a major setback for the Sony driven Blu-ray, in the ever see-sawing high definition format war.

YouTube makes donut boy stop thief | Australian IT
YouTube makes donut boy stop thief

 

WHEN a thief started taking cash from his register over the weekend, Dunkin’ Donuts employee Dustin Hoffmann fought back by clobbering the man with a ceramic mug.

But Mr Hoffmann admits he was less worried about the stolen cash than how he might look on the video-sharing site YouTube.

“What was going through my mind at that point was that the security tape is either going to show me run away and hide in the office or whack this guy in the head, so I just grabbed the cup and clocked the guy pretty hard,” Mr Hoffmann told The Record of Bergen County.

The man came into the shop and ordered a pastry Sunday night, according to Elmwood Park Police Chief Donald Ingrasselino. Once Mr Hoffmann opened the register, the man jumped over the counter and started taking cash.

Police said Mr Hoffmann grabbed the man’s wrists while hitting him with the mug, which is used to hold tips.

He managed to scare away the man, who made out with just $US90 ($101.79) and left behind a baseball cap police are holding to test for DNA evidence.

No arrests have been made. Mr Hoffman plans to post the surveillance video when he can.

“There are only a few videos like that on YouTube now, so mine’s going to be the best,” he said. “That’ll teach this guy.”

Telstra passes baton to ANZ Bank | Australian IT
Telstra passes baton to ANZ Bank

 

TELSTRA has prematurely terminated its expensive naming rights sponsorship of Sydney’s Olympic stadium.

As foreshadowed in The Australian yesterday the move is part of the telco’s plan to scale back on sporting sponsorships.

Telstra’s loss is the ANZ Bank’s gain; it’s paying $31.5 million over the next seven years for naming rights.

Telco backbone needs fixing | Australian IT
Telco backbone needs fixing

 

AUSTRALIA’S telecommunications infrastructure needs an overhaul from the ground up, a national professional engineers’ group says.

Engineers Australia, the national peak body for all engineering disciplines, says infrastructure providers need to be encouraged to be more proactive in identifying and appraising future projects.

Its report card on the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, released today, identifies the need for a comprehensive strategic plan and long-term vision at a national level for telecommunications infrastructure.

”(It) identifies the lack of a comprehensive strategic plan and long-term vision for Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure as the major hindrance to better and more equitable services from the cities to the country,” Engineers Australia chief executive Peter Taylor said in a statement.

“The standard and spread of the telecommunications infrastructure is at the core of the national interest to provide the means for business to grow in the Australian and the world marketplaces.

“What is needed is the development of a strategy that would encourage infrastructure providers to be more proactive in identifying and appraising future infrastructure projects.

“We also need a strategy that encourages the uptake of newer technologies sooner.”

The report card gives a B rating – generally acceptable – for both mobile and fixed telecommunications in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. But in other capital cities and regional centres the rating fell to F.

The report highlights the benefits centres such as Bendigo and the Gold Coast gain from being adjacent to high-capacity telecommunications links.

iTWire – Dymocks launches iLiad eBook reader, at $900
Dymocks launches iLiad eBook reader, at $900

  Bookshop chain Dymocks has introduced the iLIad eBook reader into Australia, at a price which doesn’t leave a lot of change from $1000.

the iLiad uses the electronic paper display technology which gives it an edge over other devices that rely on LCD and similar display technologies. ePaper gives a superior viewing experience – it is readable even in bright sunlight – but the price is likely to deter all but those who are gadget-addicted. It retails for $899. The kindle, in comparison sells in the US for $399 ($A450)

New `Jackass’ Movie to Hit Internet – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News
New `Jackass’ Movie to Hit Internet

 Jackass 2.5″ will instead be released to the Internet. The feature _ which combines unreleased footage from “Jackass Number Two” and new content _ was announced Thursday as a joint venture between Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures and MTV Networks.

“It’s the first broadband movie ever distributed by a major studio,” said Thomas Lesinski, President of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment.

Blockbuster Inc. will present “Jackass 2.5” free of charge at http://www.blockbuster.jackassworld.com beginning Dec. 19 through Dec. 31; on Dec. 26, DVDs of the film will be available for purchase on the site and at major retailers, as well as for rent at Blockbuster stores and the company’s Web site. The film will also be available for download at iTunes, Amazon.com and other sites _ at a price.

In lieu of box-office sales, the venture expects to make money from DVD sales, downloads and embedded ads online

Sharp to release Blu-ray recorders with storage – Blu-ray & HD DVD
Sharp to release Blu-ray recorders with storage

 

Sharp is about to unleash some of the world’s first Blu-ray recorders for HD television with four new models slated for release in Japan from next month.

 

Sharp’s BD-HDW20 and BD-HDW15 Blu-ray recorders to be released in Japan in December.

According to the Sharp Japan Web site (via Google Translate), the flagship of the new AQUOS range model will be a Blu-ray recorder with dual HD tuners and 1TB of hard drive space. The BD-HDW20 is expected to retail for 300,000 Yen (AU$3,022). This model will be followed by the BD-HDW15 with 500GB of space for 200,000 Yen (AU$2,014).

There will also be two standalone BD recorders with only a single tuner and no HDD — the dual-layer BD-AV10 (120,000 Yen/AU$1,209) and the single-layer BD-AV1 (100,000 Yen/AU$1,007).

Blu-ray gets foot in Aussie rental door – News – Blu-ray & HD DVD
Blu-ray gets foot in Aussie rental door

 

Two major video rental chains, Video Ezy and Blockbuster, have announced a partnership with Sony designed to educate customers about the Blu-ray format.

 

Over 200 stores around the country will be fitted with stands featuring PlayStation 3s, Sony’s BDP-S300 Blu-ray players and Bravia TVs, as well as educational content. Most of the featured stores will make BDs (Blu-ray discs) available for rental, while some will also sell the discs.

Installed in stores and available now – go to the video chain website for more info re your local store

 

MARK’S SHOWNOTES

Rumortoid-San: Wii emits a frequency that attracts cockroaches? :: DESTRUCTOID – Hardcore Gamer
Rumortoid-San: Wii emits a frequency that attracts cockroaches?

19 of 20 emails sent are spam – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

 

19 of 20 emails sent are spam

December 13, 2007 – 8:03AM

SAN FRANCISCO – Nearly 95 per cent of the email sent in 2007 has been “spam”, junk advertising loathed by its recipients, according to a report released today by a US web security firm.

The amount of junk email has skyrocketed despite a 2004 US CAN-SPAM Act that placed restrictions on sending unwanted messages and sanctioned penalties for “spammers”, according to the California firm Barracuda Networks.

Junk messages made up an estimated 70 per cent of email the year the act was passed, the Barracuda report indicates.

“The spam war is a continuous battle between spammers and security vendors,” said Barracuda chief executive Dean Drako.

“Security vendors now require 24-by-7 defence operations to continuously monitor the internet for new spam trends and distribute new defensive solutions immediately.”

Barracuda said it based its findings on analysis of more than a billion email messages received daily by its approximately 50,000 customers worldwide.

Spammers cunningly hide their identities by routing emails through other people’s websites, blogs or computers, according to Barracuda.

World’s first ‘newspaper’ mobile launched – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

World’s first ‘newspaper’ mobile launched

December 13, 2007 – 11:32AM

Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter has launched the world’s first “newspaper” telephone: a mobile phone offering the daily’s subscribers direct and free access to its website.

“We want our readers to be able to follow the news even when they’re in places where they cannot lay their hands on a paper or (access the Internet on) a computer,” Thorbjoern Larsson, Dagens Nyheter (DN) editor-in-chief and publisher, told AFP.

“This is yet another way of distributing the news,” he added.

DN subscribers can purchase the Nokia 6120 3G phone on the paper’s website, and by signing up for a $A35 monthly call plan can freely surf the daily’s website by simply hitting a special “DN” button.

Larsson said the offer was already proving popular.

“After we announced the launch this morning (on Wednesday), we received so many calls that our switchboard broke down. There’s a lot of interest out there,” he said.

While Sweden is generally considered technologically advanced, DN says the Scandinavian nation lies far behind countries like Japan and South Korea when it comes to the number of people who use mobile phones to surf the internet.

“Many people (in Sweden) think it’s complicated (to internet surf on their mobile phones) and they don’t know how much it costs,” the paper’s head of marketing Johan Othelius told DN.

“Now we’re removing that obstacle,” he added.

Breakthrough battery promises longer life – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

Breakthrough battery promises longer life

December 12, 2007 – 9:29AM

A new battery that goes on sale next year can be fully recharged in five minutes and has a lifespan of more than 10 years.

Toshiba will start selling rechargeable batteries next year, launching itself into what is seen as a promising but increasingly competitive market.

Toshiba described the Super Charge ion Battery, or SCiB, as a “breakthrough rechargeable battery” that can be fully recharged in five minutes and has a lifespan of more than 10 years if completely run down and recharged once a day.

“The excellent performance of the SCiB will assure its successful application in industrial systems and in the electronic vehicles markets as a new energy solution,” said Toshiba vice president Toshiharu Watanabe.

Japanese firms are vying to develop lithium-ion batteries that can be used in hybrid or electric vehicles, but there are safety concerns following recalls of millions of potentially flammable laptop computer batteries made by Sony.

Storm crashes Google founder’s wedding – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

Storm crashes Google founder’s wedding

Asher Moses | December 11, 2007 – 12:22PM

Subtropical storm Olga has gatecrashed the lavish wedding of Google’s billionaire co-founder Larry Page to PhD student Lucy Southworth, bringing with it 65km/hour winds and 15cm of rain.

Rain and winds battered the wedding party during the official reception on Sunday, but by late Monday night the low pressure system developed into a “rare post-season subtropical storm”, the US National Hurricane Centre said in a warning.

It is not clear if the 600 guests – which reportedly included Bono, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and various tech luminaries – were able to fly home before the storm hit.

Specific details of exactly what went on at the private Caribbean jaunt, held on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island, are yet to leak out.

A receptionist at the Little Dix Bay hotel on the neighbouring island Virgin Gorda, which housed most of the 600 guests, said little more than that all the guests were safe.

“We had a little bit of rain and we had a little bit of wind, that’s all I can tell you,” he said just after the tropical storm warning was issued today.

Both Necker Island and Virgin Gorda are part of the British Virgin Islands.

The US National Hurricane Centre reported on Sunday that it was tracking a system in the Atlantic that was rapidly moving westward toward locations including the Virgin Islands, bringing with it “showers and thunderstorms”.

Telstra passes baton to ANZ Bank | Australian IT

Telstra passes baton to ANZ Bank

Fran Foo | December 13, 2007

TELSTRA has prematurely terminated its expensive naming rights sponsorship of Sydney’s Olympic stadium.

As foreshadowed in The Australian yesterday the move is part of the telco’s plan to scale back on sporting sponsorships.

Telstra’s loss is the ANZ Bank’s gain; it’s paying $31.5 million over the next seven years for naming rights.

The telecommunications giant, traditionally the biggest sponsor of Australian sport, committed to deals worth as much as $60 million for up to 10 years for the naming rights to the Homebush stadium, as well as Melbourne’s Docklands ground in 2001. Telstra is expected to keep its naming rights to the Melbourne Dome for now, despite moves inside the company to also dump that property.

The move is part of a push – headed by US import Bill Obermeier – to rationalise the number of sponsorships the company holds.

The Australian understands the rationalisation push has been on since shortly after American chief executive Sol Trujillo arrived in July 2005.

“Telstra has been trying to get out of both stadium deals for about 18 months,” a source said yesterday.

Azureus Now Powers Vuze – High Definition Movies and Videos

 Connie Talbott

BBC NEWS | Technology | Greenpeace takes on gaming giants

Greenpeace takes on gaming giants
 

Greenpeace is hoping to speak to manufacturers via gamers

Greenpeace has called on gamers to persuade Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to make their consoles greener.

According to the environmental campaign group, game console makers have so far “failed to reduce the toxic burden of their products”.

It accuses Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony of lagging behind mobile phone and PC manufacturers.

The initiative is part of Greenpeace’s campaign to persuade the electronics industry to be greener.

“Game console manufacturers are lagging way behind the makers of mobile phones and PCs who have been reducing the toxic load of the products over the past year,” said Zenia Al Hajj, Greenpeace International’s toxics campaigner.

“Game consoles contain many of the same components as PCs so manufacturers can do a lot more,” she added.

 http://www.videosift.com/video/Greenpeace-videogame-attack-ad

Singapore split a lesson to Telstra | Australian IT

Singapore split a lesson to Telstra

Michael Sainsbury | December 13, 2007

TELSTRA is becoming increasingly isolated as a full-service, vertically integrated telecommunications group with its retail, networks and wholesale divisions merged.

Singapore has joined a growing number of developed nations in proposing a split of the networks and operating arms of its next generation telecommunications infrastructure.

The island nation’s Government issued a plan on Tuesday night that would see the creation of a separate company to build a super-fast internet backbone with a government contribution of up to $S750 million ($590 million).

“It’s also critical for the Next Gen backbone to provide effective open access to downstream operators,” Singapore’s Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Lee Boon Yang, said.

“This will create a more vibrant and competitive broadband market.

“As a policy, we’ve decided to adopt separation between the different levels of the Next Gen backbone to achieve effective open access.

“The request for proposals to construct the network will therefore provide for structural separation of the passive network operator from the downstream operators.”

The plan has similarities to the Rudd Government’s plan for Australia’s next generation of fixed-line broadband infrastructure.

A major part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s election platform was a taxpayer donation of $4.7 billion for a national open-access network which the Government would hold as debt or equity.

Netherlands adopts open source | Australian IT

Netherlands adopts open source

Toby Sterling in Amsterdam | December 14, 2007

THE Dutch government has set a soft deadline of April 2008 for its agencies to start using open-source software – freely distributed programs that anyone can modify – the Netherlands Economic Affairs Ministry said.

Government organisations would still be able to use proprietary software and formats but will have to justify it under the new policy, ministry spokesman Edwin van Scherrenburg said.

He said the plan was approved unanimously at a meeting of two parliamentary commissions on Wednesday.

Many governments worldwide have begun testing open-source software to cut costs and eliminate dependency on individual companies such as Microsoft. The government estimates it would save $US8.8 million ($10.03 million) a year on city housing registers alone after switching to open source.

Microsoft has raced to achieve “open source” certification for its Open Office XML standard, but has so far failed to receive endorsement from the International Standards Organization, the certifying authority recognised by the Dutch government.

Microsoft Netherlands spokesman Hans Bos noted that its Word documents were still allowed as equal alternatives for the moment and said he expects the company to receive approval soon for its Open Office XML to qualify as open source.

The Australian, News from Australia’s National Newspaper
Climate

Climate | The Australian, Weekend Australian, newspaper, Australia | The Australian
Climate

Sony unveils hand-powered digital camera – Camera & Camcorder Articles | Digital Life

Sony has unveiled a prototype digital camera shaped like a pizza cutter with a wheel that can be turned to generate enough power to take pictures.

The “Twirl N’ Take” camera generates enough electricity for one snap if the the wheel is moved for some 15 seconds, according to a Sony official.

A digital camera similar to those used in mobile phones is installed in a handle attached to the wheel, which is equipped with a power-generating device, she said.

Moving the wheel and taking pictures would appeal to children but the company has no immediate plan to commercialise it, she said.

As the camera has no screen monitor, users must connect the device to a computer to see their pictures.

The camera is the latest addition to Sony’s “odo” line of hand-powered prototypes aimed at raising environmental awareness.

Other products include a “Crank N’ Capture” video camera, which is charged by cranking a lever, and a “Spin N’ Snap” camera, which has a hole to enable users to spin it with their finger.

Sony unveils hand-powered digital camera – Camera & Camcorder Articles | Digital Life

Facebook initiative may bury Google social site – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

Google’s social networking initiative could be dead in the water after Facebook announced it was opening up its platform of plug-in applications to its competitors.

The search giant’s OpenSocial program, presently little more than a concept despite having the support of most major social networks, was born out of criticisms Facebook was too closed. It promised a platform where software developers could write plug-in programs that were supported by all social networks, instead of picking sides.

But in a shock announcement to its 100,000 third-party developers, Facebook said its platform was now open to anyone, even arch-rival MySpace.

Previously, applications written for Facebook – like FunWall, iLike, Scrabulous and Vampires – could only be accessed by Facebook users.

Bebo, the third most popular social network behind MySpace and Facebook, has already linked up with Facebook, allowing its users to add Facebook applications to their profiles.

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