Episode 072

posted in: Show Notes | 0
GLENN'S SHOWNOTES 

 
New Bond film: Qantum of Solace – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
New Bond film: Qantum of Solace

 Qantum of Solace has been unveiled as the title of the next James Bond film at the launch of the super-spy's latest adventure.

Daniel Craig is reprising his role as 007, following his 2006 debut in Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace is set to be released later this year.

iTWire – Cybercriminals moving beyond Microsoft to Apple and Linux
Cybercriminals moving beyond Microsoft to Apple and Linux

 A new report reveals that in 2007 organised criminal gangs for the first time started attacking Internet connected Apple products with the intention of stealing money

late 2007 saw Mac malware not just being written by researchers demonstrating vulnerabilities or showing off to their peers, but by financially-motivated hackers who have recognised there is a viable and profitable market in infecting Macs alongside Windows PCs.

For example, many versions of the malicious OSX/RSPlug Trojan horse, first seen in November 2007, were planted on websites designed to infect surfing Apple Mac computers for the purposes of phishing and identity theft.

iTWire – New malicious MySpace spam poses as friend
New malicious MySpace spam poses as friend

 A new malware-toting spam email posing as an invitation from a friend to join to MySpace can turn the computer of a recipient who takes the bait into a botnet zombie spewing out spam and phishing emails.

According to Internet security specialist Marshal, the message contains a link which when clicked transfers the user to a fake, but authentic looking MySpace website. The user is then told they need to update their Adobe Flash Player to use the site properly and should download the latest version.

The download is, in reality, malware which installs more components from the Web to convert the now infected computer into part of a spam botnet. Within minutes the new zombie computer begins sending duplicate messages of the bogus MySpace invitation interspersed with phishing emails targeting a major US bank.

Hitachi Announces Second Version of Blu-ray-HDD Camcorder | Gadget Lab from Wired.com
Hitachi Announces Second Version of Blu-ray-HDD Camcorder

 

Only a few months after releasing the first mini-Blu-ray and hard-drive combo camcorder, Hitachi will release the second version of the players in Japan in early February

The new kit will also include, like the last one, easy transferring capabilities between the Blu-ray disc and the hard disc drive, and a high recording resolution of 1980 X 1080 (you can also record at 720 x 480 if you want to transfer to DVD and want to increase the length of the ‘tape’.) It also has a flash option to take pictures at night. And, as with most other new camcorders, it also includes HDMI, AV, and USB ports for quick access and PC editing.

The DZ-BD9H, with the 8cm Blu-ray Disc drive and 60 GB HDD, will go for about $1,700 initially. Expect this price to tumble slightly by the time it comes into the US by midyear.  The new hard-drive only camcorder, the DZ-HD90, will be about $1,300.

 

 

Police seize 250,000 DVDs in record piracy bust – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Police seize 250,000 DVDs in record piracy bust

Victorian Police have busted what is believed to be the biggest-ever movie piracy operation in Australia.

A home at Sunshine North, in Melbourne's west, was raided and over 250,000 pirated DVDs and 100 DVD burners seized.

The haul included movies which have only just been released in cinemas.

A 49-year-old man is helping police with their inquiries.

Director of operations at the Federation Against Copyright Theft, Neil Gane, says the case marks the start of a major crackdown on DVD burner labs, which cost the movie industry millions of dollars.

Google on hiring spree – BizTech – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Google on hiring spree

 

Google plans to increase staff numbers by a third, bringing its Australian workforce to 266 as it builds on its dominance of the $637 million paid search market.

Almost a third of the positions are in advertising sales, with almost as many in engineering – the boffins who come up with ever more inventive ways of serving up ads to people surfing the internet with specific queries in mind.

RIP Keith Fletcher … oh, hang on a second – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
RIP Keith Fletcher … oh, hang on a second

 Heath Ledger's shock death caused one of the biggest internet meltdowns since the death of Steve Irwin in 2006, with news sites and search engines experiencing huge traffic spikes.

Unique browsers on smh.com.au rose almost 250 per cent compared with Tuesday's figures and total page impressions jumped 60 per cent, according to Nielsen NetRatings.

On theage.com.au, unique browsers and page impressions jumped by 75 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively.

On both smh.com.au and theage.com.au more than 60 per cent of total page impressions yesterday went to stories and photo galleries on Ledger.

Yahoo reported that four of the fastest moving search terms on its Buzz index were Ledger related, with searches on the quickest mover, "Heath Ledger", skyrocketing a staggering 110,285 per cent.

A number of internet fansites devoted to Ledger melted down not long after word of his death hit the news, but legions of Ledger fans still paid their respects via groups and profiles on Facebook and MySpace.

Yahoo Buzz: top moving search terms

1. Heath Ledger
2. Healthiest Diet
3. Meg Whitman
4. Hal Holbrook
5. Rotten Neighbor Website
6. Top 10 Worst Movies Of 2007
7. Michelle Williams
8. 10 Things I Hate About You
9. Cate Blanchett
10. A Knights Tale
(As of Wednesday, January 23, 2007)

Google Trends: Fastest-rising search term

1. Heath Ledger
2. Keith Ledger
3. Michelle Williams
4. Heath Ledger found dead
5. Rotten Neighbor
6. Kate Voegele
7. Brokeback Mountain
8. Oscar Nominations
9. Matilda Ledger
10. Michelle Williams Heath Ledger
(As of Tuesday, January 22, 2007)

UK retailers bin analogue TV – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au
UK retailers bin analogue TV

 

LONDON- Electrical goods retailer DSG International is stopping the sale of analogue televisions in Britain because they are being almost completely outsold by digital sets.

DSG, formerly Dixons, said in a statement on Tuesday that no further analogue orders would be placed and that DVD recorders with analogue tuners would also be removed from its range.

Optus enters iPhone race – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au
Optus enters iPhone race

 

Thailand's largest mobile operator, Advanced Info Service (AIS), said it was negotiating a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Asia.

The telco's chief marketing officer, Sanchai Thiewprasertkul , told the Bangkok Post that AIS was collaborating with Singapore Telecom (SingTel) and Optus to launch the iPhone throughout the region.

Optus is a wholly owned subsidiary of SingTel, and SingTel owns 21.4 per cent of AIS.

"Mr Sanchai said that AIS, in collaboration with SingTel and the Australian mobile operator Optus, were discussing phone volumes, marketing terms and business model partnerships," the Bangkok Post reported.

The iPhone is now on sale in the US and Europe. Apple said it will launch the touch screen phone-music player hybrid in Australia this year.Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has said he had conversations with Apple about bringing the iPhone to Australia

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said battery life issues prevented the company from releasing a 3G iPhone from the outset but it has been widely reported that Apple is building 3G support into the next revision of the device.

the iPhone's success in Australia would depend on its cost. In the UK, the minimum outlay for an iPhone plan is $100 a month.

Disc wars loser set to do a Beta – BizTech – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Disc wars loser set to do a Beta

 It's been an intense two-year war, unlike the protracted decade-long slugfest between VHS and Betamax. But it looks as if we can call an end to the format battle over next-generation DVDs — Blu-ray and HD DVD — and ladies and gentlemen, the winner is: Blu-ray

HD DVD and its backer, Toshiba, haven't yet given up. Toshiba this week cut 50% off the price of its HD DVD players, pricing them as low as $A200.

The recent decision by Warner Brothers to release high-definition DVD titles exclusively in the Blu-ray format leaves only two major Hollywood studios, Paramount/Dreamworks and Universal, releasing titles exclusively in HD DVD. Blu-ray is backed by Sony/MGM, Disney, 20th Century Fox, New Line, Lionsgate and now Warner Brothers — in total,over 70% of the DVD market.

Warner Brothers' share of the market is 20%, so its decision looks the tipping point.

Microsoft posts $18 billion revenue | Australian IT
Microsoft posts $18 billion revenue

ATO downtime thwarts weekend tax enthusiasts: News – Business – ZDNet Australia
ATO downtime thwarts weekend tax enthusiasts

 

Two Australian Tax Office (ATO) portals will experience downtime this weekend for upgrades, but once they return, taxpayers are unlikely to notice the difference.

All activities on the tax agent and business portals will be shut down from 9am today until 8pm Sunday while the Tax Office does "a bit of work to replace [its] backend", according to a Tax Office spokesperson.

 

 

 
 
 MARK'S SHOWNOTES
 
 
 
MARK'S SHOWNOTES
 

Just a few points to mention about these episodes and some various other stories..

 

Wireless

These technologies are the way of the future for portable devices. Absolutely. No questions asked. The only problem with it is that the existing protocols are just too slow for big transfers.

 

Bluetooth 2.0 is only capable of 2megabits per second (or 2mbps) which comes out as around 200kilobytes per second (200K/s), which is pretty slow, ADSL1 runs faster than this! But considering its intended purposes (audio headsets, keyboard/mouse and small file transfers) is more than enough.

 

802.11g is still the base standard for wireless networks, typically running at 17mbps in real speeds, or around 9 minutes to transfer 1 gigabyte. All fine for transferring small to medium files, but painful for transferring something like CD or DVD disc images.

 

802.11n is expected to be finalised later this year/early next year with a top speed of 248mbps (74mbps typical speed) although there are devices around now that support it (including the Time Capsule). This is where wireless will truly become competitive with wired Ethernet for reasonably heavy use.

 

Storage

Seagate have had Network storage available for years, with both wired & wireless access. All that the Time Capsule does is incorporate the wireless access point and fileserver into 1 box (again, something PC users have been able to do for years with Linux and old PC parts). On the upside, it makes home backup a lot simpler.

 

EEE PC

Interesting site of a guy who has modded his Eee into a more serious bit of gear:

http://beta.ivancover.com/wiki/index.php/Eee_PC_Internal_Upgrades

He added the following devices internally-

–          USB hub (for the extra devices)

–          GPS with antenna

–          Bluetooth

–          Card Reader

–          Flash Drive

–          802.11n

–          FM Transmitter (wirelessly play media to any FM stereo)

–          Modem

 

Another useful tool for people with an Eee is nLite, a tool for creating custom Windows XP Pro installation media with less features, saving valuable storage space on the Eee (of course you still need an XP licence).

 

Broadband

This is something that has actually had me a little frustrated listening to you guys on the show since I started listening back in 2006. I even started recording a mp3 rant a few months ago but never bothered to send it in. If you get a normal phone line connected at your new place, GO WITH ADSL especially if you can get ADSL2+ from an Optus reseller or if you can get TPG and mainly want download allowances, they have a 40gig peak + 110gig off peak plan for $69.99/month. A few sites to make sure you look at before you sign up:

http://www.adsl2exchanges.com.au to find out which ISP’s have ADSL2 enabled on your actual exchange

http://bc.whirlpool.net.au/  Broadband Choice section of Whirlpool (their plan information tends to be updated more regularly than ADSL2exchanges)

http://fremnet.net/article/216/adsl-theoretical-speed-calculator is a tool to let you find out how fast your phone line *should* connect (assuming an uncapped connection speed)

 

ADSL vs Cable

ADSL Pro’s:

–          More choice/competition = better prices

–          Your modem/router can be used with any other ADSL provider in the country (indeed most of the world)

–          More widely available

–          ADSL2 will generally run with a 1mbps upload speed

–          You can download at whatever speed your modem syncs at (whereas Cable can be affected by heavy usage neighbours)

–          Top possible speed of 24mbps

ADSL Cons:

–          Affected by distance from the exchange, especially after the 3km mark

–          Most providers still require a home phone connection (some providers are now offering “naked” ADSL2+ which means that you pay slightly more for your net, but no line rental)

–          Many people live outside the 2km butter zone range of the exchange

–          Can be hard to tell how long and thus how fast your phone line will be until connected.

 

Cable Pros:

–          Higher potential speeds on the BigPond Extreme plans (although it sounds from your experience that these speeds aren’t materialising)

–          No need for a home phone to get broadband

Cable Cons:

–          Telstra

–          The modem is pretty much useless if you move outside of the cable coverage area

–          Telstra

–          Telstra meter uploads

–          Telstra

–          The limited plans available

–          Telstra

–          If BroadbandChoice is correct, the gold coast is only enabled at 17000kbps down/256kbps upload which actually makes ADSL2 faster for uploading, and maybe faster for downloading.

 

On a slightly different angle, Glenn mentioned that the government was hoping to award the tender for a new national network later this year. Glenn said that it was for a Fiber to the Node (FTTN) network, which is the most likely outcome, but Fiber to the Home (FTTH) has not been ruled out as a possibility. FTTH is where we NEED to get to eventually and there seems to be a growing sentiment at Whirlpool that we should just go all the way now and lay FTTH now, especially with the likely prospect of Telstra tying up any FTTN proposal in court for years.

 

All in all, kudos to both you and Glenn on a nice easy listening podcast and keep up the good work.

 

Cheers

Professor Macrosoft

 

PS. Good luck with the move. I did it nearly 3 months ago and it was more painful than pulling teeth!

Parliamentary inquiry into Tcard?

Nick Ralston in Sydney | January 25, 2008

THE NSW government is facing the prospect of an upper house inquiry into its handling of the botched integrated public transport ticketing system, the Tcard.

Transport Minister John Watkins announced yesterday that the Tcard contract with Integrated Ticketing Solutions Ltd had been cancelled after the company repeatedly failed to meet milestones

The NSW opposition yesterday said it would move to establish an upper house inquiry into the government's handling of the cancelled Tcard and the $95 million of taxpayers' funds spent on the failed project.

"The public deserve answers on why and how the state Labor government spent $95 million of their money for no result," Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said.

"We are proposing an upper house inquiry to provide answers on how this project was mismanaged so the lessons can be learned to ensure that, as the taxpayers start the whole process again, the government doesn't make the same mistakes."

Transport Minister John Watkins announced yesterday that the Tcard contract with Integrated Ticketing Solutions Ltd (ITSL) had been cancelled after the company repeatedly failed to meet milestones.

The government does not control the upper house and the opposition would need the support of minor parties to establish the inquiry, which would be chaired by Nationals MP Jenny Gardiner.

The Greens have already said they would support Mr O'Farrell's attempt to establish the inquiry.

Microsoft posts $18 billion revenue

Mike Barris | January 25, 2008

MICROSOFT posted a 79 per cent jump in quarterly net income from a year ago, when results were lowered by deferred sales of Windows Vista and Office. Quarterly revenue jumped 30 per cent amid a surge in sales for the Windows operating system and holiday sales of the Xbox 360 videogame console.

The world's largest software company also gave an upbeat outlook for its full financial year, which could ease concerns that technology spending may be slowing amid a weakening economy.

"We continue to see healthy demand from both businesses and consumers in the United States and our growth in emerging markets is especially strong," chief operating officer Kevin Turner said.

Microsoft shares climbed 4.4 per cent in after-hours trading to $US34.70 ($39.31) after rising 4.1 per cent in regular trading Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The company reported net income of $US4.71 billion, or $US0.50 a share, for the quarter ended December 31, compared with $US2.63 billion, or US$0.26 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $US16.37 billion from $US12.54 billion.

In the year-ago quarter, Microsoft deferred $US1.64 billion of revenue and US$0.11 in per-share earnings due to delays in releasing Windows Vista and Office 2007, which hit stores in early 2007.

Nokia widens global handset lead

Adam Ewing and Aude Lagorce | January 25, 2008

NOKIA, the world's largest mobile-phone maker by sales, posted a 44 per cent jump in fourth-quarter net profit as it continued to gain market share.

Net profit rose to 1.84 billion euros ($3.08 billion) from 1.27 billion euros a year earlier, boosted by strength in emerging markets as well as sales of high-margin multimedia devices. Continued dominance in India and China, where millions of new customers are added each month, helped mobile-phone shipments grow 27 per cent from a year earlier to 133.5 million units.

The Finland-based company said its share of the global handset market grew to 40 per cent in the fourth quarter from 39 per cent in the third quarter, adding that in 2008 it would try to win back US market share lost over the past few years.

Nokia shares rose 3.02 euros, or 15 per cent, to 23.74 per cent, outperforming the broader Helsinki market.

Telstra can fire sex romp girl

Ewin Hannan | January 25, 2008

TELSTRA has won the right to sack a young female employee over an alcohol-fuelled after-hours sex romp, reigniting debate about the line between work and private lives.

The Industrial Relations Commission yesterday upheld Telstra's appeal against an earlier ruling that Carlie Streeter be reinstated and paid compensation for being unjustly sacked following the romp last February.

Ms Streeter is considering appealing to the Federal Court, with her lawyer last night describing the 2-1 decision by a commission full bench as "un-Australian".

"The client is very aggrieved by the decision," Ms Streeter's lawyer, Kelly Durant, told The Australian. "If (it) stands, it really is a serious licence for employers to intrude on the private lives of their employees and it's very un-Australian.

"What this decision says is employers can control and regulate the private lives of employees, which is completely unfair. At the end of the day, what you do at two o'clock on a Sunday morning is really nothing to do with your employer."

Chaser boys to make MySpaceTV debut

Darren Osborne in Sydney | January 24, 2008

MYSPACE users will soon be able to share some of their favourite Australian television shows after the signing of a new deal with the national broadcaster.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and its British counterpart, the BBC, have signed an agreement with MySpace allowing the use of their video content on the social networking website.

MySpace users can copy clips from the MySpaceTV channel and paste them to their profile.

"The ABC and BBC deals ensure MySpace users are now able to add new clips from the best in local and international TV programs to their profiles and continues the growing momentum of MySpaceTV,'' MySpace.com Australia & New Zealand vice president, Rebekah Horne, said.

The arrangement with the ABC includes Australian TV shows such as Summer Heights High, The Chaser's War on Everything and Enough Rope with Andrew Denton.

BBC's catalogue of programs will include Doctor Who, Robin Hood, The Catherine Tate show, Red Dwarf and Top Gear.

Ms Horne admitted one of the reasons behind the creation of the MySpaceTV network in 2007 was to provide users with a legal way of adding copyrighted material to their pages.

"What we found was that there was a lot of interest in embedding video in their profile,'' Ms Horne said.

"So we're out there sourcing content as an addition to what was being generated by users.''

Motorola profits plunge 84pc in Q4

Correspondents in New York | January 24, 2008

MOBILE phone maker Motorola says its net profits fell 84 per cent in the fourth quarter and has warned that the recovery in its struggling handset unit will take longer than expected.

New chief executive Greg Brown, who took over this month after Ed Zander resigned following four roller-coaster years, portrayed a longer turnaround than Wall Street had expected and bluntly acknowledged that what the third-biggest mobile phone maker is doing isn't working.

He said global market share – already down to 13 per cent last year from 23 per cent at the end of 2006 – is continuing to decline.

“Demand for some of our products has slowed in an intensified competitive landscape,” he said on a conference call. “Our consistency of new product introduction is still not where it needs to be. And we still have gaps in the portfolio in areas that are experiencing high rates of growth, including 3G (third-generation), China and other emerging markets.”

The $US100 million ($115 million) profit was its first quarterly gain since the first quarter, but small by Motorola's historical standards. The net income amounted to US$0.04 per share and was down from a year-earlier profit of $US623 million, or US$0.25 per share.

Sales fell to $US9.65 billion from $US11.79 billion a year earlier.

Remote Disc: no movie playback, no HD support, and everything else you need to know

Posted Jan 24th 2008 2:45PM by Ryan Block
Filed under: Features, Storage, Networking


One of the more more interesting, albeit minor, announcements at Macworld was Remote Disc, Apple's method to undermine the need to bundle an optical drive with the Air. To our chagrin, Apple also undermined the ability to do much fun or useful with the disc sharing system. Here's what you need to know about Remote Disc, top to bottom:

  • The Remote Disc installer is 42.3MB for Mac, and claims to take almost 86MB of space. (Apple let us know it shouldn't take anywhere near that, and the installer app overestimated the space required.) Also, expect a restart of the host Mac. (Windows, ironically, does not require a restart to begin sharing media.)
  • Although you can disable the "ask before allowing others to use my drive" sharing option, if you have not done so users will be prompted to ask permission to use the drive at each connection. (Also, there's no client whitelist or anything like that, it's all ask permission, or none.) If you've already asked permission on that drive and disc, if you stop using it and come back to it, you have to ask permission again.
  • Every time you ask permission as a Remote Disc client, the host gets a popup asking if it's cool to share your drive. You can, of course, accept or decline (but the only way to stop getting prompts is to turn off disc sharing).
  • Ejecting the disc on the client side does not eject it on the host side.
  • Ejecting it on the host side, however, gives a host-side prompt about the disc being in use. You can override and eject, however.
  • To reinstall or boot from CD using Remote Disc, the host must use the installed Remote Install Mac OS X application. It's a fairly simple process, but sharing an install CD over a wireless network is asking for trouble. It took an absurd amount of time (nearly 10 minutes) to boot over 802.11g. You need bandwidth, so be sure to get on 802.11n or, preferably, wired (with the dongle).
  • To remote boot from a shared CD, hold the option key while starting up. You'll be presented with a BIOS-level WiFi / network selection that looks surprisingly unpolished for Apple (but works with WPA and advanced WiFi crypto all the same)

Bummer for media:

  • You can browse the file contents of DVD discs, but you cannot actually play that media back over the network. Apple let us know that this only applies to commercial DVD media, and you should be able to play back home-burned iDVD movies via Remote Disc.
  • You can't rip DVDs over the network using a tool like Handbrake.
  • You can't browse a music CD or listen to tracks. Don't even think about burning a disc remotely.
  • Remote Disc appears only to be able to share CD / DVD drives and CD / DVD discs, not high capacity / HD optical drives.
  • We tested sharing a regular DVD over an HD DVD drive, no luck. Data CDs on DVD drives worked fine though.

We've heard of some client firewalls harshing on Remote Disc, but we didn't see any issues when testing. Despite its shortcomings, it did work exactly as advertised, and with zero fuss. We miss anything?

Current – Hitachi Australia to close down
Hitachi Australia to close down

 

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Hitachi will cease sales of consumer electronics in Australia on 29 February after a difficult year in the market characterised by the flat panel category that delivered record sales driven by heavily discounted products prior to Christmas.

In a letter distributed to retailers, Hitachi Australia managing director, Yutaka Sugihara has decided to close the business following a decision to refocus its sales strategy.

"As you [are] no doubt now aware, Hitachi has decided to withdraw from the Australian consumer electronics market. This decision is part of a refocusing of Hitachi's sales strategy for consumer electronic products throughout the world.

"As a result, Hitachi Australia Pty Ltd (HAUL) will cease sale of consumer electronics products in Australia by 29 February 2008. HAUL's rebate and trading term agreements with you company and all of corporate group/trading group members will terminate with effect from this date," Sugihara said in the letter.

According to Hitachi, a press conference outlining the reasons for the decision will be held Tusday afternoon in Sydney.

Staff were informed of the decision on Friday afternoon.

More information regarding the closure of the subsidiary will be available later today.

Current – Industry blames Hitachi closure on excessive competition
Industry blames Hitachi closure on excessive competition

 

 

By James Wells

SYDNEY: The decision to close Hitachi Australia is the result of excessive competition and thin margins, according to Sony managing director Carl Rose and Narta managing director Kay Spencer.

“It reflects the highly competitive nature of the market, and we’ve seen that in the retail side and it’s always bubbling along on the supplier side as well when this type of thing happens. It is an industry that runs on reasonably thin margins,” Rose told Current.com.au this morning.

Spencer, who manages the buying on behalf of retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Clive Peeters, Bing Lee, who have a combined retail turnover in excess of $3 billion, told Current.com.au she was saddened by the news.

“It is not good for the industry, it is not good for the employees,” Spencer said.

“Over the last three years, a lot of effort was taken to re-build the brand focus with hard work from staff and retail support.

“It is disappointing as it lessens the brands options in the market,” she said.

Current – Sharp calls for end to “ridiculous” price erosion and “siege mentality”
Sharp calls for end to “ridiculous” price erosion and “siege mentality”

 

 

By James Wells

SYDNEY: Sharp Australia has called for an end to the constant price erosion in the marketplace which has claimed its Japanese competitor – Hitachi Australia.

“Obviously the situation with Hitachi is one of major significance and is a reflection of the sad state of affairs that exists in our industry,” said Sharp Corporation of Australia deputy managing director, Denis Kerr.

“The ridiculous price action and ‘siege mentality’ being applied by several suppliers and retailers, is not healthy and is proving to be counter productive to the future of all of the industry.

“Already, in the first weeks of the new year, we have seen the commencement of further erosion of pricing which simply cannot be sustained by the industry. If the trend continues, then we are sure to see a marketplace consisting of ‘no name’ inferior products with negligible margins for Retailers and little choice of quality brands for either the retailer or consumer,” he said.

AusTrac clueless on terror funding

Paul Maley | January 21, 2008

AS financial institutions prepare to pay upwards of $100 million to comply with new anti-money laundering and terror financing regulations, the head of the agency charged with detecting illegal transactions conceded authorities had no idea how much terror funding occurs in Australia.

AusTrac chief executive Neil Jensen said while authorities could estimate the amount of money laundering that took place annually, identifying terror funding was like searching for a "needle in a hayfield".

Mr Jensen's comments came as the director of the Australian Bankers Association, Tony Burke, put the cost to industry of complying with the reporting requirements at "upwards of $100 million", plus continuing annual costs.

In December last year, the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 came into force. The legislation, which is being introduced in two tranches, requires brokers, funds managers, financial planners, banks, bullion dealers and casinos to report transactions above $10,000.

600,000 at risk in UK laptop theft

Correspondents in London | January 21, 2008

A LAPTOP containing the personal details of 600,000 new and prospective military recruits has been stolen, the Ministry of Defense said Friday, the latest in a series of government blunders over data.

The laptop was stolen from a Royal Navy officer in the central city of Birmingham last week, a statement said.

The amount of information held on each individual varied from just a name to full background details including passport numbers, insurance numbers and family background information.

The ministry said it was urgently writing to around 3500 people whose bank details were included on the database.

"The stolen laptop contained personal information relating to some 600,000 people who have either expressed an interest in, or have joined, the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force," the defense department said.

In December, Britain's top transport official said that a disk drive containing personal information on three million driving test candidates had been lost in the US.

And last fall, two computer disks from a tax and welfare department containing names, addresses, national insurance numbers and, in some cases, banking details, for 25 million adults and children disappeared while being sent by internal mail, ministers said.

Hi-tech cameras on roads by next year

Paul Maley | January 21, 2008

A NETWORK of high-speed, high-resolution cameras scanning the nation's highways for criminals could be in place by the beginning of next year.

Ben McDevitt, the head of CrimTrac, the agency that collates law enforcement data for police and intelligence agencies, says the proposal for an "automated number plate recognition system" had been received favourably by the new Government and that the rudiments of a national monitoring network could soon be in place.

Mr McDevitt said CrimTrac was conducting a study that would address the technical, legal and privacy implications of the system, which he said has been used to great effect in Britain.

He said the study would report its results at the end of the year and that the rudiments of a network that could eventually take in hundreds of cameras could be in place within months.

China's Zhongyi sues Microsoft

Correspondents in Beijing | January 21, 2008

CHINESE IT company Zhongyi Electronic said it is suing Microsoft for alleged intellectual-property rights violations, but a Microsoft statement Friday disputed the legal claim.

The case brought by Zhongyi involves Microsoft's use of Zhengma, a Chinese input-method editor that allows computer users to enter Chinese characters using Western keyboards, according to an official Xinhua News Agency report Friday.

"Microsoft hasn't paid us for 10 years, since they paid for using Zhengma in Windows 95 in 1998," the English-language Xinhua report cited Lan Dekang, general manager of Zhongyi, as saying.

Mr Lan said Microsoft hasn't signed contracts for the commercial use of the company's fonts and the input-method editor in its Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP operating systems.

The Beijing-based company has brought the case to the city's No.1 Intermediate People's Court, which started proceedings on the case Tuesday, according to materials dated Wednesday posted on Zhongyi's website.

However, Microsoft said it has written licence agreements with Zhongyi to use its fonts and input method editor in Microsoft products.

Rush on eBay Australia for Cruise book

Sanna Trad | January 21, 2008

CONSUMERS hungry for Andrew Morton's Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography are turning to eBay to get a copy.

US publisher St Martin's Press has instructed its distributors not to sell the book outside North America.

Some copies were selling for more than $60 on the website last week. The book retails for $US26 ($30) in the US.

An eBay vendor, who wished only to be referred to as Wojtek, had sold more than 150 copies in less than two days, through his eBay company "memorymate".

"We don't usually sell books, but we are interested in exclusive products with massive potential and this is as good as it gets," he said.

"These things don't happen too often. The book has generated so much attention and the more people are hearing about it, the more that they want to buy it.

"The censorship factor has also had a major impact."

Wojtek, who works for an Australian branch of a US-based company, has ordered 800 copies from the US so far and is finalising a deal with an independent bookstore in Sydney.

Apple – iPod touch
 

 Review from Jamie on the new Apps for iPod Touch.

Hackers eye MySpace users | Australian IT

Hackers eye MySpace users

Mahesh Sharma | January 18, 2008

HACKERS are targeting users of social networking website MySpace using techniques popular with phishing scams.

Mass emails sent to MySpace members would contain invitations to add the sender as a friend.

When a link in the email is accessed, what seems to be an official MySpace page appears.

The user is then asked to download and install the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player software, which is required to run many of the applications on MySpace.

However, the whole exercise is actually a scam, security experts say.

Once the program is installed it would allow hackers to remotely take control of the computer, and use to victims PC to distribute more spam.

The attack was first detected by security software company Marshall Software on Wednesday morning in its New Zealand test lab.

Marshall Software vice president (Product) Bradley Anstis said this could be the precursor to more advanced and malicious attacks.

“Once you’ve got the client installed on someone’s machine, because it’s (malware), they have the ability to remotely control that application.

“So it’s quite easy to turn on some keylogging or data mining type application that may actually be built into the malicious code they’ve installed… You’ll never really know until they start to open up features inside an application,” Mr Anstis said.

And with a greater number of employees logging onto social networking sites at work, businesses are just as vulnerable as home users.

He said the best protection was educating MySpace users on how to identify dodgy websites and spam email, a view echoed by MySpace Australia’s Director of Safety & Security, Rod Nockles.

 

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