Episode 074

posted in: Show Notes
iTWire – Telstra set to finally switch on ADSL 2+ in over 900 telephone exchanges
Telstra set to finally switch on ADSL 2+ in over 900 telephone exchanges

 Research firm Ovum has commented that: “For over a year, Telstra has refused to turn on ADSL2+ services outside the footprint of its competitors networks, for fear that the ACCC would force Telstra to provide access to ADSL2+ resellers in areas where Telstra held a monopoly. But after a written guarantee from the new Labor government that this would not happen, Telstra has announced it will activate ADSL2+ services across 900 exchanges covering 2.4m households”

High-speed ADSL2+ broadband can provide network speeds of up to 20 Megabits per second (Mbps) depending on factors including the distance of a user from the exchange.  ADSL2+ can provide speeds of 12 to 20 Mbps to users within 1.5 kilometres of an exchange, and approximately 8 Mbps to users three kilometres from an exchange. These speeds are up to 350 times faster than a standard 56kbps dial-up connection, and up to 78 times faster than a standard 256kbps ADSL connection.

Telstra will activate the following new ADSL2+ services –

•    370 telephone exchanges serving nearly 1.8 million premises will be upgraded within seven working days – within the first 48 hours exchanges will be upgraded serving nearly one million premises in locations such as Alice Springs (NT), Banora Point (NSW), Buderim (Qld), Deer Park (Vic), Kalgoorlie and Karratha (WA), Newtown (Tas) and Victor Harbor (SA); and within seven working days exchanges will be upgraded serving locations such as Ayr (Qld), Aldinga (SA), Mittagong (NSW), Lakes Entrance (Vic), Sandy Bay (Tas) and Madjimup (WA).

•    132 telephone exchanges serving 230,000 premises will be upgraded within three weeks – serving locations such as Loxton (SA), Tully (Qld), Narromine (NSW), Camperdown (Vic), Howard Springs (NT), Smithton (Tas) and Yanchep (WA).

•    An additional 405 exchanges serving more than 330,000 premises will be upgraded within 200 days as Telstra completes additional work – serving locations such as Grovedale (Vic), Tumbarumba (NSW), Barcaldine (Qld), Ceduna (SA), Forrestdale (WA) and Cambridge (Tas).

The 900 additional exchanges that will provide ADSL2+ high-speed broadband serve –

•    approximately 730,000 homes and businesses in NSW
•    more than 660,000 homes and businesses in Victoria
•    more than 570,000 homes and businesses in Queensland
•    more than 170,000 homes and businesses in Western Australia
•    nearly 80,000 homes and businesses in South Australia
•    more than 120,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania
•    more than 50,000 homes and businesses in the Northern Territory
•    more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the Australian Capital Territory.

Telstra says that existing BigPond members in these areas on standard ADSL plans can call 13-POND to take advantage of the faster speeds by upgrading their plans, and that some customers may also need to upgrade their modem.

$1 million adds a letter S to internet address – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
$1 million adds a letter S to internet address


A British travel company has paid $US1.1 million ($A1.23 million) for the domain name cruises.co.uk, a price that is effectively $US1 million just for the letter "S" since it already owns the address cruise.co.uk.

The sum shatters the previous record for a .co.uk domain of $US300,000 ($A334,900), paid in October last year.

Seamus Conlon, whose company bought the address from a German travel company, said it was a necessary move to retain dominance in the rapidly growing market for ocean cruising.

'"Cruises' is consistently ranked first on Google, with 'cruise' just behind," he said.

600,000 households claim Internet too expensive: News – Communications – ZDNet Australia
600,000 households claim Internet too expensive


According to new statistics, more than 600,000 Australian households do not have an Internet connection because they think it is too expensive.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2008 Year Book revealed that 4.7 million Australian households had Internet connections in 2005-06, up from 1.1 million households in 1998.

The number of households with broadband Internet access in 2005-06 doubled from the previous year to 2.3 million, the report said.

The ACT had the highest proportion of households with broadband Internet connection — with 55 percent — while Tasmania recorded the lowest proportion of broadband connection with 35 percent.


Apple releases higher-capacity iPod Touch, iPhone – News – Mobile Phones
Apple releases higher-capacity iPod Touch, iPhone

 Apple has introduced a 32GB iPod Touch, available in Australia for AU$629.

All versions now ship with the software update released at last month's Macworld event in San Francisco. This includes Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather applications as well as the ability to customise the home screen.

Customers who purchased iPod Touches prior to the release of the 32GB player are able to obtain the software update from the iTunes store for AU$24.99.

Apple launches iPhoto prints in Australia – Internet Applications Software
Apple launches iPhoto prints in Australia


Users of iPhoto, part of Apple's iLife '08 suite, can now turn their digital images into cards, books and calendars, or print them in a range of sizes from the standard 4×6" to a poster-sized 20×30".

Currently, when you try to purchase prints, Australia and New Zealand are not on the list of available countries, but this should change once you install the iPhoto '08 update.

Pricing starts at AU$0.29 for a single 4×6" print, which is AU$0.10 more than HP's year-old Snapfish service. Apple's pricing structure is:

  • Picture Books from AU$39.99
  • Calendars from AU$26.99
  • Cards from AU$1.99
  • Prints from AU$0.29

Microsoft bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo – News – Internet Applications Software
Microsoft bids $44.6 billion for Yahoo

 Microsoft went public Friday with a $44.6 billion cash-and-stock bid to acquire Yahoo.

In its response, Yahoo called the Microsoft bid "unsolicited" but did not reject it. Microsoft said it believed it can get all of the needed regulatory approvals and said the deal, if ultimately approved by Yahoo shareholders, could be completed in the second half of the year.

Microsoft didn't mention Google by name in its announcement, but did indicate that its acquisition bid was aimed squarely at its rival.

"Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player, who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition," Microsoft said. "Together, Microsoft and Yahoo can offer a credible alternative for consumers, advertisers, and publishers."

Flickr fans band together to fend off Microsoft – News – Internet Applications Software
Flickr fans band together to fend off Microsoft

 The Microsoft: Keep Your Evil Grubby Hands Off Our Flickr group has 1,804 members and counting. The photo-sharing site has no shortage of opinionated members, and who knows how many shares they'll be able to vote in a proxy fight, but it is an interesting development.

Hackers declare war on Scientology – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Hackers declare war on Scientology


An anonymous group of internet users who have previously crashed Church of Scientology websites have named February 10 as a worldwide day of protest in a bid to "destroy" the controversial religion.

A group of internet users that includes skilled computer hackers calling themselves "Anonymous" have posted a message on YouTube declaring war on Scientology, accusing it of trying to censor the internet and conducting "campaigns of misinformation".

The apparent catalyst for the attack was YouTube's decision to remove a video of Hollywood star Tom Cruise – one of Scientology's most high-profile recruits – espousing the religion's virtues after the church asked that it be pulled.

"Anonymous has therefore decided that your organisation should be destroyed, for the good of your followers, for the good of mankind, and for our own enjoyment," the statement says.

"We shall proceed to expel you from the internet and systematically dismantle the Church of Scientology in its present form," it continues.



US gears up for digital TV switch-over next year – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News
US gears up for digital TV switch-over next year


A year ahead of a US switch to digital television, government and industry leaders vowed Thursday they will not leave Americans in the analog dark.

Like an old-fashioned toggle switch, the US federal government is turning off analog television at the stroke of midnight on February 17, 2009.

The idea is to provide better images and sound, deliver programming options and free up airwaves for emergency first responders, such as police and fire services, recommended in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The United States joins a globe-spanning movement to digital broadcasting. European Union member states, for example, have agreed to switch off analog broadcasting by 2012.

PC World – Steven Spielberg Presents Boom Blox for Wii

Steven Spielberg Presents Boom Blox for Wii

The Wii puzzler Boom Blox is the first of three EA games spearheaded by Steven Spielberg


Electronic Arts on Wednesday formally unveiled Steven Spielberg's previously announced Wii puzzler, Boom Blox – for both younglings and the young at heart.

Boom Blox, the first of three original EA games being spearheaded by Spielberg, features 300 brain-busting levels, 30 semi-adorable characters, co-op and versus modes, and a custom level editor which can share designs over WiiConnect24.

"My inspiration for this game came while I was playing the Wii for the first time," said Spielberg. "BOOM BLOX plays on the enjoyment of building and knocking down blocks, something that can appeal innately to kids and adults of all ages."

Boom Blox is scheduled for a May 2008 release on Wii.

Spielberg is also working on an Xbox 360 and PS3 game rumored to be heavily inspired by 2001's cult-hit, Ico for PS2

Myer to tempt shoppers with SMS | NEWS.com.au
Myer to tempt shoppers with SMS


MYER is set to hit shoppers with email and SMS marketing campaigns drawn from analysis of the spending habits of its customers.

Based on systems in use overseas, the scheme could enable the retail giant to blitz consumers with multiple, tailored marketing campaigns every month.

In Britain, retail giant Tesco is using similar technology to stock its stores before targeting shoppers with deals designed for local markets.

In the future, such techniques could be refined to allow department stores to run out excess stock using SMS offers that are based on a customer's purchase history, including favourite brands and clothing sizes.

Powerful analytical software will examine the data in search of patterns in spending that can be used to develop marketing campaigns based on demographics, geography or even tastes in food and clothing

David Jones and Supercheap Auto are known to be looking at similar initiatives and the growing number of store credit card schemes backed by firms such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express is allowing companies to collect more customer information than every before.

Unlike traditional store cards, which are restricted to use within a retailer's properties, branded credit card programs backed by third-party issuers allow data to be collected wherever a person shops

Computerworld – Vista SP1, Server 2008 RTMs leak to Web
Vista SP1, Server 2008 RTMs leak to Web


The RTM, or release to manufacturing, versions of both operating systems can easily be found on BitTorrent tracker sites such as Pirate Bay, which has made them available since yesterday.

One torrent of Microsoft's newest server operating system, Windows Server 2008, lists 42 "seeders," the term for a computer that has a complete copy of the torrent file, and nearly 190 "leechers," or computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent. The Windows Server 2008 torrent installs a 60-day trial edition, according to users on Pirate Bay who have downloaded the 2.5GB disk image.

Vista SP1, meanwhile, is even more popular. The most active torrent located using Pirate Bay listed 163 seeds and almost 500 leechers by mid-day Wednesday. Another tracker, Mininova.org, showed similar numbers: 159 seeders and 665 leechers.

Model checkers get Turing Prize | The Register
Model checkers get Turing Prize


The Association of Computing Machinery has awarded the $250,000 A.M Turing Prize to three men who created an automated way to find design errors in hardware or software.

The prize is shared between Edmund Clarke (Carnegie Mellon), E Allen Emerson (University of Texas at Austin) and Joseph Sifakis (University of Grenoble).

Often described as the Nobel prize for computing, the Turing prize got a boost in sponsorship last year from Google.

Model checking is a process of checking for mistakes by expressing a system as a logic formula. It was used to check the PCI bus specifications.


Primus asks ACCC to force Telstra's hand | Australian IT

Primus asks ACCC to force Telstra's hand

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Fran Foo | February 07, 2008

PRIMUS Telecom has called on the competition regulator to ensure that Telstra's rivals have the ability to offer high-speed internet services wherever the giant telco does.

Primus has asked ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel to look into Telstra's actions

Telstra decided to upgrade its ADSL services Wednesday so more than two million internet users can soon have access to high-speed web connectivity.

Until yesterday, the carrier had only been willing to turn on ADSL2+ in exchanges where it was already offered by competitors. Telstra had cited concerns that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would attempt to regulate the service, despite assurances by ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel that there was no compelling case to do so.

But Primus CEO Ravi Bhatia argued that Telstra's attempts to stymie Primus's expansion plans should be halted.

"In many cases Primus and other competitors have been queuing more than eight months to get into exchanges to deploy broadband equipment," Mr Bhatia said.

Primus yesterday wrote to the ACCC seeking declaration of Telstra's ADSL2+ service.

"You can be assured that Telstra will jump these queues to install its own DSL equipment in whatever exchanges it so chooses.

"Telstra should be required to offer ADSL2+ as a wholesale product in those exchange areas where competitors have been denied access to install their own broadband network," he said.

Telstra hopes to turn on ADSL2+ across 900 telephone exchanges over the next seven months. This would achieve, in theory, broadband speeds of 20Mbps from 8Mbps.

Pill-sized camera can be swallowed | Australian IT

Pill-sized camera can be swallowed

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Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle | February 07, 2008

TECHNOLOGY that doctors expect will help detect precancerous cells faster and less painfully also could someday take cameras to parts of the body where no camera has gone before.

Cameras the size of pills could "put eyes on tools" for laparoscopic surgery, snake inside a bile duct or fallopian tube, or weave their way deeper inside a person's lungs than any non-surgical device has been able to go.

Unlike a standard endoscope, which is almost a centimetre wide and can only be inserted into the esophageus after a patient is sedated, a new device invented at the University of Washington consists of seven fibre optic cables encased in a capsule about the size of a typical pain killer.

The device is aimed at detecting early signs of esophageal cancer, which is the fastest growing cancer in the United States.

In addition to its size, the main advantage of this invention is its cost – a few hundred dollars compared with more than $US5000 ($5588) for the standard scope.

The technology's primary developer, Eric Seibel, a research associate professor of mechanical engineering, is the only human who has tried the device so far. He says sliding the tiny camera down your throat is like swallowing a pill attached to a string.

Telstra revs up the internet | Australian IT

Telstra revs up the internet

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Andrew Colley | February 07, 2008

MORE than two million internet users will soon have access to high-speed connections now that Telstra has decided to upgrade its ADSL services.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (left) and Sol Trujillo at yesterday's ADSL2+ launch. Photo: Gary Ramage

The telecommunications giant's decision prompted calls for the federal Government to reconsider its $4.7billion broadband plan.

At a launch attended by Kevin Rudd in Canberra yesterday, Telstra chief Sol Trujillo said the speed of the carrier's ADSL service would lift from 8Mbps to 20Mbps in 900 exchanges serving 2.4 million consumers around Australia over the next eight months.

Until yesterday, the carrier had only been willing to turn on ADSL2+ in exchanges where it was already being offered by competitors. Telstra had cited concerns that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would attempt to regulate the service, despite assurances by ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel that there was no compelling case to do so.

Mr Trujillo said the carrier had reversed its position after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wrote to confirm he agreed with the ACCC's position – an assurance Telstra said it had been seeking for over a year.

Senator Conroy, also present at the launch, said he was "delighted that (he) could provide this assurance to Telstra".

The decision provoked strong reactions across the industry. Some accused Telstra of trying to undermine arguments that the carrier's network and retail divisions should be separated. Others said it raised doubts about the value of Labor's plan to spend $4.7 billion on fibre upgrades.

Simon Hackett, managing director of Adelaide-based ISP Internode, said the federal Government's plan to give 98 per cent of the population access to speeds of at least 12Mbps would be only a marginal improvement once ADSL2+ was made widely available.

"If ADSL2+ is widely available at current prices, and if FTTN (fibre to the node) causes the pricing to rise substantially (which Telstra has made clear is their intention when they deploy) for a relatively marginal improvement in speed, surely the number of people who will be happy to pay far more for that marginal speed increase will be close to zero," Mr Hackett said.

Google phone prototype unveiled? | Australian IT

Google phone prototype unveiled?

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Georgina Prodhan and John Bowker | February 08, 2008

BRITISH chip designer ARM will show a prototype mobile phone based on Google's Android platform next Monday at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, a source close to the company said.

Google and ARM declined to comment.

Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile and Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC) have said that they plan to offer phones based on the open-source Android software platform this year.

Internet search leader Google may upset the wireless industry with its software system designed to make the web as smoothly accessible from mobile devices as from PCs, challenging Nokia, Microsoft and Apple.

It is also bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States in a move that pits it against entrenched carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Its operator partners in the Open Handset Alliance announced in November include China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Telefonica – which have all said they are working with handset makers to develop Google-based phones.

Research firm Strategy Analytics has estimated that Android will be in two per cent of smartphones this year.

Current – IBM to make smaller, cheaper Cell chip for PS3
IBM to make smaller, cheaper Cell chip for PS3



By Chris Nicholls

SAN FRANCISCO: IBM has announced a new smaller, cheaper and lower-power Cell processor will go into production for the Playstation 3 this year, a move which could result in lower PS3 prices.

The company announced the smaller chip at the International Solid States Circuit Conference in San Francisco yesterday. According to various preports, while the current Cell chip uses IBM’s 65nm SOI construction process, the new chip will use the company’s new 45nm technology to reduce size by 34 per cent, power consumption by 40 per cent and therefore cooling and packaging needs.

Reduced heat from the chip should also mean better reliability, according to IBM, leading to lower warranty claim costs for Sony.


Current – Apple launches 30GB iPod touch, 16GB iPhone
Apple launches 30GB iPod touch, 16GB iPhone



By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Apple has doubled the memory of its iPod touch and iPhone, launching a 32 gigabyte touch worldwide today, as well as a 16GB iPhone in overseas markets. .

The 32GB iPod touch is available from today and will sell for $629. The 16GB model will remain at its previous $499RRP and the 8GB model for $399.RRP

The 16GB iPhone confirmed rumours on several websites yesterday of its imminent release. While unavailable in Australia through official channels, the 16GB iPhone will retail in America for US$500 (AU558). T-Mobile in Germany and Orange in France have the phone listed for EUR 500 (AU$815).

Mac owners who purchase a new iPod touch will require a USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later and iTunes 7.6. Windows PC owners will need a USB 2.0 port and Windows Vista or Windows XP Home or Professional (SP 2) or later and iTunes 7.6.

Current – Sony launch new long-life rechargeable batteries
Sony launch new long-life rechargeable batteries



By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Sony Australia has released a new range of Ni-MH rechargeable batteries that, like Sanyo’s Eneloop batteries, can hold 85 per cent of their charge for a year after charging.

The Cycle Energy Blue batteries come pre-charged and are rechargeable up to 1,000 times.

Maurice Satya, Sony Australia Recording Media and Batteries product manager, said the new rechargeable batteries were environmentally friendly.

“Thousands of tonnes of disposable batteries are thrown away each year, creating an immense amount of environmental waste. Using rechargeable batteries such as Sony’s Cycle Energy Blue rechargeable batteries is a cleaner, more efficient way to enjoy electronic products.”

Sony also released a new charger to accompany the batteries, the multi-voltage Cycle Energy Blue Power Charger. Usable worldwide, it will charge any of Sony’s AA and AAA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries and uses an LED indicator to show when it is charging. A safety timer automatically stops charging after seven hours.

The Power Charger with two Cycle Energy Blue batteries retails for $27.95, while the AA/AAA two-pack will sell for $14.95 SRP. A four-pack of AA or AAA batteries will sell for $26.95 SRP.

All products will be available nationwide.


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