Episode 078

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Australia exposed as card skimmers target IKEA : News – Hardware – ZDNet Australia
Australia exposed as card skimmers target IKEA

 This week, IKEA stores were targeted by a card skimming group, after two men stayed in a Swedish store over night and equipped payment terminals with card skimming readers — a scam that could affect thousands of customers, according to Swedish daily newspaper,

Sources: Samsung, Sony invest big on LCDs, Pioneer exits plasma | Tech News on ZDNet
Pioneer exits plasma


Japan's Pioneer plans to stop all production of plasma display panels, an industry source said Tuesday, adding that it is likely to buy panels from Matsushita Electric Industrial.

Shares in Pioneer surged 13 percent to 1,178 yen ($11.28).

Pioneer's plasma business has been struggling to compete with larger rivals with better production efficiency

Plasma, which was considered the cheapest and most available choice in the 40-inch flat-panel TV market in 2006, was overtaken by LCD as LCD makers ramped up large-size production, triggering steep price falls.

Plasma screens are recovering in the short term, as flat-screen TVs are in a short supply, but many analysts say prospects after 2008 are limited, with newer, bigger LCD lines expected to flood the flat-screen market in 2009.

Windows-based ATMs an easy touch for hackers: News – Security – ZDNet Australia
Windows-based ATMs an easy touch for hackers


Security experts have hacked ATMs to show how easy it is to steal money and bank account details from modern cash machines.

ATMs, or automated teller machines, today face the Internet-born threat of worms and denial-of-service attacks, as well as being at risk from malicious applications that can harvest customer data or hijack machines.

Up to 90 percent of the ATMs in the U.K. could be at risk from these attacks as they rely on desktop PC technology — usually Intel hardware and Windows operating systems — linked to other machines, some connected to the Internet, in the bank's network, according to experts.

Security vendor Network Box illustrated this threat by showing that only the personal identification number was encrypted when information was sent from a U.S. ATM to networked bank computers.

The card numbers, card expiration dates, transaction amounts, and account balances were clearly readable in plain text to anybody intercepting the data as it traveled through the network.

"Cabinet" ATMs, commonly found in shops, pubs, and restaurants, potentially face an even greater danger. Researchers from Information Risk Management (IRM) were able to open their safes and take them over.

iTWire – PopularitEee champ ASUS to launch 8.9-inch Eee PC
PopularitEee champ ASUS to launch 8.9-inch Eee PC

 Previewed at the CeBIT technology exhibition underway in Hanover, Germany, the new model is dubbed the Eee PC 900, comes with 1GB of RAM, an 8.9-inch LCD screen, larger storage of ‘up-to’ 12 GB, and will be ‘Windows Ready’. Pricing is set at 399 Euros, with an ASUS press release providing scant details, although they do say it will arrive in 'select countries' without going into specifics.


ASUS, leading company in the new digital era providing computers, communications and consumer electronics (3C) total solutions, today announced the “world’s easiest PC.” the Eee PC will now come pre-installed with Microsoft Windows operating system beginning March 2008.


The new Eee PC with Windows XP will primarily be aimed at the education market and will be available via special tender for educational institutions and through the channel. A number of Australian schools have already taken advantage of the cost benefits associated with the Eee PC and have introduced the product into classrooms, experiencing great success with enthusiastic students.


Ted Chen, managing director of ASUS Australia, said, “The affordability of the Eee PC supports the Federal Government’s education policy with regard to technology. We see the Eee PC as essential to expanding the market within the education sector. ASUS is dedicated to providing schools around Australia the opportunity to be part of the digital future. We believe education is fundamental to a child’s livelihood and ASUS is proud to be part of this important development for children’s futures.”

ASUS is now taking the next step with the new Eee PC with Windows XP, developing a new program to help implement the product in schools around the country and providing students with essential technology. School representatives will have the opportunity to experience the Eee PC first-hand as ASUS takes the product on a roadshow tour with events to be held across seven locations around Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, and Hobart) from xx March 2008.

All Hallows School in Brisbane, Queensland is one school which has already begun implementing Eee PCs throughout classrooms, so far rolling out approximately 130 units with more roll outs scheduled

The Eee PC with Microsoft Windows XP will be available will be available via special tender for educational institutions and through computer resellers from March 2008 – RRP $579 inc GST and available 2nd week March 08

iTWire – AVG 8.0 spotlights web threats
AVG 8.0 spotlights web threats


  • Safe Search. AVG scans Google, Yahoo! & MSN search results in real-time as you search and places safety ratings next to each link.
  • Safe Surf. AVG scans each and every Web site and Web link within a Web site before you open them to ensure they are safe.
  • Safe Link Scan. AVG scans every Web link you come across, whether in e-mails, documents or instant messages, no matter the source, before you open them to ensure you are protected in advance 100% of the time.
  • Safe Favorites & Bookmark Scan. AVG scans all your favorite and bookmarked sites before you open them to ensure they are safe.
  • Safe URL Scan. If you type your favorite site address (URL) into your browser, AVG will scan the contents of the site before you open it to ensure it is safe.
  • Safe Download Scan: AVG will scan all new applications you want to install as well as all Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other documents and music, videos and pictures to ensure they are safe before you download them.
  • Safety Ratings. Site specific safety details are displayed by simply hovering over the safety icons.

Free version is still only 7.5

Gary Gygax, Dungeons & Dragons creator, dies – CNN.com
Gary Gygax, Dungeons & Dragons creator, dies

 Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.

Meet Australia's geekiest geek – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Meet Australia's geekiest geek


The 37-year-old from Melbourne's outer-east never has to worry about forgetting his keys because the tiny chip, typically used to tag pets, opens his front door.

A swipe of his arm under a small scanner identifies Oxer with the house computer, which then unlocks the door.

Oxer, who recently retired as head of the Linux Australia community group, holds down a full-time job as technical director of Internet Vision Technologies, which he formed in 2000.

What is BeamMe.Info  

What is a Beam?

A Beam is essentially a relevant piece of website information that has our code installed so it can be sent to a mobile phone. Our service takes care of all the backend work of making sure it gets to the right phone in the right format. All that you see on a website is a small blue button next to the relevant piece of content. When clicked a box appears allowing the user to enter their mobile number.

The primary focus of BeamMe.Info is to give Internet users the convenience of being able to send useful information from the web directly to their mobile phones. We want the process for users to be free and so simple that it will become part of their everyday workflows on the Internet.


Macenstein | Apple set to release OS X 10.4.12
Apple set to release OS X 10.4.12

Current – Former Teac CFO given two-and-a-half year jail sentence
Former Teac CFO given two-and-a-half year jail sentence

By Chris Nicholls

MELBOURNE: The County Court of Victoria today sentenced former Teac Australia chief financial officer Kenneth Evans to two years and six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for three years, following a guilty plea by Evans in August 2007. 

Evans pleaded guilty to five contraventions of the Corporations Act, including two counts of failing to act in good faith in the best interests of TEAC Australia, one count of dishonestly using his position as a director of TEAC Australia, one count of falsifying company books and one count of providing false or misleading information to the auditor of TEAC Australia.

Current – Sony unveils Vaio for the lounge room
Sony unveils Vaio for the lounge room

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony Australia will roll-out a new Vaio PC concept called the “living room PC”, which is designed to deliver full Windows Vista and media centre functionality on a high definition flat panel television in the living room.

Sony announced the sleek Vaio TP2 (RRP $2,499) at the MediaConnect Forum in Maroochydore yesterday afternoon connected to a full HD Bravia flat panel television.

The focus of the product will be delivering a storage and viewing solution for digital media in the living room.

YouTube – Corey Delaney, party boy=idiot. Media=BIGGER IDIOTS!
Corey Delaney, party boy=idiot. Media=BIGGER IDIOTS!

NAB, Telstra in mobile services | Australian IT

NAB, Telstra in mobile services

Mahesh Sharma | March 04, 2008

WITH Australian banks under pressure to bring mobile banking to market, National Australia Bank has teamed up with Telstra to develop an SMS-based platform, which may be accessible only to customers of both companies.

The pair started working on the project more than 12 months ago, and it is understood NAB customers who want to use the service may have to be on the Telstra network.

A spokeswoman for NAB did not rule out that the service would only be available for the bank's customers using Telstra mobiles. But "if NAB was to develop a solution, it's unlikely to be only on one carrier's network", she said.

The banks are expected to launch some sort of mobile banking services this year, as consumer appetite for the technology grows, and the pressure has been on the big four banks since ANZ revealed plans to roll out a platform later this year.

It is understood NAB was originally planning to launch its mobile banking offering with mobile handset seller Crazy John's, but it dumped those plans after the mobile phone retailer had trouble bedding down a new customer relationship management system.

NAB is also working with Telstra and Visa to test technology that allows customers to make purchases simply by swiping their phones.

The Commonwealth Bank has also undertaken a similar trial with Mastercard.

Consumers' banking information will be embedded in SIM cards contained in smartphones that can be read by waving them over specially designed sensors. The banking information can then be used to pay for goods and services.

The technology is still in its infancy here, but banks in New Zealand have had it in place for years, and many of the Australian banks have used their Trans-Tasman subsidiaries to experiment with mobile payments.

However, it appears that Commonwealth Bank and NAB did not want to be locked into a single carrier or credit card company.

In fact Commonwealth and NAB's New Zealand subsidiaries persisted with the closed system for about a year before all the banks bit the bullet and collaborated to develop a platform that could operate with any network.

New Zealand-based M-Com develops mobile banking systems. Its marketing manager Serge Van Dam said banks would eventually realise the need for an integrated mobile banking and payments system.

"You've got to have something in the market because at some point you'll look silly if you don't have any, but the banks will go back to the drawing board and as what they need in the longer term and they'll come back and say they need a comprehensive, end-to-end banking platform.

"Once you become a mobile banking customer and mobile payment customer, you'll want to be able to pay with your phone and have it come out of your current account, to be able to say you want it to be no more than $200 unless you authorise it with a signature."

NAB sends jobs offshore | Australian IT

NAB sends jobs offshore

Mahesh Sharma | March 04, 2008

NATIONAL Australia Bank will send maintenance and support for some core banking applications offshore within the next six months as part of contracts with Infosys and Satyam.

The move will affect more than 260 employees.

Yesterday the bank announced that it would offshore some technology operations, with Infosys taking on the enterprise management functions, including enterprise information management systems and the SAP enterprise information management team.

Satyam will take over the legacy ledger systems, global channel services and the performance and automation testing teams.

The six teams moving overseas had 264 staff, including 111 permanent staff and 153 contractors, and NAB spokeswoman Megan Lane could not say how many redundancies this would cause.

"We are now talking to the people in those roles individually, and as teams, about what they might want to do, and one of options open to staff under the enterprise agreement is they can take a redundancy package.

"We have a huge agenda of change and A huge volume of work on, as NAB continues to strive to be competitive, and a lot of that hinges on IT. A lot of work is going on at the moment and we would like to redeploy as many staff as possible."

Asus expands Eee PC line | Australian IT

Asus expands Eee PC line

Mahesh Sharma | March 05, 2008

ASUS has upgraded the memory, storage and screen size of its popular Eee PC sub-notebook.

The new Eee PC 900 will have 1GB of memory, larger storage of up to 12GB, and wider 8.9-inch screen and will also be Windows ready.

Asus launched the product at the CeBIT 2008 conference in Hanover, Germany.

"Although petite in size, this high performance miniature computer truly performs and comes with a durable, shock-proof solid-state design – making it easy for housewives, office ladies and students alike to carry and connect to the internet," Asus said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Asus and Microsoft announced that Eee PCs with Windows XP would be available in Australia through channel partners and tenders for educational institutions. Pricing was not revealed.

Eee PC on Xandros Linux retails at $499.

CeBIT: Supermarket of the future | Australian IT

CeBIT: Supermarket of the future

Stuart Kennedy | March 05, 2008

HELP could be at hand to those who get lost in supermarket aisles searching for all the items on their shopping list.

At the giant CeBIT technology show in Hanover, Germany, software maker SAP was showing off a supermarket shopper aide that works through a mobile phone.

Instead of putting pen to paper and wandering the aisles, shoppers enter their grocery list onto a mobile phone.

On entering a supermarket the phone downloads an inventory list and an aisle map.

It then calculates the most efficient route through the aisles for the desired items and displays the result on a map on the phone. It also shows the available brands and prices of all the items on the shopping list.

Inside the supermarket, the application becomes an on-the-fly checkout system, scanning in the price of items lifted off the shelves and then charging them to a nominated account.

SAP has built a live store complete with supermarket stock to trial the system, but officials say the smart store is still years off becoming a production reality mainly because the radio frequency identification-tagging technology that underpins the smart store is still too expensive for the mass retail market.

E-security lessons for Aussie kids | Australian IT

E-security lessons for Aussie kids

Karen Dearne | March 05, 2008

STUDENTS will be taught to identify and protect themselves against online threats under a new federal Government program to embed a "culture of security" in the next generation of internet users.


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