Episode 095

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A new survey has shown that new role models are turning out to be Television Superheroes or Super Villains. A survey conducted by a University in England, has shown that the general public are now using characters from popular TV series as there role models and have been doing so for some time now. Problem is with so many unsavoury  Superheroes or Supervillains, people are utilising skills taken from their role models in negative ways. For example a fan of the Sopranos may base their moral and social standings on their favourite character Tony Soprano. Or in a more chilling instant, some people may have Dexter as their Role Model. What’s your favourite TV shows of those which characters do you relate to?

Current – iPhone far from a sell out in most stores
iPhone far from a sell out in most stores

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Despite massive hype and predictions of limited supply, it appears Australians have taken slowly to the iPhone, with both Optus and Vodafone saying they still had stock left at most stores as of this morning.

Vodafone mass and brand PR manager, Jessica Forrest, said they had had “an amazing response” from their customers, but admitted most stores had stock left.

“It’s probably too early to say where we’re at in terms of stock”, she said, but confirmed Vodafone hadn’t “sold out yet; we do have stock on the floor,” she said.

StumbleUpon Demo – 2010: the 5TB 3.5in HDD cometh | Register Hardware
Hitachi has pledged to release a 5TB 3.5in hard drive within two years, and it claims two of the drives will boast enough capacity to store everything in your brain.

iPhone: Telstra can’t beat Optus | Australian IT

iPhone: Telstra can’t beat Optus

Click here to find out more!

Mitchell Bingemann | July 10, 2008

TELSTRA will only offer a paltry 5MB of download allowance when it reveals its iPhone 3G pricing plans tomorrow.

According to a preliminary report from financial analyst outfit Citi Smith Barney, the telco’s pricing will mirror its existing mobile phone plans (click on table below).

iPhone price comparison

 

Under the details revealed by Citi, Telstra’s $80 a month plan for the iPhone will come with $70 worth of calls and text, and 5MB of data allowance.

Prior to the report, Telstra had only revealed it would offer the iPhone on 24-month contracts starting at $30 per month with an upfront cost of $279 for the 8GB model and $399 for the 16GB model, or on contracts for $80 or $100 per month where no upfront costs were required.

Telstra’s tepid iPhone plans will position Optus as the carrier with the best bang-for-buck plan when the device launches across the country tomorrow morning.

On the Optus $79 iPhone plan customers will receive $550 worth of calls and text, and 700MB of data allowance.

Japan to scrap iPod copyright fee – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Japan to scrap iPod copyright fee

July 10, 2008 – 5:47PM

Japan will stop pushing for legislation to charge royalties on the sales of iPods and other portable digital music players, giving in to opposition from electronics makers, officials said Thursday.

What is being dubbed here as “the iPod tax” has been tossed around for years. The tax would allow about 1 percent to 3 percent of the price of a digital recording device to go to recording companies, songwriters and artists.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs had hoped to submit legislation to Parliament as early as this fall.

But amid a flurry of criticism from electronics makers, a meeting of a panel studying the proposal failed to reach any agreement Thursday, agency official Masafumi Kiyota said.

“At this point, there is virtually no hope for getting the legislation passed,” he said.

The panel agreed to continue talking, but no date has been set, Kiyota said.

Despite an aggressive push by the Japanese recording industry, a similar proposal to impose an “iPod tax” fell apart in December 2005.

The cultural agency proposed a compromise in May to charge only portable digital music players, such as iPods, and digital hard disk recorders. But the manufacturers resisted, saying more equipment could be added as a source for royalties.

Older devices, such as minidisk and DVD recorders, are already subject to copyright fees in Japan. The payments are included in the price tag so most sh

Current – OLED to come under attack from rival tech in late ’09

OLED to come under attack from rival tech in late ’09

By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: OLED faces a renewed attack from rival technology Field Emission Displays (FED), after Sony spin-off Field Emission Technologies (FET) confirmed it will purchase Pioneer’s plasma factory next year.

Speaking to Current.com.au, a FET spokesperson said, “We will purchase the factory, but at this point in time, we are still in discussions with Pioneer as to the method of purchase”.

He said whether the company would pay cash or use other means was still unclear.

FED technology, which uses carbon nanotubes to fire electrons at individual phosphor pixels, is purported to deliver better pictures, with unsurpassable motion smoothness, than either plasma or LCD, and for less power. It can be made up to 3 mm thin.

It is regarded at the originator of the aborted SED technology once raised by Canon and Toshiba.

According to the spokesperson, initial production will start at the end of 2009, and will be limited to 10,000 units in the first year, all of them business-focused monitors for use in applications like TV station master monitors and medical scanning equipment.

However, while he did not give a date, the spokesperson said FET would eventually move into televisions.

“We will make televisions in the future, but if we jump straight into TVs, we will need a huge amount of money and a large production run. At this stage, we’re looking at production runs of 10,000 units in our first year for a 26-inch size.”

Current – Toshiba releases tiny 2.5-inch portable HDDs
Toshiba releases tiny 2.5-inch portable HDDs

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Hard disc manufacturing giant Toshiba has released three new portable hard drives that hold up to 320 GB but are only 2.5-inches in length.

The USB-powered drives come in 160, 250 and 320 GB sizes, and sell for RRP $149, $199 and $249 respectively.

All three models also come with NTI Shadow automated backup software and have internal shock sensors to prevent damage to data when bumped.

Toshiba claims transfer speeds peak at 480 Mb/s and each model weighs 198 grams.

The drives are compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS 10.3.9 or later and come with a three year limited warranty.

Current – Countdown to digital radio switch-on begins
Countdown to digital radio switch-on begins

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Digital radio is a step closer to reality in Australia today, with Commercial Radio Australia announcing some of the successful tenders for the network’s construction.

The tenders, according to Commercial Radio Australia, include German company Rohde & Schwarz, Swedish firm Factum, Perth-based infrastructure company The United Group and New Zealand-based infrastructure management group Kordia.

Rohde & Schwarz will handle transmitter installation, while Factum will supply the multiplexers and coders. The United Group will help with systems integration services and ‘pre-build’, while Kordia will offer project management support.

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive, Joan Warner, said the announcement represented a significant development in Australia’s migration to digital radio.

“We are now literally building towards a new era, one that will deliver a multi-media experience to radio listeners, broadcasters and advertisers alike,” she said.

Japan backs joint display-technology research – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Japan backs joint display-technology research

July 10, 2008 – 4:26PM

The Japanese government said Thursday it will support Sony Corp., Sharp Corp. and other domestic companies in joint development of super-thin TVs based on organic light-emitting diodes.

The group will aim to develop a 40-inch OLED display sometime after 2015, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, said in a statement. NEDO is a Japan government agency that promotes research into new technologies.

OLEDs use light-emitting organic compounds similar to those found in fireflies. TVs using OLEDs don’t require a backlight and can be made thinner than those based on traditional liquid crystal or plasma displays.

The technology is still young, but Japanese manufacturers are eager to get the jump on South Korean TV heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Display Co.

Last year Sony introduced the first OLED TV for the commercial market _ an 11-inch TV with a screen just 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) thick. The TV went on sale at roughly 10 times the price of comparable LCD models.

Tech Bits – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Tech Bits

July 10, 2008 – 7:22AM

Flickr, a popular online photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo Inc., is teaming up with Getty Images to offer shutterbugs a chance to turn their hobby into a moneymaking endeavor.

Under a partnership announced this week, Getty’s editors will peruse Flickr to find pictures that may appeal to newspapers, magazines, book publishers, advertising agencies and other businesses.

Getty will then contact photographers who posted shots with sales potential to see if they’re interested in licensing the pictures. Any ensuing sales will be split between Getty and the participating photographers.

High gas prices fuel boom in online classes – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

High gas prices fuel boom in online classes

July 10, 2008 – 7:08AM

Laurel Ranticelli considered driving 40 miles round-trip to take education classes at the University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst. Then she realized she could take the same courses from her computer at home and save on fuel costs.

“It’s gotten out of hand, the gas prices,” said Ranticelli, 50, who lives in Springfield. “It’s $70 a week. That’s pretty close to my groceries.”

She joins a growing number of students trying to save gas money by enrolling in online classes. Online enrollment has been steadily growing for years, but college administrators say the spike in gas prices _ to more than $4 a gallon in most places _ has fueled a surge in students seeking classes without the cost of commuting.

Although most colleges do not track students’ reasons for choosing online learning, many administrators cite a clear link with fuel prices.

John Bourne, director of the Sloan Consortium, an organization in Wellesley that studies online education, said he expects gas prices to bring about “a blended classroom _ half online, half in class.”

Edit your DNA: `Gene wiki’ to debut on Wikipedia – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Edit your DNA: `Gene wiki’ to debut on Wikipedia

July 10, 2008 – 7:10AM

Researchers plan to create a library of human genetics, with entries on the workings of individual genes, and make it available for anyone in Wikipedia rather than in an obscure academic format.

Authors of the “gene wiki” say they have created 7,500 Wikipedia entries on different genes and are editing another 650 already existing entries.

The group outlined its aims this week in a paper published on the Public Library of Science’s online journal, PLoS Biology. The eight authors are from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego, San Diego State University and Washington University in St. Louis.

“With the entire community’s input, we envision this gene wiki evolving into a collection of collaboratively created, continually updated, community-reviewed review articles for every gene in the human genome,” the authors wrote.

Virtually anyone can edit an entry on Wikipedia, the mammoth Internet encyclopedia that was founded in 2001 and built by volunteer contributors. That could mean the gene wiki will be overwritten _ with errors _ by someone else who comes along.

Indeed, the scientists considered an alternative, Citizendium, whose volunteer contributors are expected to provide their real names. Citizendium asks experts in given fields to check articles for accuracy. But ultimately, the gene wiki researchers said, they chose Wikipedia because it is highly popular and the site’s volunteer editors tend to quickly correct inaccuracies.

Wikipedia’s de facto leader, Jimmy Wales, cheered the endorsement.

Sony’s PlayStation site hacked – web – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au

Sony’s PlayStation site hacked

Angus Deacon | July 7, 2008

Visitors to Sony’s official PlayStation site are being warned about security risks after hackers managed to jeopardise the security of the online portal last week.

The US-based PlayStation website is a popular destination for video gamers, and is where games like Singstar Pop and God of War are available for download.

However cybercriminals have recently been targeting these same pages to trick customers into purchasing additional software that is potentially malicious to their PCs.

In this case the hacker’s code misled visitors, saying that due to security risks there were new anti-virus precautions in place. The visitor then performed a fake anti-virus scan which displayed a bogus message informing them that their computer was infected with a variety of different viruses and Trojan horses.

The hackers then used these scare tactics to get the visitor to purchase a phony security product that once installed harvested confidential or important data from their computer.

Recent visitors to the site are being advised to update their anti-virus software and to be extra vigilant when installing new software.

TV screen gas ‘worse than coal’ – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au

TV screen gas ‘worse than coal’

Ian Sample in London | July 4, 2008

THE rising demand for flat-screen televisions may have a greater impact on global warming than the world’s largest coal-fired power stations, a leading environmental scientist has warned.

Manufacturers use a greenhouse gas called nitrogen trifluoride to make the televisions. As the sets have become more popular, annual production of the gas has risen to about 4000 tonnes.

As a driver of global warming, nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, yet no one knows how much of it is being released into the atmosphere by the industry, said Michael Prather, director of the environment institute at the University of California.

Dr Prather’s research reveals that production of the gas, which remains in the atmosphere for 550 years, is “exploding” and is expected to double by next year. Unlike common greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), emissions of the gas are not restricted by the Kyoto Protocol or similar agreements.

Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Dr Prather and a colleague, Juno Hsu, state this year’s production of the gas was equivalent to 67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, with “a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialised nations’ emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even of the world’s largest coal-fired power plants”.

Concerns have led Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology to avoid using the gas, but Air Products, which produces it for the electronics industry, claims very little nitrogen trifluoride is released into the atmosphere.

Current – Countdown to digital radio switch-on begins
Countdown to digital radio switch-on begins

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Digital radio is a step closer to reality in Australia today, with Commercial Radio Australia announcing some of the successful tenders for the network’s construction.

The tenders, according to Commercial Radio Australia, include German company Rohde & Schwarz, Swedish firm Factum, Perth-based infrastructure company The United Group and New Zealand-based infrastructure management group Kordia.

Rohde & Schwarz will handle transmitter installation, while Factum will supply the multiplexers and coders. The United Group will help with systems integration services and ‘pre-build’, while Kordia will offer project management support.

Commercial Radio Australia chief executive, Joan Warner, said the announcement represented a significant development in Australia’s migration to digital radio.

“We are now literally building towards a new era, one that will deliver a multi-media experience to radio listeners, broadcasters and advertisers alike,” she said.

Aussie scientists speeding up web | Australian IT

Aussie scientists speeding up web

Click here to find out more!

Andrew Colley | July 10, 2008

A GROUP of Australian scientists has found a way to make the world’s internet pipes run more than six times faster than today’s best technology.

Aussie scientists speeding up web

The breakthrough was jointly discovered by photonics whizzes at Australian National University and Sydney University

The breakthrough, announced during a special session at a photonics conference in Sydney yesterday, breaks through technical ceilings holding back the hundreds of thousands of fibre-optic cables that ring the earth.

The breakthrough was jointly discovered by photonics whizzes at Australian National University and Sydney University who found they could etch circuit-like patterns in glass to switch fibre-optic signals much faster than conventional electronics.

Professor Ben Eggleton, director of the Centre for Ultra-high bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS), which developed the technology, said that the world’s fibre links could handle more data than the complicated pieces of electronics that currently welded them together.

“There’s a lot of capacity and bandwidth there but we’re not harnessing it. We’ve been trying to increase the data rate over the last 20 to 30 years but it’s slowed down in recent years because it’s getting a lot harder,” Professor Eggleton said.

Aussies win tech prize for saving water | Australian IT

Aussies win tech prize for saving water

Click here to find out more!

Correspondents in Sydney | July 09, 2008

A COMPUTER program designed to save water for Australia’s drought-stricken farmers has won a major international technology prize.

A team of four Australians developed the software and beat off competition from around the world to take out the Imagine Cup in Paris.

Sponsored by computer giant Microsoft, the competition involved more than 200,000 students from 100 countries.

Team SOAK (Smart Operational Agricultural ToolKit) impressed the judges with its unique software designed to help farmers monitor their water usage.

Team member David Burela, 24, said about six months was spent consulting with engineers and farmers and developing the software.

It gives farmers a virtual image of their farms and the ability to work out how much moisture is in their fields and what their dam storage levels are.

“Basically, it allows them to record how much water they are using and tells them how much they have left,” Mr Burela said.

“So, they’re able to water only where they need to and can maximise their water use.

Vodafone unveils tepid iPhone pricing | Australian IT

Vodafone unveils tepid iPhone pricing

Click here to find out more!

Mitchell Bingemann | July 09, 2008

update VODAFONE Australia has released its iPhone pricing plans ahead of tomorrow’s launch, but has failed to better offerings from rival iPhone carrier Optus.

Vodafone will offer a range of iPhone plans on both 24-month cap and business contracts.

The cheapest monthly plan with included data allowance costs of $69 a month with $310 worth of talk time and SMS, and 250MB worth of data downloads. But customers will have to pay $189 for the 8GB or $309 for the 16GB iPhone up front.

The up-front charges for the iPhone can be broken into monthly instalments that add on to the monthly payment over the life of the 24-month contract.

Vodafone’s other plans charge $99 a month for $600 worth of talk and text, and 500MB of data, and $119 for $800 worth of text and talk, and 500MB of data.

According to Vodafone’s web page yesterday, it would offer the iPhone on a range of cap plans that do not include any data allowance. These start from $29 a month with an additional upfront cost of $339 for the 8GB model or $460 for the 16GB model. But a Vodafone spokesperson said the pricing for the plans without data allowance was being tweaked.

Vodafone Australia customers are doing better than their New Zealand counterparts. In NZ, Vodafone customers are being charged $NZ199 ($157) for an iPhone if they sign up for a $NZ250 monthly plan for two years.

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