Episode 096

posted in: Show Notes
Silent Xbox 360 on the way
Silent Xbox 360 on the way

Microsoft is updating the operating system to allow games to be installed completely to the hard drive, instead of having to stream from the DVD drive. 60GB HDD version due in August

new Xbox Live! area called Primetime. It’s being billed as a massively multiplayer quiz show, and will be rolled out with the assistance of Endemol, the company behind the quiz show 1 vs 100

A wireless microphone with motion sensing capabilities will arrive with the karaoke title Lips

The curtain finally closes on Windows 3.11
The curtain finally closes on Windows 3.11

 As of November 1st this year and fifteen years after it first hit the shelves, you will no longer be able to buy Windows For Workgroups 3.11.

Microsoft stopped supporting it at the end of 2001

Computerworld – Council owns up to Optus’ QLD IP blackout
Council owns up to Optus’ QLD IP blackout


Gold Coast City Council has today been revealed as the culprit behind this week’s Optus outage after excavations in a Queensland state water project severed an interstate fibre cable.

More than a million Optus customers were unable to use mobile and land line telephones, or reach Web sites outside of the state for more than four hours, while repair crews rushed to fix the damage.

Seagate releases 1.5TB desktop drives, 500GB notebook drives
Seagate releases 1.5TB desktop drives, 500GB notebook drives


Fatter platters in the Barracuda and Momentus series see new drives soars to 1.5TB on the desktop and 500MB for notebooks.

The drive will employ four platters of 375GB apiece, compared to a quad serve of 250GB platters in the current 1TB drive, running at the Serial ATA 3Gb/second spec and up to 32MB of disk cache for a claimed sustained data rate ‘of up to 120MB/second’.

Ad-skipping has long been a beloved feature of TiVo owners, but Australians shouldn’t get too excited about that, either, as the best you’ll get from an Aussie unit is the ability to fast forward through ads (we suppose it was overly optimistic to hope that a commercial TV network would bring the Tivo to Australia with ad-skipping intact). To add insult to injury, according to reports in The Australian, Channel Seven has future plans to add slow banner-style ads over its ad breaks, so you’ll still have your eyeballs bombarded even when fast forwarding.

Welcome to iPhone Airlines…
Welcome to iPhone Airlines…


New biz-class seats from Singapore and United let you connect your iPod or iPhone to the plane’s in-flight entertainment system.

Australian TiVo — now with less
Australian TiVo — now with less

  July 29th, you’ll be able to pop down to your local Harvey Norman or Domayne store and plop down $699 for an official model

Sony to offer PlayStation movie downloads – CNN.com
Sony to offer PlayStation movie downloads


  • Sony will launch a downloadable movie service for its PlayStation 3 console
  • Service will feature films from such studios as Disney, Fox and Warner Bros.
  • Rentals will cost $2.99 to $5.99; purchases, $9.99 to $14.99.

The standard and high definition videos can be downloaded to the console and transferred to a PlayStation Portable.

Sony also announced it will sell an 80-gigabyte PS3 model for $399 beginning in September.

Among the new games revealed were “God of War III” and “Massive Action Game,” which will allow up to 256 players to battle online.

Scientists: Humans and machines will merge in future – CNN.com
Scientists: Humans and machines will merge in future


  • Nick Bostrom says technology will let humans manipulate their own biology
  • Ray Kurzweil predicts humans will be mostly non-biological by around 2030
  • Biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics could merge mankind with machines

On the final day of the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference, experts will focus on what could be the unintended consequences of new technologies, such as superintelligent machines that, if ill-conceived, might cause the demise of Homo sapiens.

“Any entity which is radically smarter than human beings would also be very powerful,” said Dr. Nick Bostrom, director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, host of the symposium. “If we get something wrong, you could imagine the consequences would involve the extinction of the human species.”


Now, Kurzweil is predicting the arrival of something called the Singularity, which he defines in his book on the subject as “the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that is still human but that transcends our biological roots.”

“There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine or between physical and virtual reality,” he writes.

iTWire – Apple wants to take Psystar and its clone customers to the cleaners
Apple wants to take Psystar and its clone customers to the cleaners

 Apple is asking for all profits made from its clones and a total recall of all Psystar clones sold into the market. The Cupertino company is making a total of ten claims against the Miami based system builder, covering copyright, trademark and trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, breach of contract, and unfair competition.

Central to Apple’s case are the terms in the Mac OS X licence agreement that state the licensee agrees not to use the software “on any non-Apple-labeled computer or enable another to do so” and that the “License will terminate automatically from Apple if [the licensee] fail[s] to comply with any term(s) of this License”.

New iPhone unlocked – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au
New iPhone unlocked

 A Brazilian company is claiming to be the first to have found a way to unlock Apple’s new iPhone 3G, getting around restrictions that require users to sign up for calling plans with exclusive carriers

The website of Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo and various online sites said the firm DesbloqueioBr hacked the phone by altering its firmware and by adding a special card add-on to the SIM chip.

The results allow iPhone users to connect to any carrier, not just the one that has an exclusive arrangement with Apple in each country where the phones are sold.

Australian websites to get ratings for content, age
Australian websites to get ratings for content, age

 Websites originating in Australia will soon be subject to a rating system that will tell users whether the content is appropriate for children of different ages. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced today that it has approved what it’s referring to as the “Content Services Code”

According to the ACMA, any content that is likely to be rated MA15+ (for mature audiences over the age of 15) must be assessed and classified by “trained content assessors.” The purpose of this is, of course, to assist parents and children to decide what is appropriate for them.

the code only applies to content originating in Australia, it strikes us as somewhat of a pointless endeavor. Members of the IIA are bound to the rules, but the rest of the Internet definitely is not. The majority of web and mobile sites are produced, distributed, and hosted from outside Australia, meaning that only a small percentage of the overall web will be held to these standards.

Live Mesh Is Open, But With A Cap? – LiveSide – News blog
Live Mesh Is Open, But With A Cap?

 Live Mesh Is Indeed Now Open. Well it is according to the Live Mesh Forum Announcement, but with a possible cap by the looks of it! We apparently created quite a stir in the blogosphere (thanks for the cheer Angus), but also for the Live Mesh Team

Our forum announcement from yesterday got a lot of people talking. We just updated the forum post to clarify exactly what’s going on, but I want to explain here as well.  This week we did two things:

  1. Doubled the maximum number of users we’ll allow to access the Live Mesh Technology Preview.
  2. Simplified the Tech Preview sign-up process.  We’ve removed the requirement to sign up via Microsoft Connect, so that instead you can sign up directly from www.mesh.com.


Nintendo plans 60-instrument ‘Wii Music’ – Articles – Games – Digital Life
Nintendo plans 60-instrument ‘Wii Music’

3G BlackBerry Bold to debut locally | Australian IT

3G BlackBerry Bold to debut locally

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Fran Foo | July 17, 2008

THE long-awaited 3G version of the BlackBerry device will be unveiled on July 29 in Australia, Research In Motion has confirmed.

The BlackBerry 9000, commonly known as the Bold, will be available from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and 3 Mobile.

Pricing and availability dates will be announced by the individual carriers.

“3 Mobile has no pricing and availability information available at the moment (for the Bold),” company spokeswoman Edwina Elliott said.

The telcos and RIM have been keeping mum on the Bold’s release but in the US, carrier AT&T is expected to sell the smartphone for over US$300 ($307) when it launches, although the exact date is unclear.

RIM’s other 3G offering, the BlackBerry 8707g, which starts at around $580,  doesn’t come equipped with the Bold’s bells and whistles.

The new device will have integrated GPS, WiFi and other multimedia features.

Big 3 mimic each other at E3: more, more and more – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Big 3 mimic each other at E3: more, more and more

July 17, 2008 – 2:19PM

One word sums up the announcements made by the Big Three gaming companies at the E3 this week: more.

During their flashy news conferences, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony all announced plans for more games, more sequels, more exclusives, more connectivity and more ways for gamers to use their systems for stuff other than gaming.

Such an escalation in enhancements is undoubtedly good news for existing owners of the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles, as well as their handheld counterparts. However, the upgrades may leave the systems feeling less distinct than ever before. Similar features and comparative accessories could confuse financially strapped consumers looking to power up this holiday season.

DC Universe players invent their own videogame superheros – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking

DC Universe players invent their own videogame superheros

July 17, 2008 – 7:33AM

Sony Online Entertainment is letting comic book lovers be first to try an online videogame that lets players invent superheroes that could go on to thrash even Superman.

“DC Universe Online” will premiere at a major US comic convention next week, creative director Christopher Cao told AFP on Wednesday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

“I can’t wait to have someone dressed as Batman playing as Batman,” Cao said, referring to fanatic comic book fans.

“But this game is not just about being another person playing as Superman. It is about being equal to Superman.”

Viacom gives in to YouTube privacy concerns – web – Technology

Viacom gives in to YouTube privacy concerns

July 16, 2008

In a nod to privacy complaints, Viacom won’t be told the identities of individuals who watch video clips on the popular video-sharing site YouTube.

Viacom and other copyright holders have agreed to let YouTube mask user IDs and Internet addresses when Google’s online video site hands over viewership records in a $US1 billion lawsuit accusing YouTube of enabling copyright infringement. A federal judge ordered the database produced in a July 1 ruling widely criticised by privacy activists.

“We remain committed to protecting your privacy and we’ll continue to fight for your right to share and broadcast your work on YouTube,” the company said in a blog posting late Monday disclosing the agreement.

Viacom is seeking at least $US1 billion in damages from Google, saying YouTube built its business by infringing copyrights on Viacom shows, which include Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon.

Sony to sell ad space in PS3 games – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au

Sony to sell ad space in PS3 games

July 13, 2008

Sony announced Friday that it will start offering virtual advertising space in PlayStation 3 games as part of efforts to stem losses from the console.

Players may see the ads in spaces such as billboards and wall surfaces within the games, it said.

“Various game titles are played by fans who like certain things, which can offer opportunities for targeted ads,” said a Sony spokesman.

“Online games allow greater flexibility for advertisers as to when, where and how long to advertise,” he said.

Sony has teamed up with in-game advertisement firms Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide for the new service, which will be available mainly in Japan, North America and Europe, the spokesman said.

Sony has sold about 13 million PS3 units since it was launched two years ago but has struggled to break even on the console amid tough competition from rival Nintendo’s Wii.

Critical flaw rocks the internet – Security – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au

Critical flaw rocks the internet

July 9, 2008

Computer industry heavyweights are hustling to fix a flaw in the foundation of the internet that would let hackers control traffic on the World Wide Web.

Major software and hardware makers worked in secret for months to create a software “patch” released on Tuesday to repair the problem, which is in the way computers are routed to web page addresses.

“It’s a very fundamental issue with how the entire addressing scheme of the internet works,” Securosis analyst Rich Mogul said in a media conference call.

“You’d have the Internet, but it wouldn’t be the internet you expect. (Hackers) would control everything.”

The flaw would be a boon for “phishing” cons that involve leading people to imitation web pages of businesses such as bank or credit card companies to trick them into disclosing account numbers, passwords and other information.

Attackers could use the vulnerability to route internet users wherever they wanted no matter what website address is typed into a web browser.

Security researcher Dan Kaminsky of IOActive stumbled upon the Domain Name System (DNS) vulnerability about six months ago and reached out to industry giants including Microsoft, Sun and Cisco to collaborate on a solution.

WA could miss out on NBN | Australian IT

WA could miss out on NBN

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Cath Hart | July 16, 2008

THE economic powerhouse of Western Australia would be disadvantaged under the “population centric” policy settings of Kevin Rudd’s national broadband network, the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry has warned.

WA could miss out on NBN

The WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry is concerned the federal Government’s broadband plan doesn’t take into account the value and importance of the WA economy

In its submission to the Government’s inquiry into regional broadband solutions, WACCI said that Communication Minister Stephen Conroy’s promise to deliver high-speed internet services to 98 per cent of the population over a national broadband network (NBN) was “likely to be concentrated in key population areas on the east coast of Australia”.

“WA’s disperse population and large number of regional industries will mean that population-centric parameters will place them at a strong disadvantage,” WACCI said.

WACCI said it was concerned that the NBN “does not take into account the value and importance of the WA economy”, pointing out that WA contributed almost 13 per cent of Australia’s GDP.

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.

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.

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.”

US Treasury supports mortgage giants – Breaking News – Business – Breaking News
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has announced measures to shore up mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose shares have plunged as losses from their mortgage holdings threatened their financial survival.

Information on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by Congress to “provide funding to mortgage lenders by purchasing their mortgages and then holding them or selling them to investors in the form of securities that they guarantee.” These companies are also known as Government Sponsored Enterprises, or GSE’s.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan noted, in a letter to the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Government Sponsored Enterprises dated May 19, 2000, “(The GSE’s) were each chartered with the purpose of smoothing out regional imbalances in mortgage supply and integrating regional mortgage markets into the national capital markets. Much to their credit, they succeeded in accomplishing this goal many years ago.”

 These two are major players in the world economy and the US Government want to bail them out. Now clearly they weren’t very good players, so why the frak bail them out. Don’t you normally ditch shithouse players.

Information on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
We also note that these entities have become increasingly complex. Fannie Mae recently announced it had “made an error of more than $1 billion in its last quarterly earnings release.” 

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