Episode 097

posted in: Show Notes
Vodafone hits 4 million customers | Australian IT
Vodafone hits 4 million customers

VODAFONE Australia added about 70,000 customers in the June quarter for a total of 4.1 million as users were attracted to the mobile carrier’s cheaper plans.

Voice usage on Vodafone’s network increased by 10.9 per cent from a year earlier and the company finished the quarter with 975,000 third generation (3G) devices connected to its network.

“Mobile voice and SMS continues its unabated year-on-year growth but mobile data services have quickly become our most promising growth engine,” chief executive Mr Hewitt said.

Broadband users overtake dial-up in Australia | Australian IT
Broadband users overtake dial-up in Australia


BROADBAND has for the first time outstripped dial-up as the main gateway to the internet for households, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

In 2006-07, 43 per cent of Australian homes had a broadband connection compared with 20 per cent with dial-up during the same period.

Fibre broadband popularity increasing worldwide, research shows

As of the end of last year, there were nearly 29 million fibre broadband subscribers worldwide. Ovum predicts that this figure will grow to 100 million, or 16 percent of all broadband users, by 2012.

Google closes in on Digg – Internet – iTnews Australia
Google closes in on Digg


Google is on the verge of snapping up news aggregator Digg for a reported US$200m as the search giant continues to bolster its news service.

Reports claim that the acquisition is a couple of weeks from completion, although a third party such as Microsoft could still move in should the deal fall through.

Google and Digg have reportedly signed a letter of intent following an on/off negotiation process which continued despite Google’s cooling on the acquisition.

iPhone 2.0 hack: it took just nine days
iPhone 2.0 hack: it took just nine days

 Nine days. That’s the time it has taken since the official launch of iPhone 3G for a hacking group called “iPhone-Dev team” to officially release an application that lets you jailbreak and unlock any first generation iPhone, or jailbreak (but not network unlock) the iPhone 3G.

The tool is called PwnageTool (a play on the humorous geek term ‘pwned’, derived from the word ‘owned’ — used to taunt an opponent in gaming who has just been defeated, but also commonly used when a hacker has taken control of a device or system.) So far PwnageTool is only available for Mac OS X.

While the group promise a ‘more official announcement soon’ the tool is live and freely downloadable. There aren’t official instructions available yet, but a good summary of what to do, and how to do it is available here. I’ve also included some of my notes here too.

Pwning your phone, as it is now being referred to, is more complicated than unlocking an original iPhone running the last first-gen release of the iPhone firmware (1.1.4). It works by modifying the ‘.ipsw’ firmware file for the iPhone which is available via Apple’s webservers. You then use iTunes to upload the modified firmware to your phone, which replaces the system software for the phone with the slightly modified one.

Gmail – Microsoft Australia News and Events – July 2008 – thesecrethub@gmail.com
Last days to Help Microsoft raise $100k for Aussie kids!

 Watch the short Microsoft® Office 2007 Charity demo and Microsoft will donate $1 to The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program – to help Aussie kids get the education they need for a brighter future. Go on and do your bit now! Visit www.Microsoft.com.au/donate for more information.

Ancient Bible to be made whole online – CNN.com
Ancient Bible to be made whole online


The British Library says the full text of the Codex Sinaiticus will be available to Web users by next July, digitally reconnecting parts that are held in Britain, Russia, Germany and a monastery in Egypt’s Sinai Desert.

A preview of the Codex, which also has some parts of the Old Testament, will hit the Web on Thursday — the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of Mark.

The British Library bought 347 pages from Soviet authorities in 1933. Forty-three pages are at the University Library in Leipzig, Germany, and six fragments are at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. And in 1975, monks stumbled on 12 more pages and 40 fragments stashed in a hidden room at the monastery.

ABC launches PC-based streaming TV
ABC launches PC-based streaming TV

 ABC iView, launched yesterday after a year-long development period, allows viewers to watch programs they’ve missed across six channels, including Catchup (recent broadcasts), news, Kazam (kids), arts Docs (documentaries). The final channel links to the recently-launched

There’s no direct DRM involved, and the ABC’s developers accept that unauthorised software designed to save the streaming broadcasts will inevitably emerge.

iView is designed to work with an ADSL2 connection; a speed test on login helps viewers determine if they can effectively view video on the service. While there’s no charge for accessing iView, there is a potential hidden cost: exceeding your download cap.

The ABC has “geoblocked” iView so that it can’t be accessed from outside Australia. That was a key requirement in order to satisfy overseas content providers such as the BBC (which supplies Doctor Who) and ITV (The Bill) that contractual obligations were being met.

Some shows have rights issues which make them virtually impossible to broadcast via iView. The popular quiz Spicks and Specks, for instance, hasn’t been made available because the music rights negotiations were too difficult.

Watchdog warns on telco tricks and iPhone fees
Watchdog warns on telco tricks and iPhone fees

 The ACCC has suggested that iPhone buyers take a closer look at the data allowance on their plans, and also written to carriers regarding concerns over what it calls “the potential for consumers to be misled about mobile data usage charges.”

It’s an identical play to Telstra’s mass marketing of BigPond broadband – a low up-front fee coupled with a minimal data allowance which unwitting users quickly exceed, leaving them to face excess usage fees that are multiples of their regular monthly bill.

Optus’ cheapest $19/month plan comes with only 100MB of data, which many users would still blast past in the course of a month, and attract an excess usage charge of 35c/MB – almost a third of what Telstra levies, but still enough to pack a significant sting at the end of the month.

Vodafone’s plans being with a more realistic 250MB of data for $69 per month with excess data costed at only 12c/MB. All three carriers offer heavy-duty plans of 1GB to 3GB, but with high monthly fees starting at $149.

The ACCC’s warning isn’t restricted to the iPhone but applies to all 3G smartphones, many of which make it easier than ever to access the Internet on the go (especially when coupled to a laptop) – and in doing so, download high amounts of data that can blow out your monthly mobile bill.

TALK ABOUT DODO WIRELESS $5 month but for 100mb

Optus introduces unlimited mobile plans, 2GB iPhone plan
Optus introduces unlimited mobile plans, 2GB iPhone plan


Optus has launched new mobile plans that include unlimited calls (including video calls) and SMS/MMS plus large data usage allowances.

The plans are called ‘yes’ Timeless plans and Optus says they have “unlimited value”.

$100 online signup bonus

Optus will give new and recontracting customers who connect online to a ‘yes’ Timeless plan $100 when they signup online.


StumbleUpon Demo – Report: 81.5 percent of all e-mails sent in June were spam
Report: 81.5 percent of all e-mails sent in June were spam

ccording to web security firm MessageLabs, spam accounted for 81.5 percent of all e-mail traffic in June

This number, which is calculated based on 3 billion e-mail connections that MessageLabs scans every single day, more or less corresponds with US-specific data. An analysis of year-to-date spam rates for individual US states shows that the percentage of e-mails that were spam range from 77 (Montana) to 91 percent (Illinois). In other words, in every single state in the US, over three quarters of e-mails sent are junk. The average spam level in the US was 86 percent in June.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Net firms in music pirates deal

Net firms in music pirates deal


Customers who illegally share music will get warning letters

Six of the UK’s biggest net providers have agreed a plan with the music industry to tackle piracy online.

The deal, negotiated by the government, will see hundreds of thousands of letters sent to net users suspected of illegally sharing music.

Hard core file-sharers could see their broadband connections slowed, under measures proposed by the UK government.

BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed up.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, which represents the music industry, said: “All of the major ISPs in the UK now recognise they have a responsibility to deal with illegal file-sharers on their networks.”

Mr Taylor said it had taken years to persuade ISPs to adopt this view.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Family lose Narnia web name fight

Family lose Narnia web name fight

CS Lewis

The company managing the estate of CS Lewis wants the domain name

An Edinburgh couple have lost a battle with the estate of Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis over a web domain name.

Richard Saville-Smith paid £70 for the name www.narnia.mobi so his son Comrie, 11, who is a CS Lewis fan, could use it for his e-mail address.

But the company which owns the rights to the late author’s work lodged a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

It ruled that the domain name should be transferred to C.S. Lewis (Pte) Ltd.

BBC NEWS | UK | Facebook libel case damages won

Facebook libel case damages won

Facebook logo in eye

Businessman wins first ever libel case involving Facebook

A businessman whose personal details were “laid bare” in fake entries on the Facebook social networking website has won a libel case at the High Court.

Mathew Firsht was awarded £22,000 in damages against an old school friend, Grant Raphael, who created the profile.

The judge ruled that Mr Raphael’s defence – that the entry was created by mischievous party gate-crashers at his flat – was “built on lies”.

The profiles were on Facebook for 16 days until they were taken down.

Mr Firsht accused Mr Raphael of creating a false personal profile, and a company profile called “Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?”.

Telstra opens gates to high speed wireless | Australian IT

Telstra opens gates to high speed wireless

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Stephanie Dalzell in Sydney | July 24, 2008

TELSTRA is hailing its latest offering as the fastest wireless gateway in the world, but a technology expert says it is all a matter of semantics.

At the launch of the Turbo 7 Series Wireless Gateway in Sydney today, Telstra directors said the product clocked faster speeds than any of its competitors.

“This device is now running at 7.2 mbps (million bits per second) and that is the quickest around,” said Telstra product management executive director Ross Fielding.

The wireless gateway enables multiple users to access the internet at the same time, and can also be used to operate other electronic devices such as EFTPOS machines.

Current – Fastest seller Wii lays down gauntlet to PS3, releases dates on new games
Fastest seller Wii lays down gauntlet to PS3, releases dates on new games

By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE: Nintendo has released figures today that show its Wii model is the fastest selling gaming console in Australian history. To harness the publicity from this release, Nintendo has announced the release of new titles for its Wii and DS consoles.

Based on number of weeks to reach 500,000 units sold, Nintendo cite GfK figures showing the Wii crossed this mark in its 84th week of sale – the fastest since this data started to be recorded in 2000. The previous record was held jointly by the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS, which both crossed the 500,000 threshold in their 107th week of sale.

Current – Sony responds to Wii: ‘really pleased’ with PS3
Sony responds to Wii: ‘really pleased’ with PS3

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Sony, makers of the PlayStation 3 (PS3), has responded to yesterday’s report that the Nintendo Wii was the fastest selling game console in Australia’s history.

Speaking to Current.com.au, Sony computer entertainment Australia communications manager, Adrian Christie, said the PS3 was tracking well and Sony was pleased with the console’s progress.

“We’ve [the PS3] just exceeded 300,000 units sold and $200 million in sales,” said Christie. “This figure does not include 65,000 units in business to business deals or the Bravia giveaway.”

For the PS3 to break the record currently held by the Wii, the console must break the 500,000 units sold figure before 25 October 2008. That equates to around 935 units per day for 214 days. Not that Sony is concerned with such records.

Current – “The desktop PC is dead,” says Toshiba GM Mark Whittard
“The desktop PC is dead,” says Toshiba GM Mark Whittard

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: That was a key message from Toshiba’s general manager Information Systems Division (ISD), Mark Whittard at Toshiba’s media launch of its new range of 21 notebooks for business and consumers yesterday.

“Notebooks outship desktops, the desktop PC is dead, I’ve been saying it for 10 years,” Whittard said.

“In Australia now we ship four notebooks every ‘business minute’,” he said, referring to a calculation of a business year, not including weekends and public holidays.

Global sales of notebooks are booming according to Gartner’s report, Global PC Forecast and Shipments Quarterly Statistics, June 2008. The Gartner research suggests that global notebook sales are projected to represent over half of the global PC shipment volume by 2009.

And a report called the IDC EMEA, Quarterly PC Tracker for Q3 2007 showed that notebook sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), exceeded desktop PC sales for the first time during the third quarter of 2007.

Current – Second company enters FED arena
Second company enters FED arena

By Chris Nicholls

TAIPEI: Taiwanese display manufacturer TECO Nanotech has joined former Sony spin-off Field Emission Technologies as the second company in recent weeks to commit to Field Emission Display manufacture.

In a statement posted on website A to Z of Nano, the company said it would be “focusing on the research, development and manufacturing of carbon nano tube field emission display [sic] to step into the field of FPD panels and modular [manufacture]”.

While no further details were given, the statement suggests it will not just be Japan that will re-examine FED technology, following the collapse of the Canon/Toshiba agreement to build televisions based on similar SED (Surface conduction Electron emitter Display) technology.

Optus at fault, claims contractor | Australian IT

Optus at fault, claims contractor

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Mitchell Bingemann | July 23, 2008

THE construction company that allegedly damaged a fibre optic cable in Queensland recently is claiming Optus incorrectly marked a signpost used to identify the line’s location.

Optus at fault, claims contractor

A worker repairs the Optus fibre optic cable severed last week. Pic: Wayne Jones

Last week Optus released a photo of what it claimed to be the damaged fibre optic cable. The photo showed a white warning sign indicating one of its cables was in the area.

Optus released the photo to refute the Gold Coast City Council claim that the cable was not where it was expected to be.

Then, Optus director of government and corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai said: “You always have to be wary of leaping to conclusions when finding who was at fault.

“Our inquiries show that the cable was well signposted. The incident happened literally 2 metres from the post.”

Gold Coast City Council admitted it was in charge of the project in which one of its subcontractors, Abigroup Contractors, unwittingly cut the main Optus fibre optic cable. However both groups have disputed they were solely responsible for the damage.


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