Episode 098

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

MARK’S SHOWNOTES

Telstra to revamp iPhone plans – Mobile Phones
Telstra to revamp iPhone plans

 Telstra has announced a rejig of some of its iPhone-associated data pricing, increasing the amount of data customers will be able to download without incurring excess fees, in the wake of Optus’ success in the market.

Sources have said that the telco didn’t have long enough to nut out its pricing and make it competitive in the time between them getting the iPhone late June and selling it on 11 July.

ZDNet.com.au also understands the telco has experienced a high level of porting, with people simply getting the phone, unlocking it via third-party hacks and moving to other carriers.

The drawcard for Telstra was supposed to be the free access to Wi-Fi at hotspots through the city –

****less now that Starbucks are closing***

Aussies cash out in YouTube buy: Blogs – bootstrappr – ZDNet Australia
Aussies cash out in YouTube buy

 An online video start-up launched by three Australian entrepreneurs

has been bought by Google subsidiary YouTube for a reported US$15 million.

YouTube said on its website yesterday in the US that it had bought the California-based company, Omnisio, with US technology blog TechCrunch reporting the deal was worth about US$15 million.

China censoring Internet access at Olympics – CNN.com
China censoring Internet access at Olympics

 

  • Olympic organizers to keep blocks on Internet sites where reporters will work
  • Sites such as Amnesty International or any with Tibet in the address are blocked
  • Blocks will make it difficult for journalists to retrieve information
  • In bidding for games, Chinese officials said media would have complete freedom

On Tuesday, sites such as Amnesty International or any search for a site with Tibet in the address could not be opened at the Main Press Center, which will house about 5,000 print journalists when the games open Aug. 8

Creators suspend Scrabble knockoff game – CNN.com
Creators suspend Scrabble knockoff game

 

  • Scrabble knockoff “Scrabulous” suspended Tuesday on Facebook
  • Hasbro Inc., company that owns Scrabble rights, sued the Indian creators
  • Creators Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla are pursuing their legal defense
  • Scrabble attracts 15,000 daily on Facebook, compared to Scrabulous’ half-million

iTWire – ‘3’ launches iPhone plans for unlocked iPhone 3Gs
‘3’ launches iPhone plans for unlocked iPhone 3Gs

 3 Mobile has launched iPhone specific plans for those with unlocked iPhone 3G models, challenging the incumbents Optus, Vodafone and Telstra with 1GB and 2GB plans at low rates – but given how often a 3G iPhone can drop to 2G for data, is 3 Mobile worth the risk?

The plans officially become available from the 4th of August,

The plans include an “upfront credit of $300 and generous voice and data inclusions on a range of 24 month Cap plans”, starting off with an AUD $49 cap plan that has 1GB of data, and an AUD $69 cap plan that has 2GB of data, although larger plans are available

Microsoft tells Mac users to get Firefox – Internet – iTnews Australia
Microsoft tells Mac users to get Firefox

 Two and a half years ago Microsoft discontinued its Internet Explorer for Mac and the firm recommended users migrate to Apple’s Safari. Today, the MSN video page tells Mac users to use Firefox.

Hackers infiltrate legitimate websites – Security – iTnews Australia
Hackers infiltrate legitimate websites

 Sixty of the 100 most popular websites have hosted malware of various kinds at some time in the past six months, according to a recent study.

The latest State of the Internet Report (PDF) from Websense warns that many popular social networking, search engine and web 2.0 sites have suffered temporary infection with cyber-tricks such as data-stealing code and hidden redirects.

Austar struggling with new HD box | Australian IT
Austar struggling with new HD box

 has backed away from a full commitment to a next generation set-top box, saying it would only be launched if it could make money for the company.

Austar will in coming months embark on a spending program to develop a high-definition version of its MyStar digital video recorder, which would contain a USB port and an internet port — along the lines of Foxtel’s iQ2 box.

We’re a smaller company, we don’t have the need to be defensive, and we don’t have the luxury of pursuing these things unless they deliver a fairly predictable return,” he said

Mr Porter said one outcome could be for Austar to develop the new box, and put it on the market in 2009 — but not necessarily with a range of HD channels, as Foxtel has offered on its iQ2.

3 Australia doubles down on data – News – Mobile Phones
3 Australia doubles down on data

Customers paying AU$20, AU$30 or AU$40 per month for mobile data to their mobile handsets will now be allocated 1GB, 2GB and 3GB respectively on the X-series plans, as will new customers signing on to these services.

3 Mobile also announced new high-use data allowances for customers using 3’s USB broadband modem. Customers will now have 6GB and 7GB plan options costing AU$39 and AU$49 per month on a 24-month contract.

3 Australia made headlines recently when it called out for its customers to help petition Apple to sell the iPhone 3G on the Hutchinson 3 network. Without the iPhone officially sold by the network it is widely speculated that many Australian iPhone customers are buying the popular handset, unlocking it, and bringing their business to 3. some

iPirates risk jail time in customs frisk | NEWS.com.au
iPirates risk jail time in customs frisk

MUSIC fans might soon have their iPods searched by Customs officers at airport checks and face jail if a large amount of pirated music is found on them.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith’s office has confirmed the Government was a part of negotiations for the international agreement, but Australia had not signed nor agreed to any aspect.

Medicare shuffles VoIP calls nationally: News – Communications – ZDNet Australia
Medicare shuffles VoIP calls nationally

Medicare Australia has recently started trialling a call centre solution based on internet protocol (IP) telephony that allows calls to be routed to regional offices during peak periods.

Last year, as part of Medicare’s bandwidth upgrade for its offices, the agency deployed Cisco IP phones at 239 sites. The upgrade to its Optus-maintained broadband infrastructure has in some instances quadrupled internet speeds from 256Kbps to 2Mbps

 

 

MARK’S SHOWNOTES

Sony profit plunges 50 per cent | Australian IT

Sony profit plunges 50 per cent

Click here to find out more!

Correspondents in Tokyo | July 30, 2008

JAPAN’S Sony issued a profit warning today after its first-quarter net earnings slumped by almost half from a year earlier amid tough business conditions.

The electronics giant said it was hit by increasing price competition, a stronger yen and financial problems at mobile telephone operator Sony Ericsson, which offset a return to profit by its game unit.

Net profit fell 47.4 per cent to Y34.98 billion ($340.6 million) in the three months to June as revenue edged up 0.1 per cent to Y1.98 trillion ($19.28 billion), the company said. Operating profit fell 39.5 per cent to Y73.44 billion ($715.09 million).

Sony has endured a difficult few years in the face of tough competition from rival products such as Apple’s iPod and Nintendo’s Wii.

Last year it enjoyed a strong recovery under its first foreign boss, Howard Stringer. But the bottom line is now being pressured by a weak dollar, slowing global economic growth and rising costs for raw materials.

Sony lowered its forecast for net earnings for the full fiscal year to next March to Y240 billion ($2.34 billion) from a previous projection of Y290 billion ($2.82 billion), which would mark a 35 per cent decline from the previous year.

It cut its operating profit target to Y470 billion ($4.58 billion) from Y520 billion ($5.06 billion).

“The soft US economy poses a significant downward risk for future sales,” said Osamu Hirose, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.

YouTube free on Seven’s TiVo | Australian IT

YouTube free on Seven’s TiVo

Click here to find out more!

Nick Tabakoff | July 30, 2008

THE Seven Network’s newly launched TiVo digital video recorder will offer users the ability to download YouTube internet videoclips to the box free by the start of next year, according to the man charged with selling the product outside the US.

It had been thought that Seven could charge subscribers for additional features as they became available on the TiVo box — which was launched yesterday in Harvey Norman stores — including internet downloads.

But Joshua Danovitz, TiVo’s international general manager, said: “We’re going to make YouTube available free of charge from early next year.”

The move is seen as a way of boosting sales for TiVo for Seven amid mixed publicity in the lead-up to yesterday’s launch.

Seven is believed to be aiming for more than 50,000 sales of TiVo DVRs by the end of the 2008-09 financial year — with 25,000 sales believed to be the break-even number for the period.

Mr Danovitz and Seven executives were cagey about how yesterday’s launch had gone, leaving Gerry Harvey, the head of Harvey Norman — which is selling the product exclusively for the next six weeks — to do the spruiking. “It was way better than I thought it would be,” he said last night.

“Maybe it’s got something to do with the Olympics.”

YouTube free on Seven’s TiVo | Australian IT
There have been suggestions the TiVo box — which at the moment allows access only to 10 free-to-air channels, rising to 15 next year — will lack the content available on the rival iQ2 DVR offered by pay-TV operator Foxtel, which features 90 channels.

But Mr Danovitz has dismissed the concerns. “The key is not that Australian consumers are limited by channels. I think what we are doing — and Seven are doing — is offering more control and flexibility over what, when and possibly where they watch. With web TV — like YouTube — there’s a lot of content.”

Mr Danovitz said this content would be expanded further with the upcoming launch of a movie and TV program download service from the internet. “In the US, TiVo has 30,000 titles available over broadband,” he said.

The company was “pushing very hard” to have a similar service available in Australia by December this year. The company would add other “extra features over time” to the basic TiVo product.

The TiVo boss has deflected criticism that the $699 price for the TiVo box is too high.

‘Best hacker’ faces years in US jail | Australian IT

‘Best hacker’ faces years in US jail

Click here to find out more!

Frances Gibb | July 31, 2008

GARY McKinnon stands accused of becoming the most accomplished computer hacker in history by crashing the US army network, but claims only to have been pursuing a fascination with aliens.

The 42-year-old unemployed systems analyst, who broke into US military computers from his bedroom in Wood Green, north London, faces at least 10 years in a US jail. Throughout he has insisted that he was seeking information on UFOs and aliens.

He lost his final appeal against extradition yesterday after Britain’s law lords were told that he rejected a plea bargain in which he was offered a shorter prison sentence of three or four years in return for pleading guilty.

The law lords dismissed Mr McKinnon’s claim that threats made against him by US prosecutors amounted to an abuse of process and refused to quash extradition procedings against him.

Mr McKinnon admits accessing 97 US military and NASA computers. US prosecutors also allege that he shut down and rendered inoperable 300 computers at a US Navy weapons station at a critical time, immediately after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

His only hope is to persuade the European Court of Human Rights to put a “stay” on proceedings, pending consideration of his case.

Karen Todner, his solicitor, said: “Gary McKinnon is neither a terrorist, nor a terrorist sympathiser. His case could have been properly dealt with by our own prosecuting authorities.

China breaks word, censors world media | Australian IT

China breaks word, censors world media

Click here to find out more!

Glenda Korporaal and Rowan Callick | July 31, 2008

COMMUNIST officials have outraged the International Olympic Committee and the world’s media by barring unfettered access to the internet — reneging on a key pre-Games promise to open China’s doors to the world.

Having already restricted access to Tiananmen Square during the Games, which begin in eight days, China yesterday brazenly defied the IOC and admitted it would censor the internet.

International media were yesterday unable to access websites connected to the Falun Gong, Amnesty International or the Tiananmen Square massacre.

IOC officials, led by Australia’s Kevan Gosper, were last night trying to resolve the furore but Chinese officials were unrepentant. “It was my express belief that there would be open, free and uncensored access to the internet during the Games,” Mr Gosper told The Australian.

Beijing officials insisted the media had all the internet access they needed.

“Our promise was that journalists would be able to use the internet for their work during the Olympic Games. So we have given them sufficient access to do that,” said Sun Weide, spokesman for the Olympic organising committee.

Mr Sun said no one would be able to access websites China did not sanction, including sites about the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and others he did not specify.

The position is a marked change to China’s public promise in September 2006 that foreign media would enjoy free access to the internet during the Games.

Under the agreement between the IOC and Beijing Olympic organisers, the host country must provide the same access to reporters as in the previous Games in Athens and Sydney.

Last night, the IOC and communist officials were at loggerheads over the announcement.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Video websites ‘must vet content’

Video websites ‘must vet content’

YouTube web page

YouTube said it believed it was a safe environment for children

YouTube has been criticised by MPs, who say it must do more to vet its content.

In a review of net safety, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee said a new industry body should be set up to protect children from harmful content.

It also said it should be “standard practice” for sites hosting user-generated content to review material proactively.

YouTube’s owners said the site had strict rules and a system that allowed users to report inappropriate content.

The committee also wants a rethink on how best to classify video games – but there is disagreement over who should run the new ratings system.

MPs say the same body which gives age ratings to films – the British Board of Film Classification – should be in charge, but the games industry supports its own voluntary code.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Sad end for bear with jar on head

Sad end for bear with jar on head

A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a plastic jar, Minnesota

The jar was said to be the type that holds sweets or popcorn

US wildlife officials who tried to capture a bear that had a jar stuck on its head, have shot the animal after it wandered into a busy Minnesota town.

The bear, a male about two years old, was killed by police after six days of failed efforts to catch it alive.

“When it got into town, our main concern was public safety,” said Rob Naplin, a local wildlife supervisor.

The wild black bear could breathe but could not eat or drink, and was probably hungry and dehydrated.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Scrabulous suspended on Facebook

Scrabulous suspended on Facebook

New Scrabble game

The authorised Facebook Scrabble launched in July

The developers of the popular Facebook application Scrabulous have suspended the game for some users following legal action by toy maker Hasbro.

The application has been disabled for users in the US and Canada.

Hasbro, the makers of Scrabble, are suing the Calcutta-based founders of Scrabulous, claiming they are infringing its copyright and trademark.

Hasbro had asked Facebook to block access following the launch of its own official version of Scrabble.

A spokeswoman for Facebook told the BBC that the final decision to suspend the game was made by the developers, not the site itself.

Platforms

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