Episode 111

posted in: Show Notes


 iTWire – Give your old PowerPC Mac a new lease of life with Ubuntu Linux

Give your old PowerPC Mac a new lease of life with Ubuntu Linux
 Ubuntu – widely regarded the friendliest Linux distro – offers a PowerPC release.
Now, Ubuntu 8.10 – Intrepid Ibex – will be coming out imminently, and that includes for PowerPC as well as Intel. You can download 8.04 – Hardy Heron – right now, as well as any previous version.
These PowerPC releases are found under Ubuntu’s “ports” download area. First select the version number, then the architecture which in this case is “Mac (PowerPC)” and “IBM-PPC.”
Ubuntu is Ubuntu; the fact you’re running on a PowerPC won’t make any difference for the most part so any help you get or information you read about working on Ubuntu Linux will apply equally to you.

Sydney to get new free digital TV channel
 More than seven years after free-to-air digital TV started in Australia, the National Indigenous Television (NITV) service will become Australia’s first open narrowcast TV channel when it launches on Broadcast Australia’s Digital Forty Four datacast channel. 
The launch is the first new free-to-air TV content to be made available since the commercial TV networks launched their high-definition TV channels earlier this year, and the ABC’s launch of ABC2. 
The commercial multi-channels mostly mirror their analogue equivalents, but NITV will be the first with a mass of new content. Its publicity material says the channel features “a daily news and weather service created for and by indigenous people, award-winning sports programs, stunning dramas, insightful documentaries, cultural programming, music events, children’s shows, hilarious comedy, indigenous lifestyle and reality series and entertaining movies”.

Maccas to provide ‘clean’ internet service

The restaurant chain will offer free internet access for its 1.45 million daily customers, at around 720 participating restaurants nationwide.

It will be available in March 2009. Until then customers will have to keep paying for WiFi access in-store.
It will use Earthwave’s Clean Pipes to block websites containing pornography or unwanted material such as information about hacking, bomb-making and terrorism, as a means of protecting its young customers as well as the company’s family friendly brand.

Feedback leaves eBay buyer in hot soup | Australian IT

Feedback leaves eBay buyer in hot soup

A BRITISH man is facing legal action for libel after leaving negative feedback for an item he bought on auction website eBay.

When Chris Read received the £155 ($397) mobile phone he had purchased from Joel Jones on eBay, he found it was the wrong model and was not in good condition, as advertised. 
The 42-year-old mechanic from Kent returned the phone, and, on October 3, used the feedback facility on the website, designed to warn other buyers of potentially untrustworthy sellers. He wrote: “Item was scratched, chipped and not the model advertised on Mr Jones’s eBay account.” 
Mr Read subsequently received an e-mail from Mr Jones, a 26-year-old businessman from Suffollk who deals in second-hand electrical goods, saying that his comments were damaging his business, and threatening him with legal action unless he deleted them from the site.
Mr Read said: “I was told the phone was in good condition, but there were scratches all over it, a big chip out of the side and it was a different phone. I paid for a Samsung F700 and got a Samsung F700V.”

Microsoft in the clouds with Windows Azure

 MICROSOFT has finally unveiled Windows Azure, an online service for companies developing web applications.

The service is part of a new trend towards “cloud computing” – providing software as an online service rather than a product installed on a single computer.


We have built a platform to let you build your killer apps (applications),” Microsoft vice president of cloud infrastructure Amitabh Srivastava told the assembled developers.

“It’s a scalable hosting environment for you to deploy your apps in our cloud.”


Microsoft previews Windows 7, online Office

 MICROSOFT has announced its next version of Windows will be “more user-friendly” and integrate with Office online.

Windows 7, which was previewed this week at the company’s Professional Developer’s Conference in Los Angeles, is set to be introduced in a test version early next year with features including touch screen technology and the ability to easily personalize the system.

New user-friendly features will include a taskbar that previews all the open windows from a single application by hovering over the program’s icon.

Another new feature is called “Jump Lists,” which provides updated lists of recently worked-on documents or often visited websites without first having to open Microsoft Word or an internet browser.

The company also announced its next upgrade of Office – including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – will enable documents to be edited online via web browser and mobile phone.

Man jailed 21 months for recording two movies

 A MAN has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for illegally recording 28 Weeks Later and Enchanted with a camcorder, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced.

Michael Logan acknowledged using a digital camcorder to record the movies 28 Weeks Later andEnchanted in a Washington cinema for commercial purposes, the statement read.

The MPAA said it determined that between January 2006 and January 2008 Logan was responsible for the premature release of more than 100 movies he illegally recorded in a five-state area around the US capital.

Facebook attacked by vicious virus

 FACEBOOK users are under attack from a virus sweeping through the online social network.

The virus is technically a trojan worm that disguises itself as an email from facebookmail.com.

People are enticed to click on a misspelled video or picture link that directs to a malicious web site.

The title of the dodgy links vary from “Maan,yyou’re great!” to “your ass looks not bad in this video”, “Some0ne thinks your special and has a *Hot_Crush* on you. Find out who it could be*” or a youtube link that says ‘”i can see yooooooooo”.

The worm spreads its tentacles by emailing everyone on the victim’s friend list.

According to anti-virus software company  Symantec, the trojan works by executing a worm called W32.Koobface.A that searches for cookies on the user’s machine.

Installing the fake upgrade allows the worm to work its magic and access files on the victim’s machine while destroying their Facebook account.

 Australia’s compulsory internet filtering ‘costly, ineffective’

 THE Federal Government is planning to make internet censorship compulsory for all Australians and could ban controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia.

Australia’s level of net censorship will put it in the same league as countries including China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea, and the Government will not let users opt out of the proposed national internet filter when it is introduced. Groups including the System Administrators Guild of Australia and Electronic Frontiers Australia have slammed the proposal, saying it would unfairly restrict Australians’ access to the web, slow internet speeds and raise the price of internet access.

EFA board member Colin Jacobs said it would have little effect on illegal internet content, including child pornography, as it would not cover peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.




 Episode 111

Toshiba posts $272.8 million quarterly loss – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Toshiba posts $272.8 million quarterly loss

October 29, 2008 – 7:04PM

Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday it posted a loss in the most recent quarter, tumbling into the red as the global slowdown sapped demand for digital products and home appliances.

The Tokyo-based electronics giant reported a net loss of 26.85 billion yen ($272.8 million) in the July-September quarter, a sharp downturn from the 25.0 billion yen ($254 million) profit it booked during the same period last year.

Sales fell 7 percent to 1.88 trillion yen ($19.1 billion).

“The global economy entered into a recessionary phase, caused by factors that included financial crisis from the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. and rising energy and raw materials prices,” the company said in its earnings release.

The company also blamed an appreciating yen and steeper-than-expected price declines for NAND flash memory, which severely hurt the semiconductor segment. However, it noted a “positive impact” from its withdrawal from the HD DVD business.

For the April-September fiscal half-year, Toshiba posted a 38.4 billion yen ($390.1 million) net loss on revenue of 3.5 trillion yen ($35.6 billion).

In September, Toshiba lowered its annual forecats to a net profit of 70 billion yen ($711.2 million) through March 2009, down sharply from 130 billion yen.

Toshiba’s financial results are based on U.S. accounting standards.

Game on: Israel vs Iran – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au

Game on: Israel vs Iran

Asher Moses | October 29, 2008 – 10:55AM

A Sydney-based Jewish businessman bankrolling a shoot-’em-up warfare game pitting Israeli troops against Iranians says the aim is to “throw out a challenge to Iran” after its President vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

But Kevin Bermeister, world renowned for being sued by the music industry in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over the Kazaa file-sharing program, said his intention was also to take the war between Jews and Muslims out of the real world and into cyber space.

The online multiplayer game, Rising Eagle – Gaza, was officially released as a free download less than a week ago. It earns revenue through advertising billboards peppered throughout the game environment.

The game, which contrary to its setting does not include any Palestinian fighters, is an update to earlier versions of the game set in Paris and China. It pits the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against Israel’s elite Golani Brigade in a first-person shooter setting.

In an interview with the Herald’s Jerusalem Correspondent, Jason Koutsoukis, one of the game’s Israel-based designers, Yaron Dotan, said it would be “taking things too far” if the game had Israeli soldiers fighting against Palestinians.

But Dotan, 34, was delighted at the suggestion that his game, which includes billboard-size photographs of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looking like a monkey, might cause offence to Iranians. He describes the Iranian soldiers as “the Waffen SS of today”.

“I want this to upset people. I hope it causes the biggest shitstorm in history,” he said.

In the game, players can choose to play either as the Israelis or the Iranians. Bermeister said in an interview he hoped this would encourage people on both sides to log in and communicate with each other in a non-threatening, virtual setting.

“People will get to know each other in a competitive battleground environment, get to text each other, speak to each other, connect with each other and figure out that they’re human beings and they can get on with each other,” he said.

But Bermeister conceded the game would inevitably make a political statement.

“Just like Ahmadinejad is throwing out a challenge to Israel, I think this game throws out a challenge to Iran,” he said.

And as one could probably expect from a Middle Eastern war game developed by Israelis, the fight isn’t exactly fair.

“Clearly the intent is that the Israeli Defence Force is the futuristic fighting force that is capable of overcoming anything thrown at it, and the challenge is for anyone to come and take a shot,” Bermeister said.

He would not reveal the size of his investment in the company, Invasion Interactive.

Bermeister, a serial technology entrepreneur, has a long history in the video game industry, going back as far as 1982, when he founded what became Australia’s largest game distributor, Ozisoft. The company was sold to Sega and eventually to Infogrames in France.

After settling the lawsuit over Kazaa in 2006, Bermeister has been working on a new technology designed to stamp out illegal file sharing over peer-to-peer networks.

He has also invested in various start-ups, including Skype before it was sold to eBay in October 2005 for $US2.6 billion.

Report warns of terrorist Twitter dangers – Security – Technology

Report warns of terrorist Twitter dangers

October 27, 2008

A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter, Global Positioning System maps and voice-changing software as potential terrorist tools.

The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), examines a number of mobile and web technologies and their potential uses by militants.

The posting of the report on the FAS site was reported Friday by Wired magazine contributing editor Noah Shachtman on his national security blog “Danger Room” at wired.com.

The report is not based on clandestine reporting but drawn from open source intelligence known as OSINT.

A chapter on “Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter” notes that Twitter members sent out messages, known as “Tweets,” reporting the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.

“Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences,” the report said.

Hacktivists refers to politically motivated computer hackers.

“Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives,” the report said.

“Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance,” it said. “This could theoretically be combined with targeting.”

The report outlined scenarios in which militants could make use of Twitter, combined with such programs as Google Maps or mobile phone pictures or video, to carry out an ambush or detonate explosives.

“Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operation tool,” it said. “However, it is unclear whether that same theoretical tool would be available to terrorists in other countries and to what extent.”

Besides Twitter, the report examined the potential use by militants of Global Positioning Systems and other technologies.

“GPS mobile phone service could be used by our adversaries for travel plans, surveillance and targeting,” it said, noting that just such uses have been discussed in pro-al-Qaeda forums along with the use of voice-changing software.

“Terrorists may or may not be using voice-changing software but it should be of open source interest that online terrorist and/or terrorist enthusiasts are discussing it,” the report said.

Current – Samsung prepares to give away a Volvo a week and $250 per hour
Samsung prepares to give away a Volvo a week and $250 per hour

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: With analysts suggesting that consumer spending could help keep a recession at bay, Samsung Australia is doing its bit to stimulate buying by giving away a $48,000 Volvo every week for eight weeks and $250 every business hour in the lead up to Christmas.

From 1 November to 24 December, all consumers who purchase any Samsung white goods products can go into the prize draw. The promotion also offers minor prizes including $250 worth of petrol.

Samsung Australia says that the total prize pool is nearly $500,000. One Volvo V50, valued up to $48,000 will be won every week over the eight week period. The prize includes all compulsory insurances and on-road costs.

The choice of Volvo as the car was one of alignign core brand values.

“Samsung White Goods were looking for a brand partner with similar values to those of our own brand,” said Samsung Australia head of Marketing, Consumer Electronics, Mark Leathan.

” Volvo’s image of stylish, functional and safe family transport matched our own image of stylish and functional products at the heart of family living.  We are pleased to be partnered with Volvo for this promotion and look forward to it being a great success.” 

Current – Best games and gadgets to be honoured by Shackers
Best games and gadgets to be honoured by Shackers

By Patrick Avenell

The best games and gadgets of 2008 are to be honoured by new awards handed out by the technology TV show Cyber Shack. Imaginatively titled The Shack Awards, the gongs will be handed in late December.

According to the organisers, this is the first time that Australian consumers will be able to nominate and vote for their favourite products, and winning models will be hoping for a sales bump in the lead up to Christmas.

In the Gaming category, awards will be handed out for best gaming hero, most realistic game play, best party game, most life consuming game and most talked about games. Gadgets will be recognised for portability, sex appeal, necessity, entertainment value and for use in cars.

“With hundreds of new gadgets and games jostling for your attention we thought it was about time the best ones were recognised and rewarded. Shackers will be able to cast their vote to see who will win the console war, what games will rise to the challenge and which gadgets will display the ultimate in cool factor,” enthused a Cyber Shack spokesperson.

Importantly, these awards will be presented on TV, essentially giving suppliers and retailers a free advertisement for the products. The presentation episode is set to air on Saturday 21 December 2008.

Current – LG and Panasonic enter cut-price Blu-ray war
LG and Panasonic enter cut-price Blu-ray war

By Patrick Avenell

Longtime Asian rivals Japan and Korea are doing battle again, this time over Blu-ray. Leading brands Panasonic and LG both launched their new Blu-ray disc players this morning. The two models are equipped with BD-Live technology and are differentiated in price by only $4.

BD-Live, which is one of the main features of Blu-ray technology being used to promote the format ahead of DVD, enables users to connect with the internet and download additional content. This could include stills, subtitles, quizzes and multi-player games.

LG’s new player is the BD-300, which features 1080p full HD and Dolby True HD and DTS-HD for sound. Additionally, a USB stick can be used to expand the memory. Playback options include DVD, DivX, JPEG, MP3 and WMA. This model is RRP $499.

The DMP-BD35 from Panasonic is also full HD, and carries an HD audio decoder comprising Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio Essential. Memory is expandable through an SD Card slot. Panasonic’s Viera link is integrated in this model. Slightly cheaper than LG’s model, this player is RRP $495.

Going head to head in the promotion of their respective products are LG category marketing manager Warren Kim and Panasonic product manager DVD and Blu-ray, Sophie Barton.

“Following on from the launch of the world’s first dual format disc player by LG, we continue to set trends in the industry with the BD300. On a local level we also look to add value with the bonus BigPond DVD Rentals promotion, offering consumers four months worth of DVD rentals when they purchase a BD300. Owners can kick start their Blu-ray viewing by choosing from 32,000 DVD titles including over 300 Blu-ray titles,” said Kim.

“Amazing Full High Definition (FHD) home cinema is assured with high-quality sound from advanced formats and Panasonic picture technology designed for outstanding viewing,” said Barton.

The launch of these new sub-$500 Blu-ray players come just a few weeks after Sony launched its own Blu-ray player at a more attractive price points. Samsung are currently trying to gazump them all, however, announcing last Friday that it would be giving Blu-ray players away with selected LCD and plasma purchases.

The LG BD300 will be available by the end of October. The Panasonic DMP-BD35 will be available mid-November.

Current – Share prices don’t lie – dark times for Clive Peeters
Share prices don’t lie – dark times for Clive Peeters

By Patrick Avenell

Since announcing last week that the company had lost $1 million over the first quarter of FY09, Clive Peeters’ share price has plummeted, dropping 45 per cent.

On the morning that Clive Peeters managing director Greg Smith notified the ASX of this profit guidance, Clive Peeters opened at 37 cents. They closed that afternoon, 24 October, at 35 cents, down five per cent. This wasn’t the worst performance possible – it was almost encouraging considering how dire the profit guidance was – but the true impact of the announcement was yet to be realised.

When trading closed on Monday 27 October, Clive Peeters share price had dived almost 16 per cent to 29.5 cents. Yesterday, amid media speculation the company was on the brink of collapse, the price again tumbled, this time almost 29 per cent, closing at 21 cents. In trading today, the price has dropped to 20 cents.

This troubling week for Clive Peeters is a synecdoche of its recent history, however, with these falls in line with an overall downward trend. Back in the first half of 2007, Clive Peeters was trading at around $3.40 mark – more than Harvey Norman is today – but the company could not sustain these levels. By mid-2007 it was trading at below $2. It dropped below the $1 mark in the first months of 2008, and then the 50-cent mark a few months ago. All in all, since those heady days in 2007, Clive Peeters share price has dropped over 94 per cent.

Current.com.au has repeatedly contacted Clive Peeters’ management for comment, but our calls have not been returned.

Current – Clive Peeters loses $1 million over 3 months, future “very challenging”
Clive Peeters loses $1 million over 3 months, future “very challenging”

By Patrick Avenell

Clive Peeters has today announced a $1 million operating loss after tax for the first quarter of FY2009. This astounding revelation was made quietly this afternoon, eight days after Current.com.au urged the listed retailer to provide profit guidance to its investors.

In percentage terms, like for like sales for August and September 2008 were down 10 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. The financial year didn’t start so poorly, with July 2008 sales being ahead of budget.

In a notice posted to the ASX, managing director Greg Smith blamed losses on the global economic crisis and low consumer confidence.

“The main contributor appears to be the significant impact on consumer confidence due to the unprecedented events affecting the global and Australian financial sectors, and availability of credit, and emerging concerns about job security, adding to concerns about interest rates, fuel costs and costs of living,” said Smith.

Smith, who had so far resisted to follow the leads of fellow listed retail chains Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi in reporting the ASX, concluded that, “the combination of these events has created a climate of fear and uncertainty amongst consumers.”

Current – Blu-ray now a Samsung loss leader, but is Sony set to benefit?
Blu-ray now a Samsung loss leader, but is Sony set to benefit?

By Patrick Avenell

Samsung has today reinforced the notion that Blu-ray players are a loss leader, rather than a viable product offering, by launching a promotion to give the struggling media device away with purchases of LCDs and plasmas.

In a promotion running until Christmas Eve, customers who purchase a Samsung series 5, 6 or 7 plasma, or a series 6, 7, 8 or 9 LCD, will receive the BD-P1500 Blu-ray player, which is RRP $499. This may prove a boon for retailers, who will be looking to maintain panel sales up to Christmas now that the Olympics rush is a distant memory.

In the lead up to these Olympics, Sony experienced great success with its Bravia/PS3 campaign, which saw the company flood the market with 35,000 free game consoles. It wasn’t so much the game console they were giving away, but the Blu-ray technology. The conclusion drawn from these campaigns is that neither Sony nor Samsung consider the Blu-ray player, as a standalone product, to be a financially viable offering.

Current – Retravision store celebrates 100 years with biggest ever week of sales
Retravision store celebrates 100 years with biggest ever week of sales

By Patrick Avenell

Last week, the Bridglands shopping complex in Mullumbimby, northern NSW, celebrated its 100th birthday. This centre is home to the local Retravision store, which is owned by local product Rob Bridgland.

The store has been operating continuously since 1908 when Bridgland’s grandfather lent his name to the operations. Grandfather Bridgland had seven children, three of whom worked in the store. Two of them formed a partnership with their father in 1946, and in 1955 it became a proprietary business.

Rob Bridgland first worked at the store after leaving school in 1979. In 1984 he moved to Sydney to work at the then Alan Bond-owned Waltons Norman Ross. He returned in 1990 and bought the business, and has been running it ever since.

Current – JB to get Australia’s first in-car PC, other retailers miss out
JB to get Australia’s first in-car PC, other retailers miss out

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Distributors Westwell yesterday introduced its new Azentek-branded range of in-car personal computers. These PCs, which run off Windows Vista, provide GPS navigation, an entertainment hub and a raft of PC-based applications, including Outlook and Office, to car users and their passengers.

Three in-car units were launched at the event: the Azentek SmartMirror, CPC-1200 and CPC-1100.

The SmartMirror is a replacement rearview mirror application with integrated GPS navigation. It has a 4-inch LCD monitor, Bluetooth functionality and complete reversing camera. Additional features include 400Mhz processor, 64MB of internal memory, 2GB SD card, voice prompted directions, intuitive menus and points of interest.

Westwell claims this is the only satellite navigation device that can legally be fixed to the windshield.

The Azentek CPC-1200 and CPC-1100 are fully in-built car PCs. Both models run off Vista with an Intel Core Duo 1.66 GHz processor and they have a 160GB hard drive with 1GB DIMM memory. They are Bluetooth enabled, HD and satellite radio ready, and have integrated FM and digital TV tuners. The 1200 model has a 6.5-inch LCD touch screen, whereas the 1100 model carries a 7-inch LCD touch screen. A keyboard or mouse can be connected through the USB port or wirelessly.

Current – Unconcerned by economic slowdown, WOW plans 50 more stores
Unconcerned by economic slowdown, WOW plans 50 more stores

By Martin Vedris

SHEPARTON: Despite growing fears of an economic slowdown, the news seems to be no concern to WOW Sight and Sound, which says it can handle the tough times and has plans to open up 50 more stores.

“Economic situations change with time, and WOW is equipped to handle these conditions,” WOW director of Retail Con Nicholas told Current.com.au.

The expansions plans of WOW have moved a little slower than the independent buying group anticipated however.

When WOW opened its 12th superstore in the NSW border town of Albury last year, the company said that it had planned to open up to 11 more stores in 2008. The company said hold ups in development approval slowed its growth.

“Due to various building developments taking longer for approvals, the rollout was delayed,” said Nicholas.

Australia’s compulsory internet filtering ‘costly, ineffective’ | Australian IT

Australia’s compulsory internet filtering ‘costly, ineffective’

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Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson | October 29, 2008

THE Federal Government is planning to make internet censorship compulsory for all Australians and could ban controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia.

Australia’s level of net censorship will put it in the same league as countries including China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea, and the Government will not let users opt out of the proposed national internet filter when it is introduced.

Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy admitted the Federal Government’s $44.2 million internet censorship plan would now include two tiers – one level of mandatory filtering for all Australians and an optional level that will provide a “clean feed”, censoring adult material.

Despite planning to hold “live trials” before the end of the year, Senator Conroy said it was not known what content the mandatory filter would bar, with euthanasia or pro-anorexia sites on the chopping block.

“We are talking about mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material,” he told a Senate Estimates Committee.

Previously the net nanny proposal was going to allow Australians who wanted uncensored access to the web the option to contact their internet service provider and be excluded from the service.

Groups including the System Administrators Guild of Australia and Electronic Frontiers Australia have slammed the proposal, saying it would unfairly restrict Australians’ access to the web, slow internet speeds and raise the price of internet access.

BBC NEWS | Technology | MS offers peek through Windows 7

MS offers peek through Windows 7


A look at Windows 7 from Los Angeles

Microsoft has unveiled the latest version of its Windows operating system.

It promised that it will deliver a better experience for users when it arrives sometime late next year.

Windows 7 follows Vista, which Microsoft claims has been a success, but which has been subject to fierce criticism from a number of users.

The system was demonstrated at the company’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

Senior vice-president Steven Sinofsky described it as an “exciting new version of Windows” and claimed it would deliver a more personalised experience.


When Vista launched in January 2007, many users complained that it ran slowly and failed to work at all with some programs and devices.

Corporate customers have been slow to switch from Windows XP to Vista, although Microsoft said that the operating system had an unfair press, and has enjoyed record sales.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC pressured to sack presenters

BBC pressured to sack presenters

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross

Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross both have Saturday shows on Radio 2

The BBC is coming under increased pressure to sack Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross following their prank calls to actor Andrew Sachs.

His granddaughter Georgina Baillie told the Sun the pair “should at least pay for what they’ve done with their jobs”.

Tory media spokesman Jeremy Hunt has added to political pressure to find out why Radio 2 approved the material.

The BBC has apologised, and it and the regulator Ofcom are investigating following 10,000 complaints.

The corporation and watchdog Ofcom have both launched investigations.


BBC audiences react to the prank calls

Brand and Ross made a series of prank calls to Sachs, 78, famous for his part in Fawlty Towers. The calls were broadcast on Radio 2 as part of a pre-recorded show on 18 October.

During the calls, Ross revealed Brand had slept with Sachs’ granddaughter.

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Earth on course for eco ‘crunch’
Earth on course for eco ‘crunch’

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Timeline: Russell Brand prank calls


Brand records his show, with Jonathan Ross as a guest co-presenter, to be broadcast two days later.



The show is broadcast between 2100 and 2300 BST.

Russel Brand

Brand achieved mainstream fame after presenting E4’s Big Brother’s Big Mouth

Early in the show, Ross jokes about an interview planned with Sachs telling Brand that “I had a go on his daughter” would be “the sort of thing you’d say”.

Brand replies that he knows Sachs’ granddaughter – 23-year-old Georgina Baillie – and says she has visited his home and that she is a member of “a baroque dance group called the satanicsluts.com“.

He continues: “She always said to me, ‘don’t mention that to my granddad Manuel’, and now here we are.

“So when we talk to Manuel, don’t mention that his granddaughter’s a satanic slut.”

After it emerges that Sachs will not now be in the show due to unforeseen circumstances, listeners hear Brand and Ross leave four messages on the actor’s voicemail.

Here are extracts from those messages:

Message one: As Brand begins to leave a message, Ross blurts out: “He fucked your granddaughter… I’m sorry I apologise. Andrew, I apologise, I got excited, what can I say – it just came out.


Jonathan Ross

Chat show host Jonathan Ross also has a Radio 2 show

Brand replies: “Andrew Sachs, I did not do nothing with Georgina – oh no, I’ve revealed I know her name. Oh no, it’s a disaster.”

Ross goes on to say: “If he’s like most people of a certain age, he’s probably got a picture of his grandchildren when they’re young right by the phone. So while he’s listening to the messages, he’s looking at a picture of her about nine on a swing…”

Message two: “Andrew, this is Russell Brand. I’m so sorry about the last message, it was part of the radio show – it was a mistake.”

Ross adds: “It might be true but we didn’t want to break it to you in such a harsh way.”

Brand goes on to say: “No, I’m sorry, I’ll do anything. I wore a condom. Put the phone down. Oh, what’s going to happen?”

Message three: The message opens with Ross saying: “She was bent over the couch…”

Brand then improvises a song which includes the lines: “I said some things I didn’t of oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter…”

Message four: Brand opens the message with: “Alright Andrew Sachs’ answerphone? I’m ever so so sorry for what I said about Andrew Sachs.”

“Just say sorry,” adds Ross,

“I’ll kill you,” says Brand laughing.

“Don’t say you’ll wear him as a hat – just say sorry,” continues Ross.

“Sorry, right,” adds Brand.



Sachs’ agent Meg Pool is alerted to the contents of the broadcast when a journalist for the Mail of Sunday phones her for a comment.


Georgina Baillie

Sachs was taunted about Brand’s alleged liason with Georgina Baillie

She and Sachs listen to an online recording of the show which leaves the actor “offended very much indeed”.

Also on Wednesday, in an interview with the BBC to promote his new football book, Articles of Faith, Brand says: “I’m really enjoying the Radio 2 show.

“I did the last one with Jonathan Ross. He said the f-word and got us into a lot of trouble.

“But when working with any experienced broadcaster like Jonathan Ross you fly by the seat of your pants – that’s often the nature of it.”



Ms Pool emails and writes to Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas asking for an unreserved apology.



Brand apologises on his radio show for offending Sachs saying “you mustn’t swear on someone’s answer phone” but adding that it was “funny”.





The Mail on Sunday reports that “the BBC could face prosecution over obscene phone calls” to Sachs.

The story is also picked up by many news websites.

The BBC says it is “not aware of receiving a complaint from Mr Sachs”.

It says that two complaints were made at the time of the broadcast but that they related to Ross’ swearing rather then the content of the phone calls.

The show has a regular audience of about 400,000 listeners.



The story rises up the news agenda, and the BBC says it has received a further 1,585 complaints about the show.



A BBC Radio 2 spokeswoman apologises to Sachs saying: “We have received a letter of complaint from Mr Sachs’ agent and would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Sachs for the offence caused.


Andrew Sachs

The BBC apologised to Sachs for the “unacceptable and offensive” calls

“We recognise that some of the content broadcast was unacceptable and offensive. We are reviewing how this came about and are responding to Mr Sachs personally.

“We also apologise to listeners for any offence caused.”

Ross sends a personal apology to Sachs while it is understood Brand is planning to do the same.



0900 GMT: The total number of complaints rises to 4,772.

A spokeswoman for Brand says he has “issued a private apology to Mr Sachs” but Sachs tells the BBC he has yet to receive such an apology.

1030 GMT: Media regulator Ofcom announces an investigation into the show, saying all BBC broadcasters must adhere to its broadcasting code.


The code says broadcasters “must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context”.

1130 GMT: A spokesman for the corporation’s governing body, the BBC Trust, says its editorial standards committee has requested a report from BBC management about the affair.

A spokeswoman for Brand says he has “issued a private apology to Mr Sachs” but Sachs tells the BBC he has yet to receive such an apology.

1200 GMT: Conservative leader David Cameron calls for the BBC to be “transparent” about how the programme came to be broadcast.

“We need to know who made the decision to broadcast it,” he says. “How high up the editorial chain did it go?”

1430 GMT: Culture secretary Andy Burnham says he is glad the BBC has apologised and that the corporation is investigating the matter.

“I, and I think the public, expect these inquiries to be carried out thoroughly and as a matter of urgency.”

1700 GMT: BBC audio and music director Tim Davie says it is “too early to speculate” on whether Brand or Ross will face action.

1745 GMT: Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls the incident “clearly inappropriate and unacceptable”.

 What about shooting an innocent tourist in downtown London?

222 Mystery | What does it mean?

Microsoft Office to go on the web | Australian IT

Microsoft Office to go on the web

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Correspondents in Los Angeles | October 29, 2008

THE next upgrade of Office business software from Microsoft will include a version that edits word processing documents and spreadsheets inside a web browser, the software maker said.

The online version of Office, which includes the Word and Excel programs, aims to prevent competitors such as Google from pecking away at Microsoft’s dominance in software used by office workers and expand the market for one of its most profitable products.

Microsoft would not comment on when it plans to release the next version of Office, dubbed “Office 14,” but in the past it has shipped an upgrade every two to three years. It introduced the current Office suite of programs in January 2007.

The company said Office web applications will offer lightweight, online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint presentation software and the OneNote collaboration program. Office files can be managed and edited on a normal desktop computer, a web browser or a mobile phone.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, has seen a wave of competitors from web start-ups to Google offering word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software over the internet for free with advertising or a monthly subscription.

“Nobody, none of our competitors, will do as good of a job on the phone, the browser or the PC,” Chris Capossela, a senior vice president at Microsoft’s Office business, said.

The company announced the news at the Professional Developer’s Conference, Microsoft’s annual gathering of engineers to detail the company’s future plans.

Microsoft has mostly resisted the push to make its Office suite available online, choosing to sell licences to run the applications locally on a single computer. It allows users to share files through Office Live, which is free with advertising or available with more functions for a monthly subscription.

Google Apps, a free suite of web services aimed at business users, includes calendar, collaboration, email and messaging software, as well as online spreadsheets and word processing.

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