Episode 112

posted in: Show Notes
Dell asks workers to take unpaid leave | Australian IT
Dell asks workers to take unpaid leave


COMPUTER maker Dell has asked employees to consider taking up to five days of unpaid vacation as it struggles to cut costs in the face of weak global demand.

The No. 2 computer maker, which is near the end of a program of 8900 job cuts, is also offering voluntary severance packages and has instituted a global hiring freeze.

Chief executive Michael Dell announced the moves in an email to employees on Monday. On Tuesday he said he expects further consolidation in the technology industry

Spokesman Mr Blackburn said.

“We are asking employees on a voluntary basis to consider taking off (up to) five days … as unpaid time off as a flexible way to reduce costs for the company.” Employees are being asked to take the time off in the next three months.

Michael Dell in San Francisco argued that the future of the technology industry is in cloud computing, generally seen as services and programs that are delivered over a network, rather than fixed on local computer hardware.

Speaking at Salesforce.com’s developers conference, Mr Dell said he expects 80 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies to be using cloud services within the next few years.

He said Dell is creating a cloud of its own around IT services, and he predicted the company’s efforts will ultimately help bring IT service costs down.

Dr Teruhiko Wakayama brings frozen mice back to life as clones | Weird True Freaky | News.com.au
Dr Teruhiko Wakayama brings frozen mice back to life as clones


JAPANESE scientists have cloned mice whose bodies were frozen for as long as 16 years and say it may be possible to use the technique to resurrect mammoths and other extinct species.

Mouse cloning expert Dr Teruhiko Wakayama and colleagues at the Centre for Developmental Biology, at Japan’s RIKEN research institute in Yokohama, managed to clone the mice even though their cells had burst.

Woman flashed Gold Coast Indy 300 crowd from balcony | National News | News.com.au
Woman flashed Gold Coast Indy 300 crowd from balcony


A WOMAN “old enough to know better” has been fined for flashing her bare bottom and spanking herself in front of a crowd at the Gold Coast Indy.

Lucinda Dorothy Dimond, 37, of Main Beach, pleaded guilty in court yesterday to public nuisance over her balcony performance on October 26, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

Police prosecutor Acting Sergeant Mike Campbell said Dimond should have known better.

Sgt Campbell told the court Dimond pulled up her short denim skirt and exposed her bottom before “spanking it”.

It appeared she was not wearing any underwear.

“She performed this exhibition three times where she would re-enter her apartment and return to the balcony to expose her bare buttocks and spank herself,” said Sgt Campbell.

As a custom at Indy, crowds gather at high rises. She could hear all the chanting and yelling out. If you are a woman on a balcony you get accosted,” he said.

“She said she was wearing underwear, she says she was definitely wearing underwear.”

Magistrate George Wilkie told Dimond: “I’d have thought you are a bit past this behaviour at your age,” before fining her $400.

Court backs MPAA, orders Gowell DVD players to use CSS anti-piracy | NEWS.com.au
Court backs MPAA, orders Gowell DVD players to use CSS anti-piracy


PIRATED DVDs will not work on certain players after Hollywood studios took a manufacturer to court.

The US District Court in California issued an injunction against China-based Gowell Technologies as part of a lawsuit filed by Hollywood industry body the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Gowell Technologies was ordered to use the anti-copying technology known as Content Scramble System (CSS) in its devices.

CSS is an encoding system that prevents burnt DVDs from being read by a player.

The system was decoded almost a decade ago by Norwegian hacker Jon Lech Johansen, who got his nickname “DVD Jon” from the notorious hack.

The only device that lets consumers burn DVDs with CSS encoding was released by Dell in September this year.

Japanese man petitions to marry comic book wife | NEWS.com.au
Japanese man petitions to marry comic book wife


Taichi Takashita launched an online petition aiming for one million signatures to present to the government to establish a law on marriages with cartoon characters.

Within a week he has gathered more than 1000 signatures through.

“I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world,” he wrote.

“However, that seems impossible with present-day technology. Therefore, at the very least, would it be possible to legally authorise marriage with a two-dimensional character?”

But some people signing the petition are true believers.

“For a long time I have only been able to fall in love with two-dimensional people and currently I have someone I really love,” one person wrote.

“Even if she is fictional, it is still loving someone. I would like to have legal approval for this system at any cost,” the person wrote.

Japan only permits marriage between human men and women and gives no legal recognition to same-sex relationships.

Japan’s fans of comic books, or “manga,” sometimes go to extremes.

Earlier this month, a woman addicted to manga put out an online message seeking to kill her parents for asking her to throw away comic books that filled up three rooms.

Blogosphere first to call Barack Obama win | NEWS.com.au
Blogosphere first to call Barack Obama win

 the blogosphere was the first to crown Barack Obama the winner of the US presidential election.

Left-wing political blog The Huffington Post was the first prominent website to crown Senator Obama as the “President-elect” after CNN predicted a win for the candidate in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Websites brace for record US election traffic | NEWS.com.au
Websites brace for record US election traffic

 Major media organisations (prepared themselves) for record-breaking traffic to their websites this week as they cover election night in race between Republican John McCain and his Democratic rival Barack Obama.

TV networks’ plans for increased web coverage would seem to serve their audiences well. Last week Nielsen Media released a study suggesting web surfing and watching TV go hand in hand.

While at home, almost a third of web surfers used the internet while watching TV, the study found. 

Television will follow the internet as much as the internet will follow television, which I think is a relatively new phenomenon,” said Frank Gilliam, dean of the school of public affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“When you watch CNN the commentators have laptops in front of them. That tells you all you need to know,” he said.

Web users Digg Obama ahead of McCain | NEWS.com.au
Web users Digg Obama ahead of McCain


Thousands of MySpace users have left comments on Barack Obama’s profile since voting began yesterday, most of them to announce that they have cast their vote for the Democratic candidate.

In comparison, just over 100 users have commented on John McCain’s profile.

On social news website Digg, a thread titled “Digg This If You Voted For Obama!” has been voted for more than 12,000 times.

Senator Obama has more than 100,000 people “following” his Twitter feed (which means that they can see his updates on their own profile), while Senator McCain has fewer than 5000.

Senator Obama has posted four updates to his Twitter account in the last 24 hours – three of them last-minute urges to vote and one announcing a new video.

Senator McCain’s account has been quiet since October 25.

Obama’s MySpace friends: 843,635

McCain’s MySpace friends: 5455

Obama’s Twitter followers: 115,342

McCain’s Twitter followers: 4913

“Obama” videos posted to YouTube today: ~8900

“McCain” videos posted to YouTube today: ~5500

YouTube’s most viewed on election day:
— Obama Flips Off McCain
— Voting Intimidation By Black Panthers In Philadelphia
— Barack Obama: “We Have A Lot Of Work To Do”
— Security Patrols Stationed At Polling Places In Philly
— Tribute To Rory Delap
— Hillary Clinton Talks In The Polling Station
— Marital Troubles
— Peekaboo
— End Of The Road For Me
— (Ford Salão do Automóvel) Fala povo


Barack Obama on Twitter – http://twitter.com/BarackObama
John McCain on Twitter – http://twitter.com/JohnMcCain
Barack Obama on MySpace – http://www.myspace.com/barackobama
John McCain on MySpace – http://www.myspace.com/johnmccain

Chinese official sacked after being outed on web | NEWS.com.au
Chinese official sacked after being outed on web

 A CHINESE official has been sacked after web users identified him in an online video allegedly showing a man attempting to molest a young girl at a restaurant.

Mr Lin’s sacking comes after an effort by China’s “human flesh search engine” – the name given to the country’s mass of bloggers and web users – to find a man shown in security camera footage that was spread across the web.

The footage, posted to YouTube and other video-sharing sites, shows a man and a young girl walking through a restaurant together before a heated argument between the man and the girl’s family.

It is alleged the man attempted to force the girl, identified elsewhere as 11 years old, into the men’s room at the restaurant.

Google Maps to include Yellow business listings | NEWS.com.au
Google Maps to include Yellow business listings


AUSTRALIA’S largest business directory will be plugged into Google Maps next year in a deal that will bolster the search company’s already-popular web tool.

Telstra’s Sensis this week announced a deal with Google to publish Yellow business listings on Google Maps from early 2009.

Combined with existing Google Maps features, users will be able to search for, locate and receive travel directions to a specific business as well as look for businesses in a given area.

The deal may been seen as an admission of defeat by Sensis, as the popularity of Google Maps eclipses the company’s own mapping service WhereIs.

Under the deal Google will also power the Sensis search engine, which was once promoted as a local alternative to the web giant.

Mr Akhurst said the partnership would benefit businesses by exposing them to the “significant reach” of Google Maps.

While the Yellow listings will not appear on Google Maps until near year, business owners can also create a free listing manually by using the Local Business Centre.

CNN reporter Jessica Yellin appears on TV as hologram | NEWS.com.au
CNN reporter Jessica Yellin appears on TV as hologram


Like a character out of the science fiction movie Star Wars, veteran political anchor Wolf Blitzer used a three-dimensional hologram system to transport correspondent Jessica Yellin into his studio to discuss the election.

Yellin, a little fuzzy and appearing to glow, conducted a brief discussion with Blitzer before vanishing again.

Yellin explained to viewers that her body was actually still in Chicago, with 35 cameras filming her inside a special tent.

“They shoot my body at different angles and I’m told that’s what transmits my entire body image back to New York,” she said.

“It’s like I follow the tradition of Princess Leia,” she said, referring to the Star Wars heroine.

For what CNN said was the first time in television history, the screen announced: “Jessica Yellin via hologram from Chicago. Live.”

The channel chose to unveil the technology in the midst of its wall-to-wall coverage of the US election.

Here&squo;s the news – 3AW presenter misses bulletin for Facebook | The Daily Telegraph

Here’s the news – 3AW presenter misses bulletin for Facebook



THE team at 3AW have been instructed to watch their computer usage after the radio station missed an hourly news bulletin because the newsreader was on Facebook.

Last Sunday at 4pm the news theme was broadcast but was followed by a series of advertisments.

According to an insider, a producer raced to the newsroom to see what was happening and found the reader on the computer.

By the time the news reader had announced her presence to broadcast the news, most of the six-minute time slot had lapsed, the insider said.

The mix-up also threw Magic 693, and regional stations that take 3AW’s news, into disarray.

“Questions were asked and the reader said she had ‘computer problems’. Further investigations by the IT team found she was on Facebook at the time,” the insider said.

Management at 3AW promptly sent a memo to all staff instructing them to stay off Facebook unless they were using it for research.

Doctor Who is &squo;Christian&squo; TV | The Daily Telegraph
Doctor Who is ‘Christian’ TV


EPISODES of the hit TV show Doctor Who have been examined by church leaders in Britain as part of an attempt to make Christianity more appealing to teenagers.

A conference of Church of England vicars watched a handful of episodes from the sci-fi series to study its religious parallels, particularly its themes of evil, resurrection and redemption.

Similarities between the Doctor and Christ, as well as whether the evil Daleks are capable of changing, were also examined.

“There are countless examples of Christian symbolism in Doctor Who, which we can use to get across ideas that can otherwise be difficult to explain,” The Sunday Telegraph in Britain quoted Andrew Wooding, a spokesman for conference organising group Church Army, as saying.

“Clergy shouldn’t be afraid to engage with popular culture as for many young people television plays a large role in their thinking.”

Superman, Spider-Man and me | The Daily Telegraph
Superman, Spider-Man and me


A “COMIC” teenager has offically changed his name to “Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spider-Man Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined.” But why?

UK Music graduate George Garratt, 19, changed his name by deed poll online for 10 pounds.

Captain Fantastic said: “I wanted to be unique. I decided upon a theme of superheroes.”

He joins a number of people with unusually long names, including Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams, a girl born in Texas in 1984.

The teenager, from Glastonbury, added that while he thought the new name was “crazy”, his grandmother was no longer speaking to him.

Intel i7 to hit Australia next week: News – Hardware – ZDNet Australia
Intel i7 to hit Australia next week


Online technology retailers are offering the 920 from anywhere between $600 and $1100, the 940 at between $1100-$1250 and the 965 at around $2500-$2900.

Intel’s new family of processors will be an expensive upgrade however, as they are not compatible with older motherboards. City Software is selling the 920, 940 and 965 processors with MSI’s DX58 Platinum Motherboard for $1350, $1870 and $3700 respectively.

Games vending machines to appear on UK streets – Software – iTnews Australia
Games vending machines to appear on UK streets

 Sony Entertainment and Universal Pictures have teamed up to bring “instant entertainment” vending machines, packed chock full of PS3 games, Blu-ray movies and downloadable music, to Britain’s street corners.

will accept both cash and credit cards for the pleasure.

UK punters will soon be able to download music and movies to their iHeart’s delight, straight onto their MP3/MP4 players, SD cards or most other USB-supporting portable devices.

Want a proper DVD? The machine can give you those too, popping out Blu-ray and game DVDs all shrink wrapped and ready to use, 24/7.

The touchscreen machine will also purportedly let customers get a sneak peak at what they’re buying by allowing punters to check out trailers before coughing up the cash.

Sony and Universal reckon the vending machines are an important phase in their plans for the future distribution of PlayStation 3 games, Blu-ray movies and digital music, and are promising 150 movie titles at launch. Don’t get too excited though, at least one of those is said to be Mama Mia.

Pizza and movies coming soon to TiVo – BizTech – Technology
Pizza and movies coming soon to TiVo

 Australian TiVo users will soon be able to buy groceries, order pizza, book a table at a restaurant, check flight information and access an array of on-demand TV and movie content using little more than their television remote

from November 17, users will be offered a free movie every week until March 1 next year.

TiVo will then have an online movie store with more than 100 movies as well as a large selection of TV shows and some music content such as video clips, interviews and concerts.

The movies would not be the latest DVD release titles but those commonly shown through Foxtel’s on-demand service and on TV.

All of the TV shows and most music content will be free and supported by advertising, while movies – provided through a partnership with Blockbuster – will be a mix of pay-per-view and ad supported. Ads will play before, after and possibly in the middle of the movie or TV show.

Also from March 1, TiVo users will be able to buy a home networking package, allowing them to transfer recordings to their PCs or portable devices and to send content from a PC to the TiVo.

Seven, the parent of Hybrid Television, which markets TiVo in Australia, will also sell a one terabyte (1024 gigabyte) hard drive add-on to expand the size of the internal 160GB drive. Minicola said only this official TiVo-branded hard drive add-on would work with the device.

By the end of the year, the number of downloadable games on TiVo would increase from three to six and four additional broadband information services would be added on top of the existing Sunrise Weather feature.

Before the end of the second quarter of next year, TiVo’s functionality will again be expanded to allow people to order groceries, buy pizza, book restaurants and access flight information.

Clip piracy solution a no-brainer – BizTech – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Clip piracy solution a no-brainer


Auditude technology automatically identifies user-posted segments of shows, then weaves in advertising for copyright owners and tells viewers whose program they are watching.

Instead of copyright holders chasing down television show video posted on MySpace pages and then demanding clips be removed in accordance with US law, they can let internet users be delivery channels complete with advertising.

US-based Auditude has spent four years “fingerprinting” television broadcasts to enable its software to instantly identify online snippets of shows that have aired, Auditude chief executive Adam Cahan said.

Auditude is “sitting on an index” of more than a billion minutes of films and shows from television and adds millions of minutes of new material daily to its fingerprinting data base, according to Cahan.

Auditude discovered that, on average, catchy clips shown once on television are reincarnated 20 times on the internet.

Hollywood studio Warner Brothers has already signed on with Auditude.

Auditude and website publishers share in advertising money made by the owners of video shared online.

Auditude software overlays video with information about the program it came from and provides links to online places to buy episodes or related merchandise.

Because Auditude grabs video feed directly from live television the technology immediately follows snippets onto the internet.

“We know from the minute it is on television to the minute it us uploaded,” Cahan said. “We are constantly finding it.”

iTWire – Do you dream in color or black-and-white? It depends on TV!
Do you dream in color or black-and-white? It depends on TV!

 Dr. Murzyn concluded that people who watched only black-and-white TV as children, those older than 55 years of age, reported dreaming in gray-scale more often than children raised with color television.

‘Delay-o-tron’ to iron out commentary glitches – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Delay-o-tron’ to iron out commentary glitches

 how can you listen to the radio commentary while you watch the match on TV?

Thanks to a delay in the broadcast of the TV pictures, this has been next to impossible unless people were happy to hear the action a few seconds before they saw it.

Not much fun if they are sweating on a crucial goal in the final seconds or screaming an LBW appeal at the screen only for the radio to give the game away.

But some ingenious engineering students from Melbourne University have come up with what could be a salvation for a nation’s sports fans.

The ‘Delay-o-tron’ is a gadget that matches radio broadcast with the TV pictures.



Online uproar over video of boorish official – web – Technology

Online uproar over video of boorish official

November 4, 2008

Video footage of a Chinese official’s drunken attempt to force himself on an 11-year-old girl has triggered a police inquiry and a torrent of online criticism.

Lin Jiaxiang, party secretary of the Shenzhen maritime bureau in southern China’s Guangdong province, allegedly grabbed the girl by the throat after she gave him directions to the toilet in the restaurant where he was eating.

Footage of the incident taken from the restaurant’s security camera was posted online, and showed the girl running into the dining area after the incident, the China Daily reported.

The girl’s father challenged a drunken Lin, who offered to pay him off.

“Yes I did it, so what? How much do you want, just tell me. I’ll give you the money,” Lin said according to footage shown on the sina.com website.

“Do you know who I am? I am from the Ministry of Transport,” he goes on to tell the father, according to the website.

Lin, who was only identified after appearing on the internet, lost his job and is now the target of a police investigation.

The alleged incident has sparked outrage online, with netizens calling for Lin to be severely punished.

“It looks like organised crime and the government should swap places, in this case organised crime seems more righteous than the government,” an online user said on sina.com.

Abuse of power is widespread in China and the government is quick to react to incidents that reach the public domain, including executing officials for serious corrupt deeds to show it is trying to tackle the problem.

Police in Shenzhen told the China Daily that an investigation was under way and “hopefully a result will be released within the week”.

The transport ministry said it would step up the investigation, the Beijing News reported, and “after the questions have been clarified, the issue will be dealt with seriously according to relevant regulations”.

CNN debuts hologram reporters – Technology – BrisbaneTimes

CNN debuts hologram reporters

Scott Casey | November 5, 2008 – 3:04PM

Broadcaster CNN has pulled out all the stops in its coverage of the US election by using Star Wars-style holograms to interview journalists.

On the program The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, journalist Jessica Yellin appeared to be projected onto the floor as she was interviewed by the show’s host.

Newspaper USA Today reported early this morning the news channel uses 20 computers and 44 cameras in remote locations to record 360-degree imaging data of the interviewee which is then transmitted and processed by another system in New York.

CNN senior vice president David Bohrman said TV screens allowed interview subjects to see Mr Blitzer and screens in the main studio allowed him to see interviewees.

No actual holograms are projected into the studio, however. Instead, the holographic images are added into the broadcast similar to the use of a “green screen” for special effects in movies.

In Hollywood, actors play out scenes in front of “green screens” which are then digitally removed to add background action or other effects.

CNN has also used a hologram of the Washington Capitol Building, which presents how power is changing in the US congress.

Mr Bohrman told USA Today he had dreamed about using the effect made famous in Star Wars but until recently TV networks did not have computers capable of achieving it in real time.

CNN is not the only network using cutting edge technology in its election broadcasts with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News also using high tech touch screens, allowing presenters to analyse detailed results in real time.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Video games giant to axe 500 jobs

Video games giant to axe 500 jobs

Electronic Arts logo

EA posted a profits warning, despite a 40% rise in sales

Video game publishing giant Electronic Arts (EA) is to shed more than 500 jobs, after the firm announced lower than expected profits for the year.

Nearly 20% of its share value was wiped out after the profit warning, with its shares closing at $22.78.

EA said that higher development and marketing costs, as well as delays to the latest Harry Potter video game, were to blame.

However, this was offset by the success of titles such as Spore and NFL 09.


We are very bullish on the game sector overall

John Riccitiello, EA chief executive

With the majority of game sales taking place in the run up to Christmas, EA’s chief financial officer Eric Brown sounded a note of caution.

“We have heard that retailer foot traffic is down in general,” he said.

EA said the job cuts, which amount to nearly 6% of its work force, would be spread across all functions and locations, and it did not rule out compulsory redundancies.

“Considering the slowdown at retail we’ve seen in October, we are cautious in the short term,” said John Riccitiello, EA’s chief executive.

“Longer term, we are very bullish on the game sector overall and on EA in particular.”

BBC NEWS | Technology | Games ‘to outsell’ music, video

Games ‘to outsell’ music, video

Publicity for GTA IV, AP

Hugely popular titles such as GTAIV have boosted sales figures

UK sales of games will outstrip music and video for the first time in 2008, says a report from Verdict Research.

A huge shift in consumer attitudes has turned video games into the UK’s most popular form of entertainment, say the retail analysts.

It predicts spending on games will rise by 42% to £4.64bn in 2008, with sales on music and video at £4.46bn.

In the last five years the video games market has more than doubled in value, while music sales have stagnated.

The good news for game makers in the report was balanced by grim tidings for high street retailers.

“The music and video market is not just suffering from a slowing of growth but a massive transfer of spend to online,” says Malcolm Pinkerton of Verdict Research.

It is online sales of CDs and DVDs that have grown rapidly, rather than digital downloads, which still only account for around 4% of music and video sales.

In contrast, video games spending has enjoyed explosive growth, with the launch of major new titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV and FIFA 08, and the Ninetendo Wii continuing to broaden the appeal of games.

But retailers warn that the Verdict report may not provide a completely accurate picture.

“There is no doubt that the games sector is having a fantastic year,” says Steve Redmond of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), “but these figures overstate that by including games hardware.”

The ERA’s most recent figures for 2007 show sales of games software at £1.7bn, compared to £1.4bn in music sales and £2.2bn for video revenues.

“Our prediction is that games will overtake video by the end of this year,” says Mr Redmond, “but not music and video combined.”

High street music retailers are diversifying as sales of CDs continue to fall.

Malcolm Pinkerton of Verdict says firms such as HMV and Zavvi are changing store layouts: “They’re cutting back on space in music and re-allocating it to more lucrative areas such as MP3 players, books, clothing and video games.”

Russian scammers cashing in – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au

Russian scammers cashing in

Asher Moses | November 5, 2008

Cyber criminals are earning up to $US150,000 a week selling fake anti-virus software to naive internet users, confidential documents obtained by a US security researcher reveal.

Computer users typically receive annoying pop-up messages telling them their computer is infected and they can clean their machine by clicking to buy a $US49.95 software package called Antivirus XP 2008 or Antivirus XP 2009.

The pop-ups are either delivered through ads on websites or, more commonly, directly to the user’s computer if it has been infected with a virus and subsequently recruited as part of a “botnet” of PCs controlled by hackers.

With more recent “drive-by download” attacks, a computer can be infected just by browsing the web and when it is brought into a botnet, which could include thousands of machines, the hacker can surreptitiously control it and deliver the pop-up messages.

Joe Stewart, director of malware research at SecureWorks, said in an interview that while many hackers benefited from botnets by using them to harvest victims’ bank and credit card details, it was now common for them to join affiliate programs selling fake anti-virus software.

One such program is run by a Russian outfit called Bakasoftware, which pays affiliates commission of between 58 per cent and 90 per cent of their sales.

For instance, if a hacker controls a botnet of 20,000 computers, they could earn up to $US225,000 just by tricking 5000 victims into buying the fake anti-virus software for $US49.95 each.

“For most people they might just be browsing the web and suddenly they don’t know why this thing will pop up in their face, telling them they’ve got 309 infections on their computer, it will change their desktop wallpaper, change their screensaver to fake ‘blue screens of death’,” Stewart said.

“It goes to a lot of trouble to try and scare people into thinking they have a massive infection on their computer and they need to pay money to this software vendor to get it cleaned.”

Stewart said the pop-ups keep re-appearing until the user buys the anti-virus program, which looks much like real security software. Once they do, another pop-up says the computer is being scanned and all problems are fixed, but “everything it just scanned for is fake so it didn’t really do anything”.

Recently, Bakasoftware’s database was obtained by a hacker known as NeoN and earning details of the top 10 affiliates were published on various online hacking forums. The data revealed the most successful affiliate earned $US158,000 in a week and even small-time hackers could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Computers suspected of flipping votes in US presidential race | Australian IT

Computers suspected of flipping votes in US presidential race

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Mike Harvey | November 05, 2008

EIGHT years on from the Florida chaos that introduced hanging chads to the world there have been reports of problems with touch-screen machines recording the wrong candidates in early voting yesterday.

These machines, which will be used by a third of American voters, have a simple interface that allows voters to cast ballots by pressing coloured areas on a screen.

Complaints first surfaced in West Virginia and have been repeated in Colorado, Tennessee and Texas. A number of voters in several Texas counties said that the machines flipped their votes from Democratic choices to Republican ones, and vice versa. In several instances officials were ordered to check the calibration of their machines.

Voting watchdog organisations wrote to 16 secretaries of state last week advising them of a problem with one make of electronic machine that caused votes for one candidate to be recorded as a vote for the rival.

The problems followed a report last month from Princeton University’s Centre for Information Technology, which found that touch-screen machines could easily be manipulated. Andrew Appel, a professor, said the touch-screen machines used in 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties could be hacked into in seven minutes. He added that someone could replace a machine’s memory chip with one containing a fraudulent computer program capable of changing the results.

The machines’ manufacturer, Sequoia Voting Systems, disputed the findings and New Jersey state election officials expressed complete confidence in the security of its machines.

In Florida electronic voting machines have been deemed too unreliable. They were used in a 2006 race for a congressional seat but in Sarasota County 18,000 votes were not recorded. Charlie Crist, the Governor, ordered that the entire state switch to voting machines called optical scan, which provide an old-fashioned paper trail. Voters use a pen or pencil to mark paper ballots, which are then fed into scanners that record the results.

Many believe that optical scanners – especially ones that count the ballots at the election precinct, not at a central office – are the most reliable method. Those error rate for those systems in 2004, according to a University of Missouri study, was 0.7 per cent. The study found that touch-screen machines had an error rate of 1 per cent.

Obama surfs the Web to the White House – Breaking News – Technology – Breaking News

Obama surfs the Web to the White House

November 5, 2008 – 3:48PM

Did Barack Obama’s MySpace and Facebook friends help put him in the White House? Did he Twitter his way to the top?

Social networks and Twitter messages may have helped but analysts agree it was the Democrat’s impressive online organisation and Internet fund-raising that fueled his victory over Republican John McCain in Tuesday’s election.

“No one’s going to say Obama won the election because of the Internet but he wouldn’t have been able to win without it,” said Julie Germany, director of George Washington University’s Institute for Politics Democracy & the Internet.

“From the very beginning the Obama campaign used the Internet as a tool to organize all of its efforts online and offline,” Germany told AFP. “It was like the central nervous system of the campaign.”

Both campaigns used the Web for fund-raising but Obama with considerably more success, pulling in tens of millions of US dollars more than McCain online.

Both campaigns had similarly slick official websites, cultivated bloggers and made heavy use of YouTube, creating their own channels on the video-sharing site which did not even exist four years ago to help push their message.

But the Obama campaign took its efforts one step further, creating a massive grass-roots online network of volunteers.

“When people think of Barack Obama on the Internet, they think of all of the fancy videos that people have been creating, they think of mybarackobama.com, the text messaging,” Germany said.

“But it’s really that backend system that nobody sees that has been an essential part of the campaign.

“What we’re talking about is a very sophisticated, very elaborate database that allowed the Obama campaign to microtarget all of its efforts online and offline,” she said.

“They used emails to communicate with people with messages relevant to their districts and relevant to the issues that they cared about and to organize and mobilize get-out-the-vote efforts,” Germany said.

“Obama understood the power of the network that he built to support his campaign,” said Micah Sifry, co-founder of techpresident.com, a blog about politics and the Web.

“He understood the power of individuals self-organizing in support of his campaign,” he said.

David Almacy, who served as the Internet and e-communications director in the White House from March 2005 to May 2007, noted that early on the Obama campaign brought on board Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook.

“They understood from the very beginning this concept of connecting the dots socially online,” said Almacy.

“I don’t know it for a fact but I can’t imagine that Senator Obama was checking his Facebook page every day,” Almacy said. “I don’t think he was probably Twittering.

“The point though is not whether the candidates themselves were using it, but that their campaigns understood the power of connecting people in those venues,” he said.

“A lot of what the Obama campaign did online was trying to encourage people to do something for the campaign,” said Germany. “It was not about passively absorbing information.”

“From the very beginning the Obama audience tended to be younger, more web-savvy,” said Germany. “The Internet was a natural tool for them to use to reach that supporter base.

“The McCain campaign felt their base of support was different,” she said.

“This was one of the reasons why they defended not doing as much flashy stuff online, because they said our base of suppport isn’t comfortable with social networking sites, probably doesn’t hang out on Facebook.”

Almacy, who brought RSS feeds, email updates, audio podcasts and on-demand video to whitehouse.gov while serving in the Bush White House, said he will be watching with interest what an Obama administration does with the Internet.

“It’s a lot more difficult,” he said. “A campaign is centered around one day, you’re pushing to that one day. Government is not focused on one day. It’s more of a long-term approach.”

Almacy also said that people who may have “friended” candidate Obama on their MySpace or Facebook pages may think twice about “friending” President Obama.

“It’s one thing to give your money and support to the campaigns, but another once you have an official elected person sitting in that Oval Office,” he said.

“All the privacy concerns start to pop up, regardless of who the candidate is,” Almacy said. “People say, ‘Wait a minute, do I really want the federal government to have access to all of this information?'”

Clip piracy solution a no-brainer – BizTech – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au

Clip piracy solution a no-brainer

November 4, 2008

MySpace and Auditude have rolled out an innovative solution to the problem of people posting pirated television show snippets on the internet.

Auditude technology automatically identifies user-posted segments of shows, then weaves in advertising for copyright owners and tells viewers whose program they are watching.

Instead of copyright holders chasing down television show video posted on MySpace pages and then demanding clips be removed in accordance with US law, they can let internet users be delivery channels complete with advertising.

“This is a no-brainer,” MySpace marketing president Jeff Berman said. “Everyone wins. Auditude lets the user do whatever he or she wants to do with copyrighted video and sticks an ad on it.”

US-based Auditude has spent four years “fingerprinting” television broadcasts to enable its software to instantly identify online snippets of shows that have aired, Auditude chief executive Adam Cahan said.

Auditude is “sitting on an index” of more than a billion minutes of films and shows from television and adds millions of minutes of new material daily to its fingerprinting data base, according to Cahan.

Auditude discovered that, on average, catchy clips shown once on television are reincarnated 20 times on the internet.

“Folks want to be able to share the video they really like,” Cahan said. “We are embracing what users do today; bringing them back in and using them as a distribution channel, if you may.”

Hollywood studio Warner Brothers has already signed on with Auditude.

MySpace is Auditude’s first internet partner but more are expected to follow suit given the potential for quelling copyright complaints from studios while opening new revenue streams.

Auditude and website publishers share in advertising money made by the owners of video shared online.

Auditude software overlays video with information about the program it came from and provides links to online places to buy episodes or related merchandise.

“It takes user-posted content that was miscategorised as user-generated and turns it back into professional content,” Cahan said. “It allows content owners to be freer about what they put out there.”

Because Auditude grabs video feed directly from live television the technology immediately follows snippets onto the internet.

“We know from the minute it is on television to the minute it us uploaded,” Cahan said. “We are constantly finding it.”

Current – WD HD Media Player: play full HD content from your USB drive
WD HD Media Player: play full HD content from your USB drive

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: The new WD HD Media Player, launched yesterday, is not a new concept, but it makes it makes an existing concept easier — playing your stored media content on your TV in Full-HD 1080p resolution. And at RRP $199, it is well below the $499 psychological barrier.

RRP $499 is a psychological barrier that Blu-ray suppliers say is a key pricepoint for speeding up the sales of Blu-ray players. Once a device gets below that pricepoint, in theory more people can afford it and would consider buying it.

Western Digital (WD), a name in storage devices has taken a clever step by making a complementary product to its storage devices — a device that can play the stored media on a high definition TV. It even comes with a remote control.

The WD TVMedia Player connects to a user’s TV or home theater and plays digital movies, music and photos from portable storage drives or other USB storage devices such as USB thumb drives.

According to WD, until this device, “consumers have struggled with clumsy solutions such as copying onto multiple CDs and DVDs or connecting their PCs to their TV via wires or complicated home networking solutions. The WD TV HD Media Player enables consumers to … access their high-definition content on the biggest screen in the home.”

Up to two USB storage devices loaded with HD media can be plugged into the WD TV HD Media Player at once. Using the remote control, users can navigate and play their content with the media player’s high-definition on-screen menu.

Content can be viewed either by filename or thumbnails of photos, album covers or movie cover art. Users can see all their media by media type in one menu regardless of its location in folders or drives.

“As leaders in external storage, we have become the trusted brand for storing and backing up large media collections for consumers around the world,” said Jim Welsh, senior vice president and general manager for WD’s Branded Products and Consumer Electronics Groups.

“Our best-selling My Passport portable drives help customers carry their media library with them anywhere but until now, there has been no easy, affordable way to access and play all that content in their living rooms. The WD TV HD Media Player effectively unlocks all that content from the storage device and lets people enjoy it on their biggest screen and best sound system.”

The WD TV HD Media Player can play content from most popular USB drives, digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognised as mass storage devices.

It offers 1080p Full HD video playback and navigation with plug and play convenience.

Photo viewing features enable custom slides shows and the ability to zoom and pan images, search photos by filename, partial filename, most recently viewed and date.

Movies can be fast forwarded, rewound, paused, zoomed, and panned and the same with music files.

It has a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port and the ArcSoft MediaConverter 2.5 software converts photo, videos, and music files into formats optimized for use on the WD TV HD Media Player.

It is available from now wherever WD products are sold.

Current – Directed Electronics Australia releases the much anticipated Eos Wireless
Directed Electronics Australia releases the much anticipated Eos Wireless


Directed Electronics Australia is proud to release the much anticipated Eos Wireless, the world’s first digital wireless “whole home audio” speaker system for iPod, allowing multi-room audio distribution capability.
Using breakthrough WiFi friendly technology, the Eos system links up to four stereo remote wireless speakers, establishing interference free CD sound quality (48 kHz). Eos’ GigaWave technology employs error correction and a unique frequency hopping scheme for ranges of up to 45 meters throughout the home or office (even outdoors!).
At the heart of the Eos system is an iPod docking base station / transmitter that features two high performance stereo speakers and a ported subwoofer. The base station transmits audio wirelessly to up to four remote stations. Like the base station, the remote stations boast two high performance loudspeakers and a ported subwoofer.
The revolutionary design of the wireless remote speaker allows mounting of the station directly into a wall power outlet or by unclipping the power supply, can sit independantly on a counter top or bookshelf.
“Our acoustic design team took solid aim at leaders in the category”, said Eos USA Executive VP Jeff O’Shea. “As good as the sound quality is, what is truly phenominal is Eos’ audio link. Eos’ wireless technology has to be heard to be believed”. said O’Shea.
The groundbreaking Eos system is now available via selected retail channels. Dealer enquiries are welcome, and more information can be found via the Eos Wireless Australian website.

Current – Crest Launches Australian First – Standby Saving, High End Surge Protected Power
Crest Launches Australian First – Standby Saving, High End Surge Protected Power

Crest electronics is proud to launch an Australian first. The Earth Smart Power Board is an environmentally friendly way to power AV and IT equipment while staying protected.
With a key trend towards saving energy and reducing carbon emissions Crest has invested in staying ahead of the pack in a bid to help better the environment. The Earth Smart Power Board has been created to help reduce a household’s carbon footprint by decreasing the costly standby power produced by their much loved IT and audio visual equipment.

Did you know that an average of 10% of your electricity bill can be contributed to stand by power? By using the Earth Smart Power Board not only can a household reduce their carbon emissions and help the environment but they will also see a significant saving in their power bill.
But what about protection? Not only does the Earth Smart Power Board save on stand by but it also protects. With a high surge rating customers can feel secure that the Earth Smart Board will protect their valuable equipment from damaging spikes and surges. Crest electronics are so confident in Earth Smart’s ability to protect connected components that it offers an unlimited connected equipment warranty for that extra peace of mind.
But how does it work? Connect the main components (e.g. a DVD recorder) to the ‘master’ socket and all other components to the ‘peripheral’ sockets. When finished with the equipment just press the off button on the main component (or remote control) and the Earth Smart board will cut off the power to all of the other components completely. The master component will turn onto standby and stay powered thus ensuring that time is kept for all program recordings (applicable for a DVD recorder application).

Crest Electronics has teamed up with the Carbon Reduction Institute who have measured the emissions embodied in the product, form ‘cradle to retail’. This level of emissions is transferred into carbon credits which Crest will purchase ensuring that the Earth Smart power board is 100% Carbon Free.



Current – New media player unlocks Full HD solid state content
New media player unlocks Full HD solid state content

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Western Digital and its new WD TV Media Player are taking us a step closer to a new world of Full High Definition in solid state.

In the brave new world of solid state storage, a terabyte of storage is common, you can even buy storage devices on sale for under $100. One terabyte can store every single episode of The Simpsons to date.

There doesn’t seem to be a lifespan for solid state storage, it just seems to have the potential to go on forever, offering more and more storage capacity at ever lower prices.

People used to be excited about one gigabyte USB drives. Now you can get 16 GB on a MicroSD card the size of a little fingernail.

When Toshiba conceded defeat in the HD DVD vs Blu-ray war in February this year, it fired off a parting shot at the Blu-ray camp.

In an interview with Current.com.au in February, Toshiba Australia general manager Mark Whittard, said “We believe technology developments will soon leapfrog high definition discs, whether it be HD DVD or Blu-ray …. this step is going to be leapfrogged by the next major format — digital content, internet downloads and video on demand.”

Now WD has released the WD TV HD Media Player and Toshiba has also released its XD-E500 DVD Upscaler that turns standard definition DVD picture quality into 1080p definition. It essentially means consumers don’t need to throw out their DVD movie collection just yet when they can watch their DVDs in what Toshiba says is “enhanced detail and richer colour at near HD picture quality”.

Ok, so once again, nothing at the moment comes close to Blu-ray in terms of the convenient full HD cinema experience at home. But the promise of full HD movies on a USB stick that you simply plug and play is now a reality with the WD TV HD Media Player. Consumers can download full HD movies from Bigpond and play them through this WD player.

Blockbuster video stores were in a deal with a supplier of technology to dispense movies on USB drives until the supplier went out of business. It would be reasonable to think that it’s just a matter of time before manufacturers embrace full HD on solid state drives. You could even envisage TVs with in-built media players that you plug your USB storage device into. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG, already have TVs with storage device plug and play capability.

Current – Who’s on sale at Whatsonsale?
Who’s on sale at Whatsonsale?

By Martin Vedris

MELBOURNE: The latest website to direct customers towards retailers, whatsonsale.com.au, has actually been around for 10 years. The portal lists electrical retailers Retravision, The Good Guys, Just Klapp, Camberwell Electrics and  Encel Stereo, along with Myer, among its retail customers.

Whatsonsale.com.au lists specials and discounts currently offered by retailers and provides a link to the retailer’s site with their contact details.

There is an annual fee for the service, which includes email campaigns as well as the website listing, that the retailer can change as often as they like.

“We’ve been told we’re so cheap it’s not funny,” said Pat Walsh, the website’s founder and managing director.

“We also do email campaigns and we don’t charge extra … we can give clicks reports to let them know the traffic. For the money they also get access to our other sites, we also have boxigndaysales.com.au, stocktakesales.com.au, christmassales.com.au, mothersdaysales.com.au and fathersdaysales.com.au.

“We promote those sites in mainstream media, for example boxingdaysales will be promoted in The Age this year in Melbourne.”

As any business knows, just having a website is no guarantee that it will attract visitors. Just like generating leads in the physical world has a cost, so to does it cost to attract visitors to a site on the internet.

“Every email platform will cost you from $500 per send, depending on what email platform you want to go on,”” said Walsh of other online marketing services. “Then trying to buy you own Google ad words … it would be a bidding war and they would go anywhere from 50 cents to $1.80 a click.”

Walsh cited the experience of a furniture retailer in NSW.

“This guy has had something like 17,000 views in the last six weeks,” he said. “So if he tried to buy that level of traffic to get that level of information delivered out, it would have probably cost him anywhere between $6,000 and $17,000 and it cost him a lot lot less with us.”

Like anything, the output is only as good as the input and Walsh says that having a good sales offer is critical to success because whatsonsale.com.au is not a price comparison site, it is for listing sales, sale items and special offers.

“It’s up to your sale and your offer as to whether people are going to take it further and go onto your site. But on our site, retailers don’t pay per view and they don’t pay per clicks … and they can change their ads as often as they like… we give them access, they can change it every hour or every day.”

Whatonsale.com.au also needs to advertise and market itself to generate the views it then generates for its retail clients.

 “We did a lot of radio,” said Walsh. “We’re in the SMH up in Sydney, we had a stretched Hummer limousine wrapped with whatsonsale driving around Sydney for a couple of weeks. We use a lot of Google in terms of both paid and organic searches, so it’s a mixture of above and below the line.

“Also, I’ve got 10 to 12 sales consultants out on the road … we try to build relationships for the longer term. We do a bit of door knocking, cold calling because as a retailer, how many sales calls do they get a day, from someone trying to flog them space, so we try not to be that somebody.”



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