Episode 118

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

No more Jobs at Macworld | Australian IT
No more Jobs at Macworld

 

APPLE said that chief executive Steve Jobs will not deliver the keynote address at the Macworld trade show next month, reviving concerns about the state of his health and sending the company’s shares down 2.5 per cent.

Apple also said 2009 will be the last year it exhibits at Macworld, claiming that trade shows are a “minor” way it reaches customers.

Instead of Mr Jobs, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, will deliver the keynote.

Asked whether the change was related to Jobs’ health, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: “Phil is giving the keynote because this will be Apple’s last year at the show, and it doesn’t make sense for us to make a major investment in a trade show we’ll no longer be attending.”

Macworld draws thousands of Apple fans and technology aficionados to San Francisco, where they have been treated to major announcements from Mr Jobs in past years.

Microsoft releasing emergency patch for perilous IE flaw | Australian IT
Microsoft releasing emergency patch for perilous IE flaw

 

MICROSOFT will release an emergency patch on Wednesday to fix a perilous software flaw allowing hackers to hijack Internet Explorer browsers and take over computers.

The US software giant said that in response to “the threat to customers” it immediately mobilised security engineering teams worldwide to deliver a software cure “in the unprecedented time of eight days.”

According to researchers at software security firm Trend Micro, attacks based on the vulnerability in the world’s most popular Web browser are spreading “like wildfire” with millions of computers already compromised.

Pressure on Telstra chiefs as shares dive | Australian IT
Pressure on Telstra chiefs as shares dive

 Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told The Australian yesterday there was no way back into the tender process for a national broadband network worth about $15 billion. “They are out,” he said.

Senator Conroy also signalled widespread changes to the $32 billion telecommunications sector, with a greater division of Telstra’s operations on the Government’s agenda, but not one that would go so far as to split the group into two separate companies.

Telstra was cut from a list of six bidders from the tender after failing to meet five basic requirements, including lodging a plan for small and medium businesses to access broadband services.

The company is disputing the decision on legal technical grounds but has not yet firmly indicated whether it will fight the move in court.

Telstra shares have lost $7.5 billion in market value since Monday, giving up all their gains this year as stockbroking firms cut their forecasts for the group’s share price by as much as 80c per share. The shares closed yesterday at $3.51, down 11c on the day.

Senator Conroy said Telstra needed better operational or internal separation, and analysts have suggested that widespread changes would be made to the Telecommunications Act.

Mr Trujillo from firing some parting shots at the Communications Minister’s department.

“The Department has a long history of failing to deliver on new infrastructure,” Mr Trujillo said.

“Three and a half years and counting on NBN including an RFP process running six months behind schedule and still counting, the minister’s original pre-election plan and then there’s OPEL and all the other piecemeal initiatives over the years.”

Bidders for the $15 billion broadband network were to begin presenting their bids in front of the Government’s eight-person expert panel at the weekend.

But Mr Trujillo said Telstra never got its chance to front the panel.

“The answer is no, we never presented to the Panel. We just received notification last night that we were out,” he said.

Chrome fails to shine in its first 100 days | Australian IT
Chrome fails to shine in its first 100 days

 

GOOGLE Chrome has shed its beta tag, but research shows most Australians prefer Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

Chrome was unveiled in September and there were high expectations it would begin to eclipse IE and Mozilla’s popular Firefox browser.

But according to statistics from Nielsen Online, that has not been the case.

In fact, Chrome has not managed to make even a dent.

Two months after its launch highly trafficked mainstream news websites belonging to Fairfax and News Limited report a 1 per cent penetration rate on average.

Most of their major online properties handle more than 1 million page views a day.

IE holds the largest slice of the pie, with 70 per cent market share, on average. Firefox has around 11 per cent of the audience while the rest is split between Apple Safari and Opera.

Google said in 100 days Chrome has managed to garner more than 10 million active users worldwide but local numbers were not available.

iTWire – Apple netbook tipped for Macworld introduction
Apple netbook tipped for Macworld introduction

 A fresh round of speculation about the possibility of an Apple netbook has been triggered by an analyst’s “triangulation.” Is there a way Apple can market a device that can take on existing netbooks without cannibalising its MacBook sales, that lives up to the company’s reputation for design, and still make money on the deal?

free hit counters

Computerworld reported that Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research was predicting a Macworld Expo announcement of two netbooks by Apple. The story proved grist for the rumour mill.

iTWire – F.E.A.R 2 Banning successfully appealed
F.E.A.R 2 Banning successfully appealed

 An appeal by Warner Bros Games to the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification has had the ban against Horror/Shooter F.E.A.R 2: Project Origin overturned.

In part the statement reads “After considering extensive submissions and demonstrations of game play across all levels, the Review Board concluded that the level of violence in the computer game, whilst strong, could be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification”, acting Classification Review Board Convenor, Trevor Griffin said.

OS X 10.5.6: what’s inside this whopping update
OS X 10.5.6: what’s inside this whopping update

 10.5.6, either a 372MB update or a whopping 668MB combo update available here (or via software update) is the latest in a line of regular updates from Apple, and ‘includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac

10.5.6 also offers lots of other enhancements too like:
– Graphics improvements for iChat, Cover Flow, Aperture, and iTunes
– Fixes for possible graphics distortion issues with certain ATI graphics cards
– Improves Time Machine reliability with Time Capsule (it couldn’t get any worse, could it?)
– Performance improvements for iCal are included
– Adds a Trackpad System Preference pane for portable Macs
But the most important inclusion in this update is the following:
– Improves the performance and reliability of Chess
Apple also updated OS X Server to 10.5.6. All updates are free to existing 10.5 owners and available now.

Free your Xbox Avatar on Facebook | News | TechRadar UK
Free your Xbox Avatar on Facebook

 

Microsoft has launched a rather cool new feature for Xbox Live that lets you to export your avatar and share it with friends and family via email or Facebook and other social networking sites.

Free your Avatar also offer gamers a number of screensavers, wallpapers and festive cards added that you can use as seasonal backgrounds for your cheeky new Xbox avatar.

No sex please, I’m browsing – Technology – BrisbaneTimes – brisbanetimes.com.au
No sex please, I’m browsing

 

WASHINGTON – Nearly one out of two women would rather give up sex for two weeks than go without the internet, according to a survey released on Monday.

Far fewer men would choose to go without sex, according to the survey of 2,119 adults carried out by the online research firm Harris Interactive and sponsored by Intel Corp, the world’s biggest computer chip maker.

 

 MARK’S SHOWNOTES

 

Late elderly Man who’s wife’s remains were found in a plastic bag in a pot with a curtain thrown over the top. Police say the circumstances are suspicious, I SAY THE POOR OLD BUGGER PROBABLY COULDN’T AFFORD TO BURY HIS OWN WIFE AS THE COST WAS TOO MUCH AND THE WAY THE GOVERNMENT TREATS THE ELDERLY CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY IT’S NO WONDER. 

Internet filter protesters aim for Canberra

Mitchell Bingemann | December 16, 2008

THE group responsible for last weekend’s protests against the Government’s internet filtering scheme now plans to take its fight to Canberra.

Protesters aim at Canberra

DLC is plans to hold a national protest in Canberra called March in March.

The rallies were the first in a series of demonstrations organised by anti-censorship group Digital Liberty Coalition.

While organisers described the weekend rallies held in all Australia’s capital cities as “playful”, the Canberra actions would be more volatile.

DLC estimates that 2500 people in total attended the nationwide protests.

DLC spokesman, Jeremiah Hutchinson called the demonstrations a “phenomenal success” and said the group now planned to hold anti-filter demonstrations once a month until March, when it would promote a national protest in Canberra called March in March.

“We’re focusing on a number of guerrilla marketing campaigns and old school activism to attract a lot more public awareness over the Australia Day long weekend,” he said.

“We will be deploying a number of approaches, such as posting fliers and engaging with people through social networking in the lead-up to our march on Canberra in March. We are also toying with the idea of another national protest in February.”

Mr Hutchinson is hoping at least 2000 people will participate in the march to Canberra. “It will be a heavier protest environment than the weekend’s which was a more playful and static event. In Canberra there will be much more chanting and a lot louder protesting from a lot more people.”

Under the Government’s proposed filtering plan, all Australians will be served a “clean” internet feed.

This will be achieved by blocking any websites that find themselves on a blacklist compiled by the communications watchdog.

A secondary filter to block material inappropriate for children also will be introduced, but users will be able to opt-out of this system by lodging a request with their internet service provider.

Opponents to the plan, such as the DLC, say the filter will slow internet connection speeds and accidentally block access to a large number of legitimate websites.

Mr Hutchinson also said it was possible for unscrupulous users to bypass the Government’s proposed filter in less than three seconds to gain access to illegal material.

“This filter will only affect three access ports, so the simplest way to bypass it is to configure your modem settings and alter what ports you’re accessing the internet from. Alternatively, if you’re not tech savvy then all you have to do is download a program called Tor, which is a program designed to help Chinese and Iranian residents get around their filters. It’s that simple.”

Chief executive of child protection group Child Wise, Bernadette McMenamin, said most of the criticisms levelled at the internet filter scheme were founded on misinformation.

“It’s disturbing that people are getting hysterical about all the misinformation that is being spread about the internet filter,” Ms McMenamin said.

“Instead of hearing hysteria from the minority we need to hear from the Government and exactly what it intends to ban.”

Ms McMenamin was equally critical of the past weekend’s protests and the DLC’s plans for future action.

“Let the 300 people march on Canberra because it looks pathetic,” he said. “It looks pathetic and shameful because most of these people are not fully aware of the facts and secondly, those who are aware are, in effect, advocating child pornography.”

  

Chrome fails to shine in its first 100 days

Fran Foo | December 16, 2008

GOOGLE Chrome has shed its beta tag, but research shows most Australians prefer Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

Chrome was unveiled in September and there were high expectations it would begin to eclipse IE and Mozilla’s popular Firefox browser.

But according to statistics from Nielsen Online, that has not been the case.

In fact, Chrome has not managed to make even a dent.

Two months after its launch highly trafficked mainstream news websites belonging to Fairfax and News Limited report a 1 per cent penetration rate on average.

Most of their major online properties handle more than 1 million page views a day.

IE holds the largest slice of the pie, with 70 per cent market share, on average. Firefox has around 11 per cent of the audience while the rest is split between Apple Safari and Opera.

Some argue Chrome’s languishing figures could be bolstered if it were pre-installed in computers.

But Google Australia said there was no news to that effect at the moment.

“The response to Google Chrome has been outstanding and we’re continuing to explore ways to make it accessible to even more users,” Google Australia spokesman Rob Shilkin said.

“This could potentially include distribution agreements with original equipment manufacturers, but we don’t have anything to announce on that front right now.”

Google said in 100 days Chrome has managed to garner more than 10 million active users worldwide but local numbers were not available.

  

 

No more Jobs at Macworld

Correspondents in San Francisco | December 17, 2008

APPLE said that chief executive Steve Jobs will not deliver the keynote address at the Macworld trade show next month, reviving concerns about the state of his health and sending the company’s shares down 2.5 per cent.

Apple also said 2009 will be the last year it exhibits at Macworld, claiming that trade shows are a “minor” way it reaches customers. 

Instead of Mr Jobs, Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, will deliver the keynote. 

Asked whether the change was related to Jobs’ health, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said: “Phil is giving the keynote because this will be Apple’s last year at the show, and it doesn’t make sense for us to make a major investment in a trade show we’ll no longer be attending.” 

In September, Mr Jobs, who is often perceived as irreplaceable as Apple’s leader, appeared thin but jaunty as he introduced new iPod digital music players. 

Investors have been concerned about the cancer survivor’s health after he appeared thin at another product launch in June. In 2004, Mr Jobs, 53, said he had undergone successful surgery to remove a rare type of pancreatic cancer. 

“It’s like the first time in a long time he hasn’t spoken in Macworld,” said Samuel Wilson, an analyst at JMP Securities. “Why is he not speaking this year would be the question.” 

Macworld draws thousands of Apple fans and technology aficionados to San Francisco, where they have been treated to major announcements from Mr Jobs in past years. 

“Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers,” the company said in statement. 

Last year, the event saw the launch of the MacBook Air, the company’s ultrathin portable computer. In 2007, it was the first version of the iPhone. 

Shares of Cupertino, California-based Apple closed at $US95.43, up 68 cents on Nasdaq. The stock fell to $US93 in extended trade.

Serious security flaw found in IE

Microsoft Internet Explorer logo, file pic from 2004 

Internet Explorer is used by the vast majority of the world’s computer users

Users of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are being urged by experts to switch to a rival until a serious security flaw has been fixed.

The flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer could allow criminals to take control of people’s computers and steal their passwords, internet experts say.

Microsoft urged people to be vigilant while it investigated and prepared an emergency patch to resolve it.

Internet Explorer is used by the vast majority of the world’s computer users.

 

 It’s a shame Microsoft have not been able to fix this more quickly 
Darien Graham-Smith
PC Pro magazine

“Microsoft is continuing its investigation of public reports of attacks against a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer,” said the firm in a security advisory alert about the flaw.

Microsoft says it has detected attacks against IE 7.0 but said the “underlying vulnerability” was present in all versions of the browser.

Other browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, are not vulnerable to the flaw Microsoft has identified.

Browser bait

“In this case, hackers found the hole before Microsoft did,” said Rick Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro. “This is never a good thing.”

As many as 10,000 websites have been compromised since the vulnerability was discovered, he said.

“What we’ve seen from the exploit so far is it stealing game passwords, but it’s inevitable that it will be adapted by criminals,” he said. “It’s just a question of modifying the payload the trojan installs.”

 

MICROSOFT SECURITY ADVICE
Change IE security settings to high (Look under Tools/Internet Options)
Switch to a Windows user account with limited rights to change a PC’s settings
With IE7 or 8 on Vista turn on Protected Mode
Ensure your PC is updated
Keep anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date

Said Mr Ferguson: “If users can find an alternative browser, then that’s good mitigation against the threat.”

But Microsoft counselled against taking such action.

“I cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw,” said John Curran, head of Microsoft UK’s Windows group.

He added: “We’re trying to get this resolved as soon as possible.

“At present, this exploit only seems to affect 0.02% of internet sites,” said Mr Curran. “In terms of vulnerability, it only seems to be affecting IE7 users at the moment, but could well encompass other versions in time.”

Richard Cox, chief information officer of anti-spam body The Spamhaus Project and an expert on privacy and cyber security, echoed Trend Micro’s warning.

“It won’t be long before someone reverse engineers this exploit for more fraudulent purposes. Trend Mico’s advice [of switching to an alternative web browser] is very sensible,” he said.

 

 This could be the moment when the minnows in the browser wars finally score a significant victory 
Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC technology editor

PC Pro magazine’s security editor, Darien Graham-Smith, said that there was a virtual arms race going on, with hackers always on the look out for new vulnerabilities.

“The message needs to get out that this malicious code can be planted on any web site, so simple careful browsing isn’t enough.”

“It’s a shame Microsoft have not been able to fix this more quickly, but letting people know about this flaw was the right thing to do. If you keep flaws like this quiet, people are put at risk without knowing it.”

“Every browser is susceptible to vulnerabilities from time to time. It’s fine to say ‘don’t use Internet Explorer’ for now, but other browsers may well find themselves in a similar situation,” he added.

  

Taking a swipe at Bush: Zaidi-inspired shoe game on Internet

December 17, 2008 – 6:15PM

Following in the footsteps of the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush, anyone can take a virtual swipe at the US leader on the Internet thanks to a new game.

The aim of “Sock and Awe” (www.sockandawe.com), launched by Britain’s Alex Tew, is to knock Bush out with a shoe, a feat already attained by 1.4 million players, according to the website Tuesday.

Aptly named after the US “Shock and Awe” military campaign to knock out Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the game gives players 30 seconds to aim at a figure of Bush ducking behind a rostrum.

It was in protest against the Bush administration’s Iraqi policy that journalist Durgham Zaidi threw both his shoes at the outgoing president Sunday during his swansong visit to the battleground. The action won Zaidi widespread plaudits in the Arab world where Bush’s policies have drawn broad hostility.

Tew, 24, drew world attention with his “milliondollarhomepage.com“, a website he conceived when 21 to help raise money for his university education by selling off pixels at a dollar a piece.

Zaidi, who was taken into custody after the Baghdad incident, has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by security agents, his brother told AFP.

  

Disfigured woman gets a new face

December 17, 2008 – 10:00AM

A woman has received America’s first near-total face transplant, a hospital in Ohio says.

Reconstructive surgeon Dr Maria Siemionow replaced nearly all of the woman’s face – 80 per cent – with that of a dead female donor in an operation at the Cleveland Clinic a fortnight ago.

The patient’s name and age were not released. The hospital plans a news conference on Wednesday to give details.

The world’s first partial face transplant occurred in France three years ago on a woman who was mauled by her dog.

Two others have been announced since then – a Chinese farmer attacked by a bear and a European man disfigured by a genetic condition.

The nature of the injuries or disfigurement that prompted the Cleveland case are not yet known. Such transplants are controversial, because they are aimed at improving a patient’s quality of life rather than saving it, and require recipients to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their life.

“It is very important what kind of recipient they selected,” and how great the need was, said Dr Bohdan Pomahac, a surgeon at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which plans to offer face transplants.

“There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this,” he said. “It’s great that it happened. It is a major move forward,” Pomahac said.

Burn and severe trauma patients have long needed better treatment options, but “the ethics are really controversial”, said Dr Jeffrey Guy, director of the Burn Centre at Vanderbilt University.

The risk now is balancing two medical risks: the need to give strong immune suppression drugs to prevent rejection, and managing the risk of infection increased by taking such medicines.

Rejection is a possibility whenever someone receives an organ or cells from someone else because the body regards this as foreign tissue. Two types of problems can result.

The first is graft-versus-host disease, which happens when the new marrow attacks the body of the recipient (the host). The second is when the host’s body attacks the marrow or the transplanted face, causing inflammation and other problems at the site of the new tissue.

Either of these can be life-threatening. They can come on suddenly, within days or weeks of the operation, a situation called acute rejection. Or chronic, low-level rejection can set in and slowly undermine the recipient’s health.

  

Women choose net over sex

December 16, 2008 – 6:14AM

WASHINGTON – Nearly one out of two women would rather give up sex for two weeks than go without the internet, according to a survey released on Monday.

Far fewer men would choose to go without sex, according to the survey of 2,119 adults carried out by the online research firm Harris Interactive and sponsored by Intel Corp, the world’s biggest computer chip maker.

Forty-six per cent of the women polled said they would rather go without sex for two weeks than give up access to the internet for the same period of time, according to the survey, “Internet Reliance in Today’s Economy.”

Only 30 per cent of men said they would rather forgo intimate relations than cyber ones.

Ninety-five per cent of those surveyed said it is “very important, important or somewhat important” to be able to access the internet.

Sixty-five per cent of those surveyed rated internet access above other discretionary spending items such as cable television subscriptions (39 per cent), dining out (20 per cent), shopping for clothes (18 per cent) or a health club membership (10 per cent).

Sixty-one per cent of the women surveyed said they would rather give up watching television for two weeks than give up access to the internet for one week.

Harris Interactive and Intel said the survey was conducted November 18-20. They did not provide a margin of error for the results.

  

Can you me your Wii Package 

 

 

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