Mozilla unveils Firefox update
Mozilla has released an updated version of its open-source Firefox browser, which tackles six main security and stability problems from previous versions.
Figures show that while Internet Explorer has lost seven percentage points, slumping to just 67.55 per cent of browser market share, Mozilla’s Firefox has climbed three per cent to 21.53
The survey of 1100 people was conducted by Galaxy Research in January.
According to the results, 45 percent of respondents believe using pirated software for personal use is at least acceptable “in some situations”.
A massive 64 percent of 16-24 year olds said it was okay or okay in some situations.
Forty-five percent of 25-49 year old respondents and over one in three of those aged over 50 also responded that personal use of pirated software was acceptable.
The overwhelming majority of users will see only two versions of Windows: a Home Premium edition for consumers and a Professional edition for business users.Though the Home Premium and Business versions of Windows 7 will target the majority of the market, four other versions are being planned for so-called ” niche” markets.Emerging markets will be offered a low-cost ‘Home Basic’ edition, while manufacturers will be given the option of an OEM-exclusive ‘Starter’ version of Windows 7 for bundling with low-end hardware.Large enterprises will have the option of purchasing mass volumes of a special Enterprise edition, while the company will also offer an all-encompassing ‘Ultimate’ version of Windows 7 for high-end users.
A third of Skype’s 405 million registered accounts use the software for business.
The 4.0 version includes improved audio, enhanced video and easier installation, he said.
The company is working to integrate features such as screen sharing in its Mac version into its other products.
Features from 4.0 will find their way into Skype’s business software, Neary said.
The hoax involves a fake ‘Personal Details Form’ that appears after customers log on to their internet banking.
The bank issued an email alert telling people the form was not legitimate:“If you are presented with this fake form end all internet sessions immediately by closing your internet browser;Commonwealth Bank and NAB, who both say they have not been affected but are constantly monitoring the situation.
Westpac says it is checking whether any of their customers have been taken in by the scam, but is unaware of any at this stage.
MELBOURNE’S heat wave has wiped out operations at Victorian internet provider Hotkey Internet Services.The outage, which began on Sunday, entered its fourth day this morning, testing the patience of its 25,000 customers who have been left without email throughout the period.Hotkey, which hosts its email facilities with its parent company Primus Telecom, said that the outage occurred when a CitiPower power substation supplying Primus’s data centre failed.Hotkey general manager Robert Siddle said that emergency systems designed to deal with the powerless Primus data centre when it failed weren’t enough.
he HTC Dream is the first mobile phone in Australia to be powered by Google’s Android open source operating system which has the flexibility to allow users to create home-made applications for the device. Google said all applications avaialble on Android are free-of-charge for the time being.The HTC Dream comes preloaded with a bevy of Google applications including Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calender and YouTube and features a touch screen interface as well as a full, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3G and Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.2-megapixel camera.Telstra and Vodafone have confirmed that they will not be selling the HTC Dream. Industry sources say the carriers will wait until more advanced versions of the phone are available before adding Android-powered devices to their product roadmaps.Despite an estimated retail price of $1,000 the phone won’t be available outright through Optus, nor will it be sold through HTC retailers. However, Optus’ Acting Manager Director of Consumer, Michael Smith, admitted the Dream was likely to be offered for outright purchase “in due time”.But it won’t be locked to the Optus network. Additionally, HTC Australia’s sales and marketing director Anthony Petts told APC that the Dream was not exclusive to Optus, with other carriers able to add the Dream to their portfolio if they chose.Smartphone fans living in regional Australia won’t be thrilled by the news that the Dream doesn’t support Optus’ 3G-enhanced 900MHz network which the carrier is using to extend its mobile broadband reach. On 900MHz the Dream will perform only at Optus’ useless GSM/GPRS speeds
Now you can find out for sure. Google has unveiled yet another ‘side’ project designed to help the world rather than directly make money. This one, called Measurement Lab, or M-Lab for short, is actually a collaboration with other institutions, including Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, and other ‘academic researchers’.M-Labs has initially launched with three tools (with two more coming soon) that attempt to diagnose common problems that ‘might impair their broadband speed, as well as determine whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled by their ISPs.’The tools are:– Network Diagnostic Tool– Glasnost– Network Path and Application Diagnosis– DiffProbe (coming soon)– NANO (coming soon)
ABOUT 90,000 sex offenders have been identified and removed from the social networking website MySpace.Company and law enforcement officials say the number’s nearly double what MySpace estimated last year.US attorneys-general received agreements from MySpace and Facebook last year to make their sites safer.Both sites say they’ve implemented dozens of safeguards including finding better ways to verify user’s ages banning convicted sex offenders from using the sites and limiting the ability of older users to search members under 18.Connecticut Attorney-General Richard Blumenthal says the numbers involved show social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators.
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), representing the who’s who of film and television, filed suit against the Perth-based ISP in November for allegedly ignoring calls to stop its customers illegally swapping movies and TV programs.BitTorrent is said to be the most popular file-swapping platform allegedly used by iiNet subscribers to exchange files.AFACT is seeking damages that could run into millions of dollars.It is understood that AFACT has evidence to show the court that iiNet could have easily identified the infringing users and send them warning letters.The main point of contention is the fact that iiNet allegedly stood idle despite AFACT informing the ISP on several occasions over a course of 18 weeks to act on the alleged illegal file-sharing practices.The next directions hearing is slated for February 6.
- Social-networking site Facebook celebrates fifth anniversary this week
- Web site founded by Harvard student is estimated to have 150 million users
- Founder Mark Zuckerberg is estimated to have personal fortune of $1.5 billion
- Business valued at $15 billion in 2007, but likely to be hit by financial crisisAccording to Facebook figures, around 15 million users update their statuses daily. More than 850 million photos are added to the site each month while the average user has 120 friends.
The company plans to launch software called Latitude on Wednesday that lets mobile phone users share their location with close contacts. Google hopes it will help people find each other while out and about and to keep track of loved ones.
“What Google Latitude does is allow you to share that location with friends and family members, and likewise be able to see friends and family members’ locations,” said Steve Lee, product manager for Google Latitude. For example, a girlfriend could use it to see if her boyfriend has arrived at a restaurant and, if not, how far away he is.
To protect privacy, Google specifically requires people to sign up for the service. People can share their precise location, the city they’re in, or nothing at all.
Google hopes its mapping technology will lead to location-based advertising revenue.
Latitude is part of Google Maps for Mobile, the company’s mapping software for mobile phones, but also can be used through a gadget loaded onto its iGoogle customized home page. It’ll work in 27 countries at launch, Google said.Initially, it will work on most color-screen BlackBerry phones, most phones with Windows Mobile 5.0 or later, and most Symbian-based devices such as Nokia smartphones.
- Imaging the ocean depths via the new Google Earth 5.0 is a smart move for Google
- It adds to the overall utility of the software, which in the long run keeps it relevant
- Ocean researchers attended Google’s launch and are eager to display their data
- Eventually, Google wants to provide data on “every single location” on Earth
- Man selling his “867-5309” phone number on eBay
- Digits made famous by 1982 Tommy Tutone hit song
- Along with phone number, auction winner will get DJ business
Bids for a New Jersey version of the number, stuck in the minds of millions since Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny” hit the Top 10 in 1982, had reached $5,100 on eBay as of Monday morning.
The song is about a guy who finds Jenny’s name and number scribbled on a bathroom wall.
Thursday 12 February : 9am – 7pm
Broadbeach Branch Library
This one day event is designed to introduce you to all kinds of gadgets, tools and concepts. Join us for a session, the morning, or the whole day.
Bookings are essential and sessions are filling fast. Phone 5581 1555 to secure your place!
The 2009 Awards criteria calls for firms to demonstrate how effective use of broadband enabled them to improve productivity, enhance innovation, improve customer service, create or extend a market for goods and services, and create or expand community outcomes.
ATUG said it expects this year’s awards to attract “significant attention as the industry waits with much anticipation to see who will win the right to build the new National Broadband Network.”
Submissions close on the 10th February 2009
Online services operate in a free market, says Bill Thompson, but more could be done to make them truly free.
Twitter, despite the attention it receives around the place with its high-profile users like Stephen Fry, is not the only micro-blogging service out there.
I quite like Tumblr, and Stumbleupon does something useful, while BrightKite links notes and photos to your current location and is growing fast.
One service I never really tried seriously is Pownce, and now I’ll never get the chance as the company has been bought by Six Apart and is going to be shut down.
It seems that Six Apart, the people who make the Movable Type blogging platform, are interested in the technical skills of the Pownce founders and development team but don’t want to run their own service.
They may end up building some of the same functionality into Movable Type, of course, but the shutters come down on Pownce in a week or two.
This sort of behaviour is unusual but not unprecedented. Google bought the Jaiku messaging service in 2007 and have completely neglected it, and services, sites and tools close or change all the time.
Lively, Google’s 3D chat environment, lasted only six months, while the social network provider Ning has just announced that it will no longer support customers who are running sexually explicit services and is closing its “Red Light Zone”.
I am as locked in to Facebook as a mainframe computer user was locked into IBM in 1965, or a desktop computer user was locked in to Microsoft in 1995.Bill ThompsonMany Pownce users are upset at the loss of a service they found valuable. Those who had paid for premium features are annoyed that they are apparently to be offered a free Movable Type blog for a year when they had signed up for a social network and file exchange service.
But these things happen in the free market, and while the exact nature of the compensation offered to paying customers may be of interest to regulators, nobody is going to suggest that the government intervene in the takeover, closing or restructuring of relatively minor social network sites.
If Facebook bought Twitter and shut it we might all complain very loudly, but neither our Minister for Digital Engagement Tom Watson nor Barack Obama, both heavy tweeters, would even attempt to stop it.
Despite my socialist leanings I find it hard to get too worked up about the problems facing those whose favourite sites, services or networks change beyond recognition, start charging or shut up shop.
Mostly this is because I recognise that if you play in the market then you have to accept the downsides too, something that many investors are coming to realise on a much larger scale.
But is also because the rate of change and the degree of innovation online is so rapid that, like a toddler who has had their favourite plaything snatched away, few users will recall what all the fuss was about once a shiny new social toy is waved in front of them.
However, there are things that we can all do which will both minimise the pain when a service goes offline and at the same time do more to ensure that developers and site owners show some social responsibility.
At a minimum we need to be able to get our data out of these sites and services, to export the photographs and videos and other things we have uploaded.
We also need to take our contributions, so that the photos I download have the tags, comments and notes still attached to them.
Joining a social network means surrendering personal dataBut I’d also like to be able to retain the “social graph” that is implicit in the service, the list of friends and contacts, the nature of the relationship, the messages sent and received and all the other details.
At the moment there are no obvious ways of doing this, and the chances are that anything extracted will just be a data dump requiring a lot of work to be useful, but that does not mean it can’t be done.
Like many other people I find that my social life is shaped by my use of social network services, whether it’s a Twitter-organised meeting with BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones at the Regent Street Apple Store or organising my son’s imminent birthday party.
Unlike Billy Bragg, who asked Bebo founder Michael Birch to give artists a share of the company’s sale price on the grounds that it has grown wealthy on the back of the music it serves, I don’t see the social networks as “digital sharecroppers”, to use Nick Carr’s evocative phrase.
But having my data locked up in Facebook and Flickr and Twitter and BrightKite creates an imbalance in the relationship, one that ends up distorting the free market in the interests of the service providers.
I am as locked in to Facebook as a mainframe computer user was locked into IBM in 1965, or a desktop computer user was locked in to Microsoft in 1995.
Offering true portability will make the market more efficient, by encouraging competition and enabling customers to move between suppliers even when the current service is not being shut down but is simply not meeting their needs.
This goes far beyond the sort of portability MySpace and others are currently offering, which is about sharing profiles, not exporting them.
Providers don’t like export tools because they rely in part on the difficulty of moving to a new network or photo service to keep their customers with them.
But the rules of the marketplace cut both ways.
If we’re going to let Six Apart buy Pownce and close it, and offer no barrier to Google’s decision to close Lively, then we can also ask that they respect the other side of the bargain and give their users genuine choice.
And, when it comes to online activity, choice should mean data portability.
Bill Thompson is an independent journalist and regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet.
SYDNEY: ASUS has recorded two entries into the first round of assessments in the 2009 Australian International Design Awards.
The Eee PC S101 and the Lamborghini VX3 were selected by design professionals from around the world who viewed around 154 entrants in total.
A panel of International judges will in the next few weeks evaluate the Eee PC S101 netbook and the Lamborghini VX3 notebook measuring various things like innovation, visual/emotional appeal, functionality, quality/manufacturing, human factors (ergonomics, semantics and safety) and environmental stability.
These awards are Australia’s premier design recognition program and they compete on a world stage against various international programs.
Whilst on the topic of design, ASUS also had huge success in the 17th Taiwan excellence awards, gaining an impressive 53 awards, the most among all competitors.
Due to this, ASUS was acknowledged for its commitment to developing world-class products and helping to generate a strong Taiwanese brand presence worldwide.
The awards program supports the effort to improve the international image of Taiwan’s products and selection is based on criteria including R&D/Innovation, Design Innovation, Quality Systems, Marketing, and Brand Awareness.
ANZ Bank has warned customers not to surrender personal information after its online banking system was targeted by cybercriminals.
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The bank said customers affected by a trojan are being prompted to enter personal details in an online form after successfully logging on to the ANZ internet banking portal.A trojan is a program installed on computers without the owner’s permission or knowledge, and is usually used to gain access to online information illegally.“There is a known issue in the marketplace affecting banks where a ‘Personal Details form’ appears to customers after they log on to internet banking,” reads an ANZ security warning.An ANZ spokesperson said a number of its customers’ computers had been infected by the trojan.Once an ANZ customer logged in to its internet banking site, a form would pop-up asking them to enter their personal banking details.The bogus form appears authentic and is deceptively branded with ANZ logos.“Our banking portal has not been hacked but any customers who have been infected by this sophisticated trojan will be at risk,” the ANZ spokesperson said.“Users would have picked up this trojan from visiting particular websites. It has not come from targeted emails.”ANZ instructs customers to not enter any personal details and to immediately end their internet banking session if the form is displayed.Anti-virus company Sophos said using the trojans was a particularly sophisticated method to swindle passwords and personal information from unwitting users.“Instead of sending an email with a link to a phishing site, cybercriminals will instead infect users with a trojan so that when this person goes to a trigger site, their information can be captured,” Sophos Asia-Pacific head of technology, Paul Ducklin, said.“The advantage for the bad guys is that it can trick people who are usually very vigilant about what sites they go to. With a trojan it doesn’t matter if it’s a fake site or a real one because they can use ‘genuine-looking’ fake forms and pop-ups that sit outside the real site to trick people.”In its attempts to warn customers of the potential security breach, ANZ changed the security warning on its website three times. The original alert warned of a fraudulent personal details form that appeared after users logged into the bank’s online portal; the second alert said customers were being targeted by a hoax email leading to a false bank website; while the third reverted back to the original warning.
BUSINESSMAN Tony Hakim and companies involved in the $115 million reverse takeover of failed retailer Strathfield Group could be ordered to pay out tens of millions of dollars in penalties by the Federal Court.
A court hearing on a range of alleged breach of competition laws has been scheduled for March 24.Mr Hakim and other parties involved were due to front a directions hearing in Sydney yesterday.It is alleged a group of companies and individuals associated with Mr Hakim, National Telecoms Group and Clear Communications engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and exclusive dealing, which broadly involves one trader imposing restrictions on another’s freedom to choose with whom, in what or where it deals.Clear Communications, which gained board-approved control of 58 per cent stake in Strathfield in December, appointed voluntary administrators to the troubled retailer last week.The allegations by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, instigated in the Federal Court last year, also name Axis Telecoms, Telecom One, Queensland Communications Group and National Telecoms Group (NTG) as respondents in the action.NTG and Clear Communications (Eurast) AB director Tony Hakim and Axis Telecom directors George Tawaf and Mark Nesbitt were named as individual respondents in the case.It is alleged the companies misrepresented free bundled telco services and equipment to small business customers, but actually provided this under a rental agreement with an unrelated finance company.The regulator also alleges a number of the telco’s directors and key employees, including Mr Hakim, were involved in exclusive dealing.’In addition to financial penalties, the ACCC is also seeking penalties and injunctions restraining certain respondents from engaging in the same conduct in the future.The maximum penalty that can be handed down by the Federal Court is $500,000 for an individual and $10 million for a company.In 2003 the ACCC previously successfully prosecuted NTG. The Federal Court declared NTG engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when offering one of its telephony packages, and it also made false representations on the price of its telephony services.
MILLIONS of people will be able to track each and every move by friends and family through their mobile phones, thanks to a new feature launched by Google.The new system dubbed “Latitude” uses a digital map to show automatically exactly where a loved one is at any time, sometimes pinpointing their location to a few metres. Worried parents will be able to check up on where their children have got to after school, friends can meet for a quick drink if they see they are nearby, and spouses will be able to see if their partner really is working late at the office.Google said that Latitude was an opt-in feature, meaning that both parties have to consent to being spied on. But privacy campaigners said they were appalled by the idea, and children’s groups said the government should intervene and look into whether the system was fully secure.The feature was made available immediately on millions of mobile phones that can access the web, such as the BlackBerry. Within weeks, Google hopes to release a version that will also work on computers as well.“Once you’ve shared your location, you can hide it from individual friends or all of your friends at once, or you can turn off Google Latitude completely at any time.” said a Google spokesman. “You can adjust your privacy settings in Latitude so that you share as much or as little about your location as you want, with whom you want.”Google said that it had tested the product with thousands of people to make sure that the system was secure, but experts were not so sure. Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said the security was appalling and said Latitude would open up a “privacy minefield”. “Google is naive if it thinks there are adequate controls on this feature,” he said.Others were concerned that even though you could, in theory, bar anyone from spying on your location, in practice peer pressure would mean it would be difficult to reject their suggestion to follow you, even if it was not in your own interests.“It’s about the little white lies. You might be skiving off work, and now your boss might be able to see that you’re at Twickenham instead of at home,” said Ian Angell, an information expert at the London School of Economics. “You’ve already got mobile phone technology where husbands and wives track each other in secret. Google is so pervasive that this will become the rule rather than the exception.”Google said that people always had the option of adjusting how much about their location they wanted to give away. Colleagues could merely know what city you were in, whereas other more trustworthy friends could find out what street you were walking down. How much each individual wanted to reveal was always up to them.The technology is likely to be greeted enthusiastically by a younger generation hooked on social networking websites such as Facebook. In testing, the feature was quickly adopted by people to locate friends in crowded areas, and by families to give themselves a rough idea of when loved ones would be returning home.Children’s groups said that, though the principle of being able to check up on the whereabouts of a child may bring peace of mind to many parents, problems would arise when children became teenagers and sought more responsibility and independence. “Is a mobile phone becoming an electronic leash on children?” said John Carr, secretary of the Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety. “You can see situations where this kind of thing might be useful, but it is also kind of imprisoning children even more.”Mr Carr called for the Government to look into the security of the system, and said that any company that wished to offer or sell tracking software such as this should be required to get a licence.The Information Commissioner’s office said the opt-in nature of Latitude indicated that the feature satisfied data protection laws, but said it would monitor the system closely.
SYDNEY: With shrinkage rates increasing and retail sales going down, Datamonitor, an independent market analyst, has warned that retailers are going to face shrinkage rates of almost $115 billion for 2009.
This comes in the light of a recent report carried out by the company in which they highlight the effects of the global downturn and the subsequent rise of shrinkage rates.
The report also warns that retailers have to shift some of their perception away from customer merchandise theft and start looking at their own employees.
Datamonitor have outlined that over half the losses incurred by shrinkage can be attributed to Point of Sale (POS), such as cashier error or deliberate theft and fraudulent transactions.
“Retailers have long focused their attention on customer merchandise theft. Efforts and big budgets have been spent on expensive closed circuit television (CCTV), digital recording, electronic security tagging, and alarms to prevent and monitor customer theft,” comments Christine Bardwell, retail technology analyst at Datamonitor and the report’s author.
“General employee and cashier caused shrinkage, whether intentional or not, is now a massive concern in most retail organisations.”
To combat this, retailers are urged to invest in two forms of technology. The first is data mining, which helps highlight irregular patterns in POS transactions and identify weaknesses and fraud in the system. It also proves successful in picking up external crime such as credit card fraud.
The second technology is CCTV, which can be used to supply visual evidence of the shrinkage occurring.
“Retailers need to be efficient in dealing with shrink. Loss prevention will be a high priority in the coming years because of the hard business climate so there will be growing pressure on retailers to invest,” said Bardwell.
“Using technology to uncover internal fraud quickly will enable them to discipline or retrain the staff responsible without further damage to the bottom line.”
SYDNEY: It has just been announced today that the Australian Government has increased the solar hot water rebate from $1000 to $1600, as a part of its $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan.
Gareth Jennings, corporate affairs manager at Rheem Australia, couldn’t be happier about the recent decision and claims everyone will benefit from the added incentive.
“Consumers, the environment, the economy and local industry will all benefit from today’s increase in the solar hot water rebate and scrapping of the means test.”
“We applaud the Federal Government for its decision; it really ticks all the boxes and will provide a much-needed shot in the arm to so many sectors.”
Rheem Australia, which manufactures a range of hot water systems under the Rheem, Solahart, Edwards and Vulcan brands, is one of the many companies that are set to benefit from this scheme.
“Solahart is the world’s leading brand of solar water heaters, and the increases in factory capacity and output arising from this local initiative will enhance its global competitiveness further,” commented Jennings.
The rebate will undoubtedly make solar water heaters even more accessible for homes throughout Australia, but also create more jobs locally due to production increases.
“We’ve had pent up demand for solar hot water systems for some time, and today’s news will create a pathway to purchase for many Australian householders,” said Jennings.
“I would expect a significant rise in the demand for water heaters almost immediately as a result of this initiative.”
Social networking site MySpace has deleted the accounts of 90,000 users it has identified as sex offenders.
The site was responding to a call from state attorneys general in the US to provide a list of offenders on its roster.
MySpace and rival site Facebook have committed to making their sites safer for the growing number of young users.
However, Facebook’s measures to keep sex offenders off its site have been called into question.
The 90,000 sex offenders found on MySpace represent a significant increase and the figure is nearly twice that predicted by MySpace officials last year in a preliminary estimate.
Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal, who is spearheading efforts in the US to make social networking sites safer for children, was not surprised by the number, telling the AP news agency that it “provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators.”
Further moves by both sites to tighten safety include stricter age verification and limiting contact between under- and over-18s.
It is not the first time that MySpace has removed sex offenders from its site; in 2007 some 29,000 users were blocked for the same reason.
For that effort, MySpace worked with security company Sentinel to develop a database called that matched user profiles to data on convicted sex offenders.
Scientology or Jedi