Episode 128

posted in: Show Notes | 0

GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

 “Hot Spot” technology to be used in Australian series | Australian IT
“Hot Spot” technology to be used in Australian series

CRICKET’S governing body has confirmed Australia’s second Test against South Africa in Durban from Friday will include “Hot Spot” technology for referrals to the third umpire.

The technology, which wasn’t available for last week’s first Test in Johannesburg, will also be in use for the third Test in Cape Town later this month.

It’s the fourth series in which the referral system has been trialled; the first time Australia and South Africa.

Both teams are allowed two unsuccessful requests for reviews of decisions per innings, but some decisions referred to third umpire Asad Rauf in Johannesburg weren’t clear-cut, especially a caught-behind decision against Mark Boucher which the South Africa batsman felt had missed his bat.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and South Africa skipper Graeme Smith have welcomed the use of the technology for the remainder of the series.

“Hot Spot” images will be available to the third umpire in the event of a player requesting a decision to be reviewed, the ICC said in a statement.

“Hot Spot” will use infra red cameras at each end of the ground.

“By having Hot Spot available it means the television official will have even more information at his disposal if he is called upon, via a request for a review, to assist the on-field umpires with a decision and that has to be a good thing,” ICC general manager of cricket David Richardson said.

“It also means that when the ICC Cricket Committee meets in May to consider the issue of the technology trial it will have a much more complete picture of the aids available for use and whether, and if so how well, they worked in a match situation.”

(Note: As reported in The Australian last month, researchers at Queensland’s Griffith University are working on a strap-on device that will measure the angle of the bowler’s arm on each delivery. This could mean cricket’s most emotive issue, whether a bowler is a chucker, can be settled immediately.)

Australians spend much more time online | Australian IT
Australians spend much more time online

 We also are ditching our desktop computers for laptops, accessing the internet wirelessly and almost all internet users have broadband access at home, the report said.

The Nielsen Online Internet and Technology Report surveyed more than 2000 Australians and found the average Aussie spent 89.2 hours a week consuming media last year or almost 80 per cent of their waking hours.

Nielsen Online research director Tony Marlow said this was an increase of almost five hours on 2007 and an extra 17.8 hours from 2006.

Some users also used more than one form of media at once, with more than three in five internet surfers watching TV simultaneously and half surfing the web while listening to the radio.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics last year reported that more than half of all Australian households have a broadband internet connection, including 800,000 new connections from the 2007/08 financial year.

Facelift for Facebook | Australian IT
Facelift for Facebook

 FACEBOOK now lets you have more than 5000 friends

The world’s leading online social-networking service has unveiled a redesign that adds Twitter-like real-time chatter, better filtering of incoming information, and a platform for reaching mass audiences.

Facebook will begin shifting users to a new home page design on March 11 and posted a preview at the popular social-networking website for its famously change-wary users to check out.

Facebook boasts more than 175 million members and Mr Zuckerberg believes that number will crest 200 million by the end of this year.        

Bushfires delayed NBN decision: Conroy | Australian IT
Bushfires delayed NBN decision: Conroy

 

RESPONDING to the bushfire devastation in Victoria has delayed the selection of a winner for the $15 billion national broadband network (NBN) by about three weeks.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told attendees at the giant CeBIT tech fair in Hannover, Germany that he had intended to announce the NBN winner in time for the show.

However the demands of the bushfire tragedy in Victoria had delayed crucial meetings around selecting a winner.

It is understood those meetings will now proceed and a winner will be announced in two to three weeks.

Firms keep bushfire donations flowing | Australian IT
Firms keep bushfire donations flowing

 INDIVIDUALS and companies have donated more than $200million to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal. But behind the scenes, the amount could have been far less if not for the role of IT companies.

Last week, the Red Cross received more than 490,000 individual donations, or 3 1/2 times the amount for the Boxing Day tsunami, Red Cross head of technology Warren Don said.

More than 96per cent of the donations came from the Red Cross’s website.(Where we had a banner – it was the most hit banner on the site for the last month.)

YouTube.com received more than 3000 video auditions. The final group of more than 90 musicians were chosen by a combination of online votes from the public and judging by musicians from major orchestras.

The members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will travel to New York from nearly 30 countries for a three-day meeting with San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas, leading up to the April 15 Carnegie Hall show.

YouTube, which is owned by search giant Google, had more than 100 million users in December, according to data from tracking firm comScore.

Videoconferencing to slash govt airfare bill | Australian IT
Videoconferencing to slash govt airfare bill

Clean feed filtered out | Australian IT
Clean feed filtered out

 

THE federal Government’s communications policies have taken a battering in a survey that attracted about 20,000 respondents.

According to the annual survey from broadband forum Whirlpool, 89.9 per cent of respondents said they would choose to opt out of the Government’s plans to introduce a mandatory “clean feed” internet filter, if it goes ahead.

The survey also gauged public reaction to the Government’s $15billion national broadband network and found 78per cent of respondents rated the handling of the process as somewhere between “poor” and “abysmal”.

But it was not only the Government’s broadband policies that took a beating in the survey, which attracted views from industry figures and consumers.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was rated less effective than former Liberal communications ministers Richard Alston and Helen Coonan.

Videoconferencing to slash govt airfare bill | Australian IT
Videoconferencing to slash govt airfare bill

 THE federal Government will deploy Cisco videoconferencing systems across 20 government sites in an effort to drastically reduce its $280 million domestic airfare bill

Mr Tanner said the deployment will help the Government reduce the cost of travel, improve productivity and lower the impact of carbon emissions.

50 Cent seeks revenge in new video game – CNN.com
50 Cent seeks revenge in new video game

 

  • Hip-hop artist 50 Cent lends his image and ideas to new video game
  • “Blood on the Sand” features former 50 Cent hits and exclusive music
  • Players can pretend to be 50 while blasting bad guys in the Middle East
  • Rapper says he plans to turn “Saints Row” video game into a movie

Apple announces new Mac Pro, tweaks iMac and Mac Mini – CNN.com
Apple announces new Mac Pro, tweaks iMac and Mac Mini

 

Let’s look at the new Mac Pro first: priced at $2,499 (AUD$4459) for the quad-core version and $3,299 (AUD$5899)for the eight-core version, those Intel “Nehalem” Xeon processors run at 2.93 GHz, and the interior of the machine has been cleaned up to make physical expansions easier. On the green front, it meets the new Energy Star 5.0 requirements that will go into effect later this year.

The new iMac desktop is a 24″ machine that is priced at $1,499 (A$ 2,499.00), the cost of Apple’s previous 20″ iMac. The 20-inch is now $1,199 (A$ 1,999.00). The 20″ is powered by a 2.66 GHz processor; the 24″ has processor speed options of 2.66 GHz, 2.93 GHz (for $1,799(A$ 2,999.00)), or 3.02 GHz (for $2,199(A$ 3,699.00)).

The 24″ comes with a 640GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM expandable to 8GB; the 20″ comes with a 320GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM expandable to 8GB.

As for the new Mac Mini, the big upgrade is NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics that Apple says will improve its graphics performance as much as fivefold.

The monitor-free machine costs either $599 (A$ 1,049.00)for a lower-end edition (1GB RAM, 120GB hard drive) or $799 (A$ 1,399.00 ) for the higher-end (2GB RAM, 320GB hard drive).

Prosecutor demands prison for Pirate Bay operators – Internet – iTnews Australia
Prosecutor demands prison for Pirate Bay operators

 

Prosecutors in the Pirate Bay trial have finished their closing arguments and requested jail terms of a year apiece for the four men running the torrent search site.

In his closing arguments prosecutor Håkan Roswall asked the court to sentence the four defendants to one year jail terms, half the maximum sentence for breaking copyright law.

one fo the defendants, Svartholm Warg,“I was actually surprised that he’s only asking for one year, I’d expected two,” he said.

“The old bastard’s crazy.”

 

Dot ME domain names go under the hammer – Internet – iTnews Australia
Dot ME domain names go under the hammer

 Drink.ME, employ.ME, tell.ME and film.ME are among 35 generic but “desirable” .ME domains that will be auctioned online by the European web marketplace Sedo later this month.

Online bidding for the names begins March 26 and remains open until April 2.

The .ME domain was introduced to the market in June of last year.

ASIC struggles with blogs, bulletin boards – Business – iTnews Australia
ASIC struggles with blogs, bulletin boards

 

Under current law, any publication that offers financial advice – offline or online – requires an Australian Financial Services license.

But ASIC acknowledges that the blogosphere and other social media have created a very muddy picture as to what constitutes a web site offering financial advice.

A great many informative web sites exist which provide some level of financial analysis, recommendation or opinion, without its author’s possessing a license.

These sites – such as bulletin boards, blogs or chat rooms – also tend to feature far less strict editorial control than traditional web sites.

ASIC also considers that owners and moderators of these sites should require a financial services license. 

“Operators who authorise or arrange for others to post such comments may also require a licence.

Submissions on the paper are welcome at policy.submissions@asic.gov.au

 

MARK’S SHOWNOTES

 

Facelift for Facebook | Australian IT
Facelift for Facebook

FACEBOOK now lets you have more than 5000 friends. Starting next week, you can ignore the ones you’re not that excited about.

The world’s leading online social-networking service has unveiled a redesign that adds Twitter-like real-time chatter, better filtering of incoming information, and a platform for reaching mass audiences.

Facebook will begin shifting users to a new home page design on March 11 and posted a preview at the popular social-networking website for its famously change-wary users to check out.

“Our intuition is this is the right direction,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in disclosing the changes at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

“This isn’t the last time we are going to change this. As long as the amount of people sharing information is going up, we know we are going in the right direction.”

Fast-growing Facebook boasts more than 175 million members and Mr Zuckerberg believes that number will crest 200 million by the end of this year.

Facebook yesterday lifted a 5000-friend cap at the website, allowing people with large audiences to have their virtual voices heard instantly by unlimited numbers of fans.

iMac – Apple Store (Australia)

Select your iMac.

new

20-inch: 2.66GHz

new

24-inch: 2.66GHz

new

24-inch: 2.93GHz

new

24-inch: 3.06GHz

24 inch
2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB memory 4GB memory 4GB memory 4GB memory
320GB hard drive1 640GB hard drive1 640GB hard drive1 1TB hard drive1
8x double-layer SuperDrive 8x double-layer SuperDrive 8x double-layer SuperDrive 8x double-layer SuperDrive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 with 512MB memory
Estimated Ship: Within 24hrs Estimated Ship: Within 24hrs Estimated Ship: Within 24hrs Estimated Ship: Within 24hrs
Free Shipping Free Shipping Free Shipping Free Shipping
A$ 1,999.00 A$ 2,499.00 A$ 2,999.00 A$ 3,699.00
as low as A$ 65.21 a month5 as low as A$ 81.52 a month5 as low as A$ 97.83 a month5 as low as A$ 120.66 a month5
Select
Select
Select
Select

Apple – Safari – Introducing Safari 4 – See the web in a whole new way
Safari 4 beta

Apple – Safari – Introducing Safari 4 – See the web in a whole new way

Hollywood hails a 3D revolution – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Hollywood hails a 3D revolution

The director of the upcoming 3D blockbuster Monsters vs. Aliens, Conrad Vernon, says 3D movies won’t break into households any time soon but the technology will soon become mainstream for cinemagoers.

Vernon’s view is in stark contrast to that of TV makers such as Sony, Panasonic, LG, Mitsubishi and Samsung, all of which spruiked 3D TVs at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and billed it as the next front in the TV wars.

Vernon, a director, writer and voice actor who has worked on both the Shrek and Madagascar series, said 3D had been around for a while in IMAX theatres “but it has always been this thing that’s been way out, like going to see the opera”.

Now, the technology has matured and is hitting the mainstream as more theatres and the big movie studios adopt the technology in an effort to entice people back to the cinema.

Monsters vs. Aliens, Vernon’s latest project, hits theatres on April 2. Voice actors include Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Keifer Sutherland and, in a small role, Sunrise host David Koch.

But Vernon said that, to get a true 3D experience, the room needed to be pitch black and viewers had to be seated at a specific angle in relation to the screen. In most households this would not be possible.

“I don’t see in the near future anything coming to the home as far as 3D is concerned that’s going to be comparable to what you can see in the movie theatre,” he said.

Facebook facelift adds a Twitter-like tweak – BizTech – Technology
Facebook facelift adds a Twitter-like tweak

Facebook has unveiled a redesign that gives users instant updates about friends and provides a platform for stars, politicians and others to reach mass audiences.

Facebook will begin shifting users to a new home page design on March 11 and posted a preview at the popular social-networking website for its famously change-wary users to check out.

The changes were interpreted by leading tech blog TechCrunch as “a concerted response to the rise of Twitter as a real-time message broadcasting system that goes beyond members’ personal circle of friends”.

“Our intuition is this is the right direction,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in disclosing the changes at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

“This isn’t the last time we are going to change this. As long as the amount of people sharing information is going up, we know we are going in the right direction.”

Facebook lifted a 5000-friend cap at the website, essentially providing a stage for people with large audiences to have their virtual voices heard instantly by an unlimited number of fans.

Facebook still lets users filter which friends get access to profile pages that typically hold personal information such as family photos, intimate thoughts, and private phone numbers.

Those signed up for the new Facebook stage at its launch Wednesday include US President Barack Obama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and rock bank U2.

The change also positions Facebook to try to make money with a feature that provides an online platform for people with brands to promote or messages to spread.

Facebook playfully named the new feature after TechCrunch blog founder Michael Arrington on the basis he has long been asking for the 5000-friend limit to be raised.

“There is a philosophical change; we want to converge all these different kinds of people on the website,” Zuckerberg said.

“Bono, the New York Times, public figures and more have messages and want their voices heard by their audiences.”

Apple’s price hike on new Mac range – BizTech – Technology
Apple’s price hike on new Mac range

Apple has raised the Australian prices on a range of new Mac computers unveiled overnight in a move that will test consumer loyalty in the current economic climate.

The price changes apply to all three new desktop models: the bottom-of-the-range Mac Mini, the iMac and the top end Mac Pro.

The base configuration of the Mac Mini – which comes without a monitor, keyboard or mouse – will now retail for $1049 compared with the $849 price tag on the existing model.

The base 20-inch screen model of Apple’s flagship desktop, the iMac, will now sell for $1999, $400 more than the superseded version.

Apple says that both models, which include a host of new and upgraded features, are now in stock.

Apple’s new Mac Pro, with Intel’s “Nehalem” Xeon processor, starts at $4499 compared with the existing model which was selling for $3999. The Mac Pro will go on sale later this month.

Apple gave no guidance as to why local prices have risen so sharply but it is almost certainly because of the Australian dollar-US dollar exchange rate.

The Australian dollar has slumped by almost a third since reaching near parity with the US dollar last year before the global financial crisis took hold.

Apple’s new desktop range will also have to compete with the increasing consumer preference for laptops – including the growing appeal of the low-cost, sub-$1000 netbook computers, which now represent the fastest-growing segment of the PC market.

The new Australian changes are in stark contrast to the US where Apple has dropped the price on the new range, in deference to the prevailing economic conditions.

All references to affordability and value in Apple’s official US press release have been excluded from the Australian version. The US version includes comments from Apple executives Tim Cook and Phil Schiller, touting the lower prices.

In the US, Apple has dropped the price of both the base model Mac Pro and the 24-inch iMac by $US300.

The latest version of Apple’s top-line desktop offers “an advanced system architecture, new faster processors and our best-ever graphics options to deliver a faster, more powerful system”, said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

The updated Mac Mini now has a faster graphics processor and the ability to run more than one display at a time. Apple is also touting the Mini as the most energy-efficient desktop in the world, saying it draws less than 13 watts of power when idle, or about one-tenth of the power of a typical machine.

This week, technology research group Gartner issued a report saying that global economic condition would means the PC industry would experience its sharpest worldwide shipment decline in history this year.

Gartner predicted PC shipments to fall by 11.9 per cent to 257 million units in 2009. That would eclipse the previous record set in 2001 when PC shipments dropped by 3.2 per cent.

Apple forbidden fruit in Gates household – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Apple forbidden fruit in Gates household

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has banned iPods and iPhones from his household, the software billionaire’s wife, Melinda, has revealed.

The rivalry between Microsoft and Apple, and Gates and Apple founder Steve Jobs, is legendary, but the pair have made valiant efforts to conceal any animosity. A rare public appearance together at a conference in 2007 was described by journalists as a “love fest”.

But behind the scenes, Apple is the forbidden fruit in Microsoft quarters.

“There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household. But iPods and iPhones are two things we don’t get for our kids,” Melinda Gates said in a recent interview with Vogue.

But the rule has evidently been difficult to follow for Gates now that the Apple wundergadgets are the talk of the town.

“Every now and then I look at my friends and say, ‘Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone,’ ” she said.

Melinda Gates, 44, is the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organisation with about $US35 billion in assets. The Vogue interview centred on her efforts to enhance global health care and to reduce extreme poverty.

The couple have three children, Jennifer, 12, Rory, 9 and Phoebe, 6.

Gates’s no-iPod rule probably has nothing to do with the quality of the product. In a rare comment on the iconic music player, Newsweek reporter Steven Levy revealed that, when he showed Gates the iPod for the first time in 2001, before it was released, Gates said: “It looks like a great product.”

Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, who has taken over the day-to-day running of Microsoft now that Gates has stepped back to focus on philanthropy, also forbids the use of iPods in his household.

In 2006, asked by Fortune whether he had an iPod, Ballmer said: “No, I do not. Nor do my children … I’ve got my kids brainwashed: you don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.”

At Microsoft’s headquarters for its Zune music players, which have not yet been released in Australia and have struggled to dent the iPod’s market share in the US, an “iPod Amnesty Bin” invites people to throw away their iPods. The bin features a picture of an Apple with bites taken out of it above the tagline “bite me”.

But any rivalry from Microsoft’s side has been outweighed by Apple’s highly successful “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” advertising campaign, which has relentlessly bashed the Windows-based PC since 2006, labelling it boring, bland and uncool.

Microsoft fought back last year with an “I’m a PC” campaign featuring celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld but the ads were criticised for not doing enough to mention Microsoft and Windows.

Research shows Apple’s campaign did lasting damage to Microsoft’s brand and framed the public perception of the PC. A ranking of global brands by CoreBrand, released last year, showed Microsoft slipping from 11th in 2004 to 59th in 2007.

But if there was any love lost between Jobs and Gates, that was far from evident when the pair appeared together for the first time in 10 years at a US conference in 2007.

“What Steve has done is quite phenomenal,” Gates said, commending him for taking risks and producing products with “incredible taste and elegance”.

“Bill built the first software company in the industry,” said Jobs. “Bill focused on software before anyone.”

The pair traded compliments several times during the 90-minute joint interview. When asked for the greatest misunderstanding about their relationship, Jobs joked: “We’ve kept our marriage secret for over a decade now.”

‘World’s cheapest’ mobile on sale for $21 – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
‘World’s cheapest’ mobile on sale for $21

CARACAS – Venezuela is to start selling in May a mobile phone it is billing as one of the world’s cheapest: a $US14 ($A21.57) handset that includes an MP3 player, radio and camera.

President Hugo Chavez unveiled the phone — named “El Vergatario” — on Thursday, saying it would be produced by a joint Venezuelan-Chinese firm and marketed across Latin America and the Caribbean.

The firm, Vetelca, is 85 per cent controlled by Chavez’s government, with the remainder owned by ZTE of China.

Vetelca plans to make four million of the units per year in association with another Chinese company, Huawei.

Other cheap handsets are being developed around the world aimed at the huge market of poorer consumers unable to afford the iPhones and Nokias favoured in wealthier countries.

India already has a device it calls the “people’s phone” sold at around the same price as El Vergatario.

 

 

Liked it? Take a second to support Aussie Tech Heads Podcast on Patreon!

Leave a Reply