Episode 129

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Glenn’s Shownotes

 

Seagate and AMD show off 6Gbps SATA drives – Hardware – iTnews Australia
Seagate and AMD show off 6Gbps SATA drives

Hard disk specialist Seagate and chipmaker AMD have unveiled the first SATA hard drive capable of running at a transfer speed of 6Gb per second.

The drives use a new version of the SATA interface to hit the performance standard. Current SATA hardware is limited to speeds of 3Gb per second.

New Apple iPod shuffle unveiled | Australian IT
New Apple iPod shuffle unveiled

 The new iPod shuffle is “nearly half of the size of the previous model” and includes a feature that voices song titles, artists and playlist names

“The third-generation iPod shuffle is significantly smaller than a AA battery, holds up to 1000 songs and is easier to use with all of the controls conveniently located on the earphone cord,” Apple said in a statement.

“With the press of a button, you can play, pause, adjust volume, switch playlists and hear the name of the song and artist.”

However, the “press of a button” is only possible with a specific earphone cord that has built-in controls, so users apparently won’t be able to plug their regular headphones straight in if they want to select their tracks or control the volume.

The device can speak 14 languages: English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

A 4GB model of the new music player will sell for $129.

Apple sold 22.7 million iPods in 2008.

Bill Gates reclaims title as richest man in the world | Australian IT
Bill Gates reclaims title as richest man in the world

 The total net worth of people on the magazine’s list this year fell 46 per cent to $US2.4 trillion ($3.7 trillion). The average billionaire is now worth $US3 billion, 23 per cent less than in 2008.

Telstra called on long-distance | Australian IT
Telstra called on long-distance

 From March 31, Telstra landline customers will be charged for 30-second blocks for long-distance calls, instead of by the second.

This means customers face higher prices for non-local calls and more for calls that go directly to answering machines, even if they only last a few seconds.

In fiscal 2008, Telstra revenue for fixed-line national long-distance calls was $749 million, while international calls contributed $181 million to the company’s $25 billion income.

Telstra downplayed the issue, saying most of its telephony plans had built-in caps for long-distance calls that would absorb the changes. It said the change was intended to bring fixed-line telephony charges into line with charges for mobile phones.

“It’s the same as how our fixed-to-mobile calls and many of our current mobile plan calls are charged, so it makes things consistent,” Telstra spokesman David Luff said.

Springborg in Obama’s web 2.0 footsteps | Australian IT
Springborg in Obama’s web 2.0 footsteps

 LNP is following in Mr Obama’s presidential footsteps by asking supporters to click on a giant red “Donate Now” button (next to a smiling Mr Springborg) on the party’s website.

LNP state director Michael O’Dwyer said the strategy had been “remarkably successful” since it was launched three weeks before the election was called.

While Mr O’Dwyer would not detail the funds raised, he said donations of between $10 and a few thousand dollars had been received. “It’s certainly an activity we’ll be continuing,” he said.

the internet and social networking sites are playing a greater role in this campaign than ever before in Queensland politics.

Labor leader Anna Bligh last month became the first politician in the nation to call an election over the internet.

In the number of social networking sites used, Ms Bligh is trumping Mr Springborg.

Ms Bligh is a regular on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr and FriendFeed.

Mr Springborg dabbles in YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

In the online friends stakes, Mr Springborg has 1065 Facebook friends to Ms Bligh’s 847. On Twitter — a microblogging site where users post pithy updates — Ms Bligh is leading with 669 followers compared with Mr Springborg’s 145.

http://twitter.com/TheRealBorg

http://twitter.com/anna4queensland

Telstra one-ups national broadband | Australian IT
Telstra one-ups national broadband

 With download speeds of 100 megabits a second compared with the national broadband network’s 12mbs, the first stage of the upgrade will be conducted in Melbourne, where Telstra has more than a million customers on its hybrid fibre coaxial network.

Analysts say the upgrade — expected to be completed by Christmas at a cost of $300million — will help Telstra stem falling fixed-line revenues and show it has an alternative to the Government’s broadband plans.

Gang used eBay to offload hot goods | Australian IT
Gang used eBay to offload hot goods

 

POLICE have smashed a criminal syndicate that used eBay to offload expensive merchandise purchased with fake credit cards.

NSW Police say members of the ring bought more than $4.5 million worth of goods using fake cards.

They then put the items up for sale on eBay and other online sites, and raked in the cash.

Police launched their investigation last month after being told store gift cards for major retailers were being offered at discount rates on eBay.

Youths go for mobiles; drop landlines: survey | Australian IT
Youths go for mobiles; drop landlines: survey

 The research by the federal communications regulator shows that 18 to 24 year-olds are relying on mobiles phones when they leave home and choosing not to sign up for landlines.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority’s research, which was conducted by Roy Morgan between May and June 2008, revealed that 79 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds used mobile more frequently than fixed-line services.

Seven leads movie download race | Australian IT
Seven leads movie download race

 THE Seven Media Group has found a way for people to download and watch as many movies as they like on their televisions without incurring penalties for exceeding their broadband download limits.

The broadband service — which turns TiVo into an internet service provider — will be launched along with a movie library of more than 100 titles that customers will be able to download to their TiVo box.

TiVo and Internode are expected to charge customers between $79 and $99 a month for a TiVo set-top box and a broadband internet connection on a two-year contract.

The bundled service is being pitched as a competitor to pay-TV services like Foxtel, which charges at least $50 a month for a basic service with an iQ set-top box, as well as high-speed broadband providers. At best, TiVo is believed to be breaking even on the deal.

The TiVo movie library deal with Franchise Entertainment Group — operator of the Blockbuster and VideoEzy chains — gives consumers access to movies from six studios, as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, which is thought to be a world-first for video-on-demand.

Five older movies will be free to download if the customer watches a sponsor’s advertisement to get the code that unlocks that content.

The ABC, which has its own iView internet catch-up TV platform, has also indicated willingness to explore making its programs available via a TiVo catch-up service. Other promised TiVo services, such as the ability to order groceries or pizzas, are not expected to launch before the middle of the year.

YouTube unplugs music videos in the UK – CNN.com
YouTube unplugs music videos in the UK

 

  • Story Highlights
  • Talks between YouTube and Britain’s music licensing group collapsed
  • Dispute over how much the video-sharing site should pay to host the songs
  • Performing Right Society: YouTube wants to pay significantly less
  • YouTube said it would continue to negotiate with PRS

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Not THE David Tennant
Not THE David Tennant

 social networking has also spawned its own version of identity theft – people pretending to be celebrities.

Lisa Valentine is one of them. Search for Doctor Who star David Tennant on Twitter and the first result you call up is a feed called THEDavidTennant.

 Had a drink with Matt Smith, he was crying into his shandy about not being as good as me. I told him to shut up and get the round in 
Tweet from THEDavidTennant

On the feed, David Tennant ridicules his successor Matt Smith and spends his time talking about having Paul Daniels as Davros in a celebrity special.

But it’s not really David Tennant, it’s Ms Valentine. She’s just having a laugh.

“I made him into an egotistical womanising character who is obsessed with his own status from Doctor Who.”

But the BBC was sufficiently concerned over the general phenomenon of Tennant impersonation to issue a warning.

“There have been several recent cases of people posing as David Tennant and other members of the Doctor Who cast in internet chat rooms and forums – as well as setting up social networking profiles in their names.

 Tennant is a very appealing and popular public figure. Why does that image need subverting? 
John O’Farrell
Newsbiscuit

“So fans are not disappointed or misled, we’d like to point out that both David Tennant and incoming Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith do not use social networking websites, chatrooms or forums. They wouldn’t want fans to think that anyone who uses these are talking to the real actors.”

 

 Mark’s Shownotes

 

The Onion Owns Sony | The Big Money
The Onion Owns Sony

Carr set to lift research funding | Australian IT
Carr set to lift research funding

IN a breakthrough for university research, Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr has won a commitment from Treasury to fully fund the indirect cost of research.

Carr set to lift research funding

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr scored a big win for the research community

Although limited at this stage to a statement of progressive ambition, it represents a big win in Treasury talks ahead of the budget and will buoy sector hopes for an interim boost to infrastructure block-grant funding in the May budget.

“It is groundbreaking,” University of Western Australia vice-chancellor and Group of Eight chairman Alan Robson told the HES. “It is long overdue.”

He noted that it would bring the sector back into line with competing researchers in the US, Britain and New Zealand.

“We have let our situation slip and if we continue to let it slip we won’t be an innovative, clever country,” he said.

Last week Senator Carr hosed down hopes that the Government would be able to raise block grants in the budget from the present 20c for every $1 in competitive research grants to 50c, in line with international benchmarks. But this week’s statement of intent has raised expectations that additional money is on offer despite the economic crisis.

“If you concede the principle, then you have to give something,” one budget observer said.

The move is a key plank of the Government’s higher education reforms. Together with moves to deregulate student demand, it could drive differentiation by providing incentives for institutions to focus on research, complementing the Bradley review recommendations to encourage universities to expand student numbers.

Senator Carr also lashed universities as the poorest research collaborators in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, while slating business for being stuck at an innovation level comparable to the US two decades ago.

Telstra one-ups national broadband | Australian IT
Telstra one-ups national broadband

TELSTRA will turbo-charge its capital city cable broadband network in a move seen by rivals as a clear challenge to the federal Government’s $15billion national broadband network. With download speeds of 100 megabits a second compared with the national broadband network’s 12mbs, the first stage of the upgrade will be conducted in Melbourne, where Telstra has more than a million customers on its hybrid fibre coaxial network.

Analysts say the upgrade — expected to be completed by Christmas at a cost of $300million — will help Telstra stem falling fixed-line revenues and show it has an alternative to the Government’s broadband plans.

Telstra’s upgrade is likely to cause serious consternation for the Government’s plans to roll out a high-speed national broadband network to 98 per cent of the nation. The NBN calls for minimum speeds of only 12mbs.

The move raises the prospect that Telstra’s turbo-charged cable network could cherry-pick high revenue-yielding city dwellers and potentially complicate the economic feasibility of the NBN.

Telstra was dumped from the tender process for the $15billion national broadband network in December, when it failed to meet requirements in full.

The announcement of the Telstra expansion comes only weeks before Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is due to announce the winning NBN bid. “Broadband is important enabling infrastructure for the digital economy and the Government welcomes any investment in high-speed services,” a spokesman for Senator Conroy said.

“However, Telstra’s HFC network is confined to some areas of metropolitan Australia and will do nothing to improve speeds for the vast majority of Australian premises outside its HFC footprint.”

Optus, as Telstra’s only competitor in the broadband cable stakes with an almost identical network footprint, described the upgrade as another round of brinkmanship from the dominant telco.

“This is clearly a cynical ploy to introduce fear, uncertainty and doubt into the NBN process. We always knew they would do an upgrade but it has no impact on our commercial model for the NBN in any way,” Optus spokesperson Maha Krishnapillai said. “HFC is also an inferior network to what the NBN prescribes because it’s a shared network, which means internet speeds deteriorate as more people access the network.”

Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo, who will leave the company in June, downplayed assertions that Telstra was trying to one-up the NBN with the upgrade.

“There is not one solution that we think will reach all of Australia in a cost-effective way. Our view is there will be a technology mix to deliver services,” Mr Trujillo said.

Telstra would not reveal when further upgrades to its cable networks in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth would be undertaken. Analysts expect the upgrade of Telstra’s entire cable footprint, which currently services 2.5 million homes, to cost $750million.

Mr Trujillo said the announced upgrade would bring the “next generation of the internet to Melburnians”.

“Homes will be turned into digital hubs simultaneously using cable for high-definition movies, interactive television, videoconferencing and video file sharing,” Mr Trujillo said.

“The cable network is going to be a two-way, full interactive platform that will enable Telstra to start opening up new revenue streams by providing cable customers with the full array of existing and next generation services.”

Once complete, the upgrade will mean that the average punter will be able to download a 6GB high-definition movie in about 11 minutes. There is no indication whether customers will be slugged higher fees for the improved internet performance, though.

New Apple iPod shuffle unveiled | Australian IT
New Apple iPod shuffle unveiled

APPLE has unveiled a new version of its iconic iPod, calling it ‘the world’s smallest music player” with a feature that speaks to its owner.

New Apple iPod shuffle unveiled

Apple’s new iPod shuffle is smaller than an AA battery and can store up to 1000 songs

However, fan websites have expressed frustration at the lack of buttons on the device.

The new iPod shuffle is “nearly half of the size of the previous model” and includes a feature that voices song titles, artists and playlist names – originally previewed on the recent iPod Nano.

“The third-generation iPod shuffle is significantly smaller than a AA battery, holds up to 1000 songs and is easier to use with all of the controls conveniently located on the earphone cord,” Apple said in a statement.

“With the press of a button, you can play, pause, adjust volume, switch playlists and hear the name of the song and artist.”

However, the “press of a button” is only possible with a specific earphone cord that has built-in controls, so users apparently won’t be able to plug their regular headphones straight in if they want to select their tracks or control the volume.

“So if you’ve got a great sounding pair of headphones with no volume control, oh well?” said one user on MacTalk.com.au.

Other MacTalk users observed that the new shuffle uses a different type of USB charger, and that the headphones look very similar to old ones without the controls – which could be a problem for eBay resales.

The shuffle also randomly selects songs from the player’s music library. It requires a new version of iTunes, 8.1, which has not been released yet.

The device can speak 14 languages: English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

A 4GB model of the new music player will sell for $129.

Apple sold 22.7 million iPods in 2008.

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Bill Gates reclaims title as richest man in the world | Australian IT
Bill Gates reclaims title as richest man in the world

THE global economic crisis has reduced the number of billionaires and made the richest people in the world poorer, according to Forbes magazine.

Forbes found 793 billionaires in 2009, down 30 per cent from a year earlier. This is the first decline since 2003.

The total net worth of people on the magazine’s list this year fell 46 per cent to $US2.4 trillion ($3.7 trillion). The average billionaire is now worth $US3 billion, 23 per cent less than in 2008.

Google serves tailor-made ads | Australian IT
Google serves tailor-made ads

SEARCH behemoth Google is stepping into the shadowy world of behavioural targeting by tracking the interests of web users based on the sites they visit, and then serving them ads to match.

Google will today launch a beta version of what it has dubbed “interest-based advertising” — the first major development arising from its $US3.1billion acquisition of internet ad-serving company DoubleClick last year.

As soon as a user visits a site that takes Google text or display advertising, the system uses DoubleClick technology to identify or “cookie” that browser.

Google analyses the content on the site to match the browser with up to 600 advertising categories based on the future purchases it thinks the user may make.

For example, visitors to film review sites might be served movie ads or ticket offers on other sites they visit in Google’s publisher network.

The launch is likely to reignite the debate over potential privacy violations that surrounded Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.

Three in four internet users worldwide could be targeted with interest-based advertising when they visit the hundreds of thousands of publishers, bloggers and social networking sites — including YouTube and MySpace — that take Google ads.

In a TNS Global poll last year, 57 per cent of respondents said they were worried about advertisers using their web surfing history to serve them relevant ads.

But Google product management director Brad Bender said the system — which does not identify individual users by name, by Google account or by the topics they search for on Google — was designed to show people more relevant advertising.

Users will also be able to view and edit the advertising categories to which they are linked, or opt out of the system altogether. Mr Bender said advertisers and publishers would benefit because users were more likely to click on those ads.

Google claims it will not link people with sensitive information such as race, religion, sexual orientation, health categories or “sensitive financial categories”.

But some of the advertising categories included cover potentially sensitive topics such as weight loss, credit cards and debt management, and dating.

The system is expected to be rolled out in Australia later this year.

Expensive TV cables a rip-off – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Expensive TV cables a rip-off

 

Tests by consumer advocate Choice have proven what everyone always suspected: spending hundreds of dollars on high-end home theatre cables is a waste of money.

Panel tests by the non-profit company found that, although retailers try to push customers into buying high-margin cables for their digital TVs and DVD players costing upwards of $300, no-frills options costing $40-$60 are just as good.

It comes after this website reported that Australians were being duped into spending hundreds of dollars on so-called “high-performance” HDMI cables when buying new home entertainment equipment.

The report was backed up by Choice’s tests, which found that there was no statistically significant difference in picture and sound quality between high-end HDMI cables and their much cheaper rivals.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Tech tricks to get out of a fix

Before calling in the experts, Paul Boutin suggests some handy home help.

Behind the cash register at Smoke Shop No.2 in downtown San Francisco, Sam Azar swipes a customer’s credit card to ring up Turkish cigarettes. The store’s card reader fails to scan the card’s magnetic strip. MrAzar swipes again and again, but with no luck.

As customers begin to queue, he reaches beneath the counter for a black plastic bag. He wraps one layer of the plastic around the card and swipes it again. Success! The sale is rung up.

“I don’t know how it works, it just does,” says MrAzar, who learned the trick years ago from another shop worker.

VeriFone, the company that makes the store’s card reader, would not confirm or deny that the plastic bag trick works. But it’s one of many low-tech fixes for high-tech failures that people without engineering degrees have discovered – often out of desperation – and shared.

Today’s shaky economy is likely to produce many more such tricks.

“In postwar Japan, the economy wasn’t doing so great, so you couldn’t get everyday-use items like household cleaners,” says Lisa Katayama, author of Urawaza, a book named after the Japanese term for clever lifestyle tips. “So people looked for ways to do with what they had.”

Popular urawaza include picking up broken glass from the kitchen floor with a slice of bread, or placing house plants on a water-soaked nappy to keep them watered during a holiday trip.

Today, many people are finding their own tricks for fixing misbehaving gadgets with supplies as simple as paper and adhesive tape. Some, like MrAzar’s plastic bag, are open to argument as to how they work, or whether they work at all. But many tech home remedies can be explained by science.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Mobile phone losing charge

If your mobile phone loses its battery charge too quickly while idle in your pocket, it may be that your pocket is too warm.

“Mobile phone batteries do indeed last a bit longer if kept cool,” says Isidor Buchanan, editor of the Battery University website. The body heat of a human, transmitted through a cloth pocket to a mobile phone inside, is enough to speed up chemical processes inside the phone’s battery. That makes it run down faster. Carry it in your purse or on your belt.

This same method can be used to preserve your battery should you find yourself away from home without your charger. Turn off the phone and put it in the hotel refrigerator overnight to slow the battery’s tendency to lose its charge.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Remote car keySuppose your remote car door opener does not have the range to reach your car across the car park. Hold the metal key part of your key fob against your chin, then push the unlock button. This trick turns your head into an antenna, which can extend the key’s wireless range by a few car lengths.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Dry ink cartridge

If your printer’s ink cartridge runs dry near the end of an important job, remove the cartridge and run a hairdryer on it for two to three minutes. Then place the cartridge back into the printer and try again while it is still warm.

“The heat from the hairdryer heats the thick ink, and helps it to flow through the tiny nozzles in the cartridge,” says Alex Cox, a software engineer in Seattle. “When the cartridge is almost dead, those nozzles are often nearly clogged with dried ink, so helping the ink to flow will let more ink out of the nozzles.”

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Mobile phone in the toilet

It could happen to anyone: you dropped your mobile phone in the toilet.

Take out the battery immediately, to prevent electrical short-circuits from frying your phone’s fragile internals. Then, wipe the phone gently with a towel and place it in a jar full of uncooked rice.

It works for the same reason you may keep a few grains of rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt dry. Rice has a high chemical affinity for water – that means the molecules in the rice have a nearly magnetic attraction for water molecules, which will be soaked up into the rice rather than beading up inside the phone.

It is a low-tech version of the “Do not eat” desiccant packets that may have been packed in the box the phone came in, to keep moisture away from the circuitry during shipping and storage.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Longer wi-fi reach

If your home wi-fi router doesn’t reach the other end of the house, don’t rush out to buy more wireless gear to stretch your network. Instead, build a 15-centimetre-high passive radio wave reflector from kitchen items such as an aluminum biscuit tray.

Follow the instructions at freeantennas.com/projects/ template. Place the completed reflector – a small, curved piece of metal that reflects radio waves just like a satellite TV dish – behind your wi-fi router. It focuses the router’s energy in one direction – towards the other end of the house – rather than letting it dissipate its strength in a full circle. No cables, no batteries, no technical knowledge required. Yet it can easily double the range of your network.

Tech tricks to get out of a fix – Technology – BrisbaneTimes
Crashed hard drive

If – no, make that when – your PC’s hard drive crashes and can’t be read, don’t be too quick to throw it out. Stick it in the freezer overnight.

“The trick is a real and proven, albeit last resort, recovery technique for some kinds of otherwise-fatal hard-drive problems,” writes Fred Langa on his Windows secrets website. Many hard drive failures are caused by worn parts that no longer align properly, making it impossible to read data from the drive. Lowering the drive’s temperature causes its metal and plastic internals to contract ever so slightly. Taking the drive out of the freezer and returning it to room temperature can cause those parts to expand again.

That may help free up binding parts, MrLanga explains, or at least let a failing electrical component remain within specs long enough for you to recover your essential data.

Obama Wiki fiddler caught red-handed – web – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Obama Wiki fiddler caught red-handed

A right-wing pundit has been caught red-handed manufacturing controversy after claiming US President Barack Obama’s Wikipedia page was being whitewashed, in a scandal that fooled big news outlets including Fox News.

Aaron Klein, the Jerusalem bureau chief at online news publication WorldNetDaily (WND), reported that Obama’s Wikipedia entry was far too positive and did not mention his claimed links with controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright and “Weatherman terrorist” Bill Ayers.

The entry also did not mention concerns surrounding Obama’s eligibility to serve as US commander-in-chief due to an alleged lack of proof that he was born in the US, Klein said. But Klein neglected to mention that there was an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the Obama citizenship claims.

The claims are regarded in the US as conservative conspiracy theories.

Klein claimed Wikipedia’s army of volunteer editors were quickly censoring edits on the Obama entry and appeared on Fox News airing the claims.

He reported that a Wikipedia user, Jerusalem21, had attempted to add in the missing details but they were quickly deleted by a Wikipedia administrator for being “fringe” theories. When the user attempted to add the details a second time he was suspended from Wikipedia for three days.

Klein did not identify who owned the Jerusalem21 account but further digging by the ConWebWatch blog discovered that the only entry the user had tried to edit other than Obama’s was Klein’s. Jerusalem21 had created Klein’s entry and edited it 37 times, adding several links and pictures.

Claims that Jerusalem21 was Klein himself are backed up by discussions by Wikipedia administrators on the talk page attached to Klein’s entry.

“It reads as a total puff piece and was obviously heavily influenced by Klein himself and cronies/sockpuppets at WND,” one wrote.

Further, when questions were raised about the identity of Jerusalem21, Klein edited his original story to remove references to Jerusalem21, replacing them with “one Wikipedia user”.

Eventually, in response to emailed questions from Wired News, Klein admitted he had a hand in engineering the facts used to stand up his scandal. But he blamed the Jerusalem21 edits on his researcher.

“I am not ‘Jerusalem21’, but I do know the Wikipedia user (he works with me and does research for me), and I worked with him on this story,” Klein said.

It is not clear whether he was referring to Klein but Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales recently wrote on his Twitter page: “Conspiracy theorists are exhausting. The facts mean nothing to them; their pursuit of a villain trumps all. Any response only brings ire.”

WorldNetDaily has a history of attacking Wikipedia and Obama. At the time of writing, two of the lead stories on the site are headlined “Obama earns an ‘F’ on performance” and “Has Obama been snubbing U.N. chief?”.

In December, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, miffed that his Wikipedia entry had been modified to include a line that he was a “noted homosexual”, wrote an opinion piece labelling the free encyclopedia “a provider of inaccuracy and bias” and a “wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known”.

In May last year, another article accused Wikipedia of promoting porn by including “detailed photos of nude homosexual men engaging in sex acts and a variety of other sexually explicit images and content”.

Social networking trumps email – web – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Social networking trumps email

Social networking is a more popular online activity than email, according to a new survey.

The survey by market research firm Nielsen Online found that on average one of every 11 minutes spent online around the world is devoted to social networking and blogging sites.

The survey identified Facebook as the world’s most popular social network with 108.3 million users, followed by MySpace with 81 million users. Far behind in third place was Classmates Online, with 19.7 million users; Orkut, with 17.5 million users; and Linkedin, with 15 million users.

Facebook seemed to be the most addictive of the social networking sites with the average user spending three hours and 10 minutes online every month, the survey found. But Orkut had by far the highest penetration in any single country with 70 per cent of online Brazilians using the Google-owned service.

The survey found that growth in social networking was three times as fast as the pace of general online growth with much of that acceleration coming from the middle-aged.

The most popular age group with Facebook in terms of growth is the 35-49 category, which increased by 24.1 million people last year.

Baby swinging video case warning – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Baby swinging video case warning

The lawyer representing an Australian charged for republishing, on a video-sharing site, a video of a man swinging a baby around like a rag doll says that if the case proceeds every Australian who surfs the net could be vulnerable to police prosecution.

Chelsea Emery, of Ryan and Bosscher Lawyers in Maroochydore, represents Chris Illingworth, who was charged with accessing and uploading child abuse material.

Illingworth, 61, published the three-minute clip on Liveleak, a site similar to YouTube but focused on news and current events.

Illingworth has uploaded hundreds of videos to the website. The one he was charged over, thought to have been created by a Russian circus performer, had already been published widely across the internet and shown on US TV news shows.

The clip can still be found online and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Emery said the case was a unique test of Australia’s laws regarding internet use and the implications of the charges were enormous for every user of the internet.

Illingworth faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for each charge.

Queensland Police’s brief of evidence, handed to the defence last month and seen by this website, centres on a witness statement from Susan Cadzow, specialist pediatrician at Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital.

The footage, viewed by Cadzow, shows an adult male vigorously swinging a baby by the arms but at the end of the clip the baby is shown laughing and smiling. Cadzow thought it represented child abuse.

“The child’s demeanour at the end of the video would seemingly suggest that no significant injury has occurred. However, it does not exclude the presence of a [hidden] injury,” Cadzow said in her statement.

Illingworth, a father of four, had no involvement in the creation of the video. He says he has been admitted to hospital several times since being charged and claims the stress of the case has exacerbated his health problems.

“This charge could impact on every Australian who surfs the net, downloads a file and shares it with others,” Emery said.

“In theory this could extend to people who just pass on amusing emails and email images which seem to criss-cross work computers every day.

“Some of these emails contain images which poke fun or belittle certain people. Does this mean any depicting children, even in a humorous way, could be deemed abuse?”

The arresting officer, Detective Senior Constable Richard Libke, said in his witness statement that a forensic search of Illingworth’s home and work computers found no items or images of interest.

Nudge and wink may turn on all your gadgets – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
Nudge and wink may turn on all your gadgets

A wink, a smile or a raised eyebrow could soon change the music on your iPod or start up the washing machine, thanks to a new Japanese gadget.

The device looks like a normal set of headphones but is fitted with a set of infrared sensors that measure tiny movements inside the ear that result from different facial expressions.

The gizmo – called the “Mimi Switch” or “Ear Switch” – is connected to a micro-computer that can control electronic devices, essentially making it a hands-free remote control for anything.

“You will be able to turn on room lights or swing your washing machine into action with a quick twitch of your mouth,” said its inventor, Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University.

“An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out, like in the famous Einstein picture. If he opens his eyes wide, the machine skips to the next tune. A wink with the right eye makes it go back.

“The machine can be programmed to run with various other facial expressions, such as a wriggle of the nose or a smile.”

The Mimi Switch could also store and interpret data and get to know its user, said Taniguchi, chief researcher at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science in western Japan.

“It monitors natural movements of the face in everyday life and accumulates data,” Taniguchi told AFP in an interview. “If it judges that you aren’t smiling enough, it may play a cheerful song.”

Some may use the device for relaxation – perhaps by changing music hands-free while reading a book – but Taniguchi said it could also have more serious applications to make people’s lives safer and easier.

“If the system is mounted on a hearing aid for elderly people, it could tell how often they sneeze or whether they are eating regularly,” he said.

“If it believes they are not well, it could send a warning message to relatives.”

The device could also serve as a remote control for appliances for physically disabled people, from cameras and computers to air conditioners, or alert medical services if a person has a fit, he said.

The Ear Switch follows on from an earlier device called the Temple Switch that was small enough to fit inside a pair of eyeglasses and also read the flick of an eyelid.

“As the ear switch is put in the ears, its optical sensors are unaffected by sunlight,” Taniguchi said.

He said he was planning to patent his new device in Japan and abroad, work on a wireless version, and seek corporate funding to market it for practical uses — something he expected might take two or three years.

Discount supermarket to sell cars online – BizTech – Technology
Discount supermarket to sell cars online

A German discount supermarket known for low-priced groceries and household goods is expanding into new territory by selling cars on its website.

Spokeswoman Petra Trabert said the Lidl supermarket chain’s online shopping portal will offer the Opel Corsa for just under euro11,000 ($US14,000) and the Volkswagen Cross Polo for euro14,000, ($US17,700) – a discount of about 25 per cent off the suggested retail price.

Lidl is launching the sales together with German car distributor ATG-Automobile GmbH.

“Lidl and ATG-Automobile GmbH work with the same target audience,” Trabert said. “We are geared toward the customer who seeks quality in conjunction with a favorable price.”

Germany’s economy is in recession and unemployment is at 8.3 percent, but Lidl believes it can turn a profit in an industry that is bucking the economic downturn. New car sales were up 21 percent in February year-on-year, largely because of a euro 50 billion ($US67 billion) government stimulus plan that pays citizens euro 2500 ($US3250) to replace cars at least nine years old with new ones.

But Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, the director of the Center for Automotive Research in Gelsenkirchen, said previous efforts to sell cars online and through supermarkets have faltered.

“I think it will be very difficult for Lidl,” Dudenhoeffer said. “People don’t want to buy high-value products from a discount grocery store.”

Dudenhoeffer said that Quelle, a German online marketplace, tried to sell cars online about five years ago.

“It didn’t work, even though their site was visited fairly heavily,” Dudenhoeffer said. He said Germans might be unwilling to forgo haggling over the price of a car.

“Germans like to go to the dealership,” he said.

YouTube yanks Freeview parody clip – BizTech – Technology – brisbanetimes.com.au
YouTube yanks Freeview parody clip

Responding to a copyright violation claim, YouTube has removed a parody video which mocked the free-to-air television networks’ Freeview marketing campaign.

Freeview is the free-to-air TV industry’s marketing group for its 15 “new” digital TV channels. The campaign has been widely criticised because although 12 of the channels are already available, they only contain a smattering of new content.

Critics have dubbed Freeview a marketing ploy designed to stem the flow of viewers towards pay TV and convince people to switch from analog to digital television.

Dan Ilic, a freelance filmmaker and comedian, and Triple J presenter Marc Fennell, distilled many of the criticisms into a satire video that used footage from Freeview’s ads but with a different voice over.

“With up to 15 digital channels, you can watch the same thing on up to four different channels … you can watch sports you’ve never heard of , news you can’t understand and even question time!” it says.

The video attracted almost 12,000 views in just a few days before it was removed from the site. However, Freeview’s attempts to quash its momentum are likely to backfire as new versions of the clip have already been published on YouTube and other video sharing sites such as FunnyorDie.com, Dailymotion.com and Break.com.

“I think Freeview pulled down this video as one last ditch effort in an attempt to combat new media and I think it’s only the first battle in a war that they’re going to lose,” said Ilic.

“Now i’m going to tell my friends to download the original version [of the satire video] and put it on YouTube, so hopefully there’ll be a few hundred more versions of the video on YouTube and other sites by the end of the day.”

Ilic said he and Fennell made the clip for a stand up routine called Massage My Medium, which they will be performing during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival between April 21 and 26. He said the show was “all about the death of television”.

Freeview did not return calls requesting comment, however, it is understood the satire video was removed from YouTube following a copyright violation claim from the company.

Google, which owns YouTube, will only remove YouTube videos on the basis of copyright if it is satisfied that the objection has been lodged by the original owner of the copyrighted material.

Apple – iPod shuffle – the first music player that talks to you
iPod shuffle

Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic – Apple Store (Australia)
Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic

 $48.00

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