Episode 140

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Microsoft unveils Bing search engine | Australian IT
Microsoft unveils Bing search engine


The search engine – tested under the working name Kumo but to be known as Bing – was unveiled  by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer in the US.

The project, which has been two years in the making, is the company’s latest effort to compete effectively with search giant Google, which generates as much as 93 per cent of search traffic in Australia.

It is the first separately branded search engine Microsoft has launched, after its home-grown Live Search product failed to make a dent in Google’s dominance.

The new product aims to shorten the time it takes people to find the information they need by making more information available on the first page of search results.

Not launched yet but you can watch a nice video  www.bing.com

Jobs sounds ‘healthy’: Apple co-founder | Australian IT
Jobs sounds ‘healthy’: Apple co-founder


Mr Wozniak told The Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of a technology conference sponsored by the newspaper in southern California that Mr Jobs sounds “healthy, energetic” and “doesn’t sound like he’s sick.”

The Journal said Mr Wozniak acknowledged, however, that he has never directly asked the 54-year-old Mr Jobs how he is.

Apple has been notoriously secretive about Mr Jobs’s health since he underwent an operation in 2004 for pancreatic cancer.

NSW students trial Windows 7 | Australian IT
NSW students trial Windows 7


Three public schools are trialling Windows 7 on around 400 Lenovo netbooks.

The agency had planned to run Microsoft’s older Windows XP Professional OS on the netbooks but instead fast-tracked its plan to run Windows 7 on the machines.

The trial at Arthur Phillip High School at Parramatta, Cherrybrook Technology High School in Sydney’s northwest and Denison College of Secondary Education, Bathurst, will last for two weeks.

According to a Microsoft Australia spokesman, Windows 7 is tracking well for commercial availability in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009.

The netbooks come with Office Professional, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer plus a slew of Adobe software such as Photoshop Elements, Premier Elements, Dreamweaver and Flash.

IBM Australia is building the $70 million wireless network for students and teachers to roam freely on school grounds with their netbooks.

Google waves goodbye to e-mail – Software – iTnews Australia
Google waves goodbye to e-mail

 A “Wave”, google explains, is “equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more

“Email mimics snail mail – you write a message and send it to one or more recipients. Then a client program collates related messages into conversations.”

Google Wave, he said, was he and his brother’s imagining of “what e-mail would look like if it was invented today.”



Austar tunes to new technologies | Australian IT
Austar tunes to new technologies

chief executive John Porter told shareholders the next generation of Austar’s MyStar digital video recorder boxes would also feature an internet connection.

Mr Nair said that, coupled with the Government’s planned national broadband network, positioned Austar as the hub through which a family’s media would be organised within the next two to three years.

“We couldn’t be more bullish about Austar and with the combination of the NBN you will have a very seamless experience across products like DVR, video-on-demand and the integration of web content,” he said.

Mr Nair said the new DLNA (digital living networks alliance) home networking standard meant all future consumer devices such as TVs, camcorders and X-Boxes could “talk” to each other and share content.

“In the future, the MyStar box will make it simple for you to organise content, so if you are looking for Grey’s Anatomy it will show you what time it’s on the linear (TV) channel, or when it’s available online,” he said.

SBS pushing for unmetered access | Australian IT
SBS pushing for unmetered access


INTERNET users will be able to access SBS’s online audio and video programming without exhausting their download allowances by the end of the year.

SBS’s online technical director, Matt Costain, said the broadcaster was working with a group of internet providers to find ways to make its online content available to their customers without consuming their download allowances.

Worries mount on ABC web ambition | Australian IT
Worries mount on ABC web ambition

 THE ABC has defended its plan to set up more than 50 regional community broadband hubs, using $15.3 million in taxpayer funds, as commercial rival Prime describes the government funding as an unfair advantage

newspaper companies such as APN and Fairfax, which also expressed concern last week over the ABCs plans, hoped to charge for online content in the future but now risked not being able to develop a viable regional online presence.

Power shifts to papers in web war | Australian IT
Power shifts to papers in web war

 Macquarie Equities media analyst Alex Pollak said Google’s decision to sell ads on its Google News site in March triggered a new wave of anger from publishers, who are also aware Google paid $US125 million to settle a copyright dispute with book authors.

“These events suggest the power is changing back in favour of the authors and publishers to force payment for content used online,” he wrote in a note released on Friday.

Google argues it does not breach copyright rules as it relies on the “fair use” principle where a small amount of original content can be reproduced without payment so long as there is attribution.

But Mr Pollak said Mr Murdoch had signalled he wanted to push the debate from “the legal one of ‘fair use’ to the commercial one of ‘fair share’.”

Mr Pollak noted comments by Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson, who said in an interview with Media that: “Google is the tapeworm in the intestines of the internet. It seeks to turn qualitative journalism into a purely quantitative product.”

Voda-Hutch merger approved | Australian IT
Voda-Hutch merger approved

 In February, the third- and fourth-largest players said they would create Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) in a bid to boost their market share against rivals Telstra and Optus

The ACCC was due to announce its decision on May 6, but last minute irregularities and requests for additional information delayed its verdict.

The companies intend to complete the merger within the next two weeks and form VHA, a 50:50 joint venture.

VHA will continue to market products and services under the Vodafone and 3 brands and all respective network arrangements, caps and plans, retail outlets and customer service capabilities will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

The watchdog also found that without the merger, the parties would not sustain price competition in the longer term.

“Ongoing investments are needed to meet the increased customer demand for bandwidth-hungry data services, including mobile broadband. In this respect, the ACCC considers that mobile voice and data services will continue to converge in the future,” ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

Articulate: Mona Lisa mosaic
Mona Lisa mosaic

 Mario Klingemann, also known as Quasimondo, wanted to recreate La Gioconda in 140 characters, so all its data could fit into a tweet — that is, one of the short messages you send using microblogging service Twitter

Klingemann is using Chinese characters because they allow him to send 210 bytes of data in only 140 UTF-8 characters — perfect for cramming extra data into Twitter. When the text passes through the decoder the results are what’s known as a Voronoi Diagram, a series of polygons used to convey the rough colors and shapes of the Mona Lisa.

Of course Twitter doesn’t have the decoder, so no image would show up in your Twitter stream were you to post it. Instead you’d simply see the Chinese characters. But run the data through Klingemann’s decoder and the result are what you see in the left-hand image above — not exactly the Mona Lisa, but very impressive nonetheless.


One commenter on Flickr ran the 140 characters through a Chinese-English translation engine and got an interesting “word salad”:

The whip is war
that easily comes
framing a wild mountain.

Hello, you in the closet,
singing–posing carved peaks
of sound understanding…


Trujillo’s parting shots hypocritical: Optus – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Trujillo’s parting shots hypocritical: Optus


After making an early return to the United States last week, Mr Trujillo told the BBC he experienced racism while in Australia.

He said Australia will be in a sad state if it cannot accept people from a range of backgrounds.


“I think he got frustrated that he was unable to bully his way through the Government, and to the Government’s credit, they actually didn’t accept that sort of approach,” Optus spokeman said


The Opposition’s leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was contemptuous, rude and sneering when he said “adios” toMr Trujillo.


Senator Minchin says that was a base remark that was entirely inappropriate for an Australian prime minister.

He says the regular references to Mr Trujillo’s Mexican background during his tenure in Australia were rude and uncalled for.

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