Episode 148

posted in: Show Notes


Kingston drops whopper 256GB USB memory key
Kingston drops whopper 256GB USB memory key

 Kingston has announced its latest flash drive that will be coming to the Australian market. The drive is the DataTraveler 300 and packs a massive 256GB of flash storage into the space of your typical flash drive. Kingston says that the drive also offers password protected access and fast data transfer speeds.

The DataTraveler 300 256GB flash drive will retail for $1,299

Apollo 11 code goes ‘open source’
Apollo 11 code goes ‘open source’

 Now we can see that the code which ran those systems was probably less complicated than the code behind the Windows Calculator.

As part of its celebration of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and man’s first steps on the moon, the spaceheads at Google have published the original code from the Apollo Guidance Computer, or AGC.

The code was transcribed from scanned images of printouts for the AGC in both the Command Module (codenamed Comanche054), which reached moon orbit and was the return vehicle; and the Lunar Module (Luminary099), which took astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon.

If you want to load up the code and try it for yourself, Google also provides links to an open-source AGC emulator.

Alternatively, you can take a virtual flight to the Moon with the latest update to Google Earth which now adds lunar images and related content to the program.

The ‘Moon in Google Earth’ feature lets you take a tour of the landing sites with narration by Apollo astronauts; view 3D models of the landed spacecraft; zoom into 360 degree photos to see the footprints left by the astronauts; and watch archival TV footage of the Apollo missions.

Microsoft confirms Windows 7 Family Pack
Microsoft confirms Windows 7 Family Pack

 With the launch date for Windows 7 now just three months away, Microsoft has confirmed the OS line-up will include a three PC ‘Family Pack’.

This new addition to the Windows 7 line-up will allow Windows 7 Home Premium to be installed on up to three computers in the home. However, there’s no indication that a similar multi-user approach will be extended to other OS editions such as Home Basic or Ultimate.

British ministers get Twitter guide | Australian IT
British ministers get Twitter guide

 A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills official has produced a generic Twitter strategy for all government departments,


One year for Tassie NBN rollout | Australian IT
One year for Tassie NBN rollout

 We will start feeding the first fibre optic cable into trenches in August,” Mr Rudd told reporters.

“We will start digging new trenches come October. We will start connecting the first homes come the end of the year.

“And our objective is to turn on these new services come July next year.”

About 300km of the new cable will be rolled out from the existing “backbone” line, connecting the Smithton and Scottsdale areas in the marginal seats of Bass and Braddon, and Midway Point in Lyons.

It’s understood at least another 300km of cable will be required for the street-by-street rollout in the populated areas.

“Nearly 5000 premises will have access to optical fibre broadband capable of delivering speeds of 100 megabits per second — the first of the $43 billion national broadband network,” Mr Rudd said.

Opposition slapped hefty bill for NBN request | Australian IT
Opposition slapped hefty bill for NBN request

 The request relates to over 450 documents held by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Treasury, the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Finance and Deregulation.

But yesterday the government told the Opposition it would cost $23,851 to simply process the documents while making no guarantees that all papers would be released.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has steadfastly refused to release any of the information that helped guide the government’s decision to dump the original NBN. He has also refused to publish reports that were used to determine the cost of the new $43 billion network.

Pro-piracy parties gain foothold across Europe – CNN.com
Pro-piracy parties gain foothold across Europe


  • Christian Engstrom is the world’s first democratically-elected Internet pirate
  • Deputy leader of Sweden’s Pirate Party was elected to Euro parliament in June
  • Party goals: deregulate copyright, abolish patent system, boost online freedoms
  • Pirate parties have formed in Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, France, Spain

“They have approached [piracy] in a very stupid way,” Engstrom told CNN. “They’re alienating their customers, despite the fact that they are making more money than ever. Hollywood had its best year ever [in terms of box office revenues] in 2008, so why are they complaining? I can’t understand that.”

Mystery impact leaves Earth-size mark on Jupiter – CNN.com
Mystery impact leaves Earth-size mark on Jupiter

 An amateur astronomer in Australia noticed the new mark — seen through telescopes as a dark spot — on the planet early Monday and tipped off scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, who then confirmed it was the result of a new impact, NASA said.

The object created a mark on Jupiter that has the about same diameter as Earth, though the object itself was probably only 50 to 100 miles across, said Anthony Wesley, the amateur astronomer who first noticed the scar.

The mystery object was likely moving at speeds of about 50 to 100 kilometers (31 to 62 miles) per second when it struck near Jupiter’s south pole, Wesley told CNN.

“That generates an unbelievable amount of energy when it collides with pretty much anything, but especially with something the size of Jupiter,” he said.

It is only the second time scientists have been able to observe the results of such an impact on Jupiter. The first happened 15 years ago, when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into 21 pieces and hit the planet’s atmosphere.

Jupiter’s new spot isn’t likely to last long — probably just one to two weeks, Wesley said. He pointed out the impact scars from the Shoemaker-Levy debris lasted only two to three weeks before disappearing.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in our solar system.

Its colorful atmosphere is 86 percent hydrogen and 14 percent helium, with tiny amounts of methane, ammonia, phosphine, water, acetylene, ethane, germanium, and carbon monoxide. The chemicals are responsible for producing the different colors of Jupiter’s clouds.

The temperature at the top of those clouds is about 230 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (145 degrees below zero Celsius), but it is far hotter near the planet’s center. The core temperature may be about 43,000 degrees Fahrenheit (24,000 degrees Celsius), hotter than the surface of the sun.

The most outstanding feature on Jupiter’s surface is the Great Red Spot, a storm of gas that swirls at a speed of about 225 miles (360 kilometers) per hour at its edge. The spot — which has been shrinking — has a diameter equal to about three times that of Earth



Nextgen to wire sports stadiums with fibre network – Networking – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Nextgen to wire sports stadiums with fibre network


Leighton-owned Nextgen Networks has signed a deal with Premier Media Group, owner of FOX SPORTS, which will connect several key sports facilities around the nation to Nextgen’s fibre network.

Under the deal, Nextgen will provide a 1Gbps link into the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, Adelaide’s AAMI Stadium, Perth’s Subiaco Oval, Canberra’s Bruce Stadium, Newcastle’s Energy Australia Stadium, Gosford’s Bluetongue Stadium, and Skilled Park on the Gold Coast to enable high definition digital delivery of FOX SPORTS broadcasts.

These 1Gbps links will connect to Nextgen’s inter-capital long-haul fibre network. Using Layer 2 Ethernet switching, Nextgen will also provide a 10Gbps connection into the broadcaster’s video production facility at Pyrmont, Sydney.


Microsoft offers EU ‘browser ballot’ compromise | Beyond Binary – CNET News
Microsoft offers EU ‘browser ballot’ compromise

 Microsoft said it is now open to allowing users in Europe to select competing browsers in Windows 7.

Essentially, Microsoft is offering to put into Windows a way for consumers to easily install a rival to Internet Explorer. PC makers, as they can today, could still install a rival browser and could also disable Internet Explorer, if they choose.

“Under our new proposal, among other things, European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.

Company sues user for $50,000 over a single tweet – Digital Media
Company sues user for $50,000 over a single tweet

 Chicago based property company Horizon Group Management has sued a Twitter user with only 20 followers for the following tweet:

@jessB123 You should come anywat. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.


Instead Jeffrey Micheal, whose family runs Horizon, told the Chicago Sun-Times that they immediately sued for $50,000 because “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,”

Stations unite for digital radio promotion – Digital Media
Stations unite for digital radio promotion

 More than 40 radio stations are set to join forces on 6 August for an on-air promotion, dubbed ‘Radio United’, that will highlight the benefits of digital radio.Outside broadcasts will simultaneously take place at events in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth at the peak breakfast slot, between 5.30am and 9am.

Hundreds of digital radios will be given away to consumers at the events.

ATM advertising network atmAd launches in Australia – Digital Media
ATM advertising network atmAd launches in Australia

 atmAd is billed as the market’s only end-to-end advertising solution designed specifically for ATM’s. The network is run by UK company i-design and aims to provide an additional revenue stream for ATM operators whilst providing new locations for marketers to reach eyeballs

The ad network touts delivering advertising to 700 million ATM transactions a year overseas, with previous atmAd campaigns from some of the world’s biggest brands including Vodafone, Coca Cola, British Airways, Orange, Nivea, Nestle and Hewlett Packard.

Apple rejects Google Voice
Apple rejects Google Voice

 Apple has not allowed Google’s Google Voice application to appear in its App Store, which sells applications for its iPhone and iPod touch



Foxconn pays suicidal iPhone engineer family for life

The life of the Foxconn engineer who committed suicide after misplacing an iPhone 4G prototype was apparently worth more than previously thought.

On Monday, The New York times reported that the family of 25-year-old Sun Danyong, who jumped from his 12th-floor apartment window after being questioned by Foxconn security about the missing prototype – and allegedly roughed-up – had been paid $44,000 in hush money compensation.

Today, the Associated Press upped the ante, reporting that a “company official” said that the payment to the Sun’s parents was “a lump su

An Optus subsidiary that sells pre-paid phone services is facing court action over competition watchdog claims it has engaged in deceptive conduct and contravened the Trade Practices Act.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said today it had commenced legal proceedings against Prepaid Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Optus Mobile, in the Federal Court in Perth.

Another company, Boost Tel, is also a focus of the legal proceedings, with both companies alleged to have contravened consumer protection provisions under the Trade Practices Act in the sale of pre-paid phone cards.

The ACCC alleges Prepaid Services and Boost falsely claimed that certain phone cards would give consumers a specified amount of call time. It says the companies claimed no fees other than timed call charges were applicable — when they were — and that a rate per minute would apply regardless of the number and length of calls made.

“The ACCC alleges Prepaid Services and Boost have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made certain false or misleading representations in contravention of the Trade Practices Act, 1974,” the watchdog said. “The ACCC also alleges that Prepaid Services has been knowingly concerned in the contraventions of Boost.”

Boost does not have its own telecommunications services but buys them through Prepaid Services, the ACCC said. The matter has been entered in the Federal Court’s fast-track list and is listed for a scheduling conference on September 14.

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Teen’s death highlights cyber bullying trend

Disturbing trend: kids bullied online are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety

Disturbing trend: kids bullied online are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety (ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)

A Melbourne mother has blamed her 14-year-old daughter’s suicide on the internet and the tragic case has highlighted the problem of cyber bullying among young people.

In Australia, one of the first comprehensive studies of cyber bullying shows about 10 per cent of teenagers and children have experienced some form of sustained bullying using technology.

It is a behaviour that can have tragic consequences.

Speaking on Melbourne radio, mother Karen Rae is in no doubt that cyber bullying was responsible for the death of her 14-year-old daughter.

“Friday night she was on the internet and told me about some message that had come through, and she wanted to die because of the message,” Ms Rae said.

“I laid in bed with her in my bed and we discussed it for about an hour and she left me fairly happy. I can guarantee you if she didn’t go on the internet Friday night she’d be alive today.”

The girl’s death has devastated her family and friends and has dramatically brought to the fore the impact of cyber bullying.

Feds suffer from ‘serious’ IT security talent shortage

The United States government faces a serious shortage of skilled cybersecurity specialists, according to a new report, which estimates the country may need an 8-fold increase in the number nationally sponsored graduates with security degrees.

The federal government currently runs a scholarship program that turns out about 120 entry-level cybersecurity specialists a year, according to the report, titled Cyber Insecurity: Strengthening the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce. Chief information officers and chief information security officers from 18 agencies canvassed for the report said the number may need to be closer to 1,000 to quench the country’s demand.

“We discovered broad agreement that our government faces a serious shortage of highly skilled cybersecurity professions, a personal deficit that exists amid ominous daily reports of digital intrusions that threaten classified and military networks, personal and confidential data, and the country’s critical electronic backbone, including our financial, aviation and electrical power systems,” the authors wrote.

More than three-quarters of those interviewed said attracting top information security talent was a “high” or “top” priority, according to the report, which was prepared by the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service and the management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Only 40 percent reported being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the quality of people applying for information security jobs.

Thodey hails $146m Catholic NBN

Telstra chief David Thodey today announced a $146 million broadband network project to connect over 1550 Catholic Australian schools.

The predominantly fibre network will be installed over the next two years, according to a joint statement by a newly formed company, Catholic Network Australia (CNA), and Telstra.

Thodey made a rare public appearance today to announce the project at St Monica’s Primary School in Footscray, Victoria, alongside Francis Moore, chair of the newly formed networking subsidiary of Catholic Resources Ltd, CNA.

The Catholic school network will use Telstra Internet Direct, formerly a BigPond Service, and is planned to connect five datacentres across Australia.

“Together with CNA, Telstra will provide Catholic schools across Australia with the broadband services necessary to access education resources critical to a first rate contemporary learning environment,” said Thodey.

According to CNA, which has been tasked with managing the planned network, more than 90 per cent of all Australian Catholic education sites have committed to the new network.

Microsoft releases source code for Linux-on-Windows

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Microsoft has dumped a batch of code that should make running Linux on Windows easier.

People who are fond of test-running various Linux distros will be well acquainted with virtualization software that allow these test runs to operate within a Windows environment. Microsoft has now made it easier by releasing 20,000 lines of device driver code to the Linux community.

The source code release was announced recently at the 2009 O’Reilly Open Source Convention or OSCON in San Jose, CA. The code will apparently enable Linux to run seamlessly on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V or Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. Hyper-V allows multiple operating systems to run at the same time on a single x64 server.

Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari web browsers have continued to steal market share from their much larger rivals Internet Explorer and Firefox over the past six months, according to internal ZDNet.com.au statistics.

ZDNet.com.au browser share — June 21 through July 21, 2009
(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

For the month until 21 July, 5.2 per cent of ZDNet.com.au readers used Chrome, compared with 3.5 per cent for the same monthly period six months ago. 5.9 per cent used Safari, compared with 4.4 per cent six months ago. ZDNet.com.au generally receives several million page impressions each month.

Internet Explorer lost 1.3 per cent to remain in the lead with 50.7 per cent, while Mozilla Firefox also sank 1.8 per cent to reach 37 per cent.

The changing market share could mean that Google has already seen some early success with Chrome, which was first released to the public in September 2008. Just a week after its launch, 3.8 per cent of ZDNet.com.au readers were already using Chrome. At that stage, it similarly appeared that readers had ditched either Firefox or Internet Explorer for Google’s offering.

ZDNet.com.au browser share — Dec 21, 2008 through January 21, 2009
(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

Going back to the same month in 2007, it appears that Safari is maintain

Windows 7 is ready to roll as code gets RTM sign-off

Microsoft overnight blessed the latest build of Windows 7 for ‘release to manufacture’, reaching a milestone in its efforts to push the memory of Vista far behind.

Yesterday we outlined Microsoft’s timetable for distributing the finalised ‘gold code edition of Windows 7 and observed that the OS was therefore due to reach RTM status sometime within the next two weeks.

As it turns out, Microsoft hit that milestone overnight. CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the company’s staff-only Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference in Atlanta, Georgia that Windows 7 was, at last, ready to roll. Windows exec Steven Sinofsky decreed that the fresh-baked release candidate 7600.16385 was “signed off … and declared as RTM”.

It’s been a long journey since the first external release of Windows 7’s Milestone 1 build 6519 in January 2008, but nowhere near the arduous five year trek of Vista.

Nor has the road been anywhere near as rough. With exceptional focus and under Steven Sinofky’s exceptional stewardship, the next-gen Windows has enjoyed widespread praise with almost no stumbles.

So what happens now? A set of DVDs containing the 32-bit and 64-vit RTM builds of Windows 7, along with scads of supplementary tools and gumpf, is being distributed to the PC builders of the world.

Most will receive their prized FedEx parcel by Friday, US time, so that they can begin the process of turning the raw code into their own bespoke versions of the OS with branding, customised help screens, vendor-specific software and assorted crapware.

The next official date of note in the Windows 7 distribution calendar is August 6th, when the code will be posted for download on Microsoft’s members-only MSDN, TechNet and Microsoft Connect online services. Unless it lands on the BitTorrent networks sometime in the coming fortnight (and we’re taking bets that it will).

AMD trumpets HDTV-on-PC chip

Computex AMD jumped into the hot TV-on-PC market Tuesday with the release of the ATI Theater HD 750 chip, which provides HDTV capabilities to desktop and mobile PCs.

Announced today at the Computex mega-show in Taipei, Taiwan, the ATI Theater HD 750 has worldwide compatibility, being able to accept HDTV, DTV, and broadcast signals in the analog NTSC, PAL, SECAM, and digital ATSC, ClearQAM, and DVB-T formats. AMD has also tossed FM radio into the mix.

The chip can also convert TV shows recorded onto PCs into H.264, AVI, MPEG, DivX, WMV, and MPEG4 files for playback on portable media devices. AMD says that PC users will be able to schedule TV recording and watch, pause, and rewind live TV using Windows Vista Media Center, Windows XP Media Center Edition, and Windows 7.

AMD promises that the new chip will provide “Stunning visual detail…with new advanced video processing technologies and signal reception features producing a crisp, vivid and breath-taking picture, high color quality and high fidelity” due to something their marketing folks have dubbed “Intelligent Image Enhancement.”

The ATI Theater HD 750 will be available in PCI, PCI Ex

Intel slashes prices on desktop, server chips

Chip maker Intel has cut prices between 11 and 19 percent on a host of desktop and entry server processors. The company rarely explains its quarterly price tweaks – which tend to happen in the wake of its posting of financial results for the prior quarter – and this time around was no different.

But the nature of the price cuts, which you can see here, suggests that Intel is trying to goose demand for middle-of-the road desktop PCs. That way it can get rid of inventories of old chips based on its frontside bus architecture and 45 nanometer processes, as it readies Nehalem kickers dubbed ‘Westmere’ for its PC lineup in the fourth quarter based on 32 nanometer processes.

Here’s the rundown on the chips that did get price cuts. Pricing is the cost of a single chip based on an OEM or reseller buying them in 1,000-unit trays. Street prices for single units of any x64 chip can be (and usually are) substantially higher than the prices shown.

Yahoo – Icahn has Microsoft search deal?

Microhoo? … Yahoo’s chief executive Carol Bartz earlier said that a search deal would cost “boatloads of money” / Reuters

YAHOO board member Carl Icahn has publicly supported a search deal with Microsoft, which could be very lucrative for Yahoo.

Mr Icahn declined to comment on the state of any negotiations between Yahoo and Microsoft.

He had tried to broker a partnership between the two companies last year, when talks on Microsoft’s $47.5 billion ($59.1 billion) takeover bid for Yahoo fell apart.

“I’ve been a strong advocate of getting a search deal done with Microsoft,” said Mr Icahn, who owns about 5 per cent of Yahoo and is a director on its board.

“It would enhance value if a deal got done, because of the synergies involved.”

Microsoft and Yahoo are close to a long-discussed search and online advertising deal which could be announced in the next week, according to another source.

‘Boatloads of money’

The news was first reported by the AllThingsDigital blog, which said a deal would involve Microsoft paying Yahoo several billion dollars upfront to take over its search advertising business and guarantee certain payments back to Yahoo.

‘Xbox mini’ not ruled out, Live to go portable – Microsoft

Handheld … Microsoft hasn’t ruled out competing with the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP / File

MICROSOFT says the Xbox could go portable, but it hasn’t decided if it will be as a “mini” device or an online platform.

Shane Kim, a senior Microsoft executive, told gaming website Kikizo: “For us, it’s a matter of focusing on when.”

“We’re building a service in Live that will… will extend to other platforms.”

Xbox Live lets gamers play online, purchase content, and will soon become integrated with Twitter and Facebook.

Mr Kim said Live was like “connective tissue” for portable devices.

“So the question will be, how do we enter into that market – do we do our own device, do we create our own phone – that’s a question for the company itself.”

Microsoft made headlines in June when it unveiled its new motion-based Project Natal technology for the Xbox 360.

Web 2.0 taskforce: Will it stick?

With its new taskforce, the government has got straight back on the web 2.0 horse after taking a nasty fall last year with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner’s blogging trial. But how long will it stay on this time?

All in all the ministers (or their staff) wrote 10 posts in their past blogging foray, which had about as much character as soggy cornflakes.

All in all the ministers (or their staff) wrote 10 posts in their past blogging foray, which had about as much character as soggy cornflakes. Despite the cornflakiness, however, they received around 1500 responses (mostly chastising Conroy for the filtering scheme). Yet they still left the normal submissions channel open, which is where they likely got most of the fodder for their paper anyway.

It seemed to me it was a token attempt that didn’t even amount to Tanner and Conroy sticking their little toe into the pool of web 2.0. There was no real collaboration and little sense of community.

If the new taskforce announced yesterday didn’t have high fliers such as government chief information officer Ann Steward and Google engineering director Alan Noble as members, I’d say it would be a big waste of time and money.

Senator Stephen Conroy last week launched the Future Directions for the Digital Economy whitepaper, but the Patch Monday team believes it is more of a state-of-the-industry paper than a sign of what’s to come.

Microsoft Australia’s chief technology officer Greg Stone said that although he welcomed the paper, he didn’t believe it was about laying out strategies for the future. Whereas LookSmart co-founder, Martin Hosking, said he hoped the final paper went past a grab bag of issues.

Unfortunately for Hosking, Microsoft’s view of the paper won out, with a lack of any big ticket items appearing.

At least one Patch Monday team member went so far as to call the direction of the paper trapped in halt state.

Is it correct that the paper establish benchmarks and measurements for the industry or should it have labelled some big ticket goals for the future? Is this the start of more focus on the digital economy or simply lip service to the other half of Conroy’s portfolio?

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