Episode 154

posted in: Show Notes
Millions set to disconnect their fixed-line phones
Millions set to disconnect their fixed-line phones

For the first time this year, the communications giant Telstra has had more mobile phone subscribers than fixed-line subscribers. Mobile phones now outnumber fixed lines by more than two-to-one.

ABC seeks law for free content on national broadband network | News | News.com.au
ABC seeks law for free content on national broadband network

THE ABC has called on the Federal Government to pass laws ensuring consumers won’t have to pay to access any publicly funded content carried on the planned national broadband network (NBN)

Mr Murdoch also argued that a “dominant” BBC threatened the future of independent journalism in Britain.

“Dumping free, state-sponsored news on the market makes it incredibly difficult for journalism to flourish on the internet,” he said.

“Yet it is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it.”

Baby swinging video charges dropped | News | News.com.au
Baby swinging video charges dropped

The video originated from either Russia or Ukraine and was traced to Illingworth’s home, which was subsequently raided in November 2008 by police officers from Task Force Argos, which targets child pornography and abuse. His lawyer argued in court that under Commonwealth law the video could not be deemed as torture, cruelty or physical abuse because it appeared the baby had not been harmed.

Mr Illingworth, a father of four, had argued the video simply showed a Russian circus family undertaking training, and said the charges were ridiculous. “My name and health has been damaged – I’m going to do something about this,” he said.

“If anything, I want this to go to trial by jury – 12 adults, 12 parents are going to see the stupidity of this.

“Bring it on, bring it on with all your might.”

He said supporters had raised around $500,000 to cover his legal costs.

Yoko Ono drops Beatles iTunes bombshell – reports | News | News.com.au
Yoko Ono drops Beatles iTunes bombshell – reports YOKO Ono has reportedly let slip that the entire Beatles catalogue will be available on Apple’s iTunes music store tomorrow.

View all web results for beatles itunes

Beatles Tracks To Make Debut On iTunes

Sky News – ?15 hours ago?
The whole of the Beatles back catalogue will be made available to buy on iTunes, Yoko Ono has told Sky News. It will be added to your story tracker in the

ATI’s 5800 series cards detailed

Essential Linkage: ATI’s 5-series cards leak.

ATI, ever since the buyout by AMD, is still managing to pull off stellar releases and have done so for over a year – while their 3xxx series cards weren’t particularly amazing, the 4xxx series cards smashed through NVIDIA’s barriers to offer great performance with a great price.

More than a year after the 4xxx series, ATI are planning a launch of their 5xxx series cards; that will be based on the RV870 ‘Evergreen’ core and support DirectX 11 (as well as all the preceding DX’s). It seems to still be based on a 55nm manufacturing process, but the die size doesn’t look too significantly increased meaning that 40nm is a definite possibility.

Oddly it is rotated to sit as a diamond rather than a square, but the cards will still be offered in ATI’s recent nomenclature. The 5870X2 sits at the top of the pile with two RV870 cores and a US$599, followed by the 5870 at US$379-399 and the 5850 at US$279-299.

This will be priced higher due to conversion rates and extra taxes we pay in Australia, but once NVIDIA get their cards out the door these prices will soon begin to plummet. Knowing ATI’s impressive yields on their 4xxx series cards give them a huge price advantage over NVIDIA should mean that this will continue into the 5xxx series, and we can predict some pretty serious competition.

Due to AMD’s reliance on ATI’s success to carry both companies at the moment (due to the Phenom II stacking up poorly compared to the competition based on pure price/performance), it seems that both will continue to run for quite some time off the back of the 5xxx series – and this can only mean good things for enthusiasts.

Intel’s new Core i7, Core i5 desktop chips bring faster CPUs to the maintream

Intel put itself far ahead of AMD technically last year with its Core i7 desktop CPUs, but the high-end prices for the Core i7 900-series made Intel’s most advanced chip architecture more of a luxury than an industry standard.

Tuesday’s announcement of Intel’s new, more affordable Core i7 800-series chips, as well as an even cheaper Core i5 CPU, will likely lead to Intel’s most advanced chip penetrating the mainstream retail market.

Intel has three new chips to announce, as well as the new Intel P55 Express motherboard chipset to support them. The new Core i7’s include the AU$800 2.93GHz Core i7 870, the AU$440 Core i7 860 at 2.8GHz, as well as the AU$320 2.6GHz Core i5 750 chip. Each is essentially a stripped-down version of its counterpart from the Core i7 900-series, the most affordable of which, the 2.66GHz Core i7 920, starts at about AU$450.

The technical sacrifices in the new chips are relatively minor. The new Core i7s have a double-channel memory interface, as opposed to triple-channel RAM in the Core i7 900s. That means new Core i7-based PC owners won’t have quite as much RAM throughput, but they also save money by only having to buy two sticks of DDR3 at a time, as opposed to three with Core i7 900.

(Credit: Intel)

The sole Core i5 chip has the same two-channel memory limit, and Intel has also stripped out the Hyperthreading capability. Hyperthreading is an Intel technique that effectively doubles the number of processing threads (adding four virtual threads to the four physical CPU cores) depending on the workload. Heavy multitaskers and those who use multithreaded software will feel the loss here, although Intel’s current mainstream Core 2 Quad family, which the Core i5 may replace, has no Hyperthreading either.

To build a desktop PC around either new chip, you’ll also need a new motherboard using Intel’s P55 Express chipset. We’ve already mentioned the change to the memory interface. The next most significant change has to do with the graphics bandwidth.

PNY punts ‘lifetime warranty’ graphics cards

PNY Technologies has come over all generous and announced a plan to provide lifetime warranties with some of its graphics cards.

From 1 September, the firm’s XLR8 GeForce GTX series of graphics cards will have a standard one-year out-of-box warranty. Once you register your purchase on the firm’s website, PNY will then reward you with a lifetime of coverage.

The cards covered by the offer are the GTX 295 1792MB, GTX 285 1024MB, GTX 275 896MB and the GTX 260 896MB.

The XLR8 GTX cards are firmly aimed at gamers – the very group of customers most likely to replace their graphics cards on a regular basis. As such, PNY must surely not expect to be called on too often to replace any of the four XL8 cards that will come with the lifetime warranty offer.

There’s no sign that the deal covers damage caused by overclocking, not that we’d expect it to. ®

AMD to beat Nvidia in DX11 GPU release race?

AMD looks set to beat arch-rival Nvidia to the release of DirectX 11-capable graphics cards. It will ship suitable GPUs in October, around the time Windows 7 will introduce the new 3D graphics framework.

According to Asian moles mentioned by DigiTimes, AMD will launch the Radeon HD 5800 series – codenamed ‘RV870’ – later this month ahead of volume shipments in October. Expect two 5800-series parts at first, the 5850 and the 5870 – a model numbering scheme AMD has often used in the past.

That said, it was recently claimed that AMD’s chippery wouldn’t arrive until November.

Nvidia’s response won’t arrive until December, the same sources claim. And they say that’s the earliest point at which the GeForce GT 300 will debut, implying it may not arrive until 2010.

Not that it needs to be in any kind of rush. DirectX 11 may be a gaming geek must-have, but it could be some time before it gains mainstream appeal. Windows Vista users are expected to gain DX11 through an update released soon after the arrival of Windows 7

Second opinion for ‘glowing’ dead body

RELATIVES of a dead man in Spain asked a doctor to confirm his death a second time because his body showed no signs of going pale hours after he passed away.
The 70-year-old died of a heart attack and his body was on display at a funeral home in Lorca, a city of some 90,000 people in southern Spain, when his family noticed that it still had a healthy pink glow, a spokesman for the funeral home said.

They then called in the doctor to confirm that their loved one was in fact dead.

The doctor concluded that the man still had a healthy glow, despite having passed away, because the pacemaker he was wearing was still running.

Seven Samurai chipmakers set to take on Intel


You know, it’s been nearly forty years since Intel introduced the first microprocessor, and even at this late date the company comprises a whopping eighty percent of the global market for CPUs. But not so fast! Like an electronics industry remake of The Magnificent Seven (which is, of course, an American remake of The Seven Samurai) NEC and Renesas have teamed up with a stalwart band of companies, including Hitachi, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Panasonic, and Canon, to develop a new CPU that is compatible with Waseda University professor Hironori Kasahara’s “innovative energy-saving software.” The goal is to create a commercial processor that runs on solar cells, moderates power use according to the amount of data being processed (a current prototype runs on 30% the power of a standard CPU), remains on even when mains power is cut, and, of course, upsets the apple cart over at Intel. Once a standard is adopted and the chip is used in a wide range of electronics, firms will be able to realize massive savings on software development. The new format is expected to to be in place by the end of 2012. [Warning: Read link requires subscription

Interception overhaul may OK ISP spying

The Federal Government is planning a radical overhaul of telecommunications interception rules, which has some concerned it may be used to force internet service providers (ISP) to inspect customers’ online activities.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2009 — Network Protection contains legislation designed to extend interception powers from certain government agencies to any Australian network operator. The Bill is currently scheduled to appear before Parliament for debate prior to mid-December.

In late July the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) released its discussion paper outlining the government’s proposed changes to the Act. The government intends to introduce the amendments as a temporary exemption from the Act for some government agencies and will expire on 12 December.

The proposed amendments would exempt any network operator from interception prohibitions if it was conducting security protection measures that might include inspecting incoming traffic. Under current legislation, it is illegal under most circumstances to intercept inbound communications before it has reached its intended recipient with the offence punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment

Are “free laptop” deals like Vodafone’s Dell Inspiron mini 9 offer a great way to save money on a new PC, or a cleverly disguised con? We reveal the truth

You may have seen recent adverts offering a free PC in return for signing a mobile broadband contract.

Is the laptop heading the way of the mobile phone – destined to become a cost-free incentive for those willing to commit to lengthy broadband subscriptions? And are the “free” deals really as attractive as they first appear?

Here, we’re going to investigate the free-laptop phenomenon: how the companies behind the deals make their money, how much you pay for that “free” PC, and how to navigate the different deals available from retailers.

We’ve also reviewed the “free” laptops available, to reveal what kind of quality hardware you can expect for your modest monthly fee.

Flattering to deceive?
Free laptop deals may be popular – but you’re still paying for the hardware, it’s just disguised in a digestible monthly fee that’s spread over 18-24 months. Although the Australian offerings thus far are good value, in some cases, you may end up paying more over the full term of the contract than you would if you bought the laptop and mobile-broadband connection separately. The key is to do your sums carefully.

Vodafone’s widely promoted Dell Inspiron + mobile broadband provides a Dell Inspiron mini 9 together with a two-year, $59.95-per-month 5GB contract on Vodafone, giving a TCO of $1439. The same 5GB broadband tariff was $39.95 direct from Vodafone, which when added to the $600 cost of the laptop comes out just less than $1558. That’s a $100 saving for buying both together.

At the time of publication, Dodo was offering a free Asus Eee PC 701 on a $59.90-a-month, 2-year contract – giving you a total cost of $1430.40 by the end of the contract. To buy the laptop ($300 from Officeworks), Mobile phone ($249 from Dodo), mobile plan ($29.90 per month from Dodo) and mobile broadband (between $10 and $20 per month from Dodo) (plus mobile dongle?) separately would cost $1746, so by opting for the combined deal you’d save around $300.

Aussie firewall nears death

What’s that Skippy? It smells funny?

The Australian Senate Opposition leader Nick Minchin has joined the growing chorus of voices against Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s plans for mandatory ISP-level filtering.

The project may not yet be deceased, but it is without doubt on the critical list.

nator Minchin said the government had not only failed to release the results of recent trials of internet filtering software, but it had also refused to come clean on what measures would determine whether the trial could be considered successful or not.

“Almost two years after coming to office with a plan to censor the internet, Senator Conroy has not even managed to release results for long overdue filtering trials, let alone come close to actually implementing this highly controversial policy,” he said.

“Previous trials of filtering technology have exposed serious problems with both the over-blocking and under-blocking of content, and concerns also remain about the adverse impact a national filtering regime could have on internet speeds.”

Seven vividly proves WiMax not dead yet

It wasn’t too long ago that critics of WiMax wireless technology were declaring it dead at the starting gate.

The newly-installed Rudd-Conroy show nixed the previous government’s WiMax-based OPEL roll-out, favouring the winding path that has led us to the current NBN process. Critics said emerging 3G networks had the bandwidth and ubiquity that WiMax start-ups lacked. However, it appears somebody forgot to tell Seven.

The announcement that Seven will build its own WiMax network across Perth represents a major step in the network’s long-term content strategy. That strategy began last year with Seven’s Unwired acquisition, and has gained currency as IPTV gains momentum.

(Credit: Seven)

Rivals may have to wait until the NBN becomes widespread — or until they can access the 700MHz spectrum that will be freed up when analog TV goes dark in 2013 — before they can start broadcasting using IPTV in anger. Seven’s privileged access to WiMax spectrum means it can get a valuable head-start. Its experiments in Perth (through subsidiary Vivid Wireless, which presumably has no relation with US adult entertainment giant Vivid Entertainment) will therefore be closely watched by both the internet and broadcast industry as Seven becomes the first network to seriously match online content with the actual delivery of internet services.

Wholesale costs removed, Seven can build a striated service offering ranging from basic Internet access and mobile broadband, to video services with unmetered Seven and third-party content.

The fact that Seven can directly service its customers without relying on Telstra’s ADSL services is a significant one: wholesale costs removed, Seven can build a striated service offering ranging from basic internet access and mobile broadband, to video services with unmetered Seven and third-party content such as Foxtel, in which it recently bought a significant interest. Plug a Freeview PVR or TiVo into the WiMax modem and Seven can instantly deliver streaming digital TV and video-on-demand services anywhere across its network. Add VoIP services and you’ve got an instant triple-play service with no intermediaries. Replicate this in other metropolitan areas in the long term, and you’ve got a serious contender for cabled and fibre-optic pay TV services.

Four arrested in China over net-paralysing gaming spat

Free whitepaper – PC-disable delivers intelligent client-side protection for lost or stolen notebooks

Chinese police have arrested four gamers who allegedly launched denial of service attacks that disrupted internet communications across the country back in May.

The group allegedly ran a denial-of-service attack against a rival online gaming group. The DNS servers of DNSPod, a firm that provides services to gaming sites, were targeted in the attack, which ballooned to cause huge collateral damage.

Surfers across six different Chinese provinces reported problems surfing at the height of the attack, including slow access speeds and finding some sites impossible to reach.

Police in the southern Chinese city of Foshan, Guangdong province, allege that a 23 year-old called Bing – who ran a set of “private servers” that offered online games – was behind the attacks. Rival operators often targeted his systems with denial of service attacks. Bing allegedly responded by teaming up with business associates to rent a botnet and launch a denial of service attack in response, to negligible effect.

The associates then hired a technician in Zhejiang province to design an attack tool, which was allegedly used to disastrous effect against DNSPod

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