Episode 170

posted in: Show Notes


Bank of Queensland hit by “Y2.01k” glitch – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Bank of Queensland hit by “Y2.01k” glitch

BOQ’s EFTPOS  machines jumped six years ahead and began date stamping January 2016

Since most of the debit and credit cards that are in current use would have expired by 2016, the machines refused to process transactions

A manual workaround has been in place since Sunday, with businesses able to complete transactions by manually entering date information.

Server issue causes Qantas delay – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Server issue causes Qantas delay

The Amadeus check-in system is reported to have suffered intermittent outages, forcing Qantas and other airlines using the system to check in passengers manually.

Security group releases new Conficker figures – Security – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Security group releases new Conficker figures

Security group releases new Conficker figures – Security – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Security group releases new Conficker figures

A US-based not-for-profit internet security group has released figures that show just how infected Australians are with the Conficker worm.

Released last month by security group Shadowserver, the figures show infected Internet Protocol addresses and how infected individual internet service providers’ (ISP) users are.

Telstra hosts most infected users in Australia with a total of 3,718 IP addresses infected with various variants of the worm.

In second place was Optus, with 2,230, followed by TPG with 1,147 infected users.

Conflicker was first detected in November 2008. The worm spreads to computers through a flaw in Microsoft’s operating system.

It’s spreading so much so that Microsoft is offering a US$250,000 (AUD$278,000) reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those behind its creation and distribution.

Is my computer infected with the Conficker worm?


Probably not. Microsoft released a security update in October 2008 (MS 08-067) to protect against Conficker.

If your computer is up-to-date with the latest security updates and your antivirus software is also up-to-date, you probably don’t have the Conficker worm.

The worm adds a file to the removable drive so that when the drive is used, the AutoPlay dialog box will show one additional option.

The Conficker worm can also disable important services on your computer.

If your computer is infected with the Conficker worm, you may be unable to download certain security products, such as the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool or you may be unable to access certain Web sites, such as Microsoft Update. If you can’t access those tools, try using the Windows Live safety scanner.

Google loses out in domain name dispute – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Google loses out in domain name dispute

Web development firm 207 Media has won a case filed against it by web giant Google, which claimed the name of the firm’s custom search engine Groovle was too similar to its own.

the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark,” noted Google’s contention in the original complaint.

National Arbitration Forum (NAF) (Icann-approved independent arbitration body)

disagreed, saying the Canadian-based 207 Media’s domain name was “sufficiently differentiated” from the Google trademark, saying it “contains the significant letters ‘r’ and ‘v’ which serve to distinguish the sound, appearance, meaning, and connotation of ‘groovle’ from Complainant’s Google mark”.

The arbitration body also argued that and alterations of the groovle name “clearly transform the predominant word of the domain name to ‘groove’ or ‘groovy’, not Google”.

This has been a setback for Google as apparently they were not after to stop the registration but to get the name for themselves.

Panasonic accused of deceptive Wii advertising – Hardware – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Panasonic accused of deceptive Wii advertising

The ACCC alleges that contrary to Panasonic’s advertising, consumers could only make a valid claim for the bonus Wii by providing Panasonic with the television’s serial number, which could only be obtained upon delivery of the television. The promotion ran from 23 November to 24 December 2008:  Problem being that you had to submit the serial number of the TV within the dates specified but some people were not able to take delivery of units to get the serial number inside this timeframe

There was no guarantee a consumer would receive their television within sufficient time to identify its serial number and submit a valid claim to Panasonic, the ACCC argues.

Accordingly, the ACCC alleges that by failing to adequately disclose important conditions of the promotion, Panasonic engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Regional TV viewers face $300 bill in digital service blackspots | The Australian
Regional TV viewers face $300 bill in digital service blackspots

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has confirmed the government would spend $40 million a year over the next four years to roll out the new digital television service for viewers in regional blackspots.

any regional households not able to receive digital television from upgraded self-help sites will be served by the new satellite and will need to install a satellite dish.

Eligible householders will secure a $300 subsidy to the $600 cost, leaving them with a $300 bill.

Those not eligible will need to pay $600.

The changeover from analogue to digital in regional areas including Mildura, Broken Hill, Mt Gambier and the Riverland will commence from July 1, leaving families that fail to upgrade without television.

Cash transactions on their way out | The Australian
Cash transactions on their way out

Data from MWE Consulting, which specialises in debit and credit card analysis, showed that debit card ATM withdrawals per account fell about 6.3 per cent to 2.39 a month last year. That compared with 2.55 in the previous year and 2.62 in 2006, when monthly transactions peaked.

the lowest point in more than six years

MWE estimates that between 65 and 70 per cent of all transactions in Australia were still cash. Typically, cash is used for transactions of less than $25.

Apple wins iPod hearing loss lawsuit | The Australian
Apple wins iPod hearing loss lawsuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed a 2008 district court ruling that the plaintiffs failed to show that use of the iPod poses an unreasonable risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

8 tech trends to watch this week at CES – CNN.com
8 tech trends to watch this week at CES

the yearly show that has launched such big tech ideas as compact disc players, high-definition television and Blu-ray.

CES is the year’s largest consumer technology trade show and one of the best chances to see new technologies before they hit the market.

Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Moon hole might be suitable for colony – CNN.com
Moon hole might be suitable for colony

The vertical hole, in the volcanic Marius Hills region on the moon’s near side, is 213 feet wide and is estimated to be more than 260 feet deep

scientists say, the hole is protected from the moon’s harsh temperatures and meteorite strikes by a thin sheet of lava. That makes the tube a good candidate for further exploration or possible inhabitation, the article says.

“Lunar lava tubes are a potentially important location for a future lunar base, whether for local exploration and development, or as an outpost to serve exploration beyond the Moon,” writes the team, led by Junichi Haruyama, a senior researcher with the Japanese space agency JAXA.

“Any intact lava tube could serve as a shelter from the severe environment of the lunar surface, with its meteorite impacts, high-energy UV radiation and energetic particles, and extreme diurnal temperature variations.”

NASA is reportedly working on plans to return to the moon by 2020 and to set up a temporary lunar colony by 2025 as part of the Constellation Program

Stephenconroy.com.au resurfaces – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au

Once deleted, the domain was again registered by the company, named Sapia, but this time legitimately, said AuDA CEO Chris Disspain.

“This registration … would be on the basis that they have a registered business name and that registered business name is ‘stephenconroy’ and so therefore they are entitled to stephenconroy.com.au because it is an exact match to their registered business name.”

The stephenconroy.com.au domain name now redirects to stephen-conroy.com with a message stating its reasons for being eligible.




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Retired U.S. General Promises An Airliner Will Be Downed Within 100 Days
Retired U.S. General Promises An Airliner Will Be Downed Within 100 Days

A retired U.S. General has called for strip searches of all muslim men at airports and “threat-based” profiling, declaring that “in the next 30-100 days,” there is “very high probability a US airliner will come down.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney made the comments on a Fox News broadcast over the weekend.

“We’ve got to go to more than just the normal process that they’re talking about now,” he said on Saturday.

“We have got to go to very, very strict screening and we’ve got to use profiling. And I mean, be very, very serious about the profiling. If you are an 18-28-year-old Muslim man, then you should be strip searched. If we don’t do that, there’s a very high probability that we’re gonna lose an airliner.”

Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

Alex Jones’ Prison Planet.com
9/11 Commission Chairman: Plane Bomber “Did Us A Favor”

9/11 Commission whitewash chief Thomas Kean told CNN yesterday that the Christmas Day plane bomber “did us a favor,” by allowing Obama to expand the so-called war on terror into Yemen, a startling reminder that the highly suspicious Flight 253 attack served to fulfil pre-determined U.S. geopolitical objectives.

“This guy in some respects looking at it in retrospective probably did us a favor,” Kean told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday talk show, adding that the attempted attack shifted the Obama administration’s attention away from health care and global warming and back to the war on terror.

“We weren’t really focused on Yemen and the terrible things that are happening there. Now we are and that’s a good thing,” said Kean.

“The GOP chairman’s quote raised eyebrows; by his logic, the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers may also have “done us a favor” by drawing US attention to extremism in Afghanistan,” writes Raw Story’s John Byrne.

However, Kean’s implication that Yemen was not a subject of U.S. geopolitical interest before the attempted attack drew attention to the country is completely at odds with the facts.

A December 24 BBC News report entitled Yemen: New frontier in US ‘war on terror’ revealed how the U.S. had already invested $70 million dollars over the last year on expanding the war on terror into Yemen and that “US intelligence agencies are keeping a closer and closer watch in this newly-emerging theatre in the “war on terror”.”

A week after the incident, President Obama pinned the blame for the attack on terrorists based in Yemen despite the fact that no formal investigation into the bombing had been concluded.

Obama’s statement came one day after Britain’s PM Gordon Brown called an “emergency summit” on “extremism” in Yemen. “Gordon Brown has invited key international partners to a high-level meeting in order to discuss how best to counter radicalization in Yemen,” a statement issued by Downing Street announced. “The prime minister will host the event on 28 January in London.”

Apple to unveil tablet computer this month, deliveries not expected until March | The Australian
Apple to unveil tablet computer this month, deliveries not expected until March

APPLE is set to lift the covers off its highly anticipated tablet computer later this month but shipping is not expected until March, The Wall Street Journal says.

Citing people who had been briefed by Apple, the report said the exact shipping schedule had not been finalised.

They said the new tablet device will come with a 10- to 11-inch touch screen, according to the report.

An Apple spokesman said it doesn’t comment on rumours.

Speculation has been rife over the impending launch of the product which some have dubbed iSlate.

Analysts had predicted that the device will have a 10-inch touchscreen and priced between $US700 ($767) and $US1000.

iSlate is expected to look like an oversized iPod Touch and come with the features included in wireless or 3G capable laptops.

Google readies smartphone launch | The Australian

Google readies smartphone launch

FOR MONTHS the technology world has been gossiping about Google’s most closely guarded secret — the arrival of its first very own mobile phone.

Despite the growing anticipation of a smartphone rumoured to be capable of challenging the iPhone’s market dominance, no previews have been given and leaks about it have been few and far between.

Tomorrow the clamour will end when Google reveals the Nexus One, its touchscreen phone named after the “replicants” in Ridley Scott’s science-fiction film Blade Runner.

The phone, which uses Google’s Android mobile phone operating system, marks a significant step for the search giant that, until now, has offered phones only in partnership with other companies.

Reports suggest that the Nexus One will be sold online at around $US500 ($556).

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While the phone is being manufactured by the Taiwanese company HTC, Google has taken the lead in designing the Nexus One’s hardware and software.

Smartphones are turning into the gatekeepers of how we access the internet. Google has its sights set on Apple’s iconic iPhone, which has become, since it launch in 2007, the benchmark in the rapidly growing market.

Google revealed its open-source Android operating system nearly two years ago. Since then a dozen Android phones by companies such as Samsung and Motorola have been launched, including the recent, heavily promoted Motorola Droid.

Google wants more people to use its Android system because it is optimised for Google software applications. Mobile search has huge potential for growth as more people go online using their mobile phones and Google aims to deliver more ads to them.

Tighten controls on net downloads, says Bono

IRISH rock star Bono called for tougher controls over the spread of intellectual property over the internet, arguing that file swiping and sharing hurt creators of cultural products.

“The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files,” the lead singer of the band U2 wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.

He pointed out that “the immutable laws of bandwidth” indicate that technology is just a few years from allowing viewers to download entire movies in just a few seconds.

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us,” he said.

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The singer pointed out that the US effort to stop child pornography and China’s effort to suppress online dissent indicate that it is “perfectly possible to track” internet content.

“Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly four per cent of gross domestic product,” he said.

Cash transactions on their way out

SIGNS are emerging that Australia is moving towards a cashless society, with the number of consumers making ATM cash withdrawals dropping to the lowest point in more than six years.

Data from MWE Consulting, which specialises in debit and credit card analysis, showed that debit card ATM withdrawals per account fell about 6.3 per cent to 2.39 a month last year. That compared with 2.55 in the previous year and 2.62 in 2006, when monthly transactions peaked.

“We have been seeing a reduction in cash transactions on credit (card) for a long time . . . but what is significant is this (debit card) reduction, which accelerated in the last year,” said MWE managing director Mike Ebstein.

“I think that’s a sign that Australians are beginning to move away from cash as their staple payment product.”

MWE estimates that between 65 and 70 per cent of all transactions in Australia were still cash. Typically, cash is used for transactions of less than $25.

BBC News – Bono net policing idea draws fire
Bono net policing idea draws fire

Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.

Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.

He hinted that China’s efforts prove that tracking net content is possible.

The editorial drew sharp criticism, both on its economic merits and for the suggestion of net content policing.

“The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of ’24’ in 24 seconds,” he wrote.

“A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators…the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.”

In a move that drew significant criticism, Bono went on to suggest that the feasibility of tracking down file-sharers had already been proven.

“We know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content,” he said.

Several commentators assailed both the logic of net monitoring and the economic arguments of the essay, pointing out that U2 topped 2009’s list of top-grossing live acts.

“Bono has missed that even a totalitarian government…can’t effectively control net-content,” tweeted Cory Doctorow, a blogger and journalist noted for his study of file-sharing policy.

“If only greed and ignorance could sequester carbon, Bono could FINALLY save the planet,” he added.

BBC News – New internet piracy law comes into effect in France
New internet piracy law comes into effect in France

The first effects of France’s new law against internet piracy will begin to be felt as the new year begins.

The law was passed after a long struggle in parliament, and in the teeth of bitter opposition from groups opposed to internet restrictions.

Illegal downloaders will be sent a warning e-mail, then a letter if they continue, and finally must appear before a judge if they offend again.

The judge can impose a fine, or suspend their access to the internet.

The Creation and Internet Bill set up a new state agency – the Higher Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Copyright on the Internet (Hadopi).

The law was backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and the entertainment industry.

Many opponents

Its supporters say it is a model for other countries around the world that want to protect their creative industries and make clear to ordinary web-users that not everything is for free.

BBC News – Singles sales soar to record high
Singles sales soar to record high

MP3 players given as presents have helped boost UK single sales to an all-time high in the week after Christmas.

According to Official Charts Company figures, 4.22m singles were sold in the last week of 2009, beating the previous record of 4.03m over Christmas 2008.

And the Christmas chart battle between X Factor and Rage Against the Machine may also have had an effect.

“It has opened up people to downloading who may never have done before,” said Music Week editor Paul Williams.

Lady Gaga was named on Sunday as last week’s top-selling singles artist as Bad Romance returned to the number one spot. X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s single The Climb went down to number two.

Williams told the BBC that the growth in the download market had changed the way that consumers behaved immediately after Christmas.

“It used to be on Christmas Day you’d have your lunch and maybe go for a brisk walk or settle down and watch the afternoon film,” Williams said.

“Now, increasingly, people are going online to buy – particularly if they have got an MP3 player for Christmas and they want to feed their new gadget.”

Ananova – Darwin Award winners revealed
Darwin Award winners revealed

Two bank robbers have been declared winners of the 2009 Darwin Awards after they blew themselves up while trying to crack open a cash machine.

The Belgian pair used so much explosive to get their hands on the money that they destroyed the whole bank building.

When police arrived at the scene, they found one of them with severe head injuries, and rushed him to hospital where he died shortly after arrival.

Investigators initially assumed that his accomplice had managed a getaway, but the second one’s body was excavated from the debris twelve hours later.

Wendy Northcutt, the founder of the annual awards, declared them the 2009 winners of the Darwin Awards, given to those “doing the most to improve the human gene pool by removing themselves from it”.

The bank robbers just edged ahead of their main rival Shawn Motero who was stuck in a traffic crawl in Florida when he needed to answer a call of nature.

With no toilet handy, he got out of the car before jumping over a concrete wall to find a more secluded spot.

Unfortunately, the 30-year-old had not realised he was on a bridge, and fell 65 feet to his death. Award organisers said it proved you should “look before you leak”.

In third place was the first ever woman to be nominated for the award. Rosanne Tippett drove her moped into a flooded river, despite the warning signs.

She was rescued by police, but died after jumping back into the river in an attempt to recover the two-wheeler.

BBC News – Nasa’s Kepler planet-hunter detects five worlds
Nasa’s Kepler planet-hunter detects five worlds

Nasa’s Kepler Space Telescope has detected its first five exoplanets, or planets beyond our Solar System.

The observatory, which was launched last year to find other Earths, made the discoveries in its first few weeks of science operations.

Although the new worlds are all bigger than our Neptune, the US space agency says the haul shows the telescope is working well and is very sensitive.

The exoplanets have been given the names Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b.

They were announced at an American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington DC.

The planets range in size from an object that has a radius four times that of Earth, to worlds much bigger than even our Jupiter.

And they all circle very close to their parent stars, following orbits that range from about 3.2 to 4.9 days.

This proximity and the fact that the host stars are themselves much hotter than our Sun means Kepler’s new exoplanets experience an intense roasting.

Intriguing density

Estimated temperatures go from about 1,200C to 1,650C (2,200F to 3,000F).

“The planets we found are all hotter than molten lava; they all simply glow with their temperatures,” said Bill Borucki, Kepler’s lead scientist from Nasa’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

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