Hotmail.com.au opens up
Mac sales up 70% in Australia
Apple’s chief operating officer Tim Cook told analysts that Mac sales in Australia soared 70 per cent over the first quarter compared with the same period in the 2009 fiscal year, a result he described as “spectacular”.
Apple also said it sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing a 100 per cent increase over the corresponding period a year ago.
You take the toll road, says Google Maps Australia
Google has admitted its Australian Maps service has been sending people down tollroads even when they ask not to, potentially costing people unnecessary toll fees.
The problem, as described by users in many online complaints, is that in Melbourne and Sydney (and possibly other cities), although Google Maps has an “avoid tolls” option when calculating a route, it merrily sends people down tollroads anyway.
Google Australia spokesperson Annie Baxter said the company would look into the problem but could not promise when a fix might be provided.
Windows 7 RC users, come in, your time is almost up
there’s only one month left before Windows 7 RC starts timing out, shutting down automatically and generally encouraging users to get a hustle on down to the stores.
A number of large organisations — such as Centrelink and the Queensland Government — have already flagged their intention to migrate to Windows 7
Outrage as Rann Government, Opposition unite to gag internet election debate
SOUTH Australian laws censoring anonymous political comment on the internet have sparked national and international outrage.
legislation which will force internet bloggers and anyone publishing a comment on next month’s state election to supply their real name and postcode.
Attorney-General Michael Atkinson described AdelaideNow as “not just a sewer of criminal defamation” but also “a sewer of identity theft and fraud”.
Later Atkinson backed down to say the laws would not be put into effect, Mr Atkinson told reporters he would follow the advice of Opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Vickie Chapman and use a section of the Electoral Act to immediately repeal the section.
Federal Court: iiNet did not infringe copyright
iiNet landed a sound victory in court today, with movie studios being ordered to pay iiNet’s full costs and the ISP being exonerated of copyright infringement charges.
Justice Cowdroy said he found that iiNet did not authorise the infringement of the studios’ copyright.
“The mere provision of access to the internet is not an authorisation of infringement,” he said.
Cowdroy made it clear that the means of infringing the studios’ copyright was the use by iiNet customers of the BitTorrent file-sharing system. “iiNet has no control over BitTorrent,” he said.
This differed from the previous Kazaa case, Cowdroy said, in that the Kazaa organisation was encouraging its users to breach copyright.
The justice also found that when ISP customers used BitTorrent to download copyrighted material, they were making one copy only of the material. In addition, he pointed out BitTorrent itself could be used for legitimate purposes.
Cowdroy ordered that the studios’ application be dismissed and that they pay iiNet’s legal costs.
iiNet had suspended trading of its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange this morning while the judgement was handed down. However, upon resumption of trading this afternoon, the company’s share price immediately rose by 11.11 per cent. At the time of publication it was trading at $2.20.
Don’t worry, we won’t disconnect your internet: IIA
Microsoft has developed a plan of disconnecting people’s internet if their PC is bot-infected, but the IIA says it won’t support it.
The Internet Industry Association has played down the idea that a new internet service provider code being developed could see users disconnected from the internet if their computers are part of a zombie botnet.
IIA CEO Peter Coroneos stated
Among strategies the code is to propose is the idea that ISPs could slow users’ speeds, change their passwords so they would need to call the ISP’s help desk, or in the extreme cases where users refused to engage on the issue, terminate their access.
Coroneos said some some ISPs were investing more than others in the issue — even the extent of organising home mediation visits to clean users’ PCs. “It’s to nobody’s advantage having a zombie PC on their network,” he said.
Men at Work lose Kookaburra case
The Australian band Men at Work has lost a copyright case over the song Down Under.
Larrikin Music accused the band of stealing the song’s flute riff from the children’s song Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree.
The song was written by Melbourne teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides Jamboree in 1934.
Google will suspend Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) support for its Gmail and Calendar services later this year, the company said today.
The move will come at some point after March 1, when Google will start scaling back IE6 support for Google Docs and Google Sites. Google announced that decision on Friday, two weeks after the company admitted that hackers had breached its network and stolen information.
“We plan to stop supporting older browsers for the rest of the Google Apps suite, including Gmail, later in 2010,” a Google spokesman confirmed today.
On Tuesday, administrators of Google Apps accounts received e-mail from Google that informed them of the phasing out of IE6 support for Docs and Sites, and told them of similar steps for Gmail and Google Calendar. “Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar,” the e-mail read.
The Google spokesman declined to provide a specific timetable for dropping IE6 support for Gmail and Calendar.
Gmail is the world’s third-largest Web-based e-mail service, with an estimated 146 million users, according to 2009 data from Comscore. Microsoft‘s Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail are the No. 1 and No. 2 services, with approximately 343 million and 285 million users, respectively.
Google’s urging users to leave IE6 is only the latest in a long line of major Web properties dropping support for the nearly-nine-year-old browser. So far, Facebook and Google’s own YouTube have publicly prompted their users to upgrade to newer versions of IE, while German and French information security agencies have echoed those calls because of critical vulnerabilities in the old application.
QUEENSLAND Police are investigating motor racing company A1GP for suspected fraud, Premier Anna Bligh has revealed.
Two reports tabled in Queensland parliament today dissect the failure of the government-funded Gold Coast SuperGP car racing event after the A1GP pulled out at the last minute.
An Auditor-General’s report into the fiasco found the necessary due diligence had not been completed and that the contract between the Gold Coast race organisers and the A1GP was inadequate.
Auditor-general David Williams’ found contract arrangements did “not include formal commitments from all entities involved with the control of the A1GP”.
An active risk monitoring program was also not implemented in response to “known financial and contract concerns”.
The report said once event organisers were informed in July last year that A1GP Operations Ltd had been placed in liquidation, “no independent advice was sought or analysis undertaken on the capacity of the A1GP group of companies to continue to perform under the agreement”.
MEN at Work’s hit single Down Under infringed copyright because it replicated the flute riff of the 1934 song Kookaburra, a federal court judge has found.
Justice Peter Jacobson said the famous flute riff from the pop hit was unmistakably the same as the children’s tune Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, penned more than 75 years ago by Toorak teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition.
“I have come to the view that the flute riff in Down Under in the 1979 recording and 1981 recording infringes on the copyright of Kookaburra because it replicates in material form a substantial part of Ms Sinclair’s 1935 work,” Justice Peter Jacobson told the court today.
Justice Jacobson also said Larrikin Music Publishing, which owns the rights to Kookaburra, was entitled to recover damages from the respondents – Men at Work’s Colin Hay and Ronald Strykert and their recording label, EMI.
SONY today posted a sharp increase in net profit in the October-December quarter and narrowed its full-year loss forecast as the benefits of restructuring measures took hold and sales of its PlayStation 3 surged following a price-cut.
For its third quarter, Sony said its net profit was Y79.2 billion ($1bn) compared with a Y10.4bn profit in the same period a year earlier. It was better than a mean estimate for a profit of Y33.73bn by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Revenue rose 3.9 per cent to Y2.24 trillion.
Sony is still clawing out from the trough of a global economic downturn that crippled the company’s electronics business. It closed 18 per cent of its plants, eliminated 20,000 jobs and overhauled its supply chain to reduce its costs by Y330bn. At the same time, it is trying to reinvigorate its products by allowing them to link to online content and services.
There are signs of recovering demand across the electronics industry. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said last Friday that it returned to profit in the last three months of 2009 thanks to profitability improvements at its chip business, and Sharp also bounced back into the black after a year-earlier loss, boosted by better results from its liquid crystal display television business.
At its network products and services business, home to its video game division, Sony returned to profit during the quarter with net income of Y19.4bn from a loss of Y5.9bn in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 1.9 per cent to Y606.1bn.
Sales of the PS3 console started to pick up after Sony dropped the price of its model with an 80-gigabyte hard drive by 25 per cent to $299 in September.
For the full year ending March 31, Sony narrowed its loss forecast. It now expects a net loss of Y70bn from a previous forecast for a loss of Y95bn. Sony kept its revenue forecast unchanged at Y7.3 trillion.
IINET has won a landmark Federal Court battle against a clutch of Hollywood movie studio heavyweights which alleged the Perth-based internet service provider had encouraged copyright violations.
The trial has been watched closely by both the federal government and overseas observers. The group of Hollywood studios – represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) – attempted to persuade the court that iiNet was legally liable for alleged copyright infringement activity by its customers.
The studios, headed by Village Roadshow, argued that iiNet should have taken “reasonable steps” to act on infringement notices that contained internet addresses of computers using the ISP’s service to allegedly share illegal movies and music on peer-to-peer file networks.
But the Federal Court today found iiNet did not encourage copyright violations by allowing users to download pirated movie files over its network.
Steam engines. For most of us, they conjure images of horseless buggies, paddle ships and classic locomotives, but soon they may be setting new speed records and hitting new benchmarks for efficiency–potentially in passenger cars.
Cyclone Power Technologies today announced it has completed and shipped a full scale model of the engine being built for the U.S. Land Steam Record Team. At 180 horsepower and peak torque of 850 pound-feet–at 1 rpm–the engine promises to deliver a steam-powered speed record with a marriage of old and new technology. Being the powertrain nerds we are, we took a closer look at the system.
Defined by Cyclone as a Rankine Cycle heat regenerative external combustion engine, the Cyclone Engine uses a six-piston radial layout to extract power from supercritical steam. Supercritical steam is water heated to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, existing in a phase state that’s not really a liquid or a gas, but can behave like both. The supercritical steam is contained within a tubular coil system and then released into the cylinders, compressing the pistons and rotating the crank shaft through a unique spider bearing. Once the steam has done its job, it enters the cooling phase to return to its liquid state before heading back up to be superheated again. Water also serves as the lubricant for the system, eliminating the need for oil or oil changes.
Why don’t they put batteries in iMacs, like Laptops. With Carbon Tax, it would make sense to switch off the power and run the iMac on Battery Power, also good in Blackouts. Clearly the battery would not last as long but with 6 to 10 hours on Laptops and iPads you could easily get 1 hour of backup on the iMac.