Episode 179

posted in: Show Notes


Vodafone prepping subsdised iPad 3G on contract?
Vodafone prepping subsdised iPad 3G on contract?

Vodafone says it is in discussion with Apple but remains guarded on what type of plans it will offer for the 3G iPad.

We’re still working out with Apple how we might look to launch the iPad”
“we are talking to Apple and we’ll see where we end up.”

Mac gaming breakthrough: Steam coming to Mac
Mac gaming breakthrough: Steam coming to Mac

Titles that Valve will launch for the Mac via Steam include the Half-Life series ,Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and Left 4 Dead 2

“Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac,” said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve.

“We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation,” said John Cook, Director of Steam Development

We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360.”

The first title that Valve will release for the Mac will be Portal 2

BigPond software cripples home PCs

BigPond has admitted that the security software it provides to customers as a $10 monthly service (or $99.95 per year) has corrupted a large number of its customers’ PCs, due to a faulty anti-virus signature update.

The ISP giant says the faulty patch was removed half an hour after being set live on Friday, after BigPond noticed a spike in customer tech support calls.

“The patch takes around 30 minutes to remove corrupt files, then allows users to restart their computer in normal mode.”

BigPond were reportedly “keeping quiet” about the issue, and that there were no reported outages on the BigPond website. BigPond blocks customers of other ISPs from checking its service status page, so unless a customer has access to a secondary BigPond connection elsewhere, they cannot access service status at all.

Office 2010 to launch on May 13 for businesses, June for consumers
Office 2010 to launch on May 13 for businesses, June for consumers

anyone buying Office 2007 between March 5th and September 30th will be eligible for a free upgrade to the equivalent Office 2010 product under Microsoft’s Office 2010 Technology Guarantee.

Oh dear: How crazy can Pamela Anderson get? (NSFW)
How crazy can Pamela Anderson get?

local domain name reseller Crazy Domains has got itself into a spot of bother with the Advertising Standards Bureau about its advertisement (below) featuring former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.

quite a few people have complained (full report at ARN) that the ad has nothing to do with domain names.

IT geek in a board meeting with the boss — Pam — and her seductive brunette secretary, and then into full body bikini shots of the pair rubbing cream all over each other.

Windows 7 sells 90 million copies

Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein has unveiled the software giant has sold 90 million copies since Windows 7 launched. More significantly, he stated that enterprise customers (which is where potentially hundreds of millions more licenses will eventually come from) are starting to get in touch regarding upgrading all those billions of Windows XP PCs

Ballmer “bets the company” on Azure – Strategy – Business – News – iTnews.com.au
Ballmer “bets the company” on Azure

90 percent of Microsoft staff will be working on cloud systems by next year.

In a presentation given by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer yesterday, he said he was “betting the company” on Azure

“There will be three versions of our Windows Azure platform, the public one, an [on-premise] customer one, and a government one,” he said, but “it will take some time before governments are comfortable with data existing outside their jurisdiction.” Ballmer

Apple confirms Australia iPad release – Hardware – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Apple confirms Australia iPad release

Apple has this confirmed that Wi-Fi versions of the iPad will be available in the US from 3 April and in Australia from “late April”, according to the Apple Australia website.

ISP offers all-you-can-eat Google traffic – Networking – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
ISP offers all-you-can-eat Google traffic

ISP Cinenet has begun offering its business customers all-you-can-eat Google traffic for a flat fee after signing a peering agreement with Pipe Networks.

Traffic from Google services accounts for up to 25 percent of the internet traffic of Cinenet’s screen industry customers, according to Cinenet managing director Tony Clark, particularly because their interest in video leads them to consume a lot of YouTube content.

Rather than have this traffic levied on a consumption basis, Cinenet is offering a deal whereby customers get all-you-can-eat access for a flat fee.

Cinenet is Australia’s only high-speed broadband data network created specifically for screen media industries

  • a range of options such as videoconferencing, video streaming, Voice over IP, transfer of film rushes and scans, and collaboration tools like cineSync; software which allows simultaneous viewing of footage in multiple locations.

Productions that have already put Cinenet to use include Terminator: Salvation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Happy Feet 2, The Harry Potter series, Batman Begins, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and many others.


Ballmer: Microsoft could still buy Twitter – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Ballmer: Microsoft could still buy Twitter

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer spoke yesterday about the importance of Twitter remaining an independent company, although he was careful to not rule out an acquisition.

He said that it is important for Microsoft to maintain a “great relationship and partnership” with Twitter, but was slightly more vague about buying the company outright.

Would they have that same credibility with the user community if they were captive? Not clear. And they want to be an independent company, which means we want to have a great partnership with them, and do a good job.”

Ballmer admitted to having an anonymous Twitter account that he uses to keep track of basketball scores.

Do Not Call Register about to expire – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Do Not Call Register about to expire People who listed their telephone numbers on the Do Not Call Register when it first launched are being reminded to re-register.

only valid for three years.

More than one million numbers were listed initially and there are now more than 4.3 million numbers on the register.

Telephone numbers can be registered by phoning 1300 792 958 or at the official web site at www.donotcall.gov.au.


BBC News – Insect that fights Japanese knotweed to be released
Insect that fights Japanese knotweed to be released

A tiny Japanese insect that could help the fight against an aggressive superweed has been given the go-ahead for a trial release in England.

Since Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK it has rapidly spread, and the plant currently costs over £150m a year to control and clear.

But scientists say a natural predator in the weed’s native home of Japan could also help to control it here.

The insect will initially be released in a handful of sites this spring.

This is the first time that biocontrol – the use of a “natural predator” to control a pest – has been used in the EU to fight a weed.

Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said: “These tiny insects, which naturally prey on Japanese Knotweed, will help free local authorities and industry from the huge cost of treating and killing this devastating plant.”

Alien invaders

Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians as an ornamental plant, but it soon escaped from gardens and began its rampant spread throughout the UK.

It grows incredibly quickly – more than one metre a month – and rapidly swamps any other vegetation in its path.

It is so hardy that it can burst through tarmac and concrete, causing costly damage to pavements, roads and buildings.

Japanese knotweed knocking down wall (Dick Shaw)

The superweed can halt building projects

But removal is difficult and expensive; new estimates suggest it costs the UK economy £150m a year.

However, in Japan, the plant is common but does not rage out of control like it does in the UK, thanks to the natural predators that keep it in check.

Scientists at Cabi – a not-for-profit agricultural research organisation – used this as their starting point to track down a potential knotweed solution.

Sony to launch 3D TVs in June, rivals Samsung

Sony Corp will launch 3D televisions in June, entering an increasingly crowded market that is betting the revolutionary TV will become the next hot product in the electronics industry.

Media |  Japan

The maker of Bravia flat TVs hopes 3D models to make up 10 percent of more than 25 million LCD TVs it aims to sell in the next financial year.

Sony’s Chief Executive Howard Stringer holds high hopes of a shift to 3D as it will likely give a boost to many of its business operations, which range from TVs, digital cameras and Blu-ray DVD players to video games.

“Sony is a formidable competitor to Samsung because it is leading the game industry. It will likely be ardent game players who will first buy 3D TVs as an early adopter,” said Alex Oh, an analyst at Hanwha Securities in Seoul.

“In that sense, Sony, which is envisioning a comprehensive entertainment company, will take advantage of its game business, contents and movies, compared with Samsung and LG which remain focused on hardwares.”

Behind industry leader Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Sony is vying with LG Electronics Inc for the position as the world’s No.2 flat TV maker. The maker of the PlayStation 3 game console plans to release 3D game software around June in time for TV launch.

Last month, Samsung started offering 3D TVs in South Korea and said it would launch them globally this month with the aim of selling at least 2 million 3D TVs this year.

Panasonic Corp, the fourth-largest, plans to launch its 3D TVs in the United States on Wednesday and says it will cooperate with top U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co in promoting them.

Many TV makers hope the new technology will be as big a boost for the industry as the transition to color TVs from black and white.

However, some analysts noted many consumers have only just unboxed new high-definition TV screens, making them unwilling to spend on another upgrade any time soon.


Sony will begin selling 3D TVs in Japan on June 10 and plans to launch in the overseas market around the same time.

The electronics and entertainment conglomerate expects a model with a 46-inch screen to sell for 350,000 yen ($3,875) including two pairs of 3D glasses, a 52-percent premium over its latest regular LCD TV with a comparable screen size.

Following the midday announcement in Tokyo, shares of Sony extended recent gains and ended up 1.1 percent at 3,330 yen, a 17-month closing high. The benchmark Nikkei average fell 0.2 percent.

Sony shares have been on an uptrend in recent weeks after its TV operations posted a quarterly profit for the first time in two years in October-December, raising hopes the business could book a first annual profit in seven years in the new year from April.

The more than 25 million LCD TVs Sony aims to sell in the next financial year compared with its own forecast of 15 million it plans to sell in the financial year ending this month.

“We at Sony will liberate 3D from the confines of movie theatres and make it something that people can enjoy at home,” Sony Senior Vice President Yoshihisa Ishida told a news conference.

The sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” and other recent titles have sparked massive interest in 3D movies, and electronics makers are now rushing to get flat panel TVs with three-dimensional visual effects to the market.

Global demand for 3D TVs will likely reach 15.6 million units in 2013 from an estimated 1.2 million units this year, according to research firm DisplaySearch.

Lender putting www.sex.com domain on auction block

Sex.com, often touted as one of the most valuable Internet domain names, is due to head to the auction block next week.

Technology |  Deals

DOM Partners LLC, a New Jersey lender that backed a 2006 purchase of the domain name for a reported $14 million, is foreclosing on the Internet property, and is due to auction it on March 18 at New York law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP, according to legal notices.

Bidding for the Internet property, the tumultuous past of which includes several lawsuits and two books, is due to start at $1 million.

The auctions of simple domain names are seen as rare opportunities for Internet entrepreneurs.

An auction for the www.pizza.com domain name in 2008 attracted bids above $2.5 million.

But if it is true that sex sells, sex.com may be the most valuable domain name in the world. At one point, the website was making at least $15,000 per day, according to a 2008 book, The Sex.com Chronicles, by attorney Charles Carreon who has represented a former owner of the site.

In January 2006, Escom LLC acquired the domain name from Gary Kremen, founder of dating website Match.com and chief executive of Grant Media. Kremen registered the sex.com domain name in 1994.

Panasonic ties with Best Buy for 3D TV promotion

Panasonic Corp will launch its 3D televisions in the United States on Wednesday, and work with top U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy Co to promote the products, the Japanese electronics maker said.


The maker of Viera flat-panel TVs said it expects a 50-inch model to retail for $2,500, and aims to sell 500,000 3D TVs in the United States in the first year of their launch, half its annual global sales target.

Under the joint promotion, Best Buy will set up special sections at its retail outlets, where prospective customers can try out Panasonic’s 3D TVs.

Panasonic, the world’s No.4 flat TV maker behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and Sony Corp, holds high hopes for 3D TVs as it aims to turn its TV business profitable in the year starting April.

The sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar” and other recent titles have sparked massive interest in 3D movies, raising TV makers’ hopes for a strong debut of 3D models.

Shares in Panasonic closed up 2.8 percent at 1,307 yen on Monday, outperforming the Tokyo stock market’s electrical machinery index, which gained 2.1 percent.

Four in five believe Web access a fundamental right

Four in five adults believe access to the Internet is a fundamental right — with those feelings particularly strong in South Korea and China — and half believe it should never be regulated, according to a global survey.

Technology |  Media

A poll of 27,000 adults in 26 countries for the BBC World Service showed 78 percent of Internet users believed the Web gave them greater freedom, while nine in 10 said it was a good place to learn.

Respondents in the United States were above the average in believing the Internet was a source for greater freedom and they were also more confident than most in expressing their opinions online.

However, others felt concern about spending time online, with 65 percent of respondents in Japan saying they did not feel they could express their opinions safely online, a sentiment that was also felt in South Korea, France, Germany and China.

The issue of Internet freedoms hit the headlines earlier this year after the world’s largest search engine Google Inc threatened to quit China, the world’s biggest Internet market, over strict censorship rules.

Of the 27,000 surveyed, more than half agreed that the “Internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere.”

That belief was particularly strong in South Korea, Nigeria and Mexico while residents in Pakistan, Turkey and China were the least likely to agree, with only 12 percent, 13 percent and 16 percent respectively strongly agreeing.

Google launched its China search site in 2006, and complies with local laws requiring censorship of certain content such as pornography and sensitive subjects such as the banned Fulun Gong spiritual movement and Tibetan independence.

Other international groups such as Microsoft and local players including China’s search leader Baidu must also comply with those laws.

“Despite worries about privacy and fraud, people around the world see access to the Internet as their fundamental right,” said Doug Miller, the chairman of GlobeScan which conducted the survey. “They think the Web is a force for good, and most don’t want governments to regulate it.”

Over 70 percent of respondents in Japan, Mexico and Russia said they could not live without the Internet.

Almost 50 percent of those who used the Internet said they most valued the ability to find information. Over 30 percent valued the ability to interact and communicate with others while 12 percent saw it as a source for entertainment.

Of the areas of concern, the poll found that fraud was the greatest worry, ahead of violent and explicit content and threats to privacy.

China to punish hackers, says no Google complaint

China has pledged to punish hackers who attacked Google if there is evidence to prove it, but said it has yet to receive any complaint from the world’s top search engine.

Technology |  Media

Google sent shockwaves across business and political circles in January when it declared it would stop censoring Chinese search results, and threatened to pull out of China — the world’s largest online community with 384 million users at the end of last year — over hacking and censorship concerns.

Google had never filed a report to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology over the cyber attacks or sought negotiations, Vice Minister Miao Wei was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua late on Saturday.

“If Google has had evidence that the attacks came from China, the Chinese government will welcome them to provide the information and will severely punish the offenders according to the law,” Miao said.

“We never support hacking attacks because China also falls victim to hacking attacks,” he said.

Google also never informed the ministry that it was planning to withdraw from China, Miao added, speaking on the sidelines of the annual session of parliament.

“If Google decides to continue its business in China and abides by China’s laws, it’s welcome to stay,” he said, vowing to continue providing a sound investment environment for foreign investors and protect their legitimate rights.

“If the company chooses to withdraw from the Chinese market, it must go through certain procedures according to the law and regulations and deal with customers’ problems that may arise.”

A Google spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Last Friday Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong said China was in consultations with Google to resolve the issue. Li did not elaborate.

The dispute about Internet censorship has added to tensions over issues ranging from trade and the Chinese currency, to U.S. arms sale to self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and a recent meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The hacking issue made headlines again in late February after reports in the Western media that the attacks had been traced to two schools in China, and the writer of the spyware used had been identified as a Chinese security consultant in his 30s with government links.

The Chinese government has denied Google’s accusation that the hackers were based in China, calling the claim “groundless.

Google takes aim at Microsoft with acquisition

Google Inc stepped up its assault on Microsoft Corp’s productivity software business with the acquisition of a small start-up company that allows Microsoft users to edit and share their documents on the Web.

Technology |  Deals

Google said on its company blog on Friday that it has acquired San Francisco-based DocVerse. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With DocVerse, people can begin to experience some of the benefits of Web-based collaboration using the traditional Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint desktop applications,” Google Product Manager Jonathan Rochelle said in the blog post.

The deal represents the latest move in the competition between Google, the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine, and Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker.

Microsoft has boosted investment in its Bing search engine during the past year, while Google is developing a PC operating system dubbed Chrome OS that will compete with Microsoft Windows, the software used in the vast majority of the world’s PCs.

Google is also trying to lure users to its Web-based productivity software, known as Google Docs, which competes with Microsoft’s dominant Office software package.

In an interview with Reuters, Google’s Rochelle said that DocVerse software makes it easier for users and businesses to move their existing desktop PC documents to the Internet “cloud,” where the documents reside on the Web and can be accessed from any PC.

Google “fell in love with what they were doing to make that transition easier,” Rochelle said of DocVerse.

Microsoft’s business division, which makes Office, is the most profitable unit of the company, generating more than $12 billion in profit last fiscal year, more than half Microsoft’s $20.4 billion overall profit.

Microsoft said in an emailed statement that Google’s acquisition of DocVerse acknowledges that customers want to use and collaborate with Microsoft Office documents. “Furthermore, it reinforces that customers are embracing Microsoft’s long-state strategy of software plus services, which combines rich client software with cloud services.”

The DocVerse deal is Google’s second acquisition announcement this week, and marks the company’s fourth acquisition in less than four weeks.

San Francisco-based DocVerse was founded in 2007 by a pair of former Microsoft managers. The company has less than 20 employees, according to co-founder Shan Sinha and had raised nearly $1.5 million in funding prior to the Google deal.

According to a report in the AllThingsDigital blog, citing unnamed sources, the price of the deal was between $25 million and $30 million.

FBI director warns of growing cyber threat

Militant groups, foreign states and criminal organizations pose a growing threat to U.S. security as they target government and private computer networks, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Thursday.

U.S. |  Technology |  Media

In a speech to an Internet security conference, Mueller said militant groups like al Qaeda had primarily used the Internet to recruit members and plan attacks, but had made clear they also see it as a target.

“Terrorists have shown a clear interest in pursuing hacking skills and they will either train their own recruits or hire outsiders with an eye toward combining physical attacks with cyber attacks,” Mueller said.

He noted a cyberattack could have the same impact as a “well-placed bomb.”

Mueller added that some foreign governments, which he did not identify, also posed a threat by seeking to use the Internet for espionage.

“Apart from the terrorist threat, nation-states may use the Internet as a means of attack for political ends,” he said.

“Nation-state hackers or mercenaries for hire” as well as rogue hackers or international criminal syndicates are targeting government networks, Mueller added.

“They seek our technology, our intelligence, our intellectual property, even our military weapons and strategies.”

The comments came in the wake of several international Internet security incidents.

In January, Google Inc, the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine, said it had detected a sophisticated online attack on its systems that originated in China and said it believed at least 20 other companies had been targeted.

According to Google, one of the primary goals of the attacks was accessing the personal e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Earlier this week, Spanish police arrested three men accused of masterminding one of the largest computer crimes to date, in which more than 13 million PCs were infected with a virus that stole credit card numbers and data.

Mueller said international cooperation was essential to combating online crime like the so-called Mariposa botnet incident in Spain. He added the FBI had 60 “attache” offices around the world as well as special agents embedded with police forces in countries such as Romania, Estonia and the Netherlands.

He urged businesses targeted in cyberattacks to come forward to help track down the perpetrators, saying the FBI was attuned to the delicate nature of the situation for corporations.

“We will minimize the disruption to your business, we will safeguard your privacy and your data and where necessary we will seek protective orders to preserve trade secrets and business confidentiality,” he said.

Internet too ‘unaffordable’ says Queen | Technology | BigPond News
Internet too ‘unaffordable’ says Queen

The Internet remains an ‘unaffordable option’ for too many people across the globe, the Queen said on Monday in her annual Commonwealth Day message.

The British monarch praised advances in science and technology for improving lives, but said too many people were left out of the benefits offered by advances in modern telecommunications.

‘Experimentation, research and innovation mean that more opportunities for improving people’s lives exist today than ever before,’ the head of the Commonwealth said.

‘Take long distance communication, where the obstacles of time and geography have been dramatically reduced.

‘People can now use mobile phones to be in instant contact virtually anywhere in the world, be it with a medical centre in the Himalayan mountains in Asia, a Pacific island school, a research facility at the South Pole, or even the International Space Station, beyond this planet altogether.

‘Advances in modern telecommunications are also having a marked economic effect on people from developing nations in the Commonwealth, helping to transform small to medium-sized businesses.’

But the sovereign stressed: ‘The Internet is playing an important part in helping to nurture these fledgling markets but, as yet, it still remains an unaffordable option for too many of our Commonwealth citizens.’

Established in 1926 and reformed in 1949, the Commonwealth of Nations is a successor to the British Empire and brings together some 54 widely diverse states — around a third of the world’s countries and a quarter of its population.

Commonwealth Day celebrations in London were to include a service at Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen, her husband Prince Philip and other senior royals.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame will be among the guests. Rwanda was admitted to the organisation last year.

Former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara and former English Premier League footballer Dwight Yorke, also from Trinidad and Tobago, were to host a sports clinic in south London.

They will be present at an evening reception along with the Queen.

CCTV technology to detect behaviour

CCTV companies have been inundated with requests at the International Security and National Resilience (ISNR) exhibition in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.

Following the assistance of surveillance footage in a top Hamas official’s murder investigation in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai, it seems the demand for CCTV software has risen.

One company in particular says its software will soon be able to prevent negative situations from happening because it will detect specific forms of human behaviour.

Chief Executive of CCTV software company IOmniscient Rustom Kanga says it is possible to programme CCTV software to detect suspicious behaviour.

‘If as a human you could analyse a particular behaviour and say ‘this person is going to do something because of what I can see’, then we can programme that into the system and you can recognise that particular behaviour.’

Currently airports and buildings all over the world use IOmniscient software, including Dubai Mall in the UAE, railway tracks in China, Kuala Lumpur Airport, and the airport in Mexico City.

Mr Kanga has said their technology works at a higher level than normal CCTV systems.

‘We have some unique artificial intelligence technologies that allow us to work in crowded scenes.

For example, if someone left a bag in a nice empty location, you would be able to pick that up with many of the systems available in the market. But if the bag was in the middle of the airport and a thousand people walked in front of it, then you would need our system to find it for you.’

Mr Kanga added that many customers sought their software after an unfortunate incident forced them to recognise tighter security was an issue.

‘I think in many instances, after the attacks in Spain and London and in India, we have been able to provide customers with systems that would have been particularly useful to them before their unfortunate events.’

It is believed approximately 25 million CCTV cameras are currently in use around the world.

Apple iPad Australian launch date

Apple’s iPad will be available for purchase across Australia in late April, just a couple of weeks after its launch in the United States.

The timing is slightly later than predicted as Apple earlier announced it would be for sale worldwide in late March.

Instead, the iPad Wi-Fi models will be released in the US on April 3, with the Wi-Fi 3G models slated for a late April release.

While there is no exact release date for the rest of the world, Apple has said Australia, along with Canada and much of Europe, will be able to buy the iPad in late April.

Australian prices are yet to be announced, but US customers can pre-order an i-Pad at Apple’s online store for $US 499.00 ($A 549.33).

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