Episode 181

posted in: Show Notes


Google moves China search to Hong Kong – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Google moves China search to Hong Kong

Google has announced that it will be moving its Chinese language search operations to Hong Kong.

The company said that all Chinese-simplified language searches will be rerouted from Google.cn to the Google.com.hk domain. Google warned that the increased traffic may temporarily slow down the Hong Kong servers

The debate over censorship came to a head earlier this year when Google revealed that its servers had been attacked by individuals believed to be working with China’s government. Additionally, the company said that authorities had been breaking into the Gmail accounts of human rights activists.

Windows systems downed by dodgy Bitdefender update – Security – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Windows systems downed by dodgy Bitdefender update

The problem stemmed from an update that was uploaded too soon on BitDefender’s servers, and it meant that multiple files were flagged as Trojan malware, when in fact they were completely safe.

It affected products running on Windows 64-bit systems, namely some home users, business users and people running Windows file server software.

Some Bitdefender and Windows files were detected as Trojan.FakeAlert5 and moved to quarantine.

Due to these exe, dll and other binary files having been quarantined, problems occured such as Bitdefender not running, apps not working or even Windows not starting.

It also affected users of security software Bullguard, which uses a Bitdefender anti-virus engine, and it received the same problematic updates

R18+ fearing SA Attorney General Atkinson to quit
R18+ fearing SA Attorney General Atkinson to quit

SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson

has for some time stood in the way of lobbying efforts by the video game industry and gamers themselves to create an R18+ classification for games in Australia. In addition, he has faced criticism over his defence of legislation requiring online political comment during state elections to be accompanied by personal details.

The Federal Government is currently considering more than 55,000 submissions to a discussion paper about whether it should implement a R18+ rating category for video games, with the majority of those expected to have come from EB Games customers in support of such a scheme.

However, there must be unanimous agreement between the respective ministers in the Commonwealth, state and territorial governments before the National Classification Code can be modified.

Serve Steve Jobs’ head up on a platter!

a fan boy to celebrate the launch of the iPad by carving Steve Jobs’ head out of cheese and serving it on a platter of iPad Thai

full recipe http://www.thecooksden.com/steve-jobs-cheese-head/

Success for hypersonic outback flight – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Success for hypersonic outback flight

Australian and United States defence scientists have successfully tested a hypersonic rocket.

It soared through the atmosphere at more than 5,000 kilometres per hour after taking off from the Woomera Test Range in outback South Australia.


Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet said it was a significant scientific milestone.

“Hypersonic flight has the potential to revolutionise global air travel and provide cost-effective access to space,” he said.

There are hopes the international study could achieve such breakthroughs as making Sydney to London a two-hour flight.


Hypersonic refers to any speed greater than five times the speed of sound, or Mach-5.

The speed of sound, Mach-1, is 1,225 kilometres per hour at sea level, but changes with temperature and altitude, so Mach numbers are used instead of specific speeds.

The HIFiRE vehicle is an unmanned rocket.

Maiden flight for Branson’s SpaceShipTwo – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Maiden flight for Branson’s SpaceShipTwo “Virgin Galactic announced that its commercial manned spaceship, VSS Enterprise, this morning successfully completed its first ‘captive carry’ test flight, taking off at 7:05am from Mojave Air and Space Port, California,” the company said in a statement

In the future, WK2 will carry SpaceshipTwo to an altitude of around 50,000 feet (16 kilometres) before dropping the smaller spaceship and allowing it to fire up its rocket motor to launch into space.

The two craft did not separate on Monday’s test flight, which lasted just a few minutes.

The test flight was carried out 130km north-east of Los Angeles.

It hopes to start test flights in 2010-2011, with tourists able to pay $US200,000 per person.

Virgin Galactic has already collected $US45 million in paid deposits from more than 330 people who have reserved seats aboard the six-person craft.


TuneUp | Digital Music Management and Music Discovery for iTunes

Fix Your Music on iTunes.

PicardDownload – MusicBrainz

Telstra clears major barrier

TELSTRA has cleared a major barrier preventing it from competing with rivals to sell rapidly commoditising broadband services.

Technical problems had kept its fixed-line prices frozen during a difficult phase of its IT transformation, but chief information officer John McInerny said he believed the carrier had overcome them.

Telstra chief David Thodey revealed the problem at the company’s annual general meeting in November, when the carrier was criticised for setting its prices well above those of its competitors.

“For 12 months we have been unable to put new prices in the market due to the transformation,” Mr Thodey said.

Mr McInerny gave assurances last week that the problem had been overcome and he said transformation was not a factor in pricing.

His comments were backed by acting chief operating officer Michael Rocca.

lectric cars key to hitting carbon reduction targets

THE internal combustion engine must be off our roads by 2050 if Australia has any chance of meeting Kevin Rudd’s greenhouse reduction target.

Only electric cars, using power generated from renewable sources or fossil fuels where the carbon is captured and stored, can drive the nation to a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse emissions within 40 years, a new report finds.

The study by technology group Siemens predicts one in five vehicles will be electric by 2030, with the electricity generated from renewable sources.

Siemens energy expert Michael Bielinski said yesterday at the launch of the Picture the Future report in Melbourne: “Hybrid cars won’t be sufficient to meet the greenhouse gas targets that have been set. By 2050 our entire road transport fleet must be electric. It’s the only way to meet the target.”

Mr Bielinski said a 2008 Treasury report on Australia’s low pollution future proposed meeting the Rudd government’s 2050 targets half through efficiency measures and half by buying greenhouse credits from overseas at a cost of $29 billion.

The Siemens report instead calls for a $60bn investment by government and the private sector into renewable and low-carbon technologies such as wind, solar and gas-fired facilities to meet the Rudd government’s 2020 greenhouse target of a 5 per cent reduction and set the foundation for 2050. Although electricity costs would rise by 30 per cent up to 2020 as a result, the efficiency savings would see households using 30 per cent less power, meaning no net increase on the average bill.

Siemens chief executive Albert Goller said coal and oil companies were prepared to adapt to future changes.

“You would not believe how intensive they are and involved in sustainability and they want to look for alternatives,” Mr Goller said.

The Siemens report also calls for a $23bn investment in water infrastructure technology over the coming decade, with a focus on desalination, to secure urban water supplies and give farmers enough to make their industry sustainable.

By 2020 almost 50 per cent of urban domestic water will be supplied from desalination plants, the report finds. Better use of stormwater is also a key to water security, it says, through investment in capture and storage technologies.

But these costs will be defrayed by higher prices, with urban water prices expected to double or even treble by 2030, the report says.

BBC News – Internet threatens rare species, conservationists warn
Internet threatens rare species, conservationists warn

Conservationists say the internet has emerged as one of the biggest threats to endangered species.

Campaigners say it is easier than ever before to buy and sell anything from live baby lions to polar bear pelts on online auction sites and chatrooms.

The findings were presented at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which is meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Several proposals to give endangered species more protection were defeated.

Delegates will vote on changes to the trade in ivory later this week.

Web effect

“The internet is becoming the dominant factor overall in the global trade in protected species,” said Paul Todd of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

He said thousands of endangered species are regularly traded on the internet, as buyers and sellers take advantage of the anonymity – and vast global market – the world wide web can offer.

Those trying to police illegal sales say the size of problem is almost impossible to estimate. They say the US is the biggest market, but that Europe, China, Russia and Australia also play a large part.

On Sunday, delegates voted to ban all international trade in a rare type of Iranian salamander, the Kaiser’s Spotted Newt, which the World Wildlife Fund says has been devastated by the internet trade.

However, more high-profile attempts to ban trade in polar bears, bluefin tuna and rare corals have all failed, leaving environmental activists dismayed, the BBC’s Stephanie Hancock reports from Doha.

A proposal from the US and Sweden to regulate the trade in red and pink coral – which is crafted into expensive jewellery and sold extensively on the web – was defeated.

Delegates voted the idea down mostly over concerns the increased regulations might impact poor fishing communities.

Senators form Internet freedom caucus

Several senators have formed a caucus to promote online freedom in Iran, China and other countries as the Obama administration pushes for greater access to an unfettered Internet.


Ted Kaufman, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sam Brownback, a Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, will co-chair the Senate Global Internet Freedom Caucus, a Kaufman aide said on Monday.

The caucus, which also will include Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, and Democrats Dick Durbin and Bob Casey, plans to discuss its mission at a briefing on Wednesday.

Republicans John McCain and Mike Johanns have also joined the group.

The Senate action comes as speculation swirls that Google Inc will soon announce a decision to pull out of China, or at least shut down its Chinese search engine.

Google has not formally unveiled any such plans.

Last year Kaufman, Brownback and two others wrote legislation aimed at authorizing funds for the development of technologies to help people in Iran to circumvent Internet restrictions.

The move also comes two weeks after the Treasury Department said it will allow U.S. technology companies to export chat and social media software to Iran and other countries with the hope it will help their citizens communicate with the outside world.

Bosses call for reading and writing courses to lift workforce skills

BUSINESS has called for literacy and numeracy to be taught in vocational education courses because nearly half the nation’s workers lack the basic reading and maths skills to function in the workplace.

The Australian Industry Group in its pre-budget submission has called on the Rudd government to establish a feasibility study on creating a “literacy entitlement” for all students enrolled in VET courses, to tackle a crisis in reading and writing skills in the workforce.

AiGroup chief executive Heather Ridout cited OECD research showing 46 per cent of the workforce did not have “the level of prose literacy and numeracy to participate fully in the workforce”. This meant they could not read well enough to follow a work operating manual, “which involves a whole lot of costs to individuals and business”.

In its submission, the AiGroup predicts the economic recovery will be gradual this year and the economy will not return to trend growth until well into next year; it says the federal government will have to balance withdrawing the economic stimulus with growth prospects. It calls for:

lContentious changes to research and development allowances to be wound back;

lPayments from the climate action fund, which has been frozen while the government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme bill is blocked in the Senate, to help business cope with action on climate change; and

lFor more education on the industrial relations changes, because of widespread confusion about the new laws.

The submission says the opportunities presented by the expected growth in demand for minerals and commodities must be balanced with increasing productivity in the non-mining sectors of the economy.

On research and development concessions, the AiGroup says current government plans to restrict the definition of eligible R&D will undermine existing programs and the investment in existing programs.

It warns that business is facing “huge challenges” in understanding and implementing the government’s new Fair Work industrial relations system, including new bargaining laws, unfair dismissal laws, national employment standards and modern awards.

It calls for employer educational programs to help business cope with impending paid maternity leave, and says the government should include funding for the scheme in the May budget.

On climate change, it says the government’s Climate Action Fund should be activated despite the CPRS being blocked by the opposition in the Senate.

More than a quarter of businesses have yet to implement effective strategies to measure their carbon output, and 15 per cent have no plans to reduce their emissions.

Ms Ridout said one of the big issues confronting business was the lack of literacy and numeracy skills in the workplace.

“There is certainly a huge element of those aged between 19 and 65 who have very poor literacy skills,” she said.

“It’s pretty basic, and at the moment almost half the workforce can’t do that.

“This creates safety issues, operating issues, waste and machinery damaged.”

As the skills level of jobs intensified, it was vital that people be given access to improving their literacy and numeracy if they were going to participate in the workforce, she said.

“Giving people the option to lift their literacy skills — it is a really big issue for Australia.”

3D haptics to help surgeons feel the cutting edge

AUSTRALIAN researchers are developing a universal simulator to bring a realistic sense of touch to simulations for medical procedures, defence and policing.

The simulator is based on force feedback technology, or haptics, which in its simplest form is used in arcade games to give players a sense of touch — such as feeling the forces when going into a corner in a driving game.

Deakin University robotics engineer James Mullins has been developing the technology with the goal to make a simulation so close to the real thing that it can be used for training purposes.

Haptics “is very processor intensive for developing programs, so we’re just starting to get computers fast enough to simulate stuff that makes it usable, he said.

Dr Mullins and his colleagues at Deakin’s Centre for Intelligent Systems Research have developed a 3D-input device that allows a user to feel virtual objects or remote objects for tasks such as tele-surgery.

Nintendo to launch 3D-capable DS in 2010/11

Nintendo Co Ltd plans to launch a new model of its DS handheld game gear that allows users to play three-dimensional (3D) games without using special glasses.


The Japanese firm said the new portable player will be able to play titles created for previous DS models and will be launched in the financial year starting in April.

Nintendo, which competes with Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp in video games, declined to give details such as price and launch dates, but said more information will be announced at the E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles in June.

Sony plans to release 3D titles for its PlayStation 3 game console in time for the planned release of its 3D TVs in June. That game console can be upgraded to become 3D-capable using a software update.

Ahead of the announcement, shares in Nintendo closed up 0.3 percent at 27,970 yen, outperforming the Nikkei average, which slid 0.5 percent.

Conroy’s filter plan unworkable, says Google Australia

FRESH from halting censorship of search results in China, internet giant Google says Australia’s mandatory ISP filter is both unworkable and unwanted by parents.

The federal government plan will force ISPs to filter web pages that contain refused classification-rated content based on a government blacklist.

Labor senator Kate Lundy, Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam and a host of privacy advocates and child groups say they prefer an opt-in version of the filter.

Google was one of 174 submissions received by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, which had called for public feedback on transparency and accountability measures for the refused-classification list.

TV and Internet use together growing

Americans are spending more time watching television and surfing the Internet simultaneously, and nearly 60 percent of TV viewers use the Web at the same time at least once a month, according to a Nielsen report released on Monday.

Entertainment |  Technology |  Television |  Media

The Nielsen Three Screen Report said the findings in its study belied early concerns that the growing popularity of the Web would kill off traditional TV.

“The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different,” said Nielsen Co media product leader Matt O’Grady.

The report for 2009’s fourth quarter, which tracked viewing across TV, the Internet and mobile phones, found a 35 percent rise in the amount of time Americans used the TV and Internet simultaneously compared with the same quarter in 2008.

It found Americans now spend 3.5 hours per month watching TV while on the Internet.

Active mobile video users grew by 57 percent over the year to 17.6 million from 11.2 million people, with much of the increase attributed to the growth of smartphones.

The report found that Americans now watch about 35 hours of TV per week and two hours of time-shifted TV via video recorders (DVR), with 25 to 34-year-olds making more use of time-shifting than any other age group.

DVRs are now found in 35 percent of American households, the report said.

O’Grady said America’s love affair with TV looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

“We seem to have an almost insatiable appetite for media, with online and mobile programing only adding to it,” he said.

BBC News – Germany warns against use of Firefox browser
Germany warns against use of Firefox browser

The German government has issued a warning about using the Firefox browser because of security issues.

The Federal Office for Information Security made a similar ruling on the safety of Internet Explorer in January.

The office warned that the Firefox vulnerability, confirmed by Firefox makers, could allow hackers to run malicious programs on users’ computers.

A new browser release at the end of the month will fix the bug which relates to the current version, Firefox 3.6.

A “beta” or test version of that release, Firefox 3.6.2, is already available but has not yet been fully tested.

The BergerCERT team of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has recommended that users stop using Firefox until the tested fix is released – in a move remarkably similar to the January announcement, in which France followed suit just days later.

Fox swap?

The Firefox vulnerability was confirmed by maker Mozilla last week on its security blog, when it promised that the next official release would address the issue.

It is only the current version that is affected, but given that prior releases have different vulnerabilities, reverting to an older version of the browser is ill-advised.

Switching to a different browser may not be a good solution either, said Graham Cluley, senior technologist at security firm Sophos.

“Switching your web browser willy-nilly as each new unpatched security hole is revealed could cause more problems than it’s worth,” he said.

“What are you going to do when your replacement browser itself turns out to contain a vulnerability?

“My advice is to only switch from Firefox if you really know what you are doing with the browser you’re swapping to. If you stick with Firefox, apply the security update as soon as it’s available.”

Mozilla said it hopes to have the latest version ready ahead of the official 30 March release date.

“Last week we informed our users that the upcoming security release of Firefox 3.6.2 would include a fix for an exploit that was disclosed to us just over a week ago,” said a Mozilla spokesperson.

“Mozilla is aware of the BergerCERT recommendation to avoid using Firefox 3.6, and encourage users to download the beta version of Firefox 3.6.2.”

BBC News – US calls for ‘YouTube’ of government data
US calls for ‘YouTube’ of government data

The US technology chief has called on developers to build the “YouTube” of government data.

Vivek Kundra told the BBC that he envisaged a world where anyone could “slice and dice” government information and share their results.

Mr Kundra is in charge of the US data.gov website, which gives citizens access to reams of official statistics.

People can use the data to create mashups and web applications to reveal new patterns and carry out analysis.

“Imagine a world where you have a YouTube for data where anyone of us could slice and dice this data and share it with our family, friends and policymakers”, he said.

He envisaged that the tool would allow anyone to explore data and see whether it was relevant to them at a local, national or global scale.

Labor divided on internet filtering plan

THE mandatory ISP internet filtering scheme is fast becoming a political liability for the government, with divisions in caucus becoming apparent.

Labor senator Kate Lundy has publicly called for an opt-in mechanism instead of making ISP filtering compulsory.

The Greens describe the scheme, based on a blacklist of sites refused classification, as a misdirection of effort and resources, while opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce says he is not convinced the filters will work.

A rising tide of opposition in the Labor caucus is said to be a major reason why Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has delayed introducing legislation to force internet service providers to automatically sift out web pages on the blacklist.

The government says it must consider submissions on “transparency and accountability processes” before the bill can be introduced.

Apple Magic Mouse

The same Multi-Touch technology first introduced on the revolutionary iPhone comes to the mouse. It’s called Magic Mouse, and it’s the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse. Click anywhere, scroll in any direction and swipe through images on its smooth, seamless top shell. It works wirelessly, using Bluetooth, so you don’t have to worry about cables or adaptors cluttering up your work space. And built-in software lets you configure Magic Mouse any way that you want.

Learn more


PlayStation®3 : Gaming : Sony Australia

Nintendo’s oversized DSi XL heading to the US on March 28th for $190 (update: video) — Engadget

Nintendo’s oversized DSi XL heading to the US on March 28th for $190 (update: video)

Nintendo just announced that its new DSi XL (known and sold as the DSi LL in Japan) will be hitting North America on March 28th, and will retail for $190. In exchange for a couple mm of extra thickness and a significantly larger footprint the XL pairs two 4.2-inch LCDs for a jumbo-sized look at your well worn, oft-rehashed DS catalog. The unit will retail in Burgundy and Bronze flavors at launch, preloaded with two DSiWare Brain Age games, Photo Clock, Flipnote Studio and the DSi Browser. Unconvinced? Check out the teardown of the LL edition right here while you wait your turn to consume this American style. Feeling left out in Europe? Don’t, because you guys are getting the XL on March 5th. PR is after the break.

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