Episode 182

posted in: Show Notes


TV sport rules to cover web

 COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy says the anti-siphoning rules governing sports broadcasting are likely to be extended to cover the web, and has flagged a review of the regulations once the switch-over to digital TV is completed.

Senator Conroy yesterday indicated that internet protocol TV players such as Telstra’s Bigpond and FetchTV would have their ability to bid for sport restricted by the anti-siphoning list “to ensure that Australians get to see free-to-air sport”.

Canberra will shortly release a new version of the anti-siphoning list, covering sports such as AFL, rugby league and some international cricket, that the government believes should be available on free-to-air TV.

Media companies are lobbying for modifications to the new list, which is expected to continue to restrict pay-TV operator Foxtel’s access to the most popular sporting events.

Domain bid war about to break out: domain name scheme

 Unlike the current scheme, under which a string of characters appears before the dot in an internet address, gTLDs appear after the dot — for example, .qantas, .holiday or .woolworths.

Those interested in acquiring a gTLD must first part with a non-refundable $US185,000 ($202,000) application fee, so the exercise was not for the faint-hearted, Mr Kinderis said.

Successful parties could keep their gTLDs indefinitely on 10-year renewal cycles, he said.

the example of .film, he said he expected a fierce bidding war to erupt, which could eventually cost tens of millions of dollars.

Lady Gaga first artist with one billion online video views

 Video analytics company Visible Measures
curates a list of video called the “100 Million Club.”

It includes all the web videos that have exceeded 100 million views. Lady Gaga has long been a staple of the chart, but now she’s essentially in a club all her own: She’s the first franchise to reach one billion views.

Gaga’s music videos hold three spots in the 65-video 100 Million Club – one for “Poker Face” (374,606,128), one for “Just Dance” (272,941,674) and one for “Bad Romance” (360,020,327). Add them up and you get just over one billion views. She won’t occupy the club alone for long, though; the Twilight saga is close behind with 980 million and Soulja Boy is at 860 million.

Conroy announces end to Australian filter plan madness


In a stunning turnaround, Australia’s Minister for Censorship, Senator Stephen Conroy, has just announced that his nefarious plan to erect a great firewall of Australia has been abandoned, with the Minister announcing he is “finally listening to the people that voted us into office” and has issued an apology to all Australians.

Extreme outage for Internode’s Adelaide subscribers – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Extreme outage for Internode’s Adelaide subscribers

 A “complex technical problem” with Internode’s DSLAMs yesterday caused a 22-hour broadband outage for some customers in Adelaide

Spoof website mocks new $150m Tourism Australia campaign There’s nothing like Australia


The unknown creator has registered a website, www.nothinglikeaustralia.net for the next year.

The Irwin spoof features an infamous photo of the eco-warrior dangling his baby son Bob in front of a crocodile and the tagline “There’s nothing like taking your son to work.”

The Chamberlain image shows her with her daughter Azaria and the line: “There’s nothing like a dingo taking your baby.”

And the Cronulla picture, showing a mob bashing a man, runs with the slogan: “There’s nothing like welcoming your mates.”

TA had tried to avoid such a brandjacking by buying up domain names similar to the tagline, but failed to register the nothinglikeaustralia.net address.

K9 Official – Home – www.k9official.com


K9 will begin airing on the Ten network in Australia on April 3rd at 9.30am.

26 epsiodes

New Series of Doctor Who starts this weekend in Britain and April 18 on the ABC.

iTunes update ready for iPad


myspace hit counters

iTunes 9.1, available through Software Update or direct download today, adds features to get it ready for use with an iPad.

From the Dialog Box:  Sync with iPad your favourite music, movies, TV shows books and more on the go.

Other updates to Leopard this week Aiport-Quicktime-iphoto-imovie-and security settings

updates totalling over 300MB – so its a biggun

ATO tackles cash economy with data matching – Finance – Business – News – iTnews.com.au
ATO tackles cash economy with data matching


The Australian Tax Office has commenced a data-matching project to identify tradespeople who operate in the cash economy.

The project targets plastering businesses that have done work “off the books” in order to avoid being taxed on their earnings.

It involves credit card and EFTPOS sales data from banks, and details of all plasterboard and cornice sales from suppliers.

Using an electronic process that has been in place for more than 15 years, data is matched with ATO corporate data to link transactions with the relevant taxpayer.

Matches are then assigned a level of confidence, and only high confidence matches continue to be automatically processed.

Businesses that have purchased greater quantities of plasterboard than is compatible with their reported income … [or] that appear to have purchased less than their reported income may be subject to further scrutiny.”

“Electronic data matching has proven to be extremely cost effective when compared with manual practices,

Last financial year, the ATO processed more than 500 million third party data transactions using its corporate identity matching software

Spy shots: Office 2011 for Mac revealed
Office 2011 for Mac revealed


Office 2010 for Windows hits RTM this month and the revamped Office 2011 for Mac will follow.

Would you pay $1.50 per day to read a newspaper online?
$1.50 per day to read a newspaper online?

 Popular UK publications The Times and The Sunday Times are set to start charging readers to use their respective Web sites.

Initial prices are reported to be £1 (A$1.65) per day, or a far more compelling £2 (A$3.30) for a week’s subscription – the same prices as charged for a single edition of The Times and The Sunday Times, respectively.

If the same prices were to apply in Australia, where The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian each cost $1.50 for a daily edition, the cost of a weekly subscription would be equivalent to a cup of coffee.

But when you think of the daily newspapers such as The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age or The Australian, would you prepared to pay around $1.50 per day or $3.50 per week to read them online?

Melbourne goes 3D-ish in Google Maps

 The feature does not allow users to pan around the buildings, but does give a rough idea of how high each building is relative to those next to it

A number of cities globally — especially in the US, but also Tokyo, for example — received the extra 3D feature three years ago in 2007, but none of Australia’s other major cities have the 3D buildings option turned on yet, apart from Mebourne.

You can check it out here.

Internet Protocol television wave gathering force


As well as receiving broadcast television signals, IPTV-equipped sets can stream in content over an internet connection.

This could be anything from YouTube to one of the local catch-up services.

IPTVs can also play material from networked home computer devices such as PCs and network-attached-storage boxes.


Samsung is expected to launch its 3D TVs soon and Sony has 3D sets, also with IPTV, slated for July.


THE Wall Street Journal plans to charge $US17.99 ($19.83) a month for a subscription to the newspaper on Apple’s upcoming iPad, it reported.

The News Corporation-owned Journal is one of a number of US media outlets which have developed applications for the iPad tablet computer, which is to go on sale in stores in the United States on April 3.

The electronic edition of The Wall Street Journal for Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader costs $US14.99 ($16.52) a month.

Realestate.com.au warns against fake emails

 real estate website admitted that its mailing list had been used by a third party, which asked people for money to arrange property inspections.

The fraudulent email directed consumers to respond directly to a gmail address, instead of using the agent enquiry tool on realestate.com.au.

Some fake listings were sent to a small proportion of realestate.com.au‘s subscriber database using the website’s ‘eBrochure’ function, the company says.

In the alert to subscribers, Mr Wright wrote:

“We have been informed of fraudulent activity using our electronic Brochure and Email Alert mailing list, where people are asked to send money to arrange an inspection on a featured property.

“If you have receive these emails please do not respond as they are a scam.”

1900s drunks blacklist goes online

 A list of drunks whose loutish behaviour led to them being banned from pubs and clubs at the turn of the last century has been launched online


Offences included drink-driving a steam engine, riding a horse while under the influence and being intoxicated to the point of “complete incompetence”.

Each drunkard’s entry includes photographs (front and profile views), their name, alias, residence, employment, physical description, distinguishing marks, nature of conviction and the sentence received for booze-related crimes.



Reviews praise iPad battery life, ease of use

Apple Inc’s iPad scored very well in terms of ease of use and battery life in its first reviews, but it won’t obliterate the laptop computer market just yet, according to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Technology  |  Media


Reviewers at both papers said that while the tablet computer, which goes on sale on Saturday, works nicely for Web surfing or consuming media like video and books, it may appeal less to people who need laptops for more heavy duty chores.


The Journal’s Walt Mossberg said he prefers the iPad as an e-reader to the popular Kindle e-reader from Amazon.com Inc.


But David Pogue from the New York Times said the device’s 1.5 pound weight is too heavy for reading compared to Kindle’s 10 ounces. He also griped that “You can’t read well in direct sunlight” and “You can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine, not even a Mac or iPhone.”


Both reviewers said they were very impressed with the gadget’s battery life as it lasted longer than Apple’s impressive claim of 10 hours battery life.


Pogue said he was able to use the device for 12 hours before it needed a charge, while Mossberg said iPad withstood 11 hours and 28 minutes of continuous use.


However, the reviewers said the device could only replace laptops for a certain kind of computer buyer.


“If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music … this could be for you,” Mossberg said.


But he added, “If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.”

Pogue, who wrote a separate review for techies and “everybody else,” also highlighted shortcomings versus laptops.

“The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money with a full keyboard, DVD drive, USB jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works.”

Mossberg said the device was “wicked fast” but had “annoying limitations.”

“For instance, the email program lacks the ability to create local folders or rules for auto-sorting messages, and it doesn’t allow group addressing. The browser lacks tabs. And the Wi-Fi-only version lacks GPS,” he said.

Both noted iPad‘s support for the popular Flash video technology, and questioned consumers’ willingness to carry another device along with their laptop and phone.

“If people see the iPad mainly as an extra device to carry around, it will likely have limited appeal,” Mossberg said.

But they admired iPad‘s speed and ease of use.

“The iPad is so fast and light, the multi-touch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget,” Pogue said, adding it would appeal to less tech savvy users.

“Some have suggested it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right,” he said.

Publishers bet future on iPad they haven’t yet seen

Publishers are placing big bets that Apple Inc’s iPad will kick-start a commercially viable transition to digital magazines and newspapers — even though few executives have laid hands on the tablet ahead of launch.

Technology  |  Media

In fact, many publishers likely will not announce their iPad applications until after the tablet hits U.S. stores on Saturday, due to the many constraints that Apple has placed on allowing its partners access to the device.

While media content is critical to the success of the iPad — a 9.7-inch tablet that looks like a large iPhone and aims to bridge the gap between a smartphone and a laptop — Apple has been typically secretive about its plans.

Media executives say they have had to test out the iPad in situ at Apple’s Cupertino, California office, or agree to extremely restrictive security measures to get one off-site.

“We were offered the opportunity to have an iPad in the building but the security implications were so high, it wasn’t worth it,” said one publisher who did not want to be identified ahead of the iPad launch.

Only a lucky few received a personal visit from Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who was in New York earlier this year to show off the iPad to a few publishers including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Despite the restrictions, the iPad‘s full color touchscreen is seen as a game changer for media companies that have long struggled to make money off digital content, which most consumers expect to get for free or at a very low cost.

Book publishers see a new chance to get their electronic offering right — and win more bargaining power if the iPad emerges as a viable rival to Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle.

“We have all struggled in this industry to find an online model that works successfully in terms of content and the consumer’s propensity to pay,” Penguin Books Chief Executive John Makinson told a recent media conference in London.

“I think myself that the iPad represents the first real opportunity to create a paid model that will be attractive to consumers. and I think the psychology around payment on tablet is different from the psychology around payment on PCs.”

Penguin will share 30 percent of its revenue from e-book sales for iPads with Apple, which Makinson said is better than the 50 percent that publishers typically pay to book retailers including Amazon.

“On balance, that’s not bad. Plus we get some consumer data, we get some growth, we don’t have marketing investment,” he said.


Time Warner Inc plans to unveil a full edition of Time magazine for the iPad launch. It will cost the same as the print copy at $4.95 and feature advertisers including Unilever, Toyota Motor Corp and Fidelity Investments among others.

Time Inc Senior Vice President Monica Ray said the magazine will eventually sell digital subscriptions, and is working on iPad versions of People, Sports Illustrated and other titles.

The Financial Times is working on an iPad application that it expects to be ready around the end of April, when the tablet will be sold overseas, including some European markets, and when a version with 3G wireless connectivity will be launched.

The FT’s iPad app will be free to download and for the first two months, readers will be able to get a free trial of ft.com, thanks to sponsor Hublot, the maker of Big Bang watches owned by luxury group LVMH.

After the first two months, the regular ft.com access model will kick in: users must register to read up to 10 articles a month for free, or pay between 170 and 260 pounds ($256 to $391) per year for a subscription.

That compares with $17.99 per month or $126 a year for the iPad version of News Corp’s Wall Street Journal, according to a source quoted in the Journal.

Like many publishers, the FT prefers iPad‘s direct-app sales model to that offered by Amazon: Kindle readers have to buy publications through the Kindle store and share revenue with Amazon.

“Importantly, the app model gives us the ability to retain a direct relationship with our customer and the ability to determine pricing,” FT CEO John Ridding said in an email.

The FT, which is part of British media group Pearson, has already had 250,000 downloads of its iPhone app.

Thomson Reuters Corp will also have an advertising-funded iPad app at the launch, sponsored by FedEx. The company plans other subscription-based apps aimed at customers in the financial, legal and medical spheres.

Brian Murray, chief executive of News Corp’s book publisher Harper Collins, said even though he has only seen the iPad twice, and for a short while, he felt that book publishing would benefit immensely from Apple’s expertise.

“Apple has demonstrated over the years that they can really expand the market,” said Murray. “The iPad represents a dramatic step forward in terms of handheld devices.”

BBC News – Facebook claimants vow to continue legal action
Facebook claimants vow to continue legal action

The two Americans who were awarded millions of dollars after claiming they had come up with the idea for Facebook say their legal battle isn’t over.

Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss studied at Harvard University alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, where they started a site called ConnectU.

In 2008 a protracted legal battle between the two sides ended with the payment of an undisclosed sum.

Facebook said that that it now considers “the matter concluded”.

The Winkelvoss twins spoke to the BBC on the eve of the Boat Race, in which they will both row for Oxford.

Cameron Winkelvoss refused to confirm the extent of the 2008 settlement – thought to be $65m – but said: “I think it is safe to say the chapter is not closed on the matter.”

Social network shock

His brother Tyler said: “It’s our duty to stand for principles. We’re willing to wait around and make sure that’s what right has been made right.”

The two brothers started work on ConnectU in 2003. They thought that computer science student Mark Zuckerberg was working with them, until he launched a similar site called thefacebook.com.

Mr Zuckerberg’s site became hugely popular on the Harvard campus and then, under the name Facebook, turned into a global success.

“It was really just a sense of shock, ” said Tyler Winkelvoss. “It turned into how can we right this wrong.”

The settlement of the battle between Facebook and ConnectU involved the award of Facebook shares to the Winkelvoss twins.

The continuing dispute appears to centre on the value of those shares in a company which has not been publicly floated.

In a statement about the dispute Facebook told the BBC:

“The settlement has been enforced by the courts and attempts to delay that decision have been denied twice.

“We hope that discussion of spurious and false allegations and other matters that were concluded years ago are not distracting anyone from their preparations for the race. We consider the matter concluded.”

The brothers also revealed that after years of avoiding the social network they themselves have joined Facebook.

“We weren’t on it for a long period of time,” said Cameron Winkelvoss. “But it’s a utility and we’re deserving to take part in that. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people back home.”


BBC News – Delete child abuse websites says German minister
Delete child abuse websites says German minister

Germany has called for stronger action to combat images of child sex abuse online, saying material should be deleted rather than blocked.

Justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said Germany “rejected” the idea of stopping people getting access to images by blocking.

Her comments came after the unveiling of European Commission plans to block child sex abuse sites outside Europe.

The blocking plan is part of proposed new laws on child exploitation.

“Blocking,” said Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, “is not an effective weapon in the fight against child pornography and also leads to a loss of trust among internet users.”

“I expect a broad debate … in which I will push the position ‘delete, not block’,” said the minister during an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt regional daily newspaper.

Blocking vs deleting

A spokeswoman for the UK Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said both blocking and deleting had their merits.

“We are clear about what blocking can do,” she said. “It can stop inadvertent access.”

The IWF is the UK’s “notice and take down” agency. When notified about illegal content it can remove it if it is hosted in Britain.

The IWF has reciprocal agreements with similar agencies in 35 other nations which try to get material removed rather than blocked.

But, she added, blocking is a good first step because of the efforts those peddling images of child abuse make to stop the material being removed.

“Commercial content moves around a lot,” she said. “A mixture of blocking and removal is a good tactic because it’s so dynamic.”

Typically, she said, images of child sex abuse are hosted in regions such as the North America and Europe, where net infrastructure is at its most mature.

This is because, she said, this gives those selling images of abuse plenty of places to which they can move the content.


BBC News – Modern Warfare 2 update disconnects Xbox users
Modern Warfare 2 update disconnects Xbox users

An update to blockbuster game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which disconnected gamers from Microsoft’s Xbox live service, has been fixed.

The problem was caused by the release of the Stimulus Package, an update for the game which contained new levels.

Gamers who purchased the update found they were unable to log on to the online service to play the game.

Microsoft has said that it has now resolved the issue, although admitted there were still other problems.

“We have deployed a title update via Xbox LIVE which has resolved the issue, and the content is now functioning properly,” a spokesperson said.

“We are also aware of some other service issues that some are experiencing related to billing and match-making that we are working to resolve quickly.”

BBC News was originally tipped off to the problem by reader Stephen Reynolds.

“Modern warfare is now not playable by me, any of my friends in the UK, and I’m sure thousands others,” he said.

The game was the best-selling videogame of 2009 in the UK, according to industry body Elspa. It was one of only a handful of games to make more than $1bn (£625m) worldwide.

The Stimulus Package adds five new maps to the multiplayer version of the game.


BBC News – Sony to disable PlayStation 3 operating system feature
Sony to disable PlayStation 3 operating system feature


Sony has said it will disable a feature on its PlayStation 3 (PS3) console in a move some consider to be a pre-emptive strike to guard against games piracy.

The firm said that an update to be released on 1 April will prevent people using a function that allows them to install alternative operating systems.

Sony said it had made the decision to address “security concerns”.

The move comes after a US hacker released the first code that he claimed bypassed the PS3’s security systems.

The exploit, released by hacker Geohot, used a machine running a variant of the Linux operating system.

One gamer, commenting on Sony’s blog post, said: “The funny thing about this is that users that legally enjoy this feature will suffer its loss and the hackers will find some way to have the update plus the feature.”

Another said: “This is so stupid. I spent $500 on this system to be able to use whatever features it came with. Preventing hackers is one thing, but taking away a feature that I paid for is another.”

Geohot, also known as George Hotz, gained notoriety for unlocking Apple’s iPhone as a teenager.

He has said that he will work on a method to bypass the new update and allow gamers to retain the ability to install other operating systems.

“This is about more than this feature right now,” he wrote in his blog. “It’s about whether these companies have the right to take away advertised features from a product you purchased.

“Imagine if an exploit were found in Safari on the iPhone, but instead of fixing it, Apple decides to pull web browsing altogether.”

Playback problem

The “Other OS” feature on the PS3 allows gamers to install a version of Linux on their machines. The feature has been used by researchers who want to tap into the PS3’s processing power.

The latest update will be rolled out on 1 April, making many gamers think it was an April Fool’s joke.

Sony has said the update is optional, but those people that do not install it will no longer have access to features, such as its online games network and the ability to playback certain games or Blu-ray DVDs that require the most up-to-date firmware.

A Sony spokesperson said that gamers would have to “accept” the update before it begins to install.

The update only affects older machines. The newer “slim” models of the PS3 do not have the “other OS” feature.

Sony will not say how many people it believes will be affected by the update, although the figure is thought to be relatively small.

The firm advised people using a machine running another operating system who want to install the update to back up any data on their machine.

BBC News – Film studios win Usenet download case
Film studios win Usenet download case

Hollywood film studios have won a court case against a website they accused of aiding piracy.

Newzbin was a search site that helped users navigate around the vast number of Usenet discussion forums.

The film studios took the site to court claiming it helped its paying members download movies far faster than would be possible otherwise.

In its defence, Newzbin said it was just a search site that did not host any pirated material

Bit parts

The High Court in London said Newzbin ran a “sophisticated technical” operation and had generated a “substantial” business as a result.

“I have found that the defendant well knows that it is making available to its premium members infringing copies of films,” said Mr Justice Kitchin in his ruling.

Movies and video clips uploaded to Usenet are typically split into many separate chunks. Newzbin was accused of indexing all the parts so downloaders could locate all the bits for a film and download them en masse.

Premium members of Newzbin paid 30p a week subscription to be able to download from the site. The member-only site is thought to have had more than 700,000 users.

“This is an important decision,” said Ted Shapiro, the Motion Picture Association’s general counsel for Europe. “It sends a clear message that websites focusing on providing viewers with pirated film and TV programmes infringe copyright and are liable for their actions even where those websites don’t themselves host the content.”

The MPA investigates copyright infringement for many Hollywood studios including Disney, Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox.

Newzbin said it was “very disappointed” with the judgement.

“Sadly the MPA are stuck in a technology stone age,” it said in a statement. “Rather than addressing their own broken business models and monopolistic commercial practices they seek to curtail innovation and freedom on the internet.”

It added: “Any of the material we index can be found on any one of a thousands of sites on the internet so pursuit of us is a futile waste of everyone’s time and money.”

Newzbin said it was now assessing its legal options and was considering an appeal.

The exact terms of the judgement against Newzbin are due to be released in early April. The film studios have been granted an injunction which stops downloads of their films via Newzbin. The site will also face a claim for damages in a future hearing.


YouTube redesigns website

GOOGLE-owned YouTube rolled out a major redesign aimed at clearing out visual noise and capturing the attention of viewers at the video-sharing website.

“We really felt like we needed to step back and remove the clutter,” Google product manager Shiva Rajaraman said at the site’s headquarters in San Bruno, California as he provided an in-depth look at the revamped YouTube home page.

“Changes are based on how people actually use YouTube.”

YouTube engineers said they studied the way people behave at the website and modified the home page accordingly. The number of links on the page have been cut by more than half.

Information about videos is grouped in one place and one side of the page is devoted to viewing recommendations personalized to what visitors are seeking.

There is a cleaned up “actions bar” for sharing, flagging or embedding videos.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

Modified playlist tools make it easier to queue up videos for viewing or skip from one to another.

YouTube also eliminated a five-star ranking system and replaced it with a simple “likes/dislikes” choice for viewers.

It turned out that the vast bulk of ratings entered are five-stars while a meager percentage of one-star ratings get logged and almost nobody rates videos in between, according to YouTube interface designer Julian Fumar.

Makers of videos will get spotlights in YouTube comment forums and be able to add brand names to titles of their works.

YouTube has been testing the new page design with some users for about two months.

The basic objective is to get people spending more time at YouTube, according to Mr Rajaraman.


C01U – USB Studio Condenser Microphone

The C01U USB Studio Condenser Mic is the first affordable studio condenser mic with a USB interface.

For the first time ever, musicians who record music on computers have a simple, affordable way to capture high-quality vocal and acoustic instrument performances.

Seamless integration was the idea, and it was obtained by creating a studio condenser microphone that can be plugged into any computer with no in/out boxes, no expensive computer pre-amps, just a USB cable.

The C01U condenser microphone is based on our wildly successful C01. It features a 19mm internal shockmounted diaphragm with a cardioid pickup pattern ensuring pristine, studio-quality recordings.

The C01U works perfectly on any computer, Mac or PC, and with any DAW software program. It immediately solves a huge problem for users of many laptops, many of which have no other input method for audio devices.

It’s a must for any musician on the road or in the project studio, but the C01U offers solutions to more than just musicians. The mic opens up possibilities for anyone who records audio—from Podcasters, journalists and students to business people adding audio files to websites and multimedia presentations.


Samson C01U USB Microphone (Review)
Samson C01U USB Microphone


Samson Technology, well known for its audio products, recently entered the Mac market with a unique USB microphone that bridges the gap between Griffin’s inexpensive iMic USB audio adapter at the low end and the far more expensive microphones and audio interfaces used by audio professionals.

Samson’s C01U combines a large condenser microphone with a built-in USB interface for power and connectivity. Instead of hooking up a collection of wires, power supplies, interface devices and microphones, you simply connect the included USB cable and plug the C01U into your Mac. At a street price of $79, complete with stand adapter, USB cable and software, it’s a product without competition, well suited to producing podcasts.


As its name implies, the C01U is based on Samson’s C01 condenser microphone, which boasts impressive specifications at a street price only about $10 cheaper than the new USB model. The 19mm, 3-micron diaphram is reminiscent of high-quality studio mics, and Samson lists amazingly flat, wide frequency response – “within 1 dB from 22 Hz to 22 kHz” – for uncolored reproduction of a full spectrum of sounds. The mic has a hypercardiod pick-up pattern according to the manual (although the website calls it cardiod).

The C01U looks and feels substantial. It’s large, and surprisingly heavy, with a tough case and grill. (There’s no access to the internals.) A green light on the front indicates successful connection and power (the mic draws just 26 mA.), and Samson supplies a 10-foot USB cable, a friendly 12-page manual, a microphone stand adapter and a soft nylon pouch for storing the mic.

One consequence of the USB design caught us a bit by surprise, although it’s obvious in retrospect: You can’t use your old mic cables for long runs; you need a special USB cable or extender, which isn’t common – in fact, USB may be limited to 16 feet without an “active” repeater. The C01U (in contrast to its C01 sibling) has no XLR connector, only a USB port.

We did try recording from the C01U through a USB hub (Kensington 7-port USB 2.0 Dome Hub), although a general rule is to connect audio devices directly to the Mac’s USB port. This worked in a quick test, but we wouldn’t guarantee it as a good method for extending cable length.

Shock Mount

One accessory Samson doesn’t bundle with the C01U is its SP01 “Spider Mount”, a shock mount for the microphone that worked quite well in our testing, virtually eliminating the ill effects of bumps to the microphone stand or thumps on the floor. At a street price of about $29, it’s a handy item to have, especially for live recording.



The C01U supports sampling rates from 8 to 48 KHz with 16-bit resolution. It’s designed to “plug and play” out of the box, and it appears as a USB audio input device, as soon as it’s plugged in. (The C01U shows up as a 12-Mbps, low-speed USB device, but Samson calls it “USB 2.0 compliant”.)

You also can download software from Samson’s website to get extra features: a low-frequency roll-off control, a level control and a phase switch.

We successfully used the C01U with both “Panther” and “Tiger”, but the Mac’s three different, interacting audio “control points” – System Preferences, the application and Samson’s software – can make getting audio out of the microphone and setting levels a bit tricky.

Samson C01U  level controls

In addition, you have at least two places – the application and System Preferences – where you can choose the audio input, as well as switching Playthrough on or off. And if you install Samson’s software, you must launch the Samson application to get sound to work, even though that’s not clear when you’re looking at System Preferences or the application.

Sometimes these options are interconnected, and sometimes they aren’t. In our experiments, for instance, we found that the System Preferences level control tracked Amadeus II’s level control (and vice versa), but the Samson control was independent. This may vary with the application. Here’s what Samson’s C01U product manager told us:

Some recording applications’ level controls are software-based, but the Sound control panel and C01U applet slider control the C01U’s internal mic preamplifier.
  And, it’s the last one touched that is active. Therefore, if you have the Sound C.P. slider all the way down and you have the C01U slider up, when you touch the slider in the Sound C.P. (set low), the level will jump low. If you now touch the slider on the C01U (set high), the level will jump up.

We did encounter one issue with the C01U’s software features: The driver software does not currently support use of two C01Us in a stereo pair; you’re confined to recording in mono. This is an issue that could theoretically be resolved with a future driver update, but the company is making no promises in that regard. We think that’s a highly-desirable feature that would nicely complement the microphone’s other capabilities.

John Barrett of Sweetwater Sound offered this tip, however:

We were able to use the Aggregate Device Editor in Audio MIDI Setup to use two C01USB mics in tandem (but not really stereo). The way the Samson presents itself to Core Audio is as the left channel (ch 1) only of a stereo pair. It is possible to use two of these mics by enabling them in the Aggregate Device Editor, but they show as inputs 1 and 3 in your recording application, rather than a normal stereo pair due to this offset.

One other glitch was the lack of any Uninstall/Remove option for the software, but the company reports that driver files are installed in the following locations:


and can be removed manually (e.g. via “sudo rm Samson*” in the appropriate directory with Apple’s Terminal application).

If you don’t delete the driver files but do delete the Samson “applet”, you will not be able to get sound out of the mic.


As the C01U is an integrated computer microphone system, we were unable to compare it directly to other microphones or directly to another USB audio interface; we could only evaluate the integrated combination of capsule, electronics and driver software.

The C01U easily met our high expectations, despite its remarkably low price. As its specifications suggested, we found recorded sound to be accurate and uncolored across the whole audio spectrum from thumping bass drums to sizzling cymbals and in between. Recorded voices and acoustic instruments sounded like they did in real life, and this is exactly what we want in an all-purpose microphone.

Typical proximity effect increases bass response with close sources, but Samson’s bass roll-off control deals with this pretty well. (You can control roll-off frequency, but not roll-off level. Post-processing with a good EQ plug-in should handle any special requirements.) Polar response was as expected, given Samson’s charts, falling off sharply at the sides and picking up a bit at the back.

A big issue with Mac-based recording systems is noise. We’ve spent hundreds of dollars on USB audio interfaces that sounded as bad as the cheapest cassette tape recorder when hooked up to a microphone, and it wasn’t until we finally set up a $450 Digidesign Mbox with good balanced mics that we found a system that would give us plenty of volume from quiet sound sources without objectionable white noise. In addition to that problem, we’ve seen horrendous noise problems with unbalanced mics and with Apple’s AC adapters for Mac laptops.

To our relief, the C01U proved quiet, and we encountered no nasty external noises either on AC power or battery operation. Sensitivity isn’t at the same level as that of a $500+ Mbox set-up, but it’s not too bad. We were able to record quiet sound sources with just a touch of white noise, while louder sources came through fine, although we had to turn up the gain more than we anticipated, even for loud sources like drum kits.

The C01U’s own internal preamp seems to be fairly quiet, and the best results were obtained by turning this up until we had a reasonable level, then fine-tuning with the application’s level control. If we left the C01U level low and compensated with more amplification in the application, noise levels seemed worse.

We asked the product manager about the issue, and this was his response:

With regard to your questions concerning the amplifier and gain staging, the C01U has a high-quality, low-noise internal analog mic preamplifier. That’s the only hardware gain stage, since the C01U is set as the input device in the Sound control panel, and no other hardware input is active.
  I think that ultimately it’s best to use the C01U applet for the hardware gain control. Then, use it with the input control of the recording application so you’re only dealing with two controls. Plus, you have the advantage of the C01U applet’s input meter for setting a good level.

In response to a MacInTouch reader’s query, we also tested the C01U for latency, which can be a big hassle when overdubbing tracks through a USB interface. This test used GarageBand 2.0.2 on a single-processor Power Mac G5/1.8GHz:

  1. Add Basic track (Track 1) and assign the C01U as input (no effects).
  2. Record the sound of GarageBand’s metronome playing through the speakers.
  3. Disable Record for Track 1; add basic Track 2 with C01U as input.
  4. Disable Metronome.
  5. Play back Track 1 through speakers, recording onto Track 2.
  6. Pan Track 1 left and Track 2 right, and play them both back, listening for delays.

The result was excellent, with tight synchronization between the two tracks and no obvious latency or delay, so it seems quite viable to build up a musical piece track by track in GarageBand, overdubbing through the C01U as you go.


We weren’t sure what we’d get with a product this innovative at a price this low, but the Samson C01U lived up to the high expectations set by its specifications and description. If you need to record high-quality audio into your Mac on a tight budget, this is a great solution. The C01U is far cheaper than a USB or FireWire audio interface in conjunction with a high-quality microphone. Ditto for an analog pre-amp and microphone, which can suffer from issues with the quality of Mac audio inputs, laptop power supplies and electrical noise generated by the Mac. And a Griffin iMic may look cheaper than the C01U, but it’s not in the same league sound-wise, and you have to buy an additional mic to go with it (despite its confusing moniker).

What’s not to like? Not much. Getting a long cable to the mic is a little tricky, given USB’s limitations, but active cables may work (for a price). It’s probably easiest to use the C01U with a laptop.

For the very utmost quality and flexibility in a studio, you might want a high-end computer audio interface with specialized microphones, but that is many times more expensive.

Perhaps our biggest disappointment with the C01U was the lack of support for stereo, since we’re big fans of stereo mic techniques in live recording, but that’s much less of an issue for other applications, and we hope to see workarouds or updates to address this limitation.

In the meantime, as Samson suggests, the C01U seems ideal for podcasters, and it’s a very professional, useful and flexible answer for many other Mac recording tasks at a price low enough to make it a certified bargain.

By Ric Ford
(Sept. 15, 2005)


Special Report: iPad striptease: It’s what’s inside that counts

(Reuters) – The iPad will not hit stores until Saturday, but the race to unlock its mysteries started several weeks ago in San Luis Obispo, a picturesque college town roughly 200 miles south of Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

Technology  |  Media

On March 12, Kyle Wiens and Luke Soules woke up before dawn. Their plan demanded that they be among the first to get their hands on the device.

So at 5:30 a.m., the minute Apple began taking iPad orders on its website, Wiens and Soules — do-it-yourself repair evangelists and co-founders of a company called iFixit — placed theirs. As delivery addresses, they entered several U.S. locations where their research determined the iPad is likely to arrive soonest. They could tell you which ones, but they would have to kill you.

Armed with heat guns, suction cups and other tools of the trade, the duo will set out on Saturday to reveal some of the tablet’s most closely guarded secrets: the design and components that make it tick. If all goes according to plan, by the time the lines outside Apple Stores start to thin, iFixit will have provided a blow-by-blow account of its “teardown” to the world, complete with a photo montage.

Such details are manna for the Apple faithful, and iFixit has made a name for itself in technology circles by providing them fast. To do so, Wiens and Soules must above all make sure they are among the very first people to be in actual possession of these hotly anticipated gadgets. And this being Apple, one of the world’s most secretive companies, each launch presents a different set of challenges.

Apple’s mostly unsung suppliers, which are barred from talking about their most famous customer, will admit in private that they love these teardowns by iFixit and others. The spectacles trumpet to the world that a manufacturer is good enough to make it into an Apple product. In late 2006, the mere rumor that a component by Skyworks Solutions would be in the original iPhone was enough to boost its share price.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Apple, which declined to comment for this story, does not like anybody monkeying around with its devices. This after all is a company that won’t even let users change their iPod and iPhone batteries. It has fired executives over leaks and sued bloggers to halt their revelations.

But there is nothing Apple can do about teardowns. “What we do is completely legal, but if they could stop us they would,” Wiens, 26, said with a touch of pride. He said that iFixit has had no formal contact with Apple.

What Apple can and does do is make its devices tougher for him and others to decrypt. Teardown firms say the electronics giant forces some suppliers to stamp their microprocessors with the Apple logo, making it harder to determine their provenance.

“Apple is usually trying to cloak who its suppliers are,” said David Carey of UBM TechInsights, a prominent teardown firm. “But it can only keep the door closed for so long.”

One reason Apple frowns upon teardowns, say experts, is that it is reluctant to broadcast that it doesn’t manufacture the widgets itself. “Apple really wants end users to think that Apple makes this thing, that Apple makes the iPad, not Foxconn, Samsung, Toshiba,” Soules said.


For iFixit, these techno-stripteases are more than just publicity stunts designed to promote its business (though they are that for sure.) They are also, to hear Wiens and Soules tell it, a cause.

The two businessmen say one of their goals is to cut down on electronic waste that ends up in landfills by demonstrating the old-fashioned virtue of repair, extending the lifespan of devices.

Wiens said it was his mission to make repair “sexy.” He refers to Apple as a “closed company,” because it doesn’t want its users repairing its products. “We used to fix things in this country, back in the 1950s it was cool to tinker with your car, but that changed as it became more of a consumer culture,” he said.

Wiens and Soules launched iFixit, which sells Apple parts and provides free online repair manuals, as teenagers in 2003 out of their college dorm at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. It is now a thriving small business that employs around two dozen people and generates more than $2 million in annual sales.

With so much riding on getting hold of the iPad first or close to it, iFixit is playing the odds, flying representatives to multiple cities that Wiens and Soules are keeping to themselves for the moment.

If past is prologue, there is little they won’t do to be among the first. In 2008, the year Apple debuted the second-generation iPhone in a global launch, Soules chased it 6,000 miles to the first time zone where he could find the device. He flew to Auckland, New Zealand, and headed to a Vodafone store. There, he waited on line for more than a full day. By his count, he was the fourth person in the world to get the iPhone.

There was just one problem. Soules, a soft-spoken, baby-faced 25-year-old who could easily pass for 16, didn’t know a soul in Auckland. So iFixit combed its client list and found one helpful fellow who offered up his print shop to host the teardown. It began shortly after midnight and lasted all night, with Soules streaming nearly live photos onto the Internet to waiting Apple fans half a world away.

Last year was even tougher. Wiens traveled to Britain to get ahead of the third-generation iPhone launch. But his scheme was foiled, he said, when a carrier store in France began selling the device at midnight. He was not among the first to get it — a failure that still rankles. “There’s no magic formula to this, we make up a new plan with each launch, and sometimes it doesn’t work out.”

BBC News – ‘Sorcerer’ faces imminent death in Saudi Arabia
‘Sorcerer’ faces imminent death in Saudi Arabia

The lawyer for a Lebanese man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for witchcraft has appealed for international help to save him.

Ali Sabat was the host of a popular Lebanese TV show in which he predicted the future and gave advice.

He was arrested by religious police on sorcery charges while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2008.

His lawyer, May el-Khansa, says she has been told Mr Sabat is due to be executed this week.

Ms Khansa has contacted the Lebanese president and prime minister to appeal on his behalf.

There has been no official confirmation from Saudi Arabia, but executions there are often carried out with little warning.


Apple iFund gets $100m boost

A MAJOR Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has backed internet stars such as Google and Amazon doubled a fund to support software tailored for Apple gadgets.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) said it was pumping another $US100 million ($109m) into the iFund established in 2008 to invest in applications for Apple’s iPhone, the iPod Touch and now the new iPad.

The move comes as excitement builds for Saturday’s US debut of the iPad touchscreen tablet computer.

“A new, truly revolutionary platform is rare, and a prize for entrepreneurs,” said KPCB partner John Doerr.

“We expect all ventures to have an iPad strategy. We will fund many more ventures for iPad, and the iFund will accelerate their success.”


Topeka unofficially rechristens itself ‘Google’ | The Social – CNET News
Topeka unofficially rechristens itself ‘Google’

There’s a “Wizard of Oz” joke to be made here: The city of Topeka, Kansas has unofficially changed its name to “Google” in an attempt to get on the Mountain View tech giant’s radar as a test bed for new fiber-optic technology that would bring it Internet connections at top speed.

The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote that Mayor Bill Bunten signed a proclamation Monday that designates the town as “Google” for the duration of March, in an attempt to make it a more palatable choice for a test market than some of the other cities in the running–like Grand Rapids, Mich., and Baton Rouge, La. It’s not intended to be as permanent as the Oregon town that actually renamed itself Half.com in exchange for some cash, free stuff, and mockery.

The town can’t legally change its name if it intends to change it back, and then there’s the fact that Google owns all sorts of intellectual property pertaining to its brand name. But the Capital-Journal says that there is technically no legal barrier to the issuance of a proclamation gently encouraging people to refer to Topeka as “Google.” You know, it’s sort of like when you’re a little kid and you wish your name were cooler so you start telling everyone to call you by a new one of your choice, and the blitheness of childhood prevents you from noticing the smirks that ensue every time you politely ask an adult to start referring to you as “Jethro Skywalker.”

And in Topeka, there is precedent. As the Capital-Journal explains:

“(A local TV station manager) told the council Monday about how Mayor Joan Wagnon in August 1998 issued a proclamation temporarily changing Topeka’s name to “ToPikachu” in recognition of the nationwide kickoff here of the ‘Pokemon’ media franchise, which features a fictional species of creatures named ‘Pikachu.'”

Um, wow?

As for what the local media really thinks, let’s just make note of the fact that the Capital-Journal listed an Associated Press version of the story explaining the Google proclamation under its “Strange” category, alongside “Florida man allegedly calls 911 200 times” and “Ohio police officers get drunk on purpose.”

But hey, if this campaign actually gets the city a super-fast Internet connection, I’ll stop laughing.


UNYK invents contact management 2.0!
Use UNYK.com to build a smart and private address book to manage your contacts effectively:

  • –  Easily consolidate all your Web contacts.
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  • –  Synchronize with your cell phone, Outlook, etc.

Here’s a list of the advantages and features that go hand in hand with UNYK.

A smart address book that allows you to:

  • Import contacts from all your current addresses (Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Receive updates directly from your contacts. Each of your contacts manages his or her info for you.
  • Save your cell phone contacts
  • Synchronize your contacts with Outlook, your cell phone (1,200 models), and your Web address books
  • Remove duplicates as easy as ABC
  • Sort your contacts into groups (business, friends, family, other)
  • Access profiles complete with photo, contact information, work history, education, professional and personal interests
  • Receive e-mail alerts about your contact’s birthdays
  • Ask your contacts for specific information in a single click
  • See who visited your profile
  • Get direct access to your address book from your browser thanks to the UNYK Toolbar

Your digital identity

  • One place to create your digital identity and keep the information useful to your contacts up to date (photo, contact info, work history, training, professional and personal interests)
  • Have a public profile with a dedicated URL, i.e. www.unyk.com/surname-first name, to increase your visibility on the Web
  • Assignment of a personalized UNYK ID (e.g. 123 POP) so it’s easy to share all your info.
  • Control each of your contact’s level of access to your info.

But also:

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