Episode 185

posted in: Show Notes


The current national debt is roughly $80 billion


ANZ introduces ePOS for mobile phone payments – Software – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
ANZ introduces ePOS for mobile phone payments


ANZ has completed a pilot of a new payments application that allows small business people to accept credit card payments via a mobile phone.

The iPhone application, dubbed ePOS Mobile

“Our intent is for it to make it to the [iPhone] App Store by mid-year” said Peter Dalton, group general manager of innovation at ANZ.

ePOS Mobile will be offered to ANZ business customers for free, and unlike iCCPay, it doesn’t require clients to provide signatures. “It also doesn’t store any data on the phone so if the phone is lost or stolen no data can be compromised

A spokesperson for Fisher and Paykel said the payments app had been well received by customers and was easy for staff to use, removing the need for logging into Eftpos terminals and printing receipts, which are emailed to customers.

Office 2010 hits RTM, ready for launch next month
Office 2010 hits RTM, ready for launch next month

 The suite will make its formal debut on May 12, when it’s officially launched and made available to Microsoft’s business partners as well as members of its subscription-based MSDN developer community.

Boxed product intended for consumers won’t reach the shelves until some time in June – Microsoft has yet to name the date, nor has it revealed the costs for either the stand-alone software or upgrades from previous versions of Office.

Three editions of Office 2010 will be offered to mainstream customers: Home and Student 2010 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), Home and Business 2010 (which gains Outlook) and Professional 2010 (which ups the ante with Publisher and Access).

The company has ditched its Microsoft Works package for a free OEM-only bundle called Office Starter 2010. This will come preloaded onto new PCs and give users a cut-down ‘starter’ versions of Word and Excel with limited features, and of course the ability to upgrade to any full-blown Office 2010 editions.

Apple: Australian iPad launch delayed (again) to “end of May”
Australian iPad launch delayed (again) to “end of May”

 Apple has announced it is pushing back the worldwide release of the iPad for one month, to ‘late May’

Apple Australia will start taking orders online Monday May 10th in readiness

So you bought a new MacBook Pro last week, and now it’s the ‘old’ model?
So you bought a new MacBook Pro last week, and now it’s the ‘old’ model?

 All six new models are dramatically faster, especially when it comes to handling graphics, with larger hard drives and longer battery life. And to rub salt into the wound, they’re also anywhere from $100 to $400 cheaper than what you just paid.

Feel like kicking yourself? Don’t be too hasty. Here’s how to magically turn your new-old MacBook Pro into a truly new-new model at no cost, and maybe even get some money back into the deal!

Apple has an exceptionally generous ‘return and swap’ deal for buyers who’ve been caught in the upgrade trap.

The only conditions are that you bought your MacBook Pro in the 14 days prior to the update – which means, any time from April 1st (and no, we won’t make any jokes about you being a fool) – and of course the machine should ideally be in as-new condition.

Take your MacBook in its original packaging back to the Apple store from which you bought it (or contact Apple on 133 622 if you bought it online) – and don’t forget your receipt to prove the date of purchase.

There’s no ‘restocking’ fee – you’ll be able to choose your new-new MacBook Pro and pay the difference if you’re stepping up to a higher model, or get a refund if the updated model is now cheaper than what you paid last week.

(What happens to your ‘old’ MacBook Pro? It’ll end up on Apple’s ‘refurbished Mac’ store, where it’ll be sold at a marked-down price).

PayPal hirings to ease customer service anger

 By next month, PayPal would have made 40 new hires, taking the total tally to 127 customer service agents.

Man sells old video game for $31,600 after reading CNN.comAir Raid for the Atari 2600. He found the thirteenth known copy of the game in his garage and put it on eBay.

It sold last Sunday for $31,600, the second-highest price ever paid for a video game.

Sandlin bought the game when he was 11 or 12 years old at a store called Tuesday Morning in Arlington, Texas. The store bought overstocked or undersold goods from other retailers and sold the items at a discount.

This sets a new record price for the game, blowing away the previous record of $3,000. That also makes it the second-highest price ever paid for a video game cartridge, just behind the $43,300 paid for a factory-sealed copy of Stadium Events for the Nintendo back in February.

8 very rare (and very expensive) video games


1. Stadium Events (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Price Range: $13,000 — $41,300; $10,000 for the box alone

Why So Expensive?: Stadium Events was released by Bandai in 1987 as one of the few games available in America that was made for the company’s Family Fun Fitness mat, a soft, plastic controller you walked, ran, and jumped on to make the characters move.

Nintendo bought the rights to the game and the Fitness mat in 1988 and re-released them as World Class Track Meet and the Power Pad controller. To avoid consumer confusion, Nintendo pulled all copies of Stadium Events from shelves and had them destroyed, but not before approximately 200 carts had already been sold. Of those 200, collectors believe that only 10 to 20 complete copies of the game exist today, making them a real rarity.

Stadium Events recently made headlines with two high-profile eBay sales. A North Carolina woman was cleaning out her garage and found an old Nintendo and a handful of games, including Stadium Events. She put them up on eBay without high expectations and was amazed to see the bids steadily climb up to $13,105.

While the game itself is valuable, the winning bidder was most interested in the cardboard box it came in. Since most kids threw the box away after tearing open a new game, intact boxes for any game are really hard to come by, but especially so for Stadium Events. Empty Stadium Event boxes have been known to sell for $10,000 alone.

After hearing of the success of this eBay seller, a man in Kansas dug up a factory-sealed copy of the game that he thought was worthless. However, his game became only the second known sealed copy in existence. He’d purchased the game in 1987, but could never find the Fitness mat to go with it. It was still sealed because he’d meant to return it. When his eBay auction ended on February 26, 2010, the game sold for an amazing $41,300.

The same game repackaged by Nintendo, World Class Track Meet, generally sells for less than $3 on eBay.

Mental Floss: 6 people who accidentally found a fortune

2. 1990 Nintendo World Championships (NES)
Price Range: Gray: $4,000 — $6,100; Gold: $15,000 — $21,000

Why So Expensive?: In 1990, Nintendo held a 30-city gaming tournament to find the best player in the world. Players had to get the best score in demo versions of three games — Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris — all within a six-minute time limit.

At the end of each city’s tournament, the winners of each of three age groups were given special gray Championship cartridges exactly like those used in the competition, which means only 90 of these cartridges were distributed. The gold version was sent out to those who won a promotional contest in the pages of Nintendo Power magazine. Only 26 gold games were produced, so they’re especially hard to find and command a higher price today.

3. Nintendo Campus Challenge (NES)
Price Range: $14,000 — $20,100

Why So Expensive?: In the early 1990s, Nintendo held competitions on college campuses and at popular Spring Break destinations. Like the World Championships, players had six minutes to play for high scores on demo versions of Super Mario Bros. 3, PinBot, and Dr. Mario.

Most copies of the game were destroyed after the competition ended, but one Nintendo employee kept his cart and sold it to Rob Walters at a garage sale in 2006.

This garage sale is legendary among retrogamers, as Rob bought all kinds of NES Holy Grails for only $1,000. By the time he re-sold everything, he’d made 50 times that. Part of that $50,000 was the Campus Challenge cartridge, which went for $14,000. Shortly after, the buyer of the cart turned around and sold it on eBay for $20,100. As far as anyone knows, it’s the only copy of the game in the world.

4. Atlantis II (Atari 2600)
Price Range: $5,000 — $6,000

Why So Expensive?: It’s never mentioned in the same breath as Pac-Man or Donkey Kong, but Atlantis was a pretty popular game in 1982. The gameplay was similar to Missile Command, with players defending their base from overhead attack by enemy ships. The developer held a tournament called Destination Atlantis, where players were invited to send in photos of their TV screens displaying their high scores. The best players were then sent Atlantis II, a special edition of the game that featured faster enemy ships worth fewer points, making it harder to get a high score, but easier to determine the true champions.

Because this version was not mass produced, its pretty rare today. But if you find a copy of the original Atlantis at a garage sale, it might be a good idea to pick it up anyway. The competition cart had the exact same colorful label of the regular Atlantis, but had a small, white sticker slapped on the front that read “Atlantis II.” The label was easily peeled off, so a quick Google search will show you how to determine if you bought a $3 Atari game or a $6,000 one.

Mental Floss: 8 video game lawsuits

5. Air Raid (Atari 2600)
Price Range: $1,000 — $3,000

Why So Expensive?: Air Raid is a bit of an enigma for Atari fans. Some say it was the one and only game produced by a company called “Menavision” (or perhaps “Menovision”). The game is so shrouded in mystery, it can’t even be verified that “Air Raid” is its official title — there’s no name on the label.

The name was based on the gameplay, which is similar to Atlantis and Missile Command, and by the picture on the label of a city being attacked by flying saucers, jets, and helicopters.

This strange cartridge appeared around 1984 in a bright blue “T-handle” casing that is very different from the standard, square, black Atari carts sold in North America, but is similar in style to those sold in Brazil. Furthermore, while a few second-hand copies have been sold, no one can ever say they were the original owner. The mystery, as well as the fact there are only 12 known copies, make it a must-have for serious Atari collectors.

6. Star Wars Ewok Adventure (Atari 2600)
Price: $1,680

Why So Expensive?: Advertised in Parker Brothers’ 1983 retail catalog as Revenge of the Jedi: Game I but affectionately known as Ewok Adventure, the cart became legendary for never being sold. In the game, players took control of an Ewok and flew a hang glider over the forest moon of Endor in an attempt to blow up an Imperial base. You could avoid or kill enemy Stormtroopers, Speeder Bikes, or Imperial AT-ST Walkers, or you could instead commandeer these vehicles to take out the base.

The game was shot down by Parker Brothers’ marketing department, which felt the controls were too hard to master, so it was never produced. The game’s designer, Larry Gelberg, gave the one and only known prototype copy to a friend’s son, who later sold it for $1680.

Mental Floss: Cheetos, lip balm and other weird brand extensions

7. Kizuna Encounter (Neo Geo)
Price Range: $12,000 — $13,500

Why So Expensive?: One of the main games that all Neo Geo fanatics are looking for is a particular version of Kizuna Encounter, a 1996 fighting game similar to Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. The game itself has received solid reviews, but isn’t groundbreaking by any means.

However, it was produced in such small quantities for the European market that collectors speculate fewer than 15 copies were made. The Japanese version, which is exactly the same except for different packaging, is fairly common and sells for about $50.

8. Ultimate 11 (Neo Geo)
Price Range: $8,000 — $10,000

Why So Expensive?: Ultimate 11 was the final game in the Super Sidekicks series, a popular franchise of soccer games that sold very well. For some reason, though, Ultimate 11 was not produced in large quantities, and there are now fewer than 10 known copies in existence. That kind of rarity makes it a must-have for collectors.

In late 2009, a private sale was reportedly made between two members of the collectors’ forums at neo-geo.com. The buyer paid an astonishing $55,000 to acquire both Kizuna Encounter and Ultimate 11. The original owner purchased the games around 10 years ago, when Kizuna was selling for $500 and Ultimate for $400. The new owner has said he will not sell them, even if he were offered $100,000.

New MacOS X malware surfaces – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
New MacOS X malware surfaces

 Apple Mac users are being warned to keep a close eye on their systems following the discovery of a new piece of malware for MacOS X.

the malware can be spread either through a trojan download or a web-based exploit. Upon installation, the software renames itself after common files and applications as well as adding a copy of itself to the user’s start-up folder.

Once infected, the tool allows an attacker to remotely access infected machines as well as remotely install applications and use the infected machines to send emails without user notification.



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Hackers gained access to Google code

Attackers who breached Google systems last year gained access to computer code for the software that authenticates users of Google’s email, calendar and other online programs.

The code was contained in a repository that contained code for Google’s online applications and was also breached, this person said.

The disclosure comes as much about the nature of the attacks and the perpetrators behind it remain unclear. Google, which disclosed the attacks in January, opted following the incident to shut down its censored search service in China.

Security experts had previously uncovered evidence that the attackers had stolen some source-code from the company, by exploiting a security flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the company’s initial statement on the attacks, which said that some of the company’s intellectual property was stolen and that it believed the attack originated from China.

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Chinese officials have denied that their government is responsible.

At the time, Google said it believed that the attackers were trying to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The company said that it had traced the attacks to China. It said that only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed and that activity was limited to account information not the content of the emails. The company added that it had enhanced its security.

The person familiar with the matter said that the attackers gained access to Google’s computer code by compromising a workstation used by a Google engineer.

Google’s password-management system, known as Gaia, does not store passwords or user information; rather it is the instructions that allows Google to recognise when a Google users already logged into one service, like Gmail, tries to log into another. Gaining access to the system is the equivalent of learning how to operate a filing system, and not accessing the information contained inside, the person familiar with the matter said.

The New York Times reported earlier that Google’s password system had been breached.

The disclosure comes as Google has been grappling with the fallout from its decisions to stop censoring its search engine in response to attack. The company began routing searchers in mainland China to an uncensored version of its search engine based in Hong Kong in March. Since then, some services have experienced a range of intermittent blockages.

Publishing venture bets on iPhone short stories

(Reuters) – A new publishing company is betting that readers will bypass electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader in favor of reading bite-sized stories on mobile devices they already own.


Ether Books will launch at the London Book Fair on Monday, and will offer a catalog of short stories, essays and poetry initially via Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, by authors including Alexander McCall-Smith and Louis de Bernieres.


Well over 1 billion mobile phones are expected to be sold worldwide this year, compared with just a few million e-readers. Apple alone has already sold more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch devices, and has just launched its iPad tablet PCs.


“The tech press may be slavering over the iPad, Kindle and Sony eReader as traditional publishers leap over themselves to expand their e-book offerings,” Ether Books Digital Director Maureen Scott said.


“But at Ether Books we’ve made the decision to go straight to distributing short works via our iPhone app to devices people already own, are familiar with and are happy to use when they have 10-15 minutes to spare.”


Scott previously worked for British technology group Psion, was a director of U.S. mobile Web pioneer Openwave and managed the development of the first airline consumer self-booking reservation product at British Airways.

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