Episode 194

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

Single-day record 600,000 orders for Apple’s new iPhone
Single-day record 600,000 orders for Apple’s new iPhone

Apple said it received 600,000 orders for the new iPhone, a single-day record, as its telecom partner AT&T suspended the troubled early ordering process because of the heavy demand

Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPhone earlier this month. It features video chat, can shoot and edit high-definition quality video and has a crisper resolution screen.

The iPhone 4 costs US$199 for the 16 gigabyte model and US$299 for the 32GB version.

The smartphone, which comes in black and white versions, will be available in 18 other countries in July and 24 more in August.

Only the black version was available for pre-ordering in the US on Tuesday, adding to the frustration of some customers.

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since it launched the device in 2007.

National Party members vote against internet filter
National Party members vote against internet filter

The National Party has come out swinging against Labor’s proposed centralised internet censorship scheme, saying it had been inundated with complaints from constituents

stated that “The Federal Conference of the Nationals opposes any mandatory ISP-level internet censorship,” and was passed after a deal of spirited debate, according to people familiar with the situation

Crowd-funded thriller could be studios’ worst nightmare
Crowd-funded thriller could be studios’ worst nightmare

a team of Sydney filmmakers is trying a slightly different approach by putting out a call for donations from netizens willing to spend $1 to sponsor a single frame of their new movie – so they can release it for free via BitTorrent.

The innovative project is the brainchild of Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi, a pair of Sydney filmmakers who have written and planned the filming of thriller The Tunnel

the plot: based around abandoned and water-filled tunnels underneath Sydney’s St James Station, the movie will feature a group of four journalists that work to uncover a suspected government conspiracy and, we are led to believe by the site’s spookified promotional site – try not to become lunch for something very large and very hungry.

http://www.thetunnelmovie.net

Pioneer One is a dramatic series that will be distributed, for free, In the pilot, what first looks like a terrorist act turns out to be a Cold War relic come back to haunt the present. We follow our main characters, a team of Homeland Security agents, as they discover the truth of what’s happened: a forgotten Soviet space mission has returned to Earth, and what it’s brought back will have implications for the entire world. It’s part political drama, part procedural drama, with a tinge of sci-fi. But beyond the initial catalyst, which is fiction, everything has its root in factual events.

http://www.pioneerone.tv/

New Xbox360 Slim will hit AU on July 1
New Xbox360 Slim will hit AU on July 1

The newly designed Xbox 360 announced at the E3 gaming show in the US is set to be released in Australia on 1 July this year with a recommended retail price tag of $449

The new Xbox is slimmer than current Xbox 360 consoles on the market and will have built in WiFi 802.11n, a 250 GB hard drive, HDMI output, 5 x USB ports, a Kinect port and will available in gloss black only. It is reported that the hard drive is removable but not interchangeable with the older consoles

Australia to get its own Hulu-style VOD service?
Australia to get its own Hulu-style VOD service?

Two veterans of mega-portals Yahoo!7 and ninemsn have formed a new Australian startup to launch online video on demand services in competition with new offerings from Telstra, FetchTV and more.
Dubbed Juno Interactive, the company has been formed by ninemsn’s former head of video Jimmy Storrier — who left the web giant in March — and Yahoo!7’s former head of media production David Morrison

In an interview earlier today, Storrier said the pair were planning by the end of this year to launch an online video on demand service exclusively in the Australian market that would make content such as television shows and movies from major studios in the US and Europe as well as Australia available online locally for streaming viewing, with a beta to go live in late July or August.

Unlike rival offerings from FetchTV and Telstra (through its T-Box), which will be tied to subscribers’ broadband connections, Juno Interactive’s video on demand solution will be streamed through a web browser to customers using any internet service provider. It will use Adobe’s Flash technology, with built-in digital rights management technology that will allow users to watch the content for a certain time (usually 24 or 48 hours) after they’ve paid for it.

However, the platform will be limited to Australian IP addresses, although Juno is checking out the potential to offer it in the New Zealand market as well.

Juno pitched the service as being able to defeat rampant levels of online content piracy in the Australian market.

“Australians illegally download more TV shows and movies than any other country in the world,” said Storrier in the statement, noting much of the problem came from the fact that the content simply wasn’t legally available online Down Under — “This is an accessibility issue”.

“When you consider the availability of video entertainment content in overseas markets, we’re practically a content wasteland Down Under,” Storrier added. “A couple of recent launches of IPTV services hardly fill the existing void.”

Pirate Party hosting Pirate Bay torrent site from “underground bunker”
Pirate Party hosting Pirate Bay torrent site from “underground bunker”

Sweden’s Pirate Party is bankrolling the bandwidth of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, which has been the target of several back-to-back legal actions aimed at closing down the popular BitTorrent ‘search engine’.

“We got tired of Hollywood’s cat and mouse game with the Pirate Bay so we decided to offer the site bandwidth” said The Pirate Party spokesman Rick Falkvinge. “It’s time to take the bull by the horns and stand up for what we believe is a legitimate activity. The Pirate Bay is a search engine, and as such it is not responsible for the results.”

apparently The Pirate Bay’s homepage and BitTorrent-indexing search engine are being served from machines located in a former Cold War bunker near Stockholm

Microsoft pounces on eBay software trader | The Australian
Microsoft pounces on eBay software trader

AN Australian eBay trader who admitted to selling Microsoft software illegally has paid $125,000 in compensation to the computer giant.

It was one of the largest individual payouts to Microsoft from an anti-piracy sting in Australia over the past 12 months.

According to Microsoft, David Porter, who traded under the name of “Ozcustomcomp”, sold unauthorised copies of Office Professional 2003 and Windows XP on eBay.

Mr Porter was nabbed during an undercover sting by Microsoft investigators who bought a PC loaded with the illegal software.

Telstra in $11bn NBN deal with Rudd government | The Australian
Telstra in $11bn NBN deal with Rudd government

TELSTRA has struck an $11 billion deal with NBN Co and the Rudd government to transfer its internet and voice customers to the NBN.

The non-binding financial heads of agreement — which comes after 10 tortuous months of negotiations — will see Telstra paid $9bn to become the NBN’s largest customer as it transfers its cable and copper network customers to the new fibre network during its eight-year construction.

About $9bn will be paid progressively by NBN Co as Telstra’s copper network is decommissioned and its cable broadband network service deactivated. The telco will receive a disconnection fee for every customer it moves to the new network. The payment is also for access to Telstra’s ducts, pits and exchanges in order to avoid costly

 

SMS scammers using World Cup to cash in | Technology | BigPond News

Recipients of SMS spam can forward it to ‘Spam SMS’ on 0429 999 888 or report it online at www.span.acma.gov.au

types of messages typically come in waves and play on a person’s topical interest in the event as a hook,’ ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement.

Three major World Cup scams are being circulated via SMS:

‘Congratulations from Fifa (sic) World Cup Promo you won $1,000,000.00 contact our agent to claim your prize Mr Fred Samuel Email: (email address)’

‘Your mobile number has won $100,000 and to watch the finals live at the FIFA WORLD CUP PROMO REF: SA3T10.send email to (email address) or call: (phone number)’

‘This is to confirm your cell have won US$5.8M for FIFA 2010 International Award. To claim contact Mrs. Martins via: (email address)’

Obama internet ‘kill switch’ proposed
Obama internet ‘kill switch’ proposed

US President Barack Obama would be granted powers to seize control of and even shut down the internet under a new bill that describes the global internet as a US “national asset”.

The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by independent senator Joe Lieberman, who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, railed against the idea, saying shutting down the internet would “inflict an enormous damage on the entire world”.

He said it would be like giving a single country “the right to poison the atmosphere, or poison the ocean”.

“All our financial systems, all our security systems … we’re so reliant on the internet that if you shut it down there’s a question of whether society will continue to operate normally anywhere in the Western world,” Landfeldt said in a phone interview.

“By doing this they would do the terrorists the biggest favour ever because they would terrorise the rest of the world”.

they cannot shut down machines in Australia, but they can completely isolate us and shut down certain core functions like the DNS … they can render the internet fairly useless for the rest of the world,” he said.

Toxic net filters ‘shelved until after election’
Toxic net filters ‘shelved until after election’

The internet censorship policy has joined the government’s list of “politically toxic subjects” and will almost certainly be shelved until after the federal election, Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam says.

Senator Conroy’s spokeswoman has repeatedly refused to deny claims that the legislation would be shelved until after the election, saying only that she did not yet know when the election would be.

The filtering policy has attracted international criticism and ridicule, most recently in Time magazine, which covered the policy in detail and wrote: “Australia may soon become the first Western democracy to join the ranks of Iran, China and a handful of other nations where access to the internet is restricted by the state.”

online electronics seller Kogan Technologies released its own parody clip featuring a supposed new product developed by two alleged engineers, Con and Roy, which will provide an alternative to the government’s proposed filter

 

MARK’S SHOWNOTES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AAa0gd7ClM

BP Spill

Connecticut, others pursue Google over data grab

Connecticut’s attorney general will lead a multi-state probe of whether Google Inc broke the law when it siphoned personal data off wireless networks around the world, which the Internet search leader has said was inadvertent.

 

U.S. |  Technology |  Media

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said on Monday more than 30 states participated in a recent conference call on the issue. He said consumers have a right to know what information was collected, and whether U.S. states need to alter procedures to guard against such leaks in future.

 

Google’s shares slid 2.29 percent to close at $488.56 on Monday.

In May, Google said its cars photographing streets around the world have for years accidentally collected personal data — which a security expert said at the time could have included email messages and passwords — sent by consumers over wireless networks.

“My office will lead a multi-state investigation — expected to involve a significant number of states — into Google’s deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

“Consumers have a right and a need to know what personal information — which could include emails, Web browsing and passwords — Google may have collected, how and why.”

Blumenthal said Google has cooperated but “its response so far raises as many questions as it answers.”

“Our investigation will consider whether laws may have been broken and whether changes to state and federal statutes may be necessary,” he said.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said last week that she had opened an investigation into whether Google collected personal information about Illinois residents. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox requested information from Google last week about the interceptions.

News of the Blumenthal-led probe marked the latest development in a privacy controversy surrounding Google. The company already faces an informal investigation over the matter by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a variety of probes overseas, and class action lawsuits.

Google has said the data were accidentally collected by “Street View” cars, well known for crisscrossing the globe and taking panoramic pictures of city streets, which the company displays in its online maps product.

“It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we did nothing illegal. We’re working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns,” Google spokeswoman Christine Chen said in an email.

The company says it uses the location of Wi-Fi networks to enhance location-based services on smartphones.

It first revealed that Street View cars were collecting wireless data in April, but said that no personal data were involved. But after an audit requested by Germany, Google acknowledged in May that it had been mistakenly collecting samples of “payload data.”

Blumenthal also released a letter sent to Google in mid-June asking for more details of the data collection. He had written to Google previously and the giant Internet search and advertising company had responded.

In the second letter, Blumenthal asked the company when it realized that its Street View cars had collected “payload data,” who audited or analyzed the Street View data collection program, and whether information was ever extracted from the payload data.

He also asked what precautions Google takes to ensure that its engineers do not insert code into Google products, and which engineer or engineers inserted the payload data code into the Street View cars’ collection devices.

French find e-mail passwords in Google Street View data

Google scooped up sensitive data such as passwords when putting together its Street View service, suggests an early look at the information.

The examination was carried out by French data protection agency CNIL as it decides whether to prosecute the search firm for gathering the data.

The data was gathered as Google logged wi-fi hotspots to help it develop location-based services.

Previously, Google said there was “no harm, no foul” in collecting the data.

Deleting data

CNIL, like many other data protection agencies worldwide, asked Google to hand over copies of the data it gathered to find out if privacy laws had been breached.

CNIL chairman Alex Turk said Google handed the data to the agency on 4 June following an official request and it was now in the process of combing through the reams of information.

Talking to reporters as CNIL unveiled its annual report, Mr Turk said the early look showed the presence of “data that are normally covered by… banking and medical privacy rules”.

Tech news site IDG reported that CNIL had spotted passwords for e-mail services and chunks of text from messages in its first glance at the data.

Google is handing data over to data protection authorities around the world

Mr Turk said he hoped to be able to decide by September if Google had a case to answer for breaching privacy. CNIL has the power to hand down a warning, levy a fine or pass the case to a prosecutor to see if a criminal charge is warranted.

Google said it was working with the French authorities and many others and would delete the information it had gathered if asked.

“We have reached out to the data protection authorities in the relevant countries, and are working with them to answer any questions they have,” a Google spokesperson said.

“Our ultimate objective is to delete the data consistent with our legal obligations and in consultation with the appropriate authorities,” added the spokesperson.

The row has blown up following Google’s admission that its Street View cars “accidentally” grabbed data from unsecured wi-fi networks as the vehicles were snapping stills of street scenes in 30 nations. Google has now stopped gathering information about wi-fi networks.

The revelation has led to investigations in Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Several US states are considering filing civil suits for damages over the collection of the data. US digital rights groups have called for an official “probe” into the issue.

Google has defended its collection of the data saying it was done “accidentally”. Google boss Eric Schmidt said there was “no harm, no foul” in collecting the snippets of information.

“Who was harmed? Name the person,” Mr Schmidt said at during an interview at the company’s annual Zeitgeist conference held in Watford in mid-May.

Labor elusive on web history collection

THE federal government has refused to make clear whether it will force ISPs to record the websites accessed by their customers.

Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam asked Labor frontbench senator Penny Wong in question time on Monday whether ISPs would be required to record the web browsing histories of every internet user in the country.

Senator Wong said the attorney-general’s department had been discussing telecommunications data access for law enforcement and national security purposes with industry groups.

“This data collection is a valuable tool which has occasionally, under both sides of politics, been used by law enforcement agencies to identify participants in criminal networks and terrorist organisations,” she told parliament.

Senator Wong said data might include information which could identify people involved in a communication, when and where the communication took place, and its duration.

“But I understand it would not extend to the content of the communication,” she said.

Senator Wong stressed that any data collection scheme had to strike the balance between preserving individual privacy, recognising commercial realities and upholding the community’s expectation that crimes are investigated and prosecuted.

After question time, Senator Ludlam presented a petition to the chamber from almost 20,000 people calling for the upper house to reject any internet filtering plan.

The government wants to introduce a mandatory internet filter aimed at blocking access to illegal online material such as child pornography.

  • Blue of Perth Posted at 11:51 AM Today

    Another example of an Incompetent Government and an Incompetent Minister!..Open and Transparent Government says Rudd, the only thin open is the door for this lot at the next Election. It would be better if they used it sooner than later.

    Comment 1 of 9

  • vic of Sydney Posted at 11:55 AM Today

    The best thing Federal Labor can do before the next election is scrap all of their Internet policies and sack both Conroy and Wong. Their Internet strategies alone will see them lose the next election badly.

    Comment 2 of 9

  • Daniel of Sydney Posted at 12:08 PM Today

    Why does this government believe it has the right to moniter and restrict the flow of information? The arrogance is ASTOUNDING! Conroy has proven time and again that he is an EPIC FAIL, yet he still maintains his position, and his undemocratic policies!!

    Comment 3 of 9

  • gordon fr33man of City 17 Posted at 12:09 PM Today

    from now on can we please stop qualifing the governments internet censorship plan with blocking access to child porn, we all know this is bull – AS THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EASILY AVAILABLE CP VIA A WEB PAGE, IT IS CREATED AND DISTRIBUTED IN UNDERGROUND P2P NETWORKS.

    Comment 4 of 9

  • Sonny of Sydney Posted at 12:09 PM Today

    This is nothing to do with child porn, that is a convenient excuse just like WMD was a convenient excuse. Why would internet be the govt be looking at telecoms and data access to curb something immigration, customs, and AFP should be looking into. This is to keep track on the people. USA has had this system in place and we dont need it, we are free and should stay that way. Countries that do this are China, and North Korea right now. And they are dictatorship/communist countries. Is this the path we want to lead down? Really?

    Comment 5 of 9

  • Jonas k of brisbane Posted at 12:09 PM Today

    consulting with industry groups. Wrong – how about actually telling the truth to the citizens of Australia who are the ultiamte customer of the ISP’s and funnily enough the governemtn. how can a democratically elected governemtn not release details of legislation that affects every Australian internet users or communications users. this has been done befor ein places like north korea, old Russia , Cuba and Southern American countries. wrong, rudd and Gilalrd should gett a bulk discount n brown shirt uniforms and then maybe have a book burning as well

    Comment 6 of 9

  • Jac of Brisbane Posted at 12:23 PM Today

    Talk about conspiracies…..bring on the downfall of this outdated & inefficient attempt at a “New World Order”. Refuse it….we’re smarter than that!

    Comment 7 of 9

  • Greg Posted at 12:26 PM Today

    How do we know that they will not abuse this and track people using blogs like this.We are heading down the track of controlling freedom of speach. It may be a very alarmist view however what safe guards are in place.

    Comment 8 of 9

  • Fair Player of Melbourne Posted at 12:29 PM Today

    @vic of Sydney. Unfortunately, no one can get the coalition to give a commitment to scrap the internet filter – it’s conservative heartland. The sad thing is that Labour should be championing against it. Australia is going down the toilet.

    Comment 9 of 9

Telstra in $11bn NBN deal with Rudd government

TELSTRA has struck an $11 billion deal with NBN Co and the Rudd government to transfer its internet and voice customers to the NBN.

The non-binding financial heads of agreement — which comes after 10 tortuous months of negotiations — will see Telstra paid $9bn to become the NBN’s largest customer as it transfers its cable and copper network customers to the new fibre network during its eight-year construction.

Telstra expects to reap a total $11bn in post-tax net present value from the deal after new public policy reforms that relieve the company’s obligation to provide and maintain basic phone services to rural and remote areas

About $9bn will be paid progressively by NBN Co as Telstra’s copper network is decommissioned and its cable broadband network service deactivated. The telco will receive a disconnection fee for every customer it moves to the new network. The payment is also for access to Telstra’s ducts, pits and exchanges in order to avoid costly duplication.

The deal was hailed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy as a win-win while NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said it would secure Telstra a place in the NBN world — effectively eliminating it as a fixed-line wholesale competitor to the government-owned NBN — and bolstered the project’s aims to be a financially viable entity.

“It’s a sound outcome because it maximises the use of existing infrastructure, it avoids infrastructure duplication, it accelerates the rollout of the NBN and most importantly Telstra is likely to become NBN Co’s biggest customer,” Mr Quigley said.

The $9bn figure will effectively pay Telstra to replace the ageing copper network with new fibre-optic cables.

Telstra welcomed the in-principle agreement after a year of tough negotiations but said there was still much to be done before a definitive outcome for the telco and NBN Co would be achieved.

“We will continue to work with the government and NBN Co on the detail required to implement the principles agreed today. While today’s agreement is an important step, a very significant amount of work must still be done on many complex issues,” Telstra chief executive David Thodey said.

The fibre-optic NBN will service 90 per cent of the nation with internet access speeds of 100 megabits per second. The access and customer migration arrangements are expected to shave billions of dollars from the NBN’s $43bn price tag and it will enable NBN Co to roll out and complete the ambitious build more quickly.

“This is a truly exciting day in the history of Australia’s telecommunication sector. These negotiations have been tough, complex and at times colourful but they have been conducted in good faith with the firm focus of getting the best outcome for everyone,” Senator Conroy said.

“This agreement provides us with a clear pathway to take Australia from the copper age to the fibre future. We will have a clear way forward for reforming the telecommunications sector to introduce the right market structure to unleash genuine competition at the retail level for the first time.”

Telstra also stands to benefit to the tune of an extra $2bn, which will be gleaned from a raft of new public policy reforms, the most important of which will see the government relieve the telco from its universal service obligation.

The government will establish a new entity called USO Co to service and maintain essential but unprofitable telco services to rural and regional Australians.

USO Co will get $50 million of funding in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but will be granted $100m per year in future years. Exactly how the rest of the commitment is funded between industry players will be subject to further negotiation.

The government will also pay Telstra $100m to retrain its copper wire technicians for redeployment on the new fibre network.

The deal must gain shareholder approval, which requires Telstra’s board proving to many angry shareholders that the proposal really does offer commercial value to the company before they vote on it early next year. The deal will also require the government to make a number of amendments to its stalled legislation which aimed at establishing the framework for NBN and the structural separation of Telstra.

“The government will be making amendments to the bill to provide Telstra with the legislative certainty it needs to receive structural separation while still protecting the long-term interests of their end-users,” Senator Conroy said.

These concessions will soften the government’s legislative threats to force Telstra to divest some of its key assets such as its stake in Foxtel. While the deal will see Telstra gradually move customers off its broadband cable network, Telstra will maintain the asset exclusively for the purpose of servicing its Foxtel subscribers.

Telstra also received a written guarantee from the Prime Minister that it would not be barred from bidding for new wireless spectrum to evolve its mobile broadband business.

Even Telstra’s competitors, who had feared that a lump sum compensation payment to Telstra would be used to subsidise prices for NBN services, were cautiously optimistic about the deal.

“The removal of uncertainty in the sector is going to benefit all parties and Macquarie welcomes the day when we compete with Telstra on the NBN where their only advantage is their size and not their monopoly power; the field of battle is purely on servicing customers,” Macquarie Telecom head of regulatory and government affairs Matt Healy said.

Optus director of corporate and regulatory affairs Maha Krishnapillai used the deal’s announcement to call for renewed focus on passing the stalled telco reform bill, which has been held up in the Senate.

“It’s more important than ever that the Regulatory Reform Bill is passed quickly as this legislation contains fundamental and crucial protection for the taxpayers of Australia by ensuring any Telstra deal represents demonstrably fair value for taxpayers and is open to ACCC oversight,” he said.

The opposition, however, said the deal was nothing but a desperate attempt by the Rudd government to patch up its reckless broadband policy.

“This hugely expensive and risky venture is something that no responsible government would contemplate in the first place,” opposition communications spokesman Tony Smith said.

Satellite provider slams NBN Co over short list

AN Australian-owned satellite operator has condemned the NBN Co for its handling of the tender process for internet services in rural areas.

In a letter obtained by The Australian and addressed to NewSat’s major stakeholders, NewSat chief executive Adrian Ballintine said the company had been “shafted” without proper consideration or fair notice.

It submitted a bid in the NBN tender process to provide satellite services as part of the government’s $43 billion national broadband network.

Satellite services and wireless technologies are needed in the NBN to supply 10 per cent of the nation with 12 megabits per second broadband connections. NewSat had submitted a response to the NBN Co’s request for capability statement regarding the supply of a satellite network and services, but it was rejected by the NBN Co in a two-line email that simply thanked NewSat for its submission.

“Something is dramatically amiss within NBN.

“Every Australian should be alarmed at the government’s blatant disregard for services at its disposal and failure to fully consider all its options,” Mr Ballintine said.

Speaking to The Australian from Bahrain, Mr Ballintine said he was perplexed as to why no one from the government or the NBN had been in contact to explain why the company’s tender bid was unsuccessful.

“While I’m out chasing new customers for our new satellite at a conference in Bahrain, the blokes in the shiny pants at clown house NBN haven’t even had the courtesy to write back to us or knock on our door and tell us what’s going on,” Mr Ballintine said.

NewSat had invested substantial resources in its pitch for the satellite work and thought it had made a good case, Mr Ballintine said.

“If you have a leaky tap, go get a plumber; if you’ve got a busted light switch, get an electrician; and if you want to launch a satellite in Australia then sit down with us and we will do it for a fixed price — we will fund it and take the risk,” he said.

The NBN Co has shaved its satellite shortlist down to six or seven operators since issuing requests for capability statements in January, but none of the listed suppliers has been notified. It is understood that Optus, Intelsat and Hughes Network Systems are among the names on the shortlist.

Next-generation satellites will play an important role in the NBN, linking premises in regional Australia where distance and lack of infrastructure make it economically not feasible to lay fibre.

However, satellites that are capable of transmitting broadband at 12Mbps — the minimum mandated by the government — have not yet been launched in Australian skies.

To achieve speeds mandated by NBN Co, operators would need to spend millions of dollars to launch the next generation of KA-band satellites.

NewSat is one company that kicked off plans to launch a KA-band satellite, named Jabiru, in 2012.

NewSat is forecasting revenues from Jabiru to exceed $US1bn ($1.17bn) over its 15 year life, regardless of whether it is part of the NBN.

“When we released our ADSL2+ offering five years ago, we were very excited because it was offering speeds of 24Mbps.

“At the time we were reselling Telstra’s 256Kbps broadband plans and we thought all our customers would want to switch to these new, fast speeds straight away because it was 93 times faster,” Mr Teoh said.

“So we wrote to all our customers to switch from ADSL to ADSL2+ and offered them to switch over free of charge. And do you know what our take-up rate was? It was so low we were shocked. Sometimes fast speeds are not enough, it has to be about value.”

Mr Teoh said customer take-up of the faster ADSL2+ services was lower than the estimated 16 per cent for NBN fibre-optic services in Tasmania. That estimate was suppressed by the federal and Tasmanian governments but released to The Australian under freedom of information laws.

Service provider casts doubt on demand for super-fast internet

TPG Telecom has raised doubts about consumer demand for the super-fast speeds offered by the $43 billion national broadband network.

TPG is Australia’s fastest growing broadband provider.

The government, NBN Co and Telstra yesterday agreed to an $11bn deal to transfer the telco’s customer base to the new fibre network.

TPG Telecom executive chairman David Teoh is not convinced that demand for the NBN’s services has matured, and says deeper analysis is required before taxpayer dollars are thrown into it.

“The government is spending a huge a mount of money on this. There should be more analysis on the cost-benefit side and I think it’s important to see the outcome of the pilot side before we rush into the project,” Mr Teoh said.

Fast internet download speeds were not enough to convince customers to switch broadband services, he said.

Fears internet costs will rise due to NBN

INTERNET users could pay more for broadband access as a result of the deal to transfer Telstra’s customers to the new national network.

Although the final pricing of internet access through the NBN has yet to be set, experts warn prices could rise if Telstra is allowed to exercise monopoly power over the backhaul network that ferries vast amounts of internet traffic around the nation.

It is also unclear how much customers accessing the internet with an ADSL connection over copper wires will pay when they have to switch to the NBN’s fibre network.

Current plans on the NBN network already rolled out in Tasmania start at about $30-$50 a month for a 25Mbps connection and about 15GB of data a month — roughly equivalent to the cost and theoretical performance of an ADSL2+ service. High-level plans are between $140-$160 a month for 100Mbps connection and 180GB-300GB of data.

Unlike ADSL services, access over fibre does not degrade, or slow down, with distance from an exchange.

The non-binding deal $11 billion agreed with the government will yield Telstra $2bn in value through new public policy reforms and it will be paid $9bn to migrate its internet and voice traffic to the $43bn fibre network.

The migration of Telstra’s customers on to the NBN will help underpin the broadband project’s financial viability, but RMIT University senior lecturer in network engineering Mark Gregory warned that the government’s eagerness to forge a deal could come at a cost to consumers if Telstra was allowed to charge premium rates for the lease of its infrastructure.

“This deal between the NBN and Telstra could make broadband prices much worse for consumers if the NBN Co only decides to lease backhaul from Telstra and leaves the other backhaul providers stranded,” he said. The NBN was always intended as a wholesale access network to replace Telstra’s last-mile copper telephone network with superior fibre cables.

The NBN will still rely on a backhaul network to carry internet traffic around the country.

While the NBN Co believes there is sufficient competition in the backhaul market to ensure it gets a good price for the transfer of its data, Dr Gregory is concerned that the confidential terms of the in-principle deal do not make it clear whetherthe NBN Co will sign up as an exclusive customer of Telstra’s backhaul network.

Gartner Research vice-president Geoff Johnson played down the threat of Telstra being locked in as an exclusive backhaul provider, saying there was a sufficient number of established players to ensure a competitive market.

Although Telstra will be allowed to compete against the NBN using wireless internet services, it was unlikely to offer the level of service that the fibre network would provide.

Telstra boasts peak theoretical speeds on its Next G wireless network of 21Mbps. However, real speeds are between 550Kbps and 8Mbps because wireless is shared spectrum, meaning the speed drops as more people use the service. Telstra will soon be going to peak speeds of 42Mbps.

Maha Krishnapillai, director of government and corporate affairs at Optus, said wireless was more likely to be a “complement” to the NBN rather than a replacement.

“If data on wireless was to start hitting the customer numbers that the NBN wants to service then it would need fibre between base stations and almost every premise to handle the strain on capacity,” he said.

“That reliance on fibre is what the NBN is all about.”

Telstra copper’s worth $580m

TELSTRA could reap more than $500 million on commodity markets if it could scrape up all the copper in its decades-old phone network.

But don’t expect it to become Labor’s next super-profits target.

If Telstra could neatly gather up all its copper lines, they’d stretch halfway to the sun and the metal would fetch the carrier $580m on commodity markets.

However, analysts say its copper is junk and the telco’s biggest asset windfall would lie in the real estate market should it carry through its $9 billion agreement with the federal government to decommission its network and go with the new high-speed broadband network, NBN.

It is understood decommissioning the 3000 exchanges Telstra owns could fetch the carrier up to a billion dollars.

Over the decades, Telstra in its various public and private manifestations — has laid at least 70 million kilometres of copper wire in the ground to build the 10 million phone lines that snake in and out of millions of homes and offices around the country.

Telstra yesterday declined to share its own tonnage estimates, with a spokesman saying: “Sorry, but we are not disclosing. The CEO and CFO briefing is all we are providing today.”

However, based on estimates that assume only the narrowest 0.4 mm gauge of copper line makes up the distance, the carrier has at least 78,400 tonnes of copper sitting out in its labyrinth of ducts and trenches.

Moreover, a former Telstra employee and copper cabling specialist told The Australian that its lines could be up to one-and-a-half times thicker in regional areas to improve line quality over long distances.

Based on the current spot commodity price for copper of $US294 a pound ($US6570 a tonne) the copper would be worth $580 million.

But the consensus among analysts appears to be that it’s all worthless.

Analysts whom The Australian contacted yesterday were unwilling to comment on record. Speaking privately, one said that at most the copper might generate a cottage industry for recyclers. “It’s scrap,” the analyst said. “It’s really bad copper that costs a lot more to try to rip out and recycle than its worth.”

“There’s a bit sitting outside my home, there’s a bit sitting outside your home. It’s so widespread you’d not bother.”

Toshiba takes on Amazon and Apple with dual-screen PC

Toshiba on Monday launched a dual-screened mini notebook PC that can be used as an e-book reader, adding to competition for the likes of Apple Corp’s iPad and Amazon.com’s Kindle.

Technology |  Media

The new gadget, which can be used like a conventional clam-style notebook PC with a software keyboard, or turned 90 degrees for use as an e-book reader, will go on sale in Japan in late August and later in Europe, the United States and other markets.

Toshiba unveiled the Libretto W100 at a lavish event in Tokyo that also marked a quarter century since it launched the world’s first laptop in 1985, though its personal computer division made an 8.8 billion yen ($97 million) loss in the year to March 2010.

The company expects its PC division to break even in the year to March 2011.

The new touch-screen gadget, which also faces potential competition from Sony Corp will not shake up the e-book reader market at this point, because the company has yet to draw up any agreements with content providers.

But executives were keen to emphasize that the Libretto, which they expect to retail for about 120,000 yen ($1,320) in Japan, compared with $489 for the larger of Amazon’s Kindle devices, or $499 for the cheapest iPad, offers more than a passive “consumption” experience.

“Apple’s iPad is probably creating a new market in terms of consuming information, browsing and reading books,” Masahiko Fukakushi, president and CEO of Toshiba’s digital products and network unit, told reporters.

“But when it comes to creation or production … what we have been doing still has a lot of value. We want to continue to do both.”

Toshiba is the world’s fourth biggest notebook PC vendor after HP, Acer and Dell. Industry-wide shipments of notebook computers jumped 43 percent in the January-March quarter, their highest year-on-year growth in eight years, according to industry tracker Gartner.

Toshiba is targeting global PC shipments of 25 million units in the year to March 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrUmRHbtc68

Signing in to Google’s Online Monopoly has become a BIG POF of mine lately. Of course they provide a better service than Telstra’s monopoly but here is my POF. When signing in to Google Notebook, I am automatically signed in to Youtube under that e-mail address. When I log out of Notebook, and log in to YouTube with my other account, when I load Notebook, I am now in a new Notebook for the secondary e-mail I used to log into YouTube. WHAT THE????

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZw_bs4WdA0

All Natural Solution to Gulf Oil Spill — Clean up with this ready to use biomass product. The reclaimed oil can be used to create energy. This is a renewable, agricultural product that can absorb 800 gallons of oil per ton. It is environmentally safe and available for immediate application.

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The coast guard has expressed interest — stay tuned for news updates.

Thank you,
Steve Flick

New Hard Drive Technology Boosts Windows 7, Slows XP

Hard drive manufacturers are set to improve the speed, capacity, and power consumption of their drives by 2011. While this technology will benefit users of Windows 7 and other modern operating systems, Windows XP users may actually be facing a performance hit by using the new drives.

This technology improvement, called Advanced Format Architecture (at least by Western Digital), is mandated by an agreement of the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association, which says that by 2011 all hard drive makers must sell drives using 4 kilobyte sectors instead of 512 byte sectors, the current default.

Let’s break that overly technical explanation into something simpler: Most hard drives on the market now, from the lowly 80GB drives to the hulking 2 TB monsters, store their data in small blocks called sectors. Those sectors can store 512 bytes of data, but each sector also has a small gap between it – the space in each gap is used to correct errors and to store additional information that the drive needs to function properly.

Basically, the 4 kilobyte sector would require fewer gaps, total, across an entire hard drive, thus saving space on a hard drive platter and increasing the drive’s overall efficiency. The technology is best demonstrated by the image below:

Courtest HotHardware.com

Courtesy HotHardware.com

The extra space can be used to give the user more storage, or to allow the manufacturer to provide the same amount of storage on a smaller hard drive platter.

Most current operating systems, including Mac OS X versions 10.4 and above, most Linux distributions, Windows Vista and Windows 7, can take advantage of the benefits of the new technology, but the aging Windows XP will actually see visible slowdown in many cases.

This is due to an emulation technique used by the new drives that allows legacy operating systems, such as Windows XP, to treat them like older 512 byte sector drives. The performance hit is expected to be about ten percent.

One reason why some users cling to Windows XP is because of its speed, but along with reports that multi-core and hyperthreaded processors offer better performance in Windows 7, this new hard drive format serves as another bullet point in the list of reasons to abandon the aging operating system.

The upside is that by 2011, Windows XP should be on its way out, and many of its remaining users will be running it on older computers instead of brand-new machines using the new hard drive technology. It’s possible that, despite the potential for lesser performance, many casual computer users won’t even notice the change.

iTunes Update Required

Not sure if you can do this already, but wouldn’t it be nice to have separate accounts on iTunes. Dad log’s in to access his music account of songs stored on the hard drive. Mum has hers and the kids have there own. The reason, I want to turn one of my iTunes Accounts (When they make it possible) into a database of contacts. Creating 1 sec Mp3’s at 32kps, will give me a file that I can add information to and a photo or photos. I can ultimately use iTunes as a database for contacts, fully searchable with excellent choices. Of course there’s probably an app already that I have missed.

Also when will Apple finally allow iPods to show duplicates, seems it is a joke that you have check all your music before adding to the iPod. Why not allow duplicates to be shown on your iPod playlist, thus allowing you to pluck out the unwanted songs to give you more room to play with.

History Repeating.

Android vs. iPhone: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

The OS War is on again, but Apple once again forgets the past. As we all know Microsoft won the battle of the Operating Systems when they were seeing their operating system pop up on all PC clones. Apple on the other hand refused to allow its OS to be placed on any other computer besides Mac. Of course there was a time in techno history when a 3rd Party Computer company managed to sell computers with Apple’s OS on board, but that didn’t seem to last very long.

Either way fast forward to 2010 and we are seeing the exact same thing. OS4 will only be available on iPhones whereas Android will pop up on all breeds of mobile devices. Apple is not only competing on a software level with one company, but they are also competing on a hardware level with a myriad of companies ready to produce Captain Picard’s or Dr. Who’s preferred choice of Mobile Device. Of course in computer operating systems we have always seen OSX beat Microsoft every step of the way, and from the reviews I’ve read it seems they may be doing the same thing to Android.

OS Versions

Throughout the years I’ve loved the romantic attachment Operating Systems have had to organic things. Microsoft has used terms like Longhorn and Vienna, Apple have used Jaguar, Tiger and Leopard. Now the mobile wars have begun iPhone is sticking to OS3, OS4. However Android have come up with an interesting twist. Desserts or Sweets. Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, and there latest edition, wait for it… FROYO (Guess they must thinking of their waste line).

Android’s Froyo vs. iPhone OS4.0. Fight!

With the release of Android 2.2 (also known as Froyo) less than a week ago, the iPhone-Android battle has kicked into high gear.

Apple’s newest OS, iPhone OS 4.0, has been in beta among developers since its announcement in April and has won plaudits for its new features, such as multitasking and folders. However, Android users are quick to point out that many of the features now available on Apple’s device have been available on Android phones for a while now.

Here at TheNextWeb, we’ve mulled over the upsides and downsides of both Operating Systems and we’re pleased to present a roundup of the strengths and weaknesses of the newest versions of Android and iPhone OS.

Multitasking

The biggest advantage that Android users (and Motorola Droid commercials) have lorded over the iPhone has been Android’s ability to multitask. Android has had this ability since Cupcake and Android fans have been quick to mention this as one of the main reasons that they bought the phone.

In iPhone OS4.0, Apple has finally caught up to Android in this regard. And in theory, they have actually passed Google’s product here. While both systems provide the ability to receive notifications in the background, some say Apple’s solution is more clever.

David Quintana took an in-depth look at the the differences between the iPhone’s multitasking and Android’s multitasking and found some interesting results. Since the iPhone’s architecture doesn’t require services to complete certain kinds of tasks in the background, it is less complex to code for a multitasking app.

The biggest advantage that Apple’s solution has, though, is that suspended apps don’t drain the battery with data calls. Because of the way that the iPhone OS is designed, suspended apps cannot poll services like Twitter and Facebook for updates. Instead, when there are updates, they are sent to the phone via push.

Android doesn’t have this restriction. When there are multiple apps open that can make these calls, battery life gets sapped quickly. While this is not necessarily a common issue for well-designed apps, it can be a problem.

The Winner:

While the iPhone’s multitasking solution may be more effective, it’s also long overdue. Rather than calling this close battle a push (no pun intended), we’re awarding this first round to Android.

Apps, Apps, Apps

Apple’s success with the iPhone has largely been due to the pull of Apple’s App Store. The store, which is the undisputed leader in app sales, ran over its competition when it was introduced in 2008.

The introduction of Android Market, though, has changed the App scene on mobile devices. For the first time, Apple’s App ecosystem actually has a legitimate competitor. As of the beginning of the month, an estimated 60,000 apps are available in the Android Market.

Unfortunately for Google, Apple still makes that look like child’s play. At the beginning of this month, Apple reported that their store has over 200,000 apps available for download and has served a staggering 4 Billion-plus apps downloads.

Despite this overwhelming success, Apple’s ecosystem still has flaws. The App Store’s application process tends towards the absurd and arbitrary, with apps such as iFart being allowed in while Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Fiore’s app NewsToons being disallowed. Certain types of apps that thrive in the Android Market (like tethering apps and Google Voice) are nowhere to be found in the App Store. Apple has also been accused of imposing puritanical morality on the App Store, banning apps with any nudity, including newspaper apps.

Problems aside, though, the App Store has the Android Market whipped. Sure, the App Store has its share of crApps. And the Android Market does have most of the big apps that the iPhone has. But the quality of many apps for the iPhone, especially gaming apps, blows away the Android Market’s offerings.

The Winner:

Score one for Steve Jobs and his turtleneck. The App Store is still head and shoulders above the Android Market. Although the Market is growing quickly and is doing quite well, it still has a ways to go to catch the App Store. As Android gains steam, though, the Android Market could slowly start to reel in the App Store.

The Harware Behind The Software

Android phones come in all sorts of different flavors. Some are touchscreen only, some have full keyboards; some chug along with a 528 MHz processor while others rip along with 1GHz Snapdragon; some have low-resolution resistive touchscreens, while others have high resolution screens with multitouch.

This variety makes Android accessible to all price points, a valuable thing in a recession. Indeed, Android phones can be found (with special deals) at as low as $19 with contract (and it was a Droid, no less).

However, this type of ecosystem is also a problem. The Android experience will vary considerably from a Droid Incredible or Nexus One to a HTC Dream (or lesser Android device). This, in turn, makes it slightly more challenging for developers to make apps that fully take advantage of Android’s power.

Indeed, Google has indicated that Froyo will not work for certain phones, namely the HTC Dream. As it currently stands, Android handsets are spread across four major versions, Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0/2.1) and Froyo (2.2). This fragmentation of the OS across handset manufacturers seriously hamstrings developers because they are still forced to (at some level) develop for four platforms.

By contrast, the iPhone’s hardware picture looks significantly less complicated. There will be only 4 generations of the phone by the time iPhone OS4.0 releases, the hardware differences between the original iPhone and the 3G are essentially non-existent, and Apple has already bitten the bullet and announced that certain apps (games, mostly) will only work on 3GS phones and up.

This doesn’t make it any less annoying that iPhone 2G users are left out in the cold with iPhone OS4.0, especially given the phone’s similarities to the iPhone 3G, which is supported.

In this way, both the Apple and Google approaches are wrong. Both companies are seemingly arbitrarily punishing older device owners (iPhone 2G and HTC Dream owners, for example) with their newest software releases. Despite the fact that the hardware in both older devices is essentially identical to upgradeable devices (the iPhone 3G and the HTC Magic), the new devices will receive the new Operating Systems and the old devices will not.

The winner: Draw

Both companies’ hardware strategies have advantages and disadvantages. The seemingly arbitrary control over upgrades present in both companies’ ecosystems just ends up hurting their potential consumers though. There’s a fine line between reasonable forced obsolescence and absurdity and both companies come down firmly on the absurdity side.

Browsing and Flash Mobile

One of the biggest features that Google has touted with Froyo is its speed. Froyo’s compiler is faster than Eclair’s, its launcher is reportedly speedier than Eclair’s and Android as a whole supposedly feels speedier.

Google also made the bold claim at their I/O conference a few weeks ago that Froyo’s browser is the fastest mobile browser in the world (a claim which Opera has mercilessly mocked). However, some independent speed tests have backed this claim up. Despite the fact that the Froyo browser sometimes gets confused by banner ads, it has proven itself speedier than the iPhone’s Safari browser.

Or at least it did without Flash turned on.

Flash has been one of the most heavily-hyped features that Froyo has brought to the table. Finally, there’s a way to play Flash games and view Flash content on a mobile device (in real Flash, not Flash Lite).

Flash elements appear to load snappily and play very well on a Nexus One (as seen in this video). There is also the option to have Flash elements load on demand, rather than playing automatically.

However, when you add Flash to the speedy browser, it suddenly becomes a lot less speedy. It gets bogged down in loading Flash content, such as dynamic banner ads and browsing suddenly becomes much more clunky. Scrolling is jerky, things take much longer to load, and content plays back slowly in many cases.

Sure, it’s certainly a good thing that Android gives you the option to have Flash. One of the things that has been most annoying about Apple’s recent anti-Flash stance has been its nannying behavior, telling the users what they should and should not be able to run. However, after seeing Flash’s beta implementation in Froyo, it’s hard not to think that Steve Jobs was at least a little bit right.

The Winner:

Sure, it’s a kludgey solution. But for better or for worse, Android is treating its users like adults by letting them decide what they want to run on their device rather than nannying the users out of running programs Steve Jobs doesn’t approve of. This is an admirable goal, and hopefully Flash implementation will improve with subsequent updates.

Voice Control

Both Android and iPhone OS include the ability to control their respective devices with voice commands. However, there’s a huge gulf in functionality. Put simply, Android slays iPhone in the voice control stakes.

Sure, the iPhone’s implementation of voice control looked pretty cool when it came out last year. Time has proven that it was a feature that needed to wait until it was fully baked. Trying to play one artist would often result in playing another, asking to call your aunt could result in calling your boss; these errors will be familiar to anyone who’s ever tried to use the system.

How the iPhone’s voice control works in theory

Google has even managed to prove that it wasn’t a hardware issue. Google’s iPhone app has a version of Android’s voice control baked in to it and the accuracy with which it is able to understand queries is amazing. It’s even able to understand queries in other languages (sometimes). This makes it clear that Apple’s to blame for the lackluster voice controls on the iPhone 3GS.

As a simple measure of how much of a difference there is between Android’s voice implementation and the iPhone’s, just ask an Android user how often they use voice-to-text or voice controls. The answer will certainly be a greater fraction than those that use the iPhone’s similar features.

Even the fanboys at Cult of Mac are getting a little jealous. They said, “(it) just makes the voice control app’s flaws that much more prominent — it’s like a holdover from a Moto Razr that somehow snuck onto my iPhone. It’s not even good enough to use in the car — too great a risk of calling the wrong person.” And honestly, who can blame them. I’m jealous too, as are many iPhone users.

The Winner:

This is one of the areas where one side clearly destroys the other. Apple has a few similar areas in terms of media-playing ability and apps dominance, but Android makes Apple’s voice control efforts look amateurish by comparison.

Music, Movies and Photos

By contrast, Apple has absolute dominance in media playing and control. iTunes, as problematic as it can be, is still the gold standard for music playing, sales and importing (despite what our own Alex Wilhelm has said). The iTunes store has sold well over ten billion tracks.

Video is a similar story. The breadth of content out there for iPhone’s closed ecosystem dwarfs anything else. In fact, when iPhone OS4.0 releases, it will likely bring even more content to the iPhone in the form of Netflix.

But playing media like this is only the beginning. Apple’s devices also provide a much cleaner photo-viewing experience than similar Android products, especially given that the iPad’s improved photos program will likely make its way to the iPhone in iPhone OS4.0.


The Winner:

Apple wins this round easily. It just has better media controls. That’s what it knows best.

Aesthetics

Android has taken big strides from its first releases in terms of aesthetics. The first release of Android, 1.0, was much less-polished than the comparable iPhone at the time.

Since then, Android has steadily reeled in Apple in and has really made a legitimate case for Android.

However, there’s still a pretty considerable gulf between the two. While it’s difficult to tell whether or not the folders system and the ability to change backgrounds in iPhone OS4.0 will end up being an aesthetic step forward or backwards, it’s still pretty clear that Apple would have to make a major misstep to be overtaken by Android’s interface for this release.

That’s not to say that Android’s interface is bad in any way. In fact, it’s clearly a legitimate competitor to the iPhone’s interface. It’s smooth, slick and looks pretty good. It’s just that it seems like Apple still has a nicer, cleaner feel in their OS.

The Winner:

Android has made lots of progress in catching up to Apple’s largely unchanged aesthetic. However, there’s a good reason why few changes have been made so far. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be Apple’s philosophy.

New Features, New Beginnings?

Both Froyo and iPhone OS4.0 roll out some new features to their users. But, at least from what we’ve seen so far, the two companies are taking very different approaches to their new OS.

Google has treated Froyo as a chance to go back and fix problems and glitches, while introducing tweaks under the hood of the OS to improve speed. This is exemplified by Android’s new compiler, its new V8 Javascript engine and other tweaks here and there that have pared a lot of fat out of Android.

Froyo also brings the compelling addition of Microsoft Exchange support, which sweetens the pot for office environments looking to ditch their Crackberries for something newer. When you add this functionality to the Flash support and mobile hotspot support that Froyo also adds to Android, it makes for a compelling argument for the OS.

Apple has taken an entirely different tack, though. Where Froyo is an incremental change over Eclair, iPhone OS4.0 is a paradigm shift over iPhone OS3.0. OS4.o brings some features that bring it up to Android’s standard (like multitasking), while completely moving the goalposts on others.

For example, where Android has introduced Exchange support, Apple has beefed up their office environment support by allowing for multiple Exchange accounts. Where Android has introduced a compiler that speeds up gaming, Apple has released an Xbox Live-like matchmaking system.

Whether this tack will benefit Apple is yet to be seen. The betas of iPhone OS4.0 have given us some clues as to what’s under the hood, but it will be tough to know for sure what’s in there until we see Steve Jobs speaking at WWDC next week.

The Winner:

Android makes a really good argument. It will definitely sway people towards Android in the near future and will likely rise to challenge Apple’s new-found smartphone dominance. However, Apple’s strategy seems to have worked. We won’t know for sure for another week, but it looks like Apple has made a very good argument for going iPhone.

However, it’s entirely possible that Apple has screwed up again. After recent breaches of protocol, Apple is looking much more human than they normally do. It remains to be seen if their big gamble will pay off, but if recent results are any indicator, it would be unwise to bet against the guys from Cupertino. Therefore, I’m giving this particular battle to Apple, by a nose.

So where does that leave us? It’s hard to say for sure. Android has become a much meatier competitor to the iPhone. Previous releases of Android were just that little bit too clumsy to really catch on widely. With Froyo, it looks like Android’s hit has finally come. It’s snappy, responsive and looks good enough to win away many users disillusioned with Apple’s smartphone dominance.

However, Apple is refusing to rest on their laurels. Sure, they’re doing quite well, but they understand that Android is quite appealing and that it will only grow as a competitor. As such, they understand that they need a winner with iPhone OS4.0 to keep the momentum on their side.

And from early reports, it looks like they have that winner. iPhone OS4.0 catches up to Android in fields where the iPhone had lagged while leapfrogging Android in others.

What does all of this mean for the consumer? It means that this is an incredible time to be in the market for a smartphone. The new iPhone will undoubtedly be a killer device. The newest Android devices have also proven to be pretty slick pieces of kit, too.

Which device you’ll want to buy is something that will vary from person to person. Do you value the ability to carry around all of your music, movies and games? Then you’ll probably want that new iPhone. Do you want the ability to create a mobile hotspot, to text hands-free and play stuff at addictinggames.com on your phone? Then you’ll want that Android device.

Even if you have a good idea of which device is right for you, give the other side’s device a try. Who knows? Maybe, like Robert Scoble has recently discovered, the Android device will be a revolution for you. Maybe you’ll decide that you want to ditch your Droid for the new iPhone. Both sides have the potential to surprise.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s a phone, just a phone, why is it that we need a pocket computer. Isn’t there enough technology on this planet to scare you. Two pocket computers, why do you need two. Unless of course you are cooking blue meth. I have a Nokia N-Something it is basic, I can send and receive texts and make phone calls. Scary thing is I can take photos and video and I always ask myself WHY do I need these things on a fricking phone. I can access the internet, but I don’t, as I have no need to download any more distractions in my life. I also don’t have to worry about paying for the privilege of accessing the internet nor corrupting my phone with Fart APPS. I already have a laptop, it frustrates me enough. To have a pocket sized version that haunts me everywhere I go seems ludicrous. Watch TWIN PEAKS, notice the show was made before mobile phones. Look how tranquil the characters are, you know it’s life that needs to be simple not your pocket computer.

US panel rejects ‘female Viagra’

An advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration has voted unanimously against approving a pill that helps boost women’s sex drive.

The FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee said on Friday the evidence presented had not demonstrated the effectiveness or safety of flibanserin, made by the German company Boehringer Ingelhein.

The FDA usually follows these panels’ advice, even though it is not required to do so by law.

Flibanserin, the latest effort to come up with a female counterpart to the wildly popular male erectile dysfunction pill Viagra, works on brain chemicals to treat pre-menopausal women with a low sex drive, according to the maker.

To date, the drug known by the commercial name Girosa has not been approved for sale in any country, in contrast to treatments for male sexual dysfunction.

Pharmaceutical firms have vied for a spot in this potential market estimated to be worth two billion dollars since Viagra was launched in 1998 to become a huge success, and was subsequently followed by competitors Cialis and Levitra.

Several medical trials, including a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, say that at least 40 per cent of women suffer from varying degrees of sexual hypoactivity, though critics warn that big pharma has funded a number of these surveys.

An analysis of the two clinical trials published on the FDA’s website note that both ‘failed to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement’ in sexual desire, even though patients who took flibanserin had slightly more satisfying sexual relations with their partners than those who took a placebo.

‘Neither study met the agreed-upon criteria for success in establishing the efficacy of flibanserin for the treatment of HSDD’ (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder), the report added.

The two-year studies, measured by women’s diary entries in the United States and Canada, found that women who took flibanserin reported an average 4.5 more satisfying sexual experiences per month, versus 3.7 for those who took a placebo.

The women – most of them married with a high education and good health apart from their decreased libido – had reported an average 2.8 satisfying experiences before taking the medicine.

According to the studies cited by FDA, flibanserin can also cause side effects such as depression or dizziness.

Flibanserin belongs to a family of antidepressants that reduce the level of serotonin, which has an effect on mood and can put a damper on sexual desire.

The drug also controls the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the blood, substances that act on sexual desire, the pill’s manufacturer said.

The Last Guardian for PS3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHzHoMT5eRg

Black Eyed Peas set downloads record

The Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling has become the first ever single to be downloaded more than one million times in the UK.

Originally released on 8 June, 2009, it spent two weeks at the number one spot and a total of 33 in the top 40.

Singer Fergie said: “It’s exhilarating to know we are so connected to our Peabodies.

“Hopefully the good vibes from that song will continue to brighten people’s lives.”

Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, said the milestone was “a very significant step for the download market.

“It’s been with us for five years but this really marks a coming of age,” he added.

Downloads were first counted as part of the singles chart in April 2005, but only if a CD was already available in the shops.

A year later, digital downloads became eligible for the chart in their own right and, a few weeks later, Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy became the first track to hit number one with without selling any physical copies.

Since then downloads have come to dominate the top 40.

About 98% of all single sales are now from downloads, with about 100,000 needed every week to get to the top spot.

While that number is fairly high compared to the rest of chart history, there are concerns within the music industry that it’s masking a much bigger problem.

Record company executives claim millions of pounds every year are being lost because of problems like online piracy – not helped by the ready availability of downloads.

Martin Talbot admits download single sales are just one part of the picture.

He said: “Around the world album sales are declining rather dramatically.

“But here in the UK things aren’t quite as bad. This isn’t a boom time but it’s not a time for real concern either.”

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