Episode 204

posted in: Show Notes


NBN delivers Gillard win | The Australian
NBN delivers Gillard win

The return to power of the Labor government means the ambitious and costly NBN project will be spared the early execution threatened by the Coalition.

New England independent Tony Windsor singled out the $43 billion NBN as a key reason for his support of the Labor government.

“You do it once, you do it right and you do it with fibre,” Mr Windsor said.

ndependent member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott said the NBN would now be rolled out in regional areas first before the more broadband-advanced metropolitan centres were hooked into the network.”Priority is for regional areas first now. It’s a roll in, not roll out,” Mr Oakeshott said.

ISP filter could be buried | The Australian
ISP filter could be buried

The Coalition vowed to dismantle the plan regardless of last month’s election outcome. And with the Greens set to hold the balance of power in the Senate from next July, it is almost certain Labor’s filtering aspirations are as good as dead.

The Greens, who last week formed an alliance with Labor on a future government, has consistently denounced the filter plan.

When asked if Labor was committed to dropping the mandatory filter to gain Greens’ support, a spokesman said the agreement didn’t include election items.

Major newspaper groups put price on digital content | The Australian
Major newspaper groups put price on digital content

News Limited and Fairfax Media, are pushing ahead with plans to charge customers for access to their digital content.

News Limited is gauging consumer demand for subsidised electronic readers such as Apple’s iPad, while Fairfax will today launch the subscriber-only Sydney version of its Good Food Guide website to coincide with the launch of the 2011 print edition.

Its Melbourne site, goodguides.com.au, has been up and running for more than a week. Customers who do not buy the print edition can buy 12-month access to the website for $9.99 — the same price as Good Food Guide iPhone app.

People who buy the book will get access to the website through a redemption code with content not available to the casual browser.

News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has described the advent of tablet computers as a game-changer for publishers

Google’s Australian operation zooms in on map logos | The Australian
Google’s Australian operation zooms in on map logos

GOOGLE’S popular maps will now feature sponsored “clickable” logos after a trial of the advertising application was run in Australia.

It will be the first time the search engine giant has moved to earn advertising revenue using maps and corporate logos.

Engineers at Google’s Australian operation designed the feature and began testing it with five local advertisers — NAB, Bankwest, JB Hi-Fi, Chemist Warehouse and LJ Hooker — in March.

Australia was the first test market to publish advertiser logos in Google maps, allowing users to see where shops and restaurants are based as well as being able to click on them to get more information.

Apple in aggressive push into television | The Australian
Apple in aggressive push into televisionAPPLE chief executive Steve Jobs has unveiled a new device that can deliver US99-cent ($1.09) rentals of TV shows over the internet.

The new Apple TV will only allow people to rent, not buy, videos to watch on their televisions. Apple TV has been around since 2007, but it hasn’t caught on with the mainstream. The new, smaller black box will cost $US99 ($109), compared with $US229 for the earlier version, and be available in four weeks.

TV show rentals will be available from News Corporation’s Fox and Walt Disney’s ABC the day after the shows are broadcast. Rentals of first-run high-definition movies will cost $US4.99 the day they come out on DVD. The device can also connect with Netflix’s streaming video service as well as internet content from sites like YouTube.”We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get onboard,” Mr Jobs said.

Mr Jobs unveiled the latest version of the operating system that powers his company’s iPhones, software that includes streaming television and multiple-player game functions.

The software, called IOS 4.1, also fixes bugs and increases photo quality for the popular mobile devices. The new operating system will facilitate streaming television programs as well as advanced videogame technology. The new software includes a portion called “Game Centre” that will work with the games.

A new operating system will come to the iPad in November that will add features such as wireless printing.

Mr Jobs said iTunes, the software behind the iPod, would be updated later this year. He also said iTunes sales were on track to top traditional CDs in the US.

iTunes Ping: The missing thing – CNN.com
iTunes Ping: The missing thing

Apple hopes the new service will solve the “Discovery” problem — with so much music out there, how do you find new artists you might like?

Why not help us find new artists in the same way we do in real life: By asking our friends what they’re listening to?

That’s the idea behind Ping, which takes the “activity stream” format popularized by Twitter and Facebook and applies it to the music your friends are “talking about, listening to, and downloading”

Gmail Priority Inbox
Gmail Priority Inbox

Priority Inbox splits your inbox into three sections: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything else. Messages are automatically categorized as they arrive in your inbox. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over).”

YouTube launches free, full-length Hollywood movies
YouTube launches free, full-length Hollywood movies http://www.youtube.com/movies

Google seems to be ramping up to the launch of its Google TV box with the launch of a new YouTube section devoted to full-length movies.


IK Multimedia ships AmpliTube iRig iPhone interface adapter

We know you’ve been waiting on pins and needles, and at long last, the gap between announcement and “now shipping” has been closed. IK Multimedia has just revealed that its AmpliTube iRig adapter is shipping, enabling iPod touch, iPad and iPhone users to jack their guitar or bass directly into their iDevice and access all sorts of effects. From there, users can pipe the audio to a pair of headphones or a guitar amp, theoretically allowing your handheld to supplant your mess of pedals. We’re also told that the iRig can be used with line level signal sources such as synthesizers, keyboards or mixing consoles, so there’s that. It’s available as we speak for $39.99 (or €29.99 overseas), and users can expect an iPad-specific version of the AmpliTube app to be released in the near future.

GuitarBud Plugs a Guitar Directly Into an iPhone

GuitarBud is a $29 adapter that allows you to plug a guitar right into an iPhone. How is that useful? Well if I ever learned to play that guitar in my closet, I could:

• Record riffs
• Tune the strings
• Play with realtime audio effects
• Share riffs in the cloud
• …and all of this with direct line-in quality, with the help of a few apps

If there’s one, single testament to the App Store’s success, it’s that a simple piece of hardware can immediately add so much extra functionality to the iPhone (because apps like Voice Memos, StompVox, Riff Raters and Guitar FX Deluxe already exist). But then again, if only the iPhone had a fatty 1/4-inch jack or two, we wouldn’t even need the GuitarBud in the first place! [PRSCables via ShinyShiny via DVICE]

Samsung’s New iPad Rival Device Leaked


A new tablet computer that is a direct rival to Apple’s iPad has been spotted on a train in Australia ahead of its official unveiling next week.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is a portable device with a 7-inch screen, and is briefly shown in a newly-released teaser video on the firm’s website.

It is not due for release until September 2, but technology journalist Sanjiv Sathiah from Electronista.com said he saw a commuter in Sydney using a tablet matching the description with the Samsung logo above the screen.

He filmed the man using the device and asked a series of questions, until the man – who denied he worked for Samsung – said he could not reveal any more.

The anonymous commuter did, however, say that the tablet was ‘awesome’ and said it was ‘very different’ to the iPad.

He also confirmed it ran using the Android operating system, which has been developed by Google.

Mr Sathiah speculated that the man may have been testing it to see how it performed using Sydney’s mobile networks on commuter train lines.

The apparent leak of the Samsung galaxy Tab comes after Apple’s new iPhone was also revealed to the world prematurely when an employee left a trial handset in a California bar.

Website Gizmodo gave an in-depth analysis of the iPhone 4’s features, but failed to dampen consumer enthusiasm when the product reached Apple stores a few weeks later.

Samsung may be hoping a sneak peek at its Galaxy Tab will also help pique interest, rather than diffuse it, as it has an uphill challenge awaits the technology firm if it wishes to oust the iPhone.

Apple has sold more than 3.27 million of the devices since the April 3 launch and the range of applications is steadily growing.

Meanwhile LG is also developing a tablet and Blackberry maker Research in Motion is also believed to be close to launching a slate device.

Analysts say the tablet market is set to soar, and will account for almost a fifth of personal computers sold in 2015 – well ahead of the rate predicted for desktops.

‘Tablet growth will come at the expense of netbooks, which have similar grab-and-go media consumption and web browsing as tablets but don’t synchronise data across services like the iPad does,’ said Sarah Rotman Epps of technology researcher Forrester.

Google set to unveil “priority inbox” for Gmail


(Reuters) – Google is set to unveil a new feature to its Gmail service that aims to separate a user’s important emails from the ones that do not get read often.

The new feature called “Priority Inbox” will help users focus on messages that matter without having to set up complex rules, Google said in its official blog.

The Priority Inbox application splits the inbox into three sections: ‘Important and unread’, ‘Starred’ and ‘Everything Else’.

“As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most and which messages you open and reply to,” the company said.

Google said Priority Inbox will roll out to all Gmail users, including those who use Google Apps, over the next week.

A monologue to Apple

A master storyteller and self-confessed Apple fan hardly makes for a compelling advocate for social change.

But Mike Daisey, whose new monologue focuses on what he calls the dark side of Apple’s iconic gadgets, hopes he can pressure Chief Executive Steve Jobs to push for better labour conditions at factories in China, where most Apple gadgets are assembled.

The two-hour monologue entitled ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs’ is part paean and part critique of Apple Inc, and Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor and founder of the iconic company that wields enormous clout in the tech world.

Dressed in black — in a nod to Jobs’ trademark black turtleneck and jeans — the stocky Daisey sat in the spotlight at a desk on an otherwise bare stage in Mumbai this week, gesticulating through his expletive-ridden monologue, barely pausing to sip water from a glass or wipe sweat off his face.

Daisey, acclaimed for his monologues including ‘Great Men of Genius’ and ’21 Dog Years’, posed as an American businessman to check out Foxconn Technology in Shenzhen that came under international scrutiny after a spate of worker suicides.

Critics have blamed the suicides on stressful working conditions at the factory that employs nearly 800,000 workers.

Daisey’s monologue, which is part-autobiography and part-journalism, is both hilarious and heartbreaking, as he admits his own obsession with Apple gadgets such as the wildly successful iPad and the iPhone, while also criticising a work environment he says has been forced by globalisation.

‘We, as Apple fans and the West are complicit in this tough work environment. We are every bit as responsible, let’s not kid ourselves,’ he said.

Jobs is not an unreasonable or uncaring man, Daisey said, noting how he has transformed Apple into one of the ‘greenest’ tech companies from being one of the ‘dirtiest’, and so can be persuaded to push for change at the factories in Shenzhen.

Jobs has said he found the worker deaths ‘troubling’, but insisted the Foxconn factory is not a sweatshop.

”The sweep of globalisation means that these factories will be soon set up in India — some of them are already here — and you need to be aware that there is this other side to the fantastic, shiny gadgets we all so love,’ Daisey said. ‘

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard

Two years in the making, TPB AFK is a documentary about three computer addicts who revolutionized the world of media distribution with their hobby homepage. How did Tiamo, a beer crazy hardware fanatic, Brokep a tree hugging eco activist and Anakata, a paranoid cyber libertarian, get the White House to threaten the Swedish government with trade sanctions? TPB AFK explores what Hollywood’s most hated pirates go through on a personal level.

Trailer and more info here: http://www.tpbafk.tv

This campaign starts exactly one month before the Court of Appeal hearings start in The Pirate Bay trial in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2009 the founders of The Pirate Bay were convicted to 1 year in jail and to pay damages of around 4 million dollars for having ‘assisted in making copyrighted content available’. The precedent in the Pirate Bay case will have consequences for the future of the internet. We will cover the upcoming trial closely.

After the court case we’ll sit down with two years of footage and start editing a first roughcut. The money we raise here will go to studio rent and an editor.

Thanks for showing interest in our project, all support is deeply appreciated!

Simon Klose

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Vodafone Pocket WiFi

There isn’t much to differentiate the Pocket WiFi from similar devices in regards to performance, but the addition of its LED display gives it a leg-up in usability.

Editor’s rating:9.0 User rating:9

Vodafone Pocket WiFi Rating: 9.0 out of 10 Joseph Hanlon 23rd Aug 2010 There isn’t much to differentiate the Pocket WiFi from similar devices in regards to performance, but the addition of its LED display gives it a leg-up in usability. Vodafone Wireless Vodafone Pocket WiFi There isn’t much to differentiate the Pocket WiFi from similar devices in regards to performance, but the addition of its LED display gives it a leg-up in usability.

  • Good: LED display shows key network stats • Up to five connections via Wi-Fi • Reasonable battery life
  • Bad: Network locked
  • Specs: 7.2 Mbps • USB • See more specifications
  • RRP: AU$119.00 • Where to buy? Check price listings


Telco data allowances are swelling, and with these new monster-sized data caps comes the need to share the data you pay for with the multiple internet-capable devices you own. After all, if you lug an iPad, smartphone and laptop with you on the train to work each day you a) have a really big bag, and b) don’t want to be paying for multiple internet connections.

We’ve seen a number of portable Wi-Fi hotspots lately, and we’re even starting to see phones that can behave like a Wi-Fi hotspot, but something tells us the Pocket WiFi is one of the units we’ll remember first when we think about this niche category. Why? It has a lot to do with design.

Up until we saw the Pocket WiFi all of the wireless hotspots we have reviewed had one thing in common: LED lights. Red ones, blue ones, green ones, and ones with several shades of yellow blinking and attempting to indicate the status of the modem using something akin to rainbow-coloured Morse code. Pocket WiFi is the first we’ve seen with an LED display, and it’s a godsend. Now for the first time we can see signal strength, the remaining battery life and whether we’ve connected to HSDPA of a super-slow 2G service. There is also a few extra pieces of information displayed; there’s the number of devices currently connected (great to be sure no one else on the train is leeching your data) and there’s a counter that keeps track of how much data you’ve used in that session.

For more advanced usage details and settings, you can access a web portal for your modem by typing http://pocket.wifi into the URL of your browser once you’re connected. The interface is clean and easy to use, even on the small screen of a smartphone.


As with all wireless broadband products, our test results reflect a number of factors, primarily the service we experienced from the telco in our test areas. Pocket WiFi is Vodafone exclusive in Australia and our test SIM was generously donated by Vodafone for the trial. The modem is rated at a maximum of 7.2Mbps, a speed no one outside of Voda’s test team is likely to see.

We managed an average line speed of about 1.3Mbps on two separate devices simultaneously, and the same average speed when these devices ran speed tests one after the other. Pocket WiFi also performed well when placed in a different room and about 5 metres away from the connected smartphones and laptops, and, according to Vodafone, it is capable of supporting up to five simultaneous data connections. Battery life came out at just under five hours with a mixture of data transfers and standby power use.


Performance-wise, Pocket WiFi is on par with competing products available through Virgin Mobile and Internode, but the addition of the LED screen gives this latest device the edge. Having quick access to important information is far more preferable than trying to decipher the consistency of flashing, coloured lights. It is also a little cheaper too; for AU$119 you get a locked modem and a Vodafone prepaid SIM with 1GB of data to use.

Japan develops ‘touchable’ 3D TV images

A Japanese research team said on Thursday it had developed the world’s first 3D television system that allows users to touch, pinch or poke images floating in front of them.

‘It is the first time that you can feel images in the air,’ said Norio Nakamura, senior scientist with the research team at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

‘You can have the sense of touch like poking a rubber ball or stretching a sticky rice cake’ when manipulating images, he told AFP by telephone.

The technology changes the shape of three-dimensional images in response to ‘touches’, aided by cameras that monitor how the fingers move, Nakamura said.

It is not known when the technology will be put to practical use, but its creators see it being used to simulate surgical operations and in video game software, allowing players to experience the sensation of holding weapons or sports equipment.

It could even use scanned images to supplement existing realities, said Nakamura.

‘This technology could create a virtual museum where visitors, including vision-impaired people, can put their hands on valuable sculptures that are usually untouchable,’ Nakamura said.

World text message record smashed

A British woman was feeling ‘GR8’ after smashing the world record for typing the fastest text message, a mobile phone company says.

Melissa Thompson, 27, wrote ‘the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human’, in 25.94 seconds on Sunday.

The official Guinness World Record is currently held by American Franklin Page, 24, who wrote the same passage in 35.54 seconds in March this year.

Thompson, from Salford, Greater Manchester, was using Samsung’s new Galaxy S smartphone when she shaved a huge 9.6 seconds off Mr Page’s record, also achieved on a Samsung device.

The record, which remains subject to Guinness approval, was smashed by Ms Thompson using the Galaxy S’s ‘SWYPE’ key pad, which enables users to input text without their fingertip leaving the screen.

The company said it allows people to send text messages at speeds that were never before possible.

Thompson, who works for an insurance company, was shopping with her boyfriend, Chris Davies, 23, when they visited a Samsung roadshow and she was invited to have a go at breaking the record.

She said: ‘I used to send a lot of text messages – 40 or 50 a day to Chris alone so we both knew I could type fast.

‘but since we moved in together and I started my job I haven’t been texting as much and, you could say, my fingers were out of shape.

‘It’s a real shock to find out that I’m the fastest texter in the world.

‘But using SWYPE helped. Everyone should give it a go and see how easy it is.’

Taiwanese LCD maker files second suit against Sony


Taiwan’s Chimei Innolux Corp sued Japan‘s Sony Corp for infringing on patents used in PlayStation 3 video game consoles, televisions, computer notebooks and cameras.

Sony engaged in “widespread infringement” of three patents dating back to 1998 Chimei said in its lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware on Monday.

Chimei said the infringement came after it had invested tens of millions of dollars in developing liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and related products.

The complaint was filed a month after Chimei filed a similar lawsuit against Sony in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

Chimei is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, which it wants tripled because of what it considers Sony’s “willful” misconduct, and other remedies.

Neither company returned calls seeking comment.

Sony, the world’s second-largest camera maker and the third-largest flat screen TV maker, posted an operating profit of 67 billion yen ($785 million) in its fiscal quarter ended in June.

Chimei Innolux was formed in a three-way merger in March and overtook AU Optronics as Taiwan’s No. 1 LCD maker. It reported a second-quarter net profit of T$9.54 billion (US$298 million) on August 9

The case is: Chimei Innolux Corp v. Sony Corp et al, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 10-00706.

The case in the Western District of Arkansas is Chimei Innolux Corp v Sony Corp, et al, No. 5:10-cv-05122.

Sharp to cut LCD panel production: report


BANGALORE (Reuters) – Sharp Corp will reduce LCD panel production for up to two months starting this month, adjusting supplies as TV inventories pile up in the United States and China, the Nikkei business daily reported.

The company will lower the capacity utilization rate by 20 to 30 percent at its new Sakai factory, which makes panels of 40 inches and up, and cut panel supplies to TV makers including Sony Corp , the business daily said.

However, production of panels for Sharp’s own TVs will not be affected and it will maintain capacity utilization rates at its Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture that makes small and mid-size TV panels, the daily said.

A Sharp spokesman said the company would not comment whether it was considering such a plan.

LCD panels were in short supply in the first half of this year but TVs have started piling up in U.S. and Chinese warehouses as Chinese manufacturers’ production outpaced demand, the paper said.

LG Display Chief Executive Kwon Young-soo said last month the company may cut production of LCDs due to weak demand from TV makers.

Sharp reaffirmed its TV sales target of 15 million units for the business year to March 2011, a rise of 47 percent from the previous year, the Nikkei said.

Sharp expects group operating profit to more than double to 120 billion yen ($1.41 billion), but a decline in panel sales to other manufacturers will likely erode this figure by 10 billion to 20 billion yen, the daily reported.

Shares of Sharp edged down 2.2 percent to 858 yen in early trading on Friday, underperforming the Nikkei stock average , which shed 1.4 percent.

Scientists find star system with planets

European astronomers say they’ve discovered a star system containing at least five Neptune-like planets.

They suspect there are two more including one that could be the smallest found outside our solar system.

The discovery has been made using the European Southern Observatory telescope in Chile.

Five are covered with rock and ice and have 13 to 25 times the mass of Earth.

The moon is shrinking, say scientists


The moon is shrinking, say planetary scientists who claim to have spotted on its surface cracks which form when a planetary body cools and contracts. The intriguing features, called lobate scarps, are faults created when the Moon’s once-molten interior began to cool, causing the lunar surface to contract and then crinkle, astronomers reported in the US journal Science.

Relative to the Moon’s age, estimated at around 4.5 billion years, the contraction is recent, occurring less than a billion years ago, and is measured at about 100 metees.

Lobate scarps were first spotted near the lunar equator in the 1970s by panoramic cameras aboard the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions.

Fourteen new faults have been been spotted in high-resolution images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The new discoveries show that the scarps are globally distributed and not clustered in equatorial regions, and this provides powerful evidence for the contraction scenario.

The investigation was headed by Thomas Watters of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian Museum’s National Air and Space Museum, Washington.

Bacteria survives space


In the quaint English seaside village of Beer, the cliffs frame the spot where tourists enjoy the steep lane ways, centuries-old pubs and freshly-caught fish. What most visitors may not know is that bacteria taken from these cliffs, have shocked scientists and survived in space.

A variety of organisms make the cliff rocks their home, on the inside and on the interior.

The rocks were strapped to the outside of the international space station, hit by cosmic rays, and exposed to the vacuum of space – for eighteen months.

One kind of bacteria made it back alive.

Plants without water


US scientists have discovered 50 proteins that help plants survive without water, a crucial step toward one day engineering drought resistant crops.

Nature provides a few examples of plants with an innate ability to survive drought conditions, including the resurrection plant that grows in desert climates in Texas and Arizona. Companies such as Monsanto have been working to design agricultural crops that can thrive in dry weather.

“If we can figure out how to do that in crops that will be so important,” said Michael R Sussman, a University of Wisconsin professor of biochemistry and senior author of a report describing the proteins in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published on Monday.

Moreover, the discovery of these proteins – only five to 10 of which were known previously to be important – promises to give scientists a new avenue through which to examine how plants deal with other environmental stresses.

Sussman said he plans future experiments investigating whether these 50 proteins help plants cope with such other problems as nutrient starvation, ultra-violet light and cold weather.

“This work is a big deal. It’s a big deal because in the past we had tried to dissect this problem one wire at a time, and what Dr Sussman did was take a more global approach,” said Alan M Jones, the George and Alice Welsh distinguished professor of cell biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“When a plant is wilting, many, many things are happening.”

The University of Wisconsin scientists observed the effect of a key hormone called abscisic acid in a laboratory plant called Arabidopsis. Arabidopsis, a weed related to cabbage and cauliflower, is a favorite model for the study of plants because it has a small genome and its life cycle from one generation of seeds to the next is only two months.

Plants rely on a sophisticated system of signalling to move water from the roots to the leaves when needed. In dry weather, the roots signal leaves to conserve water by closing their pores.

“The roots are yelling up to the leaves and the way they’re yelling is through this abscisic acid,” Jones said. “They’re saying, ‘It’s dry. We need to slow this down until we get some rain.’ “

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Visit JSOnline, the Journal Sentinel’s World Wide Web site, at http://www.jsonline.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


Sony wins indefinite mod chip ban – Hardware – News
Following last week’s Federal Court of Australia’s decision to temporarily ban a handful of local retailers from selling or importing mod chips that allow unauthorised software to run on Sony’s PlayStation 3, the judge in the case has ruled in favour of Sony and placed an indefinite ban on the retailers in question.
PlayStation 3 console (Credit: GameSpot)
Sony Computer Entertainment’s Australian and European arms initiated a court action last week against three local retailers and an individual for selling and distributing PS3 mod chips. Following the temporary ban, the Federal Court of Australia judge Justice Dodds-Streeton ruled on Friday that OzModChips, Global Solutions International (trading as Quantronics), Ken Tolcher (trading as Mod Supplier) and Ryan Caruana can no longer import, distribute, offer to the public, provide to other parties or deal with PS3 mod chips until further notice.
According to court documents filed on 3 September, the retailers have also been ordered to hand over any existing mod chips to Sony, as well as redirect any pre-orders to Sony’s legal representatives.
Last week, OzModChips responded to the lawsuit saying: “This will affect everyone that plans to buy such a device worldwide. It already sets a dangerous precedent. Everyone that was using OtherOS, everyone that has had a faulty PS3 laser … and those interested in PS3 custom firmware and homebrew applications. We cannot do it alone; we need the support of everyone in the homebrew community, the media, engineers that understand the inner workings and anyone else that can provide support.”
Quantronics also responded, saying that the injunction was “baseless”, and that the retailers’ ideal was to change Australia’s views on copyright law, fair use and freedom.
According to amendments made to the Australian Copyright Act in 2007, any device, including mod chips and Nintendo DS flash cards, that bypass the protection measures put in place within a console are illegal.

Motor City getting in on electric fever | Green Tech – CNET News
Coulomb Technologies unveiled its latest electric-vehicle charging station on Thursday morning in Detroit.
The Motor City is the first locale in Michigan to get a charging station for public use as part of ChargePoint America, a $37 million program to install public and residential stations throughout the U.S. to encourage adoption of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
ChargePoint is funded in part by U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Automakers Ford Motor, General Motors, and Smart USA are also partners on the project. The automakers have a vested interest in making charging stations publicly accessible–they’re all pushing to sell their newly introduced plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars to the American public.
The first Detroit station is located downtown at the headquarters of NextEnergy, a nonprofit company that facilitates and brokers technology-sharing research projects and deals between academic, government, and corporate entities.Any interested company or municipality in the country may apply to be considered for a charging station for their property. Who gets one depends on whether the site fits several criteria in keeping with the program’s goal of encouraging EV adoption.
“The objective is to get highly visible, publically accessible, geographically dispersed locations from which we can provide the DOE and our automobile partners a lot of data on the usage of these charging stations,” according to ChargePoint.
Coulomb has been installing charging stations throughout the U.S. in places including Orlando, Fla., San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City, with thousands more planned in the coming year. A total of 4,600 electric-vehicle charging stations throughout nine regions of the U.S. are to be installed, along with a number ofcharging stations going into the homes of plug-in hybrid or EV owners.

TI reveals new, teensy projector chip | Deep Tech – CNET News
The nHD model in Texas Instruments’ Pico DLP line is geared for tiny projector devices such as mobile phones or cameras. Six of them are shown here against a background of rice grains.
(Credit: Texas Instruments)
BERLIN–Gadgets such as cameras, portable game consoles, and mobile phones that have tiny digital projectors are still a relative rarity, but Texas Instruments hopes a new chip will help change that.
The company unveiled a new DLP Pico chip for such devices here at the IFA electronics show, a model called the nHD that’s about the size of a raisin. It can be used to project images with a resolution of 640×360 pixels, TI said.
The new model features a better contrast ratio of 1000:1 for darker blacks, a richer color gamut, and lower power consumption, according to TI.
Pico DLP customers include Dell and Samsung. DLP technology is also available in more conventional projectors, but its flagship use is in digital cinema. DLP cinema chips are used in 19,000 digital movie screens, 10,000 of them capable of showing 3D movies and 117 of them used for the larger-format IMAX.

SD revamp to triple flash card speeds in 2012 | Deep Tech – CNET News
BERLIN–The SD Card Association is working on a revision to its widely used flash memory card technology that should nearly triple the data-transfer speeds of mainstream SDHC and larger-capacity SDXC cards.
The specification should be complete in the first quarter of 2011, with products coming about a year afterward, said Akihiro Kasahara, a member of the association’s marketing committee, in an interview at the IFA electronics show here.
Today’s SD cards have data-transfer buses with a maximum speed of 104MB per second, though actual read and write speeds are somewhat slower. The new specification, just called SD 4.0 for now, will increase that to 300MB/sec, said Kevin Schader, the association’s director of communications.
Faster data-transfer speeds aren’t necessary for everyone, but newer uses make them important. Flash cards are functioning more like solid-state drives in modern gadgets such as Android smartphones and now tablets, too. High-definition videocameras or video SLRs have a tremendous appetite for data. Writing to a card faster frees cameras up for the next shot or take sooner, and of course means it can be faster for people to transfer files to their computers once those support the higher speeds as well.
The SD speeds are increased through the addition of a second row of electrical contacts on the bottom face of the card, though the association is still debating just how many new pins to add, Schader said.
In Japan, movies can be purchased on microSD cards as well as DVD. The cards let people watch movies on mobile phones.
(Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
Also up in the air is what to call it. The present top speed is called UHS-I, for its ultra high-speed bus, and it’s possible a name like UHS-II might be used for the revamp, Kasahara said. The cards will work in older, slower devices, but naturally new devices will be needed to take advantage of the new cards’ speeds.
The SD technology has largely succeeded in consolidating the market behind one format, shouldering aside other options such as MemoryStick from Sony and xD Card from Olympus and FujiFilm. Only CompactFlash remains as an alternative, and there chiefly in high-end SLR cameras where backward compatibility has remained important and where customers are willing to pay more of a premium for maximum capacity and transfer speeds.
SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards, which store up to 32GB of data, are the dominant variety today, but the newer SDXC (Extended Capacity) specification accommodates up to 2 terabytes. SDXC cards are availble today, but only with capacities of up to 64GB today.
Toshiba’s faster new cards
Also at IFA, Toshiba announced a new generation of faster SD cards with the current transfer technology.
Toshiba’s SDHC cards this year will reach read speeds of 95MB/sec and write speeds of 80MB/sec with capacties up to 32GB. And the smaller microSDHC-format reached read speeds of 40MB/sec and write speeds of 20MB/sec with capacities up to 16GB. The microSDHC cards now employ the UHC-I data-transfer technology.
The SDHC cards will be available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sizes with mass production starting in November. The microSDHC cards will come in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB sizes, but Toshiba will only begin issuing samples in November, the company said. It didn’t announce prices.
The company left the SDXC cards unchanged. They attain read speeds of up to 60MB/sec and write speeds of up to 35MB/sec with capacities reaching up to 64GB.

Skype updates latest beta with 10-way video calling | Digital Media – CNET News
The latest release of Skype’s 5.0 beta will let you make video calls to as many as 10 people at the same time, according to details posted on the company’sThursday blog.
The 10-way calling is an upgrade from the first 5.0 beta, which offered only 5-way video chatting. But beyond tweaking the video calling, the engineers at Skype have outfitted beta 2 with other new features and tweaks.
Skype’s new Home area will offer updates about the service, details on your call purchases, and videos to help newbies get started. The new offline IM feature will let you send messages to and receive them from other people who are offline. The messages are kept on hold and delivered once you or the other person is back online.
Beta 2 has also tried to improve both the quality and reliability of Skype calls. A built-in client messaging service tells you about any potential problems with a call and offers suggestions to improve its quality. Should your network connection go down, the new Skype beta will try to quickly re-establish that connection so the call doesn’t get dropped. If the call is lost, Skype will quickly redial it for you.
The gurus at Skype have also tweaked the software’s interface by displaying photos of your contacts and a history list of previous conversations.
You can learn a bit more and grab Skype 5.0 beta 2 at Skype’s Web site. To install the beta, you’ll need to be running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7. (SorryMac users, an OS X beta won’t be available until later this year.) And if you want to try out the 10-way calling, your Skype friends will need to install beta 2 as well.

The ad that uses YouTube brilliantly | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
There is a strange and troubling rumor that YouTube is actually beginning to make money. (No, this is not merely because of the millions who continue to enjoy JK’s supremely inventive wedding dance.)
Indeed, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was quoted by The New York Times as saying, “YouTube is a big component of our display revenue, and display is our next big business.”
There is even talk that YouTube will earn $450 million this year. But it’s hard to remember too many great ads that have graced YouTube’s often prosaic surface.
However, I am grateful to MediaBeat for bringing to my attention this lovely ad for the Liquid Paper-like product Tipp-Ex–an ad clearly constructed specifically to take advantage of YouTube’s many physical dimensions.
(The ad does include a few injudiciously excitable phrases, so I’ll put on the seat belt sign: NSFW–not safe for work.)
As you enjoy watching the hunter in this home-video-like ad avail himself of the Tipp-Ex–which is conveniently displayed next to the bogus home video in what would otherwise be a conventional and boring little YouTube ad box–please also enjoy some of the possibilities the ad gives you, once you realize the bear might not die. (In this respect, the ad may well have been influenced by Burger King’s “subservient chicken” of several years ago, not to mention the more recent Old Spice campaign.)
There will be those who will enter difficult words like “kissing” in the space the Tipp-Ex creates in the title of the “home video.” Inserting the word “kissing” is actually a good place to start. You will see that the creators are blessed with a fine sense of the absurd.
There was a day when it was the ads–especially in countries like the U.K.–that elevated the style level of TV. Now, perhaps, the lovable mess that is YouTube might be considerably lifted by more ads of this quality.

Telstra offers tech knowhow and home visits | The Australian
TELSTRA could soon be bringing a new brand of customer service to your front door.
The telco today unveils a suite of services to position itself as a one-stop shop for home computer and network problems.

The initiative forms a crucial plank of chief executive David Thodey’s idea of making the customer the centre of Telstra’s universe. A team of 100 technicians and staff called Telstra Plus Premium Support will provide remote or on-site technical support to help consumers install and upgrade software and hardware devices, repair virus-infected devices and connect notebooks, PCs and iPads to a home network.

“The multimedia world means that customers have more devices and all these devices are interconnected and they are all networked in the home,” Telstra chief operations officer Michael Rocca said.

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“Today there is no one that offers the whole range of services so we just want to be a one-stop-shop for our customers to provide these services.”

Prices for the new services vary between $99 and $269 depending on the level of technical support required and whether the job is done remotely or in-home.

The new service will also give Telstra a way into the lucrative world of home network rewiring which is required to take advantage of superfast broadband speeds like those offered by the government’s $43 billion national broadband network.

The National Electrical and Communications Association recently said residents and some businesses could have to pay up to $3000 a premise to rewire their homes to ensure internet enabled devices in the home – like IPTV – can fully exploit the potential of 100 megabit per second internet speeds.

“As either the NBN rolls out, if it does roll out, or if a fibre solution happens, it means that the work we do in consumers’ premise becomes more strategically important for us,” Mr Rocca said.

“Over the next 12 months we will be developing more and more services as we go along and that will include some of those ethernet installations.”

Mr Rocca declined to talk about how the new services could contribute to Telstra’s revenues which have been infected by falling sales in home-phones, but the he said the new initiative was a key strategic plank for the telco this year.

The new service will also allow Telstra to capitalise on its strategy to sell more bundled services – such as mobile phones, its T-Hub and T-Box devices and broadband connections – to consumers.

“That has added complexity in the home and consumers are really looking to Telstra to provide more than just the internet but to help them with connectivity, interoperability, with the devices themselves. So this shift from the home being an analog entity to the digital home we believe that Telstar has a really important role to play to support consumers there,” said Rebekah O’Flaherty, Telstra Consumer and Country Wide executive director.

Acer unveils Android phones | The Australian
ACER has jumped into the tough end of the burgeoning smartphone market, launching a range of Android powered phones without a telco partner.
This is the Taiwanese PC maker’s first dig at the smartphone market, having once been a player in the old PDA market earlier in the decade.
The five new Acer smartphones range from $499 up to $999 and go on sale at the end of the month. They are likely to be carried by at least five mass retailers, although none have yet been named.
Acer product group general manager Nigel Gore said Acer was initially aiming at the chunk of the smartphone market sold outright without a telco plan – estimated at about 20 per cent.
The aim is to garner about 3 per cent of that market segment by the end of the year and 10 per cent within 12 months.
Mr Gore acknowledged telco partners were hard to woo at the moment amongst a market crowded with many different types of smartphones such as the Apple iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry range and a horde of Google Android powered phones from a host of manufacturers.

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There two bottom end Acer smartphones, the $399 touch screen only beTouch E120 and the touch and hard keyboard equipped $499 beTouch 130 run the old Android 1.6 OS and feature low grunt 416 Mhz processors and 3.2 megapixel cameras. The beTouch E130 is designed to woo punters away from the BlackBerry.
Acer expects the $699 Liquid E touch screen phone to be its volume seller. This has the speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, although on Acer machines it’s clocked down from 1Ghz to 768Mhz to preserve battery life. The 3.5 inch screen is capacitive touch and WVGA resolution with Android 2.1 and a five megapixel camera capable of shooting VGA video. The $999 Ferrari Liquid E adds Ferrari livery and a Bluetooth headset embossed with the famous dancing hooves logo.
The $799 Acer Stream is the multimedia special and sports a 1Ghz Snapdragon, 3.7 inch capacitive AMOLED screen, Android 2.1, a five megapixel camera capable of shooting 720p HD video and an HDMI port.

Apple in aggressive push into television | The Australian
APPLE chief executive Steve Jobs has unveiled a new device that can deliver US99-cent ($1.09) rentals of TV shows over the internet.
The new Apple TV will only allow people to rent, not buy, videos to watch on their televisions. Apple TV has been around since 2007, but it hasn’t caught on with the mainstream. The new, smaller black box will cost $US99 ($109), compared with $US229 for the earlier version, and be available in four weeks.

“We’ve sold a lot of them, but it’s never been a huge hit,” Mr Jobs told a San Francisco crowd that had gathered for the event. He said the original Apple TV, which stored videos purchased on iTunes, was too complicated for average consumers. Apple doesn’t break out sales for the device.
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On the new box, TV show rentals will be available from News Corporation’s Fox and Walt Disney’s ABC the day after the shows are broadcast. Rentals of first-run high-definition movies will cost $US4.99 the day they come out on DVD. The device can also connect with Netflix’s streaming video service as well as internet content from sites like YouTube.
“We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get onboard,” Mr Jobs said.

Mr Jobs, wearing a black crew neck rather than his trademark mock turtleneck, said the company has sold more than 120 million iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices and is activating 230,000 devices a day with its latest operating system.
Mr Jobs also unveiled a revamp of the company’s lineup of iPod portable music players, the product that reinvigorated Apple when it was launched in 2001. The new iPods incorporate many of the features that have made the iPhone one of the leaders in the smartphone market. Those include cameras, high-quality displays and the ability to video chat on some models.

The company’s most popular iPod model, the Touch, will start at $US229 and have 8 gigabytes of storage. It will have a front-facing camera and be capable of videoconferencing with iPhones, Mr Jobs said.

The new iPod Nano, which starts at $US149, has a touch screen and lacks buttons. The new $US49 iPod Shuffle brings back the square shape and buttons of Apple’s second-generation Shuffle.
Mr Jobs unveiled the latest version of the operating system that powers his company’s iPhones, software that includes streaming television and multiple-player game functions.

The software, called IOS 4.1, also fixes bugs and increases photo quality for the popular mobile devices. The new operating system will facilitate streaming television programs as well as advanced videogame technology. The new software includes a portion called “Game Centre” that will work with the games.
A new operating system will come to the iPad in November that will add features such as wireless printing.

Mr Jobs said iTunes, the software behind the iPod, would be updated later this year. He also said iTunes sales were on track to top traditional CDs in the US.

Telecommunications regulator tackles telcos over poor service | The Australian
PHONE companies’ slack service to customers is unacceptable and they need to “do much better
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has warned it will impose binding standards for customer service unless the industry improves its self-regulatory code of conduct.
Authority chairman Chris Chapman said the existing poor standard of customer service was unacceptable.
“The banks used to be like this, but have lifted their performance over the past 10 years,” Mr Chapman said yesterday.
“I’m saying to the telco industry, your time has come.”
The telcos’ customer service “is unacceptable and they’ve got to do much better”.
The telecommunications industry is reviewing its three-year-old consumer protection code, which will require ACMA’s approval next year.
At the same time, Mr Chapman said, if ACMA chose to impose its standards on the industry, telcos could be penalised for poor service.
“We will invoke a standard in the event the code didn’t provide sufficient consumer safeguards,” he said.
The standard would “open up telcos to a whole raft of enforcement possibilities”.
There would be a dramatic increase and toughening of the sanctions that existed under the voluntary code, he said.
Mr Chapman condemned the industry for failing to enforce its existing code of conduct.
And he called for a “paradigm shift” in the way telcos treat their customers.
“At the moment there is a disconnect between the provisions of the code and the outcomes, and the outcomes aren’t good enough,” he said.
“The future communications environment is going to be even more complicated than in recent times.
“The industry will have to be even more creative and clever in the way it looks after customers.”
Mr Chapman said telecom customers’ “exasperation and frustration” was shown by the “unacceptable trend line” in consumer complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
The ombudsman has been receiving complaints about billing, faults and connections of landlines, mobile and internet services at the rate of 1850 issues every weekday — or nearly four per minute.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network said yesterday the telcos’ existing industry code was “not worth the paper it’s written on”.
“Nothing in the code says the industry is going to monitor its own compliance,” acting chief executive Teresa Corbin said.
“We don’t believe changing the wording is enough.
“We need a commitment from the industry that it is prepared to comply with the code and issue public reports on its performance.”
The Weekend Australian revealed that telecommunications Ombudsman Simon Cohen has urged the industry to spell out minimum standards of customer service in the new code. And he warned against a “race to the bottom” in customer service.

Child-porn raids net computer owners as young as 15 | The Australian
POLICE have seized 35 computers from owners as young as 15 in raids targeting people believed to have accessed child sexual abuse material
A joint operation between the South Australian and Australian Federal Police targeted computers that had accessed a particular website — with origins in Queensland — featuring child exploitation material.
Seventeen raids were conducted as part of Operation Difficult across metropolitan Adelaide and some regional areas on the weekend, with more to come.
So far, one person has been arrested and one reported but more charges are expected once analysis of the seized computers is carried out, starting today.
“The computers . . . are all linked,” Phil Hoff, of the SAPOL Sexual Crime Investigation Branch, said in Adelaide yesterday.
Detective Superintendent Hoff said the youngest person a computer was taken from was 15 and the oldest was 52. A woman was among those who had a computer seized.

Clubs play job-loss card over gambling ‘backflip’ | The Australian
ULIA Gillard has been accused of breaking a promise to Australia’s 4000 registered clubs after cutting a deal with independent Andrew Wilkie that will mandate smartcard technology to limit gamblers’ losses in return for his support in the hung parliament.
Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said last night the Prime Minister had backflipped on a deal to consult the industry before making any changes to gambling and he threatened to lobby the three rural independents — Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Bob Katter — who will decide the government’s fate.
Under the deal, pre-commitment technology will be delivered to every poker machine by 2014 and withdrawals from ATM machines in venues with poker machines will be limited to $250.
The Prime Minister said she would override state legislation if premiers failed to take action, but last night Victoria and NSW said they would back the move.
Constitutional experts said the commonwealth appeared to have the power to override the states, which pull in $3 billion a year in tax revenues from electronic gaming.
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The pre-commitment technology requires gamblers to use smartcards, to track how much money they spend on the poker machines and to limit their total losses. But gamblers would be able to opt out of the scheme if they chose.
The Productivity Commission recommended this year that smartcards were the “most effective way to target problem gamblers”. But it recommended gamblers should be able to “opt out”.
Mr Wilkie lauded Ms Gillard’s commitment to force gambling reform by using corporations law to override unco-operative states as “unprecedented”.
Under the deal, the states must agree to implement the cards by May 31 next year.
Mr Ball told The Australian last night that forcing gamblers to “pre-commit” to their pokie spending, along with introducing limits on ATM withdrawals, would close rural clubs, cost jobs, inconvenience recreational gamblers and club users, and do nothing to alleviate problem gambling.
“She’s done this without consultation and without any evidence to support it as an effective harm minimisation measure,” Mr Ball said.
“Julia Gillard wrote to Clubs Australia and committed herself to consultation in developing gambling policy. “That commitment has been broken.”
The NSW government reaped more than $1 billion from pokies taxes in the past financial year.
A senior NSW government source said he did not think the commonwealth had the authority to legislate rules on use of poker machines. “And if they think they can make an impact on state revenues, they’ll have to compensate us,” the source said.
Acting NSW Gaming Minister Jodi McKay said Ms Gillard’s announcement was “exactly the sort of conversation we have been looking forward to having with the federal government”.
Constitutional law expert and Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven said the Prime Minister should be able to achieve poker machine reform across the states within the limits of Australian law. Professor Craven said Ms Gillard should be able to legislate mandatory pre-commitment technology in electronic gaming machines because the commonwealth had the power to make laws with respect to corporations.
The Victorian government also welcomed Ms Gillard’s proposal. Gaming Minister Tony Robinson said the state had taken the lead by working towards implementing pre-commitment technology on all gaming machines.
RSL & Services Clubs Association chairman Bryn Miller said he expected the reforms would undercut the revenue of his clubs but the move was preferable to introducing a maximum bet spend.

Gmail prioritises emails | The Australian
GOOGLE rolled out a new tool this week to help users of its free web-based email service avoid drowning in the floods of digital messages.
Priority Inbox in Gmail divides incoming messages into one of three categories. An automated program separates “Important and unread” messages from those that are “Starred” and “Everything else.”
“Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important,” Google software engineer Doug Aberdeen said in a blog post.
“And as you use Gmail, it will get better at categorising messages for you.”
For example, higher status is given to messages from people a Gmail user sends email to often, according to Mr Aberdeen.
Approximately 294 billion email messages are sent daily, with a typical person dealing with about 150 of them daily, according to references cited by Google.

“People tell us all that time that they’re getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all,” Mr Aberdeen said.
“It’s time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply.”

Number’s up for phone thief | The Australian

Number’s up for phone thief

  • From: AP
  • September 02, 2010 12:00AM

MALIBU, CALIFORNIA: A man who bought a mobile phone online, only to find it was the same one that was stolen from his car, tipped off police, who arrested a man they believe broke into dozens of vehicles.
Police recovered 163 phones after arresting Neil Hefner, 28, along with computers, wallets and rare coins.
Lieutenant John Benedict said one victim was looking for a new phone on Craigslist, found one that looked like his old one and bought it.
When it arrived, many of his phone numbers were still programmed into it.
The seller’s return address was on the package.

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