Episode 210

posted in: Show Notes | 0

GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

Telstra removes unlock fee for Apple iPhone for jet-setting Aussies – iPhone 4, Next G | Telstra
Telstra removes unlock fee for Apple iPhone for jet-setting Aussies
now removing the fee to unlock your handset to give you the freedom to change the SIM in your iPhone when you travel overseas.

When you contact us, make sure you have your details: your mobile number, your iPhone serial number and your iPhone IMEI number. You can locate these by pressing the Settings app, scroll down and select General then press the About tab.
To complete the unlock process you need to make sure you have the latest iTunes software on your computer. Once the unlocking has been processed, the next time you tether your iPhone to your computer, iTunes will unlock the phone.


World’s first 3D TV tuner card – 3D TV comes to your PC
World’s first 3D TV tuner card – 3D TV comes to your PC
the world’s first 3D TV tuner card. Together with some other necessary accessories (a 3D-capable monitor, 3D graphics card and 3D glasses kit), AVerMedia’s AVer3D CaptureHD will let you watch 3D TV broadcasts on your PC that are as good as anything you’ll see on a proper 3D TV.

The AVer3D CaptureHD card itself retails for $199. Distributed in Australia by Altech, the PCI-e card  lets you tune into 3D broadcasts and also record and manage them with its 3D Media Center software. In all other respects it’s a standard HDTV tuner card, able to display and record full 1080p HDTV. AVerMedia says a USB dongle version will be announced soon.

  • A 3D-capable 120Hz LCD monitor. Ones available in Australia include the Samsung 2233RZ or ASUS VG236H. You get one on the street for between $500 and $700.
  • 3D-capable card. AVerMedia recommends the GeForce GT 240 as a minimum (you can pick one up for around $100), but all NVIDIA 200 and 400 series cards,  as well as most from the 8 and 9 series, will do the job.
  • 3D glasses kit. The AVer3D is optimised for NVIDIA’s 3D Vision kit, which has 3D stereoscopic glasses that synchronise your eyes with the refresh rate on the monitor (via a little IR emitter). The glasses present the left and right eye images on alternating frames, but because the 3D monitor is capable of 120Hz, each eye still sees a full 60Hz signal that’s the same as the standard refresh rate on LCD monitors.. You can pick up an NVIDIA 3D Vision kit  for around $220.
find out more about it from apcmag.com or google the card


iPad sales hit 250,000 in Australia | The Australian
iPad sales hit 250,000 in Australia

Foxtel on Xbox 360 to cost less than $20 | The Australian
Foxtel on Xbox 360 to cost less than $20

The pay-TV service will be accessible on Xbox 360 consoles that are connected via the internet to the Xbox Live entertainment network from November.
The service will include live streamed pay-TV channels, full-length “catch-up TV” programs that have recently been broadcast, and Foxtel On Demand, the recently-launched internet TV and movie pay-per-view service.
The starter package of 11 channels will cost less than $20 a month and will include Fox8, MTV, Nickelodeon, Channel [V], Lifestyle YOU, Discovery, National Geographic Channel, TV1, Sky News, Fox Sports News and CNN.
Additional packages will offer entertainment, sports and two tiers of movie content at a cost of an extra $10 a month per package.
Austar areas will have to wait



Emergency phone system costs $6.8m | The Australian
Emergency phone system costs $6.8m

The Attorney-General’s Department paid Intech Solutions to set up the database, which pinpoints the location of mobile phones at any time.
The contract is on top of the $15m cost of Telstra’s national emergency alert system, which directs SMS messages according to the billing address of a person’s mobile phone.
Government authorities are negotiating with Australia’s major phone companies to fine-tune the system so text messages can be directed on the basis of the location of a mobile phone.



Conroy finds room for regional rollout | The Australian
Conroy finds room for regional rollout
The Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy told delegates at the Commercial Radio Australia Conference in Melbourne that the government had identified 14 MHz of spectrum for the introduction of digital radio in rural areas and was “looking for more”.

What are the benefits of digital radio


Optus shakes-up prepaid market | The Australian
Optus shakes-up prepaid market

Optus’s new range of plans will cost $1 a day for unlimited national calls and text messages to other Optus customers.
For $2 a day, customers can make unlimited standard national calls and texts to and Australian mobile or fixed line phone, and for $3 per day, customers can make unlimited standard national calls and texts to any Australian mobiles and fixed lines as well as access unlimited mobile internet browsing within Australia.



Brisbane gets high-speed broadband ahead of NBN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Brisbane gets high-speed broadband ahead of NBN

A British company will roll out fibre optic broadband across Brisbane in a move designed to be a step ahead of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The company, i3, has signed a deal with the Brisbane City Council for access to the sewer network for the cables.
The service will be rolled out to 500,000 homes over the next four years.
Construction is expected to start next year and will initially offer speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says no date has been set for the rollout of the NBN.
“We have no wish to have any sort of disagreement with NBN,” he said.
“But as the Mayor of Brisbane, as a person who’s serving 1 million people in this city, I want them to get this broadband service and this infrastructure now and I want it to happen as soon as possible.”
Internet service providers will be given access to the i3 network and sell the service to households.
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has welcomed the Council’s decision.

WILL’S SHOWNOTES

Iraq documents: Pentagon asks media to ignore WikiLeaks | News.com.au

US Army specialist Ethan McCord can be seen in the WikiLeaks video CollateralMurdercarrying a wounded girl to safety in Baghdad / www.wired.com Source: news.com.au
WHISTLEBLOWING website WikiLeaks has not published about 400,000 secret reports on the Iraq war as had been widely rumoured, but they will be available “very soon”, a spokesman says.
The Pentagon scoured through an Iraq war database overnight to prepare for potential fallout from the expected release of the reports.
When it happens, the massive release is set to dwarf the whistleblower website’s publication of 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan in July, including the names of Afghan informants and other details from raw intelligence reports.
The Pentagon has said media should not disseminate the “stolen” information when it is posted online.  “The concern is that WikiLeaks as an organisation should not be made more credible by having credible news organisations facilitate what they’re doing,” said Marine Corps Colonel Dave Lapan.
But Wikileaks insiders have said they had never promised a release today.  “There are rumours that have been floating around for some time, there is nothing you can do about it, they’re obviously not correct. I can confirm that there’s nothing coming out today,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, a close collaborator of founder Julian Assange, has said.
“I can say with certainty that WikiLeaks will publish something very soon.  We don’t comment on what we are working on and don’t give any exact dates.”
Mr Assange also refused to give an exact date for the publication of the documents.  “WikiLeaks does not speak about upcoming releases dates,” he wrote in an online article.
“Indeed, with very rare exceptions, we do not communicate any specific information about upcoming releases, since that simply provides fodder for abusive organisations to get their spin machines ready,” he said.
In a Twitter post, Mr Assange said the false publication deadline is coming from “a single tabloid blog” that had put out a “tremendous amount” of false information about his site.
Yesterday Mr Assange was denied a permit to live and work in Sweden, where he is being investigated after a complaint of rape filed by two Swedish women in August. He denies any wrongdoing.
WikiLeaks has not identified the source of the documents it obtained, but suspicion has fallen on Bradley Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst who is in military custody.
He was arrested in May, following the release by WikiLeaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter strike in Iraq in which civilians died, and has been charged with delivering defence information to an unauthorised source.


Fan-made Duke Nukem: Next Gen gets OK | News.com.au

Can’t wait forever for Duke Nukem Forever? How about a Duke 3D update, free? Picture: IGN

  • Free update given OK to publish
  • Uses Gears of War, BioShock tools
  • Call put out for help

A FREE fan-made remake of the seminal Duke Nukem: 3D has been given the go-ahead by its original developers and current copyright holders, with a multiplayer demo is timetabled for “sooner than you think”.
Making the announcement on the official Duke Nukem Forever forum, the project’s lead designer Frederik Schreiber unveiled his project, provisionally titled Duke Nukem: Next-Gen, remaking the 1996 classic using the modern tech behind games such as Gears of War, Mass Effect, and BioShock.
Schreiber’s team mocked up a test level and sent pictures to the two co-founders of 3D Realms, who made Duke Nukem: 3D.
That convinced Gearbox Software, now developing Duke Nukem Forever, to get on board and ask their publisher  to give Mr Schreiber the okay for a remake.
The team is looking for help not just in testing the PC game, but also in making it, with a call for talented artists, coders and animators sent out.
Regular updates and releases of incomplete builds should ensure that they avoid the 12-year development curse that kept Duke Nukem Forever away from the public for so long – and, indeed, the delays that seem to have befallen Black Mesa, a similarly ambitious remake of the monumental Half-Life.
The original Duke Nukem: 3D, patched for Windows XP, Vista and 7, is still available from Good Old Games.
Catch up on Duke Nukem: Next-Gen news on Gearbox’s official forums.
Watch the in-game test footage of Duke Nukem: Next Gen

IPv4 Net addresses now 95 percent used up | Deep Tech – CNET News

The final stages of the squeeze are arriving: of the 4.3 billion Internet addresses possible with today’s Net mainstream technology, 95 percent are gone.
That’s the word Monday from the Number Resource Organization, a group representing the world’s five regional Internet registries (RIRs) that dole out the numeric addresses.
“This is a major milestone in the life of the Internet and means that allocation of the last blocks of IPv4 to the RIRs is imminent,” Axel Pawlik, chairman of the Number Resource Organization, said in a statement.

(Credit: American Registry for Internet Numbers)
Text-based Internet addresses, such as http://news.cnet.com, are a convenient label for the numeric addresses that actually do the behind-the-scenes work when it comes to sending data such as a Web page across the Internet. Using today’s IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), though, the number of numeric addresses are dwindling. This is why Pawlik and many others are urging those with Internet operations to start supporting the more capacious IPv6.
A single IPv4 numeric address can be shared by multiple computers through a technique called network address translation. But NAT has its limits, so it’s no surprise that IPv4 addresses are in high demand.
Major companies including Comcast, Google, and Facebook are working to adapt to an IPv6 world, but countless smaller companies have yet to begin taking the plunge. Although IPv4-based Internet operations will continue to work, those with IPv4-only technology won’t be able to reach the IPv6 realm.
It was only last January that IPv4 exhaustion, as it’s called, crossed the 90 percent mark. Despite that rate and the difficulties of migrating to IPv6, the NRO does not believe there is a last-minute rush for IPv4 addresses. Meanwhile, the NRO is urging IPv6 action to head off fears of a “chaotic scramble for IPv6, which could increase Internet costs and threaten the stability and security of the global network.”
The entire IPv4 address space is divided into 256 blocks, each called a slash-8 or /8. There are now 12 /8s remaining. After seven more are allocated to the five RIRs, each RIR will get one of the last remaining five.
Those last five /8 blocks likely will be handed out to the registries in early 2011, NRO said.
That won’t be the complete end of IPv4 addresses, though, as the RIRs allocate the numbers to direct and indirect customers downstream.
IPv4 addresses are divided into four 8-bit chunks that together mean an IPv4 Internet address is a 32-bit number. IPv6 addresses, in comparison, use four 32-bit chunks for a 128-bit number. If you’re not conversant with binary math, that means there are 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses. So while the transition to IPv6 has been painful, IPv6 isn’t likely to run out of room any time soon.


HomePlug now certifies IEEE 1901-based power-line products | Digital Media – CNET News

It is a good idea to buy Wi-Fi products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance if you want to ensure the interoperability between products of different vendors.
Similarly, you want to look for HomePlug-certified products when shopping for power-line network devices.



Power-line devices are those that enable the electrical wiring of your home to transmit data signals, hence allowing for extending the network to different parts of the property without running network cables.
Most of these devices are based on the HomePlug AV standard, but products from different vendors are not guaranteed to work with one another until they are tested and certified by HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the group that promotes the adoption of power-line networking technology. This is similar to the Wi-Fi Alliance with Wi-Fi products.
The updated standard for power-line technology, also known as IEEE 1901, was recently ratified, marking a major milestone for power-line networking, as it helps unify and stabilize the industry. The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced Monday that it has now enhanced the HomePlug AV certification program to include products based on the ratified IEEE 1901 specification.
The newly ratified standard is designed to accommodate a wide range of major applications for power-line communications, including in-home broadband networks for data, audio, and video distribution, Smart Energy and Smart Grid, and plug-in electrical vehicles.
According to the group, IEEE 1901 is fully interoperable with the HomePlug AV broadband specification as well as the forthcoming HomePlug AV2 broadband specification, which is due for completion in the second quarter of 2011.
Currently, about 60 million HomePlug devices are in use worldwide, accounting for the majority of installed power-line products.


Dad and son send HD camera into space with iPhone | Technically Incorrect – CNET News

Some fathers and sons spend their weekends flying kites in the park.
Luke Geissbuhler and his 7-year-old son Max thought it might be more fun to send an iPhone and an HD camera into space.
The purpose was simple: to film some of that stuff that is beyond us. So they thought they’d attach their equipment to a weather balloon. Once it’s up there, they figured, the dearth of atmospheric pressure would ultimately burst it and send it back to Earth.
It all seemed very clever but not exactly foolproof.
As Geissbuhler and son say in their video: “It would have to survive 100 mph winds, temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, speeds of over a 150 mph, and the high risk of a water landing.”



Still, the Wright brothers wouldn’t have been put off by such uncertainty, and they never had an iPhone with which they could track the route of their flying craft. So father and son did a little low-altitude testing and then wandered off to the spacecraft-launching mecca that is Newburgh, N.Y., and sent their balloon into the sky.
The camera and the iPhone had been placed inside some handwarmers and, on the appointed day, father and son were their own two-man (with help) Mission Control in the park, as they watched their balloon sail off into the vast above.
The balloon burst after around 70 minutes. But it managed to record 100 minutes of footage. As if it knew its own way home, it came back to Earth 30 miles from where it had launched, which Geissbuhler attributed to “a quick ascent and two differing wind patterns.”
This is a truly committed father and son partnership, so they searched for their flying machine until they found it “in the dead of night.” Yes, it was 50 feet up a tree, but the iPhone’s GPS and the camera’s external LED light led them to it.
One can only wonder what their self-styled “Brooklyn Space Program” might attempt next. Perhaps a manned (and boyyed) space flight?


White iPhone 4 exists, but you still can’t have one | Circuit Breaker – CNET News


Pocket-lint UK spotted a very rare white iPhone 4 in New York this week.
(Credit: Pocket-lint UK)

The white iPhone 4 may not be available in stores, but apparently they’re stacked up in boxes at Apple’s headquarters.
At least that’s what a random New Yorker spotted with one this week said. U.K.-based tech blog Pocket-lint noticed and photographed a man using the much-delayed white version of the iPhone 4 at a press event this week.
When pressed for details, the man (who apparently didn’t want to be identified) said a friend of his who works at Apple in Cupertino, Calif., “fixed him up” with one of the white iPhone 4s sitting around the office, according to Pocket-lint.
So why aren’t they in stores yet? Apple had said from the first day the iPhone 4 went on sale in June that the white version would be delayed a few weeks. A few weeks then turned into “later this year,” citing manufacturing “challenges.” The specifics of the problem were–not surprisingly–left unexplained.
But according to the guy who has one, the issue is related to the paint. He told Pocket-lint that Apple said the company that is manufacturing the phone can’t get the white home button to match the exact shade of the white faceplate of the phone.
Until they figure that out, it looks like you can buy the iPhone 4 in any color you want, as long as it’s black.


The best ‘NSFW’ URL ever | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
I am sure that, when creating Web sites, people still think long, hard, and late into the night about the URL behind which they will stand.
In the case of one organization, perhaps it thought too long, too hard, and far too late into the night.
The National Schools Film Week is the “world’s largest festival for cinema and young people.” Its home page has a very interesting picture of many children wearing dark glasses. Perhaps they are 3D. Perhaps it’s because the URL of the National Schools Film Week is, you got there, didn’t you, nsfw.org.
Let us swiftly leave aside the notion that perhaps one or two people will be unable to log on to this site, as there just might be a little filter on “NSFW,” or, for the prudish among you, “not suitable/safe for work.”

(Credit: CC Fuzzcat/Flickr)
Far more significant is the sheer poetry inherent in a dot-org that offers something NSFW.
This URL offers the expectation of the educational melding with the beducational. It offers the notion that perhaps this might even be a recovery program for golfers who suffer from sex addiction. It makes one hope for a professorial debate, chaired by Charlie Rose, about what is and isn’t suitable for a working environment.
As Switched.com handily pointed out, it also offers the possibility that children might accidentally log on to nsfw.com, which might offer a little cinema, but certainly not the kind suited to the young and impressionable.
You might think this URL will surely go down in history, along with some of the finest, among which sits the lovely Whorepresents.com.
However, when it comes to dot-orgs, there is surely only one competitor. Yes, the World Taekwondo Federation. You’ll never guess what its URL is. Never.


MIT’s new paper chase: Cheap solar cells | Green Tech – CNET News
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Rather than close the blinds on a sunny day, perhaps you’ll pull down the solar panel.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology here today presented early results of research projects funded by Italian oil company Eni, including paper-thin solar cells, which could be used as window covers, and a paper-based material to collect oil spilled in water.
MIT showed prototypes of paper solar cells able to generate enough current to light a small LED display. A commercial solar paper device could be available in five years, said chemical engineering professor Karen Gleason, whose lab is doing the work.

A paper airplane that acts as a solar cell.
(Credit: Martin LaMonica/CNET )
“It’d be a matter of economics and investment on the time frame for large-scale commercialization,” she said. “If everything went great, I think five years is not unreasonable.”
Gleason envisions using cheap paper solar cells on blinds and shades or perhaps on the cover of a laptop. A blind could have a storage device integrated into it or be connected to home wiring, she said.
Paper cells can also be laminated into flexible, lightweight strips that could be attached quickly onto roofs by untrained people, reducing the cost of solar power, she said. The cells are made on ordinary tracing paper.
The trick behind the paper-thin solar cells is a layer-by-layer manufacturing process developed by Gleason’s lab, which can be adjusted for different purposes.
To make a cell, five layers of solid material are deposited onto a paper substrate. Each layer serves a different function, such as the active material that releases an electron when struck by light and the circuit that carries the current, she explained. Unlike many solar cell deposition processes, this one can be done at low temperatures.
It’s analogous to frost forming on a window where water vapor turns into a solid on a surface, Gleason said.
“We have an apparatus which allows us to bring together molecular and atomic species. They basically condense, sometimes they react. We repeat that five times and you up with a solar cell,” she said.

Paper-thin solar cells (photos)


Right now, the efficiency of light-to-electricity conversion is very low, approaching 1 percent. The lab’s target is to get to 4 percent efficiency on paper and higher efficiency on different substrates, Gleason said. Commercial solar panels with silicon solar cells have an efficiency around 15 percent and higher.
The process uses organic materials and polymers, which are abundant and thus not expensive. “We want elements readily available in nature. It’s simple metals–nothing exotic,” she said.
Gleason imagines indoor applications for the solar cells because that is a niche not already served.
Hydrophobic nanowires
In another Eni-funded research area, MIT professors are using paper in a very different way: to soak up oil from water.
Professor Philip Gschwend presented an early prototype of a specially treated paper that researchers say could be deployed to remove oil and other chemicals, such as solvents, already dissolved in water.
For example, buoys lined with the material could be deployed near a tanker or oil well. The buoy would absorb spilled oil into a holding tank, which could then be pumped into an oil-carrying vessel. Gschwend said the technology could also be used to absorb underwater plumes, which happened in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill earlier this year.
To create the oil-absorbing material, researchers treated paper with water-repelling, or hydrophobic, nanomaterial. Gschwend showed a video of a proof of concept where a paper cone in a beaker of water and oil attracted oil droplets. The cone collected the oil without water seeping through as well.
Treating the paper is also a deposition process similar to how snack bags are coated on the inside with a separate material, he said. Development of working systems would require ensuring that buoys can withstand harsh outdoor conditions over time, he said, adding that it would take “years” rather than decades to make a commercial product.
Paolo Scaroni, the CEO of Eni, said that oil remediation is an urgent need in the oil drilling industry.
“The amount of oil spills in the world is much more than people think. Oil spills happen almost every day,” he said. “A tissue like this can have practical use immediately.”


No myth: Obama appearing on ‘Mythbusters’ | Geek Gestalt – CNET News

President Barack Obama recently taped a segment for the Discovery Channel TV show “Mythbusters.”
(Credit: Chuck Kennedy/The White House)
He won’t be wearing a beret or a T-shirt that says “I know, I know, Jamie is always right,” but President Obama will be making a guest appearance on the hit Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters.”
In a release today, the Discovery Channel touted the segment–which the president and “Mythbusters” hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage taped on July 27–that will air during the December 8 episode of the show. The episode is called “Archimedes Solar Ray,” and during his segment, the president challenged Hyneman and Savage “to revisit an ancient and somewhat-controversial myth: Did Greek scientist and polymath Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun?”
Obama announced his “Mythbusters” role during the White House Science Fair today, but he lamented that he didn’t get to blow anything up during the taping of the segment. “I was a little frustrated about that,” the president said.


Laptop thief backs up victim’s data, mails it to him | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
In the more dog-eating-dog quarters of the world, Sweden is sometimes mocked for being a namby-pamby welfare state.
Sometimes, though, caring for one’s fellow man is beautiful just for its own sake.
So please may we rejoice at the tale of an anonymous Swedish professor who had his laptop stolen.


How can having one’s laptop stolen possibly bring us to a happy conclusion? Did someone find his laptop and return it to him? No. Did someone catch the thief and, in a fit of justice, remove all the Pirate Bay stickers from his laptop? Again, no.
However as Swedish news source The Local would have it, something far more beautiful occurred in this case.
The professor wasn’t feeling well. He’d recently had surgery. And he was desperate to do his laundry. So he dropped his backpack behind a door on the stairwell, rather than taking it to his apartment first, and went off to the laundry room. He had not counted on it being thieved in the few minutes he was addressing the needs of his underwear and, no doubt, check shirts.
On his return, the backpack, containing his computer, calendar, keys, and other effects had gone. He called the police. A few minutes later, perhaps praying for some kind of divine intervention, he went back out into the stairwell, where the backpack had strangely reappeared. Only one thing was missing: his laptop.
“Unfortunately, I have been bad at backing up my computer,” the Local quoted the professor as saying. He is not alone.
However, it was as if an angel had intercepted his thoughts and words. The angel being the thief.
For around a week later, the professor says he received an envelope. Inside was a USB stick. Did this hold information about a rival professor’s indiscretions with his comely students? Did it hold images of Tiger Woods on a private trip to Sweden?
No, it held all the data from his laptop. The thief, it appears, took pity and spent perhaps hours making sure that the professor got all of his unbacked-up information back.
The world is a harsh, unforgiving place, in which we lose far more than we win. But if this thief would merely open a university program for thieves, then surely the world’s karmic balance might be shifted for once in a healthy direction.


HRP-4C girlbot grooves with go-go dancers | Crave – CNET


HRP-4C is mostly being developed for the entertainment industry–for use in amusement parks, for example, or as an exercise teacher–and is not yet ready to assist with daily chores.
(Credit: Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET)

Were it not for the knobby-kneed metallic gams, it might be hard to tell which of the five dancers in flouncy yellow minidresses is the robot.
But there she is, Yamaha’s HRP-4C, headlining a performance called “Dance Robot LIVE! – HRP-4C Cybernetic Human” at Tokyo’s Digital Content Expo over the weekend.
Sharing the stage with a group of singing/dancing humans is just the latest trick from the 5-foot (ish) humanoid from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, who can sing from a preselected list of tunes and struts the catwalk in her spare time.
Reportedly designed to look like an average Japanese woman between the ages of 19 and 29, HRP-4C has 30 motors in her body that allow her to walk and move her arms and 8 facial motors for blinking, smiling, expressing emotions akin to anger and surprise–and, apparently, working it like a pop star.
For her weekend performance, HRP-4C joined four human dancers to move and sing to a lip-synced Vocaloid version of “Deatta Koro no Yo ni” (“Every Little Thing”) by Kaori Mochida. SAM-san, a real-life dancer/choreographer, produced the routine.
“Dance Robot LIVE! – HRP-4C Cybernetic Human” is the culmination of a year-long effort to teach the humanoid to dance. We’re not sure if she’s ready for “So You Think You Can Dance: The Robot Edition,” but she sure beats some of the other robo-dancers we’ve spotted lately.


Happy 25th, Nintendo Entertainment System | The Digital Home – CNET News
The Nintendo Entertainment System, undoubtedly one of the most iconic video game consoles ever released, turned 25 years old today.
Released on October 18, 1985, the device gave birth to Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and several other franchises that still live on today.

(Credit: Nintendo)
When the NES hit store shelves in New York City a quarter of a century ago, the future of gaming was decidedly in doubt. Some believed the industry was on its last leg, and few retailers were willing to take the kind of financial risks they once did on games.
But players got their hands on the 8-bit console, and many fell in love. And it wasn’t until 1995 and well over 60 million worldwide unit sales later that Nintendo finally discontinued the U.S. version of the console. The company waited until 2003 to discontinue the Japanese model, known as Famicom.
It’s hard to find a single product–console or game–that contributed more to the gaming industry in the 1980s and 1990s than the NES. The console proved that people could fall in love with video games. And it quickly became the benchmark by which so many other consoles would be judged throughout the years.
On a personal note, I find it rather sobering that the NES is now 25. It seems like only yesterday that I was playing Super Mario Bros., blowing into cartridges to get them to work, and pulling off seemingly impossible shots on ducks flying around my screen. But 25 years old it is.
So, happy birthday, NES. And thank you for all the good times.


Some are turning iPhone 4’s glass back into metal | Crave – CNET

Light metal: a new flat back doesn’t add weight or girth to your iPhone 4.
(Credit: Unpluggd)
Earlier this month, CNET editor Josh Lowensohn posted about how Apple was reportedly having some issues with the glass back on the iPhone 4, which was proving to be less durable than some had hoped. Now several sites are detailing how you can replace the glass back of your iPhone 4 with a metal one.
Removing the back–or “rear panel” as Apple calls it–is pretty simple (see ifixit.com‘s tutorial). And in just a few minutes you can swap in an inexpensive metal back for $12.99 from Hong Kong. Other backs are available, but Unpluggd says this is one of the few flat backs that’s nicely beveled. (In the future, we expect to see many more backs hit the market).
Of course, Apple does have some strict rules about messing with your iPhone and voiding the warranty, so you may want to think twice about changing the rear panel and just get a case. We also don’t know how a metal back would affect reception, so let us know if you’ve had any experience with one of these guys.


AMD’s new ‘Llano’ chip targets sleek designs | Nanotech – The Circuits Blog – CNET News
Advanced Micro Devices showcased its upcoming Llano chip today, a highly integrated design targeted at sleek computers.

Currently-available HP Pavilion dm1z ultraportable features AMD processors and an 11.6-inch design.

At the AMD Technical Forum & Exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan, the chip supplier held the first public demonstration of its future AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) codenamed “Llano.” Due in the first half of next year, the system-on-a-chip (single piece of silicon) is targeted at ultrathin and mainstream laptops, among other designs.
Llano will use 32-nanometer technology, feature up to four CPU processor cores, and integrate AMD’s 5000 series graphics technology.
The demo involved three “workloads” running simultaneously on Microsoft Windows 7: calculating the value of Pi to 32 million decimal places; running a complex physics simulation using DirectX 11; and decoding HD video from a Blu-ray disc, AMD said. “Microsoft’s n-Body DirectCompute application is shown achieving around 30 GFLOPS, according to a statement. GFLOPS, or gigaflops, means billions of floating point operations per second. (Another n-Body demonstration can be seen here.)
AMD is in the unique position of being a supplier of both central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs) and therefore can combine both technologies to create what it calls APUs.
By comparison, Intel’s newest Atom processors integrate a CPU and low-end GPU onto one piece of silicon, while the upcoming Sandy Bridge processor–due in systems early next year–has a higher-performance graphics function integrated onto the CPU.


Hackers show Gene Simmons where he can kiss it | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
If you’ve ever allowed yourself to be subjected to Kiss songs, you’ll know that they are jolly, somewhat empty-headed, and entirely innocent.
If you’ve ever allowed yourself to be subjected to a reality show called “Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels,” you’ll know that the Kiss frontman is a man with a lovely family, experience of plastic surgery, and opinions that suggest a slight smattering of oldy-worldy self-righteousness.
How entirely stunning, then, that this wealthy aging, platform-booted man seems to have encountered a little difficulty with those who are able to put the digital boot in to whomsoever they choose.
According to the Guardian, Simmons sat on a panel recently and offered somewhat draconian views about file sharers: “Make sure your brand is protected. Make sure there are no incursions. Be litigious. Sue everybody. Take their homes, their cars. Don’t let anybody cross that line.”
This might have seemed vaguely quaint if he hadn’t reportedly continued: “The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn’t have the balls to sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded material. And so now we’re left with hundreds of thousands of people without jobs. There’s no industry.”

No, it’s not Gene Simmons after plastic surgery. It’s an Anonymous anti-Scientology protest.
(Credit: CC Scragz/Flickr)
Perhaps it was the sheer myopia of the words “fresh-faced, freckle-faced” that reportedly motivated a group of somewhat disaffected youths called Anonymous to show Simmons just what pain a little digital dexterity can cause.
Before he could rock ‘n’ roll all night (though from the evidence of his reality show, this is slightly beyond Simmons these days), two of his sites, GeneSimmons.com and SimmonsRecords.com were placed into intensive care. At the time of writing, they still seem entirely disabled.
Anonymous had already decided to launch Operation Payback, a little DDoS action against those such as the MPAA and various law firms who happen to be staunchly in favor of copyright legislation. So it introduced itself to Simmons with a little DDoS activity.
Perhaps Anonymous–whose members occasionally appear wearing “V For Vendetta” Guy Fakes masks in protest against the Church of Scientology–might not have done anything more about Simmons and his expressiveness until he decided to gild his lilywhite opinions.
As reported by Slyck, Simmons offered on his Web site: “Some of you may have heard a few popcorn farts re: our sites being threatened by hackers. Our legal team and the FBI have been on the case and we have found a few, shall we say ‘adventurous’ young people, who feel they are above the law. And, as stated in my MIPCOM speech, we will sue their pants off. First, they will be punished. Second, they might find their little butts in jail, right next to someone who’s been there for years and is looking for a new girl friend. We will soon be printing their names and pictures. We will find you. You cannot hide. Stay tuned.”
The “looking for a new girlfriend” line might have been ill-judged. Indeed, you will be stunned into listening to the whole Kiss back catalog, from back to front, when I tell you that certain members of Anonymous, which is reportedly loosely associated with 4Chan, decided to make Simmons their own personal bete noire.
This will not have been the first time that Simmons has experienced the sight of young people metaphorically sticking their tongues out in his direction.
And though he might belittle their being, some might say it is always best to be humble. Especially if one’s claims to fame revolve around slightly naive paeans to the mob, rather than lasting, more philosophically grounded works of art.


Gillard committed to ISP filter plan | The Australian
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will push ahead with plans to introduce mandatory internet filters but the implementation date still remains unclear.
The government wants all ISPs to automatically block web pages with a refused classification (RC) rating on a secret blacklist.
On July 9, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the legislation would be deferred to allow a review of the RC processes central to the policy.
The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) was to meet a few weeks later to discuss the review, but that meeting was postponed to November when the federal election was called.
The next SCAG meeting will be held on November 4-5, but it is unclear if the RC issue is on the agenda.
A SCAG spokeswoman declined to discuss the upcoming meeting, saying the agenda was confidential.
The controversial filter policy will take at least two years to put in place; Senator Conroy expects the RC review to take 12 months with a further year for implementation after the passage of legislation.
The Coalition and the Greens are unlikely to back the new laws but the Gillard government does have its supporters in the Australian Christian Lobby, for example.
Key independent MP Rob Oakeshott said he will study the legislation before taking sides.
The prime minister yesterday said she remained committed to the filter plan.
“The internet filter is appropriate,” Ms Gillard told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane.
“It is unlawful for me to go to the cinema and watch some certain sorts of content that’s unlawful. Content that is child abuse, incredibly violent pornography, we say that is wrong and we don’t show it in Australian cinemas.
“If we accept that, then it seems to me the moral question is not changed by the medium that the image has come through,” she said.
The ACL lauded Ms Gillard’s continued efforts to block RC content online.

“There was recognition from both sides of politics during the election campaign that our classification system was not serving the interests of children,” ACL managing director Jim Wallace said.

“The government’s move to give effect to our classification laws by using the internet filter to close the loophole which allows illegal overseas-hosted material into Australia is an important step in repairing our broken classification system,” Mr Wallace said.
The filter scheme was first proposed by Senator Conroy in the run-up to the 2007 poll.
Telstra and Optus have already committed to voluntarily block child pornography URLs — their combined 5 million-odd customers will receive a “clean feed” from mid-2011.
Industry players like Google and freedom of speech advocates have criticised the proposal on the grounds that the RC category was “too broad”.
RC content includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.
Online free speech advocate Irene Graham says not all RC material is illegal.
According to Ms Graham, RC is a wide-ranging category of content which includes material deemed to ‘offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults’.
SCAG is also considering whether an R18+ rating should be introduced for computer games.


Competition chief rejects cost-benefit analysis | The Australian
THE competition regulator has questioned the need for a cost-benefit analysis for the $43 billion National Broadband Network.
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel said it was the proper role of governments to spend money on visionary projects for the future.
And it would be impossible to measure the flow-on social and economic benefits of a high-speed internet network over the next two or three decades, he said.
“It is this crystal ball gazing that can’t be done, and ultimately with these things that’s where government steps in because the private sector won’t do the crystal ball gazing,” Mr Samuel told The Australian yesterday.
“That’s where the government steps in to provide the vision.”
Mr Samuel’s view puts him at odds with opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull and business leaders, including Business Council of Australia president Graham Bradley and Future Fund chairman David Murray, who say a cost-benefit analysis is required.
Mr Samuel’s comments came as NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley dismissed concerns that internal rewiring of homes was required for consumers to access the new fibre optic network.
“In Tasmania, very few – about 3 per cent – of the customers who have now been connected have decided to do anything about their internal wiring,” Mr Quigley told a telecommunications conference in Melbourne.
He said Telstra should not be forced to continue operating its copper network for customers who refused to be connected to the new fibre network, and confirmed NBN Co would cover the cost of people accessing basic phone services through the network.
Mr Quigley is conducting a business case that would take into account costs, cash flows and the project’s ability to turn a profit.
But Mr Samuel said the more complicated task of carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of the social benefits of the NBN and its implications in unprofitable rural and regional areas of the country was practically impossible.
“I don’t think people are right or wrong in seeking a cost-benefit analysis. I just think they have confused a private cost-benefit analysis, which is the business case, with the social cost-benefit analysis, which is the one government has to step in with its vision.”
But Mr Murray said no government should spend taxpayers’ money without having some idea about priorities and the value of the project to the community.
“In a world where growth has been reduced by the global financial crisis, and reduced going forward, and governments are in deficit, it becomes even more important to prioritise spending towards those things that will have the greatest economic benefit,” he said.
“That way you will get the employment now and the benefit later. But if there’s no benefit later, then you take on a structural deficit problem.”
Mr Bradley said a cost-benefit analysis would cover not just financial returns, but broader social returns on the project and productivity gains in areas such as health and education.
“What the BCA has proposed is that the Productivity Commission should look at the benefits. They would be in a position to put broad economics around the payback to the community, in terms of productivity savings and so on – that’s the kind of expertise you need to bring to things.”
Mr Turnbull repeated his position that the NBN would represent a “tax paid by broadband customers to finance the folly of the Labor government”.
Mr Quigley said NBN Co had never assumed there would be an opt-in or opt out model on the network that would drive take-up.
Low forecast take-up rates have forced the Tasmanian government to use an “opt-out” model where homes and businesses are automatically connected to the service unless they refuse.
“We are building, and we will deal with what the circumstances are in particularly states,” Mr Quigley said. “It’s up to state governments if they want to implement something. This is not something we have assumed.”
NSW and Victoria have ruled out a similar move to Tasmania


Melbourne gets nod for IBM global lab | The Australian

IBM will open a multi-million dollar research and development lab at the University of Melbourne that will serve the global market.
The facility would begin operations in the first quarter of 2011, IBM Australia chief technology officer Glenn Wightwick said.

It would create about 150 research positions within five years, Mr Wightwick said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premier John Brumby announced the lab today at the university.

Ms Gillard said the federal government would contribute $22 million over five years to the lab.

The lab is also funded by IBM and the Victorian government but their contribution was not revealed.

Mr Brumby said the lab would examine “the big challenges of our time”.

“Researchers can work side-by-side to help tackle international issues such as managing natural disasters, using our natural resources efficiently, fighting diseases, boosting agricultural yields and harnessing the power of biotechnology,” Mr Brumby said.

IBM has strong links with Melbourne University; in February both parties announced the establishment of a life sciences research lab to be based at the university.


Emergency phone system costs $6.8m | The Australian
A NATIONWIDE database of mobile phone numbers to be texted in emergencies has cost taxpayers $6.8 million.
The Attorney-General’s Department paid Intech Solutions to set up the database, which pinpoints the location of mobile phones at any time.
The contract is on top of the $15m cost of Telstra’s national emergency alert system, which directs SMS messages according to the billing address of a person’s mobile phone.
Government authorities are negotiating with Australia’s major phone companies to fine-tune the system so text messages can be directed on the basis of the location of a mobile phone.
“As negotiations are still under way, there is no cost or delivery date identified at this point,” a spokeswoman for Victoria’s emergency services commissioner said yesterday. The Victorian commissioner is negotiating for all states and territories except Western Australia.
The new database contained mobile phone numbers in any location, she said, but was not linked to customers’ names.


Tablet computer sales to hit 208 million in 2014 | The Australian
SALES of tablet computers like Apple’s iPad are expected to soar from nearly 20 million units this year to 55 million next year.
In 2014 tablet sales would be more than 208 million, market research firm Gartner said.
Gartner said North America will account for 61 per cent of tablet computer sales this year but its share will drop to 43 per cent in 2014.
Gartner forecast worldwide sales of tablet computers of 19.5 million units in 2010, 54.8 million units in 2011 and more than 208 million units in 2014.
Apple began selling its iPad in April and a number of other companies have announced plans to begin producing the multimedia devices, which can be used to surf the web, read electronic books, watch video and more.
Gartner said the explosion in tablet computers will impact sales of devices in other segments including netbook computers, the small laptops also known as mini-notebooks.
“The all-in-one nature of media tablets will result in the cannibalisation of other consumer electronics devices such as e-readers, gaming devices and media players,” Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi said.
“Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest cannibalisation threat as media tablet average selling prices drop below 300 dollars over the next two years,” Ms Milanesi said.

Brisbane plans own fibre network | The Australian

Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman at the rollout of first City Cycle station. Picture: Darren England Source: The Australian
The Queensland capital has entered an agreement with a British-based company to build its own network.
FED up with waiting for the government to bring its $43 billion National Broadband Network to Brisbane has negotiated its own at no cost to taxpayers.
The network will be built over the next four years by fibre optic deployment specialist i3 Group, which uses sewer cable-laying methods to build networks — as much as 60 to 75 per cent more cheaply than traditional methods, according to the company.
The method also allows network builders to avoid the complex negotiations needed to gain permission to dig up roads and pavements that often encumber projects such as the NBN.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said the decision to forge ahead with the city’s own plan to build a fibre network was born from a lack of consultation from NBN Co or the federal government on when the NBN would reach the city.
“The NBN has not given us a timetable for the rollout in Brisbane and as the mayor of Brisbane I’m passionate that our community should have access to this as soon as possible,” the LNP Lord Mayor said.
“There is $43 billion . . . of taxpayers’ funds that the Prime Minister wants to invest in broadband. Here we have the ratepayers of Brisbane not paying one cent. They (i3 Group) are putting the money up so what do we as the community have to lose? This will get our broadband rolled out before Sydney and Melbourne do.”
i3 Group chief executive Elfed Thomas said the company was spending $600 million to build the network, which would eventually connect 500,000 premises in Brisbane to broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.
Once the network was complete, i3 would act as an open-access wholesaler and sell broadband services to existing telecommunication providers such as Telstra and Optus.
Mr Thomas said that, by using a mix of fibre deployment techniques that used sewers, stormwater systems and micro-trenching, i3 could connect each premises at a cost of about $600, which was much cheaper than the projected per home cost of up to $3000 for the government’s NBN.
Unlike the NBN, which has a mandate to improve telecommunications services in rural and regional Australia, i3’s network will be making a good rate of return from day one.
Although Mr Thomas would not reveal the profit expected to be garnered from the network he said it would be a commercial return, which puts it at odds with the NBN and its projected government bond-like returns of 6 per cent.
i3 has entered discussions with NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley about how the network will fit into NBN’s nationwide rollout schedule, but Mr Thomas said early indications showed there would be no problems .
An NBN Co spokeswoman said the announcement of the new network would not alter plans to roll out the NBN.
The wholesale price the Brisbane network charges providers to access the network must meet regulatory approval.

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