Episode 215

posted in: Show Notes


iPads are now ‘multitasking’ | The Australian
iPads are now ‘multitasking’
Apple’s new iOS4. 2 will bring to the iPad multitasking, a folders’ system for categorizing apps, and a unified Inbox , which allows emails from several sources to be displayed as a single source.

Its release is timed to boost the attractiveness of the iPad which is now facing competition from new Android tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy, which already is multitasking.

Fairfax Media faces online TV cost blowing out | The Australian
Fairfax Media faces online TV cost blowing out
FAIRFAX Media’s online television on its news websites has been a success.

Fairfax Digital Media’s Ricky Sutton.
Mr Sutton said the streaming of old TV episodes on IPTV sites such as SMH.TV linked to its Sydney Morning Herald website smh.com.au (and mirrored on The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today) had attracted 300,000 viewers in its first six weeks of operation.
But, he added at the Screen Producers Association of Australian conference last week, Fairfax Media had “some of the most expensive streaming costs in the country”.
If current growth is maintained, Fairfax Media has calculated it will be spending $16 million per month inside three years.
“Clearly that’s not sustainable,” Mr Sutton said.

most of the news viewing on its websites was during 8am-5pm weekdays. The TV sites have, as hoped, raised traffic during evenings and on weekends.
Fairfax had spent “several hundreds of thousands of dollars” on its rights deals with 17 different content providers, including the ABC.
Fairfax earns revenue from advertising breaks before and through episodes.
The Fairfax sites have access to some ABC product, including The Gruen Transfer, which is no longer available on iView.
Fairfax looked at BitTorrent for trends in what might be popular, figuring it could exploit a target audience of “the people who steal stuff who don’t want to”.
The sites have 400 hours live currently and can show up to 50,000 hours before upscaling is required.
But Mr Sutton said no one could believe the most-viewed program “far and away” on their sites was a 10-year-old ABC documentary about a now out-of-commission jet, Airforce.
“People still want to watch this stuff and we have to get rid of the assumption that they want it new,” Mr Sutton said.
He said the average viewing time on the TV sites was 16 minutes and the peak viewing time was 10.30pm.


Ray White and Flight Centre ditch Microsoft for Google | The Australian
Ray White and Flight Centre ditch Microsoft for Google

Leading real estate group Ray White will roll out Google Apps to 7000 users.
According to Ray White property and IT director Ben White, the company has selected Google for email, messaging and productivity.
Google have become obsessed with wooing the big end of town — traditionally the domain of Microsoft.
For years corporations have paid billions of dollars to purchase software licences from Microsoft for on-premise products like Office and Exchange/Outlook.

Microsoft has had a number of successes with the likes of Mincom, Coca Cola Amatil, Spotless and Tony Ferguson Weight Loss embracing its hosted proposition.
These companies, and a slew of universities, use Microsoft Online Services — essentially online versions of SharePoint, Exchange and others.
Google has AAPT, Mortgage Choice and the NSW Department of Education amongst its list of users.

Westfield goes virtual with online mall | The Australian
Westfield goes virtual with online mall
Westfield created a virtual shopping site more than a decade ago, but it never went live.
Already more than 50 retailers have signed virtual leases with Westfield including JB Hi Fi, Cellarmasters, Borders, Supre, Witchery, Jeanswest and Speedo where shoppers will be able to browse, compare and buy merchandise without ever leaving the site.

The website will allow shoppers to compare products, filter searches and place purchases in a virtual shopping cart where they will be able to pay with a single credit card transaction.
People who register with the site will be given shopping suggestions based on their browsing and shopping history.
About 70 per cent of the stores joining the site are already Westfield tenants, while about 15 per cent are pure online retailers.
Westfield has plans to extend the store to overseas markets and believes it could create an opportunity for Australian retailers to tap into the US and UK.
The company expects to have more than 100 stores operating on the Westfield site within a couple of months.


iTunes to sell Beatles music | The Australian
iTunes to sell Beatles music

Apple will sell 13 remastered Beatles studio albums, the two-volume Past Masters set and the classic Red and Blue collections. People can buy individual songs for $US1.29 apiece or download entire albums, at $US12.99 for a single album and $US19.99 for a double.
For $US149, Apple is also selling a special digital box set that includes a download of the 41-minute movie of the Beatles’ first US concert, Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964.
Garth Brooks, Kid Rock and AC/DC are among the remaining artists who refuse to sell their work through Apple. Some want more control over pricing or the ability to force shoppers to download entire albums instead of individual songs.
In the most recent quarter, Apple’s revenue was $US20.3 billion ($20.66 billion), and iTunes sales made up just 5 per cent, Mr Marshall said.
Apple shares slipped $US5.62, or 1.8 per cent, to $US301.41 in midday trading overnight

BBC News – 1,000mph car project ‘on track’
1,000mph car project ‘on track’

BBC News – 1,000mph car project ‘on track’
1,000mph car project ‘on track’
Construction will start on the rear of the Bloodhound vehicle in January, with an attempt on the World Land Speed record expected in 2012.

Before the Bloodhound car can hurtle across this flat expanse of land, it must be cleared of all loose stones.

A team of 300 local people has begun sweeping an area 20km x 1.5km, picking up any stones in their path

BBC News – Twitter airport ‘joke’ trial heads to the High Court
Twitter airport ‘joke’ trial heads to the High Court

Paul Chambers was convicted in May for sending a menacing electronic communication.
A recent appeal failed to overturn the conviction, sparking outrage amongst Twitter users.
Doncaster Crown Court recently upheld his original conviction causing a wave of outrage on Twitter, with thousands of supporters retweeting Chambers’ message, which read: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”
The so-called “I’m Spartacus” campaign was inspired by the famous scene in the 1960s blockbuster, when slaves stood up one by one to claim “I’m Spartacus” in order to save their fellow gladiator from detection

BBC News – Virtual asteroid run as Entropia club sold for profit
Virtual asteroid run as Entropia club sold for profit

A gamer who made headlines when he bought a virtual asteroid for $100,000 (£56,200) in 2005 has sold it for $635,000 (£395,000).
It is a new world record for the sale of a virtual object.
British “virtual entrepreneur” Jon Jacobs had been operating the asteroid as a club called Neverdie within virtual reality role-playing platform Entropia Universe.
It had been generating a yearly profit of around £125,000 a year, he said

Website: Media magnate Murdoch preps digital newspaper for iPad – CNN.com
Media magnate Murdoch preps digital newspaper for iPad
Rupert Murdoch is developing a digital newspaper exclusively for the iPad and other electronic tablet devices, according to the Women’s Wear Daily website. Murdoch, who has made no secret of his ambitions to charge internet users for news content, has assembled a team of journalists for the project, called “The Daily,” and hopes to roll out a beta version around Christmas,

Available to the public in early 2011, the Daily would cost 99 cents a week, about $4.25 a month, and true to its name, publish seven days a week,

WA man sentenced over DDoS attacks on police – Security – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
WA man sentenced over DDoS attacks on police

A 25 year-old man was given a suspended sentence in a Perth District Court on Friday for flooding the Western Australian and NSW Police force servers with thousands of emails in 2008.
Adam William Bogers, who had worked at a Telstra store as a computer technician, launched three attacks in 2008 over a two week period from the staff internet cafe.
He had used a computer he was repairing and message board Pastbin to create the email he would send to the police

The denial of service attacks were retribution for WA Police refusing to return a computer they had confiscated from him during an earlier investigation. Bogers demanded its return in his attack emails.
“Return the PC now. That is not yours. You do not know how to control something more secure than every one of you. Beware. You take it any more, it will only get worse. Now standby for the damage”.
Bogers was ordered to undergo ongoing psychiatric and substance abuse treatment and was given a 12-month good behaviour bond.
The maximum penalty for the each of the offences was 10 years imprisonment.


Kinect lightsaber, and other inevitable milestones for the open-source robot eye (video) — Engadget

Kinect lightsaber, and other inevitable milestones for the open-source robot eye (video)

By Ross Miller

What, you didn’t think the Kinect open source community would just take a break for the weekend, did you? Microsoft certainly wouldn’t want that, and after seeing how much shadow puppetry warmed our hearts, we wouldn’t want it either! Thankfully, someone in this world can now track a wooden stick to emulate a lightsaber in real time, bringing one classic meme that much closer to actuality (and the promised Star Wars Kinect game not even parsec closer to release). If that’s not enough, we also have a demo made that converts hand-waving to MIDI notes — which, as creator Ben X notes, puts him one step closer to Ableton Live integration — and a pretty pretty wild visual of body dysmorphic disorder (and a chubby cat) courtesy of the powerful open source Cinder library and a Vimeo user who goes by “flight404.” If those were appetizer and two-part entree, respectively, our post-meal coffee would be a pretty sharp critique on Kinect Joy Ride — where it seems, on at least one track, you can nab a bronze trophy by staying as still as humanly possible. All the footage you seek is after the break.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

technabob, Create Digital Music, Reddit

Samsung says it’s sold 600,000 Galaxy Tabs worldwide — Engadget

Samsung says it’s sold 600,000 Galaxy Tabs worldwide

By Donald Melanson

Samsung said it expected to sell a million Galaxy Tabs this year, and it looks like it may not be far off that mark, if it doesn’t exceed it — the company has apparently told The Korea Herald that it’s sold 600,000 of the tablets worldwide so far, less than a month after launch. That includes 30,000 units sold in Korea since its November 14th launch there, but Samsung doesn’t seem to be dishing out specific numbers for the rest of the world just yet. Of course, as impressive as that is, it may well be all downhill from here once word of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s frown gets around.

Houston will be home to America’s largest car charging network, identity crisis — Engadget

Houston will be home to America’s largest car charging network, identity crisis

By Ben Bowers

Everything is somewhat more gargantuan in Texas, so its only natural that Houston has its eye on having the largest network of electric vehicle chargers in the country. The plan is a privately funded brain-child of power plant operator NRG Energy, which hopes to install 150 charging stations in the 25 mile vicinity of downtown Houston starting in February. Chargers will be placed at common retail locations such as Walgreens and Best Buy, but given that 80 to 90 percent of charging will occur in homes, an $89 all-you-can-juice monthly plan will also include the installation of 240-volt charging systems in residences. NRG doesn’t expect to turn a profit on its $10 million investment for several years, but hopes that taking the proactive step will create a lucrative business in the future as electric vehicle prices (hopefully) hit the skids. The company also wants to build a similar network in Dallas in early 2011, and perhaps San Antonio and Austin in the future as well. Still, while the plans are admirable for the home of big-oil, compared to London’s government-backed 1,300 station plan, NRG’s Houston aspirations still seem positively Rhode Island-sized.

Oz could reach top 20 of supercomputers – Hardware – News

Oz could reach top 20 of supercomputers

Australia’s Pawsey Centre has reached number 87 on the top 500 list of supercomputers worldwide, but since it’s still being built, its ranking could rise a lot higher, according to the company charged with the centre creation, iVEC.
POD in-situ at iVEC@Murdoch(Credit: iVEC)

iVEC, an unincorporated joint venture between CSIRO and the four public WA universities with funding from the State Government, recently bought a HP Performance Optimised Datacentre (POD) to house at Murdoch University. Although it’s not turned on yet, the POD has reached number 87 on the who’s who of supercomputers.
The POD is a blur of statistics, boasting an 87.20 teraflop system using HP ProLiant Blade servers with 1600 Intel Xeon 5600 processors, totalling 9600 cores and 500 terabytes of high-performance storage, connected via 4x infiniband.
It is, however, only first stage of an $80 million project to build an even faster supercomputer. The Murdoch facility will be joined by additional computing power at the University of Western Australia and another facility in Kensington Perth. The three facilities working in concert via a 10Gbps fibre link will form the Pawsey Centre.
The computing hardware for the second and third facilities has yet to be sourced. It will be bought through CSIRO procurement.
Once all three are online, scheduled to occur in 2013, the Pawsey Centre will be 15 times faster than the POD is on its own. That could well boost the facility onto the top 20 of the global super computer list, if not higher, according to iVEC spokesperson David Satterthwaite.
Associate director of the Murdoch facility, Professor Matthew Bellgard, said the facilities would be a boon for number heavy sciences.
“The facility represents a major advancement in computational research in Australia where scientific discovery is largely dependent on the ability to process masses of information as quickly as possible,” he said. “What has been recognised by the ranking is the fact that the supercomputer will enable processing of data at speeds which we have not previously encountered.”
Also in the top 100, at number 51, was the National Computational Infrastructure Facility in Canberra. A CSIRO supercomputer and the Bureau of Meterology’s new supercomputer came in within the next 100.
CSIRO’s supercomputer has also received kudos for being Australia’s greenest supercomputer, ranking eleventh on a list of the world’s 500 fastest and most energy efficient supercomputers, otherwise known as the Green500 list.
CSIRO has put together a video about what it can do with its supercomputer.

Why Flight Centre, Ray White went Google – Software – News

Why Flight Centre, Ray White went Google

Google this morning fired a broadside directly into the good ship Microsoft, claiming victory over the email platforms of Australian companies Flight Centre and Ray White. But why did the pair choose to dump their incumbent Outlook Exchange platforms and ‘go Google’?
The problem of storing data offshore, outside Australia’s legal jurisdiction, is often mentioned as a barrier to adopting Google Apps, especially in the public sector. It wasn’t a problem for either Flight Centre or Ray White, although both stated they wouldn’t keep sensitive company information such as financial documents on Google’s platform.
Flight Centre CIO Peter Wataman said that his company had evaluated a variety of email platforms when deciding to move from his company’s Exchange environment (hosted by IBM). The choices were narrowed down quickly, and Flight Centre now has some 3000 users on Google’s platform, with the plan being to roll out Google’s applications outside Australia by the end of the financial year.
“To be brutally honest with you, the key decision was not only around the technology, but [also] the cultural alignment,” Wataman said.
When Flight Centre was evaluating the technology, Wataman said his team went out to the company’s staff in a survey and asked them whether they had used anything like Gmail before. Somewhere between 80 to 90 per cent of the staff said they had.
The second question asked, he said, was whether the staff would use the technology in a work environment. Over 85 per cent said yes. “Our people were very excited about it — we were actually being asked when it was coming,” Wataman said, noting that staff generally didn’t get that excited about technology upgrades.
It took Google about six months to convince Flight Centre to shift to Google Apps, Wataman said. It was a large decision: the company has about 100 terabytes of data wrapped up in its email systems, and it had disparate systems scattered around the globe.
Other attractive factors around the Google platform included the fact that Flight Centre wouldn’t need to update its systems simultaneously around the globe, with upgrades being slipped seamlessly into Google’s cloud platform. In addition, new, “crazy” features were to be integrated in the next six months, Wataman said — a short time frame which impressed Flight Centre.
It was a similar situation at Ray White, which this morning revealed it had rolled out Google Apps to some 10,000 staff in total, in addition to building a property management system on top of Google’s App Engine. Like Flight Centre, Ray White had been running Outlook and Exchange, although it also provided a much simpler POP-based email platform to its wider network.
Ben White, the company’s director of IT and property management, said the company had never had an ability to merge its culture with technology upgrade cycles. The company’s dispersed model meant it had a culture which was fundamentally about empowerment, with White describing the company as being composed of “1000 businesses, all run by entrepreneurs”.
In comparison, the traditional IT model was more about “command and control … enforcing policies and telling people what to do”.
“In many respects, we’ve sat out [of] IT for the past ten years,” said White, noting that most of Ray White’s offices had invested in their own infrastructure to suit their own tastes.

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As a consequence, the company thinks about Google Apps as less about an email story — and more about how the company could build a platform for its internal entrepreneurs to building their businesses on. Hence the company began two years ago to build what it calls its ‘Generation 5’ platform based on Google Apps.
The company now has seven different applications built on Google Apps (two of which are the property management system and a new online advertising solution). “We don’t have a single server any more on that side of the business,” said White.
“The ‘To Do’ list is longer than when we started,” he said. “It’s exciting, quick — it’s about ideas. That’s the culture that we have as a company.”

VHA to upgrade 3G network backhaul – Communications – News

VHA to upgrade 3G network backhaul

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has announced that it intends to increase the transmission capacity of its 3G network, which the company says will improve network performance for mobile broadband and smartphone users.
Over the next two years, new IP transmission backhaul services will be rolled out to link up metro and regional areas. VHA chief technology officer Michael Young said transmission services were a key component in the telco’s network.
“These improvements in our transmission network will mean we can add capacity to our network quickly, and give our customers a better data experience as their appetite for data services continues to grow rapidly,” he said in a statement.
Nextgen Networks, the company providing the backhaul installation for the National Broadband Network project, was awarded the contract for services in Perth, Adelaide and more than 50 regional locations.
“Nextgen is delighted to be able to play such an important role in the supply of mobile broadband backhaul services to regional locations across Australia. As a specialist provider of wholesale transmission services, we offer a strategic partnership arrangement for the supply of critical network elements,” managing director for Nextgen Networks Phil Sykes said in a statement.
TPG subsidiary Pipe Networks will provide provide connectivity between select VHA sites in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, which will see it roll out about 900km of new dark-fibre over two years.
The news comes amidst criticism of the telco’s 3G network performance in recent days. The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that a software upgrade had caused instability on the network.

Nokia confirms N8 hardware failures | Mobile Devices | ZDNet UK

Nokia confirms N8 hardware failures

By Ben Woods, ZDNet UK, 19 November, 2010 14:51

Photos: Nokia E7
Read more

A Nokia spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Friday that the source of the problem is related to the Symbian device’s power management. On the blog, Savander said that the company has traced the issue to “the way we [Nokia] assemble the engines”, adding that the total number of handsets affected is small in comparison to the total number of handsets shipped.
“However, for the one individual where it’s not working, it is, of course, a significant issue… As a precautionary measure we have taken immediate action across the product line,” he said.
Savander added there is no one specific region that should be concerned. “We’ve taken precautions across the entire range,” he said. “You cannot identify certain geography.”
Nokia said that any customers who think they have been affected by the issue can contact their customer service centre, and the issue will be fully covered by the handset’s standard warranty.
Earlier in November, the Symbian Foundation, which Nokia founded and which used to be supported by other companies such as Sony Ericsson, announced that it was scaling back its responsibilities and would, in future, only act as a licensing agent. Nokia will continue to support and develop the platform, defining what ‘open’ means for Symbian in the process.

Optus to send letters for misleading ads – Communications – News

Optus to send letters for misleading ads

update The Federal Court has today ordered Optus to send letters to each of its customers who bought broadband plans during the company’s “Supersonic” and “Think Bigger” broadband advertising campaigns.
Earlier this month Federal Court Judge Nye Perram ruled in favour of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) argument that Optus had misled customers with its advertising campaigns. The telco had not made it obvious in the ads that users would have their connection shaped down to 64 kilobits per second once they passed their monthly download limit.
Perram had banned Optus from launching similar advertising campaigns for a period of three years.
Today Perram ordered the telco to send letters explaining the ruling to customers who had signed onto the plans in the period the advertisements were running. He also ordered Optus to put a notice advising of the ruling on its website and have in-store advertising until 31 December 2010 advising customers of the corrections. Perram said he would not force the telco to issue corrective advertising in newspapers or on television.
The ACCC and Optus have reached an agreement over court costs, counsel told the court.
Updated at 10:26am, 22 November 2010: we incorrectly reported that the court issues were with Optus’ Superfast plans. It was actually the carrier’s Supersonic plans. The carrier also only had to put the information on the court ruling in its stores and on its site, as well as sending the letters.

Wi-Fi is killing trees, study finds | Crave | CNET UK

Wi-Fi is killing trees, study finds

By Rich Trenholm on 22 November 2010, 1:27pm

Enjoying reading the latest technology news and reviews here on Crave? Hope you’re pleased with yourself, because you’re killing a tree. Dutch researchers have discovered the sad news that Wi-Fi makes trees sick.
The tree-loving folks of Dutch city Alphen aan den Rijn commissioned the study after finding abnormalities on trees that couldn’t be explained by known viral or bacterial infections. Over the last five years, the study found that all deciduous trees in the western world are affected by radiation from mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs.
Over 70 per cent of trees in urban areas in the Netherlands are afflicted by Wi-Fi sickness, displaying significant variations in growth, and bleeding and fissures in their bark. That’s compared with just 10 per cent showing symptoms five years ago. Meanwhile, trees in wooded areas remain happy and healthy, untroubled by wireless unwellness.
We’ve been debating the health issues raised by Wi-Fi since Crave was knee-high to a router, examining contradictory findings way back in 2007. Since then, there hasn’t been any conclusive proof whether Wi-Fi is harmful to humans or not.
The Health Protection Agency states that “there is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affects the health of the general population”. A small number of people suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity — the symptoms of which include headaches and nausea — but there’s some debate about the degree to which those symptoms are actually caused by electromagnetic fields.
Generally speaking, our exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi is well below government safety levels, and much lower than from mobile phones, in part because you don’t walk around with a router clamped to your ear. You’d have to live in a Wi-Fi hotspot for a year to absorb the same amount of radio waves as you would from a 20-minute phone call, and there’s no concrete evidence that mobile phones are bad for you either. If you’re worried, just make yourself a hat out of tin foil.
We like trees an’ all, but they’re no Internet. There’s only one thing for it: we’ll just have to launch all the forests into space. Right, time to make like a tree and leave.

US launches giant spy satellite – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

US launches giant spy satellite

Posted Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:31am AEDT

The United States has launched a vast reconnaissance satellite reputed to be the largest eavesdropping device ever sent into space.
The largest unmanned American launch vehicle, the Delta-4 Heavy rocket, roared into the the night sky in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday carrying the mysterious satellite on a mission, dubbed NROL-32.
The National Reconnaissance Office did not disclose the purpose of the satellite but widespread reports in the US media suggest it is for eavesdropping on enemy communications.
“This second Delta IV Heavy launch for the NRO is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by the combined NRO, air force, supplier and ULA team,” United Launch Alliance vice-president Jim Sponnick said.
“ULA is pleased to support the NRO as it protects our nation’s security and supports our warriors defending our nation around the world.”
It was only the fourth time the Delta-4 Heavy – the most powerful liquid-fuelled rocket booster with a massive two million pounds of thrust – has flown.
The launch of the NROL-32 had been moved back from October 19 due to delays for undisclosed reasons.

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