Tabloid photos allegedly show ‘skeletal’ Steve Jobs outside cancer centre in California | The
Tabloid photos allegedly show ‘skeletal’ Steve Jobs outside cancer centre in California Entertainment website RadarOnline today said it confirmed Mr Jobs had been attending the centre, which Patrick Swayze also attended in his final days.
Google joins Apple with online newspaper payment system | The Australian
Google joins Apple with online newspaper payment system called One Pass, allows online publishers to set up an easy-to-use payment mechanism.
News organisations will set the price for subscriptions, micropayments for individual articles, or other online content.
Before users can see an article in full, they will first be directed to Google’s “Checkout” payment system.
Google plans to take a 10 per cent cut of all sales made through the system.
This is in contrast to Apple, which announced on Tuesday that it will take a 30 per cent share of all subscriptions sold for apps for its devices such as the iPad and iPhone.
Retro gaming looks big in 2011 – CNN.com
Retro gaming looks big in 2011This month’s impending “King’s Quest III: Redux” for PC, a fan-built update that offers an extreme visual makeover of the 1986 Sierra original, is among the more curious offerings. Unlike official series reboots or re-masters for online shopping services such as PlayStation Network, WiiWare, Xbox Live and iPhone, it’s not backed by a professional budget or an officially licensed development team.
a surge in gaming nostalgia is also prompting publishers to not just revisit the past, but rewrite it instead. New versions of popular franchises from “Mortal Kombat” to “Jagged Alliance: Back in Action” are planned for release throughout 2011, with even the legendarily delayed “Duke Nukem: Forever” expected to make a May 3 appearance.
Even the most unlikely candidates, such as Atari 2600 classic “Yar’s Revenge,” will be getting a face lift soon, following on the heels of high-profile revamps of “Contra,” “Rush ‘N Attack” and “Bionic Commando.” Case in point: New versions of “The Oregon Trail” and “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” just hit popular social network Facebook.
Wi-fi promise for Sydney trains and buses – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Wi-fi promise for Sydney trains and buses
The New South Wales Government has pledged to provide free wireless internet on Sydney’s buses and trains if it is re-elected next month.
Sydney Ferries and Metrobuses would be the first to benefit from the service, and a trial is already underway on the Leichhardt to Maroubra Metrobus route.
The government says the remainder of the Sydney bus network and CityRail trains would be equipped with wi-fi from next year.
Labor has also announced a new text message service to be rolled out at the end of the month that will tell commuters when their next bus is arriving.
The Galaxy is expanding: Samsung to introduce larger 10.1 Tab
The Galaxy is expanding: Samsung to introduce larger 10.1 Tab will offer a 10.1-inch screen, significantly larger than the 7-inch screen that ships with the original.
It will run Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) on a 1GHz dual-core CPU, features dual-surround sound speakers, an 8MP rear-facing camera (2MP front-facing), Flash 10.1 support, and will be available in 16GB and 32GB incarnations. All this at a feather 600g and just 10.9mm thick.
expected to be released in the US in March
Vodafone (who will be first to market with the device internationally) has confirmed it will carry the 10.1 in Australia but is not releasing further details as yet
Telstra’s major upgrade of wireless network a challenge to NBN | The Australian
Telstra’s major upgrade of wireless network a challenge to NBN plans to usher in the nation’s first commercial release of 4G mobile technology, the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard, which is capable of peak download speeds as high as 150Mbps, on par with the National Broadband Network.
In the past six months, Telstra has added 500,000 new mobile broadband subscribers to its customer base as consumers continue to flock to fixed-line alternatives.
According to Mr Thodey, that surge has pushed wireless-only households in Australia to about the 12 per cent mark. Last year, the European Union’s Eurobarometer survey found that mobile-only households had reached 20 per cent in Britain and 25 per cent across the EU.
Apple plans a smaller, cheaper iPhone | The Australian
Apple plans a smaller, cheaper iPhone One of the people, who saw a prototype of the phone late last year, said the device is intended for sale alongside Apple’s existing line. The new device would be about half the size of the iPhone 4, which is the current model.
BBC News – Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes
Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes
The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes.
That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives.
The researchers calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 technologies from PCs and and DVDs to paper adverts and books.
“If we were to take all that information and store it in books, we could cover the entire area of the US or China in 13 layers of books,” Dr Martin Hilbert of the University of Southern California told the BBC’s Science in Action.
BBC News – Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 web browser goes live
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 web browser goes live it unveiled what is known as the release candidate of IE9.
This is the final test drive for the new browser – a chance to catch any last-minute bugs before its debut.
IE9 has been downloaded 25 million times during beta testing.
Privacy and speed are being highlighted as two of the features that set IE9 apart.
At the end of January, the browser hit an historic low with 56% of users using IE.
Movie piracy costs economy $1.3 billion | The Australian
MOVIE piracy has cost the Australian economy more than $1.3 billion in revenue in just 12 months, a new study has revealed.
The study, by IPSOS and Oxford Economics undertaken on behalf of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) found piracy continued to be widespread and was taking a massive toll on the movie industry.
The report said a third of the adult population had participated in some kind of movie theft, in the form of downloading or streaming content, or, buying, borrowing or burning unauthorised copies of copyrighted materials.
The study also equated the economic losses over 12 months to $193 million in tax revenue, 6,100 full-time equivalent jobs (including nearly 2,300 forgone directly by the movie industry and retailers) and a loss overall to the Australian economy of $551 million of Gross Domestic Product.
“The IPSOS research tells us that movie theft has a destructive impact not just on the film industry, but the economic damage also reverberates through our entire community, threatening all types of jobs and businesses,” AFACT executive dirtector Neil Gane said.
The study estimated 92 million pirated movies were viewed or obtained within the 12-month period up to Q3 2010, although not every pirated viewing was considered a lost sale.
Its findings are based on a telephone survey of 3,500 adults aged 18 and over, between July and August 2010.
The study found almost half (45 per cent) of all people consuming pirated movies claim they would have paid to view the movie via an authorised channel had the unauthorised channel not been available, suggesting one of AFACTs next moves will be more stringent pursuit of pirate websites and peer to peer networks through internet providers.
Predictive text error leads British man to fatally stab friend | News.com.au
A MAN was stabbed to death by a friend over a text message misunderstanding, a British court has heard.
Neil Brook, of Salford, northern England, was convicted of manslaughter after he “lost it” and killed friend and neighbour Josef Witkowski over a series of misspelled text messages sent between the pair, The Bolton News reported.
Brook, 33, told police he sent 27-year-old Witkowski a joking text message containing the word “mutter,” a local colloquialism for a person who behaves in an antisocial or vulgar manner.
However, because of his phone’s predictive text program, the message appeared as “What are you on about nutter?” a derogatory British slang word for “deranged.”
Witkowski took offence and went to Brook’s apartment with a knife, the court heard, but was instead stabbed by Brook and suffered 104 separate injuries in the attack.
Anybots QB robotic avatar spotted out in public after engineer gets hankering for a scone |
Anybots QB robotic avatar spotted out in public after engineer gets hankering for a scone
Anybots QB “personal avatar”. Picture: www.anybots.com Source: Supplied
WHAT do you do with a rumbling tummy and a robotic avatar? Go on a virtual snack run.
A California photographer spotted something very strange while walking down a street in Mountain View last week.
On the other side of the road, a tall, thin robot — just a white head on wheels — rolled down the footpath and into a coffee shop.
Stranger still, it was carrying a colourful cloth bag around its neck.
Aaron Blumenstein grabbed his camera, hit record and followed the robot into the store, where it lined up with other customers and ordered a scone.
The transaction went like this:
BARISTA: I’m not giving you coffee.
WAITRESS: I don’t want you to short-circuit.
ROBOT: Can you tell me what kind of scones there are? I can’t quite read the labels.
WAITRESS: Let’s see. We have two berry scones and an almond.
ROBOT: The berry one sounds good.
WAITRESS: Alright. Is that for here or to go?
ROBOT: To go please.
Cue laughter from the other customers in the store.
The robot then asked the waitress to put the scone in its bag and to keep the change from a five dollar note tucked into the side of its head.
Mr Blumenstein posted the video to his blog, where it remained an intriguing mystery until a local robotics firm took credit.
Trevor Blackwell, a Silicon Valley identity and robotics expert, said the stunt was carried out by a hungry engineer at his robotics company Anybots.
“Thursday started out normally enough. Papers were delivered and cars were in traffic,” he wrote on the company’s blog.
“That is… until one of our engineers got a monster craving for a scone.
“Not just any scone, mind you, but a scone from Red Rock Coffee.”
On a whim, the engineer drove the robot — one of the company’s QB models — about a mile to the shop to pick up the snack.
“The remarkable thing is that not only did the Anybot make it all the way to the coffee shop on its own (driven by the engineer from the office), but the Anybot was actually given service!” said Mr Blackwell.
“That kind of open-mindedness Anybots certainly appreciates.
“We would like to kindly thank the lovely people over at Red Rock Coffee for serving a robot without being fazed one bit.”
Anybots launched the QB, called a “personal avatar”, earlier this month. The idea is that people can walk around an office or a factory and talk to people without being there in the flesh, reducing the need for travel.
The robot has a camera on the front, as well as a screen showing the face of the driver. It can be controlled with a web browser like Internet Explorer.
In an interview with Design News, Mr Blackwell, who designed the QB, said he hoped to sell thousands of the robots to businesses for about $US15,000 a pop.
At least one QB is already in action, being used by Carnegie Mellon University lecturer Michael Clark to teach classes.
Mr Clark told Design News that people wanted to pat the QB on the head after they had been introduced to it.
“Speaker phones don’t move, but an avatar robot can. It can go out in the hall and allow you to talk to people,” he said.
“It does everything except drink coffee.”
Mock Mars mission simulates landing on Red Planet | Space, Military and Medicine | News.com.au
AFTER 257 days in a locked, windowless steel capsule, researchers on a mock trip to Mars ventured from their cramped quarters in heavy space suits today, trudging into a sand-covered room to plant flags on a simulated Red Planet.
The all-male crew of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese entered a network of modules at a Moscow space research centre last June to imitate the 520-day flight and see how they cope with the constricted, isolating conditions of space travel – minus the weightlessness.
Several participants donned 30-kilogram suits to perform today’s mock landing in an adjacent capsule. They planted the flags of Russia, China and the European Space Agency, took “samples” from the ground and conducted faux scientific experiments.
“All systems have been working normally. The crew are feeling fine,” said Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Russian space agency.
Psychologists said long confinement would put the team members under stress as they grow increasingly tired of each other’s company. Psychological conditions can even be more challenging on a mock mission than a real flight because the crew won’t experience any of the euphoria or dangers of actual space travel.
Mr Davydov described the experiment as an important part of preparation for a flight to Mars and predicted that the real mission could take place in about 20 years, but only with international cooperation.
Martin Zell, a European Space Agency official overseeing the experiment, called the mission a “really strong asset for future undertakings of mankind in space, for its ambition to fly finally to the Red Planet”.
The facility in western Moscow includes living compartments the size of a bus connected with several other modules for experiments and exercise. The video footage of the landing was shown on a big screen at Russia’s Mission Control Centre in Korolyov outside Moscow, which is used to handle manned missions to the international space stations.
The organisers have said the experiment could be disrupted for medical or technical reasons, or if some of the participants demand it be stopped.
So far the crew has been coping. “After a couple of weeks they were really a team, certainly with some temporary ups and downs of individual crewmembers,” Mr Zell told The Associated Press.
“A big challenge is missing daylight, missing visual perceptions,” he said. “They also have to live with the food which they have on board and with the air which they have on board.”
The crew communicates with the organisers and their families via the internet – delayed and occasionally disrupted to imitate the effects of space travel. They eat canned food similar to that offered on the International Space Station.
Christer Fuglesang, an ESA astronaut who took part in two shuttle missions and made five real spacewalks, said the 18-month duration of the experiment strongly challenged the participants.
“What they must miss, I’m sure, is the interaction with their families and friends,” he told the AP.
The crew comprises Russians Alexey Sitev, 38, Sukhrob Kamolov, 37 and Alexander Smoleyevsky, 33, Frenchman Romain Charles, Italian-Colombian Diego Urbina and Wang Yue from China. The organisers said each crew member will be paid about $US97,000.
The experiment is being conducted by the Moscow-based Institute for Medical and Biological Problems in cooperation with the European Space Agency and China’s space training centre. Its director, Igor Ushakov, said crew members are learning each other’s languages, watching movies and playing chess in their free time.
Mr Zell said the crew even made makeshift decorations for Christmas, using equipment components. “They are very creative,” he said.
A similar experiment in 1999-2000 at the same Moscow institute went awry when a Canadian woman complained of being forcibly kissed by a Russian team captain. She also said two Russian crew members had a fist fight that left blood splattered on the walls. Russian officials downplayed the incidents, attributing them to cultural gaps and stress.
Mr Ushakov denied today that the previously botched experiment prompted organisers to leave women out, saying they will be included into future simulations.
A real flight to Mars is decades away because of huge costs and massive technological challenges, particularly the task of creating a compact shield that will protect the crew from deadly space radiation.
President Barack Obama said last month that he foresaw sending astronauts to orbit Mars by the mid-2030s.
Russians don’t accuse the US of shooting down their satellite with EMP weaponry | News.com.au
IT’S a concept that’s been kicked around spy-fi movies for years.
One day, we here in the digitally-dependent Western world will have to face the fact that the most effective way to cripple us all will not involve suicide bombers, computer viruses or lasers from space.
It could involve nuclear weapons, but not in the vaporise-everything-in-sight sense. The trick is, it’s got to explode some way above our heads. Several hundred kilometres, in fact.
Yes, we’re talking about electromagnetic pulse. EMP. Or, if you’re a Bond fan, GoldenEye.
It’s not a new concept. Scientists have noted that nuclear explosions can wipe out electrical systems to varying degrees of effectiveness — depending on such things the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field — since the first tests back in 1945.
Those observations have led to experimentation with non-nuclear EMP systems based on microwave technology or the impressively named, but dysfunctional, Explosively Pumped Flux Compression Generator.
You can find more detail on EPFCG here, but the point is, nobody really knows how far along any nation is toward actually making it a reality yet.
The other point is, it’s not 1945 any more and our reliance on the types of technology that could be easily fried is much stronger, which is why EMP seems to be popping up in the news more and more frequently these days.
That’s also helped by the appearance of a documentary making its way around North America at the moment called Iranium, creating all sorts of concern about the danger an Iranian nuclear weapon might pose to the US.
This week, it was the Russians’ turn to jump on the EMP threat bandwagon, hinting — but not saying it outright — that the Americans just might have such a weapon at their disposal.
And the possibility of them having such a weapon might — amongst a host of other possibilities — have been behind the weirdness displayed in the “space accident” that disabled one of the country’s most modern military satellites earlier this month.
Russia on February 1 launched a high-tech Geo-IK-2 craft to help the military draw a three-dimensional map of the Earth and locate the precise positions of various targets.
News reports said the satellite was a vital part of Russia’s effort to match the US and NATO’s ability to target its missiles from space.
But the craft briefly went missing after its launch only to re-emerge in a wrong orbit that left the craft unable to complete its assigned task.
The Russian military and space agency set up a joint task force to probe the accident but it has presented no official results thus far.
However one unnamed space official told news agency Interfax that initial evidence suggested that the craft went off target after one of its booster rockets inexplicably reversed course.
“The probable cause may involve electromagnetic intrusion on the automatic controls,” they said.
The official did not identify the country he suspected of trying to derail the Russian military mission.
Particularly not the country which in 2007 awarded a $7.4m contract for “the design, development, integration and production of a form, fit and function, environmentally sealed, state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Pulser and its associated control system”.
Which is expected to be complete in August, 2010.
However Moscow does frequently accuse Washington of attempting to “militarise” space.
The anonymous space official conceded that there may have been other reasons for the launch failure.
These included the wrong operations being programmed into the guidance system and other software mistakes.
But the Russian source stressed that the accident occurred between the first and second burns of the Briz-KM upper-stage booster rocket — an area in which the craft makes no contact with ground control.
The official suggested that the electromagnetic pulse may have been aimed at the Russian craft “from a land, sea, air or space vehicle”.
Only suggested, mind. Not pointing any fingers.
Australian filmmaker uncovers Nazi propaganda films shot in 3D, featuring sausage | News.com.au
FILMMAKERS have been trying to make the perfect 3D movie for more than a century, but not always in Hollywood.
Australian director Philippe Mora has found two Nazi propaganda films shot in 3D while searching through Germany’s Federal Archives.
The two black-and-white movies were made in 1936 and referred to as “raum film”, or “space film”. They each run for half an hour.
“The films are shot on 35mm — apparently with a prism in front of two lenses,” Mora told Variety.
“The quality of the films is fantastic. The Nazis were obsessed with recording everything and every single image was controlled — it was all part of how they gained control of the country and its people.”
Mora was scouring the archives for material for his new documentary on Nazi Germany, and believes more 3D footage will be found.
One of the films is a musical, titled So Real You Can Touch It, featuring close-ups of sizzling bratwurst, Variety reported
Detroit raises $50K for RoboCop statue | News.com.au
RESIDENTS of Detroit have raised enough money to build a statue honoring the city’s fictional hero RoboCop.
The people of Motor City rallied around the cause and found $US50,000 from private funding when Mayor Dave Bing nixed the idea.
Bing had asked citizens online for ideas on how to revitalise the city but shot down a suggestion that a statue of RoboCop, the titular hero of the 1987 sci-fi satire set in Detroit, would do the job.
“There are not any plans to erect a statue to RoboCop,” he tweeted on February 7. “Thank you for your suggestion.”
Bing’s rejection sent RoboCop fans into a Twitter frenzy. “RoboCop would never turn his back on Detroit,” one user tweeted at the mayor. “So why turn your back on RoboCop?”
Detroit resident John Leonard started a Facebook group called “Build a statue of RoboCop in Detroit”, which led to a fund being started on the “crowd-raising” website Kickstarter.com.
Imagination Station, a Detroit nonprofit organisation that cleans up run-down areas of the city, has pledged a spot for the statue in a park it owns if the funds are raised.
As of today, $US51,359 had been raised for the project – the initial goal was $US50,000.
“We’re currently discussing how to branch this project and fundraising into bigger and bigger things with a better and better impact on Detroit,” the project’s homepage creator Brandon Walley wrote.
He said no one in the group had ever made a “giant solid metal permanent sculpture before”, but have struck a deal with ironworks company Casey V. Westbrook to take a small figure of RoboCop, have it 3D scanned by lasers and scale its up to a 240cm tall statue.
World focus on ambulance system failure | The Australian
The NSW Ambulance Service had to revert to the old manual operations after a virus was discovered at the weekend. Picture: Brad Hunter Source: The Australian
SECURITY experts worldwide are expected to home in on an investigation into how a computer virus attacked one of the world’s most commonly used medical emergency software systems and brought the NSW ambulance computer aided dispatch system to a halt.
Ambulance Service director of control division, Michael Barnett-Connolly said that on Saturday the virus infiltrated the computer system responsible for automatically dispatching and tracking ambulances, known as VisiCAD.
“Our technician picked up the virus as part of scanning tests in the database boxes,” Mr Barnett-Connolly said.
“I made the decision to close the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system down and to revert the centre to manual operations.
“All centres were closed down as a precaution.
“We know it’s a virus but we’re not sure of the source.”
All four ambulance control centres at Sydney, Charlestown (Newcastle), Dubbo and Warilla (Wollongong) were back online by yesterday morning, more than a day and a half after the virus struck.
NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt said an ambulance review team would identify the source of the virus, verify whether networks were clear of it, confirm that IT security was adequate, and make any recommendations to strengthen network security. An external security expert would assist the investigation. Ambulance service media manager John Wilson said the service had used VisiCAD for 10 years without incident, and the package had been upgraded in October.
Mr Wilson said the ambulance service did not have a back-up computerised ambulance dispatch back-up system, but that staff were thoroughly trained in manual operations.
“There is no back-up system as such,” Mr Wilson said.
“From time to time we do a shut down of the CAD and we go back to the manual system. The troops are trained in it.”
International network security expert, Emeritus Professor Bill Caelli, said computer viruses attacked common off-the-shelf operating systems such as Microsoft or Apple operating systems, but not usually specialised ones.
“No application can be any more secure than the basic operating system on which it works,” he said.
Professor Caelli, from the Queensland University of Technology’s Information Security Institute, said that as a matter of policy, emergency medical and communications systems should use highly secure operating systems.
For example, there was Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux), developed by US national security agencies. These operating systems were virus resistant.
The Ambulance Service would not say which operating system VisiCAD used, but on its website, developer TriTech indicated the software was Microsoft based. TriTech could not be contacted last night.
Professor Caelli said an emergency medical response system responsible for “life and limb” should be required by law to have a computerised back-up system in place. A back-up strategy should provided for software failure, and a back-up system should be capable of starting within 10-20 seconds of the initial failure.
At present, strategies tended to be centred around alternative facilities in case of fire, flood, or other natural disasters.
Professor Caelli said the NSW government should audit the software-failure recovery procedures used by all emergency service providers, and utility providers of water and power.
“It is up to government to be absolutely specific . . . that systems should be specified around a highly secure operating system that is highly resistant to viruses.”
Professor Caelli said there would be global interest in how a computer virus could penetrate and paralyse a computer-aided dispatch system that was used by emergency service organisations around the world.
Samsung Galaxy tablet gets big screen | The Australian
Samsung’s new tablet is larger and lighter. It also runs Google Honeycomb operating system, so it’s better, too. Picture courtesy YouTube
SAMSUNG unveiled a bigger tablet as well as the high-end Android-based Galaxy S 2 smartphone, the successor to its 2010 blockbuster, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona overnight.
South Korea-based Samsung, the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones behind Nokia, said the new devices would help it maintain double-digit operating profit growth at its mobile division in 2011.
The star product announced by Samsung overnight, just before the official start of Mobile World Congress tonight, was the Galaxy S 2, a super slim smartphone with a 4.3-inch Super Amoled screen, a dual-core chip and an 8-megapixel camera.
The handset can also record and play back video in high definition.
The new handset follows the widespread success of the Galaxy S, launched at last year’s event. Samsung shipped 10 million units of the model in 2010.
Samsung on Sunday also announced a new tablet, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which runs on the latest version of Android, called Honeycomb.
This new version of the operating system is built to be better suited to tablets. The Tab 10.1 features surround-sound speakers, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera.
Samsung launched its first tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad in the second half of 2010 and sold more than two million units within three months.
Over the same period, however, Apple sold 7.3 million iPads.
“The Galaxy tab was about being first after Apple,” Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at research firm Gartner, said.
“The fact that it didn’t sell a great deal doesn’t matter. It wasn’t supposed to.”
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 will launch in Europe in early March with mobile operator Vodafone Group PLC.
Thanks in part to its latest tablet and the Galaxy S 2, Samsung expects to ship around 60 million smartphones and tablets this year.
Optus hit for misleading broadband ads – Communications – News
The Federal Court has once again hit Optus for misleading advertising for its “unlimited broadband” TV and newspaper advertisements.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the telco to the Federal Court over the advertising for “unlimited broadband” plans with caps of 15GB and 30GB, where the download speed would be reduced to 256 kilobits per second after the cap was exceeded.
Justice Anthony North ruled on Friday that Optus had breached the Trade Practices Act in failing to sufficiently and prominently disclose that the download speed would be throttled. The penalty has not yet been disclosed.
ACCC chair Graeme Samuel welcomed the ruling.
“Telecommunications providers should think very carefully before claiming that their service offerings are unlimited. If there are any limitations, then they run the risk that the advertisements are misleading and that they will receive unwanted attention from the ACCC,” Samuel said in a statement.
“It is simply unacceptable to make bold headline claims like ‘unlimited’ and then to bury important conditions or qualifications in the fine print as Optus did in this case.”
In a statement, Optus said that it had accepted Justice North’s decision and “has long since ceased advertising ‘unlimited broadband'”.
The telco copped a three-year ban from the Federal Court last year over misleading advertising for its “Think Bigger” and “Supersonic” broadband advertising campaigns that also failed to sufficiently disclose that download speeds would be capped when the data limit was exceeded.
Optus also took Vodafone to court over its “Infinite” mobile phone plan advertisements; however, initial attempts to have the advertising withdrawn were unsuccessful.
Gartner’s top 10 mobile apps for 2012 – Hardware – News
Gartner has released a list of what it believes will be the most important consumer mobile applications next year.
In order to distinguish themselves, mobile apps will have to be more than just an extension of the online world we already use on laptops and PCs, according to the research group. Instead, they’ll have to include some element of environment into their function.
Considering that, Gartner came up with a list of 10 app types:
- Location-based services (LBSs): these apps deliver services to users based on where they are, who they are (age, gender etc) and what they like. Gartner expects the total user base of consumer location-based services to reach 1.4 billion users by 2014.
- Social networking: hubs for videos, emails, photos, games and commerce.
- Mobile search: to bring mobile search to the next level, Gartner thinks that given users’ short time spans, the app needs to allow users to take actions based on the result. For example, they could make a call or reservation, buy a ticket or place an order.
- Mobile commerce: unique mobile functions could be checking in to a store to tell a retailer you’re there, or adding items into a shopping cart by taking a photo of the item for its barcode in the physical store. Amazon already sports such a function where users can use an iPhone to scan a barcode and order a book via the online retail giant.
- Mobile payment: Gartner doesn’t think near field communication (NFC) will go mainstream until 2015, despite the fact that NFC payment is slated for inclusion in high-end phones this year (the Nexus S will ship with this functionality). The key will be ease of use, but tough security according to the research firm.
- Context-aware service: context-aware applications goes further than location-based services to use information about a person’s interests, intentions, history, environment, activities, schedule, priorities, connections and preferences to serve content, products or services.
- Object recognition (OR): as sensors get better, phones should recognise a user’s surroundings, including objects of interest, according to Gartner, which will improve search and entertainment on phones.
- Mobile instant messaging (MIM): Gartner thinks that instant messaging will join with Skype in a unified communications love-fest, which will threaten traditional carrier revenues.
- Mobile email: use of email on phones is expected to boom from 354 million users in 2009 to 713 million users in 2014, according to Gartner.
- Mobile video: large-screened smartphones and tablets offer a great platform to watch videos in Gartner’s eyes. It sees partnerships between carriers and YouTube, allowing users to keep their video addiction going while on the run. Preloaded HD and 3D content will differentiate phones.
Qantas gives power to the passenger – Business – News
Aussie airline Qantas has added another Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its trans-Tasman fleet, boasting in-seat USB plugs, 240-volt power sockets and a comprehensive entertainment system across all classes.
The airline has already received one of the Boeing 737-800 aircrafts, and it will receive another two in March.
Seats in economy class on Qantas’ new 737-800 include access to a 9-inch in-seat screen with access to 300 on-demand TV shows, movies, music and books, chat capabilities, games and Lonely Planet guides. The seats also include built-in power and USB ports.
Business class seats boast similar power options and media access with a larger 10.6-inch touchscreen.
The new aircraft, named after famous mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary, is the first aircraft to be delivered, with two more 737-800 series aircraft set to be delivered in March.
Qantas’ fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft travel the Sydney to Wellington route daily.