Episode 231

posted in: Show Notes


Australians buy 1 million mobile phones monthly: IDC | The Australian
Australians buy 1 million mobile phones monthly: IDC
This means just over 34,000 mobile phones were sold every day in 2010.
In coming months Google Android will unseat Nokia’s Symbian as the leading smartphone platform in Australia, IDC predicts.

According to statistics from IDC Australia, 12.74 million mobiles were sold last year, a sharp increase from 10.99 million in 2009.

Smartphones accounted for around 57 per cent of mobile phones sold last year, up from 36.4 per cent in 2009, IDC telecommunications analyst Mark Novosel said.

AFACT, iiNet copyright case heads to Sydney High Court | The Australian
AFACT, iiNet copyright case heads to Sydney High Court
The group of 34 companies has lodged an application for special leave to appeal a full bench Federal Court decision in February upholding Justice Dennis Cowdroy’s landmark 2010 ruling that Perth ISP iiNet had not authorised its customers to infringe copyright online.
The application will go to a special hearing in the High Court in Sydney which could be heard by up to seven judges. It’s expected that the hearing is likely to take place around August or September.

NYT opts for holes in online paywall | The Australian
NYT opts for holes in online paywall

NYT opts for holes in online paywall | The Australian
The Times claims to have 30 million visitors a month to its website, the largest share for any print media company in the US.
And its website reportedly earns more than $US100 million ($100.5m) from online advertising.
Readers of The Times online will have free access to 20 articles a month and a paid subscription service will come into operation as soon as they click over this threshold.

further visits to the site, readers will have three choices: a $US15 package that allows unlimited access for four weeks to The Times online and to the apps for smart phones, a $US20 package that allows unlimited access for four weeks to The Times online and its app on Apple iPad, and a $US35 package that allows four weeks of all digital access.
Subscribers will receive online and mobile services at no extra charge.
Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Harvard University’s Neiman Foundation, uses the term pay fence rather than a paywall to describe The Times model because he says it will be easy to climb over, and purposely so.
NYT twitter handle

Tablet price war heats up: iPad 2 vs competitors closing in
Tablet price war heats up: iPad 2 vs competitors closing in Apple will start selling its hugely anticipated iPad 2 tomorrow (Friday 25 March), the first major next-generation tablet

queues of fans are already firmly in place at Sydney’s George Street Apple Store

The Wi-Fi only models will retail for $579 (16GB), $689 (32GB) and $799 (64GB), and devices with additional 3G capabilities will sell for $729 (16GB), $839 (32GB) and $949 (64GB)

Tablet price war heats up: iPad 2 vs competitors closing in
Samsung and Vodafone this week announced that a “Limited Edition” version of the 10.1, the “10.1v”, will be released in mid-April exclusively on the Vodafone network. The 10.1v will be the first tablet in Australia featuring Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system

Vodafone’s aggressive pricing. At $729 outright (and also available on a monthly plan), the 10.1v’s sticker price is directly on par with Apple’s entry-level 3G model (and they both offer 16GB storage as well).



Studios urged to compete with torrents – Business – News
Hollywood studios should back-down from pushing for tougher copyright laws and price movies and music cheaply, according to a piracy expert.
(Sales image by Roger Price, CC 2.0)

Copyright pundits have pressed for laws that toughen penalties against piracy and make it harder to obtain copyright-protected works, but according to University of Queensland distinguished professor Stuart Cunningham, Hollywood studios should expend their energy on competing against free illegal sources of movies available on BitTorrent websites, not on eliminating them.
“They need to know how to compete with pirates by reducing prices and making content available with the same ease of access as pirate content,” Cunningham said.
“They should look at ways to conduct business in a high-piracy environment that has been massively impacted by free pirate content.”
This includes dropping the price of content to compete with torrent sites.
“It’s better to make some money than none,” he said, noting that Hollywood and its old enemy, the pirates who hawk burnt copyright DVDs, are both losing revenue to torrent sites.
Cunningham said Apple iTunes had “cleaned up” by offering cheap and readily available content.
Cunningham said that copyright pundits often exaggerate the economic damage inflicted by piracy.
“A lot of the methodology massively overstates the impact … just to make a headline.”
Cunningham also doubted that organised criminals would significantly benefit from the proceeds of piracy.
He plans to air his views in response to a report to be released this week that claims tougher laws will be ineffective to curb piracy in developing nations.

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The report, dubbed “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies” and written by the New York-based Social Science Research Council, has blamed the problem of piracy on high prices, low income and cheap technology. It also said that piracy actually increases demand for Hollywood films by making them more accessible, an idea buoyed by some social think-tanks.
The report monitored piracy in India, China, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico and Russia over a three-year period.
“Previous policies have focused on enforcement, like tougher laws, stronger police powers and heavier penalties to curb piracy … However, our studies of developing countries show that piracy should be viewed as an economic problem, not merely a crime,” lead author Joe Karaganis said in a written statement.
Copyright reform in Australia is an interesting field at the moment, being influenced by its ascension to the European Convention on Cybercrime, the negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and the outcome of a legal stoush between the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft and internet provider iiNet. The latter last week called for an independent third party to police internet copyright infringement.

Apple sends adult app store cease-and-desist order | Apple – CNET News

Apple sends adult app store cease-and-desist order

Apple has fired another legal salvo over the use of the term “app store,” this one targeted at adult app store MiKandi.
Last week, MiKandi received a cease-and-desist order from Apple over the use of the term “app store,” company co-founder Jennifer McEwen confirmed today to CNET.
In an interview with GeekWire published yesterday, fellow MiKandi co-founder Jesse Adams said that Apple specifically asked the company to stop billing itself as the “world’s first app store for adults” and to stop using the term “app store” in describing its own free Android app.
Serving up such x-rated and pornographic apps as Adult Friend Finder, Pocket Hottie, and Sex Positions Pro, MiKandi offers its titles through its free mobile app. From there, users can download free apps or buy paid ones through a third-party site that converts money into points to be redeemed at the store.
Initially, MiKandi didn’t respond to Apple’s request, but this week the company decided to play it safe. It changed its tagline from “app store,” to “app market,” now calling itself the “world’s first app market for adults.” And it has rechristened its free mobile MiKandi App Store app as MiKandi App Market.
Though MiKandi believes the term “app store” is more of a description, McEwen conceded that the company simply doesn’t have the deep pockets to challenge Apple.
Apple’s legal challenge to MiKandi is the iPhone maker’s second one this week. On Monday, Apple sued Amazon over the use of the term “app store” just as the retail giant was launching its new Appstore for Android.
But Amazon and MiKandi aren’t the only companies involved in the skirmish over the use of the term “app store.”
In January, Microsoft filed a motion with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office arguing that the term “app store” is too generic to be granted a legal trademark. Apple then shot back at Microsoft claiming that the term “app store” is no more generic than the term Windows. Apple applied for a trademark of the term “app store” in 2008, but that request is still pending at the USPTO following some opposition.
Rather than mixing it up with Apple on its own, MiKandi is waiting to see how the conflict plays out among the larger players.
“There’s going to be a lot of battles going on between the app markets,” said McEwen, “so we’ll let the giants hash this one out first.”
Apple didn’t immediately return requests for comment from CNET.

Feel free to toss around FirstLook spy bot | Crave – CNET

Feel free to toss around FirstLook spy bot

by Tim Hornyak

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(Credit: iRobot)

iRobot is introducing a new pint-size spybot that users can throw or even submerge in water before it starts roving around and doing surveillance.
The 110 FirstLook is a rugged little remote-controlled machine that’s 10 inches long and weighs less than 5 pounds. It has four cameras and IR lights for night work, as well as a pair of flippers to overcome obstacles and right itself (see vid below).
With a top speed of 3.5 mph, FirstLook can roll around for 6 hours per charge or operate for 10 hours while stationary. It’s controlled from a wrist-mounted touch-screen remote, seen above.
Rugged like the battle-tested PackBot, FirstLook can survive drops of 15 feet onto a concrete surface, as well as immersion in water, according to IEEE Spectrum.
The robot can network with other FirstLooks to relay information over long distances. It can also carry payloads such as thermal imagers, radiation sensors, and up to a half-pound of explosives.
Now wouldn’t that be a tasty little toy to play with? We’ll get more info about FirstLook as details are made available.

Digital TV satellite costs to hit business: Libs – Communications – News
The Federal Opposition has warned that broadcasters who only offer TV via satellite will force regional and rural Australian businesses to pay up for satellite equipment under new legislation before the parliament.
The warning is in response to a report released by the Senate Environment and Communications Committee on Monday into the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Dividend and Other Measures) Bill 2011. The legislation is designed to plan digital channels after the analog switch-off.
A section of the legislation lays out governance over whether communities in regional or remote areas receive the full range of digital TV channels via terrestrial receivers, or through the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) satellites. The aim is to strike a balance between the costs for providers to install this infrastructure in small communities versus the cost for business to do the same.
The government will subsidise the cost of the installation of set-top boxes and satellite equipment for the 247,000 houses that will utilise VAST. However, the government estimates that the additional costs to premises will be between $200 and $350 and businesses are not eligible for the subsidy.
In the committee inquiry into the legislation, Broadcasting Australia and a number of other organisations raised concern that the cost for this installation was much higher than the government had estimated, with some putting the figure at costs between $1000 and $1500 after the government subsidy.
The committee ultimately rejected the concerns, highlighting that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy stated that the costs for satellite installation would be a one-off cost for homes and businesses.
However, Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher, deputy co-chair for the committee, said businesses would face significant costs to convert to digital television.
“If VAST is the only option available to business, then hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, caravan parks and the like will have to pay thousands of dollars extra to ensure that their customers, clients and patients are able to watch television,” she said in a statement. “It’s a double hit for remote and rural taxpayers who will have to pay to install new satellite equipment in their homes and businesses, as well as pay more tax to support the VAST subsidy.”
“The government should provide equivalent services to all Australians and stop neglecting people living outside a capital city,” she added.
Broadcasting Australia also raised concerns that the legislation could allow providers to opt out of providing terrestrial digital TV coverage in higher population areas in favour of the cheaper VAST service. However, the committee said it would not be in the interests of commercial operators.
“Commercial broadcasters have significant financial incentives — in the form of advertising revenue — to roll out digital terrestrial transmission, rather than avoid or shift their conversion expenses by encouraging the take-up of VAST through relying on exemptions in the Bill.”

AFACT to take iiNet case to high court – Communications – News
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) announced that it will continue its legal battle against internet service provider (ISP) iiNet over copyright infringement, seeking leave to appeal its case to the High Court.
The court case started back in November 2008 when 34 parties represented by AFACT, including Australian and US film companies and the Seven Network, lodged a high-profile copyright infringement and internet content piracy case against iiNet. The hearing of the case commenced in the Federal Court a year later, in October 2009. iiNet won that case, with Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruling that iiNet had not authorised its customers to infringe on copyright.
In February, two judges of the Federal Court dismissed an appeal by AFACT. However, AFACT today announced it was ready to appeal to the High Court.
AFACT executive director Neil Gane spoke on behalf of the film companies he represented, saying that they would try to overturn the Federal Court’s ruling.
“The Full Federal Court unanimously found that iiNet had the power to prevent the infringements of its users from occurring and that there were reasonable steps it could have taken, including issuing warnings,” he said.
At the last appeal, two out of three judges of the Federal Court said iiNet did not authorise the infringements; but Gane said the judges had been mistaken. “Two judges of the Full Court went on to find that iiNet had not authorised the infringements of its users and that is what we are appealing,” Gane said. “We say they did not apply the legal test for authorisation correctly.”
AFACT said that when the film companies launched their legal action against the ISP in 2008, it had started a five-month investigation, the results of which were being sent on a weekly basis to iiNet with notifications of infringements happening on its network.
“In response to the Full Court’s conclusion that iiNet did not have sufficient knowledge of the infringements to authorise them, the film companies will argue that iiNet did have sufficient knowledge, that it admitted the acts of infringement and that its CEO admitted on the stand that the evidence was ‘compelling’,” he said.

ACMA targets PC virus telemarketers – Security – News
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that it is ramping up its fight against telemarketers who try to convince customers that their computers are infected by viruses and then charge a fee for removal.
“The ACMA understands that while some businesses offer a legitimate virus prevention or removal service, many are falsely claiming to be related to reputable companies, such as Microsoft,” said ACMA’s chairman, Chris Chapman.
“In the first three months of 2011, nearly half of all complaints about telemarketing calls made to numbers on the Do Not Call Register have been about these types of calls.”
The ACMA is embarking on a targeted compliance campaign aimed at these businesses. Companies that are investigated by the ACMA run the risk of incurring a penalty of up to $110,000 per day.
The ACMA will also be working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, cooperating with international regulators and voice over internet protocol providers to identify rogue telemarketers.
The Do Not Call Register is a free federal government service where Australians can register their numbers to opt out of telemarketing calls.

It’s time to give something back to Japan, the home of Space Invaders, Mario, Zelda and Street

It’s time to give something back to Japan, the home of Space Invaders, Mario, Zelda and Street Fighter

Finally, Andrew Ramadge’s Mario Bros piggy bank comes in handy. Picture: Charles Brewer Source: news.com.au
TONIGHT, as you fire up the PlayStation, spare a thought for the country that created it.
Then, spare some cash.
As Japan struggles with the fallout of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, gamers are being asked to raid their mushroom-shaped piggy banks for charity.
IGN Australia will this Friday launch a 24-hour “gameathon” to raise money for the country that gave the world Space Invaders, Mario and Zelda.
From 9am, IGN staff will attempt to play one classic Japanese video game per hour for 24 hours, posting photos and videos along the way.
Gamers can donate by pledging an amount for each game the team makes it through, or by giving a fixed amount.
IGN entertainment editor Patrick Kolan said the idea for the fundraiser came from publishing director Narayan Pattison.
“He had a brainwave. He’s obviously very passionate about his games and we all love the Japanese game development scene,” he told news.com.au.
“What better way to raise some awareness and get some money out there than by doing what we love and getting some other gamers involved too.”
Kolan, whose favourite Japanese game is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, said the country’s impact on gaming had been enormous.
“Without Japan we’d never have Mario or Donkey Kong,” he said.
“They’re also at the forefront of pushing new game concepts.”
And how does the team plan to stay awake through the night?
“Plenty of caffeine and plenty of laughs. We might have a few special guests in as well,” Kolan said.
“We’re all seasoned professionals, so I think we’ll all still be going strong (at 9am).”
You can follow the team on Facebook, Twitter or at au.ign.com, and donate to the Japan relief appeal here.
The list of games to be played includes Super Mario Bros 3, Street Fighter II and Resident Evil 4.

GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez rises from couch potato to podium sitter | Online Video Games

Nissan’s LMP 2 car – faster than what you’re used to on GT 5. Picture courtesy Facebook Source: Supplied

Happy. Oh yes – how many cans of Red Bull could you get pawning this baby? Picture courtesy Facebook Source: Supplied
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IT’S every Gran Turismo gun’s dream – the right to race wheel-to-wheel against real opponents, in real cars.
There’s just a couple of things standing in the way. Cash, for one. Age might be another.
There’s also the whole danger thing. Remember kids, it’s just like the Matrix – you die at Le Mans, you die in real life.
But if your name’s Lucas Ordonez, that’s all small beer, because last weekend, the 25-year-old Spaniard showed he had the stones to make a world-first transition from couch potato to podium sitter.
Yep, while the rest of you were munching cheeseballs, Ordonez was pushing 300km/h in his Nissan LMP over 12 hours at the famous Sebring circuit in Florida.
And doing a great job of it, too.
Along with teammates Soheil Ayari and Franck Mailleux, Ordonez finished second in his class for Team Signatech after several slightly ironic software glitches kept sending him to the pits.
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“It’s unbelievable,” he told the media of his dream ride to the top.
“My objective when I entered the competition was to become a racing driver, but not at this level.”
Ordonez’s journey began when he finished top of the class at the inaugural GT Academy in 2008, run by Sony PlayStation and Nissan.
Ordonez won the GT5 Prologue time trial series against 25,000 other hopefuls.
Since then, another 37,000 Facebook fans have followed his three-year journey from console to car, culminating in the astonishing effort at Sebring with Signatech Nissan.
Basically, if you have a drivers’ licence and you’re pretty handy at Gran Turismo 5, you’re a chance.
Oh, and you have to live in Europe.
Given Ordonez’s next big race will be the classic 24-hours of Le Mans in June, that’s probably not the worst move you could make if you suddenly find yourself among the best of the best online.
Sony is now accepting entries for the 2011 GT Academy.
This year it promises the top 24 drivers a chance to prove their skills in real race situations at the UK’s Silverstone circuit, with the chance to qualify for an international race licence and a spot on the grid at the Dubai 24-hour race in January.
If you think you’re slick enough – and you live in Europe – check it out at www.facebook.com/GTAcademy.

Russia’s inflatable tanks are smarter than you think | Space, Military and Medicine | News.com.au

A Rusbal worker pumps up an inflatable S-300 anti-aircraft missile launcher decoy / AFP Source: AFP

In Russia, you blow up tanks / AFP Source: AFP
THEY may look like real tanks and missiles, but some of the weapons in Russia’s arsenal may not all be what they seem.
The army is making increasing use of inflatable replicas — decoys deployed in a cunning attempt to deceive potential enemies.
In a workshop in Moscow’s suburb Khotkovo, employees of inflatable equipment company Rusbal sew the fabric used to create fake weapons for their main customer — the Russian army.
Established in 1993, Rusbal replicates military equipment, such as T-80 tanks, S-300 missiles or fighter jets, for an undisclosed price, but also manufactures inflatable castles and other toys for children.
“These machines are effective in deceiving the enemy, and they protect the real equipment,” the Rusbal plant director, Victor Talanov, said.
“This kind of technology has existed in the army for a long time, since World War II.”
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In another recent example, the Serbian army used similar decoys during the country’s bombardment by NATO forces in 1999 and the Alliance actually destroyed fewer genuine targets than it thought.
Talanov said the idea to work for military belonged to his father, Rusbal’s chief executive who worked in the Soviet era for the military-industrial complex and later developed links with the Russian army.
“He realised that with these technologies, we can solve problems in the military field,” he said.
Rusbal’s proud employees said it was very difficult to distinguish a real tank from a fake one. For example, the decoys they produce have the same thermal footprint as the weapons they imitate.
“From the height of a 10-storey building, if a real tank and a false one stand side by side, they make almost no difference. Our machines emit the same heat and reflect radio waves in the same way as real ones,” said Lyudmila Stepanova, Rusbal’s chief technology expert.
Another bonus is that they are easy to deploy — a tank inflates in minutes.
According to Rusbal, Russian technology of manufacturing fake weapons is far more innovative and developed than in other countries, such as China or Canada, which also use similar equipment.
A Russian-manufactured mock tank weighs only 90kg against 300kg for its European analogue.
“Before, we had to inflate a model and to bung it up like a mattress. Now, air is blown continuously into the tank. This allows us to use lighter materials, which inflate faster and are more resistant to cuts,” Talanov said.
He has admitted having no information on how and where exactly the fake tanks are used by the military, but said he believes they are indeed used in conflict situations.
The Kremlin has vowed repeatedly to modernise its dilapidated military, equipped with aging and obsolete equipment.
In February Russia launched a $650 billion rearmament plan to counter the West’s military dominance by adding eight nuclear submarines and hundreds of warplanes to its creaking armed forces.
Last year Russia announced plans to triple its defence spending to 19 trillion rubles ($669 billion) over the next decade.

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