Episode 271 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


You Have Downloaded tells who’s been naughty

A crawler designed by the owners of You Have Downloaded monitors a variety of BitTorrents, and keeps track of IP addresses that connect to those torrents. Visitors to the site find that it will list any instances where the You Have Downloaded crawler has caught their IP address accessing a torrent file.
The developers say that it’s not a serious effort – they’re not trying to catch anybody in acts of piracy, they just wanted to demonstrate that such a crawler is possible. It does not, for example, factor in dynamic IP addresses.

You Have Downloaded site to point out numerous instances where IP addresses belonging to government and copyright enforcement agencies are listed as having downloaded files. TorrentFreak has so far shown IP addresses belonging to the Recording Industry Association of America, the US House of Representative and the Canadian and French Governments that would appear to have connected to BitTorrent to download material.

Sharp’s 70″ LC-Quattron TV a giant killer

Sharp has developed what it pitches as “the ultimate in big screen home entertainment

the Sharp 70″ LC-Quattron TV delivers is fast processing – so you never sense any lag – sharp, sharp pictures, bright and distinct colours and deep, Darth Vader-blacks.
It has a full array LCD panel that includes Sharp’s own Quattron 4-pixel technology and this delivers the black-as-darkest-night blacks and bright-as-a-macaw colours. The technology uses the standard red, green, blue (RGB) and adds yellow, which means that it has millions more dots per image making for much brighter colours.

It has a 100Hz panel processor that reduces blur

it is DLNA compatible provided that you use the Windows 7

USB media playback, YouTube and a web browser function. It is LAN ready, so can be connected to your home network.
It has four HDMI ports, three USB slots, AV-in times two plus component, LAN, PC in, and optical audio out and standard audio out options.

Weighing in at 42.5kg, it is much lighter than Panasonic’s 60″ plasma and LG’s 65″ LCD
It uses 240W in use and 0.3W in standby

Sharp, $4799

Optus apologises after site refuses to recognise women who try to register as doctors


A glitch on the Optus rewards website caused outrage amongst women who found themselves unable to register for rewards online because the “Dr” suffix did not match their gender.

“The issue is not gender specific. Optus apologises if this has caused any inconvenience or offence, this was never our intention. We are working to have the issue resolved as a matter of urgency.
Optus’s apology has not stopped a barrage of outrage on Twitter.

Kodak prepares for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing


Eastman Kodak is preparing to file for bankruptcy in the coming weeks if efforts to sell off digital patents fall through, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kodak is in talks with potential lenders for around $1 billion in financing to keep it afloat.
The 131-year-old company is still making last-ditch efforts to sell around 1,100 patents through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction.

Kodak once sold 90% of the world’s film but started to struggle in the 1980s as foreign competitors gained market share

Kodak shares plunged 28 per cent on the report

We’ll have to hike prices with no Optus deal, NBN Co warns

THE NBN Co would be forced to charge higher prices without its $800 million deal to pay Optus to shut its cable network and transfer its customers to the National Broadband Network

without the deal, Optus would be able to “cherry-pick” the best customers to offer them broadband on the cable network that passes 2.4 million premises in affluent areas and fast-growth corridors in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney — “thereby potentially inhibiting NBN Co’s ability to cross-subsidise to deliver lower uniform national prices”.

Mobile phone operators face $1bn spectrum fee

The 15-year spectrum licences – necessary for delivering mobile services – are up for renewal this year, and as the government puts the final touches to the renewal process, the expectation is that the sale of the licences could bring in up to $4bn to government coffers.
When the licences were first sold to the likes of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone between 1998 and 2000 they fetched a combined $2bn, but as the use of mobile services has blossomed over the past decade analysts expect the fee to double.

analysts estimating the renewals could cost between $800 million and $1bn for a four-year licence.

Over 4000 plugged into NBN

MORE than 4000 Australians were connected to the national broadband network in 2011

NBN was pleased with the connection numbers now that the high speed network has been rolled past 18,200 homes and businesses premises.
While connection take-up appears small in comparison to activations, a spokeswoman said this was because a number of internet service providers still had to bring their plans to market.

“A crucial task for 2012 will be to educate and inform Australians about the principles that dictate the rollout,” NBN head of industry relations Jim Hassell said

The NBN is due to be extended to another 500,000 premises in 2012 and the first rural communities to use a fixed wireless service will be connected by mid-year.

The project is expected to be completed by 2021, when all Australians should have access to fibre optic, fixed wireless or satellite high speed broadband services.

Apple designer Jonathan Ive knighted


The British monarch has awarded a knighthood to Jonathan Paul Ive, a British citizen and head of Apple’s design team since the mid-’90s.
Mr Ive received an Order of the British Empire for services to design and enterprise.

crfedited for whimsical design for the iMac computer in 1990s, which originally came in bright colors at a time bland shades

and later designs for the iPod, the iPhone and, most recently, the iPad.

The knighthood is the second time Mr Ive has been recognised in the honours list. In 2005 he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Windows 7 gains as XP users make the move


Windows XP accounted for 46.5 percent of all desktop operating systems in use worldwide in December 2011, down from 48.9 percent in November,

Windows 7 37 percent of all desktop and laptop computers. That’s up from 34.6 percent in November.

Windows overall  continues to dominate, running on almost 92 percent of all desktop and laptop computers, according to Net Applications. Mac OS accounts for another 5 percent, with Linux and others making up the rest.

2011 ends with almost 6bn mobile phone subscriptions
By Lance Whitney   |   January 5, 2012

Surveying the mobile and online landscape in 2011 for a year-end report (PDF), the International Telecommunications Union found that mobile phone subscriptions have now penetrated 87 per cent of the entire world and 79 per cent of all developing countries.

Among all those mobile phone users, mobile broadband subscriptions number almost 1.2 billion. Such subscriptions have jumped 45 per cent each year for the past four years and now outnumber fixed broadband subscriptions by two to one.

To push forward with mobile broadband, 159 nations across the world have kicked off 3G networks, though 2G coverage is still twice as high as 3G. Overall, people in developed countries typically use both mobile and fixed broadband, while those in less developed economies often have access only to mobile broadband services.

Switching over to fixed broadband, one-third of the 1.8 billion household around the world now have internet access, up from one-fifth just five years ago. In developing nations, 25 per cent of all homes have a PC and 20 per cent have internet access.

Among all the major nations, Korea still offers the fastest broadband access with almost the whole country enjoying speeds of more than 10 megabits per second. Further down the list, the US is more of a mixed bag with a little more than one third of the population seeing speeds higher than 10Mbps and the rest stuck between 2 to 10Mbps and 256Kbps to 2Mbps.

Overall, a full one-third of the 7 billion people on the planet use the internet, and 45 per cent of them are under the age of 25. Internet use has been growing in developing countries, accounting for 62 per cent of the world’s total last year, compared with just 44 per cent in 2006. China alone represents almost 25 per cent of the world’s total.

Still, developing nations have a ways to go. Across the different age groups in the developing world, 30 per cent of people under 25 use the internet, compared with 23 per cent of those 25 and older. But that 70 per cent of the under-25 crowd not online adds up to 1.9 billion people, an open door for schools to provide access and potentially boost enrolment, says the ITU.

Apple employee has revealed details of the Apple TV

A FORMER Apple employee has revealed details of the Apple TV after allegedly seeing it in the company’s design studio.
The unnamed source said the Apple senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive has “a slick 50-inch TV” inside the locked-down studio, USA Today reports.

The former Apple employee said the Apple TV will be a 42-inch or larger LCD TV with built-in Wi-Fi.

The report also said Apple’s rumoured TV set – dubbed the iTV – will be operated using the Siri voice recognition app.

Experts believe the TV will run on Apple’s operating system and bring the App Store to the living room. The device could also utilise Apple’s AirPlay, which would allow iPads, iPhones and iPods to connectivity wirelessly.

Apple is planning an important event to be held in New York, but it is not believed to relate to the iTV or the iPad 3.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/apple-employee-has-revealed-details-of-the-apple-tv/story-e6frfro0-1226237237716#ixzz1iYOM288n

Optus apologises after site refuses to recognise women who try to register as doctors

THE Optus website is stuck in the 19th Century – it doesn’t believe that women can be doctors.

A glitch on the Optus rewards website caused outrage amongst women who found themselves unable to register for rewards online because the “Dr” suffix did not match their gender.
Doctor Rachel Cook reported the incident on Twitter when she tried to register and was greeted with the message: “Please select a title and the title should match with the gender.”
Optus apologised to users in a statement saying the error was caused by a back-end technical issue.
“Following a system upgrade to our rewards platform, an unforeseen technical coding issue is generating an error message when the title ‘Dr’ is entered during the registration process.
“The issue is not gender specific. Optus apologises if this has caused any inconvenience or offence, this was never our intention. We are working to have the issue resolved as a matter of urgency.
Optus’s apology has not stopped a barrage of outrage on Twitter.
Since the screenshot surfaced online, Twitter has been flooded with complaints of similar issues and accusations of sexism.
“Take a look at this: http://pic.twitter.com/C5RU9BjW. #Optus way of thinking sexist much?,” tweeted user @beetrootlover41.
“I tried it for myself because I didn’t believe it”.
Author Melinda Tankard Reist also tweeted that Optus claimed it had fixed the problem but the rewards error message had simply been changed to “Dr title doesn’t appear to match her gender”.
“Great improvement, thnx for that,” Ms Reist tweeted.
Engineer Michael Wyres said the rewards form glitch was “not a good look for Optus”.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/optus-apologises-after-site-refuses-to-recognise-women-who-try-to-register-as-doctors/story-e6frfro0-1226237241391#ixzz1iYOgSrQq

iPhone 4S goes to China; Siri to start speaking Chinese in 2012
Siri, how do you say profit in Chinese?
One answer Apple’s digital assistant might consider giving is: start selling the iPhone 4S in China. And starting on Jan. 13th, Apple will do just that.
The company said Wednesday that China will be among 22 countries that soon will get the newest iPhone, one of Apple’s hottest-selling yet.  The iPhone now accounts for nearly half of Apple’s annual revenue, and some analysts believe it earns the company more than 60% of its profits.
China is one of the world’s largest mobile device markets, with close to a billion cellphone users by some estimates. Apple currently partners with China Unicom, one of the larger carriers with close to 200 million cellular subscribers.
Apple said Wednesday it had no current plans to announce a partnership with China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier with more than 630 million subscribers (a user base that, somewhat amazingly, is more than twice the size of the U.S. population).  But for months now Apple has been rumored to be nailing down a deal with China Mobile, and millions of the carriers’ customers are already using the iPhone by modifying the device to work on their network.
Will Siri actually be able to speak and understand Mandarin?  Eventually, yes.  An Apple spokesman said the company plans to add official language support in 2012 — and that will include Chinese.  But Siri won’t yet be multilingual when the phone hits Chinese stores this month.

Qantas to trial in-flight internet
By Luke Hopewell   |   December 16, 2011
Not to be outdone by Virgin, Qantas has today announced that it will enable in-flight internet access for passengers travelling on its flagship A380 aircraft.

(Qantas B737-800 VH-VXU image by

Andy Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The trial, starting from February next year, will see in-flight internet delivered to passengers over Wi-Fi on “designated flights” between Sydney to Los Angeles and Melbourne to Los Angeles routes.
Passengers with a Wi-Fi-enabled device like a smartphone, laptop or tablet will be able to access the trial, but only if they’re sitting in first or business class.
The A380s will access the web through an on-board satellite system built by Inmarsat. The Inmarsat unit will be connected to the web via the OnAir satellite service.
The trial of in-flight internet is being run in tandem with the trial of in-flight entertainment streaming via Wi-Fi on the carrier’s kitted-out Boeing B767 aircraft. Passengers on the flight will receive a complimentary iPad in-flight to use the service.
The trial of the Q Streaming system will kick off in mid January.
Qantas’ nemesis, Virgin Australia, yesterday announced its plans to deploy in-flight entertainment streaming via Wi-Fi in a partnership with Lufthansa Systems.

Unofficial Steve Jobs action figure is so realistic it’s creepy
I adore action figures and I respect Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs, but the Steve Jobs action figure that’s supposedly becoming available in late February makes me want to run away screaming.
Just look at it! It’s so realistic that it’s genuinely a little bit unnerving.
The Verge’s Joseph L. Flatley seems to agree with my assessment — though he prefers to describe the action figure as “pretty awesome” yet almost “Uncanny Valley-creepy.”
Flatley reports that the 1:6 scale figure will be distributed by a company called DiD Corp., cost a hundred bucks (plus shipping) once it becomes available in February, and have some remarkable characteristics. Creepily remarkable characteristics, that is:

The company wants you to take note of [the action figure’s] “piercing eyes of soul” that will “always remind you to stay hungry, stay foolish and to follow your heart in the limited life.”

Am I the only one shuddering? Must be all those creepy beady-eyed dolls I encountered as a child.
It’s worth noting that DiD Corp.’s figurine isn’t the first of its kind. Toward the end of 2010, Steve Jobs action figures were sold through and by a website called M.I.C. Gadget. The fun didn’t last long though, because a law firm representing Apple quickly requested that the company cease marketing and selling the action figure.
Will the (far more realistic) action figure offered DiD Corp. suffer the same fate? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Sony’s $200 Tablet S price gouge
Asher Moses
January 3, 2012

Sony has been accused of price gouging Australians after it gave its Tablet S a $US100 price cut in the US but refused to pass the cut on to Australians.
The 16GB model in the US now sells for $US399 ($387) compared to $579 for the same model bought via Sony’s website in Australia.
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In addition to getting the product almost $200 cheaper, consumers in the US also receive a free 180-day trial of Sony’s Music Unlimited service, five free rentals from Sony’s Video Unlimited Service and five free downloadable PlayStation games.
A Sony Australia spokeswoman said the company offered Australians a six-day-only special price of $499 for the 16GB Tablet S from Boxing Day but now the tablet would continue to be sold for $579.
“We may consider some price adjustments in the future as we prepare to introduce the 3G version of the Sony Tablet, however nothing is confirmed at this stage,” the spokeswoman said.
“We still believe that Sony Tablet offers great value for its current pricing, as an all-round entertainment device.”
Ingrid Just, spokeswoman for consumer group Choice, said: “It’s another example of how some of the big players in the market use their market power to essentially prevent consumers from getting a fair price no matter where they live in the world.”
Asked whether Sony was price gouging the Australian market, the spokeswoman said “different markets set their prices based on a wide variety of different factors”. Pressed further on whether the $200 price difference was fair, Sony Australia said it could not comment on why Sony US chose to alter its pricing.
Price discrimination has become a hot political issue, with Labor MP Ed Husic leading the charge in whipping up consumer outrage and convincing the government to ask the Productivity Commission to investigate the practice.
However, many examples of companies charging Australians significantly more than consumers in other countries have already been revealed, and it is not clear what, if anything, the government could do to force brands to stop the gouging.
Vendors argue that the price difference is largely due to different market conditions and costs, particularly wages, but the Productivity Commission and others have said these factors could not justify some of the huge price differences seen.
Australian retailers have found that they can buy a number of products cheaper at retail in the US than the wholesale price they are offered in Australia.
But Choice says the opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to gouge Australians is fast diminishing as consumers are wising up to the fact that they can check prices online and also order the same product from overseas.
“It’s more and more difficult for companies to get away with this because you search on the internet and quick smart you find out just exactly what the price is overseas, so they’re not able to hide like they used to and consumers will find ways around purchasing that product at a better price,” Ms Just said.
But she said that while consumers, particularly those who are tech savvy, were making “rumbles” about prices, for many the convenience factor of buying a product locally rather than online would outweigh the extra cost.
The Tablet S has garnered positive reviews due to its original design and access to Sony’s array of content services. But most reviewers said that, with the original prices matching those of the iPad 2, it would struggle to gain market share.
According to the latest figures released by market tracker IDC, representing the third quarter of 2011, Apple’s iPad 2 has a 77.7 per cent share of the market, while Android garnered only 16.5 per cent. The rest of the market was taken up by RIM’s PlayBook, which is struggling to get any traction, and HP’s TouchPad, which was sold off in limited quantities in a fire sale.
But the most highly anticipated Android tablet product, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and Sony’s Tablet S, did not go on sale until quarter four, partly explaining Android’s low share in Q3.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week a number of new Android tablet offerings will be launched, including several based on the new Ice Cream Sandwich version of the operating system. This reporter is on Twitter: @ashermoses

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/tablets/sonys-200-tablet-s-price-gouge-20120103-1pj5r.html#ixzz1iZ3ZrCOY

A Conflict of Interest: A Novel

  • by Adam Mitzner
  • Narrated by David LeDoux

Publisher’s Summary
A stunning debut thriller in the best-selling tradition of Scott Turow and John Grisham!

Alex Miller is a criminal defense lawyer leading the life he always imagined. At thirty-five, he is the youngest partner at New York City’s most prestigious law firm, with a beautiful wife and a perfect daughter. When Alex’s father suddenly passes away, Alex is introduced to Michael Ohlig, a rich and powerful man who holds an almost mythical place in his family lore. But Alex is surprised when Ohlig admits that he’s in serious legal trouble, accused of crimes involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Alex agrees to take on Ohlig’s defense.
Through the course of two trials, secrets are revealed that force Alex to question whether any of the people in his life are who they appear to be. Most importantly, he must decide whether the identity he projects to the world is the man he truly is or even wants to be.
With its powerful voice, pause-resistant tension, and strong cast of characters, A Conflict of Interest will captivate listeners right up to its electrifying conclusion.
©2011 Adam Mitzner (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
What the Critics Say
“A page-turner with deeply flawed heroes, sympathetic villains, and totally unexpected twists. I loved it!” (Alan Dershowitz)
“More twists than a California cloverleaf interchange.” (Bookreporter)
“This gifted writer should have a long and successful career ahead of him.” (Publishers Weekly)

Published on: January 02, 2012
NBN Failure to meet targets

According to NBN Co’s 2011-2013 Corporate Plan there were meant to be 35,000 customers using NBN’s fibre network in June 2011 and 137,000 using it by June 2012.

Today’s announcement that only 2300 households are now connected to NBN fibre (and another 1700 to its satellite service) despite more than a billion dollars already ploughed into this vastly expensive project yet again confirms Labor’s inability to manage money or execute policy.

The Rudd and Gillard Governments have been in office for four years.

In that time they have managed to improve broadband for at most 4000 Australian households, despite their flamboyant rhetoric and extravagant promises.

It says a lot about the NBN Co’s real feelings about this policy failure that they chose the New Years public holiday, January 2, to issue the press release boasting (or was it confessing) to this policy failure.

Today’s announcement would be comical except that the joke, the bitter jest, is on the Australian taxpayer and Internet user who is reminded once again of how the NBN Co is failing to deliver very fast broadband quickly and affordably.

( $250,000 per connection) at $100 per month per customer,  payback period is 2,500 years

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