Episode 277 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

 

Woolworths app offers mobile shopping

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Woolworths has completed an integration of its Woolworths Online shopping system and its mobile app, allowing customers to purchase supermarket items directly from their smartphone for home delivery.

Woolworths customers could already purchase goods from the Woolworths Online web site for home delivery, and that same functionality was available via a mobile browser (via an m.site), but the supermarket giant was yet to integrate this secure payments and in-store picking process with its mobile app.

Has Fakira, innovation program manager at Woolworths said that despite mobile commerce already being available on the web site, the customer experience was better from the new iPhone and Android apps “because you can scan the product directly.”
He said the Woolworths Online e-commerce and fulfilment platform was custom-coded by the retailer and did not rely on any commercial off-the-shelf software.
The service also relies on staff physically picking items from a nearby store before delivery to the consumer’s home.

minimum spend $30 and the most you pay for delivery being $13.

Woolworths was considering Windows Phone as a third option.


Telstra shifts BigPond email to Windows Live & emails will be stored overseas

002

Microsoft will be hosting the service offshore. Telstra will simply store a mirror (copy) of this data in Australia to remain compliant with Australian law.

first revealed by lawyer Mark Vincent, many cloud contracts subject data to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the data is stored rather than where business is transacted.
If Microsoft stores BigPond email data in its Singapore data centre, for example, the data becomes subject to the laws of the Singaporean state, which has far fewer requirements around privacy.

Singaporean law enforcement officers wide ranging powers to gain access to any computer stored in Singaporean territory if they suspect it has been used to commit a crime

If Microsoft and Telstra stores BigPond email data in its United States data centre, the data becomes subject to US laws such as the Patriot Act, which also provides US law enforcement unbridled access to US-hosted data without requiring a court order.


Telstra loses stranglehold on wholesale ADSL market

003

the competition watchdog decided to regulate the prices the telco giant charges its rivals to resell broadband services.
The decision could prove a boon for consumers

its rivals, who for years have complained that the lack of regulation of wholesale broadband services allowed the telco giant to squeeze out competition by lowering its retail prices below what it charged for wholesale access,

Telstra is forced to drop its wholesale charges from $30 to $25.40 in metropolitan areas and from $37 to $30.80 in rural and regional Australia.

the majority of existing players will have to wait until July – when current wholesale contracts with Telstra expire – to pass on any savings


Telstra takes aim at $15,000 data roaming bills

004

The new plans are expected to minimise bill shock increasingly suffered by businesses and consumers through inadvertent data usage while overseas.

Data Pack

$29

$85

$160

$350

$550

$1050

$1800

Included Value

$150

$450

$900

$2250

$3750

$7500

$15,000

Approx. data value (MB)

9.8

29.3

58.6

146.5

244.1

488.3

976.6

why not pre pay in country of stay?


Vodafone Australia churn nears half a million for 2011

005

Vodafone Australia is expected to report the loss of more than 500,000 customers from its network over the 2011 calendar year as it prepares to report full-year financial results later this month.
The losses come as Optus and Telstra reported mobile customer growth of 444,000 customers and 1.7 million customers respectively over the same period.

Vodafone had lost 60,000 registered customers over the quarter to December 31.

Vodafone’s British CEO Vittorio Colao said he was “not very pleased with the performance”.


Parliament quietly blocks .info domains

006

The Department of Parliamentary Services has blocked access by Australia’s parliamentarians to some 5.2 million websites with a .info domain.

Senators are unable to opt-out of the block on .info domains for network security reasons.

The advice was that the domain is generally considered to be a source of more than its fair share of attacks and malicious software,” the department’s acting secretary David Kenny told a Senate Committee in Canberra today.


Twitter gets satellite support

007

Twitter has struck a deal with two large satellite operators to give subscribers the ability to publish in the most remote locations in Australia and around the world.

customers signed up under Telstra’s Iridium service or Optus’ Thuraya.
Twitter suggests it could be ideal to keep people informed from war zones or in a natural disaster where networks may not be available.


Apple faces calls for ban on iPad shipments in China

008

Chinese technology company Proview said Tuesday it is seeking to ban shipments of Apple’s iPads in and out of the country, alleging it owns the trademark rights to the iPad name in China.

Apple bought the rights to the iPad name from a Taiwanese company affiliated with Proview called Proview Taipei in 2009, but Proview claims it still maintains ownership of the brand in mainland China. A Chinese court rejected Apple’s claim to the name in December and awarded Proview continued ownership in the country. Apple has appealed the ruling.

Apple claims it bought the worldwide rights to the iPad name in 10 countries several years ago, and that Proview is simply neglecting to respect this agreement in mainland China.


World’s biggest Android botnets spotted

009

Criminals reap over $3 million a year.

Symantec confirmed the botnet. Security response engineer Cathal Mullaney said the malware used to grow the bot was contained in almost 30 rogue applications on Chinese app stores.
The Android.Bmaster malware made premium-rate phone calls and text messages, and connect to pay-per-view videos.
Symantec researchers found the command-and-control server contacted hundreds of thousands of phones and generated $US10,000 ($A9372) per day and up to $3.5 million ($A2.9 million) annually.


Steve Jobs’ FBI files question his honesty and morality

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showing a man who commanded respect as an innovator but was questioned on his honesty and morality.

The file was prepared on the Apple founder as he was considered for a presidential appointment in 1991 during George H W Bush’s time in office.
Documents also revealed that Jobs had been the victim of an extortive bomb threat in 1985.
Jobs’ files note, too, his conversion to Buddhism and admissions of drug use.

http://vault.fbi.gov/steve-jobs/steve-jobs-part-01-of-01/view


EMAILS

Glenn,
As a very long time listener to the show, I finally have a valid question to write into the show.  My wife and I are coming to visit Australia for my 50th birthday in April for 3 weeks.  I am bringing my 3G iPhone and my wife is bringing her 3GS iPhone to use for communication while we are there.  I will Jailbreak and unlock both of the phones before arriving.  We are between light and medium data and voice users.  We will spend most of our time in Sydney and the surrounding suburbs.  With one trip down to Pericoe near Towamba State Forest for some 4 wheel drive adventures.  Now to my question, what prepaid voice/data SIM package would you recommend for us to use while we are visiting the area?  I don’t know which wireless provider has the best coverage in your part of the world.  Your and your fellow hosts input would be greatly appreciated.  Of course it is understandable that we would lose wireless coverage while out 4 wheeling.  Keep up the good work on the shows.  While many times, the information from the show doesn’t apply to me in Texas, I still enjoy listening to the spirited discussions.  I also hope to take in a couple of the South Sydney Rabbitohs footy matches while there.  It too bad we can’t get the matches broadcast into the US.  Thank you for all your help!

Curtis
Purchasing Representative
Arlington, TX 76001


Hey glen

I’ve been a long time listener properly started listing as far back as episode 47 I think. Never sent a email in but this time I just wanted to say thanks for the info on the iPod replacement program. As I dug up my old iPod and sent it in and got back a brand new  iPod nano. (very very nice) so thanks again as I would have never know about it.

love the show

Dave M


Hi Glen
Love your podcast. Last week you mentioned that you can stream video from your home media centre to be viewed on your iPad just like the Slingbox technology available overseas. Would really like to get more details about your set up and the hardware that you are using.

Cheers for now and God bless

AirVideo

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/air-video-watch-your-videos/id306550020?mt=8


 ERIK’S SHOWNOTES

NBN Rollout plan

NBN Co has released an update to its 12 month rollout schedule, released last October, on this website. The updated rollout schedule issued on 15 February 2012, includes an additional three months of rollout information covering the period to the end of 2012.

The new rollout plan increases to 758,100 the number of premises covered, including those areas where the network is active, where rollout activity is currently underway, and where work is due to start up until the end of the year.

This is an increase over the October plan of 191,000 premises across Australia. This plan shows work commenced in areas to cover 58,000 premises during the previous three months, taking the total premises in areas where work is underway to 121,500.

Most of the growth in premises covered in the rollout plan comes in areas where work has already started. This is because NBN Co has said it needs to manage the rollout of the network as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, and deploy contractor resources in a logical, sequential way.

It is estimated that the average time from work commencing to NBN services being available is 12 months.

As a part of our ongoing commitment to the industry and the Australian public, NBN Co is now providing regular updates where each quarter we will update information on the rollout of the National Broadband Network. In addition to quarterly updates we will also be releasing a three-year rollout plan in the 1st Quarter 2012.

Fibre Serving Area name Localities within the Fibre Serving Area where construction has either commenced or been completed
   
Australian Capital Territory  
Crace (Gungahlin) Amaroo, Ngunnawal
   
New South Wales  
Armidale Armidale
Blacktown  
Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour
Corrimal*  
Dapto  
Gosford  
Homebush (Strathfield)  
Kiama Jamberoo, Kiama, Kiama Downs, Kiama Heights, Minnamurra
Lidcombe Lidcombe, Rookwood
Long Jetty  
Penrith Penrith
Richmond Bligh Park, Richmond, South Windsor, Windsor
Riverstone Riverstone, Schofields
Sawtell  
Wollongong  

‘Balls-up’: $3.1m Parliament House website a year late

Botched IT upgrade, Anonymous and complexity blamed.
A “major breach” of Australia’s Parliament House computer network partly contributed to a $600,000 cost blowout and 12-month delay in constructing the newly designed parliament website which is due to launch to the public this Friday evening.

The figure and breach was revealed in senate estimates yesterday by parliamentary librarian Roxanne Missingham and President of the Senate John Hogg, who reported that the total cost of the new aph.gov.au site, which was meant to go live February 2011, had so far come to about $3.1 million.

The cost blowout and delayed launch follows a botched IT upgrade deployed in December, which brought the parliament site down for 3 days, and attacks on the website by the loose-knit hacking collective Anonymous over Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s internet filtering policy.

The new site – which people inside parliament have had access to since the middle of January this year – replaces the current one which has been in place for 12 years, according to Missingham, and will offer “significant new functionality”.

Such functionality will allow members of the public to track bills through parliament, be alerted when their local senator or member gives a speech in parliament, and allow for information on it to be found more easily, she said.

But costs to get the new website up and running had blown out due to the “complexity of various aspects” such as “delays from undertaking security”, Missingham revealed when questioned by Labor senator John Faulkner in senate estimates.

“In September we put in additional funding of $153,750 to upgrade the platform, complete system testing, do the security testing, and rework content and data,” she said. “Additional funding was also allocated in May. That funding was $461,300.”

She said there were a number of issues in “regression testing” that were found and that “reworking of aspects of the website” due to business requirement changes also contributed to the delay and cost blowout. Three rounds of security analysis on the website were also done to “make sure that it will not be hacked”.

“I think you could say that the delays and the additional costs were as a result of increased complexity of the solution that we needed, increased security testing and an increase in the work that was done compared with what we had anticipated when we initiated the project,” Missingham said.

President of the Senate, John Hogg, said part of the delay and need for additional money to be spent on the new website was caused by “a major breach of the security of the system externally from [Parliament House]”.

“That occurred in December 2010,” he said, and put “additional costs on IT right throughout [parliament]”.

The major breach, which Hogg said was “well and truly beyond” parliament’s control, was a “security intrusion into the system from an external source, and not just on one occasion but on a number of occasions”.

“That caused grave concern about people’s privacy with the information they have here and people’s ability to access information into the system.”

He said for some reason that he did not understand, it seemed that there were “a group of people out there who try to interfere in people’s systems, not just here but in the corporate world as well, by hacking into the systems”. It was something he said he was “constantly raising with people from other parliaments” both when they visited Australia and when an Australian delegation was visiting them, “to see what attempts they are making to block unwarranted access to their information”.

Senator Faulkner appeared unimpressed by the cost blowout and delay in launching the website, asking Hogg how “another balls-up” could be avoided. Hogg said he hoped that delays would not occur into the future by overcoming “security aspects” now.

EU approves Google’s Motorola purchase
JAMES KANTER
February 14, 2012

BRUSSELS: EU regulators have approved Google’s acquisition of the mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility without formal conditions, but it did warn that the giant should play fair in markets for smartphones and tablet computers.

Joaquin Almunia, the EU competition commissioner, did not impose any requirements for Google to complete the $US12.5 billion deal, which represents the internet search giant’s first foray into hardware.

But the deal comes at a time of heightened scrutiny by regulators over ownership of intellectual property governing computers and mobile communications. Almunia indicated in a statement that he would be watching the sector.

The decision “does not mean that the merger clearance blesses all actions by Motorola in the past or all future action by Google,” the statement said. He added that any action on “the question whether Motorola’s or Google’s conduct is compliant with EU antitrust law” would be taken separately.

Because US and European regulators seek to coordinate on major transactions, the US Justice Department, which is also reviewing the deal, could similarly approve the acquisition soon.
If the takeover wins global approval, it could give Google a portfolio of patents to serve as an impressive defense against infringement claims as it works to develop its popular Android operating system for mobile devices.

Almunia said he cleared the deal partly because Google’s business model has been to share its Android mobile operating system with other device makers in order to gain the widest user base, making it less likely that the company would restrict the use of Android solely to Motorola, which is a relatively minor player in Europe.

But Almunia expressed strong concerns about the way powerful technology companies had participated in setting the standards for the proper functioning of mobile devices like smartphones.

Owners of such patents could, “hold up competitors or even an entire industry to the detriment of consumers and innovation,” he said. “I can assure you that the commission will take further action if warranted to ensure that the use of standard essential patents by all players in the sector.”

Last week, Google wrote to standard-setting organisations around the world pledging to license Motorola patents on fair and reasonable terms if the deal succeeded.

Google promised to keep a cap on the fees it charges for licensing its technology and sought to outline the conditions under which it would sue companies for patent infringement.

Apple begins audit of its contractors
Charles Arthur
February 14, 2012

Apple has reacted to growing criticism over alleged abuses of workers at its suppliers by asking an independent group, the Fair Labor Association (FLA), to conduct audits of several of its factories in China.

The inspections will include Foxconn, which employs about 1 million people, with plants in Shenzhen and Chengdu, and where there has been focus on the number of employee suicides and claims of overwork.

The first inspections began on Monday morning at Foxconn City, the Shenzhen facility, with a visit by experts led by the FLA president, Auret van Heerden.

Workers on the production line inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua. Photo: Reuters

The FLA will speak to thousands of staff about working and living conditions, payments, health and safety and management style. The inspections will cover manufacturing areas, dormitories and other facilities.

“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive.

“The inspections now under way are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.” The move follows increased focus on Apple, whose share price briefly passed $US500 on the US stock market on Monday, where it is the most valuable company by market capitalisation, ahead of oil company Exxon.

Last week Apple faced twin petitions signed online by more than 250,000 people seeking assurances the company would use “ethical, fair and safe” suppliers for the production of its computers, phones and tablets.

Foxconn, which makes equipment for a large number of American and Asian companies, including Apple, Amazon, Acer, Asus, Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Netgear, Nokia, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, has generated huge amounts of attention following claims of poor working conditions in gigantic factories that function like self-contained towns.

In July 2009 a 25-year-old worker committed suicide, reportedly after losing an iPhone prototype, and in 2010 there was a spate of suicides – prompting Foxconn to install nets around the edges of some buildings to prevent people jumping off roofs.

Apple said its suppliers have offered the FLA full co-operation and unrestricted access to their operations. The FLA’s findings and recommendations from the first assessments will be posted in early March on its website. Similar inspections will be conducted later this spring at the Quanta and Pegatron facilities that make its computers.

When complete, the FLA’s assessment will cover facilities where more than 90 per cent of Apple products are assembled.

Guardian News & Media
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/apple-begins-audit-of-its-contractors-20120214-1t361.html#ixzz1mWibLpME

Apple suing Kodak for patent infringement

More ugly news for Eastman Kodak, in a month filled with it. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and shuttering its digital camera business, the company now finds itself in Apple’s crosshairs.

Apple late Tuesday asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York forpermission to sue the photography pioneer for allegedly infringing patents related to technologies used in printers, digital cameras and digital picture frames. If the court gives its approval, Apple intends to file a complaint against Kodak at the International Trade Commission, and a suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, as well.

Its aim: An order blocking Kodak’s infringement and an ITC bar on the importation of certain Kodak devices.

An unfortunate turn of events for Kodak, which really seems to have brought all this upon itself. Back in 2010, Kodak sued Apple, claiming the iPhone infringes a Kodak patent related to previewing images. But Apple argues that it is the true owner of the patents, and that Kodak pilfered some of its IP when the two companies were exploring how best to commercialize Apple’s digital camera technologies back in the early ’90s.

So, as I said, ugly news for the beleagured Kodak, which is clearly in a poor financial position to defend itself against such claims.

Apple testing smaller screen tablet

APPLE is testing a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the hot-selling iPad, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The newspaper, quoting unidentified people familiar with the situation, said the California gadget-maker was working with component suppliers in Asia to test the tablet computer with a smaller display.

The Journal quoted officials at Apple suppliers as saying the company has shown them screen designs for a device with an eight inch (20.3 centimeter) display.

The iPad has a 9.7 inch (24.6 cm) screen. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since launching the device in April 2010.

The Journal said Apple was working with Taiwan’s AU Optronics Co. and South Korea’s LG Display Co. to supply the test panels.

The newspaper cautioned that Apple frequently works with suppliers to test new designs and “could opt not to proceed with the device”.

Apple reportedly plans to unveil a new version of the iPad in the first week of March. According to the Journal, the “iPad 3” will have a higher resolution screen than the iPad 2 but will be the same size.

Both Amazon and Samsung offer smaller and lower-priced tablets than the iPad.

Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs once famously dismissed tablets smaller than the iPad saying they were “tweeners” that were “too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad”.

He suggested in October 2010 that makers of seven-inch (17.8-cm) screens “include sandpaper so users can sand down their fingers” to be able to tap onscreen keys.

HTC reportedly working on streaming music service

Can music turn HTC’s prospects around? Apparently the company thinks so, having first acquired a majority stake in Beats Audio and now working on a possible streaming service.

HTC is hoping a different tune may reverse its recent flagging fortunes.

The smartphone vendor is working on its own streaming music service, according to a report from GigaOm. The service would purportedly become the default music client on HTC phones and tablets, and pricing and plans are getting worked out.

An HTC representative wasn’t immediately available to comment to CNET.

This wouldn’t be HTC’s first foray into the music scene. Last year, the company acquired a majority stake in Beats Audio, the headphone business started by rapper Dr Dre and music industry executive Jimmy Iovine. While the deal got HTC access to Beats headphones for its phones, GigaOm said the company is now working with Iovine on the streaming music service as well.

With many smartphones running the same Google operating system and offering similar specifications, it’s more important than ever for vendors to ensure their products stand out. HTC had hoped the integration of Beats headphones and audio technology into its phones would turn a few heads, but one of its early offerings, the Rezound for Verizon Wireless, failed to make much of an impact. Music, however, is a key component to the smartphone experience, and HTC could see some success if it can create a service that is different enough.

Of course, HTC would run into a lot of competition. Streaming music services, including Pandora, Slacker and Spotify are already readily available. In many cases, those services are free to use.
Iovine, who has spent years working in the music industry, is seen as someone who could get deals signed with the record labels, GigaOm reported. The service could potentially provide revenue directly to the record labels, as opposed to a third party like Spotify.

HTC could announce the service at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, GigaOm said.
HTC has a press conference planned at the event, and is expected to release a number of new products.

The company has said it is refocusing itself on fewer flagship products in an effort to fend off increasing competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics. While HTC has a lot of fans at the carriers, its products didn’t fare so well last year, and it missed out on crucial flagship positions at the carriers during the holiday season.

HTC and Beats aren’t just looking at streaming music and headphones. The companies reportedly want to sell wireless boomboxes that play music from the mobile devices through a Bluetooth connection. GigaOm said Iovine has been public about his desire to move into other areas of the audio business.
Via CNET

Apple looks to ban Galaxy Nexus in US

Apple has requested a ban on the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the US, claiming that the showcase for Google’s heavily touted Ice Cream Sandwich Android operating system violates four Apple patents.

According to Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents, Apple brought a motion for apreliminary injunction against the device on Thursday (US time) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. A public, redacted version of the filing was made available late on Friday in the US, and the motion was filed simultaneously with a new federal lawsuit, Mueller reports.

The motion, Mueller says, is based on four patents: a “data-tapping” patent, a patent involving Siri and unified search, a new slide-to-unlock patent and a word-completion patent for touchscreen entry of text.
The unified search patent, which involves voice-assistant Siri’s way of searching the net, could be a direct threat to Google’s core search business, Mueller says, and he adds that the word-completion patent may cover functionality involved in Google’s mobile search app.

The “data-tapping” feature, which, for example, lets users tap on a phone number in an email to automatically make a phone call, got Android handset maker HTC into hot water last year, when the International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled that the company had violated Apple’s patent, and said it would enforce a ban on HTC’s products that use the feature. HTC quickly said that it had developed a workaround.
Slide to unlock is currently at play in an Apple legal action against the Galaxy Nexus in Germany, where a resolution of some sort is expected in March.

Earlier this month, a German court rejected Apple’s request to ban the Galaxy Nexus there. Apple had taken issue with Samsung’s products for bearing resemblance to its own products. In this new case, Mueller claims, Apple “focuses completely on strong technical patents”, as opposed to “softer, design-related rights.”

Google and Samsung collaborated closely on the Galaxy Nexus, and unveiled it in October (at which time Samsung claimed that it had been Apple-proofed).

Since the first Nexus One (from HTC), Google has used its line of Nexus phones as a showcase for the latest user interface and features available with the updated version of Android, and the Nexus phones include no OS extensions from carriers. In this case, then, “stock Android itself is at issue”, as Mueller puts it. “This means that Google cannot deny its undivided responsibility for any infringement findings.” Meuller adds that the Galaxy Nexus’ “role as a ‘lead device’ could also contribute to the willingness of the court to order a preliminary injunction.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs thought that Android was a knock-off of his company’s iOS operating system, and famously said that Apple was “going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Since then, the battle between the two companies has only intensified, with information recently surfacing that suggests a Google home-entertainment device may be in the works.

Apple and Samsung, meanwhile, have quickly become fierce competitors in recent years, with a rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets. Their ongoing global legal dispute was kicked off with a US lawsuit filed by Apple against Samsung in April last year, which said that Samsung is violating its intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices, specifically the Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets.

Samsung quickly countersued, saying that Apple is infringing on multiple patents. Since then, Apple has gone after Samsung heavily in Australia and parts of Europe — particularly in Italy and Germany, the latter of which is considered to be friendly to patent holders, and faster than courts in the US.

The loss of cutting-edge features in a mobile device due to patent issues can, of course, hamper the device’s competitiveness. It’s possible however, for companies to devise workarounds that avoid legal problems, but approximate desired functionalities.
Via CNET

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