Episode 284 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Cisco blacklists thousands of legit Aussie mail servers


Thousands of Australian businesses have been unable to send emails this week due to a configuration error in a blacklisting service operated by Cisco Systems.

AussieHQ suggests legitimate mail has been blocked since as far back as Saturday. The web host released a service advisory Saturday noting “clients may be experiencing bouncebacks when sending through our IronPort mail system.”
By Tuesday it became clear that the problem was affecting mail services across the nation, including customers of ISP Internode.

Many organisations use Cisco’s IronPort web reputation service (known as SenderBase) to determine whether to accept emails from a given IP address, as a means to cut down on spam.

Cisco Systems has acknowledged the fault internally and told customers to wait 24 hours until a fix updates on IronPort servers. It remains unclear how much longer afterwards customers will have to wait for their reputation score on Senderbase will return to normal.

Google unveils Terminator glasses project

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Google has released a conceptual video of a project called ‘Glass’ that puts an Apple-like Siri querying engine and a whole lot more into a single-eye lense.

Google’s YouTube video takes you through the day of a person waking up, eating breakfast, setting up a casual meeting at a bookstore, tracking the walk to the store, in wihcih Google Maps is invoked to assist with a Siri-like — or in Google’s case, supposedly called Majel —  voice command tool for doing things like adding reminders to the user’s smartphone calendar.


Foxconn worker leaks iPhone 5 launch date


Foxconn employee has cracked under them on World Business Showcast.

The interviewer asked about employee numbers at the manufacturing plant for future Apple products and was answered, “We’re looking for 18,000 employees…for the fifth-generation phone,” to which the interviewer responded, “Is that because demand is high for the ‘iPhone 5?” And the money shot came with the answer, “That’s right. It will come out in June.”

April Fools! Best online tech gags of 2012

The 8-bit console version of Google Maps adopts a fantasy theme in keeping with famouse NES games like The Legend of Zelda


Toshiba announced three eccentrically shaped tablets: the self-explanatory Oblong, Rhombus and heart-shaped Amore. Perhaps these products would have a better chance of taking on the iPad than Toshiba’s real tablet offerings.


Apple patents the rectangle


Apple’s latest patent dispute concerns “a quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90°, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other.” Or to put it another way, anything shaped like a rectangle.

Apple auditor finds Foxconn violated worker rights


Apple last month commissioned the Fair Labour Association (FLA) to conduct a month-long audit into working conditions at. The company has been repeatedly accused of worker abuse leading to suicides.

After a visit to Foxconn’s Zhengzhou Technology Park in China last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged not to “turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain”, following a report slamming Apple and other companies using Foxconn’s factories for not pushing for better working conditions.

Foxconn pays overtime in 30 minute increments, meaning workers completing up to 29 minutes of overtime do not get paid.

Half the interviewed workers reported working more than eleven days in a row, and during peak production periods, the average number of hours worked per week exceeded 60 hours per worker. No instances of forced or child labour were discovered.  It has pledged to reduce working hours to 49 per week including overtime.

Starting salary at Foxconn is $A274, compared to the Shenzen minimum wage of about $A198.
Average reported salaries range betweenA$344 to $A438 across the three factories.

CSIRO settles suits over wi-fi


Australia’s national science agency will receive $220 million after settling litigation against three US companies to licence the wireless local area network (WLAN) technology it invented in the early 1990s.

it is estimated consumers worldwide will have bought more than five billion products incorporating the invention – from smartphones to laptop computers, games consoles, digital cameras and printers.
To protect the patent, CSIRO has been suing companies which have been using the technology without a licence.

CSIRO will receive more than $220 million after settling the latest round of litigation against AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA.
AT&T and Verizon are the biggest mobile operators in the US, and T-Mobile is the fourth biggest. All three sell smartphones equipped with wi-fi.
In 2009, CSIRO recouped $205 million after settling cases against 14 companies, including Microsoft, HP and Dell.
The agency now has license agreements with 23 companies, which make up about 90 percent of the industry. Revenue from the technology has passed $430 million.

Using their knowledge of radio waves, electrical engineering and signal processing, the scientists invented a way to send large amounts of information very quickly, two way, using radio waves indoors – a particularly difficult environment for radio transmission.

ybuy: Online shopping gets touchy-feely with try before you buy

The site will send you a new product each month, for a monthly subscription fee of $24.95. If you return it, there are no questions asked; if you buy it, the monthly fee goes towards purchase of the product. Shipping is free both ways.

ybuy is trying to solve the major drawback of online shopping: the inability to touch and feel a product before you order it. But it’s also trying to address a little-known fact about retail goods: that a huge percentage is returned to the stores when buyers decide their purchases are unsuitable or change their minds.

Subscribers to the service don’t have to test a gadget each month. Their monthly fee accumulates and goes towards a future purchase.

The service launched recently, currently ships only to the US and is by invitation only

Rovio confirms Angry Birds mobile animation series


will be made into 52 short episodes that will be released on “all possible platforms”.

Angry Birds has now been downloaded more than 700 million times across all platforms and its new game, Angry Birds Space, is number one in nearly 100 app stores across the world.

Ashton Kutcher ‘to star in Steve Jobs biopic’


Actor Ashton Kutcher is to play Steve Jobs in a biopic about the late Apple co-founder, according to Variety.

Production on Jobs, the film, will begin in May and follow his progression from “wayward hippie” to “revered creative entrepreneur”.

Apple devices pass Defence assessment

The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) has authorised the use of Apple devices running the iOS 5 operating system to communicate and store classified information up to the ‘protected’ level in Federal Government.
The decision caps a long-running ban on the use of Apple devices for government personnel dealing in classified information.



Red Bull Mobile ( Vodafone)




iPhone 5 to ‘arrive in June’ says Foxconn worker


4 April, 2012by Ashleigh Allsopp

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will launch in June, according to a recruiter working at a Foxconn factory in China.
The recruiter was filmed speaking about the iPhone 5 by Japanese TV Tokyo’s World Business Satellite program, which was broadcast on Monday.As pointed out by Apple Insider, when asked how many people the factory is going to hire, the Foxconn recruiter said: “We’re looking for 18,000 employees… for the fifth-generation phone.”
When asked if he meant the iPhone 5, the recruiter replied: “That’s right. It will come out in June.”
Though the next iPhone will be the sixth-generation, many people throughout the industry are currently still referring to it as the iPhone 5. It is thought, however, that the next iPhone will follow the naming conventions of the new iPad, scrapping numbers all together.
Foxconn is one of Apple’s principle suppliers, but it is worth noting that it is unlikely Apple has officially revealed its launch schedule to factory workers.
An investigation by the Fair Labour Association has revealed “significant issues” regarding the treatment of workers at Foxconn’s factories, resulting in the promise of reduced hours and improved pay from the company’s chairman.


PM says seat worries have no role in NBN rollout

JULIA Gillard says engineering, not politics, is behind the planned rollout in federal seats of the National Broadband Network.

The Coalition has accused the Gillard government of selecting vulnerable Labor seats, including those of Treasurer Wayne Swan and Trade Minister Craig Emerson, for the rollout of the $36 billion, high-speed network.

Rollout maps published on the NBN Co’s website covering the next three years show intense activity in several Labor seats but with little building in Coalition electorates, sparking opposition claims the government is trying to protect its own seats in next year’s federal election.

But the Prime Minister said the choice of NBN rollout locations was independently arrived at by NBN Co.

“The NBN rollout was determined by NBN Co. – the company that is building the network – and they did it on engineering design,” she said in Adelaide.

“As the CEO Mike Quigley said when we announced the three-year rollout, they had a team of engineers working on the best way to do it and those engineers wouldn’t have even known where the electoral boundaries were between seats.

“The building of the NBN is going to be right around the country, but it’s got to build out rationally from Telstra exchanges and connections points and that’s what explains the three-year rollout plan.”

Latest opinion polling and the landslide results of the Queensland state election suggest Labor would lose all but a handful of federal seats in the state if an election were held today.

Even senior government members such as Wayne Swan and Trade Minister Craig Emerson, whose seats are in Brisbane, are not considered safe.

The NBN Co maps reveal that by the time the next election is due late next year, the rollout would have started across most of the Treasurer’s electorate of Lilley. The rollout is expected to start across most of Dr Emerson’s electorate within three years, with the seats of Kevin Rudd (Griffith) and Bernie Ripoll (Oxley) also lined up for early stages of the NBN while neighbouring Coalition seats will see almost no activity for at least three years.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday denied political pork-barrelling, saying the focus on Labor seats in Brisbane was caused by the fact that the rollout had to begin at main exchanges – or points of interconnect (POIs) – and that in Brisbane most of these were in Labor seats.

He said that outside of Brisbane POIs were located in Coalition-held seats also featuring heavy NBN rollout work.

However, Liberal MP Andrew Laming, whose seat of Bowman will see little NBN activity, said Labor was servicing its own seats, particularly those of ministers, while ignoring neighbouring Coalition electorates.

“The cold, hard reality in Brisbane is that households in Labor seats are eight times more likely to get the NBN than those in Coalition seats,” Dr Laming said. “Worse, the odds are around 50 per cent better if your Labor MP is a minister.

“This is a save-the-political-furniture strategy. They are not targeting marginal seats here. They are just trying to survive.”


Storm brews over iCloud

Charles Wright

April 5, 2012

Apple’s core promises aren’t always in sync with users’ experiences of its products.
IF YOU spend too much time with Apple fans, you’re likely to catch the virus that leads many Apple owners to believe they have entered the computer world’s version of nirvana.

Some could start imagining they are protected by a powerful guardian angel who lives in Cupertino, California.

The reality is, while Apple makes very good hardware and software (and Bleeding Edge has bought and continues to use generations of Macs, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones), its products are by no means flawless.

Our experience suggests Apple is also slower than its competitors at fixing, or even acknowledging the existence of, these problems.

Bleeding Edge was thinking about this only last week, when Apple made several hundred of our contacts apparently disappear from our iPhone.

The fact that we needed to make an urgent call to one of these contacts put us to an inordinate amount of inconvenience but we weren’t panic-stricken.

After all, we had elected to synchronise our contacts by using Apple’s iCloud.

We started to lose our serenity, however, when we entered the angelic realms of the iCloud and called up our Contacts list. It was empty.
A dozen had been retained on the iPhone. Getting them all back – with the aid of users complaining about the problem on one of Apple’s online discussion threads – proved tedious.

First, we had to open the Messages app on the iPhone, view a conversation with a party we knew had been saved in our contacts, then scroll to the top of the message thread and click on ”Contact >”.
With a growing sense of relief, we could see the information was still on the iPhone.
We added a random phone number with the intention of deleting it, pressed the back button and checked our contacts. They had all been miraculously exhumed from electronic graves.
We opened the iCloud app under the iPhone’s settings and turned off the option to save contacts to iCloud. While there, we also turned off everything else.

Clearly, Apple had got something dramatically wrong and we had no intention of trusting a benevolent existence to preserve our data.

Coincidentally, about an hour or so later, one of our readers emailed us with the details of another technical innovation from Apple that had mangled her Outlook 2007 data.

The same problem seems to be plaguing many users around the world and is likely to spread as Windows users increasingly adopt iPads and iPhones and opt to use iCloud, which, according to Apple, is ”the way [the cloud] should be: automatic and effortless”.

When our reader decided to synchronise her Outlook calendar and contacts, however, she found it automatically and effortlessly mangled Outlook, which she uses to store her personal diary and record family, house and garden details, with reminders for various events.

After linking it to the iCloud, she found she could no longer find the Outlook calendar on her PC. She eventually discovered it listed as ”Calendar in iCloud”.
Unfortunately, it no longer supported reminders.

It had also created 3½ pages of tasks, apparently harvested from her emails.

She immediately deactivated iCloud and rebuilt a month’s Outlook notes, using a backup of her .PST file.

Despite that, iCloud left some unwelcome fingerprints.

Recurring reminders set in the past for events are throwing up irritating duplicate reminders.
Worse, when our reader tried to delete the tasks, the software warned that doing so would also delete the associated emails.

She tried deleting the tasks individually but the emails disappeared without warning.

The problem has seriously dented her confidence in her new iPad.

There is some information on the problems at a couple of user forums. They are: bit.ly/H3mZCw and bit.ly/H3n897.

Suggestions for fixing the lost contacts problem at bit.ly/H3ooJz.
Email cwright@theage.com.au.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/iphone/storm-brews-over-icloud-20120403-1w9ay.html#ixzz1r8Rv8eyi

Broadband price plan has telcos up in arms

SOME of the nation’s biggest telcos have called on the competition watchdog to reject the NBN Co’s long-term pricing plan.

A lack of oversight and flimsy pricing controls could damage the interests of consumers and the economy, they warn.

In response to the NBN Co’s “special access undertaking” — an outline of its proposed access and price terms for the next 30 years — Optus warned the economy would be damaged unless the competition watchdog was granted stronger powers to set pricing and settle disputes between access seekers and the NBN Co.

It has demanded the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s oversight of the NBN be “at least as rigorous as equivalent regulatory oversight of other forms of monopoly publicly owned infrastructure”.

Those concerns were echoed by a chorus of others including iiNet, Internode, AAPT and Macquarie, who say in new submissions that the NBN Co’s undertaking should not be accepted by the ACCC until it has been given stronger oversight powers.

“No one in the industry thinks this is acceptable and the SAU in its current form just reflects the failure of NBN Co to engage with the industry and understand these issues and therefore the role of proper regulation of what is essentially a monopoly,” said one senior telecom executive.
“For this document to work it has to deal with all the unintended outcomes that will occur over the next 30 years.”

Full Spectrum: no pork in NBN plan

analysis Coalition MPs this week are claiming NBN Co-targeted Labor electorates in Queensland as places to roll out the NBN, while neglecting neighbouring Liberal National electorates. But is that accurate?

This morning Liberal MPs Paul Fletcher and Andrew Laming claimed that the Labor Government was rolling out the NBN in the Brisbane electorates of Labor MPs Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson, but skipping a number of Liberal electorates in the area.

On the face of it, looking at NBN Co’s roll-out map (above), it’s clear that Rudd’s, Swan’s and Emerson’s electorates are included in the three-year roll-out plan, although not “100 per cent” covered as had been claimed. We can also see that some Liberal electorates are indeed skipped, but that’s not the entire picture.

In announcing the three-year roll-out plan last week, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that the plan covers 67 Labor seats, 61 Liberal or National seats and six crossbench seats. This means that Labor only got six more of its own electorates covered than the Liberals did.

Outside of Brisbane, in Queensland, Cairns is included in the fibre roll-out, which sits in Liberal Nationals MP Warren Entsch’s electorate, and Mackay, which is part of Liberal Nationals MP George Christensen’s electorate, will also be part of the plan.

Looking more broadly at the national map, Mosman, in Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s electorate, is covered by the plan, as is Artarmon and Crows Nest in Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey’s electorate. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull gets a good portion of his electorate covered, with Bellevue Hill, Darling Point, Double Bay, Edgecliff, Point Piper and Woollahra included in the roll-out, and Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Luke Hartsuyker’s electorate gets a look in at Coffs Harbour.

In Victoria, Doncaster in Liberal MP Kevin Andrews’ electorate is included in the plan, as is Horsham in Nationals MP John Forrest’s electorate. In Adelaide, suburbs in the electorates of Liberal MPs Andrew Southcott and Jamie Briggs are covered, and in Perth, parts of Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop’s electorate in the suburb of Subiaco are included in the three-year plan.

This is just a small sample of some of the Liberal electorates that NBN Co has specified will be included over the course of the next three years under the current plan.

When NBN Co came to pick where it would roll-out over the next three years, the company said it had a number of factors to consider:

  • To follow the government’s directive to roll out the network somewhat equally between metro and regional areas and to roll it out equally between all of the states and territories
  • To avoid ending up with a patchwork roll-out by building out from the existing five mainland trial sites in Kiama, Brunswick, Townsville, Armidale and Willunga
  • To complete the Tasmanian portion of the roll-out by 2015, where there are no coalition electorates
  • To build out the transit network for the fibre roll-out and to build out to the 121 points of interconnect for the NBN, which means building out to existing Telstra exchanges that NBN Co will re-use as part of the $11 billion Telstra deal
  • To meet the government’s directive for NBN Co to roll out fibre to new housing estates, which means going to areas where there is likely to be a lot of housing developments, as well as building out from housing developments where NBN Co has already begun hooking up fibre services.

All this is rather technical, and cutting the network roll-out up based on electorate boundaries would seem even more complicated.

NBN Co earlier this week said that another factor the company had to consider was the best use of construction resources so that the company could achieve a continuous roll-out rather than stopping in one place and starting in another.

What do you think? Is the Coalition right in saying Labor is leaving out Liberal electorates from the three-year roll-out plan deliberately or do you believe NBN Co’s methodology is what guided its hand?

Anonymous turns its fire on China

Hacktivist group Anonymous has finally turned its attention to the People’s Republic of China, claiming to have defaced more than 480 web sites over the past few days including government sites, whilst urging Chinese hackers to join its cause.

The group apparently began its campaign in the region with the launch of its AnonymousChina Twitter account, which seems to have begun tweeting on 30 March.

In a list posted to Pastebin, the group claimed to have defaced over 480 sites, including several belonging to regional Chinese government organisations in areas such as Chengdu and Dalian.

In several separate posts Anonymous also claimed to have hacked and leaked user names, password details, phone numbers and emails from various government sites.

All the sites on the list we tried now appear to have been taken down, although the Wall Street Journal managed to take a screen grab showing the following message in English:

Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible, today websites are hacked, tomorrow it will be your vile regime that will fall. So expect us because we do not forgive, never. What you are doing today to your Great People, tomorrow will be inflicted to you. With no mercy.

According to the WSJ, the message also contained a link to an Anonymous site detailing how Chinese web users can bypass the Great Firewall, although at the time of writing this site appears to have been killed.

Not content with that, the group also posted another message to Pastebin, urging the Chinese people to revolt.

“So, we are writing this message to tell you that you should protest, you should revolt yourself protesting and who has the skills for hacking and programming and design and other ‘computer things’ come to our IRC,” the note read.

This is the first major Anonymous campaign targeting China, which is somewhat strange given the government’s hardline stance on web censorship and human rights – two issues guaranteed to get the group’s attention.

In fact, the hacking of several minor regional government sites is unlikely to cause much consternation at Communist Party headquarters, and the group’s messages on Pastebin and posted on the defaced sites will largely have failed to reach their audience given that they were written in English.
Anonymous seems to be working on the latter issue, however, having sent a tweet out calling for help from would-be translators.

Given China’s strict web controls on social media, it’s unlikely that the group will be able to broadcast its message on platforms such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, so for the time being it’ll have to stick to Twitter – banned in China – and defacing web sites. ®

‘Flashback’ trojan estimated to have infected 600K Macs worldwide
By Josh Ong

A trojan horse virus named “Flashback” that surfaced last year is believed to have created a botnet including more than 600,000 infected Macs around the world, with more than half of them in the U.S. alone.

Russian antivirus company Dr. Web issued a report on Wednesday noting that 550,000 computers running OS X had been infected by BackDoor.Flashback variants of the virus, as highlighted by ArsTechnica.

An analyst for the company later updated the figure to note that the size of the botnet had reached 600,00. He also pointed out that 274 bots are originating from Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif.

According to a map released by the firm, 56.6 percent of infected computers are located in the United States. Canada was second with 19.8 percent, followed by the U.K. with 12.8 percent of cases.

Apple released a Java Security update on Tuesday to resolve the vulnerabilities that the virus is exploiting, but not before a number of Mac users had been hit with the malicious software. Oracle first issued a fix for the vulnerability in February.

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