Episode 294 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

Australian banks, universities set sights on new top-level domains
three of Australia’s four banks. ANZ has applied for .anz, NAB has applied for .nab and .ubank, while the Commonwealth Bank applied for three: .netbank, .commbank and .cba.

A number of Australian unversitities also took advantage of the first round of new TLDs: Bond University applied for .bond, LatTrobe University applied for .latrobe, Monash for .monash and RMIT for .rmit. Open Universities Australia applied for .courses and .study.

Broadcaster SBS has applied for .sbs, Australia Post applied for .auspost, AMP applied for .amp, and Telstra applied for .yellowpages. Channel Seven applied for .seven and CPA Australia applied for .cpa. The Australian Cancer Research Foundation applied for .cancerresearch.
Some of the Australian applicants known prior to ICANN’s unveiling of the full list of applications last night include .afl (applied for by the AFL), .iinet (ISP iiNet), .physio (applied for by WA physiotherapist Glenn Ruscoe). TheNSW and Victorian governments were known to be applying for .sydney and .melbourne.

Worldwide, over 10 per cent of the applied for domains have more than one applicant, subjecting them to ICANN’s dispute-resolution process.

Domain Applicant
AFL AFL
AMP AMP
ANZ Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
AUSPOST AusPost
BEST BestTLD Pty Ltd
BOND Bond University
BOOK Global Domain Registry Pty Ltd
CANCERRESEARCH Australian Cancer Research Foundation
CBA Commonwealth Bank of Australia
CEO CEOTLD Pty Ltd
COMMBANK Commonwealth Bank of Australia
COMPARE iSelect Ltd
COURSES Open Universities Australia
CPA CPA Australia
FILM Motion Picture Domain Registry Pty Ltd
GLOBALX GlobalX Information Pty Limited
IINET Connect West Pty. Ltd.
ISELECT iSelect Ltd
KRED KredTLD Pty Ltd
LATROBE La Trobe University
MELBOURNE Victorian state government
MONASH Monash University
MOVIE Motion Picture Domain Registry Pty Ltd
NAB National Australia Bank
NETBANK Commonwealth Bank of Australia
PHYSIO PhysBiz Pty Ltd
RMIT Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
SALON Aesthetics Practitioners Advisory Network Pty Ltd
SBS SBS
SEEK Seek Limited
SELECT iSelect Ltd
SEVEN Seven West Media Ltd
STUDY Open Universities Australia
SYDNEY NSW state government
TAB Tabcorp Holdings Limited
TENNIS Tennis Australia
UBANK National Australia Bank
WEBJET Webjet Limited
WOODSIDE Woodside Petroleum
YELLOWPAGES Telstra


Kogan slaps 6.8 per cent tax on IE7 users
The world first tax will be applied to all products on the Kogan.com website when accessed through IE7. “Internet Explorer 7 has long since passed its use-by date. It’s a constant source of frustration for our web guys and we’re sick of burning cash on a browser that hit the market nearly six years ago. It goes against everything Kogan stands for,” said Ruslan Kogan, Kogan founder and CEO, in a statement.

Kogan, which recently made the switch to IPv6, has rationalised that for every month since IE7 has been released, it has applied a 0.1 per cent tax, totaling 6.8 per cent.
Kogan said technology companies such as itself should not have to unnecessarily spend money sustaining out-dated technology such as IE7.

“We don’t believe our customers are to blame for Internet Explorer 7, so we have included a popup on the site which encourages them to avoid the tax by simply upgrading their browser,” Kogan said.
“As Internet citizens, we all have a responsibility to make the Internet a better place. By taking these measures, we are doing our bit.


Amazon claims one trillion in Simple Storage Service
Amazon’s Jeff Barr described that landmark number in vivid terms on the Amazon Web Services blog.
“That’s 142 objects for every person on Planet Earth or 3.3 objects for every star in our Galaxy,” Barr wrote. “If you could count one object per second it would take you 31,710 years to count them all.”

The company said it has made deleting files easier with its Object Expiration feature, which helps remove objects after a pre-defined time period and which has deleted more than 125 billion objects since its release at the end of 2011.

Amazon S3 ended 2011 with more than 762 billion objects stored, showing year-over-year growth of 192 percent.


iOS 6 jailbroken
Although iOS 6 isn’t set to land until later this year, developers have early access to Apple’s latest mobile OS, and one in particular – MuscleNerd – has already reported a successful jailbreak.
Th dev-come-hacker has however stated that a final version is sill a long way off, with an untethered jailbreak (one that doesn’t require you to connect your iDevice to your laptop each time it reboots) even further off even still.
MuscleNerd also hinted at the possiblity a jailbroken iPhone 3GS would be able to use full GPS features again, thanks to the new Maps app in iOS 6.


Apple reportedly about to axe Ping social network
Ping, which debuted in September 2010, never managed to gain much excitement or users so Apple is abandoning the network, according to a report in All Things D late Tuesday.
Citing unnamed sources, the report noted that Ping, which runs in iTunes 10.6.3 and the iOS 6 beta, will be gone with the software’s next major release, which is expected this fall. After Ping is history, the company will focus on partnering with Facebook and Twitter.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it’s integrating Facebook into its operating system software. At the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said Facebook will be integrated into the iOS software that runs the iPhone and iPad, as well as into the latest OS X version, Mountain Lion.


Apple faces $2.25m fine for iPad 4G claims
Apple asked presiding Justice Mordecai Bromberg last week in the Federal Court in Melbourne to accept its proposed settlement of  $2.25 million for advertising the latest iPad as a 4G-capable device under a settlement with the Australian competition watchdog.
In addition to the penalties, Apple would also contribute $300,000 to the ACCC’s legal costs.
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the company would accept the settlement, pending acceptance next week by Justice Bromberg.


Apple removes “more secure than Windows” claims
Apple recently changed the wording in the “Why You’ll Love A Mac” section of its website, removing longstanding claims about Macs being more secure than Windows PCs.

For years, Apple’s marketing has centered on the notion that Mac users are immune to the malware that routinely causes headaches for PC users.

Here is how Apple used to phrase this: “A Mac isn’t susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers. That’s thanks to built-in defenses in Mac OS X that keep you safe, without any work on your part.”

But sometime in the past few days, Apple changed this message to read: “Built-in defenses in OS X keep you safe from unknowingly downloading malicious software on your Mac.”
Apple also changed its description of OS X from “It doesn’t get PC viruses” to “It’s built to be safe”.

Next month, Apple is slated to take part in the Black Hat security conference for the first time. Dallas De Atley, manager of the platform security team, will give a talk there on key security technologies in iOS.
On Monday at the opening of its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple offered insight into the security improvements in OS X Mountain Lion, which is slated for release in July. The big new feature is Gatekeeper, a security mechanism that allows OS X developers to digitally sign their apps, thereby preventing users from accidentally installing malicious software.


Microsoft to charge tablet makers $95 for Windows RT: report
Microsoft intends to charge tablet manufacturers between $US80 and $US95 for each copy of Windows RT, a relatively high price that could make Windows-based tablets less competitive with devices running Google’s free Android mobile operating system.

With sales of mobile devices – smart phones and tablet computers – out-selling traditional desktop PCs, Microsoft is in danger of losing its market relevance unless it can become a major player in tablets and smartphones.


Twitter passwords leaked
Usernames and passwords of Twitter members using file-sharing application TweetGif have been leaked to the internet by a group of hackers
“LulzSec Reborn” spilled around 10,000 personal details of TweetGif users – including real names and locations.

A spokesperson for Twitter said TweetGif’s use of authorisation protocol OAuth meant none of its user passwords were exposed.
“We can confirm that all Twitter account passwords have remained secure, and no breach of our systems has occurred in connection with the events experienced by TweetGif. Regarding how TweetGif  was compromised, we can’t speak on their behalf,” in said in a statement to the Huffington Post.


Vocus lays cross-harbour fibre
Data centre and telecommunications provider Vocus has laid two new fibre links across Sydney Harbour in a bid to decrease connection latency between the city’s financial district and the recently opened ASX data centre in Gore Hill, north of the bridge.

A total of 1.6 kilometres of armoured fibre was laid from Dawes Point in Sydney’s CBD to Milsons Point, and from Dawes Point to Blues Point.

Vocus chief executive officer James Spenceley said the links were 400 metres shorter than existing links between the CBD and the ASX’s Australian Liquidity Centre, thus transmitting data microseconds faster.
The project was seven months in the making and involved 20 contractors and custom, 312-core single-mode optical fibre cable from manufacturer Prysmian Cable Systems.


Skype to run in-call ads
Skype has begun embedding ads into video chat windows in the first major change to the business since its acquisition by Microsoft in May last year.

Skype said “users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skyper users and highlight unique and local brand experiences”.

Skype will serve ads from Microsoft’s advertising network, with plans for “additional commercial experiences in the future”.


Telstra trial detects 5.4 per cent botnet infection rate
Telstra has successfully trialed using DNS poisoning to prevent botnets on the BigPond network

Telstra was pleased by a trial of Nominum’s Network Protection System which used data to acquire domain names used by botnets to communicate with their “mother ships,“The entire premise of this is to blacklist, or poison if you like, the domain names associated with the command-and-control service.” Testra explained.

In the trial, Telsta looked at 1 million IP addresses on BigPond and found that 5.4 per cent showed signs of being infected by a botnet.  In the U.S., Comcast has “admitted up to [a] 15 percent infection ratio

In all of Australia, 10 per cent of all fixed connections are infected by botnets, and 5 per cent on wireless

In a weekly “repeated sightings” report, the Australian Communications and Media Authority usually reports 5,000 to 6,000 infected IP addresses seen 10 or more times in a 14-day period


 ERIK’S SHOWNOTES

MacBook Pro, just one point short of perfection

 

June 14, 2012 – 10:22AM

 

REVIEW

 

If you could design your dream laptop, how would you describe it?

 

Superfast. Superthin. Superlight. Superlong battery life. Immense storage. Enough memory to keep lots of programs open at once. Stunning screen, comfortable keyboard, terrific sound. Fast start-up, rugged body, gorgeous looks.

 

And, of course, inexpensive.

 

The new Apple laptop that went on sale Monday hits an impressive number of those high notes in one radical swoop. As you might guess, the one it misses by the biggest margin is “inexpensive.”

 

Then again, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is intended for professionals — photographers, video editors, musicians and other people whose laptop is the heart of everyday work. If they can scrounge up $AUD2499 (for the base model) to $AUD4299 (for the died-and-gone-to-heaven model), they’ll be well rewarded. And if the early online reaction is any indication, a lot of them are already scrounging — if they’re not mopping the drool from their chins.

 

It’s been four years since Apple last redesigned its laptops. In that time, a funny thing happened to the computer industry: the MacBook Air. It’s a crazy thin aluminum wedge, two-thirds of an inch at its thickest point, that weighs very little, starts up very quickly and turns a lot of heads.

 

Apple achieved those goals by throwing out some then-standard features. A DVD drive. An Ethernet jack. And, most alarmingly of all, a hard drive.

 

Instead of the traditional spinning platters of a hard drive, the MacBook Air has flash storage — that is, memory chips that store all your programs and files even when the computer is turned off.

 

Flash storage has a number of benefits. It’s rugged, because there are no moving parts. It’s fast, especially in starting the computer and opening programs. It saves battery power, because there are no mechanical discs to spin. It’s silent. And it’s tiny, so the laptop itself can be thinner.

 

But flash drives are much, much more expensive than spinning hard drives. The prices are falling steadily, but flash storage won’t match the capacity of a hard drive for the same price any time soon.

 

Anyway, despite its price (now $AUD1099 and up), the MacBook Air eventually became popular, and now you can get beautiful, thin Windows laptops, called ultrabooks, built on the same concept.

 

All of this brings us to the new MacBook Pro. Apple evidently felt that the price and capacity of flash storage had finally reached a point where it could replace hard drives in the company’s pro laptops; indeed, for $AUD600 above the base price, you can get the new machine with a 768-gigabyte flash drive. That’s not quite as much storage as you can get on the existing MacBook Pro in hard drive form (1 terabyte), but it’s not cramped.

 

Since there’s no hard drive or DVD drive, Apple could make the new machine much thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which Apple still sells (for $500 less). The new laptop is only 0.7 inch thick — about the same as the fat end of a MacBook Air — and weighs 4.5 pounds. It’s not the thinnest or lightest 15-incher (the Samsung Series 9 is fractionally thinner and 0.8 pound lighter, for example), but it’s easily one-handable.

 

Apple calls the new machine the “most beautiful computer we’ve ever made.” The MacBook Air begs to differ. Even so, this new laptop certainly is pretty; it wouldn’t even make it past the lobby of the Ugly Museum Hall of Fame.

 

The guts are top of the line and sizzling fast: the latest quad-core Intel processor, Bluetooth 4.0, a memory card slot and a cooling fan that has asymmetrical blades. That’s to make the fan quieter, since irregular blades spread the air noise over multiple frequencies. (Wow, Apple — perfectionist much?)

 

I didn’t sit there with a stopwatch, but I can attest that the “7-hour” battery easily lasts a full day of work, provided you break for lunch and a couple of phone calls. An HDMI jack appears on this Mac for the first time, for one-cable connection to TV sets and projectors (there is no traditional video jack).

 

It also has terrific-sounding, powerful stereo speakers and dual microphones. Why dual? Because dictation — talk-to-type — is a new feature in the coming version of the Mac OS, Mountain Lion. Apple says that two mikes offer better background-noise elimination when you’re speaking.

 

But you know what? Innards, schminnards. The headline component of the new MacBook Pro will hit you between the eyes the minute you open its lid: a Retina display.

 

That’s Apple’s term for a screen with such high resolution — so many tiny dots — that you can’t make out individual pixels, even if you smash your face against the glass like a loon. Retina displays already distinguish the latest iPhone and iPad models, but this is the first real computer to get one, and it really is eye-popping.

 

The resolution of this screen is 2,880 by 1,1800 pixels. That’s 5.1 million tiny dots, compared with 1 million or 2 million on a typical 15-inch laptop. It’s the highest-resolution laptop screen in the world.

 

Videos, photos and text benefit from this astonishingly sharp screen. However, keep in mind that the programs you use won’t look any sharper until they’re updated for the Retina screen. The standard Apple apps have been updated or will be shortly: Safari, Mail, Aperture, iMovie, Final Cut, iPhoto. Updates for Photoshop and Autodesk are on the way.

 

Even in most nonupdated programs, menus, dialogue boxes and typed text get sharpened automatically. But in a few programs, text looks jagged and awful on the Retina screen. Amazon Kindle Reader, the Barnes & Noble reader and Chrome fall in this category. (Amazon says an update is on the way; the other two haven’t promised anything, but it’s a good bet.)

 

That wait-for-updates business doesn’t add up to much of an objection to this dream machine. But other disappointments may.

 

For example, this laptop has only two USB jacks. True, they’re combination USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 — you can plug in either kind of gadget, and the laptop automatically gives you the best possible speed and power. But rival laptops have more USB jacks.

 

As though to compensate, you get two Thunderbolt jacks, which are supposed to be high-speed miracle connectors for hard drives, screens and other add-ons. Unfortunately, there aren’t many yet.

 

Remember, too, that this MacBook Air-inspired laptop lacks both a DVD drive and an Ethernet jack. Apple says that Wi-Fi is everywhere now, and if you want to watch a movie, you can stream it from the Internet.

 

Frankly, that’s a typically too-soon Apple conclusion. Wi-Fi isn’t everywhere, and lots of movies aren’t available legally for streaming. (Besides, ever fly on a plane? You can’t stream any movies at all if the flight doesn’t have Wi-Fi.)

 

As a workaround, you can buy an external DVD drive ($89) and Ethernet adapter ($35).

 

Final bummer: The new MacBook’s svelte figure demanded a new power-cord design. Apple’s MagSafe connector has always been a perk of Apple laptops: The power cord attaches magnetically, so you don’t drag the computer off the desk when you trip on its cord. Until now, all MacBooks had the same MagSafe connector.

 

Not anymore. The new MacBook (and this week’s updated MacBook Air) requires a narrower MagSafe connector. Earlier power adapters won’t fit this laptop (at least without Apple’s $11,99 adapter), and vice versa — a crushing disappointment to anyone who’s paid $89 each for power cords to keep in different places.

 

Overall, then, how does the new laptop fare on the Ultimate Laptop Wish List? Extremely well. It tops the charts on screen, keyboard, sound, start-up time, looks, battery life and fast/thin/light. It can have copious memory (up to 16 gigabytes) and storage, for a handsome fee.

 

And inexpensive? Not even close. But as with cars, homes and partners, you can’t have everything. Professionals, commence your scrounging.

 

The New York Times

 

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/macbook-pro-just-one-point-short-of-perfection-20120614-20bh6.html#ixzz1xkOXDZIL

 

Apple Announces iOS 6 with Siri Improvements, Facebook Integration, New Maps App, Passbook for Fall Release

 

At today’s WWDC keynote event, Apple announced the next version of its operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. iOS 6 will feature new functionality for Siri, Facebook integration, a revamped Maps app, Shared Photo Streams via iCloud, and more.

 

iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.

 

In iOS 6, Siri will gain new capabilities to provide sports scores and schedules, make restaurant reservations via OpenTable, find local movie listings and even launch apps. Siri will also debut in new languages including Spanish, Italian, and French.

 

Facebook integration will be much like the current Twitter integration in iOS 5 with a system-wide log-in and the ability to quickly post from within apps. Contacts can be updated automatically using information obtained through Facebook. Third-party developers will be able to add this functionality easily with a public API.

 

A new Do Not Disturb mode allows users to schedule when notifications should not cause any sounds or visual alerts. The iPhone’s Phone app will get new options to reply with a text message or prompt a reminder to return a call later when an incoming call arrives.

 

Shared Photo Streams lets you choose photos to share with selected family and friends. Shared photos can be viewed by others on iOS devices, iPhoto and Aperture on a Mac, or on the web or through an Apple TV.

 

Passbook is a new wallet app that will consolidate payment cards and electronic tickets. For example, customers at Starbucks can make payments using their Gold Card throughPassbook. Also, movie tickets purchased through Fandango can be redeemed through Passbook. Airline boarding passes and even sporting event tickets will be accessible through Passbook as well. A new API will offer developers access to Passbook.

 

As expected, Apple has revamped the Maps app with its own map data. It will offer integration with Yelp for business listings and traffic information sourced anonymously and in real-time from iOS users. Turn-by-turn navigation will also debut in the new Maps app and guidance can be triggered by Siri.

 

iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, 2nd-generation iPad and later, and the 4th-generation iPod touch and will be available in the fall. A beta will be available to developers today.

 

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/11/apple-announces-ios-6-with-siri-improvements-facebook-integration-new-maps-app-passbook-for-fall-release/

Apple Introduces “Next Generation MacBook Pro” with 15.4″ Retina Display, Starts at $2199

 

At WWDC today, Apple introduced a third line of notebook computers that Phil Schiller called the “Next Generation MacBook Pro.” He noted that the company was “willing to discard old, legacy things” to make a new notebook that was radically thin and light. An Apple video called it “the very best computer that we’ve ever built.”

 

The new MacBook Pro — which is in addition to the existing line of Pro’s, which was also updated today — is built around a 15.4″ Retina display at a 2880×1880 resolution, 220 ppi with 5,184,000 pixels, with a display that is built directly into the unibody construction to make the notebook lighter.

 

It includes quad-core Ivy Bridge processors up to 2.8GHz and turbo boost up to 3.7GHz, up to 16GB of MacBook Air-like non-upgradable 1600MHz RAM, and a maximum of 768GB of next generation flash storage. The new Pro weighs in at 4.46 pounds and is 0.71″ thick, but does not include a MacBook Air-like tapered body. There is no optical drive.

 

Apple has developed a new type of fan to keep the machine cool. It uses an asymmetrical blade system to cool the machine while being as quiet as possible. Apple claims the thermal management system operates in a way that is nearly imperceptible to the user.

 

Apple claims 7 hours of battery life with 30 days of standby time. It includes an SD slot, HDMI, and a USB 3.0/2.0 combo port on the right side, and a MagSafe power port, two Thunderbolt ports, another USB 3.0/2.0 port and a headphone jack on the left. Apple will soon begin offering a Firewire 800 and Gigabit Ethernet to Thunderbolt adapters. The machine also includes “the best stereo speakers ever put into a desktop or notebook” and dual microphones.

 

Pricing begins at $2,199 for the base model with the Retina display, a 2.3GHz quad-core Ivy Bridge i7, 8GB of RAM, a NVidia GeForce GT 650M 1GB graphics card, and 256GB of flash storage. The Next Generation MacBook Pro begins shipping today.

 

Regarding the Retina display, Apple will ship a special build of Lion with HiDPI support built-in, and will include updated versions of iPhoto, Mail and Safari to support the increased resolution. Final Cut Pro and Aperture are also receiving updates as well. Apple has been working with major developers to get their apps updated, including Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk’s AutoCAD, and Blizzard’s Diablo III.

Apple Announces Dictation, iCloud Tabs, and ‘Power Nap’ Features in OS X Mountain Lion, Available in July for $19.99

 

At today’s WWDC keynote event, Apple announced a release timeframe and pricing for Mountain Lion, the next version of the Mac operating system which was previewed earlier this year. Executives also gave a preview of some new features including dictation, iCloud Tabs, and Power Nap. Mountain Lion will be released in July through the Mac App Store for $19.99 and all Macs purchased starting today can receive an upgrade for free.

 

The new dictation feature will be integrated throughout the operating system to allow dictation anywhere to enter text. Dictation was previously rumored in May when resource files in Safari listed keyboard shortcuts that pointed to dictation functions.

 

iCloud Tabs, a new feature in Safari on the Mac, was also demonstrated. iCloud Tabs will show all tabs open in Safari on all other iOS devices and Macs logged in to the same iCloud account. Safari also gains a unified search and address bar to streamline its interface.

 

Power Nap is a new feature that will carry out functions while a Mac is charging and sleeping. New emails will be downloaded, Time Machine will automatically run, app updates will be applied and other actions will be carried out with Power Nap, which will be available on the new ultra-thin MacBook Pro that was announced today and second-generation and later MacBook Airs.

 

Apple first previewed Mountain Lion in February, highlighting many features already present in iOS, including Messages, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Game Center and more at that time.

 

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/06/11/apple-announces-dictation-icloud-tabs-and-power-nap-features-in-os-x-mountain-lion-available-in-july-for-19-99/

iOS 6 Features You Might Have Missed

Apple says iOS 6 contains more than 200 new features and enhancements, so here’s a closer look at less-publicized new iOS features coming this fall.

By Lex Friedman, Macworld    Jun 14, 2012 1:36 am
On Monday, Apple offered the first glimpse of iOS 6 during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Though the updated mobile operating system won’t arrive until sometime this fall, it’s never too early to start drooling over the new features. We already covered the flagship features of iOS 6—like seriously updated Siri, majorly overhauled Maps, and systemwide Facebook integration—so here’s a look at some cool features coming in iOS 6 that you may have missed.

A new Share screen

In iOS 5, when you tap to share a photo, you get a long list of sharing actions to choose from—whether it’s posting to Twitter, sending an email or iMessage, or some other option. iOS 6 adds Facebook sharing as an option, along with sharing to various Chinese social networks. (That’s a nod to how important the Chinese market has become to Apple.) But Apple decided against cramming more buttons into that panel.
Instead, iOS 6 presents you with a new, icon-based sharing screen. It uses icons to represent the apps and services that you can share your content with and looks quite a bit like the iPhone’s home screen.

New Siri functionality

Flagship features added to Siri include the voice-driven personal assistant’s arrival on the third-generation iPad. Siri also gains the ability to answer questions about sports and movies in iOS 6, and it will be integrated with turn-by-turn directions in Maps. But the virtual assistant gains several other new features as well that might have escaped your attention.
In iOS 6, you’ll be able to compose new tweets and Facebook status updates with Siri—and both capabilities appear to be implemented smartly: If you link your friends’ Twitter usernames to their Contacts entries, Siri automatically translates their real names as you dictate. That is, if I say, “Tweet ‘Excellent dinner last night with Jason Snell, Dan Moren, and Serenity Caldwell,’” Siri will automatically compose a tweet like “Excellent dinner last night with @jsnell, @dmoren, and @settern.”
On the new iPad, Siri can answer questions about weather and stocks, even though Apple hasn’t (yet) ported its Weather and Stocks apps to the iPad. Apple did show a glimpse of a new default Clock app for the iPad, so we won’t be shocked if Stocks and Weather finally make the leap to the big screen before iOS 6’s official release, too.

Spotlight tweak

If you have lots of apps, sometimes it’s hard to figure out precisely which homescreen they’re located on. In iOS 6, Spotlight makes that at least a smidgen easier, by listing the name of the folder a particular app is nestled inside when it appears in the search results.

Reminders improvements

Apple introduced the Reminders app in iOS 5, and it looks to score some helpful updates in iOS 6. Apple says that you’ll be able to set location-based reminders from the iPad. Even better, you’ll be able to tap in addresses where you’d like to be reminded manually, a feature currently missing from Reminders; at present, you can only set reminders for locations linked to addresses for your existing contacts.
Also new in Reminders will be the ability to reorder your tasks as desired. And Apple told developers that iOS 6 includes a new Reminders API, which should make it possible for third-party apps to integrate with the Reminders database. That means that you could use Siri to set Reminders which would in turn be visible in your third-party task management app of choice.

Call rejection

Sometimes, you can’t take a call when your iPhone starts ringing. You can already quickly send a call to voicemail by tapping the Ignore button, but iOS 6 adds more powerful options for when you’re too busy to answer. When your phone rings, you’ll see a button on the screen akin to the new camera shortcut on the lock screen in iOS 5.1—a switch that you slide up to trigger.
When you do so, you’ll see options to send the caller a message, or to remind yourself to call the person back later. If you choose to send a message, iOS offers several default options; you can also save custom responses. Your iPhone will then attempt to iMessage or SMS the caller with your note, while also sending them straight to your voicemail.

Other features

Near the end of the iOS portion of the keynote, Apple showed a slide listing a host of other features included in the iOS 6 update. Among those were Game Center challenges, the ability to connect Game Center friends from Facebook, VoiceOver improvements, personal dictionary in iCloud (for adding your own terms to the dictionary, which can sync between devices), and per-account signatures in Mail. Also on the list was improved privacy, which—as a new option in Settings—will let you control which apps can access which bits of personal data, like your Contacts, Calendar, or Photos. Other features on the list included autocorrection for every keyboard, Bluetooth MAP support (which is commonly used to help cars better offer hands-free communication with Bluetooth devices), kernel ASLR (which aims to make data even more impervious to snooping from malicious attackers), custom vibrations for alerts, redesigned stores (for the App and iTunes stores), IPv6 support for Wi-Fi and LTE, word highlights for speak selection, improved keyboard layouts, alarms with songs, and faster JavaScript in Safari. Apple also says iOS 6 includes a global HTTP proxy option, which would supplant the current approach, limited as it is to per-connection proxy settings.
Other features for developers include audio and video sampling during playback, Pass Kit (for interacting with Passbook), VoiceOver gestures, the ability to control camera focus and exposure, a Web Audio API, Game Center in-app experience, game groups, video stabilization, frame drop data, pull-to-refresh on Table views, a means of supporting in-app purchases of iTunes Store-hosted content, in-app Bluetooth pairing, remote Web Inspector, rich text on label fields and text views, CSS filters, crossfade with CSS animations, and a face detection API.
Lex Friedman is a Macworld staff writer.

Skype ads to rake in millions for new owner Microsoft

 

THE days of ad-free calls on Skype are over with Microsoft turning it into a cash cow by inserting video ads into online calls.

 

Skype yesterday began showing callers on-screen ads while they use the globally popular Internet telephone service.

 

The change will allow Microsoft, which has bought Skype and its massive database of users, to rake in millions of dollars of advertising revenue from showing ads to video callers.

 

What the Skype euphemistically referred to as “conversation ads” will now appear in calling windows of users who don’t pay for subscriptions, or have credits in accounts at the service.

 

“We’re excited to introduce ‘conversation ads’ as an opportunity for marketers to reach our hundreds of millions of connected users,” Sandhya Venkatachalam said in a post at the official Skype blog.

 

“While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.”

 

The silent conversation ads are available to marketers where ever Skype is available and will be shown during free Skype-to-Skype calls on computer’s powered by Microsoft’s Windows software, according to Venkatachalam.

 

Microsoft’s Skype Internet telephone service hopes to quadruple the number of users to get to one billion, division president Tony Bates said two weeks ago at an All Things Digital conference in California.

 

Bates, who heads the unit that was acquired by Microsoft last year but operates autonomously, said growth will come from mobile users and from partnerships like the one Skype has with Facebook.

 

He cited Facebook as a key to growth for Skype, which now has 250 million users.

 

He said Skype can use the reach of Microsoft, the world’s biggest software firm, to expand its presence, but without limiting itself to the Windows platform.

 

Skype users can make low-cost or free phone calls over the Internet using their computers or smartphones.

 

Skype bypasses the standard telephone network by channeling voice and video calls over the Web.

Businesses dominate bids for Internet suffixes

 

By ANICK JESDANUN

 

NEW YORK

 

Amazon.com wants “.joy,” Google wants “.love” and L’Oreal wants “.beauty.”

 

Big brands are behind hundreds of proposals for new Internet addresses, including scores for generic terms such as “cruise,” “.kids” and “.tires.”

 

If approved, Amazon could use “.author” in an attempt to dominate online bookselling, while Google could use “.love” to collect registration fees from its rivals.

 

Amazon and Google also are vying for “.app” and “.music,” while the wine company Gallo Vineyards Inc. wants “.barefoot.”

 

It’s all part of the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s, a process likely to cause headaches for some companies while creating vast opportunities for others.

 

The organization in charge of Internet addresses, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, announced the proposals for Internet suffixes Wednesday. A suffix is the “.com” part in a domain name.

 

The bids now go through a review that could take months or years. Up to 1,000 suffixes could be added each year.

 

There were 1,930 proposals for 1,409 different suffixes. The bulk of proposals that met the May 30 deadline came from North America and Europe. About 100 were for suffixes in non-English characters, including Chinese, Arabic and Thai.

 

From a technical standpoint, the names let Internet-connected computers know where to send email and locate websites. But they’ve come to mean much more. For Amazon.com Inc., for instance, the domain name is the heart of the company, not just an address.

 

A new suffix could be used to identify sites that have a certain level of security protection. It could be used to create online neighborhoods of businesses affiliated with a geographic area or an industry. French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, for instance, proposed “.beauty” as a home for beauty products and general information on personal beauty.

 

“The Internet is about to change forever,” ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom declared. “We’re standing at the cusp of a new era of online innovation, innovation that means new businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, new ways to link communities and share information.”

 

But there’s a question of how useful the new names will be. Alternatives to “.com” introduced over the past decade have had mixed success. These days, Internet users often find websites not by typing in the address but by using a search engine. And with mobile devices getting more popular, people are using apps to bypass Web browsers entirely.

 

Many businesses worry that they’ll have to police the Internet for addresses that misuse their brands, in many cases paying to register names simply to keep them away from others. It was one thing having some 300 suffixes; it’s another to have thousands.

 

“One thing that’s going to occur is a lot of money is going to get sucked out of the ecosystem,” said Lauren Weinstein, co-founder of People For Internet Responsibility and a strong critic of ICANN. “The cost is billions and billions of dollars with no value returned to people and an enormous capacity for confusion.”

 

One worry is that an expansion will mean more addresses available to scam artists who use similar-sounding names such as “Amazom” rather than “Amazon” to trick people into giving passwords and credit card information.

 

The public now has 60 days to comment on the proposals. There’s also a seven-month window for filing objections, including claims of trademark violation.

 

Of the 1,930 proposals, 1,179 were unique and 751 were for 230 different suffixes. ICANN will hold an auction if competing bidders cannot reach a compromise. Most of the duplicate bids were for generic names, though the Guardian newspaper and The Guardian Life Insurance Co. both sought “.guardian.”

 

Bidders had to pay $185,000 per proposal. If approved, each suffix would cost at least $25,000 a year to maintain, with a 10-year commitment required. By comparison, a personal address with a common suffix such as “.com” usually costs less than $10 a year.

 

ICANN has received some $350 million in application fees. The money will be used to set up the system, review applications and make sure parties do what they have promised once the suffix is operational. Some of the money will be set aside to cover potential lawsuits from unsuccessful applicants and others.

 

Some of the proposals are for suffixes to be reserved for in-house use. Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp., for instance, plan to restrict “.yahoo and “.microsoft” to their sites or affiliates, while keeping their current names under “.com.” If Google Inc. wins its bid for “.search,” the search leader won’t let rivals use it.

 

But there are hundreds of proposals for generic names that the public would be able to buy names under — for $10 or thousands depending on the suffix. Some are coming from entrepreneurs or businesses that specialize in domain names.

 

Others are from big technology companies. That means Google, for instance, could charge its fiercest rivals for rights to “Microsoft.love,” “Facebook.love” and “Apple.love.” Google declined comment.

 

Amazon has bids for 76 names, many related to businesses the online bookseller now dominates or might want to. Besides “.book” and “.author,” Amazon is seeking “.joy.”

 

That worries Stephen Ewart, marketing manager of Names.co.uk, a domain name reseller that stands to gain from registrations under new suffixes, including “.joy” if it is approved.

 

“Once you own these spaces, you can write your own terms and conditions,” he says. “Big brands can decide who can be there and decide what can be put in that space. It’s a bit cynical to think someone can be locked out of joy.”

“Do we want the likes of Amazon owning joy?” he asks.

 

Amazon declined comment.

 

Amazon and Google are among 13 bidders for “.app.” Both companies operate stores for distributing apps for mobile devices running Google’s Android system. That could shut out Apple Inc. and its rival iPhone and iPad devices.

 

While Google applied for 101 suffixes, Apple sought only one, “.apple.” EBay Inc. and Facebook Inc. didn’t propose for any. It was Amazon that bid for “.like” — the button on Facebook that lets users recommend links and brands to friends.

 

——

 

Online:

 

List of proposals: http://bit.ly/L4MYed

 

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-06/D9VCGHP04.htm

 

Only Android users care when the iPhone gets features late

 

Whenever Apple introduces a new version of iOS, it’s guaranteed that Android fans will protest that Google’s operating system has long had most of the new features. Apple is late again, they’ll say, and only following Google down the smartphone innovation trail.

 

Truth is, I don’t really blame them for making that case. Indeed, I’ve done the same when reviewing iOS updates (most recently with CNET’s iOS 6 First Take) so I understand where their fervor is coming from. But as right they may be, Android fans forget one important thing. Apple may be late to a feature party, but iPhone users really don’t care.

 

Of course, iPhone owners will gripe when their phone is missing an important feature. The wait for real notifications, for example, was particularly galling and it took until iOS 6 to add a button for attaching a photo to an email that you’re already writing.

 

But even with those complaints, most iPhone users will forgive Apple and be patient. Because deep down they believe that when Apple finally delivers the feature, they’ll get a better experience than their Android friends. Tear off the front page, but Apple takes its time to deliver the experience it wants. That’s how it’s always been and its customers know it.

 

Of course, I’m not saying that Apple always hits the highest mark–the iPhone’s multitasking is still a bit of a mess–but sometimes it does. It took a while to get video editing, for example, but it was a dream when it arrived. It’s those moments that really matter to Apple users.

 

They’d rather sit on the bench than get a half-baked product. To them, Apple doesn’t have to invent it as long as it adds the signature Apple touch that customers expect and love.

 

In the end, it’s really about two distinct philosophies of a smartphone user experience. On one side you have an OS that can do almost anything, offers oodles of choice, and is exhaustively customizable. But at the same time it can feel messy and a tad unrefined. That’s fine for some people, but others will prefer an OS that’s less buggy and that’s tightly integrated and exceedingly easy to use. Sure, that same OS also is limiting and occasionally less powerful, but users should be allowed to choose what works for them.

 

So, yes, Android users, I feel your pain. When Apple announces a feature that you’ve had for months, I know that it is frustrating. And when Apple gets only thunderous applause in return I see why it makes your blood boil. But even though that’s the reality, Apple fans won’t hear you shouting. Their new iOS feature may be late, but to them it was worth the wait.

 

Via CNET

 

http://asia.cnet.com/only-android-users-care-when-the-iphone-gets-features-late-62216543.htm


 

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