Episode 298 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes




Wikipedia tool allows readers to suggest changes to articles

Wikipedia plans to ask users to provide suggestions to improve articles on its website, which could be incorporated into the articles by its editors

It said its research showed that the new tool can help readers become editors over time.

Since 2010, Wikipedia deployed its Article Feedback Tool which in its current V4 version features a rating form at the bottom of Wikipedia articles. Readers can rate a page on a scale from 1 to 5, using four different metrics: trustworthiness, objectivity, completeness and quality of writing. V4 however had limitations on the amount of input it provided editors.

A new version 5 of the AFT aims to provide new ways for readers to contribute to the building the encyclopedia, according to Wikimedia. The new version of Article Feedback asks readers to make suggestions about articles they are reading, and invites editors to improve these articles based on this feedback.


Apple iPad gets dedicated Google+ app with Hangouts

the free app, which was designed specifically for the ipad users can access and make changes to their Google+ update stream, profile, friends Circles, and account settings. It also lets them make comments, expand and re-share posts, as well as upload photos and videos directly from their iPad.
Before the dedicated iPad app, users had to use the Google+ iPhone app

Has the ability to join a Google+ Hangout with a few friends or a group of users. Google also added the Hangout feature to its Google+ app for the iPhone.

Also included in the Google+ app for the iPhone is a new feature, called Events on Google+. The feature, which was announced late last month at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, is designed to let users set up parties, reunions and other social functions by providing tools for invitations and posting photos during and after the event.

Google to pull Chrome plug on OS X Leopard

Google will pull the plug for Chrome running on OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, after it releases version 21, which is currently in beta and will reach the browser’s “stable” channel sometime next month, the company has announced.

Google Chrome on Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) will stop receiving any updates following Chrome 21,” Google said on its support site. “This includes new features, security fixes and stability updates.”

Apple has not patched security vulnerabilities in Leopard since November 2011, and its last security update, in May 2012, did not patch any vulnerabilities. Instead, it simply disabled older copies of Adobe’s Flash Player,

Some Lion-powered Macs can’t upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion

The system requirements for OS X 10.8, slated to ship this month, ban older machines including the plastic-encased iMacs introduced in January 2006, MacBooks prior to the first all-aluminum model rolled out in late 2008, MacBook Pros older than those introduced in June 2007, and thefirst-generation MacBook Air, which debuted in January 2008.

Apple’s list of no-Mountain-Lion-for-you now on its site is identical to the one it introduced last February when it started distributing OS X previews to developers.



Apple Mac OS X 10.8 arrives for devs

Apple yesterday announced the availability of its developer version of its new operating system, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Gold Master

Mountain Lion will bring Siri style dictation to MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros as well as Messages, Notes and Reminders for seamless mobile and desktop integration.

AirPlay Mirroring will be available for matching a computer screen wirelessly with a TV.
US pricing has been set at $US20 ($A19.63).

Apple on new store blitz

The company recently put out a second wave of advertisements on job hunting ground Seek for retail specialists and ‘genuises’ for new branches in Brisbane, South Perth and South East Melbourne.

It is also advertising for workers for an as-yet unannounced new location in Canberra.

It currently has 14 stores around Australia, including eight in NSW

In Pictures: Google’s Graveyard, 15 Products Google Has Killed

*Slideshow for the video*

Apple brings mobile payments to Australia

Apple has launched a new mobile payment feature for its Australian retail stores that allows customers to purchase select items through mobile payments.

The EasyPay feature, available within the Apple Store iOS app from today,allows customers to bypass the usual checkout process by scanning product barcodes on off-the-shelf items and paying for it with a credit card already associated with the user’s iTunes account.

Users can then walk out of the store with the item without having to approach a salesperson. A PDF receipt is emailed to the customer.

First launched in the US in late 2011, the service has since been rolled out to Apple’s self-branded retail stores in a handful of other regions, including the UK.

50,000 sites compromised in sustained attack

Some 50,000 websites have been compromised as part of a sustained iframe injection attack campaign targeting vulnerable plug-ins for web servers and content management systems.

Attackers targeted holes in a string of plug-ins for blogging software — such as WordPress— including timthumb, uploadify and phpmyadmin.

New keyboard layout easy as ABC

Brisbane-based entrepreneur John Lambie first started working on an alternative to what he calls the “dysfunctional” QWERTY keyboard more than 25 years ago, but has seen a real opportunity for people to break their QWERTY as they abandon keyboards for smartphones.


has been designed for optimum use with just one finger or to split itself in two to make typing easier with two thumbs.
The keyboard is in alphabetical order with the letters split over five rows instead of three and it is able to be flipped for easier use by left handed people.

Mr Lambie pointed out the QWERTY keyboard was originally designed to slow people down and space the most used letters far apart so typewriter arms would not stick together.
He is developing a keyboard for Android phones (Apple and Microsoft will not let developers change the keyboard of their smartphones), which should be ready for download as an app between August and September.
Mr Lambie is targeting developing countries, such as India and the Philippines, where people have not grown up with QWERTY keyboards in their homes, but are buying up smartphones that have been made in countries such as China on the cheap.

Dvorak Keyboard

Angry Birds maker Rovio launches new Amazing Alex franchise

Unlike Rovio’s other games, Amazing Alex began its life outside the Finnish firm.
It was originally known as Casey’s Contraptions, a physics-based game in which players had to help the lead character free his toys.

It was released in 2011 by Noel Llopis, a California-based independent game developer, and the Washington-headquartered games studio Mystery Coconut.
It received positive reviews which compared the tasks involved to the outlandish machines drawn by the cartoonist Heath Robinson and the ad-hoc inventions of the 1980s television show MacGyver.

However, the title never became a hit and the developers sold their intellectual property rights to Rovio earlier this year, following which it was removed from Apple’s iOS store.


The ‘cool’ factor weighs against Apple in lawsuit

SAMSUNG’S Galaxy tablet is not “cool” enough to be confused with Apple’s iPad, a British judge has ruled.

The US electronics giant had argued the Samsung Galaxy Tab was too similar to their product but the claim was dismissed in the High Court.
“They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool,” Judge Colin Birss said.
He said consumers were not likely to get the two tablet computers mixed up and ruled the Samsung tablets do not infringe Apple’s registered design.
A Samsung spokeswoman welcomed the ruling and accused Apple of “excessive legal claims”.
“Samsung welcomes today’s judgment, which affirms our position that our Galaxy Tab products do not infringe Apple’s registered design right,” the spokeswoman said.

“As the ruling proves, the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples of prior art. Should Apple continue to make excessive legal claims in other countries based on such generic designs, innovation in the industry could be harmed and consumer choice unduly limited.”
An Apple spokesman said he would not comment specifically the ruling but reiterated the company’s earlier claims against Samsung: “It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong.”
Apple is bringing similar action against Samsung in Germany and the Netherlands.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/tablets/the-cool-factor-weighs-against-apple-in-lawsuit/story-fn6vigfp-1226422959237#ixzz20J1zPFL9

MICROSOFT bytes back: Kogan disappears from Bing

IF YOU’RE expecting to find Kogan online using Bing, think again.

You’re going to have to try another search engine.

Online electronics retailer, Kogan claims Microsoft has removed its website from Bing’s search results as punishment for discriminating against consumers who use Internet Explorer 7.

Last month the website announced it would be taxing people that used IE7 to make purchases from its website, calling the browser antiquated and “long passed its use-by date”.
A quick Bing search will deliver search results for Kogan’s Wikipedia page, Facebook and Twitter, but the official Kogan.com is nowhere to be seen.

In a blog post on its website, CEO and founder Ruslan Kogan wrote that he was “baffled and shocked” to learn it had been removed from Microsoft’s organic search results.
“We never waged war against Microsoft over IE7, we simply wanted people to upgrade their web browsers – we even mentioned many times in the media how the latest versions of Internet Explorer comply with the latest web standards and are suitable browsers,” Kogan wrote.
“We hope Microsoft were not too offended by what we did with the IE7 tax and this is just a temporary glitch.”
Microsoft has denied tampering with its own search results.

A spokesperson for Microsoft told News.com.au that Bing does not manually alter search results.
“The ranking of our results is done in automated manner through our algorithm which can sometimes lead to unexpected results,” the spokesperson said.
“We always work to maintain the integrity of our results to ensure that they are not editorialised; our results come from our algorithms not from humans. For example, if a site contains certain characters, words or phrases, that site may rank higher in a query for those words or phrases.
“As long as retailers follow Microsoft adCenter terms and conditions, then their results will go through the same automated manner.”

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/microsoft-bytes-back-kogan-disappears-from-bing/story-e6frfro0-1226422268612#ixzz20J2AKWgH

‘Bill shock’ code set to save $1.5b on phone bills

Australians spend $1.5 billion more than they need to each year on mobile phone bills, something new rules aim to prevent by ensuring plans are worded more clearly, that the word “cap” is avoided, and that consumers are warned before they go over their data limit.
The code will apply to every service provider in Australia. Compliance with the code is no longer an option
The Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code, announced today by telco regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and put together by the telco’s Communications Alliance industry body, will act as a rulebook for telcos, such as Telstra and Optus, on how to engage with their customers in a way that will eliminate “bill shock“.
This ACMA chart show’s a timeline of when new rules in the code will be implemented.
The ACMA warned earlier this year that it was prepared to reject the industry-drafted code and install its own standard, if the code was too lenient. But today it agreed to register it, written over two years of “tense, tough battle” between industry, consumer groups and the regulator.
“[We] are hopeful that its adoption will result in clearer advertising, easier comparison of products, better information about contracts and better tools to help consumers avoid bill shock,” said Teresa Corbin, CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), which proposed the code.
A public inquiry conducted by the ACMA estimated that collectively Australian consumers spend $1.5 billion more than they have to every year because they choose the wrong mobile plan. Telcos and their customers spend a further $108 million resolving complaints, while telcos write off up to $113 million annually in bad debts incurred through bill shock.
Under the new 102-page code, which will be enforced by the ACMA from September 1 this year and progressively phased in over the next two years, customers will receive warning messages when they have reached 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their monthly allowance for calls, messages and data.
But there’s a catch: telco’s data notification warnings won’t have to be sent in real-time and could be received by customers up to 48 hours after reaching a certain limit, apparently due to some telco’s billing systems being incapable of alerting customers of their usage in real-time.
Kath Silleri, an ACMA spokeswoman, said requiring all telcos to make available real-time information regarding customer accounts was something she would like to see implemented by all telcos but stopped short of saying the ACMA would enforce it.
“Look, we think that the notification at 85 per cent should give most people the opportunity to modify their behaviour so as not to experience unexpected bill shock,” she said.
“Clearly the notification at 100 [per cent] being 48 hours delayed could result in people spending more than they had anticipated but given the current technical requirements – and the span of the industry – we considered 48 hours as appropriate…”
A timeline of the phasing in of certain parts of the code shows that larger telcos will have until September 2013 to ensure “spend management alerts” (i.e. data, call and message notification warnings) are sent to customers in a prompt manner, while smaller telcos have until September 2014.
Misleading terms like “cap” banned
As well as data notification usage warnings being enforced, the use of the term “cap” will be banned unless plans have a definitive limit that cannot be exceeded, and other potentially misleading terms will be more tightly controlled.
Telcos will also be required to offer customers a “Critical Information Summary”, which details pricing and minimum spend information across all products in a standardised format. Most advertisements will have to include the cost of a two-minute national call, a standard SMS and 1MB of data.
“The code will apply to every service provider in Australia,” said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman. “Compliance with the code is no longer an option.”
A new compliance monitoring body named Communications Compliance, headed by Ms Deirdre Mason, a former Telstra executive and director of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, has been established to monitor companies and refer breaches of the code to the ACMA. Ms Mason will be joined by a former federal Communications Minister, Michael Lee. A third director nominated by consumer groups will soon join the board.
The ACMA, unlike the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, can issue directions to telcos to comply with the new code, but cannot actually fine or penalise providers for not adhering to it – though it can still take them to the Federal Court, an option that was not available under the existing code.
Similarly, Communications Compliance will require non-compliant telcos to submit an “action plan” outlining how they will better perform, but no fines or penalties will be issued.
ACCAN expressed concerns that customer service problems would continue unless the ACMA was given more power to enforce the code.
“[The] ACMA does not at present have strong enough powers to enforce the code,” said Ms Corbin. “Enforcement powers are essential in getting industry compliance.”
But Corbin said the code was much better than ever before and could stimulate growth in the telco sector.
“Informed consumers are good consumers. At this point in time consumers live in terror of big bills and live in terror of being caught in a long term contract,” Ms Corbin said.
The network said it would release a guide to the new code, highlighting key points and consumers’ rights. It has also written to the Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, asking him to increase ACMA’s disciplinary powers.
Resisting change
The telco industry initially resisted change but the regulator made it clear it was not going to “roll over”, AMCA chair Chris Chapman said.
“My own discussions with the chief executives of the major telcos have convinced me that they get it. I think they know that in this increasingly technology driven environment … there is only one outcome for them — that is to change their business practices and own their customer in a way that is materially rewarding,” he said.
The new code fulfills about 95 per cent of the ACMA’s wish-list of improvements, Ms Silleri said. The remaining five per cent was for volumetric pricing on advertising — but which will be included on individual offers — and real-time spend information.
The ACMA launched a national inquiry into consumer protection in 2010 after a record number of complaints were made to the industry ombudsman. It used evidence gathered from this inquiry to pressure the industry into meeting its recommendations, Ms Silleri said.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/bill-shock-code-set-to-save–15b-on-phone-bills-20120711-21ury.html#ixzz20J2QDHOA

Microsoft CEO declares war on Apple, considers smartphone

This post was originally published on Mashable.
Declaring a new era for the company, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the Surface tablet will rejuvenate Microsoft as it takes on Apple and he didn’t discount the possibility of a Microsoft-made smartphone.
We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple.
“We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” Ballmer told CRN following the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on Monday. “We are not. No space uncovered that is Apple’s.”
Ballmer stressed that Microsoft had advantages in productivity, enterprise management and manageability compared to Apple.
“But we are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple],” Ballmer shouted. “Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.”
The new focus on Apple comes after Microsoft has embraced an end-to-end hardware and software product in Surface. The move has led to speculation that a Microsoft-created smartphone may also be in the cards. When asked, Ballmer replied: “Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That’s the focus. That’s our core. Look, we’ll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HDC in the phone space. I love what we’ve got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 Tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.”
The interview followed a similarly combative keynote at the Toronto event, in which Ballmer declared, “For Microsoft this is the most important year.” Though Microsoft hasn’t given a release date for Surface, the company stated on Monday that Windows 8 will be available in late October.
Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/tablets/microsoft-ceo-declares-war-on-apple-considers-smartphone-20120711-21ump.html#ixzz20J2cajo1

A comparison of smartphone and tablet shipments

On Tuesday, Research in Motion Ltd. held its annual shareholders meeting as its BlackBerry devices continue to lose market share to rivals, such as Apple’s iPhone.
Here are details on the number of devices RIM and Apple shipped in recent quarters:
Quarter ending June 2, 2012: 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones, 260,000 PlayBook tablets
Quarter ending March 3, 2012: 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones, 500,000 PlayBook tablets
Quarter ending Nov. 26, 2011: 14.1 million BlackBerry smartphones, 150,000 PlayBook tablets
Quarter ending Aug. 27, 2011: 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones, 200,000 PlayBook tablets
Quarter ending May 28, 2011: 13.2 million BlackBerry smartphones, 500,000 PlayBook tablets
Quarter ending March 31, 2012: 35.1 million iPhones, 11.8 million iPads
Quarter ending Dec. 31, 2011: 37 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads
Quarter ending Sept. 24, 2011: 17.1 million iPhones, 11.1 million iPads
Quarter ending June 25, 2011: 20.3 million iPhones, 9.25 million iPads
Quarter ending March 26, 2011: 18.65 million iPhones, 4.7 million iPads

A look at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion

On Tuesday, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. held its shareholders meeting during which it asked disgruntled investors for patience as it develops new devices to rival the iPhone and Android smartphones.
RIM faces the most difficult period in its history. RIM, which developed the ground-breaking BlackBerry in 1999, has hired a team of bankers to help it weigh its options. Those options include partnering with other companies, licensing software and overhauling its business.
Here’s a look at recent developments as the company struggles to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating software:
Sept. 15, 2011: RIM reports a sharp drop in net income and revenue in the fiscal second quarter and says it has sold far fewer PlayBook tablet computers than it expected.

Oct. 10: Email and Internet services are disrupted for three days, primarily outside North America. RIM says a crucial link in its infrastructure had failed, and a backup didn’t work either. By the third day, other users, including those in the U.S. and Canada, were affected by a backlog of traffic.
Oct. 25: RIM says it is delaying the launch of an upgraded operating system for the PlayBook until February, saying it isn’t up to its standards yet. The company also says the new version initially won’t have the popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger. It’s the third delay announced since the features were promised in April.
Dec. 2: RIM says it is writing off much of its inventory of PlayBook tablets after it had to sell them at a deep discount. The model originally priced at $500 now costs $200. The company says it’s taking a pre-tax charge of $485 million in the just-ended quarter. RIM also says it will sell fewer BlackBerrys in the holiday quarter than in the one that just ended. It also says it won’t meet full-year earnings guidance of $5.25 to $6 per share, the third cut in a row.
Dec. 6: RIM says “BlackBerry 10” will be the new name for its next-generation system after the company loses a trademark ruling on its previous name, BBX.
Dec. 15: RIM says new phones deemed critical to the company’s future won’t be out until late 2012. The company says the BlackBerry 10 phones will need a highly integrated chipset that won’t be available until mid-2012, so the company can now expect the new phones to ship late in the year. The company also says BlackBerry sales will fall sharply in the holiday quarter compared with the three months that ended Nov. 26. RIM says it would only ship between 11 million and 12 million BlackBerrys in the fourth quarter, down from 14.1 million in the third quarter.
Jan. 22, 2012: RIM founder Mike Lazaridis and long-time executive Jim Balsillie announce they will step down as co-CEOs. Thorsten Heins, a chief operating officer who joined RIM four years ago from Siemens AG, was named as their replacement. Lazaridis and Balsillie remain on the board.
Feb. 21: RIM finally releases an upgraded operating system for its PlayBook. The free upgrade allows for built-in email, calendar and contacts on the tablet _ features promised within 60 days after the PlayBook’s launch last April. The PlayBook had received negative reviews because it launched without an email program and the popular messaging service BlackBerry Messenger. The new version still doesn’t include the messaging service.
March 29: RIM says Balsillie has resigned from its board, and two top executives are leaving. RIM also writes down the value of its product inventory again as the company reports a loss of $125 million, its first quarterly loss since fiscal 2005. Heins doesn’t rule out a sale, but he says it is not the main direction of the strategic review he’s overseeing.
April 26: Newest board member of RIM says a turnaround could take three to five years. Prem Watsa, RIM’s third-largest investor, says he sees his investment in the company as a long-term one, adding that RIM’s fortunes won’t be reversed soon.
May 1: RIM unveils a newly designed smartphone prototype powered by its upcoming BlackBerry 10 system. The prototype BlackBerry has a touchscreen, but no physical keyboard like most BlackBerry models. No update was given on the new system’s launch date.
May 2: Company stresses that while the prototype has no physical keyboard, RIM will continue to make some models with one.
May 8: RIM announces hiring of two senior executives from struggling tech companies. Frank Boulben, the new chief marketing officer, comes from LightSquared. Kristian Tear, the new chief operating officer, is from Sony Mobile Communications.
May 29: RIM says it will have an operating loss in the current quarter and significant layoffs this year. The company says it has hired J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help evaluate various strategies, including opportunities to partner with other companies and license software.
June 20: RIM says it has started laying off employees as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving about $1 billion this year.
June 21: Company says the first BlackBerry device running BlackBerry 10 will not have a physical keyboard, only a touch-screen one. Ones with hard keyboards will eventually be made, but the company declines to say when.
June 28: RIM says it’s cutting 5,000 jobs, or about 30 percent of its workforce, and delaying the launch of BlackBerry 10 yet again, to the first quarter of next year. It also reported worse results for its latest quarter, which ended June 2, than analysts had expected.
June 29: Stock hits nine-year low on day after earnings announcements.
Tuesday: At RIM’s annual shareholders meeting, Heins asks disgruntled investors for patience as the company develops new devices to rival the iPhone and Android smartphones. He says the past year has been very difficult for RIM, and he says the company is “around the clock” to get BlackBerry 10 out.


Dropbox doubles storage offering to paying users

Online storage company Dropbox is offering more space to its paying customers.
Services like Dropbox let people store their ever-growing trove of photos, music and videos online instead of on their computers. They’ve become more popular as people get used to storing files over the Internet. Competitors include Google Drive from Google Inc. and SkyDrive from Microsoft Corp.
Dropbox, which has 50 million users, said Tuesday that it will now offer bigger storage accounts for the same price. Those paying $10 a month or $99 a year will now get 100 gigabytes instead of 50. Those who pay $20 a month or $199 a year will get 200 gigabytes instead of 100.
The company is also adding an option for 500 gigabytes for $50 a month or $499 a year.
The free version remains at 2 gigabytes.


Telcos dodge major regulatory overhaul

ASHLEY HALL: The telecommunications industry has again beaten off the threat of direct regulation, despite soaring complaints levels from customers.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has today revealed it will adopt a new tougher regulatory code for the industry, which was developed by the telco’s themselves.

The ACMA threatened to regulate the industry directly earlier this year, when it rejected a previous draft of the code.

The peak communications consumer group says the new code is an improvement – but it’s disappointed it doesn’t contain harsher measures to prevent excess data charges.

Lexi Metherell reports.

LEXI METHERELL: The telecommunications industry is regulated by itself and the watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

But with customer complaints soaring over recent years, it became clear that that regime was failing.

In response, the ACMA ordered the industry to write a tougher regulatory code or face direct regulation, where it would have no say about the rules.

After several goes the industry’s finally submitted a code the chairman of the ACMA Chris Chapman is happy with.

CHRIS CHAPMAN: This is a new code that we’re now indicating we’ll register.

LEXI METHERELL: And it’s a tougher code?

CHRIS CHAPMAN: Significantly enhanced consumer protections that rolls up into being a tougher code – yes.

LEXI METHERELL: The new code moves to make mobile plans easier to compare, reduce what’s known as bill shock or unexpectedly high bills and improve how complaints are dealt with.

And the word “cap” will be banned from advertising.

Chris Chapman.

CHRIS CHAPMAN: The word “cap” and other similar terms were frankly a nonsense in this day and age. A cap wasn’t a cap it was… it had deteriorated into being just a useful bit of marketing jargon.

One of the things that we discovered in our research was that about $1.5 billion in consumer detriment flows out from the consumer to the telcos each year because of poor planned, poor plan choices.

That is a massive figure and we are, our expectation is that a lot of that consumer detriment will start to flow back to consumers as they make better choices.

LEXI METHERELL: Regulation of the industry will still be shared between the telco and the regulator. But consumer advocates say the new code is a vast improvement.

THERESA CORBIN: Consumer’s will for the first time ever get information that they can compare between providers.

LEXI METHERELL: Theresa Corbin is the chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

THERESA CORBIN: So there will be the price of a two minute call in every… the vast majority of advertisements now, the price of a standard SMS and the price of one megabyte of data. So they’ll be able to look for the first time as different providers and actually see whether in fact they’re getting the same or different value for their money.

LEXI METHERELL: But she’s disappointed more hasn’t been done to address consumers going over their data limits.

THERESA CORBIN: Ultimately this code will not result in an end to bill shock sadly, consumers will be given notifications about their spending at 50 per cent when they reach 50 percent of their limit and 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their limit.

But the big problem of course is these notifications could be up to 48 hours delayed, so the information will not be real time.

We believe that the industry should be able to provide information to consumers about how much they’re spending. That this information is information they deserve and whilst the industry says this is too costly for them to implement we are seeing a lot of providers that are already promising their customers near real time alerts even some small providers like Amaysim are providing near real time alerts.

The fact that these notifications even with a delay will in some instances not be implemented for another two years is very disappointing.

LEXI METHERELL: Chris Chapman maintains that’s reasonable.

CHRIS CHAPMAN: We’re very comfortable with this staged approach, we think it’s the right approach. You point out exceptions to me, I accept that, I’m not going to push back on it, but again we have the balance between consumer betterment and also not unduly levving (phonetic) on industry impost. That’s the balancing act we have under the Act and we’ve been assiduous I think in delivering against that.

LEXI METHERELL: Today’s announcement doesn’t see any changes to the penalties telcos will face for breaching the code. The maximum fine is still just $250,000. But the ACMA’s chairman says he’s optimistic the new code will see change.

Chris Chapman says he will measure its success through complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

CHRIS CHAPMAN: As we sit here today I am optimistic the industry’s going to drive home the momentum that’s delivered through the code.

LEXI METHERELL: If not, he says, the next stop is direct regulation.

ASHLEY HALL: Lexi Metherell reporting.  


Dotcom offers US a deal

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom claims the United States criminal case against him is collapsing but he is offering to go there without extradition provided federal authorities unfreeze his millions of dollars so he can pay for lawyers and living expenses.
In a now hallmark style, he made the offer on Twitter.
“Hey DOJ (Department of Justice), we will go to the US,” he tweeted, “No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Dotcom says the department knows it does not have a case.

“If they are forced to provide discovery, then there will be no extradition. That’s why they don’t want to provide discovery. If they had a case, they would not need to hide what they have.”
Yesterday, his lawyers confirmed the extradition case on charges of criminal copyright violation stemming from the Megaupload file-sharing website had been shifted from next month to next year.
Dotcom and Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk are wanted by the US following a dramatic January raid on his multi-million dollar residency outside of Auckland.
Dotcom tweeted about his disappointment at the delay:
“Extradition hearing delayed til March. Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest.
“The NZ government is refusing an NZ resident due process and a fair defence. Shame on you John Key for allowing this to happen. Shame on you.”
He told Hollywood Reporter that he believes “dirty delay tactics instead of evidence” are being deployed by the US government.
He said he wanted the August 6 hearing to go ahead so he could present his case.
“The actions by the DOJ clearly demonstrate that they don’t have a case and that this … was about killing Megaupload and creating a chilling effect to freeze the whole file-hosting sector. They achieved that,” Dotcom told Hollywood Reporter.
“I don’t think they are prepared for the wave that’s coming to them now.”
The department declined comment.
Dotcom told Hollywood Reporter that because his assets have been seized, he has been left without “funds to pay my lawyers.”
US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady who is overseeing the case against Dotcom, ruled after a June 29 hearing that while Dotcom’s legal team could argue for a motion to dismiss the allegations against the company, the Megaupload founder’s assets would not be unfrozen to pay attorney costs.
“The new rule is guilty until proven innocent,” Dotcom said.
“My rights to due process and a fair defence are subverted.”
Meanwhile Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has repeated his support for Dotcom. Earlier this year he visited Dotcom in Auckland. According to Slashgear.com Wozniak told a conference in Chile he was dismayed at the techniques used to bring Dotcom to trial.
“Kim Dotcom was so successful, and he was well known for his flagrance, and his sports cars, and his racing cars, and style of life, that he was made an easy target” Wozniak said. “He was the biggest in the world, and they swamped in on him … I don’t want to take a side in this political thing, I don’t know if that’s where it came from.”
Fairfax NZ






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