Episode 303 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


 FULL interview with Dr Iain McCowan here


Samsung Experience Store to open in Sydney next week

450 George St GOOGLE MAPS

Samsung Australia will open its first local retail store in Sydney, the company confirmed today.

will be located at 450 George St, Sydney. The preview event will take place next Wednesday 22 August.

The Samsung Experience Store will be the first of its kind in Australia. Last month, the company opened a retail store in Vancouver, Canada, which was the first of its kind in North America.

Products like the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Samsung Series 9 notebook all feature prominently in the Canadian store, which suggests the same will apply for the Sydney store.

Microsoft bans ‘metro’ from Windows Store apps

Microsoft has told Windows 8 app developers that if they use the word “metro” in the name of their software, the app will be denied access to the Windows Store.

The warning now appears in online guidelines for developers, in a section labeled “Naming your app.”
“Make sure your app name doesn’t include the word metro,” Microsoft cautioned. “Apps with a name that includes the word metro will fail certification and won’t be listed in the Windows Store.”

As of Wednesday, there were still four free apps in the Windows Store that used the word “metro” in their titles, including “MetroTwit” and “Tweet Paint Metro.”

It’s unclear whether those apps’ names will have to be changed, or if they will be “grandfathered” in under earlier rules.

On his blog iStartedSomething, Long Zheng, the developer of MetroTwit called the new restriction “illogical,” and added that “We will be seeking legal advice.”

Microsoft offers Windows 8 RTM to everyone

Microsoft has released the final version of Windows 8 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

But it also posted a 90-day evaluation copy of Windows 8 RTM (release to manufacturing) that anyone can download.

Unlike the versions distributed via TechNet and MSDN to paying subscribers, the evaluation expires after 90 days of use. At that time, Windows 8 blackens the desktop background, displays a persistent notice that the OS is not genuine, and most draconian of all, shuts down the PC every hour without giving the user a chance to save works in progress.

When the evaluation period expires, users will have to replace it with a purchased copy or another operating system, and reinstall all applications, other software and files. “It is not possible to upgrade the evaluation to a licensed working version of Windows 8,” Microsoft warned.

If a user downloads and launches the evaluation copy today, it will run until November 12, 2012, about two-and-a-half weeks after Microsoft officially launches Windows 8.

To download the 90-day try-before-you-buy – available in 32- and 64-bit versions – start at this Microsoft website.

The 32-bit trial tips the bit scales at 2.4GB.
Anyone can try out the RTM of Windows 8 for 90 days.

Samsung launches Galaxy Note tablet

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab series of tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 comes with a stylus-like device, which provides more nuanced control of applications, the company said. Although it resembles a stylus, the S-Pen actually interacts through the screen through radio waves, allowing for a much more exact placement of the pen’s tip.

The Galaxy Note 10.0 also comes with a customized copy of Adobe Photoshop Touch, allowing users to do fine-grained, professional-quality photo editing.

The tablet also comes with universal television remote software and it even offers recommendations based on previous TV viewing habits.

the Galaxy Note 10.1 does not have phone capabilities.

The tablet has a 10.1 inch (25.6 centimeter) screen, runs on a quad-core Samsung 1.4Ghz processor and has 2GB of RAM. The units will feature either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. The Note runs the Ice Cream edition of Android, but will be upgraded to Jelly Bean in the near future.

The Note 10.1 has a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16GB model and $549 for the 32GB Model

Android latest platform to drop Flash support

If you’ve already got the Flash plug-in on your Android device, it should still work, though official development has ceased, and users of Jelly Bean are out of luck in any case — Adobe never developed a version of the platform for Android 4.1, and says that it has no plans to do so. Existing Flash installs on certified devices will continue to receive security updates, however.

HTML5 standard is rapidly increasing in popularity — so even though Adobe’s decision might make some sites not function on Android devices, there shouldn’t be a long-term loss of functionality.

The story is much the same on the other major mobile platforms, with the exception of BlackBerry OS — Research In Motion has said it would continue to support Flash as well as HTML5 in the future. Future Windows Phone versions will have only limited support, however, and iOS, as mentioned, has never been interested in the framework.

****brings ios back into favour with people?****

Telstra revamps $99 Smart-Touch Android phone

Telstra has updated its budget pre-paid Android smartphone, the Smart-Touch, by introducing an upgraded Smart-Touch 2 model that retains the sub-$100 price point.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 has a larger screen than its predecessor and uses capacitive rather than resistive touchscreen technology. The new model also boasts a faster, 800MHz single-core processor and more memory than its predecessor

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2, once again manufactured by ZTE, runs the 2.3 “Gingerbread version of Google’s Android platform, has a 3.5in capacitive touchscreen and features GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Smart-Touch 2 also has a 2-megapixel camera that doubles as a video recorder, an MP3 player and comes packaged with a 2GB microSD card for extra storage.

The original Smart-Touch device, launched in March 2011, had a smaller, 2.8in touchscreen that used resistive, rather than capacitive technology and had a slower, 600MHz processor. At the time of its release, the Smart-Touch was the first Android smartphone to break the $100 price barrier in Australia.

The Telstra Smart-Touch 2 is available now exclusively through Telstra stores or online and comes in black or pink colour variants. It is also sold through Dick Smith retail stores.

Microsoft patches critical security holes in Windows, Office, IE

Microsoft has fixed 26 vulnerabilities in its software products, including several considered critical, the company said on Tuesday in its monthly security patch report.

There’s quite a few,so if you have manual download and install make yourself a cuppa

Microsoft revamps Skydrive cloud storage service

SkyDrive’s user interface has been revamped in the tile-based layout style of the Windows 8 Modern interface — formerly referred to as Metro. Microsoft has also improved SkyDrive’s search functionality, drag-and-drop functionality and sorting features.

The desktop application for Windows 8 and Mac OS X has gotten performance improvements, so that operations like bulk photo uploads are completed faster.

Microsoft is also releasing in a few weeks a SkyDrive application for Android that lets users access, upload and share files from their devices. It already has SkyDrive applications for Windows Phone and iPhone devices.

In addition, Microsoft has removed restrictions from the product’s API (application programming interfaces) on the types of files third-party applications can upload to SkyDrive.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity software upgrade nearly complete

The four-day software upgrade started on Saturday and, if all goes as planned, should wrap up by Tuesday afternoon. And so far all has gone exactly as planned, said Guy Webster, a spokesman for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

There are two computers onboard Curiosity, which has been on the surface of Mars for just a little more than a full week. The main computer was upgraded over the weekend and now the backup computer is halfway through its own upgrade.

The software upgrade, dubbed R10, is focused on running the rover’s surface mission. It was uploaded to the rover during its 350-million-mile trek to Mars but it sat waiting to be activated.

The surface software holds advanced controls to drive Curiosity, as well as to operate its 7-foot robotic arm, its ability to scoop up soil samples and its ability to spot hazards in its path.

Curiosity is tasked with a two-year mission designed to gather evidence that Mars is, or has been, capable of supporting life, probably in microbial form.

The SUV-sized, nuclear-powered robotic rover is equipped with 10 scientific instruments. Curiosity has the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on the surface of Mars, including chemistry instruments, environmental sensors and radiation monitors.

The payload is more than 10 times as large as those of earlier Mars rovers.

Curiosity isn’t working alone on Mars. Along with a few Mars orbiters, NASA also has one other working rover on the Red Planet.


Google fined over Safari cookie privacy row

Google has agreed to pay the largest fine ever imposed on a single company by the US Federal Trade Commission.

The firm agreed to pay $22.5m (£14.4m) after monitoring web surfers using Apple’s Safari browser who had a “do not track” privacy setting selected.

Google does not have to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

The penalty is for misrepresenting what it was doing and not for the methods it used to bypass Safari’s tracker cookie settings.

revealed that the search giant was exploiting a loophole that let its cookies be installed via adverts on popular websites, even if users’ browsers’ preferences had been set to reject them.

This allowed the firm to track people’s web-use habits even if they had not given it permission to do so.

Google said no “personal information” – such as names or credit card data – had been collected, and that the action had been inadvertent.

Social network workaround

Apple’s browser automatically rejects tracking cookies by default. But Google got around this block by adding code to some of its adverts to make Safari think that the user had made an exception for its cookie if they interacted with the ad.

Brisbane roads now on the virtual map

live traffic updates for Brisbane roads are now available via Directions on Google Maps

It means people can now also take current traffic conditions into account when determining how best to get around Brisbane by using Maps to plot a route and selecting “get directions”.
The driving journey estimations rely on data from mobile Maps users who have GPS enabled and the “My Location” feature turned on while travelling on Brisbane streets.

These live updates combine with the historic traffic data used by the original mapping service.

Computers stolen from Steve Jobs’ home

More than $60,000 worth of computers, jewelry and personal items have been stolen from the Palo Alto, California, home of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The house was being renovated last month, and nobody was home at the time, Tsui said.

the burglar made off with iPads, iPhones, Macs, Tiffany jewelry, Beats headphones and Cristal Champagne, among other items. He also took Steve Jobs’ wallet, which contained his drivers’ license and $1, the Mercury News reported.

apparently tracked down when connected to the itunes, ip tracked and the jigs up.


Rumour: Microsoft Surface Tablet to Cost $199?

If internet rumours are to be believed, the Microsoft Surface tablet could cost just $199 when it launches later this year. According to an ‘inside source’ at the recently held TechReady 15 conference, which is an internal Microsoft event, the price and details of the tablet’s launch were told to attendees.

The source states that the ARM-based Windows RT tablet will be priced at $199 and will launch on October 26th.

This price is significantly cheaper than earlier rumours that stated the tablet would cost $599, and the standard x86 version $799.

The release date seems very likely, because all the other SKUs of Windows 8 will also be available around that time. However, the price would put it up against the Nexus 7, which is not only a smaller device, and therefore cheaper to make, but Google only just manages to scrape a profit on the device.

The Surface is a 10.6 inch tablet, that has a higher display resolution, so the pricing seems very unlikely, unless Microsoft is willing to take a big loss on the device in order to take a bite out of Apple and Google’s market share.

Apple TV could double as cable box, report says

Apple’s set-top box could be destined to stream live TV channels, according to a new report.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) says that Apple has been in talks with cable operators in the U.S. to pitch its $99 streamer as an alternative to the set top boxes cable subscribers rent.

The report suggests no deals have yet been made toward that goal, but that Apple has at least talked with cable provider Time Warner.

The Apple TV has remained what Apple considers a “hobby” device when compared with the sales and popularity of products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Nonetheless, the company has pointed to increasing sales in recent earnings calls, with CEO Tim Cook dropping the notion that even though it’s not a blockbuster, the company didn’t keep around products it didn’t like.

Apple, of course has long been rumored to be working on a TV set, a rumor that’s rooted in some fact. Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he wanted “to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use” and that he “finally cracked it.” Since then there has been no shortage of rumors that suggest Apple is still at work on such a product.

The Journal’s report suggests Apple could go with an intermediary device for people who do not want to buy an all new set and instead replace some of the basic functionality of standard cable boxes.

Apple in Talks to Build Cable Set-Top Box to Display Live Television

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has a set-top box in the works that would allow viewing of live cable television as well as other content.

Apple Inc. is in talks with some of the biggest U.S. cable operators about letting consumers use an Apple device as a set-top box for live television and other content, according to people familiar with the matter.

The talks represent Apple’s most ambitious crack at infiltrating the living room after years of trying.

Apple doesn’t appear to have reached a deal with any cable operators. One obstacle may be the reluctance of operators to let Apple establish a foothold in the television business.

The WSJ suggests Apple’s set-top box will be an aftermarket item that could cost “hundreds of dollars” rather than $10-$15 per month for the standard one provided by cable companies.

Companies such as Tivo already provide similar boxes to independently replace your cable box by utilizing CableCARD technology.

By following this path, Apple would avoid having to license content directly from providers and instead piggy-back on existing cable television distribution. The report also notes that this technology could eventually find its way into a standalone Apple television set.

Apple is said to have considered a set top box as long as 2 years ago, but Steve Jobs had previously dismissed the market due to the lack of national-providers. Meanwhile, cable companies are reportedly reluctant to give up some control and revenue by allowing Apple into their set top boxes.  

Apple’s New Neighbour: Samsung Store Opening Next Week

By Tony Ibrahim | Thursday | 16/08/2012

When customers get tired of lining outside of Apple’s George street store, they can take a quick walk down to Samsung’s new Experience store from next week.
This morning Samsung invited technology media for an ‘exclusive preview’ of the new store. The preview is scheduled for next Wednesday, the 22nd of August, and the store will open to the public the next day.


Samsung’s Vice President of Telecommunications, Tyler McGee, will be present at the preview. McGee works with all things mobile; indicating Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets will be sold at the store.

Other Samsung products that could be sold there include the company’s series 9 notebook and 27″ all in one PC.

The Samsung store will be located at 450 George st Sydney, and will be a noteworthy rival to Apple’s landmark Store, which is situated down the street at 367 George st.

This is not the first time Samsung has gone toe-to-toe against Apple with a bricks and mortar fixture. When Apple was launching the iPhone 4S, Samsung opened a temporary store at 379/380 George street in an effort to woo Apple customers.

Google Australia managing director predicts voice-only phone calls obsolete within decade

THE voice-only telephone call will be as obsolete as a posted letter within a decade, the head of Google Australia has predicted.

And another online leader has warned that most Australian businesses are failing to adapt to the online world and risk finding themselves on the wrong side of a looming “digital divide”.

Google Australia managing director Nick Leeder says the internet is shifting from a text-based medium to an audio and video-based one as people change how they interact with each other.
Video: Nick Leeder interview

“I think the idea of a phone call in 10 years’ time without video may well be considered a thing of the past, a bit like posting a letter,” Mr Leeder told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce function in Sydney today.

He said infrastructure, such as the National Broadband Network (NBN), had a role in providing the capacity to handle increased web traffic.

“That’s going to require lots of broadband (and) it’s not just about speed today, it’s about the capacity of the networks to carry traffic,” he said.

Without increased capacity, people would be complaining about internet congestion just as they complain about road congestion, he said.

“The consumption of broadband capacity is growing very quickly in this country.”
Mr Leeder appeared at the function with Tim Reed, chief executive officer of business software company MYOB.

Mr Reed said while some companies have seized the opportunities of an increasingly connected community, the majority of Australian businesses are “struggling”.
“It’s still less than 40 per cent of Australia’s businesses that have a website,” Mr Reed said.

“We did some research recently and it showed most Australian businesses are struggling: two businesses are having revenue decline for every one that is having revenue growth at the moment.
“But you are 50 per cent more likely to be in the group where your revenue is growing if your business has a website.”

Mr Reed warned the business community was approaching a point of “digital divide”.
“It’s going to have nothing to do with infrastructure, it’s going to have to do with the ability of business managers to cope and prosper in this environment.

“Those that put it front and centre as a core part of their strategy are already doing better than those that don’t.”

Mr Reed said the gap would widen as bandwidth and internet speeds, which will grow with the NBN, improved and consumers conducted more business online.

Read more:http://www.news.com.au/technology/google-australia-managing-director-predicts-voice-once-phone-calls-obsolete-within-decade/story-e6frfro0-1226450327886#ixzz23gtjETq9

iiNet looks to mobile, NBN after strong FY2012

With new plans, iiNet aims to “exploit” a “very choked environment” in mobile.

Broadband provider iiNet expects mobile and the NBN to drive future profits, its executives said after reporting strong fiscal-year 2012 results.

The company is focusing more on mobile services as part of a strategy to increase profitability by selling an average of three products to each of its customers, said iiNet CFO, David Buckingham.
The company recently rolled out new mobile plans and handsets for existing customers under the iiNet and Internode brands].

The iiNet plan, available to existing customers only, lets customers pay separate monthly rates for the device and SIM card. “Essentially, we’re trying to meet what we think is the untapped market of customers to be able to pick and mix between handsets and SIM plans,” Buckingham said.

The company hopes to “exploit” a mobile market that is a “very choked environment at the moment in terms of choice,” he said.

Michael Malone, iiNet CEO, agreed with Optus CEO, Paul O’Sullivan, that the Australian wireless market is saturated. “The market is getting tougher and tougher,” Malone said. “We have the obvious benefit that we’re starting with nothing [and] we’re only selling to the existing customer base.”
The latter factor reduces overhead for iiNet, he said. “We already have a billing relationship with the customer, the support is typically around the setup only” and iiNet already knows the customer’s credit history.

The NBN is another source of growth for iiNet, the executives said. The company has about 2000 customers already. While iiNet will support fibre, satellite and fixed wireless, most of its early customers are on fibre, Malone said. A recent projection by iiNet of what migration to NBN would mean for its business showed an increase in profitability, said Malone.

Early adopters of NBN service have largely chosen higher-end NBN plans, he said.
In FY2012, iiNet’s revenue shot up 19 per cent to $831 million while reported EBITDA soared 47 per cent to $144.8 million. Recent acquisitions of Internode and TransACT drove top-line growth and increased iiNet’s broadband market share to about 15 per cent, the company said.

After the acquisitions, iiNet’s business segment is worth $170 million per annum, Malone said.
Integration of Internode has been particularly smooth because the companies share similar cultures that are focused on customer service, Malone said.

“We expect to fully integrate Internode’s and TransACT’s systems and networks over the next 12 to 24 months,” Malone said. Consolidation has enabled iiNet to expand content for customers and provide group-wide access to unmetered content, Malone said.

“We’re sort of in early days on TransACT … with a lot of systems-based IT automation work to do” to enhance customer service, said Buckingham. “In Internode it’s a more traditional iiNet integration story, and we’ve knocked off a couple of the tasks there and we’ve got more to do … to drive that $7 million in improvement of EBITDA in FY2013.”

Integration of AAPT “continues to track as expected,” but that company is in “decline mode,” Buckingham said. AAPT was the principal driver of customer loss in the fiscal year, he said. “We’re in the middle of a big billing migration there.”

New wholesale ADSL interim prices declared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission improved the iiNet cost base in regional markets, Malone said. “We look forward to the final determination being released soon so that iiNet can be more competitive and grow market share again in regional Australia.”

Also, iiNet announced Internode founder Simon Hackett has joined the iiNet board as non-executive director. The move was announced earlier this year. Hackett said the new role allowed him “to have input into broader strategic issues at Board level, whilst seeing Internode continue to flourish.”

Pre-Orders for Next-Generation iPhone to Begin September 12?

iMore, which was the first source to claim that Apple will be holding its media event to introduce the next-generation iPhone on September 12, now reports that pre-orders for the device will begin on that same date ahead of the already-rumored first wave of launches on September 21.

Apple’s first launch wave typically includes the United States and perhaps a half dozen other countries, and iMore notes that the second wave of launches that will bring the device to additional countries is scheduled for the first week of October.

We’ve since learned that iPhone 5 pre-orders are currently planned to begin that same day, at least in the U.S. Release is still planned for 9 days later, on September 21, 2012. We’ve also learned that the second wave of iPhone launches, the ones in international markets, will begin in the first week of October, likely October 5.

The report notes that this sequence of events will be similar but not identical to last year’s, which saw the iPhone 4S introduced on October 4 and pre-orders begin three days later on October 7.

The iPhone launched in the United States and six other countries on October 14, with the second wave bringing the device to over 20 additional countries two weeks later.                                         




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