Episode 311 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Husic: ‘Aussie tech vendors have no more chances’


Microsoft, Adobe and Apple have been given multiple opportunities to become involved in the inquiry, according to Federal Labor MP and IT price inquiry panel member Ed Husic, but have squirmed out of the process by hiding behind their global operations.

The price inquiry was launched in May as a result of Husic’s ongoing campaigning against what he called discriminatory pricing practices by technology vendors locally. The committee was formed to investigate the differences between hardware and software prices in Australia compared to the overseas.

Microsoft is the only vendor to have made a public submission.

Husic said the committee’s next step is to request internal documentation from the vendors outlining the factors causing higher local pricing.

He said the committee would have the power to subpoena the vendors to appear and hand over information, should the vendors not respond positively to the request. He said a refusal of a subpoena would result in penalties.

“If companies like Woolworths and Coles can appear before a parliamentary committee, and even the late Kerry Packer can appear before a parliamentary committee, these companies should also be able to.”

The vendors have previously cited a variety of factors including GST, shipping costs, regulatory requirements under Australian Consumer Law, “strict” warranties, rent, labour costs, economies of scale, as well as marketing and advertising, for higher Australian pricing.


Other government reforms also “creepy”, not just data retention, Ludlam says

Greens senator Scott Ludlam has said there are other issues in the federal government’s proposals for intelligence and security reforms, besides data retention, which are “creepy”.

For example, “Internet kill switches for targeted populations; the ability of ASIO to install malware on third-party computers who aren’t involved in investigations; the ability of intelligence agencies to commit crimes and then be forgiven for them behind the scenes – there’s a bunch of other stuff coming up behind data retention that actually is also kind of creepy,” Ludlam said at the Internet Governance Forum in Canberra today.

One of Ludlam’s points of contention with the proposals is the lack of a paper trail associated with requests for information. For example, warrants are required to name suspects and leave a “paper trail”.
However, he said there have been a quarter of a million requests for metadata which have not required warrants, compared to 3000 warrant requests for phone taps.

“So all of that intimate detail, including your latitude and longitude, if you’re carrying [phones] around, is being vacuumed up at an enormous rate by a much larger range of agencies that do not need to allege any criminal conduct whatsoever,” Ludlam said, with Telstra recently revealing organisations such as the RSPCA, Melbourne Council and the Blacktown anti-dumping authority have all requested metadata from Telstra.

“There are more than 200 people in the federal police authorised to stamp those applications for fishing expeditions to vacuum up the private data of Australian citizens…” Ludlam said.
“I would … encourage participants here today to respond formally – and my request would be forcefully – so that the government is left in no uncertain terms aware of the views not just of the tech sector but of ordinary Australian citizens about proposals like that.”

NBN Co readies first copper disconnects


NBN Co has unveiled plans to disconnect copper and cable broadband services at 15 of the first fibre rollout areas by May 2014 as it moves to migrate customers off Telstra’s fixed networks.

The first switch-off areas do not include the three initial trial sites in Tasmania, which are still considered a separate part of the network until later this year.

NBN Co has manually chosen a switch-off date for the first 15 sites, as well as approximately 60 other areas built before the company completed agreements with Telstra that enable the automatic switch-off of existing copper or cable services in NBN areas.

NBN Co’s head of product management and industry relations, Jim Hassell, said future sites would have an “automatic trigger” from the disconnection timeframe.

Statistics shared by Hassell at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne this week indicated nearly half of residents (44 percent) who had adopted fibre services had opted for 100 Mbps broadband speeds, with the 25 Mbps speed tier second most popular at 34 percent of services.


Microsoft Office apps set for iOS and Android


Microsoft will release a native Microsoft Office app for both iOS and Android devices in early 2013, according to the company’s Czech Republic arm.

According to the release, the Office app will be available across all Apple mobile devices, including the iPod Touch. Android and iOS users will be able to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint from their mobile devices.

“In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian,” the press release stated.

But Microsoft’s US arm has slammed its Czech counterpart, telling The Vergethe information shared by its subsidiary was “not accurate”.

Windows 8 adverts leak


The ads run for under a minute and show the platform running on a tablet. They market the operating system as a playful experience, showcasing various touchscreen gestures and how the OS can be adapted to individual needs.

The operating system will be unveiled on the morning of October 26. PC, smartphone, tablet and laptop markets have already jumped on board in droves to develop offerings running the various versions of Windows 8.


The advertisements have since been pulled by Microsoft.

BB10 release pushed back again


Research In Motion says it’s still on track to launch its new BlackBerry 10 operating system during the first quarter of 2013, but analysts are saying the software won’t make its debut until later in the quarter, rather than in January, as originally projected.

No Optus 4G for outright Galaxy S III 4G owners


Samsung Galaxy S III 4G users who have purchased their phones outright are not able to utilise the handset’s 4G capabilities with Optus.

Optus is only offering 4G plans to users who choose to bundle the smartphone with one of its plans.

Optus has confirmed it will launch BYO plans for the 4G Galaxy S III in the next few months.

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8 launch date


Nokia, HTC and Samsung have been quick to announce smartphones running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 mobile OS

Microsoft today sent out invitations for its WP8 launch event in the UK and US for October 29th – four days after its Windows 8 launch.

Bondi Beach gets free wi-fi


Waverley Council has unveiled plans to trial a free wi-fi network at Bondi Beach and the surrounding areas in order to determine the viability of the service.

The trial, which would cost between $34,000 to $50,000 to establish and $25,000 a year to maintain, has been investigated since at least February, according to council minutes.

Apple pays video tribute to Steve Jobs


Apple has created a video tribute to former CEO Steve Jobs, on the first anniversary of the technology visionary’s passing.

Apple posted a tribute video on Apple.com celebrating the life of Jobs.

Jobs passed away on October 6 2011

Google brings magazines to Australian Android users

From today, Australian users of Android devices are able to get purchase magazines on their smartphone or tablet, Google has announced. Magazines from publishers ACP Magazines, NewsLifeMedia and Pacific Magazines are now available to Australians through Google Play, the Android App store

Google first added magazines to Play in late June, but Australians weren’t able to access them until today.


Looper director releases downloadable movie commentary

The director of time-travel thriller Looper, Rian Johnson, has released a downloadable commentary track for fans to listen to as they watch the film in the cinema.

The track, which is available online, is designed for the audience to play on their MP3 players.

Looper stars Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the same futuristic hitman, and British star Emily Blunt.

The director added the commentary was “totally different from the track” that will be featured on the DVD release, being “a bit more technical and detailed”.
He said instructions on how to synchronise the MP3 to the film were in the introduction, and also advised cinema goers to think of other audience members by putting any glowing screens in their pocket.

US researchers map carbon emissions at street level

US scientists have developed new software that can accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions down to individual buildings and streets.
The system combines information from public databases with traffic simulations and energy consumption models.
Researchers believe it could help identify the most effective places to cut emissions.

Skype targeted by ‘worm’ malware infecting Windows PCs

When users click on an instant message saying “lol is this your new profile pic?” they unwittingly download a file containing a Trojan horse malware file.

This opens a backdoor allowing hackers to hijack infected PCs and recruit them into a “botnet army”.

Users can be locked out of their machines and held to ransom.

According to internet security specialist Sophos, the worm is a variant of the well-known “Dorkbot” worm which has been spread by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

When the worm infects a computer it sends out the “lol” message to the user’s contact list.


Apple expecting ‘iPad mini’ to sell big, report says


By Hayley Tsukayama,  Published: MONDAY, OCTOBER 08, 10:41 AM ET

Apple has reportedly ordered up 10 million panels for its as-yet unannounced and unconfirmed iPad mini, a rumored 7.8(ish)-inch tablet.


On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported from Taipei that unnamed Apple suppliers have received the large orders for the tablet screen – approximately twice what Amazon placed for the Kindle Fire in the same quarter.


The report follows a similar dispatch from the Taiwanese tech site Digitimes, which has a mixed track record when it comes to culling accurate information out of Apple’s Asian supply chain.


In its report last Thursday, the site said that “unnamed sources” within the supply chain indicated that Apple is expected to ship 9 to 10 million units of the tablet in the fourth quarter.


Apple, which generally doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation, could not immediately be reached for comment on the WSJ report.


Everything about the iPad mini — from its likely price point to its actual existence — comes from a series of rumors about Apple’s leap into the smaller tablet market.


The tablet, if it exists, is expected to come in at a price point lower than Apple’s full 9.7-inch tablet, though likely a bit above the $199 price point of the Kindle Fire and Galaxy Nexus 7. Or, to put it another way, above the price of the iPod Touch.


MacRumors reported that the smaller iPad is not expected to sport the same A6 chip that’s in the iPhone 5, but rather a different version of the A5 chip currently powering the iPad 2.


A smaller Apple tablet is expected to sell well — even though the company is a bit late to the market — and help Apple’s slipping but still dominant numbers in the world tablet market. The company’s marketshare, according to IDC’s second-quarter report, is 68 percent. A couple of years ago, Apple’s share was over 80 percent, showing that Android tablets — as a whole — are making steady headway.


The competition could get rougher headed into the holiday season, with Microsoft and its manufacturers releasing their lineup of new tablets running Windows 8 and Windows RT. Amazon, of course, has also refreshed its tablet line with a full-sized Kindle Fire — which spells fiercer competition for Apple’s iPad.


The iPad mini could take its first steps out of the vaporware category this week: Invitations to an iPad launch event are expected to go out Wednesday, according to a report from Fortune.


Using Apple’s past actions as a guide, an Oct. 10 invitation would likely point to an event the following week. Sales, then, would likely start sometime in early November — if they start at all.



Turnbull’s doubts on storing digital data


OPPOSITION communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has given a thumbs down to the government’s plan to allow greater interception and retention of private digital information.


Mr Turnbull said although he did not want to pre-empt the findings of a parliamentary inquiry, he had ”very grave misgivings” about the proposal, which would give government more ability to monitor and gain access to data.


”It seems to be heading in precisely the wrong direction,” he said, delivering the Alfred Deakin Lecture in Melbourne.


”As the digital age shifted us from a default position of forgetting things to one of perpetual memory, we should be restoring as far as possible people’s right not just to privacy, but to be able to delete material as they have been able to do in the analogue world.”


Mr Turnbull said under the government plan internet companies would be required to store parts of everyone’s data, but clarity was lacking as to what would be kept.


Nor had there been an explanation of the costs and benefits of this ”sweeping and intrusive new power”, including what, if any, cost was ascribed ”to its chilling effect on free speech”.


It had not been said whether any gains in national security or law enforcement – which were asserted as justification for the changes – would be monitored and verified.


Mr Turnbull said that, as a matter of principle, ”if I am lawfully entitled to burn copies of the letters I have written to you and the letters you have sent me in return, why can I not do the same to my emails?


”If I can throw my diary and my photo album in the bin, why can I not delete my Facebook page?”

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/turnbulls-doubts-on-storing-digital-data-20121008-279q4.html#ixzz28nI62aW4

Free-to-air TV networks in talks on joint online streaming service


Almost half of Australia’s online adult population now watches professionally produced video content online, prompting the free-to-air TV networks to discuss building a joint online streaming service.


A new report from the communications regulator found that 5.2 million Australians looked at professional online video content in the six months to June and of those, 61 per cent watched TV programs while 35 per cent watched films.


On a Google hangout hosted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the general manager of industry body Freeview Australia, Liz Ross, said the industry was in “serious discussions” regarding a new “aggregated platform”.


“We do as a platform all agree that an aggregated service is the one appropriate solution in the long run for all Australian consumers because it does deliver that opportunity for people to get all the very best content they currently view on [free-to-air] TV … in one place,” she said.


“Our belief is that consumers will expect television anywhere, any time and on any device.”


Ross said products that have been released in Britain that allow viewers to access “past, present and future” free-to-air content were “a good example of the sorts of things that we’re considering”.


Former Telstra Bigpond boss Justin Milne, who is now deputy chairman of Quickflix, said that in three to five years “the majority of video that Australians watch will be video on demand and it will come from a variety of different devices”.


“Huge amounts of it will be via tablets … I think tablets are a really important device.”


ACMA said 26 per cent of Australian adult internet users accessed content via three or more devices.


Louise McElvogue, a partner of Macleod Media and a member of the government’s Convergence Review Committee, said old-world content rights deals were what was holding the industry back.


“Once we start to see a loosening up of those output deals and the content becoming more available we’ll see a bit of a shift from traditional broadcasters holding all those rights and letting them out online when they want to, to perhaps some of those distributors taking them direct to consumers,” she said.


In the meantime, McElvogue said, “not many people are using online through legal methods for a lot of their viewing”, giving the example of Game of Thrones, which is difficult for Australians to obtain legally in a timely fashion.


There have been persistent rumours about US free online TV service Hulu launching in Australia, but it appears the free-to-air networks want to avoid overseas technology companies eating their lunch.


Right now each network releases online video separately through its own website and ACMA’s research shows that more than 1.5 million Australian adult internet users (or 11 per cent of the total) accessed these catch-up TV services in June this year – up from 8 per cent in June 2011.


According to ACMA, the ABC and SBS are the leading free-to-air players in online catch-up TV, used by 553,000 and 216,000 unique users respectively, followed by Seven (211,000), Ten (205,000) and Nine (27,000).


ABC controller for multi-platform production Arul Baskaran said that for many, iView was the primary method of accessing ABC content, and use of the service on tablets and connected devices now outstripped the website.


“I think what we’re seeing is that really anything that can be a TV is turning into a TV, so all those screens are capable of streaming content now and we’re really seeing tablets emerging as that entertainment computer of choice,” Baskaran said.


He said the ABC was looking at taking advantage of the trend for consumers to use their smartphones and tablets to browse while watching TV.


“Instead of sending you to the website we can bring the website to you on your smartphone or your tablet in the context in which you’re actually engaging with that program,” he said.


ACMA distinguishes free catch-up TV services from IPTV subscription and pay-per-view services such as Foxtel, Fetch TV (offered via ISPs including Optus, iiNet and Internode), Quickflix, Google TV and Apple TV.


The report found that usage of IPTV services was still low, at 5 per cent of households, but this was expected to grow as more content was made available. It found that 2.8 million Australians indicated they were prepared to pay for online video content in the next six months.

From the June quarter of 2010 to the June quarter of 2012, the average volume of data downloaded per internet subscriber in Australia increased by 114 per cent, ACMA said.


The national broadband network was expected to provide “significant stimuli” to the take up of online video, while the development of new technology would soon allow consumers to access online video content services at the “touch of a button”.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/freetoair-tv-networks-in-talks-on-joint-online-streaming-service-20121010-27cx5.html#ixzz28tBJnO00

NBN Co prepares first copper disconnects


18-month countdown set for some sites.


NBN Co has unveiled plans to disconnect copper and cable broadband services at 15 of the first fibre rollout areas by May 2014 as it moves to migrate customers off Telstra’s fixed networks.


The network operator plans to begin a public information campaign in the selected areas — some of the first to get NBN fibre connections as part of the rollout — as it counts down 18 months until most copper services in fibre-connected areas are switched off.


A total of 25,000 premises are expected to be affected by the move, which was a part of the $9 billion agreement between Telstra and NBN Co.


Telstra will receive some $4 billion in user payments as it migrates copper and cable customers off its own broadband and fixed phone line services in fibre-connected areas, as those areas receive NBN connections and are deemed “ready for service”.


NBN Co has manually chosen a switch-off date for the first 15 sites, as well as approximately 60 other areas built before the company completed agreements with Telstra that enable the automatic switch-off of existing copper or cable services in NBN areas.


NBN Co’s head of product management and industry relations, Jim Hassell, said future sites would have an “automatic trigger” from the disconnection timeframe.


The first switch-off areas do not include the three initial trial sites in Tasmania, which are still considered a separate part of the network until later this year.

The 18-month timeframe also includes exceptions for business-grade copper services like ISDN and frame-relay, which will be disconnected after three years instead, according to Hassell.


Those areas that are slated for switch-off however, will receive a hard date for the switch-off.


NBN Co expects up to three-quarters of premises in fibre-connected areas will take up the NBN service at the end of the 18-month time period, except those premises deemed ‘frustrated’ — who refused a connection — as well as empty or wireless-only homes.


A spokeswoman for NBN Co confirmed average take-up in areas was 15 percent, but some areas had take-up of up to 40 percent.


But Australian Communications Consumer Action Network chief executive Teresa Corbin warned some consumers remained unaware of the consequences of the copper switch-off, or the need to take up an NBN fibre service in those areas.


Statistics shared by Hassell at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne this week indicated nearly half of residents (44 percent) who had adopted fibre services had opted for 100 Mbps broadband speeds, with the 25 Mbps speed tier second most popular at 34 percent of services.


Premises passed by NBN fibre:


  • Armidale, NSW (Four areas) – 5400 premises

  • Brunswick, Victoria – 2900 premises

  • Deloraine, Tasmania – 1300 premises

  • George Town, Tasmania – 2300 premises

  • Kiama, NSW – 2400 premises

  • Kingston Beach, Tasmania – 1000 premises

  • Sorell, Tasmania – 1300 premises

  • South Morang, Victoria – 2300 premises

  • St Helens, Tasmania – 2200 premises

  • Townsville, Queensland – 2900 premises

  • Triabunna, Tasmania – 500 premises

  • Willunga, South Australia – 1100 premises


Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.

iPad Mini – coming soon?




Sources suggest Apple has already placed a large production order for the iPad Mini.


We don’t know its real name, but the IT journalist community has settled on “iPad Mini” for the widely anticipated 7.85 inch baby brother to the iPad.


For the first time in quite a while, Apple has been forced to play catch-up. Despite Steve Jobs’ widely reported antagonism towards a 7 inch tablet, the rest of the industry didn’t agree; and now we have the reasonably successful Google Nexus and Amazon Kindle Fire HD carving out a niche without Apple. Not to mention of course a slew of “me too” models from just about every manufacturer in China (of which this writer is guilty of purchasing three units for the family to use).


In order to achieve a price-point that Apple is very unused to seeing, the anticipated device will NOT have a retina display.


Rumours abound that Apple has placed orders totalling 10 million units from factories in Asia and Brazil for delivery in time for Christmas. This is double the number of units Amazon has ordered for the same period.


Other rumours state that invitations to the launch event will be sent to journalist and other invited parties tomorrow (October 10th) for an event in the next week or so, with early availability of the device around October 22nd.


In order to compete with the Nexus and Kindle Fire, the device is anticipated to be priced at $US200. Worse, it will likely take sales away from the far more profitable 10 inch model.


Fun times ahead for Apple.



Microsoft is now your ‘devices and services’ company


CEO Steve Ballmer’s latest shareholder letter declares that Microsoft officially is a devices and services company now, emphasizing the company’s hardware desires.


by Mary Jo Foley


October 9, 2012 4:30 PM PDT


Microsoft really wants to make sure its shareholders, customers, partners, and competitors realize it’s not just a big software company anymore.


In an October 9 letter to shareholders, part of Microsoft’s just-released fiscal 2012 annual report, CEO Steve Ballmer repeated his new “devices and services company” mantra to drive it home.


Ballmer hasn’t (yet) chanted “devices, devices, devices” in front of any public or private audiences (that we know of, at least) in the way he once, in 2006, infamously chanted “developers, developers, developers.


But he told The Seattle Times a few weeks back that Microsoft can and should be considered a devices and services company. The latest Ballmer shareholder letter re-emphasizes that message.


From the letter:


Last year in this letter I said that over time, the full value of our software will be seen and felt in how people use devices and services at work and in their personal lives. This is a significant shift, both in what we do and how we see ourselves — as a devices and services company. It impacts how we run the company, how we develop new experiences, and how we take products to market for both consumers and businesses. The work we have accomplished in the past year and the roadmap in front of us brings this to life.


The Ballmer shareholder letter also claimed again that Microsoft is still counting on its partners to produce business and consumer devices and hardware that customers want. But it’s clear Microsoft isn’t getting into the hardware game on a lark or just to incent its OEMs to make better-designed products, as some company watchers and partners have said.


Ballmer noted that, going forward, Microsoft plans to continue to focus on the development of “new form factors that have increasingly natural ways to use them including touch, gestures, and speech.”


Along with the Xbox, the Microsoft Surface is here to stay and seemingly will include more products as part of the family (in its latest proxy statement — also released today — Microsoft described Surface as “a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices”).

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline “Microsoft CEO Ballmer: Devices, devices, devices!

Philippines court halts a contentious cybercrime law

Amid worries the new law is too general and could lead to the silencing of government critics, the country’s Supreme Court suspends the law for 120 days.


Days after a strict cybersecurity law went into effect in the Philippines, the country’s Supreme Court suspended it.


According to the Associated Press, the court issued a temporary restraining order to freeze the government’s enforcement of the Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the law will be suspended for 120 days. The court plans to hear oral arguments from the law’s supporters and critics in January.


President Benigno Aquino III signed the law last month and it became official last week. There were no reports of anyone violating the law.


Thousands of people protested the cybersecurity law over the past few weeks, complaining that its general scope violated civil liberties. The law was allegedly intended to curb cybercrimes like hacking, identity theft, spam, and online child pornography. However, it also construed online libel as a crime. Some people worried that even a Facebook “Like” could be seen as libel and thus bring a 12-year jail penalty.


Civil society groups, journalists, and human rights groups are most concerned that hard-line politicians may use the law to silence and jail government critics.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation described the law’s passage as a “dark day for the Philippines.” And the Asia director for Human Rights Watch Brad Adams asked the Supreme Court to “go further by striking down this seriously flawed law.”


Several bloggers and Web sites also carried out online protests of the law. Many Facebook and Twitter users uploaded profile photos of a black screen in protest, while hackers attacked a handful of government Web sites.




Facebook tests “Want” button




Facebook are testing Want & Collect buttons to somehow boost their share price.  The articles goes on to describe how these new buttons will somehow connect buyers & sellers of products.  To me, if you “Like” a product, isn’t it implied that you want it?


Microsoft to price Surface RT at $US400 to $US500




No official pricing from Microsoft & this article only deals with the RT version.  Whatever the price is, I bet Australia will pay considerably more than the US.






Microsfot patches 20 bugs, including a critical Word flaw.




This last update Tuesday saw MS patch 20 bugs including a critical Word flaw.  The word flaw affected all versions back to 2003 & even MS got hit by the issue.


Apple shares drop 10%




Analyst call the 10% drop a correction after iPhone 5 hype dies down.  The story goes on to predict earnings to drop from 50% to below 10 by 2014.




Apple quietly releases new Ipods
Apple finally releases iPods that were launched earlier.  What is strange is that at the time no release date was announced & even though it appears to be today, again no fan fare.  You would think that they would have used this to move the spotlight away from the maps fiasco.




Apple Maps reveals secret military base
Everyone was bagging Apple Maps because it either could not find locations or had them in the wrong spot.  Apparently Apple Maps can find things & does show them in the right location.  It’s a shame that this location in particular was not meant to be found.




New Boxee Set Top Box gets free to air TV
New Boxee rumoured to have HDTV tuner & recording capabilities.  Is this a revolution or them playing catchup (T-Box)

Shiny metallic object found on mars
While the mars rover was gathering sample soil, a NASA scientist noticed a small shiny metallic object on the ground.  NASA still do not know where it came from, but suspect it fell off the rover itself.


So Flying Saucers are real after all




US finally admit to experimenting with Flying Saucers.  According to the story these attempts were unsuccessful.




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