Episode 312 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Facebook’s new Want button deepens e-commerce inroads

Only a few weeks ago Facebook unveiled its new Gifts feature in the US (as yet unavailable in Australia) which allows users to purchase and send physical items to one another via the social network, and now it’s expanding things further with a feature called Collections that enables retailers to put Want or Collect buttons on their posts. Once users click on the buttons, it creates a Wishlist on their profile, which directs them off Facebook to the retailer’s site where they can make their purchase.

The new features are still in testing and haven’t yet been officially announced, although Facebook did confirm their existence to TechCrunch,

Collections can be discovered in News Feed, and people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook.” According to that report, Facebook won’t make money directly off each click-through, but the feature may enable the company to compel brands to purchase more advertising.    

Inside the internet


Google has provided a rare glimpse into its state-of-the-art data centres in an attempt to demystify the “physical internet”.  

The photo gallery is taken from eight Google data centres from around the world, spanning everything from water storage and cooling systems to robotic tape libraries.

Google is also offering a virtual tour of its North Carolina data centre via Street View.

Apple sends invites for iPad mini event

Apple today sent out invitations to media for an event on October 23, where it is expected to unveil the rumoured iPad mini.

The event will take place in San Jose, California, just down the road from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters.
The invitation did not reveal details but hinted at the launch of the smaller sister to the iPad, saying, “we’ve got a little more to show you”.

The upcoming event leaked earlier this week. The smaller tablet is expected to contain a 7.85in display, compared to the current iPad’s 9.5in display, and be priced between $A200 and $A300.

It is also expected to be a bit thinner than its predecessors, and include the new Lightning connector that debuted with the iPhone 5.

Surface to hit Aussie shores


The Surface RT can be pre-ordered from Microsoft’s website now for arrival before November 6.

The Surface RT will initially be available for $559 for the 32GB model outright. It will also be available bundled with the black Touch Cover accessory at $679 for the 32GB model, and $789 for a 64GB model.

US pricing for the three models is $US499 ($486), $US599 ($583), and $US699 ($681) respectively.

The Touch Cover can also be purchased as an additional accessory for $139.99. A Type Cover is also available for $149.99. When folded up, both offer protection for the tablet. When folded down, both serve as keypads – the Touch Cover offers a touch-sensitive keypad while the Type Cover’s keys are tactile.
The Touch Cover is available in black, white red, blue and magenta.

The Surface RT will hit retail shelves on October 26, coinciding with the launch of Microsoft’s next-generation operating system Windows 8.

The Surface tablet comes in two varieties – the Surface RT based on an ARM chipset running a hobbled version of Windows 8, dubbed Windows RT, and the Intel-based fully-fledged Windows 8 model.
Microsoft is yet to announce pricing or availability for the Intel ‘Surface Pro’ model. It is expected to touch down in January next year.

Seven warns internet pirates won’t scare them into fast-tracking TV shows

from Josh

SEVEN Network boss Tim Worner says the station will not be spooked into fast-tracking imported television series and dramas because of internet pirates.

Seven has just announced a range of new shows and the return of several big hits from overseas for 2013.
Several have screened or will be shown in the US before they appear in Australia.

Among the shows Seven is screening in 2013 are the second season’s of Revenge and Once Upon A Time, which have already started in the US, and the third season of the period drama Downton Abbey which is screening in the UK.


PC makers launch Windows 8 blitz

Acer Australia confirmed to CRN it had already started taking pre-orders for its Windows 8 machines, while rival PC maker Dell said it will open pre-orders for its Windows 8 products locally on October 23

HP has confirmed its devices can now be pre-ordered from its resellers nationally. Pre-orders will also be made available through its online store in the coming days.

Microsoft announced yesterday it was taking pre-orders for Windows 8, with a promotion price for an upgrade to the full version of the software at $US70 ($A68) for a DVD pack. The boxed edition of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade will jump to $US200 after the promotion – the same price as the Windows 7 Professional upgrade DVD.

From October 26 users can download the OS for $US40, a price that will expire at the end of January.


First Windows 8 commercial appears



Telstra sells 100,000 iPhone 5 devices

Telstra had the biggest single day of retail trade in its history after Apple released its iPhone 5 smartphone.
The carrier’s CEO David Thodey told its annual general meeting in Melbourne today that Telstra had sold over 100,000 of the devices since they became available on September 21.

Thodey said the carrier had over 500,000 customers on its 4G network.

The carrier sold 193,000 of its T-Box digital set-top box and “close to 150,000” of its T-Hub home phone in the past fiscal year.

New suburbs prepare for NBN

The federal government has named 40 new areas and around 165,800 homes to get the National Broadband Network in the next year.

According to the minister, 25,495 NBN-connected premises. just under 6400 are fibre, just under 600 are fixed wireless and just over 17,000 are for satellite,” Jim Hassell, head of product development and sales at NBN Co, told a Senate Estimates committee yesterday.

Overall, across Australia the number of premises where work has started is at least 121,500. NBN Co estimates it takes an average of 12 months from the time work starts at each NBN site until services are available.

Just 3295 homes have been passed by the NBN since August this year.

The fibre-optic network is expected to take 10 years to build and cost $37 billion

New South Wales: Blacktown (Seven Hills); Coffs Harbour (Sapphire Beach, Korora); Dapto (Dapto, Brownsville, Koonawarra, Kanahooka); Gosford (North Gosford, Gosford, West  Gosford, Narara); Homebush (Homebush West); Mudgee (Mudgee); Penrith (South Penrith, Jamisontown); Richmond (Londonderry Hobartville, Richmond, Richmond  Lowlands, Agnes Banks); Taree (Taree, Taree Tinonee); Wollongong (Wollongong).

Queensland: Ascot (Hamilton, Hendra, Ascot, Eagle Farm, Pinkenba); Cairns (Cairns North, Cairns City); Goodna (Redbank Plains); Kallangur and Petrie (Kurwongbah, Petrie, Kallangur); Mackay (South Mackay, East Mackay); Nudgee (Northgate, Virginia,  Banyo, Nundah); Townsville (Railway Estate, Hermit Park); Toowoomba (Redwood, Withcott, East Toowoomba, Rangeville).

Western Australia: Applecross (Brentwood, Mount Pleasant, Booragoon); Geraldton (Mount Tarcoola, Tarcoola Beach, West End, Mahomets Flats); Mandurah (Greenfields, Coodanup,  Furnissdale, Barragup); Meadow Springs (San Remo, Madora Bay, Singleton, Golden Bay); South Perth (Kensington, South Perth, Como); Victoria Park (Kewdale, Lathlain, Carlisle); Yunderup (South Yunderup, North Yunderup).

iPhone 5 Lightning cable, dock clones surface


Chinese company iPhone5Mod managed to clone the new connector used on the iPhone 5 in less than a month. Apple included an authentication chip in its official Lightning cable to avoid copies surfacing, which iPhone5Mod was able to replicate.

Apple sells its Lightning adapter for $35 locally. For an adapter with a 0.2m cord, the cost is $45.
iPhone5Mod’s cable and dock both sell for $US20 ($A19) individually, or $US40 for the pair.

BBC Worldwide announces first UK Ultraviolet-enabled DVD titles


The four UV-enabled titles; Doctor Who Series 7 Part 1, John Bishop’s new stand up title Rollercoaster, the new Top Gear special commissionandAttenborough: 60 Years in the Wild – the forthcoming retrospective on Sir David Attenborough’s sixty years in natural history broadcasting – will be released  from late October onwards.  Both the DVD and Blu-Ray for each title will be UV-enabled.


UltraViolet (UV) technology will give purchasers of BBC Worldwide’s physical DVDs the additional right to a free digital copy of the programme or show which can be easily redeemed and subsequently seamlessly accessed via an ever-increasing array of devices including computers, tablets and smartphones.  Streaming and download access are supported to enable both online and offline viewing.






Australian Hacker Claims To Have Hacked Pace Makers


At a recent security Conference Barnaby Jack (that has to be a fake name) claimed to have hacked a pace maker.  According to Mr Jack there is a secret function that releases the devices serial number & other details which could be used to load compromised firmware.  Once this firmware has been installed, other devices within 30 feet can also be infected.  According to the article, vulnerable pace makers could be configured to send a series of deadly shocks of up to 830 volts.
Apple IPad Mini Launch Rumoured for Oct 23
Apple has sent out invitations for an event on October 23.  It is highly anticipated that the IPad Mini will be launched.  Some blogs which closely monitor Apple say the new tablet could be priced from $US249 to $US399 ($242 to $388), which could pressure rivals such as the Amazon Kindle Fire.
New version of Flame virus uncovered by Kaspersky Lab
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/new-version-of-flame-virus-uncovered-by-kaspersky-lab/story-e6frfro0-1226496694480#ixzz29cFcsWma

Russian-based Kaspersky said miniFlame “is based on the same architectural platform as Flame”, widely reported to be part of a US-Israeli effort to slow Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons drive.

The smaller version “can function as its own independent cyber espionage program or as a component” inside Flame and related malware. Stuxnet

Unlike Flame, which is designed for “massive spy operations”, miniFlame is “a high precision, surgical attack tool”, according to Alexander Gostev at Kaspersky Lab.

ACCC’s Scam Watch website warns mobile phone users about a message from Vicki Wharton from VIP Rewards
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/acccs-scam-watch-website-warns-mobile-phone-users-about-a-message-from-vicki-wharton-from-vip-rewards/story-e6frfro0-1226496887420#ixzz29cGuEX3U

In the scam, mobile users receive a call from a New South Wales number in which a recorded message states they have 48 hours to claim a “customer reward”.

The message, which purports to be from “Vicki Wharton from VIP Rewards”, directs the user to call a 1902 number to claim their prize, which is charged at $5 a minute.

The message also specifies a website address which contains fine print describing VIP Rewards as “a subscription service” offering games, quizzes and “downloadable content” charged at $13.20 per week, with a $26.40 sign up fee.

The website is registered to an address in New Haven, America, while VIP Rewards itself appears to be registered to a company in Spain.

Steve Wozniak calls Apple arrogant: ‘I wish the iPhone 5 was wider

In a 30 minutes interview with a South African Tech journalist, Steve stated that Apple is arrogant in relation to the dimensions of the iPhone 5.  Steve also repeated is desire to move to Australia largely due to our NBN roll out.  He believes the cloud will have issues in the future.  Steve stated he was disappointed with IOS6, especially with the maps fiasco.  He also went a bit left field by predicting that computers would have feelings.
Why every text message and email you’ve ever sent is up for grabs
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/why-every-text-message-and-email-youve-ever-sent-is-up-for-grabs/story-e6frfro0-1226494234955#ixzz29cMVrJRo

The Australian Federal Police told news.com.au that everything you type in a text or an email can be accessed by authorities if your Telco or ISP has kept the records. The AFP requires the approval of a judge or a telecommunications warrant to access the records.

And the bad news for anyone who likes to think their messages with friends are private is that some providers keep records from the time you first start an account. We’re talking five years or more.


“The bottom line is this: the main consideration is that privacy of the people involved is maintained because there are national privacy laws that will protect people from intrusion into their privacy,” Professor Cho told news.com.au.

” (But) it’s a policy matter for each ISP (or Telco). Some have (records for) two years, five years, it’s an individual decision for each provider. In terms of Google, Yahoo and so forth – I think they keep it for a very long time.




Why Apple is making an iPad mini

Apple is poised to launch an iPad mini as figures show the tech giant’s tablet market share in the US fell by 29 percentage points in the past year.
The California-based company has sent out invitations to an event next week, teasing “We’ve got a little more to show you.”

Commentators speculate the event will launch a smaller, cheaper model of the iPad.

In 2011, 81 per cent of tablet computers owned in the US were Apple iPads, but in 2012 that number fell to just 52 per cent, according to a report from the Pew Research Centre and the Economist Group.

Apple’s dominance of the tablet market is more robust in Australia, but it has also suffered, says research from technology analyst firm Telsyte. In 2010, the iPad’s first year of release, Apple enjoyed a market share of 90 per cent in Australia. This has since declined to about 75 per cent.

Analysts say the decline is due to increased competition from smaller, more affordable seven-inch tablets running Google’s Android operating system.

Apple’s China manufacturing under threat
Companies that assemble most of the world’s iPads and iPhones are struggling to find workers to fill their massive facilities as more young Chinese shun the factory floor.

Apple is poised to launch an iPad mini as figures show the tech giant’s tablet market share in the US fell by 29 percentage points in the past year.

The California-based company has sent out invitations to an event next week, teasing “We’ve got a little more to show you.”

The iPad mini is coming at a time when Apple is finding increasing competition.
Foad Fadaghi, Telsyte

Commentators speculate the event will launch a smaller, cheaper model of the iPad.

Pint-sized … the iPad mini is rumoured to be announced on October 23. Photo: Bloomberg
In 2011, 81 per cent of tablet computers owned in the US were Apple iPads, but in 2012 that number fell to just 52 per cent, according to a report from the Pew Research Centre and the Economist Group.

Apple’s dominance of the tablet market is more robust in Australia, but it has also suffered, says research from technology analyst firm Telsyte. In 2010, the iPad’s first year of release, Apple enjoyed a market share of 90 per cent in Australia. This has since declined to about 75 per cent.
Analysts say the decline is due to increased competition from smaller, more affordable seven-inch tablets running Google’s Android operating system.

An alleged photo of the iPad mini that appeared on the Bolopad website.
“The iPad mini is coming at a time when Apple is finding increasing competition, particularly in the budget device area,” Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi said.

Meanwhile, overall tablet sales continue to grow rapidly in Australia. Sales exceeded 1 million units in the first half of 2012, and are expected to pass 2.3 million by the end of the year, according to Telsyte research.

Telsyte estimated that 15 per cent of the population own a tablet PC, a figure expected to double to 30 per cent in 2013.

“Within four years half the population will be relying on such a device for a lot of their computing needs, covering education, entertainment, productivity and other applications,” Fadaghi said.

In another challenge to Apple’s dominance, Microsoft today announced that the base model of its new Surface tablet will go on sale next Friday for $559, a price comparable to the current iPad.
Despite this, Fadaghi expects the iPad mini to help maintain Apple’s market share for the time being and even bolster its share price. “Our expectation is that we’ll see a reversal of the share price decline over the last couple of weeks,” he said.

Rumours of an iPad mini have been swirling for months despite the late Steve Jobs declaring in an October 2010 call with analysts that seven-inch tablets were “dead on arrival” because they are “too big to compete with the smartphone and too small to compete with the [9.7-inch] iPad”.

“The 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps,” said Jobs.
Times have certainly changed since then and companies such as Google and Amazon have had significant success with their seven-inch Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire tablets, respectively.

By January 2011, before the introduction of the Fire and Nexus 7, the view at Apple appears to have drastically changed when executive Eddy Cue picked up a seven-inch Samsung Galaxy tablet.

“I believe there will be a seven-inch market and we should do one,” Cue wrote to other executives in an email released during the patent infringement battle with Samsung.

“I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, Facebook and video very compelling on a seven-inch.”
In 2003 Jobs said Apple had no interest in mobile phones or tablets and no one wanted to watch video on a small iPod display. In 2008 he said people didn’t read any more, then went on to launch the iBookstore.

At a conference earlier this year Cook said Jobs would regularly argue a polar opposite position to the one he had the day before. “This is a gift, because things do change, and it takes courage to change. It takes courage to say, ‘I was wrong.'”
with Asher Moses

Microsoft starts taking Surface orders

Microsoft is now accepting orders for the first batch of its forthcoming Surface With Windows RT tablet, with delivery expected by October 26.

Quantities are limited, and it seems that in Australia the new tablet will at least initially be sold only online.

Three models are initially offered: 32GB ($559), a 32GB with black Touch Cover ($679), and 64GB with black Touch Cover ($789).

These prices are slightly higher than those charged in the US: converting from $US to $A and adding GST gives $534, $641 and $748 respectively.

Touch Covers will be available separately in black, white, magenta, cyan and red at $139.99, but at this stage it is not clear whether all five will be sold in Australia.

There’s also the $149.99 Type Cover which includes a keyboard.

Surface With Windows RT will go on sale in Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States on the same day.

Microsoft’s new tablet weighs approximately 0.68kg and measures 27.5 by 17.2 by 0.9cm.

Hardware features include an Nvidia T30 processor, 2GB of RAM, a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, front and rear 720p video cameras, two microphones, stereo speakers, light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.

It also comes with a USB 2.0 port, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, and a ‘cover port’ (apparently the magnetic strip used to attach the removable covers).

One the software side, there’s Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview (upgradable viua Windows Update once the final version is released) plus Windows Mail and Windows

Messaging, SkyDrive, Windows Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Xbox Games.

There’s no further indication from Microsoft of a release date for Surface With Windows 8 Pro – that tablet is still shown as ‘coming soon’.

Google found to be Australia’s second most attractive employer brand

LinkedIn has ranked Google as Australia’s second most-in-demand employer brand with the release of its new Talent Brand Index.

The world’s largest professional network, with more than 175 million members, ranked Google second in Australia behind mining and resource giant, Rio Tinto, with construction group, Leighton Contractors, the third most-in-demand employer brand.

The InDemand Employer rankings were powered by Talent Brand Index, a new, free service for LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions customers that allows them to measure and benchmark the strength of their employer brand and offers new insights into how they can improve their ability to attract top talent.

LinkedIn analysed the activity of members including company followers, page views and connections, to determine the level of awareness and interest in a company among its key talent audiences.

According to Steve Barham, Senior Director, LinkedIn Talent Solutions, the InDemand Employer rankings revealed the most attractive and sought after employers on LinkedIn, determined by the companies that LinkedIn members were most interested in, and provided new insights for professionals considering their next career steps.

“Seventy per cent of companies rank employer branding as one of their biggest priorities as they increasingly compete for top talent.  

“The ability to better understand how your company is perceived amongst key professional audiences empowers you to take steps to better engage the professionals you most want to hire.”

Barham said there were three easy steps for all companies on LinkedIn to take to build their talent brand:

1.    Encourage all current employees to create and complete their profiles so that they can easily be found

2.    Complete their company age so potential candidates can find out more information about the company and its culture

3.    Include a company follow button on the company website and in email signatures

The $20 billion deal – Softbank buys Sprint    

In one of the largest deals in IT history, Japan’s Softbank will buy two thirds of major US telco Sprint Nextel for US$20 billion. The deal makes Softbank an international telco giant.

The megadeal was announced late yesterday in simultaneous releases by the two companies. It is the largest ever acquisition by a Japanese company.

“Softbank and Sprint Nextel today announced that they have entered into a series of definitive agreements under which Softbank will invest approximately US$20.1 billion in Sprint, consisting of approximately US$12.1 billion to be paid to Sprint shareholders and US$8 billion of new capital to be used, amongst other purposes, to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet.

The companies expect the closing of the transaction to occur in mid-2013. As a result of the transaction Softbank will own approximately 70% of the fully-diluted shares of New Sprint, which will own 100% of the shares of Sprint.”

So most of the money will go as a cash payment to Sprint’s long-suffering shareholders, and less than half will be reinvested in the business. Sprint shares rose 14%, little wonder given its poor performance in recent years. Sprint has not turned a profit in any quarter for the last five years and is US$15 billion in debt.

Japanese investors were initially sceptical, but are warming to the deal. Softbank shares fell 6% on the news, on top of 17% they lost last Friday after widespread rumours of something happening. But they rebounded yesterday, gaining back half the losses, after investors and analysts digested the consequences of the massive deal. But the deal will be financed by debt – with Softbank already carrying $10 billion in debt, leading some analysts to question the financial viability of the deal.

The transaction is being funded mostly by loans from four major Japanese banks, including the local subsidiary of Deutsche Bank. There is concern among many analysts about the amount of additional debt being taken on. The BBC reports ratings agency Standard & Poor’s as warning the deal “may undermine Softbank’s financial risk profile”. Softbank’s greatly increase debt has led S&P to give it a negative CreditWatch rating.

Whatever the financial implications, the deal is huge. Softbank says it will enable it to establish an operating base as one of the largest mobile Internet companies in the world. “The combined subscriber base will be one of the largest between the USA and Japan, and the combined mobile telecom service revenue will rank third amongst global operators.”
It also enables Softbank to leverage its expertise in smart phones (it had the only Japanese distributorship for the iPhone until a year ago) and mobile networks. It should also enhance Sprint’s competitiveness in the USA, by providing it with US$8 billion of new capital for “its mobile network, strategic investments, and balance sheet as part of its continued efforts to fortify its operating base towards future growth.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will stay in his job, for now at least. He is lucky, given his company’s dismal performance in recent years.

The Kansas based company’s origins go back a century, but it became a major player in the US telecoms scene only in the last 20 years. A proposed US$129 billion merger deal with MCI was knocked back by the US Department of Justice in 1999. It merged with rival Nextel in 2004.

Sprint has a very high profile in the USA, but has lost money for years. It is regarded by many as yesterday’s company. The massive cash injection from Softbank, not to mention Softbank’s undoubted entrepreneurial expertise, should give it a new lease of life. It needs one.
Softbank was founded in 1981 by Masayoshi Son, a Korean-Japanese educated in America. He started the company after experiencing the early days of the PC boom in Silicon Valley (he attended University of California, Berkeley).

In its early years Softbank distributed US PC software in Japan. Its approach to software distribution, and the products it introduced to the country, greatly influenced the course of the early Japanese PC industry, which initially was very inward-looking. It also entered the IT magazine field, publishing a number of successful titles. By the late 1980s some in Japan (most notably his own publications) were calling Son “the Japanese Bill Gates”.

He was a good friend of both Gates and Steve Jobs. Maybe he is Japan’s Bill Gates – he is now the second richest man in the country.

By the 1990s Softbank was a major player in the Japanese IT scene. It brought Yahoo! To Japan in 1996 and listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1998. It subsequently moved into telecommunications, making a number of acquisitions, including Vodafone Japan in 2006, which it turned from an also-ran into a major mobile player. It has a market capitalisation exceeding $40 billion.

What does the deal mean? For a start, if people outside of Japan hadn’t heard of Softbank before, they will now. It ensures Sprint’s survival (assuming the whole operation doesn’t collapse under its debt), but more importantly it makes Softbank a major global telecommunications player.

It is a major gamble for Softbank, but Masayoshi-san has a long track record of playing and winning. And of rebounding when he loses – he once lost more than anyone in history. He is one smart cookie. The Wall Street Journal calls the deal “bravado” and an “ego trip”. There may be a bit more to it than that.


Google resists two thirds of Aussie takedown requests


Removes items over privacy, security concerns.

Google has resisted nearly two thirds of Australian government requests to remove content from its massive online archive, the most recent Google transparency report reveals.

According to the report, Google received 17 content removal requests from Australian governments, covering 646 individual items.

Google complied with 35 percent of the requests, ignoring the remaining 65 percent.

The majority of the items requested for take-down were related to privacy and security. One item related to Google’s mapping product, while six YouTube items were requested for removal.

Blogger, another Google property, received two takedown notices relating to defamation.

The number of requests made by Australian governments jumped significantly in the July-December 2011 period (the most recent time figures are available for).

In the January – June period, Australian governments asked Google to take down a total of ten items. Google complied with 40 percent of those requests.

Germany and the United States took the lead in takedown requests for the last half of 2011, with 1034 and 3851 items respectively.

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