Episode 316 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


ACCC wins $7 million in three months

The ACCC won almost $7 million in court penalties and recorded 46,000 complaints and inquiries in the three months to September 30 this year.

One case involved the local operation of PC maker HP and its allegedmisleading actions towards consumers over faulty products and warranties.
Mid last month, the ACCC said HP had breached Australian consumer laws by deceiving customers around product repair eligibility and warranty periods. It said HP told customers they could not get replacements for products until they had been repaired multiple times, and that returns would only be provided at HP’s discretion.

The ACCC alleged HP advised customers the warranty period for its products were limited to an “express” period, and for any repairs or replacements needed after the expiration of the express period, HP would only repair faulty products if the customer paid for it. It is also accused of not honouring repairs and exchanges for its online store.

The case will be heard in Sydney’s Federal Court on December 7.
Issues relating to consumer law were a focus of the ACCC’s remit over the period. A single national consumer law was introduced in 2011, replacing the Trade Practices Act of 1974, uniting Federal and State legislation. The ACCC said it has won $19.42 million in penalties since the ACL was introduced in January 2011.

Password hole found in Skype

Skype temporarily disabled its password reset capability last night while engineers investigated a security issue through which hackers could use password reset to take over the accounts of other users.
According to various accounts, an attacker could sign up for a new account using an email address already in use. A pop-up would indicate that the account already exists, but it was possible to proceed with the new account setup, regardless.

The attacker could then log in to that account and request a password change. The Skype client would receive a password change notification that would need to be confirmed by clicking on the attached link, and the process would be complete.

Vodafone loses customers, cash

Domestic customer numbers also continue to fall, down from 3.25 million in July 2012 to 3.17 million in September 2012.

Overall, Vodafone has lost in excess of half a million customers over the past 18 months.

The company indicated it won’t have a 4G network in capital cities until at least the first half of 2013.

Apple devices gets free Nokia maps app

The application, called Here, will run on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. It will be available ‘soon’ for free.

The company is also working with Firefox maker Mozilla to integrate its maps into the new Firefox OS browser, and will release a software development kit for Android developers. A Windows Phone version of the application is already available on Nokia’s Lumia devices.

The Here app for iOS offers features such as voice-guided navigation, public transport directions and offline support. Specified maps can be downloaded in advance to work when not online.

Telstra broadband routers open to attack

Hardcoded usernames and passwords have been discovered in a recent line of Telstra broadband routers that could allow attackers access to customer networks.

The flaws meant attackers could bypass any unique passwords and access the device administrative console and customer’s local network.  3G21WB_

UPDATE AND INSTRUCTIONS to fix the flaws and was contacting affected customers by phone and email to urge them to apply the fix.

The firmware upgrade was the only means of removing the unchangeable default logins introduced by Netcomm into the BigPond Elite Wireless BroadBand Network Gateway line.

“We’ve now published a firmware update and are contacting all customers with this type of modem to ensure they install the patch,” Telstra told SC in a statement.

The patch also introduced a feature allowing manual selection between internal and external antennas from the modem interface.

Microsoft Windows boss steps down

Microsoft said the head of its flagship Windows division and the driving force behind Windows 8, Steven Sinofsky, will be leaving the company with immediate effect.

will be succeeded by Julie Larson-Green, who will head the Windows hardware and software division

The company gave no reason for Sinofsky’s departure.

Amazon live from Sydney data centre tomorrow

AWS’ Equinix SYD3 cluster ready to go.

Amazon Web Services will begin serving customers from its first Australian data centre next Tuesday,

Govt axes mandatory ISP filter plans

The Federal Government has formally abandoned plans to introduce legislation for mandatory ISP filtering, closing a dark chapter in politics concerning Australia’s internet.

Instead, internet service providers will be directed by the Government and the Australian Federal Police to block “child abuse websites” that feature on an INTERPOL block list.

Conroy unveiled plans for a mandatory internet filter plan in May 2008 as part ofLabor’s $125.8 million Cybersafety Plan.

Dodo teams with Microsoft for broadband bundle

Microsoft has teamed with Dodo Australia to offer an Xbox bundled with unlimited broadband in metro and regional areas.

According to a Dodo spokesperson, the bundle costs $59.95 per month for an ADSL 2+ service in metropolitan areas.


Samsung Not Interested in Settlement with Apple over Patent Issues

Wednesday November 14, 2012 6:22 am PST by Eric Slivka
With Apple and HTC having announced a settlement in their patent dispute, some observers have wondered whether the move could signal the beginning of a broader effort to resolve such issues throughout the industry. Apple and a number of Android device manufacturers such as HTC have been locked in court battles over their intellectual property for the past several years.

Samsung has rapidly risen to become the dominant Android device manufacturer and Apple’s most significant foe in both the courtroom and the marketplace, but AFP reports that Samsung has “no such intention” of settling with Apple.
“We have no such intention,” J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile unit, told reporters on Wednesday when asked if Samsung would seek a similar settlement.
Yonhap has more on Shin’s comments:
“It may be true that HTC may have agreed to pay 300 billion won (US$276 million) to Apple, but we don’t intend to (negotiate) at all,” Shin Jong-kyun, who heads the South Korean tech giant’s mobile and IT division, told reporters. […]

While the terms of the settlement were undisclosed, market watchers speculate HTC will pay between $6 to $8 per phone, which would amount to $180 million to $280 million a year.
The patent battle between Apple and Samsung is already being played out in courtrooms around the world, with Apple’s most significant victory in the series being a $1 billion verdict against Samsung in the United States. Not all of the cases have gone Apple’s way, however, with one of the most visible defeats having been in the United Kingdom where Apple was ordered to post public acknowledgements that Samsung had not infringed upon Apple’s registered design for the iPad.

Apple Again Tops U.S. Retail Chains in Sales at $6000 per Square Foot

Tuesday November 13, 2012 8:08 am PST by Eric Slivka
Fortune points to a new report from research firm Retail Sails, which once again ranks Apple as the U.S. retail store chain with the highest sales per square foot. Apple’s sales productivity is calculated at over $6000 per square foot, more than double that of second-place Tiffany & Co.

Apple also topped the list last year, with this year’s 7.5% growth in sales per square foot ranking second among the top five companies to lululemon’s 11.8% growth. Apple’s retail store sales growth has, however, slowed considerably from Retail Sails’ 2011 estimate of 49.1% growth as Apple has in some cases been transitioning to larger store sizes and expanded iPhone and iPad distribution has siphoned some demand from Apple’s own retail stores.

Apple, Google remain in talks to buy Kodak patents


By Slash Lane

Kodak has been granted a deadline extension to retain exclusive control of its bankruptcy case through February, as the company continues to hope it will be able to sell off its patent portfolio to a list of potential buyers that include Apple and Google.

Kodak remains in talks with both Apple and Google, as the two companies are still interested in buying Kodak’s portfolio after a number of setbacks and delays, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The company said it is “confident” its patents will fetch the $500 million minimum required under the terms of a $793 million loan package.

That deal still requires court approval, but Kodak now has more time to execute the financing offer from Centerbridge Partners, GSO Capital Partners, UBS, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Thanks to an extension from Judge Alan Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Kodak has until Feb. 28 to move forward with its plan. The extension means Kodak will not yet need to deal with competing proposals from creditors.

Kodak plans to be able to repay its creditors and exit bankruptcy through its patent sale. The company expects to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of 2013 with a new look: a much smaller presence in the consumer business and a larger focus on commercial imaging.

In August, separate investor groups led by Apple and Google made their bids for Kodak’s digital imaging patents, but those bids came in well below the company’s original estimates of $2.6 billion. Instead, the bids were said to be worth between $150 million and $250 million.

The final hearing for the Kodak sale was originally scheduled to take place in August. But the conclusion of that auction was delayed indefinitely after Kodak had trouble finalizing deals with a large number of hopeful buyers.


Apple begins shipping LTE-capable iPad mini models

Customers on Tuesday began receiving word from Apple’s online store that their orders for the new iPad mini with LTE connectivity have begun shipping.

Multiple readers indicated to AppleInsider Tuesday morning that they began receiving shipment notifications for their iPad mini with cellular data. The orders are scheduled to arrive this Friday, Nov. 16.

Customers have begun receiving word that both the black and slate as well as the white and silver colors of the iPad mini are on their way.

Apple began informing customers last week that their iPad mini with LTE would ship within five business days. iPad mini models with mobile data were first advertised to begin shipping in “a few weeks,” but a specific launch date was not given.

The Wi-Fi-only iPad mini launched earlier this month in 34 countries alongside the new fourth-generation iPad. Together, the devices sold more than 3 million units over the launch weekend.

Apple’s online store quickly sold out of all models of the iPad mini when they first went on sale. The company’s most popular model over the launch weekend was the 16-gigabyte white and silver model.

In addition to direct sales through Apple, the new iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad are also available through AppleInsider sponsor MacMall by calling 888-338-6102 or visiting their website.       

Apple pays $20m to use Swiss rail clock

Apple has paid 20 million Swiss francs ($20.27 million) to compensate Swiss national rail operator SBB for using its famous clock without permission, a Swiss newspaper has reported.
Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/apple-pays-20m-to-use-swiss-rail-clock-20121111-29619.html#ixzz2CEVg91uP

The company agreed in October to pay the lump sum so it could continue using SBB’s Swiss-designed station clock face on its iPads and iPhones, the Tages-Anzeiger daily reported on its website.
The rail operator’s spokeswoman, Patricia Claivaz, said in September that SBB was preparing to meet Apple to discuss why the company had begun using the famous clock on one of its new applications for iOS 6 without authorisation.
She said at the time that SBB was more interested in bringing clarity to where and how Apple could use the logo than in making money.
“We’re rather proud that a brand as important as Apple is using our design,” she said in September.
The clock was designed in 1944 by Swiss engineer Hans Hilfiker and remains the property of SBB. It is still used in SBB’s stations.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/apple-pays-20m-to-use-swiss-rail-clock-20121111-29619.html#ixzz2CEVe3zfl


Nikon S800c Android Camera, now on-sale at Harvey Norman, JB Hifi, Domayne, Teds and Camera House
Daniel Tyson – November 12, 2012 – 15:13pm
I’ve just come back from a whip around local retailers and it looks as though the Nikon S800c, the point and shoot camera running Android 2.3 has started to arrive in stores. Domayne, Harvey Norman, Ted’s, Camera House and to a lesser extent JB Hifi are now stocking the camera.
Harvey Norman had the camera out on display and in-stock for $499 although their website has it for $488, whilst JB Hifi have it in their catalogue for $476 but no stock in Canberra as yet call your store for better info on stock, Ted’s have the camera in-stock for $479.95 and Camera House have it on their system but need a days notice to actually get it into stock. Domayne however had the best price I saw so far with a sale price of $398 although on the website it does say $496 :
The $398 from Domayne is actually quite tempting and with Christmas creeping up on us seemingly very quickly it certainly is a tempting offer. Who’s grabbing a Nikon S800c?

Telstra UNO (ZTE-T12) Back On Sale at Coles for $44.50
Daniel Tyson – November 12, 2012 – 20:16pm
We’ve seen the Telstra UNO before on-sale at Coles for $44.50, I actually picked one up last time they were on-sale as I needed something to track my runs on and listen to podcasts on, it’s been pretty good so far for that purpose and I have a mini-review inbound on it. Normally priced at $89 the UNO isn’t a bad option if you’re looking at a backup phone for the car or an entry level smartphone for the kids.
Specs :

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 2.8-inch touch screen
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • 2GB microSD CardExpandable memory – up to 32GB

The deal comes with a Telstra SIM card and the phone is locked to the Telstra network. Bonuses with this $44.50 bargain is $10 of Telstra call credit and a 2GB MicroSD card, even if you’re looking for something basic, this phone would be a pretty good deal. The catalogue goes from Wednesday the 14th of November through to the 20th of November so check out Coles for one of these little beauties.

Samsung sells 30 Million Galaxy S III’s, overtakes iPhone 4 as worlds best-selling Smartphone in Q3
Daniel Tyson – November 9, 2012 – 08:44am
The Samsung Galaxy S III has been pretty popular all over the world with Samsung Poland recently announcing that the company had sold over 30 Million of the phones worldwide. Now a company called Strategy Analytics has announced that during Quarter 3 2012, Samsung has taken the title of the most shipped phone away from the iPhone 4S by selling over 18 million Galaxy S IIIs in the period between July and September, this in comparison to Apples sales of just over 16 million iPhone 4S handsets during the same period.
Phone sales during this time frame did see the US launch of the Galaxy S III and also the worldwide release of the iPhone 5 but just barely, the iPhone 4 and 4S also saw a drop in price after the launch of the iPhone 5 so I personally don’t know how long this title will stay with Samsung, however it is impressive and combined with the 3 million Galaxy Note 2‘s sold in just over a month, shows that Samsung phones are selling in massive amounts. It will be interesting to see what happens in Q4 with Christmas sales. Do you think Samsung can retain the title?

Humble Bundle 4 now available for Android
James Finnigan – November 9, 2012 – 07:10am
For those of you who don’t know, the Humble Bundle is an initiative designed to sell and promote independent games. The Humble Bundlers select a number of cool indie games, which are sold DRM-free on their website for a price that you determine yourself. If you want to pay $5, cool! $1.23 is also fine. As an incentive to pay a slightly-higher cost though, if you pay more than the average price, you get an extra game thrown in as well.
This time around, the games in the Bundle are: Crayon Physics Deluxe, Eufloria, Splice, Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP, and Waking Mars. If you then pay more than the average price (which at the time of writing was $5.80), you also get Machinarium. You also get the PC versions of all the games in the bundle (compatible with Windows, Linux and Macintosh), as well as each game’s soundtrack to download. If you pay an extra $1, you also get Steam keys for the games.
If you hate supporting indie developers for some reason, good news! You can choose to taunt them by giving all of your purchase price to the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and the Child’s Play Charity. By default though, 65% of your purchase price goes to the developers of the games, 25% goes to charity, and 15% goes to Humble Bundle Inc itself.
If you’re looking for a good deed for today, I recommend buying the Humble Bundle. It’s a great way to support indie developers and charities, all the while scoring some cool games to break in your shiny new Nexus device next week.

CyanogenMod 10.0 ‘stable’ build released
James Finnigan – November 14, 2012 – 15:00pm
Last night, the CyanogenMod team began tagging the source code for CyanogenMod 10 (Android 4.1) as stable. They took the time to note however, that the ‘stable’ tag really is only used for want of a better word — as I can personally attest, the nightly builds have had no stability problems.

Why is stable in quotes? Because that word does a disservice to the M-series and is misleading at worst. The word stable works great when discussing kernels, but calling this release ‘stable’ implies that the M-series builds were not ‘stable’, which is far from the truth. So think of this as stable, release, LTS, or M3; you pick.

Also in the Google + post, the team call for bug reports for the new builds and discusses Android 4.2. Now that Android 4.2 has been pushed to AOSP, CyanogenMod have started working through the code, deciding what needs to be changed to ensure compatibility. Also, the Android 4.2 version of CyanogenMod will be called CyanogenMod 10.1, rather than the perhaps expected CM 11.

Google enables direct link sharing for Apps from Google Play into Google+ posts
Daniel Tyson – November 15, 2012 – 08:46am
Google+ has just started allowing you to share Google Play apps with the option to purchase/install the app right in your post. You simply paste the URL to the App from Google Play and it shows up as a post in your stream, this works from both the web interface and the Google Play/Google+ app on your Android device. It does not appear to work for other content in Google Play, when I tried sharing Movies, Magazines and Books the Purchase/Rent option was not present for those items.
If you choose to install the app you see in someones stream you will be taken to the corresponding Google Play page and be prompted with the usual ‘Checkout’ window where you select which device you want to install to and confirm your intention to purchase or install the app.
You can share Tracks with the option to buy the track/album automatically showing up in your post however with no Google Music access in Australia this isn’t an option for us as yet but if you have already setup Google Music using a proxy you can of course share music.
I’m all for more sharing options and this way of doing it is in my opinion far superior to options in Twitter and Facebook. I’m still not a big poster on Google+ but I certainly do read my stream constantly so I look forward to seeing more apps in there which I can try out.


Galaxy Note II landing ‘next week’ but telcos quiet on pricing
Samsung will launch its hotly anticipated Galaxy Note II Android phone in Australia “next week” through Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, but no contract pricing or plan details have been revealed yet.

Zeebox zeetags allow Australian TV viewers to interact with shows
Launched in Australia today after popular runs in America and the UK, Zeebox uses sound, video and text recognition to sync up with live free-to-air television, allowing users to interact with their favourite shows, chat with other viewers via Facebook and Twitter and access exclusive online content.  It will also let users instantly purchase products featured in shows or advertisements, tapping into viewers’ urge to impulse buy when they see something they like.

Our brand strong enough to sell 4G smartphone​s: Telstra
Australia’s largest telco, Telstra, has stressed that its brand is strong enough to sell smartphones following the decision to release its own-branded device as the first 4G prepaid smartphone in Australia.  Speaking at the launch of the Telstra Frontier 4G, the first 4G-capable prepaid smartphone to hit the market in Australia, Telstra’s director of device management, Andrew Volard, said that the decision to partner with Chinese OEM ZTE for a Telstra branded device wouldn’t hinder the appeal of the new smartphone.  “We’ve sold Telstra branded devices for six to seven years now,” said Volard. “We have a huge number of customers on Telstra branded devices, in fact there’s an enormous amount of trust in the Telstra brand and Telstra branded devices that we’re putting into the market.”

ON THE RUN: A missing McAfee guru, murder, bath salts and a drug lab in Belize
AS BELIZE police search for computer antivirus pioneer John McAfee, details have emerged about the accused murderer’s bizarre life of dodgy business deals, drug arrests and remote jungle dwellings.  The 67-year-old entrepreneur has been named the prime suspect in the brutal murder of US expatriate Gregory Faull.

United Nations wants control of web kill switch
ANAN unfettered internet, free of political control and available to everyone could be relegated to cyber-history under a contentious proposal by a little known United Nations body.
Experts claim that Australians could see political and religious websites disappear if the Federal Government backs a plan  to hand control over the internet to the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).  A draft of the proposal, formulated in secret and only recently posted on the ITU website for public perusal, reveal that if accepted, the changes would allow government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the internet and create a global regime of monitoring internet communications – including the demand that those who send and receive information identify themselves.  It would also allow governments to shut down the internet if there is the belief that it may interfere in the internal affairs of other states or that information of a sensitive nature might be shared.  Telecommunications ministers from 193 countries will meet behind closed doors in Dubai next month to discuss the proposal, with Australia’s Senator Stephen Conroy among them

Space-stat​ion commander controls Lego robot on Earth with futuristic network
Late last month in Germany, a robot made its first moves on Earth under commands from an orbiting spacecraft.  Though that may sound ominous, it doesn’t represent an impending threat to humankind. The robot was made of Legos, and it only traversed a European Space Agency test facility. The commands were sent by Sunita Williams, commander of the 33rd expedition of the International Space Station. The ESA-led experiment may have helped lay the groundwork for future expeditions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.  ESA and NASA carried out the exercise to test Disruption Tolerant Networking, a set of protocols designed for communication across the void of space. Researchers created DTN to overcome problems that prevent space missions from using Internet Protocol, the system that runs the Internet and most other networks on Earth. In the process, they may create a technology that helps soldiers keep in touch across war zones and consumers use smartphones as they move in and out of cell coverage.  The Internet doesn’t work in space because it takes too long to send data packets across the enormous distances. Even at the speed of light, a one-way transmission from Earth to the Moon has a built-in delay of 1.7 seconds, and one from Earth to Mars would face an eight-minute delay. Space networks also suffer from higher error rates than the terrestrial Internet does because of interference from solar radiation, and their transmissions can be blocked temporarily as celestial bodies move through space.

RIM Plans To Woo Would-Be BlackBerry 10 Game Developers With Money And Hardware
As work on BlackBerry 10 continues behind closed doors, Waterloo-based RIM is gearing up to make yet another attempt to woo would-be BlackBerry 10 developers to its cause.
This time though the company has its eyes set on a specific kind of dev — come November 16, RIM will offer up cold hard cash to game developers who create a game for (or port an existing game to) BlackBerry 10.

Pope to get own Twitter account
AFTER embracing Twitter via the Vatican account, Pope Benedict XVI will reportedly begin tweeting from his own personal handle by the end of the year.  According to a Newsmax report, the Pope will be sharing opinions and church news urbi et orbi – “to the city and the world” – via the social networking platform.  A source told Newsmax: “It will be proper language, for example pointing to his weekly catechesis [teaching] or whatever he is doing on that day. You’re probably not going to get any tweets saying ‘a great new pizzeria has just opened in my neighbourhood’.”  According to PC Magazine, Pope Benedict helped to launch the Vatican’s news information portal last year, sending a tweet from the Vatican’s English language account, @news_va_en, in June that said: “Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.”

Government backflips on internet censorship
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy has ditched controversial plans for an internet filter and will instead rely on individual service providers to block child pornography.  In a surprise move the Government has abandoned plans to filter illegal online content but has struck a deal with telcos to block about 1400 sites (the “worst of the worst”) that are on an Interpol blacklist.  Experts today welcomed Senator Conroy’s decision to abandon the internet filter, but say that the government is kidding itself if it thinks it will be able to effectively block child abuse websites

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