Episode 319 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



Apple suffers biggest share drop in 4 years

Apple shares tumbled more than 6 percent today, chalking up their biggest single-day loss in four years as fears grow about intensifying competition in the mobile device market.

The stock’s massive market value meant Apple was almost single-handedly responsible for Wednesday’s 1.1 percent decline in the Nasdaq 100 Index.

Apple is still up 33 percent this year, but is down nearly 24 percent from its record high of $US705.07, hit on September 21. The stock slid more than 6.4 percent on Wednesday to close at $US538.79.

  • unconfirmed reports that at least one major stock-clearing house was raising margin requirements on Apple stock trades.

  • fears about a hike in the capital gains tax in 2013 in the event that ongoing Washington fiscal negotiations fail,

  • Nokia had beat Apple to the punch by striking a deal to sell its flagship Lumia through China Mobile, that country’s largest wireless carrier.

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie expected May 2013

Google has announced the date for its annual I/O developer event where the next iteration of Android – reportedly called Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie – is expected to be unveiled.

The event will be held on May 15th.

A comic strip (pictured) posted by a Google employee earlier this week hinted at the name of the next iteration of the Android OS. The latest Android character in the cartoon is pictured with a slice of key lime pie. No details of the features of the new update have yet been released.


Qantas axes in-flight wi-fi


  • the service offered on six of the carrier’s A380s flying between LA and London had an uptake of less than five percent.

  • in-flight packages for between $12.90 and $39.90 for downloads of up to 35 megabytes.

Texting turns 20

The first text was sent from an Orbitel 901. Contract engineer Neil Papworth wrote “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone colleague Richard Jarvis. It was December 3rd, 1992. Owing to technological restrictions, he had to use a PC to send the message. Jarvis was unable to reply.

  • The Philippines leads the charge today for the country sending the most text messages, with an average of 27 texts per day.

  • A single 160 character text weighs in at 140 bytes.

  • In 2010, over six trillion texts were sent annually across the world.

  • In China, users get more than 12 spam texts per week.


Microsoft reveals Surface Pro pricing


  • will land in January

  • 64GB version of the device will cost $A862

  • 128GB model for$ A968

  • Surface RT is available for$559 for the 32GB model outright. It can also be purchased in a bundle with the black Touch Cover accessory at $679 for the 32GB model, and $789 for a 64GB model.

  • a blog post by Microsoft, the Surface Pro will not be bundled with either cover.

  • ARM variant measures at 9.3mm compared to the Intel-based tablet at 13.5mm

  • The Intel model is also much heavier at 903 grams as opposed to the ARM one, which weighs 676 grams.

  • The Surface Pro runs on a Core i5 chip, offers a 1920×1080 full HD resolution, a full-size USB 3.0 port and Mini DisplayPort.


Google Play now lets businesses host their own app stores

Google announced Tuesday that companies with their own in-houseAndroidapplications can now distribute them internally via the new Private Channel feature of the Play Store.

“Whether you’ve built a custom expense reporting app for employees or a conference room finder, the Google Play Private Channel is designed to make your organization’s internal apps quick and easy for employees to find. Once your company has loaded these internal apps using the Google Play Developer Console, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the Private Channel and download apps,” said Google Play product manager

Skype confirms video messaging feature with legal change

video messaging service was first reported in September as a feature that would allow Skype users to send short, pre-recorded messages to other Skype users.
On Wednesday, Skype updated its terms of use to include video messaging.

  • unlimited video messaging will be offered to users of the Skype Premium service. That service costs $8.99 per month

  • users who aren’t on the premium membership will still be able to send video messages, but the number is limited. The limit wasn’t spelled out in the terms of use. but you can receive unlimited

  • messages sent and received by non-premium users will expire after 90 days, unless they come from a premium member:

Self Controlled Swimming robot reaches Australia after record-breaking trip

The record-breaking 9,000 nautical mile (16,668km) trip took the PacX Wave Glider just over a year to achieve.

Liquid Robotics, the US company behind the project, collected data about the Pacific Ocean’s temperature, salinity and ecosystem from the drone.

The robot is called Papa Mau in honour of the late Micronesian navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug, who had a reputation for finding ways to navigate the seas without using traditional equipment.

“During Papa Mau’s journey, [it] weathered gale-force storms, fended off sharks, spent more than 365 days at sea, skirted around the Great Barrier Reef, and finally battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay
A second is due to land in Australia early next year. Another pair had been heading to Japan, but one of them has suffered damage and has been diverted to Hawaii for repair.

Each robot is composed of two halves: the upper part, shaped like a stunted surfboard, is attached by a cable to a lower part that sports a series of fins and a keel.

They do not use fuel but instead convert energy from the ocean’s waves, turning it into forward thrust.

Solar panels installed on the upper surface of the gliders power numerous sensors that take readings every 10 minutes.


Microsoft expands social network Socl

Socl – pronounced “social” – allows users to create visual posts. It is powered by Microsoft’s search engine Bing.

It has been in private beta test mode for a year and in May was given a low-key launch, aimed mainly at students.

Now anyone with a Facebook or Microsoft account is able to sign up

The poo powered robot invented by Bristol scientists

The EcoBotIII feeds off sewage, turning energy from the nutrient rich waste into electricity.
It’s hoped the robot could help improve the way our waste is treated in sewage plants – bringing down energy costs.

It’s made up of batteries that produce electricity, trays to hold the waste and even a fly trapping hat!

The Bristol Robotics Laboratory, who worked on the project, said it was the first time scientists had developed this type of robot.

They worked with Wessex Water, a water and sewerage company, that could provide the poo.


ACCC launches mobile app to store photos of shopping receipts

CONSUMERS will be able to store photos of their shopping receipts on their smartphones and tablets to present to retailers if they want to return goods.
The facility is included in amobile shopper application released today by theAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).  ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard says the free ACCCShopper app provides answers to frequently asked consumer questions on refunds, returns, warranties and lay-by.  “The feature I like most about the app is you can quickly photograph copies of your receipts, so if you need proof of purchase, if you want to return them later on, you have it right there on your phone,” she told ABC television.  “You can also set it for reminders about when a gift card is going to expire or when you need to make a lay-by payment.”


Social media ‘a powerful tool’ for Australia Defence Force
AUSTRALIA’S military could eventually use social media to give the public a blow-by-blow account of some operations, similar to the way Israel used Twitter in the recent Gaza conflict, a senior Defence official says.  But that’s a long way off, with the Australian Defence Force still developing a strategy to better handle social media usage among its ranks.  ADF director general of public affairs Brigadier Alison Creagh today discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by social media and how its use by the ADF could evolve.



Smartphone users hit with bill shock, research reveals
SMARTPHONE users are worried Big Brother is watching them and tracing their every move through their device.  New research by consumer ratings agency Canstar Blue found 29 per cent of smartphone owners were concerned their whereabouts could be tracked through their phone.
The data also showed nearly one in five smartphone users (19 per cent) were shocked by the size of their phone bill with Generation Y the most likely to have experienced bill shock (27 per cent).  We found one in 20 people were actually lying during the application process of their phone,” she said.



First look at Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs – or should that be jOBS?
HERE is the first look of Ashton Kutcher playing Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
The film jOBS is directed by Joshua Michael Stern, known for the 2008 movie Swing Vote, and is set to debut next month at the Sundance Film Festival.  The story chronicles “the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life”, according to a statement from the Sundance Institute.  The film written by Matt Whiteley is described as “a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently.”  The movie aims to tell the story of Jobs’s life from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple and revered creative entrepreneur.  The Facebook page for the film said jOBS “is the incredibly powerful and true story of the visionary who set out to change the world, and did.”  Sony Pictures is also developing a movie about Jobs, based on the bestselling book by Walter Isaacson that was released after the Apple chief’s death last year. It will be scripted by The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin.  Kutcher, 34, was best known for TV shows including That 70s Show and Punk’d before he replaced Sheen last May on Two and A Half Men.
Jobs died October 5, 2011 at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer.




Telstra makes play for Google apps
TELSTRA will today launch a system for Android phone users to buy apps and charge them to their phone bills.  Telstra’s Director of Consumer Applications and Services, Freddie Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen, says the system is a response to the demand by customers for an easier way to purchase the more than 700,000 apps in the Google Play app store.  Mr Van Nieuwenhuizen says Australians download 36 apps a year, of which about one in five are paid apps.
The system is the first time Australians can pay for Android apps on their phone bill.
Telstra has teamed up with Google in the deal that allows Android phone users to put Google Play purchases of up to $20 each transaction onto their mobile bill.  To mark the launch, Telstra and Google are offering a range of Android apps at half price until December 18.
Those apps include: HD Widgets; Soundhound Infinity; Paper Camera; Smart Tools; Sketchbook Mobile and Star Chart.

Instagram: The new kind of product placement
ORDINARY Australians are being offered expensive gifts, holidays and cash prizes to endorse products on Instagram – the latest social media craze.  Advertisers are targeting people who have thousands of followers on the picture-based smartphone app and asking them to post photos of particular products.  And more often than not the deals are not being disclosed.
Paul Vella, a 22-year-old air conditioning technician from the Blue Mountains, said his 152,000-strong Instagram following earned him gifts from various companies, including a $230 Daniel Wellington watch.  “They sent me the watch and said we’ll send you extra (money) if you put it on Instagram and Facebook and link it,” he said. “It paid for a new (camera) lens so I was happy with it.”

This Week In Tech History

Happy bday! SMS txt msgs turn 20

Dec. 3 is the 20th anniversary of the sending of the first SMS text message.
Today, upwards of 7 trillion text messages are sent every year — that’s more than 200,000 per second — but the technology had humble beginnings.  Its origins can be traced back to a Danish pizzeria in 1984. Matti Makkonen, a Finnish engineer, was in Copenhagen for a mobile telecom conference and began discussing with two colleagues the idea of a messaging system on the GSM digital cellular system. At the time GSM was a Nordic technology, becoming a European standard later.  Eight years later, SMS had become a standard and Neil Papworth, an engineer working for Sema Group in the U.K., was one member of a team developing SMS service center software for Vodafone.



Smartphone users hit with bill shock, research reveals

SMARTPHONE users are worried Big Brother is watching them and tracing their every move through their device.
New research by consumer ratings agency Canstar Blue found 29 per cent of smartphone owners were concerned their whereabouts could be tracked through their phone.
The data also showed nearly one in five smartphone users (19 per cent) were shocked by the size of their phone bill with Generation Y the most likely to have experienced bill shock (27 per cent).

Canstar Blue spokeswoman Amy Partington said Australians were also untruthful when signing smartphone contracts.



China Mobile president confirms ongoing iPhone talks with Apple, deal yet to be reached

By Mikey Campbell
Yue Li, president of the world’s largest wireless carrier China Mobile, confirmed on Wednesday that the telecom has been in talks with Apple since 2009 to bring the iPhone to its network since, however the two are far from striking a deal.




Apple to double size of fuel cell plant at NC data center

By Mikey Campbell
A new filing with the North Carlina Utilities Commission reveals that Apple plans to double the number of fuel cells deployed at its Maiden data center, with a total energy output able to power about 6,250 homes.



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