Episode 335 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


OMG! The cellphone turns 40

40 years ago today Martin Cooper, a vice president at Motorola, stepped onto a New York City sidewalk and made the first known cellphone call in history.


Cooper and his team had been in a race with AT&T’s Bell Labs to create a cellphone. They’d worked for about three months on the model he walked outside with on April 3, 1973.

And that first call? It was to AT&T’s Joel Engell, who headed up Bell Labs.


“I called and told him, ‘Joel, I’m calling you from a cellular phone, a real cellular phone, a handheld, portable, real cellular phone’,” Cooper recalled.

And, as he recalls it, his rival wasn’t quite as talkative.


Microsoft out, Google in at Dick Smith

Dick Smith will move its 4500 inboxes from on-premise Microsoft Exchange servers to Gmail in the coming weeks.


Dick Smith’s IT director Linda Venables told iTnews She expected Dick Smith’s 4500 staff to use Google’s cloud-based productivity tools predominantly for internal communications and collaboration.

Google forms would be particularly useful for collecting information about promotions from Dick Smith’s 323 stores, she said.


Dick Smith’s use of Google Talk and Hangouts will also be limited to internal communications initially, with the organisation relying on traditional telephony to communicate with customers and vendors.


Dick Smith’s use of Google Talk and Hangouts will also be limited to internal communications initially, with the organisation relying on traditional telephony to communicate with customers and vendors.



Microsoft: the buzz about Blue

Microsoft confirmed reports that it’s developing an upgrade for its Windows 8 PC operating system, code-named Blue, along with related products and services. But the company still isn’t saying when that upgrade may be ready.


In early January the company said 60 million Windows 8 licenses had been sold in the first 10 weeks of the software’s availability, and Microsoft executives have expressed satisfaction with the product’s sales.


Reports earlier this week said the Windows 8 upgrade would provide the ability to view as many as four multitasking applications in what is being called “Snap Views.” The software also is expected to offer a more customizable look and a range of new touch gestures and options.


The next release of Microsoft’s Web browser, Internet Explorer 11, also could be released at the same time as the Windows 8 upgrade.



NBN Co walks away from NSW power pole talks

NBN Co will use federal powers to over-ride state laws to roll out fibre cables on power poles after commercial negotiations broke down with NSW government-owned utility Ausgrid.


In what is believed to be unprecedented use of federal telecommunications law, NBN Co will force Ausgrid to allow the installation of fibre cables on poles in a bid to save money on the $37.4 billion rollout.


had been planning to use construction at Long Jetty on the NSW Central Coast as a test case for these powers.


NBN Cosought to access NSW power poles to connect 25 percent of homes and businesses to the National Broadband Network, in areas deemed too expensive to construct underground.


The NSW Government had refused to lower its fair access price from $140 per pole, compared to $40 per pole in other states, prompting NBN Co toinvoke Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 last October.


“The legislation of the Telecommunications Act is set up to recognise when a commercial arrangement can’t be reached, it is in the longer term economic interest of the country that the facilities be shared where they can be,” NBN Co spokeswoman Rhonda Griffin told iTnews.


NBN power play rolls over states



Apple’s Siri voice control system to be used in Holden Barina http://www.news.com.au/technology/smartphones/apples-siri-voice-control-system-to-be-used-in-holden-barina/story-fn5sd1vk-1226611856690

HOLDEN has upstaged luxury brands to be the first car maker in Australia to introduce Apple’s Siri voice control system.

Not only is the Holden the first, it is also likely to be the most affordable car with the technology for some time.

The system will debut in the updated version of the Holden Barina due in showrooms this month.

The only catch: it is only available on the top-line Barina CDX which starts at $20,490, about $4500 more than the most basic model.

In the past 12 months most car makers have expressed an intention to introduce Apple’s patented Siri voice control system to its cars.

German car maker Mercedes-Benz was the first with Siri overseas but the technology isn’t due on models sold in Australia until later this year.

The new Holden Commodore due in June is also expected to be Siri-ready.

SBS 2 re-launches with entire series streaming online


SBS has re-launched its SBS 2 digital TV multi-channel, alongside a unique service that will stream entire original series online as soon as the first episode is broadcast on TV.

The network had its official re-launch yesterday. Billed as “the new channel for emerging culture”, SBS 2 will show content not available on the multicultural network’s main channel — its re-launch includes the popular comedy series Community, live matches from the 2014 Hyundai A-League football season, dark US comedyBullet In The Face, and a daily pop culture news segment called The Feed.

With yesterday’s launch of SBS 2, the broadcaster also introduced a complementary online streaming service that is unique in Australia. Back2Back is part of the network’s SBS On Demand catch-up TV platform, but rather than only showing a catalogue of programs after they are shown on free-to-air TV, Back2Back will allow access to an entire series as soon as the first episode is broadcast.

The first series to use the Back2Back streaming format is Bullet In The Face, which had its first episode broadcast on SBS 2 digital free-to-air TV on Monday night. The entire six-episode series is now available on SBS On Demand. The entire series of travel documentary Don’t Tell My Mother will also be made available online an hour after the series’ TV debut tonight, and The Tales of Nights will get the same treatment tomorrow.

Fans who like SBS 2’s Facebook page will also get access to exclusive First Fix preview content — the entire first episode of Don’t Tell My Mother is now available to view online, through a link only available to SBS 2 Facebook fans. Other series will premiere on the network’s Facebook page through the First Fix format in the future.

Happy World Backup Day! Go Backup Your Stuff! Seriously


Hard drive backups are like the socks of gifts you give yourself. They’re initially about as unexciting as gifts can get, only to become thebest gift ever in a pinch. Got a meeting in 20 minutes and your normal sock reserve is empty? Thanks for the bag-o-socks, Uncle Steve! Your hard drive just exploded, taking the past 3 years of your digital life with it? Thanks for the backup, past-me!

Besides being the day that keeps the people who make Peeps in business, today also marks the Third Annual World Backup Day. World Backup Day is a tradition that started on reddit back in 2011, and has been rippling out through the rest of the tech-loving world ever since.

Making today’s Backup Day particularly special is the fact that it falls on Easter, which, if nothing else, means you get to use “BRB! Gotta go check my backups!” as a way to escape any awkward family conversations that pop up before the ham is done. Or you could be a cool guy and introduce your less tech-centric family members to the concept of backin’ up their bits.

Oh, and tomorrow is April Fool’s day. Probably not the safest day for data, you know?

Google to trial grocery delivery


INTERNET search leader Google is taking another step beyond information retrieval into grocery delivery.

The new service, called Google Shopping Express, will initially provide same-day delivery of food and other products bought online by a small group of consumers in San Francisco and suburbs located south of the city.

The company, based in Mountain View, California, didn’t say how many people will be part of the test.

If the pilot program goes well, Google plans to expand delivery service to other markets.

“We hope this will help users explore the benefits of a local, same-day delivery service, and help us kick the tires on the new service,” Google said in a Thursday statement.

The delivery service is part of Google’s effort to increase consumer reliance on the Internet, so it will have more opportunities to show online ads, which generate most of its revenue.

Google has learned that the more time people spend online, the more likely they are to use its dominant search engine or one of its other popular services, like its YouTube video site or Gmail, that include advertising.

The delivery service also could spur merchants to buy more online ads if Google’s same-day delivery service encourages consumers to do more of their shopping online. Having to wait days or, in some cases, more than a week for the delivery of online orders ranks among the biggest drawbacks to Internet shopping.

It’s a problem that Amazon.com and eBay which operate the largest e-commerce sites, already have been trying to solve by offering same-day service in some US markets. Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s largest retailer, also offers same-day delivery in five markets.

A mix of national, regional and neighborhood merchants are enlisting in Google Shopping Express. The best-known names on the list include Target and Walgreen. All the merchants in the Google program will sell certain items through a central website.

Google has hired courier services to pick up the orders at the merchant stores and then deliver them to the customer’s home or office.

Although the couriers will be working on a contract basis, they will be driving Google-branded vehicles and wearing company-issued uniforms.

It remains unclear whether Internet shopping and same-day delivery can be profitable. Online grocer Webvan collapsed in 2001, largely because it couldn’t devise a pricing plan that would pay for the costs of same-day delivery without alienating shoppers unwilling to pay too much extra for the added convenience.

Google is still trying to figure out how much to charge for its same-day delivery service. For the six-month test period in the San Francisco area, consumers won’t have to pay a surcharge. Google instead will receive a commission from participating merchants.

The expansion into same-day delivery comes at the same time that Google is preparing to close some of its older online services so it can devote more attention and money to other projects.

The realignment has irked some Google users. The biggest complaints have centered on Google Reader, which allows people to automatically receive headlines and links from their favorite sites, and iGoogle, which allows Web surfers to design a page consisting of the Google search engine surrounded set up other online

features, such as local weather reports and stock market quotes.

Google Reader is scheduled to close in July and iGoogle will shut down in November.


Telstra’s Chief Technology Officer Dr Hugh Bradlow makes technology predictions for Australia in 2020 http://www.news.com.au/technology/telstras-chief-technology-officer-dr-hugh-bradlow-makes-technology-predictions-for-australia-in-2020/story-e6frfro0-1226608668645


BY 2020, Australians will have personal digital concierges running their home, newspaper tablets to roll up and put in their pockets and rubbish bins that create a shopping list when people throw out their empties.

At least that is the vision of Telstra’s Chief Technology Officer Dr Hugh Bradlow, who has made a series of predictions of our digital future.


Dr Bradlow admitted his predictions were speculation but were based on technologies either available today or their way, like Google’s Glass spectacles, Samsung’s watch and digital wallets.


“I can say with almost certainty that any technology that’s going to be around in 2020, I will know about it today. I will have seen it in a lab, I will have read about it in papers, I will maybe even trialled it myself,” he said.


“The thing I can never tell is the human behaviour reaction.”


Dr Bradlow summed up living in 2020 as the age of “immersive technology” where every device in the home, office, cars and wider environment can speak to each other.


Electronic communication between people and devices is dramatically increasing.


Telstra said there were 50 million connections in Australia currently between people and devices. By 2020, there will be 240 million connections and by 2030 that figure will rise to 1 trillion.


Dr Bradlow said that by 2020 Australians would be living in a digital economy with “sensors that drive smart bodies, smart homes, smart transport and smart environment”.


Telstra has created a video of its vision of the future which shows someone throwing an empty carton into the kitchen rubbish bin.


The bin registers the item through scanning the container and sends a message to the Net-connected fridge to add orange juice to the shopping list.


Dr Bradlow’s predictions include:


*Intelligent transport systems in which cars talk to each other and public transport vehicles all communicate through a central network.


*Home entertainment systems to be controlled by voice, hand or eye movement.


*Near-field Communication (NFC) which is already in many people’s smartphones evolving into a major tool that will enable people to use their smartphones as a digital wallet, electronic key and boarding pass or transport ticket.


*The end of waiting rooms as many people use video conferencing for their medical appointments, with sensors connected to their body to monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and even brain scans remotely.


Dr Bradlow said one of the biggest changes in the future will be the way we shop, with Roy Morgan research finding that eBay is already Australia’s largest shopping mall.


“You’ll walk into a store, tap your phone on a box and it will say you can get that for $3 cheaper online or there’s a store 100 yards down the road that has it for $2 cheaper,” he said.


Dr Bradlow said many of the challenges were less to do with technology and more to do with the way we interact with those technologies and the implications on areas such as privacy.


“I can envision a time where you go into a place and they say take your (Google) glasses off.”

Make-or-break BlackBerry posts small profit


SHOWING signs of fresh life, smartphone maker BlackBerry eked out a small profit in a transition quarter in the midst of its rollout of a make-or-break platform to challenge Apple and Android.

The Waterloo, Ontario firm said profit in the fourth fiscal quarter ended March 2 was $98 million, compared with a loss of $125 million in the same period a year earlier.

The results come as the company conducts a phased rollout of new smartphones based on the new BlackBerry 10 platform, seen as its best hope at regaining traction after suffering staggering losses in market share in recent years.

The group said it shipped six million smartphones in the quarter, including around one million BlackBerry 10 units, while its subscriber base slid by three million, to 76 million.

The company unveiled its new platform on January 30, as it dropped the corporate name Research in Motion to rebrand as BlackBerry. But sales launches have been staggered, based on region.


The quarterly data included some sales of the new phones in Canada, Britain, India and Indonesia. In the United States, the new phones went on sale just last week in what some analysts called a disappointing debut.

“We have implemented numerous changes at BlackBerry over the past year and those changes have resulted in the company returning to profitability in the fourth quarter,” said president and chief executive Thorsten Heins.

“As we go into our new fiscal year, we are excited with the opportunities for the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the commitments we are seeing from our global developers and partners.”

Heins told a conference call that BlackBerry was getting strong interest from app developers, with more than 100,000 now available.

“Early indicators are that BlackBerry 10 users are hungry for applications, and we’re getting more commitments from global app developers daily as our launch continues its rollout.”

In the past quarter, revenue slid to $2.7 billion from $4.2 billion a year earlier and was below analyst estimates of $2.84 billion.

But the profit excluding special items of 22 cents a share was a surprise, as analysts had expected a loss of 29 cents a share.

An early rally in BlackBerry shares faded and the stock lost 0.87 percent to close at $14.44.

Analyst Brian Modoff at Deutsche Bank said the latest results had both positives and negatives.

“While the company had a moderately successful launch of the Z10, we highlight that there is a long way to go and believe they still have significant challenges,” he said.

“The challenges at the company are still daunting and we think the next few quarters will go a long way towards determining their success.”

Peter Misek at Jefferies was upbeat, saying BlackBerry is working to reduce reliance on phone sales and offer its secure software to rivals.

“While most near-term focus continues to be on the phone, we believe BlackBerry’s mobile device management opportunity is underappreciated,” he said.

This software “will gain traction throughout this year and see a significant ramp in revenues next year,” Misek said in a note to clients.

But Paul Ausick at 24/7 Wall Street said the profits masked some bleak figures on lower-than-



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