Episode 342 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

Vodafone still bleeding customers

For the March 31 year quarter, Vodafone Group reported that it had 3,002,000 customers in Australia, down 108,000 from the January 2013 quarter. This is a continuation of a trendthat saw the provider haemorrhage 443,000 customers last year after persistent network problems tarred its reputation.

 

Group chief executive Vittorio Colao noted that all of Vodafone’s Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific markets grew, bar Australia and New Zealand.

 

“Australia continued to experience steep revenue declines on the back of ongoing service perception issues,” Colao said.

 

At group level, Vodafone saw profit for the 2013 financial year nosedive from over £7 billion (A$10.82 billion) in 2012 to £673 million (A$1.04 billion). Group revenue fell 4.2 per cent to £44.4 billion (A$68.6 billion).

 


 

Inside Apple’s massive tax dodge

A U.S. Senate investigation revealed Tuesday that Apple, channeled profits into Irish-incorporated subsidiaries that had “no declared tax residency anywhere in the world.

Apple said on Tuesday that the arrangements dated back over 30 years and had been negotiated with Ireland’s government, which has long angered European economic peers such asFrance andGermany by helping multinationals to avoid paying tax on sales it makes to their citizens in their domesticmarkets.

Apple’s annual reports show that over the past three years, Apple paid taxes worth 2 percent of its $74 billion in overseas income.

Apple now channels most of its overseas sales through three companies that are incorporated inIreland but for tax purposes are resident in no jurisdiction. U.S. rules that allow companies incorporated abroad not to pay U.S. taxes complement that arrangement.

 

Apple tax head Phillip Bullock told the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday that one of these three subsidiaries, Apple Operations International (AOI), had not submitted a tax return anywhere for five years.

All three were registered inIreland in 1980 and reregistered as unlimited companies in 2006, which means under Irish law that they do not have to publish annual accounts, so the subcommittee’s report was the first time the current structure had been publicly revealed.

 


 

8in Microsoft Surface Mini to launch this June

According toDigiTimes’ component supplier contacts Microsoft will launch an 8in Surface tablet in June and a 10in model around July.

 


Master electronic ATM key stolen in Canberra

A set of electronic keys that was stolen from a Canberra security business on Monday night could have been used to access all automatic teller machines across the state, police said.

 

The keys were taken from the premises of an unnamed security firm. Within hours, they were used to access cash from five separate ATMs across Canberra and Queanbeyan.

 

The keys have since been disabled. Police said all banks operating in the region could have been affected by the theft prior to the cancellation.

 

ACT Police said the key was electronic but would not confirm whether it included a chip or token.

According to security sources, ATMs are generally protected by a pin pad lock behind which the master key sits.

The pins are known only to service staff, and the ATM cannot be opened without both a pin and key.

 


Gif’s inventor says ignore dictionaries and say ‘Jif’

 

The creator of the Gif graphics format has said that his invention should be pronounced so it starts with a “j” rather than with a hard “g”.

Steve Wilhite told theNew York Times that he was “annoyed” there was still a debate over how to say the acronym.

The data compression technique he used allowed images to be sent over what were then slow dial-up connections at much faster speeds than had been previously possible.

His efforts paved the way for his employer to start offering its customers the ability to download colour pictures rather than being limited to black-and-white.

Although the Jpeg format later caught on because it is better at compressing photographs, Gif’s technique remains superior at tackling images containing large areas of uniform colour when no more than 256 different colours are used in the whole picture.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s chief editor John Simpson

“A coiner effectively loses control of a word once it’s out there; for instance, the coiner of quark in the physics sense had intended it to rhyme with cork, but general usage has resulted in it rhyming with mark.

“Whichever pronunciation you use for Gif, it should of course be the same for both the noun and the verb.”

The American Heritage Dictionary also states the acronym can besaid both ways.as does the Oxford dictionary.  

 

The White House made it clear, last month, that President Obama preferred touse the “hard g”.

 


 

Paperless public libraries switch to digital

the world’s first completely paperless public library is scheduled to open this summer in Bexar County, Texas, in the United States.

Bexar County’s so-called BiblioTech is a low-cost project with big ambitions. Its first branch will be in a relatively poor district on the city of San Antonio’s South Side.

It will have 100 e-readers on loan, and dozens of screens where the public will be able to browse, study, and learn digital skills. However it’s likely most users will access BiblioTech’s initial holding of 10,000 digital titles from the comfort of their homes, way out in the Texas hinterland.


Yahoo offers Flickr revamp with 1TB of ‘free storage’

Yahoo has redesigned its Flickr photo-sharing service, offering users up to 1TB of storage without a fee.

The revamp also allows users to host longer video clips and higher-resolution photos, and a new app has been launched for Android devices.

anumber of features, which now include:

  • a 1TB upload limit – enough to store more than half a million six-megapixel photos

  • a redesigned user-interface that fills more of the page with pictures at the expense of white space

  • a new Activity Feed allowing users to see their own recent uploads mixed together with those of their friends

  • a new Android app offering a more photo-centric design than the previous version, bringing it closer in line to an iOS update released at the end of last year

  • a larger 200MB limit on the size of each photo – previously, paid-for accounts had a 50MB limit and free accounts 30MB.

  • a three-minute cap on playback of video clips rather than the earlier limit of 90 seconds.

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