Episode 346 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Internet Explorer 10 is the Most Energy Efficient Browser on Windows 8

Internet Explorer continues to be the most energy-efficient browser on Windows 8, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy Systems at Fraunhofer USA


When compared to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer uses up to 18% less energy. This means that if every Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox user in the United States switched to Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 for a year, the energy saved could power over 10,000 households in the United States for that year.


This would eliminate the release of over 85,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions.2


his is the equivalent of reducing greenhouse emissions by consuming nearly 45.5 million less litres  of fuel


This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide removed by growing nearly 2.2 million tree seedlings for 10 years.


Internet provider iiNET fined for bus ads


iiNET has become the first publicly-listed company to be fined for failing to properly display total minimum charges in an advertisement.

In February and March, iiNET spruiked a $59.95 monthly charge for its naked DSL service on the back of Sydney buses.


(ACCC) has fined iiNET $102,000 for failing to prominently display the total minimum price in those ads.


An ACCC spokesman said that while private companies had previously been issued infringement notices, this was the first fine for a publicly-listed company.



Microsoft’s bug bounty offers up to $11k in incentives


Yesterday the tech giant announced the details of a program that would pay bug hunters up to $11,000 for discovering critical vulnerabilities in its Internet Explorer 11 and Windows 8.1 preview software.


Microsoft also revealed two more initiatives, the “Mitigation Bypass Bounty” and “BlueHat Bonus for Defense” programs, that would, respectively, pay researchers up to $100,000 for disclosing “truly novel” ways of exploiting its Window 8.1 preview software (released later this month), and further rouse them with up to $50,000 for “defensive ideas” or technologies that could help the company avoid such exploits.

The three programs will officially launch next Wednesday,


Samsung Galaxy S4 contains serious vulnerability

Qihoo 360 Technology, an antivirus company based in China, said its engineering team discovered the vulnerability June 17. It can potentially be used by SMS Trojans to silently rack up premium text messaging charges.


“The vulnerability has been promptly reported back to Samsung after the discovery and Samsung is already in the process of developing an official update to fix the reported vulnerability,” Qihoo said in a statement


The flaw is related to a cloud backup feature in Galaxy S4. A rogue mobile application could contain code exploiting the vulnerability to send fraudulent scam text messages ordering premium-rate services, the firm said. It can also be used to fake incoming SMS messages for phishing scams.


“By exploiting the vulnerable cloud backup feature, malware could pretend to be the identity of any contact, friend, relative, or company/organization (including your banks) when faking phishing SMS messages,” the firm said. “When these phishing SMS messages are received, users may be tricked into clicking fraudulent links or disclosing sensitive personal information.”


Qihoo recommends S4 users temporarily disable the cloud backup feature when not in use. Users of the firms’ Android mobile security app, 360 Mobile Security are protected by the issue.

Huawei unveils world’s slimmest smartphone

Huawei unveiled its flagship smartphone, the Ascend P6, at its first standalone launch event on Tuesday


The company says the device, at 6.18 mm thick, is the world’s slimmest. It has a 5 megapixel front-facing camera, designed for taking “selfies”, or pictures of the owner to be shared on social media networks.

The company picked the launch date – 6/18 (June 18) – to tie in with the smartphone’s dimensions.


The Ascend P6 uses Huawei’s customised version of Google’s Android operating system.


the device was not, at this stage, compatible with the high speed, next generation 4G networks,



Java update will close 40 security vulnerabilities

Oracle is planning to fix 40 security vulnerabilities when it releases its Critical Patch Update for Java SE on Tuesday


“Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply Critical Patch Update fixes as soon as possible,” the company said in a pre-patch advisory.


Starting in October, Java updates will be released on a quarterly basis, instead of three times a year, as part of Oracle’s main Critical Patch Update.



Google explores balloon-powered Internet access

Google has launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world’s most remote regions,


Project Loon, took off this month from New Zealand’s South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles – twice as high as airplanes – above the ground, Google said.


Project Loon uses algorithms to determine where the balloons need to go, then moves them into winds blowing in the desired direction, the company said.


By moving with the wind, the balloons form a network of airborne hot spots that can deliver Internet access over a broad area at speeds comparable to 3G using open radio frequency bands, Google said.

To connect to the balloon network, a special Internet antenna is attached to buildings below.


Google has also developed self-driving vehicles, which the company says could significantly increase driving safety.

Those vehicles are beginning to gain support from lawmakers in places like California, where a bill legalizing their operation on state roads was signed into law last by Governor Jerry Brown.


Microsoft Office comes to the iPhone

Microsoft is offering its Office application suite for iPhone users, the company said Friday,


The new Office Mobile for iPhone is available free to Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 ProPlus subscribers. Office 365, launched two years ago, is the cloud version of the Microsoft Office application suite.


no announcement about offering a version of Office optimized for the Apple iPad tablet, even though that device runs on the same iOS operating system as the iPhone


Microsoft executives have said there is no need for an iPad-specific version of Office because the tablet computer has a full browser that can access Office Web Apps, the Web-based version of the application suite, through Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud service.



Telstra trials five-day interviews for new IT workers

It has trialled the interview technique with six people so far, with three of those taken on as new employees.

Telstra CIO Patrick Eltridge today said the telco would extend the program for hiring more broadly across other teams and lines of business.

“It started as an experiment to see if anybody would turn up,” he said.

We may have to adapt it and tweak it as we go, but we’ve definitely seen it work.”

said Telstra CIO Patrick Eltridge


NBN Co launches 25/5 Mbps fixed wireless services

ISP SkyMesh is among the first to unveil retail pricing.


Vodafone has no plans for 4G modems


Microsoft U-turn in Xbox One games row

The company had said it would restrict the free trade of pre-owned games, and that an internet connection was required to play all titles.


But following gamers’ anger, Microsoft said it would drop the policies.

Microsoft interactive president Don Mattrick said the company had “heard loud and clear” from its customers.

“You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc,” Mr Mattrick

The statement went on to backtrack fully on the controversial aspects of their DRM – digital rights management – plans:

  • “An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – after a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24-hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

  • “Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – there will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.”

The rules apply to games bought as physical discs only, and do not affect games downloaded via the online Xbox store.

“While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content,” Mr Mattrick said.




China builds world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, twice as fast as previous US record-holder  http://www.news.com.au/technology/china-builds-worlds-fastest-supercomputer-the-tianhe-2-twice-as-fast-as-previous-us-record-holder/story-e6frfro0-1226665314976


CHINA has built the world’s fastest supercomputer, almost twice as fast as the previous US holder and underlining the country’s rise as a science and technology powerhouse.


The semiannual TOP500 official listing of the world’s fastest supercomputers released Monday says the Tianhe-2 developed by the National University of Defense Technology in central China’s Changsha city is capable of sustained computing of 33.86 petaflops per second. That’s the equivalent of 33,860 trillion calculations per second.


The Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, knocks the US Department of Energy’s Titan machine off the no. 1 spot. It achieved 17.59 petaflops per second.


Supercomputers are used for complex work such as modeling weather systems, simulating nuclear explosions and designing jetliners.


It’s the second time China has been named as having built the world’s fastest supercomputer. In November 2010, the Tianhe-2’s predecessor, Tianhe-1A, had that honour before Japan’s K computer overtook it a few months later.


The Tianhe-2’s achievement shows how China is leveraging rapid economic growth and sharp increases in research spending to join the United States, Europe and Japan in the global technology elite.


“Most of the features of the system were developed in China, and they are only using Intel for the main compute part,” said TOP500 editor Jack Dongarra in a news release accompanying the announcement.


“That is, the interconnect, operating system, front-end processors and software are mainly Chinese,” said Mr Dongarra, who toured the Tianhe-2 development facility in May.


Treasurer Wanye Swan launches new smartphone app so constituents can alert him to issues




AUSTRALIA’S most engaging politician on Facebook, Treasurer Wayne Swan, now has an app.


Locals in his marginal Brisbane seat of Lilley can use the smartphone application to alert Mr Swan to issues that need fixing.


The ‘Fix-o-Gram’ function allows people to send pictures of potholes, traffic jams or any other local problems to the deputy prime minister to follow up.


Mr Swan, who was last year found to be “the most engaging politician” on Facebook by website brandtemper.com, says he’s moving with the times.


“If you had an issue you wanted your federal MP to help out on 20 years ago, you’d write a letter or set up an appointment,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.


“The great thing about this new app is that accessing assistance from my office will now be in the pockets of local constituents 24/7.”


Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull and Andrew Laming also have apps.


Google uses balloons to float an internet dream




THE highly secretive Google X research lab has unveiled an ambitious plan to provide internet access to the 4.7 billion people who currently can’t access the web via a ring of huge balloons circling the globe.


The top-secret plan, code-named Project Loon, was revealed on Saturday as Google scientists launched a trial with up to 30 helium-filled balloons flying 20km above Christchurch, New Zealand, carrying antennae linked to ground base stations.


About 50 people chosen to take part in the trial were able to link to the internet, with signals successfully beamed from another part of New Zealand to the 15m-diameter balloons and then to the users’ homes. The technology will be trialled again in Australia next year, possibly in Tasmania.


Google sees the technology as one day being instrumental in providing internet access to disaster zones, such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake or the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, both of which destroyed communications, causing huge problems for rescuers.



Microsoft reverses Xbox One DRM policy, kills required online check-in and used game complications:

Balloon-powered internet launches in NZ




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