Episode 354 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



“Wow, we’re totally maxed out”: Harvey Norman offline

The Harvey Norman website is offline. Initially the site posted a message to customers suggesting traffic overload is to blame. “Wow, we’re totally maxed out at this very moment.”

This has subsequently been updated to say it is down for maintenance.



Google bug bounty program hits $2 million mark

  • this week that it has doled out more than $2 million to vulnerability hunters.

  • more than 2,000 bugs were reported on and fixed, according to a Google


iPhone 5S, budget iPhone to land Sept. 10

Apple is expected to unveil two new iPhones on Sept. 10, according to a report by AllThingsD citing sources familiar with the company.


  • iPhone 5S will be an improved version of the iPhone 5 in areas of speed, camera quality and potentially the addition of a fingerprint sensor on the home button for higher security measures.

  • iPhone 5C  is intended to breed a new set of Apple fanatics, converting those who currently blame resistance to the company’s products on high prices.



Windows 8.1 RTM ‘do-over’ launch details leak

  • There are reports that IT professionals and early adopters will have to wait until October to start running final RTM code. Additionally, a new near-complete version of Windows 8.1 has leaked into the wild, revealing newly added features aimed at helping touch-based users navigate the interface.

  • a newer version (9471) has been leaked to the Web that includes a new tutorial and navigational aids. Other new features that are part of the leaked build include an update to the built-in Mail and Calendar apps and subtle design and navigational features for apps found in Windows Phone OS.

  • A delay in rolling out the Windows 8.1 RTM to IT professionals and MSND and TechNet subscribers is a departure from how Microsoft has rolled out previous Windows RTM versions.

  • “Microsoft is slowly moving closer to the announce-today-and-ship-tonight way of announcing products and updates,” said Larry Velez, CTO and founder of Sinu, a New York-based MSP that partners with both Google and Microsoft.


Velez said that delaying the RTM’s release to early adopters and TechNet gives Microsoft a bigger surprise reveal for Windows 8.1 in October, when OEM partners will also likely have new hardware to debut. That’s a good thing, he said.



Attackers exploit Android bugs to steal Bitcoins from “wallet” apps

Criminals have found a way to steal Bitcoins from users’ “wallet” apps by exploiting major vulnerabilities in the Android mobile operating system.


cyber thieves have made off with at least 55 Bitcoins, which amounts to about $5,800, given Bitcoin’s current exchange value.


Mike Hearn, a Bitcoin developer explains “A Bitcoin address is a bit like an email address, except that it’s linked to a ‘private key’ which is a bit like the password for the money sent to the address,” he said. “Except you don’t get to pick the password, the phone/tablet/computer does, on the assumption that it’s better at picking unpredictable codes than you are…”



Unpaid bills see ispONE sue Telstra

Telstra is arguing ispONE has failed to pay invoices by the due date, and as a result has the right to terminate services, however in a statement issued today, ispONE disagreed and claimed no money was presently due.


Telstra wholesaler and Kogan Mobile supplier ispONE has been forced back into court as Telstra threatens to terminate the supply of prepaid mobile services


ispONE plans to argue Telstra in fact owes it money, as a result of Telstra’s incorrect rating of data pricing for prepaid mobile services.


“ispONE asserts that Telstra has breached its agreement with ispONE, engaged in misleading and deceptive and unconscionable conduct,” the statement reads.

“ispONE also claims an entitlement to damages based on the significant problems experienced with Telstra’s mobile prepaid platform, which earlier this year left many consumers without service as there were delays in porting numbers to Telstra.”


A hearing is scheduled in the Federal Court in Victoria at 2:15pm today.


BlackBerry may put itself up for sale

BlackBerry is mulling options that could include joint ventures, partnerships or an outright sale


The company said Prem Watsa, whose Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd is BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, was leaving the board to avoid a possible conflict of interest as BlackBerry determines its next steps.

The resignation of Watsa, often described as Canada’s version of Warren Buffett, suggests Fairfax may be part of a solution.


The company’s assets include a well-regarded services business that powers BlackBerry’s security-focused messaging system, worth $3 billion to $4.5 billion; a collection of patents that could be worth $2 billion to $3 billion; and $3.1 billion in cash and investments, according to analysts.


Blackberry shares rose 7.5 percent to $10.80 in New York and C$10.84 in Toronto in afternoon trading

The share price peaked at about C$150 in June 2008.



Spam email contains malware, not Apple gift card

“Dear client! You got our $US200 Apple Store Gift Card,” the message, crafted to look like a legitimate email from Apple, reads. “Please click the link or look at the attachment to obtain the Apple Store Gift Card code.”


Victims that follow the dubious instructions will instead download malware that steals data from their computer. A MacRumors report indicates the malware only compromises Windows-based machines.

The piece of spam currently making the rounds came on the radar of security researchers at Webroot, who detailed the nature of the campaign in a post.


Dick Smith takes over DJs electronics

Dick Smith Electronics will take over the management of retailer David Jones electronics’ businesses


The new “retail brand management agreement” will cover 30 stores nationwide and see David Jones’ electronics department renamed David Jones Electronics Powered by Dick Smith.


The deal will cover computers, tablets, televisions, home office and audio-visual, David Jones told investors today. It excludes whitegoods and small appliances.

The arrangement comes into effect on October 1. Dick Smith will acquire all existing related David Jones inventory, fixtures and fittings, and DJs front-line retail staff will also transition across to the Dick Smith business.

IBM ban confirmed by QLD premier


Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced IBM will not be allowed to enter any new contracts with the State Government until it improves its governance and contracting practices.


IBM was the prime contractor on the project, which will ultimately cost Queensland taxpayers $1.25 billion.


Newman said he was particularly appalled that IBM had told the commission Mr X, who sought access to competitor information during the bidding process, no longer worked for IBM Australia, when the commission had later located him in London where he was working for IBM United Kingdom.

“I don’t want people of this character working on government projects in this State,” Newman said.

“I don’t want companies that have this sort of culture doing work for the people of this State.”

IBM has rejected many of the findings in the Chesterman report, arguing the majority of the issues impacting the project were out of its control.



Unseen Jerry Lewis film footage leaks online



Film footage which US comic actor Jerry Lewis said would never see the light of day has appeared on YouTube.

Lewis withdrew his movie The Day The Clown Cried after it was completed in 1972. As recently as May, he told journalists in Cannes: “I thought the work was bad. I lost the magic.”

The film told the story of a clown used to entertain children in a Nazi death camp during WWII.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where he had a film showing for the first time in more than 20 years, Lewis told reporters: “No one will ever see it, because I’m embarrassed.


The footage apparently first surfaced on a Flemish website last year.


Google Maps Easter Egg Lets You Explore The TARDIS

Tucked away in a single streetview image of what appears to be a mere police box, a newly discovered Google Maps easter egg lets you go inside the TARDIS.

(If you don’t know what the TARDIS is, come on.)






Gmail’s New Compose Window Will Soon Be Your Only Choice

Gmail’s latest in a series of changes, the updated compose window, will soon go from opt-out to your only choice. Today’s Gmail blog post says that all Gmail accounts will switch to the new compose window in the next few days.

If you’re not a fan of the new default, Google says you can expand the new compose window to fill the grayscale background, then hit “default to full-screen” to keep it locked that way. But if you’re a fan of the old look, enjoy it while you can, because it’s not long for this world

Here’s Your Unofficial ABC iView Client For Android

Here are the features:

• Better search UI

• Better 10″ tablet video player UI

• Video controls overhaul

• Better navigation to next / other episodes in a series from the video player.

• Android TV stick compatibility

• Google TV compatibility

• Working HTTP Live Streaming (if the ABC don’t fix their broken implementation first)

• Higher res images

• Captions

• Cloud synced watch lists


DEFCON: A Documentary About The World’s Largest Hacking Conference

DEFCON was held for the 20th time in 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada and it was the first time the conference gave a documentary crew full access to the hacking event and allowed them to film the entire thing. Here’s a bit of the description of the documentary written by the director Jason Scott:

The film follows the four days of the conference, the events and people (attendees and staff), and covers history and philosophy behind DEFCON’s success and unique experience.

The premiere of DEFCON: The Documentary actually happened on August 1st on the first day of DEFCON 21. The full documentary is up above on Vimeo for your streaming pleasure. You can download the official 720p torrent if you’d like or watch it on The Internet Archive too.


Facebook acquires speech recognition tech company Mobile Technologies

Facebook looks like it is building out another branch of its evolving mobile-first strategy with the acquisition of Mobile Technologies.

Founded in 2001, the private company develops speech recognition and machine translation technology.

At the heart of Mobile Technologies’s portfolio is Jibbigo, which the makers boasted as the “world’s first speech-to-speech translator” running both online and offline on mobile devices.

Based on the confirmation announcement on the Jibbigo website, the target audience has been travelers — notably those in the healthcare industry deployed on humanitarian missions worldwide.

As for what Facebook plans to do with the technology, that remains to be seen.

According to the Jibbigo team, the company’s solutions will be applied to “Facebook’s long-term product roadmap.”

You Can Ditch Microsoft Points After The Next Xbox 360 Update

Microsoft Blog:

Earlier this year, we announced that we are bringing local currency to Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. This change was a direct result of customer feedback. You told us you want to be able to buy things using money instead of points, and we listened.

Our goal is to make this transition as easy as possible for you. After the next Xbox 360 system update, when you go to buy something or redeem a Microsoft Points card or code on your console with your Microsoft account, we’ll add to your account an amount of currency equal to or greater than the Xbox Marketplace value of your Microsoft Points, which will be retired.

Making a purchase will be faster and easier than ever. You will see item prices expressed in local currency; no need to calculate what an item costs! You will still be able to directly purchase content from Xbox stores using any current form of payment available in your region, including credit cards. And with a rollout starting in late 2013, you’ll also be able to buy new Xbox Gift Cards (denominated in your local currency) through our online retailers and in local retail stores. These gift cards can be added to your Microsoft account online and are another easy-to-use payment option for customers.

Don’t worry about your Microsoft Points Cards either. We’ll continue to accept purchased Microsoft Points Cards and codes until further notice, and we’ll add to your account an amount of local currency equal to or greater than the Marketplace value of those points. In addition, we know you’ve worked hard on your Microsoft Points earned through Xbox Live Rewards. These will remain in your Xbox Live account and transition to local currency with the rest of your Microsoft Points.


Groundbreaking New Particle Could Make Hard Drives 20 Times Smaller

Scientists have finally created a long-theorised particle called the skyrmion. The best way to imagine a skyrmion is to think of a magnetic field that resembles a twisted vortex of atoms. In a normal particle, the charges of the atoms all line up in the same direction, but in a skyrmion, they’re arranged in these little twister shapes that also happen to be quite stable. You can move them around and shake them up, but they won’t come untwisted.

This is where they come in handy for data storage. Information is burned onto a hard disk by turning the magnetic north poles of normal clusters of atoms up or down to denote a “one” or a “zero,” a digital bit. But if you push these particles too closely together, the magnetic fields begin to interfere with each other and scramble the data. This doesn’t happen with skyrmions. Because of that unique vortex shape, you can squeeze the particles super close together, and the magnetic state of each bit will remain stable.

The really exciting news is that scientists think that they can make devices like optical hard drives up to 20 per cent smaller using this technique. The bad news is that we’re a ways away from making such devices. The idea of skyrmions has been around since the 1960s, but only in this latest study have scientists proven that they were able to actually use them to write data. Even then, they were only able to do it about 60 per cent of the time.


Another Secure Email Service, Silent Circle, Is Shutting Down

Silent Circle, an email provider which guarantees end-to-end secure email, has announced that it’s going the same way as Edward Snowden’s beloved Lavabit and shuttering over concerns of external pressures.

In a blog post, Silent Circle’s CTO Jon Callas explained that the move is a result of *cough* outside *cough* pressures that prompted Lavabit to close up shop. He also suggests that the insecure nature of email protocols is a problem, too, but realistically this boils down to pre-emptively avoiding trouble from the authorities. Indeed, Silent Circle says it hadn’t received any “subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else.” Yet.

But speaking to TechCrunch, Silent Circle’s CEO Michael Janke admitted that some of its high-profile users would likely have authorities sniffing around soon. In the meantime, Silent Circle’s phone, video and text encryption systems are still up and running.

Holy Crap, Does This Shazam For Live Music Actually Work?


Last weekend, ahead of the Outside Lands music and arts festival, which starts today in San Francisco, the first-ever “Outside Hacks” took place. Though the hackathon was sponsored by Gracenote and Dolby, the music recognition company hacked together what they’re calling MusicID Live and it works pretty well for something that was built in just 24 hours.

Gracenote says it’s now working to bring the live performance tracking technology to market sometime early next year.




eBay My Gadgets now open to all, shows you how much your tech items are worth

As part of this growth, the online marketplace behemoth is now officially launching My Gadgets, a feature that allows eBay users to easily determine the value of items in their device portfolio — you know, in case you’re looking to clear out the old and make way for the new. eBay says the newly minted hub will be able to display the individual and collective value of stuff, with prices being based on its own “unique data on current sales trends and prices for both new and vintage electronic items.”

Having multi-touch issues on your new Nexus 7? You’re not alone

Recently there’s been reports of a couple of bugs in the newly released 2013 model of the Nexus 7. The first being a GPS bug that caused some inconsistent results and dropouts of GPS tracking and now there’s reports surfacing of the latest in the Nexus fleet having multitouch issuses. The issue has been captured on video and while it’s going to be a very annoying bug, it’s not something of critical reliance and seems to right itself after a couple of seconds.

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