Episode 365 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Telstra hits milestone for ‘Internet of Things’

Surpasses a million connected devices.


Telstra has talked up its IT solutions clout, claiming to have surpassed one million machine-to-machine (M2M) services in operation.


The milestone makes Telstra the largest M2M provider in Australia, the telco claimed.


According to Telstra, M2M “gives your business assets the power to communicate directly with each other, automating day-to-day tasks that free up your workforce to get on with more important business”. M2M is a key component of the ‘Internet of Things’ trend.


These services include 26,000 handheld scanners for Australia Post, parking solutions to the City of Perth and 1,000 self-service trailer hire kiosks for Move Yourself Trailers.



Apple admits to iPhone 5s bad batch


Apple has admitted a batch of its premium iPhone 5s suffer from a battery fault.


The company said it will replace the affected phones.


The problem is thought to be limited to no more than a few thousand phones;


One user said: “The iPhone 5s battery is awful! I went from 100% to 0% twice yesterday and I didn’t even use it much. It drains just sitting idle.”



William Lowe: the man behind the IBM PC


in 1980 had the idea to start a lab to create personal computers – and to do it in a single year,


A year later, in August 1981, the team managed just that, and the company released the IBM Personal Computer, dubbed the 5150.


It was by no means the first PC – the term had been in use for years, and the Apple II was already on shelves – but it marked a shift for IBM.


at the time an IBM computer would cost as much as $9 million and need 60 people to run it. The PC created by Lowe and his team changed that, using non-proprietary components and featuring open architecture. It cost $1,600 and ran MS-DOS 1.0.


It was an immediate success, and overtook Apple’s model as the top-selling PC.


In 1988, Lowe moved to Xerox – and also provided backing to Steve Jobs when he was working on the NeXT platform after leaving Apple.


Lowe died of a heart attack earlier this month.



Dell users: Latitude 6430u laptops ‘smell of cat urine’


A number of Dell users have complained that their Latitude 6430u Ultrabooks “smell of cat urine”.


Dell engineers have ruled out biological contamination, and said the smell was not a health hazard.


The problem lay in the manufacturing process, which has now been changed, the company said.


Users affected by the issue should send their laptop back for replacement parts.


“The smell is not related to cat urine or any other type of biological contaminant, nor is it a health hazard,” Dell support technician SteveB said.


The problem was related to the manufacturing process, and had now been resolved, he said.


“If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue.”



Steve Jobs house named a ‘historic resource’


Any changes to the modest ranch-style house in Los Altos, which is already a tourist attraction, will now be subject to review by the commission.



Google+ popularity jumps with 540M monthly users


According to Google, the number of monthly active users on Google+ jumped from 390 million in May to 540 million users today.


“With 540 million people active across Google each month, 300 million people active in just the stream and more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week, the Google+ community is growing faster than we ever could have imagined,” wrote Vic Gundotra, a Google senior vice president,


Google also is using its expertise in search to make it easier for users to find the one photo they’re looking for out of the thousands they’ve taken. Google+ now recognizes 1,000 different objects, including sunsets and snowmen, so users can type in a search for the photo they’re looking for in their photo library.


Other photo updates include automatic enhancements, tools for editing on the go, and the ability to erase unwanted moving objects , such as a car in the background, from a photo.



Record bitcoin payment of $1 million spent on new mining hardware


Bitpay, a company that lets businesses accept payments in the Bitcoin virtual currency, has just processed its first US$1 million transaction.


The money was spent on new bitcoin mining hardware sold by Butterfly Labs, a company in Kansas City that makes specialized computers used to unlock new bitcoins and help manage the bitcoin network, Bitpay said on Tuesday.


able to keep the base station running for over two days – more than six times longer than a battery-based back-up system [would have allowed],” Romano said.



Telstra to back up base stations with fuel cells


Telstra will deploy fuel cells as an alternative to back-up battery arrays at mobile base stations and small telephone exchanges.


Telstra has included fuel cell technology as the standard back-up power source for sites that consume less than 5 kiloWatts an hour.








Wiped Off The Fibre Map: Thousands Of Homes Deleted From NBN Rollout Maps


On Monday, there’s a fair bet that a lot of you were within an NBN coverage area, with construction either underway or likely to start within the next one to three years. Today, the story is different: thousands of homes have now been wiped off that map.


NBN Co’s new management team appears to have led the cull of homes and businesses from the rollout maps, with the Coalition government telling the ABC that the push is to improve transparency in the network deployment process.


Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that homes were listed on the maps as under construction, when in fact they were still in the planning phase.


Here’s what it looks like today:

Meet Google Glass: Mark Two


Not much looks different on the second coming of the world’s favourite fictional wearable, Google Glass, except for that hulking earbud.


This new version of Glass is slightly more polished and hopefully better specced than the first version given out to Glass Explorers.


The only major change is a port underneath the arm for a new 3.5mm earbud. Presumably bone-conduction audio isn’t the loudest thing in the world, so Google added the option to plug a single bud in for your ear.

Hackers Seize 38 Million Adobe Customer Records


At the start of October, Adobe quietly explained that hackers had acquired data from three million of its customers’ accounts. Now, it’s admitted that that the number is actually in excess of 38 million.


Adobe has admitted that hackers have snatched over 38 million Adobe IDs and encrypted passwords, along with credit card information, reports Reuters. Adobe spokeswoman Heather Edell told Reuters that the company believes the attackers obtained access to “many invalid Adobe IDs, inactive Adobe IDs, Adobe IDs with invalid encrypted passwords and test account data.”


But that neatly squirms out of the fact that many customers will have had authentic details snatched too. While it’s a relief that the passwords were encrypted, it’s no guarantee that the data is of no use to the hackers — signalled by the fact that Adobe has sent out a warning email to affected customers. If you get that email, better switch up your password real quick.

Google+ Allows Custom Profile URLs Now


Getting your custom URL through Google+


If you meet the criteria of 10+ followers & your account has been active for 30+ days, you’ll see a notification at the top of your Google+ page or Profile.


• Click Get a custom URL button to get started. Alternatively, from the “About” tab on your Profile, click the “Get” link located under your Google+ URL.


• You’ll see the URL(s) you’ve been approved for. If you see more than one option, select the one you like best. You may also be asked to add a few numbers or letters to make the custom URL unique to you.


• Check the box to agree to the Terms of Service.


• Click Change URL.


• We may ask you to verify your account by your mobile phone number. If you need to do this, you’ll see a box pop up asking you to do so.


a. Enter your mobile phone number.


b. Check the box to make it easier for people who have your phone number to find you on Google services.


c. Check your phone for the code that was sent to you.


d. Enter that code in the box.


e. Click Verify.


• Once approved, this URL will be linked to your Google+ page or Profile, so be sure everything is exactly the way you want it. Once your URL has been approved, you can’t request to change it. When you’re certain, click Confirm.

Five Reasons To Consider Using Multiple SIMs


Because the SIM card in your phone dictates the number people can contact you on, it might seem axiomatic that one should be enough for anyone. Yet there are circumstances where having more than one SIM makes sense. Here are five reasons to consider multiple SIMs.


1. To cut down on roaming bills


2. To manage data costs in Australia


3. To improve battery life


4. Because you don’t necessarily need multiple plans


5. Because you don’t necessarily need multiple devices


Is Google’s Mysterious Barge Actually A Floating Glass Store?


Everybody’s wondering what the strange barge with ties to Google is doing docked near San Francisco. At first, it looked like the 8m long structure was a next generation data centre in-the-making, but CBS and CNET sources now say it’s a floating Google Glass store.


The Glass store theory popped up late Friday in a report from local CBS affiliate KPIX 5. Google was building a giant barge just off Treasure Island, but instead of a data centre, the network says it’s “a floating marketing centre.  Other tipsters also claimed that “the idea is in part that Google wants to launch stores without looking like they are trying to chase Apple.” Apparently, Google’s going to float this barge around the country, selling Google Glass out the portholes or whatever.


As those on the West Coast scratched their heads over the Treasure Island barge, an identical vessel was spotted just off the coast of Portland, Maine. Like its California counterpart (registration number “BAL 0010″) the Maine barge (“BAL 0011″) held four stories of shipping containers that looked like they could be used for a data centre. Google even has a patent for such a floating data centre, one that could be used in emergency situations. That said, if Google is planning to do a Google Glass boat tour, it would make sense to build one on the US East Coast too.


It will be a little while before we know for sure what the heck Google is doing building barges near random American cities. The mystique surrounding the project does seem like some sort of marketing effort. God knows, Google likes its ridiculous marketing efforts. [CNET, Portland Press Herald, KPIX 5]






Motorola has unveiled Project Ara, an open-source initiative for modular smartphones with the goal to “do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software.” The company plans to create an ecosystem that can support third-party hardware development for individual phone components — in other words, you could upgrade your phone’s processor, display, and more by shopping at different vendors.


Motorola will be working with Phonebloks, which recently showed off a similarly ambitious concept for modular smartphones; the Google-owned hardware manufacturer says that it plans to engage with the Phonebloks community throughout the development process and help realize the same idea with its technical expertise.

Google+ will now auto-awesome your videos


Google has announced a radical shift in mobile video editing. With their change to Google+ today, Google has introduced some very robust video editing features, meant to blur the lines between desktop editing and mobile. The features are exciting, and remind us of something many of us use daily.


The best part is, Google will start doing this automatically for us. Like they do with pics that can be made into a gif, Google+ will now start alerting you that it’s made a video montage in the same vein. Google is noting they have an algorithm that can detect how the videos should be spliced and arranged, too. You live your life, take pictures and videos, and Google will make you a little home movie. From there, you can change it manually.


Roadtesting the EspressGo portable car coffee machine


The EspressGo looks like a high-tech thermos with an ”on” button, a temperature dial and a 12-volt plug. The lid doubles as a portafilter: unscrew it, fill the reservoir with 50ml of cold water (”non gassata” the Italian instructions advise, because Italians use bottled water for everything), pop a capsule in and screw the lid back on.


Plug it into the cigarette lighter, press the ”on” button and it starts to brew.


A demonstration on stable ground. Photo: Eddie Jim


Actually, it starts to vibrate noisily as the pump pressurises; disconcerting the first time. The vibrating lasts about a minute, but as the manual warns, ”When the motor noise stops, it does not mean that the machine is ready!”. It will fool anyone who hasn’t RTFM: at this point the water isn’t hot enough to extract coffee. You need to ”wait until you hear 3 bleeps (approx 2 minutes)”. The Italian is more elegant: in that country you’ll be waiting for ”3 segnali sonori”.




The progress to 3 bleeps is indicated by the thermometer needle sweeping towards 10. Around 8 you hear the water start to boil.


Sydney park users get free wi-fi


Sydney’s Marrickville Council will offer up to 200MB of free wi-fi per user per day in several municipal parks, making good on a two-year-old plan.


The council quietly revealed last week it had brought services online in “Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown Square, Enmore Park, Alex Trevallion Plaza, the Debbie & Abbey Borgia Community Recreation Centre, and Steel Park.”


A spokesperson told iTnews the council had purchased its own outdoor wi-fi equipment but declined to reveal the identity of the managed service provider chosen to supply internet services and maintain the gear.


The wi-fi service is “free for all users at all times”, the council said in a statement. The session limit is currently “one hour or 200 megabytes, whichever comes first”.


iTnews confirmed the limits are per device per day. However, each park will be able to deliver a maximum download quota of 15GB per month.


Council’s spokesperson said the limits were being trialled and could move down or up in future depending on how well the service is patronised.


A 200MB daily limit is considerably more generous than other free wi-fi services available in Sydney. Sydney Ferries offers two sessions a day of up to 45 minutes or 30MB; Sydney’s central station provides 30 minutes or 60MB.


Telstra is suing NBN for $100m IT HAS been a bad week for the NBN.


Yesterday it reported a $932 million operating lossand today it has been revealed that it’s being sued by Telstra.


The Australian Financial Reviewreported that the telco is suing the NBN for around $100 million in payments for its pits and ducts.


It took $11.2 billion and two years to negotiate the deal whereby the NBN was given rental access to the telco’s network of pits and ducts that house its phone network. The NBN will be using Telstra’s pits and ducts to connect homes to its fibre-optic cable.


Telstra claims that the payments should date back to 2011 when the companies first agreed on the deal, but the NBN claims they should only date back to 2012 when the contract was formally agreed upon.


“We have commenced legal proceedings with NBN Co over when CPI adjustments should start to apply under the NBN Definitive Agreements,” said Telstra spokeswoman Nicole McKechnie.


“We have one take on the contract and NBN Co has another.”


The case comes as Telstra and NBN Co get ready to renegotiate over the $11.2 billion contract.


BBM for Android’s Google Play page tarnished by hundreds of fake reviews


BlackBerry’s BBM app was downloaded 10 million times within 24 hours, but at least on Android, some of its many positive reviews seem to come from a less than savory source. Writer Matt Baxter-Reynolds noted yesterday that a huge number of reviews contained the exact same praise for BBM:


Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth


Blogger Terence Eden looked through more reviews and found more evidence that somebody was astroturfing the Play Store. In addition to the sheer numbers he found, at least one person seemed to have accidentally copied and pasted more of the text than intended: “Dear Mr Ahmed, please post the following comment on the new BlackBerry Messenger APP…” Fake reviews are a frequent issue across many sites, and a September crackdown resulted in fines for 19 companies. More recently, Samsung was fined for hiring commenters to talk up its own products online and leave negative comments about those of its competitors (allegedly HTC.)


BlackBerry did not immediately return our request for comment, but a spokeswoman responded to Eden, saying the company had nothing to do with it. “We have recently been made aware of a number of potentially fake five-star reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play,” she said. “We do not approve of or condone such activities and are committed to working with Google to resolve this.” Unfortunately for BlackBerry, the reviews cast some doubt on the 10 million download number it touted earlier this week. There’s no reason to believe BlackBerry’s count isn’t correct, but astroturfed comments could also mean not everyone downloading the app is a fan of BBM.


Update: BlackBerry has responded, once again saying that the reviews were uninvited and entirely unwelcome.


We have been made aware of a number of potentially fake reviews of BBM for Android on Google Play, with ratings anywhere from one to five stars. We have no knowledge of how these reviews were created or populated. We do not approve of or condone such activities. There are also many genuinely great and useful reviews from our new BBM users on Google Play. We would like to encourage our fans and users to continue to provide true assessments of the BBM experience through the proper channels.


As BlackBerry notes, the reviews varied in stars, so they haven’t necessarily skewed the overall score, though once again the parody reviews make it hard to figure out exactly how fake reviewers rated it. BlackBerry also affirms that the download number is correct


IsoHunt Lives: BitTorrent Site Now Reportedly Hosted In Australia


Afterless than a month off the air, BitTorrent search engine IsoHunt is back with a fresh new look, hosted out of Australia of all places. Oh dear.


It’s being reported today that the new IsoHunt is now back online at isohunt.to after Gary Fung pulled the plug on the original site earlyto avoid it being replicated in such a way. History, however, has a way of repeating itself.


Interestingly, ArsTechnica reports today that the new site is even being hosted out of Australia, despite having a top-level domain registered as a torrent site rather than a .com or .com.au.


According to server records, IsoHunt’s new physical location has been registered to an address in Beaumaris, Victoria. Watch that end badly within weeks if indeed that’s where the servers are actually hosted now.


The new anonymous founders told TorrentFreak that users don’t want to let the online “icon” that is IsoHunt go.


“The main goal is to restore the website with torrents and provide users with the same familiar interface,” they said in theinterview.


Man Finds Forgotten $25 Bitcoin Investment Now Worth $850,000

It’s the financial windfall nerd dreams are made of. A Norwegian man who bought $25 ofBitcoin in 2009 found four years later that his off-the-cuff investment had ballooned to a fortune worth $850,000.


The story starts when Kristoffer Koch was a student researching a paper about encryption. He came across the online currency Bitcoin, thought it seemed like a novel idea and bought about 150 kroners’ worth — around $25 by today’s conversion rates. Then Koch forgot all about the purchase, Norway’s public broadcasting companyNRK reported, according to a Google translation.


Fast forward to this spring, when Bitcoin has been all over the news — both as a topic on its own, as well as a side player in major stories such as the rise and fall of theSilk Road online narcotics marketplace. The topic rang a bell for Koch, who recalled his impulsive purchase from back in 2009. He was able to remember his password, and check in on his little Bitcoin collection.


When Koch opened his digital wallet, he said he found 5,000 Bitcoins worth 5 million kroner, or about $850,000. He exchanged a fifth of the treasure trove for cash, then used that to buy an apartment in a posh Oslo neighborhood.


Koch said his girlfriend has long criticized his habit of buying technology-related odds and ends that he never ends up using. But now?


She’ll let him buy what he wants, Koch told NRK.




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