Episode 383 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

 
 
Bill Gates has criticised one of the company’s biggest cash cows – Microsoft Office – admitting the package needs “more than a tune-up”.
 
Now, they need more than a tune-up. But that’s pretty exciting for the people inside who say, ‘We need to take a little risk and do some new stuff’.”
Now it seems rivals have greater spending power. In the same interview,Gates admits Microsoft would have bought WhatsApp, but not at the $19 billion price that Facebook paid last month.
 

 
 
Reuters reported late on Monday that new Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella would unveil the iPad app at an event on 27 March.
 
The event will be Nadella’s first major public appearance since his appointment last month.
 
Microsoft shares rose as much as 5 percent to US$39.90 on Tuesday, adding US$15 billion to the company’s market value. At that price, the stock was up about 10 percent since the announcement of Nadella’s appointment on February 4. The shares last touched US$40 in July 2000.
 
Analysts said the lack of an Office version for the iPad may have robbed Microsoft of billions of dollars in revenue.
 
“We estimate that if 10 percent of the iPad install base were to subscribe to Office then this could add 15 million subscribers and generate US$1.1 billion to US$1.5 billion in consumer Office subscription revenue per year,”
 
Google has been making inroads into Microsoft’s Office software business with its free Google Drive application, which includes spreadsheets, presentation and word-processing tools.
 
Last year, Apple offered free updates for life on its iWork business software, which includes rival applications to Microsoft’s Excel, Word and PowerPoint, for MacBooks, Mac computers and iPad.
 

 
 
Apple killed off its iPad 2 tablet Tuesday, making the iPad 4 with a Retina display the company’s most affordable full-size 9.7-inch base model.
 
The move to retire the iPad 2, introduced in 2011, coincides with the reintroduction of the iPad 4, which was dropped last year when Apple unveiled the iPad Air. The iPad 4 has twice the pixel density as the iPad 2 with a 2,048 x 1,536 display and has a 1.4GHz A6X processor and 1 GB of RAM.
 
Apple, Cupertino, Calif., said in a statement that the iPad 4 offers a “dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces.”
 
The US introductory price of the iPad 4 with 16 GB of storage and Wi-Fi support is US$400. Add 4G LTE support and the iPad 4’s price jumps to US$530.
 

 
 
Office 365 is Microsoft’s subscription version of Office, and includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other software in its productivity suite.
 
Office 365 Personal allows one computer and one tablet to use the suite for $89 a year or a monthly payment option of $9. That compares with $119 for Office 365 Home Premium, which can be used on up to five computers.Office 365 Home Premium will continue to be offered, but will be renamed Office 365 Home.
 
Both consumer packages include 60 minutes of Skype calling each month and 20GB of additional OneDrive storage.
 
Subscriptions will be available this Autumn; Microsoft hasn’t given a more specific date, but states that further details will be released soon.
 
Microsoft reports that it has already signed up 3.5 million consumers to Office 365.
 

 
 
Google has upped the ante in the online storage battle by taking the axe to its Drive service pricing today, dropping the cost to as little as one US cent per gigabyte per month.
 
This puts it as about 2 percent of the price of Amazon’s consumer-focused offering, Amazon Cloud Drive, and on par with Amazon Web Services’ cheapest product, the Glacier archiving and backup solution.
 
While Google hasn’t changed the amount of space that’s available for free – 15GB – Google Drive now charges substantially less per month for its paid plans:
 
  • 100GB – US$1.99

  • 1TB – US$9.99

  • 10TB – US$99.99

 
The 100GB and 1TB plans previously cost US$4.99 (AUD$5.51) and US$49.99 (AUD$55.20) before. Google Drive storage applies across the company’s different products such as Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Creating Google Docs, Sheets or Slides does not use up Google Drive storage however.
 
OneDrive offers annual plans for individual users:
 
  • 7GB – free

  • Add 50GB – US$25

  • Add 100GB – US$50

  • Add 200GB – US$100

 
Dropbox has a basic plan that is free, but offers a mere 2GB of storage. Its Pro plan has more capacious options charged monthly or annually, with the latter alternative providing a 17 percent discount:
 
  • 100GB – US$9.99 (US$99.99/year)

  • 200GB – US$19.99 (US$199/year)

  • 500GB – US$49.99 (US$499/year)

 

 
 
On Twitter, a fan had asked if he was going to put the game back in the app store.
 
“Yes. But not soon,” Mr Nguyen replied, later adding: “I don’t work by plan. I will release it when it is done.”
 
Mr Nguyen removed the popular game in February, saying its popularity had ruined his “simple life”.
 
In an interview earlier this month with Rolling Stone, Mr Nguyen said he was moved to remove the popular mobile game from the App store after users wrote to him detailing how the game had destroyed their lives
 

 
 
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he has called President Barack Obama to “express frustration” over US digital surveillance.
 
The 29-year-old said in a blog post the US government “should be the champion for the internet, not a threat”.
 
His comments come a day after a report the US National Security Agency (NSA) imitated a Facebook server to infect surveillance targets’ computers.
 
The NSA said the report was “inaccurate”.
 
Mr Zuckerberg said in September that the US “blew it” on internet spying.
 
The tech founder wrote on Thursday “it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform”.
JASON’S SHOWNOTES
 
Australian charged with hacking US gaming network
 
A Queensland man accused of hacking a US-based video game company’s computer network has been charged after a joint investigation between local police and the FBI.
 
Police allege the 21-year-old Kingaroy man illegally accessed the network’s databases and files, and hacked the company’s Twitter account, where he allegedly posted confidential information and screenshots.
 
He is also accused of setting up a paid service, allowing others to search the company’s player database.
 
Police on Wednesday swooped on a Fraser Coast property at Poona, about three hours north of Brisbane, where they seized files from an encrypted storage device on a computer.
 
It followed a raid on a Kingaroy property in November, where laptops and hard drives were seized.
 
“We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the FBI and the US-based gaming company for their assistance in bringing this investigation to a successful close,” said Detective Superintendent Brian Hay from Queensland Police’s fraud and cyber crime group.
 
 

JASON’S SHOWNOTES

 

Google reveals Android for smart watches
 
Google is bringing its Android software, which runs the majority of the world’s smartphones, to high-tech watches and other wearable devices.
 
The internet’s most influential company announced the Android Wear operating system on Wednesday morning Australian time.
 
LG’s G Watch will also run on Android Wear.
 
The new software will run on an array of smart watches to be released later this year. According to Google, they will perform many of the same tasks as a smartphone but with fewer distractions and interruptions.
 
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The Android watches will be less conspicuous – and perhaps less obnoxious – than Google Glass, the high-tech headwear that includes a small camera and thumbnail-sized display screen attached to frames that look like a pair of spectacles.

Hundreds of infected Linux servers in Australia
 
A mass compromise of Linux servers, used to steal credentials and redirect traffic to malicious content, has spread to Australia, security researchers have found.
 
Security firm ESET analysed what it termed ‘Operation Windigo’, a global malware campaign that used a backdoor in OpenSSH, an open source version of the remote access interface Secure Sockets Shell used to administer servers.
 
Over the past two years, ESET says more than 25,000 servers were affected; of these, over 10,000 remain infected today, with hundreds located in Australia.
 
“We have seen more than 400 server infections related to Operation Windigo in Australia. This means that Australians have been exposed to an increased level of annoyance such as spam, advertisement and malware,” ESET’s security intelligence program manager Pierre-Marc Bureau saidtold iTnews.
 
The Windigo infestation campaign forms a large, complex network that builds supporting infrastructure using nginx reverse proxies, TinyDNS resolvers for domain name lookups, SSH tunnels for encrypted command and data communications and deployment of Windows-based malware in drive-by attacks on visitors to infected sites, ESET said.
 
To prevent infection of systems, ESET suggested disabling root login through SSH along with passwords. SSH Agent Forwarding instead of copying over private keys to servers was also recommended, as was two-factor authentication.
Hackers transform EA Web page into Apple ID phishing scheme
 
Using some trickery, hackers were able to breach Electronic Arts’ Web site and transform one of its pages into a bogus Apple log-in screen. Once users logged on to the fake site, they were prompted to input their credit card numbers, date of birth, and other personal information.
 
Security firm Netcraft discovered the breach and notified EA on Tuesday. The game maker told CNET that it investigated Netcraft’s claims and as of Wednesday the phishing page is gone.
 
“We have found it, we have isolated it, and we are making sure such attempts are no longer possible,” EA spokesman John Reseburg told CNET. “Privacy and security are of the utmost importance to us.”
 
The way the hackers created the fake Apple screen was by accessing one of EA Games’ servers, according to Netcraft. The server hosted an outdated calendar that had several vulnerabilities and was likely the way the hackers got into the system to set up the phishing page.
 
Telstra plans plug and play cloud controls for more public Wi-Fi
Telstra is looking to get more of its customers to begin offering public Wi-Fi services through the launch of a new plug-and-play cloud-controlled Wi-Fi managed service.
 
Telstra has already been targeting public Wi-Fi as one of its growth areas, and has deployed public Wi-Fi in ANZ Stadium with Cisco.
 
Aaron Leung, Telstra’s general manager Managed Network Services Practice, told attendees of Cisco Live in Melbourne on Thursday that Telstra would look to expand out into other stadiums around Australia, but said that as part of its managed Wi-Fi service offering, Telstra would now include a cloud-managed service.
 
“I think I’m officially the first person to say that Telstra will be launching a managed Wi-Fi cloud solution,” he said.
 
“It’s about how does Telstra look at a different segment of the market. If you want a scale-out solution, a simple solution, and one we can deliver in a traditional managed service provider way, then this may be the Wi-Fi solution we can help roll out as quickly as possible.
 
“Whether that be in the traditional market space, tier 2 retail, or anyone that is looking for a simple Wi-Fi deployment, where as much as possible it can be plug and play.”
 
The solution is built using the Cisco Meraki Wi-Fi management platform that will allow customers to control their wireless access points via the cloud. Cisco acquired Meraki in late 2012 for $1.2 billion.
 
 
 
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